The New Testament Teaching On The Role Relationship Of Male And Female With Special Reference To The Teaching/Ruling Functions In The Church -- By: George W. Knight, III

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 18:2 (Spring 1975)
Article: The New Testament Teaching On The Role Relationship Of Male And Female With Special Reference To The Teaching/Ruling Functions In The Church
Author: George W. Knight, III


The New Testament Teaching On The Role Relationship
Of Male And Female With Special Reference To
The Teaching/Ruling Functions In The Church

George W. Knight, III*

The very title of this paper inevitably raises the question whether there are indeed any roles at all that the New Testament recognizes or prescribes. Certainly the church has thought that it ascertained such roles in the New Testament. It spoke of the role relations of citizens and civil authorities, of the church member and those who ruled over them, of parents and children, even at times of servants and masters, and of husbands and wives. With the exception of servants and masters, which relation it has come to understand the New Testament was regulating as an existing situation but not presenting as based on God’s order, the church understood the other relationships to be roles established by God for which basic guidelines were given by the Lord and the apostles. Included in these role relationships was that of the male and female in the marriage relationship. This role relationship is still recognized as normative among evangelicals.1 Likewise, for the same considerations that pertain in the male-female relationships in marriage, the position of the historic Christian church has upheld a similar relationship between males and females in the ruling/teaching functions in the church. In particular, the passages of 1 Timothy 2:11–15, 1 Corinthians 14:33b (or 34) - 38, and the arguments of the passage, 1 Corinthians 11:1–16, have been understood as normative for this area.

But this understanding of the historic Christian church, even though it has stood as the position for centuries, has in recent years been challenged and in certain cases set aside as erroneous.

Vigorous discussions took place in Germany and the Scandinavian countries which led the majority of the Lutherans in particular to abandon the earlier position.2 Similar studies took place in the U.S.A. and resulted in a predominance of American Lutherans following the

*Associate Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.

Europeans.3 On a broader level, most of the older American denominations have also altered their previous positions.4 The World Council of Churches studies indicate that ...

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