Putting Women In Their Place: 1 Timothy 2 And Evangelical Views Of Women In Church Leadership -- By: Bruce Barron

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 33:4 (Dec 1990)
Article: Putting Women In Their Place: 1 Timothy 2 And Evangelical Views Of Women In Church Leadership
Author: Bruce Barron

Putting Women In Their Place:
1 Timothy 2 And Evangelical Views Of Women
In Church Leadership

Bruce Barron*

The battle over women in ministerial leadership is not going~ away. Egalitarians may have gained the upper hand—or at least J. I. Packer may have thought so when, in summarizing the colloquium that produced the book Women, Authority and the Bible, he declared that “the burden of proof regarding the exclusion of women from the office of teaching and ruling within the congregation now lies on those who maintain the exclusion rather than on those who challenge it.”1 But any suspicions that defenders of the traditional position might capitulate were dispelled when the newly-formed Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (hereafter CBMW) announced its existence and set forth its “Danvers Statement,” first published in November 1988.2

The statement speaks admirably and eloquently in several areas that are relatively noncontroversial among evangelicals, such as sexual morality, family relationships, and the value of motherhood. And the CBMW distances itself from those who have “wrongly neglected informed participation by women” in home and church. But when it turns to the question of women in church leadership, even though the statement recognizes “the genuine evangelical standing of many who do not agree with all of our convictions,” it proclaims the perniciousness of contemporary reinterpretations of Scripture. Here are the last four of the ten developments in contemporary society that the CBMW cites as rationale for its work:

7. the emergence of roles for men and women in church leadership that do not conform to Biblical teaching but backfire in the crippling of Biblically faithful witness;

8. the increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical texts;

* Bruce Barron is a doctoral candidate in religion at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

9. the consequent threat to Biblical authority as the clarity of Scripture is jeopardized and the accessibility of its meaning to ordinary people is withdrawn into the restricted realm of technical ingenuity;

10. and behind all this the apparent accommodation of some within the church to the spirit of the age at the expense of winsome, radical Biblical authenticity which in the power of the Holy Spirit may reform rather than reflect our ailing culture (italics mine).

The statement goes on to affirm that “...

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