Have you ever truly experienced a faithful assembly, committed to biblical literalism and committed to obedience to what the scriptures say? Have you ever longed to be a member of one of those types of meetings where people are consistent in their application of the doctrines of the Apostles?
I hope your answer is yes. But I also wonder if you really know what the end result of that could be in some cases. This book authored by Jon Zens presents the perspective of women’s silence and subjection inside the meeting of the church. What’s with Paul and Women?: Unlocking the Cultural Background to 1 Timothy 2 is an intriguing look at the fallacies the author believes put restrictions on women in ministry.
Since personally embarking on my own journey to discover the teachings of the scripture regarding the roles of women in the church, specifically their speaking roles, this book has become useful in examining the cultural context of 1 Timothy 2.
Jon Zens posits,
“Neither the Gospel narratives nor the recorded words of Jesus ever put restrictions on the ministry of women.”
With 144 easy to read pages, Jon asserts freeing the sisters from the yoke of patriarchal bondage and suppression by educating his readers about the Artemis cult in Ephesian culture, a review of John Piper’s “What’s the Difference article defining Manhood and Womanhood, and well argued positions from scriptural evidence.
In my personal observation of literature concerning the Male and Female gender role debate, I am finding far more material that entrenches itself deep in its own camp. Whether it is the complementarians or egalitarians, there appears to be little out there towing the line down the middle of the debate and weighing uncertain information carefully before asserting a stance. This entry does just that in the egalitarian camp and goes on to assert the freedom of a woman to assume leadership positions in the church as well.
A good summation of the credibility Zens couches his argument in could be found in this quote,
“Paul entrusted his letter to the Romans to Phoebe who delivered it for him. She was a deacon in the assembly at Cenchrea and Paul held her in the highest regard (cf. Rom 16:1-2). Paul recognized her as a prostatis, a Greek word which carries with it the idea of leadership (cf. 1 Thes 5:12).”
A very good, informative, and enlightening read. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking answers concerning the gender role debate. This books examination of the cultural implications serve it well and make up for the portions that would be better promoted through more exegesis of the proof texts.