CYBERJOURNAL FOR PENTECOSTAL-CHARISMATIC RESEARCH
The Debate on Women's Ministry:
Summary and Analysis
Nineteen hundred seventy-eight will always be remembered as the year when the debate on women's ministry, especially her right to eldership and pastorate, once and for all made its way into the Swedish Pentecostal Movement (SPM). Since then things have never been the same.
Even if the polemic discussion about women and their ministry, which started in SPM about 1978 were not directly influenced by the intense and heated debate in the Swedish Lutheran State Church(1), indirectly the whole female liberation process was felt in the whole Swedish Society, even in our churches.(2)
In 1920 when the female issue was brought up for the first time, the Swedish State Church disapproved the idea of female ministers. The reasons were not basically doctrinal nor theological. Instead, they were based upon a rejection of the ideas which they meant were a product of a secular society and its desire and strife for equality between the sexes(3) and a refusal to accept the intervention of the State into the internal affairs of the church. But because of the close relationship between the State and the State Church and the role of the State Church as a national church obeying the Parliament Law regulations, the battle was evidently unequal.
Therefore when the debate flared up again in the middle of the 1940's(4) the state used its position to put pressure upon the State Church and this time, even though she fought back as much as she could, the General Synod felt obliged to yield to the pressure not only from the government, but also from mass media, the pro-feminist organizations and even from some influential members of the Free Evangelical Church(5). At the General Synod in 1958 the time had arrived to accept the ordained female ministers, a decision which has caused and in some places, after almost 40 years, still causes heated debates(6)
. This time the theological and the exegetical aspects played a more dominant role in the final discussions before making the final decisions.
If the debate around the female issue in the State Church was focused upon both secular, egalitarian and spiritual matters, the discussion in the SPM was never centered upon secular reasons but was grounded on the infallibility and the inerrancy of the Scriptures. That is, the question arose whether some of the biblical texts (in this case the Pauline problem-texts}(7) should be literally applicable to all times and cultures or whether they, being ad hoc documents, were influenced by a local and particular problem situation and therefore needed to be contextualized in order to make sense to the modern society.
Thus the main question was how the SPM would be able to deal with the relation between strict literalism(8)and historical contextualism.(9) If strict literalism would prevail in the interpretation of the Pauline problem texts, (or other biblical texts) then there would be very little place for a historical contextual approach. That would also seem to permanently keep SPM tied to a wooden dogmatism and which would provide very little opportunity for change, especially in the area of ministry. SPM would continue to be a male dominated movement, in spite of having been influenced by so many female evangelists and preachers from the founding moments.(10) More troublesome was the fact that if the controversial discussions at the end of the 1970's would have taken a conservative stance, especially concerning the interpretation of the Pauline problem texts, the SPM would have made it almost impossible for women to minister as elders and pastors. Many important subjects were at stake during these years.
The traditionalists or complementarians(11) unlike the egalitarians, were convinced that the Pauline texts referring to women's ecclesiastical ministry were supposed to be literally applicable to all possible historical and cultural situations. During the initial phase of the debate criticism was directed against such a view,(12) but both sides were convinced there were a few texts that belonged exclusively to the first apostolic church and its particular cultural and social settings, such as "the holy kiss", "foot-washing."(13)
In 1978, when the debate on women's ministry in SPM, took a definite turn, the Movement was, probably the only evangelical denomination that had no female Senior Pastor in its churches.(14) After that, things went quite fast. In 1979 Wasti Feldt(15) published her book "Kvinnan i frikyrkan" (Women in the Free Church), in which she presented a new approach to the Pauline problem texts. In spite of becoming the first female Senior Pastor in the history of the SPM in 1980, it took another 15 years until the pastors approved to discuss the issue in the annual Pastor's Conference in Stockholm.(16)
From the very beginning of the debate on the female issue one finds two very well defined groups representing two different ways of perceiving the interpretation of the New Testament texts.(17) But among those who were opposed to the old fundamentalistic traditionalists, it was also possible to discern the embryo of an evangelical(18) attitude in the SPM, a group of leaders who held a broadened and more open-minded view of the role of the historical and cultural dimensions in the interpretation and the understanding of the biblical texts. Still, many were convinced that only twisting the Pauline text could make them fit into "the new interpretation,"(19) which the most conservative argued would lead to an opening for a liberal theology. Others bluntly said: It is a sign of the last time.(20)
In order to get an idea of the spiritual and historical forces that intervened and influenced the female debate of the SPM (and even the Norwegian Pentecostal Movement) and its view on women's participation in the church ministries, we need to go back to the 19th century when the Holiness Movement brought to Sweden a completely new attitude toward women and their ministry. The Holiness Union Mission (HUM) founded in 1885, had by 1890 a woman on its board.(21) The reason for this openness to women ministers and evangelists was due to several factors.
First, even though the HUM has its roots among the so called "readers" from the province of Närke in Sweden, they were also influenced indirectly by the American Holiness Movement and the Methodism and its positive attitude toward female ministry.(22)
Secondly, a person who had played an important role in the acceptance of the female preachers in HUM was Fredrik Fransson. He was, according to professor Emanuel Linderholm, one of the most amazing, religious individuals who ever lived in Sweden.(23) After having gone through an overwhelming salvific experience he moved to America and came in touch with D.L. Moody and became later on a member of his church. He learned Moody´s evangelistic methods, which he also applied in his own ministry. His message was simple: he believed in an instantaneous salvation, holiness, healing by faith and the soon coming of Jesus Christ. He is considered one of the pioneers of two Swedish denominations: the Holiness Union Mission and the Swedish Alliance Missions.
The reason Fredrik Fransson is connected with the female ministry issue in Sweden at the end of the 19th century is because he, in 1890, wrote a booklet, Prophesying Daughters, in which he brilliantly defended women´s right to preach.(24) Moreover, in the Swedish Evangelical Free Church in USA, in which he was one of the leaders, one finds in the early record lists more than fifty ordained female pastors and evangelists.(25)
John Ongman, the founder of the Örebro Mission, (a Baptist/Pentecostal/charismatic movement which accepted some basic Pentecostal doctrines, such as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the belief in divine healing and the second coming of Jesus) was another outstanding defender of the female preacher's cause in the Swedish Free Church. He was born in Sweden in 1845. During the winter of 1864 he came in contact with the Baptist Movement , was baptized (in a hole made in a frozen Swedish lake) and joined the Myresjö Baptist Assembly. In 1868 he immigrated to USA and became Senior Pastor in the first Swedish Baptist church in Saint Paul, but returned to Sweden in 1890 to become the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Assembly in Örebro. Later in 1897, he broke his relationship with this congregation and founded a new Baptist church, the Filadelfia Assembly(26). In 1900 Ongman wrote a famous little booklet with the title "Kvinnans rätt att förkunna evangelium." (Women´s right to preach the gospel). The interesting thing is that it had practically the same title and content as Catherine Booth's book(27) which she wrote shortly before Ongman(28)
This means that the Holiness Union Mission, the Salvation Army and the Örebro Mission, were apparently the three denominations, which at the end of the 19th century, came to lay a strong foundation for the future Pentecostal Movement and its view of the female church ministry(29).
In spite of the positive influences from both Fredrik Fransson and John Ongman, no one should draw the conclusion that it was an easy task for these "biblical feminists" to convince the older and more settled denominations and their leaders about women's right to preach and witness in public(30). The society, built upon patriarchical concepts, reacted negatively upon women´s newly won ecclesiastical freedom. Alf Lindberg, Pentecostal theologian in the SPM, contends that the female students who were graduated from the Bible school of the Holiness Union Mission, were looked upon with suspicion and met with rejection. It was of course completely unusual to see a woman preaching to men, especially in a society characterized by male dominance(31). This happened while the apostle Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 were still interpreted to refer to women's complete silence, which even kept her from testifying to unsaved people(32).
Lewi Pethrus (1884-1974) - Thomas B. Barrat (1862 - 1940)
Concerning women's ministry, the Pentecostal Movements in Sweden (SPM) and Norway (NPM) approached the issue differently. It is true that women, from the very beginning were accepted by the Movements as evangelists. I have already pointed out that the majority of the evangelists in SPM during the first decade, were women.
In Norway T.B. Barrat, decided to give the women the right to be on its board. The by-laws of the Filadelfia Assembly in Oslo stated that women could be elected as "menighetstjenerinner" that is, they held a position similar to a deaconess and were automatically included in the leadership-group of the church. Barrat's wife, Laura, was one of them.(33)
Barrat never went so far that he, officially, accepted women as elders or pastors. However, Martin Ski, once Barrat's Associate Pastor, alleges that T.B. Barrat in his later years went even further in his view on women's leadership position. He alleges that T.B. Barrat confirmed his controversial view on women in a book."(34)
The writing which Martin Ski referred to, is probably the booklet which Barrat authored in 1933,(35) in which he thoroughly analyzed the ecclesiastical role of women.(36) Unfortunately, after Barrat's death in 1940, the "menighetstjenerinner" disappeared from the board in Oslo, but women were still accepted as preachers and evangelists.
At the end of the 1970's ,the debate flared up again and has been going on since then. What made the debate change direction was a book written by Ole Georg Hoaas and Oddvar Tegnander in 1984 Kvinnen fri til tjeneste.(37)(Women are free to minister). (38)
The book builds its arguments upon both sociological, theological and exegetical foundations giving full support to a female leadership. Oddvar Tegnander analyzes the Pauline texts on the basis of a historic contextual approach, in which the authors claim that the Pauline problem texts, should probably be dealt with as limited to time and culture. The book shook the whole NPM and appears from time to time in the female debate in Norway.(39) In spite of discussions in conferences and magazines there were still in 1995 no sign of a denominational support for female elders or Senior Pastors.(40)
Concerning the founder of the Swedish Pentecostal Movement, Lewi Pethrus, he took a completely different stand on the female leadership. Even though he accepted female evangelists and preachers they were never allowed to be elders, Senior Pastors or teachers.(41) It took a long time until the first female teachers appeared in the SPM Bible Schools.
Pethrus' view was representative for the great majority of the pastors and preachers in the SPM. From the beginning of the SPM until the 1970's, the concept of female pastors and elders were unthinkable.(42) The Pauline problem texts, especially 1 Cor. 11:3ff., and 1 Tim. 2:9ff were both interpreted literally which excluded any female leadership. One pastor even alleged that when women govern the church, it eventually goes bad.(43)
As I said in the initial paragraph of this paper, it was in 1978 when the debate in the SPM became inflamed. Even if occasionally, there were articles in the Pentecostal magazines before that time, 1978 became a milestone in the history of the Swedish Pentecostal women. Wasti Feldt was interviewed in the popular Christian magazine, Svenska Journalen(44) and later on, the same year (even in 1979 and 1980), she tried to bring the female issue up for discussion in the Pastor's Conference in Stockholm.(45) But she failed. However, nobody could turn the clock back. The direction for the future was set.
In order to sum up the debate, we need to point out that it had been carried out in magazines, conferences - both national and regional - in board meetings and elder's meetings, in Bible study groups and in the Pentecostal schools. Especially the Pentecostal daily "Dagen" and its magazine "Evangelii Härold" have, in spite of defending the conservative standpoint, been open for a broadened discussion. Their generosity and sincerity in dealing with this issue has played a decisive role in bringing this debate to an end without major damage to the SPM.(46)
Another important role has been played by the national and the regional conferences, to which even the laity has have access. That means that a great part of SPM has, in one way or another, been able to determine whether the arguments related to female leadership were biblical or not.
Now we need to consider a couple of concepts, both from the complementarians and the egalitarians, which have had a definite influence upon the debate. The most outstanding argument used by many pastors and teachers in SPM, in defense of the conservative standpoint has been the "God's pattern" concept. Therefore it is important to analyze this concept in the light of a theological and hermeneutical perspective.
A Complementarian Concept: Gods Pattern
In order to understand the opposition launched against the "new interpretation,"(47) it is imperative to know what the majority of the Swedish Pentecostals mean when they refer to "God's pattern."(48) I have found from my teaching ministry on the mission-fields in several countries, both Europe and South America, that the Pentecostal Movement in general refer to an eternal "God's pattern," that goes back to the apostolic church and its supposed unchanging, transcultural forms, and structures. This concept is basically the same as that which appears from time to time in church history, in movements such as the Montanists, the Puritans, the Anabaptists, the Pietists, and Pentecostals, and so forth. In all these groups, there is a clear desire to return to the original, ideal, "restored" apostolic church.(49)
During the female debate, this concept has been dealt with on many occasions, always arguing the complementarians that one is not allowed to change something that has been established by God as an eternal principle.
In Sweden this concept, basically built upon verses like Gal. 6:16 or Exodus 25:40, has contributed to create a status quo-theology, in spite of the fact that theology is given as an instrument to interpret (read contextualize) God's word to modern man. In order to fulfill this task, theology must always attempt to renew itself in order to have a fresh message to a world in trouble. Consequently, a status-quo theology is an impossibility--a contradiction of terms, since theology by definition is constantly adjusting itself to new realities and situations.
Rather, the belief in "God's pattern" reminds us of the Platonic concept of ideas, becoming an eternal idea of God's church, to which all other churches belong and from which they get their exact structure and life. This is a misjudgement of a non-biblical concept. Of course, there are basic, biblical church-models or blueprints adapted to each time and each cultural, and historical setting.
Many debaters in SPM, mostly theologically non-trained pastors and leaders, have confused the unchangeable Word of God with the constant need of reinterpretation and contextualization of the message which the church has to proclaim. The Word is infallible, inerrant and inspired, but its interpretation is continually exposed to change.
It was not until Wasti Feldt , Oddvar Tegnander, Ingvar Holmberg and several other leaders in the NPM and the SPM presented a contextual approach, when people started to see the importance of the historical dimension of the texts and its contribution to a greater understanding of women's role in church. As a result of this awakening process many came to question the very existence of an eternal "God's pattern,"(50) which had kept many female ministers away from the God-given ministers. But not only that, this concept also limited the leadership in SPM to become male-oriented, it stopped leaders, elders and pastors to study at the theological seminaries,(51)it kept the congregations from establishing any national organizational structure,(52) etc. etc.
This means that this a priori non-biblical concept eventually made up the foundation of the whole church life upon which all the other restorational principles were founded through the above-mentioned deductive procedure.(53) That is, the "God´s pattern concept," led to the conclusion that since it is an eternal, divine model, so must also its parts be timeless and unchanging, regardless if they refer to the very being (the ontology) of the church or its forms and structures.
We may keep the idea of an eternal and divine church-concept but only if we let the "divine pattern" refer exclusively to the absolutes of God's church (for example, its nature or being, )and let the doctrines concerning the church and its forms, structures and methods be viewed through the contextual lenses as concepts that need to be reinterpreted according to the new situations that the church is constantly facing. It is only when we keep separate the ontological and the phenomenological(54) parts that we may arrive at a funcional, dynamic and adaptable church-model.
This is exactly what may be seen on many mission fields , where churches constantly need to adjust to a great variety of political, social, and religious situations. Because of that, many Pentecostal women missionaries have access to the boards or the leadership groups on the fields, while back home in Sweden they are just, members.(55)
The same story that we have seen so many times from the 19th and 20th centuries repeats itself: if women cannot realize their calling at home they have to turn to the mission field.(56) This contradictory behavior pointed to the lack of logics within the SPM and its way of handling the female issue helping us to see that SPM during many years, had embraced an unsustainable and stiffed leadership-structure
The interesting thing however, is that a thorough study of the book of Acts, comparing it with the Pastoral letters, reveals the fact that the apostolic church made use of different leadership structures depending on the situation it was facing. Therefore it should not surprise anyone to find both a democratic structure,(57)and a theocratic structure,(58) a charismatic church(59)and a more institutionalized church.(60) The New Testament evidently presents a church with a very pragmatical and flexible attitud towards its leadership structure. This means that the Word of God gives us the option to change the leadership structure when times and circumstances require, which is exactly what we may observe in some of the fastest growing churches on the mission-field today.(61)
I am now going to refer to a couple of different concepts being used by the defendants of female elders or pastors. I will briefly describe what I call (1) the sociological approach, based upon a deeper conscientiousness of the historical dimension of the biblical text and (2) the redemptive and charismatic approaches receiving its strength from Gal. 3:28 and Acts 2 as an interpretative center.
1. The sociological approach
T.B. Barrat in his booklet contended that the prevalent situation in society was such that it was difficult for women to hold high positions both in community and church. He argues that if women receive God's call to minister (as pastor or elder) then the Spirit-filled members of the church (even men) will be able to recognize her call as a God-given call.(63) It seems then, that Barrat interpreted the female leadership issue out of both a charismatic and a sociological perspective. God, according to Barrat, could evidently out of his sovereign will, guide the believing community into decisions (if they favored the spread of the gospel) that would eventually go against established leadership forms and structures--a completely non-dogmatical approach.(64) This gives an idea of the open-mindness, the pragmatism and the flexibility of thought which prevailed among the first Pentecostal leaders in areas of leadership structures. Barrat, for example, was a pragmatic leader who looked more to the spiritual functions than to the "letter."(76)But at the same time, Barrat also understood that it would be unwise to carry out major leadership changes in the churches if these would affect negatively God's work and the Gospel. That Lewi Pethrus, in his view of leadership, also gave proof of a pragmatical leadership approach, has been accented in the doctoral dissertation written by Alf Lindberg.(77)
It is interesting to see that Barrat, in the 1930's, held the view that an understanding and an open-minded society was necessary to implement the leadership changes in the Norwegian Pentecostal churches. Referring to women's ministry, it would have been contra-productive to the Pentecostal churches in Sweden and in Norway, to show a greater freedom toward women than the freedom which prevailed in the non-Christian society. This might be the possible reason why Paul had to keep women from getting into further problems with the patriarchical society. Therefore, the apostle demanded that women should behave properly in accordance to the cultural and social rules of that time. In addition, we must remember that most women were neither spiritually nor mentally mature to become leaders of the local churches in the apostolic era.
Now, this concept of a church's changes and their relationship to the society and its open-mindness, was something that was present from the very beginning of the female debate in Sweden.(78) The "sociological" approach became later one of the stronger arguments for women's freedom.(79) Consequently, the question we should ask is the following: is this position biblical? I believe it is. Paul did not take an official stand against slavery but instead urged the Christian slaves to accept their freedom if that was possible. The gospel was supposed to transform society from within, changing its value-system through a dynamic process, leading up to a peaceful transformation. Therefore, in view of what has been said so far, it is easy to understand why women during so many centuries could not live out their Christian freedom without the support from an understanding society.
In this special case, when a few of the Pauline texts on women's ministry apparently contradict each other--comparing the following texts: Gal. 3:28-29; 1 Tim. 2:9-1; 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Cor. 14:26--we should be careful not to arrive at too hasty conclusions that Paul changed his views from time to time or succumbed to the pressures from some "anti-feminist" or Jewish groups in the local churches. What is reflected in for example 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2 are two completely different problems in the apostolic local churches, which had to be dealt with distinctively. These texts are colored by values and customs taken from the apostolic era and cannot be literally transferred or applied to the modern church or society without the due contextualization.
I think that Ingvar Holmberg in his study at Kaggeholm Folk High School in 1978 gives a fair good explanation of apostle Paul's handling of this very difficult issue in a time dominated by patriarchical values:
God's Word is the primacy of our faith, but I think we need to apply the
holistic biblical overall view in the light of the perspective of our actual situation or
circumstances, rather than just consider some specific texts which prohibits women to rule over men or to minister as teachers. In the society of the early church
there were reasons why people acted as they did. In our society, with our view of woman, there are no such problems.(80)
The Christian church always need to listen to the environment, feel the move of the people, so she can fit into God's timing and have a fresh message to the modern man. God's church ought be the leader, have the initiatives in the areas of morals, ethics and the ultimate issues, but there are occasions when she need to wait until the appropriate transformation of the environment or the society has taken place, which make possible the acceptance of the church's message.
The female leadership is one of these issues. To press forth an acceptance of women's God-given right of authority, while people in general, neither emotionally nor mentally, were prepared for such radical changes, would have inflicted great damage to God's cause.
2. The redemptive and pneumatic approach.
Another of the arguments employed by the egalitarians is based upon the idea that in order to catch the intention of the author, and the biblical message we must start from an interpretative center of the Gospel, that is, from Christ and his redemptive work. That is, the redemption and not the Fall, the restoration and not the condemnation, love and not sin must make up the foundation for women and their participation in the church ministries.
It has been exiting to follow the female elders and egalitarian pastors and their interpretations of such basic verses as Gal. 3:28-29. Now it is essential to the understanding of Paul's arguments concerning women and their ministry that we clarify the difference between timeless principle-texts and culture-bound ad hoc texts: the former is a text based upon an absolute spiritual principle, which can be literally applied to any culture at any time, while the latter are documents which have been influenced by culture and social values, which makes it necessary to contextualize them in order to become understandable to the modern mind.(81) Therefore we need to know the reasons behind the Pauline problem texts in order to apply them correctly to people in the 20th century.
The text in Gal. 3:28-29 points to a clear, definite fact: No status or walls of separation exist when we deal with the human being and his position before the Lord. On the contrary, texts such as 1 Tim. 2:9-15 and 1 Cor. 14:34-35 need to be "decoded." Women, because of their newly won freedom acted and behaved in a way that put in danger the credibility and the future of the young apostolic church. Therefore, Paul had to intervene and call things back to order, and thus hinder a complete rejection from the non-Christian society.
It is important to notice that the egalitarians and almost every female leader have interpreted the text in Gal. 3:28-29 as an expression of liberation from both spiritual, social and cultural bondage, unlike the complementarians who have limited these verses as a reference to an equal, spiritual standing before God.(82)
As to Gal. 3:28, this text is, according to many scholars, decisive in giving a proper interpretation of women's ministry in church. Stanley Grenz states: Egalitarians, in contrast, see Galatians 3:28 as the foundation for a new social order in the church. It is Paul's Magna Carta of Humanity, a charter of Christian equality.(83) Another scholar says that "it is the most socially explosive text in the Bible."(84) The well-known evangelical theologian F.F. Bruce makes the following comment: "Paul states the basic principles here; if restrictions on it (women's ministry in the church) are found elsewhere in the Pauline corpus . . . they are to be understood in relation to Gal. 3:28, (my emph.) and not vice versa."(85) Gretchen Gaebelein, in the book Woman Authority & the Bible, spells it out well when she quotes what Jesus said in the Gospel of John and makes the following comments: "'It is finished.' Yet the complementarians qualify that by saying to women who desire full participation within the body of Christ, 'Yes, but . . . ' The complementarians' qualification is twofold: first, you are redeemed, but you are permanently flawed, because of Eve's frailty; second, yes, you are redeemed, but because of your flaw you must work out your salvation through a certain role. These two answers indeed limit the substitutionary atonement of Christ."(86)
Now, even if the redemptive message points back to the cross it is also anchored in the Day of Pentecost, because redemption without Pentecost is a truncated and an incomplete concept. The death and resurrection of Christ were not isolated events, but need to be seen in its whole context, in the light of God's purpose. The redemptive message can only fulfill its purpose of being a liberating message through the Holy Spirit and only the risen Lord had the authority to ask the Father to send the church the Holy Spirit as Comforter and Helper. Therefore Pentecost builds upon Christ's redemption and proclaims the freedom implicated in verses like Gal. 3:28-29. Consequently, the pneumatic and redemptive texts stand forth as a interpretative center which throw light upon the Pauline problem texts. (87)
When Joel's prophecy was fulfilled through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Day of Pentecost, and both women and men began to speak in other tongues and prophecy it was a sign and confirmation of a new era, in which all the human beings had the same freedom to serve God on the same basis and with the same gifts. The curse of the Fall had been replaced by the full restoration through Christ, his death and resurrection. Women and men finally stood at the same level both ontologically (as beings) and functionally. But the Holy Spirit does not only set people (regardless, social position, race or sex) free to minister according to their capacity and calling, he also helps them in the interaction between text and readers, illuminating the reader in the interpretative process. Concerning the role of the Holy Spirit, F.L. Arrington argues: "But the Holy Spirit has also a place in the interpretative and the illumination process. The commonality of the experiences of the modern reader and the ancient author lies in their shared faith in Jesus Christ and their walk with the Paraclete whom he promised them. It is within the context of faith the Bible was inspired; therefore, it is with the context of faith that the Bible must be interpreted. (My emph.)"(88)
Clark Pinnock holds the following opinion of the cooperation of the Holy Spirit with the reader:
There are two sides to hermeneutics. First, we listen to the text as
God's Word in human
language given to us, and second, we open ourselves to God's Spirit to reveal the particular
significance the text has for the present situation. Interpretation involves a bipolar ellipse, and
moves back and forth between the historical meaning of the Bible and our standing before God.
In the same context Pinnock says,
My hermeneutical proposal is that we
hear the Word of God in the interaction between the Word and the Spirit, not through
Scripture alone. And not
by meditation alone. This makes interpretation an art rather than a science or technique . . . It cannot be reduced to a set of rules." (My emph.). (89)
It is a fact then, that the Holy Spirit, mediating the redemptive truths, guides us both in our reading and out of spiritual bondage towards spiritual freedom in order to release all the positive potentials which may be found in the human being, reflected in talents, spiritual gifts, ministries etc. In this dynamic liberating process the Holy Spirit helps us to read the Bible with redemptive lenses always trying to glorify Christ, restoring God's image in men. Therefore, because of the constant interaction between reader, Scripture and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the believing community, we are capable to sense if the interpretation of a particular text, is limiting or increasing the possibilities of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
The verses in John 16:13-15 are still applicable to the Church today. There is a supernatural and unspeakable cooperation, between the Spirit, the Word and the reader in the interpretation of texts, which cannot always be explained in rational terms on the basis of hermeneutical laws and principles. Millard Erickson expresses this fact in the following manner: "There is an inward power, or ability or faculty in man which is deeper than the ordinary cognitive powers. That is why Scripture can speak of a hearing which does not hear, and a seeing which does not see. It is this inward power or ability which, when sound and whole, has an intuitive power for recognizing God and his truth."
There are several conclusions that may be drawn from the female debate in Sweden and in part from Norway.
1. In order to bring about such a delicate and far-reaching transformation of the leadership structure, it was important to get involved as many members as possible. That happened in Sweden. National and regional conferences, Bible study groups, magazines and newspapers have been places where heated debates have occurred. On many occasions, the tension between conservatives and egalitarians has been visible and notorious, but in these cases the rejection has mostly come from elders and pastors, who have (1) confused Bible interpretation and theology, (2) have referred to a strict literalistic interpretation of the Pauline problem texts or (3) have built their arguments upon a dogmatic interpretation of the "God´s pattern" concept.
Looking backwards, I doubt that such a transformation as the one which has taken place in Sweden so far would have been impossible to carry out, with the limited consent of a small leadership group as a General Presbytery. Not even with a representative group like a General Council would it have been possible. The participation of the members was absolutely necessary and imperative. In Assemblies of God and other similar groups, it is quite obvious that women face problems to be accepted as deacons, elders or pastors, in spite of a clear and official declaration from the leaders or the General Council. The debate in Sweden has accented and proved the importance of taking into consideration the opinion of the whole believing community in order to carry out major changes in areas which affect its spiritual life.
2. The experience of having achieved a new and fuller understanding of the historical dimensions of the Pauline problem texts will surely be helpful in the future when other areas will be studied and examined. It was in the light of the contextualization as concepts like "God's pattern" had to be changed.
3. Another interesting fact is, that the debate lifted up Christ's redemption and the Pentecost as the center or foundation for the interpretation of the difficult New Testamental texts, which many times are limited to a certain social-cultural setting. For example, Gal. 3:28-29 has probably been the most important verses in the egalitarian circles (being the interpretative center) in order to make the members of many churches affiliated to the SPM understand that women have a God-given right to hold leadership positions in God's church. In this interpretative process the emphasis has been upon restoration and not the Fall. But even the pneumatic texts, such as Acts 2:1ff. and 1 Cor. 12-14 with special accent on 1 Cor. 14:26 have played an important role in the understanding of the difficult Pauline texts. Generally speaking one might say that those texts (referring to the women's ministry) that contradict this interpretative center might in one way or another be considered time or culturally bound. That is, texts like 1 Cor. 11:3ff, 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Tim. 2:9-15 are ad hoc texts belonging to documents that seem to have been written out of very specific cultural and local circumstances, of which we don't have fully information or knowledge. Therefore these texts must be "decoded" in order to be applicable and understandable to the modern church life.
4. Another fact that has made the whole female situation in the SPM look absurd and non-logic is the way women missionaries has deferred from the women at home. The former have been able to develop and realize their calling. In Sweden or Norway women have had little or no chance to be accepted as elders or pastors. This is now gradually changing, but the strange thing is that in spite of having known the strong position many female missionaries have had on several mission-fields, it took a long time to make leaders in the SPM understand the bizarre situation which looked somewhat funny from the non-Christian horizon. Anyway, this polarization resulted finally in an unsustainable situation, which helped males to understand that the attitude towards women should change and become more realistic.
5. The debate has also touched the increasing participation of women in many Pentecostal churches all over the world.. Many of the fastest growing churches in the world are using women in the leadership groups, such as Yonggi Cho's church, la Ekklesia in La Paz, Bolivia, The Elim Assembly in San Salvador, etc. Beyond doubt this has contributed to see the enormous value of women in all kind of ministries.
6. Finally, the debate is not over yet, even if things have changed to women's favor. But I am convinced that the way SPM and NPM have handled this polemic and controversial issue may be an example to follow for other denominations which are facing the same problems.
1. During these years the tone was harsh between the proponents and the opponents of the female-ministers. Since Bertil Gärtner was the only bishop who actively worked against female ministers, his life was severely threatened. (Expressen, January 28, 1978). In an article in Dagens Nyheter, December 9, 1977, you may find an article entitled: "The Fight Around the Female-Priest Issue Drives the Church to Division." The tone between the groups could obviously be quite rude.
2.See Alf Lindberg, "Förkunnarna och deras utbildning," Doctoral dissertation, University of Lund, 1991, p. It is true that the debate in the State Church touched matters totally alien to SPM, but there always existed a fear that the discussion would spread to SPM and affect the churches. In a speech in the Pastor's Conference in Stockholm, in 1979, Josef Östby, Associate Pastor in the Filadelfia Assembly in Stockholm, pointed out that the female debate as a whole was a result of the ongoing spiritual decay. When I asked him years later (1994) to explain what he meant by this expression, he told me that it was directed against the female debate in Sweden. He said he was afraid that this debate would enter the Pentecostal churches and cause God's church to lose its spiritual strength.
3. Quoted from Alf Lindberg, ibid., pp. 195-196
4. It is interesting to notice that in 1946 the Swedish State Church through their bishops and General Synod, was convinced that female ministers were unacceptable. As late as in 1957, it seemed that the General Synod was unable to agree upon a proposal about future female ministers.
5. Einar Rimmerfors member of the Swedish Covenant Mission Church, and member of the Parliament, was one of those Free Church members who contributed to speed up the process in 1955. (Alf Lindberg, ibid., p. 198)
6. In order to get a glimpse of the debate during the late 1940's and the first years of the 1950's it may be interesting to read something of what Anders Nygren, bishop in Lund and well known theologian, wrote to the General Synod in 1957. He argues against those who cuts off portions of texts from the Pauline letters, only because they do not seem meaningful for these theologians. He also refers to professor Fridrichsen, an outstanding exegete, who says as follows:
One must recognize that one (accepting the female priests. my comment) puts aside the biblical view and the apostolic authority . . . It may be the case that we finally will have female priests . . . but we should not forget that the New Testament has another opinion." However Anders Nygren rejects the idea that the priest is Christ's representative in the mass and in the service in general, thus acting as a kind of father. He contends that Christ himself is really present in the Holy Communion and " has no representative on earth. (Essay in Kyrka och Folk from 1958 or the end of 1957. Unknown date).
7. When referring to the Pauline problem texts I mean texts such as, 1 Cor. 11:3 ff.; 1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-15.
8. In my dissertation, "Contextualization and Literalism in the Female Debate in the Swedish and the Norwegian Pentecostal Movements, 1978-1995," Bethany Theological Seminary, Dothan, Alabama, I refer to strict literalism as a method focused basically upon a dominant emphasis of the literal meaning of the immediate context. That means that the historical meaning or the historic contextualism has less influence on the outcome of the application in modern time.
9. Prof. Efraim Briem in his book Den Moderna Pingströrelsen, says about the SPM that, "its ecclesiastical organization is, in spite of its similitudes, not a genuine copy of the original apostolic church and it has not attempted to realize all its peculiarities, which characterized the first Christian church." (Cited from a personal letter from Th.D. Alf Lindberg).
10. In the first Bible School held in the Filadelfia Assembly in Stockholm in 1917 there were 85 women out of 153 students. It means that the majority of the participants were women. Even if we don't know the exact amount of women that were active evangelists we may draw the conclusion from a list in the following book that the majority of the evangelists during the first decade were women. (Arthur Sundstedt, Pingstväckelsens historia, II (Stockholm: Normans förlag, 1972), p.191, and 281-283. In another book Eld över Smålandsbygd, we may see that in the Filadelfia Assembly in Jönköping , as late as in 1944, there were 14 female evangelists out of totally 16; a very influential female group.
11. Cf. Stanley Grentz & Denise Muir Kjesbo, Woman in the Church, A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry (Downers Grove: IVP, 1995), p. 17-18, where the authors use the word complementarian and egalitarian referring to the traditionalists and the Biblical feminists..
12. Examples are pastors Hasse Andersson, Ingvar Holmberg, Wasti Feldt, Josef Mattson-Bozé.
13. These texts have never caused any exegetical or hermeneutical problems to the great majority of the Pentecostal pastors in SPM. They have always been considered to belong to the special cultural setting of the oriental society and church during the apostolic era.
14. It is possible that even the Free Baptist Movement (Fribaptistsamfundet) had no women ministers in their churches. This denomination has actually joined "Nybygget" a new Free Church group, composed by the Örebro Mission, the Free Baptists, and the Holiness Union Church.
15. Wasti Feldt came originally from the Salvation Army and ministered for several years as an officer. Later she turned to the SPM and for many years traveled and ministered as an evangelist. Her book "Kvinnan I frikyrkan" became one of the major causes of the coming female debate.
16. The Pastor's Conference is considered the most important national conference of the SPM. However, it can only recommend the churches of the Movement to follow the taken decisions, since the SPM has no denominational structure with a General Council, General Presbytery or similar binding decision-making bodies.
17. Of course you could also find a few groups which held mediating positions.
18. Evangelical refers to the concept stated and defined in the Lausanne declaration 1974 which defended a more realistic attitude to the Bible and its authority than the strict literalism which often appear in the fundamentalistic circles.
19. Rune Jonsson, in 1979 the editor-in-chief of the Evangelii Härold ( the official weekly Pentecostal magazine), said that "only if we declare the Bible's message invalid, can we admit female elders."
20. See my dissertation pages 84, 90, 91 and the opinions of two pioneers of the SPM, namely, Herbert Grenehed and Karl Ramstrand. The former says: "Women´s desire to become as much like men as possible is a specific tendency of the last time" (emph. mine), and not so much a deeper insight in the Word of God." The latter describes the new situation in the following way: "Is this the wind from the world?" "This is not the Spiritual stormy wind that comes from the Upper Room."
21. The woman elected was Nelly Hall, may be the most well known woman that the Holiness Union Mission ever had. When William Booth wanted a woman to introduce the Salvation Army in Sweden, the choice stood between two women, Hanna Ouchterlony and Nelly Hall. The former won. This gives an indication of strong the acceptance of female ministers among the adherents of the Holiness Union Mission.
22. It is interesting that a woman, Elsa Borg who together with Nelly Hall paved the way for female evangelists in Sweden, had through a visit in England during the years 1876-1878, been in contact with Lord Rostock and W.E. Boardman, The latter had a decisive influence on the Swedish Salvation Army in its initial phase, so it is to suppose that the Holiness Union Mission from the very beginning taught that women could minister as evangelists and preachers.
23. Cited from, Erik Nyhlén, Svensk frikyrka (Stockholm: Bokförlaget Prisma, 1964).
24. It is interesting that Fredrik Fransson wrote his book in 1890 just a couple of years before Catherine Booth and John Ongman wrote their books defending the cause of the female evangelists and preachers.
25. See my dissertation, p. 248.
26. The reason for this act might have been his desire to dominate and govern but he probably also deviated from what was the basic orthodox Baptist beliefs . In addition, during his time in USA he had accepted a view that to a great extent coincided with that of Fredrik Fransson, his apocalyptical thoughts and women´s right to preach. (Erik Nyhlén, ibid., p.170). Another reason may be that Ongman wanted to dedicate his life to work-areas that the Betel Assembly did not accept, such as missions, Bible-school. (Letter, March 27, 1997, from Per Axel Sverker, professor at the Theological Seminary in Örebro, Sweden.)
27. The title of Catherine Booth's book is Female Ministry or Woman's right to Preach the Gospel.
28. Torsten Bergsten, Dagen November 14, 1989., states:
This comparison between the two booklets with the same title has disclosed that Ongman in detail cites and refers to Catherine Booth in a way that it is right to talk about plagiarism. However, twice in his booklet he states where he got his information from. Therefore he is not to blame for his action. However it is remarkable and pleasant to see this man and preacher from the 19th century so unconditionally willing to be taught by a woman.
29. Th.D. Torsten Bergsten holds the same opinion as to the decisive influence these denominations had upon the Pentecostal view of women and their ministerial and ecclesiastical roles.
30. In the Preacher's Conference in Stockholm in 1896 John Ongman had an heated and decisive dispute with August Källberg. The latter addressed the female issue and criticized harshly the "female-preaching." But John Ongman had already decided that he would strongly defend women's right to preach. That it was difficult for women to even represent a church in a conference, is shown by Paul Peter Waldenström's reaction when he saw a woman in one of the General Conferences of the Swedish Mission Covenant Church, which he considered was a thoughtless action. He decided that she had to sit on the balcony. And there she stayed the whole conference. Alf Lindberg, ibid. 194. He cites an article en Dagen, April 29, 1988.
31. See Alf Lindberg, ibid., p. 188.
32. Ibid., page 188.
33. Alf Lindberg, ibid., p. 207-208. Dr. Lindberg also refers to the board-meeting in the Filadelfia Assembly in Oslo, on June 22 , 1916, a Friday, when the by-laws were accepted. Dr. Lindberg also alleges that the outlines of the by-laws were prepared by Barrat, an information he got from Martin Ski, And og Ild, 1979, p.199.
34. cf.. Martin Ski, And og Ild, 1979, p. 201
35. It is very interesting that the book he published in 1933 is a series of studies that he held in the Bible school in the Filadelfia Assembly, Oslo in 1930. That means that he taught the future leaders in the movement about women's right to be in leadership positions and even hold pastorate ministries. The last position was only in special cases when the Holy Spirit so called particular women. See my doctoral dissertation, pp. 220-221
36. It is important to keep in mind that Martin Ski had a different view of the one held by his Pastor, T.B. Barrat. He rejected completely women's access to the board or to the eldership. See Ole Georg Hoaas - Oddvar Tegnander, Kvinnen fri til tjeneste (Oslo: Filadelfiaförlaget, , 2nd ed. 1986), pp. 24-25.
37. The authors alleges that T.B. Barrat was not totally negative to female elders and recognizes that women on special occasions can be better equipped for the eldership than men. Ole Georg Hoaas and Oddvar Tegnander,, 198, p. 33. Thoralf Gilbrant, pastor, and editor-in-chief of the weekly Pentecostal magazine Korsets Seir for many years rejects the above conclusion in an article in his book, Her er ikke mann og kvinne (Oslo: Rex Förlag, 1995), p. 73-75
38. See review by David Bundy in Pneuma (Fall 1986) pp.184-185
39. The book was strongly criticized by Thoralf Gilbrant, a former editor-in-chief of Korsets Seir and well known in Pentecostal circles in many parts of the world. He says that: "It is really bad that the leader of one of the Pentecostal Bible Schools has such a view of the Bible. Still more alarming is the fact that the Pentecostal Movement published a book with such a view of the Bible."
40. For further discussion of the Norwegian debate see my doctoral dissertation, pages 192-227. As far as I know, no decision has been taken so far in order to give the female ministers in the NPM access to the leadership positions.
41. See Jörgen Källmark, ed., Så svarade Pethrus (Stockholm: Normans förlag, 1979), pp. 131-136; The book is a compilation of several Bible studies on IBRA radio. One of the chapters deals with the female ministry in the church. Lewi Pethrus, the founder of the Pentecostal Movement in Sweden, makes a sharp difference between being an evangelist and being a teacher. He did not allow women to hold the teacher's ministry.
42. This does not mean that there were no women on the church boards. The City Assembly in Stockholm had women on its board in the beginning of the 1970's. (Nils-Olov Nilsson, 1996, p. 86.). But the female board members had to wait until the end of the 1980's and the beginning of the 1990's until it became more frequent with women in the church leadership.
In a thesis, "Kvinnligt ledarskap I Svensk Pingströrelse, written at the Theological Seminary in Stockholm, the female Pastor Kerstin Samuelsson showed that already between 1907 and 1908 there were women on the board in the Färlöv Assembly, in Skåne, which later became a free Pentecostal church. In spite of being a Pentecostal church, there were still women on the board from 1918 through the 1920's, something very unusual in that time. However, things changed in 1929 with, as it seems, a church conflict and after that women had no further access to the leadership positions.
43. "On the whole, women must not govern or be leaders of a church. It always goes bad, since it is against God's Word and God's plan. This does not mean that our sisters do not have tasks to carry out in God's kingdom. On the contrary, there are a lot of different ministries for the sisters who want to serve the Lord. They may serve with their properties (Luke 8:3); they are allowed to pray and fast (Luke 2:36; Acts 1:14); they are struggling reaching out with the Gospel (Phil 4:2,3); they are supporting the Lord's witnesses (Rom. 16:1,2); they are prophesying (Acts 21:8,9); etc. We do not believe that a real spiritual sister wants to become a leader, but is thankful to minister where God wants them to be." Alvar Blomgren, Församlingens hjärta, Förlaget Filadelfia, 1937, p. 30.
44. See my dissertation p. 55: Wasti Feldt makes the following comment on this article: "During the spring, 1978, Svenska Journalen splashed an interview with me. The article was entitled 'Jesus makes no difference between man and woman!'"
45. Ibid., p. 139
46. Concerning the crucial years of this debate, 1978 may be considered the year when it definitely made its way into the Pentecostal Movement in Sweden. It was the same year when the Conference on women's ministry at Kaggeholm took place, in which Ingvar Holmberg presented his study of women's ministry build upon a contextual approach. During 1978-1980 Wasti Feldt tried to bring up the issue in the Pastor´s Conference in Stockholm but failed; in 1980 Wasti Feldt becomes the first female Senior Pastor; 1986 the female issue is discussed for the very first time in a national conference, in Nyhem; 1987 was the first year a female pastor, Marianne Boo, administrated the Lord's Supper in a national conference; in 1994 women's ministry was discussed in the Pastor's Conference, where it got a strong support. In 1995 women's ministry was also discussed in the Norwegian Pastor's Conference, but without any decision or recommendation. A committee was elected to work with the whole subject and later come up with a proposal for the 1996 year's Pastor's Conference in Oslo.
47. The new interpretation has, of course, nothing to do with the New Hermeneutics launched by Ebeling and Fuchs. By the new interpretation I refer to the new understanding of the historical dimension for a better understanding of the Pauline problem texts.
48. In Swedish "Guds mönsterbild."
49. cf. Edith Blumhofer, The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture ( Chicago: Illinois Press, 199). In this book Dr. Blumhofer tries to describe the Assemblies of God in its constant struggle to stick with restorationist theology. The church-view described in the SPM is a legacy from the Baptist Movement.
50. In 1982, Th.D. Alf Lindberg, in two articles in the daily, Dagen, (August, 14 and 31) alleged that there is no such concept as "God's pattern"which for all times and situations, includes the external and organizational structure of the church. The New Testament, according to Lindberg, presents clear and indisputable evidences that the leadership and the structure of the first apostolic churches are somewhat different in their accent and focus . He mentions about the differences between Jerusalem and Antioch in their focus upon church life, missions, sharing of property, etc. The fact that the early church had to change its organizational structure facing new situations is also seen in the collegia funeraticia (funeral associations), which the churches founded especially in the larger cities like Rome, in order to be able to to work freely as a religious group. These articles met strong reactions from pastors like Daniel Wärn and Carlo Johansson from Lund, who argued for an eternal "God's pattern." In a letter, Alf Lindberg explains that their reaction was due to a misunderstanding of his article. He never opposed to an "ontological divine pattern."
51. See Lewi Pethrus, Hos Herren är makten (Stockholm: C.E. Fritzes Bokförlags AB, 1955), pp. 80-84. cf. My dissertation and the article written by the pastor Bertil Carlsson on p. 34 where he refers to the old idea in the SPM, when the pastor is supposed to train the young evangelists in the local churches. In fact, what happened was that the younger pastors had to trust on their own ability to achieve the theological studies they needed. The method was never effective especially for those who wanted a deeper educational and theological training.
52. cf. Arthur Sundstedt, ibid., pp. 244-246. The author is comparing two different leaders in the Evangalical Free Church in Sweden, Paul Peter Waldenström, the General Superintendent of the Swedish Mission Covenant Church at the end of the 19th century and Lewi Pethrus the founder of the Pentecostal Movement in Sweden. In this comparison Waldenström comes very close to the modern contextual concept when he argued in favor of a kind of pragmatical and functional church model. He states that "We cannot organize a church today the same way it was organized in the Pauline era, as in Corinth or in Athens, more than 1800 years ago . . . it should be organized so that the external form corresponds to the internal spiritual need." On the other hand Lewi Pethrus, with a strict literalistic approach contended that "a church is biblical if it has been founded in accordance with the principles given in Apg. 2:38 . . . Our churches are biblical if we practice the biblical truths." Pethrus also held the idea that the various organized denominations represented the "whore system" mentioned in Rev. 17:5.
53. The ecclesiastical view in the SPM was a legacy from the Baptist Movement.
54. By the phenomenological part of the church I refer to the visible forms, methods and structures which are under constant reinterpretation.
55.cf. Kerstin Samuelsson, ibid., p. 5-6, 10. In order to explain the way men have treated their sisters in the SPM she is using the Swedish historian Yvonne Hirdman's theory of the "genus-contract" that is, a theory that helps us understand why men and women react the way they do on their jobs, in their love relationships, the way they talk , dress, etc. All these reactions are the result of a dynamical process through which men and women learn how to behave themselves in society. Samuelsson states:
This knowledge has been transferred from one generation to another and is not innate. Mothers teach their daughters and fathers their sons . . . A structure of power is evidently built into this way of reasoning . . . The one that has the power is also the one that set the conditions..but since women have lower status than men we must ask ourselves what part women have in this oppression . . . Women is co-creator and as integrated as men in this system . . . Hirdman says that she has observed that every society has a kind of genus-contract". When applying this genus-contract on the SPM she says: "Still there is no dialogue between the sexes. Still men talk more about women than with women. Women prefers not to share their interpretation of the biblical texts and their experience and this has delayed and made the whole process more difficult both for women and men. Hirdman would have said that women have taken part in creating the situation of in stepping themselves out of the way.
56. It is interesting to see that many of the debateare favoring the egalitarian position had been missionaries, as Gerd Hjalmarsson, Marianne Boo, Beda Wallström, Gunilla Nyberg, Lena Nolvall, Märta-Greta Halldorf etc.
57. See Acts 6.
58. Acts 13.
59. 1 Cor. 12-14.
60. See the Pastoral letters (1-2 Timothy and Titus).
61. In for example La Ekklesia in La Paz, Bolivia, the whole team of pastors (in which one is a woman) stand on the same functional level.
62. By the sociological approach I refer to the interpretative procedure that takes in consideration the paradigm shifts in society which are necessary to make credible and acceptable such Christian doctrines, as the equality between sexes and races, abolition of slavery etc. That paradigm shift has already taken place in most of the countries of our modern society, so there is no need (based upon a patriarchical and male dominant society) to withhold women from there God-given rights.
The sociological approach practically coincides with what Sigrid Deminger believes to be a adequate explanation, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, who presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching; he calls it the Paul's pedagogical approach. This would explain the reason why Paul could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul under the reigning cultural and spiritual circumstances both tried to correct a local problem reflected in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2 using the cultural accepted values of his time, but at the same time argued for women's freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.
63. God's call has been referred to constantly in this debate. It has been dealt with in my dissertation on several occasions. See Nils-Olov Nilsson, ibid., pp. 25, 112, 124, 130, 141, 145 note 29. Of course women's call as a subjective and empirical experience must be judged according to the Biblical text in order to be valid and universally applicable.
65. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(66)
66. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(67)
67. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(68)
68. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(69)
69. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(70)
70. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(71)
71. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(72)
72. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(73)
73. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(74)
74. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29.(75)
75. Th.D. Sigrid Deminger, the former principal of the Örebro Theological Seminary, presented an attempt solve the "contradictory" Pauline teaching - he calls it the Paul's pedagogical focus. This would explain the reason why Paul (in defense of the patriarchical dominated society) could argue for slavery and at the same time struggle for the Christian and its freedom from bondage. The same thing happens with the female issue, when Paul both defends the status quo system in 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2, but argues for her freedom in Gal. 3:28-29. - - " " " " - " "
76. See my dissertation, p. 222
77. Alf Lindberg contends through his doctoral dissertation, that the founder of the SPM, Lewi Pethrus, had an "adaptable" leadership approach, which over the years lead him to change some of his attitudes, specially in the area of pastoral training and education, depending on the circumstances ha had to confront.
78. Ibid., pastor Ingvar Holmberg and his speech in the Kaggeholm Conference in 1978. He alludes to the fact that the society in the apostolic era was not prepared to receive a liberated Christian woman.
79. Such debaters as Ulla-Britt Hagström (working in the Union), Hasse Andersson pastor in Stockholm, Bo Hörnberg (once one of the leading pastors in SPM, Nils-Olov Nilsson etc.
80. Unpublished document by Ingvar Holmberg.
81. Even the so-called pure "principle-texts" or texts with "universal moral absolutes" are influenced by culture. Cf. Terrance Thiessen, "Toward a Hermeneutic for Discerning Universal Moral Absolutes," Journal of the Evangelical Society (June 1993) pp.192-193:
82. The foundation of Wasti Feldt and her articles, concerning the female ministry, can be narrowed down to Christ's redemption and the restoration of man from the fall and its curse. See my dissertation, p. 140. Of course there are many complementarians who have held a traditionalistic approach to Gal. 3:28-29, such as Björn Donobauer, Thomas Ander and Thoralf Gilbrandt etc.
83. Stanley Grenz, ibid., p.101
84. Klyne R. Snodgrass, "The Ordination of Women - Thirteen Years Later : Do We Really Value the Ministry of Women?" Covenant Quarterly 48, no.3 (August 1990): 34-35
85. F.F. Bruce, Commentary on Galatians, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), p. 190
86. Gretchen Gaebelain, Woman, Authority & the Bible, ed. by Alvera Mickelson (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1986) pp.24-25.
87. C Powell, A Stalemate of Genders? Some Hermeneutical Reflections," Themelios 17 (April/May 1992):18; David M. Scholer, "1 Timothy 2:9-15 and the Place of Women in Church's Ministry," in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. By Alvera Mickelsen (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1986) p. 213
88. Stanley M. Burgess and Gary B. McGee Ed., The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (Grand rapids: Zondervan, 7th printing 1995), ibid., p.382
89. cf. José M. Martinez, Hermeneutica Biblica (Barcelona: Editorial Clie, 1983), pp.547-550. José Martinez, alleges that the charismatic interpretation is a response to the disappointment with the historic-critical exegesis. He says: "For many people who wanted to hear God's voice through the Scriptures was lost in the labyrinths of the linguïstical, historical, psychological and religious details." He contends that "the charismatic interpretation has achieved new heights through the charismatic movements, in whose circles many believes that the only thing they need is the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit in order to understand the texts." Dr. Martinez does not disapprove the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the interpretative process, but warns the reader not to disapprove the rational thinking in the exegesis. This understanding of the perspicuity of the Biblical texts has also been part of the debate in the Swedish and the Norwegian debates. See my dissertation, pp. 233-235.