Recently I was a substitute Sunday school teacher (class of mixed-sex adults) for the month of January. I taught on the 7 churches of Revelation chapters 2 and 3. I love the messages to these churches! The messages are so relevant – as churches today have similar strengths and weaknesses. There is much practical application.
I put together the lessons myself using a wide variety of sources. One source was the magazine of a Christian Bible school that had an issue with articles on each of the 7 churches.
The article on the message to Thyatira was particularly helpful as it pulled out some clear points for a message that could be more challenging to understand. Except for one thing. The source of problems in Thyatira was a false teacher that happened to be female and referred to as Jezebel. This article made the primary problem the false teacher’s sex rather than her false teaching! It pointed out that first, this woman was Jezebel like (in reference to OT Jezebel) and may have been improperly using her husband’s authority as her own. Secondly, she was teaching and leading men, even though the Bible does not permit this (1 Tim. 2:11-12). And the 3rd problem was the actual false teaching. Sigh.
This actually amused me more than anything else. I, a woman, was teaching this lesson to a group of men and women – so that makes me the Jezebel of Thyatira! Right? haha. But it also saddened me that this magazine was so recent – from the year 2010. I can be more understanding of this type of thing from older sources, but c’mon, 2010?
But, like said, the article was otherwise very helpful, and I actually used the article’s approach to this church as my approach when I taught the lesson.
Which brings me to a secondary point which is maybe the primary point? No one is right about everything! Read that again. There are 4 or 5 theological issues that I feel very strongly about, but I am sure that when Jesus returns, I will discover that I was wrong about at least one of these things. You too! I’m quite certain there will be at least one issue you were wrong about my friend.
Therefore, I do not think I should completely reject an orthodox Christian scholar/author/seminary/teacher – just because I disagree with them on one issue – whatever that issue may be. I’ve encountered this type of thing. People who throw the baby out with the bathwater. They discard something valuable in their eagerness to get rid of something useless associated with it. Isn’t this what discernment and Christian maturity is about?
There is the very real concern that non-discerning or immature believers could be taken in by the improper teaching. Yet, if you will only learn from sources that you 100% agree with, you will really limit yourself.
If you will only listen and learn from people who are egalitarian, this will considerably restrict you. Unfortunately, patriarchy is deeply woven into our fallen world, and various people throughout church history were not egalitarian in regards to women. I am blessed with a large personal library of biblical and theological books. If I was to get rid of every source that was not by an egalitarian, I dare say at least half of my books would have to go!
In closing, Marg on her New Life web site, has this worthwhile article on Jezebel of Thyatira: Jezebel of Thyatira: A Female False Prophet. She wrote it in response to a question about using the example of Jezebel as a basis for disqualifying women from teaching in the church.