A quite tardy reply here.
Don’t you think that there were freedom-lovin’ Jews in Jesus’ time, who would have had a slew of retorts to the notion that they should put extra time and sweat into supporting a government that they loathed?
Yes, Jesus took one of those "freedom-lovin' Jews" named Simon (the Zealot) into His group of twelve apostles along with Matthew the publican, who we might expect that Simon, previous to meeting Jesus, would have been glad to kill. He learned better from Jesus. Amazing! Who would have thought to put those two on the same team?
“The Real World: Galilee.
Remember that the seminal point in the discussion was not that Jews should be generous helpers – it was “do not oppose an evil person.”
I think you are in error here; I understand this instruction to be primarily about how we are to react to persecution. I think Matthew 5:41 is more in line with 5:42:
Matthew 5:41-42 (New King James Version)
41. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
I think I am not in error here. Please note the recurring structure of the chapter: topical segments are introduced with the phrase “You have heard that it was said
.” Taking this structure into account, discussion of “going the extra mile” falls within the topical segment of vv. 38-41.
You also may note that the “extra mile” follows the same pattern as the preceding cases of maltreatment: the sufferer is not only to refrain from retaliation, but to thrust themselves further upon the sword, as it were. The struck person offers their cheek for another blow; the uncloaked person surrenders their tunic as well; and the drudge goes the extra mile.
The diction of v. 41 sheds further light upon the matter: the term which your NKJV renders as “compels
” refers to drafting somebody into service. The same term is used in Matthew
27:32 and Mark
15:21, referring to the drafting of Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross. This was not a matter of answering a request for help; the draftee could fear serious repercussions if they dared to refuse to serve. But for Jews, this sort of service would have been particularly distasteful; freedom/non-servitude is an important element in Jewish religion.
When we look at v. 42, though, we find no additional thrust upon the sword; furthermore, we find no maltreatment – only entreatment. The verse may be a secondary interpolation, or it may be a tangential foray. But in either case, it does not overshadow the clear correlation of v. 41 with the preceding verses.
One of our nieces suffered greatly before her death just over a year ago. She was a good Christian woman. Her husband went bad - very bad. He was imprisoned for a horrible crime against another relative, for which our niece legitmately divorced him. She had three teenagers at home at the time, yet, due to our liberal feminist ideas and laws that now exist, in the divorce settlement her husband got half of everything, with nothing deducted from his half to help support their children. Prior to the Nixon administration, she would have gotten everything.
I have no problem with women working at what might be considered "men's" work. ... What I have a problem with is women demanding equality in the workplace when they are not actually equally able to do the work. The man I mentioned previously who resigned from LAPD told of a female officer who tried to get a man to sign a ticket. He overpowered her, handcuffed her to her patrol car, stripped her to the waist, and left her there by the freeway. She should have never been placed in that role in my opinion.
Supporters of any social position may adduce a number of sob stories to plead their point. But your vignettes do not establish that an egalitarian outlook is unfounded.
In the first case, we are not privy to the legal wranglings that yielded your niece’s situation. And it is not my concern to validate American family law. But gender should be irrelevant in the resolution of such a case. If the roles were reversed, should the offending wife enjoy legal advantage over an innocent husband? Of course not. So the issue is not that the genders should be treated inequitably.
In the second case, we are not privy to particular details about the situation. But the issue appears to be that we had an officer who was physically weaker than the offender. This is not inherently a gender issue. Some women are physically weaker than some men, and some men are physically weaker than some women.
Now, you have expressed “hav[ing] a problem with ... women demanding equality in the workplace when they are not actually equally able to do the work
.” This is not necessarily a problem with egalitarianism; it is a problem with a particular tactic in the pursuit of egalitarianism.
But what if we invert the equation? Do you have “no problem with women working at what might be considered "men's" work
” so long as they are “actually equally able to do the work
”? If so, then we may loop back to our root topic of discussion: if a woman is able to teach with an equal ability to a man, then what problem do you have with her doing so?
You do not seem to realize that Christianity teaches a reciprocal submission, with the husband arguably getting the hardest part, that is, his model is Christ who gave up his life for His bride. And historically men have labored to support their families in jobs that were dangerous, and prior to OSHA, claimed many more lives than today. Consider the great many who have died mining coal. I wince when I look at old pictures of men in factories, working around unguarded machinery. And I can scarcely believe the dangerous things I did at work when I was young - things that were considered routine. And I would have never put my wife in that position.
Chivalrous of you, perhaps. But men are not less deserving of safety than women.
You can make soothing comments to your heart’s content. In my upbringing, I had family members who held Southern sympathies, and I heard soothing comments about slavery growing up.
Somebody could plead: Northerners do not seem to realize that some Southerners took good care of their slaves. Slaveowners had to manage heavy responsibilities that slaves simply were not equal to, and they protected them from the challenges of life out in the free world. Hey, some slaves were happy in their circumstances and did not want to be freed.
There are some constituencies where those sorts of apologetics would still be well-received. But there are other constituencies where they would cut no ice whatsoever. Indeed, the very attempt to make such soothing comments would be quite offensive to many persons. (Let’s keep that in mind for now, and we will touch on the issue of giving offense
in a bit.)
But your remarks about what “Christianity teaches
” loop us back to our question of interpretation – are Paul’s comments on the order of the family to be properly understood as universal, or as for his own time and place?
When David was king of Israel, no doubt he issued a great many edicts. Now, it would be one thing to assert that David’s mandates were valid and that his subjects had a sacred responsibility to follow them during his reign. But it would be another thing to assert that all subsequent kings and their subjects would be beholden to those mandates after David’s passing.
David’s situation was remarkably different than that of his successors. To cite one key example: David faced military challenges from relatively petty powers; but his later successors faced military challenges from huge empires. If David had authored an authoritative manual on military engagement for his time – and even enjoyed the guidance of the holy spirit in doing so – would it be proper to impose that manual on the military leadership of all later generations – including the IDF?
So in parallel – it is one thing to assert that the apostles gave valid mandates and that their adherents had a sacred responsibility to follow them during their ministry. But it is another thing to assert that all subsequent generations are beholden to those mandates after the apostles’ passing.
I vividly remember a column written by the Pulitzer-prize winning columnist regarding the benefit children get from the complementary roles of mothers and fathers. He wrote of observing their reactions on the playground when their child was hurt on play equipment. The mother was quick to sympathize with the pain suffered and to comfort the child while the husband encouraged the child to dust off, get up, and try again. Children are shortchanged if the parents both fill the same role. If that is the case, one of them is redundant. And God, in His infinite wisdom, has recognized that truth in all of life, and certainly in the church.
I have never won a Pulitzer-prize. But I have spent years working with children and caregivers. Not terribly long ago, a child in my care related (without my solicitation) an anecdote about how she had bloodied her nose, and her mother got her right back into activity. Some caregivers react to emergencies in one way, and some in another. There may be reactive tendencies within each gender (for whatever reasons), but one will find a range of reactions amongst members of each gender.
Now, it can be a benefit to a child if their parents have different sorts of personalities. But a child is not “shortchanged
” if they have two well-balanced parents who are each capable of being sympathetic and comforting to a due extent, and capable of prodding to a due extent. Even if two parents are very similar in personality, it is advantageous for a child to have both of them, because (broadly speaking) four hands are better than two.
Your fallacy is to fill roles with classes of people, rather than with individual persons who are well-suited to them. If a child needs comforting, they do not need a woman – they need a comforter. If a victim needs encouraging, they do not need a man – they need an encourager. And if a naïf
needs a teacher, they do not need a man – they need a teacher.
Now, ancient societies often chose to fill roles with classes of people. And Paul lived in that sort of ancient context. It was a concern of Paul’s not to make unnecessary waves in his context: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all
.” But we live in a different societal context. Would Paul have sought to make waves, and give offense
and potentially alienate the lost, by muzzling able women in the present-day church? Or would he have been “all things to all people
,” and flexible toward the current social sensibility?
The "strawman" issue to me is that Danny took the example of slavery, which he knew most people would find repugnant, and pretended an analogy to the role of women in the church. His argument went something like this:
1. Slavery in the history of the United States was evil.
2. "Christian" slaveowners quoted scripture to support their practice.
3. They claimed there were no scriptures forbidding the practice of slavery.
4. However the entire spirit of the New Testament points to equality.
5. This spirit of equality is not found in a proof text, but is found everywhere.
6. Reasoning allows one to see the bigger picture.
7. My position is analogous to that of slaveowners, therefore it ought to be obvious that I am wrong.
I deny there is any analogy between slavery and the role of women in the church, especially in light of the position both men and women have in the church as servants of the same Master. We just have different roles, as in all of life.
Danny was comparing slave owners who assumed a position and then asked for scriptures forbidding, or negating, their position, to the complementarian position regarding the role of women in the church. I am seeking the truth and correction if I am in error by asking for any scriptural statement(s) affirming a positon contrary to my past position, which appears to be plainly stated in the scriptures.
Thank you for your explanation.
I cannot speak for Danny, of course. And my own outlook is probably substantially different from his. But his analogy is not quite a “strawman
Danny has compared two situations where a particularist approach may be counterposed against a generalist approach. You and the slaveholders have looked at particular details in the text and considered them to have prevailing significance. Other parties would look at more general themes in the text, and consider them to have prevailing significance.
Now, you may complain about precise elements of this analogy – as a particularist is wont to do. But you have not been particular enough in your own scrutiny. Danny did not only refer to “slave owners who assumed a position and then asked for scriptures forbidding, or negating, their position
.” Danny also wrote: “They quoted Eph. 6:5-8, Titus 2:9-10 and Col. 3:22-24.
” In these references, slaves are told to be subordinate to their masters, heeding their masters with fear and trembling and singleness of heart, even as they would Christ. So the slaveowners were not only asking for proof of forbiddance; they also had plain statements to undergird their current practice.
Now, one might draw a distinction between your heart and those of some slaveowners: you might be open to correction, whereas some of them might not have been. But Danny was drawing an analogy between your methodologies
. They argued from particular elements over against general themes – as do you.
Egalitarianism is being promoted everywhere in secular life. We have seen a great push for equality in sports for young men and women, and it is the law. I was informed 15 to 20 years ago by a professional trainer who had been employed by a major university about his concern for the damage girls were doing to their bodies that he felt was caused by their natural body structure. More recently there was an article (New York Times, as I recall) telling of the far higher proportion of girls who were suffering major knee damage in sports, confirming what the trainer had long ago observed.
Equality in funding
for sports is the law. Society in general does not expect women to field the same physical performance as men. There generally are men’s and women’s divisions within sports.
As for physical damage wrought by sports – this is not limited to the feminine gender by any means. The root problem is a warped approach to athleticism in some segments of our society. Too many persons are striving too hard for competitive success, when a more appropriate – and more genuine – measure of athletic success would be a healthy realization of one’s personal athletic potential, irrespective of another’s performance.
A Christian man I have known for many years was a trainer in the Los Angeles Police Department who retired several years ago because he was ordered to pass women candidates who failed the qualification tests. And I would ask for an honest answer: who would be equally satified if their life was threatened and in response to a call for help a woman officer showed up rather than a man?
Can she shoot straight?
What if their life were threatened, and in response to a call for help a 5’4” officer showed up rather than a 6’0” officer? Who cares – so long as the officer can handle the situation?
Israel is the only country worldwide that requires military service from citizens of both genders. Women can serve in 90% of positions within the IDF, including ten combat positions. One combat battalion, the Caracal, is comprised of 70% women, who undergo demanding physical training and pursue weapons specialization. And about one out of four officers in the IDF are women.
Now, I suppose that the IDF has some concern for military efficacy. Would it tolerate basing one-third of its “manpower” (ha!)
upon women, if it considered them to be an inherent liability? Would it deploy a combat battalion that fields twice as many women as men? And I ask for an honest answer: if you were in a predicament, and an all-female unit from the Caracal battalion happened to show up, would you ask them to scurry along and find some “real soldier-men”?
My wife and I are not young, and a lifetime of observation has convinced both of us that men and women are generally different in non-physical characteristics, as the columnist William Raspberry observed.
Myself, I am not yet fifty years old.
Persons of varying ethnic backgrounds are generally different in non-physical characteristics, too. Likewise for persons of different ages, or different financial means, or different levels of education. We could come up with hundreds of little corrals for people, based upon general tendencies that might or might not have any material bearing upon their personal fitness for a role. Or we could seriously consider the fitness or unfitness of a person, without presumption. Which approach seems more responsible to you?