Errors at The Junia Project – Part 4

This is part 4 of a series reviewing a recent blog article entitled God Sends Both Men AND Women by Susanna Krizo published at The Junia Project. Here are the links to parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series.

As was discussed previously in this series but will be repeated here, we cannot universally equate the term apostle with church leaders such as pastors and elders:

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)

The apostles Paul and Peter were certainly prophets and evangelists. But not all evangelists are prophets. Both Peter and Paul were part of the special classes of apostle that were called directly by Jesus. Peter and Paul performed miracles and wrote Scripture. This type of apostle no longer exists today. We cannot use the examples of Peter and Paul to define modern missionaries. They are a completely different category of apostle and basically irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not God sends men and women as missionaries today. This is a category error.

Paul and Peter weren’t the only apostles. The Bible mentions nearly twenty apostles by name, and one of them is a woman (Rom 16:7) (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

I agree that Paul and Peter were not the only apostles. Does Krizo believe anyone thinks this? This is a red herring designed to further confuse the issue.

For centuries, the apostle Junia has either been transformed into a man by translators, or ignored. But we cannot ignore her anymore (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Actually, there has been some debate since the first couple centuries of the New Testament church about whether or not Junia was a man or a woman. There is even some debate as to how to render Romans 16:7 as to whether or not Junia was actually considered an apostle or was known merely known by and/or working with the apostles. Junia has not been “transformed into a man” or “ignored.” Krizo is again reverting to inflammatory language. Compare the translations from the ESV, NIV and KJV Bibles:

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me (ESV, Romans 16:7).

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. (NIV, Romans 16:7).

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me (KJV, Romans 16:7).

None of these three translations ignores Junia. But neither do any of the three make it perfectly clear as to whether or not Junia was an apostle or was just highly esteemed by the apostles.

Despite some debate as to whether or note Junia is a man or a woman and whether or not Junia is even called an apostle in Romans 16:7, I am willing to allow for the sake of argument that Junia is a female apostle. Now, we have to look at the list of 6 types of apostles described yesterday and decide which type of an apostle . Clearly she is not one of the original 12, not Matthias, not Paul, not Jesus and not a false apostle. That means Junia is one of those messengers who is sent out by the church. Not the type of apostle who performs miracles or writes Scripture. Equating Junia with the apostles Peter and Paul is misleading and confusing.

We have hundreds of thousands of women apostles preaching the Gospel around the world. If these women exist, why wouldn’t Junia? If our church sends women as apostles, why wouldn’t the early church? (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

cart-before-the-horseThis is putting the cart before the horse. We should never weigh the Bible using our experiences. And Krizo appears to be trying to equate Junia as an apostle with Peter and Paul as apostles since these are the only three she refers to by name. And she does so without delineating that they are different types of apostles.

Furthermore, this twisted form of logic can be used to directly contradict the Bible. We have thousands of women serving as pastors and elders in churches around the world. If our churches today have women as pastor and elders, why wouldn’t the early church? Oh right, because women do not and can not possess all of the Biblical qualifications to be pastors and elders.

Another uncomfortable question raised by the existence of women apostles is the woman’s “role” (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

I am not sure why this is an uncomfortable question. Just because we may disagree with The Junia Project’s stance on women in church leadership does not mean the related questions make us uncomfortable. Again, it appears Krizo is trying to use inflammatory, emotional arguments. And, she never make clears in the article what she means by “role.” She poses the vague question, but never addresses it.

Many of the women who joined missions in the 19th century remained single by necessity. The absence of six hundred thousand men left a vacuum in all of society, not just the church (Krizo, God Sends Both Men AND Women).

Absolutely true. The shortage of men would prevent some women from marrying. Just as a shortage of women in China today due to sex-selective abortions means that many men are unable to marry. So what? What does singleness have to do with being a missionary? Is that a Biblical qualification?

So, for a quick recap of day 4…continuing conflation of the complex term apostle into a single meaning, red herrings, and yet more inflammatory and emotional language. But no good, clear Biblical argumentation for her position. And here is the link to Day 5.

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12 Comments

Filed under Christian Life, Church, Evangelism

12 responses to “Errors at The Junia Project – Part 4

  1. Hi Dale!

    Ok, let’s look at your arguments for today.

    “The apostles Paul and Peter were certainly prophets and evangelists. But not all evangelists are prophets. Both Peter and Paul were part of the special classes of apostle that were called directly by Jesus. Peter and Paul performed miracles and wrote Scripture. This type of apostle no longer exists today. We cannot use the examples of Peter and Paul to define modern missionaries. They are a completely different category of apostle and basically irrelevant to the discussion of whether or not God sends men and women as missionaries today. This is a category error.”

    Was the apostle’s role in the early church to write Scripture and perform miracles? Is that how we define their role in the early church? Paul wouldn’t have agreed:

    “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord” (1 Cor 9:1-2, NIV).

    Paul doesn’t say, “The seal of my apostleship is that I have written you this letter and performed miracles among you.” He says the PEOPLE who were saved were the seal of his apostleship. This is true of modern day missionaries as well.

    Paul doesn’t put himself in any special category; he sees himself as a co-worker among others:

    “In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it” (2 Cor 8:22-24, NIV).

    Now, this word “fellow worker” (sunergos) is an interesting one.

    Rom 16:3-4 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers (sunergos) in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. NIV

    Rom 16:9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker (sunergos) in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. NIV

    Rom 16:21 Timothy, my fellow worker (sunergos), sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives. NIV

    1 Cor 3:5-9 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe-as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers (sunergos); you are God’s field, God’s building. NIV

    2 Cor 1:24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work (sunergos) with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm. NIV

    2 Cor 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker (sunergos) among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. NIV

    Phil 2:25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker (sunergos) and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. NIV

    Phil 4:2-3 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers (sunergos), whose names are in the book of life. NIV

    Col 4:11 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers (sunergos) for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. NIV

    1 Thess 3:2-3 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker (sunergos) in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. NIV

    Philem 1-2 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker (sunergos), to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home: NIV

    Philem 23-24 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers (sunergos). NIV

    3 John 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together (sunergos) for the truth. NIV

    Notice who’s on this list? Luke.
    Luke wrote two books of the New Testament. If Luke is called a “sunergos,” a fellow worker, as are Priscilla and Aquila, Urbanus, Timothy, Titus, Epaphroditus, Euodia, Syntyche, Clement, Aristarchus, Mark, Justus, Philemon, and Demas, we need to create ANOTHER category alongside the apostles, who did what the apostles did. Luke wrote Scripture, Timothy taught in the church, Priscilla and Aquila instructed Apollos, etc.

    Miracles are a charisma, not a sign of an apostle.

    1 Cor 12:27-31 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.

    There were a lot of people who performed miracles, for miracles was a sign that the Kingdom had come:

    Heb 2:1-4 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. NIV
    Now, you are going to have to explain how you put Paul and Peter in a specific apostolic category of their own when there were numerous other people who wrote Scripture and performed miracles. You must explain why the other people aren’t called apostles, why Paul and Peter have such a title, and how their work was different from their co-workers (if it was). You must also explain how the people in those days would have understood the difference, and what implications it had on the church. You must also explain what it means that we are God’s co-workers, and why Paul would say the following:

    1 Cor 4:6-7 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? NIV

    What did Paul apply to himself and Apollos? The idea that we are ALL God’s co-workers, and therefore participate in the same work, wherefore people shouldn’t take sides, and elevate one worker above the other, for Christ isn’t divided; we are all one in him.

  2. Don Johnson

    As apostle means “sent one” I think it would be helpful to distinguish between an apostle that was sent by Jesus and an apostle that was sent by a local congregation. I see Peter and Paul are in the former group and Junia is in the latter group.

    It is true that in the Middle Ages there were some translations that said that Junia was actually Junias, a man, apparently because the translator thought that an apostle could not be a woman. Eldon Epp in his book on Junia thoroughly discusses this if you want more info.

    Per Eph 4, I also see those leadership ministries as being elders/overseers, so while they have different ministries, they are each an elder or overseer.

    • Hi Don! I sometimes wonder if Jesus didn’t send Junia and Andronicus, for Paul says they were in Christ before him. Maybe they had been in Israel, when Jesus was there. Who knows. But here’s another question: if they had been sent by a church, why doesn’t Paul identify the church that had sent them? Junia is a Latin name, the letter was sent to Rome. Naturally, there were a lot of people all over the place with Latin names, but I sometimes wonder what church had sent these two apostles to Rome to start another church?

      • Don Johnson

        Richard Bauckham thinks that Junia may be a Latinized form of Johanna. I think this is possible.

        Paul seems to be mentioning people that the Roman audience of the letter would recognize. The challenge is that we are not a member of that Roman audience that would recognize the names he gives and know immediately who they were and what ministry they had. This means we need to be humble in recognizing the limits of what we can figure out from Scripture in general, as none of the books in the Bible was written TO us, altho they were all written for us.

  3. Hi again!

    You wrote:

    “Actually, there has been some debate since the first couple centuries of the New Testament church about whether or not Junia was a man or a woman. There is even some debate as to how to render Romans 16:7 as to whether or not Junia was actually considered an apostle or was known merely known by and/or working with the apostles. Junia has not been “transformed into a man” or “ignored.” Krizo is again reverting to inflammatory language.”

    Let me correct you on this one: Luther is famous for transforming Junia into a man.
    (Beginning of quote from “When Dogmas Die”)

    A footnote by the editors of the Early Church Writer’s collection provides us a vivid picture of how scholars have dealt with Junia’s identity.

    “The more probable view is that Andronicus and Junias [not Junia as Chrys., certainly not if his interpretation is correct; that a woman should have been an apostle is out of the question] are designated as distinguished, honorably known among (by) the apostles.” (So De Wette, Philippi, Holmann, Meyer).

    Schreiner is candid in his essay The Ministries of Women in the Context of Male Leadership about the problem Junia’s identity poses for complementarian theology.

    “Of course, if Junias was a woman apostle (Romans 16:7), then a tension is created between the apostleship of Junias (If Junias was a woman) and the other arguments adduced in the chapter, for apostles were certainly the most authoritative messengers of God in the New Testament.”

    He concludes that the passage is unclear and therefore no decisive decision can be made based on the information given in the Bible. Schreiner is not alone in his indecision for also Grudem writes that we cannot know if Junia was a woman because “the evidence is indecisive,” and therefore we cannot be dogmatic about the name. Although both Grudem and Schreiner wish to ignore Romans 16:7, Grudem does not consider it sound hermeneutic, “If someone says, ‘I am not going to base my decision on these verses because nobody can figure out what they mean anyway,’ then he has essentially said that those passages cannot play a role in his decision about this question.” Grudem must remain indecisive, despite his own advice, for if he claims that the name is ‘Junias,’ he must provide proof, which he cannot, for according to Eldon Jay Epp, “After all, the masculine Junias was asserted (I would say invented) when no evidence for such a masculine name could be found, a circumstance still unchanged.” On the other hand, if he admits Junia was a woman, he must explain how she could have been a bishop for he quotes Epiphanius, “Iounias, of whom [hou] Paul makes mention, became bishop of Apameia of Syria.” Epiphanius used the masculine relative pronoun (hou), but in the endnotes Grudem admits that he is perplexed that Epiphanius designates also Priscilla as a man.

    Grudem quotes also Rufinus’s Latin translation of Origen’s commentary on Romans which has “Andronicus et Junias,” a Latin masculine, singular nominative. However, Epp cites Caroline Hammond Bammel’s critical edition on Origen which explains that Iunias (“Junias”) is a variant reading from a twelfth-century manuscript subgroup E, which also includes Iulia (“Julia”) as a variant. Earlier manuscripts from the ninth century all have Iunia (“Junia”). In addition, Hraban of Fulda (780-856) cited Rufinus’s translation of Origen literally and the name we find in his text is Junia.
    Both the King James Version and New King James Version have Junia, as does Erasmus’s New Testament (1516). The Greek manuscripts all have Junia, except for five that have the variant Julia. In addition, some manuscripts have Junia in Romans 16:15 (where the name Julia appears), a variant which can be explained only if both of the names were feminine. Because of these variants, even Julia has become a male name in the hands of translators and commentators. Aegidius (1243/47-1316) is usually considered the first one to call Junia – and Julia – a man. However, by far the greatest influence over the identity of Junia has been Luther who brought the male Junias to the masses through his German translation of the New Testament (1522) and his Lectures on Romans.

    That Junia was a woman is thus established, but was she was an apostle? Grudem attempts to make Andronicus and Junia “messengers” in the broad sense and he provides two examples: 1 Corinthians 8:23 and Philippians 2:25-6. But his case is weakened by the fact that the “brother” mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:23 was chosen by the churches to join Titus as he traveled to Corinth to prepare the offering gathered by the Corinthians. Andronicus and Junia were in Rome and no mention is made of them traveling as representatives of the Roman church, or any other church, to distribute offerings gathered. Similarly, Epaphroditus was sent to Paul by the Philippian church to bring him their gift and to care for him in prison (Phil. 2:25-26). Paul mentions that Andronicus and Junia were “in Christ” before him, making it very possible that they had seen the risen Christ, which was one of the qualifications for apostleship.

    Epiphanius writes that Junia whom Paul mentions became a bishop of Apameia, which further strengthens the case that Junia was an apostle, for the offices of an apostle and bishop were identical in the Early Church (1 Pet. 5:1; 2 John 1): “But deacons ought to remember that the Lord chose apostles, that is, bishops and overseers; while apostles appointed for themselves deacons after the ascent of the Lord into heaven, as ministers of their episcopacy and of the Church.”

    An early witness to Junia’s identity is Chrysostom who did not only call Junia a woman –he also thought she was an apostle par excellence.

    “Salute Andronicus and Junia my kinsmen.” …Then another praise besides. “Who are of note among the Apostles.” And indeed to be apostles at all is a great thing. But to be even amongst these of note, just consider what a great encomium this is! But they were of note owing to their works, to their achievements. Oh! how great is the devotion (φιλοσοφια) of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle! But even here he does not stop, but adds another encomium besides, and says, “Who were also in Christ before me.”

    Yet, for some Junia cannot be an apostle and a woman at the same, regardless of the evidence for “if the phrase means ‘distinguished apostles,’ ‘Iouninan is a man…On the other hand, if the name is female, the phrase means ‘of note in the eyes of the apostles.’” Grudem does not dare to call Junia a man for the lack of evidence, but neither is he willing to call her a woman and give legitimacy to the existence of a female apostle and bishop. In a last effort to support his indecision, he writes that Junia was not a common woman’s name in the Greek-speaking world, which is true since it was a Latin name.
    (End quote)

    It is true that the early church considered apostles and overseers to be identical roles, for both apostles Peter and John call themselves elders. This would’ve have been natural, for an elder must be a spiritually mature person, and maturity takes time. The mistake that is often made is to keep the two together permanently, causing an apostle to become a synonym of an elder; this is not how the Bible sees it. Apostleship is a specific charisma, as is overseeing, but they are not the same gift. Because of this overlapping, the concept of the traveling missionary has been lost to the tides of time. Paul didn’t call himself an elder; he calls himself always an apostle. He didn’t belong to a specific group of apostles that no longer exists, for if that had been true, he wouldn’t have called Timothy his son, a son who would continue his work after he was gone.

  4. Hi Dale!

    You wrote:
    “Furthermore, this twisted form of logic can be used to directly contradict the Bible. We have thousands of women serving as pastors and elders in churches around the world. If our churches today have women as pastor and elders, why wouldn’t the early church? Oh right, because women do not and can not possess all of the Biblical qualifications to be pastors and elders.
    I am not sure why this is an uncomfortable question. Just because we may disagree with The Junia Project’s stance on women in church leadership does not mean the related questions make us uncomfortable. Again, it appears Krizo is trying to use inflammatory, emotional arguments. And, she never make clears in the article what she means by “role.” She poses the vague question, but never addresses it.”

    1) We have already talked about why “one woman man” in 1 Tim 3 does not exclude women from being overseers, but it appears that you didn’t accept the evidence since you are still of the opinion that women cannot possess all the Biblical qualifications to be pastors and elders. I’m not going to beat a dead dog, you can study the subject later if you wish.

    2) If you do not know by now what a woman’s “role” is according to hierarchical theologians, you are in the wrong place. Come now brother, let’s not play games.

  5. Hi Dale!

    You wrote:

    “Absolutely true. The shortage of men would prevent some women from marrying. Just as a shortage of women in China today due to sex-selective abortions means that many men are unable to marry. So what? What does singleness have to do with being a missionary? Is that a Biblical qualification?”

    Singleness has everything to do with being a missionary.

    1 Cor 7:32-35 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs-how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world-how he can please his wife- and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world-how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. NIV

    A single person can live for the Lord, without the pressures that come from having a family. In addition, it’s easier and cheaper to send one person instead of four. Paul recommended singleness, for he himself remained single because he wanted to serve the Lord without distractions. I understand that the Protestant church tells us that we must marry, but the early church elevated singleness and heartily recommended it to all. Early church literature abounds with evidence of young men and women choosing not to marry in order to devote their lives to God. It is a tragedy that we have lost the the appreciation of singleness and a life dedicated to God, and God alone.

    • Don Johnson

      Most scholars think Paul was widowed at the time he wrote about his being unmarried, simply because he was a Pharisee and every Pharisee they know about got married, as they considered one was just half a man unless married.

      • I’ve heard the argument, but Saul was a young man when he met Christ, he may never have married.

        Acts 7:57-58 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. NIV

  6. Hi Dale!

    Since this is day 4, could you be helpful and give us a biblical definition of a missionary and the exact role as outlined in the Bible?