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W. Scott Plavnick
1 Stars Out Of 5
Invents meaning of Biblical words = Heresy
March 10, 2017
W. Scott Plavnick
By completely inventing a new, unBiblical meaning of the Greek word translated "submit", the author does violence the the Scripture. Jesus loves the Church, layed down his life for the Church, but NEVER submits to the church. Sad departure from the clear meaning of the text and all of Scripture.
A valuable book in the gender roles debate within the Church. Alan Padgett critiques the complementarian views of folks like John Piper and Wayne Grudem by pointing to the necessity of contextual analysis of verses that involve the relationships of men and women in the church. If anything, Padgett claims the complementarian view is just as revisionist as an egalitarian outlook and he traces the genesis of complementarian teaching to the work of George W. Knight III in the 1970s. He focuses particularly on Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 11-13 and the Pastoral Epistles. While Padgett admits that some verses appear to indicate male authority upon first glance, the actual circumstances of the writings need to be more closely examined; for instance, in Ephesus, wealthy women were being led astray by false teachers and thus Paul demands that they "remain silent" because they are teaching error to their fellow believers. He refutes the "creation-order" argument and spends time looking at specific Greek words; for instance, one Greek word often translated as "authority" can also have the alternative meaning of "origin," which drastically affects how a particular verse may be read. Padgett seeks to present Jesus Christ as the ultimate model for leadership and submission. Jesus washed the disciples' feet and submitted himself to the Cross for the sake of the Beloved, his Bride, the Church. In Padgett's mind, mutual submission means the temporary role of servant towards those whom we love and seek to serve, not a consistent, once-for-all hierarchy. This is essentially the same as "servant leadership." Padgett concludes that by looking at the Bible as a whole, instead of cherry-picking individual verses, an egalitarian view is the outlook best presented. The one critique is I would have liked to have seen Padgett address women in ministry a bit more.
Hot button topics. I love them. One of my favorites concerns leadership and authority in the contemporary Church.
As Christ Submits to the Church: A Biblical Understanding of Leadership and Mutual Submission by Alan G. Padgett presses that button. Actually, he presses that button to the tune of each page in this release from Baker Academic.
The author engages in an excellent cumulative style that makes the academic data accessible for most readers. Far from an easy read, the information is systematically is made digestible with a summary and review style at the end of each chapter. This approach to the data disseminates and repeats the information previously read. The author accomplishes his task of proving his thesis very effectively and I would enjoy reading more of his works for the fun of it.
This book was paced efficiently and remained concise while breaching a topic that is broad and expansive in arena of Christian conversation. Far from a tome owed to the topic of leadership, authority, and mutual submission, this concise volume contains satisfactory references in the footnotes and a bibliography to keep any reader busy for an entire year. The measure of the author's resolve concerning this topic is summarized in some his closing statements at the end of this book:
"Against too many church leaders in the evangelical movement, we must resist reductionist prooftexting in our efforts to understand the full will of God. Only the whole of Scripture, read as a whole, is a firm foundation for the reform of the church and the life of daily discipleship."
As the author embarks on a journey to survey the evangelical approach to gender roles, male dominion, mission and submission, headship, and justice for today, he keeps several topics in the common denominator. Christ's earthly ministry, relationship with mankind, and his association with the disciples. Through these areas of concern the author illustrates the posture of submission Christ intended for his Church. Alan Padgett begs the question in each chapter by demonstrating the power of Christ's ministry and posture toward others as a tool of understanding true submission. In the end, the books title proves its worth and earns its placement on the front cover.
I found this book helpful for my own personal study. Endeavoring to discover the required posture of submission, whether it be in my relationship with my wife or members of the Church, I am eager to replicate Christ's behaviors and desires for mutual submission to one another. The engaging style, diligent academic study, and careful attention to detail regarding the Lord's life and ministry in this book will provide an effective and refreshing new approach to an age-old debate. I did not agree with all points made with the author, even when he was making them well. I did appreciate this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in resolving their own view concerning submission in today's Church.