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As I have got to know more about the Messianic community I have noticed that women take part in leading worship and also have positions of authority. This seems to be rather different from much Jewish practice. Also it seems to go directly against certain passages in the New Testament. As you want to be more Jewish and also be obedient to the Bible could you please explain how you can reconcile this?

Thankyou for this question. It addresses an important issue for the Body of Messiah ~ possibly of equal importance as that of our relationship to Israel.

For too long the Body of Messiah has ignored the great contradiction in Scripture regarding women. On the one hand we are told in Galations 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua." On the other we seem to find various restrictions placed upon women functioning within the Body! Surely if there is now no functional difference between Jew & Gentile then the same must apply to men & women.

This is a great difficulty for us as fundamental evangelicals, who accept the Bible to be the infallible Word of God. If it is, then it can contain no contradictions! It is time we squarely faced up to these difficulties.

Certainly Eve & I have had to do this. It was not an easy journey but it was one with great reward. First we realised that there must be some explanation and had to be obedient to the expressed will of God that we recognise no distinctions between each other within the Body of Messiah. Then we had to tackle the two difficult passages head-on.

This we did and when reading the Greek behind these passages we realised that the translators of the King James had translated one word in two different ways. One way for men and another for women! The result is that the command for men to be silent is ignored (1 Cor.14:28) but emphasised when applied to women! The truth is, both men and women are commanded not to "babble" in meetings of believers. This translation practice has continued.

The more difficult passage is in 1 Timothy chapter two. We realised that the difficulty arose from one Greek word in verse 12, "authenteo". This is a very rare word and has been found less than ten times in all of Greek literature to date. Because of this the translators may have been forgiven for mistranslating it ~ if the early Christian writer Chrysostom (4/5th C) had not explained it, in his commentary on 1 Timothy, as meaning "sexual licence"!

It is used in Wisdom 12:16 (not part of the Word of God) of orgiastic and cannabalistic pratices of the Canaanites. Also, Clement in the 2nd Century uses it in relation to the love-feasts turning into orgies.

Paul is saying, women must be careful not to use sexual power to impose authority ~ as was the case in the pagan temples of the time. Their authority must not be wrongly imposed ~ a lesson for all those in authority!

I realise that this does not cover the two difficult passages in detail. However we have gone into more detail in a booklet entitled "No Jew No Greek", which you can get from us personally.

As regards Jewish practice: We do not seek to become more Jewish. Modern Rabbinic Judaism IS NOT our guide. The only Judaism we are really interested in is Biblical Judaism; i.e. what has God got to say about our beliefs and practices? As the Body of Messiah becomes more recognisable to Jewish people it is the differences in practice that will provoke questions enabling us to point them to Messiah.

Philip

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