A friend passed along this awesome sermon from Kris Vallotton, founder and president of Moral Revolution, an organization dedicated to global cultural reformation, and Advance Redding, which is committed to the social/economic transformation of Redding, California. He is also the author of ten books, including this gem:
In the introduction to his sermon, Kris tells us his publisher asked him to double his book, which required 400 extra hours of research. You can click the picture above to purchase his book on Amazon.
Bethel provides free previews for a short amount of time, so you may not be able to listen for free. I highly recommend paying to download the sermon in that case, but tried to transcribe as much as I could as I was listening. No time to pause or go back, so it’s far from a perfect transcription, but take a look. Good stuff!!!
Kris explains that he will be addressing the six passages in the New Testament that seem to restrict women. After his introductory comments, he begins here:
Between Matthew and Malachi, before Jesus walked the earth, there was a period of four hundred years in which the religion Judaism developed. Judaism is not a word for the Old Testament religion, which we would call Mosaic Law. There were no Pharisees and Saducees in the Old Testament. N.T. scribes also had a new role than O.T. scribes. What happended was there were hundreds of extra rules added to the Mosaic Law, which included 252 laws. When Jesus walked the earth, there were 613 laws – 113 written against women. Pharisees hated women and the most oppressed people group in Judaism were women.
There were Jews, Romans and Greeks when the disciples were writing the Gospels and Paul was writing the epistles. In Judaism, women were second-class citizens with no rights, no respect and no voice. They were the property of men, literally, and were afforded no education. Like the women in Afghanistan, women were not permitted to speak to men and were required to veil their faces in public. Under Judaism, women could not work outside the home and marriages were arranged, so they could not marry for love. Polygamy was legal for men, not women, and men could discard/divorce their wives. Women could not be witnesses and were relegated to the outer court of the synagogue. They were not allowed to read the Torah. The most famous 1st century rabbi, Eliezer, said he would rather burn the Torah than read it to women.
The Romans were less restrictive (it is interesting how the further you get from religion, the less restrictive it is). Roman women could work outside the home and own property. The Greeks, though, adored women. They believed women were more powerful than men and made gods of them. The whole thought behind this was that the sex drive of men was stronger – women had something men wanted and had control over that, so they were more powerful.
Paul the Apostle was formerly a Pharisee, a self-described “Pharisee of Pharisees” – a former oppressor of women. Paul wrote to nine geographic locations and restricted women in three of them – Corinth, Ephesus, and the island of Creed – all Greek cities! Not only were they Greek, they happened to have goddesses instead of gods as the chief leader of their city. Goddesses had more authority than gods.
Also, it is important to note that no church would have had all the letters. There was no New Testament at this time, 30-70 years after Christ. Paul wrote specific letters to specific churches, and told the reader who to share the letter with. For instance, Colossians 4:16 “When this letter is read among you, share this with the church in Laodicea, and read the letter that I sent to them as well.” In Philippians, he says, “I’m writing this letter to the saints of Philippi, and also the elders and deacons,” i.e. “I’m talking to you!”
You cannot relate to the book of Corinthians in the same way the Corinthians would have. It was written to a certain people to address certain issues. You cannot relate to the N.T. epistles, written to a smaller community, in the same was as the O.T. books, which were written to a whole people group.
What happens when you superimpose God’s situational counsel over universal circumstances, is you will not come to a redemptive solution.
The epistles tell us how God thinks, but you would only apply the counsel if you were in the exact same context. People say, “I believe the Bible!” But I say, “You filter the Bible through a certain context. If you sent your son, who is struggling with pornography, to a pastor to receive counsel, and he came back with one eye gouged out and one hand cut off, you’d call the police. Because you understand that there was a context to Jesus’ words, and you automatically apply the context whethere you think you are doing that or not!”
In the O.T., the curse over women was that they would have pain in child birth, and the husband would rule over his wife. In Hebrew, the word for woman and wife is different, and man and husband. We know for certain the curse is that husbands will rule over wives, not men over women. in the N.T., there is no difference in the Greek language, so it is more complicated. But in the O.T., we had queens, judges and prophetesses that were women, and we celebrated them. Does it make sense that after Jesus broke the curse on the cross, we cannot have a woman elder in a church of 50 people, but we could have a queen of a nation then! When do women get free???
We’re going to read some of the hard passages that Paul wrote, starting with 1 Corinthians chapter 7. This was a Greek city with a goddess with temple prostitutes. Temple prostitutes coming out of Greek mythology were priestesses. If this woman gave herself to you, it was not a sex act as much as it was an act of anointing, and it wasn’t shameful or dirty, it was the highest act of Greek mythology. These women were the most important women in the city.
In 1 Corinthians 7:1, “Now concerning the things you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” Paul is answering questions the Corinthians are asking. They came out of Greek mythology, so they are reacting. Ok, we elevated women, so now we should oppress them. Is it ok to touch women? They are reacting tot he religion they came out of. But here is the challenge: Paul will repeat the question and then tell you his answer. But by the time he gets to the 8th chapter, he stops repeating the question.
7:1, “….but because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each wife her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does.” If you knew where Paul was coming from, you’d think he’d put a period here, but he doesn’t. “And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” The woman went from being a possession to the ability to own her husband, and a Pharisee just wrote that!
Verse 10,” to the married I give instructions that a wife should not leave her husband, but if she does leave, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.” There is no such thing as women divorcing a man in Judaism. Paul has left that behind. From our perspective this is restrictive, from their perspective, incredibly releasing. “A woman who has an unbelieving husband, if he consents to live with her, she should not send her husband away.” She’s a powerful woman now! “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife. And the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her husband. For otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy….How do you know, oh wife, whether or not you will save your husband?” This guy just said, wives, you might be saving your husbands. And if you stay with him, you are sanctifying him and making your whole family holy, wives.
Some people say the letter to Corinthians was written just to men because in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul writes “…Now I wish you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you should prophesy.” All. It’s not “all you men,” it’s “all you all,” and he doesn’t make an exception here. You can all prophesy.
In 14:26, “when you assemble together, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation,…for you can all prophesy one by one”….and that’s “all you all,” because Paul has been writing to wives and husbands. This book is for everyone in the church.
And now we come to 1 Corinthians 14:34-ff:
34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.
39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
There’s two schools of thought. One thinks this is contextual, that men sat on one side of the room and women on the other, and women would shout questions across the isle to their husbands, causing chaos and disorder. It is true that men and women did not sit on the same side of the room. But we’re not talking to the Hebrews who would have understood O.T. law. If we were talking to the Jews, it would have made sense that the men would have known more because they had been taught the Torah. But we’re talking about Greeks. The men knew as little as the women.
The other way to read this is as a question, as some theologians believe it is. After that verse, there’s an explosive of disassociation. There is no perfect translation, but it means, “What? No Way! Nonsense! It can’t be!” And it’s after verse 35.
God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of every man, and man is the head of every woman. Here’s the problem, woman and wife are the same in Greek and man and husband are the same. So you can end up with a more restrictive Gospel than the curse. There are 43 translations of the N.T., 16 translate that woman/man. All the others translate it husband/wife.
Then it goes on to say a woman needs to have her head covered when she’s praying. Here’s Paul’s point in 1 Cor 11, as long as a woman is in order, she can pray and prophesy.
Let’s walk the Corinthian Road:
1 Cor 7: A man does not own his body, his wife does.
1 Cor 11: a woman needs to be in right alignment with her husband, but when she is, she can pray and prophesy
1 Cor 12/13: you can all pray/prophesy/have a ministry
1 Cor 14: women cannot speak, just as the law says.
You can read the entire law and there is not one place in the O.T. where it says a woman cannot speak. That cannot be written by Paul, an expert in the law. And Paul has already said women have equal gifts and can minister. It is opposite of what he has been saying for 14 chapters. It also doesn’t make sense that women would have been shouting questions to men who would have replied, “I don’t know.” And then we have the imperitve right after that question that says, That’s nonsense! And then, did the word of God only come to you??? That makes sense, and that’s a good word.
And we have one minute and two more verses we haven’t talked about. Jesus loves you, and if you’re a woman, you’re free. You know when Paul says in 1 Tim 2 that women will be saved through child birth, remember that Timothy is the senior leader in Ephesus, where the goddess is Diana, the goddess of fertility, who was famous for making sure women didn’t die while giving birth. So Paul is telling Timothy, she doesn’t need the goddess to protect her because she has a relationship with God. They were having trouble getting women to convert to Christianity because they were all afraid of dying in childbirth. In fact, women would travel to Ephesus to give birth. That’s just a little taste of Timothy, and there’s a bunch more you might like.
If you’re standing near a woman, lay a hand on her shoulder and let’s pray: Lord, we release right now, we break the power of the curse over our women that reduced them, that said you can’t live you dreams, you have to live a man’s dreams. We break that. We pray that women will be more powerful in the church than out of the church. And we pray you will break the Spock-like Vulcan spirit that has overcome the church because w have no women bringing life and emotion and drama – good drama! We release them right now to be leaders and teachers and prophetesses and judges and queens. We release them now to fly, fly, fly!
I want to make sure you see this great comment from Susanna:
On the podcast part of Kris’s website you can download any of his sermons for free: http://kvministries.com/podcast/feed (the last one at this point is the one you’re talking about here, with ‘Part 1′ added to the title). Also wondrous is Danny Silk’s talk and book on the subject, The Invisible Ceiling. You can find a review of and link to it here: http://somebody-elses-story.blogspot.ca/search?q=The+Invisible+Ceiling
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