False (Gender) Ideals

Instead of the recent pattern of using biblical stories to draw out lessons, this week, the Adult Bible Study Guide loosely focuses on the stages of life and offers advice on success. Sunday offers advice to those maturing into adulthood. Know thyself a bit before getting married. On Tuesday, the lesson reflects on the challenges of the roughly four decades that follow. It calls these “the earning years” and offers encouragement to be biblical through all the financial challenges that accompany this stage of life. On Wednesday, it covers “the last phase,” but this is mostly just a list of things that need to be in place to call it successful. “In an ideal situation the parents have raised their children to become independent adults, the home is paid for, the transportation needs are met, there are no lingering debts, and there is a sufficient income stream to provide for the senior family’s needs.” That word “ideal” is doing a lot of work in this scenario. In fact, it creeps up throughout the lesson in telling places.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/12221

In addition to the embarassing gender stereotype, having a lesson based on a prosperity gospel is just wierd. What happened to worshipping Jesus, who “for your sake became poor”?


historian Beth Allison Barr notes that those who think of men as the only or ideal heads of institutions misread Paul.

Much ink has been spilled over the last few decades to try to rehabilitate Paul and make him out to have been in favour of equality and egalitarianism.

While Paul is not entirely consistent in his views, (and trying to reconcile Paul’s self-contradictory statements is a fool’s errand), there are numerous passages attributed to Paul which clearly and unequivocally relegate women to a lower station than men.

It’s high time that Christians stop pretending that Paul was misunderstood. No - on this point Paul has been correctly understood and Paul was and is wrong.


That’s if one attributes the much later pastoral letters to Paul. That’s where unabashed patriarchy comes out. But many many scholars don’t see it that way, and don’t attribute them to Paul personally. The earlier authentic letters reveal a more egalitarian view of roles in the church, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or social status. It is part of what made the early Christian movement countercultural within the 1st c. empire.



Are any of them found in his authentic works, or just in the likely forgeries? I’ve read more than one scholarly book that indicates they’re all in the likely forgeries - works that claim to be written by Paul but were not. And that when you include only the core works, women are quite prominent and not relegated to a lower station, especially in context.

This article supports the view the Paul elevated women, and that at least some difficult passages may well have been added to is works later, before canonization:


Good point. I suppose I ought to revise my position that we should stop pretending that the author of those misogynistic passages (who may not have been Paul) was misunderstood.


Paul was a product of his earlier upbringing. He was a pharisee which dictated that he was well indoctrinated with many gender discriminating qualities. The entire OT was rife with sexism and misogamy. No one with two synapsis firing would dare try to argue that. Just because Paul had a conversion on the way to Damascus, doesn’t mean that all of his earlier legalism simply evaporated. The baggage of pharisaical thinking was still engrained in who he was. That is born out in other facets of his teachings, such as his adoption of hateful rhetoric about gays. As I have said before on this site, the fact that Paul had to have been married yet you never hear a word about his wife, and also the fact that he always traveled with men, might just give you some clues. If I were a betting person, I would wager that he was a non-practicing gay man, who’s convictions were so strong that, like many other self-loathing gays, cast hateful dispersions toward that community. It might also be reflective in his take on a woman’s place the early church. This is not to minimize the fact that women of that time were little more than the possession of men.


It seems to me the biggest question in regards to Paul’s mission is whether or not it has any correlation with Jesus “good news”.

Of course, he (or whomever ghost wrote his letters?) swears that what he preaches must be precisely what Jesus taught, just as EGW and countless others-none of whom ever met Jesus when he was alive-have claimed for the past two thousand years.

But there’s no way to verify any of their contradictory assertions and since Jesus, himself, hasn’t had much of anything to say in the interim, there’s absolutely no way to say which, if any of them “nailed it”.


I had a real chuckle over the assertion in Thursday’s lesson that one should never engage a secular money manager. The author of this quarterly is surely old enough to remember the Donald Davenport Ponzi scheme of the early 1980’s…the SDA doctor, turned developer who ultimately went bankrupt after scamming millions of dollars from church leaders. In retrospect, it is funny to imagine that the SDA church had its own ‘Bernie Madoff’ and the ones who got scammed and violated their fiduciary responsibility with respect to church funds, in addition to their own money, were all top SDA pastors and administrators.


Religious practice is always a combination of Bible and culture. We seem to read the Bible as if it has the last word on even things like “can I beat my wife”. If you want to beat your wife, you will find reason to, even in the Bible maybe.

The Bible is not a “how to” book, to be followed step by step. Christianity is an introduction to God, that has the power to change a person - for the better. “Because you are forgiven, you forgive.” The details are left for you to figure out. If men have a hangup about their manliness, they will over compensate, and possibly beat their wives. I can’t see a “normal” 21st century man look for permission in the Bible to do that.

Whatever, Paul says, Jesus demonstrated acceptance of women beyond being property; and also children, which may have been a first in world history, if you research how they were treated by various societies.


This weeks lesson ? Well, it is quite ridiculous to give the good advice - never to engage a secular mone manager - - and depict a life continuously being “successful” , at least for fourty years - -

But : The outrage about Paul here I just have to question.

He mentiones Andronicus and Junia (later made to “Junias” !) als companions, he greets Priscilla and Aquila ( II. Tim 4 : 19 ) first naming the lady - -

I. Cor 7 : 1 ff only recently new translaters begun to make a shift, connecting the “being good” and “not touching a woman” to those having written a letter full of certain questions (Col 2 : 18 ??) - - and** not the answer Paul gives** Yes, then continuing with reminding about the “due benevolence” - -

Pauls two strict words about some practicses in some places of the Roman empire cope with special indulgences in vice there . Romans 1 : 23 ff obviously deals with the sceneries in Roman Baths - like described by Martial, Junvenal and somehow Ovidius - this also recently seen by an US Ttheologian in Harvard - - with their volontary switch to the same gender.

I. Cor 6 : 9 and 1. Tim 1 : 10 targets a phenomenon in especially East Mediterreannean harbor cities, as described by Philo alexandrinus in spec. leg. III, 36. ff - the effeminate male teens as prostitutes serving their wealthy elderly customers - -

The verdict of Romans 1 was clear for me decades ago - its meaning for todays society I see in what I have learned by travel agency clerks about the “possibilities” being offered in the Caribbean and Ibiza and Mallorca - -

The explanation Philo alexandrinus gives I had been seeking for through decades.

We should pay some attention about Paul being deliberately misinterpreted since almost two milleniums - -

(and gibve up his words being a support to vociferous “ministries” - - - -

And, even apart from what the whole Davenport affair teaches, that statement in and of itself is ludicrous. Why? Because they’re not Christian? That thinking tells us that we should never use the services of a non Christian doctor, mechanic, lawyer, plumber, etc.

Can anyone say Gentile dogs? Outrageous!



KUDOS to Rick Warren and the Saddleback Church for choosing principle over the headship heresy. If it takes to be independent in order to be really a Christian Church, so be it!


I really don’t care about what Paul, Horacio, Jose, Randy, Franz, Youri, or Roger say. Do we really need people defining for us what is right or wrong, what is moral or immoral, what is decent or indecent, what is Christian or unChristian behavior??

Discrimination of ANY other human being is wrong, immoral, indecent, and un-Christian. Period. This is probably why the Adventist Church has always tried to consider women as less that human, maybe only 75% of human - which has also been reflected in the practice of paying them less than men. If they are not fully human, well…, then men have to be in control, and there comes the headship heresy. I think that the word “headship” is actually misspelled! :scream::scream: :wink: :wink:


Let alone that the Adventist Church has, at most levels - starting with the GC - invested money in several financial institutions. And here they are lecturing theit members about not engaging a secular money manager? Sometimes I wonder about those people’s cognitive abilities and hypocrisy!


I hear you George. But, my point was that to call Paul a misogynist simply doesn’t do justice to what his letters with undisputed authorship reveals.


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Hi Frank, I know, I had understood your comment. I never thought of Paul as being a misogynist anyway. Fact is that misogynists are always looking for ways to support their insane position regarding women, instead of abandoning those inhumane ideas. The point is not who said what but rather what everyone does about this issue. That’s when the misogynists becomes losers.


Yes, it’s awful. The lesson’s leading assertion isn’t even valid:

"There are scores of secular money-management gurus out there, but God warned us against consulting them for the management of the assets He has entrusted to us. "

And then the quote from Psalms 1, from a poem/song. In the NRSVUE it reads:

Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked [the ungodly, the criminal, guilty of sins against man or God]
or take the path [the journey, the way of life] that sinners tread
or sit in the seat of scoffers [the arrogant, boastful the scornful, those that mock],
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.

They [who take delight in the law] are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

This poem/song appears to have exactly nothing to do with personal finance, or financial advisors, or “secular money-management gurus” (whatever that refers to), or assets God has entrusted to someone (whatever those are). Is this author really so naive, or just disingenuous?

I love how the lesson ends, with what is basically the only accurate statement it makes:

Disclaimer: Contents of these lessons are not intended to be financial advice but is general commentary based on biblical principles. The reader is encouraged to seek competent professional advice which will suit their particular personal situation.


:scream::rofl::rofl::rofl: LOL…
So, after warning against financial advisors’ help, the lesson’s advice is for people to look for the asAsistance of financial experts. Is it for serious
or was it just a flaw that was undetected by Clifford Goldstein @Cliff ???


Legal “@#$” covering