Accomodating Scripture to the Culture

I don’t particularly want to discuss this secondary matter, but when a good friend asks me about it, I humbly respond out of love for the friend, for the church, and for God’s Word.


At the heart of the church and our faith is God, His Word, and the Gospel. These three things are the core; they are primary and essential. We must agree upon three things in order to put our trust in God and be saved. In these all Christians should stand, fight, defend and contend for. However, the issues of complementarianism and egalitarianism is a secondary doctrine. In our times — especially in the last 50 years and even more so in these most recent years — the shift is towards the postmodern rejection of the sufficiency, authority and inerrancy of Scripture.And thus, the issue becomes less so about the secondary doctrine of gender roles and more so about the primary doctrine of God’s Word.Complementarianism and egalitarianism is not an issue that is essential to the gospel, but sometimes non-essentials have added implications because of our time. As Ligon Duncan has said: ???If there were a verse in 1 Timothy saying, ???I do not permit an infant to be baptized???, we wouldn???t be having a paedo- versus credo-baptism debate. But there is one that says a woman may not serve as a teacher or elder.???I strongly agree with Mark Dever on this one. Women in ministry, especially having the eldership and pastorate open to them, seems to be an watershed issue watershed distinguishing those who will accommodate Scripture to the culture, and those who will attempt to shape culture with Scripture. I can only speak for myself in this — I wan to be one who shapes the culture with God’s Word.Egalitarianism has not been around for centuries and centuries like the issue of paedobaptism or premillenialism. Egalitarianism is a novel idea. And thus, we must be very careful and weary about its implications that are above and beyond itself. As Dever said at this year’s New Attitude conference, There is no other way the authority of Scripture is being undermined more quickly, and thoroughly than an egalitarian reading of the Bible. And when the authority of Scripture is undermined, the Gospel will not long be acknowledge. Therefore, love for the God, the Gospel and future generations demands a careful presentation and pressing of the biblical truths of what it means to be made man and woman in the image of God.”Dever encouraged us to put on all doctrine a four-fold test to see how important it is:

  1. How clear is it in Scripture?
  2. How clear to others feel it is in Scripture?
  3. How near is it to the gospel?
  4. What would the effects be doctrinally and practically if we allow disagreement in this area?

My hope and prayer is that while we should agree to disagree on most secondary matters, we must also seek to care about those things that God cares about and seek to have a better, biblical understanding of what God has said.From The Baptist Faith & Message, VI. The Church

While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The SBC Positional Statement on Women in Ministry

Women participate equally with men in the priesthood of all believers. Their role is crucial, their wisdom, grace and commitment exemplary. Women are an integral part of our Southern Baptist boards, faculties, mission teams, writer pools, and professional staffs. We affirm and celebrate their Great Commission impact.While Scripture teaches that a woman’s role is not identical to that of men in every respect, and that pastoral leadership is assigned to men, it also teaches that women are equal in value to men.

1 Timothy 2:8-15, ESV

8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness???with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing???if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 3:1-7, ESV

Qualifications for Overseers3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

1 Corinthians 14:34-36, ESV

34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached?

See also 1 Corinthians 14:34-36.A great resource on this matter is the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Their Q&A section is a good place to start, while they also provide the very detailed book (available as a free PDF download) Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem which offers an extensive refutation of the egalitarian position.???In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity.”

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