True Power

True Power

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Timothy 2:9-15 The Answer is not Childbirth Part 3

Continuation of Part 2 (The Response)

A woman fearful of where she would spend eternity asked a pastor the following question:

"Having been raised in Churches of Christ, I am having a hard time breaking away from a works-based attitude into one more grace-based. I just can’t seem to break free of this constant fear for my salvation based on the fact that I am not following perfectly each and every verse in the New Testament. For example --- I am now an older woman. My husband and I never wanted our own children for many reasons. However, now, when I read the verse about women being saved through childbirth, my heart aches over the thought that this decision of mine may be one which keeps me out of Heaven. It was a willful choice on my part not to have children, and my heart actually hurts when I contemplate where my decision may be sending me when I die, and so I lie awake at night! …any insight or help you can offer me would be very much appreciated!"

The Answer:

“Does Paul literally mean a woman can be saved by childbirth?” The pastor answers the inquiring woman that if the statement in I Timothy 2:15, if followed literally, would be a work-based theology, that would discount the realities of God’s grace, and a woman’s faith.

For Biblical conformation let's look at Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” The pastor consuls the woman not to be fearful of her salvation. The ultimate redemption of mankind is by faith in and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I bring to this discussion the point that in the account of the fall, God prophesied at the time, the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent that deceived her. Therefore, through the birth of a child would come salvation, which we have come to know as Jesus Christ. Jesus would cover all sin even to that of the Garden of Eden. If Paul truly believed a woman could receive salvation through childbirth, why would he have urged the unmarried and widows to remain virgins or to remain single as he did in I Corinthians 7. It is then clear, in reference to this chapter, that a woman’s salvation was not conditioned upon her bearing of children.

What a biblical response to the woman who posed the question earlier to the pastor; that her salvation is in Jesus Christ. I have been in several classes during my religious academic experience where the question of whether to “have” or “not to have” children has been raised. In a Marriage and Family class, the identical question was posed to the class, “Can a woman be a Christian if she does not have any children?” The answer given by the instructor was a resounding "no" based on the Genesis instruction to “be fruitful and multiply.”

The instructor stated the Christian would be acting contrary to the will of God for the earth to be populated and subdued by man. Following this logic of thought, one of my classmates asked “How many children fill the criteria of being fruitful and multiplied?” The instructor began to spout the philosophy of man having been endowed with common sense and thus has the intelligence to know how many children that can be cared for by the couple. It would be lacking “wisdom” if a couple had more children than could be cared for. The class found this to be profound and acceptable answer.

When an outside entity can determine one’s salvation by whether one has children or not is a scary concept. When someone can tell an individual the number of children that is acceptable before one crosses over into negligence in the care of children is obscene. Who has become the judge in life, God or man? I could not let this topic slide without challenging the “be a wise Christian statement.” It seems one must have at least one child to be considered a Christian and less than a “brood” of children to be considered a wise Christian. How presumptuous!

In my humble and ever expanding knowledge of the creation of man and woman, after God had created each he said that it was “good.” We are a perfect creation; all God wanted us to be. We can breathe without having to think about it every second of our lives. Our heart beats without our having to wind it up daily. Our blood courses through our veins without any assistance from the individual. God made our body to function in autonomy to our conscious minds. He created a “perfect” creation. He gave the food laws found in the Old Testament to keep the body operating flawlessly. Even though we no longer follow the food laws, this doesn’t negate the fact the creator of the body gave maintenance instructions for the body. And when it came to reproduction, God in his infinite wisdom gave the male and female body individual start and stop times for reproduction.

The female body is on a different timeline for reproduction than the male’s body. For some reason, God decided a man would be able to procreate longer and later into his life than a woman is able to procreate in her lifetime. The female reproductive years begin with menses and ends with menopause; God’s own start and stop time. Are we wiser than God, knowing how long our fertility should last? Are we more so able to care for our family than God? What is the message we as Christians are sending the world about our faith in God when we say he is not able to provide for me and mine? Are we wise with our 2.5 children or are we out of the will of God? If we consider ourselves wise, limiting the number of children we choose to have, then isn’t the person who chooses to have “zero” children wiser?

The point of a woman being saved through childbirth was not a throw away statement. To fully understand why and what Paul meant by the statement takes the seeking Christitan to delve into the passage. There were serious goddess worship occuring at that time which elevated woman and her ability to reproduce to god-like status. Paul had to counter this culture and elevate man and thus Jesus to the highest posiotion. the role of childbirth had to be minimized if Paul were to be successful in his evangelistic efforts.

To learn more on this topic purchase my book When Will Eve Be Forgiven? release date by September 2010.

I have hermenuetically dissected 1 Timothy 2:9-15 in an effort to refute the ideology of woman being too treacherous to be over men in 3 parts. I hope I have demonstrated a biblical case to the reader which will encourage you to continue your study on the subject and to be able to present a well informed case for women in ministry.


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