Woman and the Blue Parakeet (2) women in the OT

The next chapter of Scot McKnight’s argument in The Blue Parakeet about Women in Ministry is ‘What Did Women Do in the Old Testament?’

Rather than start with the problem texts of 1 Cor 14:34-5 and 1 Tim 2:11-12, Scot proposes that we look at what did actually do in the OT – and then move on to what they did do in the NT [next chapter].

The big story is that the mutuality and oneness of creation between male and female  becomes distorted into control, otherness, rivalry, and domination. Rather than perpetuate this fallen condition, the church should be doing its theology within the theological narrative of Scripture. And this is a story of restoring oneness; from creation to new creation.

And a big part of that story is the Old Testament and three significant examples of OT women are:

Miriam:- the prophetess and co-leader of Israel (Micah 6:4)

Deborah:- the prophet, ruler, judge, military leader. ‘Deborah was a woman leader of the entire people of God’

Huldah:- the woman prophet amongst male prophets (2 Kings 22)

McKnight’s conclusion: in the OT woman spoke for God and led the nation. And as the story continues we should expect increasing restoration of oneness and mutuality – and that is what we see in the NT.

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11 thoughts on “Woman and the Blue Parakeet (2) women in the OT

  1. As you know, this is a subject on which I would disagree with you. I am not going to get into debate here, except to say that this is a secondary issue which should not divide us as Christians. This should not be elevated to a primary doctrine – there are good Bible – believing Christians on both sides of the debate.
    It is a shame, that this seems to be a defining issue in the disagreements in the Church of England. Surely there are more fundamental things that they need to be worried about.

  2. Debo, Richard
    I was wondering if others would join in … plenty of people reading but not commenting.
    So my tuppence worth: I agree Richard, absolutely Christians need to act in a Christ-like way over issues of difference. But a secondary issue does equal an unimportant or marginal issue. Take the idea of fixed gender roles [or not] in church and marriage – it gets to be pretty fundamental what view is held when it comes to the ethos and practice of church life and of how married life is worked out.

    • I agree the issue is not unimportant. Views on secondary issues can be firmly held, and considered of great importance. All I am saying is that people can hold different views on gender roles, and consider those of great importance. However, I think it is of a different order from whether one believes for instance in the divinity of Christ.

  3. Great stuff Patrick.
    Debo I’m with you.

    In several years of working with students it has really disturbed me how a certain view of women in leadership or women teaching has not only seemed inconsistent, but also denied many very gifted young women the opportunity to use their God-given gifts.

    I’d actually go further and say in many of those cases women were repressed…

  4. Yep, Patrick – I’m here. Just over 3 years ago I published my first post on how I felt about all this. Its still a fairly raw topic, but I’m slowly becoming more capable to discuss without tears! So, write on, brother, write on…

    I don’t know if Scott covers it (The Parakeet is still om my ‘to-do’ list), but I’d be interested in your take on male/female mutuality in marriage including the impact that has on the search for a partner…

  5. Hi you in your small corner ..

    What Scot is saying is no longer new or revolutionary – the territory is really quite well mapped out. From polls I’ve seen it looks like opinion is changing. So I hope you are encouraged that you are not alone or completely marginalised?

    On the marriage thing – I liked what Steve Holmes wrote in a post I linked to a while back on fixed gender roles. [should be findable in search Ok]. A friend of his …

    “when asked what roles he thought should belong to his future wife in their marriage, responded ‘pre-natal childcare. And breastfeeding.’ The rest was up for creative re-interpretation in the light of the gospel and the circumstances in which they were called to live.”

  6. Thanks Patrick, I’m not alone – the journey has meant that in moving into working with a church, I was actually aware of the issue and my feelings on it and so was careful not to put myself in a working-situation where I would be discouraged or forbidden to use certain giftings. I’m in the happy position of working under a pastor who gets angry when women are marginalised 🙂 Plus I have Soapbox Sam (and others!) “ranting” in my ear about his stance on it!

    Yeah, I remember reading Steve Holmes’ comment at the time. Brilliant. I think I was probably wondering if you were planning to go deeper on that (exegetically et al), but I do have some resources, I just haven’t got around to reading about it yet!

    Thanks.

  7. Haven’t posted on marriage stuff as yet – don’t really have a worked out plan, posts just evolve each week. I’m sure it will come up at some stage ..!

  8. I am rather surprised that Hannah was left out if that list. It is in her song of praise that we have the first reference to the Messiah, in title. (Should point out this is often unapparent in the English translations, but present in the Hebrew.)

    It is a beautiful example of God’s desire to include women in the redemptive plan.

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