The Bible is the issue
When two evangelical scholars named Piper and Wright blatantly disagree about how much influence and leadership women are “allowed” (I hate using that word but it’s accurate and piercing in its truth) to exercise and enjoy in the context of church then its no wonder that the rest of us theologically unwashed masses take sides, argue, get defensive and circle our bible wagons.
I Timothy 2:11-14
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
John Piper believes we should read it literally
NT Wright believes we should read it narratively
Which is it?
The way we read the bible reflects how we feel about power. Piper and Wright fundamentally disagree about the Bible because they fundamentally disagree about power.
Like these two leaders we read our biases into the bible and then preach what we see. There is no such thing as objectivity – that’s a myth. We cherry pick the bible to support our values and views about God and life.
Don’t believe me? – attend a bible study led by your local Amish group (if they’ll let you in), or Mennonites or Quakers or Pentecostals or Eastern Orthodox or (god forbid) Mormons. Then imagine how they would feel sitting in your bible study.
If reading the bible is so easy why don’t we know whether its Piper or Wright who is telling us the truth about I Timothy 2:11, as Jesus meant it to be understood? One of them has to be wrong. The fact is, it’s not easy to understand the bible, which is why insecure, power hungry (men for the most part) have used smoke and mirrors for eons to get people to see what they want them to see. (btw I’m not referring to either Piper or Wright in that comment)
That’s all water under the bridge. It’s undeniable. What’s not so easy to predict is how people will think about the Bible in the future.
It would be nice if some well known Christian leaders simply told the rest of us who follow them that yes, there are in fact two different ways people read the Bible so you can choose which one suits you and take your chances. That would be refreshing wouldn’t it?
But then that would cost them real money.