Women in the Church

#12. The Case for Full Participation

November 24, 2021 Corina Espejo, Travis Albritton
#12. The Case for Full Participation
Women in the Church
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Women in the Church
#12. The Case for Full Participation
Nov 24, 2021
Corina Espejo, Travis Albritton

In this episode, Corina and Travis lay out the case for the Full Participation of women's roles in the public assembly and identify the challenges we must wrestle with before deciding it's the proper interpretation.

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Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Corina and Travis lay out the case for the Full Participation of women's roles in the public assembly and identify the challenges we must wrestle with before deciding it's the proper interpretation.

Sign up to receive Bible study guides, handouts, and resources that complement what you learn in this podcast by going to WomenChurchPodcast.com

Travis Albritton [00:00:01]:
Welcome back to the women in the church podcast, where we take a fresh look at what the Bible teaches about women in church for the ICOC. And Karina, I just realized I say the phrase women in church at least five or six times per episode. I think people kind of get the gist of it by now.

Corina Espejo [00:00:16]:
I think they get it. I think they've got it.

Travis Albritton [00:00:19]:
If they're here, if they're still here and they're still listening, they probably don't need to be reminded what the podcast is about. But, you know, for the sake of tradition.

Corina Espejo [00:00:28]:
That's right.

Travis Albritton [00:00:28]:
We'll go with it. We'll go with it. So real quick, Korina, just kind of give us a recap of the last episode that we did where we made a case for limited participation, discuss some of the challenges with that viewpoint, and then also some other things that we talked about that are really important to understand when trying to build a case around a position to then create some church practices.

Corina Espejo [00:00:51]:
Yeah, yeah. Some things that we talked about at the beginning of the last episode that we're not going to revisit in this episode. So if you're looking for this info, please go back to episode eleven and listen or relisten. But we talked about things that most, if not everyone can agree about when it comes to doctrine and theology, and then even looking at some common questions surrounding this topic that we should be aware of as we come to a conclusion, and then three assumptions that can lead to certain types of conclusions, again, for your education, for your awareness as we continue this conversation. And then, of course, we talked about the case for limited participation with some smaller problems, big problems, as well as just a nicely packaged bow at the end of how you can talk about your stance, if that's where you land.

Travis Albritton [00:01:36]:
On that note, let's jump into the case for full participation and just from the beginning to kind of let you know the scope of what we mean by this. Because remember, from the first episode, we are staying away from terms that have already been given definitions like complementarian, egalitarian. They are not helpful to us in our conversation. We are talking about the context, really, of the Sunday worship service. But then other times where we gather together and what does the Bible have to say about the role that men and women play in those gatherings? So when we talk about full participation, that is the context that we're talking about. We're not yet talking about church polity or how the church leadership structure is set up. We're not talking about elders. We're not talking about any of that.

Travis Albritton [00:02:24]:
The case that we're making for full participation is purely about who gets to talk when we're gathered together as a fellowship. So what hermeneutic would you likely use or lean into the most carina, if you are going to land in a place where you say women can fully participate in all the aspects of how we do church?

Corina Espejo [00:02:45]:
Yeah. Most of those who take the stance of full participation are going to start with theological hermeneutic. They're going to be looking at the narrative from Genesis all the way to the New Testament, and how God empowers women to further his purpose of redemption and love. And a lot of that's even counter cultural to a lot of the times, but it's again, a part of that partnership with men. So you're going to look at the overarching narrative of the Bible, see how women has played a role in God's plan for the gospel, and see how women are. Are a big part of it, have participated and oftentimes fully alongside the men.

Travis Albritton [00:03:22]:
Yeah. And there is a way to get there from a blueprint or a patternistic hermeneutic and also a trajectory hermeneutic, but it's less common. It's less common, and we've already, I think, warned enough of how easy it is to misuse trajectory hermeneutic. So for this episode, we're going to stick with the tried and true theological hermeneutic that has been practiced and used for Bible study for thousands of years. So we're going to stick with that one and start at the very beginning. So when you land in a place of full participation, you're going to read Genesis one and two a certain way. You're going to see that it outlines a partnership built on both men and women being image bearers that are called to rule alongside each other. They're called to rule and subdue, be fruitful and multiply, both male and female.

Travis Albritton [00:04:18]:
Okay? And that was very deliberate. And then even in Genesis two, we see that God created man from the ground, but he wasn't enough. He could not do the thing that God had created him to do on his own. He needed help. And that's where woman comes into the picture. And now, together, in the words of Jason Alexander, they have a mutual and complementary skill set that allows them to co rule effectively. And so in Genesis one and two, we see this mutual partnership of two people, two individuals that are not identical, but they also have the same calling from God, because their identity is rooted in being image bearers of God. And it's not until Genesis three, after sin enters the world, after we see the fall of man, where we see a power dynamic appear with man being positioned over woman.

Travis Albritton [00:05:18]:
And that power dynamic we would actually see play out pretty prominently in the book of Genesis, especially early on in the first ten chapters or so. And so men and women were not created to rule over each other. And this dovetails with other theological observations we made, that slavery is wrong. God does not condone slavery, because God would never want one image bearer to own another image bearer. And so, in a similar fashion, men and women were not created to rule over one another or to have some kind of power dynamic where I can assert my will over you because of my gender. That's not what we see in Genesis. And so it's not until after sin enters the picture, that we even see any kind of dynamic that would be like that.

Corina Espejo [00:06:08]:
Yeah. And God even working within those to meet us where we're at. But still, it's. Yeah. Go back to our previous episodes. We talk a lot about that. So one other thing, though. When we're looking at the stance of full participation and the Old Testament, we're going to see, again, just prominent women who further God's purpose to get us to Jesus and even just get us to that reconciliation that all of humanity needs.

Corina Espejo [00:06:33]:
And some of the big players, we're going to be looking at women. Some of the leaders, we're going to be looking at women. Deborah, who was a judge and a prophet. You're going to look at Esther, who was a queen. And while there are more men identified with leadership and authority in the Old Testament, God will use women in that role again, named and unnamed. And that's been one of the eye opening facts for me in talking with Jason Alexander. There are so many women mentioned throughout the Old Testament, but not by name. They don't always have a name to a face.

Travis Albritton [00:07:04]:
Yeah. And I think that's an important observation because that can be overlooked or. Well, sure, there are a handful of women compared to men that are named as leaders in God's people. But going back to the episode where we were talking about Jesus ministry, the fact that it's not zero is extremely significant. Right. If there were no named women in any kind of positions of leadership or given any kind of authority to make decisions on behalf of others, then this would be a very short conversation. But because there are, and we hold to scripture as having authority, all of scripture as having authority for how we are to be the people of God, then that becomes significant. That becomes significant that it's not zero.

Travis Albritton [00:07:49]:
It's not just one or two. There are so many women in the Bible that God uses to advance his purpose. That's really significant. And just goes back to the conclusions that we pulled from Genesis one and two about the value of male and female working together.

Corina Espejo [00:08:07]:
Yeah. And if we extend all that thinking, even to Jesus ministry, how he had many female partners in the gospel, and this ranged from financially supporting to evangelizing. Right. Speaking the gospel, speaking the good news, learning about God. I mean, there was so much partnership that spoke of that mutuality, that full participation, just like in the Old Testament, you know, you'll see a lot of that, too. So having a group of women following you around as a rabbi, as a teacher, would have been unconventional. Again, God would make a way for women to be a part of what he was doing, even if it was odd or unconventional, not a part of the times. So it seems like a deliberate choice Jesus made, though.

Corina Espejo [00:08:52]:
There's only so much we can speculate. And again, some of these are conjectures, and we're kind of reading between lines. But it is widely agreed upon, the way that Jesus partnered with women, it was unusual for the times for following the narrative or continuing the story theologically. Looking at God, who he is, what he was doing and is doing, we see women even front and center in the early church, in the book of acts. Do you want to talk about that one?

Travis Albritton [00:09:19]:
Yeah, absolutely. So if you start in acts one, after Jesus has been resurrected, the disciples are watching Jesus ascend into heaven, and they're like, all right, what do we do? I guess we'll stay in Jerusalem. All of them are gathered together, praying in the upper room. Right? It's not just the men, the leaders praying, the apostles praying. It's everybody's praying. And then when in acts, two, tongues of fire come upon them and they start speaking in tongues. Those tongues of fire. Come on, everyone that's there, men and women, and they're all speaking in tongues.

Travis Albritton [00:09:49]:
They're all proclaiming the gospel together. And then even in his message to the Jews that assemble outside of the house, saying, what the heck is going on? Peter says, men and women will prophesy. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. And so right here we see that whatever this new kingdom of God breaking in looks like, it includes men and women actively participating in that message and in that mission. And then we see some instances within the book of acts as well, where women play semi prominent roles. So in acts 16, Paul goes to Philippi. There's no temple there. So he goes down to the river, the place of prayer, and finds Lydia, a successful businesswoman who in the Bible is not connected to a husband.

Travis Albritton [00:10:40]:
So there's inferences made that she was probably single, and starts the house church in her home. And then in acts 18, we see Priscilla, who is another prominent figure in the New Testament, and her husband Aquila, teaching apollos, who would then go on to be an incredibly influential teacher in his own right. And so even though the Book of Acts is really two different stories about two of the apostles, the first third of it being about Peter and the church in Jerusalem, and the second two thirds being about Paul and his missionary journeys, we do see women playing a role in both of those things. But then, as we continue to go through the New Testament, another major theme that we see something that taught on a lot about is these one another scriptures, one another passages that define the kind of relationships we have in the kingdom. And the New Testament is filled with them. Depending on how you count them, somewhere between 50 and 60 of these one another passages in the New Testament. And those scriptures apply to both men and women. It's not this one.

Travis Albritton [00:11:43]:
Another passage is for the males, and this one is for males and females. That's not how it's divvied up. Just like spiritual gifts aren't gender specific. And there are even one and other scriptures, like the one in Colossians 316, which says, let the message of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom. And so whether in a church context, out of a church context, this is something we are called to do for each other, that with wisdom, with the message of Christ, we're supposed to teach and admonish one another. So that would kind of push you more in that direction of full participation in the worship service versus a more limited view. And to this point in the Bible, until you hit one corinthians, the message is actually pretty unified, that men and women are both valued as image bearers and are co rulers, and both are pushing the mission of God forward together. And so if you just read the Bible cover to cover, you're building up this really holistic, beautiful picture of what humanity is supposed to be.

Corina Espejo [00:12:53]:

Travis Albritton [00:12:53]:
And then one corinthians and one Timothy just feels like whiplash. Like, where did this come from? Paul, what are you talking about? Now? It's still scripture. And so it's not like we just get to do away with those passages because we don't like them or we're not really sure what to make of them. We still need to wrestle through them. But it's also important to recognize like this feels at first glance out of place compared to the weight of the rest of the Bible. But as we have done, as we've studied out those passages, when you lean in for a closer look, it might not be as startling as it might appear at first glance.

Corina Espejo [00:13:35]:
Yeah. And anybody who reads with that theological hermeneutic, you're going to see these non gender specific calls to action, these commands to do all these different things for both men and women, teach, admonish, exhort. You have all these different calls to further the gospel. Then you get to these scriptures in one Corinthians 1114, one Timothy two, like you're saying. And it can seem odd until you look at it and you're saying, oh, these are examples of how to further the gospel, how to be mutual to one another. And you start to look at the context. And again, just go back to our episodes. We're not gonna rehash it here.

Corina Espejo [00:14:10]:
But, yeah, I think you're right. If you're looking at it first, theological hermeneutic, you might take a pause, then you dig a little deeper and you say, okay, no, this actually does make sense, sticking with the overarching theme of partnership between men and women, and that.

Travis Albritton [00:14:26]:
Theological hermeneutic is key, because remember, as Karina's talking about with theological, you're starting from a 30,000 foot view of the Bible and saying, these are the overarching narratives, these are the themes, these are the universal truths that have been proven time and time again throughout the history of the Bible. And so when we are reading passages, those passages must harmonize with the rest of the Bible somehow, some way. And so with theological, you're starting with the themes and then drilling down to how does this passage of scripture fit into the bigger picture? Whereas a blueprint or a patternistic hermeneutic, you're going in the opposite direction. You're starting from first corinthians eleven, one Timothy two, and kind of handling them in a petri dish, so to speak. And it's kind of working through it and piecing them apart and trying to figure out what the heck is going on, and then extrapolating out to 30,000ft to say, because one Corinthians eleven says this, because one Timothy two says this. Therefore, these are themes in the Bible and how we create church practices. So just as an acknowledgement of the questions you ask will determine the answers you get. But if we're looking at this from a theological hermeneutic, and we look at one Corinthians eleven specifically, we can glean that the worship assemblies in Corinth were quite chaotic and disrespectful and filled with disregard for the poor disciples.

Travis Albritton [00:15:52]:
All right, just see Paul's correction on the Lord's supper later in one Corinthians eleven, and you see, wow, there's a lot of favoritism, there's a lot of posturing, there's a lot of, you know, I'm better than you kind of thinking going on in the church. And so those are problems to be dealt with. And it seems like in the context of that chaos and disrespect and just a lack of love and grace towards one another, there are instances where husbands and wives are behaving in a way that dishonors your spouse. And so one Corinthians eleven, you see as a firm correction against that, that if as a woman, you're dressing or acting in a way that would suggest infidelity or would be similar to the behavior of the temple prostitutes in the city that you live in, that's problematic. You know, and Paul is correct to come down hard on that and say, you can't act that way. If the cultural custom is for married women to have their head covered, not just as a sign of fidelity to their husband or commitment to their husband, but also for protection, then why are. Why? What are you doing? Like, why are you creating opportunities for people to dismiss the gospel? And why are you acting in a way so flamboyantly that you would disrespect your husband and then vice versa for men with long hair? So we see that this cultural context and the context of this correction is really addressing the way church was being done, because nowhere do we see that Paul is saying, women, you need to stop praying and prophesying. In one Corinthians eleven, we'll have to figure out what he's doing.

Travis Albritton [00:17:43]:
In one Corinthians 14. But in one Corinthians eleven, there's no indication that Paul wanted them to stop. It seems the thing he's concerned about is the way they are praying and prophesying and the impact that's having on others and calling them instead of being self focused and drawing attention to themselves to think about others and deferring to others.

Corina Espejo [00:18:04]:
Yeah, yeah. The correction was on the how, not necessarily the what. And if we're being honest, I mean, this chaos and the disrespect, it's so indicative of that power struggle we see in Genesis three, that it's just, that's a part of our fall as humankind. First Corinthians 14. If we're gonna keep going. And again, Jeannie Shaw did a great job looking at these verses in full. So if you're like. You're missing some things.

Corina Espejo [00:18:29]:
Yes, yes, we are. We are summarizing again, looking from that full participation viewpoint, we're going to read one Corinthians 14, if you're sticking with this viewpoint, married women are instructed to be silent in the church and ask their husband questions at home. That's at face value, what we're reading to other times in that same passage, Paul commands silence to those who wish to prophesy or teach in the assembly. And that actually includes. There was no gender specific command on those things. It was actually more on the. What was happening. Right.

Corina Espejo [00:19:00]:
Prophesying or teaching, and you're interrupting each other, and the same spirit is going to be echoed here. It's going to still look back to, hey, a mutuality for each other, a mutual submission to each other. If you have somebody prophesying or teaching, don't interrupt them. Hey, you know, wives, if we're in, in this church assembly, you need to be able to consult your husband, partner with them, ask questions at home, and. And you're going to see, again, a call to an orderly worship that there's wanting the honor to be evident even to those who are coming outside of the church to come in. And so you don't want to dishonor the gospel or hinder it spreading within Corinth by even showing any kind of that disrespect or disregard for the other person, whoever that other person is. And again, reading all of one corinthians, you're going to see that it's a trend. So you don't want to pull one corinthians 14 out of context.

Corina Espejo [00:19:57]:
If you're looking at this with full participation, you're going to say, how does this sit within everything that's being said? And that's how most who land on full participation are gonna read this. They're gonna say, oh, okay, as you fit in, the whole story of first corinthians, the whole purpose of one corinthians. I get it now.

Travis Albritton [00:20:13]:
Yeah. And in the past, you know, I've heard arguments that first Corinthians 14 clearly lays out that women should not speak in a church assembly. But it's important to recognize it's directed at wives. It's very specific, very clear. There was a problem with wives interrupting their husbands, and that that silence that he's calling them to is not a permanent silence. It's not saying, do not speak forever and ever, amen. But in this context, you need to allow your husband to speak in the same way that in the other instances where he commands silence, he's not saying, don't prophesy in the assembly. He's saying, wait your turn.

Travis Albritton [00:20:52]:
Right. That there is a time and a place to bring up those questions. There's a time and a place to speak.

Corina Espejo [00:20:58]:

Travis Albritton [00:20:59]:
And even the problem of. Well, are we going to translate wives asking their husbands at home to include all women, even those that aren't married? Because within first corinthians, Paul addresses widows and single women.

Corina Espejo [00:21:13]:

Travis Albritton [00:21:14]:
So it's not like the whole church was married. There were single women there. And so we just have to be very careful to be consistent in the way that we read the Bible and the way that we apply it. And again, if you're looking at this from a theological perspective, looking at the entire letter of one corinthians together and figuring out, how does one corinthians 14 fit into it? How does one corinthians eleven fit into it? We see this general call to orderly worship, not just for the sake of order, though that's important, but so that the gospel would not be hindered, that people coming in would not come away with the impression of, these guys are nuts. They're crazy. There is no way that whatever God exists is here.

Corina Espejo [00:21:56]:
And I think the more apt response would be, these people do not care about each other. Look at them. They're trying to overspeak each other. There's so much disrespect here. Do I want to be a part of this? No. Anybody who's trying to seek this God, who this humble, you know, full of love God, they're gonna come in and say, these people are just struggling to get to the top of what, you know, like, no, I don't want to be a part of that. But, yeah.

Travis Albritton [00:22:24]:
Yeah. So then we get to the granddaddy of the mall, first Timothy two. And it's important to recognize there's a lot of conjecture and inference both in one corinthians eleven and one Timothy two, but especially in one Timothy two, because if you read it at face value, it breaks down pretty quickly that this isn't really a tenable way of reading this passage. But then you're left with, well, then how are we supposed to read this passage?

Corina Espejo [00:22:56]:

Travis Albritton [00:22:57]:
So let's walk through this. So we see that first Timothy two, Paul lays out this instruction for women to not teach or authenteo over men. So often. Authenteo is the greek word. This is the only time in the New Testament that this word appears. And so, as Jeanne talked about in that episode, we have to look at other words that share common roots to infer definition. And to our best knowledge, this is a bullying, usurping, kind of overthrowing style of teaching and authority, where these women would be coming in and undermining the leadership of the church and trying to take over the influence that they had and leading people astray into false doctrine. So if that is what was happening, then, yeah, that's a very serious thing that we need to deal with very quickly, especially when we consider that the broader context of the letter itself.

Travis Albritton [00:23:53]:
Paul is addressing false doctrine and false teachers in the church in Ephesus. First Timothy two is not the only time where he's trying to deal with this false doctrine issue. It is sprinkled throughout the entire letter. And so if women were bringing a false gospel into the assembly, and they were doing so in a way that deliberately undermined the leadership of the church in a bullying and not Christ like manner, then the proper response is that they should take a posture of learning with humility. That is what they should do. And if that was happening today in our churches, that's exactly what should happen, right? That if someone is speaking and teaching and they're doing it in this way, well, the proper response is, listen, you are not ready for this. You are not in a position to be influencing others in this way. Why don't, instead, you take a posture of learning, recognize, maybe you don't know as much as you think that you do.

Travis Albritton [00:24:50]:
And then until you're ready, you need to take on a learner's mindset instead of trying to influence others. So that's not a crazy thing to say. And you could even make the case that Paul goes easier on the women in Ephesus compared to the male teachers that he delivers to Satan in one Timothy one, which I've never seen that happen in a church. I've seen people disfellowshipped. I've seen people, you know, that are, like, clearly an unrepentant sin, that it's like, listen, you can't be a part of this fellowship anymore. I've never seen a lead evangelist or an elder say, we are handing you over to Satan. That is such strong language. So, I mean, we can kind of giggle about it.

Travis Albritton [00:25:33]:
But it's very serious.

Corina Espejo [00:25:35]:
Serious, yeah.

Travis Albritton [00:25:36]:
The things that Paul is saying that he is doing in that church. And so you could actually make the case that he's much harsher on the men that are in this situation than on the women. Again, an observation. Give it the weight that you feel is appropriate, but just something to keep in mind.

Corina Espejo [00:25:52]:
Yeah. And again, for those of you who are like, hold on a second, there's conjecture, and I would say, yes, there is going to be an educated guess, and you have to come to a conclusion of what authenteo means. So again, theological hermeneutic, you're putting that mind on, just like Travis said, they're going to be looking at one Timothy and saying, okay, hold on a second. Where does Paul go with most of his letters? Where does he go with one Timothy? Looking at the big picture. And is it consistent with the bigger picture within the whole Bible narrative? And we're going to see that God, he is not about the power struggle and he is not endorsing that. Genesis three, he's not supporting. In fact, he actively goes out of his way to correct us to be mutually submissive. So when we read Paul's letters and we see that word authenteo, we see everything that Paul has been instructing the churches to do.

Corina Espejo [00:26:45]:
You're gonna think, I don't think it just means authority. I think it's. He's gonna be correcting, again, this very domineering, bullying, taking over type practices, the how that is, you know, again, just disrespectful and disregarding of others. So it's consistent. Yeah.

Travis Albritton [00:27:04]:
And there is a good authority. Right. There is a good, healthy authority, and we're going to talk about that a little bit towards the end of this episode. There's a reason that we have people in ministry that can make smart, wise, spiritual decisions and guide the rest of us, and there's a certain amount of trust that we put in those positions, and that's a healthy dynamic. So we're not saying authority bad, but it seems pretty clear the kind of authority these women in this situation were asserting was certainly very negative. If we keep going past the part where most people stop and we read this little vignette, this little picture of genesis and the story of creation and the fall at the tail end of his instruction, it dovetails nicely with this understanding of the problem at hand, because we can read that. And instead of saying, oh, well, Paul is saying, women can't teach, it's forever, because he's linking it to the creation account which would transcend culture. Instead, we see Paul's probably highlighting the most famous instance of a deceived woman in the Bible, eve herself.

Travis Albritton [00:28:12]:
Right. And so rather than providing a fresh interpretation of Genesis, Paul uses Genesis to reinforce the importance of leaning in God's truth over our own wisdom and connecting the fall of man with the redemption of Christ. That with this reading, the part where it says Eve or she will be saved through the childbearing makes complete sense because that is at the end of the story that he's quoting. And so he's not making an assertion that if you're a woman and you want to go to heaven one day, you have to have children. That's not what he's saying. That is linked to the broader story that he's sharing of Genesis as an example for the dangers of allowing this kind of deceived teaching to influence others. Yeah, and again, that would be an educated guess from this hermeneutic looking at the big picture.

Corina Espejo [00:29:10]:
Yeah. And again, putting all of those pieces together, just taking all of it together, looking at it from that theological big picture, narrative type view, looking at God and his character and how he's consistent throughout scripture, you're going to see that this passage in one Timothy two, it's not necessarily restricting women from teaching men or teaching at all. You might come to the conclusion that rather, there is the word we're using here, guardrails. Right. That there are cautions and corrections to how we teach and instruct. That is Christ like something that looks like Christ, and it needs to be that for both men and women. But the context is within some of the issues that were happening culturally with the women when you look at some of these more popular verses. But it's got to stick within the big theme overall.

Travis Albritton [00:29:57]:
Right. And so when you land in full participation, it's not because you're just reading into the Bible what you want to be there. It's not because you're just cherry picking the people you want to listen to because they have the opinion that you hope is right, but it's trying to make sense of how do all these puzzle pieces fit together and are we pulling the right conclusions from these passages? Are we overemphasizing certain corrections stripped of their context? Because if so, that would be extremely problematic. Right. If we're misapplying principles in the Bible, but then also taking very seriously the Bible as is given to us, we're not suggesting that any of these passages or scriptures are not the word of God, that we can 100% agree on. And so it's trying to make sense of how do these pieces fit together and how do they make sense together. And rather than going back and forth about, well, there's teaching, but then there's teaching with authority. Well, what constitutes authority is that certain kinds of things that you teach, is it a posture that you take that seems pretty confident and full of conviction and passion? It's like, well, that seems like you're trying to influence me.

Travis Albritton [00:31:07]:
So that's probably authority. Like, there's so many questions in the middle of those two extremes, and the theological hermeneutic is asking, is that even the right question to ask in view of these passages? So kind of bringing all this together, if you were communicating a full participation viewpoint without the challenges which we're going to get to in a second, then here's how you could communicate it. You would say, in view of the broader themes of the Bible, our identities as image bearers and as co rulers of creation, and in view of the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross that did away with the consequences of sin for those of us that have been reconciled to him, and the dynamics that we see in Genesis three after the fall, then the restrictions and the tension between men and women that begin in Genesis three have been done away with that. For those of us that have been reconciled to Christ were not called back to Genesis three, were called back to Genesis one and two. And while one corinthians and one timothy certainly give us some pause upon further reflection in a study of the rest of the Bible, it seems clear that both men and women should utilize the spiritual gifts of teaching, preaching and prophecy to edify one another, both in the Sunday worship and in everyday life as well. Something that the ICOC certainly has a strength in is the emphasis on everyday discipleship. Right. That's something that we do really, really well.

Travis Albritton [00:32:37]:
And it's important to recognize, like these passages. While they are corrections and instructions for public assembly, those principles certainly extend to the way that we interact with each other in our everyday lives. That's what those one another passages are about. It's not just teach and instruct one another while you're at church. This is a posture and a cadence and a rhythm to how we do life as christians.

Corina Espejo [00:33:01]:
And of course, in this episode, that was a great synopsis, and we'll probably go again as a nice synopsis towards the latter part of this episode. But to be fair, we've still got to talk about the problems with the full participation viewpoint. Again, we did that for the limited participation, the case for limited participation, and we're going to do it again for full participation. So, number one, so as you guys are hearing us talk about the quote unquote smaller problems, I just want to clarify the reason why we've talked about these smaller problems as smaller is because these problems that we're going to discuss first, they may not apply to everyone. They may only apply to some people who hold the full participation stance, and it just might not apply to everyone. So if you're here, that's a problem. I don't get it. It just may not apply to you.

Corina Espejo [00:33:48]:
And that's okay. That's why it's a smaller problem. Not everybody who falls in the full participation viewpoint may wrestle with these first couple, couple of issues.

Travis Albritton [00:33:57]:
Don't worry, though. We'll give you some problems to wrestle with.

Corina Espejo [00:33:59]:
That's right.

Travis Albritton [00:34:00]:
Don't worry.

Corina Espejo [00:34:00]:
That's right. We've got something for you, Kevin. Number one, the smaller problem, this may not apply to everybody, but for those that applies to, I really hope you hear this with incredible respect and love the impact of current movements on our cultural lens. Now, I do think this problem, this small problem can be applied to anybody depending on your viewpoint, depending on how you were brought up, depending on what you believe. I mean, we could be talking about the machismo movement. We could be talking about collectivist communities. We could be talking about absolutism. But for this podcast, we are only going to be talking about and discussing how feminism is going to be impacting some people and how they view these scriptures, you know, this women in the church topic.

Corina Espejo [00:34:48]:
So whether you are for it or against it, again, just know we're only going to be talking about two different waves. So do your homework, do some soul searching, and know, okay, what do I agree with? What do I not agree with? And really just insert yourself in some of what we're saying, because depending on which wave of feminism you have an opinion on is going to depend on its influence on how you read the Bible.

Travis Albritton [00:35:13]:
So speaking of waves, let's go surfing. Let's go. Let's talk about the third wave.

Corina Espejo [00:35:18]:
Oh, mercy. So focusing on the third wave, we're looking at the 1990s, maybe early two thousands. This is where that movement began and involves individualism. You're going to look at value on diversity, which is why there was a huge push for more intersectionality within women's rights, within women in society. And again, that's just recognizing that there are layers to the oppression and marginalization, including race and class. They really stuck with a big picture in the third wave, and it's also going to promote sex positivity, this third wave of feminism. And it's good to say, okay, well, that's what they were for. It's important also, as you look at some of your brothers and sisters in Christ who subscribed to the third wave of feminism, also what they were against, not just what they were for, but what they were against.

Corina Espejo [00:36:03]:
The third wave of feminism, they sought to address issues of violence against women, objectification and narrow thinking, societal expectations for females in the job, in the home, for the family, for pregnancy and birth, even for sex, even sex within marriage, and that there were so many stipulations and expectations that robbed women of their mutuality. So when you look at this third wave of feminism and you hear that, you might go, that sounds exactly what God would do. He wouldn't want that for anybody. And you think, that's totally the heart of God. Here's the criticism, though. Here's the overarching criticism of this movement, of this cultural movement that would not be consistent with the christlike nature. There is an overt aversion to restrictions, any restrictions whatsoever. With the third wave of feminism, you are not going to want to submit at all.

Corina Espejo [00:36:52]:
You're not going to want to be humble and think about other people's interests. You are only going to be consumed with what you think is right, and you will be upset with any. Any restrictions on your faith at all. So that's just one concern. And as you read and you think about full participation, there are some concerns, again, with that mutual submission, mutuality, and possibly an immediate aversion towards that.

Travis Albritton [00:37:17]:
Now, before we jumped onto a next wave of feminism, how would you define feminism as we're talking about it? Because it's one of those words that people immediately associate or attribute to their own thoughts, their own perspective. And there's a lot of assumptions, right? You have, like, bra burning feminism, and then you have, like, can I please earn the same amount as the person doing the same job as me? Like, there's. There's so many different ideas of what feminism means. How are we defining feminism in the context of its impact on the way that we view the world and read the Bible?

Corina Espejo [00:37:54]:
Yeah, and I'm going to stick with the big umbrella, because the reality is, depending on who you talk to, and I highly encourage anybody who you're talking to, a brother or sister, and they say, well, I'm a feminist. I highly encourage you to say, well, what does that mean for you? Because the reality is it can mean so many different things. But the broader picture, no matter who you talk to, chances are it's going to be some variant of advocating for women their rights on the basis of equality of the sexes. And sometimes that includes equity. Sometimes people think about feminism and they're stuck on acknowledgement and education. Sometimes people want immediate action. They're looking for justice right here and now. But it's so different depending on the person.

Corina Espejo [00:38:33]:
But ultimately, again, it's just about advocating for women in their place.

Travis Albritton [00:38:37]:
Perfect. All right, let's keep surfing.

Corina Espejo [00:38:39]:
Let's go to the fourth wave. We're looking at 2010s, roughly to the present. To my knowledge, there hasn't been an identified new wave. So this is going to be the current wave, and they actually push for further intersectionality. So when you look at our current wave of feminism, really what they're trying to do is widen the understanding of diversity. They really dove headlong into continuing the intersectionality of women's rights. And again, this wave, they wanted all people to have their voice factored into the discussion of equality and equity, such as not just quote unquote class, but we're looking at wealth and education, just looking at race, we're looking at ethnicity, and then again, income, occupation, religion, and even regional. There was a huge awareness during the fourth wave of feminism that this was a global movement that had its own variances, depending on which continent you're on or which country.

Corina Espejo [00:39:34]:
And this movement, it was not just about acknowledging and bringing awareness to the marginalization. Again, like I said, there was a step in another direction to say, we're not just going to acknowledge it. We're not just going to educate. We want justice. We want things to change. And again, you look at God and you think, well, yeah, sure. I mean, that makes sense. God doesn't want us to just believe, right? Faith without action.

Corina Espejo [00:39:56]:
We want action. So in some of these things, I hope people are hearing this and they hear, okay, I could see how a Christian is drawn to this. I could see how somebody is like, yeah, especially again, when you look at what they were against. This fourth wave of feminism began to expand and continue and say, it's not just about violence. No, no, let's get specific here. It's about sexual harassment and assault on women. It's about workplace discrimination or body shaming, misogyny, particularly online. You just opened up a completely new outlet for women to be not only marginalized, but oppressed, sexism in the media, and then even just things like rape culture and a lot of what they were against if you're looking at the heart of God, you're gonna say, well, sure, I think God would be upset and disappointed and sad and angry with these things as well.

Corina Espejo [00:40:42]:
Here's the overarching criticism, though. The overarching criticism of this particular movement is the unwillingness to believe or understand that these things can still occur in our very broken world. We are not yet at a restored New Jerusalem. We are still here in the world that we live in. And there is an incredulity to this in a way that can be, well, we'll get there, but it can lead to impatience with this very messy humanity, with broken world, or a lack of grace and forgiveness. Not that it's intentional, but that certainly can be how it is. Now, again, we talk about Authenteo referring to a domineering for going with that option for this very colloquial word. It makes it very hard.

Corina Espejo [00:41:22]:
But if we're sticking with the full participation viewpoint, Authenteo is referring to domineering, bullying, taking over type of authority. I would encourage anyone, whatever movement we're talking about, we're talking about feminism. But I want you to ask yourself, in our culture today, within your upbringing, within your culture, is this type of authentail. I'm going to assert myself no matter who I step on or, you know, push out of the way, because it's mine. And I need to be able to say what I need to say or do what I need to do for what I think is right. That type of authenteo, is that accepted in your culture, if not even promoted? And again, this can be under the term self advocacy, self love, or even self confidence. And while those things are so, so important, I wonder sometimes if we're adopting a worldly view of what those things can mean. And that's just a caution.

Corina Espejo [00:42:14]:
It doesn't have to be you. My question is, does your tone end up translating to others, particularly the family of believers? Does it translate as ungracious, unempathetic, impatient, harsh, critical, disunifying, condescending, villainizing, prideful? And if it does translate that way, let me assure you, even if you never meant for it to be, if that's not, you know, you kind of look back and you're like, oh, that's not what I was trying to do. I'm trying to champion what God would. Hey, I hear you. Maybe just take a step, put on a humility, a humble heart, and just say, okay, were there ways that I could have changed what I said? Can I change my. How so that it comes across more gracious or patient or, you know, again, humble.

Travis Albritton [00:43:01]:
Absolutely. And we're talking about feminism specifically and modern feminism because that is certainly very pervasive in the culture that we live in, especially in the west, the western world. But this isn't an isolated thing. Any culture that you live in or experience is going to impact how you see the world. And there can be this, like, really funky confusion around, well, this. I totally agree that, like, women should not be sexually harassed or assaulted and that, you know, if they're, if they are raped, that people actually believe them and that there is some sort of justice for the perpetrator. And so you can resonate and connect with certain things that non christian movements are doing or advocating for, and then there's a conflict, because then you're thinking, well, well, if I agree with those things, am I now also embracing everything else this movement is putting forward? Right. So similar to in the United States in 2020, we had a huge awakening at a cultural level of the difficulties that people of color go through in the United States, our black and brown brothers and sisters, and how even if we live in the same neighborhoods, in the same cities, our experience of living life in the United States could be drastically different.

Travis Albritton [00:44:23]:
And there was a lot of good things that came out of that. But then there were also a lot of movements that called for un Christ like action. And so we have to know how to identify the things that are biblical and do resonate with the heart of God and then throw out the things that are not and have the wisdom to discern between the two. And so feminism is not evil. Advocating for equal treatment and appreciation of women is not evil. But there are certainly extremes you can take it to where now we're just being callous to one another and emphasizing self over others and trampling on whoever we have to trample on because the ends justify the means, and that's just not the way of Christ. So it's important to recognize how these things can impact the way we see the world and also to be able to kind of sift through. What do we connect with? What do we identify as being good and encourage? And then how do we kind of take a step back and say, but I can't get with you there.

Corina Espejo [00:45:30]:

Travis Albritton [00:45:30]:
All right, let's focus on the things we both agree about. And then I'm going to lovingly correct where I see that you're going astray.

Corina Espejo [00:45:37]:
And the beauty is you can correct yourselves again, if you do not subscribe to feminism, whatever it is you subscribe to. I encourage you to look at yourself and say, you know what? I have the Holy Spirit. I can correct myself and to make sure I'm not taking things too far. So, second problem, and that was first problem is the influence of cultural movements on how we read the Bible. The second problem, again, looking at full participation could be while most people are grateful and encouraged for more inclusion of women in the church. And again, this could be inspired by theological or trajectory hermeneutics. Let's talk about the problem we're seeing if you take the trajectory hermeneutic, though, in taking it too far. And again, the concern, and I have seen it go this way.

Corina Espejo [00:46:23]:
So I think these concerns aren't unwarranted. I think it's just you get a taste of, oh, this is where God is heading, and then you just keep going with these thoughts. The extreme of trajectory hermeneutics can sometimes involve the inclusion for fluid genders and sexes and fluid sexuality. I love how we are currently in a place where the church says we need to make sure God's love and our kindness to all people continue. This means we have to stop Bible bashing or shaming others who have not chosen Christ to adopt what we believe. They have free choice. They have free will. We can respect that God has given them the freedom to choose what they believe.

Corina Espejo [00:47:03]:
And that doesn't have to hinder our hospitality, showing kindness and care for our neighbors who may be, say, in the LGBTQ community. Right. They may not subscribe to what we subscribe to. That doesn't mean that we have to ostracize them or isolate ourselves, that we can acknowledge their church hurts and that not being an acceptance of everything they believe, but simply just a part of their comfort and healing that I'm so sorry that the church has hurt you and be a part of that. So here's where trajectory. The trajectory path can go beyond that love, God's love, and that we may take that and continue to make doctrinal and theological statements that are not consistent with the Bible. And again, the biblical worldview. God's design was for two sexes, male and female, and then even two extending beyond that.

Corina Espejo [00:47:51]:
To say the lifestyle of homosexuality is not a sin, that it's okay to continue that lifestyle, or there are no differences between men and women. That's the other way this can go. Men and women are exactly the same, you know, and, you know, hey, that's not biblical. And, you know, I know people are gonna feel some type of way about these things. I just encourage you to go back to the Bible. At the end of the day, this isn't about us, but this is why we encourage those who take the trajectory. Hermeneutic just do your homework, maybe slow it down a little bit. Make sure that you are doing good.

Corina Espejo [00:48:22]:
Exegetical and expository reading of scripture as we talk about these things cause some of what we've seen, it can travel a little too far in terms of making theological statements that just are not consistent with the Bible. For the third problem, those who adopt the full participation viewpoint, you might be in danger of considering authority or hierarchy as antithetical in opposition to equality and mutuality. And again, this just means, okay, some people who take the full participation viewpoint, and they might not overtly say it, but I encourage you, if you are this person, ask yourself in your recommendations or your suggestions for change. If you are looking at equality, you're thinking, then you must be against hierarchy. If you're for authoritative headship, then you must be against mutuality. Sometimes we take this full participation viewpoint and we begin to make conclusions that are not necessarily accurate. So we can extend some of these negative feelings toward headship, even to the types of leaders in the headship that are like Christ. So even those who are embodying full submission within this quote, unquote authoritative headship, even then, you're still against it.

Corina Espejo [00:49:35]:
Even you're still against humble leaders. You're still against those who are trying. Just keep that in mind. You might not be aware that you might need to deal with a lack of openness to the evidence that headshots is authoritative. Sometimes, because we feel so strongly about something, we're not even open to the conversation that Kefale could mean authoritative.

Travis Albritton [00:49:54]:
You gotta know your own blind spots, right?

Corina Espejo [00:49:57]:

Travis Albritton [00:49:57]:
And these assumptions can get you in some, some funky places. You start with a well meaning desire to let me just understand the Bible for what it has to offer and understand the big picture of what God's trying to communicate. And then you end up in some extreme examples where you've now taken it too far. What started as a good thing has now become a bad thing, where you're like, I'm not going to submit. You're not my head. I have my own head. I have authority over my own head. Why are you telling me what to do? And we completely disregard the good kinds of authority that the Bible lays out for us, even to, you know what? I don't agree with Jesus on that.

Travis Albritton [00:50:36]:
I don't agree with God on that. And that was likely a cultural thing. That was happening at the time, but we're in a new place now, so that doesn't apply anymore. Be very, very careful with that line of thinking.

Corina Espejo [00:50:47]:
And then the fourth problem, the biblical wrestling that those who fall in the full participation viewpoint is in the New Testament. We're not going to see examples of women being elders or, and again, not church leaders in general, but we're looking at leaders of the church equivalent to our modern role of lead evangelists. You're not going to see that. And that is something you'll have to wrestle with as a smaller point to the integrity of full participation stance. So those are the four smaller problems that we were able to identify, and.

Travis Albritton [00:51:18]:
These are things to wrestle through. Know your blind spots. But now we got the big kahonas, the large problems with the full participation viewpoint, and we call these large because these are going to apply to most, if not everyone who holds this viewpoint, that there should be no restrictions within the context of a worship service for women and men to be able to serve alongside one another. It's important, super, super, super important to recognize problem number one, that the passages in Paul's writing on women are still very much debated and they require a lot of humility, not unlike the major problem that we expressed for limit to participation in episode eleven, right? That we can make assertions or inferences. And because they make sense to us, we now take the leap to say this is what this passage means when that should not be a stance that we take. If you look at one corinthians eleven, it is possible, totally possible, that Paul is trying to communicate a divine hierarchy that's rooted in creation. If that's true, you can't just throw that away. You can't say, well, that doesn't make sense to me, so I'm not going to ascribe to that perspective, right.

Travis Albritton [00:52:37]:
This is still a very widely debated instruction from Paul and what it means practically for the christian church today. And so don't just choose the interpretation that you like and then throw away the others. There's still a lot of discussion around one corinthians eleven, and we need to be humble to the fact that we might not fully understand it. And so be careful putting all of your eggs in the basket of a particular interpretation of a contested passage. And the same thing with one Timothy 212. A lot of it is inferred. We're reading it, we're trying to read between the lines. We're trying to understand what is Paul communicating, what is Paul trying to get at? And there's a certain level of uncertainty that we have to be comfortable with when it comes to understanding one Timothy two.

Travis Albritton [00:53:23]:
And so even if one interpretation resonates with you, that doesn't mean that you are now excused from wrestling with the others, because they could also be the correct reading, and we may never know. Now, on top of that, if that wasn't confusing enough, there is also a relational element to this. Right? We've been in a very academic world in this discussion, but now when you shift to having conversations with other human beings that have not listened to 12 hours of a podcast on women's roles, and they read one corinthians eleven and they read one Timothy two, and they're like, what are you getting at? This is what it says. Why are you working so hard to get around what Paul is clearly teaching? You know, a plain reading of these passages seems hard to dispute or disregard. And so just recognize that there's also work involved in a unified manner getting a better understanding of these passages. And we're going to talk about that a little bit at the end of the episode, but just recognize these passages that we've dug deep into. There's still a lot of conversation around them, and the Bible scholar community has not reached a consensus on what they mean. So that should give us immediately some pause before we become very certain that we have got it figured out.

Corina Espejo [00:54:41]:
Yeah. The major, and I think even too, the major problem you're touching on is the patience and the grace and the capacity for us to talk with people we disagree with, converse with people we disagree with. It has to increase. I think the unfortunate tendency is flip the boat over and start from scratch or set everything on fire, and we'll build from the ashes. And I think part of a lot of this is sometimes you just need to water the garden so that you can pull up some of the weeds. And it might not even be the weeds you think are weeds. Those could actually be flowers. But to take your time with these conversations with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to look at it as that you are talking to your brother and sister in Christ, take your time with it.

Corina Espejo [00:55:27]:
As you know, if you see, hey, they're doing a plain reading of one corinthians eleven or one Timothy two. Okay. Hey, you should already be prepared to increase your patience and your grace. This is going to actually, I think, come into our second major problem, where those who take on the full participation viewpoint, they tend to shy away from the conversation on how limited participation has been. The dominant view there becomes this little to no engagement with people who say, well, why? Historically, this has not been the full participation viewpoint, has not been what most people subscribe to.

Travis Albritton [00:56:06]:
Sure. And there's always a bias towards your own understanding. Right. So if you hold the full participation viewpoint, it's like, well, they just didn't have the wits or the wisdom or the knowledge to figure this out. But we have new knowledge, and so we can confidently say that we figured out what, for hundreds and thousands of years others have not. And we should be so grateful that God has given us this new knowledge and wisdom. And I'm saying that with a little bit of jest. There are some incredibly smart, wise, devoted thinkers in Christianity, not just the ICOC, you know, because much to our chagrin, the New Testament church didn't restart in the 1980s.

Travis Albritton [00:56:43]:
It's been around for a while. There are a lot of people that have very firmly held some of these positions and done so with a lot of thought. If you're going to take a full participation viewpoint, you're in the minority, and that should give you some pause. Right. Whenever we discover something that is relatively new historically or not as widely adopted, you better triple check your work before you say with any kind of certainty. Now I've figured it out. And all those other jokers, they need to get with the program.

Corina Espejo [00:57:14]:
Yeah. And again, by minority we mean you don't hold the dominant view. So it's not that there are number wise too few of you, but again, this hasn't been the widely endorsed within the christian church at large, not even just our ICOC family. So just be prepared. Be prepared and maybe role play a little bit about how you can engage respectfully, gently. But as you realize, okay, this has been the dominant view historically. Why be prepared to have a conversation with your brothers and sisters who may not agree with you in a way that's not just educated but maybe even kind? You can be firm, but find a way to be kind about these things. All right, the third major problem, this viewpoint, this full participation viewpoint, and considers the context and situation the epistles were occasioned for as well.

Corina Espejo [00:58:05]:
Again, as the role of women in the Old Testament narrative and the ministry of Jesus, it considers these things, but what it can overlook is the current culture we are operating within and demand immediate accountability or change without care for the hearts of those not in agreement. And again, this is something we've kind of been touching on as we continue with some of the more theological issues within full participation viewpoint. But really, again, this is going to come back to the relational element. Are you unwilling and again, these are just questions for you to consider. Are you unwilling to deal with messy spirituality and differing views? Do you get easily frustrated or easily angered for no immediate accountability? That there's no actions being taken in your timeframe without patience? For those working through this complex discussion, what can take somebody one week to dissect and come to a conclusion? It might take people months or years. Are we prepared to wait that long that sometimes people, they're not operating on your timeframe, that they are going about this and have the right to disagree with you and their own pace in their own way? Are you patient and humble even in that sense? Do you have disregard or concerns of the extremes of trajectory hermeneutics when you look at how trajectory hermeneutics, how it can continue to a very, very human extreme if those of you who see this concern in other people the same calls to graciousness and patience and gentleness. I hope that you don't use this podcast and say, well, hey, you're incredulous and you are frustrated and you start to villainize people or beat them down who may be in danger of this. Because let's be real, we're all in danger of this.

Corina Espejo [00:59:45]:
This is part of what we want to make sure that those listening to this podcast, you look at yourself first, look at the plank in your own eye before you begin to try and pull a speck out of someone else's eye. So I hope that everybody listening, you can look inward and say, okay, this is for me. Am I being christlike? Am I being godly? Am I being righteous as I go about this conversation? And to be able to trust God, those who aren't, hey, speak. If the Holy Spirit calls you to call them out on it, and if you're required to pray for them or be patient with them and not continue to bash them over the head with their, you know, their shortcomings, just proceed with a certain gentleness and graciousness.

Travis Albritton [01:00:23]:
Absolutely. So those are all things to wrestle through. You know, these are not things that you just cast aside because, well, I now have new knowledge that's different than historically what christians have held. And so I don't have to deal with these problems. I figured it out. You still have to wrestle through these things, okay? You still have to recognize your own culpability and your own tendencies to see the world a certain way and understand that it is possible that the reason you've landed on full participation is because you live in a society that actively advocates for the equality of women. And that could be a determining factor. You have to recognize that all things to consider now, in light of those challenges, let's revisit this position and how you would communicate it in a humble and mature manner.

Travis Albritton [01:01:14]:
As you're trying to explain to someone why you hold a full participation viewpoint versus a limited participation viewpoint.

Corina Espejo [01:01:22]:
In light of the challenges and revisiting this position and some of the great educated ways that people can come to this conclusion, this is how I would communicate it, in a humble and mature manner. Communicating full participation let me first say I do have high regard for the authority of scripture, and I want to be humble to God's wisdom. And even when it doesn't make complete sense to me, I am prepared to just say, you know, what the Bible says, what it says, and even to things like the Bible is clear that men and women, though they're different, are equally valuable and should be treated with equal honor in the church. As we talk about women in the church, and even just how I land on full participation, my fear is that you're going to think I'm anti men, or I want to step on men to continue to make sure that women have a place in the church and that I may want to push brothers out of the way, or I'm unwilling to submit to my fellow coworkers in some of the finer details of what the fuller participation of women can look like. I do. I want to be clear. I want to honor God and submit to his will in every way, including the respect for skillful reading and upholding of the Bible. So as I go through this, I hope you hear that, and I hope you know I do respect you, even if I don't agree with you.

Corina Espejo [01:02:36]:
In view of these broader themes that we're looking at in the Bible, again, our identities as image bearers and co rulers of creation together, both men and women together, and the redemptive work of Jesus even on the cross, some of the restrictions and tension between men and women beginning in Genesis three have continued. They haven't gone away with. And I think as I look at the overarching narrative of the Bible, when I look at women and nowadays how the church partners with women, I do find it seems to be more an extension of Genesis three rather than Genesis one and two. And let me be clear, first corinthians and one Timothy, they're going to give me some pause. I really had to wrestle with what those scriptures meant and how it fit within the overarching narrative of God's redemptive plan for men and women to partner together and upon further reflection and study, again, not just of the rest of the Bible, but even the context that these Paul writings have sat in, it seems clear that both men and women should utilize the spiritual gifts of teaching and preaching and prophesying to edify one another again in everyday life, both in Sunday worship. But it has to be done within the care to not feed into the power struggle that even women and men. But if we're looking at this, the caution is for women not to just step over other people, just to assert themselves. And I do want that too.

Corina Espejo [01:04:01]:
I want mutual submission for both men and women to be able to think of each other and respect each other and love each other. I see throughout the Bible, though, women who have participated in God's purpose, to reconcile the world to him through Christ and his church by prophesying, teaching, evangelizing, and even leading in a lot of capacities that's not consistent with our church today. Unfortunately, I've seen the restrictions on women and their partnership in the gospel in our church assembly now that do not seem to hold the same purpose and value God has given in the old and the New Testament narrative. And that does concern me deeply. I also see scriptures again, like one corinthians eleven or one Timothy two. But there's a certain selective literalism where these scriptures are pulled out of the context. And again, it just further gives me concern for the limited participation viewpoint, especially when these passages, some of these passages, the reasoning for them, or even some of the words and the clarity, they're actually debatable. And I find it odd sometimes that we stick on a stance of, say, headship or authority, and it's just widely accepted without acknowledgement of this lack of clarity.

Corina Espejo [01:05:09]:
That also gives me concern as well. But let me again just say I recognize that there are many challenges to taking this position on full participation. Some of it's just logistical, you know, not necessarily theological in nature, but actually putting this into practice, ones that I still wrestle with, and I'm sure a lot of people do, to maintain a good conscience before God. And I'm willing to change my convictions if God reveals that I'm misguided or have an incomplete understanding of these scriptures. But respectfully, I will say when I look at the Bible as a whole, it seems to me women participating alongside the men together, that we have strong partners together to be able to further the gospel. It seems more consistent with God's heart and his design that we have men and women participating fully together. So I'm grateful that we're having a respectful and gentle conversation. Now, about this really challenging topic, and I hope at the end of whether we agree or disagree day, that we can walk away with continued the unity under the gospel to love God, be like Christ, and redeem others to him.

Corina Espejo [01:06:12]:
So, thank you for listening, for being able to let me talk about that.

Travis Albritton [01:06:16]:
Wonderful, Karina, fantastic job. I think that was great. And again, just like with limited participation, how you say something is almost more important than what you say, right? So, if we're approaching this conversation, recognizing there are multiple viewpoints that each have their own validity, and we're doing it from a posture, in a spirit of collaboration, of love, of mutual edification, we can work through this. Guys. This does not have to be a Defcon, two level conversation where we're drawing lines in the sand and saying, sorry, this is the answer, this is the truth. You're in or out. That is a dangerous place to be, especially when it's not necessary. And we'll talk about that here in a second.

Travis Albritton [01:06:58]:
But first, here's the part of the podcast you've been waiting for this whole time, the part where Karina and I tell you what the right answer is, because we've done all this study ourselves. We've talked to Bible scholars. So, Korina, we know the right answer. Right. And it's time we tell the people.

Corina Espejo [01:07:17]:
Yeah, no, we're not gonna do that.

Travis Albritton [01:07:18]:
No, we're not gonna do that. That would be too easy. Too easy. So, Korina, why are we not even entertaining the idea of telling people what we think or what our perspective or stance is on this topic?

Corina Espejo [01:07:31]:
Yeah. Here's the reality, y'all. As long as our church fellowship, and again, I know we're trying to keep things small, and we're just looking at our ICOC family, not to just disregard the rest of our christian community. The rest of the christian community. But let's just. Let's just keep it tight here, okay? As long as our church fellowship strives to reflect and pursue diverse nations and cultures that we're hoping to not only be, but to reach, that we want to reach these people, there will always be areas where we disagree. That is just the reality. Much like the first century church, there are going to be disagreements.

Corina Espejo [01:08:06]:
They are what they are. We disagree on certain things.

Travis Albritton [01:08:09]:
For Korina and I to then say, yeah, we disagree, but here's the right answer. Assumes that we are immune to the challenges that we just laid out to both of those arguments, and that the positions that we currently hold are the same ones we'll hold a year from now, which I can tell you just in full transparency, I've shifted my position quite a bit from a year ago as I study this out and as I learned from others and weigh these challenges and the pros and cons of these arguments. And so I would not be able to say with any level of confidence that I have arrived at the interpretation of this question that I will stick with for the rest of my life.

Corina Espejo [01:08:47]:

Travis Albritton [01:08:47]:
And so not only would it be irresponsible for us to tell you what we think, but it's also not super relevant either, because we're just two people in the middle of this broader conversation. So that would also assert that we should have an outweighed influence on where you land on this. And here's the deal. You have the Holy Spirit, just like we do, right? You have a Bible, too. You, as you actively study out these topics in these passages, and as the Holy Spirit is cultivating these truths in your heart, he's going to lead you, he's going to guide you. And we are not worried about that. And there are certainly times and places where neither one of these stances is necessarily wrong. They might not be fully right, but they also aren't necessarily fully wrong.

Travis Albritton [01:09:35]:
That the answer you land on if you live in California, might be totally different than the answer and the practices you adopt in Afghanistan. Right. Or in other places of the world. So we can't really say, like, this is the right answer because there's so many other things that are at play outside of just me and Korina's understanding of this. We have to trust that God is going to lead us, and the Holy Spirit is going to lead us and give us wisdom and insight and continue to work through this together. I think another reason why we're not going to tell you what we think is because this is still a very contested area of scholarship. And so we have to be super careful putting too much weight on our current understanding of this topic. Because even though right now we know more about the Bible and the culture it was written to than at any other time in human history, except when it was written, we're still learning more.

Travis Albritton [01:10:28]:
And so there's nothing to say that, like, five years from now, we make a new archaeological discovery that shifts our understanding of the culture and the context. And now we have a different understanding of what those passages mean. So it's like, we just gotta be super careful before we say we figured it out for all time. And then here's the ironic thing. Being on the same page regarding women's roles and the proper role for women within our church. Fellowship and the worship assembly, that's not a prerequisite for unity or fellowship. It might feel that way. You might wonder, how can we function if half the church says women should preach and half the church says they shouldn't, but that is actually a thing to work through.

Travis Albritton [01:11:07]:
So we have some final thoughts to kind of wrap up this marathon episode that we've been in. Thank you for sticking with us. But it was very important that we kind of touched on all of these things. What's the first thing that we want to kind of address? That maybe to this point hasn't really fit into the conversation. But now that we're towards the end, it's really important to point this out.

Corina Espejo [01:11:26]:
It's really. This is probably one of my favorite things that our fellowship is addressing. And that is amidst the messy humanity, messy spirituality, and all the things that we just talked about, we have to reframe how we define unity and that it is consistent with the Bible, that it's not perfect agreement on all things, but that it is seated in the gospel. It is seated on Jesus, that he is the thing that we build off of, not on church practices and how we do things. And everything has to look exactly the same. And there have been a lot of great conversations already about this topic. We've got to be able to look at unity from a biblical lens and not from our human lens, what feels safe and comfortable. We all agree that whatever communion should be after the welcome or some things like that are just not.

Corina Espejo [01:12:18]:
They're just not what the Bible intended when God said he wanted us to be unified in Christ. So be careful.

Travis Albritton [01:12:25]:
Yeah. And to be fair, uniformity is much easier. It's why. That's how the world functions. Right. If you're in the club, it's because you agree on everything, and as soon as you don't, you're not in the club anymore. And we see the conflict that creates. And so if we're just like that, what kind of example are we setting? What kind of light, what kind of counterculture are we creating? And I love just going back to one corinthians because we spent so much time there.

Travis Albritton [01:12:50]:
There's a scripture here that at first reading will give you one flavor of what unity would look like. And then if you just go seven chapters later, it's almost as if Paul completely undercuts that perspective. So first Corinthians, chapter one, verse ten. Paul says, I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord. Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thoughts. Okay, so the Bible says unity means there's no divisions. So if there's a disagreement that's creating division between two parties, that's wrong. We got to get on the same page and wholeheartedly endorse the same perspective, that we have to be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Travis Albritton [01:13:36]:
We have to think the same things. We have to have the same convictions. That's what unity looks like, right? Well, if we just skip ahead to one, Corinthians eight, Paul is addressing food sacrificed to idols. And so for some cultural background, earlier in the council of Jerusalem, where the early trip to trying to reconcile Jews and Gentiles and their different cultural practices, they said, listen, guys, can you please just, like, cook your steak well done? Can we at least, like, get on that page? Because it's a real wrestling mat for our jewish christian brothers and sisters that grew up with a certain dietary restrictions that set them apart from other cultures. And now it's just like, no restrictions. Eat whatever you want, however you want. And then now there's this additional layer of, well, what happens when the city you live in, almost all the meat is sold after a portion of it has been sacrificed to a false God? What do you do then? Are you participating in that worship by eating the food or not? And so what does Paul say? Does he say, here's the answer. No, he doesn't actually say that.

Travis Albritton [01:14:44]:
He says, if it goes against your conscience to eat that meat, then don't do it. And if it doesn't, you're totally fine with that because you recognize that all good things coming from God and you recognize that that idol is not real. Go for it. Have some steak. And then when you come together, be mindful that you're not a stumbling block for your brother or sister. And so unity on this topic does not mean the entire church is eating meat or not eating meat. So when we think about reframing unity and it's not uniformity, it's not that we're all going to agree 100% on everything, that there's room for different perspectives, especially in a topic like this, but that also, when we come together, there has to be a sense of collaboration, of one anotherness, of being committed to each other and not just disregarding other people's perspectives because we think they're wrong. So that's the first thing to really consider with the context of this conversation.

Travis Albritton [01:15:41]:
Unity might look different and the church practices we create might be different. But if we're actually embracing the idea that, yeah, disciples with a limited participation conviction and those with a full participation conviction should be in fellowship together, that's what it means to reflect the nations.

Corina Espejo [01:16:01]:
Yeah. It's really more about, again, the how. How do we disagree rather than we shouldn't? Right. Are we disagreeing with a lot of villainizing and impatience and ungracious, or are we disagreeing with gentleness and humility and care? The second thought that we had is really just taking into account the modern church versus the ancient church. And we've touched on this, Travis. We've touched on some of this understanding of, okay, this is what the ancient church, the first century church looked like that we might not realize versus how we do things now, our modern church. Right. And sometimes the thing that you say often is we're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Corina Espejo [01:16:38]:

Travis Albritton [01:16:39]:
Yeah. I mean, just imagine going back 2000 years going to church. It would be totally different than how in the ICOC, we typically orchestrate a church service. Right? You're thinking, order a service. The singers are all warming up before people show up. You know, we're having a little huddle, a little pre service huddle with the Av team. Make sure we got all our slides and pictures and videos, and everyone knows, okay, when this person's done, that means it's time for you. And it's all pre orchestrated and it's all done from a stage that is totally different than the churches in the first century.

Travis Albritton [01:17:13]:
Right? So imagine instead of that, instead of a church service where you have one person speaking from a podium, you had 17. And I just picked that number randomly. It doesn't matter. The number doesn't matter. But more than one speaking one after the other with no pre planned order or topics, it's just whoever has something to say, say it. And then we just got to figure out how to do that in a way that's not complete chaos. Right. Which is what first corinthians is talking about.

Travis Albritton [01:17:40]:
And then when you finish that sharing, you share a multi hour love feast for communion, where instead of communion being this somber time of reflection on the sacrifice of Jesus, how painfully he died and that he did it for you and how grateful we should be. Certainly those are good things to reflect on. But communion in the first century, church was like a all you can eat banquets, where that reflection is you sitting at the feet of eyewitnesses who interacted with Jesus and asking them questions and learning about what Jesus was like. And what was it like to be there when he fed 5000 people? What was it like to be there when he healed this person, when he said this thing? What was that like? Teach me about my lord and help me gain an appreciation for who he was and what he did so that I can fully embody that as I go out to share the gospel with others. And this whole thing would happen over the better part of the entire day. So you think a one and a half hour church service around lunchtime is rough? Imagine 8 hours of being together once a week. So the corrections that Paul gives to that church service, it's not going to be an apples to apples application for us. The style that we have, amphitheater style church for the most part, you certainly have house churches and different small groups and things like that.

Travis Albritton [01:19:05]:
But in general, our church services have a stage and we have one person addressing the crowd and we have a lot of spectators that are contributing in the worship and things like that. Maybe you get some amens in the background, but in general, someone from a stage addressing a crowd. That style of church service didn't start until several hundred years after the New Testament was written. We can say, yeah, we're trying to emulate the first century church, but within the context and the confines of the structure of how we do modern church. And so that is going to create some friction when we're trying to apply biblical principles to our current church services, which leads us right into our kind of closing thought, which is what is authority in that context versus our context, what does authority look like? And when would someone be speaking with authority, their own authority? Not saying this is what the Bible teaches and here's how we can apply it, but saying, I am now speaking with the authority of my position or office or the recognized role that I have to determine outcomes on your behalf. Because culturally we associate that level of authority with the podium, with the stage. If someone is speaking from a stage to an audience, it's because they're in charge. But that's not how you would have thought of authority in the early church.

Travis Albritton [01:20:34]:
They had apostles, they had elders, they had deacons, they had evangelists. Those are all people with authority in the church. But that dynamic and when that authority would be used to make decisions for the church, it's much more rare than we might consider or think about.

Corina Espejo [01:20:54]:
Yeah. This style of preaching and teaching that we use on Sunday, it does emphasize the authority of scripture over our own authority and some of the healthier leadership dynamics. Those decisions, they would be made with input and collaboration from many individuals. There's a certain mutuality between our lead evangelists and the elders, and then even to some of the more influential men and women, the leaders within the church, to even just deliver certain announcements or to deliver the message. And I love seeing and hearing churches that do that, because it really speaks to the heart of mutual submission, that people have a voice who come from different backgrounds, different places, and that the leadership themselves aren't trying to outweigh one another. And so when we look at authority, if you have not seen that, I would just encourage you to take a step back and realize you may not have the full picture of what's happening, and that there might be a beautiful mutuality again between men and women, or even elders to our evangelists or pastors, depending on the title you used. Even within limited participation, sometimes it's not even about is it full or is it limited participation? Sometimes it is about women. Being a part of these decision making is having a voice.

Corina Espejo [01:22:13]:
But even with limited participation viewpoint, the view of women would be free to teach and preach in front of a mixed audience, say, with passion and conviction, in a way that most people would say is, quote unquote, authoritative. But as long as they were not, you know, again, usurping or undermining the local leadership's authority to make wise decisions on behalf of the rest of the church. Again with the leadership, with quote unquote. If you're, again, if you're going with limited participation, with your kafale wrapping all.

Travis Albritton [01:22:43]:
This up, the context of the question we're asking is not about church leadership at large. We did not study any of the passages that talk about leadership roles, offices, any of that. When we come together on a Sunday, who gets to speak? Who gets to use their gifts of preaching and teaching in front of the congregation? Does the Bible lay out a case that only men should do that, or does it show that men and women should do that as a mutually edifying activity? We have not crossed the threshold of who's leading the church. That's a whole other rabbit hole to go down when you get to church polity and organizational structure, and to come back to the terms that we said we would never use, egalitarian, complementarian. Another reason we've strayed away from those is because most people live in the middle somewhere. Most individuals that study this out don't wholeheartedly embrace or accept the full spectrum of each of those terms and what they mean, that it is totally reasonable and actually pretty common. After doing this, study to say, you know what? As long as they're not undermining leadership, as long as they're not teaching false doctrine or teaching or preaching in a bullying or assertive manner that would overextend their own authority, women can totally deliver the sermon on Sunday. And it's because they also have the headship of the lead evangelists and the elders who can make those decisions with that authority that we have given them collectively as a church, and that God has recognized that that is actually a position that you can hold, which is kind of a both hands.

Travis Albritton [01:24:17]:
Is that the correct answer? Well, we're not going to tell you, because even if we think that it would be, what do we know? Right?

Corina Espejo [01:24:24]:

Travis Albritton [01:24:25]:
So just recognize there's so many different flavors to this conversation, and there's so many other things that this conversation touches that at some point, we'll want to come to grips with. But for now, for this conversation, let's just stay focused on the topic at hand, the questions we're asking, and just do it with a lot of grace and a lot of humility. Now, we still have a few episodes left on season one of the podcast. We say season one in case we decided to do a season two for some reason. And so next week, Karina's gonna have a much well deserved break, and I'm gonna be sitting down with Steve Staton, who has been a part of our fellowship, a part of the local, national, and global leadership with the ICOC, and start taking the conversations we've been having at an academic level and bringing them into the real world. How do you actually collaborate? How do you actually establish strategies and ways of approaching this conversation that are mutually uplifting and beneficial to the unity of the church? So make sure that you keep listening as we continue moving this through this conversation, and we look forward to seeing you next week.