About Jack Davidson

I currently serve as Senior Pastor of Alhambra True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, California. Before moving to Los Angeles, I served churches in Oregon and North Carolina. I have also taught courses on Christianity and American Religion at the university level. My Ph.D (Religious Studies, Trinity Saint David, University of Wales, 2011) concentrates on the Bible and slavery controversy in 19th Century America. In addition to my dissertation, I have written numerous papers on the topic. Most recently, my article - "Slavery" - was published in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics. I currently live in NELA (Northeast Los Angeles). I enjoy reading, playing bass in a local band, talking about the Bible with anyone, listening to my wife, Michelle, play her viola, movies, and spin class.

Racing to the Empty Tomb

Race to the Tomb peters-face

In his painting of Peter and John racing to the tomb (John 20:3-10), Eugene Burnand (1850-1921), captures their determination and urgency. I see in this painting not only these two historical figures, but also the church, even our own fellowship. In the close-up, Peter is wide-eyed and his brow is furrowed. His mind is at work as he hurries along, perhaps thinking about all that has happened and now he has heard this report about an empty tomb. He looks worried to me, but soon that worry will gave way to wonder! The women- Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome are told by the young man (presumably, an angel) to go, tell His disciples and Peter (Mark 16:1-7). We might even read it …the disciples especially Peter. Just a few days before, Peter had denied that he even knew Jesus (Mark 14:66-72). These are the ones who cannot stay awake and watch with Him in Gethsemene. These are the ones who deserted Him. They let Him down. They were not there when He needed them. They were weak when they should have been strong. They were cowards when they should have been courageous. And Jesus wants them to know that He is risen! And now they are hurrying.

It is important for us to be quiet and still before God because His grace contains all the power we need for living (Ps.37:7, 46:10, 2Peter1:2-3), and there are times, too, we are hurrying along. And, figuratively speaking, the Scriptures call us to be in a “hurry.” In Titus 2:14 we are told that Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good! Whether you are rushing to worship or to work or some appointment – I hope wherever you are going – you are inspired by the same news that caused John and Peter to race to the tomb, so that however weak you have been, however much this world has made you a coward, you might experience His strength and courage and know that such character and even more  is now ours through faith. And may all your worries – by His grace –  give way to wonder! Jesus wants you to know that He is risen!

Palm Sunday: Laying it Down for Jesus Christ, the Son of David

Many people spread their cloaks on the road while others spread branches … Mark 11:8

Palm Sunday- Lippo Memmi. JPG

The origin of Palm Sunday in the tradition of the church goes back to 4th century Jerusalem. People would gather at the Mount of Olives in early afternoon on the Sunday before Easter. At about five o’clock the passage of the gospel telling of Jesus’ entry would be read. A processional into the city would begin, and people with palm or olive branches would wave them as they walked.

Jesus approached Jerusalem by way of Bethany and Bethphage (Mark 11:1). Bethany was about two miles from Jerusalem. The exact location of Bethphage is not known but it must have been even closer. He sent two disciples there to get a “colt,” a term used in biblical and other ancient literature to describe the colt of a donkey. Matthew’s account tells us that both the colt and the colt’s mother were brought (Matthew 21:7).

The action of the crowd is described as completely spontaneous. Lippo Memmi (1291-1356), an Italian painter, is one of the artists whose work adorns the Collegiate Church of San Gimignano in Tuscany, Italy. In his artistic tradition (seen above) the figures are somewhat static. In his presentation of these events, everything sort of seems like it has stopped and everyone looks so still -except the one person who steps in front and is placing his robe on the ground. He makes it just in time! His huge cloak falls into place precisely at the moment when donkey’s hoof will touch it. Here, as in 2Kings 9:13, the laying down of cloaks signifies submission to royalty.

Because of what God has done for in Jesus, the Apostle Paul calls upon us to lay down our lives as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). When God sends forth His Spirit into our hearts that is what we should want to do! People all over the world are coming to know His power, and they want to submit to Him. They are laying down their lives in submission to the King of kings. He is coming! Want to join them? The celebration is about to start. Hurry! You’ll make it just in time.

 

 

Lent and the Grace of God

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. … Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me. Psalm 51:1-3,9-10

Honesty about our condition is the beginning of blessing. The words of David prayer – For I know my transgressions – remind us that reflection is an indispensable part of a Spirit-filled life. We are a people of joy but, like David, our joy has God’s grace and pardon in Jesus Christ as a backstory. If we accept God’s grace, we are acknowledging our ongoing need of it. As one who sought and experienced God’s grace, David tells us in Psalm 51:17, that a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  

The season of Lent is a time to contemplate the pardoning grace of God and our need of it. The church calendar marks the sacred seasons and times for believers worldwide, reminding us of God’s marvelous redemptive work in our history. It adopts the chronology given in the book of Acts with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover feast. Of course, the months and dates associated with all of the seasons and events on the church calendar, like December 25th for the birth of Jesus, are not the actual dates in history, but we know they did happen! The dates are commemorative.

As evangelicals, I believe there is great value in recovering aspects of our larger Christian tradition as a means to reflection and critique in order to help us refocus on genuine Christian spirituality in our increasingly secularized culture. Renew a right spirit in us, O God!

Birthplace

The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.”  Psalm 87:6-7

 No matter where you were born, when you are born again in Jesus, God issues a new birth certificate: born in Zion.  Zion is often used in the Scriptures to point us beyond earth to heaven – “the Jerusalem that is above” Paul calls it in Galatians 4:26. The idea in the words of the Psalm seems to be that no matter where you were born or how connected you might be to your birthplace or any other place, or what your previous associations were, your place now is with Him and His family. Your “citizenship is in heaven” Paul says in Philippians 3:20.

The crowds celebrated in the earthly Jerusalem with singing and dancing. For them Zion was a place of “fountains” because their God was “the spring of living water” (Jer.2:13). Jesus tells us in John 8:37-38, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
 Isaiah 55:1 says, “Everybody who is thirsty, come”!
All week long the devil, the world, and our own flesh use every deception and device, trying to quench a thirst that only Jesus Christ can slake. In the true worship of Him, the world’s river of lies is washed away by the River of Life. I don’t how this week or today have gone for you, but never forget WHO YOU ARE and WHO HE IS. The only way to get ready to “make music” is by hearing the music of His grace.

Resurrection – the Debt is Paid!

 
 
 Jesus said to her, “Woman why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away. Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned to Him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). John 20:15-16
It is one of those mysterious things in life that we can often recognize someone we haven’t seen in a long time when they speak our name. Perhaps it was the way Jesus said her name that caused her to recognize Him. Jesus rose from the dead, just as He told His disciples that He would.  There are many implications to be drawn, but the most important is that this ended all the claims of God’s justice against those who know Him. Think of the gospel message this way: After a criminal fulfills the requirements of the sentence, the law has no more claim on him and he walks out of prison completely free. The gospel teaches us that Jesus Christ came to pay the penalty for us. He must have satisfied it fully, because on the third day He rose up, and walked out of the prison of death completely free. As Tim Keller has put it, “The resurrection was God’s way of stamping PAID IN FULL right across history so that nobody could miss it.”
Mary was searching for the Lord’s body and was prepared to carry it away, but all she carried away that day was the good news. That is what the church of Jesus Christ has for you, too, just the good news, no burden, only gratitude for grace. Come and join us as we praise the name of the One who has made us free.
 

 

 

 
 

Palm Sunday – Its About Him!

 

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  Matthew 21:4-5

Jesus Enters Jerusalem           Sir Anthony Van Dyke

 

Upon Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, Matthew quotes the Old Testament prophet Zechariah 9:9. But the good news of this coming King is not simply for Israel but for the whole world. As Zechariah 2:11-13 makes plain:

Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. 

The joy of this particular moment goes beyond the immediate context and crowd of these events. ITS FOR US! Matthew believed there was something in these events that could bring joy to anyone who read of them with a believing heart. This explains why Jesus is so upset by the presence of the money changers and other businesses throughout the temple area and He runs them out. He is angry because “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations (Mark 11:17).” ITS ABOUT US.

Jesus cleanses the Temple      Rembrandt
The message which our Lord proclaims in the parables of this chapter is about us, too. We are one of these “sons” in 21:28-31. We are the new tenants of 21:41. And what exactly is Jesus’ message? Through His own death He is about to bring those into the kingdom of God who could never belong otherwise – “I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you (21:31).”
He is calling everyone who doesn’t seem to belong in the Kingdom of God, who feels too ashamed, too sinful, too hopeless, too helpless, too messed up to be part of anything that has to do with God.  Because He has done all this for us, our worship can never be about us. It is not about us. ITS ABOUT HIM! 
 
 
 

 

Not Beyond the Cure of Christ

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

The human heart is beyond a “cure” according to the Bible, it must be changed. When it comes to the spiritual condition of the human heart, the prophet Jeremiah is not optimistic (c.f. 13:23, 30:12).

The recent military trial of Army General Jeffrey Sinclair has once again exposed in public the incurable heart of humanity through the adulterous behavior and abuse of power carried out by this highly regarded military figure. In his defense, 24 of Sinclair’s colleagues and soldiers who had served with him or were under his command, came to testify about his good character.

I was especially struck by one of Sinclair’s character witnesses. He alluded to the story of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the murderous cover-up that takes the life of her husband, Uriah. (2Samuel 11). He then went on to compare Sinclair to David, “I believe that General Sinclair is a man after God’s own heart. I believe he can be rehabilitated.” His opinion of his friend is that he is a kind of David, who is described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22, 1Samuel 13:14).

I’m glad this soldier has friends but do not think it is really helpful or accurate to describe the disgraced general this way. This is the Bible’s comment on David in his youth and long before he commits his crimes, not in their aftermath! He was not always after God’s own heart, and the Lord’s message to David after he does these horrible things is very different: Now therefore the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah, the Hittite, to be your own (2Samuel 12:10). Like all of us, David would need God’s generous grace to live with the consequences of his actions.

The general, his friend, and all of us, must realize that we deceive ourselves with talk of the human heart being cured or “rehabilitated.” It has to be “regenerated” – made new through faith in Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5, Ezek.18:31,36:26). In truth, there has only been One who was consistently a man after God’s own heart and He is God’s own Son. That is is my only hope, David’s only hope, your only hope, and that is the help the general and every human being needs. When we are troubled by our trouble,
stressed out by sin, weary of wickedness, and burdened by the bad, only Christ our Savior and Lord, can be the Cure.

 

The Great Physician is Ready to Help

Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you. All your allies have forgotten you; they care nothing for you …your guilt is so great and your sins so many … But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord. Jeremiah 30:12-14,17

Before we hear the good news we must face the bad news. In this passage from Jeremiah, Israel is plainly told that even though her wound is fatal and that every accusation against her is justified, the Lord is going to bring restoration and health.

It has been a little over five years ago that a woman in Connecticut was viciously attacked by an enraged chimpanzee, leaving her bloodied, blind, and disfigured. Her story and the horrendous injuries she suffered shocked the nation.  Images of her ordeal still startle us. She was beyond hope but was rushed to the hospital and a 20 hour surgical marathon was performed by a remarkable  team of more than 30 doctors and nurses to give her a new face and a chance to live.

The horrifying truth about sin is that I am morally disfigured by it, and there is no hope for me. Our wounds are startling. But God has now undertaken to do what seems impossible, to make me whole again. Even now, if you could capture the condition of my soul on a photo, it probably would not impress you. But if you knew how really bad the wound of sin was, how awful the injuries of iniquity were, you would be amazed that I am even alive.

Paul describes our injured state in Titus 3:3-5, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another but when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.”

Whatever your injuries are, there is healing for you through Christ, our Great Physician. The church of Jesus Christ is ready for you. A remarkable team is waiting to care for you. They, too, know how ugly sin can be but have found healing in Christ’s forgiveness. If sin has injured you this week, rush yourself to Him, rush yourself into the nearest hospital of the saints so that you can get the gospel of Jesus Christ for your wounds, and the joy of the Holy Spirit in your heart. I praise God for His gospel and His church, a hospital for the saints, recovering sinners who are being made whole again through the grace of Jesus Christ!

 

 

 

How the Recognition of Privileged Texts in the Nineteenth-century Debate over the Bible and American Slavery Caused Me to Reconsider My View of Women’s Ordination.

The purpose of this revised article is to  explain to my friends, colleagues, and anyone else interested, why I left a denomination that does not permit the ordination of women and joined one that does. There is much more to say about the ordination of women than what follows, but this is a start. I began this awhile back as a series of short articles, but the flow was interrupted by a call to a new job in California and a cross-country move. I would now like to resume what I started, restating and completing what I began.

Background

My research on the Bible and the slavery controversy in the nineteenth-century was the major catalyst in my change of views regarding the role of women in church leadership.

My interest in the Bible and the American slavery controversy began in 1998, while I was the pastor of a Presbyterian congregation in Eugene, Oregon. A booklet circulating in the church and throughout other congregations in the Pacific Northwest had created a stir. Southern Slavery As It Was, published by Canon Press in 1996 was authored by two ministers, one of them a member of my own denomination at the time. At the time I was predisposed to believe that my own evangelical and Reformed view of the Bible was consistent with an antislavery position.  I came to realize that my training in hermeneutics  -acquired in my theologically conservative seminary training and applied for over fifteen years of preaching -did not lead to antislavery conclusions. The study of the biblical debate over American Slavery in the nineteenth century unsettled me. Proslavery evangelicals seemed to read and interpret the Bible using the same grammatical and historical tools I was taught to use.

Privileged Texts

In addition to their interpretation of New Testament texts, proslavery writers also found divine approval of slavery in the ancient stories of the patriarchs. No other text enjoyed more widespread appeal than Noah’s curse on Canaan (Genesis 9.25-26). Without going into a lot of detail, in the nineteenth century, Africans were assumed by most people to be Canaan’s descendants, and so the Genesis text was used to justify their enslavement. 

Many Americans during the nineteenth century, found in Genesis 9 the divine account of slavery’s origin and a warrant for all generations, prompting Theodore Dwight Weld’s famous comment that “this prophecy of Noah is the vade mecum of slaveholders, and they never venture abroad without it (Theodore Dwight Weld, The Bible Against Slavery, 46).” Vade mecum is Latin for “go with me,” used to describe a reference book or handbook that is carried at all times. Noah’s curse was an indispensable and privileged text that was kept close at hand in the proslavery argument.

My understanding of privileged texts was an “aha” moment for me with respect to women’s ordination. I began to see that arguments regarding the issue of women’s ordination did not simply reflect different interpretations of texts, but also involved valuing some texts over others. Some texts were deemed more important than others.

Exodus Text

Antislavery writers also drew from the Old Testament.  Eli Washington Caruthers – of particular interest to me as the subject of my dissertation- elevates Exodus 10.3 – Let my people go that they may serve me – giving it a kind of privileged status over all of the texts in the Bible that spoke about slavery. For Caruthers and other antislavery writers, the Exodus text was the most important text about slavery because God’s intervention in the history of the Hebrew people demonstrated divine disapproval of slavery and support for the abolition of slavery in all times and places.

How Does a Text Become or Remain  “Privileged”?

1. It Provides Clarity

For traditional Protestants who believe in the authority of Scripture as expressed by Paul in 2 Timothy 3.16-17, all Scripture is important: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness that the man of God may be fully equipped for every good work. Many questions of interpretation may be resolved when texts that are more clear help us interpret the less clear. As the Westminster Confession of Faith notes, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture … it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly (1.9). Beyond this general principle of interpretation established in the confession, my “discovery” was that there are usually texts in the course of debate that are championed by opposing sides, and which bring a singular clarity to the issue at hand for those who are dependent upon them.

2. It Possesses Continuing Relevance and Theological Application

But how do we know who is correct in arguments that are dependent upon privileged texts? What I have learned from the Bible and the American slavery debate is that a text so employed continues to demonstrate its importance and viability. If it does not, its privileged status and any arguments associated with it, are diminished.

In the case of Genesis 9 and the curse of Noah, the nineteenth century proslavery arguments elevating, and dependent upon it, could not be sustained. Significantly, their understanding of the text has generated no significant or meaningful theological posterity. The commitment of proslavery forces to the Genesis 9 text was a theological dead end for them and for the usefulness of the text. But, as I argue in my dissertation, the belief of Eli Caruthers and other antislavery writers in the supremacy of the Exodus text has been demonstrably borne out by the current theological literature. Who, today, can doubt the primacy of the Exodus text and the exodus story in the theology of Paul? Studies in Exodus continue to reveal its importance as it generates insights for the the issue of slavery, as well as our reading of other New Testament literature (e.g. Sylvia Keesmaat Paul and His Story: (Re)Interpreting the Exodus Tradition; John Byron Recent Research on Paul and Slavery; Richard Hays Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul).

Privileged Texts and the Ordination of Women

My research on the Bible and slavery led me to suspect that the controversy surrounding women’s ordination, like the American slavery debate, involved certain privileged texts, texts which are appealed to as especially clear or instructive on the issue at hand. In the debate surrounding the ordination of women, one text is especially privileged: 1 Timothy 2.11-12.

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.1Timothy 2.11-12

The singular importance of this text for arguments against the ordination of women to pastoral ministry cannot be overstated. Douglas Moo’s comment that this text is “[o]ne important reason” for “certain permanent restrictions on the ministry of women” is surely an understatement (“What Does It Mean Not to Teach or Have Authority Over Men? 1 Timothy 2:11-15”  Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, eds. John Piper, Wayne Grudem, 179). Arguably, no other biblical text is cited as much nor could arguments against women holding office in the church be sustained with such certainty were it not for 1 Timothy 2.  To get a sense of the weight it carries, one need only turn to the biblical citation index of their favorite book on this issue to see the multiple times the text is cited. But should it be so privileged?

My purpose here is not to provide another exegetical treatment of 1Tim.2. What the words and grammar mean is very important, but many others, like Moo, have done this and, in addition to expressing their own views, they have interacted with and critiqued alternative interpretations along the way. The literature is readily available. For these reasons, instead of a full-blown investigation of the passage, I will limit my remarks to an observation about the larger context of this text and the important concessions that have already taken place among those who hold to what is often described as the “traditional view.”

First of all, I think the application of the passage is bound by the unique problems of Ephesus during Paul’s era. The larger setting of the text in 1Timothy 2 commands specific behavior that is culturally limited. Paul’s commands for men “to lift up holy hands in prayer (v.8)” and for women to not wear “gold or pearls or expensive clothes (v.9),” are limited to the cultural context or situation. For this reason, I think it is best to understand the entire passage of 8-15 as addressing particular circumstances, therefore not to be universally applied.

Secondly, if someone does want to assert that 1Timothy 2.11-12 is what Paul believed was applicable to all women of every place and era, one has to reconcile such a view with other things he teaches regarding women. Some of what he writes, at the very least, would seem to allow for the development of doctrine regarding women that would contradict a traditional view of 1Timothy 2. Arguably, as such texts continued to be considered and studied, they will demonstrate their viability and prove in the future to deserve greater privilege in the debate (e.g., Romans 16.3,7; Galatians 3.26-28; 1Cor.11.5).

Finally, I would like to point out two important  and recent concessions or revisions  in the traditional view of the text which, in my opinion, seriously undermine its privileged status in the debate. I believe these revisions are fatal to the traditional view in the future of Christianity.

The first concession regards the numerous exceptions, allowances, special circumstances, etc., that are now practiced by evangelicals nearly everywhere but which are plainly contrary to the traditional view of the text. A typical evangelical interpretation of these verses usually involves a thorough explanation of the words and grammar. But once this is accomplished a more nuanced interpretation or application is usually recommended, one that is not so hard-lined as the traditional view of the text sounds. Fortunately, these more nuanced interpretations are friendlier to evangelicals like Elisabeth Elliot and others, allowing for a host of exceptions and circumstances and possibilities for women to teach and/or exercise authority. But these nuanced readings leave us with a very different impression than the Apostle’s words originally conveyed in the traditional view. Women cannot teach men in the church, but an occasional lecture might be okay, or maybe on the mission field, or perhaps if they are not elevated at a podium in front of the congregation but instead behind a lectern in the fellowship hall, etc. Those holding to the traditional view probably know that such allowances mark a significant departure from evangelicals of the nineteenth century or even those of just a mere twenty-five or thirty years ago.

Certainly the church fathers- from whom we have largely acquired the traditional view of 1Timothy2 – would never have allowed such concessions as we have today. For the most part, they believed in the inferiority of women and upheld an interpretation of the text that was not so accommodating. John Chrysostom spoke for many when he asserted that women, collectively, were weak and fickle and that the Apostle Paul in this verse and others like it wanted men to have preeminence in every way over women. Augustine’s comment on Genesis 2 was typical of the church fathers: he couldn’t really think of any reason for the creation of woman as man’s helper, except, perhaps, for procreation. Traditionalists today hold to a view that is a only a shadow of what the traditional view once was.

The other revision or concession which practically goes unnoticed in the traditional view is the narrowing of the text’s application to the church. Evangelicals who hold to the traditional view often point out that it is only in the church that women must be restricted and not have authority over men. Most evangelicals today who hold to the traditional view believe that outside of the church, in other situations or spheres of life, a woman may have authority over a man. As you might deduce from the statements above by Chrysostom and Augustine, that isn’t what the traditional view used to mean! It is important to understand that the church fathers, like many evangelicals today, believed that the text was founded upon a principle of creation. In their thinking and those who follow their logic, the basis of a woman not having authority over a man is founded upon the order of creation as they believe it is being explained in the text. Adam came first the text says, then Eve, etc.

Here is the problem with this argument from creation and the concession or allowance that is being made nowadays: Let’s assume a universal restriction on women having authority over men is being asserted by Paul in the text. Let’s also assume that the basis of his restriction is a principle he believes is drawn from the order of creation. If these things are true then what is the reasoning that allows us to limit the restriction to the church? If it is wrong in principle for a woman to have authority over a man, how can there be allowance for ignoring such an important principle in our larger society? If the principle is from creation, then isn’t it valid, by extension, for all of society?  If Paul is establishing a role relationship for the church, isn’t that role relationship valid for all institutions and circumstances? Shouldn’t those who believe a principle of creation limits women in the church, be concerned about a woman sitting on the Supreme Court and exercising authority over men?   I cannot think of another example of Christian teaching that we understand as rooted in creation but think is only applicable to the church and not all of society.  But evangelicals have redrawn the interpretive line in the sand to allow for their daughters to have successful careers as executives, jurists, and professors, but not as ministers or teachers in the church.

For those who have privileged 1Timothy 2.11-12, the text has universal meaning for the church and women for all time. Rather than understanding verses 11-12 of the passage as situationally and culturally limited – as nearly everything else the Apostle says throughout the chapter is usually understood – this text has been singularly exalted to a position of universal application for all times and places. Just as Noah’s curse on Canaan in Genesis 9.25 functioned for American slavery, so 1Timothy 2.11-12 is the vade mecum for the argument against women’s ordination. It is the indispensable text.  Nowadays, of course, no one would allow for Noah’s curse on Canaan to be a justification for the enslavement of a race. We can be glad that in the case of the slavery controversy, other texts began to rise in importance that seemed to resonate more with God’s redemptive plan and thus the status of Genesis 9.25 diminished over the years.  I envision a similar fate for the privileged status of 1 Timothy 2.11-12 in the debate over the role of women in the church.

Big News !

I am a little behind these days with my postings, and I’ll probably continue to be behind for awhile. Some great news has come our way that has set off a flurry of activity. Exactly two weeks ago, I received a phone call that I had been hoping and praying would come. Early in June, my wife and I had gone to Los Angeles to interview for a pastoral position in a wonderful and vibrant church. The phone call was from a representative of the congregation’s committee letting me know they wanted us. We are praising God for the opportunity to join with his people in Los Angeles in the service of our Savior! The house is littered with boxes and wrapping paper. Just yesterday we received news that our application for a rental house has gone through. We have a list with a thousand things to do before we can head out of North Carolina for California, but we are trusting in the Lord’s care for all of it. We just need to get packed and go!