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Our Journey toward Women in Leadership (Part 2)

How we dealt with 1 Timothy 2:11–12.

I described in a previous post how our church community shifted from a complementarian view of women in ministry to…well…something different. Of course we had to deal with 1 Timothy 2:11–12, which seems to bar women from leadership in the church altogether. Let me tell you how we understand that passage at Evergreen.

It's necessary to place the passage within the larger context of 1 Timothy 2. It seems that the end of chapter 2 which states that "women will be saved through childbearing" was correcting a heresy in the early church. As it is translated in English—and without a cultural understanding of the times in which it was written—it sounds as if women are saved by means of having children. But Paul was, in fact, correcting some proto-Gnostic heretics that claimed women were the cause of humanity's fall and that God was very, very displeased with them. To be saved, then, women needed to give up their sexuality and become more like what really pleases God, namely men. For example, the ...

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