Redefining Biblical Concepts: The Case of the Swedish “Bishop”

Redefining Biblical Concepts

The Church of Sweden has appointed a lesbian Bishop … yes, a lesbian Bishop. That’s right, a word that comes from the Old English bisc(e)op, which itself derives from the Latin ebiscopus, which comes from the Greek episkopos – which is the word used in Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:7, and 1 Peter 2:25 and the word which Strong’s Concordance says is a “Noun, Masculine” and is defined as “overseer, supervisor, ruler.” Now, we know that a masculine gender-neutral is sometimes used in Greek, but more often the gender of the noun does correspond with the gender of the subject. In fact, the specificity of both 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 as they both state that the episkopos is to be faithful to HIS wife seems rather important in the definition of an overseer/elder/bishop. There is even more specificity than just the gender of the noun when the original language is examined. Here’s how Titus 1:6f reads when read in Koine Greek order (according to the interlinear; commas mine):

If one is blameless, of one wife the husband, children having believing nor under accusation of debauchery or insubordinate. It behooves indeed the overseer blameless to be, as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick tempered, not given to wine, not a striker, not greedy of base gain.

Notice that the specificity of the spouse of the one wife being “the husband” and that the importance is placed upon the faithfulness of the man in performing his husbandly role (in order to keep just “one wife”). The reason I’m harping on the language is because … well … it matters; but also because it’s not incidental that the gender of the noun episkopos is masculine. The language used by Paul in verse 6 shows that he is being very clear that simply having a wife is not the only important criterion; he must be the husband of one wife.

If I might walk into more opinion-laced territory for a moment here: I believe there are lots of reasons for overseers/elders/bishops to be men. Want some examples for why I believe this? To begin with, I Tim 2:11f says so. Second, I think that the rest of the Bible lays pretty clear the precedence of man in leadership. Not only was man first created, with woman being made for him as a “helper” (Hebrew: “eh-zer” – used in Gen 2), but God’s curse on the woman Eve was that her “desire will be for [her] husband and he will rule over [her]” (Gen 3:16). Third, all of the leaders (other than Deborah) in Israel and the early church were men (think: Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, Nehemiah, Ezra, not to mention all of the other Kings and Priests, Jesus Himself, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, Paul and the rest of the Apostles, the original 7 deacons, etc.). Fourth, I believe that men having roles of leadership strengthens communities. We always see that the locations which have the highest fatherlessness rate correlate well with high instances of poverty and crime. That’s not an accident! And fifth, I believe fully that when men lead, women find themselves free to do the amazing things for which God created them. Very seldom do you run across a well-adjusted woman who is not completely dedicated to her family’s well-being, specifically her children’s health and development; and I believe this is evidence that God made women with a unique ability to nurture and love – ingredients which are necessary to binding a family together physically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually, and ingredients which men don’t seem to possess in much abundance.

Hence, where men shirk their duty to lead, women usurp the role of the man and abandon the role for which they are best suited … probably because they recognize that someone has to lead, but certainly because, in their fleshly arrogance, they want to overthrow Eve’s curse in the Garden. Though the latter reason may be vehemently denied by women, it’s not something which is peculiar to them. Do not men also attempt to subvert their own curse by overthrowing “painful toil” (Gen 3:17) in a vain search for a life of ease? Or does not mankind generally attempt to subvert the curse of death (“dust to dust” in Gen 3:19) through vain searches for immortality?

You see that this principle behind the question of definitions and concepts matters a whole lot more than just the stupid question of feminism – of course women are just as valuable (to God and society) as men. It also matters a whole lot more than the asinine question of gender-equality – of course women are capable of leading. And it is infinitely more important that the revolting questions posed by gender-perversion – of course gender matters and God doesn’t make a mistake in assigning it. The principle of using biblical definitions for biblical concepts matters because it is a vital piece of rebar in the foundation of truth.

The simple fact remains that truth itself must rest on something. To deny that is to deny truth implicitly by explicitly stating a truth. There is no truth but the truth that there is no truth is a nonsensical statement. Therefore, if you believe in God, and if truth must rest on something, why should that something not be the words of God? All of which brings us fully round to the words and definitions of the Bible; and we find ourselves with the simple decision of whether or not to accept the biblical definitions of biblical concepts. To deny that a biblical concept is defined correctly in the Bible is to deny the very foundation of the concept itself; thereby making your starting point invalid. Furthermore, to deny that both the biblical definition AND the biblical concept is true, while stating that you believe in the Spirit that inspired them – as this lesbian Bishop and the people who appointed her presumably say, calls into question a person’s very sanity … OR, at the least, it calls into question the legitimacy of a person’s faith.

Which is the real reason for me writing this post: to call into question the legitimacy of a faith that denies the truth of biblical concepts defined biblically. How can a case be made for the omnipotence and omniscience of God if we deny that the biblical account of creation is true? How can a case be made for the justice of God if we deny that there is a heaven and a hell? How can a case be made for the salvation offered by God through the blood of His Son if we deny the supernaturalism of His rising? And how can we legitimately make a case for any principle in the Bible while simultaneously undermining another?

So … do you want to know what happens when a church disregards biblical concepts and biblical definitions by appointing a lesbian “bishop?” The answer is that they can’t then make any coherent biblical arguments against something as simple as replacing Christian symbols with non-Christian symbols in a Christian church.

For those who don’t want to click on the link above, the lesbian “bishop” is attempting to remove all Christian symbols from a church in order to make it more “inclusive” to people of other faiths. Imagine that … undermining the word of God leads directly to undermining God Himself; even to the point of removing Him from a place originally dedicated to Him. Sounds to me like a metaphor for the Christian who falls prey to the redefinitions and lies of the world.

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