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Jamie Carter
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Clement argues for the equality of sexes, on the grounds that salvation is extended to all of mankind equally.[29] Unusually, he suggests that Christ is neither male or female, and that God the Father has both male and female aspects: the eucharist is described as milk from the breast (Christ) of the Father.[30][31] He is supportive of women playing an active role in the leadership of the church, and provides a list of women he considers inspirational, which includes both Biblical and Classical Greek figures. It has been suggested that Clement’s progressive views on gender as set out in the Paedagogus were influenced by Gnosticism.[30] However, later in the work, he argues against the Gnostics that faith, not esoteric knowledge [γνῶσις], is required for salvation. According to Clement, it is through faith in Christ that we are enlightened and come to know God.[32] – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_of_Alexandria

While I don’t agree on Clement’s stance on veiling, make-up, hair dye, jewelry, braids and a few other things – I can actually agree with him that men and women are equal and equally are capable of being leaders in the Church. Considering he lived in the years 150-215 a.d., it absolutely saddens me to know that here we are in 2014 a.d. where thing really haven’t changed much at all.

Jeremy Gardiner
Reply

Jamie, I took a look at the source (footnote #29) for Clement’s statements on the equality of men and women. It wasn’t a statement against hierarchy in gender, but rather an affirmation that we’re equals in Christ (sharing a common salvation and both being taught by Christ). That’s something affirmed by all Christians on both sides of the gender debate.

I couldn’t find the second reference about him being “supportive of women playing an active role in the leadership of the church.” I must admit that I am skeptical that Clement affirmed that. I do wish a primary source was quoted so we could just check into it ourselves but the reference is a secondary source that’s not available to be viewed online. Let me know if you do find a source as if I’m wrong I’d want to know.

It’s just hit-and-miss with Wikipedia since anyone can make edits and write copy.

Jamie Carter
Reply

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02103.htm

Chapter 6, 2nd paragraph, beginning with ‘sed hi quidem,’ and ending at ‘docet Paulus’ can be translated to: ““But the latter [the apostles], in accordance with their ministry [διακονια], devoted themselves to preaching without any distraction, and took women with them, not as wives, but as sisters, that they might be their co-ministers [συνδιακονους] in dealing with women in their homes. It was through them that the Lord’s teaching penetrated also the women’s quarters without any scandal being aroused. We also know the instructions about women deacons [διακονών γυναικών] which are given by the noble Paul in his other letter, the one to Timothy” [1 Timothy 3,11].”

Considering how long the document has been around, I’m surprised that the site hadn’t bothered to translate it. I hope it’s not a habit for parts that seem opposed to current teachings to be left untranslated while only parts that agree with current teachings to be translated for everybody to read.

Jeremy Gardiner
Reply

Thanks for posting the quote Jamie. I don’t see that as a controversial quote. He says women were doing women’s ministry (“co-ministers..in dealing with women”) which everyone affirms as proper. On women being deacons, it’s debated. Complementarians like John MacArthur and Wayne Grudem affirm that it’s acceptable office for women to hold as it does not include teaching or authority. Others define the role and function of deacon differently and conclude it’s not for women.

Here’s what Grudem says:

“The biblical teaching regarding the office of deacon is much less extensive than that regarding the office of elder, and what is involved in the office of deacon varies considerably from church to church. If deacons are actually functioning as elders and have the highest governing authority within a local church, then the arguments given above against women being elders would apply directly to this situation, and it would follow that Scripture does not permit women to be deacons in this sense. On the other hand, if deacons simply have delegated administrative responsibility for certain aspects of the ministry of the church, then there seems to be no good reason to prevent women from functioning as deacons. Regarding the question of women as deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, it does not seem to the present author that this passage allows women to be deacons in the way deacons are understood in that situation,but there is a significant difference of viewpoint among evangelicals over the understanding of this passage, and it is much less clear to us exactly what deacons did at that time than it is clear what elders did.”

Jamie Carter

If Christianity limited itself to only that which was Biblical, then much of modern Christianity would necessarily cease to be – any ministry or movement (unless it was began with the authority of a pastor, you had the elders lay their hands on you, and the people of your church chose you for the task because of your wisdom and your connection to the Holy Spirit – Acts 6), mega-churches (they can’t be made to match any Biblical commandments for churches), pastors themselves would have to be replaced with Deacons and Elders and Overseers all according to the Bible’s instructions for them and Odds are even the John MacArthurs and Wayne Grudems would have a difficult time breaking into the ministry.

If Christianity limited itself to only that which was Historical, then much of modern history would be re-living our past – unwilling to meet any future not written in Scripture and continually struggling between what our personal faith is what we’re told to believe. We would have never learned from the schisms and crusades and salem witch trials and controversies that mark how Christianity used to be.

But Christianity has one thing that, in theory and practice, causes us to be connected to the Bible and our History but not chained by it – the Holy Spirit is within each of us, teaching us, counseling us – the same Holy Spirit that inspires all teachings gave us the notions for both Complementarianism and Egalitarianism as well as Calvinism and Arminianism. Why? Is one right and the other wrong? Both have a basis in Scripture – yet they come to two completely different conclusions.

I have to believe that my big picture God is not surprised by the great strides towards general equality in recent years and was hoping we would figure it out in the same way we would choose him in our free will and put an end to the injustices of racism and slavery. I have to believe what the Holy Spirit is telling me, even if it doesn’t match our human understanding of the most accurate possible interpretation of Scripture. Christianity isn’t purely logical knowledge, there is a realm of emotional experience and faith in Jesus alone.

Kay

I agree with so much that you’ve written here, but I have different conclusions about them. I believe that the clergy/laity system is unbiblical, and the practice of it has led to much of the denominational schisms that we see today. But believers were dividing to follow certain teachers long before there were any official “statements of faith” and such.

The basic question I would pose to you, is; What does God (Christ) want from His own? We know He seeks worshippers, who do so in Spirit and in Truth. We are told to share the gospel (good news of Christ and His redemption for us). We are told to use the Word as a test, to see if any teaching is true. We are enjoined to seek unity, but not allow false teaching to dominate the assembly.

Christ was asked what he required of the disciples in order to do the work of God. He replied “Believe on me.” This is the foundation that I think many set aside. If all who profess to believe would continually sit as His feet, instead of looking for ways to “do the work of God” or “get into the ministry” we would see a greater work of the Spirit, and possibly less of the world wide injustices you mention. But we also know that God knows the beginning, and the end. He is ultimately in control, so we know there’s a reason for the state of Christianity as a whole, divisions and all. But He still seeks those who would look to Him alone, setting aside our own understanding to trust Him.

One thing I disagree with on, is that the Holy Spirit has taught differing doctrines. A notion that doesn’t line up with Scripture didn’t come from Him. Some teachings are hard to decipher, but it could be that neither is right, when groups take sides according to a good teacher. Maybe we aren’t supposed to seek deep understanding of every aspect taught. I don’t know. But I do know that the Love of Christ should be paramount; in our own walk and direction, and in the interaction we have we have with others.

Doesn’t matter what we know, or how idealistic we are, if we don’t love.

Jamie Carter

That’s a great question. We know this from the end of the story” “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Right now, we’re in the old order of things. We’re in a world that isn’t yet made new. When you look at the stories in Scripture about justice, God calls upon us to partial on the side of Widows and Orphans. These are two groups of people in the Roman empire that had no social rights or status because they had no men to speak up for them. So who today does not have anybody to speak for them in our culture and in our churches? How is it loving to exclude people because the Bible does not say that we are allowed to include them? How is it loving to tell people that because they were born with the wrong sin nature that God hates them? How is it loving to decide on God’s behalf who can serve Him and how they can serve Him without asking God what He wants?

When I look at Scripture God gives people a chance to change and He waits for sin to reach it’s full measure. I believe that he’s doing both right now. The more Christianity reaches people, the more we delay what’s coming. But we’ve lost sight of the People that God wants us to love. If traditions and rules could save us – then the Pharisees would have never needed Jesus – but Jesus came to seek and save the lost and attend to those who had need of a doctor. Christianity is overdue for an appointment with that doctor to restore our sight and teach us how to love all over again.

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