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October 1977 · Vol. 6 No. 4 · pp. 20–21 

Response to Howard Loewen

Response to “The Pauline View of Women” by Howard J. Loewen 6/4 (1977): 3–20.

David Bergen

We follow with interest the opening thesis and the study of the scripture passages which follow. The texts are very well dealt with. Especially the text of 1 Cor. 11 where the long and short of it among students has often been that the text is totally irrelevant for our day. It is also commendable that Loewen deals with the issue of the exercise of gifts by women in the Church context. That the texts indicate that women in the NT Church prayed and prophesied should have been obvious to many or all of us long ago. There is an equality of men and women in Jesus Christ which is not found in any society of history either secular or religious in the past or in the present. I find myself in agreement with the main thrust of the paper and commend the writer for this fine work.

The fact that women can exercise their gifts of the Spirit together with men is an emphasis and interpretation that is needed not so much because of the movements in society but because it is a teaching of Scripture. It is amazing that in our M.B. history of over one hundred years we have not (at least to my knowledge) taught this much more clearly.

There is, however, one issue I wish to raise. We read in the conclusion, “Although the NT Church itself in no way reached the ideal inherent in its message, its teaching clearly points in one direction . . . the Pauline Woman provides for us an image of a full fledged co-worker in the body of Christ.” Does this mean that there {21} are no restrictions? Are all areas of church work open to women? The paper indicates that there are no restrictions.

Does the N.T. indicate that there is some difference in role and function of women and men even though they all receive spiritual gifts and may exercise them in the context of the gathered body of believers?

In regard to this question we need to look at the following texts once again: Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the Church.” 1 Cor. 11:3, “The man is the head of the woman.” This latter text is dealt with, but is it sufficient to say that “head” has only the meaning of source or origin? 2 Cor. 11:9 states, “The woman is made for man not man for woman,” and 1 Tim. 2:12 says, “I do not allow a woman to exercise authority over a man.”

In this connection I believe Romans 5:12 is relevant, “Just as through one man sin entered into the World,” and also 1 Cor. 15:22, “As in Adam all die.” Why is not the blame for sin placed on Eve, the woman?

Does it not suggest that man, the male, is more than the origin of woman and has a leadership responsibility that has not been given to the woman? This is the main issue that I believe needs further discussion in light of the conclusions reached in the present paper.

David Bergen teaches Bible and Theology at Bethany Bible Institute, Hepburn, Saskatchewan.

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