“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are. " CS Lewis
Well, well ,well…It seems like the Elephant Room boys are at it again, attempting to marginalize bloggers. Do they not understand that, with every mundane insult, they cause more and more hits on our blogs? According to Tom Rich, at FBC Jax blog, here, Matt Chandler said that Internet bloggers get no support from him because they are people who "live with their moms."
I have one thing to say. The moms are back from Enid, there is no one living in our basements and we are miffed. And when we get miffed, we blog. It is patently obvious that bloggers are making a difference in “business as usual.” Some pastors are not pleased that they no longer control the microphone. These pastors jump up and down, saying “Look at me, look at me!” We are looking and we are noticing. But they don’t get to tell us what we are seeing.
Our trip to Enid
We had a blessed time in Enid. Wade Burleson is one of the finest preachers we have ever heard. He is the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid and we highly recommend that you listen to last week’s sermon on Hebrews, here, to get an idea of the caliber of his teaching. The fact that he mentions your humble blog queens has little to do with it.
And, to top it all off, he is a real pastor. It struck us when we were eating dinner with Wade and his beautiful and talented wife, Rachelle, at Chili's. Enid is a diverse community about two hours west of Tulsa. People in the restaurant, kids, teens and adults, kept approaching our table to say “hi” to their beloved pastor and his equally loved wife. We would see this scene repeated over and over again during our stay. Wade is no talking head. The people of both Emmanuel and Enid exhibit affection which is based on a personal relationship with him. How many of your book writing, conference going, circuit riding pastors have such a relationship with the “little guy?”
Wade and Rachelle demonstrate what is good in Christianity. Readers often ask TWW if there is anything that we appreciate in today’s pastors. We now have a simple answer-Wade Burleson. This is one man who gets the “priesthood of the believer.”
We also had the opportunity to visit with Debbie Kaufman, the blogger who exposed the lies of Ergun Caner. How wonderful to see the fellowship that can exist amongst Christian bloggers. She is an awesome lady. Guys living in mom’s basement, my foot!
As time goes on, we will begin to discuss what we have in store for the future. We will also regale you with more stories from Enid. Suffice to say, we plan to have an ongoing relationship with Wade and Rachelle. We are most appreciative for their hospitality.
Tim Challies’ absurd conclusion:
Late Monday night, we read a comment at TWW by Eagle, which alerted us to a deeply disturbing post by Tim Challies. We discussed this in depth yesterday, while in transit, planning our post for today. We were pleasantly surprised that Wade wrote on this subject. Believe it or not, we had not discussed this with him! Perhaps God wishes for this matter to be exposed.
Here is what Tom Challies had to say. Please take a deep breath and sit down.
“Because of the importance of the Word of God, at Grace Fellowship Church we ask certain members of the church to be involved in a Scripture Reading Ministry—a ministry of those who are specially trained and equipped to read the Word of God and to read it well. We consider this a teaching ministry, which means that it is a ministry reserved for men.”
Let me get this straight. Jesus died on the Cross-for both men and women. The Temple curtain was torn in two, showing that God now directly dwells with His people. The Holy Spirit is given to both men and women. And Challies states that only men are allowed do Scripture readings from the pulpit?????
He claims that reading Scripture is considered “teaching” and, apparently, it is sinful for women to teach men. He believes he must “fence” the pulpit from the unbiblical reading of Scripture by a female.
Here are a couple of logical questions:
- If a woman sings Psalm 23 from the fenced pulpit, would she be in violation of Challies’ gender rule?
- If Mary lived long enough to see her Magnificat written down, would she be allowed to speak it?
The Internet Monk, responding to Challies’ post, here, asked several questions
- Can a woman give a testimony publicly, sharing Bible verses by which God helped her? Is that teaching?
- Is the restriction on public Scripture reading only for public worship, or does it apply to classes?
- Can I, as a teacher, ask a woman in my mixed gender Bible class to read a passage from the Bible out loud, for the class to hear?
- Can women read the Bible aloud in their small groups if men are present?
Chaplain Mike goes on to point out one foolish solution adopted by a church
“I took a course from Walt Liefeld in seminary. His wife was from Plymouth Brethren background, and she was a widow of one of the five missionaries killed by Auca Indians in Ecuador in 1956. Wherever she went after those dramatic events, Christians wanted to hear her story. But in the Brethren churches, women were not allowed to speak in front of the congregation. So they worked out a compromise. She could share her testimony over a microphone, but she had to be hidden from sight, behind a screen or in the next room! That is the kind of silly solution our false restrictions can lead us to adopt.”
Scott McNight, in an article posted on Patheos, here, also commented on Challies’ assumptions.
“Anyone who says reading Scripture is a teaching ministry is just making stuff up. Reading is reading and teaching is teaching, and preaching is preaching, and prophesying is prophesying, but reading is not teaching, preaching or prophesying. Women were prophets, women were apostles, women were teachers – this is all in the New Testament. That more than qualifies them for the public reading of Scripture.”
Wade Burleson explored this issue indepth, here, in a post titled
Trifling with Subtleties while Ignoring Certainties: Turning the Gospel into a Gender Gospel
“The ancient Jews kept women in the courtyard, placed a fence around the Temple grounds lest a woman feel compelled to enter the Holy Place. The sacred rituals were performed by male priests. The sacred services were led by male priests. Modern day conservative evangelicals and liberal feminists have absolutely violated the clear and certain teachings of Jesus Christ and seem to wish to resurrect the Old economy of Temple buildings, gender priesthoods, and religious rituals. Jesus abolished all that Old economy stuff in the New agreement. The Temple of God is no longer a building, it is the soul of a believer (see I Corinthians 6:19).
The priests of God are no longer just male, they are both male and female (see Galatians 3:28). The rituals of God are no longer holy days, sacrifices, and feasts, but faith in Christ and love for God and our fellow man (see Colossians 2:16; John 13:3). The body of Jesus Christ is to make no distinctions in race, class and gender. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel that sets the captives free to serve as the Holy Spirit gifts.
To revoke the privilege of a gifted, believing woman from reading Scripture to men is to violate the clear and certain teaching of the New Testament and risk having the legalism and religious ritualism of Spirit-less religion that marked Temple worship after the days of Ezekiel and before the launch of the New Covenant.”
Frankly, I am becoming alarmed by what appears to be manmade rules imposed on the Gospel of grace. It sure seems that these men are fighting, tooth and nail, against the freedom found in the New Covenant and, instead, returned to the Pharisaical rules. You see, it is far easier to make up a silly rule to follow than to really love an elderly neighbor or to serve the unlovely in our fellowship. That takes work. Telling a woman to never, ever speak Scriptures from the pulpit is really, really easy. Oh, she might get mad but then you can say you are being "persecuted" for the faith. One simple statement and you are a "godly" Christian.
If this illogical gender gospel continues to be promoted by these Calvinista extremists, we will be faced with the logical consequences. Women will not be able to sing any song that has Scripture in it for fear of teaching a man. Therefore, it is imperative to find men who can sing soprano.
The Neo-Castrati Answer
I have the solution! The church has some dubious historical experience in this regard. It appears that the Roman Catholic Church agreed, whole-heartedly, with Tim Challies. Women should be kept silent in the church. We read, in Wikipedia, here,
“Women were banned by the Pauline dictum mulieres in ecclesiis taceant ("let women keep silent in church")”
So the church, in keeping with the" righteous gender gospel,” castrated boys in order to have males sing the soprano parts.These men were called “the castrati.” (Special thanks to Headless Unicorn Guy for drawing this to our attention-12/15/11 add)
“In 1589, by the bull Cum pro nostri temporali munere, Pope Sixtus V re-organised the choir of St Peter's, Rome specifically to include castrati. Thus the castrati came to supplant both boys (whose voices broke after only a few years) and falsettists (whose voices were weaker and less reliable) from the top line in such choirs.”
“So, in the church in the 1720s and 1730s, at the height of the craze for these voices, it has been estimated that upwards of 4,000 boys were castrated annually in the service of art. Many came from poor homes and were castrated by their parents in the hope that their child might be successful and lift them from poverty.”
In the meantime, we have a different solution for women (and men) who find yourselves in churches such as these. You have been bamboozled! Get out. You will not be able to change such men. They need their rules to believe that they are “good” Christians. They will continue to seek ways to restrict the full expression of the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to you. Find the Wade Burlesons, the Pete Briscoes and the Chaplain Mikes out there.
Finally, God delights in ALL those who love Him so much that they speak His words which have been given to women, children and men. Tim Challies, block your ears. A little girl will now speak Scripture! May God forgive her.
Lydia's Corner: Job 8:1-11:20 1 Corinthians 15:1-28 Psalm 38:1-22 Proverbs 21:28-29