Tag Archives: egalitarian

The Final Update to the English Standard Version (ESV)

Plumb LineCrossway Publishers recently announced that they have arrived at a permanent revision of the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. This last revision, conducted in the summer of 2016, involves just 52 words out of 29 Bible verses, as detailed on Crossway’s website.

I bought my first ESV translation of the Bible in 2008. Even though the first edition came out 2001, there had been rumors of a Study Bible being produced. I am glad that I waited. This is now my favorite Bible to use, as it contains a wealth of resources and maps to aid the student of Scripture (though I also really like the Zondervan NIV Study Bible, too). Unlike some other study Bibles produced by a single Bible teacher, the ESV Study Bible was produced by a team of evangelical scholars across a wide set of backgrounds, thus making sure the reader is not limited to one person’s view of the Bible.

The original vision of the ESV translation committee was to produce a modern, and yet permanent, alternative to the venerable King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, for English readers. The idea of having a fixed text that would stand the test of time was the primary reason why the church that I am a part of selected the ESV as our new pew Bible.

But not every initial printing of a new Bible is perfect, and so the ESV made allowances for some changes since 2001. The largest set of changes were announced in 2011, and while I could not find those changes listed anymore at Crossway.org, another blogger at Bible-Researcher.com has still hung onto them (PDF format), 500 words out of 275 verses. Before the ESV Study Bible appeared, another set of changes were made in 2007 (If you know of any other previous changes, let me know, as I would like to link to them here).

But it looks like the ESV translators are now finished with their work. Note that the “final” version of the King James Version of the Bible was not fixed until 1769, 158 years after the KJV was originally produced.

ChristianityToday has an article about the summer 2016 changes to the ESV here.   I blogged about how believers can navigate through their decision on what Bible translation they should use, the ESV vs. NIV 2011, in a earlier Veracity post. Blogger Jon Burnett details some of the recent 2016 changes. For you total Bible geeks, Old Testament professor Claude Mariottini has reviewed these changes (spoiler alert: Mariottini does not like some of the changes. One of his biggest gripes deals with an issue related to the complementarian/egalitarian debate, which is pretty current in evangelical circles and explored at Veracity here). And finally, blogger Scot McKnight addresses the most controversial change.

UPDATE: September 15, 2016. Dave Rudy, a faithful Veracity follower, sent me this link to a post by blogger/theologian Denny Burk interacting with Scot McKnight, defending the ESV’s permanent revision.

UPDATE: September 30, 2016. Crossway has reversed their decision. Details here.

Your Desire Shall Be For Your Husband

Katharine Bushnell (1855-1946). Missionary to China and activist for women's equality, spent a lot time studying the original Hebrew meaning of Genesis 3:16 (photo credit: Boston University)

Katharine Bushnell (1855-1946). Missionary to China and activist for women’s equality. Bushnell spent a lot time studying the original Hebrew meaning of Genesis 3:16 (photo credit: Boston University)

To the woman he [God] said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 ESV)

The beauty and simplicity of the early chapters of Genesis ironically leads to a pitfall when reading these chapters. The story of Adam and Eve is very terse and yet captivating. The details are sparse, but the narrative is engaging, as well as being foundational to Christian theology and practice. The story invites the reader to explore the imagination, going deeper in trying to figure out what it all means. But sometimes, the imagination can take you far away from the text itself, and thereby importing an alien sense of meaning that does not belong there.

For years, I have wrestled with the meaning of the curse given to Eve in Genesis 3:16, subsequent to the Fall. In contemporary Western culture, where concerns about women’s rights flourish, many readers bristle over the idea that Eve might somehow be the one to blame for the Fall of Humanity. After all, she interacted with the serpent and then offered the forbidden fruit to Adam. Does Genesis teach that Eve was truly at fault?

More specifically, by asserting herself so forwardly in her dialogue with the serpent, was she subverting her role as a supportive helpmate to Adam? If one reads the Apostle Paul in one of his letters to Timothy,  you might get the idea that Paul really believes that it was all Eve’s fault (1 Timothy 2:13-15).

But even when reading Paul, such a neat conclusion is not so simple. In his most profound work of theology in his letter to the Romans, Paul squarely places the responsibility for the Fall on Adam’s shoulders (Romans 5:12-17). Eve is not even mentioned.

So, perhaps the wisest conclusion to make is that both Adam and Eve share in the downfall of humanity, though in different ways. You can not pin it all on Eve.

But then there is the whole matter of the curse placed on Eve, specifically, that “your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” What is that all about?

This past summer, our church held a Summer Bible Study on Genesis 1-11, and this very question came up. Here is a TableTalk session where Tommy Vereb, our worship leader, poses the question to our lead pastor, Travis Simone:

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Aimee Semple McPherson: Disappearing Woman Evangelist

As a follow-up piece to the previous post (please be sure to read it first), I thought I would link to some resources regarding Aimee Semple McPherson, for those who want to learn more.

Sister Aimee was perhaps the most popular American evangelist between World War One and World War Two. She was a mother, an ardent anti-evolutionist, a persistent advocate for a vision of a “Christian America,” a faith healer, and one of the leading supporters of the contemporary revival of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, bringing a marginalized (and still contentious ) Pentecostalism into the very mainstream of American culture. She was also an extreme controversialist in her time: a divorcee who nevertheless pursued full-time Christian ministry and brought sensational headlines during her “infamous” disappearance off the coast of Los Angeles in 1926. Did she run off to have an affair with a married man, or was she kidnapped?

To the point of the last post, she was a female preacher. Was Sister Aimee using her public speaking gifts and following her God-given calling? Or was she in rebellion against the Word of God, failing to heed the Apostle Paul’s admonition for women not “to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man” (1 Timothy 2:11-12 KJV)? Did biblical doctrine take a back seat to some degree to her experience, or was she following in the footsteps of the prophetess and judge, Deborah? I find Sister Aimee’s legacy to be a mixed bag, but I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Christian History magazine has a nice write-up on her. The PBS program American Experience did a film about her life. The following YouTube video includes the PBS program, followed by one of her recorded radio sermons.

Deborah’s Dance: Women in Church Leadership?

Radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944). A modern day Deborah? Or a sensational character leading evangelicalism into the tragic morass of contemporary feminism? (Photo credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944). A modern day Deborah used by God to help restore the church to its proper ministry? Or a sensational character whose example, if followed too rigidly, will lead the church into the tragic morass of contemporary feminism?
(Photo credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

My wife loves to dance. I am not the best dancer in the world, but I must admit that I enjoy it, too. However, there is a certain mystery to dancing. There is just something about dancing the defies rational description…

Our church is doing a summer Bible study on the Book of Judges, and this past week the sermon was on the story of Deborah. Deborah brings one of the brighter moments in Judges. Deborah is celebrated as one of the great leaders in Old Testament Israel amid an ever spiraling downward movement of God’s chosen people. Her contemporary Barak lacked the confidence by himself to take on Sisera, the enemy of Israel, desiring Deborah’s presence as God’s anointed judge to assist him.

Deborah has always posed the question regarding whether or not women should be permitted to serve in certain positions of leadership in churches that hold to the authority of the Bible as God’s Word. The issue came up in our small group a few nights ago: How does one reconcile the positive example of Deborah’s leadership with the writings of Paul in the New Testament where the Apostle urges churches not to permit women to teach or have authority over men (I Timothy 2:11-15 and I Corinthians 14:33-40? Is the example of Deborah a partial fulfillment of God’s intended purposes that celebrate the leadership roles of both men and women equally in the church? Or is Deborah an exception to the rule, which specifically urges churches governed by the New Testament to only have men as elders and/or pastors, and thus honoring the complementarity between the sexes?

The issues are indeed complex. If you have not done so already, I would suggest that you stop where you are and go back and read my earlier post on Rachel Held Evans that addresses the sensitive question of “Biblical Womanhood.” There I have listed a set of the best resources available to do an in-depth study of what the Bible says on that topic in general, giving a fair hearing to both sides of the debate.

What I will say here about the specific issue of women in church leadership is that I have had to learn how to deal with this issue the hard way. Not only is it important that we understand what the Bible says, it is also important as to how we approach this issue in our discussions with other Christians.

It has something do with dancing.

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A Year of Biblical Doubting #2

In verse 23, a "Proverbs 31" woman is described as someone whose husband "is respected at the city gates". Here, blogger and author Rachel Held Evans praises her husband "Dan" at the Dayton, Tennesse welcome sign.

In verse 23, a “Proverbs 31” woman is described as someone whose husband “is respected at the city gates”. Here, blogger and author Rachel Held Evans praises her husband “Dan” at the Dayton, Tennessee welcome sign.

Perhaps I am not qualified to write  about this?   After all, I am a guy, and I have no clue what really goes on with women.  Just ask my wife. But the topic of “biblical womanhood” comes up from time to time, and it concerns all of us in the Body of Christ.

A. J. Jacobs wrote a New York Times best seller a few years ago, The Year of Living Biblically, about his humorous, tongue-in-cheek attempt to follow all of the Bible literally for one year. In like manner, Rachel Held Evans titled her second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”. Here she recounts her story of spending an entire year trying to follow the Bible as literally as possible as a woman in every intricate detail. Along the way, she interviews other women who try to follow a particular pattern of “biblical womanhood”. What you do not find in the book generally winds up on her popular blog. We introduced Rachel Held Evans here on Veracity not too long ago. How well did her one year experiment go? What is Rachel Held Evans wanting to say?
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