Should the Church Structure in 1 Timothy 2:12 Still Be Considered Relevant in Today’s Churches?

Should the Church Structure in 1 Timothy 2:12 Still Be Considered Relevant in Today’s Churches?

Mike McKinley

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety. 

I think it is very relevant to church life today. In Timothy, when Paul talks about why he particularly sees it as a mans role to exercise leadership, one of the reasons he gives was going all the way back to the garden and Eve's being deceived by the serpent. So it doesn't seem like that's a cultural argument Paul's making, but it's a theological argument. In Ephesians 5, Paul talks about the man is the head of his family, the head of his wife just as Christ is the head of the Church. And so it seems like there's something particularly about male headship, male authority that God as instituted.

But I think where we oftentimes run up against that or we think that's chauvinistic or paleolithic or in some way negative is that I think we misunderstand the nature of authority in Scripture. In Scripture, authority is meant to be a good thing. It's meant to be a blessing to those who are under authority. Oftentimes in our fallen world, we don't experience authority in that way. We experience authority as abuse and exploitation. But even Jesus himself is said to have submitted to God the Father.

So in the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all completely equal in terms of their being, in terms of their dignity, and their worth. But within the Trinity there's submission. The Son, even though he's completely equal to the Father and his being, submits to the Father and does His will. And so even there you see that it wasn't... Jesus didn't understand it to be a negative thing to submit to God the father in the same way that a wife, though she's the same in terms of her dignity with a man, has a different role and should see it as an honor to submit to her husband as he lovingly exercises authority and as we see authority exercised in the Church.

I think obviously women are an extremely important part of church life and even Paul, in his letters, talks about different women who have blessed him and are serving the Church faithfully. And so in our church, women exercise an extremely important role. They don't exercise leadership or they don't wield authority, but we have women pray, women read scripture, women disciple other women, they evangelize, they exercise mercy. Our food pantry ministry is run by a single woman who pulls together a lot of different resources to bless the community. So women are an extremely important part of church life, but that doesn't mean that we're all meant to exercise the same roles.

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Originally published April 19, 2018.