Moet vroue werklik stilbly in die kerk? : 'n Gereformeerde interpretasie van die 'Swygtekste' by Paulus in die lig van hulle sosiohistoriese, openbaringshistoriese en kerkhistoriese konteks
Wessels, Jan Cornelis
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In the history of exegesis 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 have functioned as the heavy artillery against women in the ministries. From the 4th century BC, when the Church really started to develop from a dynamic underground movement of believers to a state Church organised in the image of the Roman Empire and so became the Catholic Church, women were more and more suppressed under the influence of deeply rooted Hellenistic anthropological ideas that were read into these passages. Only in the second half of the Twentieth Century, under the influence of changes in society after the sexual and feminist revolutions, changes set in that sparked the discussion about the role of women in the Church. This discussion is still continuing – in the Reformed tradition at least. These two passages, however, seem to oppose an overwhelming number of biblical themes and data that at least bring a strong nuance to the picture the two passages seem to portray. The creation of man and woman in the image of God and the protection for women against the arbitrariness of men clearly picture an original and principal equality of men and women. In the circle of disciples around Jesus Christ this becomes even more manifest. This attitude is also visible in the earliest churches. Paul expresses this in Galatians 3:28: In Christ there is no … male nor female. The passages that seem to limit the rights of women in the Church do not actually oppose this picture, but show that for the sake of the proclamation of the gospel not everything is (immediately) allowed. This dissertation attempted to interpret these two passages with the help of the grammatical-historic method. In 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Paul personally intervenes in the apparent chaotic meetings of the cosmopolitan and charismatic congregation. He requires from different categories of participants – among them the married women that have a Christian husband – to not burden the fellowship with – in the case of the aforementioned women – their (otherwise rightful) participation in the discussion of the prophetic message during the worship service. In 1 Timothy 2:11-15 he gives his friend and student Timothy, the young pastor and teacher of the congregation in Ephesus, tools to call upon the members of the congregation not to start a revolution but to conquer the world for Christ by living an exemplary life. The context of this directive is a heresy that was particularly influencing some women that developed a prominent and domineering attitude in the Church. None of these directives or instructions of Paul talk about special ministries in the Church. It is all about attitude. For the sake of the steady progress of the gospel this attitude is to be determined by discipline and humbleness. However, the form this discipline and humbleness have largely depends on the context of the believers.
- Theology