Learning to thrive in the new life Jesus offers us – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Video Series: Should Women Teach in Church?

Should women teach in church, videos

Should Women Teach in Church? is a new series of videos that looks at Bible passages which are often used to limit the ministry of women in the church. The videos are short and designed for people who don’t have time to read, or prefer not to read.

Producer Michael Huffman has posted four videos so far on his YouTube channel, Sharp Readings, with more being planned. These videos are intelligently and reasonably argued, and are a helpful voice in gender discussions.

In the first, introductory video, Michael shows that women are already teaching in some way in most evangelical churches, even in churches which claim women must not teach men. (5 mins)

In the second video, Michael discusses the context and meaning of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak . . .”) and he makes several excellent points. (7 mins)

In the third and fourth videos, Michael argues that the principle taught in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 is not about gender roles but about the need for those who teach to learn first. (9 mins and 8 mins)

I have one qualm about video four. Michael claims that Eve received knowledge about the forbidden fruit second hand and that Adam failed to teach Eve properly about the forbidden fruit. Thus she was less prepared to deal with the deceiving serpent. Others, both hierarchical complementarians and egalitarians, make similar claims, for example, Gilbert Bilezekian in Beyond Sex Roles (2006:33). But I’m not so sure Genesis chapters 2 and 3 support such ideas.

All in all, I recommend these videos and think they are a valuable resource. Some of the artistic concepts are clever and fun too.

Michael is married to Isabel and they have two daughters. Michael grew up in the USA and, as a child, attended a small Plymouth Brethren church where women were not permitted to speak in services except to state prayer requests and sing solos. Michael began to ask questions about the Bible’s teaching on women in ministry while studying Biblical Studies at The Masters College (where John MacArthur is president). Despite the prevailing patriarchal ethos at this college, about a year after graduation, Michael began affirming women in ministry. Since that time his interest in the Christian basis for mutuality in the home, church and society has grown. His hope is to show fellow believers that a faithful interpretation of scripture leads towards mutuality of the sexes. Michael teaches religious education to high schoolers.


Related Articles

1 Corinthians 14:34-35, in a Nutshell
Various articles on 1 Timothy 2:11-15 here.
What Eve’s statement to the serpent tells us

Posted February 18th, 2017 . Categories/Tags: Equality and Gender Issues,

Unkind, judgemental, bizarre, and off-topic comments will be deleted.

22 comments on “Video Series: Should Women Teach in Church?

  1. Alina Hamrick says:

    These are great tools! I’ve already shared with a couple who had specifically asked me about the 1Corinthian 14 passage. Thank you for pointing them out, Marg!

  2. William Rudd says:

    Thank you so much for bringing these videos to our attention. Thank you for your column which has been immensely helpful. After nearly 50 years of teaching and practicing the complementation position, a 2-year study/journey led me to the same position you and these videos present. I have recently signed with a publisher and hope to release a book on gender roles by the end of this year.

  3. I haven’t seen the videos yet but I’m sure they’re are quite useful.

    I also want to take this time to say that started a new blog and want to welcome you to view it and leave comments. I’ve only made a couple of posts but hope to make more in the future. Feel free to check it out. Thank you. God Bless.

  4. Michael Huffman says:

    Thanks for posting these, Marg! I’m certainly willing to reconsider my conclusion that Paul is assuming Adam was responsible to teach Eve. The Rabbis do a lot with the differences between God’s instructions and Eve’s “interpretation” of them as seen in her conversation with the serpent. But one thing that cannot be concluded from Genesis 1-2 is that God created male and female in a hierarchical relationship. The clear language of equality and mutuality throughout requires some other explanation of Eve’s deception. I’m hoping the videos will help others see this and begin seeking such alternate explanations–one of which is the one I offer in video four.

    • Alina Hamrick says:

      I don’t mean to hijack this thread, but want to thank you, Michael, and let you know I’m looking forward to your upcoming videos. (If there’s a better place to comment, please let me know.)

    • Marg says:

      You’re very welcome, Michael.

      I’ve been reading Chrysostom and Epiphanius lately (both late 300s), and even they agree there is no gender hierarchy in Genesis 2. Epiphanius, who gets a lot of things wrong, gets this right: “A wife like himself was formed for him out of himself—out of the same body, by the same infusion of breath.”
      Panarion Book 1, Section 1, 1.2

      Here’s what Chrysostom said:
      “Wherefore you see, she was not subjected as soon as she was made; nor, when He brought her to the man, did either she hear any such thing from God, nor did the man say any such word to her: he said indeed that she was ‘bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh’: but of rule or subjection he no where made mention unto her. But when she made an ill use of her privilege and she who had been made a helper was found to be an ensnarer and ruined all, then she is justly told for the future, ‘your turning shall be to your husband.'”
      Homily 26 on First Corinthians

      For most of the history of the church, the subjugation of women was based on a flawed interpretation of Genesis 3:16. Now it’s mostly based on a flawed, and utterly contrived, interpretation of Genesis 2.

      I’d love to find out if there’s any information in intertestamental writings about Adam as supposed teacher of the forbidden fruit rule and/or information about Eve’s statement to the serpent.

    • Becky says:

      Love the videos, Michael! Have you considered the context of the worship of Artemis? It’s possible Paul was speaking against the prevailing beliefs. In that context, 1 Tim. 2:11-15 could be saying:
      -Christian women should not dominate like pagan religious women do
      -Woman was not created first, man was
      -Women who used to follow Artemis and turned away to follow Christ would not succumb to the fate they were threatened with – death in childbirth

      • Marg says:

        Hi Becky,

        I’ve written about the Ephesian Artemis (here and here), but I strongly suspect early Christian attitudes to sexuality are behind 1 Tim 2:15 and 1 Tim 4:3. More on this here.

      • Michael Huffman says:

        Hi Becky,
        Yes, in fact I recently went to Ephesus and saw two statues of Artemis that were found there! Check Marg’s article on this.

        My goal with the videos is to provide an alternate interpretation to these texts that anyone who has a Bible can follow. This is why I didn’t try to get into a lot of background information, as interesting and important as that is. I’m hoping the videos will help some people begin asking whether or not a hierarchical reading is really as clear as they have been told. In my conversations with women so far, I find repeatedly that many have simply never heard an alternate reading of the texts. Of course, great scholarship is out there. But for many people that scholarship seems out of reach, or maybe it’s intimidating because they’ve been told it was written by “liberal” scholars. I’m hoping people who watch my videos will at least see that affirming women in ministry makes sense “biblically,” and maybe they will help some people start asking questions that will lead to a change of mind!

  5. Corie Wagner says:

    Has anyone read “Why Not Women?” By Loren Cunningham (founder of YWAM)

    It makes some excellent and thoroughly researched points on this and many of your topics. Highly recommend!!

    Thank you for posting
    I need the encouragement as I live in complementarian grand central here in the Bible Belt USA. My husband is awesome but I feel so much pressure to conform here, I stopped speaking up.

  6. Hannah Priscilla says:

    Hi Marg,

    Thank you for posting these videos! I loved them, they made me cry! (Thanks for Michael for making them).

    Please explain why you disagree with the interpretation of Eve being a student of Adam? I had never heard it before today (Christian for 33 years, go-figure!) It made sense to me. But I’m loving your site, (not even sure how I arrived here) and have spent hours reading and sharing… I’m open to learning. Thanks.

    • Michael Huffman says:

      Hannah (and Marg),
      I’d also like to hear Marg’s interpretation of this passage. Please keep in mind that I’m offering a very brief reading of these texts in my videos. I’m still learning too! These are some very contested texts and even the best egalitarian scholars disagree about the specifics of what they meant to Paul when he wrote them. The main point I am trying to make in my videos is that the reading of these texts that results in the permanent exclusion of women from speaking roles in the church is not the best one available by a long shot. Perhaps my interpretation is not the best either …but, it IS better than the one the complementarians have to offer. On this, all evangelical egalitarians will agree with me, even if they don’t agree with my specific reading of 1 Timothy 2. My primary goal is to show that the complementarian reading should be set aside in favor of other readings that make sense of the text in its context.

      • Marg says:

        I’ve written several articles on Genesis 1-3. You can access them via the “categories” section on the side bar. One category is called Gender in Genesis 1-3.

  7. Colleen Moors says:

    Marg (or Michael),

    Is there a transcript of this series available?

  8. Michael Huffman says:

    Hi Colleen,
    I do not have the script available anywhere online at the moment. I’d be happy to send you a PDF of it if you’d like.

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