The Freedom Papers No. 3: The Apostle Paul – Language of a Godly Leader (part A.1)

ApostlePaul-FreedomPaper

Let This Mind Be In You. 1

It’s All In The Mind

The Apostle Paul said he imitated Christ and for the Believer to do likewise 2. Paul obviously had discovered the key that enabled him to change his Pharisaic way of thinking. We are Gentiles and as such we do not have the same mind-set as Paul. Nevertheless, we must also change our minds.

Stop And Turn Around

The bible word for this is metanoia, often translated ‘repentance’, which is a poor translation because it just has the idea of ‘being sorry’. Metanoia – is something quite different. It means ‘stop and turn around’. It is calling us to change the way we think about ourselves and importantly, about God. It is also to stop thinking the way the world thinks and the way we think about the world.

To be like Jesus we are to stop conforming to the world. Instead, start mirroring Jesus’ teachings in our everyday life. We are to all be of the same mind. How do we cultivate this change of mind? First, we work on ourselves.

Work On Ourselves

It is our responsibility to change the way we think of ourselves. One time I evaded this. I convinced myself I was tired of it. This mindlessness on my part meant I got back into bad-habits. Rather than listening to my ‘self’ and ardently seeking change, I went to sleep. As a result, I began to revert back to the old me.

If we fall into a state of slumber we lose our edge. We stop being watchful. Our speech acts as a snare. Old speech patterns return. We slip back into saying the same old exaggerated boastful or negative scripts from the past.

These old scripts are lies. They’re stories we’ve built up over the years. The only way to get back to telling the truth is to correct ourselves as it comes out of our mouths.

The Accuser

We also listen to our inner voice accusing ourselves. By thinking in a new way, taking note of what God says about us, we form a new identity: a new way of doing and living. This new way of living is the very opposite of the way the world thinks, speaks, acts and lives.

Jesus Set the Standard By His Words And Deeds

Jesus was not like other people. Jesus marched, as the saying goes, to a ‘different drumbeat’. He put His faith in God into words and action. He told people to do likewise, to follow Him.

“Follow Me”

Paul also told His readers to follow him. For Paul to say this he must have ‘tried’ Jesus’ teachings by putting them into action and found they worked

Paul Activated Jesus’ Teachings By Doing Them

Paul taught in word and deed. This was so as to visibly show his followers what Jesus was like. To do this, a particular mind-set of Paul’s was cultivated by him. This is opposite to the world’s way of thinking.

By allowing that mind of Christ to be in us will lead us out of the maze of self-deception. This self-deception is our false self. It has been carefully constructed. We have fashioned it from our past experiences.

These scripts we tell ourselves and others consist of what people have told us and what we’ve told ourselves. Our moth ensnares us. We are the accuser of ourselves and of others.

Believers Are Called To Live In Peace.

Only then, will we find the God-kind-of-peace promised us. Only when we let that mind of Christ be in us instead of the old one we live with now. As Believers in Jesus, we are called to live in peace. How can we find the paths that lead to peace? How can we find this mind that must be in us?

Believers are called to live in peace. To do so it is imperative we change our mind, words, and deeds, so as to find a new way of living. How can we find the paths that lead to peace? We must look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.

How Can We Change Our Mind?

Where can we find the supreme example of Jesus? Its principles are laid down in the three temptations Jesus faced. He was tempted by His own inner voice. He overcame the accusing voice by the Word of God.

Gaining an understanding of these three temptations will bring about change. I hope to learn more along with you. We must change!

Nothing is accomplished without practice. There is an example given for us and a practice that will change our minds. Its principles are laid down in the three temptations Jesus faced and overcame as described in scripture (Matt 4). As we gain an understanding of these we can then practice a daily minute by minute lifetime of metanoia (change) to bring about this transformation in our personality we so desperately desire.

Exposing Our Identity Lies

This model Jesus has shown is not recognisable by the indicators the world attributes to successful living. Indeed, those indicators the world recognises are the lies we have cultivated about ourselves. We all have spent a lifetime building up a reputation for ourselves.

Now, some reputations attributed to people are inevitable. They are built by their followers. In such a case it’s not dependent upon what is said or not said. It’s a product of a certain way of life that’s noted by others rather than one that’s boasted about.

A reputation is also built by what people tell others about themselves. This is in order to impress others. It is done in an attempt to bolster the original self-lies we say about ourselves.

We want others to believe them. In the finish, all going according to plan, we don’t have to keep telling everyone. If we have done our work sufficiently our press club does this for us.

However, the last word in all this is when people meet up face to face. It is then they can judge for themselves. This we all do.

Jesus Shows Us Another Way.

He shows us how to reinvent ourselves. This time it is believing what God says about us. In His temptation, His temptation consisted of three identity lies that must be believed by Him at that moment or pulled down. 3

Revealing Our False Self-Constructed Identity

I will show here these three self-constructed identity-lies we all cultivate. We will have no trouble recognising them because they are common to us. When these particular temptations come at crucial moments in our lives they reveal who we are. Jesus shows another way, how not to succumb to them. We can begin to tell others a new story about ourselves.

Temptations Common To Us Also Besieged Jesus

The tempting thoughts that besieged Jesus are common to us all. They give us insight into their nature. By upending these common lies, we can gain a new vista. We can stand under them and look up to examine their foundations. Jesus brought forth the right evaluation to destroy their power over Him. We can also.

Stand Under Rather than Over

To stand under rather than over gives us a different kind of perspective of life and of people. Our under-standing these three temptations reveal to ourselves the lies or the unreality we daily live in. If left unchecked, no amount of confessing the Word will change us. We will not see the desired change. We will not be like Jesus. We will instead mirror the world’s image.

The How-to

To understand what I am saying here simply requires us individually to take time out from the daily chatter. It means to listen to our words and take note of them and our thoughts. It requires we consider the underlying motivations that drive us.

Begin to practice this on a daily basis. Firstly, each evening goes back over the day. Examine ourselves. Take note of where we missed the mark. Prayerfully ask God to help us change. Thoughtfully think about how to do it better next time.

This Is Not Self-Improvement

This is rather simply obeying the scripture: “examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith”. Once we do this self-examination we have the opportunity to repent.

Keep Ourselves In The Faith

Allow awareness, mindfulness, and repentance to become our daily practice. We can then increase the exercise by doing it on a moment-by-moment basis. The overall message is to repent, to turn around, in order to bring about change. Change can only happen through our awareness of ourselves and calling upon God’s grace to change us. It is our responsibility to keep ourselves in the faith. True faith shows by how much grace we demonstrate. Dear friends, I confess, I still have a long way to go! But like you, I press on.

We Are All Devils: Accusers Of Our Own Selves And Of Others

This example of Jesus’ facing temptation shows us we can’t stop the temptations from coming. How we deal with them reveals our true selves. Some try to blame shift it, by blaming the ‘devil’. 4

This is nonsense. If we live in a house (our mind) divided against itself, we will disintegrate. Its dualism. It is opposing ourselves.

A Change Of Mind Empowers Us

The three temptations Jesus faced also show us what society has deemed are our basic human needs. However, what we are not told is the emptiness loneliness and envy these reproduce in us. This is where changing our mind empowers us. The power of repentance allows us to take on a new identity already inscribed in us and waiting to be revealed through us in word, deed and living a new kind of life.

It Is Written.

By our changing our mind we turn ourselves around. It’s the type of character building we must undergo in order to add to our faith. This is so as to begin the lifelong journey, to be perfected in the image of Christ. This means to mature.

Mature Christians mirror the image of Christ. It’s not that we shall arrive here in this body, for we are in the world and live in this body of flesh and our mind is continually besieged by our own and others accusations. Nevertheless, we press on.

Next week: The First Temptation of Christ – “Turn stones into bread”: The False Identity Lie: I Am What I Do

 


FOOTNOTES

The Freedom Papers No. 3: The Apostle Paul – Language of a Godly Leader (part A)

ApostlePaul-FreedomPaper

In loving memory of Pamela Birks: her faithful, unflinching life-long service to the Lord as a faithful minister of the Gospel at home and abroad.

I intend to show here that the Apostle Paul, by his language, life and teachings was a godly leader. Paul imitated Jesus. Jesus displayed the same attitude of leadership and practised it. This was often in the face of abusive controlling dominant male leadership.

The attitude of Leadership taught by Jesus and Paul

Jesus was despised by the Jewish religious hierarchy because his teachings went against their doctrine of one-upmanship. This is the practice of gaining an advantage or feeling of superiority over others. In Paul’s day, it was the same. Then the Christian Jews refused to listen to his teachings.

These Jews are sometimes referred to as ‘Judaisers’. 1 Today, the same attitude still prevails in the church. Aside from attitude, the problem of today’s translation of Greek to English compounds this problem further. Many recognised commentators bolster this by continuing to mistranslate certain words in relation to leadership.

Biased Translation

These lead to the misuse of certain terms ascribed to Christian governance. The main goal of this paper then is to draw the reader’s attention to these mistranslations in relation to leadership. It is imperative we give the correct meaning of Paul’s original language used. To do this I use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. 2

An example of this work of dishonest commentating on Christian leadership is Matthew Henry. Henry is best known for his six-volume biblical commentary Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. He lived 18 October 1662 – 22 June 1714. Although written around 300 years ago, Henry’s work has never abated.

It is still used and identifiable in the biased thinking today of Christian men’s superiority in particular over their sisters in Christ. They believe men have been, from the beginning, ordained by God to be in a superior role over women. 3 This supports them in their misogynist stance.

Is it due to past limited understanding regards women and men’s roles?

It also contributes towards the prominent role men take in leadership in the church and home. The role of ‘submission’ (read ‘subjection’) is expected only of Christian women.

We may say, wanting to be fair, this bias then was due to the limited understanding they then had about men and women. Therefore it came about as a result of it being embedded in their culture. However, it does not explain why the same attitudes prevail today.

This being the case, it is time for a change.

As members of the same body, we have the right to call on church leaders and those who support them to change their high-mindedness and ways of leadership. In a way, it is moralising about woman.

This is not anything new. It is also said here in light of the abundance of resources available to church leaders and bible teachers. There is a growing body of Christians teaching the same thing I am saying here.

The fall-out

Today, despite this problem, ordinary women and men are generally educated enough to do their own research. We can make up our own minds. Many of course have and as a result, have left the church. I am one of them.

In light of this fallout, and the overwhelming Christian public response to this, it now appears that those who continue in it are not ignorant. Instead, they are doing so because it works to their advantage. To put it simply they are dishonest.

If not now, when? If not us, who?

I, therefore, believe it is time for all of us to take our responsibility and expose them. There is no reason as members of the body of Christ why we cannot confront them privately and publicly, in the church and on the web. Confront them in every way possible in their deception.

It is imperative that we work with revealed truth. For women especially, spiritual ‘life and death’ are in the power of the language. It is the language that is used to reinforce their position.

Jesus’ example

In the Gospel of Matthew, we hear Jesus’ revealed truth in this regard when teaching on leadership.

‘But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘you know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many’. (Mt 20: 25-28).

To recap,

The individual and co-operative dominant style of leadership in the church and the wider Christian community is toxic. This is especially so to the role of discipleship. Jesus’ teachings on humility and laying down one’s life, as did Paul’s turned the pagan gentile Greco Roman view of hierarchical subservience upside down.

Jesus and Paul following him in the same spirit as is taught in the Hebrew scriptures taught genuine kingdom greatness is not achieved through rank, position, leadership roles, titles, or family dynasties. Those who love the pre-eminence will have difficulty accepting such teaching.

Rather, they prefer to control and dominate others. They are in Paul’s words to Titus’ words, 4 fleshly, greedy and lustful. They are dishonest. In my experience, they are bullies and moralisers whose mouths must be stopped. We all have our part to play in this to see the church renewed.

Hope to meet up again with you next week: The way the Apostle Paul thought of himself.


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FOOTNOTES

The Freedom Papers No. 2: Token Women In The Church (Part D)

Support the Women Willing To Pay The Price

Women who have a call on their life need recognition from the Body of Christ. They need safe places where their calling and gifting can be developed. They need financial assistance and support. 

What is normal and perfectly acceptable to all men who enter the ministry is not for the women who choose the same profession. Men can expect rewards, and rightfully so, for their hard work. Women will find themselves left at the bottom of the pile, no matter how hard they work. 

Unrewarded Work

To work without reward, if carried out all of one’s life is extremely depressing and self-effacing in the extreme. However, this is the reality for most women in the ministry. They accept and live with the limitations placed on them if they are to remain in the work full time. In my experience, most women, token or otherwise, finally give up.

Prejudice

There is no evidence in scripture that supports this prejudice. Suffering for the sake of the gospel applies to both men and women, but it is not meant to be this kind of suffering. To eliminate this any sort of prejudice within the body of Christ is to be weeded out. The freedom of the gospel is based on the love of God for all humankind in all its different manifestations of gender, sexuality, race, physical ability, etc.  But the balance is false.

Token Women In The Church

Tokenism

The Lord does not want tokenism for the daughters of God. A few good women will not suffice for the role models needed to release half the army of God.  How many women cry out to God in frustration and sadness; muzzled, bound, and fettered by the false judgment that has been placed upon them by their ‘brothers’ in Christ.  More importantly, how much has the church suffered a loss.

This kind of behaviour is the antithesis of the gospel command to all believers from our Master and Saviour, Jesus Christ. “Go into all the world and preach the good news, make disciples.” What arrogance to teach that this command can only be followed by men. It is before the Great I AM that we must give account. It is not enough to have ‘token’ women! She is a poor substitute; an unreal role to model, and a source of shame to The Woman – the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Women tend to show complacency when only a few steps forward have been taken. Perhaps, in the main, for many of them, their livelihood does not depend upon it. Food on the table is a great incentive for anyone, and the majority of middle-class women in the church have someone whom they depend on for their daily necessities. 

Tokenism and its effects

This may be why they so readily collude in the deviation from equality, namely: male – in-charge -, husband – and – headship doctrine, submission – of – wife- as – his helper.  Tokenism effectually just places a woman within the male establishment. 

For other women, this often has a negative outcome.  The token woman is neither one thing nor another. She is no longer one of them neither is she free herself. This explains the failure of women successfully working together, or never accepting one another in leadership. 

Both these things play a very large part in draining any work where women are present. Yes, solidarity can be found where it pertains particularly to the conventional woman’s experience, that of giving birth, marriage, loneliness, old age and widowhood, depression, and death. 

But support systems of financial, or professional networks are practically non-existent. Solidarity within the ranks of women is hard to find, indeed, it is well-nigh impossible.

Accept Other Women In Leadership 

Women, in the main, do not accept other women in leadership unless they have bonded with a male. They do not financially support each other.  Women have been so brainwashed under the Old Testament tithing to such a degree, that they do not ask where their money is being used. 

They eventually make wills to leave their homes to the established male hierarchy to use it without a thought of what will become of it. Why not change your will: support those who have supported you? You might decide to set up a Trust with a group of trusted women to administer it to support women in ministry. 

Women Wake Up!

In the main, women appear content in giving their money in the belief that it is being distributed by males who claim they ‘know what they are doing’. Some say shrug their shoulders and say ‘well he is answerable, not me. No! That is not true. You are entirely responsible! 

I have worked in these establishments. The waste is in many cases alarming. Males who elect themselves as the higher authority and receive these monies are answerable before God. Women are the financial mainstays in most churches supporting male leadership. The same male leadership that keeps her and her sisters controlled and silenced.  Stop supporting them  

There are those women who move against the current of their times and find a position of autonomy without the ordeal of being in a male-dominated church.  If that’s what you want, search for that kind of woman and come alongside her and run with her. 

Get involved. 

Exercise your gifts. Discover your calling and run with it. Find an independent woman who practices autonomy, active faith, and self-assertion. These are essential to her achievement. However, all such faith-full characteristics will bring upon her a tirade of offensive name-calling.

Women Support Women

If she does not fit the mould of long soft curly hair, makeup, and clothes that suit the feminine image, especially prevalent amongst the middle-class churchgoer, her image will be tarnished. She will most certainly be labelled by the ‘F’ word, ‘feminist’. 

Because of her autonomy, she will most certainly be accused of exhibiting or pertaining to misandry, hating, or prejudiced against men. Labels such as this will undermine her confidence if she does not understand the strategy of her enemy, the patriarchs, and the battle. 

The Patriarchal System is Anti-Christ

Is it going too far to call men who reject the spiritual gifts in women; suppress and prevent their aspiration to serve and be fruitful for Jesus – as anti-Christ? No, it is not. In times past, Christian women may have been exasperated by the supposed ignorance of men in the church, but there is no longer any excuse. 

Today, the amount of scholarly material available on the broad subject of gender equity both in the world and scripture cannot be denied or ignored. Anyone who wants to learn, to study, will have no trouble finding material on the subject.  The Scriptures teach equality. All one has to do is practice the golden rule ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ and base one’s living and actions on that foundation stone and equity will follow.

Teach Equality From The Scriptures 

It is not hard to teach equality from the Scriptures. The bible is not without women who achieved important things in God.  God has not left us without a witness. However, at present, it is rare indeed to hear a whole sermon delivered with a bible woman character as the central theme. I encourage men and women who have the opportunity to teach this from the pulpit to do so.

Women’s Point Of View

A healthy teaching pattern might be that for every male biblical model a woman presents a woman, biblical model. Women see the world differently from men. A man cannot teach the bible and reach the needs of women.  The church includes both women and men. 

A couple of years ago I taught for a week in a church in Brisbane, Australia.  I chose to highlight the women’s bible characters to use as examples for the subjects I was teaching on. The Pastor was not happy and said so. 

Women Wake Up! Look Around

If you doubt what I am saying, ask any woman who has been a long time in ministry.  Is there an equal number of women as there are men on the board of the church you attend? I think I am safe in saying there is not! There are many horror stories of abuse surrounding women’s experiences of being in a place of leadership in the church. 

Very many of us, godly women and men, have laid down our lives for the Gospel and long to see a new outpouring of God’s Spirit on all flesh.

Sirs, (would you mind getting out of the way), we would see Jesus. Please, please, change your patriarchal mind: repent!

God bless all those that seek peace and the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus,

Patricia

END


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The Freedom Papers No. 2: Token Women In The Church (Part C)

The Male Establishment And The Token Woman Fits The Complementarian View Of Scripture 

The Complementarian model (read, ‘sexist’) requires women who are obedient, submissive, and compliant. ‘Christian femininity’ is a socially constructed image that has been carefully modelled by pastor’s wives and other token women in the public eye. 

It fits in with the image taught from the Complementarian view of Scripture: the basic characteristics of the socially constructed superiority myth of the male. This image is unconsciously internalised by most men. This male model is mirrored to reflect the obedient, submissive, compliant woman. 

The token women’s role is to fit in as unobtrusively as possible into the all-male organisation. She must understand how to stroke the male-ego. This is considered ‘women’s work’, that is, helping the man. It therefore does not attract the same wage as men. 

The Socially Constructed Male Image of Superiority

The basic characteristics of the socially constructed male ego unconsciously internalized by most men are driven by recognition, attention, and action. Men are assumed to be more active beings who do important things (such as political leaders, soldiers, scientists, mathematicians, serious scholars, and writers, etc.) 1 This means automatically men are deserving of attention by others. 

How To Be A Successful Token Women

This false image allows him to do most of the talking and the women in his entourage nodding agreement and appearing to be listening intently conveys to him her rapt attention. The token woman especially must not be seen to be in opposition to this image.

She must make sure she allows him time to talk, she must display good listening skills and make gestures to assure him what he says is relevant. She must not be interjecting or giving her opinion in opposition to his. The male establishment will continue to persuade women to be assertive or to pursue activism, especially activities that are in any way expose the male covert behaviour and tactics, de-feminises women.

When token women enter the male (main) mainstream, they retain their socially required femininity by becoming honorary men. But this means sacrificing their womanhood, having been co-opted as a member of a male club. To be accepted they are required to adopt the male attitude toward other women. 

This will include their having to take sides and speak against many of their sisters in Christ, even some with whom they once enjoyed a close friendship. Approved women on the periphery of the all-male hierarchy themselves conspire, perhaps unconsciously, to let the token woman in. 

Token Women In The ChurchThe System Is Sustained By Token Women Knowing Which Women Will ‘Fit’.

The wives of established males allow it and will even encourage it. The token women will scrutinise her, to ensure she will ‘fit’. She must fit the ‘good woman’ image of feminine and womanly behaviour. Consequently, to keep their position, token women will not show the least interest in women’s issues. They will deny that feminism has won them anything and will back the patriarchal system. They owe it everything. 

Hence the token woman will disappear, unnoticed, into the male structure and under the shadow of pseudo-male protection. The token woman cannot risk being associated with other women who advocate for change. Such women are spoken of pejoratively as men-haters or suffer prejudice due to their less than acceptable social status of that particular group. 

Backlash: Women Who Do Not Fit

The women the token woman must distance themselves from the following women: single, childless, single mothers, married to an unbeliever, divorced, gay, leading an alternate lifestyle, educated, competitive, ambitious to get ahead but remain single, outspoken, opinionated, swear, feminist, collective groups of ‘sisters’ and everything that makes up womanhood in between. 

Men Who Also Don’t Fit 

Godly men who recognise the call of God on women and respect them for their work may also suffer by association. I have known some to lose their church position and income because of it. The reproach of being a woman who chooses not to be a token for the male establishment, but instead chooses to make her own way in the world and of those who choose to dedicate their lives to serve the Lord without male approval, will fail to pass the test.

All sorts of awful persecution are railed against those women and men, who in these days are standing up for and speaking out about the obvious and not so obvious inequality in the church. Many have paid the price already. Many others are yet to follow. Never underestimate the power of the alpha male in the church to protect himself and other men in his closed circle. These men and their token wives are determined to keep women from gaining their full freedom and stature in Christ.

Token Women Can Be Found Anywhere Other Than The Place Of Decision Making. 

Perhaps you are reading this, and you are a woman who has been granted some measure of ‘position and authority’ in your local church. Yes, you may have been given a piece of paper. Yes, a few token women can be found, but not in any place of decision making. At least not any that will affect the direction of the church and the spending of finances.

Those places are referred to in the upper echelons by the hierarchy as ‘government’ and ‘office’, ‘elder’ and ‘board member’. These are generally filled by businessmen, accountants, lawyers, and the like. Women may be invited onto boards. However, they will not be appointed the senior pastor nor asked to be making the final decision.  

Further to their shame, where matters of the church are discussed in exclusive men’s meetings, the work of the ministry exercised by the men and women doing the real work of the ministry are generally last on the discussion list. These government positions are rarely if ever trusted by a woman. 

Women In Ministry Must Have The ‘Oversight’ Of Some Male. 

Where entrusted, only one woman will be present amongst many alpha males to represent all other women. The only women I know who are in a place of leadership, freely exercising their gifts and following their dream without some male approving them and ‘allowing‘ them a position, are there because they shunned obedience to man and followed the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

How Not To Become A Token Woman: Pay The Price 

It is sadly true that many women give up after being beaten down by disapproval and pressure from well-meaning but ignorant believers. Having initially been given a place of leadership in some area that has thrived they find themselves edged out by men who now decide that the work having gained a measure of success would be better if taken over by a man. 

Poor church! Women work in the church without promotion or recognition. Its members passed by and passed around like non-entities, without consultation or real care. This kind of political maneuvering only serves to scatter the sheep and expose the lambs to other wolves and hirelings. Women work in the church without promotion or recognition while young men half their age and with far less experience are put forward for ordination and to pastor churches. 

More Mature Men Help Younger Men To Make A Success

The men’s world works for them. If a man chooses to start work on his own, eventually other men will begin to bond with him. Men help younger men to make a success for the benefits they can see in it for themselves. This is why single women will find it difficult to start work or build work without joining with a man. 

Women’s Lack Of Support 

Few women show interest enough to support women in the ministry. It is extremely difficult for women to be accepted for their work’s sake. The reasons for working with a man is so important to the success of any work. This is due to the network men set up and largely operate in. Few women show interest enough to support women in the ministry. 

The acceptance men extend to one another is not automatically offered to women. This is the reason women working together to achieve something will discover that though the will to succeed will be there in the beginning, yet defeat will be encountered after each flowering. People do not take her seriously or they do not give credit where it is due.

There will also always be women who will oppose her and the work she is doing. Until women are employed in the church on an equal financial basis as their male colleagues and on a large scale with every opportunity for their gifts, vision, and dreams, tokenism will continue to flourish.

(continued next Sunday) Part D: How To Escape The Patriarchal System



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FOOTNOTE

The Freedom Papers No. 2: Token Women in the Church (Part B)

SUNDAY, 17 JAN 2021

Read Part A Here

Recognising the Signs That Lead You either To Spiritual Death or Spiritual Life. 

One can easily recognise the signs that lead you either to spiritual death or spiritual life. Organisations such as those that become formalised quench the Spirit. With them comes authoritarian male-leadership. These are always accompanied by slow spiritual death. 

Formalised religion means the body cannot function properly in all its variegation of gifts through every member supplying. This is evident in the New Testament teachings of Paul. They are found particularly in his letters to the churches in Ephesus and Corinth. 

History testifies to this. The translation itself shows it. 1  The church formalised it in the later writings in the New Testament. Consequently, women and Jews in the church were thrust aside from leadership.

How to Create a Favourable Resting place for the Holy Spirit

If you are seeking a way out of this kind of stifling atmosphere, I suggest you find a public or private place to meet. Invite girlfriends to join you. Start a public outreach or a private prayer meeting and bible study. Everyone contributes. As I resettle here on Chevron Island on Gold Coast. 

I am doing this, first, by organising a public outreach with the help and support of girlfriends. This particular meet up is mid-afternoon on a Sunday. We can order beverages and snacks will be provided. The establishment where we meet is conveniently closed to the public while the staff prepares for the late afternoon tapas bar. 

I will request those who can, to contribute to help cover costs. In this kind of meeting, we will discuss topics of interest especially to women concerning their spiritual development. It will not in any way, shape, or form fit the ‘church’ mould. 

Its purpose is for friendship, networking, discussion, and spiritual growth. A safe place to say what one thinks. To begin, we will read and discuss my online paper, ‘It’s All About Eve’. It will be the focus for as long as it retains our interest. We can then agree together on a new subject. You can use my materials in this way if you so choose.

This kind of relaxed gathering will attract like-minded people. From this, a private spiritual bible-study group will be provided for those interested. Anywho require private spiritual counsel will be accommodated. It is good stewardship Where a love gift is in order those who can afford to give are welcome to do so. 

The Biblical principle is clear. It applies to any that can afford it. We are instructed to give what we have, not what we don’t have. 

Token Women In The Church

It teaches those who do the work of the ministry full time are promised they shall live by it. I do not believe you can justify tithing in New Testament teachings. The principles are ‘Freely we have received, freely give’. ‘Honour to whom it is due’. ‘Don’t give what you do not have’. At the same time, ‘Don’t be stingy’. 

How to Create a Favourable Resting place for the Holy Spirit

Begin again to create a favourable meeting place for the Holy Spirit to rest. This will happen outside the regulated meeting. Jesus assures us, so long as we all are in agreement with one another, without strife in our midst, so long as we are walking in forgiveness with everyone in our lives …

“Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I  … Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Jesus replied, every time”. (Matt 18: 19-20)

You don’t need anyone’s permission to hold public or private meetings. That is if you live in a country where free expression is encouraged. It’s an entirely different scenario for those in the underground church.

Where people gather in small local groups, such as I saw in Southern Ireland in the late eighties, and other countries where the Holy Spirit had free reign, leadership skills, and gifting begin to emerge in the body of believers gathered together. The Holy Spirit is the Breath of God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. 

It’s all about gathering people together and remaining loosely structured. It is more who can play an instrument, who can sing, who has a word. In the beginning, these ministries are not formally recognised with a positioned senior leader certified by a governing body. People know who’s who in the body.

However, when changed to an organised structure, unless it remains inclusive 2 and biblical equality is practiced, the Spirit is limited. The Book of James emphasises this practice. 

Other than those in southern Ireland, mentioned above, I found these new groups everywhere I ministered. These new works were literally springing up like freshly mown grass in the countries I travelled in during the mid 1980s to 1996. 

This is where doors especially opened to me. Not in formalised churches where women were excluded in leadership. I had no papers, no title, no support, no finances. Instead, I was a woman with a recognisable anointing upon me, as anyone in those meetings would testify.

Other than the new groups I encountered in my itinerate-ministry travels, I did not encounter an organised church where biblical equality was understood to its fullest measure and put into practice. This has changed little, even today.  

This signifies to me that the recognised church is in gross error. There is little understanding of grace and gender in the body of Christ. In this regard, I know others also agree. 

Despite this lack, I can see a breakthrough in the dark gloom. The web now publishes biblical equality for all to access. My own experience of this breakthrough came when Catherine Bushnell’s book came into my hands in 1986. 

Following this, through a series of events, I was introduced to other women authors and recognised women scholars and bible teachers. I began to find answers to what I encountered as a woman in ministry during my service in the local church. 3 Once I left the organised church and began my overseas travel all opposition to my being a woman in the ministry ceased.  

Avoiding The Establishment, The ‘Old Boys Club’ 

That opposition comes under the unspoken banner of the ‘insiders’ and the ‘outsiders’. People who function in this black and white mindset think they live in their heads and can figure pure doctrine. In reality, they are actually ruled by their narrow classifying of people and are angry and judgmental of all women in the church and online, those doing anything of note. 4

The fundamentalists will always be with us. The Established Order will not change. It cannot change. It’s the World but we’re not a part of it. But we can change and we can change the order of what’s established now. 

The foundations of grace are to be laid with shoutings of joy. The present foundational teachings that exclude grace are shaky to say the very least 5 Those men of the Established Order are proud of their feigned humility. They even boast about it by writing books on it. 

They claim they are divinely ordained as the spiritual head and protector of women. But they are posers who love the pre-eminence. They revel in domination and control. 

Indeed, power and authority are amongst their favourite subjects. They insist on titles and the prominent place. James taught them to go and howl for what is coming upon them. He warns the rich of their audacity.

In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business”. Jesus taught “You cannot serve God and Mammon”. My own experience is the more money I have to squander the weaker my faith. 

I came into an understanding of Biblical Equality through my dear friend, the late Catherine Clark Kroeger (CBE co-founder). I studied it through the CBE newly published Pricilla Papers. This is when I began to ask God for the grace to recognise its fundamental bible teachings and prayed I might learn to put it into practice. It’s a life-long journey. 

I believe millions of Christians are in bondage to this heresy of man’s superiority to women. A new church must, will, emerge with strong foundations of equal balances and weights. Teachers will grasp this truth and gain a full understanding of God’s grace. They will rid the church of this gross error. 

Quenching the Holy Spirit: Dualistic Thinking

During my itinerate-ministry travels, apart from the new groups I encountered, in other settings there were the Insiders and Outsiders, those Included and those excluded, us and them. I did not attend an organised church to preach where I found biblical equality was understood to its fullest measure, taught, and put into practice. This remains the same today worldwide. 

It signifies to me that the recognised church is in gross error where the understanding of grace is concerned. I know others also agree although they may not be so outspoken. Despite this, I can see a breakthrough in the dark gloom. 

My own experience of this breakthrough came when Katharine Bushnell’s book was given to me. I contacted the man who kept them in named Ray. 6 I ordered so many he offered me if I would take it on. I had no resources to do so. It’s now available free on the web. 

I was then introduced to a number of other women authors and found answers to what I encountered as a woman in ministry. This happened after ten years of service in the local church. 7 The Establishment, the ‘Old Boys Club’ the ‘insiders and the ‘outsiders will always be. It’s the World and we’re not a part of it. The Established Order will not change. It cannot change. It’s built on the wrong foundations.  

Those who love wielding power and authority

For the last forty-five years as a Christian, I have studied Biblical Equality. I first came to know about it through my friend the late Catherine Clark Kroeger (CBE co-founder).8 I prayed to God for the grace to recognise it so as to practice and teach it. From there it’s been a life-long journey to understand better the negative effects its non-practice has on the church community.  

I believe millions of Christians are in bondage to this heresy. A new church must, shall, will emerge with cries of grace as new foundations of equality are laid. Teachers of the NT scriptures will grasp this truth fundamental to our faith. They will gain a full understanding of God’s grace and will in turn practice and teach it. Finally, the church will be free of this gross error.

(continued next Sunday) Part C: New foundation stone on which to build. The church’s opportunity to lead the way. 



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FOOTNOTES

 

The Freedom Papers No. 2: Token Women in the Church (Part A)

SUNDAY, 10 JAN 2021

In memory of Alexandra Easte: her faithful pursuit of the study of the Word to show herself approved as an Able Minister of the Gospel.

My initial experience

I have been in Christian service for 50 years. My initial experience in the first years of service to the Lord in the local church (1972-1983) proved I had a flair for starting new ministries. This resulted in helping to start up nine new ministries of outreach. 

As part of this, I recognised potential leadership skills in others. This led to me helping them take the lead as the fledgling ministries grew. A further program in Outreach and personal evangelism training led me to eventually being recognised publicly in the church. My title was Minister of Specialised Ministries. 

This church was patriarchal in outlook and practice. I do not say the Holy Spirit did not move in that church. What I will say is it was tightly controlled. I was the only woman regularly on the platform and, apart from the Pastor’s wife the only woman publicly recognised as having ministry gifts. I was, along with the other minister’s wives, a token woman. That church grew to approximately fifteen hundred people and was amongst the largest Pentecostal churches in Australia at that time. 

After nine years I moved to Adelaide. Many churches on the East Coast welcomed me as an itinerant minister (1983- 1985). Finally, I left on my first itinerant overseas journey in 1985. I travelled twice around the world to approximately twenty-five different countries over thirteen years. 

For as long as I itinerated in the church, in Australia and overseas, I had no regular income. My extended journey overseas took me into countless churches of all sizes of varied doctrinal persuasions. On one of those journeys, I came to South Africa. 

My JOURNEY

I put out an invitation to any woman who wanted to join me. My now good friend, Anne responded. We visited several churches daily in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town and in scattered towns on their outskirts. 

Token Women In The Church

The minute details of the people who transported us from church to church escape me. Nevertheless, the rich memories of the people we met linger in that time of ministry. More often than not we had three different meetings a day. 

The people were hungry for God. Anne introduced me and explained our backgrounds and our journey thus far before I preached and ministered. We prayed for people and revival in the churches was evidenced by all the signs that accompanied their devotion and freedom and response to the Word. 

The churches I have preached in ranged from a small group to large established prosperous churches. I met people from Southern and Northern Ireland in 1988 who were attending the first Reinhard Bonnke Fire Conference in Birmingham where I was invited as a daily workshop leader. 1

This was during the times of the troubles in Northern Ireland. Once invited there I began travelling and teaching in Southern Ireland. During that time, I regularly travelled all over Southern Ireland to preach in house churches. The protestant churches I preached in, on the other hand, there in Northern Ireland, were well established. 

I had initially met Irish people at the Birmingham Euro Fire Conference. They invited me to come over to preach in Southern Ireland. These comprise mainly members of small newly formed groups. 

They were part of the Charismatic movement that swept through that country. At that time many Irish Catholics in Southern Ireland were baptised in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. There were a thousand or so meeting in their homes in Limerick alone. 

They began to gather together outside the organised church. Their intention was to worship, pray, and study God’s Word. They were hungry for the teaching of fresh spiritual sustenance from the Word of God.

Finances are generally scarce when new works such as this spring up. Those involved at the outset have the added burden of finding a place to hold public meetings outside their homes. This is not always easy. I recall one public venue they acquired for me was a boxing ring. I might add it was the middle of winter and freezing cold! 

On that trip, I went with Connie who had come from the USA to attend my RWVM Bible School in London. These schools were especially for women interested to find their ministry gifts and serve the Lord in them wherever doors opened. This had been my initial approach and I passed it on to them. There are women in ministry because of what I taught and I’m passing onto you here I am happy to report.  

Connie was part of that team along with Paul, Anne’s teenage son. These are all precious memories of those heady days in the late 1980’s. This was when the fresh air of free speech belonged to all members of the body of Christ that gathered in Sothern Ireland.

Recognising a Holy Spirit Inspired Move of God

As it was in Southern Ireland at that time, it is special when the move of God is so fresh that scattered groups begin to gather together. It is not uncommon. 2 These are those interested in the things of the Spirit, but their meetings are not yet formalised. The established church generally ignores those that determine to leave the organisation and gather people in this way together to preach and teach the Word of God. 

Often, people labeled them upstarts and renegades. When I stepped out in faith to go preaching around the world I was deemed as preaching without any ‘spiritual covering’. This is patriarchal speak meaning ‘no man in authority over’ me, to guide me and keep me from demonic harm. Utter nonsense and has no scriptural basis. 3

Fittingly, in this way, those small groups are safe from orthodoxy and organisation, the kind that quenches the Spirit. This then is the beginning of true revival. Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 speaks about this kind of gathering in Corinth  …

“Well”, Paul writes, “my sisters and brothers, let’s summarise. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given them to bring a better understanding of the scriptures, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything must strengthen all of you” (v. 26).

If anyone speaks in a tongue, two–or at the most three–should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. (1 Cor 14).

Quenching the Spirit

How easily a church becomes formalised and with it comes to the authoritarian male-leadership, particularly, married men and their obedient subservient wives. The wives of these men know how to keep their ‘place’ in public. Along with this comes the hierarchical arranging of positions and titles. 

That kind of organizing in the body of Jesus Christ means shoving women aside. This is what Paul told young Timothy in Ephesus to know and put a stop to. Wherever this takes place the Holy Spirit is quenched. 

(continued next Sunday)…

Recognising The Signs That Lead You To Spiritual Death And Life. How To Create A Favourable Resting Place For The Holy Spirit. Dualistic Thinking: Insiders And Outsiders, Inclusive And Exclusive, Us And Them. 


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FOOTNOTES

The Freedom Papers No. 1, Part 6

Read previous parts HERE


The Freedom Papers No. 1 Part 6

For example, to teach that Eve was deceived therefore all women are easily deceived and need a ‘covering’ to control them, has no basis. Eve is accused of being responsible for the fall.  This is not found in scripture where it clearly states the man was solely responsible (Rom 5:12-21). This false accusation is used to teach that women are weak, dangerous and untrustworthy. Men are to beware of women as they have a propensity to tempt men as Eve did Adam.

From this, it is easy to see how the teaching develops that women must have some man to be ‘over them’. This keeps women controlled and under condemnation and limited in their self-expression and the exercise of their gifts and abilities. It teaches that women, unlike men, cannot exercise any measure of authority, especially over men. This despite the fact that the New Testament does not teach that such authority should be exercised by anyone. We are to work together in mutual submission and love as those who serve the body of Christ.

This teaching is insidious and places both men and women in a place where there is no freedom in Christ.  One has to control and the other be controlled. It causes misery, strife, and division, hatred and fear, negative emotions, and practices that do not nurture sound doctrine. This can lead to depression and a general malaise in the church. Not to mention how destructive this whole teaching is to a woman’s self-image, confidence and self-respect. . It also fosters domestic violence and social disrespect for women which causes violence in the street.

How life-giving it is when gender roles and positions give way. Everyone able to function in the individual gifts they have received.  Room is made and through practice, every believer develops and matures so that they are fully equipped to serve without hindrance. we will see the church in all her glory, fully fitted and equipped, ready and able, prepared for every good work.

Relationships based on mutuality mean that we want to give time to communication, to respect and value another’s point of view. This will apply between husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and colleagues, gender not being an issue, men and women will respect and value each other’s contribution. I hope this will encourage you to explore this teaching for yourself and arrive at your own position having examined all the evidence before you.

God bless you, Patricia.

The Freedom Papers No. 1, Part 5

Read previous posts HERE


The Freedom Papers No. 1 Part 5

The recent work by Dr. Ann Nyland ‘who notes the comment by Dr. L.S Fried, the University of Michigan that the ‘careful and exhaustive study of contemporary Greek papyri and inscriptions renders other New Testament translations obsolete’. Nyland develops this thought in her introduction.

For centuries, the meanings of numerous New Testament words remained unknown, and translators simply made educated guesses. In the late 1880s and again in the mid-1970s, substantial amounts of papyri written in New Testament times were discovered. (No, these were nothing to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls!) These impacted our knowledge of word meaning in the New Testament to such a degree that scholars labelled the finds “sensational” and “dramatic.” Words found in the New Testament now appeared commonly in everyday private letters from ordinary people, contracts of marriage and divorce, tax papers, official decrees, birth and death notices, and business documents. Many mysteries of word meaning were solved. However, nearly every New Testament translation of today follows the traditional translations of words of the earlier versions. These were published centuries before the evidence from the papyri and inscriptions revealed to us the meanings of numerous New Testament words.

If we were brought up with the understanding that ‘head’ in the New Testament means ‘authority over’, which is the traditional interpretation, our initial reading of these scholars may disturb us.  For some people, adherence to the traditional roles of men and women in the church and home is not only an intrinsic part of their very salvation but essential to their future economic and relational security,

Much of the church has been taught that for a woman not to be ‘under the authority’ of some man is to be in ‘rebellion’ and ‘out of the will of God’ and God’s blessings. Women who do not ‘obey’ are branded as ‘Jezebels’ and in some instances, the church is publicly warned to shun them.

Those of us who have questioned the seeming injustice and consequences of such teaching, feel relieved as we realise that this teaching is not true.  We grasp we have been deceived. Instead, we recognise the equity and justice of God.

It is to our great disadvantage that the church ignores the research Mickelsen, Cervin and Nyland, shed on the interpretation of ‘kephale’.  Many church leaders know these most recent findings and the twenty and more years of debate but have refused to bring it to the attention of the church. They ignore it, hoping it will go away. In the past, these men have sought to ‘protect’ the flock by blocking such teachings. 1 In reality, it is to secure and maintain their own position.

Today, the place of women in the economy of God is receiving top priority amongst biblical scholars. What began, more recently, as a trickle in the late 1970s, is now a mighty rushing torrent.

It is to our great disadvantage that the church ignores the research Mickelsen, Cervin and Nyland, shed on the interpretation of ‘kephale’.  Many church leaders know these most recent findings and the twenty and more years of debate but have refused to bring it to the attention of the church.

For example, Mickelsen, Cervin, Nyland and others cited in Nyland’s notes do not stand alone. Some of the finest Christian leaders of the last century accepted scriptural equality between women and men and worked alongside them (as did the Apostle Paul) 2 to further the work of God.

      1. J. Gordon, as early as 1888 wrote an article refuting the subordination of women. Dwight L. Moody in 1877 invited women to assist him in his evangelistic work. Many Christian women were at the forefront of women’s suffrage. In 1876 Bible commentator Adam Clarke encouraged women to preach. It is notable that all great revivals included women and men working alongside one another. This spark of freedom and mutuality ignited revival fires.

Charles Finney and Oberlin College in America were committed to female reform. Oberlin became the first co-educational college in the world. A number of Oberlin graduates became some of the most important feminists of the period. Lucy Stone, the most well know of these is renowned for working out a marriage contract that provided equal legal and personal rights for herself and her husband. Also, among these graduates was Antoinette Brown, the first woman to be ordained and Sally Holly a famous anti-slavery lecturer. Finney was severely criticised for his stand but he was more interested in the glory of God that he was in the fears of men.

Leaders of that day recognised the magnitude of the harvest and received and encouraged women to take their rightful place in the church to function in their gifts. Susanna Wesley not only exercised spiritual leadership in her home but outside as well. She turned the Sunday family worship service into an evening service and 200 people regularly attended. When her husband returned home, he questioned the proprietary of a woman leading the services but he could not deny her success and so capitulated. The overwhelming success of the women preachers forced John Wesley to change his mind and allow women into the ranks of church leadership. Many women in his day were renowned preachers, itinerant workers and planted churches.

I have sought to highlight the work of scholars who are in the mainstream of translation work today where the issue of woman’s position in Christ is questioned. We have considered the work of the Mickelsen’s, The Head of the Epistles. We have noted Cervin’s critique of Grudem’s ‘proof’ that ‘kephale’ means ‘authority over’ or ‘leader’ and Grudem’s error Grudem in limiting his research to an inferior source.  We note Cervin’s acknowledgement of the Mickelsen’s idea of ‘kephale’ as ‘source’ and that, in his opinion, St Paul’s use of the word in his ‘Christ is the head of the body’ metaphor is simply a reference to oneness.  We have considered Nyland, whose thorough study notes the use of the word ‘kephale’ and refutes the idea that this means head in the sense of hierarchy but rather the root of the word meaning ‘source’.  It therefore cannot be used to place woman under man’s authority.

Whether we take Mickelsen’s and Nyland’s view, that ‘head’ equals ‘source’ or Cervin’s concept of ‘oneness’, it is impossible for us any longer to accept that ‘kephale’ (head) means ‘authority over’ or ‘leader’ based upon the most up to date research presented here.

The way in which the bible is interpreted influences the way in which we think about God. This manifest itself in the way social issues are addressed or ignored. It colours the way important principles and the weightier matters of life are perceived and understood.  Wrong teaching and implementation lead to an imbalance and results in injustice on a grand scale.

Wrong teaching in the church and home that elevates men to women, causes incalculable suffering: emotional, financial, spiritual and in some instances, verbal and physical abuse.


FOOTNOTES

Firm Foundations: The Controlling Key – The correct translation of the word ‘head’ in the NT (22 Nov 2020)

Read the previous posts HERE


The correct translation of the word ‘head’ in the NT (Greek word ‘kephale’) is the controlling key to unlocking doors of prejudice and ignorance. Most wonderfully, it returns Christ to His rightful place of authority in the lives of all believers as their Lord, Leader, and Teacher. God has given all authority, in heaven and earth to Jesus. Safe and secure in Jesus, we will find all of the protection we need.

We must learn how different scholars understand and use the word ‘head’, (‘kephale’). 1  How do their interpretations affect our relationships with one another in the church and home?  What is the effect on the body of Christ composed of all believers regardless of gender?  Importantly, does what we believe and practice mirror the glorious image of Christ and His bride as revealed in the body of Scripture?

The Freedom Papers No.1

When we decide to base our lives on a set of beliefs, we owe it to ourselves to ensure their accuracy. This is surely essential with biblical interpretation. The biblical scholars, A. B and A. M. Mickelsen give helpful guidelines for study. ‘…An honest examination…must begin with a basic understanding of how we interpret the Bible on any subject. Sound Bible interpretation demands that we ask two questions of every passage we read.

First, what was the Bible saying through God’s human servant to the first hearers or readers of that message? This often demands some understanding of the history and culture of the time as well as the specific situation of the original readers.

The second question follows naturally: how should we understand and apply the passage (if it should be applied) to people today? To answer the last question the Bible interpreter must understand that most of the teachings and commands in the Bible fall into two categories.

    1. ‘The highest ideals, norms, or standards are principles taught in the Bible that must take first place in our considerations and have top priority in all we do.
    2. ‘Regulations for people ‘where they were’ dealt with specific situations in a specific time and place and were not necessarily meant to apply to all people under all circumstances.’

The understanding and interpretation of ‘kephale’ are central to our understanding. In light of the above guidelines, we will now look at the explanation of ‘source’ from four scholars. We will be looking at interpretations of ‘kephale’ where it is translated ‘head’ in seven passages in the New Testament and dealt with figuratively.

We will review the work of the paper published in ‘Christianity Today’ by A. B and A. M. Mickelsen [i]; Richard C Cervin whose paper 2 contains a summary and critique of W Grudem’s: 3 assumptions and methodology: [ii] and Grudem’s treatment of the argument for the meaning of ‘source’.

The recent work by Dr Ann Nyland: [iii] ‘who notes the comment by Dr. L.S Fried, the University of Michigan that the ‘careful and exhaustive study of contemporary Greek papyri and inscriptions renders other New Testament translations obsolete’. Nyland develops this thought in her introduction.

(to be continued)


ENDNOTES

[i] THE ‘HEAD’ OF THE EPISTLES: Berkeley Mickelsen & Alvera M. Mickelsen.

[ii] Cervin’s answer to Grudem’s assumptions and methodology and Grudem’s treatment of the argument for the meaning of ‘source’

[iii] The Source New Testament with extensive notes on Greek word meaning Translated with notes by Dr Ann Nyland.

FOOTNOTES

The Freedom Papers: Firm Foundations – Equality in the church and home

Read the first part HERE and the second part HERE


Sunday short-read

15 November 2020

As an introduction to the subject of equality in the church and home, this paper will also draw attention to the various arguments surrounding the debate and expose the flaws in the teachings put forward by the Complementary view. Once understood, this paper can become a tool for you to continue your own study on the subject. Where necessary, it is then a simple matter of repent, ‘turn around’, ‘change your mind’, and begin to put into practice what you believe to be sound doctrine.

The decisions you make thereafter will begin to take you in a whole new direction. Once your spiritual vision regains its long and short distance focus, it becomes re-focused. You begin to see all of the riches that are to be found in trusting in Jesus Christ alone to mediate for you and hence to save you. Once your allegiances shift from pseudo-authority figures to the all-sufficient protection provided by God, a new relationship with Jesus Christ begins. In a word, you begin to grow up into all things.

You will discover in this new relationship with God that all of the building materials and the tools you need to start afresh are waiting for you. When this new foundation stone is laid, you will be enabled to access all the promises of God, none of which are biased against women. God is not sexist. Instead, they are ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in Christ. You will begin to trust yourself again in making decisions that affect your future, trusting in Jesus Christ alone to lead, protect and save you. You will be glad to learn that God is no respecter of persons.

Once our relationship with God changes our human relationships also change. No more will we look to any relationship based on such a shaky foundation stone as gender, for example, to guide us or protect us. We begin to take full responsibility for our lives and the direction we are going.

We will stop looking to an authority figure whose elevated position is based solely upon his being male and whose position is dependent upon the belief that women and men are not created equal. Rather we will look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

There is no basis for the belief that men have an ‘extra ingredient’ that God reserved for them alone, namely, leadership and authority in the church and home. No one can give an intelligent answer to why this idea is prevalent and persists. It is the antithesis of the gospel.

In this paper, we will compare the traditional interpretation of Scriptures in relation to women and men.

The correct translation of the word ‘head’ in the NT. (Greek word ‘kephale’)  is the controlling key to unlocking doors of prejudice and ignorance. Most wonderfully, it returns Christ to His rightful place of authority in the lives of all believers as their Lord, Leader, and Teacher. God has given all authority, in heaven and earth to Jesus. Safe and secure in Jesus, we will find all of the protection we need.

Coming next Sunday (22 Nov): The Controlling Key: The correct translation of the word ‘head’ in the NT. (Greek word ‘kephale’) . 

Run With The Vision!

The Freedom Papers: Firm Foundations: The Meaning of ‘Head’ in NT (8 Nov 20)

Daily short-read

Date:  8 November 2020

Read the first part HERE


No matter the denomination, male church leadership does little more than pay lip service to the concept of equality and mutuality in the church and home. Thus, their women fellow-workers are limited and kept from developing their gifts to their fullest extent. Christ gave the fivefold ministry gifts of apostles; prophets; evangelists; pastors and teachers to the whole church. (Eph 4:11). Women must be prepared to take up their responsibility to function in their gifts.

Single women are often invisible in the church. Even if they have obvious gifts they are viewed with some misgiving and the free exercise of their vocation is limited. Some denominations require that they be ‘under the covering’ of a man.  This effectively limits their freedom to serve in any real leadership capacity.

This is not to say women are not put to work and are presented with certificates. But these have little meaning or worth.  In practice rarely is a woman with obvious ability appointed as the leader of a church board made up of women and men, or give sole responsibility of making the final decision of where and how the church’s finances are spent.

Rather than depending on a human being to cover them, the blood of Jesus Christ is available for all humankind, women and men, offering them the protection they require ensuring their safety. That blood, shed 2000 years ago, speaks of grace and has never lost its power or sufficiency. Redeemed women and men rest and trust in the blood of Jesus, which shouts of God’s grace alone to save them. Blood bought; blood washed women are not guilty of Eve’s culpability just as redeemed men are not guilty of Adam’s outright rebellion.

To maintain vigorous spiritual heath as believers we must examine ourselves. What do we really believe?  Are the very foundations of our faith firm?  [1] When the trials of life come will our foundations be shaken?

‘For if the foundations be shaken, what shall the righteous do?’ (Ps 11:3). 

When we discover that shaky foundations have been laid in our lives and our present belief system is not sustaining life’s experiences and things just are not adding up no matter what we have been taught, we have to review and cast aside old teachings that rely upon anything but God’s amazing grace.

One of the most alarming things I have seen in the church in the last decade is the slow disintegration of any sound reasoning powers exercised by ordinary intelligent faithful believers. Instead, they seem to be content to stop thinking and just accept every doctrine that comes along. When a question arises in their minds, they shrug their shoulders, react angrily to the lack of teaching in the church, or push it down rather than seeking out the answer.

They may hear something from the pulpit that they cannot equate with their understanding of God or life in general. They may read in a bible commentary or a book from the Christian bookstore teachings that simply do not add up. Their initial reaction is ‘how can that be’, or, ‘why would God’s Word want or say that?’  But that is as far as they take it. Their thought processes have dulled due to lack of use; they lack perception. They may even lack a strong biblical foundation based solely upon God’s grace.

Run With The Vision!

Patricia


[1] A Shaky Foundation Stone: The “Creation Order” heresy. The Freedom Papers. rwvm.online


Coming next Sunday (15 Nov)

The Freedom Papers no. 1 – Part 3: Equality in the church and home

About The Freedom Papers

The Freedom Papers: A New Reformation

For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:27-28

Written for all the world and her husband to read.

This series, The Freedom Papers: Three of the four posted here were distributed originally by  Run With the Vision Ministries (RWVM). The papers were written to inform, educate and warn Christians about teachings that affect their full freedom in Christ. [1]

The role of the Freedom Papers is to examine erroneous teachings that the church continues to propagate to the detriment of Christian women and men in the church and home. Other biblical equality teachings are also available from rwvm.online.

The Freedom Papers went all over Ireland and England in the late eighties – mid-nineties and helped change the minds of church leaders and influenced their teaching on equality for women and men and the church in general.

If the church is to lay new foundation stones of equality it is imperative that an equal number of women and men function in their full capacity of abilities and gifts. This will enable the church to grow into a strong and healthy body. Our sons and our daughters will reap the benefits of such a reformation. We have yet to see such a church movement, where biblical equality is understood by the church leaders and taught and lived out in all its fulness. I live to see that day!

The groundwork has been prepared and the foundation stones honed and ready to be set in their place for the church to build upon. This is not a new idea it’s old as time and inscribed in Genesis chapter two and throughout the scriptures. It is time. Working to build together with one purpose there is no reason a new vision of a church that believes and practices equality cannot be realised.

From its inception, the Patriarchal agenda has never abated. Its motives are complex. It has an underbelly: the concealed side of its visible nature is not obvious to the uninitiated. Its’ true nature reveals itself when its power is threatened. It turns nasty and can quickly become violent. If I were to formulate it in bible language, I would identify its treacherous nature as the old man: the works of the flesh – sin.

I liken male-controlled doctrine to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. To the unschooled eye It initially looks good: it looks like a tree to make one wise. This external image is especially important in the eyes of those who, I have no doubt, work hard on keeping its outward appearance in shape. The wives and children of those pastors and other church leaders, priests, elders, board members, that adhere to this doctrine, know what I mean by that. I liken these oppressed poor souls as the Silent Minority.

As a family they must collaborate together to make a concentrated effort to keep up a good ‘front’. Having created a template, they must act a part publicly to show the doctrine as ‘working’. They want gullible people to believe that when the doctrine is followed, it will produce ‘God’s order’ in their marriage, family and the church. It is elitist. It is also deceptive. The majority who do not follow the patriarchs are not always aware that they are on the outer as they do not fit the elitist mold. Then there is the rest of us. We are on the outer of the inner closed circle and we do know.

In the first place, very many couples do not agree with the doctrine of male headship. It doesn’t work! Next, nearly 50% of families today are one-parent. Others are not parents. Of these, some have a partner, but they may not have a desire to be parents. Others simply choose to live single. This narrows it down to a small minority of people who follow this ‘male headship’ doctrine. Many of these do not realise how insidious it is.

As for the rest of us, I want to encourage us here to speak up and say it like it is. And what it is – is, its doctrine is irredeemable. The patriarchs are shrewd. They make every attempt to deflect any appearance of it ‘not working’. Their doctrines entrap people. It has a weakness. The men who identify with it may have a predisposition towards domestic violence. It appeals to this type of man.

These are the ones who love authority, obedience of others to themselves, the last word. They absolutely promote marriage, as this means a woman to serve in the kitchen, rear his children, at least those who bear his name, keep the house running, wherever humanly possible, as a showcase, as they are highly competitive and political, and publicly uphold him and at all times serve him (as his ‘helper’) in the everyday routine things of life in the home. Women are also pulled into his inner circle of subservience to serve him in public life. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was and still is poison. It brought death and its appetite has not abated.

So, taking this image of the tree further, let’s look at its seed. How was it initially produced? Where did it come from? This tree’s history is long. It is too much to go into here (to find out I strongly recommend you read my Genesis Revisited chapter 2). The shortened version goes like this.

In relation to its religious nature, the heretical seeds of patriarchy were sown and propagated through the means of skewed translation work of the bible’s original languages. In conjunction with these the ancient early Christian writers: the Paters, the Fathers, [2] wrote, taught, and distributed their written works based on these crooked foundation stones.

These early Church Fathers are highly regarded by today’s patriarchs. So much so that they are still published and read today. These dark misogynistic discourses publish an insidious belief system that was built up over time. Their writings reveal a deep hatred and fear of women. It began with the early Roman church. It grew into a strong edifice, framed by disjoined doctrines.

Like nature’s seeds, these too, are distributed on the air. Modern publishing could be titled, ‘the ruler(s) of the power of the air’. Their treacherous doctrines are broadcast by every available means. Today’s powerful examples of publishing include commercial TV incorporate Global TV and CTV. The term ‘broadcastmedia’, covers a wide range of different communication methods that include television, radio, podcasts, blogs, advertising, websites, online streaming digital journalism.

These tainted teachings are in turn sourced and closely followed by homegrown preachers of every denomination. They show their ignorance by the weekly sermons they produce and disseminate. Through them, the doctrine of the patriarchs finally infiltrates by way of the local church. Finally, it ends up in the homes of ordinary good people, of whom the majority, at best, love and desire to please God.

The patriarchs are also known as the Old Guard: Those people in an organization or society who oppose change and whose beliefs and ideas belong to a period in the past. They hate and oppose any reform much less, radical reform. The old guard is renowned for dragging its feet. It considers it to be the sublime connoisseur of conservative social values. Because of the way it sees itself and the power it must hold onto at any cost, it especially becomes jittery when major social changes are stirring. Major social changes threaten the Old Guard. There is much at stake.

The Old Guard especially protects ’family values’. It believes the ‘family comes first’. Its cornerstone is built, not on Jesus, but rather, on patriarchal marriage.  Patriarchs believe their version of a godly marriage is the salvation of the human race. They foster the myth that a traditional marriage between a man and his wife, with 2 1/2 children, and the husband as the head (read ‘boss’) of the wife (read ‘helper’ and generally staying at home), and all members of the family serving him in their designated role and place,

One of the Old Guard recently thought up a name for their discriminatory club: the ‘Moral Majority’. Jerry Falwell called women a ‘God ordained minority’ on USA Today Chat: ‘Blacks, Hispanics, women, etc., are God ordained who do indeed deserve minority status’. [3].

Anyone deviating from their ‘creation order’ teaching, is relegated by them to the leper colony: divorcees, gay people, single mothers, children of one-parent families, etc. Patriarchy is in what it considers its Sunday best clothes when embedded in religion. One can recognise the same tree it in all its self-righteous rags in Sharia Law. These two are different branches but come from the same root: power and control, particularly over women and girls.

Patriarchy is like some obnoxious plants: passive-aggressive. An example of this in nature is English Ivy. You know, its decorative on the front wall of that stately Georgian manor or castle or even the little humble cottage. You’d expect a red riding hood to knock on its door. However, watch out!!! These plants crawl up walls and find little cracks in the mortar where they jam their tiny roots in to hang on. Before you know it, brick by brick the house begins to collapse. It also matches that description of that mustard bush Jesus warned us about. When fully grown it changes its appearance. At some point, it changes from what you thought you had planted, a bush, and instead becomes a gigantic tree. [4]

It’s a jungle out there for those in the Christian community who are duped by these giants. [5] It is difficult to navigate until you become fully acquainted with their methods of keeping a lid on you and your gifts. Some Christians are as naive as Red Riding Hood. This is the war we’re all involved in whether we want to be or not. Its underground roots travel largely unseen in polite circles. The axe was laid to the trunk and roots of this tree two thousand years ago and like death and sin, it’s lost its power over us, but some choose not to resist its pull.

Their teaching on male headship helps make men who suffer from a bad self-image feel like ‘men’. It makes strong women who like to get in and get going, (because of leadership gifts) feel better for not doing so, because they would be seen as ‘out of order’ because the teaching says a woman in leadership is against ‘God order’ [6] and this helps the patriarchs subdue women in their spiritual strengths. It makes other women feel protected, as if they can escape life’s pain by just fitting in under the armpit of ‘daddy’, the patriarch, and swoon.

It began to spread its roots through false translators of the original Word. The original translation of any written source is a product of its time. Time changes. Tradition doesn’t. The translation of the source text is not the original word. Translators help shape the target language into which they have translated. My paper, ‘Language of a Godly Leader’ shows how this has happened in the use of words chosen by the translators.

To suit their agenda at that time they introduced target language words to change the original meaning of source language words. These included the Apostle Paul’s words. They are, in the original language, ordinary gentle words any good parent would use when appealing to wayward children or instructing and encouraging mature adults. [7] However, the early ‘fathers’ chose words to give the impression of overbearing authority, typically used by rulers and those in power. Still used today this has led to a maligning of the Apostle Paul and ignorance of the intended meanings of certain words he used.

Translation, therefore, and the interpretation of the same are at the root of the problem we are experiencing today between two opposing parties. These have taken the names ‘egalitarian’ and ‘complementarian’, to make plain what they believe and to underscore the fundamental problem started by the early translators.

The complementarians disguise themselves, their teachings and the advice they bring as loving caring conservative concerned believers, deeply anxious for the preservation of Christian marriage, the family, the church and the nation. They claim their fight is on the front lines of the culture war. And so, it is.

They want to preserve the status quo: that is, for middle and upper-class elitist men and women who want to maintain their position, preeminence, and most importantly, the role in society of the Patriarch. He believes God ordained him to be the head (read ‘boss’) of the house, of ensuring women keep their ‘place’ as ‘helper’, to keep him in his place. That place is male-only leadership in society the church and home.

As I learned more about gender inequality in the church, it began to filter down inside me.  I became empowered to write., to preach and teach about its insidious doctrine. I began to confront and expose these wrong teachings as divisive. I wrote the Freedom Papers and posted it out to church leaders, five hundred at a time, in Ireland and England. This was in the late eighties – mid-nineties. The Freedom Papers went all over and helped change the minds of some church leaders and influenced their teaching on women and the church in general.

The reader may be surprised that in the recent past, the patriarchs put all their efforts into blocking gender-inclusive translation of the Bible. When I first learned of this duplicity, some years ago now, it enabled me to understand my past experiences of the Patriarchs. That is, in the way in which I had been persecuted by a number of them. They have a lot to lose and anyone free in their spirit to preach and live without seeking their approval and their ‘covering’, so called, shakes them to the very core. This is when you will see the violent reaction and harsh derogatory words of judgment and intimidation. I have encountered it many times. So have their wives and children and staff, I’ve no doubt.

 


 

The Freedom Papers: A New Reformation

The Freedom Papers No 2: Token Women in the Church

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

© 1993-1996 Written and 500 copies limited distribution: England, N. Ireland, S. Ireland.

© 2006 copy write, first print run, distributed, and sold.

© 2019 edited version for downloading: www.rwvm.online

The Freedom Papers No’s 1-4 are printed and posted out by RWVM tor emailed to clergy of any denomination where name and address supplied, and donation made to cover cost where possible.

Author: Patricia Erlandsen

Email address: patricia@rwvm.online

Mailing address: PO Box 345 Chevron Island, 4217,. Gold Coast. QLD. Australia

[1] Further biblical equality teachings are available from the Run With the Vision Ministries website (rwvm.online).

[2] The period is generally considered to run from the end of the NT times or end of the Apostolic Age (c.  AD 100) to either AD 451 (the date of the Council of Chalcedon or to the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.

[3] Moral Majority, American political organization that was founded in 1979 by Jerry Falwell, a religious leader and televangelist, to advance conservative social values. Although it disbanded in 1989, the Moral Majority helped to establish the religious right as a force in American politics. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Moral-Majority

‘More Than Meets the Eye: The Campaign To Control Gender Translation In Bibles’ Dr A. Nyland. www.smithandstirling.com ISBN 0 957772378. Politically powerful lobbyist groups such as Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and Focus on the Family have controlled the release, and even the content, of certain Bibles, while producing and promoting their own Bible versions

[4] This is the church: as a mustard bush it’s in the community, small common garden variety type. The tree is religion. Even the ‘birds of the air’ come and nest in its branches. The birds of the air in this instance are cults, those who rob and steal and take by force what is not rightfully theirs, like the patriarchs and their doctrines.

[5] To help recognise them in the church, read my paper ‘Giants in the Land’

[6] Read my Freedom Papers: ‘The Creation Order’, etc. Go to rwvm.online RBW. NT The Freedom Papers.

[7] Go to rwvm.online: RBW: NT. The Freedom Papers ‘Language of a Godly Leader.’

[8] Go to rwvm.online RBW: OT Genesis chapter 2.