TOSC’s Kevin Paulson discusses Genesis and pre-fall headship, as well as 1 Timothy chapter 2, and the topic of women’s ordination.

12 thoughts on “Male headship and the Bible

  1. The comment left by Felix Yong has been removed because of inappropriate language. We permit much latitude in the posts here, but swear words are unacceptable.

    • To the Administrators, I just want to THANK YOU for deleting the vulgar content such as swearing. Decency and COMMON SENSE knows better. Those who are NOT famliar with those GOOD TERMS should NOT BE PERMITTED TO COMMENT IN ANY MANNER, SHAPE, or FORM. GOD BLESS YOU, FOLKS YOU ARE DOING A GREAT WORK TO THE GLORY OF GOD. incidentally, FOR THE LIFE OF ME, I SIMPLY CANNOT UNDERSTAND OR COMPREHEND why some men and many women do not see, or acknowledge MALE HEADSHIP FOR THE HOME AND CHURCH WHICH WAS PRACTICED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE BIBLE and in our church until the late 1900’s. It appears to be nothing more that STUBBORN SELFISHNESS, and THE WOMEN’S FEMINIST MOVEMENT!!!

  2. I was recently discussing this topic with a friend of mine (a fellow Adventist who’s in favor of WO). He argued that “husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2) does not prohibit a woman from being an elder/overseer anymore than “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” (Exodus 20:17) exempts the woman from the tenth commandment because it doesn’t say anything about “thy neighbor’s husband.” I argued that the commandments are addressed to the husband, as the head of the family (Ephesians 5:23-24, 1 Timothy 3:4-5) because he, as the head, is responsible for teaching them to his wife and children.

    But then my friend quoted the Sabbath commandment, specifically Exodus 20:10, where it says that “in it [the Sabbath day] thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” (The mention of manservants and maidservants, as well as “stranger within thy gates,” would indicate that the person addressed is the head of his family.) He noted that there is no mention of “thy wife” in passage, so he asserted that this meant one of two things; either 1) it’s okay for the wife to work on the Sabbath, or 2) this commandment is addressed to both husband AND wife, meaning (according to him): both the man and the woman can be the heads of the household, and therefore both can serve as leaders in the church.

    I’m not convinced by this argument, but I would like to know what others think about it. If anyone could offer their thoughts, it would be much appreciated.

    • Stephen, I see your friend’s “reasoning ” as false logic. It is a given that the husband and
      the wife are at-one in the administration of their home (Gen. 2:24, Mt. 19:5-6, Eph. 5:22) and that as the “house-band” the husband is exercising his authority in those areas that are consistent with his being the head of the home.

  3. I have read many posts by Kevin Paulson. He seems to have strong opinions. On the topic of WO I would like to hear his wife’s opinion. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever read an opinion of hers about anything. Surely she has opinions. Is she allowed to express them?

    • This isn’t a forum about individuals. It is a forum to discuss the issue of what the Bible teaches about women’s ordination. Please keep the discussion on topic. Thank you.

    • Milton, Kevin is single. Individuals are important because we are all unique and bring different personal backgrounds to the study of God’s Word. I often think that if I had walked in someone else’s shoes, I might be able to better understand why they take a position on the meaning of Scripture that differs from my understanding.

  4. Ah, so Kevin is single. I did not know that but I had a hunch that something as relevant as that was driving his view. It is vital to the discussion for it is a pity that he does not have the benefit of balance when it comes to matters dealing with women. A wife can often shed invaluable insights into issues that affect women. A similar handicap occurs when Catholic priests deliberate on topics such as contraception, abortion, and divorce. I have a number of Catholic friends who complain that their priests do not have the benefit of a woman’s viewpoint.
    Doug, in my opinion you are correct. If we men walked in women’s shoes we may be better equipped to understand a different position. But we have not walked in their shoes. That fact underscores the imperative for us to consider their view. This is not an attack on Kevin himself. Rather, it is all about understanding everyone’s bias, in this case a bias regarding WO.
    When many women (and many men) look at the issue of WO they view it from Paul’s gospel stance that in Christ there is no gender difference. I think we need to respect that view. The NT view is a radical shift from the OT culture (attitude towards polygamy is one example). And the culture of today has, in other respects, moved on from the NT culture (e.g., attitude to slavery). I think it is a fatal mistake to dismiss culture in the equation of WO. In order to bring balance to the discussion cultural factors have been taken into account in some research papers in the lead up to the San Antonio GC.

    • “A system of human invention … will lead its advocates to judge all who come short of the prescribed human standard … and causes men to become self-centered judges and petty spies.
      “The Pharisees … theme was, “Myself, my feelings, my knowledge, my ways.” Their own attainments became the standard by which they judged others. Putting on the robes of self-dignity, they mounted the judgment seat to criticize and condemn” (MB 123).
      The people partook largely of the same spirit, intruding upon the province of conscience and judging [BEGIN P.124] one another in matters that lay between the soul and God. It was in reference to this spirit and practice that Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” That is, do not set yourself up as a standard. Do not make your opinions, your views of duty, your interpretations of Scripture, a criterion for others and in your heart condemn them if they do not come up to your ideal. Do not criticize others, conjecturing as to their motives and passing judgment upon them. {MB 123.3}

      Ellen Gould White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1896), 123–124.

  5. The issue of male headship from a Biblical perspective is undeniable. The grave error that has been committed is allowing women to study pastoral theology in our universities. How can we give women the degree of pastor if we are not going to allow them to be ordained as pastors? When a college recognizes that a graduate has met all the requirements to practice, its sanctioning body (the Church) cannot deny its student the right to practice. It seems that we are reaping the fruits of our mistakes.


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