The Gospel, Haustafel, And Women Mark 1:1; Colossians 3:18–4:1 -- By: Frank Stagg

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 02:2 (Spring 1985)
Article: The Gospel, Haustafel, And Women Mark 1:1; Colossians 3:18–4:1
Author: Frank Stagg

The Gospel, Haustafel, And Women Mark 1:1;
Colossians 3:18–4:1

Frank Stagg

Professor Emeritus of New Testament Interpretation,
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Communicating the Gospel in the Modern World,” theme of this issue, raises tough questions, including these: What does “the Gospel” communicate to women? How is “the Gospel” to be communicated by women?

“The Gospel” implies one Gospel, not one for men and one for women; but current attitudes and actions do not all agree. Is the Gospel “good news”1 for men but “bad news” for women? Hear the good news, “If anyone be in Christ, there is a new creation!” (2 Cor. 5:17). Does “anyone” include women? Does the Gospel proclaim that men are redeemed from “Adamic sin” but women must yet pay for “Evenic sin”? Does the Gospel proclaim forgiveness to repenting men but not to repenting women? Are gifts for ministry awarded by divine grace but on the basis of gender? Is it grace at all if gender counts as credential or merit? Are such gifts of grace as preaching, teaching, or presiding to be exercised if present in males but suppressed in women (Rom. 12: 6–8)? Does authority reside inherently in any human being, or is authority of one over another proper only as it relates to responsibility? Do we need two manuals for “Communicating the Gospel,” one for men and one for women?

If we hold to the earliest Christian confession, “Christ the Lord!” (Lk. 2:11), answers should derive from him as Creator, Savior, and Lord of the church. Of course, we have no “hot line” to Jesus for quick answers, but we do have four Gospels purporting to portray his manner and mind, and these materials are credible on critical grounds. The fingerprints of those who remembered, selected, and shaped these materials are traceable on every page of the Gospels, but these are memories, not community creations. The early Church could not and would not have invented one as radically in tension with world and piety as the Jesus of the four Gospels.

Mark 1:1 is thematic: “The Gospel of Jesus Christi” Why not turn directly to Mark and the other Gospels for our understanding of “the Gospel” which we are to “communicate in the modern world”? Why not turn to “the Gospels” for “the Gospel” as it relates to women? Why need a paper like this turn at all to a Domestic Code (Haustafel) in Colossians? The answer is simple. The church has ...

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