Christianity Today’s 50 Women to Watch

"This list is hardly the last word, but it recognizes the growing public role of Christian women in our movement and culture, and suggests the ways they are shaping our future."

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Taken by Deb

Reading the latest issue of Christianity Today

I just received the October issue of Christianity Today, and I was excited to read the words on the cover – "50 WOMEN TO WATCH".  Sarah Pulliam Bailey, an online editor for CT, explains that in order to create the list, she asked dozens of evangelical leaders the following question:

  "Which Christian women are most profoundly shaping the evangelical church and North American society?"

Bailey and her colleagues tabulated the results and came up with a list of 50 women who clearly stood out.  Here are some of names I recognized:  Anne Graham Lotz, Beth Moore, Joni Eareckson Tada, Rachel Held Evans, Joyce Meyer, Carolyn Custis James, Lynne Hybels, Kay Warren, Condoleezza Rice, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Elisabeth Elliot, Margaret Feinberg, Christine Caine, and Priscilla Shrirer. 

The "50 Women You Should Know" article begins with these encouraging words:

"Christian women who want to pursue influential roles in politics, the church, and other sectors of public life in the United States and Canada have never before had more opportunities to do so.  As the following profiles in our cover package show, they are taking advantage of those opportunities in spades.  It's not just a golden moment for Christian women, of course, but for the entire church, as we benefit from the fruit of their manifold gifts. 

Not that long ago, this cover package would have been inconceivable…"

What was surprising to me was the absence of certain names.  You know, the Calvinista women that we sometimes mention here at TWW.   It certainly appears that the Christian leaders surveyed do not consider them to be influential in shaping the church and society. 

Bailey acknowledged early in the article that tensions exist as women strive to exercise their leadership skills.  She writes:

"Denominations and particular churches continue to argue about the appropriate role of women — whether they can teach men or be ordained, for example.  Others debate how best to understand Scripture's description of the role of women in marriage.   Some raise concerns that by recognizing women who find a voice in the public sphere, we may be subtly denigrating the work of stay-at-home mothers."

Perhaps Bailey was anticipating the criticism she would receive for putting women in the spotlight.  It didn't take long for one of those critics to emerge…  Denny Burk, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, chimed in several days ago.  He introduces her as "Sarah Pulliam-Bailey".  Why the hyphen?  Nowhere in Christianity Today or the Her.meneutics blog is Sarah's name hyphenated.  STRIKE ONE… (Note:  I copied Burk's post into a Word document earlier today.  Sarah's name had a hyphen at that time.  I see that Burk has since made the correction…)

Burk, who sees the world through his complementarian-colored glasses, writes:

"The article doesn’t include much of a discussion about differences among evangelicals about gender roles. Even though there are both complementarians and egalitarians on the list, the article seems to assume an egalitarian framework. In general, it regards high-achieving women excelling in their respective fields as something to be celebrated. Make no mistake, everyone celebrates women excelling in roles that the scripture commends, but egalitarians continue to disagree with complementarians about what those roles are. In short, the report highlights the influencers without trying to sort out the differences that complementarians and egalitarians have over these issues."

Why is he so focused on 'complementarians'?  These gender gurus have a one-track mind!  STRIKE TWO…

Lastly, Burk opines about one of the 50 – Rachel Held Evans – labeling her as a "non-evangelical".   In this interactive community known as the blogosphere, Rachel Held Evans chimes in on Denny Burk's blog with the following response:

"I identify as evangelical – like it or not.

Committed to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.
High view of Scripture.
Always reforming.
Faith is very personal to me, but also has implications for the world.

Visiting churches currently – Methodist, Episcopal, Bible

Also, I don’t think there is anything wrong with celebrating high-achieving women excelling in their respective fields. And it makes me sad that you do."

Even after receiving the above comment on his blog, Burk writes:

"Yes, I stand corrected. My speculation that she would not self-identify as an evangelical was incorrect. That being said, it is very apparent that we have different opinions about what an evangelical is, and I still don’t think she is one."

STRIKE THREE!  You're out!!!

This is a perfect example of why there weren't many complementarians on that list of 50 influential women.  Burk and his ilk are extremely narrow-minded, and the more they promote their beliefs about the gender gospel, they more they alienate themselves from their brothers and sisters in Christ.  The Calvinistas have done so much proof-texting with regard to gender that they have created another gospel, which is NOT the true gospel. 

Andrew Caldwell posted a comment on Denny Burk's blog that reflects the view of your TWW blog queens.  He wrote:

"I think the main problem here is that those who hold to a complementarian view seem unwilling to acknowledge that those who hold to an egalitarian view derive and come to that position by study of and reflection on the scriptures – they are more interested in characterizing egalitarians as “swayed by the culture”, even when egalitarians explicitly explain how they came to their conclusions scripturally."

Burk quickly responded with these inflammatory words:

"The bottom line is that egalitarians interpret the scripture incorrectly. I don’t pretend to know all of the reasons that they embrace the error. I’m sure the reasons are as diverse as the adherents. Whatever the reason, I do believe that it is an error and needs to be called such."

I find it absolutely astonishing that Christianity Today, which brought so much attention to the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement six years ago is now being criticized for not kowtowing to the Calvinistas. 

Thank you Sarah Pulliam Bailey and the CT staff for encouraging Christian women to use their God-given gifts like those featured in your wonderful article 50 Women You Should Know.  I know one of them personally, and she is a tremendous inspiration to me.  May Christian women, who have been held back by the gender gurus, seek to please an audience of one, Jesus Christ.

Lydia's Corner:   Exodus 30:11-31:18   Matthew 26:47-68   Psalm 32:1-11   Proverbs 8:27-32

Comments

Christianity Today’s 50 Women to Watch — 175 Comments

  1. With regards to Denny Burk’s response and his comments about celebrating high-achieving women. He says everyone celebrates women excelling in roles scripture commends, but what does this imply about excelling in other areas? He seems to be saying that women who excel in other areas are wrong (unless you’re on the complementarian speaking circuit, I guess). So is he suggesting any achievement by women outside the home is bad?

  2. "Make no mistake, everyone celebrates women excelling in roles that the scripture commends" – Burk

    I have some idea of the roles he means, but if he say everybody celebrate them, where is his list of 50 great American Christian women?

    As for "roles scripture commends", here are a few of them:

    * Teaching people how to follow the Lord (Mat 28:20)

    * Witnessing (Acts 1:8)

    * Prophesy (1Cor 12:10)

    * Governing (1Cor 12:28)

    But sadly, some, like Burk, do not like "women excelling in roles that the scripture commends"

  3. WTH,

    In response to your question about Noel Piper, the answer is NO.

    Others who did not make the list are:

    Dorothy Patterson

    Nancy Leigh DeMoss

    Mary Mohler

    Mary Kassian

    Carolyn Mahaney

    Grace Driscoll

  4. Thankful for Christianity Today's article.

    I've stopped reading guys like Burk b/c they seem full of themselves and have an answer for everything….first it's "male fail" – now it's "she's not an evangelical". What are "approved" roles for women? I'm guessing not a Prime Minister, Secretary of State, a Madame Currie, doctor, lawyer, etc.

    I do know that if it wasn't for women, the church in Asia (where I live and work) would be small! It's most often the women who step up and witness and lead….there are few men. So…if these women just sat back and had an "I"ll let the men lead" attitude….the church would still be struggling here… The whole complementarianism thing is so culturally biased…..enough said….I've got a whole rant on this. 🙂

  5. I was going to suggest that the wives of Calvinists could never make the list because if they did they’d have to have been doing stuff Calvinistas don’t want them doing. I skimmed the list. There were a few on there (Meyer) that I was hoping wouldn’t be on the list.

  6. I’ve noticed in the comments to Burk’s article that he refuses to answer a number of posters, using the excuse that they haven’t given their first and last names in their comments. Outside of the fact that I have issues with requiring commenters give their first and last names, it seems that Denny is using this as a very weak excuse to dismiss some pretty pointed critiques of his article (for example the comment of Mabel 3/4 of the way down the page, which compare’s Burk’s approach to the Pharisees).

  7. Burk basically proved Caldwell’s point with his response. He also seemed to imply that egals KNOW what they believe is wrong, but believe it anyway for some emotional reason. I’m also not sure why he would want the article to be about comp vs. egal, when it was clearly labeled as being about the women themselves, not any debate about them. And the list of women is hardly one-sided – I don’t think anyone would describe Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann as screaming egalitarian liberals. But they are certainly influential! (Scary as that may be in light of their connections the NAR…)

  8. “I’ve noticed in the comments to Burk’s article that he refuses to answer a number of posters, using the excuse that they haven’t given their first and last names in their comments.” – Pam

    I am rather sorry that I did give my first and last name in a comment on his blog. I commented on a thread there some months before. One of the commenters asked for a sourced quote to prove what I said. I provided it. He deleted the comment with the sourced quote. As such, my commenting there made me look like I make wild allegations which I cannot back up.

  9. Wow, that’s quite a discussion going on over at Denny’s.
    And Denny’s attitude, “There’s one right way, the way that I have decided that is God’s way,” is very revealing.
    I’m glad to see a few friends over there commenting.
    I simply don’t have the patience.

  10. WTH,

    Agreed, I wish Joyce Meyer wasn't on the list. When we covered the Word of Faith gurus back in January 2010 we did several posts on Meyer. Here is one of them – Giving New Meaning to "Heavenly Throne"

    Dee also wrote a post about Beth Moore for which we have been roundly criticized by her followers.

  11. Mara,

    Yes, there is quite a discussion going on over at Denny Burk’s blog. 

    For those who want to chime in but refuse to abide by Burk’s ridiculous requirement of providing your first and last name, feel free to post your comment here.  Anonymous commenters are always welcome at TWW.  😉

  12. What people are realizing is that the Calvinist appeal to Biblical roles is nothing more than 20th century sexual politics with a heavy emphasis on Western Puritanical gender-role traditions…all wrapped with a pretty bow of shameless proof-texting and highly presumptive interpretations. It is so obviously self serving as well, which makes it that much more pitiful.

    Women have every right in nature and God and the constitution to choose their OWN roles according to their OWN desires. This is being both a Christian and an American. How dare anyone tell a tax paying contributing citizen that the “church” has the authority to tell them WHO THEY ARE!

    This is unacceptable. Women…always, always resist this kind of propaganda. It is chattle slavery dressed up in religious lipstick.

  13. Pingback: Christianity Today's 50 Women to Watch | The Wartburg Watch 2012 – Charismatic Feeds

  14. WTH/Deb

    Because the correct women were not included, Christianity Today will now be seen as some liberal rag bordering on heresy. Mark my words at this moment. I feel a “prophesy”coming on. There will soon be an all out assault on the editorial direction of CT.

  15. Jen

    Well, it is obvious that those churches in Asia have not found the Mark Driscoll solution. Install a brewery, institute cage fighting and then have a room in which women are taught pole dancing as part of their entrance requirements to join the church. Problem solved!

  16. WTH

    I am no fan of Meyers. But, I have to admit that I got a giggle when I saw her name on the list and not Mark Kassian’s. Can you imagine the rage in the Calvinistas circles?!

  17. Numo

    What I like about CT is its ability to offend just about anybody at one time or another. Remember, they put on Meyers and Bachmann but look who they left off. Trust me, hackles are raised all over the place! I love it.

  18. Mara

    Denny Burk is just another ho-hum Calvinista who is contributing to the losing war of the patriarchs. He will be studied, years in the future, along with Strachan and Driscoll, on how not to do it. Seminary classes will have giggles while discussing this nonsense.

  19. The conversation at Burk’s blog is fascinating. So many good comments, comments that deserve answers that are curiously (or maybe, predictably) absent.

    I find it incredibly sad that Denny Burk cannot celebrate the good work of those women who are acting outside of HIS prescribed roles for them, even though they are leading people to Christ. According to Denny, they are not doing Kingdom work. This leads me to wonder if Denny Burk has a golden phone in his office with which to contact God, since he seems to have this special insider information about who or who isn’t doing Kingdom work.

  20. This is a perfect example of why there weren’t many complementarians on that list of 50 influential women. Burk and his ilk are extremely narrow-minded, and the more they promote their beliefs about the gender gospel, they more they alienate themselves from their brothers and sisters in Christ. The Calvinistas have done so much proof-texting with regard to gender that they have created another gospel, which is NOT the true gospel. -Deb

    Awesome, Deb!! I love this post. Thank you for your commentary on the feature article. While there are four or five women that I’m disappointed to see on the list, I am immensely grateful that CT went with this – and even better that Calvinistas didn’t make the list. 🙂

  21. everyone celebrates women excelling in roles that the scripture commends

    I hate it when they talk like this. I know there is a word for this kind of thing but I can’t think of what it is. I find the psychological effect difficult to describe, but I don’t like it.

    Anyone know what I mean?

  22. anonymous –

    He must leave out the qualities and accomplishments of the woman type in Proverbs 31. There isn’t much she was excluded from. I imagine he would find many men in roles today (if he openened his eyes) that he does not find in scripture seeing how scripture was written in a different culture and time in history.

  23. For better or worse (and I say worse), many otherwise sensible and knowledgeable evangelical women admire and look up to Joyce Meyer. I think this is because there really haven’t been many high-profile, orthodox examples of women in leadership for us to follow, so when a Joyce Meyer appears on the scene many are willing to overlook her unorthodox teachings. It’s an unfortunate vicious circle: women are discouraged or prohibited from developing and exercising leadership roles and gifts, so there is a lack of role models to follow, which in turn causes many to say and do things (like latching on to Meyer’s prosperity teaching) that perpetuate the patriarchs’ stereotypes (easily deceived, emotional over rational, unorthodox, etc). This is not an excuse but an observation. We must teach our young women to be discerning, and we must find ways to expose them to better role models and real teaching rather than the fluff the bookstores market to us. Just my two cents…

  24. When I’m incensed about something I’ve read and feel moved to leave a comment, I have absolutely no problem also leaving my legal name. I want people to know who I am at that point. If they go to the trouble of looking me up, they’ll see the first hit on my legal name (on Google) goes to a website where I’m described as a “religious bigot” by a space alien cult (third hit on Bing). Frankly, I think that’s as good an endorsement as anything.

    Otherwise I use a nick.

  25. Michelle Bachman was a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), which has very rigid gender roles. Women are not allowed to vote or even speak at a meeting, because their words may influence how the men vote, and WELS considers influencing as exercising leadership. To run for president, Bachman had to resign from WELS because it believes that the office of the pope is the Antichrist, and this doctrine is very offensive to the Catholic vote.

    I find it deliciously ironic that Michelle Bachman is now listed as a women of influence.

  26. The reason there aren’t many comp women on the list is simple – if you’re a comp woman you’ve been brainwashed to believe you have nothing important to teach men so they marginalize themselves.

  27. I didn’t know that about Michelle Bachman.

    I know about the Missouri Synod with sounds like the Wisconsin Synod.
    The Missouri Synod drove my mother-in-law absolutely crazy with their strict gender roles and denying women any say. Drove her crazy.
    Joyce Meyer was a breath of fresh air in comparison for the old, dry, dusty cage of her Luthren church.

  28. The Missouri Synod drove my mother-in-law absolutely crazy with their strict gender roles and denying women any say.

    Wait. Really? The LCMS is draconian like that? Do they allow women to vote and speak? I’ve never heard of the WELS. It sounds awful.

    I’m not Lutheran but I’ve been listening to some LCMS guys online (Radical Grace Radio, for eg.) and been blessed and encouraged for the most part by them. I haven’t heard them talk at all about women, per se so I don’t know where they stand. I would be very disappointed to hear LCMS is oppressive like that. 🙁

  29. When I was attending an uber-complimentarian church (SGM), I recall that one of the biggest controversies in our college-age group was whether women should go to college. No seriously. This was a big fight. A dear friend of mine even went so far as to move away from home in order to get a graduate degree, and is was a tad scandalous…This was also a big issue in most of the calvinista churches I interacted with.

    All that to say, I can’t help but think there’s a correlation between complimentarians discouraging women from getting an education and there not being prominent calvinista women on this list. If you aren’t being encouraged to use your talents and intelligence in your late teens and early 20s, you most likely aren’t going to reach a point in your 40s and 50s where you are truly influential…

  30. How can one be a prominent female Calvinista complementarian? It is a since for any man to read or listen to such and a sin for her to be heard by a man!!! So they cannot, logically, have a prominent female of any significance — contradiction in terms.

  31. Amy,

    “I think this is because there really haven’t been many high-profile, orthodox examples of women in leadership for us to follow, so when a Joyce Meyer appears on the scene many are willing to overlook her unorthodox teachings.”

    *******

    Go easy on the use of the word “unorthodox”. Not a word to throw around casually.

    In keeping with what the genie (Lennie Henry) said to Bernard (Allan Cummings) in the movie Bernard and The Genie,

    “Say the words “I wish” with the caution you would normally reserve for “Please castrate me.””

    (did the italics work?)

  32. Ryan M,

    Maybe one day young CALVINISTA wives who are buying into this patriarchal system will wake up and realize the terrible injustice done to them by their –

    (1) religious leaders
    (2) husbands
    (3) parents

    It may not happen until they are in their 30s or 40s.

    I’m so glad I have been able to “educate” my daughters about these CALVINISTA leaders before they get married.

  33. The LCMS is VERY complementarian. Concordia Seminary in St. Louis is an LCMS seminary, which states that “Since the LCMS does not admit women to the pastoral office, none are enrolled in the Master of Divinity or the Doctor of Ministry programs.” Women, your call is denied by the LCMS.

    Also listen to Prof. Joel Bierman from Concordia Seminary in the Lay Bible Institute Seminar tiled “LBI: Woman and Man According to God’s Plan”. You’ll find it on iTunes at iTunesU – scary.

  34. Southwestern

    How incredibly cool-you are deemed a bigot by a space alien cult??? Awesome. Can I get them to do that for me? It would fit so well with my conversion story.

  35. Teri Anne

    I did not know that about the Wisconsin Synod. The Pope is the AnitChrist? Wow! This could make a great post.

  36. Arce

    You, of course, are being logical.They are not. They shimmy between authority for men and women leaders all the time. So long as the women are saying that men only are in charge, they like them. Then, there are some, who carry a big, fat checkbook into the fray and they are given dispensation as well.

  37. Special shoutout

    Last evening, an anonymous TWW commenter joined me at my Bible study group. I continue to be amazed at the caliber of faith and intelligence found in our readers. It also served to prove to my Bible study friends that I do not write all the comments! 🙂

  38. Dee –

    They couldn’t possibly think that all the comments are written by a few people could they? Unless the few are all geniuses. They think very highly of you Dee and Deb! As they should.

  39. Bridget

    I bet that most of the people over there are using assumed names.That’s what i would do. 🙂

  40. I know the good ladies of this blog have mentioned it previously, but the hypocrisy of the women “leaders” in the TGC, Southern Baptist, and SGC camp is hard to overlook. They have no problem traveling all over the country to speak at conferences. They teach classes at the seminaries. They write books. Who do you think looks after the kids, cooks the meals, and cleans the home when these things are happening? I can guaran-damn-tee you it’s not the submissive, Stepford wife they all claim to be.

    They paint an idyllic picture of home life, a carefully crafted caricature of what a woman should be, then they do everything but that when the opportunity to make a buck comes along. And lest the men get off the hook, how many of them “worked the fields” during their seminary training? You’ll lose count of how many seminarians are in the library while wives work grueling hours to make it all work. Of course, that doesn’t matter when it’s time to stand behind the podium or write the latest book.

    And while I’m ranting, it says a lot about the quality of education at a place like SBTS when the NT professors spend more time writing confused ramblings about gender roles than actually writing, researching, and teaching about the NT text itself.

  41. A complementarian Calvinista wife has the most powerful argument in the arsenal possible, special pleading. 😉

  42. The MO Synod: I think it depends on where you live, and on the members of individual churches. They’re likely most tied to gender roles, etc. out in the Midwest – in the East, not so much (at least, that’s been true of the MO Synod churches I’ve visited).

    The Wisc. Synod is (dare I say it) cult-like. One of their big ranting points used to be the Boy Scouts – they have long believed that the BSA is an ungodly organization and used to excommunicate members who were found to be involved in the BSA, or, as some of them called it, “Scoutism.” (*Not* an urban legend or Lutheran folklore; Google a bit and you’ll find info.)

  43. @ Jeff, anonymous, Mara and Teri Anne:

    Don’t be too hasty about the LCMS. At my LCMS church no one ever even mentions gender roles, let alone harps on them like at many of the other officially complementarian churches. We have full voting rights, we can read in church, submit prayer requests in church, etc. Plus most of the moms have their own careers and send their kids to public school – there’s only been 2-3 homeschool families (one of them us) that I know of in the congregation’s history – so the culture is hardly patriarchal.

    Now I can’t speak to what they’re teaching in the seminaries. Also, my church is in New England so maybe we’re in some sort of ultra-liberal enclave. But I’ve never heard of widespread patriarchal teaching in the LCMS and never seen anything published by the denomination that really harped hard on the gender roles thing. Honestly they seem much more concerned about baptism most of the time. (I’ve also never heard of Joel Bierman.)

    WELS, on the other hand…well, let’s just say I’m sure that gets ugly pretty fast…

  44. @ Numo:

    Our LCMS church hosts a Boy Scout troop in its basement. They’re also right nextdoor to a Masonic lodge, which is even funnier given that the denomination as a whole is still pretty leery of the Masons.

  45. Hester – you’re in the northeast, not the midwest.

    That’s likely one of the reasons you’ve never heard any of the things Jeff and others have mentioned.

  46. @ Dee:

    That thing about the Pope being the Antichrist is still in the official LCMS doctrinal statement, too, but nobody I’ve ever seen has ever even alluded to it. Ever. Where I’m at it, it seems like some kind of outdated relic that no one has yet bothered to bureaucratically remove. But then again, maybe they care about this more outside of New England.

  47. Hester – see this article for more on controversies between WELS and LCMS on Scouting and many other things. I did not know that the most rabid anti-Scout statements came from the LCMS, for example…

  48. @ Numo:

    “You’re in the northeast, not the midwest. That’s likely one of the reasons you’ve never heard any of the things Jeff and others have mentioned.”

    That’s sad. Is this why a 30-something seminary graduate from St. Louis showed up in our Sunday morning Bible study last month and used the word “winsome”? If so, I’ll likely have more than a few things to say about that.

  49. Dee and Deb:

    I saw a post on Rachel Held Evans, but did not read it thoroughly.

    I know that you don’t agree with Burk’s not classifying her as an evangelical, but could you in one or two sentences tell me what Burk’s issue is with her?

    It seems that Burk would not de-classify all women who hold to egalitarian beliefs.

    I don’t know Evans or her writings, and I don’t know Burk, but am interested in what Burk says puts her outside the evangelical camp.

    The SBC is kind of funny in this regard. In the old days, Baptists were evangelical, but did not use the label all that much. A former Moderate leader in the convention, Foy Valentine, who was head of the Christian Life Commission (which Richard Land directs now) said that “Evangelical” is a Yankee word, and he would not use it to describe himself.

    So, during the CR who was or who was not an “Evangelical” was a non-started. Ken Chaffin, for example, who taught at Southern and would consider himself very evangelistic once told a woman of another faith on national television that she needed only to “love God and her fellow man” to go to heaven. In the same broadcast, Chaffin said that a rabbi friend of his who was not a Christian was going to heaven.

    If “Evangelical” had been a prized term in the SBC in those days (instead of a “Yankee” word), I guess men like Chaffin would have considered themselves Evangelicals, though the self-designation would have been hotly contested by others.

    But as I said, we never had that fight.

    Therefore, it is interesting to me to see the fight over the word.

    So, why does Burk doubt Evans’ “Evangelical” credentials?

  50. Hester – you might want to look up “Seminex” (short for Seminary in exile) and find out about the controversies in the LCMS during the 1970s. I think that will explain a lot.

  51. Bridget

    Many of them read and several of them comment. It was a joke I made with all of them that was centered in a joke Deb and I had when we first started this blog. Deb, as a joke, would keep visiting the site so the hit counter would go up and then call me and say “Look, we have 100 hits now!” It drove TGBC nuts!

  52. hmmm…. wondering what exactly is the intent in Denny Burk posting as such. it was obviously provocative.

    –was it to put himself in the spotlight? (maybe — but it sure makes him look bad. why do this voluntarily?)

    –to test public opinion? market research? (kind of doubt it)

    –mere thinking out loud? (think there was much more behind it)

    –putting out some kind of bait laced with poison of some kind? (i can’t shake the thought that this post was intended for use as some kind of weapon of warfare concerning the comments he knew it would generate.)

  53. I’m curious, when did the SBC start to hijack the term “evangelical”? I am admittedly not all that familiar with the history of the SBC, but I’ve observed that many of the voices coming out of the SBC and representing them have espoused the view that the SBC’s position on any issue is the ultimate, or “True”, evangelical position. I find this quite puzzling, given that there have been 100s of years of evangelical history that the SBC seems to completely disregard – history of supporting women in ministry, which, I’m sure, would cause men like Denny Burk to cast doubt to whether those evangelical churches were truly “evangelical” in the first place.

    In one sense, their audacity is almost humorous (almost), at least when I consider that my own evangelical undergraduate institution has been around for over 120 years, supporting women in ministry since its inception (and unabashedly in full support of today, even with one quite large Calvanista church mention here often just accross the canal) – juxtaposed with professors from Boyce College (an institution that has been around for all of…14 years?) questioning whether anyone who has egalitarian views could really be considered “evangelical”. The nerve!

  54. Anonymous

    They believe that she is a liberal. They combine her egalitarianism with her obvious hope that those who have not heard the word of God might be saved in some fashion (John Stott believed in optimistic agnnosticism in this matter and her questioning of biblical inerrancy. Inerrancy is a difficult question because most churches would say that the Bible is inerrant in the original manuscript. I have always though of that as a cop out statement anyway, since we do not have the original manuscripts. I have always thought that, if God wanted us to have those manuscripts, He would have made it so. But, I digress.

    Evans is a bit more liberal than I am in a few doctrinal areas .However, I do not believe she is a universalist. I think she questions the doctrine of hell but so did Stott who eventually became an annihilationist. So, that, in and of itself is not a game change.

    I truly believe that it is highly likely that conservative theologicans are miffed off because she called Jared Wiolson, Doug Wilson and Mark Driscoll on the carpet. I know that many were mad that she caught the Wilsons in that infamous statement. I told Deb at the time that payback would be coming, and so it has. 

  55. hester

    There are many evangelicals who claim Catholics are members of cult. I have had a few past friends who have spouted off that nonsense about the Poper being an AntiChrist. I do not put  up with it and call them on it each time. So, it simmers along. Jimmy Smryl of FBC Jacksonville did a sermon in which he said that Catholicsim is a cult. He should talk!

  56. Hester

    The Masonic thing is a joke as well. Although I disagree with their belief system, most of the guys who belong do so for the camaraderie. These days they are more like the Elks club. My father was a member, and it makes me giggle when Christians see a conspiracy there. My father used to go to have a couple of beers, some yucks and come home. He really liked his ring. Its a country club for non-country club members.

  57. Dee – for the LCMS to hold to that, though, in their official doctrinal statements, is to … well. It’s painfully fundamentalist, in a way that Luther likely never intended.

    The LCMS has a checkered history. (I know, I know – I’m ELCA, so all you LCMS people can hate me if you want to. ;))

  58. Dee – someday I’ll write to you off-list about the things I was taught re. Freemasons in That Church (and others).

    Conversely, the ELCA church in which I grew up has plenty of Masons in the congregation.

    Basically, many see it as outrightly demonic, not just a conspiracy or weird secret society. That thinking is part of many LCMS members’ beliefs.

  59. Darryl Hart (OPC) wrote a book a few years ago laying out a case that when you do historical research without trying to gin up a Religious Right political narrative, you’ll find evangelicals historically have tended toward as many or more progressive cqauses as conservative ones. Since the Religious Right began there has been an accepted narrative that evangelicals vote Republican when this has not been particularly true across the history of evangelicalism in the United States as a whole. If the archetypal evangelical in high office were considered George W. Bush now in the 1970s the options were more Jimmy Carter and Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield. Hart’s book includes an interesting chapter about Religious Right historiography called something like “The Search for a Useful History”. Hart is hardly a liberal on anything but he’s laid out a case that the leaders of the Religious Right need to be more honest about how much their political history actually squares with the history of the United States. His writings also suggest that the attempt to recreate a Reagan Coalition is likely to fail because the Reagan Coalition included Reagan Democratics, and appealed to a disparate base of anticommunists, traditional conservatives, and libertarian interests that have gone in different directions since the end of the Cold War. It’s not hard to see that the anti-communist stream that backed Reagan simply transferred their concern about communism onto Islam and anything politically to the left of them inside the United States.

  60. The MO Synod: I think it depends on where you live, and on the members of individual churches. They’re likely most tied to gender roles, etc. out in the Midwest – in the East, not so much (at least, that’s been true of the MO Synod churches I’ve visited).

    At my LCMS church no one ever even mentions gender roles, let alone harps on them like at many of the other officially complementarian churches. We have full voting rights, we can read in church, submit prayer requests in church, etc. Plus most of the moms have their own careers and send their kids to public school – there’s only been 2-3 homeschool families (one of them us) that I know of in the congregation’s history – so the culture is hardly patriarchal.

    Now I can’t speak to what they’re teaching in the seminaries. Also, my church is in New England so maybe we’re in some sort of ultra-liberal enclave. But I’ve never heard of widespread patriarchal teaching in the LCMS and never seen anything published by the denomination that really harped hard on the gender roles thing. Honestly they seem much more concerned about baptism most of the time.

    Numo and Hester,

    So it sounds like it’s maybe more of a regional thing, then? Maybe then the issue is more cultural?

    The guys I listen to on Radical Grace Radio are in Florida and the other guy, whose name is escaping me at the moment, I want to say Mark Anderson, but anyway he is in California. That’s pretty much the extent of my experience with all things Lutheran and my experience with them has so far been mostly positive. I too am in the North East (somewhere!) and as far as I know there is only one LCMS church anywhere in reasonable radius of where I live. There are a few ELCA’s though. I’ve never even heard of WELS before.

  61. WELS is a Wisconsin thing.

    Due to the fact that people who are Lutherans came from many countries and (originally) spoke many different languages, there were tons of small Lutheran synods across the US that started associating (or DIS-associating) when they made the switch from their native languages to English.

    I am from an “old” Lutheran family, being PA German – my ancestors came here in the early 1700s. Most LCMS, WELS and other Midwestern Lutheran are descendants of people who cam to the US in the 19th c. There are some big cultural differences between, say, Scandinavian Lutherans, the German Lutherans in the Midwest, and PA German Lutherans, too… But if you look at the doctrinal statements of both the WELS and the LCMS (on their official web sites), you’ll start getting a feel for their overall take on things.

  62. WELS is hardly a Wisconsin thing. I live in Arizona and the five closest church buildings* in distance are (1) Southern Baptist (2) United Methodist (3) LDS (4) LDS (5) WELS.

    *I have to say it that way because each Mormon church building has an average of three congregations meeting in it and I haven’t bothered to check lately to see how many are meeting in the two buildings nearest my house.

    Every time I drive by the WELS church and elementary school, I think to myself: “yeah, this is the same church that gave us Michele Bachmann,” “they still think the Pope is the antichrist” and “I wonder how much that fancy colored message sign cost?”

  63. @Hester @ 2:45

    Since Lutheran churches are congregational, there can be a fair amount of diversity among congregations of the same synod, but the overall thrust of the LCMS is very much comp, but its good to see some congregations resisting it. as numo noted, look up “Seminex” and you’ll see that there was a conservative piece of the LCMS seminary much like the SBC did with theirs.

  64. @ numo,

    Your analysis is on the mark. I grew up in the Southeastern corner of Wisconsin in the town of Racine right on lake Michigan. The Lutheran population there is primarily Danish and they carry much of their tradition from the old country. The church I was raised in is a beautiful old neo-gothic structure of granite & hardwood well over a century old. It’s on a bluff overlooking Root River and if lightning crackles just right while you’re on the 6th St. Bridge, it will flicker like an archetype of spookiness.

    My father was a Mason and back in those days it was no big deal. As Dee has pointed out, it was just another boys club really, nothing to go into a tizzy over. As I’ve written before, the obsession with a demon under every rock in some quarters of Evangelicalism is not much more than 40 years old.

  65. Numo
    They are just a bunch of guys playing dress up, secret handshakes and doing some charitable work. If these are the guys who are going to undermine the faith, then Christians can sit back and file their nails!

  66. Muff
    I knew we had many things in common. I think I have my dad’s 32 degree ring. I am keeping it so, when the Masons begin their evil campaign, I can pretend I am on their side. I vouch for you. 😉

  67. Correction – Jeff @ 4:45

    I meant “conservative purge of the LCMS seminary much like the SBC did with theirs.” Darn autocorrect

  68. We’re talkin’ Mr. Peabody and the way back machine here. When I was a little kid, Lutheran pastors still wore the Cassock on high holy days.

  69. I truly believe that it is highly likely that conservative theologicans are miffed off because she called Jared Wilson, Doug Wilson and Mark Driscoll on the carpet. I know that many were mad that she caught the Wilsons in that infamous statement. I told Deb at the time that payback would be coming, and so it has.

    I think they are also a bit miffed because she gets way more commenters on her blog than many of these conservative guys. And she’s only a woman. It’s just so unseemly that a mere woman would be of such influence. How dare she be a leader among evangelicals? Honestly, I think many of these guys are just plain jealous of her popularity.

  70. Leila
    You bet Evans gets more commenters. For example, Flashing’s essay at TGC only received about 16 comments. Most of her posts have small numbers. Now, I know she refused to publish some of the comments. She considered the few comments that she did receive heat(she stated that on Burk’s post)! Her buddy Kamilla averages 0-1 comments. I’ll show them heat.

    The majority of TGC come nowhere near Evans comments, or even ours, for example. Our post on Evans is approaching 400 comments. This past week Thabiti, who challenged the pants off the TGC, has about 150 comments at this point. We will discuss this on Monday. Denny Burk averages in the single numbers except when he decided to go after egals.

    TWW caused a minor ruckus over at 9 Marks when we featured one of their articles on some sort of discipline thing or another. With those guys it is always discipline and they do not get many comments either, unless we or others “notice” them.

    I am actually becoming more aware that these guys do not have as much as a forum as we may be led to believe. This may portend poorly for their agenda. They may be losing in the court of public opinion. That may be the message that we can take away from the CT article.

  71. I am actually becoming more aware that these guys do not have as much as a forum as we may be led to believe. This may portend poorly for their agenda. They may be losing in the court of public opinion.

    Thank God.

    I hope you’re right!

    I had no idea they got so few comments. ‘Course, I don’t read their stuff at all….

  72. Dee:

    If you read all the Calvinista justifications for “official” church membership, one of the main reasons touted is to facilitate “church discipline.” We must have DISCIPLINE.
    Seig Heil!

  73. Great post Deb and I’m grateful and encouraged that you & Dee have seen through the web of deceit that encompasses complementarianism. I agree with your acknowledgement of it being a central theme in a different gospel. Since the gospel is, by nature, the revelation of Jesus Christ, those promoting complementarianism as being necessary and fundamental to a true understanding of Jesus Christ are only revealing their lack of revelation. And this is why such a tension exists between the two views. It’s a spiritual battle. I know from my experience in SGM that there are strong forces at work that are literally resistant to the Spirit of God, operating in the lives of people who have substituted complementarianism for the gospel. Thankfully people are being warned to stay away from these blind guides. Their inability to see the truth may be punishment enough if it weren’t for the fact they seek to bring others into bondage.

    Complementarians like to play by a different set of rules in their own lives, with the wives of leaders enjoying liberties they disparage in other women (like those listed as influential in CT) under the guise of them operating in submission to and with the full support & approval of their husbands. If a woman is not given the stage by a man then she is out of order. If given the stage, everything she says is to bring him glory and nothing is to be done to advance herself. That’s what it means to be a woman of influence according to Carolyn Mahaney. She can’t have any influence unless her husband gives it to her – and ladies, neither should you!

  74. Dee & numo,

    One of the grand ironies concerning the founders of our Nation and the Bartonesque-ultra-orthodox-evangelicals who tout them as uber-evangelical Christians, is that many of them were high ranking Masons.

  75. “Michelle Bachman was a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), which has very rigid gender roles. Women are not allowed to vote or even speak at a meeting, because their words may influence how the men vote, and WELS considers influencing as exercising leadership. To run for president, Bachman had to resign from WELS because it believes that the office of the pope is the Antichrist, and this doctrine is very offensive to the Catholic vote.

    I find it deliciously ironic that Michelle Bachman is now listed as a women of influence.

    A lot of us here changed our minds about the groups/movements we were involved in. Perhaps she did, too. She sure “influenced” a lot of foster kids.

  76. TedS
    You know,a man sent me some documents from his church describing the function of elders. The FIRST item on that list was discipline. He asked my opinion. I told him to get the heck out of there immediately.

  77. Burk: Make no mistake, everyone celebrates women excelling in roles that the scripture commends…”

    Well, since Burk is a Calvinista then he believes in a determinst God who has decreed all things. So here are some women of the bible “excelling” in scriptural “roles”

    . Driving a tent peg into a man’s head

    2. Hiding Spies

    3. Cleaning out the pantry to feed the king and his men because your husband is a jerk who insulted him and is going to get the entire family killed

    4. Sitting under a palm tree and making judgments for an entire nation

    5. Demanding your personal maid sleep with your husband when you cannot bear a child

  78. Re the Lutheranism, I was astonished at reading some of the synod stuff. My experience of Lutheranism (admittedly limited) has been in Germany (the western side), where belief seems to be more liberal and controversies like these would be found baffling.

    Re Masonry, I tend to follow a middle view that most Masons do join it for the cameraderie (and, in previous decades, for mutual assistance and influence, though times have changed in the UK now), but that its belief systems are rather vague and don’t always sit easily with orthodox Christianity. In essence Muff is right, in fact – I would classify it more as deism, which was very popular around the 18th century in many countries. My understanding is also that most Masons (in the UK anyway) do not progress beyond 3rd degree.

    I visited the Masonic temple in London once and noted that a lot of the imagery is religious, partly based (from my impression) on an idea of what Solomon’s temple looked like.

    It also has to be said that Masons have endured a great deal of persecution in recent history – Franco, Hitler and the Soviets all disliked them.

  79. I would love to see him discussing this with several current Supreme Court judges, (including Judge Judy), one former and present Secretary of State, and many the contributors of this web site, in person.

    He would wither and start the Scripture clobber against all in the room.

  80. I am busy watching only one phenomenal Christian woman, who recently took a pay cut to work at a rescue shelter for the victims of family violence and their children, where she coordinates services for children and the parent there with them, all experiencing some form of trauma and temporarily homeless and at the shelter or have recently left it for another living arrangement. Hours range from before 6 am to be sure children make the school bus to 9 pm after evening programs, plus weekend events.

  81. @ Kolya and Numo:

    “Re Masonry, I tend to follow a middle view that most Masons do join it for the cameraderie (and, in previous decades, for mutual assistance and influence, though times have changed in the UK now), but that its belief systems are rather vague and don’t always sit easily with orthodox Christianity.”

    I know little about Masonry (National Treasure doesn’t count as a reliable source). ; ) I’m certainly not a conspiracy theorist, but you are right, I have heard they have some kind of “theology” that kind of goes against Christianity in some ways. I remember the name Hiram coming up? Please correct me if I’m thinking of something else.

    I do know the Lutheran church has come down pretty hard on Masons in the past. I don’t know if that’s just a Lutheran thing or if other denominations have done the same. And yes, Numo, no one at church talks much about the lodge nextdoor. : ) But they don’t exactly go over there and hand out tracts either.

    Also, I think the Masons must be suffering from a drop in membership like everyone else, because they’re now running ads on PBS…

  82. Addendum to Mason comment: I know someone asked that DD not be discussed anymore, but since the Masons came up, I do have to add that the weirdest DD site I found was a Master Mason’s wife who connected it somehow with Masonic “theology” (Order of the Eastern Star or something like that). And man, was she into it. Totally bizarro. She actually said her husband OWNED her. I’m sure she’s a complete aberration.

  83. Muffster; who are the noted founders that are Masons” (My Grandpa and Uncle were Masons but you wouldn’t call them evangelicals.)

    The Evangelicals I know think the country’s founders were not particularly orthodox believers; more likely a lot of them were deists. However, I certainly think our founders seemed to hold to a Judeo-Christian ethos. But they weren’t necessarily followers of Jesus Christ.

    I did attend a Mason’s funeral some years back. Notably; there wasn’t a Mason present under 65 years of age.
    The funeral itself was a syncretic mix of vague Christian doctrine and Masonic mojo. It was strange; certainly not Christian.

  84. @ Jeff:

    I’ve heard of Seminex and knew it was part of some larger kerfuffle. It’s been on my list to research for a while but I’ve never gotten around to it, what with patriarchy, etc. continuing to make inroads into my homeschool circles. Maybe I should make it a higher priority.

  85. @ Numo:

    That article/thesis about the controversies between the WELS and LCMS was illuminating. That “fellowship” thing in the WELS? Holy smokes! And I thought IFBs were the professional hairsplitters! WELS actually does think that if you don’t agree with them on literally EVERY minuscule point of doctrine, they can’t “fellowship” with you… I’d heard that before but I thought it was an exaggeration. I guess not. And the verse they based it on (Romans 16:17) so obviously has absolutely nothing to do with the direction they took it.

    Maybe this is why the WELS remains so small…and unknown…

  86. Dee:

    Thanks. It must be something more than what Stott believed. His is a big deal in evangelical circles.

    It may have to do with her view of scripture, but I am just guessing.

    I am not going to follow up because I haven’t really run into and doubt that I will, unless it’s on this blog.

    I have never seen the problem of referring to the original manuscripts when describing one’s view of inspiration. It seems to be a necessity, regardless of one’s view, inerrancy or otherwise, rather than a cop out.

    Of course if one believes that all of the books of the Bible were written with the Holy Spirit acting as the mediator and the writers were, within their own personalities, style etc., writing what God wanted them to write such that it was without error (that in itself is a mystery), one would have to be referring to the original manuscripts.

    If the manuscripts were erroneous, and then God came in and corrected them later when copies were made, that would seem kind of silly.

    So one has to address the manuscripts under any theory of inspiration by virtue of the nature of the discussion.

    I know one who claims to hold an error free Bible because of the differences in grammar, choices etc. that inevitably have to be made in translation when comparing the various texts.

    So I think it’s just inevitable. I don’t see how one could get around it.

    Inerrancy is the latest iteration of describing a view of inspiration that addresses the views that came in vogue after higher criticism became the rage in the middle of the 19th century.

    A large segment of scholarship rejected the traditional, high view of scripture that the church has held for most of its existence.

    Inerrancy was birthed to help people distinguish between the various views of scripture that find error and see the scripture as a product of man – as he saw what God was doing, versus revelation – God speaking his truth to man.

    These two camps inevitably end up in different places when it comes to the faith.

  87. hester – WELS is *so* fundy that very few people want to be part of it (imo). And I’m sure that *many* have left over the past 6 decades or so – gone to the LCMS, or what’s now called the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is an amalgamation of a bunch of the smaller synods from way back + one or two of the bigger ones).

    I am ELCA – kind of by default, since I wasn’t actively involved in the church when that change was made – and, at this point, very content to remain in the ELCA.

    Muff – were you raised in the WELS?

    SW Disc. – I hear you, but the fact that there’s a WELS church in your is somewhat surprising to me. WELS is a small synod and most of the members do live in the Midwest.

    Kolya – I think a lot of people who came to what’s now the US brought their ideas – and church controversies – with them. Welcome to America the Weird! 😉 As for Germany, that’s a whole different ballgame…

  88. Dee – My dad was a 32nd degree Mason, too. And my mom is Eastern Star, though she really hasn’t been active since the 1960s.

    The local E. star chapter meets in the fellowship hall at the church where I grew up. If those women were worshipping Baal (one of many claims made about the Masons and their women’s and kid’s groups), I have yet to see any evidence. 😉

  89. Numo

    OK Time for true confession.I was a Rainbow Girl and received my majority degree. That means I was a teen female version of the Masons and graduated in good standing. All we ever talked about was the rainbow being a sign that God would never again destroy the earth with water. Our secret sign and secret handshake were iterations on the rainbow. Real satan stuff, you know.

    I was bored to tears and kept signing up for the position of, I forget the title, the keeper of the outer door. If someone had to come in or out, I had to notify the keeper of the inner door with our secret rainbow password. Also, even if it was my best friend, she had to prove it was really her by giving me the handshake, secret sign, etc. We would always laugh really hard about it.

    Totally bogus and boring. But, because I was outside of the inner sanctum, I could read books during the meeting which I did. Also, our advisors always felt sorry for the outer door person so they were always giving me gifts like Avon Honeysuckle cologne and powder.Little did they know that I was relieved to be out there instead of falling asleep inside during these interminable meetings in which we had to repeat Scripture verses that discussed God’s rainbow.

    Now, I became a Christian when I was 17 and still keeping the outer door.If there was anything going on, I would have known about it. The only thing I was interested in was when our next party was with the Demolay Boys, the teen boy version of the Masons. There was this really cute guy…. so many years ago…

  90. “everyone celebrates women excelling in roles that the scripture commends,” – Burk

    Okay, Denny Burk, what are those roles, assuming the woman is not married and do not have children? What roles do the Bible commend for her then.

    I have an answer, actually. My answer is: The same things He tells men to do. Live for God, love her neighbor, use her gifts. They may or may not overlap with the gifts of another. Burk & co would say my answer is wrong: There are specific all-women roles for her. But what are those roles? I once asked it on his blog. He did not answer.

  91. Anonymous

    I hope I didn’t misspeak. The original manuscripts are only spoken of in terms of inerrancy, not inspiration.

    My point on the inerrancy deal is this. if it was vital to our understanding of God, He would have preserved them by protecting them prior to any errors in translating occurring. I hope I am making sense. I am a bit tired. He would not condemn us for misunderstanding something if the truth had not been accurately preserved.

    I prefer the terms inspired and authoritative. In other words, what we have leads us to salvation and we also understand what actions are right and wrong in most senses. (lying, killing, selfishness are bad; love, servanthood, prayer-good)

    That is why i get really bent out of shape on the emphasis on “B” issues. If God wanted it saliently clear, He would have made sure it was-just as he did with the Cross and Resurrection.

    Believe you me, Stott is quietly looked at as a traitor in some circles over the annihilationist and optimistic agnosticism pronouncements.

    As for declaring someone outside the faith, I think that is above my pay grade. I leave that sort of stuff in God’s hands.

  92. Dee – Boy, does all that secret stuff sound incredibly boring! 😉

    And here I thought you kids were planning your part in the apocalypse…

  93. A few other thoughts about “everyone celebrates women excelling in roles that the scripture commends” —

    Here are a few “roles” performed by women in the scriptures that were commended in those same scriptures:

    Publicly disobeying your husband by going to see him without his permission – Esther.

    Publicly disobeying your husband by intervening between him and the future king – Abigail.

    Reading aloud and answering questions about a letter from Paul in a meeting of the whole church – Phoebe.

    Leading a nation in a time of war – Deborah.

    Sitting a man down and explaining to him where he was wrong – Priscilla.

    Telling everyone in the Temple about what God said – Anna.

  94. “Make no mistake, everyone celebrates women excelling in roles that the scripture commends, but egalitarians continue to disagree with complementarians about what those roles are.”

    So if Mr Burk decides that a woman preaching (for example) shouldn’t happen then what? Is it impossible for a woman to preach successfully? Clearly this would be nonsense. IS it wrong for good preaching to happen if it is delivered by a woman? Clearly this would be nonsense too. Is God not glorified if a woman preaches faithfully and filled with the spirits power? Clearly this is nonsense as well. Is a woman preaching inevitably not spirit filled however faithful to scripture, and honouring to God it is. I suppose this must be the complementarian point, but it does rather seem like nonsense of the first water.

  95. Charis @Sat, Oct 6 4:34 PM

    I see your point. This is where the Calvinist/Reform clashes with the non-Reform Evangelicalism. Let’s say the Calvinists (we are all worms) camp is at the far end of the Penal Substitutionary Atonement spectrum, while the Faith-to-Wealth camp is at the far end of the Christus Victor (we are freed from Satan’s bondage by Christ’s death) group (didn’t want to write death and camp together – so switched it to ‘group’) means freedom from anything we don’t like. Both atonement theories, taken to extremes, produce weird theology and start to lose site of the centrality of Christ’s Ministry – to bring the Kingdom of God to earth – and then reign eternally. I accuse both Calvinism and the “health/welfare gospel” of focusing on what God can do me, me, me. Forgetting that, once in his Kingdom, we need to start living like Jesus – focusing on the poor, needy, broken and rejected of this world, using our blessings (great or small) to bring comfort to others – and seeing with the eyes of Jesus what he wants done. Too much theology gets in the way of the obvious – many of our super-leaders don’t live lives that even remotely resemble Christ’s, yet we flock to them, buying their books and reading their on-line ministries. Both Joyce and Driscoll look like they haven’t read about Jesus (with Spiritual eyes) in a looong time, too much jumping around the Bible proof-texing what they like.

    But, yeah, some of what each of them say can be OK to some Christians, but dying to self to let Christ be reflected in you doesn’t seem to be overly popular these days. If I saw a leader like that, that would be cool, I bet I’d forget to ask him/her about their atonement theories, denomination or any doctrine’s they adhere to, because, it would be irrelevant anyways.

  96. Well, it’s tomorrow here in the UK; I see you’ve all been busy while we’ve been asleep. May I be so presumptuous as to join in several strands of conversation in one uber-post before I disappear out into the garden for the day? (Friday’s ton of gravel duly arrived, but now it needs making into concrete; before that can happen, the various holes need to be dug in the right places, and before that can happen, I have to get off my rear end and do some Manly Man-work. I should probably try to sneak up on and kill some defenceless wildlife from 50 yards away using a projectile weapon while I’m at it.)

    I haven’t looked at CT’s list of 50 yet, but I wonder whether Heidi Baker is in there. (Don’t know whether she’d qualify as “evangelical” rather than “charismatic”, though – do I gather correctly that, for some/many in the States, the term “charismatic evangelical” is considered a contradiction in terms?) I came across an interesting quote, attributed to Baker, though I’ve been unable to verify it. With that caveat, it goes something like this: somebody asked her, who’s the godliest person you’ve ever met? To which she answered, you wouldn’t know her; she’s dying in a hospital in Mozambique. That’s plausible; certainly the Bakers spend much (or most) of their time among the poor of southern Africa. And I love the idea of someone who doesn’t just “graciously” dispense charity to those “poor simple folk”, but admires and respects the poor themselves.

    Charis / Val – I’m kind of with you there. Mindless triumphalism on the one hand, and filthy sinners unaffected by any new birth on the other, are not the only two alternatives! I’m always wary of flinging out scriptures in this context, because all of you have read the bible too, and you don’t need me to tell you what it says. But here’s on I find challenging, from 1 John 4:

    And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    OK; I could fashion the fear/punishment thing into a stick to beat the calvinistas who think the primary function of eldership is discipline. It’s the bit about “In this world we are like Jesus”, though. I know they didn’t have internet pornography in 1st-century Judea, but if they had, would Jesus have been as drawn to it (or sexual imagery in general) as I am? Did he get selfishly angry, like I do, about offences committed against him (as opposed to dens of thieves defiling worship and exploiting the poor at the same time)? And so on.

    Keith Green put it very well. He described seeing a bumper-sticker that said “Christians aren’t perfect… just forgiven!“. He could not accept that this was good enough: “No, ma’am, you can’t trust my Christian teenage son with your daughter; he’s not perfect, just forgiven”. Somewhere along the line, there must be a Romans 8 realisation (as in – hey, there is no condemnation!) that doesn’t just set us free from guilt, but from sin as well.

    I’m sure you all know the popular saying among motivational speakers and secular pick-n-mix religionists, that whatever the human mind can believe, the human mind can achieve. There is very limited truth in that. But if I understand God’s dealings with humanity, as chronicled in scripture, we can say this: whatever promise of God a person will believe, that person can receive. The trouble is that the converse is evidently true as well. Which presents me with the ongoing challenge: what promises of scripture am I refusing to believe, and watering down with theological compromise so that I don’t need to fight any fight of faith, but can just paint a target around whatever comes most easily and claim that it’s “God’s will”?

  97. Dee:

    I believe in everything that you said, except I am comfortable with inerrancy or the verbal plenary view of inspiration.

    It seems to me that in both the scriptures and the history of the church, the proper response of the believer to the word is reverence. Psalm 119 is masterpiece of reflection on the truth of God’s word. And think of how little they had at that point.

    I was raised in a high church Presbyterian church, and joined a Baptist church as the only member of my family when I was 16.

    The church in which I was raised has a very low view of Scripture. Some is true. Some isn’t. It is basically seen as a collection of ancient stories, most of which are untrue, but are there to build our faith. The results of this view are seen in the doctrinal positions of the church on very basic things like the nature of God, the need for salvation, the nature of Christ, whether the church is to follow the moral instruction of the NT.

    It is above our pay grade to judge the salvation of people, and I wasn’t saying or suggesting that.

    But the Christian faith is a content driven faith. It matters what we believe. We really want to be faithful to what Christ and His apostles proclaimed, and what God’s chosen before Christ came (the patriarchs and the nation of Israel) proclaimed.

    When theologians or the church abandon that, that should be called out of bounds and an act of unfaithfulness.

    I know that you agree. But that is what I was referring to.

    “B” issues are very different, and have nothing to do with the nature of inspiration or the great confessions of the church over the ages.

  98. I’m not a fan of “Calvinistas” and find them gender/sex obsessed (like much of our culture). However, if I were one of them, I would be glad to not be included on that list. Granted most of them hunger and thirst not after righteousness but after “using God’s gifts” aka. a theology of glory (to use Luther’s term) that ends up reveling in the wisdom and strength of men.

    Anyway, it is sad thing we have health-wealth, thought gurus like Joyce Meyers, nationalist militarists like Bachman and Palin and seeker-sensitive, watered down gospel-lite in Hybels and Warren. These are influential Christians? Thanks but no thanks, I’d rather be marginalized and voiceless than be on a list with them. Call me sectarian, but numbers, money, name-brand and legitimacy makes neither a Christian nor a manifestation of the catholic (as in universal) church.

    Of course, I’m not into the kulturkampf of the Calvinistas. Jesus Christ did not come to make 50’s styled American households with the Cleavers, He came to call and make disciples that would follow Him, even unto death.

  99. “Because the correct women were not included, Christianity Today will now be seen as some liberal rag bordering on heresy. Mark my words at this moment. I feel a “prophesy”coming on. There will soon be an all out assault on the editorial direction of CT.”

    This might happen, but often when one believes they have been misunderstood and unappreciated they can fall into a place of feeling that they are being persecuted. If they feel they are being persecuted then they feel like they are in fact doing the “correct” thing. Not being recognized in CT has nothing to do with persecution in my mind, but some may find it so and be proud that they are the submissive homemaker.

  100. RE: numo on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 09:35 PM,

    To the best of my knowledge it was not WELS. Back in the mid to late 50s, Lutherans got along with one and other (and with other faiths) much better than they do now. It’s a true paradox really, given the bad press about the 50s in general, but I’m convinced that in some areas of life people truly did live and let live in more tangible ways back then.

  101. Cal

    Excellent thoughts. Much agreement when you say…
    “He came to call and make disciples that would follow Him, even unto death.”

    And to be “One of His Disciples” it will cost you;

    A “Disciple of Christ” – Will…

    Forsake all…
    Follow Jesus…
    Hear “His” voice…
    Love not the world…
    Love not their own life…
    Just want to know Him…
    Count all things but dung…
    Always take the lower place…
    Do nothing apart from Jesus…
    Take on the form of a servant…
    Make themselves of no reputation…
    Count others better then themselves…
    Gives thanks for all things… All things? Yes.
    Deny themselves and pick up their cross daily…
    Count all the shame, “joy,” for what lies before them…
    Love the Lord their God, love their neighbors, love themselves…
    Forsake all power, profit, prestige, honor, glory, praise, recognition, reputation…

    A “Disciple of Christ” – Will NOT…

    Have any Titles…
    Honor themselves…
    Speak of themselves…
    Seek their own glory…
    Be called rabbi/teacher…
    Be called Master/leader…
    Receive honor from man…
    Lord it over God’s heretige…
    Exercise Authority like the gentiles…

    Peace…

  102. Dee – the endless nonsense about cornerstones and boundary stones in D.C. having been laid with Masonic rites – and what must be done to counter that influence – is a given at places like That Church.

    They are convinced that this is all about Baal worship (i.e., the worship of demons and such). Not sure if they’ve seen anything change since their last “prayer walk,” though… 😉

  103. Muff – I think you would remember if you’d been raised in a WELS church!

    They wouldn’t even pray (or have “prayer fellowship with”) other xtians back then, as everyone knows that you should *only* pray with people who agree with you on every single particular of doctrine. (See the article I linked to upthread, in a reply to Hester.)

  104. Dee & numo, I can prove with verse by verse Scripture that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim and he will be revealed as the anti-Christ soon after the Rapture which will follow closely on the heels of the election. Goto triple dubya apocalypseministriesnow dot org for details on how you can get my full DVD series for only 3 easy payments of $49.95!

  105. I love this Comp vs Egal debate.

    I get to dis-agree with both sides. 😉

    Comps are into Higher-Archy, leader-ship, which male is the leader.
    Jesus, asks His Disciples to model Lower-Archy, Servant-ship, Jesus is the only Leader.
    Jesus tells His disciples NOT to be called Leaders, “ONE” is Leader Christ Mt 23:10NASB.

    Comps are into “I’m the Pastor/Leader follow me.” Obey me. Pay me.
    Jesus asks His Disciples to “Follow Jesus.” Where ever Jesus goes.
    Jesus never asks His Disciples to follow “A Mere Fallible Human.”
    My Sheep – Hear My Voice – I Know Them – They Follow Me. Jn 10:27

    Egals “say” they desire “Equality” with the two genders – And that sounds like a noble cause.
    But – As I’ve questioned this debate – questioned women – My conclusion is…

    Most who desire the “Title/Postion” of “Pastor/leader” are NOT looking for “Equality.”

    They are looking for “Recognition.”

    They are looking for “Recognition” from “The Corrupt Religious System” of today.
    Egals desire the same “Titles/Postions” – Senior Pastor/Leader/Reverend – As the Comps
    But – Senior Pastor/Leader/Reverend is a “Title/Position” – NOT found in the Bible.

    I’ve known a few ladies that have the “Title” – and they still complain…
    “The male pastors do NOT respect me.” “The male pastors do NOT accept me.”
    “I’m NOT invited to the pastors meetings.” “I’m NOT part of “the Good Ole Boys Club.”

    Shhhhheeessshh – Why isn’t being…
    Kings and Priests unto God – The Bride of Christ – Servants of Christ – Sons of God…
    Disciples of Christ – Ambassadors of Christ…
    Good enough for us dumb sheep – why do we invent “Titles?”

    And – Ambassador – Is – The highet diplomatic representation
    that one sovereign power sends to another.

    If you’re an Ambassador of Christ – There is NO one in the Kingdom of God
    Higher than you – Of Course – There is NO one lower either – We’re ALL His lowly sheep…

    And there-in lies the problem with us “Mere fallible Humans”

    There is always someone who wants to be the Boss. Male or Female.

  106. @ numo,
    Then the answer is a definite no. The only real difference between say Pastor Sorensen and Father Doyle the Jesuit over at St. Catherine’s was that Pastor Sorensen the Lutheran was married and had kids. Lutheran churchmen, Catholic priests, and Rabbis all chummed together back in those days on various occasions. They drank brandy with gusto, smoked cigars, and played golf together. And to be quite honest? I had never even heard of the WELS sect until reading about it here at TWW.

  107. Muff
    I have my secret code ring and i will use it to protect Numo and you. Back to my nefarious secret meetings.

  108. Dee,

    The whole “Esther was a tramp” thing is becoming progressively more irritating (especially given the obvious parallels between her story and Joseph’s, diaspora narratives etc.) I’ll say here what I said elsewhere: He’s an eisegete who treats the Bible like his own ball of silly putty.

  109. Actually on topic — Burk still hasn’t answered several posters’ questions about what he thinks the proper roles of women are although I suspect a hint is contained in the fact that he featured Voddie Baucham.

  110. Hope you are all having a blessed Sunday 🙂

    Hester, thanks for your remarks re Masonry. It was actually a bit of a hot potato even in the Anglican church, as many Anglicans (especially evangelicals) felt that the two were incompatible. This did not prevent some clergymen who were Masons from going on to become bishops in the past. My own feeling is that for some men it is a mixture of mysticism and good works, although Masons officially stress that Masons are not bound to “convert” to Masonry in the sense that it is not a religion and that a Christian, Jewish and Muslim Mason would each retain their beliefs within the lodge – but neither would the three be free to discuss their beliefs, since (as I understand it) discussion of religion is banned in the lodge.

    The thing about Hiram is conflated from the rather brief mention of Hiram who worked for King Solomon on some of the temple work. A discussion of this can be found at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiram_Abiff

    Jimmy, thanks for including the link to the book on the Founding Fathers, which looks quite helpful. It appears to show a more nuanced views than some parties would have. An interesting counterpart to this is that at the same time as the American Revolution and birth of the USA, Freemasonry had become quite strong in Russia. In Russia perhaps this was the beginning of the drift of much of the upper or intellectual class from Orthodox Christianity, although ironically many went back to Orthodoxy on the eve of, or after, the Russian Revolution. Or perhaps one might consider Freemasonry as the religion of the Enlightenment, which affected both Europe and North America? Discuss 😉

    Re the Founding Fathers, there is an interesting site at http://bessel.org/foundmas.htm by a leading Mason on which is shown who and who was not a Mason (for those who signed the Declaration of Independence, those who signed the Constitution, and Continental Generals).

    Re inerrancy, I would actually probably find myself more at home with Anonymous’s views on the subject, though I think Bible scholarship including the original languages and a knowledge of the historical times is very important, certainly if one wishes to teach the Bible from the pulpit or in seminary. I probably tend to the approach held by men such as F F Bruce or J I Packer in that regard. “Fundamentalism and the Word of God” by Packer is (in my view anyway) a classic on this vexed question.

  111. I post under the name Scott Terrell over on Denny’s blog. I invite you all to read my interactions with Kamilla over there. Denny let’s her rant and gives her fare more leeway than most posters. She has to be the most obtuse poster I’ve ever interacted with. If you put her, Doug Wilson, and a chair in a room (not THAT chair by the way) you would make more progress with the chair.

  112. Here’s the comment I left over there that is now awaiting moderation:

    Ten people are out on a boat. A storm comes up and they fear for their lives. The only person on board who knows Christ and can articulate the Gospel is a woman.

    If I’m reading here correctly, it would be wrong for the woman to step out of her “biblical sphere” as defined by Mr. Burk and preach the Gospel to those who are about to perish. It would be better if they perish without hearing the Gospel rather than a woman step out of her “biblical role” and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to the lost.

    Is that really what I’m reading here?

  113. Deb and Dee – Here’s a link for you. Apparently it’s not enough to just talk about sex to bring them in. A church near us is trying to one up Driscoll and is going full out on the p o r n theme. Sex secrets one week and Ron Jeremy (the p o r n star) goes to church a few weeks later.

    http://www.daybreak.tv/

  114. Although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I looked more at their website and their children’s ministry is called Hiptown. Because of all the things you can try to communicate to children about sin, the Gospel and Christ the most important thing is that it is hip.

    Dear Jesus, please come soon.

  115. Sallie –

    Their message next week is “Dating Secrets.” I guess it could be a “grabber” title, but it seems odd for a Sunday morning.

  116. ScotT

    Kamilla is a friend of Flashing. That might help to explain the interaction there as well. If you read Kamilla's blog, she gets virtually no comments. I bet, now, you understand why. I am going to read your comments this evening. You are lucky you got out of there alive I swear these people are nuts!

  117. Sorry I’m late to the party on this. Wanted to respond to the annihilation-ism discussion yesterday, but just got around to it. The rest of my essay on this is on my blog. (Dee and Deb, this is the last I’ll mention it on a comment…incidentally, you guys are the first link in my Blogroll!!!!)

    Everything man does, I argue, he does via his ability. There is nothing beyond that. Ability must be eternal because by definition, it cannot be unable. Man’s soul was created to perpetually exist. Annihilation-ism implies that somehow, by his ability, man can decide to un-create himself, which is, in fact, a huge logical fallacy. Ability/created cannot also = inability/uncreated at the same time.

    Now, I understand the natural objection to my argument. The natural objection says that it is not man doing the un-creating, it is God. God is annihilating man, not himself. Here is my counter argument:

    The purpose of man is to exist according to his ability. The purpose of man cannot be changed by man because man’s purpose is found in God (as opposed to the rest of creation’s purpose, which is found in itself, to provide an environment for man’s ability to be effectuated and realized), which is, again,to be himself, by pursuing God–which constitutes utter freedom of self. God is utter freedom by definition; the more like God, the more man is free to be himself. God, then, does NOT create man that he may be uncreated according to an act of his ability (that is, man’s ability). Thus, the same metaphysical principle discussed in detail above still applies. God does not respond to a choice man makes as a function of his ability by rendering man unable, for what that would naturally imply is that man is, in fact, using his ability to compel an outcome whereby that ability becomes inability. A = B = C. Man’s ability = reject God = man is annihilated is the same as saying man’s ability = man’s inability. God can no more act in a metaphysically impossible way than the rest of all of the heavens and creation, for doing so constitutes that He is in fact a creator of the redundant and irrelevant, and is thus a hypocrite, and CANNOT be, in fact, God. To say that man can provoke annihilation of his ability by his own ability is a logical and metaphysical fallacy. It is clear then, that God will not oblige annihilation-ism in order that He may not be seen as the the creator of the metaphysically nonsensical. If God is truly the author of man’s ability, then ability is the end and beginning of man, and as such, inability cannot be ever effected. In short, God created man’s soul to be eternal, regardless of whatever choices man makes as a product of his ability.

    The conclusion of all of this is, again, that man exists to be eternal not to be uncreated. I would caution all of us who name the name of Christ to be careful that, in the interest of showing compassion and love to others, which I feel is the motivation behind the concept of annihilation-ism (at least in some), that we do not somehow minimize the urgent need of Christ for the world. To preach annihilation-ism what we are saying is that there is no judgment; for regardless of when that annihilation comes, the result is nothing, and by definition, the punishment then for sin is nothing at all. If God does not reject (punish, enact a consequence, etc., etc.) forever, then the fact is that ultimately there is no consequence for sin, which is contradictory to the faith. If man can be uncreated, then all that man does, including sin, is forgiven without Christ, which, again, is impossible, by the very definition of what it means for a Christ to exist. I don’t mind re-evaluating the concept of hell, but we must be careful about proclaiming that it does not exist at all, or that the judgment of God is a false concept, which is exactly what we do when we proclaim annihilation-ism. By definition, if man becomes nothing, then there is NO judgment. The judgment of man cannot be nothing, because that constitutes irrational contradiction. Non-existence is not a consequence of anything; again, it is simply nothing.

  118. Correction: a “consequence” of nothing-ness is NOT forgiveness. For if man does not exist, then by definition, there is nothing there to forgive. And, also, nothing to condemn. The point being that man’s soul’s purpose is God, and will always be God (for there was PURPOSE in man’s creation), and therefore, the soul does not pass away unless God passes away. If God uncreates a person, then He is a hypocrite. He created man’s ability to be able, not to be un-able.

    I know it gets confusing. I spend hoooooours thinking about this stuff.

  119. Muff Potter –
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  120. Argo – but if annihilation *is* a consequence of judgement, then…

    I’m not an annihilationist, either – just not quite following your thesis. I think it’s hard enough to contemplate the end of one’s existence in the here and now – eternal annihilation is much scarier!

    And (my opinion only) I do not believe that a loving and just God would subject anyone to what amounts to eternal death, either via complete annihilation or eternal conscious torment.

    otoh, what we do to ourselves is another thing altogether, and I’m very sympathetic to C.S. Lewis’ fictional portrayal of hell in The Great Divorce. (In fact, i think it’s probably far more accurate than many of the ideas of hell that have been in circulation for the past 1,000+ years.)

  121. ScotT
    So, the next time you interact with this fine comp submissive woman, make sure you remind her that she believes that she will be submissive to you in eternity so she should start now.

  122. @ Argo & numo,

    I no longer believe in the existence of the immortal soul. I now view the idea as a construct of Greek Hellenism. I now hold to the Jewish view (pre-Hellenism) that body and soul are an integral unit and that no such bifurcation exists. In mathematics we call this an if and only if condition, which basically states that you can’t have one without the other.

    Please understand too that this says nothing whatsoever about the life-force (nephesh) which animates all living things. Nor does this mean that I deny a literal resurrection, because I do not. I believe the Prophet Daniel that I will awake and be judged either with approval or contempt one day.

  123. LOL Dee (Oct 7 @ 8:00PM), good point – for someone so upset with feminism, so pro complementarianism, she sure doesn’t fit Mary Kassian’s ideal “gentle quiet spirit” insistence. I live a few kms from the US, so I pick up some US Christian stations in the car (Canada won’t allow a single faith to run a station), Mary K. was on the Christian stn. the other night, talk about straw-women arguments – egalitarians aren’t quite and calm in spirit, must be their brokenness showing through etc. Except, of course when said woman is a comp. (sorry, my autocorrect hates that word written out fully), then dear Kamilla can say whatever, however, uncharitably and turn any, absolutely any, argument against her into the feminist straw woman “Oh, that is an egal. feminist argument” I wonder what she would say to Jesus? Your just a feminist Jesus, clearly you don’t know what you are talking about! Sheesh!

  124. Muff,
    I agree with you sort of. My premise is that man’s core is his Ability, but, due to existential limitations of space and time, man must possess a body in order for his ability to be realized. So while I agree that ability certainly exists apart from the body, its existence necessitates the body. Of course, the Bible seems to support this idea. We will be given new bodies. I submit that there is a rational reason for this.

  125. Numo,
    Yes…I understand your thoughts. It is a struggle. Which again is why I don’t mind re-evaluating the nature of judgment, I’m just arguing that from my standpoint, annihilation-ism is metaphysically contradictory. I believe that man’s soul must be eternal…it cannot be un-created.

  126. Muff…
    Interesting. Can you tell me more about the “if and only if” condition? I’ve heard of it, but I could not explain it justly.

  127. Muff – but how do you think about the many OT passages that mention Sheol, then?

    Certainly there was some (perhaps not universally accepted?) belief in an afterlife prior to NT times… though the pictures we have of what Sheol actually means seem to be somewhat contradictory and admittedly fragmentary.

    While I’m by no means wholly sold on Greek philosophy, they might very well have had something per a part of us that is an essential “us” – and that survives physical death.

  128. I think I tend towards Numo’s side of the argument rather than Muff’s in this case, although I think excessively Platonic arguments re the soul and “mind over matter” are misleading – the soul/mind (what the Germans call Geist and the Greeks psyche) are in this life interlinked with the material structure of the body, so the state of one is affected by the other. John White discussed this in his book on depression, “Masks of Melancholy”.

    The JWs make a lot of denying the immortality of the soul – would I be right in suspecting they blame Hellenism for the concept?

    I think though that the most important question is perhaps, where was Jesus between Good Friday and Easter Sunday?

  129. Also…I find it difficult to understand how we get a new body if the soul cannot be separate from this. Although, I do understand muffs perspective. There needs to be a body. But Koyla, yes, there must be some constant in “us”, or the IS of our existence. Something by which every change hinges on…if the change is a fundamental change in US then what we think of as US must be at the mercy ultimately of some other external force. In which case, we are that thing, not really us at all.

  130. Dee, Deb:
    Perhaps a little off topic: I occasionally see mention of characteristics of the Calvinista churches such as young deacons, use of pastor’s material for all small groups … . Has TWW published a comprehensive list of such things and the order in which they are imposed on an unsuspecting church?

  131. Old John J
    What a great idea.I just had another man ask me the same thing. In fact, what we could do is do a post in which we list some of our concerns and aks readers to chime in to make the list more complete. Awesome!

  132. Kolya – the JW’s I’ve spoken to blame everything on the Catholic Church and a thing they call “christendom”! I’m not an expert on JW reasoning; I use the word “reasoning” with some caution, however, since they have cleverly crafted 2 Peter 1:12 into a doctrine that says the Watchtower is always right even if it’s wrong.

    Argo – an interesting approach, using logic and metaphysics alone (independent of any scriptural content) in an attempt to show the logical necessity of eternal conscious torment/delight; but I have some qualms about that. Since logic involves deriving conclusions by applying valid reasoning to chosen premises, you have to be careful when you set those premises. We all know about the dangers of proof-texting, and the manifest stupidity that sometimes results, but I think the bible does have some useful things to say on the nature and purpose of humankind!

    For the sake of brevity, may I respectfully question your logic at three specific points?

    Firstly:

    Everything man does, I argue, he does via his ability. There is nothing beyond that. Ability must be eternal because by definition, it cannot be unable.

    I think the trouble here is the huge moving of the metaphysical goalposts going on behind the word “ability”. Consider: how do you escape from a locked room using only a sheet of newspaper? Well, you fold the newspaper in half and tear a large rough semi-circle out of the side with the fold, so that when you open it out again you have a piece of paper with a hole in the middle. Having created a hole, you then take the hole out of the sheet of paper and put it in the door; then you simply climb through the hole. Except that you can’t actually do that, and the reason is that the “hole” isn’t an actual thing with separate existence that you can move from one place to another. In the same way, you might say that for man (or beast, or photon) to “do” anything, he must have the “ability to do” it. That’s really just two ways of phrasing the same thing. But you then extrapolate thence to a very Platonic concept of “ability” that has concrete existence in itself.

    (Although it’s not the same thing, it reminds me a bit of the divide-by-zero paradox in maths:
    1 x 0 = 0;
    2 x 0 = 0;
    thus 1 x 0 = 2 x 0; dividing both sides by zero gives
    1 = 2
    the problem being that you have two quantities that are called the same thing, but have subtly different definitions on each side of the equation.)

    Secondly:

    Man’s soul was created to perpetually exist. Annihilation-ism implies that somehow, by his ability, man can decide to un-create himself, which is, in fact, a huge logical fallacy.

    In stating that man’s soul was created to exist forever, you’re kind of assuming the conclusion you’re trying to prove and using it to shape and define the evidence that proves it. I.e., are you not introducing an element of circularity into your case?

    And thirdly:

    Ability/created cannot also = inability/uncreated at the same time.

    [emphasis mine]
    That’s simply to say that anything is what it is; i.e., A = A. But again, “created” is not a thing with separate existence; it’s simply a property of created man (or beast, or photon). “Uncreated” likewise. And in any case, to reason thus is essentially to say that something that is “created” (or living, or purple) can never at any future point be “uncreated” (or dead, or green) – i.e., that nothing can ever change. Which kind of raises the problem of how “created” happened out of “uncreated” in the first place.

    Argo – I trust that you’ll note the absence of phrases along the lines of “how could you believe that, yer stupid eejit” – I accept that however “obvious” it may be to me that your logic is flawed, it may be equally obvious to you that mine is! A bit like trying to look at one’s own eyelids, I suppose. Thank you, in anticipation, for reading…

  133. Hi Nick,
    No offense whatsoever! I really appreciate your thoughts. It helps me clarify my own premises. Thanks for your thoughtful response. If I may make another shameless plug, do you mind reading my whole post over at my site? http://www.unreformingtheology.com

    That my help clear up what I feel are things that you are incorrectly assuming. For example, I don’t start with the premise, and then form logic to prove it. I begin with the premise, and then prove why it must, or must not in some cases, be metaphysically true. I agree however that I generally do start with reason as the canvass, and this does imply a given epistemology…so granted that. But, I am first cousins with John Locke, so I’m obligated to hold to family tradition. LOL!

  134. Old John J

    Just before we began blogging, I was involved in a church plant that had community groups. Our discussions were to center around the sermon that had just been preached.

    Hmmm…

  135. Hi Nick,
    yes…good catch on lack of biblical reference. I dont reference it on purpose. The truth of our faith can be expressed as function metaphysical reason. Thus, no need to use the bible to prove the bible. Obviously I do proceed from the notion that Christianity is true. But I will not shy from accepting that some Christian assumptions are false(like biblical inerrancy) when they contradict rational epistemology and metaphysics. Make no mistake, truth is what I’m after, not ideology.

  136. If I’m reading here correctly, it would be wrong for the woman to step out of her “biblical sphere” as defined by Mr. Burk and preach the Gospel to those who are about to perish. It would be better if they perish without hearing the Gospel rather than a woman step out of her “biblical role” and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to the lost.

    Is that really what I’m reading here? — Sallie

    Three words, Sallie:

    PURITY OF IDEOLOGY.

    “Mr Burk, I’d like you to meet Citizen Robespierre and Comrade Pol Pot.”

  137. Apparently it’s not enough to just talk about sex to bring them in. A church near us is trying to one up Driscoll and is going full out on the p o r n theme. Sex secrets one week and Ron Jeremy (the p o r n star) goes to church a few weeks later. — Sallie

    Somehow, I suspect they don’t have any problem attracting men to their church.

  138. Nick,
    One more quick point. Because my focus is to dismantle Calvinism at the root while preserving true Christian faith (as opposed to the false interpretations of Calvinism and neo-reformed theology), I usually do proceed from the assumption that God, the Creator, exists. I’m not trying to prove God is real…that is axiomatic in my philosophy. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. Also, not trying to prove conscious torment; just that the soul must be eternal. I’m not attempting to prove the western idea of “hell” per se. Just that annihilation-ism is not viable as a spiritual doctrine.

  139. The immortality of the soul seems like a very irrelevant topic to “preserving true Christian faith”. I guess if you want to defend traditional Catholic natural law teaching and various inferences made within Thomistic thought it would be relevant but it didn’t seem that’s where you were coming from, Argo. Is there a reason you would propose that an immortal soul has anything to do with any Christian anything as such?

  140. @ Sallie:

    “Apparently it’s not enough to just talk about sex to bring them in. A church near us is trying to one up Driscoll and is going full out on the p o r n theme. Sex secrets one week and Ron Jeremy (the p o r n star) goes to church a few weeks later.”

    Would they be working with parachurch ministry XXX Church, by any chance? Maybe you’ve seen ads for a “Porn & Pancakes” men’s breakfast?

  141. RE: Argo on Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 09:09 PM,

    If and only if is sometimes abbreviated as ‘iff’ or the symbol ‘’. It is what we call a bi-conditional operator between two statements, in order for one to be true, its converse must also be true. For example, the statement:

    “A triangle is equilateral if and only if each of its internal angles measure exactly 60 degrees”

    Means both:

    “If a triangle is equilateral then each of its internal angles measure exactly 60 degrees”

    And:

    “If each of the internal angles of a triangle measure exactly 60 degrees then the triangle is equilateral”

    Notice how this differs from the statement: “If it is raining then the grass is wet” and its converse: “If the grass is wet then it is raining”. The original statement may be true, but there is no guarantee that its converse is also true.

  142. Sorry for the tangent line folks. Hope it’s not too far from our curve here on this topic. Also, the symbol: for if and only if did not come across. Dang window!!

  143. Kamilla calls Dr. Sheri Klouda a feminist over at Burke’s blog. She seems to not be a very nice person. That is Kamilla.

  144. Nick wrote:

    “…(Although it’s not the same thing, it reminds me a bit of the divide-by-zero paradox in maths:
    1 x 0 = 0;
    2 x 0 = 0;
    thus 1 x 0 = 2 x 0; dividing both sides by zero gives
    1 = 2
    the problem being that you have two quantities that are called the same thing, but have subtly different definitions on each side of the equation)…”

    Respectfully, there is no such paradox in Mathematics. We say that division by zero is undefined. By the definition of division we have:

    If n and d are any real numbers such that d does not equal zero, then (n)/(d) = q if and only if there is exactly one real number q such that n = (d)(q).

    If we allow zero in our denominator, there is no unique real number as our quotient that when multiplied by zero will get us back to our numerator. The product will always be zero no matter what number we choose for our quotient.

    In similar fashion, if we attempt (0)/(0) = q , q can take on multiple values and still give us our numerator. Either way, the definition is violated and we don’t have consistency throughout. Mathematics must have rigorous internal consistency or it is no longer Mathematics. It then becomes mysticism.

  145. Argo – I once heard a wise man say, ‘ If the soul had a beginning, it may very well have an end’. It was the first time I’d really questioned what turned out to be quite a Greek concept, that a ‘soul’ had to be intrinsically eternal in duration. I see no reason why the ‘soul’ of man, & even that I use advisedly, because the Hebraic views of man are of a unity rather than of a soul inhabiting a flesh body is necessarily indestructible…
    The same wise man said’ We do not have a soul, we are a soul.’

  146. Wenachee,
    Hi. Er…not really. I’m not sure why I phrased it like that. All I meant to say is that as a Christian, all of my arguments are going to follow from the idea that God exists. Immortality of the soul is not necessarily a Calvinist doctrine I take issue with. I suppose I was just arguing more against the idea that either the soul doesn’t exist, or that it is temporal. My posit is that if a soul exists, then it is that by which men are able, meaning the soul is ABILITY.

    I do not have a problem looking at ability as actually existing (I guess in the “platonic sense”, as Nick pointed out)…I do not view it as merely an abstract by product of the biological. This is a very difficult issue for either side to argue. What I’m saying is that merely pointing out that ability needs a body (the biological, in this case…meaning, this life), one cannot automatically declare that the idea that ability isn’t real, nor is it metaphysically feasible. If you line up a bunch of guys in a row, you can’t tell which is the race car driver. You need to put them in a car to see that. Merely taking away the the car isn’t proof that the ability to drive doesn’t exist, and is merely a “hole”, that is, a product of the tangible. It just shows that without the car, it cannot be manifested. That isn’t a perfect analogy I realize, but I do think that it is just as large a stretch to declare that just because you can’t see ability without the body, then it MUST be merely a function of the body…that is, the assumption is that the body comes first in the process.

    So, I argue that the ability of the person to race cars is REAL. And what I’m saying is that the end of man is the capital A “ability”, which is equally as real, but is broader because it encompasses ALL that man can do, which is what defines Man as Man. It is the end of man, and the beginning, and I would call that ability “soul”. And what I argue is that if that is truly the root of man, meaning, his functional core, then it is the constant. Take away everything else, and you are left with man’s ABILITY. And if that is all there is…if that is the IS of, man, then there can be no such thing as INABILITY. So, ability is simply the word…like, for example, God you would call TRUTH, but the fact is that TRUTH implies FALSE. But when we say God’s TRUTH, what we mean is just God. God’s truth, without “false” is really just God Himself. And when I say man’s ability, I mean simply “man”. So if man = ability (which is my assumption here),then man MUST be eternal because, again, ability cannot be UNable. Because if we say that it is, then we say that man can be both ABLE and UNABLE at the same time, which is impossible. Just like black cannot BE white because ITSELF is BLACK. Black is the end of black…so to say black can become white, we say that black can BE white at the same time. Impossible. If something is going to change color, then the constant, the ITSELF, has to be separate from the color. A hat can be both green or blue, but its still a hat. The hat cannot be a frog at the same time it’s a hat.

    The root thing is the thing in question; is the constant (if the “hole” were the constant, then yes, the “hole” would be a real thing, because there would be nothing else beyond “hole”)…so, yes, a body can be alive and then dead but the soul cannot because the soul cannot be able and unable at the same time.

    Finally, to use the Bible for a change, Jesus said that we should fear the One who can destroy both body and soul, not just those who can kill the body. To me, the Christian premise is that body and soul are separate. And if that is so, I argue that the soul is immortal.

  147. The earlier conversation about Scripture, where Dee said she prefers inspired/authoritative over innerant//infallible has had me thinking. I totally understand why some feel these *stronger* descriptions to be required to battle *higher* criticism.
    But I love Argo’s phrase, “The idea of inerrancy does not affect faith in any way.” I E Those with an infallible Bible might be expected to be built up more in their faith (or hope,love, etc) than those with a *merely* God-breathed one.
    I love, love the use and description the Hebrews-writer makes of scripture and the word of God (not always identical) in ch. 4. For example in v2 “but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard.” In V4 he introduces scripture quotes with “For He hath said somewhere”. Then in v12 he describes he word of God as living, active, sharp, piercing, dividing, and discerning! Wow! A few more of these powerful terms in our statements of faith wouldn’t hurt!
    Then there are these descriptions of the word of the Lord (and synonyms) in Ps 19– Perfect Sure Right Pure Clean True Desired and Sweet!! These must be at least on a par with descriptions like “verbally inspired in every word, and absolutely inerrant”.

  148. Argo (Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 08:49 AM) – thanks for the invite! I’ll have a read, though it may be nearer the end of the week before I do as I suspect this will need time to read properly!

    Muff Potter – yeah, sorry, I did use the word “paradox” tentatively in that context as I realise divide-by-zero is undefined. Indeed, in my mainframe programming days, we always used to get a minor rebuke if we submitted code with a variable as the denominator of a calculation without explicitly protecting the case that the variable was zero. (“But that variable will never be zero!” was never considered good enough!) And it’s nice to meet some other folk who’ve come across the word iff.

    Dave AA – re Hebrews. The Lord has revealed to me that the author definitely was Apollos. I have also been privileged to receive the following two pieces of special revelation:
    1) Apollos’ surname was McIntyre
    2) Jonathan’s armour-bearer’s name was Bob
    I hope this is useful.

  149. For anyone here who knows the story of Dr. Klouda for Kamilla to verbally attack her the way she is at Burkes’s blog is downright unchristian.

    Dr. Klouda has and continues to suffer greatly for something that never should have happened–her being fired from her teaching position for simply attempting to teach Hebrew to male seminary students.

  150. Anyone who has ever dealt with Kamilla finds out quickly that her god is patriarchy, over and above anything written in red in the New Testament.
    She has ears to hear what her god has to say and she shuts up her ears to the compassion and justice the Jesus pointed us to anywhere it conflicts with her god.
    signed,
    Mara
    One of many who has been stung by patriarchy worshiping Kamilla

  151. Can someone provide a list of names of the 50, with where employed, and position? I do not subscribe to CT and cannot access their website without paying.

  152. Mara, thanks for confirming for me what I was feeling about Kamilla after reading only a couple of her comments.

    It is a true shame when someone like her mistreats others and shows no compassion for those hurt by other “christians.”

  153. Nick,
    Did McIntyre wear a kilt? If so, should we consider this a biblically approved manly role? 🙂 Should I burn all my troosers? Awaiting further light. 🙂

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