Do you think a Bible passage is extremely important that begins with,
1 Cor. 11:1-2 (NASB-U) ‘Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.  Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.’
Don’t you think it is a very defining portion of Scripture that concludes with,
1 Cor. 11:16 (NASB-U) ‘But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.’
Would this qualification injected in the start of a discussion include your church?
1 Cor. 14:33b (NASB-U) ‘as in all the churches of the saints.’
Do you recognize the subject matter of this passage as the Lord’s commandment?
1 Cor. 14:36-38 (NASB-U) ‘Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?  If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment.  But if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.’
Does your behavior dishonor God’s Word?
Titus 2:5 (NASB) so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Each one of these Scriptures is directly connected to key passages on gender authority!
Are these not some of the most severe and strongest warnings Paul gives for any issue he writes about? Not just one warning, not two or three, but five!
If this subject is not important, why did Paul bracket it with these incredibly pronounced statements and commands?
How can we dare ignore, reject and disobey these portions of Scripture? And yet the message of these commands is flagrantly ignored, minimized, rejected, or twisted to mean the opposite of what it says. Will we not suffer serious consequences disobeying a principle that has such strong cautions around it?
WHY IS THE QUESTION OF GENDER AUTHORITY IMPORTANT?
First, we may not understand why God has given a certain command. That does not release us from obeying it. We may not agree with the command (King Saul, I Samuel 15). Nor may we want to follow the command (The prophet Jonah, Jonah 1). None of these reasons void our responsibility to obey.
Are you willing to obey clear, specific instructions simply because God says so?
Second, if my understanding of authority goes against the structures of authority that God has established, it is no less than rebellion. Isn’t that exactly what Jezebel did in establishing her own structure in worship and taking leadership in her marriage and the government?
Wasn’t Ahab held accountable for allowing it? 1 Kings 21:25 (NASB-U) Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife incited him.
Like Jezebel, are we not ’designing’ our own religion when we deny and distort the clear commands and instructions of Scripture regarding leadership structure in the Church?
Like Jezebel, are we seeking to structure marriage as we chose, and not as God established?
Are we caught up in a worldly definition of equality, at the expense of obedience to God and submission to the authority He has established?
As believers, we aren’t so brash as to openly encourage rebellion. But isn’t that even what ‘mutual submission’ really is, if it is unbiblical?
Samuel’s words to Saul about rebellion and rejecting God’s Word are no less true to us today; 1 Samuel 15:23 (NASB-U) "For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king."
When Christ says a key sign of the end times is rebellion, any issue of authority is too important to ignore. And when the people of God violate authority in the Church and home, do we not open the flood gates of rebellion for society?
Third, if gender equality in authority is unbiblical, what might be the consequences? Is it part of the cause of the gender, marriage and family issues we see today? The implications are huge, they run through society and governments, into the Church, and down to the foundations of marriage and family. So far the Church has been losing the battle to restore health to society. Even our witness has been feeble, if not at times damaging. Christian marriages have not been the example they ought to be. Has the Church itself opened a major door to numerous problems by setting aside the husband as the head of marriage? Doesn’t the rejection of a male head-of-home open the door to a same-sex marriage? I believe the Church posture today will be looked at as a devastating cultural capitulation in the eye of history.
Maybe our prescription for health in society has missed a key, fundamental diagnosis of what the problem really is.
There is a fourth reason gender authority is important. If a improper structure of authority puts people in positions they are not created for, it sets up not only failure for the person, but destructive consequences for all those involved around them! Is our attempt at fixing ‘inequities’ creating even greater ones? Again, could this explain at least some of the frustrations we see in society today?
There is no question that abusive authority in the home and Church has and does exist. I think women many times suffer the most in that twist. But as a result of a faulty reaction to abuse, I think the American Church has tried to establish practice and doctrine from a place of victimization rather than freedom in Christ and faithful obedience to God’s Word. I think we have exchanged a distortion for a lie as a result.
Sadly, we end up ignoring a powerful example and critical command of Christ in the very context of the issue of gender authority,
1 Peter 2:21-3:2 (NASB-U) For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,  who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;  and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;  and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.  For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
[3:1] In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,  as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
Scripture is filled with astounding examples of men and women being led by God through extremely difficult times of submission to ungodly authority. We are missing our very purpose and losing our testimony of God’s power and authority today because of disobedience and rebellion.
I am well aware of the implications and repercussions of this truth being re-established in Churches and Denominations where women are in leadership over men. But isn’t that what God has always called His people to? If the world has watched the Body of Christ reject truth, isn’t it time they see us reclaim truth? Could this be the Reformation of our day? If we do not return to this foundation, God will raise a new crop of obedient followers.
HOW DO WE DISCERN THE TRUTH ABOUT GENDER AUTHORITY?
We have seen a major shift in the issue of gender authority in the Church and Marriage from historic Christianity (See chapter 15 of Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood by John Piper and Wayne Grudem as one excellent resource). One writer in a recent book goes so far as to say that women have been ‘lied to by the Church’. Consider for a moment the judgment that puts on literally every Saint of times past! Has historic Christianity really been abusively wrong about this vital issue?
But even more serious, would that not mean that the Holy Spirit failed to guide the Body in all truth for thousands of years? John 16:13 (NASB-U) "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”
I think the following four points (In order of importance.) are foundational guides to correctly understanding what scripture says about gender authority.
1. The first and most important guide is, what does God’s Word teach about gender authority?
Do you know what the passages are that relate to gender authority? How can you have an opinion without knowing and studying God’s Word before taking any other person’s view?
When was the last time you heard a sermon on the passages that deal with this? Would your pastor dare preach these passages in this day and age? Would it be a rebuke to your Church and marriage structure to even read these passages?
2. What was the practice in the Bible regarding gender authority?
What examples of the application of gender authority does scripture give? How was it practiced in Biblical examples? I think gender authority is clearly presented in Scripture as a command and consistently supported by examples.
I also assert that this Biblical command supercedes cultures. I believe that even when a perceived cultural practice (Therefore possibly an adjustable issue.) conflicts with a specific biblical command (Unchangeable.), the Word always takes precedence.
When scripture not only gives a command, but even states the rational for the command, I do not believe we should over-ride that reason because of ‘culture’. Paul in particular, states reasons for gender authority that stand apart from culture.
I also do not accept that the passages referenced here are so culturally bound, that they are pointless for our time. While cultural practices may be different in our time, that does not eradicate the many benefits of God including those practices in His Word. There is always a principle in cultural practices that we are to apply in our context.
3. What was the practice of the early Church after New Testament times?
After the writing of the New Testament, how did the Church speak about gender authority? What was their practice? When did changes occur, and what was the result?
4. What is the fruit our practice of gender authority produces?
God told the Israelites that their world would be a mirror to reflect back the consequences of their choices. There would be life and blessing in obedience, but death and loss in rebellion. Deut. 30:15-19 (NASB-U) "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity;  in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.  "But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them,  I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.  "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, “
How is the American Church doing in our enlightened age? Better or worse than before? What is being reflected back by society to the Church? Why are African, Asian, South American and even Chinese denominations experiencing dramatic growth, yet being forced to denounce and distance themselves from their American counter-parts in key issues?
Is there an increase in obedience, or growing rebellion in society? Is the Church distinct from it? Has there been an increase or decrease in the health of marriages since we corrected ‘chauvinistic’ doctrine? Do Christian marriages stand apart from those of the world now?
One of the arguments the Episcopal homosexual community made in pursuing gay priests was, “The Church accepted women priests, it will learn to accept homosexual priests.” They then go on to use the same methods of re-interpreting or ignoring God’s Word that are being used to discard gender authority.
How have gender issues such as domestic violence, gender manners and sexual behavior been affected? For example, is same-sex marriage a result of our societies’ rejection of gender authority?
SOME SIMPLE PREPOSITIONS ABOUT UNDERSTANDING GOD’S WORD
I believe that whatever the Holy Spirit is saying to us as a Church regarding gender authority will be in harmony with Scripture.
Passage after passage dealing with this issue is painted as insignificant or, ‘not for our time’. Time honored interpretation is turned upside down with new definitions from ‘modern’ dictionaries. Even worse, other passages are declared misleading or meaning the opposite of what they overtly say. God does not confuse us that way. Nor is that what the Holy Spirit will do with Scripture. When someone teaches a doctrine that distances and detaches itself from what Scripture teaches on the subject, they are not being led by God’s Spirit. When they indicate you need their teaching to understand what Scripture says, they are claiming the place of the Holy Spirit who Jesus promises will lead us into all truth.
This also means Scripture will be in harmony with itself. When all the passages on a particular doctrine are compiled, they should present a consistent message in both instruction and practice. Unless a major practice is specifically shifted (ie., Gentile participation in worship), there should also be consistency between Old and New Testament. They should be looked at together and understood as a whole. I have heard and read many of these pertaining scriptures dissected alone, asserting gender equality in authority. I have yet to see all these scriptures compiled together reaching a coherent conclusion.
I believe that all Scripture is profitable, and was included for our benefit.
“A low view of Scripture ensures a high risk of distortion!” I am troubled when we so discount passages that they become meaningless. I call us back to the full essence of 2 Tim. 3:16-17 (NASB-U) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Please note these two points in particular;
1. “All Scripture is inspired by God,” and not to be twisted, ignored, minimized or
rejected by man’s opinion at some point down the road of time. Every single
passage has the stamp of God’s approval on it.
2. “All Scripture... is profitable,” and none of it is wasted space to be ignored or
discarded. Every single passage has a divine purpose.
There can be a measure of flexibility interpreting passages that stand alone in a specific issue, but those that have supporting references of teaching and examples are unavoidably important.
With some passages related to this issue, I have also found the application of such harsh and rigid interpretations, that the passage becomes impossible to apply. The passage is then rendered pointless, and therefore ‘unprofitable’. The implication is that, “If we can’t apply it, we don’t have to pay attention to it.” I reject that conclusion. Instead, we need to search for meaning until our understanding makes it applicable.
Matthew 5:17-19 (NASB-U) "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.  "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.  "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
2 Peter 1:20-21 (NASB-U) But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,  for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
I believe that the common believer can read the Bible, and not be misled by the overt message.
I do not believe God would allow a careful reader to be misled in a 180 degree direction. Yet that is the assertion about many of these passages, ’They really mean the opposite of what they seem to say…’ I shouldn’t need someone’s study guide to understand the basic truths of a passage and at least be pointed in the right direction. I am amazed at the audacity of some writers who work to reverse the expressed meaning of God’s Word. When you read these passages without notes, what conclusion do you come to? I believe the Holy Spirit protects and guides sincere believers in correctly understanding truth. I believe He will be faithful to you and I also.
I believe that when it comes down to God’s Word and man’s opinion, the Word prevails.
I don’t think God let the Church be misled for centuries about gender authority until now. I believe that the historic Church has not ‘lied to the body’ on this issue. The doctrine of gender authority in marriage and Church leadership has been consistent throughout Church history. We need men and women of integrity to stand up to the clamor and pressure of modern opinion, especially in the Church! I grieve that many modern Bible teachers deny or stand silent on these passages.
WHAT CONCLUSION DO YOU COME TO ABOUT GENDER AUTHORITY WHEN YOU READ THESE PASSAGES?
I present a challenge. Have a pre-teen read these passages, and then ask them what conclusion they come to. If you were reading these for the first time, what understanding would you conclude with?
*Underlined portions are only to point out key portions that I see relating to the
issue of gender authority.
Genesis 2:18-25 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Genesis 3:16 (NASB-U) To the woman He said,
"I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you."
1 Cor. 11:1-16 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
 I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.
 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.  Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.  And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is just as though her head were shaved.  If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.  A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.  For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;  neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.  For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.
 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.  For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.  Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?  Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,  but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.  If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice--nor do the churches of God.
1 Cor. 14:33-38 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the congregations of the saints,  women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
 Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?  If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command.  If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.
1 Tim. 2:11-3:15 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.  But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
[3:1] Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.  Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,  not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.  He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.  They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.  They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
 A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.  Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that,  if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
1 Tim. 5:1-2 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,  older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
Titus 1:5-9 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.  An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.  Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Titus 2:3-5 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
1 Peter 3:1-7 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,  when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands,  like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.