I linked to a document in here on the church's Apostolic Overseer accountability structure. It was developed by the late Darrin Patrick, who was the Counseling Overseer for Renovation Church before his death in May 2020. Much of it can be found in a book he wrote in 2010./1 https://twitter.com/judydominick/status/1300558969640038401
Here is p.19 of the document. Under the explanation for Mias Gunaikos Andra, or "Husband of one wife," I've highlighted the sentence that reads, "Elders are to take the lead in emotional social, and sexual connection with their spouses." /2
This sentence comes directly from Mr. Patrick's book, Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission (2010). It's informative to see the sentence in the context of the entire original paragraph--to understand the reasoning behind it. /3
There are several significant problems here. The first one is that this explanation is eisegetical--meaning that the author read his own ideas into the text but presented it as legitimate exposition. The other problem is the harmful gender dynamics that such eisegesis sets up. /4
Let's look at the text, 1 Tim. 3:2, in Greek interlinear format so we can visualize where "mias gunaikos andra" appears. Note: there's no word for "husband" in Greek, but when the word for "man" is used in the context of a marital relationship, it's understood to mean husband. /5
In the same letter, just 2 chapters later in 1 Tim. 5:9, we find Paul using the exact same grammatical construction for describing the qualification for a woman to be added to the list of widows - "henos andros gune," or wife of one man, or "a one-man woman". /6
Despite the grammatical match, I've never come across ANY interpretation suggesting that THIS phrase indicates that a woman should have taken the lead in emotional, social, and sexual connection with her late husband, or else she wouldn't qualify for widows' benefits. /7
That's because there's no power benefit to misinterpreting 1 Tim. 5:9 that way, but there's definite power benefit to misinterpreting 1 Tim. 3:2 in the way it was done in Church Planter and in every place that has adopted this logic. /8
And I can bear witness to the harms of this eisegesis. I've known too many women who, under church governance influenced by this logic, have been harmed by their husbands--used, degraded, and coerced into acts derived from their husband's steady diet of pornography. /9
They are particularly without recourse if all the people who occupy positions of authority and power in the church are men-- especially men influenced by these underlying beliefs. /10
These beliefs almost always exist in conjunction with a belief in authoritarian church leadership, which gets into my next point about the definition of "episcope" in the document & the inclusion of words like "controller, ruler, or manager" under the heading. /11
The way the word /episkope/ is used in the New Testament implies care, responsibility, and visitation. /12
Concepts of an overseer or elder having the power of a controller or a ruler shouldn't be associated with what Paul wrote in 1 Tim. 3:2. In City of God, St. Augustine said, "[Paul] wanted to explain what 'episcopate' means: it is the name of a task, not an honor..." /13
"It is, in fact, a Greek word, derived from the fact that a man who is put in authority over others 'superintends' them, that is, he has responsibility for them... Hence a 'bishop' who has set his heart on a position of eminence rather than an opportunity for service..." /14
"should realize that he is no bishop." (City of God, 19:19) /15
I'm highlighting all this because these things aren't even on the radar when most of us choose to become part of a church. We tend to look at things like preaching, music, programs. But they determine SO MUCH about how ministry is done in a community of believers. /16
They influence how marital advice is dispensed; determine how well cases of marital discord, domestic violence, and abuse of minors are handled; guide how people in the congregation come alongside singles and divorcees. /17
The things in the document and the church planting book I referenced may seem far-fetched or fringy to some, but it's not. The author was once VP of the Acts 29 Network, and the foreword was written by the current president of the Acts 29 Network, Matt Chandler. /18
People keep asking, "Why is there so much spiritual abuse?" Identify the theology at work--the eisegesis--and behold its logical conclusion. Then consider the effects of church-planting-as-industry, driven by people with unfettered access to financial and social capital. /19
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