Living Out God’s Order In The Church -- By: R. Kent Hughes

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 10:1 (Spring 1999)
Article: Living Out God’s Order In The Church
Author: R. Kent Hughes

Living Out God’s Order In The Church

R. Kent Hughes

Senior Pastor
College Church
Wheaton, Illinois

Since Krister Stendahl’s monograph, The Bible and the Role of Women, published in 1966, and the evangelical articulation of his thoughts in Paul Jewett’s Man as Male and Female, the traditional interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11–15 has been under increasing attack. The newness of these assaults leaves the burden of proof upon the revisionists. This article demonstrates that the perspicacity of Scripture is still intact, that Scripture means what it says, and that adherence to the creation order graces the church.

* * * * *

First Timothy 2:11–15 is a controversial text, upon which an immense amount of scholarship has been focused in recent years. Virtually no one in the liberal theological camp holds to the traditional, historic interpretation of this text. On the other hand, many in the evangelical tradition subscribe to the historic interpretation, though they may have trouble articulating it at times. But there are also increasing numbers of evangelicals who reject the historic interpretation for what is called the “progressive” interpretation — even arguing for the ordination of women.

Here, I must say at the outset that I adhere to the traditional, historic interpretation of this text, which in today’s secular culture is viewed as, frankly, shocking. Because the traditional interpretation understands that there is a divinely given order for the home and here in 1 Timothy for the church, it is dismissed by some with the most withering of epitaphs as “sexist.” Nothing could be further from the truth biblically or personally.

It is important that you understand my heart as we undertake this study. I was raised by a community of gloriously strong women who had to make their way in a male-dominated, sexist world. Aside from my young brothers, there were no men in my life until I was a junior high student, when I became involved in church. Otherwise, my world was populated with wonderful women.

There was my mother, who was widowed at age twenty-three and sometimes worked two jobs to make ends almost meet. There was my maternal grandmother, Laura Anna Melissa McClurkin Bray, also a widow, who gave herself to her “boys.” Her death was the most traumatic event in our lives. There were my two adopted, unmarried aunts, Beulah and Helen, who are still alive at the time of this writing—ages 97 and 98.

For awhile we all lived in adjacent homes, and later across t...

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