Editor’s note: The following essay appears in the Fall 2020 issue of Eikon.
For much of the twentieth century, Protestants, especially Reformed Evangelical ones, viewed natural law with suspicion at best. It was frequently alleged to be the product of Roman Catholic theology, Enlightenment philosophy, or some combination of both. But recent scholarly attitudes, driven in part by a desire to recover elements of the larger Reformed tradition, are beginning to change. Natural law is even beginning to appear in more popular and pastoral writings. It makes good sense, then, for complementarian Christians to consider how this natural law resourcement might fit in with their own recovery project.
This essay will investigate to what extent the Apostle Paul uses a sort of natural-law reasoning in his argument against women teaching or holding an office of authority in the church. The primary textual subject will be 1 Timothy 2:8–15, but parallel New…