Yesterday the Southern Baptist SBC Voices provided yet more confirmation for sending feminists home. In an article titled “An Admonition for Women Serving Christ”, published at SBC Voices, Etta Linton announced that she is not “going home” and urged her Baptist sisters to get out of the background. Taking her cue from a partial quote from Philippians 4:3, Linton attempted to use this dismantled verse to suggest that women are to somehow contend for the gospel with men, but not in the background. Of course, her use of the now infamous words, “Go Home” clearly places her argument in the sphere of the debate concerning women preachers.
Apparently, Ms Linton wishes to have some kind of visibility. Perhaps, that is why she wrote the post in the first place. However, she becomes Exhibit A in the case against female preachers. She has missed the point of the text she utilizes.
The Apostle is entreating the Philippians in this passage which is the transition to the end of his letter (Phil. 4:2-10). He mentions two specific women in this passage because they have been causing division in the church at Philippi. Paul says,
Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
As one can see, the words in bold are the ones Ms. Linton uses to bolster her claims that women can do gospel ministry just like men and not in the background. The fact that these women had previously ministered to Paul does not detract from the current problem of divisiveness that we find Paul reproving. Moreover, these two ladies may have ministered much like Lydia did when Paul first preached in Europe (Acts 16:15, 40). But, at present, they are singled out because they are causing division. The “same mind” that Paul desires becomes the focus of his admonition to an individual, whom Paul addresses as a genuine [yokefellow, Greek, σύζυγε]. This may be a proper name, or, as is more likely, an appeal to a specific man in the congregation, a leader no doubt, to help these women to arrive at some kind of agreement.
This text says nothing about women preachers. So, despite your vain attempt to garner support for your misguided quest, Ms. Linton, do us a favor and leave the preaching and teaching for those who God has called to the office. Happily, I am obliged to inform you, Ma’am: you may now go home!
[Author’s Note: Ms. Linton’s post can be seen here]