Archive for September, 2013

What Does “Saved In Childbearing” Mean?

September 28, 2013

I Timothy 2:11-12,15 reads “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. … Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

What does the text mean when it says she (the woman) shall be “saved in childbearing”?

First of all “the/a woman” in verses 11 and 12 does not refer to a particular woman but to the general class of women (like the term “the black bear” in “the black bear is indigenous to the Smoky Mountains”). This is verified when verse 15 uses a plural pronoun “they” to refer back to its antecedent “she.” “They” (being plural) would refer back to a group of women, not just one single woman. So “she” in verse 15 refers to women in general, not to any specific woman.

Next, the word “saved” here would refer to the spiritual salvation of the woman as it is contingent upon her living in faith, charity, and holiness. These qualities are certainly conditions of spiritual salvation, but not necessarily linked to physical salvation of any kind. For example, a person can be tortured to death for their faith even if they have all these qualities.

So how is a woman’s spiritual salvation linked to childbearing? It certainly isn’t because a woman has to give birth to a child to be saved; passages like I Corinthians 7:8-9 reveal that a woman can be saved just fine, even without ever getting married. No, the answer is that “childbearing,” a typical function of the woman not the man, is being used as a synecdoche (a part) standing for the whole role of the woman. The context bears that out as verses 11-14 detail a central function of the woman’s role – submission to man (and the reason for that).

“Notwithstanding” which begins verse 15 in the KJV is a key word connecting back to what was just said. So the point of the text is simply this: a woman must take a submissive role to man, “notwithstanding” (even so), she can still be saved in heaven anyway, but only if she lives the same way any other Christian has to live to be saved – continuing in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Preaching The Whole Counsel – Acts 20:27

September 20, 2013

I read somewhere recently that a survey was taken at the Southern Baptist Convention and two-thirds of their preachers had never addressed in their teaching the “divorce and remarriage” topic referenced by a number of Biblical texts (like I Cor 7:10). I wonder what the reason for this is?

Is it because there are so many adulterous marriages (according to passages like Matthew 19:9) that many Baptist churches have given up the fight against such? Matt 7:14 predicted that few would be willing to follow the “strait … and narrow … way.”

Perhaps it is because preachers (of all type churches) have a tendency to try to remain popular by preaching what their audiences want to hear (II Tim 4:3)? Believers with “itching ears” will demand that their preachers cater to their itch.

Are many preachers succumbing to the temptation to leave off teaching on the “touchy” subjects because they are afraid their salary will be cut (Rom 16:17-18)? There is an old saying that there are no touchy subjects, only touchy people.

There is no way for us to know the reason in any specific case (since we cannot read a person’s mind) and maybe it is a combination of all of the above reasons, but a lesson we can learn as Christians is that all Bible issues should be dealt with (Matt 4:4b). No question should be off limits (Ezek 3:18). Limiting our teaching to what our audiences already agree with (even if we have reasons for such) really defeats the whole purpose for Bible study – seeking the truth (Matt 7:7). Remember – only the truth will set us free from sin (John 8:32).

James 5:12 Absolutely Forbids All Swearing

September 13, 2013

James 5:12 is another verse that unequivocally forbids ALL swearing. It reads “… my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay.”

I suppose those who allow swearing wish the verse read like this instead: Swear seldom, but not by heaven, not by the earth, neither by any other frivolous oath: and make and keep solemn oaths.

Suppose a mother commanded her children – watch no TV today, not Andy Griffith, not Sunday Night Football, nor any other program; just pass the time by reading a book. Do you think she would mean it is okay to watch Hogan’s Heroes?

If God had wanted to say we were never to swear, not even in a court of law, please tell us how He could have said it more definitively than the way Matthew 5:34 and James 5:12 express it?

Any line of reasoning on Matt 5:20-48 (or elsewhere) that leads to saying it is okay to swear today must be an unsound line of reasoning. Matt 5:34 and James 5:12 are unequivocal on this point – “swear not at all” and “swear not … by any … oath.”

Some Infallibility !

September 6, 2013

The following is a quote from the August 25, 1997 issue of Newsweek: This week a large box shipped from California and addressed to ‘His Holiness, John Paul II’ will arrive at the Vatican. The shipping label lists a dozen countries – from every continent but Antarctica – plus a number, 40,383, indicating the quantity of signatures inside. Each signature is attached to a petition asking the pope to exercise the power of papal infallibility to proclaim a new dogma of the Roman Catholic faith: that the Virgin Mary is ‘Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate for the People of God.’ Such a move would elevate Mary’s status dramatically beyond what most Christians profess. But in the last four years, the pope has received 4,340,429 signatures from 157 countries – an average of 100,000 a month – supporting the proposed dogma. Among the notable supporters are Mother Teresa of Calcutta, nearly 500 bishops and 42 cardinals, including John O’Connor of New York, Joseph Glemp of Poland, and half a dozen cardinals at the Vatican itself.

My question is this: If these infallible pronouncements are from God Himself, how could lobbying the Pope influence the process?

Read passages like II Timothy 3:16-17 to see that the scriptures are our sole authority in religion.