When Phoebe, Pricilla and Junia Arrive at Ephesus Three Women who Defied Three Prohibitions -- By: Kristen Nicole Caldwell

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 44:0 (NA 2012)
Article: When Phoebe, Pricilla and Junia Arrive at Ephesus Three Women who Defied Three Prohibitions
Author: Kristen Nicole Caldwell


When Phoebe, Pricilla and Junia Arrive at Ephesus Three Women who Defied Three Prohibitions

Kristen Nicole Caldwell*

Fictional Case Study

The whole controversy began when someone on the church staff passed around the John Piper and Wayne Grudem book called Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.1 It was a staff size of about 10 people who served a megachurch in Ohio. Everyone was in awe. They were convinced that these scholars were right due to their high credentials and knowledge of the Greek language. Who were they to argue? For those who did not like to have any possible discussion of women in leadership, it was exactly what they had been waiting for. One said, “How can you change the phrase ‘husband of but one wife’? It is clear that all leaders have to be men by this phrase alone!” The case was now closed for this all male church staff. But then some people began to say that they had heard other views. Suddenly, it was as if a volcano had just erupted and everyone was in an uproar. In the next meeting, they seriously disagreed with one another. They looked at the pastor to bring some kind of guidance to the baffling discussion but he left the room dumbfounded. He was embarrassed by the fact that he himself did not know who to side with. He thought both sides had reasonable arguments. He called one of his colleagues saying, “My church staff is splitting over the issue as to whether or not women should lead in the church. Do you think that we should abide by what Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:12 or not? Can you help me? My church is going haywire.” There was a long sigh. “I am not completely sure. None of my training ever really tackled this issue. Even my classes on leadership failed to touch the topic.”

The Core Issues

The core problem that arose here is that the staff did not know what to believe when it came to the issue of women in leadership, especially in light of the work of biblical scholars. When confronted with a wealth of knowledge that far exceeded their understanding on the topic, they found themselves filled with questions. The credentials of Grudem and Piper made them sound so credible and convincing. Most on staff had no theological training, and the few who did were still befuddled as to what to believe since they received no guidance from professors. They remember getting into discussions with other men about it, but not fully coming to a conclusion. Furthermore, the pastor himself did not have any training, and when he consulted a pastor who did, he also had no words of wisdom to guide him through this ball of confusion. No o...

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