Ms. RJS was addressing a specific topic, worth reading, but I’m thinking in general.
“Commitments. He suggests several steps and commitments we should take. First, the commitments quoted from pp. 189-191.
· We must allow the text to pursue its own agenda, not force it to pursue ours.
· We must be committed to the intention of the author rather than getting whatever mileage we can out of the words he used.
· We must resist over interpreting the text in order to derive the angle we are seeking.
· We must be willing to have our minds changed by the text – that is at least part of the definition of submitting ourselves to the authority of the text.
· We must be willing to accept the inevitable disappointment if the text does not address or solve the questions we would like answers to.
These are all important guidelines to keep in mind. We shouldn’t hijack the text, commandeering it for our own purposes. I would temper this, though, with the realization that the New Testament authors did feel free to reinterpret texts based on what they knew of the gospel of Jesus Christ. While it is essential to understand the intention of the author, the gospel can change our understanding.
· We must be willing to preserve a godly perspective on the issue and accord Christian respect to those we disagree with, refusing to belittle, degrade, accuse, or insult them. Ad hominem arguments and other varieties of “negative campaigning” should be set aside.
· We must not allow our differences of opinion to overshadow and disrupt the effectiveness of ministry and our Christian witness.
· We must decry the arrogance that accompanies a feeling of self-righteousness and portrays others as somehow less godly because of the position they hold.
This is an outstanding list of commitments — the kind of commitments that we attempt to maintain on this blog when discussing a wide variety of issues, from the age of the earth and evolution to women in ministry, male headship, to hell, Calvinism, and more. But the next list is even more important.
· We must determine that individual “rights” and the pursuit of them will not take precedence over more important values, as they have in our society at large.
· We must resist any desire to hoard or attain power, though our society and our fallenness drive us to pursue it above all else.
· We must constantly strive to divest ourselves of self, though we live in a “What about me?” world.
· We must accept that ministry is not to be considered a route to self-fulfillment; it is service to God and his people.
John completely won me over with this list. Whatever conclusions we come to concerning women in ministry, if these values are not at heart we are wrong. Period. Christian leadership, teaching, and “authority” is only for the benefit of others as we follow the call of Jesus. It is grounded in self-sacrifice and love. There is nothing in this about rights or power. No alpha males or flaming feminists here. This is the heart of the matter.”
I think there are points in here I have to work on. I think we’d all be better off if we keep these points in mind whenever we discuss, especially when we disagree. It applies to all of life’s aspects, everything we may discuss.
John Walton has an interesting analysis of the question of women in ministry included in the Contemporary Significance section of his commentary on Genesis 2 (The NIV Application Commentary Genesis). This is worth some serious thought and discussion.
Commitments. He suggests several steps and commitments we should take. First, the commitments quoted from pp. 189-191.
- We must allow the text to pursue its own agenda, not force it to pursue ours.
- We must be committed to the intention of the author rather than getting whatever mileage we can out of the words he used.
- We must resist over interpreting the text in order to derive the angle we are seeking.
- We must be willing to have our minds changed by the text – that is at least part of the definition of submitting ourselves to the authority of the text.
- We must be willing…
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