This is an excerpt from a letter I wrote giving forth an Apologia for the faith.
You use two Scriptures and I have no problem with the first two and I find no problem with you using them. However, you cite Colossians 1:15-18 and you fall into classical errors simply because you are not discerning the use of English grammar, let alone Greek grammar, which is how the NT was originally penned.
Let’s address your first classical error: Scriptures were not written as a hodge-podge in which we are allowed to lift them out of context as we so desire in order to prove our doctrinal inclinations. I’m glad you are trying to exegete the Scriptures; however, you have need of a teacher yet. This then entails that we should go back to at least the beginning of the chapter to establish what is going on in this personal letter that Paul is writing to the church at Colosse.
V1 Paul establishes his apostleship that it is by the will of God and introduces Timothy as well.
V2 Paul names who this letter is to be addressed: saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colosse. He next blesses them with grace and peace, etc.
V3 Paul lets them know that he prays for them and thanks God…
V4 especially since they have faith in Christ Jesus and they love the saints.
V5 Paul reminds them of their hope which has been laid up for them, which had been proclaimed to them through the Gospel.
V6 The Gospel is bringing forth fruit and in them as well since they have known the grace of God in truth.
V7 Paul reminds them that they learned this through Epaphras their faithful minister of Christ.
V8 Paul tells them that Epaphras has told Paul and others of their love in the Spirit.
V9 Since the day that Paul heard the news, [What news? The news that the Gospel was bringing forth fruit in their lives], he has not ceased to pray for them and to desire that they might be filled with the knowledge of ‘his’ will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. So who does ‘his’ refer to exactly? Let’s go backwards to v4 and we find the subject of ‘his’ which is Christ Jesus. How do we know this? Because what is bringing forth fruit in these saints’ lives? The Gospel and who is the Gospel proclaiming…none other than Christ Jesus.
V10 [what will be the purpose of them being filled with the knowledge of ‘his’ (Christ Jesus’) will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding?]. That you might walk worthy of the Lord (Jesus), unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. [Because the Lord Jesus Christ came to announce the grace of God for reconciliation to God the Father by the shedding of his (Jesus’) blood.]
V11 Strengthened with all might [whose? Jesus’] according to ‘his’ [Jesus’] glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joy;
V12 Giving thanks unto the Father, who [God the Father] has made us meet to be full partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
V13 who [God the Father] has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated [moved] us into the kingdom of his [God the Father] dear Son:
V14 in whom [Jesus] we have redemption through his [Jesus] blood, the forgiveness of sins:
V15 who [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God….
So now let’s unpack verse 15….it is critical indeed for your understanding. So the verse tells us that Jesus is the IMAGE of the INVISIBLE GOD. Hmmm. Does God the Father have an IMAGE? The verse just tells us that HE is invisible and no one can see Him. So what does that tell us…except that GOD IS SPIRIT, even as John 4:24 tells us, and that God is seeking those who will one day be born again and be filled with His Spirit to worship Him perfectly. So now what does this tell us about Jesus Christ? If He is the IMAGE of God, it is saying that Jesus is SPIRIT too. If we think about the opening chapters of Genesis, what does God say about everything that He is making? It will REPRODUCE after ITS OWN KIND. Now, however, is this truly saying that Jesus was CREATED? NO! Why? Was God the Father created at some point in time? The Greek word for ‘first-born’ is πρωτότοκος and from this word, we get our English word ‘prototype,’ the first one in a series. So therefore, Jesus is the IMAGE OF GOD, and we are being made in Jesus’ image. How? We get born-again and we become SPIRITUAL BEINGS once again. This is what Adam and Eve were originally when God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us MAKE man (their spirits) after ‘OUR IMAGE’ and then he FORMED their bodies and then He MADE their souls by blowing in the SPIRIT into their flesh and mankind became a living soul. So who was God talking to in Genesis? He states, ‘our’ (plural) image. Okay on to
V16 For by ‘him,’[who is ‘him’? It is the Lord Jesus and not God the Father. God in the Greek is in the genitive (possessive) case and not the nominative (subject)], were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him [Jesus] and for him [Jesus]:
V17 and he [Jesus] is before all things, and by him [Jesus] all things consist.
V18 and HE [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the prototype from the dead; that in all he [Jesus] might have the preeminence.
Verse 18 clearly states who the ‘HE’ the passage has been talking about and so HE was not CREATED as you are thinking of creation, but rather Jesus is the prototype, or the first in a series of spiritual sons and daughters that we should be like HIM and thus be able to worship the Holy Father in spirit and truth, especially since after Pentecost we are filled with the Holy Spirit so that we may do just that: worship the Most High God (the Father) and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.
Since we have been looking closely at the various Scriptures that pertain to the laws of God and as we are finally going to wrap this series up, let us look at Galatians, which is a book that is consistently cited in that total grace-ites state that this book definitively declares that the laws of God have ended. Really? Did they? Let’s see. First of all, before we go into the book of Galatians, let’s establish our ground work first; of course, these articles have already covered these Scriptures, but we will list them again.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Now the diehard grace-ite will be the first to argue and say that this was written to Israel and not to the church. Really? Using that same logic, then Jesus Christ himself said that He had come to the lost sheep of Israel. Oh-Oh! Houston…we have a problem! That doesn’t include the Gentiles if one has to be fair at this point. Now what? Okay, one more Scripture so that we can all know that everyone can get a ticket and get on board the GodShip Gospel Line.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Paul writes that the Gentiles have been grafted into the root stock of Israel. Why? So that we can receive all of the promises and requirements and that they are made available to us as well. This writer finds it very interesting that those who deny that we have to obey God’s commandments are more than willing to claim the goodness of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants as well as the new covenant written with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but those same people want nothing to do with the laws of God. We offer our condolences to you at this point…simply because you cannot have your cake and eat it too, my friends. You either take the whole Word of God or please don’t take any of it; we are not allowed to pick and choose which Scriptures we would like to have and throw out the ones that make us squirm. But unfortunately, this is exactly what has happened. Many pastors and teachers have taught the populace that the Scriptures should be viewed as something akin to a Smorgasbord or items on an À la carte menu. All of the Scriptures make up a whole body of evidence and you simply cannot dissect the Word of God, no matter how badly you may wish to do so.
Let us now define some terms that often cause confusion. These terms were not clear to this writer either growing spiritually mature in the church; this writer simply didn’t know what they meant. If the question was asked of those who were supposed to be more learned, the answer generally given was doing the laws of God. Exactly, what does that mean? Who knew…probably no one understood it, nor could define it when asked to do so. This is why this writer walked around in a fog for most of the years waiting to grow up.
What are they and what do they mean?
There are two terms that are the same thing, but they use two different words and they are:
works of the law…and…deeds of the law
simply pertain to the sacrificial portion of the law. Every Israelite male was to continually offer up the Passover sacrifice; the Yom Kippur sacrifice; they were to make peace offerings, heave offerings, free-will offerings, etc. etc. By doing so they would attain to righteousness and have their sins, transgressions and iniquities covered up by the blood of the animal offered. But too many people have been taught that this pertains to the entire Law of God and not to just one portion, thereby ‘ending’ the Law of God because we are told that we cannot be justified by the ‘deeds or the works of the Law.” This is true if applied to the sacrificial portion of the Law. These works or deeds were Israel “working out their own salvation” if you will in an attempt to make themselves righteous, even though it was available to be made righteous through faith, but they couldn’t receive it and so they focused on the works and therefore they were never justified. Christians however, accept the “atoning works of the Lord Jesus Christ” and we accept by faith that His perfect blood has made us righteous through Him and therefore we are made justified.
This is going to shock a lot of people….but oh, well. But hold on, this writer will explain. The sacrificial portion of the law didn’t end either. WHAT? No, it did not. It TRANSFERRED from the tribe of Levi to the Tribe of Judah, and the Ha Mashiach, Yeshua Adonai (or Christ Jesus) on the appointed Passover, at the time of sacrifice, did not offer up an animal but offered up Himself, and His own perfect blood seeing that He also became our High Priest. He is also our eternal High Priest because the Scriptures plainly state Yeshua was after the priestly order of Melchisedec.
Hebrews 3:1, 5:1, 5:6
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Now that that particular truth is established…here is one more for those that may not know these things: there were three parts of God’s laws. First, there was the Ten Commandments (or the moral laws); Second, there were the food laws, which were established to teach Israel on how to choose between the holy and the unholy, or the clean and the unclean, plus, it was also in place to keep Israel healthy in their physical bodies; and the Third, there was the sacrificial laws pertaining to the forgiveness of the sins of Israel. The Ten Commandments have never ended; the food laws have been modified, at least for the Gentiles coming into the church, but still having to keep some of them for the sake of their Jewish brothers and sisters, which we find in Acts 15. The third portion did not end but merely transferred to Yeshua Adonai who became the High Priest and the sacrifice that year. His office of High Priest has still not ended even to this day, for He acts on our behalf and when we humble ourselves and confess our sins, He goes before the Heavenly Father and presents His perfect blood on the altar so that we may obtain forgiveness.
There is still so much more to cover and we did not even get to the book of Galatians as hoped for and therefore this will have to be continued in Part 17. God Bless.
This is Part 3 of the article series concerning the idea of Complementarianism and whether or not it is Biblical. Those that adhere to this concept claim they do not believe or practice patriarchy, yet in essence they do, because they claim that the man is in charge of the woman and that they have the right to order her life, if they are married to her. Where then is the difference between the Complementarian and the Patriarchal adherent? Is Complementarianism truly Biblical? This writer emphatically states that it does not meet the requirements of being a Biblical mandate from God.
In order to answer the first paragraph, those that claim to be Complementarian, too often select passages of Scripture, but they lift it out of its near context and its remote context. It is all too easy to subscribe to a particular doctrine by sequestering your favorite passages, lifting them out of their context and holding them up as a mandate from God. While this is over-simplified, with this quaint anecdote being used, nevertheless: An atheist desperate to prove that there really isn’t any God and he so wanted to use the Holy Bible as his ammunition. He selected a verse of Scripture to confound his Christian opponent. He selected a portion of Scripture from Psalm 53, and triumphantly declared, “SEE, your own Bible says that ‘there is no God!’ But the Christian asked where the supposed Scripture was located and the atheist pointed to it in the Bible. Then the Christian correctly read the ENTIRE passage from the Holy Bible:
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
While this is truly over-simplified, the result is the same. We cannot claim to be true exegetes of Holy Writ if we pull Bible verses out of their context and then claim that this is a mandate from God. So as this writer was choosing the title for this particular part, at first a title was chosen just to include Ephesians 5:21-23 which are the actual verses in question. However, one needs to read the entire chapter, and perhaps even going as far back as 4:14ff, thus leading into the verses in question as well as going beyond to the end of Chapter 5; hence the title of this article. This writer is also cognizant that this article is going to be published on Valentines Day as well as the unfortunate debut of the ungodly movie of ’50 Shades of Grey.’ I do not necessarily wish to derail this article, but if Christians truly think that they will be able to view this movie without any spiritual harm, they are sadly mistaken and need to repent if they have viewed this movie or they have even read the novel. If you lay your money down to read or see spiritual trash, you are in essence condoning and approving the material, and you will have to answer the Lord Almighty on the day of your judgment. Now that this short monotribe is finished on that ungodly movie and novel, this writer will continue with this article. Phew!
Let us now look at:
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
The first verse of 5:21 should tell the whole story, but for those who cannot yet see, this writer will elaborate upon the topic in question. This article will simply be too long if all of the verses that one needs to look at are included, so the verses will be listed, but readers needs to read them on their own (see above).
So let us look at 5:21 and the very first word in this verse: the Greek word is ὑποτασσόμενοι which is a Present Passive Participle, Nominative Plural Masculine word. Or in other words, if you are not a Greek-head, this connotes that it is always a Present action; we allow ourselves to be brought into subjection; and it is a participle that connotes verbal action. Now it seems like the Complementarian has it all, however, let us next look at the Greek word ἀλλήλοις, which is a Dative Plural Masculine and therefore translated as ‘one to another’ or ‘to each other.’ It should also be noted that just because the gender is masculine does not necessarily mean it is only for males or vice versa if the Greek gender is feminine. Sometimes it is in regard to gender but the context will clearly inform the reader that it applies to a specific gender when it does. So submission to one another is to be done in the “fear of Christ.” The KJV translated it as ‘God,” but the Greek text lists it as Χριστοῦ, which is translated as Christ. Furthermore, verse 21 is seen by this writer as a pivotal verse: it concludes that which comes before to the church and then opens that which comes after; to husbands and wives.
Now let us look at verse 22. We needed to look at verse 21 first because Complementarians steadfastly ignore verse 21 and sequester or lift out verses 22-23 because quite frankly, they do not like what verse 21 has to say about the situation. However, grammatically, verse 22 cannot stand on its own; which the Holy Spirit deliberately did and thus gave to the Apostle Paul to write down. Verse 22 has the word ‘submitting’ there in the verse, but it is not there in the Greek: it is written as, “The wives to your own husbands just as to the Lord.” There isn’t any verb in this verse, thus it forces the reader to go back to verse 21 to get the verbal aspect, which absolutely ties verse 22 to verse 21 without any doubt and it cannot be undone because the Holy Spirit dictated it thus. What we have here is a figure of speech called ‘ellipsis,’ where a word is omitted and one must use the context to get that word and how it is being used. Remember, it was used in verse 21 with the admonition to “Submitting yourselves one to another…” This is why they take verses 22-23 out of its immediate context because Christ has mandated that both must submit to each other in the fear of Christ. The Ryrie Study Bible actually goes to the extreme and physically separates verse 21 from verse 22 and inserts a paragraph heading to make it look like it is a separate entity. However, verse 22 cannot stand alone grammatically, no matter how many paragraph headings one inserts into the text. Readers please be informed that chapters, verses, chapter headings and such like is all man-made and was not inserted into the Holy Writ until the 13th century by ArchBishop Stephen Langton, which is what the modern divisions are based upon. However, there were other attempts at divisions as early as the 3rd century. Robert Estienne in 1551 is the one that is credited with dividing the Scriptures into verses that we still use today. You can read more about it HERE.
Now for verse 23: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” The useage of ‘head’ can also mean ;’origin,’ which many scholars acknowledge, and if we read this verse as such:
“For the husband is the origin of the wife, even as Christ is the origin of the church: and He, [Christ] is the Savior of the body [Church].”
Men should be taking a sigh of relief….why? Because, at long last husbands do not have the onerous responsibility of saving your wife. This has and always has been the responsibility of Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can save us. This writer has heard such things like the husband is responsible to cleanse the wife with the washing of the Word as well as sanctify her. Really? This is where the Mormons get their idea that a wife will earn salvation if her husband accepts her into heaven. Really? How scary! So, if a woman’s husband begins to hate her, she is bound to burn in hell. This would be a very good reason for all women to only marry unbelievers and then lead them to salvation. In this way, the husband would be beholden to the wife. This is what happens when the Bible is used to defend your own personal beliefs without relying upon the actual Biblical text and keeping everything in its proper context.
When looking at verses 24-33, it further gives to the husband the character traits that he is to adopt to himself. Specifically, in verse 25:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
The word for love in this verse is ἀγαπᾶτε, which is the ‘love of God’ and not ερος or φιλεῶ, with the first being the ‘love of God,’ the second one being ‘sexual love,’ and the third being ‘brotherly love,’ from which we get the name for the city of Philadelphia. So it is interesting that husbands are commanded to love their wives with the same love that God has for us; they are also commanded to give themselves as a sacrifice and to serve their wives as Christ loved and died for His Church and submitted to His Bride. Yes, Christ submitted all the way to death. He is the perfect example that men are to follow.
In order to get the full context, the reader can go as far back as:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The reader can continue from the above verses through the end of Chapter 5. But one can quickly read that the analogy of the Body of Christ is used, and one part is not above another. This is why the English word ‘head’ should be translated as ‘Origin’ and not with the connotation of ‘corporate head’ or ‘boss.’ The Lord Jesus Christ is the True Head of the Church, His Body and therefore the Head of every marriage. Both husband and wife are to submit to Christ Jesus first.
In concluding this article, this writer would like to focus on:
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
If the husband desires to be respected, the KJV uses ‘reverence,’ he first must love as Christ loved the Church and even as he loves his own body…and then….so that the wife might φοβῆται the husband. The Greek word is a Present Passive Subjunctive, third singular; which comes from an even older Greek form, φοβέομαι, which means to reverence or respect. However, the word is in the subjunctive form and is always used with either the words, ‘may’ or ‘might,’ plus it is passive. What this means to this writer is this: if the husband wishes to obtain reverence or respect from his wife, then he has to follow Christ and give himself sacrificially to his wife, and then “so that the wife might respect her husband.” It is conditionally based upon the husband’s actions. It is not a command from God to the wife.
When one looks at the Complementarian viewpoint that Owen Strachen promotes, it really looks nothing at all like the Holy Scriptures that I read, which is based upon the Greek Scriptures. Be Blessed this Valentines Day, and husbands LOVE [ἀγαπᾶτε] your wives.
In the last article, we were studying in Genesis 1 and 2 to see how the Lord God Almighty set up and defined marriage between a woman and a man or a man and a woman. In this article, Part 2, we will be examining Scripture from 1 Corinthians 11:2-3, (but also including verses 4-16 for the full treatment), as these Scriptures were listed at the bottom of Gavin Peacock’s article. When dealing with words in the Scriptures, the student must first acquaint themselves with the words and how they were understood in the day that they were spoken. Too often, verses of Scripture are lifted out of their context in order to establish a point that was never intended by the author of the epistle. Plus, there are instances of cultural issues that the author is addressing within the letter that are not relevant to our day and time. In those cases, the heart of the prohibition should be established and then the central idea can be applied to our day.
In the case of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, it is addressing the cultural issue of head coverings. Furthermore, looking to the last chapter of 10:1-14, which deals with Israel’s tendencies to fall into idolatrous practices; Paul addresses both Jew and Gentile Christian believers, especially those that were former pagans, who shopped for their meat supplies in the ‘shambles,’ which contained meats first offered to idols and then were thrown out. This meat was collected and sold at greatly reduced prices. Paul allows for this meat to be bought and eaten as long as they basically do not practice the pagan rites that went along with the meat. So in v. 25, Paul instructs them to go ahead and eat the meat sold in the shambles, yet just do not ask any questions about its history. So we are dealing with the cultural issues of Corinth. In v. 32, Paul once again instructs the believers to
1 Cor 10:32-11:1
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God. Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Then in v. 33 Paul is basically saying that (without sin) he accommodates other people in order that he might save them; then in 11:1 instructs the Corinthians to be followers of him just as he follows Christ. So this then sets the stage for the following verses in which Paul lays out what seemingly looks like a prescriptive command that women should be veiled. However, according to James B. Hurley, “women in ancient Judaism and in the Greco-Roman culture were generally not veiled in public–the shawl/face veil for women came into Near Eastern custom later through Islam…Men and women were given a cooperative social mandate in creation; women’s role was restricted only religiously in Israel*”
Whether there was a specific sect that was present in Corinth that required veiling or as some have suggested that gnostic influences had perhaps penetrated the church community and were bringing disruption into the church. Further, Paul is answering the question that was sent to him and so verses 2-15 elaborate upon this fact and Paul lays out his reasons, making reference to Genesis 2 that woman came from man, etc. This brings to mind that the religious cults were dominated by women, such as worshipping Bacchus, and if certain adherents had come into the Christian community bringing disruption concerning the order of creation, i.e. women being the first created, this would then explain why Paul brings up Genesis 2, to establish truth among the believers. However, in v.11 he clearly shows his liberationist perspective by clearly announcing that while woman came from man, God had created their spirits at the same time, thereby showing their equality before God (see Genesis 1:26-27).
1 Corinthians 11:8-11
For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
It was only the woman’s body that came from man, probably with God taking some of Adam’s DNA and thus forming her body. Her soul was unique to her own self, having received it after God blew her own spirit into her body, thus was her soul made. Further, with Paul answering the Corinthians’ questions regarding the veiling of women, we come to verse 16, which almost always is never addressed by those who are trying to affirm their patriarchal or complementarian views regarding the subordination of women to men. Quite clearly, Paul states
1 Corinthians 11:16
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
Therefore, if any of the Corinthian believers were going to still be argumentative about this subject, Paul declares, WE HAVE NO SUCH CUSTOM, NEITHER THE CHURCHES OF GOD. This writer understands the WE to be a reference to Israel and then Paul includes the other churches of God who also do not have the practice or custom of veiling women for worship. Why? Because Paul affirms that women have already been given a permanent covering, namely, their hair.
Basically, Paul was addressing their internal quarrels and squabbling about who was right, and since most commentators do not believe that Greco-Roman women practiced veiling, one can only surmise that perhaps this had come into their community from an external source such as Gnostic beliefs that were assailing the community. The portion concerning the creation reflects Paul’s teaching to Timothy in Ephesus, which was also dealing with Gnostic infiltration into their churches. This writer does not believe that Paul was attempting to establish or re-establish patriarchal views, because other letters affirm and further the ideas first established by the Lord Jesus Christ that women were to now be on the same par as the men. They were to be allowed to learn right along with the men, and when finally established in the doctrine, they were being allowed to teach and to preach, thus showing that the Lord Jesus Christ had re-established at least that portion of Eden back to mankind, that men and women were created by God to be fully equal with each other.
Therefore, those who practice complementarianism are still trying to live under the sinful regime of patriarchalism which had its beginnings after the first couple had been expelled from the Garden. So with the purchased redemption paid for by Christ, why indeed would anyone want to go back to the former repressive lifestyle first perpetrated by sinful men? It does make one wonder.
*Excerpt taken from “Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women” by Willard M. Swartley
Is complementarianism truly biblical? As far as this writer’s personal studies have led, it is not. When a true student of the Word of God, or the Bible, reads such articles as that written by Owen Strachan, the President of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, who has laid out some of the pillars of his beliefs regarding complementarianism, and then lists supposed Scriptural accounts to back his assertions up, it simply does not bear out. In the first part of his article he covers the controversy regarding Gavin Peacock, a pastor located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada who also believes in complementarianism and who also wrote his own article regarding this subject. However, what will be covered in this article are the points Strachan lists in his article concerning complementarian viewpoints.
In the Bible, God makes the cosmos in Genesis 1, and then he makes man and woman, husband and wife, in Genesis 2. He gives this relationship structure and form. Adam is the head of his wife; his wife is his helper. Eve is created from Adam. Her body depends on his for existence. This is a signal from the very start of Scripture: the position of marital headship given to men is one of responsibility and sacrifice, not ease and self-indulgence (Strachan).
Strachan quotes Genesis 1 and 2, so let us read these Scriptures to see if this is what they say. Verses 1-25 tell of God speaking creation into existence. It is in v26-27 that we first find the beginnings of mankind.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The only thing in these two verses that Strachan is correct about is that God created man…male and female created He them. No sign of order…no headship…just a simple statement of fact. Plus, He unequivocally states, “Let THEM have dominion…” So, God is the Creator. Exactly what did God create? He created the male and female spirits. How do we know this? The Word that God spoke about His creation: He was going to make mankind in His image. What is God’s image? It is Spirit, as we find in John 4:24, “God is Spirit.” If the age-old argument is to be proffered that the word ‘male’ is first and then ‘female;’ well in the order of things…something has to be first and something must be last when dealing with a list of words. It still gives no authority of placement in these verses. To say so is eisegesis of the worst kind; and what exactly is ‘eisegesis’?
Eisegesis (/ˌaɪsəˈdʒiːsəs/; from the Greek preposition εἰς “into” and the ending from the English word exegesis, which in turn is derived from ἐξηγεῖσθαι “to lead out”) is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, or biases into and onto the text. This is commonly referred to as reading into the text. The act is often used to “prove” a pre-held point of concern to the reader and to provide him or her with confirmation bias in accordance with his or her pre-held agenda (Wikipedia).
The next chapter of the Bible that Strachan refers to is Genesis 2 and the verses, though not listed, are these:
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
God first created their spirits, but then He put them in ONE body (a foreshadowing of the ONE body of Christ, His church), and then God looked at Adam (meaning, ‘red earth’), and said “I will make him an help meet (Hbw= ezer, a strong help)”; so God took woman’s spirit out of Adam and gave the female spirit her own fleshly body. Adam then said “…she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” As we read this biblical text in Genesis 2, there still isn’t any command of God for man to have ‘headship’ over his wife. It simply is just not there! In verse 24 we read:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
This verse sounds more like commentary from Moses who wrote the Pentateuch, especially since at this juncture there was no father or mother to leave. There would be in the future, but not at this scene in the Garden of Eden. Furthermore, Moses lived in the midst of a patriarchal society and so it would behoove one to believe that as the writer of Genesis, that this would have been the perfect time to have instituted patriarchalism or complementarianism if this truly was the will of God. But as we have just seen, Moses did not institute either biblical worldview when he wrote the very words of God.
So for those who hold the complementarian view and for them to say that the book of Genesis supports ‘headship’ and ‘wifely submission’ are errant in their views because the record of the creation of man by God shows no such thing. Furthermore, there isn’t any commands uttered by God to Adam (who was both male and female at the same time) to engage in any such practice. Neither did God command the now separated man and woman to engage in any such lifestyle.
The first we read about any such possibility is in Genesis 3:16 and yet God is not cursing the woman, but merely tells her that since sin has now entered into their existence, the resulting skewing of their equality will now be that the male Adam will begin to rule over the female Adam. We should now see that this ‘headship’ if you will and forced ‘submission’ leads into the patriarchal system, but it was only introduced after sin entered the Garden of Eden and not before when they were in God’s paradise. So how is this God’s perfect will?
This writer will continue in additional articles to cover this large topic. So stay tuned.
The newest Biblically based Hollywood movie to come to the silver screen is the account of Moses, who led the children of Israel out of the 400 year bondage to Egypt and its Pharaohs to freedom. Some of the other critics have lambasted director, Ridley Scott, for failing to have Jewish or Egyptian actors play these parts; but he has had his come-back, so to speak, by replying that Egypt would have been a very multi-national cosmopolitan country at that time. Other critics writing about this movie have declared that they wouldn’t “pay to see the movie.” Hmmm. Then how were they able to critique the movie?
This writer did pay to see the movie on the big screen and it was a bit disappointing that the writers did not remain faithful to the Scriptural accounts of this particular event. For example, the Scriptures make the account in which God turned the Nile into blood; however the writers depicted this event utilizing monster-sized crocodiles that attack an Egyptian boat, thus killing all of the inhabitants, and so their blood contaminates the Nile. Though the writers show about 5-6 men being graphically torn apart, realistically, their bodies do not contain enough blood to contaminate the entire Nile River, nor even just the area where the Pharaoh is living either. Then we must deal with the idea that these crocodiles are the writer’s fantasy, because there was no such plague. Regarding the plague of blood, the writer has attempted to normalize and reduce the enormity of it as well as give a natural cause for its existence, thus highlighting the writer’s own faithlessness in an awesome and totally all-consuming God, better known as the Great I am.
However, the cinematic rendering of the other plagues, was very well done. This writer especially liked the plague of darkness and then the final plague in which every firstborn child died, if they had not been covered by the blood of the lamb. It was shown as being a great shadow that fell over the land and as it passed over the houses, the first-born children simply stopped breathing. The 1957 version depicted it as a green phantasm in the shape of a bony hand of death.
Then there is a particular character that shows up in this movie, i.e. is it God? is it Jesus? or perhaps a messenger angel? The writer failed egregiously with this, in that, if this is the Great I Am, why the image of a child? If this is supposed to be a pre-incarnate Jesus, with the hinting around of Isaiah 11:6 “….and a little child shall lead them,” then we have some major issues that abound here, especially, since Moses lived thousands of years before Isaiah prophesied about the child. It leaves the viewer totally confused and even more so when Moses blatantly tells this ‘child’ he didn’t want to deal with a messenger.
The Scriptures also do not recount that Moses tried to carry out the overthrow of the Pharaoh with his own methods; with the (God) child finally telling him, almost as if he was about to say, ‘tsk, tsk, tsk…okay….just stand back and watch this!’ Seriously? This whole scene fell flat.
The writer has also attempted to downplay other major events contained within the whole scope of the story, such as: very little coverage concerning the making of the golden calf; or the reception of the stone tablets with God’s very own laws thusly written upon them; Miriam is left back in Egypt when clearly she sang and danced with her timbrels when Pharaoh’s chariots were cast into the sea.
Finally, other critics have mentioned that the Red Sea crossing was done all wrong. It was if you were expecting another Cecil B. DeMille rendition. Let’s face it shall we? Charlton Heston raising his arms along with his special staff over the waters and the wind picking up and dividing the sea with the very breath of God is one movie scene that would be hard to outdo. But here is the point that this writer would like to make; is there anyone living or ever lived that wrote down the exact way in which God divided the waters? We know the answer to that one, don’t we? Since this writer attended seminary, and has entertained many schools of religious streams of thought; it would appear that what the writer was attempting to do was to lay the groundwork for a liberal theologian’s ideas, in which Moses really crossed the Red Sea at a point where the deepest part was approximately ten inches. But here is the biblically conservative come-back to that idea: how did Pharaoh’s army drown in ten inches of water? So the writer has attempted to give credence to the idea that the children of Israel crossed in shallow water; however, this idea totally leaves God out of the picture. Plus, as they are crossing the Red Sea, the writer attempts to blend in the traditional view and pretty soon they are crossing on almost dry land. The cinematography of the water sweeping back, plus the giant waterspouts forming, which presumably has been the force to draw the water back, still has an incredible realism that doesn’t displease the viewer.
Overall, it still rates 4/5 stars from this critic, even with the writer not remaining faithful to the Scriptures. This writer definitely says: Go see it for yourself. It is good that Hollywood has finally decided to make Biblically based movies at long last. This writer has heard many complaints about the fact that there is nothing ‘decent’ to see at the movie houses, and this writer has made plenty of complaints also. Should Christians just not rather rejoice that at the very least, we are being given movies to see and enjoy? Plus, opportunities to speak the truth about the real Scriptural events and how our God deserves all the glory is laid out like a red carpet before us.
We were last studying in the books of Galatians and the Gospel of John to define the issue of what happened to the Laws of God once the Lord Jesus Christ became the final and perfect sacrifice; who took our place and received unto Himself the total judgment and wrath of God Almighty for us, subsequently dying in our place. As we saw in Part 14 and more importantly in the Scriptures, that the Laws of God did not actually end, as some have erroneously taught, but rather that they migrated from an external place to a permanent internal place, that is, within our born again spirits. Let us read in
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
So we read in the foregoing Scriptures that even in the days of Jeremiah, that God had prophesied through His prophet that one day He would institute a new covenant. He would not make it like the old one, namely, that His people would have to sacrifice daily to atone for the sins of Israel in whole and individuals would have to come to a priest to make atonement and peace offerings continually, but that He would send His only begotten Son who would become the final sacrifice for all eternity. So the Lord Jesus Christ became for us our High Priest, not to make continual sacrifices as we read in the book of Hebrews, but just the one, final sacrifice. Why? The animals that they slaughtered for sacrificial purposes, though they might be without spot or blemish on the outside, their blood lines were still corruptible and so rotted. This is why the priests had to apply fresh blood upon the horns of the altar each and every day. However, the blood of the true Lamb of God, His blood is and was incorruptible, and it is still fresh upon the mercy seat in Heaven; which is why the Christian “pleads the blood of Jesus Christ,” when we are asking for forgiveness for our transgressions against our Holy Father in Heaven.
The passage in Jeremiah 31 goes on to say that Israel could not keep these laws; they couldn’t keep them because they were based upon THEIR works. However, when you accept the WORKS of the Lord Jesus Christ and accept the pure blood of the True Lamb of God to be your atonement, it is no longer centered upon your works, but HIS WORKS. Furthermore, God was going to WRITE HIS LAW in our inward parts, i.e. our spirits. Therefore, how can God’s law be ended or over? If we say that God’s law ended with the arrival of the New Covenant, we stand in complete opposition to what His Scriptures declare and basically, you are spitting in God’s face and calling Him a liar. Are you sure you wish to do that?
Now some will say (trying to get out of this requirement, or so they think) that I follow the Apostle Paul or I really like the Apostle John and what he had to say, etc. Really? Then someone please explain why the Apostle John cogently stated in 1 John that God’s commandments were not grievous, but rather were rather easy to keep? Then why did the Apostle Paul teach the church in Ephesus nine of the Ten Commandments? The only one that he did not cite was the first commandment; which is really a no-brainer, since you have chosen to follow Christ; it really is quite axiomatic that you must already have a love for God and His only begotten Son. Therefore, the Christians in Ephesus must not have needed to be reminded to keep the first commandment. They must already have mastered that particular commandment.
Stay tuned for the next part. See you there.