“We not only find instructions concerning the overseers and “deacons” of the church (I Tim./Tit.) but also guidelines for women, slaves, and worship” (Schenck, 2009, p. 413).
I believe that there is something both missing, as well as slightly misleading in the author’s assessment here. While I don’t dispute the charge by Schenck, two things should be addressed:
1) The message in Titus actually addresses how ‘all’ Christians, rather, all aspects of the Body of Christ, shall live; this includes men, or those at least of the male gender. I think that the way Schenck depicts [Titus] as “guidelines for women, slaves, and worship,” thus leaving out men altogether, only perpetuates a problem in the church today: men, at least those in leadership roles, often feel superior and women often feel overlooked. Furthermore, women have had to overcome a lot in our church and have every right to be heard, teach, and preach.
2) I feel that to write in this nature is disregarding (women) from an author that certainly is a respected theologian and thus seems to write very even-keeled. Women have a very important role/place in the church, and always have. To read the words in Titus – where Paul addresses women in particular – with a 21st century understanding, one might feel very domesticated or ‘traditional’ in keeping with the words. But to view the words with a Greek understanding and through a lexicon, the woman’s role is not to be ‘barefoot and pregnant’ or simply ‘obedient’ to men.
Why do I write this? Not merely to find something to pick apart in a superior analysis of this NT book. Instead, I feel it is important to properly understand the Biblical language and intent of the author; simply stating something the way Schenck does is not necessarily intentional however. But by omission of the male gender – while referencing a book that specifically addresses the way MEN too shall live – new Christian men, perhaps reading a book like [Schenck’s] early in their walk of faith, could lead to a misunderstanding of the role of men, as well as women, in the church.
Again, this is not intended to discredit the author, merely to examine a thought I had while reading. What do you think? Let me expound a bit more on my understanding of Titus:
Titus 2 uses some specific language aimed at men and how they shall live; that is, characteristics of a godly young man: “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance” (v. 2), and “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech…” (vv. 6-8, NIV).
These are things that must not be overlooked and should thus be properly understood by all – especially those teaching. While I am newer in my walk with Jesus, Titus is one of those books that often overlooked on Sunday mornings; unlike the Synoptic gospels or Paul’s letters to the churches (i.e. Romans).
Now, I understand the roles of deacons and overseers in the church – especially in the days in which Titus was written – were strictly relegated to men. Furthermore, deacons and overseers are the only men being addressed by Schenck; not withstanding slaves. However, I am sure that not all men were deacons or overseers. Instead, many were simply parishioners.
Therefore in the 21st century, I believe we should hold a more uniformed and inclusive language; one that includes women. Perhaps I’m being too critical or over-analyzing? No, I think these are just musings and thoughts conveyed during a road trip while stuck in the back of a mini-van – trying to tune-out children and in-laws. Your feedback is appreciated and welcome.
Schenck, Kenneth. (2009). Jesus Is Lord. Marion, IN: Triangle Publishing.