Complementarianism and the SBC

"If you live your life submitting to what you perceive as "the authority" of men, particularly the husband God has given you, then fine! Just don't dare call it biblical. Call it your cultural preference…. Don't call it biblical Christianity."

Wade Burleson

Women's Evangelical Commentary

(B&H Publishing Group for LifeWay)

Recently, there has been some brouhaha on the internet regarding the SBC's latest offerings by Dorothy Patterson and Rhonda Kelley, specifically their Women's Evangelical Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments (pictured above).  During last year's Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, Russ Rankin updated the rank in file about LifeWay. 

In his briefing called Rainer reports on LifeWay's health, focus, Rankin writes:

"Thom S. Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, shared with messengers at the SBC annual meeting June 14 that LifeWay is "doing well by doing good."

Bringing attention to LifeWay's unwavering focus to provide biblical resources for churches, he said, "It is by God's grace working through incredible men and women at LifeWay that we have come through these past few years."

Despite being "in the midst of the worst economic depression since the Great Depression, LifeWay has been able to be financially stable and good stewards of that which God has entrusted to us," Rainer said.

Rainer used his convention report to highlight "examples of the incredible biblical faithfulness and creativity of the LifeWay family," including…"

Here is one of the resources Rainer listed: 

"Women's Evangelical Commentary, written for women wanting deeper biblical study"

According to the LifeWay website, June 1st 2011 is the publication date for both commentaries, as indicated. NT Commentary and OT Commentary

As I did a little research to prepare for this post, I discovered that the New Testament commentary edited by Patterson and Kelley is actually a re-publication.   If you were reading the Baptist Press FIVE YEARS AGO (January 5, 2007), you would have see this headline:

New commentary offers woman-to-woman exposition of Bible

The article began as follows:

"Feminists and egalitarian proponents often interpret Scripture through a gender lens, but editors of a new commentary offer a conservative woman-to-woman approach to Scripture interpretation. The Women’s Evangelical Commentary New Testament from LifeWay Christian Resources’ B&H Publishing Group offers verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible for women, by women.

With the help of more than 15 contributors, editors Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley systematically explain the purpose of the New Testament texts. The commentary is designed for women to use when teaching a class, directing a small-group Bible study or studying Scripture."

Interestingly, it ends with this announcement:  "The Women’s Evangelical Commentary Old Testament will be released in 2007."

As far as I can tell, the Old Testament commentary wasn't released until just last June.  Perhaps the formation of the Women's Studies Programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminaries took precedence.  Yes, these "homemakers" both hold doctorates and are wives of seminary presidents.  Not only that, they are sisters-in-law.  For verification, here is an excerpt from a Baptist Press article announcing the death of Dorothy's father:

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Charles S. Kelley Sr., a Baptist layman with ties to four Southern Baptist seminaries, died Dec. 9 in New Orleans. He was 86… Kelley was the father of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson, wife of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson.

Have you ever seen Dorothy Patterson's bio (found on her own website)? (link)

"Dorothy Kelley Patterson resides with her husband Paige Patterson, the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, at Pecan Manor in Fort Worth, Texas. She describes herself as first and foremost a homemaker, and that task has always commanded her priority in time, energies, and creativity. Dr. and Mrs. Patterson are proud of their children: son Armour and his wife Rachel are living in Arizona; daughter Carmen and her husband Mark Howell reside in Houston, Texas, with their daughters, Abigail Leigh and Rebekah Elizabeth.

Dr. Patterson has traveled to more than 75 countries; she met with Pope John Paul in his private apartment in the Vatican; she served as Chair for President Ronald Reagan's Presidential Bible Committee and was received in the Oval Office; she has had coffee with former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in his Knesset office; she's been the guest of Yaser Arafat at a midnight banquet in Saddam Hussein's palace guest house in Baghdad.

Dr. Patterson is a widely used free-lance writer and speaker. Currently she is Professor of Theology in Woman's Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary."

Her sister-in-law, Rhonda Kelley, has an equally impressive bio.  (link)

How dare these highly educated women who both hold doctorates, are married to seminary presidents, and are pursuing their own careers tell the rest of us how to behave in our marriages!  The hypocrisy is absolutely incredible!!! 

If you're not familiar with complementarianism, you might benefit from reading the following articles:

"Complementarianism" is no compliment

Women's Bible commentary promotes 'complementarian' roles for sexes

What boggles my mind is that Dorothy Patterson and I were members of the same Southern Baptist church when the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 was passed.  Time is a great teacher, and I have learned quite a bit about the hidden agenda of SBC leaders during the past twelve years. 

Allow me to ask the inevitable question:  Is the Southern Baptist Convention better off today than it was in 2000?  Absolutely NOT!

Dorothy's husband Paige and his cohorts did a power grab, and the fruit of their labor is becoming more apparent with every passing day.  How long will the SBC continue to erode until Southern Baptists say enough is enough?  No wonder certain leaders want to change the denomination's name. 

I believe the complementarian position, which has been highly promoted by SBC leaders over the last decade, has contributed greatly to the decline in membership and baptisms in the denomination.  Kudos to Southern Baptist pastor Wade Burleson for taking a stand against what he rightly defines as a "cultural preference".   Here is an outstanding excerpt from his post "New Testamant Equality Leads to Healthy Relationships and Female Subordination Brings Dysfunction":

"If the Spirit of God leads you women to never work outside the home and to focus on having as many children as possible while creating a safe environment in your home for your husband and kids, then go for it! If you are led to the seminary to learn the skills of sewing clothes and folding napkins for a proper Southern home, then more power to you! If you live your life submitting to what you perceive as "the authority" of men, particularly the husband God has given you, then fine! Just don't dare call it biblical. Call it your cultural preference. Why? Because one day when you die you will not have a man you will call your husband. One day when you die you will exercise your gifts in God-given creative work. One day when you die your entire identity will be in Christ and no other man. One day when you die you will be given a new name, a new place to live and a new purpose for eternity–all based upon who you are as a person–equal to any man God created. While you are on earth, I hope you find that the teachings of grace and equality in the Bible prepare you for eternity. But if your cultural preference is to find your identity in a man, then just be honest that you feel safer and more secure in the shadow of man's identity, and if (you) equate your submission to God to that of a visible, physical man, then just be honest about what you are doing. Don't call it biblical Christianity. In fact, it's so unbiblical to the Christianity portrayed in the New Testament that it may be people who are as comfortable as you in your cultural preferences will write a Bible just for you."

Guess what . . . that's already in the works!  Rhonda Kelley spills the beans in her bio (see below):

"Managing Editor, Women's Evangelical Study Bible. Nashville, TN. Broadman-Holman, To be published in 2012." 

Can't you just hear Tom Rainer singing accolades to Dorothy and Rhonda next June at the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans (home of the Kelleys)?  I, for one, am voicing my vote of dissent.  My husband and I have had a wonderful egalitarian marriage for close to a quarter of a century, and he wouldn't have it any other way.  There is mutual love and respect between us, and our relationship grows stronger by the day.  I am so grateful I married a man who insisted upon equality in our marriage, despite my early leanings toward complementarianism.  I am truly blessed!  My prayer is that other Christian couples will say NO to dysfunctional complementarian marriages, which in reality are built on the principles of patriarchy.


While the old guard of the SBC tries to maintain the status quo with its complementarian framework, a different approach is being taken just 40 miles up the road. (link)

To peak your interest, there is a congregation loosely affiliated with the SBC whose pastor has some very different ideas about how husbands and wives should relate to one another. In fact, he and his wife will be declaring those ideas from the rooftop for 24 hours later this week. Dee will be chiming in on Wednesday. 

And to think that The Wartburg Watch almost didn't get off the ground because yours truly didn't believe there was enough to blog about in Christendom… 

You will not want to miss our upcoming post!  Oh my!!!  Check out the first Bible reference below.  That's a pretty strong hint for what's coming up…

Lydia's Corner:      Song of Solomon 1:1-4:16      2 Corinthians 8:16-24      Psalm 50:1-23      Proverbs 22:22-23


Complementarianism and the SBC — 207 Comments

  1. Do you think that complementarianism is geared toward middle class women? The reason I ask is because my devout Southern Baptist grandmother was 1 of 9 and started working in a hosiery mill at 14. She married in her 30’s and had one child. She continued to work as her mother cared for my mother. I say this because all lower class women worked. Did all of these women ignore their pastors and just keep working and not submit to their spouses by staying home? I don’t think this was even an issue preached against!!!
    So, here is the question. Were the poor at the turn of the century through the depression being unbiblical in not staying at home and home schooling their children?

  2. Some preachers would say the poor of all centuries were unbiblical in being poor.
    On Wednesday’s topic, I wonder if pastor Young thought of how he’s emulating that biblical leader Absalom, who used a bed on the roof as a publicity stunt.

  3. Seneca,

    Not only do I read your comments but I check out the resources you recommend. I believe the Holy Spirit is at work here at TWW, though I have no doubt that there are those who believe otherwise, particularly patriarchs.

    To God be the glory!

  4. It is interesting to watch what this economy is doing to comp doctrine and the focus on ‘roles’ (which is not biblical). Of course, the ones making money off comp doctrine (and the Gospel) are not affected as much. It really is a middle and upperclass doctrine. But now the middle class is having trouble acting out the roles.

  5. Robin
    Stand up and take a bow. That is one of the most perceptive comments I have ever read on the complementarian movement. It is geared to middle and upper class women. My grandmother and grandfather were Russian immigrants. They lived a hand to mouth existence when they arrived here, hoping to make a better life for their children. My grandmother worked in the textile mills in Salem, MA, my grandfather worked in the tanning factories in Salem and Peabody MA.

    I listen to a bunch of 1%er pastors lecture their congregation about the wife needing to stay home. Yet, most of them would complain about women staying home to raise their kids on welfare. So, deep down inside, they want the poor women to work. If this is “vital” doctrine, where are the efforts by the well to do in churches to raise money so that a poor mother can stay home and care for her kids. There is none because their theology is based on cultural expectations which changed at every shift of the wind.

    Here is the question. In history, when have women, except the wealthy, ever stayed home and “not worked?” The poor women always tended fields, delivered their kids in the field and then got up to continue to work. Wow! You have hit the nail on the head and have given me much to think about.

    Meanwhile, Dr Dorothy can sit around in Pecan Manor with cooks and cleaners and pontificates about the “stay at home” mom. Think about SWBTS’s BS in homemaking degree. Who can afford to go to that? Women with money or those with a full scholarship. Now, those who are poor, who take the course, better be on the lookout for a man to support them because when they graduate, they will find this is no market for a woman who can arrange flowers.

  6. Deb:

    I really do not understand why you are so hard on the SBC with regard to the concerns its people had over the direction of their seminaries and institutions.

    I do understand your commitment on gender issues, so I understand your criticism of what the SBC churches have adopted in that regard. I understand your desire to go hard after the SBC on that issue.

    However, many people were concerned for decades about the approach that was being taken with regard to the scriptures in SBC seminaries and other institutions. That concern came to full steam in the late 1970s and 1980s and resulted in a course direction for the SBC’s institutions.

    I realize that you do not like some directions that the SBC people have chosen to go with regard to scriptural interpretation in some areas, but some of your writing fails to appreciate the central point of what the SBC people decided – that they wanted the scripture to be the arbiter of those issues.

    All you have to do is cast your gaze a bit to see what those who left the SBC have done. They have formed the CBF. Look at the theological institutions the CBF funds. Look at the structure of the CBF. Note the fact that the CBF has no doctrinal confession, and is strongly committed to that.

    I am a member of an SBC church, but even I do not agree with all of the positions the SBC or leaders in it may take. But I do agree wholeheartedly that the people in the SBC did the right thing by addressing the issue of biblical fidelity.

    Respectfully, I think that your writing would be stronger and more persuasive for the particular issues that you care about if it did not confuse important issues that should not be confused.

    I think it was you, or maybe Dee, or maybe both, that left an SBC church that you came to believe was not what the Lord would have it be. And I know that some of your complaints are directed at certain personalities in the SBC.

    In this case, your complaints include certain works that have been produced and published in the SBC. That’s fair game, too.

    But I believe it is important to acknowledge and respect what a unique accomplishment the people of the SBC achieved in reforming their institutions. Many denominations in the US continue their slide into theological liberalism. The SBC stopped and reversed that process. That should bring great rejoicing. And acknowledging that fact would not make your writing on many topics relevant to the SBC any less informative or persuasive.

  7. Seneca
    I believe in the Holy Spirit who with the Father and the Son together is both worshipped an d glorified. This view is quite a bit different than the patriarchal leadership who make the decisions, while women are relegated to keeping silent (which the Holy Spirit does not do) and tending the infants.
    This article is one more attempt to make complementarianism a primary doctrine. File it as a subcategory to ESS.

  8. Appalled
    You are a genius! I am going to figure out a way to do this. In fact, there was the other little rooftop experience involving Bathsheba.

  9. Anonymous at 9:06 am. I hope Dee and Deb do not mind, but I feel compelled to respond to your comment.

    I too am SBC and have been since 1991. My family briefly attended a SBC church when I was a young child in the 1960’s until we began attending a Baptist independent fundamental church. My aunts, uncles, cousins, were SBC and as far as I know the ones living still are.

    Those in the SBC need to be living the Bible that we deem inerrant. That has not been the case for years. Dee and Deb are challenging that as they should. Look at their posts. That does not disturb you? I believe we need to look at the whole Bible, not just bits and pieces. We have the group of the Elephant room who degrade their members and anyone who criticizes them. We have ministers who say they are the only ones qualified to say what heresy is, yet they are the ones spouting heresies. Not only spouting them but also yelling, screaming, laying down the law in the pulpit. That is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to begin. Women are not even second place but no place.

    You have a doctrine like ESS being spread. Can you not see that to women this is detrimental? Before this we had blacks being treated as less than human. In ways that is still happening whether we will admit it or not. Where is that following the Bible that was fought for in the CR? We may not be liberals, we are worse, we are strict fundamentalists who treat people badly for no reason other than skin color and gender.

    As for the CR, if you will do a search and read we did that badly too as innocents were also lied about, their reputations ruined, and they were fired for not standing with the CR methods. I could go on for hours about the CR but that is not the subject of this post.

    And the two things mentioned above are just the beginning of a whole host of things that are corrupt and have been for years in the SBC. I know of this first hand too. So while you sing the SBC praises and think Dee and Deb are being too hard, I as an SBC member say they are exposing what needs to be exposed and hopefully the Holy Spirit will work and change us or we as a SBC Convention will go away, because frankly we are hurting the Kingdom of Christ far more than we are adding to it.

  10. Anonymous,

    I’m all for Biblical fidelity. Surely you know that we are not arguing against that! Here are the errant teachings at Southern Baptist seminaries that we are challenging:

    Gender Roles
    Young Earth Creationism
    Authoritarian Views on the Pastorate
    The Marginalization of the Priesthood

    And the list goes on… Yes, we stand against these positions, and I’m glad you can admit that you don’t agree with all of them either.

    The Southern Baptist Convention is in BIG TROUBLE! So many people have been hurt as a result of this power grab, and over half of the SBC membership has been marginalized because of the BFM 2000 (gender roles).

    I found this remark especially confusing:

    “Respectfully, I think that your writing would be stronger and more persuasive for the particular issues that you care about if it did not confuse important issues that should not be confused.”

    Could you clarify?

    In conclusion, I am grateful for the reformation that took place in the SBC decades ago; however, the current leadership has gone too far in dictating secondary and tertiary doctrine to autonomous Southern Baptist churches. As the convention continues to hemorrhage members, these leaders tighten their grip on what’s left, and that is a tragic mistake!

  11. Debbie Kaufman,

    Kudos for your comment! I wish others understood what’s at stake as well as you do.

  12. Preach it, sister! I’m a retired seminary professor, specialties spirituality and gender studies. So many of the biblical proofs used by complementarians are in fact deviant and heretical, including eternal subordination of the Son, Jesus Christ, which is close to Arianism. I have been married 43 years to the same wonderful man. We are both recorded Quaker ministers with fairly conservative Wesleyan Arminian theological views. Our son is happily married and a data base manager at NASA. I include all this personal data to prove that egalitarian theology and personal policy can lead to a happy and productive marriage. In our course on biblical hermeneutics, we used Catherine Clark Kroeger’s Women’s Bible Commentary which our students loved because it is strong both in biblical authority and its egalitarian view of women.

  13. Debbie:

    Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate much of what you say in the blog world.

    I was involved in SBC life from 1977 on (but also have exposure to the Independent Baptist World, and would enjoy visiting with you about that).

    The only point of my comment is the encouragement not to throw the baby out with the bath. The SBC would not even be trying to deal with this issues on a biblical basis had it not been for the CR.

    I am not complaining to Deb about many of the points she is making, But I am hoping that there will not be confusion between the efforts in the SBC to return to biblical fidelity and criticisms about what biblical fidelity may mean in various instances. That can be argued about fairly and distinctly.

    I believe that the SBC has done and is doing many good things.

    I do not believe in everything that is going on in every quarter of the SBC. So, I agree that the SBC, like any religious denomination, has its issues to deal with.

    But when we discuss those, other issues and movements should not be confused. That’s is the point that I am trying to get across.

  14. Barbara,

    Thanks for chiming in! Don’t you find it ironic that Dorothy Patterson and Rhonda Kelley, who both have doctorates and careers, discourage young women from following in their footsteps? What utter hypocrisy!

  15. I’m so glad I found you through Pastor Burleson’s blog! I have grown up in the SBC…my father was a Southern Baptist pastor. Funny thing is, I never felt like I was “less than” anyone while growing up. Although we had no female Deacons (or, gasp, pastors), women served in every other capacity men did. As an adult, I left home -and my father’s church- and ran into a growing mindset of “different but equal.” Well, that’s just a big fat lie.

    My dissatisfaction with being relegated to the back of the bus left me deeply concerned about my relationship with the Lord. I thought I was rebelling against Him. But having a passion to serve Him and not being allowed to do more than work in the nursery or teach Women’s Bible Study (the materials to be used, of course, were either chosen for me or were subject to approval by my superiors)left me more than frustrated. I actually prayed for God to make me stupid. I couldn’t take sitting in male-led classes where the teachers knew less about the Bible than I did. Then, when I’d question them, I was dismissed.

    Since then, the Lord has lovingly showed me that I am valuable to Him. I have a purpose that goes beyond changing diapers, wiping runny noses and making “Jesus Loves Me” collages with/for 2-year-olds. I went on my first mission trip last summer and realized ministry rarely happens within the four walls of a church building. I’m beginning to learn how to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community by becoming involved with Christian organizations who are loving those in need and doing it in the name of Christ.

    My SBC church isn’t perfect, but I have noticed a softening of sorts. Whether that softening is happening in them or in me I’m not sure. I’m praying for my pastor. These people are family. My family may be full of crazy uncles, but I love them. And I don’t need them to give me permission to serve the Lord. I’m still finding my way and I’m not fully content with these circumstances, but the Lord and I are working on that.

    Thank you for being here. You help me know that I’m not crazy, that I really DO matter to God, and not just because I know how to get spaghetti stains out of polyester. God Bless You.

  16. Deb:

    I can clarify. You actually did so in your last paragraph:

    “In conclusion, I am grateful for the reformation that took place in the SBC decades ago; however, the current leadership has gone too far in dictating secondary and tertiary doctrine to autonomous Southern Baptist churches. As the convention continues to hemorrhage members, these leaders tighten their grip on what’s left, and that is a tragic mistake!”

    That is the type of statement that I think helps readers know where you are coming from.

    When I was involved in the SBC in the late 70s and 80s I was involved in the CR. I knew many people who were, and they are godly people.

    The fact that denominations that are trying to understand and interpret the Bible take positions that any of us may disagree with from time to time is not a reason to speak less than clearly about the importance of that denomination’s commitment to biblical fidelity.

    Your paragraph in the response to me says it well.

  17. Anonymous,

    Perhaps I stayed up too late last night, but I’m still not getting your point and I would really like to understand.

    Do you believe that egalitarians are demonstrating infidelity to God’s Holy Word?

  18. Anonymous,

    I just read your comment, and I’m glad that we are understanding each other. I care about the future of the Southern Baptist Convention more than you know, and that’s why I discuss my concerns in this open forum.

  19. Suzanne T,

    So glad you have joined our discussion! I, too, enjoy reading Wade Burleson’s blog. Last week I took the time to read through some of the first posts I ever read on his blog, and I found my old comments. It was fun reading them again!

    No, you’re not crazy, and we’re bringing this nonsense into the light. I’m sure your comment has been an encouragement to our readers, and I hope you will continue to voice your concerns in this forum.

  20. Deb:

    Just so you understand (and I think you do anyway), I do not believe that people who hold an egalitarian view on the gender question are demonstrating infidelity to God’s Word. There are many faithful believers who hold to that view.

    I have said before that one of the reasons I think that this issue is so difficult is because the interest in the egalitarian view in much of the Protestant Church in the U.S. coincided with the secular “women’s rights” movement that occurred in the political and cultural spheres. Some of that movement is clearly contrary to Christian teaching, I am sure we would agree.

    Other groups which had women in the pastorate before that do not suffer from any possible association with the women’s movement, in general.

    So, some of the original proponents of egalitarianism in the US Protestant Churches were driven by things other than biblical fidelity. I used to hear arguments such as, “Paul was wrong” “Paul was a woman-hater” etc. even in Baptist contexts. I suspect, given your age, you remember statements like that, too.

    But I am clearly aware of those such as you and others who hold to a very high view of scripture but see the gender issue in a different way.

  21. Anonymous,

    Perhaps you don’t know this about me, but Adrian Rogers had a HUGE impact on my walk with Christ. When I started getting serious about my faith, I devoured his teachings! Beginning in the late 1980s I would order his sermons on cassette tape and listen to them over and over again. He was a tremendous blessing to this stay-at-home mom, and I was greatly saddened when he died back in November 2005.

    I was so hungry for God’s Word that for several years (2006 – 2008) I would drive out to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to hear the speakers. I may have attended chapel more than some of the students! A few of the professors who knew me could probably attest to that. Not only that, my pastor was a seminary professor, and I enjoyed his expository preaching tremendously.

    When I started researching faith trends in the latter part of 2008, those visits to the seminary came to an end.

    I continue to enjoy great Bible teaching via the internet and have learned so much from wonderful pastors like Wade Burleson.

    My heart is very heavy for the SBC because they are tragically going in the wrong direction…

  22. Deb:

    I am glad that you were going to Southeastern’s chapel. I would rather that you continued and that you were the “loyal opposition” inside the SBC.

    But I understand that there are lots of moving parts to your story that I do not know the details of.

    I wish you the best.

  23. Btw,

    I love Adrian Rogers, too. I still listen to him on the radio.

    He was VERY much a complimentarian! So much so that I understood he did not even let women operate the TV cameras in the service (that is strictly rumor, however).

    One of the reasons I appreciate him most is his stand during the CR. He was clearly the public leader (not in terms of process or strategy) but as far as being a spokesman.

    The other reason I appreciate him is that I used to work with a relative of his. I cannot say who she is for privacy concerns, but let’s just say that there are 2 branches in the Rogers’ family, as is often the case. All of Adrian’s siblings and cousins did not follow the Lord.

    At any rate, this relative heard that I was a fan of Rogers. She did not in any way live a lifestyle that would be anywhere close to the way Adrian lived. Just think of South Florida, and you’ll get the picture.

    At any rate, when she told me that she was related to him, she said, “I love Adrian. He is the greatest guy. I love to talk with him and be with him and hear his stories. He is so funny etc.”

    I thought that was the greatest compliment she could pay. She knew where he stood. And she stood in a different place. But despite being super convicted on a host of issues, Adrian was also able to make a connection with this unbelieving relative. She did not feel condemned a bit, but only loved by him.

    That makes me think about my own life and the people in my family who do not believe quite a lot.

  24. Anonymous,

    Don’t worry, I haven’t left the Southern Baptist Convention. I have every intention of remaining in the SBC and letting my voice be heard. I needed some time to heal spiritually, and now my husband and I are attending a Southern Baptist church much like the one in which he grew up. I’ll leave it at that…

  25. Anonymous,

    I was once a supporter of complementarianism too, but it has turned into patriarchy in my estimation, and I can no longer support it.

  26. Dear Deb: It’s called token woman syndrome, this declaration that other women are not capable or shouldn’t try to do what the token does. In plain ordinary Saturday afternoon English, it’s called jealousy and envy. A major problem with the ministers’ wives program at SWBTS is the potential for the husband’s death or incapacitation. My sister-in-law’s pastor husband was rendered disabled by severe heart problems while still in his 30’s. If my sister in law had not been well educated and exprienced in business, human resources management, I tremble to think what would have happened to her two children, one of whom had a learning disability.

  27. Anonymous,

    Since we are sharing stories, I’ll regale you with one of mine. It was Mother’s Day (either 2000 or 2001 – can’t remember which), and Paige Patterson delivered the sermon that morning in my and his home church.

    At the time I admired what Paige had done with the CR, so I walked up to him after the service (yes, he was wearing cowboy boots!), shook his hand, and introduced myself. I told him that the next time he saw his good friend Adrian Rogers to tell him that someone in North Carolina has been profoundly impacted by his ministry. I really didn’t expect Paige to convey my sentiments, but it felt good to tell him how much his close friend meant to me.

    Sadly, I now question some of Adrian’s positions on gender roles, but I heartily acknowledge and appreciate the impact he made on my life. I, like you, enjoy hearing him on the radio.

  28. Anonymous on Tue, Jan 10 2012 at 11:03 am:
    “I have said before that one of the reasons I think that this issue is so difficult is because the interest in the egalitarian view in much of the Protestant Church in the U.S. coincided with the secular “women’s rights” movement that occurred in the political and cultural spheres. Some of that movement is clearly contrary to Christian teaching, I am sure we would agree.”

    I think one of the most frustrating things I see is the lumping together of secular feminists and Christian egals. Most egals I know are pro-life, pro-family, and are politically conservative on top of that. The binding together of secular feminists and Christian egals has been a very effective attack strategy of complementarian leaders for years.

    The word “Feminist” has been used as a rallying cry much like “remember the Alamo” to great effect in a misguided campaign to shut down true and unbiased scholarship and Bible translation.

    (Think ESV which, in spite of what the celeb pastors say, is a direct reaction against the TNIV. Even though the ESV is very accurate in many areas, because of it’s gender bias, the NAS still out ranks it as being the closest to the original languages.)

  29. Barbara,

    I wholeheartedly agree! My husband and I have placed a high priority on ensuring that our daughters obtain a college degree. One down and one to go… My older daughter is applying to grad school, which she will do part-time, and my younger daughter has 5 more semesters to go!

    Speaking of education, I wanted to earn an M.Div. from our local seminary and probably could have if they were more open to women of my persuasion.

  30. Mara said:

    “I think one of the most frustrating things I see is the lumping together of secular feminists and Christian egals. Most egals I know are pro-life, pro-family, and are politically conservative on top of that. The binding together of secular feminists and Christian egals has been a very effective attack strategy of complimentarian leaders for years.”

    AMEN and AMEN!

    It’s disgusting how the crowd over at CBMW, for example, goes after the feminists and tries to lump all women who do not believe their narrow theological position together with them. Their topic selection on the CBMW blog proves my point.

    I was reminded of what you have shared just this morning as I watched a disgusting video promoting a conference that attempts to address sexual confusion and the Gospel. Take a look…

    “Sexual Confusion” Conference Promotional Video

    I saw it on the Pyromaniacs blog that Seneca recommended earlier in this thread. Here’s info about the conference at which Tim Challies and Frank Turk will be speaking. You know, Tim Challies who forbids a woman to read Bible verses in his church for fear that it might be interpreted as preaching/teaching… 🙁

    Every Thought Captive

    O.K. I’m RANTING now! I have always been PRO-FAMILY and PRO-LIFE — even my college experience at Duke didn’t turn me into a liberal!

    I feel a post coming on about this topic…

  31. Anonymous 11:03,

    I hear you. Let me write that again, because I mean it: “I hear you loud and clear.”

    You are the kind of complementarian that would enjoy wonderful fellowship at our church. We have pastors on our staff who are full complementarians and express the same spirit as you have expressed in your post. I am a young earth creationist, and I can vouch for the fact that what disturbs Deb and Dee about YEC is not necessarily the YEC position (though they disagree with it), but it is the egotistical, demeaning spirit in many YEC people that condemns everyone who disagrees as “liberal, deniers of the gospel, non-Christian, etc…” We have many old earth advocates in our church and they know they are not only free to teach contrary to what I believe, but are encouraged to do so. The discussion is healthy. The debate edifying, because what ties us together is our mutual faith in Christ and not conformity on doctrines that are not essential to the faith.

    I am sometimes asked, “Why are you making the equality of men and women in the New Covenant such an important issue?” My response is simple: “I am not making this an important issue. My complementarian brothers-in-Christ who condemn anyone and everyone who disagree with them as “liberal, deniers of the gospel, etc…” are the ones making this a first-tier doctrinal issue. Debbie Kaufman, a delightful, intelligent, and astoundingly prescient female member of our church, understands the issue at stake. Read her comment at 9:51 a.m. to know why this issue is important.

    I have just left our staff meeting and have an incredibly busy day, so I don’t know whether I will be able to comment again, but I just wanted to say I do hope the number in your tribe of complementarians increases. I would not have to push nearly so hard, be quite so vocal, or say things I would rather not say if my complementarian brothers in Christ could affirm what you affirmed in your comment. I believe Deb and Dee would agree.

  32. Deb,

    Your comment at 12:09 is saying exactly what I’m saying. 🙂 We feel the need to push back because of the mischaracterizations of those who believe the Bible teaches equality in the New Covenant.

  33. Wow. I see a couple of problems in the press release:

    1. The assumption that “egalitarians and feminists often interpret Scripture through a gender-based lens. Others may disagree with me, but I really don’t think this is case with the younger generation of scholars. I attended a conference session over Thanksgiving that illustrates this fact. Two of the presenters were young women (Ph.D. candidates or newly-minted doctors) who were working on late medieval manuscripts written by women and on a group of nunneries in Italy. The two women who were moderating the session were older and were likely first-generation feminists. They kept trying to push the presenters to comment on gender issues they (the moderators) saw in the texts, but the young women just would not go there, saying that the gender issues were either unsupported by text/context, or were red herrings. This is a fairly typical response for my generation, I feel. The overall trend now is to take a given text for what it says and not poke around looking for biases that you wish were there but aren’t.

    2. Building off #1, if I read the press release correctly, the publisher’s objective was to offer “a conservative approach,” which means that they want to replace the “gender-based lens” of the egalitarian commentaries with a complementarian lens. But isn’t that also a gender-based lens? Especially if the commentaries are going to go out of their way to “correct” egalitarian readings.

    I appreciate the fellowship of Christian women, but do we need a special commentary for women in the first place if we let Scripture interpret Scripture? And as a teacher, there are few worse practices than consulting only one “approved” commentary during lesson preparation.

  34. So they equate Joyce Meyer with radical Gay Pride parades and abortionistas…. She’s the only TV preacher my wife and I have listened to recently, and we kinda like her— and– we don’t “believe” in women pastors/elders, really.

  35. Amy,

    I have no patience for first-generation feminists. I am grateful to hear your testimony that the younger generation is not radical/rabid in their attitudes about gender. Perhaps it is your generation that will right the wrongs regarding gender that we are discussing in this forum.

  36. “they” being Challies/Turk not Patterson/Kelley. (And I’m “softening” a bit on not having women as pastors)

  37. Appalled,

    First of all, that ridiculous video goes fast in order to confuse… Did you catch the magazine cover at the 11 second mark? I remember it like it was yesterday. LifeWay pulled that issue of Gospel magazine off its racks and hid it under the counter like it was a piece or pornography.

    Here is how Fox News reported it.

    Magazine Featuring Female Pastors Pulled From Shelves, ‘Treated Like Pornography’

    What a testimony to a lost world…

    That was truly a defining moment for me. I spent so much money at LifeWay buying resources for myself and gifts for others. When they pulled that magazine featuring female pastors, I vowed to take my business elsewhere. Since the fall of 2008 I have only purchased one book from LifeWay (and that’s because I couldn’t find it anywhere else locally). Based on my buying behavior, that was an extremely poor business decision by LifeWay execs.

  38. Mara:

    Good observation.

    I believe in many cases the association, depending on the person’s personal history, may be accurate – for them.

    If you go back 30 years or so in the SBC you will often see a joining of theological liberalism with an egalitarian view point in many cases. You are right. It does not have to be that way. But a lot depends on exposure and the associations people make from that exposure.

    That’s why I encouraged Deb to make the distinction in the posts above. it’s not that she hasn’t before, but miscommunication can happen so easily.

    When I was in the Independent Baptist movement years ago, me and my friends (we had come to Christ in high school and were not Independent Baptist) were often called “liberals” “ungodly” etc. But I found that all it took was about 1 or 2 days of these guys hanging around us and getting to know us.

    I cannot tell you how many times I had people say to me after they got to know me that while they did not agree with me on music styles, hair styles, dress style (those were the big issues in the Independent movement), they knew I was a godly person and not like all those other folks who did those things.

    I can say that I probably have felt the same about groups of people based on some habit or view, but when I got to know them, I changed my views.

    I believe that for the egalitarian position to gain more currency, it really is going to have to involve the two views having positive connections wherever that is possible. I think that arguing over fence, political activity and such are usually unproductive.

    There has to be a sense of mutual respect that is shared by at least some members of the two groups. There will probably always be some churches that do things differently, but it’s the harsh judgment that needs to be jettisoned.

    The Comps are going to have to find a way to tone down the rhetoric. They can claim that they believe they are being biblically faithful and fear the loss of some NT distinctive if they ordain women. But they should not be saying or implying that everyone who takes an egal position does not believe the Bible. Again, this is probably the product of their exposure, or lack of it, and perhaps some fear. I also believe that education should be open to all, though I think that the seminaries should be followers here, not leaders. It would be very destructive for Southern, SWBTS and the others to start cranking out women preachers given the current denominational stand. But it seems to me that all of the courses should be open to anyone and that is a clearly defensible position.

    I think that the Egals are going to have to tone down the rhetoric. The heavy accusations that are lobbed are not helpful and actually can backfire. If someone was really helped by Adrian Rogers, for example, it is not productive to try to reach that person by piling on Adrian Rogers. The Egals, probably more than Comps, are going to have to learn to hang out with Comps and not take the bait or leave when insulted. I know that is hard.

    I experience this, but on other issues. I won’t name them because then we’ll be in a new discussion!

  39. Eagle,

    It would behoove SBC leaders who live in a bubble to listen to you if they care about the future of the denomination. I still pray that you will come back to the faith. 🙂

  40. Anonymous Tue, Jan 10 2012 at 09:06 am

    The whole “inerrancy” was a total canard, a fabrication as a cover for a political takeover to make the SBC an agent for a Conservative Republican resurgence. The Chicago statement basically says that inerrancy applies to the original manuscripts, which, of course, no one has. So then, even the SBC would say that our current translations cannot be said to be inerrant because they are based on Greek and Hebrew manuscripts which are not the originals.

    And the original CR was funded by wealthy, non Baptist Repubs (including the Coors) who saw an opportunity to make a large part of the population accessible and amenable to partisan political influence and voting, especially following the Johnson era voting rights and civil rights enactments.

    The only issue between the CBF and SBC people regarding the Bible is the extent to which they allow which cultural concepts color the translation and interpretation of the scripture. For that reason, the SBC statement took out the idea that all scriptural interpretation should be in light of Jesus and his teachings, allowing the culturally biased and authoritarian-preferred interpretation of Paul’s writings to dominate over the message of the four Gospels.

  41. Re: SBC power grab
    This is well documented in a short, scholarly book “The Fundamentalist Takeover in the Southern Baptist Convention: a Brief History” by Rob James and Gary Leazer. The book is still available through used book sellers. When searching include the authors names as I initially found a book with the same title but a different author. Apologies if this is well known. The authors didn’t show up on a site search.

  42. I feel compelled to comment on this statement as well:

    “Think ESV which, in spite of what the celeb pastors say, is a direct reaction against the TNIV.”

    This is so true, but what really irks me is how hypocritical the SBC’s reaction to the TNIV was. They lambasted the translation’s gender-neutral approach (and made all kinds of mischaracterizations about it), yet many of the SBTS faculty participated in and endorsed the NLT, which came out at about the same time and used the exact same gender-neutral approach. While it is true that many of the faculty who were at SBTS when I witnessed this (we got all kinds of free samples) are no longer there, I never heard an official revocation of the endorsement (it’s also interesting that Paul House, who was a visiting professor at SBTS at the time, worked on both the NLT and the ESV). I get the sense that the ESV has trumped the NLT only because it’s the one that president Mohler endorses.

  43. oldjohnJ,

    I don’t have that book, but I’ve heard of it. I have seen timelines on the internet recounting what happened.

    I didn’t realize all those people were bussed in and right back out after they voted until fairly recently when I started reading about what really happened.

  44. I really, really wish that “feminism” and “feminist” weren’t dirty words in conservative (political and religious) circles.

    There are all kinds of feminists out here… being a feminist does NOT mean that one has to go to the outer limits/fringes of feminist thought (which is pretty diverse anyway, but has been made to look one-dimensional by those who are opposed to it).

    I’m not a member of NOW, but I am a feminist.

    Maybe a good place to start knocking down these artificial barriers is by reading Dorothy L. Sayers’ wonderful essay, “Are Women Human?” (fwiw, she said in the intro. that she was not a feminist, but I think it’s important to note that she was not allying herself with the English feminist movement of the early 20th c. – though no doubt she liked the suffragettes!)

    All this to say that there is a great deal of nuance where many people would claim there is none.

  45. The SBC fundies are having the ground erode beneath their feet. I know some of their seminary professors have published books advocating old earth creationism, for one.
    I think the one thing that is most needed in the SBC is for all it’s strong-headed leaders to learn the diference between disagreeing with scripture and simply having a different interpretation. In many mainline liberal groups, the ethos of, “Well, that was just Paul’s opinion in his epistles” is common, but that is not the same as saying, “I don’t think the Bible really does require this interpretation of that verse.” They need to learn to disagree agreeably. Strengthen the commitment to biblical authority and inspiration, and let the secondary issues be secondary. Go to bat for the Bible, but distinguish it from your own opinions. Take a course in logic, for Pete’s sake.

    Deb, help a guy out if you could. I’m still on the fence, leaning towards egalitarianism but stopping at ordination (which is kinda meaningless anyways for fully autonomous churches like in the SBC). I have no problems with women teaching, reading scripture, serving communion, having a career, etc…
    But, as an egalitarian who believes the Bible, what do you do with verses like Ephesians 5:22-24? I mean, aside from the fact that all are encouraged to submit to one another elsewhere, and the following verses exhorting the husbands are too often ignored, what does it look like to believe these verses as an Egalitarian? What is the “official” interpretation. Thanks.

  46. Eagle wrote:

    “…Is part of the reason why the Southern Baptists attack and demonize the Catholic Church because the Catholic church respects Mary, Martha and Elizabeth? And the way Jesus interacts with them poses a threat to their view of scripture? Maybe this is why the Catholic Church has a more balanced approach to stuff like this…”

    Excellent observation Eagle. Why does it seem that virtually everything in Protestant evangelicalism has to be an either/or proposition and can never both with regard to Holy Writ?

    By the way, I love the Magnificat! After much posturing & Scriptural bombast over the years, conservative evangelicals have not been able to subtract one electron of mystery & magic from the person of Mary, nor will they ever. And I’m not even a Papist.

  47. Miguel –

    Deb can answer for herself about what an “official” interpretation of the egalitarian view is, but I thought I would post the link below for your listening pleasure. It was posted on a thread here at TWW last week. I forget who posted it. I just listened to the second sermon of three that covers the specific scriptures you referenced above. It is WONDERFUL! BTW – I am in Christ, neither egal. or comp.

  48. Think about this. I have noticed the leaders who are comp in doctrine, ramping up on the conferences again. This is somewhat of a good thing as egals are seen as threatening the very comp structure through the use of scripture with a detailed interpretation that is hard to dispute other than portraying us as world driven secular feminists. They fight using whatever they can to dissuade those who begin to see the egal view in scripture and that we are anything but radical. It doesn’t have to be the truth. It just has to work.

  49. Miguel,

    Thanks for your encouraging comment. In response to your query regarding Ephesians 5:22-24, I’d like to ask you a sincere question. How do you deal with Colossians 3:22 — “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” (NASB)

    Could it be that Paul was speaking from a cultural perspective in the Ephesians passage, just as I believe he was doing in Colossians?

    With regard to my marriage, I do try to be sacrificial with my husband, and he reciprocates. For example, we have a farm that is located 100 miles from our primary residence, and I usually accompany him there (mostly on weekends). We have restored his ancestral home built in the 1830s, which serves as our home away from home.

    As you can probably imagine, there are lots of things that have to be done to maintain a farm, and I often help my husband to that end. I can’t tell you how much that means to him. He often tells me that I’m his best friend. If you had come while we were picking cotton (not by hand!), you would have seen me cutting cotton stalks with a tractor and a bush hog. In my day-to-day life I’m somewhat sophisticated, but I do know how to get my hands dirty together with my hubby. We have a great life and a wonderful marriage!

  50. Eagle –

    I was raised in the RCC – until I rebelled as a teen. I have in-laws that are Catholic and I totally believe that they are believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For me, don’t know about the SBC, the issue with Mary is that she is worshipped and prayed to. In many instances she is worshipped more than God. I have been to Mexico and seen little shrines set up in homes with candles surrounding pictures of Mary. I don’t know for sure, but I’m thinking that Mary herself would not want the attention that many Catholics bestow on her. I don’t believe she, or any of the saints, should be worshipped. They are not part of the Trinity. I have no problem and, in fact, am very glad for the way in which Jesus treated women, and I think the books regarding women are included by God’s design. Those women submitted themselves to God in faith that God was going to accomplish something. They loved and trusted God.

  51. oldJohnJ
    Thank you for the recommendation. I am going to try to find it. I bet it would be of interest to our readers.

  52. Hi Eagle,
    I think that you might really enjoy and possibly benefit from John Immel’s writings at I find myself agreeing with an awful lot of what you say…for instance, when you say, for many (I would say for MANY, MANY!) Christianity is about control, I could not agree more. It’s been used as an effective tool for tyranny and oppression, and the rationalization for crimson streets of the blood of innocents for thousands of years; and we are seeing more and more of this type of tyranny (thankfully without the bloodshed…for now) as Calvinistas continue their march toward Christian autocracy/theocracy. Of course, where you and I disagree is that I blame man’s interpretation and handling of scripture and the under girding philosophical premises which guide the neo-reformed movement, and you feel that Christianity itself is fundamentally flawed and lends itself nicely to mystic despotism.

    I think John’s site might be of interest to you because what he does is evaluate the longstanding interpretive philosophies that have guided western Christian thinking all the way back to within several hundred years of Christ’s crucifixion. On one hand, he looks at the Augustinian/Platonist philosophy of “original sin” which he argues was the prominent, and later became the dominant interpretive philosophy, which led to the establishment of the Papal autocracy and which we currently see today amongst our mega-church/SGM/SBC Calvinist friends…people John refers to as the protestant papists. On the other hand, there is the Aristotelian philosophy, later espoused by men such as St. Thomas Aquinas, Voltaire, John Locke, and our own Founding Fathers, which leads to a very different interpretive philosophy…one that assumes that man as an individual is of worth, can know truth, can reason, can understand the world around him, and is capable of making choices of his own free will that are good. The modern day Calvinistas scoff at this philosophy; but understand that without it there would never have been the Enlightenment, and without the Enlightenment there would never have been an American Revolution, and never would have been a Constitution which protects liberty and freedom unlike any other single literary work except the Bible in the history of the world.

    Anyway, perhaps this will shed light as to why so many of us so deeply agree with you, and yet remain Christians. Our interpretive philosophies/premises are so very, very different from what both you and I were exposed to back in the day.

  53. Bridget2,

    I’m looking forward to listening to the sermon on Ephesians. Thanks for sharing the link!

  54. Amy

    I am frankly sick and tired of having the Calvinistas jam the ESV down everyone’s throat because it is the “correct” translation. Frankly, most people don’t read their Bibles anyway. This whole Calvinista thing has become an onerous responsibility. One must read the “correct” translation, pontificate about the “correct” doctrines such as TULIP or YE, go to the “correct” conferences, read the “correct” authors, and be the “correct” gender in order to be heard, etc. They need to design a shirt that they can all wear that let’s everyone know that they are “correct” about everything. It would be designed in black and white stripes, indicating that there is no nuance and one is in a prison of rules and regulations.

  55. Deb, I appreciate your response but I feel like you have sort of dodged the question. What does “speaking from a cultural perspective” mean? Does that mean that anything that conflicts with our culture must not apply to it? Because that’s exactly how the comp. crowd paints that argument. In Colossians, when Paul tells slaves to submit to their masters, I think he meant precisely that: Slaves, obey your masters. It’s neither complicated nor an endorsement of the slavery system, but instructions on how to live as one under it. Also, “slavery” is a diversified game. Racism is causes more problems than slavery, and slavery in our country was a vehicle through which racism was expressed. Slavery was bad because it was dehumanizing. It was dehumanizing because it created two classes of people and gave one significantly less worth. Slavery under the Levitical code was nowhere near as harsh, as it reveals God’s care for those even on the bottom of society. Slavery to the Hebrews was both voluntary and temporary. Some argue that this might actually be more parallel to employment in modern culture, in that you can choose whether or not to work for someone, and you can choose whether or not to continue working for them. However, while in their employment, you do what they say. I feel this would be a fair parallel to our culture of what Paul is referring to in Colossians. Remember, Paul also instructed masters to treat their slaves JUSTLY and FAIRLY. It sounds more like employer/employee relations that the cause of the civil war. If this were the universal practice, and race wasn’t the qualifier of who is supposed to be a slave, would there ever have been an outcry against slavery? Do we honestly never feel like slaves to our employers at least in some sense?

    Just a few theories, don’t hang me for any of them, I could recant much of that quickly. However, I would conclude from your personal story of your marriage that when both marriage partners endeavor to be Christ-like towards one another, whatever Paul is going after in Ephesians will be accomplished. But the “cultural perspective” explanation is just frustratingly ambiguous for me. You could really take a rhetorical bullet out of the complimentarian gun if you elaborated on that a bit. I’ll take shot: You try to be sacrificial to your husband, and he reciprocates. Could this potentially be what Paul is getting at when he exhorts husbands to love their wives by laying down their lives and wives to submit to their husbands? Honestly, laying down your life sounds like a heck of a stronger charge than submission. It’s like Paul is telling the men, “Live and die to please your wife.” Perhaps it could be understood as mutual submission with an emphasis put on the husband’s responsibility to initiate?

  56. Anonymous

    You said this. “The Egals, probably more than Comps, are going to have to learn to hang out with Comps” Why them more that the Comps?

  57. Appalled
    Thank you for softening. It is not that you must “convert” to egal but be open to the discussion. In the end, we learn from those who think differently from one another instead of hanging out in our hoy huddles. I find well though out differences of opinion quite fascinating.

    I talked to a friend in full time Christian ministry the other day. He is a firm Comp. He met for one year, on a weekly basis with Pete Briscoe who has a female pastor at his church.He is obviously egal. They would discuss the Scriptures and how they came to their respective positions. At the end of the year, they decided to agree to disagree and still be good friends.

  58. Wade
    I am standing and applauding this comment. “I am not making this an important issue. My complementarian brothers-in-Christ who condemn anyone and everyone who disagree with them as “liberal, deniers of the gospel, etc…” Do you know how hard it is for me, a woman who lives the Lord and has devoted herself to Bible study and theology to hear that I am now a “liberal?” It is a demonization of the person as opposed to a careful discussion of the issues. Thankfully, God created me with a backbone and here I write.

    Anonymous is a good guy. he tried very hard to see our point of view although I know he disagrees with us on many points. I appreciate his thoughtfulness. Say hi to Debbie and Rachelle!

  59. Suzanne
    Do you know how much I used to ponder these things when I cared for three children under 5, one with a brain tumor? God allowed me to think and think and think. I also squeezed in a whole bunch of reading. Nobody seemed interested in the stuff I used to find fascinating. There were no mom’s groups that wanted to discuss theology. However, over time, God threw me into circumstances in which i started to express my thoughts and was surprised that they were well received. I was allowed to teach an adult Sunday school class and found out that I could do it!

    Then, I met Deb and we decided to throw some ideas out into the blogosphere, thinking it was a bit of a stretch. Who in the world would be interested in the thoughts of two middle aged women who have lived what some might deem a traditional life with untraditional ideas?

    Well, lo and behold, there were Suzannes out there. Keep at it, friend. You might be surprised what’s out there waiting for you!

  60. Dee,

    You made me smile. Especially the black and white striped T shirts. I don’t look good in black.

    On the whole, I like the ESV (although I can’t understand what is supposed to make it superior) but still use the older (and controversial) RSV. The truth of the matter is that there is no one best way to render a classical, inflected, grammar-driven language into a modern, vocabulary and word-order based language. I had a Latin instructor once (not at SBTS) who wanted us to translate our assignments accurately but also into “good, readable” modern English without resorting to giving alternatives in brackets. We laughed; two out of the three might be possible, but not all of them.

  61. Amy
    There is no problem with the ESV although there are some mistakes that have been documented, just like any translation. What bothers me is the assumption that one must read the ESV to read a “correct” Bible. It has become the ID Bible for “good” Christians. In fact, one of the translators, Dan Wallace, was a friend of mine in Dallas and I even hyped the translation in my Sunday school class when it was “under construction.” Dan came to my class and talked about it.

    I’m afraid i get a little prickly when someone, especially a legalistic Calvinista tells me that it is the only Bible to read. I carry the NIV on my IPhone just to be contrary, which should surprise no one who reads this blog.

  62. Hi All,

    I’ve really enjoyed the discussion. My younger daughter has just come home for dinner (it’s nice to have her close by), so my hubby and I are gonna spend some time with her. 🙂

    I’ll be checking in later.


  63. Deb –

    If your interested and have time, go back to that link and click the “back to Blog” section. It will take you to more sermons where you can scroll back to find Part II and Part III in the series.

  64. Dee wrote:

    “They need to design a shirt that they can all wear that let’s everyone know that they are “correct” about everything. It would be designed in black and white stripes, indicating that there is no nuance and one is in a prison of rules and regulations.”

    LOL-Your analogy refers us to the sports world-thinking of a ref’s shirt (Black and white striped)…’cause they get to make all the calls and their word is final. Disagree too strongly = kicked out of the game/church. Plus they get to yell. 🙂

  65. To All –

    FYI – I just reposted the link for the Darrell Johnson sermons on Ephesians. Someone a few threads back originally posted it – credit to them. You are all welcome for the reposting of the link though 🙂

    I’m on Part III myself at the moment.

  66. An earlier comment made me think of the factors after WWII which led to the promotion of “traditional” family values, later adopted as “biblical” roles for husband & wife to abide by if they were to be obedient to God’s “order.”

    These factors include but are not limited to:

    *Women being discouraged from further pursuing college degrees & from involvement in the workforce, removing competition for jobs for all the returning GIs

    *Federal money being poured into the development of roads & schools, contributing to the creation of the model family with the picket fence, the dog, the 2.5 kids and the wife who stayed home.

    *TV, magazine & newspaper advertisements which portrayed women in the role of stay-at-home wives
    & mothers as normative & the ideal

    But later, in June of 1960, the birth control pill helped to reform women’s rights – much needed after the limitations imposed upon women during the late 40’s, 50s, & early 60s. The ability to control pregnancy & birth (which is why I am pro-choice) allowed for balance between the sexes and for women to advance their education & careers, leading to the changes we enjoy in America today.

  67. Deb –

    Excellent post. Thank you.

    Miguel –

    Here’s something else for you to consider. The first is a paper that sketches out the limits of a wifes submission by a complementarian. I have seen egalitarians read it and say that they think it is a fine explanation of a wife’s submission.

    Here is a post by an egalitarian about complementarianism and a wife’s submission. Read the post and the comments. See what you think.

  68. Arce:

    You and I are going to have to disagree on the view of the SBC issues.

    I went to lots of SBC annual meetings during that time to vote for the conservative candidate.

    How’d I miss out on the Coors thing? I was robbed!! Never got a thing from him.

    The biggest difference between the SBC and the CBF is the CBF’s insistence that it not adopt a confession of faith. There are particulars at issue, too, but that is the main demonstrated difference.

  69. Deb and OldJohn1:

    Gotta watch those stories.

    I remember the ones about buses. Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson famously had their pictures taken in front of buses that had “Southern Seminary” on them because Southern had chartered them. That kind of killed the effect of the buses story.

    The other story that I heard about in about 83 or so was that Conservatives wore red ties at the convention, when people were supposed to vote for or against something, the Conservatives waved the red ties.

  70. Dee:

    I said that with the goal being the Egal position to gain more currency in non-egal places.

    Not because it is morally required, or anything like that.

  71. Thank you, Dee and Deb, for your kind welcomes. I appreciate SO much your comments, Dee, about having no one to discuss theology with. I used to have great conversations with my dad. After he passed away, there really was no one. I’d try to bring it up in playgroup, but, like you said, moms of 5-year-olds who like to discuss scriptural truth are rare. At 45, I’ve made peace with being an odd bird. I know God knitted me together with these interests for a reason. I think I’ll stick around here awhile – I may have found a couple of kindred spirits!

  72. Suzanne T,

    Please come and hang around with us. It’s truly incredible that you can find Christian fellowship in the blogosphere. 🙂

  73. Anonymous,

    I have no way to verify the account about the buses because I wasn’t there; however, I hope someone who attended the SBC annual meeting in 1979 will chime in and let us know what really happened.

    As far as Paige Patterson goes, I believe he covered up Darrell Gilyard’s sexual indiscretions, so I no longer find him (Patterson) trustworthy.

  74. Dee and Deb,

    I have been thinking a lot about groups like SGM and comp. If you recall, I was a part of Campus Outreach which has some similar attributes as SGM. I believe that the churches that emphasize comp. are probably suburban churches. While in CO, they sought after the most popular; sorority and frat organizations etc. I am wondering what the same people would say to a family in poverty? I thought comp. was about not having women as authority figures in church but, it seems it is more.

  75. [tangent ahead]

    Bridget2, do you know the story behind the Virgin of Guadalupe? It has so very much to do with the fact that she appeared to an Aztec convert – the Spanish were not exactly kind to the Indians whose land they stole and whom they forcibly converted.

    In a way, I think that a lot of Mexican devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe is similar to the emphasis on Moses in spirituals and many early black gospel songs – he was the deliverer of his people from slavery; she is someone who cares about the poor and the lowly. (Plus there are a lot of holdovers from indigenous religion in the devotion to her.)

    Take it from this perspective: God was/is the God of the conquerors (the Europeans) in the eyes of the conquered peoples. Even if he is the one true God, he seems very distant and they use his name to justify many cruel and horrific actions.

    so… it might not hurt to have a more approachable go-between. (Especially because so few of the conquerors demonstrated the true love of Christ toward those they had overthrown, enslaved, displaced…)

    [/end tangent]

  76. Numo –

    I don’t completely understand the tangent and how I seemed to have set it off. I was meaning no offense and I do understand how christian conquerers everywhere did much the same thing. Our country was settled by christians in many places who displaced and murdered indiginous(sp) peoples in the name of God. I didn’t say that it was honorable or justify it in any way. In fact, much of christian history is bloody and evil. But does that negate that there is only one God (the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit) that is worthy of worship?

    The example I gave is only one example where people worship and pray to Mary and other saints. I, personally, don’t belittle or berate anyone who shows homage to Mary and other saints, as others have done, but I might have a civil conversation with them about it 🙂 I also don’t call their salvation into question over the issue 🙂

  77. Arce,

    Your comment at 1:55 pm is interesting.

    (re: 1. “the original CR was funded by wealthy, non Baptist Repubs (including the Coors) who saw an opportunity to make a large part of the population accessible and amenable to partisan political influence and voting… 2. SBC statement took out the idea that all scriptural interpretation should be in light of Jesus…allowing Paul’s writings to dominate…)

    I’d be interested to know how you arrived at your conclusions. Not that I find them doubtful in the least. Just curious.

  78. I was involved in the SBC from age 5 in the 1950s until I left in the late 1980s and have friends who were insiders in the CR but who were since given the left boot of SBC “purity”. Cannot say more about it than that, except that Coors money paid for some of the buses to some of the SBC conventions to bring in the “attend long enough to vote for CR officers” busees.

  79. Bridget2 – you mentioned Mexico, which is why I replied as I did.

    Hope that makes sense – it’s more about the cultural history of why there is such a great devotion to Mary in Mexico; not so much about its doctrinal rightness/wrongness/in-between-ness.

  80. “One must read the “correct” translation, pontificate about the “correct” doctrines such as TULIP or YE, go to the “correct” conferences, read the “correct” authors, and be the “correct” gender in order to be heard, etc.”

    That’s not much unlike conservative Churches of Christ.

  81. CR = conservative resurgence, AKA takeover of the SBC by biblical literalists, Religious Right types, etc., began in 19788 or 79 and still weeding out people who are not sufficiently “doctrinally pure” according to those who think they alone are.

    ESS = Eternal Submission of the Son. Heretical theology that there is a hierarchy in the Trinity in the usual order cited, Father more God than Son (Jesus) and Son more God than Spirit.

  82. I’m not Baptist either and I don’t know what CR is.
    But I know what ESS is.
    Eternal Submission of the Son.
    It is a false teaching going around the church to support and cement the notion that women are eternally submitted to men, even in heaven.

  83. Robin

    According to the folks who profess the Comp doctrine, this doctrine is integral to all of the other doctrines of the church. They use it to define the Godhead in which they represent that Jesus is submitted to the Father and the Spirit is submitted to Jesus. They believe these roles last throughout eternity.

    They extend the doctrine to include women who must be submitted to men in eternity. These men will take on a patriarchal role (probably wearing long robes and strutting about with crowns on their heads) and women will be submitted to them. It is all tied up into a package with a bow. Deny the woman part and ipso facto you deny the Godhead. I believe this is a very dangerous doctrine. And, as always, they take a small truth and extend it beyond the intent.

    It reminds me a bit of the story in the Garden. Man seeks to be in positions of “authority” not seeing they look like admirals in rowboats. It is almost a laughable picture in which men seem to strive to have authority throughout eternity. Women, of course, must obey throughout eternity and they should just be grateful they are saved to this role. As Mara, a commenter here puts it so succinctly, this is the “Sucks for you” Gospel but these guys will vigorously deny it because they just don’t get it.

  84. Tina
    Good point about the COC. Yeah, the CR was the “conservative” resurgence within the SBC. Now, being really stupid, i thought this was about the people who denied certain key doctrines of the church-virgin birth, Resurrection, etc. So, I supported this initiative. Later on I found out i had been had. Yes, there are some who were waaaay too liberal. But, many of the people whose bodies were left by the side of the road had differences in secondary doctrines or who were not politically on the same side of the Inquisitors.

    Take a look at where it is going. Women who teach Hebrew are bring fired, YE creationism is the “only” doctrine being preached at SBTS, missionary women who had “authority” over any male in the field are being recalled, missionaries who have a private prayer language are being recalled, and on and on. Add the ESS doctrine on this and we have the SBC version of the Taliban. And don’t think it will stop here.

    Dee is no longer SBC because I cannot tolerate this nonsense. Meanwhile, the SBC tolerates Ed Young Jr. as well as churches who have hidden pedophiles on staff. Tune in today for the ED travesty.

  85. Tina,

    May I recommend an excellent article that will help you understand the ESS doctrine, which I consider to be heresy?

    Growing Semi-Arianism in the SBC

    This is one of the first posts I ever read on Wade Burleson’s blog, and I just found my comment from September 2008, which reads:

    “I am so grateful for your clear and concise explanation of Arianism. I am disturbed by some of the information I have been reading on the CBMW website, and I am alarmed by the hard right turn the SBC is taking with regard to the role of women in the church. I believe women are truly second-class citizens in the SBC…”

    The following March, Dee and I began The Wartburg Watch to address the aberrant teachings we were encountering. We may revisit this topic soon. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

  86. Arce

    I find it amusing that they would accept the Coors money (I have heard they are Christians) given the SBC history with alcohol. Yep, the almighty buck transcends doctrine. (PS for all those reading, I have no trouble with alcohol in moderation-I like an occ glass of wine).

    Hmmm, i have an idea. If we were able to come up with about 20 million dollars and offered to donate it to SBTS with the contingency they hire an OE professor, would they bite? We could call it -“Buying Our Way to Orthodoxy.”

  87. Deb
    Read my comment to Arce. I have a new scheme. I learned well from my former pastor, Ed Young Jr.

  88. Dear readers,

    Revisiting the topic of complementarianism in this post has put me in a reflective mood. Allow me to explain…

    In the fall of 2008 Dee and I were just beginning to discover some of the bizarre teaching we discuss here, such as: ESS, young marriages, quiverfull, patriarchy, etc. All of these ridiculous theological positions seemed to demean women. As the mother of two teenage daughters, I fell into despair. What would their lives be like in the years to come if these teachings take a firm hold in Christendom?

    I spent much of my time researching these topics which were being heavily promoted via the internet. I felt HELPLESS to do anything about it! The voices of Al Mohler, John Piper, and all their cohorts were far too powerful. They dominated the blogosphere and beyond.

    What could I – a wife and mother – do to protect my daughters from this nonsense? They were the primary motivation for my countless hours of investigation. Dee and I talked incessantly about our concerns; yet we felt powerless to counteract what we believed was secondary and tertiary doctrine being elevated to first-tier importance. Besides, how many of these patriarchal men would even listen to a woman?

    We “resolved” to start a blog… As we approach our third anniversary of blogging, we have been dumbfounded to discover that people actually want to read about the topics that matter to us. Thank you for your loyalty to TWW!

  89. I enjoy your articles very much Deb and Dee! Am really learning a lot. And–my concerns are for my 13 year old son…not daughters only. I want to keep him as far away from these patriarchal teachings as I can. God continue to bless you both.

  90. I read on the blogs that the number of women presenting at the Evangelical Theological Society’s conference this year was 1%. (It was probably more likely 3-4%). Apparently, this whole complementarian/egalitarian issue is often a featured event. For those who don’t know, the ETS is supposed to be an academic society for conservative scholarship.

    I went to the Society of Biblical Literature’s Annual Meeting (SBL) where thousands of theologians, students, and interested parties converge on some city to give papers, listen, and talk about biblical scholarship. The ratio of women giving papers was estimated at around 34%. You can take it for what you will.

  91. Diane,

    You are absolutely right! We need to be concerned about how this teaching is affecting young impressionable guys like your son. This is a very serious matter.

  92. Juniper,

    Thanks for your important comment. I know one of those women who presented a paper at the ETS annual meeting. She, her husband (who is a well-known complementarian and SEBTS professor), and I were in Sunday School together at a former church. I first met her when our daughters were in 5th grade together years ago.

    I’m convinced that the women who are “allowed” to present papers at ETS and who are involved with CBMW have been given permission by their male authorities.

    Sorry for the snarkiness, but that’s how it works…

  93. Deb,

    🙂 By balance perhaps he means that he will instruct the men that they can indeed listen to their wives giving them driving instructions…if the wife’s tone is right…and if she does so in the form of questions asked…so as to make sure hubby– I mean, beloved spiritual priest leader thinks it is his own idea!! Yay!

  94. Miguel, you said:
    “In Colossians, when Paul tells slaves to submit to their masters, I think he meant precisely that: Slaves, obey your masters. It’s neither complicated nor an endorsement of the slavery system, but instructions on how to live as one under it.”

    I have a question for you. When Paul says that he forbids women to teach or to have authority over a man, does the same perspective/logic apply? That is, could it be said that Paul here is not, in fact, endorsing a complimentary system, but simply stating how women should behave in their relationships with respect to men?

    And if Paul is not endorsing slavery, and therefore we acknowledge that abolishing slavery when and where possible is a good thing and appropriate, would you not also agree that we can abolish the complimentary system when and where possible (since Paul is not endorsing it…is my argument), and that it would likewise be a good thing; and that ordaining women is both appropriate and biblical these days?

    From that perspective, if you follow the logic through (your own logic), you should therefore no longer oppose the ordination of women. To do so would imply that Paul was implicitly supporting complimentarism, and if that’s true, one could easily argue that he was also implicitly supporting the sytem of slavery.

  95. The featured speaker at the conference that Diane referenced is no other than Doug Wilson. Hmmm. Some of title labels are quite interesting. I wonder what “their” answers are to some of the questions?

  96. The meaning of ordination, especially as practiced today and abused by the civil authorities, is to set aside as an “authority” (cf. sub-ordinate!!). It implies a status of being “over” someone. And Jesus taught that his followers should not be “over” others. It is one place where Paul’s teaching, taken at surface level, contradicts the teaching of Jesus. That is why we need to reexamine Paul’s teaching to see if there is something there that is different than what the surface appearance would suggest, and that would make Paul’s teaching either aligned with Jesus’ teaching or orthogonal to it. Paul at one point wrote (or his scribe did for him!!) that he would accommodate to the culture for the purpose of Christ. That would explain both his teaching about slaves and about women in a way that does not contradict the life and teaching of Jesus.

    BTW, ministry expenses are deductible to one licensed or ordained to the ministry, but not to one who is not, unless the person is employed by a church and the deduction is in compliance with the legal standards for employees generally.

  97. “In Colossians, when Paul tells slaves to submit to their masters, I think he meant precisely that: Slaves, obey your masters.”

    In fact today we would interpret it as workers obey your bosses.

  98. The objection I have with this video that was posted is it seems almost like a Tom Sawyer situation. He tries to present it as though being led by men is pleasant for the woman. It isn’t. It’s crippling.

  99. The CBMW people and other comps would warn against “cultural accommodation”!! Yet our whole church structure, with buildings, staffs, organs, power point presentation, big screens, comfortable pews and sound systems, highly paid pastors, conferences, etc., etc., is nothing but cultural accommodation. And, in fact, is truly late 20th century and 21st century stuff that did not exist in earlier times. Almost all churches before 1950 had one building, a modestly paid pastor, and a secretary. Almost everything else was volunteer driven.

  100. Debbie
    Did you know that there are some in certain circles that claim this verse justifies slavery?

  101. Deb,

    I have heard that it is awkward for women at the ETS conference as they are often asked who their husband is. At the SBL, the only thing anyone asked is “what’s your area?” If you ever get a chance to go, its worth it for the exhibit hall/book fair alone.

  102. Diane

    I agree with you. My son, who is 19, has heard me pontificate on this subject ad nauseum. I think he knows I will haunt him if he goes down that path.

  103. Debbie

    I have heard one too many lectures as to how male leadership is “natural” , “pleasant”, “life affirming,” etc. I find that many women find the opposite to be true. Thank you for your comment.

  104. Argo,

    I really appreciate your explanation to Miguel. You explained it much better than I could. Thank you!

  105. Diane, Deb, Dee

    RE: “We need to be concerned about how this teaching is affecting young impressionable guys”

    On this subject, I once read a comment from a husband and wife in which they stated that since there was such a shortage of young women who were remotely capable of “taking care” of a man (let alone willing) they had to resort to teaching their sons how to cook and clean. They were angry about this, and felt this was an unconscionable accomodation they had to make. It was an insult to them and their sons, that their sons had seemingly no choice but to be prepared to cook and clean. Because young women were too selfish & self-centered.

    Amazing to me. The charges they were leveling at young women. The goofy priorities. The fact this couple was blind to these things.

    As I see it, it’s nothing but honorable (for a boy, for a man, for a girl, for a woman) to know how to be responsible for oneself. To know how to procure and prepare healthy and tasty food, to know how to keep a clean environment at home, to know how to manage one’s domestic affairs (keeping clothes clean and in good condition, keeping stuff organized). To know how to take care of a car, appliances, plumbing, finances, investments, real estate, the lawn, the garden.

    It’s right, good, and honorable for boys & girls to be taught all of these things and to be able to succeed in them. It builds self-esteem, character. And it’s darn attractive, too.

  106. My mother, in the ’50s and early ’60s taught me (and previously my brother) to take care of our clothing, cook, clean, and take care of a baby. She got me a babysitting job when I was 14 with a two-week old boy that I babysat one night a weekend for 3.5 years. When my own children were 3 yo and not yet born, I lost my job and was being blacklisted because I would not lie to protect the company president who made a stupid decision that cost the life of a young man. So, after the baby was born, we moved to a different part of the country and my spouse taught school while I was Mr. Mom and started my own business, which was mostly writing on early generation PC. I have been the principal launderer since, do 1/3 or more of the grocery shopping and cooking, and create interesting food that is inexpensive and healthy.

    I find it is a great change of pace from riding a desk or plopping in front of the TV.

    If this blog had a recipe section, I could give you some great ones that are low fat, low cost, low carb, quick and healthy, as well as some that are great for dinner with company.

  107. Tina:

    I will chime in her on the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC. It goes back a long way.

    The SBC was founded in 1848 because the Baptist mission boards would not appoint missionaries from slave holders or families of same and they would not let Southerners who supported slavery sit on mission boards etc. One of the pivotal cases involved a Cherokee Indian Southern Baptist who owned slaves and was refused appointment to be a missionary. The Southerners left and started their own convention.

    As time went on, the SBC or people in it founded seminaries (there are 6, I think), a publishing board (now called LifeWay), and a host of various commissions and such, much like other denominations.

    The founders of the SBC had a very high view of the Bible. However, with time, the SBC, like other denominational educational institutions, began to drift from that high view of the Bible and began to believe that instead of being God’s word, the Bible might contain God’s word in places, but in other places it was not divinely inspired.

    The Baptist colleges around the nation were the first to see the changes. It may surprise you to know that Brown, Colgate, Andover-Newton (I think I have that right), and the University of Chicago were all Baptist colleges. They are no longer and would not even come close. The view of the Bible at these places, if it is discussed at all, is not a high view with the belief that God inspired the scriptures.

    This trend has happened in all of the great Christian religious denominations in the U.S. over the last 150 years or so. Many Christian colleges are no longer Christian, and many seminaries are no longer seminaries, but Divinity Schools, where the views of the Bible are less than orthodox.

    This trend is very similar to and connected with many faith issues in our broader culture.

    While those colleges that I mentioned are no longer Baptist, there are others who are closer to their Baptist heritage, but have also left. Some are more Christian in their orientation than others. They include Furman, Wake Forest, the University of Richmond, Stetson, Samford, Belmont, Baylor and a host of others.

    The SBC seminaries did not escape the changes in academia in the U.S. over the years. Southern Seminary, for example, had to dismiss the 5th faculty member that was added to the seminary in the 1880s, I believe, because of his changing views about the Bible. He went on to teach at Harvard and became a Unitarian.

    These tensions continued at the SBC institutions, particularly at Southern Seminary and then later at some of the other seminaries in various degrees. The Presidents at Southern had dust ups with the faculty all through the 20th Century, with the most famous being a firing of 13 (I think) faculty members by the then President, Duke McCall, in about 1959 or so.

    At any rate, decades went by and there was increasing tension between the Baptist people in the pew and their seminaries. This eventually found its way into the publishing arm (LifeWay) about what types of commentaries would be published – orthodox ones or neoorthodox or liberal ones. It also found its way into the various commissions of the SBC and impacted social/political issues, ranging from abortion, church state issues, sexuality (one SBC event famously included a spokesman from the Playboy Enterprises and caused a huge dust up and was called the “Playboy Seminar”).

    This went on and the concern mounted over several years. Then, in the late 1970s, two Baptists, Paul Pressler, an Appeals Court Judge from Houston, TX, and Paige Patterson, then a young PhD teacher at a college in Texa, devised a plan to bring the SBC back to its conservative roots. It would all depend on whether Baptists were willing to engage in the effort because everything at the denominational life of the SBC is done by a democratic vote.

    So Pressler went around the country and met with concerned pastors and people and encouraged them to attend the annual SBC meeting to vote for a conservative President who would appoint conservatives to various committees who would then appoint, hopefully, conservatives to be the trustees at SBC institutions. The goal was to change the make up of the SBC institutions.

    Over about a 12 year span – from 1980 to 1992, conservatives actually attended the annual meeting of the SBC (previously the meeting had been attended primarily by a few people and was heavily weighed in favor of denominational employees etc.) But the size of these meeting swelled, with the Dallas meeting in 1985 being the largest – at 45,000 or so.

    The conservatives were successful in electing conservative pastors to the presidency, the Presidents were successful at appointing conservatives to various committees, and the committees were successful at appointing new trustees to the SBC seminaries, LifeWay, the various commissions and such. All of these appointments had to be approved at SBC meetings democratically by the SBC messengers.

    There was opposition to these efforts. The people opposing the plan called themselves moderates. They included popular pastors, many of whom were perceived as being more liberal than the conservatives (but not always), denominational workers, and professors in the academy.

    The most prominent layman was a billionaire (close) from Texas, John Baugh. He was the Chairman of the Cisco company (the food distributor). He died a couple of years ago. Interestingly, Baugh and Judge Pressler were both members of the same church – Second Baptist, Houston. Baugh was a very wealthy member of the church. Pressler was a young attorney. He and his wife worked with the youth in the church. Baugh had them fired from their jobs early on at Second Baptist for some reason. I cannot remember.

    At any rate, these 2 sides encouraged SBC church members to come to the conventions and vote their consciences. They did, and the conservatives one.

    In 1992, many of the moderates left and founded the CBF, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The CBF does not support the SBC seminaries, but supports schools in Richmond, VA, Duke University, Mercer, Baylor, the Divinity School at TCU (I think), etc.

    Other moderates founded the Alliance of Baptists, which is a group of Baptists supportive of homosexual causes and such.

    So, the conservatives have controlled the SBC since 1992. In recent years, some have become disenchanted with the SBC, I think that Dee and Deb fit in there, over various issues or events here or there.

    That’s a short summary. It’s hard to encapsulate and be fair in this forum. I was a strong supporter of the conservatives, and still am. I believe that Biblical fidelity and the belief in Christian essential doctrines is very important.

    What made me support the conservative cause was my experience at a Baptist college. The profs there (most, not all) were not orthodox. They did not believe that the Bible was inspired. The miracles were made up. Jesus was not Virgin born. Jesus did not rise from the dead. Etc. Most of these men had been trained at Southern Seminary, and Southern, in those days, had people on its faculty and many students who were not orthodox etc.

    But I am not always conservative on the issues that both Dee and Deb discuss so much – ESS, Young Earth Creation, or other things. Most of these developed way after 1992 in denomational life, and they are not required orthodoxy, though Dee and Deb might disagree, in SBC life.

    The main change in SBC life since the CR is the belief that the denomination’s confessional statement – The Baptist Faith and Message, should be believed by all persons teaching in SBC institutions, and that LifeWay should sell books supporting those beliefs, and that the various commissions and such should support those beliefs, as well.

    The CBF, on the other hand, does not believe in denominational confessions, and believes that each individual Baptist can believe as they choose about whatever, and that should not be a bar to teaching in a seminary or serving in some other denominational post.

    Sorry if I have been too long. There are articles and books on this topic. Some are partisan. Some are not.

    What is your background religiously? You may ask your pastor what he thinks of this issue and that may help orient you.

  108. Re: men knowing how to take care of themselves…

    It probably also never crosses their minds that their capable wife could someday end up incapable of doing the homemaking thing. We’ve gone through three seasons where I was physically unable to do literally anything around the house for months at a time. Everything fell on David – housework, laundry, cooking, cleaning, ironing, grocery shopping and taking care of a toddler (on top of running a business). It was hard on both of us because I would much rather do something than sit and watch someone else carry such a large burden. It was hard on him because not only was he physically exhausted but he had the emotional aspect of being concerned about me.

    I have often said that God knew what He was doing when He put us together after many years of prayer. I shudder to think what my life would have been like when I was ill if I was married to a man who believed it was beneath him or not his realm to do woman’s work. Instead God gave me a marriage where we both do what needs to be done to serve the other and enjoy our marriage.

    It makes me sad when I read comments written by women who say they never want to marry because of these issues. Not all men are selfish pigs who want to lord their chromosome over a woman. There are kind, generous men who love their wives and enjoy an egalitarian marriage with a woman they see as a gift from God. Those of us who are in such egalitarian marriages really need to be more vocal about how good marriage can be and offer another perspective to the singles who are out there.

  109. Arce said,

    “If this blog had a recipe section, I could give you some great ones that are low fat, low cost, low carb, quick and healthy, as well as some that are great for dinner with company.”

    Dee’s gonna love your comment! I can see it now… The Wartburg Watch Community Cookbook. 🙂

  110. Dee and Deb,
    Thank you! But I must admit that it is YOU and others like Jim at Refuge, John Immel, Kris and Guy, Brent Detwiler, who have finally given me the freedom and courage to start actually thinking! And from that thinking, begin to formulate arguments. It’s a wonderful thing.

    I was reading a commentary on Galatians 3:28 from the CBMW. In addition to many other things that I would love to comment upon one day, I noticed that they (and many other Calvinista intellectuals) often make mention of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when they are detailing their criticisms of egalitarians (as well as against others who oppose the neo-reformed/Calvinista crowd with respect to other important issues). It’s the “all scripture is God-breathed and therefore” argument as to why their opinion is infallible…the sort of bumper sticker para-intellectual quip: “God said it, I believe it, that’s the end of it!” And as I thought about how they use this, I couldn’t help but feel that they are manipulating this premise; this basic understanding (that I agree with) that the Bible is Spirit-inspired. Here’s what I came up with:

    The neo-reformed crowd, Calvinistas, Calvinists, et al. take the inspiration of scripture by the Holy Spirit to mean that all interpretive or relative statements by or of the text’s author which may perhaps be based on culture, historical context, or a given situation that the author is speaking to are utterly removed and ceased to have any meaning or any value. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit to them means that there can be no qualifying any given text based on any of the above criteria (context, culture, etc.), unless of course THEY deem it…even the hermeneutical alterations that often arise when translating one language into another take a back seat to the (seemingly) “objective”, black and white ENGLISH words on the page. The words, the verses, are merely and categorically pragmatic, empirical declarations–nothing more or less–because they are “inspired”. Quite simply, the human being who is writing and the historical context have been completely sanitized. This is what they mean by “inspired”.

    To them, there is NO interpretation. The ENGLISH words simply are what they are. But what they fail to realize is that this perspective in itself IS an interpretation. Consensus (which I frankly feel is the only way to interpret scripture–which is why the fundamentals are so important–but that’s another story…yes, call me a heretic) has no meaning or value to our friends at the CBMW and other Calvinistas. The simple, black and white, obvious (to them) meaning of the proof-texted passage is always the only correct and only Spirit-led interpretation.

    Of course, what this really amounts to when all is said and done is frankly obvious to most of us: THEIR interpretation equals indisputable, objective truth. This is the launch pad from which all hyper-authoritarian pastors and Calvinistas take off. And into the sky, watch the pretty crimson fireworks of oppression reign down upon the masses.

  111. It is so sad to say, but if I were a woman I would not enter into a marital relationship of the kind exemplified by the average SGM pastor and leaders. I do not wish that for my children either, and am actively lobbying against such a mindset in my girls. Above all, I want them to exercise the freedom they have as individuals created by God…as Christians, and as Americans. There is no legal subjugation any longer in our country, and I will not foster a spiritual one in my household.

  112. Hey Argo,

    Thanks for the insightful reasoning! Never quite looked at it that way, but your use of my own “logic” is a few leaps short of a series of well parsed syllogisms. I think the meaning of “complimentarian” may have been somewhat switched, in that it could refer to authority structures within the marriage relationship or within church polity. I know it may seem the same to you because most complimentarians do both, but where I’m at right now, I realized last night that I have a functionally egalitarian marriage (though my wife would rather stay home and be a mother, we don’t have kids yet) yet I hold to complemtarian church polity. After all, my original question was in the context of a man’s relationship to his wife in Ephesians, not whether or not a woman can/should pastor. These are different issues, even if you feel the same way about both of them.

    I think we can all agree that where Paul says “I do not permit a woman to….” it is one of the most abused verses in all of scripture. But it can’t be the same as the slavery verse because it is not imperative, but simply declarative. And who knows how it looks in Greek. But doing the best I can with my English Bible, it appears the Paul say, “Slaves, obey.” A direct command. Yet in the other verses he says, “I do not permit a woman.” Why he phrased it this way I’ve never heard a decent explanation of. But if it were directly parallel, you might have expected Paul to say “Women, do not teach or have authority…” or “Do not let women….” But he doesn’t state it as a command. I find this endlessly puzzling.

    So I would say that the same perspective/logic MIGHT not apply due to the difference in grammatical structure. But it could, and I wouldn’t break fellowship with someone who read it that way. And neither verse mentions ordination. It is insufficient to deny woman’s ordination based on this verse, which doesn’t seem to mention it at all. Not to mention, to go from that one verse to a full blown complimentary system of rules, roles, and structures is reading a ton into the text through the lens of our modern cultural experience. So this is not necessarily the end game of my proposed logic as it swaps some definitions and reads some pretty broad generalizations into the text.

    And I also never said that Paul was against slavery in all forms. Like I said, there was a certain voluntary, temporary form of slavery that was sanctioned by Levitical law that is a completely different animal from the atrocities foisted upon slaves in other systems. If masters are are truly just and fair, slavery may not become a legitimate vocational option but at least a way out of starvation for those down on their luck or in economic straights. It was like a pre social ism form of welfare that made sure that all those who were eating also worked, and it had nothing to do with a persons race, dignity, or value.

  113. Argo,

    I echo your sentiments. My older daughter has been attending a church for the past 3-1/2 years that is led by a pastor who tries to be “hip” so he can relate to his predominantly young congregation. He is a nicer version of Mark Driscoll, but he is a full-fledged complementarian.

    I have been sounding the alarm about the issues we discuss in this forum, and both of my daughters are listening. I don’t want them to be caught off guard by this new wave of patriarchy.

    I am somewhat upset this afternoon because I just finished listening to a “marriage” sermon my daughter heard at her church about a month ago, and I couldn’t believe my ears when the pastor preached ESS at the 10-1/2 minute mark! I am NOT HAPPY… 🙁

  114. Picking up on Juniper’s thread.

    The conference I referenced earlier was AAR (American Academy of Religion), which, for the benefit of readers who don’t know, meets jointly with SBL. ETS usually meets a few days earlier in the same host city. I’m not a member of ETS and have never attended, but I have friends who have, and they say that when women present, some men in attendance–who have a free choice which sessions to attend–stand up and spend the entire presentation with their backs toward the speaker. Whether ETS actively limits presentations by women or whether the women just don’t want to present because of the atmosphere, the result is the same.

    AAR is so liberal we refer to it as the “frog kissers'” convention, but I prefer being a conservative scholar in a liberal organization than a conservative/moderate scholar in a fundamentalist/conservative one (depending on how one defines the labels). It was a good conference.

  115. Argo I just read your other comment. More good food for thought!

    I would say, however, that perhaps your statements about ordination and authority are missing reference to the Christ model. Jesus does reign over the universe because He is God. So he has authority, but how does he use it? Manipulation and coercion? Foisting His will upon others? No, instead he comes and dies for them. Yet, as the song goes, He could have called ten thousand angels to rescue Him off the cross. The fact that he could yet he didn’t makes all the difference.

    In a similar way, I believe Pastors (or Elders, Priests, Bishops, whoever receives ordination in your polity) are called to lead through modeling servanthood and sacrifice. That doesn’t mean they should have no authority. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a contradiction of Jesus’ teaching when Paul later instructs to obey spiritual leaders so they can keep watch over your souls with joy and not groaning, in Hebrews 13. Yes some Pastors abuse authority, but this doesn’t mean they all should have none: Pastors are at least as frequently run out of churches by malicious laity as laity is abused by controlling pastors. I would even propose that a significant majority of pastors who are controlling do so out of fear or self-preservation, to protect themselves from being spiritually and emotionally pummeled by power hungry laity. This doesn’t justify being manipulative, but I for one can certainly understand it due to my overwhelmingly negative experience with vocational church work. The important thing is ensuring that authority is only EVER given to men who are mature and have proven themselves. If we simple became intentional about this, it would save untold amounts of grief, I think. I know, big if.

  116. I’m a member of SBL. I enjoyed the AAR presentations I went to. Just to be clear, I’m not a scholar just a lawyer who likes to read.

  117. Arce’s recipes – please bring ’em!

    i’m not much of a cook, so stuff that’s simple, tasty and low-cost appeals.

    also, as an outsider to the whole SBC thing, let me just say that reading some of the posts and comments is like visiting an alternate universe. (j/k, but serious, too.)

    fwiw, the church where i was raised (ELCA Lutheran) has always had jsut the pastor (official title in this denom) and a secretary who works-part time. all other positions are volunteer, though i gather it’s cool to give small monetary gifts to the sexton and some of the other folks who handle routine building maintenance + opening the church for weddings, funerals etc.

  118. meant to add that i think the mainline denoms with small church staff numbers have been onto something that the trendy evangelicals keep missing – maybe that’s one of the reasons some look askance at us?! 😉 (only half j/k.)

  119. Bridget2 wrote::

    “The featured speaker at the conference that Diane referenced is no other than Doug Wilson. Hmmm. Some of title labels are quite interesting. I wonder what “their” answers are to some of the questions?”

    Go to Doug’s blog and you will find his wife’s blog there as well and you can read all about how she views marriage. I personally do not agree with much of what she writes. They have videos entitled Ask Doug and some of them include Doug and his wife discussing important wifely duty questions…ha-they are very legalisitic and one just rolls one’s eyes.

    Dee, Deb and Elastigirl:

    Elastigirl at 1:46–I couldn’t agree more! We fully intend to teach our son the basic skills he needs to know to take care of himself. He took home ec for one semester-I was so proud. lol I am going to teach him some basic sewing and mending this summer. He knows how to cook some simple things and makes us breakfast in bed. He also knows to keep his clothes off his bedroom floor or out the window they go. His wife is gonna love him! He knows how hard housework and cooking and laundry is and appreciates it when I do it for him. I am so jealous of all you ladies out there who have husbands who cook. I hate to cook. 🙂

    Sallie at 2:35:

    I agree 100% with your comment.

  120. Amy said:

    “…I’m not a member of ETS and have never attended, but I have friends who have, and they say that when women present, some men in attendance–who have a free choice which sessions to attend–stand up and spend the entire presentation with their backs toward the speaker…”

    Think of the business opportunity to become a job creator! You could make evangelical phylacteries and prayer shawls inscribed & embroidered with the original words of St. Paul & sell them at evangelical gatherings & conventions.

  121. My boys have been doing their own laundry since they were 12. They help with housework as well as yard work and they cook. Why wouldn’t you teach all your children basic life skills? That is just common sense to me. Now when they get married they can figure out with their spouse how they will care for all their needs together. Their are women who like yard work and men who like to cook I’m sure. Why does this matter so much to some of these men – unless they feel some things are beneath them. To them I would say that our Lord washed feet! I don’t know all the culteral implications of that job in a household during his lifetime, but I’m thinking it was a lowly servant who held the position.

  122. Diane –

    I was definitely being snarky regarding the conference video. I’m familiar with the Wilson’s views. I’m not on the same page with them.

  123. Nuno –

    Do you think we could get Dee and Deb to put up a recipe page? I don’t like to cook much either. Arce could supply us all with quick, easy, and healthy meals 🙂

  124. lol– got it Bridget2.

    Still, you should enlighten yourself on how to manage: “Guests, Allergies and Hospitality” at the blog–it’s an Ask Nancy video.

  125. Re the history of the CR provided by Anonymous on Wed, Jan 11 2012 at 02:09 pm:

    The history provided is biased. The big issue with the seminaries was whether they would be academic institutions where people critically studied or indoctrination centers, which is what they have become. There was no significant number of “liberals” in the SBC nor in the seminaries. The issue was who would control the institutions, those who toed a hierarchical, politically driven line or those who were willing to allow differences of opinion on the secondary and tertiary issues.

    There was a witch hunt in which conservatives who were willing to allow differences of opinion were trashed and their reputations ruined. Professors who had been loyal Southern Baptists were fired just short of retirement, losing their retirement, not because of any fault, but BECAUSE THERE WAS MONEY INVOLVED!

    The issue was never liberalism.

  126. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a contradiction of Jesus’ teaching when Paul later instructs to obey spiritual leaders so they can keep watch over your souls with joy and not groaning, in Hebrews 13.”

    That is a very very bad translation. Translated by those laboring under church state mentality. Check the Greek range and usage. It is more like this:

    “Greek word peitho means “to persuade, to win over, in the Passive and Middle Voices, to be persuaded, to listen to, to obey, is so used with this meaning, in the Middle Voice. THE OBEDIENCE SUGGESTED IS NOT BY SUBMISSION TO AUTHORITY, BUT RESULTING FROM PERSUASION”


    “Have the rule over you” (KJV) was given as the meaning of hegeomai. It is used 28 times in the New Testament and translated variously as “count,” “think,” “esteem,” “be governor,” and other miscellaneous words such as “chief’ and “leader.”

    It is significant to me that the King James translators used the strongest possible English words to translate hegeomai. Out of the 28 times the word appears, they elected to translate it “rule over you” three times: Hebrews 13:7, 17, and 24, thus, strengthening the concept that the Church officer had unquestionable rule and authority and must be obeyed.
    If the Holy Spirit wanted to convey the idea that Elders (Bishops) had the authority that they now claim, He would have used the Greek word arche, which translates into “rule” or “power.” One who had the authority to rule was archon, “a ruler” or “a magistrate.’ By choosing hegeomai the Holy Spirit indicated that these men who “watch(ed) in behalf of your souls”, were the leaders among them.

  127. Amy,

    RE: ETS & men who “stand up and spend the entire presentation with their backs toward the speaker” who is a woman.

    Surely they must realize how rude they are being. But I guess making a point is more important than kindness.

    If I were to present something at this ETS, I would begin my presentation with something like,

    “I don’t imagine you’d be offended if I asked you to silence
    your cell phones during my presentation. I’m sure you’d be
    happy to do so. So, I’m sure you won’t be offended when I
    politely request that you give me the courtesy of not standing
    up and turning you back on me while I’m giving my

    Does anyone ever address this extreme rudeness at this ETS?

    Movie theaters “risk offending their audience” by asking them to silence their cell phones. Award ceremonies “risk offending their audience” by asking them to please refrain from applause until all names are called. But christians gathering to hear oral presentations can’t “risk offending their audience” by asking them to refrain from being obscenely rude?? (by standing up and turning their backs on certain select presenters)

    I challenge anyone who attends this ETS to make a polite stink.

  128. Diane –

    Snarky tangent ahead – pass on by if necessary!

    So – is that just some good advice or to be “Biblical” do I have to receive and administer this advice in the patriarchal/complementarian way? Do I have to run all this information by my husband and pastor for their blessing on it? I will go view the video and be “enlightened” (since I am confident in the work of Jesus that I won’t lose my salvation if I don’t adhere to her advice!). I must just be in a snarky mood today – !! Maybe some of this nonesense just puts me in a snarky mood!

  129. December’s National Geographic has an artical about the KJV (“the making of a masterpiece”). They make the point that because of the lack of line between church & state (or crown), the KJV translation was used by those authority to wield power over the masses.

    Seems logical that the translators would have favored words that communicated power and authority, over other reasonable alternatives.

  130. “But doing the best I can with my English Bible, it appears the Paul say, “Slaves, obey.” ”

    He also told Philemon to treat Oni, the runaway slave, as a ‘brother in Christ’. Actually, according to the codes at the time, Philemon was in his rights to have Oni put to death. Instead, he was advised to receive him as a brother even though a slave. That was radical at the time. Yes, slaves obey and believing masters are to what? According to Eph?

    Too many start with a wrong premise. They start with the Greek chain of being which is hierarchical– thinking. They start with ‘authority’ and chain of command thinking. We have been taught to think this way. It is worldly thinking for believers one to another. Jesus said we are not to think like that. We are to think like servants. The greatest is the greatest servant of all.

  131. Bridget2 saud:

    “Snarky tangent ahead – pass on by if necessary!

    So – is that just some good advice or to be “Biblical” do I have to receive and administer this advice in the patriarchal/complementarian way? Do I have to run all this information by my husband and pastor for their blessing on it? I will go view the video and be “enlightened” (since I am confident in the work of Jesus that I won’t lose my salvation if I don’t adhere to her advice!). I must just be in a snarky mood today – !! Maybe some of this nonesense just puts me in a snarky mood!”

    LOLOL The answers to your questions are: 1) receive and administer in “biblical and gospel” patriarchal/complementarian way; 2) yes.
    When I read over there to find out what he is doing…snarky is the mood I leave with.

  132. Anon1 –

    Are you the person who put up the Darrell Johnson link? He addresses several of these issues in his 3 part sermon series. It was very good.

  133. Arce:

    The CR is history. What I told Tina is correct. Southern Baptists were concerned over theological issues in the seminaries and institutions. I know that is what drove me. And that concern is what motivated my friends to become involved.

    I have a question for you that I don’t think I have ever asked you.

    Do you believe that for someone to teach at a Southern Baptist seminary they should be required to believe the SBC’s confessional statement, the Baptist Faith and Message?

  134. Anonymous

    Are you saying that every single one of the people canned during the CR were denying essential Biblical doctrine? By this I mean stuff like the Virgin Birth. I have heard that was only true for some. And, if Page Patterson’s actions are any example, post facto, there were far more than liberals canned
    But , no need to be concerned. The SBC is continuing to hemorrhage members, Sunday school attendance is down by 1 million and baptisms are in the hole. But, they do not have to worry about the ideological purity of the seminaries, right on down to young earth “scientists.” It’s only the members in the pew who are revolting.

  135. “Do you believe that for someone to teach at a Southern Baptist seminary they should be required to believe the SBC’s confessional statement, the Baptist Faith and Message”

    From which year? :o)

  136. “Are you the person who put up the Darrell Johnson link? He addresses several of these issues in his 3 part sermon series. It was very good”

    Yes. Notice how he focuses on “spirit filled life” instead of authority and who is in charge. The whole premise is different. He teaches the right premise that we should start with when reading Eph 5. If we take out the chapter breaks and verse numbers it reads like the letter it was and we can see how Paul is talking about first and foremost a “spirit filled life”. And that sort of life would never be concerned about authority over others or whether the other person is submitting properly or where they are in the pecking order of believers in the Holy Priesthood. That is a “self” filled life.

    He is one of the few who get it right. The comp way of teaching it is based upon the flesh/worldliness.

  137. Dear Anonymous,

    You were concerned over theological issues in the seminaries and institutions because you believed the hype (read lies) you were told about the people who were in those institutions. At the time, the 1963 BF&M was in effect, and there were few people in those places that did not agree with it, but most refused to sign it. Why, because Baptists have not been creedal people, and require people to sign it makes it a creed. We have always in the past rejected creeds for the Bible, and in the past, accepted that different people might take passages to have different meanings.

    I for one believe in the virgin birth, but do not believe that one has to believe as I do on that issue in order to be a faithful Christian and a good Baptist. My personal faith statement covers very little with great specificity and very much with much less specificity. I believe in the crucifixion and resurrection, but do not believe that one has to believe in substitutionary atonement to be a Christian. I do believe in the Trinity, but it is a bit of a mystery — three equal persons who are one and the same, except perhaps during Jesus’ life on earth, when he chose to set aside his equality with the Father. BTW, I also believe that ascribing gender to God is to diminish God, especially when the same word that described Eve is used to describe God, but not Adam.

  138. Arce:

    That is where you and I differ.

    To use your example of the Virgin Birth, I do believe that a person who teaches in a Baptist seminary should believe the Virgin Birth.

    We do have a difference of opinion here. You believe that to require denominational employees (seminary profs, missionaries, LifeWay writers etc.) to believe in the Virgin Birth to obtain and keep their positions is a creedal practice that you do not agree with.

    I believe it is very important for denominational employees to believe in the confessional document of the denomination.

    That is the central issue over which the CR was fought.

    And my concern over the theological issues was based on what I experienced. I have found that many people have this shared experience and that is what motivated them.

  139. Dee:

    The people canned during the CR were precious few. At Southern, for example, most of the profs took early retirement because they did not want to be part of the seminary that was headed in a confessional direction. And it was hard getting there. They first tried to destroy the accreditation of the Seminary with the Southern Association and ATS, and they tried to get Mohler fired in his first couple of years. With the help of Billy Graham and others, Mohler kept his job, and the Administration and Trustees became more involved in faculty hiring and retention matters.

    Molly Marshall Green resigned as an alternative to being brought before the trustees for teaching outside the Abstract of Principles, which she had signed and agreed to teach by. Other than that incident, I am not aware of any faculty firings at Southern.

    In the years that followed the CR, there have been a few celebrated employment matters that were not related to the CR.

    I get your point. Not every personnel decision or action at SBC institutions in the last 20 years has been fair or good. But I am not aware that any that were the product of the CR (confessional accountability) were bad decisions. The ones that have garnered attention were made by people who became leaders because of the CR, but were not motivated by the theological concerns that produced the CR.

  140. Anon1:

    Good point. Your disagreement is with what the Baptist Faith and Message may say, particularly recent changes.

    But where we both agree, and where Arce disagrees, is that you and I both believe in denominational accountability for employees to the denomination’s confessional document.

    There is a very real danger in making the BFM go too far, as you believe it may already have in an area or two.

  141. Anon

    The issue was not what people believed, it was whether they used the “correct” language about it, and would sign a creedal statement. It was “sign or be fired”. And the shibboleth was “inerrancy”, either say it or be fired. It was all political and all about the money — just look at the lifestyle of the seminary presidents today and the huge salaries and benefits that include almost every normal living expense.

  142. anon1
    The whole thing about authority finds its roots in the Garden. Men want to be like God-rule for Him, make rules for Him, have people follow them, etc. In fact, it is a little bit sick. Imagine a pastor who has a church of 1500. Does he really think he is in charge of so much? Admirals in rowboats screeching orders and insisting that everyone look at them is what they really look like and only those who step back and see it will understand.

  143. I agree with Anonymous. I believe anyone who teaches in a Baptist seminary should affirm the Virgin Birth. That’s a non-negotiable for me.

  144. Arce, the Baptist faith and message is not a creed, it is a confession, as similar to the Westminster or Augsburg Confessions. Baptists have always accepted the Creeds (apostles, Nicene) and have also had a confession of faith since 1677, at least the branch that came out of England that amalgamated the teaching of the Anabaptists with the Puritans.

  145. I do not have trouble with expecting denominational employees, outside of doctoral level teachers, being expected to affirm the doctrinal statement in detail. It is a different issue when one is dealing with professors in a university or seminary who must have a modicum of academic freedom to explore ideas and to teach graduate level students about alternative concepts and approaches to theological issues, so that they can deal with questions they encounter while in ministry. But I do have trouble with asking any Baptist to sign a creed, which is what it has become.

  146. Dee, do you really feel that there is no such thing as good authority? Is spiritual anarchy really the teaching of scripture? Does God not ever delegate certain roles to anybody? Is it really impossible for God to create positions of authority for the good of those under them and for God’s own glory?

    I think there can and has to be a distinction between selfish manipulation and godly leadership.

  147. God is our authority through the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the saints in congregation.

  148. Anon1,
    About the authority of elders and the KJV: I think every time I say “authority” you hear “control that dominates and tramples.” There is no such thing as a church with no authority anywhere. All churches have a polity, even if its fully democratic (in which case, every member has a portion of the “authority,” but the actual control rests in the hands of members who are the most influential due to non-spiritual reasons). I think that it is relatively reasonable to say that those who have devoted their lives to the service and teaching and leadership of the church should have a say in the decision process. The people who invest their lives in the work should get a say, imo. Otherwise, they are the ones getting trampled by abusive authority structures. They don’t necessarily have to be dictators to have any authority at all: The problem is with the “Moses model” of leadership where the pastor is spiritually sanctioned by God and nobody therefore has a right to question him. My dad was an elder in this type of church, and all that meant was that he was actually allowed to give advice to the pastor, who was free to ignore it without consequence. That is dangerous. But also dangerous is giving an equal vote to every person who’se willing to show up on voting day even if they never darken the door of the church for the rest of the year. Good authority has checks and balances, but no system is perfect. For any system to work, all participants must practice spiritual maturity and mutual submission, but since there’s going to be a system anyways, it should be intelligent. Let the leaders lead, and don’t muzzle the ox.

  149. Miguel
    There is a difference between godly leadership and authority. Leadership is earned by those who are truly felt to have the concerns of those under them as their 1st heart. When I first started this log, I defined my thoughts on true authority It was called IN HONOR OF TRUE AUTHORITY and it was based on some insights I gained while I watched my daughter qualify for becoming a firefighter. Here is a link. We probably agree on quite a few points.

  150. Miguel –

    Many churches don’t function with member participation. There are different reasons for this. Some of the problem lays at the congregations feet for not participating. Some of the nonparticipation problem lays at the feet of elders and pastors who don’t understand and teach what Jesus exemplified.

    Authority is the wrong word and concept. It suggests a “ruling over” model of leadership. A better word would be responsibility (maybe). Those who teach, preach, elder, administrate, etc. are responsible to fulfill a function (action) and will be held accountable for what and how they do this – to God first and foremost – and to the congregation they lead (if there is participation). If there is no participation then there is often abuse of these functuions. We must remember that the church is to function like a body – one part does not rule over any other part, and Jesus (who has ALL authority) rules over all the parts.

    Do you really think there would be such a thing as spiritual anarchy if the church functioned like a body with every participating? And participating would mean serving one another with the particular gifts that God has granted to each of us. Mutual submission can work among those functioning in a local congregation. It is a heart attitude. It’s the same attitude that Jesus had and demonstrated. We just don’t see it often in the Church in America. The “business/authority/the buck stops here” model has taken over much of the church in the US. Is this because of poor translation of scriptures and wrong teaching and sin all mixed together? Probably. But when will it stop or change? Should we just all move along and say “it is what it is?”

  151. ” I think every time I say “authority” you hear “control that dominates and tramples.” There is no such thing as a church with no authority anywhere.”

    True, because they practice the worldly view. What is missing is the teaching on the true “Head/Body” metaphor where the Body is the source of life for the body. But the Gentile model is not for the Body of Christ. All worldly systems eventually go toward the worst aspects…..leadership? A good thing? Too much power or recognition is a huge sin trap for that same leader. We are not to model those systems. In scripture the word leader means “stand before” as someone who has been there done that. They have been through the fire.

    Jesus Christ is the authority.
    There is no Christian caste system although many would like for you to believe there is. Jesus told us He was sending the Best Teacher: The Holy Spirit. So, why do we think it is someone with a man conferred title? We should recognize a “pastor” because it is a “function”. Not an office. Teacher is a function. As is elder…the spiritually mature who have been refined by the fire of sanctification.

    It is the single hardest premise for Christians to grasp and one reason they never really fully embrace the freedom in Christ AND the Holy Spirit’s guidence. They have been taught to look toward man.

    Just think if TRUE pastors would encourage new believers to study on their own, question everything they are taught, pray for illumination from the Holy Spirit, etc, the pastor would be out of a job quick! Because people would be maturing spiritually.

    So quick, tell me who is the “leader” of the Corinthian church? The Philippian church? Colasse? Surely the letters are written to them since they are so important. :o)

  152. “metaphor where the Body is the source of life for the body”

    oops, the HEAD is the source of life for the Body.

  153. Arce:

    I am sure that you are aware that every professor at Southern Seminary who has obtained Professor status, since the Seminary’s founding, is required to sign the Abstract of Principles, one of the seminary’s founding documents. The founding faculty – Boyce, Broadus, Manly and Williams actually referred to it as a creed.

    With all due respect, the more you talk, the more you make clear our disagreement.

    You have said that a person who did not believe in the Virgin Birth is still a good Baptist, and that you would not prohibit that person from serving in denominational employment, whether a prof at a seminary or what have you.

    In your last comments you said that you would not require doctoral level teachers to agree with the denomination’s confessional statement.

    I clearly hear where you are coming from.

    But the SBC decided that you cannot have a denominational seminary, funded by the people in the pews, who are training the ministers for the next generation without confessional agreement.

    I understand that you see it differently. I truly do. I understand that many academics see it differently. But there are lots of schools and colleges in the US that do NOT believe in confessional accountability.

    The CBF agrees with your approach, as do the divinity schools at dozens of other universities.

    But the SBC has decided, wisely, in my view, to require confessional agreement by its professoriate.

    Some of us may disagree on the contours of that confessional agreement, but you and I clearly disagree on the requirement of confessional agreement.

    I am not fussing at you. But it is very clear that you and I disagree on this point.

    That’s why you and I can do lots of things together, but one of them ought not be to try and run and seminary.

    That’s what Baptists were trying to do for a while, and it did not work. The SBC decided to go the confessional route. The CBF went the other route.

  154. Anon1 @10:22pm –

    The whole series was great. One other point, besides what you mentioned, that caught my attention was how Darrell suggested that this teaching of Paul’s probably came from (and he referenced it) Jesus’ teaching on true leadership and serving.

    As a side note – today I was musing about how Paul knew about specific teachings of Jesus? The Gospels were already written? He heard the teaching by word of mouth? The Holy Spirit revealed these things to him? I’ll look up some dates 🙂

  155. Miguel, the best way to describe this is that a true “servant” in the body of Christ who is mature would never seek “leadership” in the way we think of leadership. Their “leadership” would conists of standing before as those refined by sanctification.

    Think “servant” not leader. And there is no such thing as servant leader. It was simply coined as a marketing tactic to attract a newer generation to church back in the 80’s.

    We are not talking about muzzling the ox. That is to give “double honor” to those who work hard in the Body. (It is also NOT about money, after all, who gets paid single honor?) Let’s define work hard from a biblical perspective and not our American Western definition.

  156. Dee
    The post I linked to is very old and is formatted strangely because we had to take it from an old blog format to today’s format. Pictures are missing and paragraphing is off. But, I just reread my words and decided I really meant it.

  157. I have been a member of a church, with two Ph.D. pastors, that operated on a true congregational model, with great success. The paid staff would be present to answer questions at the monthly business meeting, but would not reveal their desires or wishes as to the outcome of any issue, so as to avoid undue influence. The deacons did not do church business and generally refused referral of any issue to them for recommendation, with but few exceptions related to the spiritual health and condition of the body. There was a lay moderator that moderated the business sessions and there were lay committees that managed personnel and budget, etc., and made recommendations to the church. The staff did not serve on committees and would only attend if asked, except for a calendaring committee which set up emphases for worship and education, and as an advisor to the nominating committee that filled all positions except the deacons. Deacons were nominated by the congregation and a congregation selected committee interviewed the nominees and made recommendations to the church members who then voted on the nominees. The concept is that the body, being priests as believers, in prayer, would make good decisions for the body. It also allowed the staff to focus on building up the body, ministering to the needs of the congregation together with the deacons, and avoid the little issues like the color of the wall paper in the sanctuary. It was a vibrant place with lots of lay attendance and participation.

  158. BTW, that church gave 20 percent of undesignated offerings to outside the church mission activities (e.g., cooperative program), collected generous designated offerings for international, U.s., and state and local missions, held ESL classes, welcomed people of all ethnicities and backgrounds, and taught and preached from the Bible twice each Sunday, on Wednesdays, and in one or two week-long Bible studies each year.

  159. Miguel –

    Jesus was well aware of the authority structure among the religious and worldly realms of his day. Do a study of the gospels and what Jesus said about leaders of his day and compare that to what He taught and lived. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. Be a Berean and look. The Holy Spirit will reveal the truth 🙂

  160. Dee, when it comes to Pastoral authority I really think, based on that post, that we are in nearly full agreement. Pastors aren’t divinely commissioned to boss people around. But we’re talking past each other with our terminology: That isn’t authority; it’s position and tyranny. When I have been saying authority, I meant True Authority, earned respect, mature leadership. But I would put a qualifier before “earned respect,” because some people will never give a pastor respect unless he caters to them. The pastor needs to have the freedom to do his job without every member getting a say in what he says, what he does, and how he leads. This has to be balanced with the face that all pastors need to be accountable to somebody in order to ensure that the job gets done at all.

  161. Anon 1; Yes, pastors absolutely MUST be men who have proven their trustworthiness and maturity. Scripture is pretty clear on that requirement for both elders and deacons. There’s a reason they must be trustworthy; so that they can be trusted with certain responsibilities which are authoitative in nature. The very act of preaching is authoritative: it is giving a the interpretation of a Biblical text. It’s not authoritative in that you must believe this or else, by all means, read your own bible and test it for yourself. But its authoritative in that he is not responsible to preach in a way that nobody objects to. This is not possible. Certain other godly, responsible leaders should be in the position to hold his teaching to within certain parameters, aka “orthodoxy.”

    The “head/body” metaphor: Nobody is disputing this clear teaching of scripture. Leadership, however, is not synonymous with power: The whole idea of servant leadership is using what power, influence, and ability you do have for the benefit of others. Everybody has some power, influence, and ability. We shouldn’t deny leaders the ability to do good simply because others will use that ability selfishly: A better idea is to keep the selfish leaders out of the positions and give the means to work (for example, time in the pulpit) to those who have demonstrated a servant’s heart.

    It’s not about a caste system. Giving the pastor, or elder(s) the authority to carry out their responsibilities does not give them higher standing before God or greater infallibility. It’s about letting them do the work they need to do without the pressure of having to make everybody happy.

    Sure, there is no teacher that can compare with the Holy Spirit. Pie in the sky. Anyone can say “The HS taught me this!” Am I morally obligated to accept every “Christian’s” opinion as from God?

    Yes, Christians have freedom. God hasn’t given shepherds to CONTROL them, but to lead and direct them. To give the guidance, help, example, and teaching which ALL have the volitional right to either follow or ignore.

    Yes, pastor and teacher are functions, not offices. Elder and Deacon are clearly offices, and they are the ones tasked with the teaching, preaching, and to lead in shepherding (I say lead because all should participate to some extent). In most church polity, the Pastor is an elder. Some churches have multiple, some one.

    The pastor would not be out of a job if he encouraged believers to study on their own and follow the Holy Spirit. That is ridiculous. What do you think a pastor’s “job” is? To preach, lead in worship, distribute the sacraments, care for his members, and disciple them. Teaching people to read the bible for themselves and pray for illumination IS their job. Many pastors don’t do this, but the solution isn’t to give authority to no one and have a congregation full of little Popes.

    When Paul wrote epistles, he often addressed “The elders” specifically, but it has nothing to do with them being more importance. That assumes that if they had any authority it must have been of the worldly kind. The epistles were intended to be read aloud as exhortation to the entire congregation. Except Titus and Timothy. Those were addressed to leaders, who even had the authority, according to Paul, to appoint elders.

  162. Bridget2: Responsibility is the crucial component of true authority. A leader only needs enough authority to fulfill his responsibility. He is not responsible for the actions of everyone in the church, therefore he doesn’t have that kind of control. I agree that Pastors are accountable first and formats to God, and secondarily to their congregation. But how does that work? Does everyone in church have the authority to correct the Pastor? Every congregation has its policies and proceedures. They ought to be intelligently thought out and intentionally implemented to protect people on both ends from abuse.

    The CEO business model of authority in the church comes from the Moses model of church leadership: Congregational pastor as dictator. It was promoted strongly by Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapel types, and then commandeered by the church growth movement for its efficiency with little concern for its spiritual consequences. But the authority to decide and hold accountable lies somewhere in every church: Either in the congregation, the pastor, the elders, the board, or the bishop. There is no “lets all submit to one another” option. Decisions don’t make themselves. The ability to make some decisions is not dictatorial; its functional.

    Bridget, I have exhaustively studied the NT teachings on church polity. Jesus NEVER rebuked the authority STRUCTURE of the religious world of his days: He rebuked the CHARACTER of its leaders, and their hypocrisy. Many theologians (Including one Pope!) have concurred that the earliest church, being majority Jews at the time, modeled their leadership structures after the Jewish synagogue, with a plurality of elders.

  163. Arce: You describe a good example of well worked out congregational polity with a system of checks and balances. This is what congregationalism originally was intended to act like before the “Moses model” was invented. But the premise behind it is: God speaks through the body as a whole, therefore a vote of all the members is always the best course of action for determining what is most healthy for the body. I would prefer the Presbyterian approach that says the proven, godly servants and leaders in the church, who have invested their lives in the people and proven their trustworthiness (elders, both lay and staff) make the decisions because they have demonstrated more wisdom than the average Joe in the pew. Non-presbyterian churches that adopt this approach call it the plural elder model of congregationalism. It has its weaknesses too, but I think it is overall a more reliable way of finding good answers, solutions, and decisions than letting everyone have a say. Majority rule is what it is, but in Presbyterian polity, every grievance gets its day in court. Justice is never guaranteed, but there is a structure that checks and balances all authority structures. Decisions are never made by one person, but by councils. These councils also answer to somebody, either higher councils (regional) or the congregation itself.

  164. Miguel,

    I have no objection to limiting business to “elders” if by elders we mean all members of the church who are adults and have been Christians for some period of time (?five years?) and not some that are appointed by the pastor (makes the pastor a CEO!). Another qualification might be having been a member of that particular church for a year or two. BTW, the church I referenced above sought out the young adult members (20s and younger 30s) and enlisted them as committee members after being there a year, and some as deacons after two years. I served as chairman of the personnel committee at 33 after being there two years, and was elected a deacon a year after that. A woman was chair of the nominating committee before she turned 30 after being there three years, and did excellent work in that role.

    Sorry about this term, but. That church was “religious” about praying for guidance by the HS before every vote and at the beginning of every business meeting and it was not perfunctory. Good decisions were made on a regular basis, sometimes on faith.

    So, if by elders you mean the spiritually mature members of the congregation, amen, let us have elders governing the church. Otherwise, I am a convinced congregationalist.

  165. Arce:

    You describe a very good model of “one-man, one-vote” type congregational polity.


    Some of what you describe is appealing, too.

    My concern is that often where there lots of votes on everything is that you end up with the potential for divisive politics. If 50% plus 1 carries the day, and anyone can move for an item of business to be taken up, the potential is there for great discord.

    As an example, we have one member who is constantly wanting us to become more reformed. We don’t have meetings where he can stand up and argue about this or put it to a vote. He must first come to the elders and ask that the church doctrinal statement be changed. The elders have to be unanimous on that suggested change, then we have to take it to the congregation.

    This method has kept a great deal of peace in our congregation.

    I also have a concern about outside groups telling a church what to do. So I don’t like the Presbyterian model.

    We have a model that works well for us. We have lay elders, the pastor is an elder, and they make recommendations to the church on all business. Nothing comes before the church for a vote without the unanimous recommendation of the elders. There are also committees that include elders and other lay people.

    Like Arce’s model, the staff are not on committees and are not elders. I believe that as employees there is a conflict of interest in a staff member also serving as an elder or on a committee. They give input, but don’t vote on matters. We allow for the pastor as an elder because he is an elder first and foremost. He recuses himself from salary discussions except for staff evaluations relative to those.

    The pastor does not pick the elders. That is a very bad idea. The congregation nominates and the elders nominate, and we take the nominees through a process of prayer and study for 3 or 4 months.

    We only have 12 elders. They serve for life unless removed. We add elders as needed.

    We really don’t decide all that much. Most of our meetings are oversight. We decided the salaries last month.

    We help with overall spiritual direction, shepherding, and management.

    It is very low key.

    We would never take any action of significance without discussion, an agreed upon plan after debate, and the putting it to the congregation.

    The places I have heard where elders are a problem is where the pastor hand picks his buddies or the wealthy members or where the staff dominates the elder board. In either of those settings, the congregation can get really bad leadership.

    Ironically, the pastor can also get really bad advice if he picks his friends or relies on staff underlings. He may never get the strong, lay voice that he needs to hear.

  166. Miguel –

    You are putting words in my mouth that I didn’t say. I didn’t make a statement about Jesus rebuking anyone. I probably didn’t use the right word when I said “stucture.” That being said, what do you think Jesus was saying in Mark 10:42-45 about authority?

  167. I went to a lay elder led church for years. No thanks. I prefer the old style SBC business meeting where even the church jerk has a say and a vote. Democracy is always messy. And there is accountability because everyone gets a copy of a detailed budget and not trusting a handful of men who start loving their title and position. Usually that ends up corrupting in many ways but it can takes years for the pew sitter to know.

  168. “When Paul wrote epistles, he often addressed “The elders” specifically, but it has nothing to do with them being more importance.”

    Give the instances and their context. Not all the NT churches had elders. That is a huge fallacy taught out there that there was one church structure taught in the NT that always includes elders. Not true.

    Frank Viola has done some great research on this. See his article, Straight talk to pastors

    Check his declarations in this article. Very interesting look on this subject.

  169. Bridget,

    I guess I misunderstood you somewhat. I don’t think Jesus is speaking directly to the issue of authority in those verses: I believe he is trying to help the disciples see what true greatness is. Nonetheless, the book of Acts gives plenty sufficient examples of the Apostles making authoritative decisions on behalf of the church. The point is that they should, like Jesus, having authority, not “lord it over” others, seeking their own personal gain, but instead, they use what they have sacrificially in the service of others. How could Jesus tell his disciples not to lord their authority over others if they didn’t have any authority to abuse to begin with? Why would he bother telling them not to do a sin they weren’t capable of?

  170. Miguel
    Although I think I know what you are getting at, I also know the Bible tells slaves to obey their masters. Could it be that he was accommodating the culture, not endorsing it?

  171. Anon 1,

    Paul addresses elders specifically in 1 Peter 5. Not every letter addresses them specifically, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t exist. Anything he writes to the church generally would apply to them too, anyways, because they weren’t like some special sort of exempt class.

    And don’t worry, I’m not convinced that the NT teaches one specific model of church polity. In fact, I dogmatically oppose that! As a Lutheran, we believe that polity ought not be the distinguishing mark of the church, and there is freedom within the Biblical guidelines of ensuring men of character are positioned to use their gifts effectively. (service, not power). Sure not every church had elders right away, but Timothy and Titus were commissioned to APPOINT them, which meant that these men had significant authority themselves.

    Presbyterianism is more dogmatic about a specific polity, though there is even great diversity among them. I don’t agree with them completely, but I think we can learn from the principle of ecclesial connectiveness and layers of accountability.

    Thanks for the Viola link! I love his writing, and I’m always up for a good book on the subject. Just scanning through, this looks like it will scratch my brain for a bit. It doubt I’ll agree with all of it, I’m strongly against anti-authoritarianism, because I see the NT constantly encouraging all to submit to authorities over them. Authorities are encouraged not to give up their position, but to use their responsibilities as a platform to serve others. This “no authority but Jesus” bit is simply baloney: It’s a Christianized version of “nobody has the right to tell me what to do! I hear straight from God, I don’t NEED your voice.” Please. God sends people into our lives to tell us what we won’t hear from Him. Yes we are free to ignore their voices, because the don’t have control over us, but that doesn’t mean they have no authority whatsoever. I personally benefit greatly from the authorities in my life, they are actively involved in helping me grow spiritually and avoid many pitfalls. Sometimes we disagree, and sometimes I disobey, and sometimes I’m even right! (rare) Just because I have the right to ignore them and not follow their admonitions doesn’t mean its necessarily in my best interests.

  172. Arce,

    Indeed, in many Presbyterian churches, the “Book of Order” requires the elders to be selected by the congregation. Others have the elders or deacons recumbent new elders for the congregation to vote on. I’m sure there’s a denomination out there where the Pastor chooses the elders, but that typically only happens in Baptist churches. Presbyterianism is all about due process, checks and balances, and accountability flowing in all directions. And yes, these would have to be seasoned Christians and not recent members. Yes, young people often do the best work in these positions, because of the vigor they bring. It is essential to hav the young and old working together in leadership so we can have both the wisdom of experience and the strength of energy. Multigenerational or bust, i say!

    I am not opposed to the term religious, because I don’t think there a living soul that’s not religious about something, even if its only football. I consider myself a highly religious person, and the whole “spiritual but not religious” is the most laughable phrase ever coined.

    Some churches really do congregational polity well. My problem is, when churches are autonomous, it opens the door for all kinds of entrepreneurial exploitation. You don’t see any Ed Young’s or Mark Driscolls in denominational churches, do you? Of course not! They go it alone so they can do what they want. I think it can be helpful for congregations as a whole to be accountable to the larger body of Christ outside their specific fellowship. We’re all in this together, after all.

  173. There were disagreements in the church that I was once in, but they were handled respectfully, every one was heard and almost always the vote was not close. Through the process, the church became closer and knew how to handle disagreement without being disagreeable. Most often a solution was found that met real needs without being harmful to any interest. The only issue that was really hard to resolve was when the wall paper at the front of the sanctuary had to be replaced. Two mothers with near future brides had different ideas about the color it should be. A committee was appointed with the two mothers and their bride-to-be daughters on the committee without vote, and three other mothers of recent brides. They managed to find a color that would satisfy both sides, ecru.

  174. Anonymous:

    I have searched so hard and disappointingly not been able to find a church polity immune to politicization. I think you’ll have better luck trying to find a sinless man (there’s at least one of them, for sure!).

    There’s always one member who wants to be more reformed too 😛 He needs to go to a reformed church instead of trying to make a non-reformed church change to accommodate his perspective. Or, just accept that some churches embrace a spectrum of perspectives on predestination and don’t require their members to embrace one extreme.

    Any method that keeps peace scores points with me. But I don’t see that groups outside the church having input is always a bad thing. In the Presbyterian model, the group outside of the church includes members of the churches. Basically, elders from all the churches in an area get together to form a higher council which settles disciplinary disputes, coordinates outreach efforts, and settles doctrinal disputes. In the PCA, for example, I believe the highest authority, in the end, is at the congregational level. The denomination cannot confiscate their property or force them to do a whole lot besides teach correct Presbyterian doctrine (which, if you’re not doing this anyways, you really shouldn’t be in their group.)

    Your model sounds diversified, integrated, and healthy. In fact, it is remarkably similar to the Lutheran church where I work. …and we have exactly 12 elders too… Do you go to my church?

    Yes, pastoral cronyism is never good. Some people don’t want to ever hear dissenting opinions. There’s nothing you can do to help a church like that. I had to recently leave one.

  175. Dee, your interpretation could most certainly be correct. I could attend a church that taught it that way, though I’m not fully convinced of this interpretation. Very possibly true, imo.

  176. Miguel
    You are a nice person. You handle disagreement well and you are honest, as well as kind. Kudos!

  177. I think Paul tells slaves to obey their masters not because he believes any political system is perfect/satanic, but because the mission of the Gospel is not a primarily political one, but spiritual. To say that the Gospel liberates all people all places from all Authorities is to look to Jesus for the same things the Jews did: Political deliverance. Jesus is about delivering slaves from their own personal sin, not their masters. If that happens to, it is a good thing, and an implication of the gospel being received by their masters. But the primary goals are forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. They are the starting point from which other political structures can be derived, though they will always be imperfect. Jesus didn’t come to fix all our problems.

  178. Miquel:

    Thanks. I don’t go to your church, though it sounds like I would enjoy it.

    There is no outlet for politics in our church. May have been in the early, early days. But once the congregation adopted a doctrinal statement, appointed elders etc., things rock along consistent with that.

    To make a change on anything significant, it has to be presented to the elders first, then recommended unanimously to the congregation.

    As I said above, all of our meetings have agendas that are followed. There just would be no way to “hold forth” on a topic.

    Our church has been this way since its founding and people are informed of the polity when they join. I guess if a person did not agree with the way our church is, they would figure out that trying to create change through politics would not work at our church.

    Of course, the criticism of our polity is that change cannot occur too easily.

  179. Miguel –

    I’m not sure where we aren’t connecting on the authority issue. I just view it a bit different than you. I certainly don’t feel like I can’t or don’t or won’t receive input in my life from mature, trustworthy believers who know me. I could also be quite tainted to “authority” because of personal experiences in the churches I have been involved with. I do know that most of what I have seen and experienced in my Christian life in regards to leaders has not been congruent with what Jesus said about leaders. When I read Mark 10:42-45 I see Jesus saying that the disciples should not have authority over others as the gentile rulers do, but should instead serve others.

  180. Miguel – Not sure I’m getting your comment on being against anti-autoritarianism, as by default, authoritariamism is about power being in the hands of the few and the few controlling the many.

    As someone who has more experience with authoritarian churches than I would ever wish on anyone… I have to think that maybe your terminology is clouding the issue a bit? Or else I’m not getting what you’re trying to say? (Or both, maybe?)

    Also, I’m wondering if you are LCMS, since I noticed that you refer to “men” as opposed to “people/persons” when talking about leadership positions… no hard feelings if so (I know some wonderful LCMS folks), but I am over in the ELCA. 😉

  181. And Miguel… a lot of people who comment here have had terrible experiences with abusive, authoritarian churches and the people who run them. (You may well have noticed that already, but I think it’s an important emphasis of this blog.)

    At any rate, I do appreciate your graciousness and the dialogue that’s been happening.

  182. If the SBC would open there eyes they would see they are missing a wonderful opportunity to cash in on women who would enroll in their seminaries and colleges to become “Pastors”.

    Now wouldn’t that be something…..

    ( I see them thinking now, hmmmmmm more money?~~~~~~~~~

  183. That leads to another ethical question. How honorable is it for seminaries to train women as pastors, using federal student help, when too often these students when they become graduates have very few churches that will hire them. I’m a retired seminary prof, but when I was employed as a professor this one used to keep me up at night.

  184. Barbara,

    Exactly why I posted that comment. I wonder the same thing and know for a fact they commit fraud while using this deceptive practice.

    If it benefit the cash flow, somehow it is OK.

    Now where is the “Biblical principles” in this?

  185. Barbara:

    That’s a good question. My understanding at Southern is that all of the programs are open to all students, but that they do have academic counsel for the students. I have heard the leadership say that they would not prohibit a student from any academic track, but that they would say something to them along the lines of letting them know that a career track in that field may not be good for them.

    I understand, if the press is to be believed, that this may actually be a problem in CBF circles. The CBF has many women studying to be pastors, but so far hardly any pulpits for them when they get out. I am sure that the CBF folks do not mislead these women either. I expect there is the expectation that something will open up.

    I believe as time goes by that will happen more and more, so I don’t think is it a permanent problem.

    Another outlet that I see is for new churches to be started with women pastors. I really do not understand why that is not being done. Grab a core group of 20 or 30 people who are committed. Start with a young articulate female pastor, and go for it.

    This happens all the time with male pastors. Church planting is a big thing nowadays.

    I simply do not understand why this has not caught on with the young women who want to pastor.

    Of course, I don’t know all that is going on, so it could be happening and I don’t know about it. But I sure don’t hear about it.

  186. This current tack in the conversation makes me want to bring up my previous comment again, from up yonder a ways.

    I hear things about male students walking out of the classroom when a female makes a presentation (a sermon, a speech, etc.), until she is finished.

    Similarly, Amy commented above (Wed, Jan 11 2012 at 04:17 pm) that friends who have attended the ETS conference say that “when women present, some men in attendance–who have a free choice which sessions to attend–stand up and spend the entire presentation with their backs toward the speaker.”

    I’m just dumbfounded how behavior like this is tolerated. Is it considered a form of democratic free speech (the right to protest), therefore it is allowed to go unchecked?

    I wonder — do such meetings (in the classroom, at a conference) request that the audience silence their cellphones out of respect for the speaker and those listening? If so, why don’t they see fit to request that those in the audience simply give the speaker the courtesy of not walking out on them, and AT THE VERY LEAST not standing up and turning their back on them while they speak and present.

    No one is offended by the request to silence their cell phones. People are generally happy to comply, and bristle when it turns out someone has not extended the same courtesy with their cell phone. If people are offended by the request to treat all speakers with equal respect and common courtesy, then behavioral standards & expectations are embarrassingly low.

    That is to say, only low for some. Amazing the behavioral latitude that “men” are given in this context.

    (As ridiculous as it sounds, seems they need to be told that standing up and turning one’s back on someone while they are speaking is obscenely rude, and it is only christians who would ever go this far and be tolerant of it.)

    I hope that someone who is in a position to be heard can wake these “christian” groups up with some remedial explanation of what politeness, kindness, respect, and decency look like in their public presentation events. And perhaps it can be elevated to the importance of silent cell phones.