18 Jul 2006

What Did God Say? Gen 2.1b & Man’s "Helper"

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bible, Exegesis, Genesis, Hebrew Bible, Marriage, Ministry, Mission, Sexuality, Women

 The Crux of the Question

Greetings from a very hot Milwaukee, WI. For sometime now I have been reflecting on various passages in Scripture that relate to women and have found the study to be very refreshing and enlightening. Thus in this installment of Texts and Contexts I have chosen to offer a mini-word study and exegetical reading of Genesis 2.18b . . . taking into account the dangers of word studies we examined in T & C #3. It is my prayer that you will find this to stimulating and will prompt you to do some examination of our thinking based on this passage.

Are women inferior to men? Are women designed, by creational intent, to be simply helpers to men? There are not a few men who think so and often these men will base their theology on a certain understanding of Genesis 2.18b. In the wider “cotext” of 2.18 we learn that Yahweh decided it was not a good thing for the Man to be alone. So the Creator causes a mysterious sleep come over the man and fashions another human being to be with him in this world.

But what does God say? Here are some English translations of the text:

I will make a helpe meet for him” (KJV)
I shall make him a helper fit for him” (RSV)
I will make him a helpmate” (Jerusalem Bible)
I will make a helper as his partner” (NRSV)

What we find in Genesis 2.18 is what is sometimes called “translation fossils.” Translation fossils refer to the power of tradition in the retention of renderings that have long been regarded as suspect because of new knowledge, yet do not make its way into the translation process. It is now commonly regarded by a growing number of scholars (“conservative” or “liberal”) who regard this basic translation tradition to be a mistranslation of the text.

Part One

There are two Hebrew words in this text that bear closer examination: ‘ezer kenegdo. I believe that the common translation (though moving in the right direction with the word “partner” in the NRSV) is not what the Hebrew text means at all. In fact the Hebrew text does not indicate the inferiority of women in the slightest but her full equality with the Man at creation.

The Hebrew word ‘ezer is a combination of two roots: one which means to “rescue,” ”to save” and the other meaning “to be strong.” The difference is in the first sign. The raised “c” refers to the letter “ayin.” The Ugaritic maintained a distinction between ayin and ghayyin but Hebrew lost the distinction. Scholars place a merger between these roots in the Hebrew language around 1200 B.C. Thus at the time of writing the word ‘ezer could mean either “to save” (c-z-r) or “to be strong” (g-z-r).

The noun ‘ezer occurs 21x in the Hebrew Bible. In eight of those instances the term clearly means “savior.” These are easily identified because they occur in parallel texts. For example:

“I am completely destitute;
O God, hurry to my rescue (‘ezri)
You are my deliverer (mefalleti)
O Lord do not delay.

The context and especially the parallel term mefalleti make the meaning of ‘ezri clear. That is one who comes to the aid, saves or rescues (for other examples see Exodus 18.4; Hosea 13.9; Pss 20.2; 121.1, 2; 124.8; 146.5).

In other examples the root means “strength.” For example in Deuteronomy 33.26

There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
the Rider of the Sky in your strength (be ‘ezreka)
in the heavens in your majesty (ga’avah).

Just a few verses later we read

“Happy are you, Israel Who is like you,
A people delivered by the Lord,
the shield of your strength (‘ezreka)
and the sword of your majesty (ga’avah).

The conclusion of v.29 tells of the defeat of Israel’s enemies, a clear indication that ‘ezer in these examples means “strength.” Also in several of these examples the word is paralleled with the idea of majesty (see Pss 68.34 and 93.1)

The phrase in Deuteronomy 33.29 “The shield of your strength” must be compared to the phrase “the Lord is my strength and shield.” The juxtaposition of shield and strength suggest that the word (‘ezereka) juxtaposed with shield in Deuteronomy means “my strength” rather than “my savior.”

Thus, forms of ‘ezer in the Hebrew Bible can mean either “to save” or “to be strong” or have the idea of power and strength. In Genesis 2.18b, when God speaks of the one he is going to make he does not mean that he is forming one to be the Man’s “savior.” That makes no sense in the context. Rather, God creates this new creature to be, like the man, a power or strength, superior to the animals. This is, I believe the real meaning of the text.

Part Two

The second word in Genesis 2.18b is kenegdo. This word is a hapax legomenon, that is a word that appears in the Bible a single time. In post biblical Hebrew (i.e. the Mishnah) the term simply means “equal” as in the famous saying “The study of the torah is equal (keneged) to all the other commandments.”

In my view, and most contemporary scholars, there is simply no justification whatsoever for the rendering “fit.” Context figures into determining the meaning. When God creates Eve from Adam’s rib, his intent is that she will be different from the other animals, that is a strength or power that is like or equal to him. This is confirmed when the Man uses the idiomatic expression “this is bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh.” This phrase simply means the woman is “one of us”, or “just like us” or simply “equal.”

God solved the loneliness of the Man by giving him, not an assistant, but giving him an equal companion in the journey of life. God gave him a strength or power that is equal to him.

Thus while the NRSV retains the translation fossil of “helper” it gets it correct with the rendering of “partner.” Interestingly enough, the old Catholic Douay version captures the meaning of keneged too with the rendering of “like unto himself.”

Thus in the future we may find translations of Genesis 2.18b that look like this: “I will make a power (or strength) corresponding to the man.” Or “a power equal to man.” As was stated at the beginning of this mini-essay this translation is being forced upon scholars due to the information from cognate languages and the linguistics of how ‘ezer is actually used in the Hebrew Bible. This is the view that conservative, evangelical scholar, Walter C. Kaiser takes in his Hard Sayings of the Old Testament.

If this translation is accurate, and I believe it is, then what does Genesis 2.18 say to husbands . . . there are some men that may need to do some serious rethinking of their view of women in general and their own wife in particular. Women are not mere “helpers” or “assistants.” They are, rather, fully human that is “like unto” or “equal to” the man. This is why she is a good companion for him. The equally image God as any man.  This is significant for the whole Bible.

There is a wonderful article by R. David Freedman in Biblical Archaeology Review that explores the ancient near eastern background to these words (see Jan/Feb 1983, pp. 56-58)

Careful attention to the cotext (literary context) and the wider context (historical setting) can shed tremendous light on even those passages we think we have all figured out.

Shalom,
Bobby Valentine

32 Responses to “What Did God Say? Gen 2.1b & Man’s "Helper"”

  1. Steve Puckett Says:

    Good exegetical thoughts!

    I really like Sarah Sumner’s work on this topic, Men and Women in the Church: Building Consensus on Christian Leadership. I met her at the National Pastors Convention in San Diego. She is a very scholarly woman and peaceable in spirit.

    When this book was first recommended to me, I was excited to see what a scholarly Christian woman had to say about this topic, especially since I had pretty much only heard men’s opinions on the topic.

    Since I have two daughters, I have tried to pass along to them that they can do anything in the Kingdom that God calls them to do, no matter what the secular or church culture may tell them.

    I will look for your girls.

    Peace.

  2. Ben Overby Says:

    Excellent, Bobby. At Southern Crescent this past Sunday I talked a bit about Jesus refusing to be bullied by the fallen structures, including racism, nationalism, cultural elitism, legalism, antinomianism, and SEXISM. You see Him confront both racism and sexism in Jn 4, crossing barriers as much by his actions as by his words. That women are treated as less than equals is only further indication of a fallen world. And it’s a piece of the world that we’re called to help redeem, as complicated and dangerous as it is.

  3. Darin L. Hamm Says:

    Bobby,

    You are a scholar, a blessing to the church. You are so essential in the Kingdom.

    Thanks for your efforts and this site.

  4. Alan Says:

    Well said Bobby. I haven’t read anybody who defined the issue like this. I have always had trouble with the traditional view. It makes Jesus’ actions more understandable. It is time for Christians, rather than honor wealth and power, to work to remove oppression and work towards justice.

    As for the Brewers, I have always had a soft spot for them as they were afterall….the Seattle Pilots for a nearly 2 years even though they only played on the field 1. My mother was raised in Seattle and as a young lad living there for a couple of years the only baseball was Pacific Coast League…The Seattle Rainiers.

  5. Alan Says:

    PS…I am also old enough to remember the Milwaukee Braves.

  6. Todd Says:

    Wait a minute…this isn’t salvation talk! I’ve been hoodwinked!

    Great post nonetheless and thanks for the kind comments on my blog. I’m flattered that you visited as I have seen (though admittedly not read) your book. This will be remedied shortly, I assure you.

    I look forward to more!

  7. Todd Says:

    My initial comment was meant as a joke, though upon review it may be difficult to tell due to my irresponsible use of the word “nonetheless” in the second paragraph. I don’t feel cheated, mislead or deceived in anyway, I assure you!

  8. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Todd welcome to Stoned-Campbell. If you are looking for material regarding “salvation” then look at the following posts:

    David Lipscomb and James A. Harding, the Mission of Christ and the Renewed Earth

    Heaven is a Wonderful Place

    The Tenses of Salvation

    What Does It Mean to Be Saved?

    What Do We Mean by “Salvation?”

    And a few more.

    If you get our book let me know your reactions to it.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  9. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Darin your words are so gracious they are almost embarrassing! I ask that you remember me in your prayers.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  10. Heather Says:

    I read a book called Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. They cover this very issue in their book. They break down the text like you did.
    It is refreshing to know that there are other men in Christ that are seeing this too. God is opening up their eyes and breaking off that “tradition” in the Body of Christ.
    The book Captivating talks about how that satan has done all he can to make women inferior and to kill her off. To make her not be that crown jewel of creation like she is. She is that strength. A woman is a giver of life and a nurturer. Anyway, you would just have to get the book. It is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. (Besides the Bible, of course)
    Thanks for sharing what you have learned. =) God bless!

  11. Angie Says:

    Bobby, you sure know how to keep us on our toes. I’ve learned very quickly that I can’t come here to just skim over your blog… Your writing requires something of me, and I really dig that.

    It sure does take all kinds in the body of Christ… Just perusing blogs you can see such a diversity of gifts being displayed in some beautiful ways. And I’m glad there are “Bobby’s” out there… to do so well the things I’m lacking.

    Without the ability to delve that deeply into the nuances of language in scripture, I find it helpful to take a step back and look at the issue in the context of the heart of God that I see revealed throughout the word and in particular – in Jesus Christ. This is a much more subjective approach – which most aren’t comfortable with since we’ve run all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum to avoid attaching feeling to Scripture… But you know, God has always provided the kind of wisdom I’ve needed and the Holy Spirit has insured that it’s right on time…

    But I gotta say… reading your post is like sinking into an easy chair. It’s so comfortable to find gems in word studies done with the right heart. You give substantiate reasons for the need to take a fresh look at things, and I for one am thankful for that!

    And isn’t it quite frequently the subtleties that make all the difference?!

  12. Angie Says:

    Hello… proofread…

    “You give SUBSTANTIATIVE reasons for the need to take a fresh look at things, and I for one am thankful for that!”

    It’s past my bedtime….

  13. Tom Says:

    Of course the extreme feminist left will overreach and say your findings mean that women are superior, not equal, that man needed rescuing or saving. And then they will see in woman a messiah-like quality.

  14. John Roberts Says:

    Bobby – taking you up on your invitation to drop by sometime (I’ve actually been in your “neighborhood” many times!) Outstanding thoughts on women. You will be a footnote in one of my sermons soon.
    (Speaking of Luke – I’d love your insights – I’m not sure how to “compare notes”.)

  15. Danny Says:

    Bobby, you said “God solved the loneliness of the Man by giving him, not an assistant, but giving him an equal companion in the journey of life. God gave him a strength or power that is equal to him.”

    I could not agree more. I praise God daily for my wonderful wife who is more than equal to me in so many ways.

    BTW (and I am may be opening up the old proverbial “can of worms” tht you have not intended to pursue) But just yesterday I read an article by Charlotte Allen who is Catholicism editor for Beliefnet about some mainline US denominations in decline. She asserts that this is due- in part- to ordination of women into their clergy system. I found this interesting and just wonder if others read this and what they may think?

  16. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Danny,

    Welcome back from Eastern Europe. I appreciate and agree with your comments. I have, however, met a number of men who do not believe women are “created” equal. I had a discussion recently in which I was told that Men were created in the image of God and women were created in the image of man. When we start of with views like this it does not take long to imagine were they may go. Tom mentioned above that a radical Feminist may take this research and decide that women are “superior” to men. This is possible. I suppose my only reply to that would be that many men agree with the Feminist just the other way around.

    About Charolette Allen. I have not read her article. I do not believe that mainline churches are in decline because of female ordination. I do believe it has to do with theological liberalism though (and female ordination is not necessarily an indicator of such theological liberalism.).

    You were gone in Europe when I made my post on Huldah and would enjoy your reaction to it since you raised this subject (and I do think how one reads Gen 2.18 has certain implications on that wider issue). Here is a link to Huldah:

    http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com/2006/06/huldah-who-forgotten-ministry-of-lady.html

    I await your comment.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  17. Danny Says:

    Bobby,

    Ms. Allen made your point- in that-overall the decline of some mainline churches has been due to extreme liberal theology. She does seem to equate though some connection to this and ordaining women-possibly because many of these women have turned out to be strongly feminist and espouse a feminist theology.

    Anyway, I read your post on Huldah and as usual you eductated and informed me. For quite some time I have felt our attitudes toward women in the church has been shaped more by tradition than by Scripture. Personally I still am striving to find the balance of God’s will here. Like we tend to do so often we have approached this through extremes- and that is not healthy.

    Thanks for your emphasis here.

    BTW, I have been meaning to tell you that while on the plane going over I read your book. Great read. Harding and Lipscomb took me places I needed to go.

  18. Josh Stump Says:

    Bobby,

    Very interesting stuff. I appreciate your approach here and the depth of your digging into a very practical and often controversial subject.

    Here are a couple additional thoughts:

    It comes as no surprise that scholarship would reveal an interprtation of scripture that places women on equal footing with men. That is what we see consistently in the “teachings” though not the “stories” of scripture. Certainly, Jesus seems to go out of His way to make the point of women’s equality and in spite of men (and women) persistently ignoring that teaching, it is plain (I believe) that women and men are equal in the eyes of God in every sense that matters.

    That said, I think your post raises a few other things worth thinking about as well. First, is the notion that being a “helper” would make one inferior. I am reminded that so much of the Bible’s teaching is that those who serve are “superior” in the eyes of God. This is not at all to argue that the word “helper” is an appropriate translation, but rather that our own use of that word as some sort of argument that men are superior may say as much about our lack of understanding of the teachings of scripture and God’s will as it does about our sexist tendancies. It may, in fact, be easier to craft an argument based on scripture, that calling the woman a “helper” would actually make her superior to the man.

    I know that isn’t your point, but your post got me thinking that some of the problem is not so much the words used as the meaning our culture places upon them. Is a servant weak or strong? good or bad? In scripture it is the highest honor to serve, while in our culture it is a sign of failure and weakness.

    One can not help but wonder if this same view on what it means to be a helper when combined with the male desire to be dominant, may have also influenced the creation of the “fossil” that you identify.

    Sorry to go on and on, but there’s more.

    It also got me thinking that I think some of the male perspective of seeing women as inferior (among Christians), comes more from the way we see women presented in Biblical cultures and less from specific interpretations of text. In other words, when you read the Old Testemant, you see that for the most part, the leaders were men, the prophets were men, the primary agents of God were men and so in our tendancies to want to replicate what we see in scripture, I wonder if we don’t begin to buy into the idea that God desires to work primarily through men and women exist “merely” as helpers, but play an inferior or less vital role.

    For many reasons, I do not believe that to be the case, but I think an honest rebutal to the man who wants to believe that God sees women as second class citizens, must consider not only the choice of words in scripture, but must address the modern significance (if any) of the fact that the heros of faith that we know are, for the most part, men.

    Just my thoughts. Thanks for the post

  19. DJG Says:

    This post just got you added to my bloglines. Thanks, as a woman in the SC movement I have often felt like a second rate citizen.

    If you would like visit my other blog at http://www.dojogo.wordpress.com. Here we have a safe place to air some of our dissatisfaction as well as our dreams for the church we belong to.

  20. Dee O'Neil Andrews Says:

    Bobby –

    Thank you.

    I don’t have time tonight to further comment since I’m supposed to be packing to fly out to Abilene in the morning, but read this post last evening and again now and just had to add my 2 cents worth.

    I was married for nearly 24 years to someone (a cofC member) and was part of a “fellowship” for a good number of those years in which the vast majority of the men involved were highly chauvinistic and not only disparging toward women, but also sadistic (to be blunt).

    For that reason, and because of the many women I counseled later after becoming an attorney and practicing family law, I highly commend your post and thoughts.

    I’m very (extremely) happy to say that I am now married to a man who considers me completely his equal in all things. We have known each other for 27 years, have been “together” for 18 and married for 15 and he is still my biggest advocate and supporter. Would that all husbands be such “knights in shining armor” to their wives.

    I do not consider myself to be better than he is in any way, nor do I advocate women’s “supremacy,” nor have I ever been a strident feminist. I am a loving and (I hope) devoted wife and mother to my now grown children.

    So again, I say thank you. Your words are much needed among many men (including Christian) men I know.

    Dee Andrews

  21. Falantedios Says:

    Dear Bobby,
    Having chewed on your post, and the various comments herein, even more than I had when I posted elsewhere in response, I’m even more challenged and involved. I’m glad Josh Stump brought up the Divine Inversion of the human shame of servitude.

    Or, maybe more accurately put, the Human Inversion of the Divine Glory of service?

    I would think that the natural equality of male and female would be rooted in Gen 1:27, while their diversity and relationship are more clearly highlighted by chapter 2. I was reminded in an article recently that the conjunction ‘and’ attaches EQUALS to one another. That certainly seems the case in 1:27.

    I’m hungrily chewing on the text, praying to be changed by it.

    in HIS love,
    Nick

  22. Anonymous Says:

    I appreciate your comments and am thankful for the open heart and mind that you have.
    Thank you for seeing “us” as human beings.
    I have struggled my entire life trying to fit my understanding of God and His love for me, and what men in the church, my husband, and others have told me, expressed to me in action, and encouraged me to believe.
    It never “fit” for me, that a God who loves me would create me with the soul purpose of being 10 steps behind, silent, or a doormat.
    I believe He created us to be partners. To work together as a team. Our strengths complimenting each other.
    It has taken me a lifetime to realize that I actually have value and worth.
    Thank you again for challenging our thinking.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Another good post! I also like what Josh said about the honor attributed to being a servant.

    As a woman I have found myself in a secular position where I am in authority over men. However, for me it is a servant role to provide them with the training, tools, and encouragement that not only advances and matures them but that brings unity to our whole crew.

    The benefits to me are very rich, especially since I spent most of my life either running from men or trying to beat them up.

    In my limited time as a christian I have found that when I submit to that which is over me(Christ), God than takes that which is over me, and put’s it under me.

    A wise man will become rich when he submits and lifts up in love his pure bride, because than God takes that which is over him and put’s it under him. Now, what husband dosen’t want that?

  24. Phil Says:

    Bobby, this is a very good post both thoughtfully and exegetically. It does of course lead us to the next point in the subject of what Paul has to say about women and their roles within the church, society, and household.

    I hope you deal with this subject next.

  25. Laymond Says:

    Stoned, I have been reminded that man could not cope in this world alone, so God made him a savior and guide in the form of woman.
    bet you can’t guess who reminded me of this. ha 🙂

  26. MommyHAM Says:

    Ok – so I loved this post!

    I am falling more in love with this kind of study to get at the true meaning of words in scripture – I’m finally weaning from my infantile, milky take on Christianity and starting to take the Word in as meat! I didn’t grow up in the church, or go to a Christian college, so this exegetical stuff is all new!

    Awesome stuff here!

  27. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Thanks for the GREAT conversation going on here. We need to wrestle afresh with scripture, sometimes for the first time! Taking a conclusion for granted can be a dangerous thing.

    MommyHam we are delighted to have you join our dialogue. I hope you will become a regular.

    Shalom,
    Bobby Valentine

  28. Candle (C & L) Says:

    Thanks for these insights –I have for a long time had the personal view and experience that my relationship with Linda was “equal partnership” – but have struggled with the idea of “head & helper” –

    The Ephesians passage of “neither..male or female, etc.has shaped my “personal theology” more than the “head over the woman” and “women not toteach” passages that have been emphasized in my upbringing in the church” — at this point my view has been that we fail too often to make the disctinction between “rank” (superior/inferior) and “role” (a different job to do but a job of equal value and importance in God’s eyes”). I have however, been conflicted by the apparent “contradictions” between some of these passages. This study helps remove some of that conflict.

    On another vein, while I grew up in thechurch I did not (same boat as as mommyham) go to a Christian college.It has only been in the past 10 years that I’ve tried to “go backto the basics” and re-examine the Biblical basis for my beliefs andto try to reconcilewhat I had taught withmyobservationsand experience with people from other “theological” positions who seemed more spirit filled and Godly than many in my “fellowship.

    I worked in my career with “change management” and one of thethings I learned was to make a substantial change in thinking (or behavior) requires first “unfreezing” then a “fluid shifting’ ( kind of like a ship being driven in a storm”) until you find a new spot and then a re-freezing.I see a Biblical basis for this process in the statements on the one hand that we should be firm in our convictions and not like a ship tossed to andfro — vs. the Hebrews passase of moving from the milk to the meetand the Galatians & I Peter passages which speak to ongoing transformation in our lives.

    I findmyself to be a curious mixture of “solid ground” -I’m more convinced than ever that God IS,that Jesus is his son who came to earth to die for my sins, and that the Bible is the definitive source of understanding what God wants from me in this life.

    However, (almost) 50 years after after being baptized one (summer) evening in a small lake in Northern Ontario, I am afloat on a raging sea in terms of my understanding and commitment to many of the things that I was taught and believed over a lifetime of Bible study.

    God Bless you for your contribution’s to this stormy journey — and I’m praying for a”cold snap” to “refreeze” some of these things so I can move on in other areas.

    Charlie

  29. Alan Says:

    I am a little late to the party on this thread… But I wanted to add this from 1 Cor 11:

    1Co 11:8-11 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

    I think that puts both sides of the question in proper perspective. The New Testament is a great source of interpretation for the Old.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this excellent – and long overdue – portion of biblical exegesis. A welcome breath of fresh air.

  32. Profile photo of Paula Robbins Paula Robbins Says:

    Bobby, I discovered this post today, shared by Patrick Mead on his Facebook page. I am intrigued by the possible meanings of the words commonly translated “help meet”. I also wonder if the issue is the “fossil” translations or what we choose to believe about the meaning of those words. I’ve been exposed to those who believe that women are inherently inferior all my life, and never could see how they got that idea from the Bible. I think it more likely that nurturing, serving and supporting are viewed as inferior roles because of how far we all are from what God values. And women can be as guilty of this as men. This attitude permeates society. We have ample proof that women can excel as doctors, lawyers, government officials, CEO’s and Indian chiefs. But that doesn’t explain why we value the CEO over the janitor. And yes, I understand the logic of more compensation for more training, responsibility, etc., but I’m talking about what we admire and respect. We admire power, status, money, athletic and other highly specialized skills and entertainment value. The people who effectively support, encourage, nurture and serve get much less admiration and compensation for their efforts. And yes, I’m speaking generally; I know there are exceptions to this.
    So are we looking at the chicken or the egg? Are these “feminine” qualities not respected and rewarded because they have traditionally been associated with women or because they aren’t very appealing to our carnal nature? Is what we see as sexism a symptom of more fundamental sins? If so, reversing sexism is going to present a particularly difficult challenge. It’s ineffective to eliminate a symptom without treating the disease.
    Sorry to ramble on so. This subject has been on my heart lately, as my 19 year old daughter is having some serious questions and struggles with this issue.
    Admitting that our translations, or our understanding of the words, have possibly been off base, I still believe the scriptures indicate that God designed men and women to be different and to have somewhat different roles in the family and in His family, the church. I also believe that those roles are much more flexible and open than how they’ve been traditionally defined in the Churches of Christ. God has, at least on occasion, used women in leadership roles. But although Jesus had women among his disciples, none of them were in his inner circle (the twelve) nor did they appear to take a public leadership role at the inception of the church. I could dismiss this as a cultural necessity if not for statements like I Corinthians 11:8-11 which seems to refer to an eternal principle.
    So, I am left a bit bewildered by all this. I am willing to accept any restrictions God would place on me, but also dread the thought of our fellowship becoming a “fossil” along with misunderstandings to which we’re so devoted.
    So I’ll be interested to follow the discussions, praying that God will guide us all into His will. And I promise to try to keep any future comments more brief.

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