Christianity Today has an article on the recent Proposition 8 ruling that includes many different evangelical voices. Here is my response:
The ruling shows that as Christians, we should not look for a political solution to the crisis surrounding marriage and the family in our culture. The only true and lasting solution is found in a return to our spiritual foundations. The Bible makes clear that marriage is God’s idea rather than a social contract that we are free to renegotiate based on changing social trends. But we can’t expect the unbelieving world or any government or... Read More
My findings regarding the syntax of 1 Timothy 2:12 in the first edition of Women in the Church were widely accepted even among feminist scholars (though, of course, they still don’t agree with the book’s overall thrust on other grounds). There has been a recent exception, though, in the case of Philip Payne, who recently published an article in the journal New Testament Studies. In my 1995 essay in the first edition, I provided a thorough critique of Payne’s earlier unpublished 1988 paper on the subject. Now Payne, in turn, has responded to my study, claiming that 9 of the 100... Read More
This blog was originally written for inclusion in the Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization, 4 vols., ed. G. Kurian (Blackwell).
Monogamy (from Gr. monos, “one,” and gamos, “marriage”) refers to marriage to one marriage partner. Monogamy is firmly embedded in the Old Testament teaching regarding God’s plan for marriage. According to Gen. 2:24, “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This clearly stipulates a heterosexual, monogamous relationship as the norm for God’s people across both covenant periods.
After... Read More
The Book of Proverbs wisely counsels, “Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own” (Prov 26:17). For this reason (if no other) I am reluctant to enter into the fray by offering some reflections of my own on the recent interchange between David Instone-Brewer and John Piper (or, more accurately put, on Instone-Brewer’s CT article and Piper’s response to it on his blog). Yet with some trepidation I will do so nonetheless, not in order to engage directly with one or the other of these individuals (both of whom I know personally and... Read More
Would you say that you have a good marriage? Some of you might answer this question in the affirmative (hopefully your spouse would, too); others might acknowledge that there remains a lot of work to do before you would claim to have a good marriage.
But why aspire to having a good marriage in any case? Just to be able to feel good about having a good marriage? And what does it mean to have a “good marriage”? When is a marriage a good marriage? If it is better than most other marriages of the people we know?
I submit to you that “Do you have a good marriage?” is the wrong... Read More
In our book God, Marriage & Family we state that marriage is a covenant, in fact, even more than a covenant. We also note that marriage is a divine institution with covenantal features.
Some who hold to a “no divorce, no remarriage” view have objected to this categorization since it falls short of affirming the indissolubility of marriage under all circumstances as their view requires. They characterize marriage as a “covenant in which God participates” and presuppose that Old Testament covenants such as the Abrahamic covenant are paradigmatic for the husband-wife... Read More
Before returning to the important kingdom business of changing diapers, Debbie Maken has, in her own words, endeavored to “dissect” my reply in my previous post. As we will see, “dissect” my reply she did, but very selectively, and in many places misleadingly.
The opening salvo is that I and those in my “camp” (?) are “talk[ing] out of both sides of” our mouths. This is a surprisingly inflammatory way to start her critique, especially in light of her previous post objecting to my tone. Is this the tone she wants to use to model proper discourse? As to the substance of her... Read More
“30 and Single? It’s Your Own Fault”—a Christianity Today review summarizes the message, at least in part, of a controversial book, Getting Serious About Getting Married: Rethinking the Gift of Singleness, by Debbie Maken. The author herself got serious about getting married at age 28, signed up with a Christian web agency, and shortly thereafter entered marital bliss. Maken’s contention, however, that women who are in their late 20s or in their 30s and still unmarried have only themselves to blame for listening to erroneous evangelical teaching on the subject has created quite a... Read More
You’ve heard it said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Well, the same is true with regard to scholarship. Those who are unaware of the most recent scholarly work on a given issue will be greatly handicapped in discussions of that issue. This is true, among other things, regarding the proper interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12.
In our book Women in the Church, originally published in 1995, my collaborators and I set forth the proposal that the passage means exactly what it says—imagine that!—which is, Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or have... Read More
The opening chapters of Genesis narrate God’s creation first of Adam, then of Eve from and for Adam as his “suitable helper” (Gen. 2:18, 20). The notion of Adam’s “headship,” that is, his position of ultimate responsibility and authority for his marriage and family, is supported by a series of factors:
Adam’s creation prior to the woman
Adam’s naming of the animals prior to the creation of Eve
Adam’s naming of Eve subsequent to God’s creation of her
God’s holding Adam—not Eve—responsible for his and Eve’s sin even though Eve had sinned first
the woman’s... Read More
In 1995, Tom Schreiner, H. S. Baldwin, and I edited the book Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 (now out in a 2d edition ). The focus of the book is a thorough exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:12, where Paul says he does not permit women to teach or have authority over a man in the Church. Subsequent to the release of the book, when I participated in forums on the “women’s issue,” the question invariably came up what I thought 1 Timothy 2:15 meant. At that time, my honest answer was, “I don’t know,” because I hadn’t studied the passage in depth... Read More