The last several days have seen quite a hive of activity and interest regarding Dickson's recent publication. By and large (from what I've seen) the debate has been conducted at a fair and reasonable spirit. This is positive, as the ultimate aim of any discussion of this type is to achieve clarity on what the position of each side of the argument actually is so that those outside can determine whether a new thesis has merit. I, personally, am very grateful to John Dickson for engaging with some of my thoughts on this blog. His comments have helped me to sharpen up my thinking not only on his position but on my own as well.
Before we move on to discuss what it means "to teach" and what place a "sermon" has in the life of the Church, it would be worth quickly recapping the points of Agreement and Disagreement that have been covered so far.
John Dickson and I basically agree:
1) That it is important to allow Scripture to dictate the definitions of Word ministries.
2) That the ministry of "exhorting" (parakaleo), while having areas of overlap, is distinct from the ministry of "teaching" (didasko)
3) That having time during the gathering of the Church for the ministry of exhortation would be a Good Thing.
4) That it is too common in evangelical culture for women to be denied the opportunities to use their spiritual gifts in a way consistent with Scripture because of an exaggerated fear of transgressing the prohibition of 1 Tim 2:12.
5) That complementarian evangelical leaders should make the effort to reassess their ministry structures to see if inappropriate exclusion against our Sisters In Christ is occurring and make changes where necessary.
John Dickson and I basically disagree:
1) That the semantic range of parakaleo can extend to include "to comment on and apply a text of Scripture."
2) That an analogue can be made between a modern "sermon" and either Paul's speech in Acts 13 or the mission of Silas and Judas in Acts 15.
That is as far as we've got. Whether a modern "sermon" can or should be regarded as "teaching" is the next topic to which we must turn. However, while word studies and historical context can help us, I believe that this is a question more of systematic theology than Pauline exegesis. I believe there is no "proof-text" that we can appeal to prove the sermon's credentials as "teaching" for the simple reason that considering the sermon as an early church phenomenon would be an anachronism. The sermon is, instead, a product of the changed Doctrine of Scripture that the Church inherited in the post-apostolic age. It is a reaction to what Holy Scripture was found to be and what the Church was created to be. This means the discussion must move into areas of Ecclesiology and Christology, but I believe that this will result in clarity rather than confusion.
Discerning the Meaning of Didasko and Didaskolos
I had initially intended to do a lexical study of didasko in a similar fashion to how I had treated parakaleo in the previous post. However, I found that Lionel Windsor had pipped me to the post, saying almost exactly what I was going to say but much better (he is a New Testament expert, after all). I encourage all my readers to take the time to read Lionel's work as he goes into far more detail than what I now intend to do here.
Respecting the place of "teaching" in the New Testament, Dickson writes:
'Historical and exegetical considerations combined make clear that "teaching" for Paul means preserving and laying down the fixed traditions of and about Jesus as handed on by the apostles. Teaching is not explaining a Bible text, nor is it applying God's truth to congregational life; it is making sure that the apostolic words and rulings are well known and maintained in the church." (p.18, emphasis original)
Dickson's definition of "teaching", we notice, has very clear boundaries. If you were a 1st Century Christian and you wanted to know, for example, what Jesus said in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, you would ask the Teacher of your church to relate the story. However, if you wanted to ask a follow-up question as to how the younger son could be so openly embraced when he had clearly broken one of the Ten Commandments by dishonouring his father, it was not the Teacher's job to tell you but someone else's (e.g. the Exhorter or Prophet). Once the New Testament was recognised as the written form of "teaching", then this written tradition came to replace the oral tradition that was present in the earliest days of Christianity. (p.20) Therefore, the role of Teacher for the church, if it exists at all, does not exist in the same technical sense that Paul refers to in 1 Tim 2:12.
It is important to acknowledge the accuracy of the historical context that Dickson outlines. Certainly, in the early days of Christianity, the 'apostolic deposit' was indeed a primarily oral tradition. Any new teachings would have to be weighed not against an authoritative text, but against how they would compare to the message which had been believed. As a result, the role of Teacher most probably looked very different in that context from what we might imagine it to be.
Yet I still have two main problems with Dickson's thesis. First, the New Testament seems clear that the role of Teacher was not only concerned with the preserving and laying down of the fixed traditions, but that other aspects of interpretation and comment were involved. Second, Dickson's proposal appears to focus on the Means of "teaching" rather than its Ends, with the result that applications for the modern context are misinterpreted.
The Teacher (didaskalos) in Scripture is, as Dickson maintains, usually viewed as a source of oral traditions or revelation that can be then passed down to the Faith Community. However, it is also clear that these Teachers were not merely information repositories, but were also expected to interpret and apply the tradition to their context with the expectation that others will internalise the information. Thus, in my view, Dickson's restriction of the role seems to me to be without justification. Though this topic could be explored in far more detail, a few examples will have to suffice.
The Old Testament example par excellence is the address of Moses to the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy. Moses' intention is not merely to recite the revelation of the Law which he has received from God, but he does so in order that the Israelites might "hear" them and follow them in the Land (Deut 4:1-2). After Moses has finished outlining the Law, he then offers application and comment in the form of Blessings & Curses and encouragements that this Law is not too hard to follow (Deut 27-30). Moses seemed to have been keen not only to tell the people what God had said, but what they should do and how they should do it. Moses the Teacher was, in fact, commenting on and applying his own word.
In the New Testament, the figure we see as the primary Teacher is Jesus. It is the title that he is most often given by both Followers and Casual Observers during his earthly ministry. There are several interesting aspects about the labeling of Jesus as Teacher. First, he is given this title without having any attachment to a particular rabbinical tradition. Instead, his teaching role is first observed within the context of Jewish religious communities with an established written tradition and as having an authority distinct from those who would usually be seen as religious instructors (Mk 1:21-22). Second, Jesus is appealed to as a Teacher not only to recite established teaching but also to comment and apply it to particular questions (e.g. Mk 10:17-31, Lk 12:13-21, Lk 20:27-40). Jesus' actions show that the people expected him not only to know, for example, what Moses said but also how the tradition should be applied in contemporary context. Of course, we must be careful about generalising to ourselves what may be proper to Jesus alone, but it is at least worthy of note that this pattern of teaching is much more integrated in terms of passing on and commenting on/applying the message than the definition Dickson prefers.
In my past life studying Educational Psychology, one of our foundational principles was that "learning" does not occur solely as an external reality of "knowledge" is "transmitted" from teacher to student. Instead, information and principles must be internalised so they may later be applied to the life of the student outside the learning environment. In this way, "learning" is predicated on the belief that the Teacher has done more than communicate the knowledge clearly, but has done so in a context where the Student has received the knowledge and has been willing to submit to the expertise of Teacher so as to alter their established knowledge categories and preconceptions in order to integrate the new information. This has to happen in the context of a relationship of trust and a recognition of the authority of the Teacher. If such a relationship isn't present and the focus is on information only then it is unlikely that any real learning will occur.
Bearing this in mind, I concur with the definition given by Lionel Windsor regarding the shape of New Testament teaching:
'To “teach” normally refers to an activity of transmitting intellectual and moral truth from one individual to another (or to a group of others), in a manner which is usually predicated upon some relationship of order or authority between teacher and learner (e.g. parent-child, teacher-disciple, leader-community).'
But what of Dickson's assertion that such an understand of the activity would have been far from the apostle Paul's mind in 1 Timothy 2:12 and that what would have been foremost would have been the passing down of oral tradition? It is important at this point that a distinction is made between the Means and the Ends of "teaching". What Dickson is claiming is that because the Means of "teaching" have necessarily altered because of the acceptance of the New Testament there must not anyone in the Church who works towards those original Ends.
Let's take the example of Engineering. Ever since the 17th Century a standard tool for the engineer was the slide rule. As a consequence, if you did serious study in engineering anytime from then up to 1980 you would have been expected to be proficient in the use of these instruments. It might have fairly been said that engineers were the Slide Rule People. However, with the advent of professional electronic calculators the slide rule quickly fell out of favour and now are only of interest to extremely nerdy collectors. Would it therefore be fair to argue that because everybody now uses calculators that there are no longer any such people as engineers because they were the Slide Rule People? Of course not! Just because the Means of their profession have changed the Ends (building roads/bridges/dams/etc) are still the same.
The same might be said of the office of Teacher. The Means of their office have changed as they no longer have to preserve and lay down the apostolic oral tradition. However, if those Means were directed towards an End that the ancient and modern Church have in common, then it may be that others in the modern Church might also fulfill the role of Teacher and thus the command in 1 Timothy 2:12 would have continuing relevance.
But what might this End for the Church be?
A People in the Incarnate Word through the Written Word
Here we must discern what the purpose of the "sermon" is, and thus the office of Teacher, by considering for what Ends the Church has been established by God. I can think of no better passage with which to start than Ephesians 1. A complete exposition is beyond the scope of this post, but a few observations are necessary. First, those who are called by God are those Predestined to be a Household expecting an Inheritance. Not only our Legal but our Relational status has changed with respect to God. Second, such benefits flow to those whose identity is In Christ. Our righteous status comes though being a community incorporated into Christ and thus sharing in the victory that he has over sin. Third, the same power that makes the Church wise with respect to God is the same power that has raised up Christ as head of the Church. The Church which knows and submits to Jesus as its Head is that which is acting according to the true will of God. Therefore, the Church is eternally a community under authority, one that does not determine its own destiny but is eternally submissive.
But who is this Christ that the Church submits to? John 1:1-17 tells us that this Christ is the Word of God made Flesh. This incarnate Word is not in competition with the written Word but is in fact the pure revelation of the godhead and the source of the authority of all Scripture, both Old and New Testaments. Moreover, this Word came to be not just the Subject but the Content of God's highest revelation now and forever (Heb 1:1-2). As T. F. Torrence puts it:
'The Word of God has taken historical form and is now never without that historical form. It takes its form from our human language and our human reason, but it is all that as the medium of divine revelation, and permeated with the message of God. Here the Word of God become flesh is no mere message from outside of, or alongside of, the historical event of Jesus, but is Word of God to man as essentially human word an essentially historical event, and yet without ceasing to be the transcendent and eternal Word of God. That Word of God become event, that message of God active in history, is the New Testament kerygma or proclamation, and in the very heart of that kerygma, as its content, is the person of Christ.' 
The Church is called to be a community in submission not simply to textual propositions, but to the historical reality of Jesus as the Word of God amongst us. But this reality is proclaimed by the living Word of Scripture, for in it God testifies to Jesus' testimony to himself. Thus, as the Church hears the Written Word not only read but expounded in the congregation they are engaging in an act of communal submission to what God has done but what God is continuing to do through the authority given to the Resurrected Word. The Bible lives because Jesus lives! Therefore, while we might tease out words and look for applications in a particular text in a sermon, this is never the End of the exercise:
‘Scripture is not simply a propositional shaft
to be exegetically mined and theologically refined like so much textural dross
to be purified into systems of philosophy and morality. On the contrary, both the form and content of
the New Testament are elements in the divine drama of revelation and redemption
(i.e., focusing on the triune mission of Word and Spirit, what God says and
does on the stage of redemptive history).' 
The role of the Teacher in the early Church was not merely to preserve the apostolic tradition in order to pass it on, but to create and encourage by that message a community maturing in faith and ready to life as disciples of Christ in this present age. The real End, therefore, of any "teaching" in the Church is not what individuals might get out of it in terms of knowledge and application, but instead what God is doing through the congregation as they come under his Word in an attitude of humility.
Ultimately, it is neither the preacher nor Scripture that is the true Teacher of the Church, but Jesus himself. Acknowledging him as our Spiritual Head entails both submission and obedience (Jn 13:13-17). As such, the Church finds its identity in the Incarnate Word through submission to the Written Word. In doing so, the Church fulfills the purposes for which God called in Ephesians 1.
But does this mean that Dickson is right, and that the Church should have no human teacher but only Jesus through the Word? I believe the answer is No. That the Church retains the office of Teacher is an expression of the Relational aspect of teaching. We would be missing something important if, for example, during our communal times we merely assigned 20 minutes of silent Bible reading and expecting that this would constitute "teaching". Instead, I believe, during a sermon the Teacher leads the gathered redeemed community in an act of communal submission to the Word with the expectation that God will teach through the Teacher. In this the Teacher is a Shepherd who serves under the Great Shepherd, feeding and caring for the flock until the Great Shepherd returns (cf. Jn 21:15-19 1 Pet 5:1-5).
As a consequence, we can see that the restriction on the teaching role of women in 1 Timothy 2:12 has ongoing relevance as it relates to an act of communal submission that has parallels in the created order. How is it possible that the community could engage in proper submission to the Word through the teaching of appointed elders if symbolically they were re-enacting the pattern of rejection of God's order in Genesis 3? In fact, when 1 Timothy 2 is considered as a whole, it is all about the community adopting attitudes of Christ-like submission - everybody is to submit to the authorities placed in power by God by praying for them, men are to submit by pursuing prayer rather than disputing, and women are to submit by rejecting worldly status symbols and embracing quietness.
At this point it is necessary to stress again the appropriate limits of this understanding of "teaching". It does not mean that women should be restricted from ANY type of Word ministry because of the fear that they will pass on knowledge to a man and therefore rob him of his God-given Masculinity. Instead, as I understand it, the ONLY direct application of 1 Timothy 2:12 is during that particular period of united communal submission to the Word. There is no warrant to extend it all aspects of pastoral or Word ministry, such as weddings, funerals, administration of sacraments, chaplaincy ministry, and so forth. As a general principle, in the ministry of the Church (by which I mean All Believers, not just Clergy) should be a partnership between men and women, each using their gifts as God has given for the glory of His name. But for that brief 20 minute space in our communal life as we come with equal submission before God's Word to be taught by Him there remains an exegetical and theological case that this activity should be led by and happen though the ministry of a man.
 T. F. Torrence, Incarnation: the Person and Life of Christ (ed. Robert T. Walker; Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 13.
 Kevin J. Vanhoozer, “The
Apostolic Discourse and its Developments”, in Scripture’s
Doctrine and Theology’s Bible: How the New Testament Shapes Christian Dogmatics (pp.191-207; eds. Markus Bockmuel and Alan J.
Torrance; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic,