I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

Romans‬ ‭16‬:‭1-7‬ ESV

This entire passage is an awkward one for Christians who do not permit women to have positions of authority in the church. It is not surprising that this translation, the English Standard Version, obscures the controversy. One of the original reasons the ESV translation project was begun was to create a contemporary translation that emphasized traditional gender roles to compete against the trend toward gender neutrality in other contemporary translations.

Of the first seven persons that Paul mentions by name at the end of his book for commendation or special greeting, four are women.

The first person, Phoebe, a woman, is called “a servant of the church”. This may seem to suggest a menial or unimportant role, until we remember that Paul frequently uses the word “servant” to describe himself in his letters, even right beside the word “apostle”. She is mentioned first, and given a lot of ink compared to many others in the list. Without an application of the belief that her gender would not allow the position, one could easily interpret this commendation and description as a pastoral or preaching role.

“Prisca” and Aquila are named “Priscilla” and Aquila in Acts. In Acts 18:2 (and elsewhere) they are described as married, and Priscilla is called the wife. Whether they pastored the church in their house together, or only hosted, we cannot be sure. However, we do know Priscilla and Aquila are an important couple to Paul in the account of Paul’s ministry in Acts. In Acts 18:26 the two of them together take Apollos* aside and teach him correct doctrine, giving a clear example of a woman in scripture teaching theology to a man, and even a man who would later become a respected minister along with Paul. In that same verse, as here in Romans, Priscilla, the wife, is mentioned first. Paul calls them “fellow workers in Christ”. We know that they, like Paul, made tents, but we also know from Acts 18:26 that they taught scripture together as well. Paul likely regarded them as fellow workers on both accounts, and in so doing called a woman a peer.

The final two sentences are some of the most problematic of any New Testament passage to Christians who deny women authority in the church. The ESV’s bias is most obvious in this verse. Compare the ESV’s translation to the NIV, and also to the RSV, the original source that was revised to create the ESV:

“Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.”
- Romans 16:7 ESV

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.
- Romans‬ ‭16‬:‭7‬ NIV

Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners; they are men of note among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.
- Romans‬ ‭16‬:‭7‬ RSV

Both the NIV and RSV differ significantly from the ESV with their use of the word “among”. In both of these translations, these partners are clearly apostles, not just “well known to the apostles". Notice how the much older RSV solves the problem of gender by simply reinterpreting Junia’s name as masculine, and then inserting the wholly unnecessary “men”, just in case we might have missed it. This was once a common way to solve the controversy of this woman clearly being called an apostle, which would demonstrate a position and responsibility of authority and teaching to a woman in the early church. Modern scholarship has largely abandoned this idea, and most newer translations and Greek scholars recognize Junia as a female name.

The NIV, with no agenda to promote, has no problem using Junia’s female name, and has no need to insert a gender as does the RSV. I am glad to see the team behind the ESV at least have the integrity to drop that old argument. However the ESV, with its explicit mission to promote an all-male view of church authority, has to aim its reinterpretation of the passage elsewhere, so Junia and Andronicus (by association) are both demoted for the sake of the teaching.

Even upon reading the ESV’s interpretation, one is still left to wonder why this couple has been jailed together, along with Paul, if not for preaching about Jesus? It seems unlikely he’d describe them this way if it were another reason, and unlikely that Junia would have also been arrested unless she was also involved.

I don’t expect any of these arguments to end this controversy. I haven’t said anything new here. I offer it especially for those who have been raised in churches where these damaging “male only” teachings are just assumed, who have hoped there is another side of the story, but have not yet been exposed to it.

ps. All of the scholars involved in the translating of the RSV and ESV were men. The 1984 translation of the NIV had only men on the translation committee. The translation committee for NIV’s 2011 update had one woman among them, and a female secretary. Progress!

*An earlier version of this post mistakenly named the teacher of Acts 18:26 Barnabas instead of Apollos.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

— Romans 1:16 KJV

Romans Study - Week One (Readings)

Here are the readings for week one, everyone!

Day 1:
Romans 1:1-17
2 Samuel 7:12-16
2 Corinthians 5:17

Day 2:
Romans 1:18-32
Proverbs 1:7
2 Timothy 3:1-9

Day 3:
Romans 2:1-16
Deuteronomy 16:18-20
Titus 1:15

Day 4:
Romans 2:17-29
Deuteronomy 7:25-26
Psalm 51:1-12

Day 5:
Romans 3:1-20
Psalm 14
Ecclesiastes 7:20

Day 6:
Rest day

Day 7:
Romans 8:18-39 and discussion questions! (I’ll post the discussion questions in a separate post the morning of.)


I’ve been seeing so many Christians sharing their testimonies on here and despite the often liberal, anti-Christian environment on this website, they’ve received positive feedback and it’s been encouraging to so many people.  

I think people want authenticity from Christians, who aren’t afraid to share their struggles, regardless of how it may be received.  That said, I won’t be intimidated any longer. I think God is calling me to share this with you, and I hope my story encourages you. 

I was born a premature twin baby at 23 weeks, weighing 1 pound and six ounces. My twin brother, Jesse, unfortunately didn’t survive, and for the first few months of my life, no one was sure that I would, either. But God saved me.  He allowed me to live for a reason, and has a plan for me. Despite having mild cerebral palsy and a non-verbal learning disorder, I am still capable of accomplishing things, as I am a college graduate and a 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon-do.  

I was saved at an early age. Born in a Christian home, I accepted Christ in my life around age four.  We always went to church growing up, and I still go to this day. I’ve sought to honor Christ all my life, but it hasn’t been easy. 

As I entered high school, I started developing feelings towards the same-sex. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, but I soon began to realize that I was attracted towards other guys (as well as girls, but more-so guys).  Here’s the thing though. These feelings? They’re NOT who I am.  I am a Child of God.  I am a new creation. I am dead to sin, and alive in Christ.  Yes, I believe homosexuality to be sin because it’s against God’s design for our lives. I didn’t make it up and don’t get to argue about it.  Truthfully, I have no real desire for a relationship sexual-or-otherwise with anyone of the same sex. I hope to one day being with the woman God has planned for me. For me, the attraction is more that I see a man who I think looks more attractive than me, more muscular, better hair etc, and I start to lust after him, it’s not that I’m seeking a relationship. 

Now, I imagine some of you reading this will call me homophobic or self-hating. It may seem that way to you, but that’s not the case. I’m self-denying, and that’s not the same as self-hating. In order to follow Christ, Christians are called to “deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Christ” (Matthew 6:24). If you aren’t willing to do that, you’re not a believer. If you’re a homosexual who has chosen to embrace their feelings and let them define you, I don’t hate you. I love you because God loved you, so much that He gave His Son to die for you.  

Homosexuality is a choice because while you can’t control the feelings, you can most certainly control how you choose to respond to them. Embracing them as part of you is not your only choice. You may think I’m miserable because I’m denying myself of these feelings, but I’m not because of the hope that I have in Christ. I’ve heard such amazing stories of people who were living openly gay and God got hold of them and completely transformed their lives. There is freedom.

I want to next address my admiration of Dylan and Cole Sprouse. Yes, at one point, I did lust and fantasize over them, but no longer. God has transformed how I see them. I think it was Dylan’s nudes that brought me to tumblr, and I admit I lusted after that, but now I don’t want any part of it anymore. What I intended for evil, God used for good. Praise Him!

I can’t say with 100% certainty that once in a while I won’t think they look attractive in a photo, but I don’t let it go to a place of lust. I don’t try to gratify myself by dehumanizing them because I care about them too much as people. I recognize and care about their humanity, and most importantly, I care about their souls. God has brought so many wonderful people into my life through the Sprouse Twin fanbase, and I’m so incredibly grateful how I’ve gotten to minister to them, and I’m praying that Dylan and Cole will come to know Christ as well. For them in particular, I think I identify with them because I admire how close they are with each other, and I kind of wish I had that. I see in them perhaps what I could’ve had with my twin brother Jesse, had he survived, but it wasn’t God’s will and I will see him in Heaven.

I’m not perfect, I still mess up, I still struggle with looking at pornographic images and give in to worry, but I’m learning to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. Call me a hypocrite if you wish, but I’m grateful for how God is working in my life, and I am confident He will heal me of everything I struggle with the more I seek Him.  

I hope this encourages you.  But it’s not about me, it’s about Him and His glory. Thank You, Jesus.  

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16

anonymous asked:

Hey, i really need to ask someone about this anonymously. I'm currently agnostic and I've struggled my whole life believing in anything. I can't grasp the idea of god or religion or anything. I don't mean disrespect asking this, I genuinely want an answer, but why should I believe in anything and how can I believe in something so abstract like god and religion? Thank you

Hi Anon,
Before anything I want you to know that I don’t have all the answers, but there is a promise God made to us I believe you must read: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

So to begin, I want to explain the difference between the gospel and religion. The gospel is “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). The majority of religions are similar to hands reaching up to heaven trying to find salvation, but the gospel is the ONLY ONE that speaks of God extending His hand down to us offering salvation. By sending His only Son to die on the cross, taking our place, suffering what we should’ve suffered so we could have a chance to make it to heaven (Read John 3:16). Now God, being love (1 John 4:8), He gives us day after day- chance after chance to seek Him. The Bible tells us that if we: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8). One thing I’ve learned through out the years is that if we come close to God with a humbled heart, He is willing to show us things that we couldn’t even imagine. But one beautiful thing about God is that He won’t force you, but when you decide to seek Him, He is willing to embrace you and show you that He has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Faith comes from hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17) so I encourage you begin be praying to Him for understanding and reading a Bible. Then try to find a Bible based church where you can feed your faith, you don’t have to convert or do anything extraordinary. Just enter His house with a heart willing to listen and open up your heart to Him.

Some verses I hope answer your questions:
-“Jesus told him, ‘am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6)
-“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
-“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

So, to conclude, I urge you to seek Him, dear! “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call into Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6) Please, if “today you heard His voice, do not harden your heart…” (Hebrews 3:15) Seek Him, friend! He came to give you life in abundance and He loves you more than anyone can love you in a lifetime!

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask ♥️
You’re in my prayers.
God bless,

mattykinsel  asked:

Like if your into Faith Alone - you are a protestant like literally if you're not catholic or orthodox you're literally a protestant that's how the definition works

I disagree. Christ and His apostles did not believe or teach in initial salvation through works and faith, they taught in redemption through faith alone. They were not Protestant. They were not Catholic. They were not Orthodox. Or Mormon or Messianic Jew or whatever. They were simply disciples, apostles, followers of the the faith. That’s what I am. I am nothing other than a Christian.

Would you like me to post on the biblical teaching of initial salvation through faith alone? Or if you have questions on any other facet of the faith, I would be happy to use Scripture to elaborate to everyone. If you have questions, certainly there are others who do too. Thank you for your question. Have a blessed day and I hope to hear from you again soon.

21But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile
Romans 3:21-22

through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:1-5

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

If anyone has questions or would like to discuss the faith with me, I invite you to do so either through asks or direct messages or even @s. If you want your ask to be answered privately, please say so in advance.

All of you who see this, have a blessed and safe day.

1 Timothy 2:12
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

It’s hard to talk to an Atheist, a feminist or with someone that hates Christianity in general and not hear them quote this verse as they think Paul is completely prohibiting women from being able to do anything or have any kind of say in the Church.

Many people see this verse as inequality of the sexes in the Church and Christian life. Many think women are therefore completely forbidden to take any part of the spreading of the Gospel, but they couldn’t be more wrong.

Paul’s meaning is clear: women are not to have the role of teaching authority in the church. To be under authority is the principle; not teaching is the application.

Paul is saying that the church should not recognize women as those having authority in the church regarding matters of doctrine and Scriptural interpretation.

Not all speaking or teaching by a woman is necessarily a violation of God’s order of authority in the church. Whatever speaking or teaching is done by a woman must be done in submission to the men God has appointed to lead the church.

1 Corinthians 11:1-12 emphasizes the same principle. Women are to always act under authority in the congregation, demonstrated in Corinthian culture by the wearing of a head covering. Therefore a woman in the Corinthian church could only pray or prophesy if she demonstrated that she was under the leadership of the church, and she demonstrated this by wearing a head covering and by acting consistently with that principle.

1 Corinthians 14:33-35
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people.

Women should be silent during the church meetings. It is not proper for them to speak. They should be submissive, just as the law says. If they have any questions, they should ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for women to speak in church meetings.

The context of this passage, and much of 1 Corinthians, is the order and structure of the church. The Corinthian church was noted for the chaos and lack of order that was rampant in that assembly. It is interesting that no elders or pastors are mentioned, and the prophets were not even exercising control. Everyone was participating with whatever expression they desired “whenever” they desired. This included tongues and prophesying by women who were taking the lead in the services instead of being submissive, as God’s Word makes clear (1 Timothy 2:11-15). Apparently, certain women in the Corinthian church were out of order in disruptively asking questions publicly in the chaotic services. Women may be gifted teachers, but they are not permitted by God “to speak” in such a manner in His churches. In fact, for them to do so is “improper” or “shameful” as 1 Corinthians 11:35 tells us.

The strength of Paul’s wording here makes it challenging to obey this command in today’s society. Since the 1970’s, our culture has rejected the idea that there may be different roles for men and women in the home, in the professional world, or in the church. In this text (among others), the Holy Spirit clearly says there is a difference in roles.

But the cultural challenge must be seen in its true context - not just a struggle between men and women, but as a struggle with the issue of authority in general. Since the 1960’s, there has been a massive change in the way we see and accept authority.

  • Citizens do not have the same respect for government’s authority.
  • Students do not have the same respect for teacher’s authority.
  • Women do not have the same respect for men’s authority.
  • Children do not have the same respect for parental authority.
  • Employees do not have the same respect for their employer’s authority.
  • People do not have the same respect for the police’s authority.
  • Christians no longer have the same respect for church authority.

There are not many who would say that these changes have been good. Generally, people do not feel safer and there is less confidence in the culture. Television and other entertainment get worse and worse. In fact, our society is presently in, and rushing towards, complete anarchy - the state where no authority is accepted, and the only thing that matters is what one wants to do.

It is fair to describe our present moral state as one of anarchy. There is no moral authority in our culture. When it comes to morality, the only thing that matters is what one wants to do. And in a civil sense, many neighborhoods in our nation are given over to anarchy. The government’s authority is not accepted in gang-infested portions of our cities. The only thing that matters is what one wants to do.

We must see the broader attack on authority as a direct Satanic strategy to destroy our society and millions of individual lives. He is accomplishing this with two main attacks. First, the corruption of authority; second, the rejection of authority.

This idea of authority and submission to authority are so important to God that they are part of His very being. The First Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Father; the Second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Son. Inherent in those titles is a relationship of authority and submission to authority. The Father exercises authority over the Son, and the Son submits to the Father’s authority - and this is in the very nature and being of God. Our failure to exercise Biblical authority, and our failure to submit to Biblical authority, isn’t just wrong and sad - it sins against the very nature of God.

Paul’s focus here is the public worship of the church. God has established a clear chain of authority in both the home and in the church, and in those spheres, God has ordained that men are the “head” - that is, that they have the place of authority and responsibility.

Our culture, having rejected the idea in a difference in role between men and women, now rejects the idea of any difference between men and women. The driving trends in our culture point towards men who are more like women, and women who are more like men. Styles, clothes, perfumes, and all the rest promote this thought.

The Bible is just as specific that there is no general submission of women unto men commanded in society; only in the spheres of the home and in the church. God has not commanded in His word that men have exclusive authority in the areas of politics, business, education, and so on.

It also does not mean that every woman in the church is under the authority of every man in the church. Instead it means that those who lead the church - pastors and ruling elders - must be men, and the women (and others) must respect their authority.

The failure of men to lead in the home and in the church, and to lead in the way Jesus would lead, has been a chief cause of the rejection of male authority - and is inexcusable.

Some feel this recognition and submission to authority is an unbearable burden. They feel that it means, “I have to say that I am inferior, that I am nothing, and I have to recognize this other person as being superior.” Yet inferiority or superiority has nothing to do with this. We remember the relationship between God the Father and God the Son - they are completely equal in their being, but have different roles when it comes to authority.

Some may say that the church cannot work (or cannot work well) unless we go along with the times and put women into positions of spiritual and doctrinal authority in the church. From the standpoint of what works in our culture, they may be right. Yet from the standpoint of pleasing God by doing what He says in His word, they are wrong.

Women can evangelize, talk to people about Christ, be a very crucial part of the Church, they simply cannot be pastors or be in a position of power within the church as commanded in His Word.

Another frequent objection to this interpretation of women in ministry is in relation to women who held positions of leadership in the Bible, specifically Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah in the Old Testament. This objection fails to note some significant factors. First, Deborah was the only female judge among 13 male judges. Huldah was the only female prophet among dozens of male prophets mentioned in the Bible. Miriam’s only connection to leadership was being the sister of Moses and Aaron. The two most prominent women in the times of the Kings were Athaliah and Jezebel—hardly examples of godly female leadership. Most significantly, though, the authority of women in the Old Testament is not relevant to the issue. The book of 1 Timothy and the other Pastoral Epistles present a new paradigm for the church—the body of Christ—and that paradigm involves the authority structure for the church, not for the nation of Israel or any other Old Testament entity.

Similar arguments are made using Priscilla and Phoebe in the New Testament. In Acts 18, Priscilla and Aquila are presented as faithful ministers for Christ. Priscilla’s name is mentioned first, perhaps indicating that she was more “prominent” in ministry than her husband. However, Priscilla is nowhere described as participating in a ministry activity that is in contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:11-14. Priscilla and Aquila brought Apollos into their home and they both discipled him, explaining the Word of God to him more accurately (Acts 18:26).

In Romans 16:1, even if Phoebe is considered a “deaconess” instead of a “servant,” that does not indicate that Phoebe was a teacher in the church. “Able to teach” is given as a qualification for elders, but not deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9). Elders/bishops/deacons are described as the “husband of one wife,” “a man whose children believe,” and “men worthy of respect.” Clearly the indication is that these qualifications refer to men. In addition, in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9, masculine pronouns are used exclusively to refer to elders/bishops/deacons.

The structure of 1 Timothy 2:11-14 makes the “reason” perfectly clear. Verse 13 begins with “for” and gives the “cause” of Paul’s statement in verses 11-12. Why should women not teach or have authority over men? Because “Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived.” God created Adam first and then created Eve to be a “helper” for Adam. This order of creation has universal application in the family (Ephesians 5:22-33) and the church. The fact that Eve was deceived is also given as a reason for women not serving as pastors or having spiritual authority over men. This leads some to believe that women should not teach because they are more easily deceived. That concept is debatable, but if women are more easily deceived, why should they be allowed to teach children (who are easily deceived) and other women (who are supposedly more easily deceived)? That is not what the text says. Women are not to teach men or have spiritual authority over men because Eve was deceived. As a result, God has given men the primary teaching authority in the church.

Many women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching, evangelism, and so much more. Much of the ministry of the local church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted from public praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5), only from having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).

Women can be evangelists, that’s never been an issue. They can be evangelists and speak at churches and out in the world spreading the Good News, they simply cannot teach men or be Pastors/Ministers. Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s daughter) is a perfect example of a woman as an evangelist.

God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of Pastors in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers, or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3-5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over adult men. This logically would preclude women from serving as pastors to men. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifting of them.

The Lord is not now nor has He ever claimed to be “Politically Correct” He is God. The bible tells us in Job 40:2, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who argues with God give an answer.”

We either respect God’s authority or we follow our hearts and go do what we think it’s right. Just remember that the Bible tells us not to lean on our understanding (Proverbs 3:5) and that our hearts are wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Do not go picking and choosing which parts of the Bible you want to respect and live by.

So if Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, guess what we are? Lost, false, and dead. That’s the exact opposite! It has to be a work of Christ, only the work of Christ, because as the scriptures says, the power of God is in the gospel. Romans 1:16 says, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God, therefore the power to save is not in your will. The power to save is in God in the gospel. That’s what the scriptures tells us.

Dr. Sonny Hernandez