Concerted Calvinista Effort to Denounce Violence Against Women

"If the numbers we see in domestic violence were applied to terrorism or gang violence, the entire country would be up in arms, and it would be the lead story on the news every night."

Mark Green

http://morguefile.com/archive/display/71020

Public Domain Photo

In 1999 the United Nations designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  Earlier this week Dee and I took notice of a concerted effort among Calvinistas to denounce violence against women.  Here are the links to a number of those posts.

The Church, the Gospel, and Violence Against Women – Justin Taylor

Men, Don't Give Women a Reason to Fear – Mark Driscoll

A Hard Look at Violence Against Women – Justin Holcomb

The Church and Violence Against Women – Russell Moore

Dear Jack:  A Letter to an Abusive Husband – Thabiti Anyabwile

Violence Against Women and Church Discipline – Jonathan Leeman

Don't Mess With Her, Man – Matt Smethurst

Why Abusive Men Repudiate True Manhood – Leter to an Abusive Husband – Owen Strachan

Dear Bob: Abuse and the (Complementarian) Christian Response – Mike Cosper

Statement on Abuse on the day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – Mary Kassian

Also, two resources have been provided to The Gospel Coalition crowd to help deal with domestic violence.

How Should You Counsel a Case of Domestic Violence? Helping the Perpetrator – David Powlison and Paul Tripp

How Should You Counsel a Case of Domestic Violence? Helping the Victim – Ed Welch

Does anyone know whether such an effort has been made by this group in the past?  After all, this is the fourteenth year that the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women has been observed.  While we applaud those in the New Calvinist camp for condemning violence against women, we have to ask why now?   

If those whom we label as Calvinistas are serious about curtailing violence against women (which should include stamping out physical, psychological, and spiritual abuse), they need to listen to women like Sue who posted the following comment earlier this week: 

"I am also a survivor of domestic violence. I absolutely agree that the psychological abuse is the worst part of abuse. I was seriously physically abused, and suffer serious medical issues as a result. Clearly I will never fully recover, but I can for now live a fairly normal life.

However, I was also prevented from getting further education, in spite of invitations several times to apply for advanced academic programs, I was not allowed. Also prevented from working for many years. So now, I have to work into the years when many people retire. It is very difficult and I deeply regret that obeying a man has so seriously impacted on my entire life, as long as I live. So much regret.

But the worst part of the abuse was the psychological. When I was hit, I was told that the minister said I had to obey, the Bible said I had to obey, I had vowed to obey, I would go to hell if I did not obey, and so on and so forth. Believe me, hell was starting to look very pretty in comparison to that life.

What ministers need to know is that every mention of submission, of the greater authority of the man, is misused. It is always misused by somebody. And men who are addicted to control, who have a terrible, desperate need to control, are reinforced when the wife submits. If she submits, yeah, it works, he threatens and he demands and she submits. Of course, he will threaten and demand again. This is completely obvious.

Although I was in a congregation with famous members of CBMW, there was never any discussion of abuse, or any help offered. Of course, they did not know of the abuse, but the word was never mentioned, and I felt that I was the only Christian woman in the world in this terrible situation.

It took me a long time to figure out for myself that every time I submitted, the abuse got worse. By then it was a little late. I stayed long enough that the children were old enough there would be no chance of shared custody, no custody at all, no fighting over the children. But for my own health, I stayed far too long. No help from the church, no guidance, no teaching on this at all.

Those who helped me were wonderful sisters, non-Christian neighbours, books and info from CBE. Now I live a single egalitarian life and wish this could be possible for other abuse survivors.

How tragic that this was Sue's experience in a congregation with CBMW leaders! 

IS ANYONE LISTENING?

Dee and I have been tackling domestic abuse issues since the inception of our blog, and we have learned a lot from the victims with whom we have interacted.  If we could offer some advice to pastors – please, please DO NOT encourage a perpetrator of domestic abuse to attend the same church as the victim.  Other arrangements should be made so that the victims feels safe while attending worship.     

If these Christian leaders are really serious about protecting victims of abuse, then they may need to make changes in their churches.  What follows is the letter from an Oregon pastor named Jeff Crippen, who finally mustered up the courage to tackle serious problems in his church and implement much needed change.  We pray that pastors and church leaders will take to heart what he has to share.


Letter to Fellow Pastors (link)

Dear Pastor:

The evil of domestic and sexual abuse is in our midst.  By “our,” I mean our conservative, Bible-believing churches.  Churches just like the one I have pastored for nearly 20 years now.  We are not doing well in confronting the perpetrators nor in effecting justice and kindness for their victims.

None of us learned about this evil in seminary.  As a result, we are largely blind to it.  Lest you think that you surely would see it if it were in your church, and that for the most part your church is free of it, let me assure you that those very thoughts reveal our blindness.  The evil of domestic and sexual abuse either was – is – or is going to be in your church.  And even more frightening is the confirmed fact that when it comes to your congregation, you (like me in the past) will not deal with it rightly, if you even see it at all.  None of us would like to think that we would ever be an ally of evil against an oppressed victim.  Yet this is what will indeed happen in your church and ministry unless you prepare yourself.

Permit me, if you will, to share my story with you in the hope that you can learn from it, and that we might all then bring the glory to Christ which we desire to.

How Our Church Did Things

First, let me share with you some of the lessons the Lord has had to teach me over the years, and which I am still learning.  It took some really hard “knocks” from Him to get my attention.  In seeking to reform this church, myself and our elders wrote a new book of church order (bylaws).  In what we believed to be faithfulness to Scripture, we instituted the following practices:

  1.  Women could not vote.  The men, as the head of their families and wives, voted.
  2.  Women could not pray aloud in prayer meetings.  Only the men.

Our church was, and still is, virtually entirely home school families.  Men were to be the head of their homes and women were to be in submission to their husbands.  Books such as “Me Obey Him?” and child-raising materials from ultra-conservative organizations circulated among us (the kind that basically say:  homeschooling is God’s will for every Christian family, etc).

We truly desired to do “better” in following Christ than all the other typical local churches around us that were, in our opinion, largely compromised with the world.  No one sat down and mapped this all out.  We embraced these things over time.

The Lord Arrested Our Attention

And then the Lord blew the lid off of our pride.  I won’t give the details, but a terrible incident of sexual abuse of a child occurred among us.  At the same time we found ourselves being recruited by an abusive man as allies against his wife. These are the things that divide churches!

These events propelled me into the study of abuse, domestic and sexual, in an effort to better understand how these things had crept up on us and what we needed to repent of.  I wanted to know if there were signs we could look for that would help us detect abusers and their victims much earlier.  And so I began to read.

Over time, and by no means at my own doing, we came to realize that we had created an environment in our church that was abuser-friendly.  Evil-friendly.  We, as leaders, had encouraged our men to lord it over their wives and families rather than loving them.  We had created an environment that was unbiblically oppressive to women.  Myself and our elders, over some period of time, began to realize this – by the Lord’s mercy in showing us – and we began to make some changes.

Implementing some Positive Changes

Women in the church can now vote.  Women can pray aloud in prayer meetings.  In the course of preaching my sermon series on abuse, I acknowledged to our church (and I have continued to do so) that we had not done enough when teaching and preaching on the subjects of marriage, headship, and submission.

We had failed to clearly describe what headship is not, and what submission is not.  We came to the realization that abuse – a pattern of coercive control employing any one or more of emotional, verbal, sexual, spiritual, physical, financial and social mistreatment of the other spouse – is indeed biblical grounds for divorce and that we would no longer insist that a husband or wife was required by the Lord to remain in a relationship in which the marriage vows had been habitually broken.

We rejected what we consider to be unbiblical and exaggerated patriarchy that is promoted so widely by books and organizations within our conservative Christian circles.  We still cling solidly to the position of the inerrancy and infallibility of God’s Word and thus are by no means getting on some liberal “band-wagon” to make everyone happy.

We are calling upon other conservative, Bible-believing churches and pastors to do the same things and to stop creating abuser-friendly cultures in our churches.  It is important to become educated and wise in regard to the mentality and tactics of abuse.

My first steps

My first step in this process in our own church, with the support of our elders, was to preach a 21 part sermon series entitled "The Psychology of Evil". Why that title?  Because you will not find any more fruitful field of study to help you understand evil in its bare, essential form than the study of the psychology and methods of the abuser.  Behind his deceptive facade, the abuser is a living, breathing textbook on evil.

I highly recommend to you the following books:  Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft.  Our own book due to be published in the Fall of 2012,  A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church.  Not Under Bondage, by Barbara Roberts; and the two fine books by George Simon Jr., In Sheep’s Clothing and Character Disturbance.

Getting a Grip

I would like to make a suggestion to you that may well be as hard for you to hear as it was for me, originally.  It is simply this – if you have been dealing with a marriage in your church in which one spouse has been claiming to have been abused, and if that situation (as it so often does)  has come to the point of threatening the unity of your church, or at least being something like a thorn to you that just won’t go away, then the source of the problem may very probably rest with you and your leadership rather than with the marriage partners themselves.  I have had to face up to this personally and as I said, it took the Lord giving me some pretty hard blows to get my attention.

What do I mean that the real problem very likely rests with you?  I mean that if your church is characterized by any or all of the following mentalities and philosophies, then evil, abusive individuals will find it a friendly place for them, and victims will suffer.  Injustices will be done to victims, all the while the leaders believing they are handling things scripturally.
Taking Stock

Therefore, if your church:

    1.  Embraces a theology  that presumes a church member/professing Christian really is a Christian, regardless of how they are living,
    2.  Emphasizes the headship of the husband and father and the submission of the wife and mother without getting right down to the “nitty-gritty” of what abuse of headship actually looks like, so that the men in the church even “squirm” in the pew if they are guilt,
    3.  Does not, like we used to, permit women to vote or to pray aloud,
    4.  Teaches that the marriage covenant is not to be broken, that divorce is wrong.  That sounds biblical, but what it usually translates into is the clear implication that abuse is not grounds for divorce.  That abuse victims, normally women, are pleasing God and suffering for Christ by remaining in a marriage to an abuser,
    5.  Discourages (in some cases forbids) a wife from saying anything negative about her husband,

…then I suggest to you that it is not fundamentally the troubled marriage that is threatening the health of your church, but it is the climate that has been created which inevitably deals injustice to victims.

Injustice Destroys Unity

As more and more people in the congregation begin to realize this injustice, unity is destroyed.  As we, pastors and leaders, dig our heels in further, all the while telling ourselves that we are standing faithful for Christ in this, we only add fuel to the fire.

There was still another hard thing that I had to face:  just what do we think of women?  The fact is that most conservative, Bible-believing pastors like ourselves actually look down upon women.  We see them as inferior beings.  We object to this charge, but our actions betray our real attitudes.

I had to ask myself, “Jeff, just exactly what is it that is going on in your head when a woman walks into your office and asks for help?”  The answer I ultimately saw was “I see her as an inferior being and I talk down to her.”  Really, and with ruthless honesty – “What does Pastor _________ think about a woman who walks into his office?”  “What does he think about his wife?”  Don’t rush to answers.  The first responses we give are usually wrong.

Pastor, if you and your church are dedicated, Bible-believing Christians who have been working to do your best to serve Christ, the chances are quite high that you have made some of the very same errors we did.  From my study of the growing number of cases of abuse uncovered in our churches, from hearing case after case of victims who have been terribly treated at our hands, I venture to say that you are not immune to these errors.

Seeking a Remedy

This means that, as in our case, the remedy for the threatened division or injustices rendered in your church lies mostly with you and your leadership, not with any one situation you are dealing with.  That is to say, my prescription is that you and your leaders plead with the Lord to show you things that need to be repented of and changed.

What would happen in your church if you went before your people, after some genuine self-examination, and confessed to them that you have not done well in this matter.  If you stated that  you have created an oppressive environment for women.  State that by God’s grace you are resolved to set about making it right?  What if you went to any specific woman in a particular case you have handled, and confessed these things to her?  And then set out to re-tool the culture of your church?

Many times we tell ourselves that these abuse victims (sometimes men, but usually women) who come to us asking for help have a “log” in their own eye and are just looking for the speck in their spouse’s eye.  But, brother, I tell you that I had said the same thing about people in those kinds of situations many times.  I am afraid that now I see there was an even bigger log in my own eye.
Persecution for Christ or Oppression of the Weak?

In order to do that, I had to put aside my oft-repeated argument that I was “standing for Christ’s truth and was being persecuted by sinful people.”  Yes,  persecution is going to come if we stand for Christ.  But when we are doing wrong, when we are oppressing the oppressed and being duped by evil, the fallout is not persecution for Christ.  It is the bad fruit of our own crippled thinking and wrong-doing.

I trust you take these words in the spirit they are given.  They are meant to do good to Christ’s church, to your ministry, and to the souls of those you oversee.  I realize that in some cases these things are calling for radical change on your part.  All I can say is that we have made those radical changes here and are still working on them – and we aren’t looking back.

In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Jeff Crippen, Pastor
Tillamook, Oregon


It will be interesting to observe in the weeks, months, and years to come whether the New Calvinists, among others, are just giving lip service to violence against women or whether they are dead serious about confronting it.  Time will tell, and we will definitely be watching…

Lydia's Corner:  Numbers 16:41-18:32   Mark 16:1-20   Psalm 55:1-23   Proverbs 11:7

Comments

Concerted Calvinista Effort to Denounce Violence Against Women — 461 Comments

  1. This is the article Piper was responding to: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/october/20.26.html

    Be sure to see the comment by “Patrick” at the bottom, it gives you a glance into the mind of a fanatical Piperite.

    You’ll notice that in Piper’s response I posted above Piper is too cowardly to admit that he is criticizing the view that abused women should be able to divorce their husbands.

  2. @Eagle

    I don’t think it has much to do with traditional Reformed theology. Dr. R. Scott Clark, Carl Trueman, and Dr. Anthony B. Bradley have all pointed out that “Complementarianism” is not a gospel issue. It is to the “new Calvinism” crowd though.

  3. “It could be said that Driscoll encourages men to sexually abuse their wives.

    Agreed. As a woman, I could not imagine being told that I must offer up the “back door” for my husband while menustrating, in order to “keep the marriage bed strong”. I suppose that the debilitating cramps and other agonizing symptoms experienced by many women during their periods aren’t good enough reasons for them to abstain from sex? Men are SO WEAK that they can’t wait a WEEK for sex? If men are SO WEAK that they simply can’t manage having to control themselves for 7 days, WHY THE F**K are they the ones in charge????

    These ‘men’ make my stomach turn.

    I’m not impressed by their sudden outpouring of concern for battered women, not when they have consistently and insiduously attacked, berated, and degraded women for YEARS.

  4. Trueman has some answering to do himself, as he continues to post on a blog that defends Mahaney.

  5. Eagle, I think these guys are talking out of both sides of their mouths and trying to “make nice” so that people will stop scrutinizing them.

    Talk is cheap.

  6. The problem is also with their definitions of abuse. I have known of ‘Christian’ men who rarely hit their wives, and when they did it was not enough to leave them badly battered, but the aim was to keep them intimidated. I’m not sure that anything less than full out, life-endangering assault ever registers with these guys, but many women in comp churches live in a twilight world of fear, where not a lot happens in terms of assault, but they spend their time walking on eggshells where their husbands are concerned. This is not marriage as God designed it. They probably don’t even recognise themselves as battered women, when they timidly try to complain they are told to submit, and they end up wondering why God hates women so much

    Or else they have to account for every cent they spend, or every minute of their time. And they beat themselves up inwardly for the negative feelings they have towards their husband and their church. I once heard it described as being slapped on the face and blaming your nerve endings for feeling the pain.

    Until the Pipers, Driscolls etc of the world are prepared to own that this fruit of their teaching is also abuse, I refuse to believe they understand the subject at all

  7. “Men, Don’t Give Women a Reason to Fear – Mark Driscoll”

    From what I’ve read, I would have plenty of reasons to fear if my hypothetical husband was a Driscollite. All he’d have to do would be to model Driscoll’s own behavior:

    - Not letting me go out for coffee with my girlfriends because we might succumb to our sinful feminine instinct to gossip.
    - Reading all my email to “protect” me.
    - Demanding that I let him “make use” of certain non-sexual parts of my body at “that time of the month” because he can’t go without for 5 days.
    - Consuming a steady diet of cage fighting (with ministerial encouragement).
    - Crediting the Holy Spirit for thoughts about violent/perverted sex acts.
    - Threatening to beat up people who disagree with him.
    - Mocking those whom he perceives as weaker than him.
    - Blaming me for our marriage problems because I was sexually assaulted/raped (before we were even married).
    - Repeatedly talking about sex in intimate detail, not only in public, but in church (BTW, do we know if the children were evacuated from the sanctuary before the delivery of the infamous SOS sermon?).
    - Repeating stories about machete-wielding lunatics (which no one seems to remember but him).

    Driscoll has given women plenty of reasons to fear, IMO. Several of the above behaviors remind me of stalkers and abusers.

  8. @ Eagle:

    I would add one thing to the list of what they should do if they are serious: stop telling women to shut off their creep radar just because he’s Christian. Sometimes the hair standing up on the back of her neck is telling her something important.

    I know two or three Christian men that set off my creep radar REAL bad. One of them I know to be a porn addict/pedophile so it makes sense. But with the other two (both married w/kids), it seems to be going off for no apparent reason and it makes me very uncomfortable. With one of them it is so bad that I had a sudden overwhelming feeling of warning/impending danger when I got out of the car to even go into his house for his daughter’s birthday party. I can’t and won’t ignore something like that.

    What frightens me most is that I might be right, because it means that something very bad is happening in a family that many of our friends have known for years and there are no outward signs of abuse whatsoever. I hope to God my gut is wrong.

  9. I am Sue. Thank you so much for posting this. I also respect Jeff Crippen’s blog, especially as he includes men who also have experienced abuse.

    I think it would be alright if I gave a little background. I made a comment somewhat similar to the above on a complementarian blog a few weeks ago. Another commenter said that I must have been in an extreme patriarchal group to have had such a terrible experience.

    And I explained, on the contrary, I was in a mainstream complementation church, a rather middle of the road church. They would even allow for divorce and remarriage for abuse. In fact, my pastor was very upset when I told him the story after I left. He wanted to help me, a little late, but nonetheless sincere, and he recommended that I never see my ex again, which I haven’t. So he actually did sympathize.

    Here are some facts -

    1) There was teaching against women having authority in the church or home.

    2) There was teaching about the submissive role of the wife.

    3) The ministry of women from the pulpit was cut back and ended during my time there.

    4) Domestic violence and abuse were never mentioned. I asked the pastor’s wife once for resources for abused wives for a “friend” and she said that our church, with our demographic, ie we were all educated, did not have any abused wives. I felt like such a dolt, here I was with an MA and still abused. Duh. I never asked for help again.

    So, when I mentioned this on a complementarian blog a few weeks ago, I received an email asking me for details, and if the pastor knew of the abuse and so on. I admitted they did not. But still I regard what happened as irresponsible. A church of at least a thousand people will surely have one abused woman. But why preach submission and put all the priority there, and not preach protection of women? I mentioned that Jim Packer, Paul Barnett and Bruce Ware has all attended this church or trained the minister. But no resources for abused wives were ever made available.

    After that I had an email exchange with someone from CBNW they assured me that they were concerned about abused women, and would blog about it.

    I don’t know if they blogged about domestic violence because of this interaction with me but it appears that way.

    On the one hand, I am grateful that they seem to care, on the other hand, I would appreciate an apology from CBMW to all abused women who were in their congregations, and were told to submit, and were not also provided with police escort out of the church, on raising their hands to an altar call to abused wives.

    Being told you have to submit is like putting a dead weight on the smallest person in the race, completely shackling any woman who wants to help herself out of a violent situation. The biggest difficulty is that if a woman is closely monitored by her husband, she cannot get counselling or make any plans to leave without deceiving her husband and lying. And it is very hard to come to that. But for me it was either tell an untruth and get help, or remain in a hellish situation forever. So I believe that the teaching of submission hampers an abused woman from leaving an abusive situation and regaining a normal life.

  10. Men are SO WEAK that they can’t wait a WEEK for sex? — Searching

    Bee Jay Driscoll can’t even wait three days. Guy’s a nympho.

    If men are SO WEAK that they simply can’t manage having to control themselves for 7 days, WHY THE F**K are they the ones in charge???? — Searching

    1) GAWD HATH WILLED IT!
    2) They’re Bigger than you and They Can Beat You Up. “I CAN BEAT YOU UP! I CAN BEAT YOU UP!! I CAN BEAT YOU UP!!!”

    I would add one thing to the list of what they should do if they are serious: stop telling women to shut off their creep radar just because he’s Christian. Sometimes the hair standing up on the back of her neck is telling her something important. — Hester

    It’s not only women that have “creep radar”. I grew up with an NPD in my immediate family, and that develops your creep radar. Got discounted by everybody else to the point I doubted my creep radar until I was off on my own; then when relating some incident with a creep at work, my old college roomie said “you’ve got a talent for spotting sociopaths.” Still goes off on occasion, but nothing like it did before I was trained out of it.

    Funny thing is, when your “creep radar” goes off, you’re often the only one who notices. You’re the only one who sees the “creep” while everyone else sees the Sweet Little Angel of Light and turns on you.

  11. I absolutely do think it is damage control/PR stunt as I stated on an earlier comment. The statement on the UN site refers to violence women AND girls. If you read more closely, it discusses trafficking, honor killings, etc. Those have to do with young girls as well. What is the likelihood that all of the complementarian folks mentioned above would miss that important piece unless they all got the same memo highlighting solely the problem with violence against women (leaving out girls). It’s too much of a coincidence. Of course I’m speculating, but it is my strong suspicion that they were tipped about this event and are using it to clean up their image about violence – especially since one of their own, CJ, has damaged the reputation of complementarians by SGM’s reported non-response to abuse.

  12. The problem is also with their definitions of abuse. — Lynne T

    I believe Screwtape wrote to Wormwood about the creation and use of “diabolical definitions” to redefine words and reality.

    And George Orwell wrote on similar subjects in his “Principles of Newspeak”.

  13. Hester – keep listening to you gut.

    Back in the mid 80s, I was very creeped out by someone that a college friend of mine ended up marrying. He had a lot of annoying traits, but it wasn’t just that… there was something wrong that I couldn’t figure out or explain.

    He ended up losing his license to practice law because he messed with an underage girl, and he is now on all the sex offender lists in creation. (I haven’t been able to find actual transcripts, etc. because the incident occurred in the early 90s, before documents like that were put into online databases as a matter of course.)

    I found out about a month ago, and really felt sick and shocked… but also, not.

    Trust your gut.

  14. over 20 years ago I was dealing with the sexual abuse inflicted on me by my father who was Sunday School superintendent, music director, etc. During my reading I came across one writer who said that there are more sexual abusers within churches than without. They think no one will suspect them and they think they can hide. Unfortunately, they are right.

  15. I commend these articles for their “tsk…tsk..” finger-shaking approach to the men in their congregations, but until they embark on a program of empowering and educating women, they have still left the control in the hands of the abusers.

    Women need to know that allowing abuse is perpetuating it. The effects on their children is to create the same circular behavior on the part of both the abuser and the victim.

    just my opinion….

  16. I have read all the comments above. I think that the sudden flush of comp blog posts (on the 2012 UN day for Elimination of Violence Against Women) is mostly motivated by the need for damage control and image management.

    However, there is a possibility that some of the bloggers may rethink their views because of the comments that have come in to their blogs. For example, Mike Cosper seems to be open to taking in new ideas.

    We keep plugging on. Thanks Wartburg Watch for keeping oxygen to the fire, and for publicising Jeff Crippen’s work. (I’m his co-blogger at A Cry For Justice).

  17. Lynne T said, “The problem is also with their definitions of abuse.” For sure! The pastors at the SGM church of which I am a former member told a female friend of mine who went to them for help that there is no such thing as emotional abuse. Her sociopathic husband wasn’t hitting her, but he verbally abused her constantly, told their children what a horrible mother she was, etc. etc. But she wasn’t being abused, because, according to these “men of God”, there is no such thing as emotional abuse.

  18. Eagle,

    Did you miss the last part of the post where I questioned whether these guys are just giving lip service to stopping violence against women? 

    I concluded by saying that we at The Wartburg Watch will definitely be ‘watching’… 

    And they can take that to the bank!

  19. I am in agreement that this is probably damage control/PR. It reminds me of when my husband does something really nice and then double downs soon after in the verbal abuse. It really gets you off guard so it hurts even more than normal.

  20. Barbara Roberts,

    It’s great to hear from you!  Please express our gratitude to Pastor Crippen for having the courage to right the wrongs at his church regarding abuse and for speaking out to pastors through his open letter.  

    Dee and I appreciate the work you and Jeff are doing on your website A Cry For Justice .

    Blessings to you both!

  21. Can I recommend Robert Bolton’s work, General Directions for a Comfortable Walking with God to everyone. Yes it is a Puritan list but no it does not endorse a single aspect of the new/neo-Calvinist teaching.

    In talking of the family and the respective roles of husband and wife, he is quite scathing of mens’ attitudes to their wives. He says ” true worth, goodness, grace, shining from within, do beget a more loving reverence and reverent love, than all outward forms of pomp and state, than any boisterousness or big looks, can possibly produce…let the husband know that his wife hath as noble a soul as himself……It is incredible to consider the vast and invaluable differences between the comforts, calmness, and many sweet contentment of a household governed by the patient wisdom of a heavenly-minded man, and the endless brawling, bitter contests about trifles, disorders and domestic quarrels, which haunt that family where a choleric, covetous and hare-brained husband doth domineer”

    Regards
    Gavin

  22. @ HUG:

    “I grew up with an NPD in my immediate family, and that develops your creep radar.”

    The porn addict/pedophile I mentioned in my original post is also an NPD. His wife stayed married to him for 17 years because of submission teachings but finally divorced him (extended and tiresome – 2+ years). This situation had a HUGE impact on my gut reaction to submission and headship as I watched it go down when I was only ~13-14. It’s still the first thing I think of when I hear the word “submit” in this context.

    (He was also “committed” to Christian homeschooling because it was “godly”…until he found out he would have to pay enough child support to make it happen. I’ve seen that happen with several “committed” Christian homeschool dads during divorce proceedings.)

  23. @ Numo:

    I wish it was only my gut… His 13-year-old daughter has a lot of anger problems and a really bizarre fascination with fire that makes me even more uncomfortable. He’s a blacksmith and his forge is in the garage – once when his eldest daughter and I were watching him make something for a field trip, the 13-year-old was literally circling the garage trying to look in the windows.

    He has four daughters ranging from 17 to 2. I hope they aren’t abused (physically or sexually) but my gut just won’t shut up.

  24. Dear Hester

    The following is from an anti-abuse, children’s helpline.

    Child Abuse – Signs and Symptoms

    Although these signs do not necessarily indicate that a child has been abused, they may help adults recognise that something is wrong. The possibility of abuse should be investigated if a child shows a number of these symptoms, or any of them to a marked degree:

    Sexual Abuse
    Being overly affectionate or knowledgeable in a sexual way inappropriate to the child’s age
    Medical problems such as chronic itching, pain in the genitals, venereal diseases
    Other extreme reactions, such as depression, self-mutilation, suicide attempts, running away, overdoses, anorexia
    Personality changes such as becoming insecure or clinging
    Regressing to younger behaviour patterns such as thumb sucking or bringing out discarded cuddly toys
    Sudden loss of appetite or compulsive eating
    Being isolated or withdrawn
    Inability to concentrate
    Lack of trust or fear of someone they know well, such as not wanting to be alone with a babysitter or child minder
    Starting to wet again, day or night/nightmares
    Become worried about clothing being removed
    Suddenly drawing sexually explicit pictures
    Trying to be ‘ultra-good’ or perfect; overreacting to criticism
    Physical Abuse
    Unexplained recurrent injuries or burns
    Improbable excuses or refusal to explain injuries
    Wearing clothes to cover injuries, even in hot weather
    Refusal to undress for gym
    Bald patches
    Chronic running away
    Fear of medical help or examination
    Self-destructive tendencies
    Aggression towards others
    Fear of physical contact – shrinking back if touched
    Admitting that they are punished, but the punishment is excessive (such as a child being beaten every night to ‘make him study’)
    Fear of suspected abuser being contacted
    Emotional Abuse
    Physical, mental and emotional development lags
    Sudden speech disorders
    Continual self-depreciation (‘I’m stupid, ugly, worthless, etc’)
    Overreaction to mistakes
    Extreme fear of any new situation
    Inappropriate response to pain (‘I deserve this’)
    Neurotic behaviour (rocking, hair twisting, self-mutilation)
    Extremes of passivity or aggression
    Neglect
    Constant hunger
    Poor personal hygiene
    Constant tiredness
    Poor state of clothing
    Emaciation
    Untreated medical problems
    No social relationships
    Compulsive scavenging
    Destructive tendencies
    Note: A child may be subjected to a combination of different kinds of abuse.
    It is also possible that a child may show no outward signs and hide what is happening from everyone

    Suspected Abuse
    If you suspect that a child is being abused, seek advice from the police or social services. It is preferable that you identify yourself and give details. However, if you feel unsure and would like to discuss the situation, ring the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) Helpline, or the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, or the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. You can speak to these organisations (and the police and social services) anonymously. The numbers are given in this website.

    Knowing how damaging abuse is to children, it is up to the adults around them to take responsibility for stopping it.

    If a child tells you about abuse:

    Stay calm and be reassuring
    Find a quiet place to talk
    Believe in what you are being told
    Listen, but do no press for information
    Say that you are glad that the child told you
    If it will help the child to cope. say that the abuser has a problem
    Say that you will do your best to protect and support the child
    If necessary, seek medical help and contact the police or social services
    If your child has told another adult, such as a teacher or school nurse, contact them. Their advice may make it easier to help your child
    Determine if this incident may affect how your child reacts at school. It may be advisable to liaise with you child’s teacher, school nurse or headteacher
    Acknowledge that your child may have angry, sad or even guilty feelings about what happened, but stress that the abuse was not the child’s fault. Acknowledge that you will probably need help dealing with your own feelings
    You may consider using the school as a resource, as the staff should have a network of agencies they work with, and be able to give you advice.

    You can contact official agencies or self-help groups. If you are concerned about what action may be taken, ask before you proceed.

    Regards
    Gavin

  25. I can’t say that some of the links you supplied aren’t sincere. I want to remain naive and say not all people in this group are as completely closed minded as others.

    Mary Kassian said something in her article about RHE that stuck me. She was upset being thrown in the fire along with the likes of Debi Pearl. Yet, you never see her or others speak out against their dangerous teachings. Mary relies on her 50 year old feminist book and shows like Mary Tyler Moore and Sex in the City to show the woes of the world. Those darn feminists and all that. This imaginary enemy is NOT the threat she makes it out to be. They don’t crush their image to the world. It’s people like the Pearls that do. And it is strange teachings like back doors from Driscoll and Piper’s response to the pastor struggling with his stand on DV stating he is making the opening WIDER for divorce with such a struggle.

    Those things will damage their image. People can see the insanity, and yet they refuse to acknowledge them.

    This is pretty much damage control so they can say they took their stand against domestic violence, and yet they will not put their money where their mouth is. Kassian mentioned focus ministries at the end of her article. I hope she decides to help finance that ministry. They are doing God’s work, and helped many. Some how I doubt they will. To me that is sin personally. You don’t use them as a tool, and not support them.

    Just wait. In the future they will be accused of being sexist, and encouraging Domestic violence…and they will link to their resources they wrote in the past week to squelch that opinion. They did so they will have a tool, because I have yet to see them take this stand prior. Heck they don’t even like speaking of it. They will use these pieces as PR. Then they will continue to teach people as dumb when they claim,’that is NOT what we are saying!’

    I hope I’m wrong.

  26. I write for Barbara and Jeff Crippen’s blog at times. I also (along with a few others from ACFJ) have engaged Cosper on his article. I don’t know anything about him beyond Barbara pointing me to his blog, but I am encouraged by some of his responses. He’s certainly not “there”, in understanding the dynamics of abuse, but unless I am mistaken (and I could be– I’m forever an optimist), I see empathy for the abused in what he writes and that counts for a lot.

  27. Eagle, et al

    This just goes to show that I am a gullible and easily deceived woman!!  

    Also, I lose the joke meter the later in the evening it becomes.

  28. The disturbing thing about most (all?) of these articles is that they do not recommend bringing the authorities into the situtaion. It’s all about church discipline, and “keeping it in the family”. That’s cult-like mentality, but not at all surprising.

    BTW, every time Owen Strachan talks about his “manhood”, I get a little chuckle out of it. Yes, I’m juvenile. ;)

  29. Virginia,

    Thanks for sharing the link to your post on domestic violence which you wrote in October.  Yes, that was Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

    It is curious that October came and went without the Calvinistas chiming in (as far as I know) like they did this week.

  30. It’s funny isn’t it, that if you read the blog posts above, without knowing anything else about the posters, some of what they say seems perfectly ok. If you read Driscoll’s post, for example, & ignore the simplistic gender stereotyping, plenty of what he says is sensible & even insightful, about the more subtle kinds of abuse, i.e. ‘the look’. But the body of his teachings re. women don’t live up to this…sad. How do we affirm the good stuff without appearing to condone the rubbish?

    Excuse the weird posting, I’m in bed all dizzy today :( However obvs not as dizzy as Dee…I was waiting to see what you’d change the heading sentence to & I was not disappointed!

  31. Wisdomcatcher

    This is an excellent observation.

    “It reminds me of when my husband does something really nice and then double downs soon after in the verbal abuse. It really gets you off guard so it hurts even more than normal.”

  32. AJG

    You should chuckle about Strachan. If these “men” continue to support a culture of abuse by pointing fingers at everyone else but their own Calvinista buddies, then they are not to be taken seriously.

  33. Hannah Thomas,

    You make some excellent points. There must be a secret reason for this concerted effort by the Calvinistas, and I look forward to finding out what it is!

  34. BeakerJ

    First, never take a lengthy trip just before the start of the holidays. Combine that with a husband who will probably need suregery this coming week, a son who is switching colleges (Go Wolfpack) this month, Christimas stuff and you have a discombobulated woman. Aarghh! Thankfully, Eagle is a friend.

     

  35. Eagle

    I am afraid that I am as cynical as you are. I believe they are getting their ducks in a row ahead of some damaging revelations of how their good buddies over at SGM handled stuff. They talk a good talk but when the rubber meets the road and they must face what is going on in their own ranks, they go silent. Day 40!

  36. Deb,

    I explained up above what happened. I had made a comment a few weeks ago and since then have had extensive emails from complementarians, trying to get me to acknowledge that complementarians do not approve of abuse.

    I stated that I was in the congregation with Jim Packer for 15 years, and not once was any mention of abuse ever made, and no advice given, and no resources for domestic violence situations were made available. They don’t want to admit that this happened, so now they are sending out these statements.

    But my original statement holds. For 15 years, I was in a congregation that was deeply influenced by CBMW, and no resources were ever made available for abused wives. None, Even after I left, telling the pastor what happened, there were still outrageous sermons on the submission of wives.

    Anyway, I was emailed and had these posts referred to me, and was asked to read them. I believe that these posts have been a direct response to my story. I have said that I will go ahead and make my story public because it is true, and I have asked for an apology for the teaching of unilateral submission of wives which encourages abusers, and makes the abused have more difficulty getting help. I have asked for an apology for a teaching which puts the submission of women ahead of the safety of women and children.

    I am waiting for a response.

  37. Sue

    If you ever want to tell your full story here, our blog is avaiable to you. I believe you, really believe you. I know that some of these Calvinistas are really good in shooting off their mouth with esoteric, theologically “correct” interpretations but, when it comes to behavior, negate everything they claim is true. I watched it in a former church. Women were not told of domestic violence resources. They refused to hang the phone number of a domestic violence hotline in the ladies room. 

    I was also told of a situation involving a church in my area in which a pastor’s wife was being socked around. Her parents removed her, along with the 3 children to safety in their home and begged for intervention. The head pastor, a Calvinista and one who would denounce domestic violence on a theological level, told the family that she needed to go back to the husband, and then they would provide counseliing. The parents response? Hell, no!

    Better yet, Dorothy Patterson’s husband Paige told a woman to go back into an abusive home and she did get beat up once again. Paige was soooo happy because the abuser came to church. Oh right, he comes to church and he is now saved. “Saved” men never beat their wives, do they??? And this is who Kassian goes to for information? Guess what, after this outrageous example, which was recorded and for which Patterson has never apologized, SEBTS dedicated a building after him!!! Boy, am I hot over this.

    Until i see concrete examples of a turning from this outrageous behavior, I will continue to believe that these men care only about their vaunted positions as admirals in rowboats at seminaries and churches. Shame on all of them.

    Sue, forgive me for overlooking your original comment. I will continue to pray for you.

  38. I couldn’t help but notice 3 tweets come thru this morning. CBMW, Ligon Duncan and Denny Burk all tweeted about this: http://www.dennyburk.com/when-it-costs-to-be-complementarian/

    Six months ago, I didn’t know what a complementarian was. Now I have a much better idea, but even the so-called experts differ in their definitions. What I do know is that I have seen disturbing patterns of abuse coming from this group. (I also have seen friends’ marriage where it seems to work for them.) But what I had no idea about was the emphasis on this topic from key leaders. These leaders treat the comp issue as if it is central to the gospel. I don’t know if they would say with words that it is a primary issue, but their actions prove they believe it is. If you ask me, the preoccupation with the comp topic among these folks seems to be almost idolatrous. Where does the gospel fit in with these leaders? I’m lost.

  39. Thanks, Dee! You’ll probably recognize a lot of the offbeat doctrines and practices from things you’ve observed in your own research. Everything in the book is based on reality, although I was careful to mix up the details so I wasn’t picking on any one group or leader. I discovered TWW when I was doing my research, and I remain thankful for the way you and other bloggers keep shining the light on bad situations and false teachings.

  40. Meg – I’m glad I clicked on your name. I enjoyed reading your http://megmoseley.com/homeschooling-praise-and-pitfalls/ article. I’ve been teaching my children at home for over 20 years now – still have 2 full-time students and 3 part-time (I have sent them off to “heathen government schools” for a few classes and by publicly stating this, I’m sure my blog readership has dropped in half.) ;)

    I wrote a similar-themed article on my blog (with some added snark because it helps vent some anger). It is crazy to think when all we wanted to do was give our kids a fun learning experience at home, a whole slew of agendas came along with the curricula/conferences. What a shame that so many of us were taken on a different ride than we signed up for. It’s nice to read another voice echoing what has grieved my heart because sometimes I feel like a fool for falling for so much of “their” agenda. Anyway, thanks Meg – I think there are a lot of “us” out there.

  41. Julie Anne

    Incredible post and one theat needs to be discussed. The Christian Taliban is in play. They are now writing new rules. They want all parachurch groups to be under the “authority” of the local church. That means they wish to be admirals in rowboats pulling a dinghy. Communion can now only be done inside a local church.  

    Now, for an alternative situation. The local church (es) in our area put pressure on the local CRU group to only allow men in leadership. They also came out in a full court press against another Christian group which allowed women in leadership. Each CRU group has its own flavor.

    They are like the SBC which claims they have no control over the local church unless they have a woman as pastor. Then they get the boot. But, those who cover up pedophiles are more than welcome. My good friend “anonymous” will now have a stroke. However, we will disagree on this one into eternity and he will still be a friend.

    BTW I think something is going to happen this year which will highlight this situation but since I am speculating (or, if i were like Mark Driscoll;”I see things”) I will go no further. However, when, or if, it does (and I think it will) the SBC will have a hot potato on their hands. 

    In fact, 2013 is going to be a great year for Christian bloggers. It is going to hit the fan, big time. Rest up over Christmas, you will need it.

  42. To Our Readers

    We have added two new links to our blog list.

    One is Meg Moseley’s blog and the other is Hannah Thomas’ blog. They are both worth visitng frequently!

  43. Julie Anne–oh, you heathen, you! :) Yes, it’s crazy to look back and see how extremists hijacked the homeschool movement, and to see how many of us fell for at least part of the extremism.

    And it’s all intertwined…homeschoolers, the “complementarian” business, the teachings on just how much abuse a woman is supposed to take, and on and on. I don’t like to get into assigning guilt by association, especially because I think most people are just trying to do the best they can, by the light they have, but it’s like a gigantic spider web of interconnectedness. (If that’s a word.)

    I’ll have to bow out of the discussion for a few days because of a deadline next week, but I’ll try to keep reading when I can.

  44. Dee, thanks for adding my blog to your links list. Shoot, does this mean I’ll have to update my blog sometimes?! :)

    Now I’m sneaking away into Deadline Hell so you won’t see me for a while….

  45. Barbara Roberts,
    In addition to your comment above, I also greatly appreciated your comments on Leeman’s 9Marks article.
    For some reason my device won’t let me copy/paste, but Leeman gave a sample letter churches should send abusers to *excommunicate* them. It says something like, “We’re taking you off the membership rolls (all-important to Leeman) and can’t call you “brother”‘ but please know that you are always welcome to attend the services of our church.” What!!!??
    Barbara, and two others, commented that the abuser must not be allowed at ANY church activities with his victim(s)! Of course, no response from Leeman!
    “You’re Excommunicated! Welcome to our church!” Insane… Just insane.

  46. It’s no double-standard. I believe that the Bible teaches complementarianism. That view, therefore, should be reflected in all Christian ministries. That’s the standard at SBTS, and I wish it were also the standard at CRU. Denny Burk

    This is the issue “I believe . . . therefore all ALL Christian ministries should . . . ”

    Complementarians are trying to push “what they believe the Bible says about male/female roles” into every Christian ministry. They are also separating from ministries that don’t agree with this view.

    If the man working for CRU could not agree with CRU’s policies, then he should leave on his own accord and not do something that causes him to go against his “own” conscience. He shouldn’t, however, force his beliefs about male/female roles into a ministry that does not hold that view. This does not make him a martyr, but it seems Denny and others want to make him out to be one. What about the women who lost their jobs at the seminary after years of service? The men didn’t seem to bother too much about their difficulties. What hypocrites!

  47. To all

    I spoke wth Eagle and we had a good laugh. he promised to invite me to his baptism if it ever occurs which should help with confirmation! Dee now slinks off into a corner….

  48. Bridget

    I think we will add  Burk’s post for discussion. The hubris is incredible-my way or the highway.

  49. Ha. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is egalitarian – I’d like to see Calvinistas wage war on them!

  50. Call me cynical, but quite honestly what I think these Calvinistas are doing is trying to take charge of the issue so they can be the ones to define the correct biblical way of dealing with it. I notice not one of them said divorce was a valid biblical option. (I mean besides Jeff Crippen, who really does get it.) This, I think, is one of the facets of this issue they are trying to get in front of. I don’t think it is their only concern, but I do think they want to be the ones to frame the biblical options. Divorce will be excluded from this list. In some cases, so will involving law enforcement. “Abuse is bad, and WE will tell you how it is and is not to be handled” is, I think, what they are saying. I suppose another way to say this is that marriage, not the abuse victim, is their “client” and they are trying to defend their client from divorce. But they want to have it both ways. If you see what I mean.

    Another thing I think they are doing is trying to distance themselves from charges that their doctrine leads to abuse or that abuse is intrinsic to their teaching.

  51. “I notice not one of them said divorce was a valid biblical option.”

    Correct. I think for many of them it’s an issue of not understanding the true dynamics of abuse and defaulting to a traditional position, fearful of being seen as taking divorce lightly. Most seem to think that separation is “good enough”, even though there is absolutely no Biblical justification for the practice. Separation instead of divorce is pretty much the definition of legalistic: “we know you can’t live with him in peace so you have to get out of there, but we can’t endorse something called ‘divorce’ . . .”

    The article by Piper citing Instone-Brewer’s view (that abused and neglected spouses may divorce) as “tragic” says it all. And Instone-Brewer is a scholar whose work on the subject is 10 times deeper that Piper’s. Read his book “Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible” vs Piper’s position statement and there really is no question who has scripture on his side.

    If if these guys really understood what abuse does to people, they would not be able to fall back on a “traditional” position unless they were monsters (and I know some are). Understanding the problem is the first step. If you read the stories of abuse survivors and somehow find it in your heart to say their divorce was the wrong thing, we need to talk about the lack of fruit-bearing empathy that should come from the Holy Spirit dwelling within you.

    I admit that I did “amen” Cosper for rebuking one of his responders by saying denying a woman the right to separate for verbal abuse lacks empathy, realizing that he did not say “divorce”. But having a pastor rebuke a commenter for not taking verbal abuse seriously is a big step in the right direction, IMO. If Cosper is being honest here, he seems like he will come around to supporting divorce for abuse if he takes a hard look at survivor stories and Davied IB’s work. I can always hope.

  52. ‘This, I think, is one of the facets of this issue they are trying to get in front of. ”

    Yep. The entire exercise and tons of blog posts from their comrades on this issue means they are trying to get in front and maintain a comp….a comp that looks more sane. They were forced out of their bubble and the PR campaign has begun.

    Here is where they miss it: Their doctrine ATTRACTS manipulators, narcissists and abusers. Not eveyone hits. Horrible chaos and emotional/mental abuse is done by narcissists, NPDs, etc who are never diagnosed and look perfectly normal to the world. It is pure evil.

    Crippens is right to encourage us to analyze the evil. But when we believe a doctrine that says we remain totally depraved or can sin all we want as grace is cheap, what do we expect?

    So many are leaving out the humanity of Jesus and are not connecting dots as to how we are to live. Is it easy? Heck no!

    Living a life with a manipulator bully who claims Christ is the height of cognitive dissonance. And the church, celebrity Christians teach sin as a virtue when they promote men as “spiritual leaders” because they have a penis. It is spiritual. Not physical. In Christ there is no…..

  53. “The article by Piper citing Instone-Brewer’s view (that abused and neglected spouses may divorce) as “tragic” says it all. And Instone-Brewer is a scholar whose work on the subject is 10 times deeper that Piper’s. Read his book “Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible” vs Piper’s position statement and there really is no question who has scripture on his side.”

    Bingo! The goal was to get out front and marginalize Instone Brewer quickly. People start divorcing then 3/4 of their teaching on salvation requirements are gone. They elevated comp doctrine to salvic status. Now they are in damage control over the result of a generation of this thinking being salvic.

    “If if these guys really understood what abuse does to people, they would not be able to fall back on a “traditional” position unless they were monsters (and I know some are).”

    This is the confusing part. I know a mega church pastor well who told a woman who had been so abused she needed 6 operations. She did leave him and years later when she wanted to remarry a great guy she had to be “counseled” first. She was told that he would not even discuss it with her until she admitted she was 50% responsible for what happened to her. She was stunned he was trying to heap guilt on her for being a victim of violence. Her new fiance said no way, we are out of here.

    The pastor really believed what he was teaching was truth. He was ignorant and incompetent. He knows nothing of Christianity if you really think about it. Years later, he was brutally beaten up when his car broke down in Chicago. He never connected the dots. he saw himself as a total victim and was quite bitter for a long time aftewards. So bad, the elders kept him off stage for several months. It did not soften his heart toward abused women.
    \
    Thousands go to hear him preach every weekend and think he is a great guy. They know his stage persona.

  54. @ Jeff & Anon 1:

    Instone-Brewer’s book is on my Christmas list so, hoping to read it soon. I looked at his summary points on his website and they sound excellent.

  55. @ Gavin:

    Thanks for the list. The family has been investigated by DCF in the past when (according to them) the baby slipped into a sink full of hot water and got burned. This child is now ~10 and hides from school buses when they drive by the house (she’s homeschooled and thinks they’ll forcibly take her to school if they see her).

  56. John Piper isn’t a scholar, and his attempt to “respond” to Dr. Instone-Brewer was laughable. Many pastors think that being a pastor makes them an expert on a whole range of subjects.

  57. Just an FYI: both Justin Taylor’s and Thabiti’s blog comments were closed after the comments were leaning on the egal side. How do I know? I posted comments on both articles and was receiving follow-up comments in my e-mail.

    So much for freedom of speech there. They give the “appearance” of freedom of speech, but conveniently close when it gets too hot in the kitchen.

    Shoot, I allow people to personally gripe at me on my blog. I don’t lose sleep over it. I’m all about freedom of speech, baby.

    When you look at this from my perspective coming from an abusive church where there were dire consequences if we questioned authority, I have to tell you, this behavior closely resembles the controlling environment I came from.

  58. “Instone-Brewer’s book is on my Christmas list so, hoping to read it soon. I looked at his summary points on his website and they sound excellent.”

    If you have the patience for the in depth, the book I read was “Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible”. I understand that his book “Divorce and Remarriage in the Church” is more accessible, but maybe not quite as in depth.

    At the risk of sounding more like a fanboy than I already do, IB’s book is the most thorough treatment of ANY Biblical subject I’ve ever read (which probably means I’ve been reading all the wrong books). If more “Bible studies” were written like his book I might never read anything else.

  59. Julie Anne,

    I’ve also heard public schools called “government indoctrination centers” by the homeschoolers in my area. Why can’t we all respect one another’s choices about our children’s education? Can’t we all just get along?

  60. Anon1 – You said:

    “She was told that he would not even discuss it with her until she admitted she was 50% responsible for what happened to her.”

    Typical “blame the women, hold the men UNaccountable” bull. Will it never end?

  61. @ Julie Anne

    You are right, the little radio show I co-host in our county on politics and religion has had some much happen in the last 2 weeks since the election. We expected a topic “dry spell” after the election, but the local churches have made “great strides” to fill in the gap. I have never seen more pastors, staff, deacons, elders, lose their minds in our area. If this is any indication of the future, 2013 is going to be so busy….

  62. Hester,

    I recommend reading both of Instone-Brewer’s books. Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible is the scholarly tome, which is quite exhaustive but worth the effort. Divorce and Remarriage in the Church is sort of the Reader’s Digest version of the first one.

    Instone-Brewer has been very gracious toward his detractors, too.

  63. I will say here what I have said before on other blogs: most churches don’t have any idea how to handle domestic violence situations that arise in their church. Most have minimal, if any, education or training in counseling much less this very particular area. Most can’t recognize what constitutes risk to victims or their children (if any). Most don’t recognize or don’t know that there are frequently very specific criminal and other laws they should be thinking about. Most probably don’t have the numbers to a local DV counseling agency or shelter. This is an area most churches should probably pass on to trained professionals.

    And following Julie Ann’s post above I looked at Denny Burk’s blog (because I like to make myself sick) and lo, in today’s comments was this gem from the professor himself:

    “If a person joins my church from an egalitarian parachurch ministry, they are going to have some issues. They are going to find that what they found to be normal in the parachurch (i.e., women leading and teaching men) is not allowed in a real church.”

  64. Meg,

    I used to homeschool my daughters back in the 90s when they were very young.  1998 was the last year I attended the large homeschool convention here in North Carolina.  They keynote speaker that year was Doug Phillips, whom I had never heard of before.  I ordered some cassette tapes at that event, and for some weird reason I just came across them a few days ago.  I listened to one of them a few days ago, and I can see clearly now what his agenda was…  That was the year Doug launched Vision Forum.

    My daughters began attending a Christian school the following year, and in some ways I believe we were spared from insanity of the VF crowd.  They definitely hijacked the homeschooling community, and it makes me mad!

  65. @Meg…..
    We homeschooled our two from 1986-1996. When we began we enjoyed the independence our family had to be together, learn together, travel together, etc. Slowly though as homeschooling grew, so did the, homeschooling Christian busybodies. It turned political and vicious in fighting reared its ugly head.
    When we sent our children to a Christian High School, we were told we were not real HS ‘s. One of the reasons we stopped HS is because our children couldn’t relate and didn’t want to be with the other, “weird “, homeschooled kids. Not that our kids didn’t have their own issues but their observations on what some of the HS kids were turning into was correct. We made the necessary course correction and lived to not regret it.

  66. Jeff S, Numo, Hester, Anonymous, and others,

    I’m so glad to see John Piper’s teaching and his reaction to Instone-Brewer’s work discussed here. I will forever remember how I first became acquainted with John Piper. My husband and I received a copy of his paper on divorce and remarriage in our mailbox when my brother was in seminary at SEBTS.

    I was married briefly to a man who became abusive. Long story short, I divorced him and remarried. At the time of receiving Piper’s paper, my now-husband and I had been married for several years and had three small children. My brother wanted us to know that we were living in sin, that our marriage was not a covenantal relationship with God, and that he agreed with Piper. Must admit I’ve never liked Piper much since then.

  67. Here is where they miss it: Their doctrine ATTRACTS manipulators, narcissists and abusers. Not eveyone hits. Horrible chaos and emotional/mental abuse is done by narcissists, NPDs, etc who are never diagnosed and look perfectly normal to the world. It is pure evil. — Anon1

    Thousands go to hear him preach every weekend and think he is a great guy. They know his stage persona. — Anon1

    “For Satan himself can change himself to appear as an Angel of Light.”

  68. Call me cynical, but quite honestly what I think these Calvinistas are doing is trying to take charge of the issue so they can be the ones to define the correct biblical way of dealing with it. — anonymous

    “The question may come up as to what we do is legal or not. Before that time comes, make sure WE are the ones who define what is legal and what is not.”
    – L Ron Hubbard, Founder/Bridge/Flag of Scientology

  69. Most of the abuse from my first husband was verbal and emotional (name-calling, etc.), but he quickly escalated to threatening to kill me and bashing things around the house, pulling out the phone from the wall, running over our mailbox, etc.

    When I finally broke my silence with my family, my grandfather insisted that I visit the police. I walked in and met with an officer who told me to call immediately if there was any kind of threat in the future. Within a week, my husband was yelling and threatening me and produced a tied rope to choke me. Instead of running for my life, I called the police and waited during that long, scary, tortuous 10 minutes, until they arrived.

    Eventually I got him out, and to protect myself (or so I thought), I got a restraining order and legal separation. There was stalking and more threats and more torture, and I had to call the police several times more. It never occurred to me consult with anyone at my church during the marriage or separation, because I knew instinctively they wouldn’t know what to do or I’d be judged or things wouldn’t be handled well, and I’d suffer more for it. I felt guilty enough getting the police involved and initiating the separation.

    Divorce is so taboo in the church and many Christian homes. It is crammed down our throats all our lives that divorce is a sin. So when we find ourselves in an abusive marriage, it’s so difficult to look at divorce as a real option. I grew up believing that divorce was nearly the worst thing you could do to God. I wondered if I might go to hell if I divorced my husband. I can remember praying, so many times, that God would let me die. I’d been taught there was no way out, and dying would be better than facing this one more day.

    It’s interesting that separation is being discussed here. I believed that getting a legal separation would offer me legal protections, as well as motivate my husband to do the work of reconciliation (not just get back together and go back to the way things were, which is what he wanted). I remember being shocked when a counseling professor at Liberty University told us that there are extreme circumstances in which couples should “separate to work on the marriage”. Divorce was never discussed as an option, of course, and I don’t remember covering domestic violence at all.

  70. Lin,

    I have friends who homeschool (albeit not as close as we used to be for different reasons). I’ve known a couple of them most of my life; others I’ve known or been acquainted with for 15 years or more. As a result, some of their teenage and young adult children are also my friends on facebook.

    From time to time, these homeschool kids feel the need to post something derogatory about kids who go to (other) schools or how awesome homeschool is and how stupid people don’t get it. Just yesterday, in fact, a 16-year old homeschooler posted that she has a life, as opposed to kids who go to school all day and then have homework at night. the way she wrote it was quite sarcastic and mean-spirited. I assume that she must have friends on her facebook who are in school, and it strikes me as rude and hateful to put that out there. And these kids are just as politically fired up and indignant as their parents.

  71. Another tidbit – that same 16-year old loves John Piper and has quoted him on occasion in her facebook posts.

  72. Wendy…….I hear you. We have a young women (20) now attending our church who was homeschooled. She is very aggressively pushing, Driscoll’s garbage. Very arrogant/condesceding/arguementative, to any opposing viewpoints, however softly presented.

  73. “I grew up with NPD in my immediate family,and that developes a creep radar”
    “you’ve got a talent for spotting sociopaths”

    Headless, I also grew up with a family like this. Those of us who grew up in homes like this can see things that others can’t.

  74. “Those of us who grew up in homes like this can see things that others can’t” I should have also added that those of us who didn’t end up like our NPD parents. Meaning, most of the time, the majority of siblings end up socios/NPD just like their parents.

  75. “My brother wanted us to know that we were living in sin, that our marriage was not a covenantal relationship with God, and that he agreed with Piper.”

    Wendy, it’s worth noting that this is beyond what Piper teaches (and believe me, I am NO fan of Piper). He believes that remarriages are redeemable even if he thinks you should remarry after a divorce. What your brother did to you is terrible. I am so sorry.

  76. “It’s interesting that separation is being discussed here. I believed that getting a legal separation would offer me legal protections, as well as motivate my husband to do the work of reconciliation (not just get back together and go back to the way things were, which is what he wanted). I remember being shocked when a counseling professor at Liberty University told us that there are extreme circumstances in which couples should “separate to work on the marriage”.”

    My marriage therapist recommended separation, and in a private conversation offered a view that emotional abandonment could be grounds for divorce per 1 Cor 7 (even though he didn’t hold that view, I think he was just throwing up his hands and offering me whatever he could).

    A lot of no-divorce types will grudgingly offer separation as a solution in blatantly obvious situations where there is an obvious threat. My church (which followed Piper’s view) even pressed me to separate rather than divorce, and there was no physical violence involved. This may have been pushed because the figured I wouldn’t accept anything else. I do not know if they would have been willing to agree to separation if I were a woman.

    There are many problems with telling an abused woman (or man) that she may separate but not divorce:
    -Abusers rarely repent and change
    -separation implies a future chance of reconciliation that will require a victim whose boundaries have even repeatedly violated to have good discernment in order to determine when it is safe to return, all the while being pressured by the church to reconcile. Many women who return to their abusers end up dead.
    -many states do not have legal separation
    -legal separation does not always protect from financial liability
    -there is no Biblical justification for separation (unless you count the metaphore of God with Israel/Judah, but then you have to accept the divorce metaphore is applicable as well). How can a spouse who separates for her own protection meet the marital obligations described in scripture? Is there love or mutual submission between spouses who are separated?

    I’m not saying that separation cannot be a tool at times to fix broken marriages if both parties are committed to the process, but an abuse situation is different. You are essentially telling the abused wife to wait in the wings for an abuser to miraculously repent, a real miracle that does not happen very often. It is far more likely he will deceive everyone with false repentance so he can continue the abuse. Regardless, an abuser does not deserve to have his wife waiting in the wings for him; she should go free.

    But separation is still more merciful that telling a wife to remain and submit and somehow change her abusive husbands behavior. Such teaching is gross and absolutely destructive.

    At least, that’s my view :)

  77. @ Wendy:

    “And these kids are just as politically fired up and indignant as their parents.”

    Yup…about 16-18 years old is when Christian homeschool kids go through that. That’s usually when their parents put them in Christian debate/forensics groups to learn how to “defend the truth.” (Of course they miss the fact that debate is designed to teach you how to construct an argument and sell something, NOT how to tell truth from lies…which is why it is central to the education of politicians and lawyers!) However, it’s not unusual for these same kids to implode and lose their faith only a few short years later, usually at college. It doesn’t always matter if it’s a Christian college, either. I know a kid who was big into debate and self-described as a Libertarian at age 16, but he went off to Kings College (Dinesh D’Souza’s ex-school) and now believes the Bible is full of myths and calls himself a socialist.

    I went through a phase a little like this, though I always refused to join debate. Following the right-wing political blogosphere daily, completely unable to see how rude and vitriolic much of it was. I’ve since mellowed considerably (though I’m still a Republican).

    Kudos to you for having the courage to divorce your abusive husband. I know many Christian women who could never have done that due to the oppressive teachings they’re fed at church. My great-grandmother divorced her first husband in the 20s after he hit her, which was unusual for the time – but what was even more unusual was that she had the full support of her parents in the matter. They always told her growing up that she should divorce her husband pointblank if he hit her even once. And she did.

  78. @ Jeff & Anon 1:

    Thanks for the pointers – I thought there was only one book. I’m all for academic tomes! I’m reading Norman Cantor’s Civilization of the Middle Ages right now. : )

  79. “Those of us who grew up in homes like this can see things that others can’t” I should have also added that those of us who didn’t end up like our NPD parents. Meaning, most of the time, the majority of siblings end up socios/NPD just like their parents. — Stormy

    I would like to point out that in my background situation, the NPD was not repeat not a parent, but a sibling who was able to manipulate both parents as well.

  80. Slowly though as homeschooling grew, so did the, homeschooling Christian busybodies. It turned political and vicious in fighting reared its ugly head. When we sent our children to a Christian High School, we were told we were not real HS ‘s. — Lin

    You know what this is, Lin?
    HOMESCHOOL SNOBBERY.

    One of the reasons we stopped HS is because our children couldn’t relate and didn’t want to be with the other, “weird “, homeschooled kids. — Lin

    Like the 10-year-old mentioned somewhere above in this thread who hides when a school bus comes around, afraid they’ll be kidnapped and taken to the Antichrist’s Heathen Gummint Indoctrination Center? (I thought I had a most paranoid imagination… but it appears I have not.)

  81. Hester,

    What a great story about your great-grandmother. It’s great she had the courage to divorce her husband and that she had the full support of her parents.

    My children don’t know I was married before. The oldest is 10, and I really don’t know when or how to break it to them. I’m worried they’ll be sad and shocked or even hurt that their Daddy wasn’t my first husband.

    My older two kids (both girls) know about divorce in a general way and have asked questions about why couples divorce. I’ve told them that sometimes a spouse is very mean and hits the other one or calls them bad names. I’ve made a point to tell them they should never stay in a relationship or marriage like that.

  82. My sister is married to an abusive sociopath. I knew right away when I first met him that he was an *##%#&$. My sister and many others are under his spell, under his control, and have been for eight years. The various non-stop hell has given me a professional sociopath radar, but of course, no one including my sister ever listens to me at all, no one ever takes my advice, nothing. My sister, being a new Christian, is now perfect bait for dangerous teachings from Piper and the like. She’s already fallen prey to Joyce Meyer’s never-ending “you have no excuse not to show unconditional, magical forgiveness, to everyone, always, every time, with or without any hint of repentance, even abusers, giving chance after chance, believing and trusting over and over again that next time, no, next time, oops, maybe next time, will be different” garbage!

    What’s just awesome and wonderful is that I’m living in the same house with my sister and her dog (the sociopath). This person (look, I was “nice” this time) triggers my PTSD very badly! Almost every day is a mental struggle to get through, but I’m working on getting out of here.

  83. These Guys Are Just Trying to Cover Their Butts Because They Know They’ll Be Sued By Someone Like Susan Burke Sooner Rather Than Later

    Yes, it’s interesting that so many high-profile evangelical leaders are suddenly desperate to state how much they care about the sexual and physical abuse of women and children when there’s much evidence these issues been plaguing their churches for some time.

    How come these noble high-profile press releases weren’t issued 5 or 10 years ago?

    What’s increasingly clear to me is that the pastoral cultural norm of shoving abuse under the carpet by shutting up victims on the grounds that it’s sinful to criticize a church leader and protecting perpetrators from prosecution by not reporting their crimes to the appropriate authorities, is not an isolated SGM problem. Unfortunately, this truly evil behavior on behalf of the clergy appears to be as prevalent and egregious in many Evangelical Churches as it was in the Catholic Church.

    Thus given the increasingly obvious magnitude of the problem, there’s no way Mohler, Piper, and Josh Harris can say they knew nothing about how the churches in their denominations/on their radar in general covered up horrendous crimes systematically. Maybe they didn’t abuse people personally but they certainly didn’t follow-up on complaints indicating that others in their circle did.

    And they’re still spinning the truth in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

    For example, acccording to Brent Detwiler’s transcript of Josh Harris’s latest speech to CLC, Harris emphasized that while SGM was sued no current or former pastor of CLC has been accused of sexual abuse. What he didn’t say is that three or four former CLC pastors are being accused of covering up sexual and physical abuse in their role as advisers to church members in their care.

    So Harris implicitly stated, by omission, that covering up and/or failing to report sexual abuse is no big deal.

    I doubt you’ll trace the smoking gun back to anyone other than Mahaney, who’s not real bright and Mad as a Hatter, but I predict that soon Mohler won’t be able to credibly claim that he didn’t know how sexual abuse was really being handled behind the scenes, as the de facto leader of the SBC for many years, no matter how many splashy statements condemning Penn State he makes.

    I also predict that many Evangelical communities will experience a great big national sex abuse scandal in the next five years. These so-called celebrity preachers are just panicking right now because they see how badly things are going for the SGM crowd and know they’re next on the lawsuit/accountability list.

    C’est la vie. They had a good run.

  84. Jeff S,

    I've often wondered what Piper does with the couples in his church who are divorced and remarried. In a church that size, there are probably lots of them. The only info I've been able to find about Piper's treatment toward the divorced and remarried is some vague statement about God's grace but nothing to refute my brother's assertion that a remarriage (after divorce) isn't a covenant with God.

    "I’m not saying that separation cannot be a tool at times to fix broken marriages if both parties are committed to the process, but an abuse situation is different. You are essentially telling the abused wife to wait in the wings for an abuser to miraculously repent, a real miracle that does not happen very often. It is far more likely he will deceive everyone with false repentance so he can continue the abuse. Regardless, an abuser does not deserve to have his wife waiting in the wings for him; she should go free."

    Absolutely agree. Separation should not be used at all in the case of abuse. Without Christian counsel, on my own, I chose to separate with the hope of reconciliation because that's what I'd been taught – which was wrong. I chose a lengthy legal separation because of all the teaching I'd received in church, at LU, and in my home that divorce is wrong, period. In fact, adultery wasn't even a good reason. Until a few days before my divorce was final (more than two years after the separation), I kept everything secret from my church and most of my Christian friends/associates.

    The church must do a better job with this. Hester's great-great grandparents back in the 1920's did a better job than our churches do today.

  85. Can anyone here tell me what are some signs (besides obvious injuries) that a wife is being abused by her husband?

    And how can I help someone who I suspect is being abused (I am not sure, but have a loooong list of suspicions which I am not comfortable posting)? Should I encourage her to open up, and if so, how? And if my suspicions are correct, how do I help her to see that divorce is an option without her shutting down in fear of going to hell?

    What is the WORST thing I could do if I suspect abuse, as far as getting her to open up?

    Resources would be really helpful.

  86. Wendy, if this will help with your relationship with your brother here is a quote from Piper (understanding that I don’t think what Piper believes or doesn’t should in any way impact your own feelings abiut your marriage) directly to people who have remarried:

    “I am for this marriage that you’re in. It shouldn’t have happened, and I will work with you to make it as good as it can possibly be”

    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/how-does-your-uncommon-view-on-divorce-affect-your-ministry-to-those-in-your-church

  87. Complementarians are trying to push “what they believe the Bible says about male/female roles” into every Christian ministry. They are also separating from ministries that don’t agree with this view.

    Separating from other Christians? How fundamentalist of them.

    (For those who may be unaware, separation is the keystone of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist movement. Not adhering to the “Fundamentals of the Faith” but “separating from erring brethren” [read: apostates], though a Fundy would deny it.) Burk and his ilk are sounding more and more like the Jones’s and the Hyles’s with each pontification.

  88. Wow. INTERESTING PR move.

    One additional comment about Strachan. My experience with him is that he is a fame monger. Several years ago I tried to engage him in conversation without telling him who I was or what my background was. However, he completely blew me off. However, once he heard about who I knew/had studied with he suddenly wanted to talk to me. I must say I then blew him off. His attitude is frightengly representative of the YRR crowd. They are using the church to gain fame.

  89. Re Homeschooled kids who get attitudes:

    There are two sides to that coin. I was homeschooled from kindergarten through 12th grade. You need to cut some of these kids some slack. In highschool, I dreaded when strangers would ask where I went to school. It frequently ended one of two ways: the first option was the asker would assume I was unusually brilliant, which was far from true. The second and by far worse option was that I would be reamed, in public, by a complete stranger about how my parents had no idea what they were doing and they were ruining my future. This happened frequently and it was entirely innappropriate. My youngest brother has had similar experiences as recently as three years ago – he said the only way he could get it to stop was to start listing off the careers of his older siblings, all of which are challenging. When you get that kind of treatment from total strangers and then their kids parrot those attitudes (and I just watched this happen two weeks ago between a group of public school kids and one homeschooler) – YOU GET DEFENSIVE!

    I loved being homeschooled – wouldn’t have traded it for anything (in Highschool we were allowed to choose public or home). But I hated that people felt it was okay to disparage my education when they hadn’t even bothered to investigate the particulars.

  90. Eagle,
    I hope you are not suggesting that people who are claiming they are abused are in reality just dissaponted that their spouse is not meeting expectations. Lowering expectations will NOT help in cases of abuse, but that is what the church tells victims all the time. Not being hit or verbally assaulted is a reasonable and right expectation for a marriage partner.

    And guys being “wired differently” (which I’m not convinced is true) is no excuse for porn. This is a consistent message the church sends wives: “ladies, your men are hyper-sexual, lustful horndogs, you are just going to have to get over it. If you really want him not to stray or use porn, be hotter”. This attitude is absolutely crushing to women.

    If you want to hear what they have to say about it, try this link:
    https://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/abuse-and-pornography-a-digest-of-scott-johnsons-pornography-and-abuse/#comments

    I know there are women who struggle with lust too, and they get regarded as abnormal, not even discussed, while men get a pass on porn because they are men.

  91. I think that many who teach troubling doctrine about men and women don’t necessarily condone abuse, but it’s a combination of their own ignorance of what abuse IS, their ignorance of how to handle it, and their ignorance of the realization that comp doctrine often intensifies abuse.

    Many of them seem to believe that because comp doctrine is “Biblical,” that means there should be no negative consequences if you teach it. It prevents them from seeing how abusers can take something like the submission doctrine and twist it in terrible ways.

    Just my opinion.

    I don’t advocate all comps being forced to stop believing in complementarianism, if doing so would go against their conscience…but they also need to stop thinking that it’s impossible for abusers to get the wrong message from it.

  92. Someone way up in the beggining of the comments mentioned that Mrs. Kassian was trying to distance herself from the Pearls. I have read Created to be his Helpmeet and as far as I am concerned it isn’t more radical than anything else I have seen from these folks.

    1. Her stance on domestic abuse is that you should cooperate and trust God to change his heart.
    2. Her stance on obedience is that you can make a petition, but you must obey your husbands decisions.
    3. Her stance on a father sexually abusing a child is that you turn him into the police, let them handle it, and welcome him home once he has done his time (and yes I could track down page number on that one).
    4. Her stance on sex aligns with Mahaneys, but not Driscolls which she condemns
    5. Her stance on being happy is to be happy and if you are not then fake it – your husband fell in love with the happy you, not the stressed out disillusioned person that you have become.
    6. Her stance on Birthcontrol is not to worry your pretty little head about it, that is your husbands decision.
    7. Headcoverings – see birthcontrol
    8. Her stance on giving directions to strangers – relax he’s not your husband and you don’t have to submit to him. :) (not specifically, but she makes it clear that you don’t have to submit to more than one man at a time)

    So, yeah, how is her teaching concerning marriage worse than say, Pipers? (not kids, that is a whole different can of worms)

    By the way, did any of you know that Debi Pearl was the one who proposed to Michael Pearl – and he hadn’t even expressed an interest in her. She offered to have his baby, literally – and they got married a week later. In that sense they are significantly more liberal than any of the Christian dating/courting books that I have read.

  93. LFY – I always tell people who think they are dealing with an abuse victim – “the best thing you can do is believe them and listen and don’t tell them what to do. The worst thing is just the opposite.” Also, it is never good to continue trying to help a victim without knowing what you are doing. Therefore, reading is in order – pronto. Lundy Bancroft’s book is normally the place to begin – Why Does He do That? Get that book into the victim’s hands also. Many other resources are available at our resource page at cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com For a Christian victim, especially if they are being told by their church that they cannot divorce for abuse, please see David Instone Brewer – Divorce and Remarriage in the Church or Barbara Roberts book, Not Under Bondage; or our book – Crying Out for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church. Read, read, read. And read the articles on our blog.

  94. Eagle – yes, men and women are different, but not all that different. I agree with what Jeff S said.

    also, when I was a teenager and a young woman, most of the pressure to look and be a certain way came from my peers (female), not so much from the media, etc. – although of course, the are part of overall cultural expectations on how people are “supposed” to be (and behave). In some ways, I was fortunate to be young during the 1970s, when fashions were very much “counterculture” (some fashions, at least), and a wide variety of personal “styles” were accepted.

    Of course, the stifling conformity that certain sectors of evangelicalism demand of *both* genders is where a LOT of problems originate.

    the comps are often accused of trying to turn the clock back to the 1950s (“leave it to Beaver”-type moms). but I think one thing people aren’t factoring in is that until right after WWII, very few Americans – male or female – went to college. The GI Bill changed that for me; for women, there was a corresponding uptick in post-HS education.

    I have this sneaking feeling that what a lot of the comps want to take away from women are any sense of adulthood, autonomy and… smarts.

    Back to “wired differently”: I don’t buy it, dude. Seriously. And as jeff S said, women who are honest about their own sexual desires are either ignored or treated like freaks or Jezebels. You have no idea!

    As for demanding perfect men, did you follow the thread from last week where one commenter was responding to HUG’s comments about women wanting a seemingly perfect husband? Not sure offhand which comment thread that was posted in, but it’s really worth looking up – she talked about how, since women are meant to both *be* some impossible idea (think everything in Proverbs 31) *and* have to submit, well… it follows that women tend to be scared of getting the wrong kind of guy. Jesus would never make wrong or impossible demands, but as for normal humans? They can – and do.

  95. Eagle (again) – the comp movement – and large sectors of evangelicalism in general – seems to promote some kind of perpetual adolescence for men, and in doing, so, they do men no favors at all.

    I have yet to see any comp-oriented articles that emphasize becoming fully adult (emotionally mature), for either men or women. But since men get the trump card, then…

    … although i have to say that I think a lot of comps are simply taking a “boys will be boys” mentality from American culture and more or less attempting to baptize it and make it look as if it’s at the core of xtianity. the thing is, in doing so, they totally ignore all of the passages where Jesus tells his followers to care for others, to deny themselves and follow him, etc. etc.

    jesus’ way is never anything less than emotionally mature; but american culture – and American evangelical culture – are the opposite. Which is one reason that I think the most grotesque versions of this way of thinking and behaving have gotten so much of the limelight. (Mark Driscoll, anyone?) the question is “Why?” – and it’s something I can’t answer, because it seems nonsensical to me – if anything, MD and others like him promote the idea that men never really have to grow up and can be as selfish as they want, with no consequences.

    I think the “hipness” of the visual and musical style of MH speaks to that – you can be a perpetual adolescent. If you weren’t in a “cool” clique in HS or college, guess what? You can be now, at MH. If you felt insecure before, you can now be the Coolest Kid on the Block (TM) just by being a member of MD’s church (And so on…)

  96. I came to the conclusion that Proverbs 31 is better read as an entire literary unit and in that larger context the advice is on what befits a king. “If” the Proverbs 31 woman is read with this in mind then she is a wife suitable for a king but that raises the question of what sort of man would be worthy of such a wife and earlier in Proverbs 31 it’s warned that kings ought to be unconcerned with women as much as ruling justly and not abusing pleasures or power or wealth. Right before we get the famous Proverbs 31 woman there’s this:

    Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
    Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

    Let a guy do something along these lines before he goes hunting for a Proverbs 31 woman.

    numo, having been in the culture and near it for more than a decade now I respectfully disagree about the thing of guys somehow being shielded from adult responsibilities. Driscoll may have made jokes about not being able to do laundry but in a case like that Driscoll’s presenting a persona that may or may not have much to do with Driscoll the real person.

    As for the culture I was able to see, marriage and being able to financially provide for families was always a very high priority, often to the point of being dismissive of singles as categorically immature.

    The problem in the MH culture that I saw was less about somehow encouraging men and women to never grow up as it was about transforming marriage into the metric of functional adulthood and simultaneously welding to that courtship/dating/marriage as a de facto status game. In that respect MH might be unusual in degree but not in kind. The people at the top were married leaders of whatever sort but particularly parents. Married people who were leaders were still fine. Married with or without children who weren’t leadership material were good, too. Single women probably needed to hold out for the right man and single men were at pretty much the bottom of the pecking order and considered selfish almost by definition.

  97. numo, I think you’re right on the perpetual adolescence thing. The strange part of it, though, is that Driscoll loves berating guys to ‘man up’. But to him ‘man up’ seems to only mean ‘find a woman to stick your penis in’, because the only ‘manning up’ he talks about is marriage and kids.

  98. Looking For You – you asked some good questions:
    “What are some signs (besides obvious injuries) that a wife is being abused by her husband?”
    Signs of abuse: withdrawal or inability to take part in social life that others take part in, poverty or a sense that she is under financial restrictions that (given the family income) seem unusual or inappropriate, a good ‘nice’ mask in public but fatigue, fear, anxiety, and depression below the surface, uncertain or unwilling to identify herself as ‘a victim of abuse’, making excuses for her own or her spouse’s behaviour, not being able to talk to men other than her husband, fear, shame, anxiety, shame, depression, she does all or almost all of the parenting of the kids, perhaps she seems sometimes ‘too emotional’, almost crazy, angry or hysterical or impatient over ‘little things’ (this is because she is at the end of her rope because of all the abuse).
    Here is an excellent resource for friends and family of someone who is being abused:
    http://www.dvrcv.org.au/someone-you-know-being-abused/

    “Should I encourage her to open up, and if so, how?”
    Ask open ended questions and watch and listen for the tiny flags she might put out, and ask her “Would you like to tell me more about that?”
    “How are things at home?” is a good open ended question.
    If she looks sad or tired or worried, ask her if she’d like to talk. Let her talk. Feed back to her the key words from what she’s said, so she knows you listened and heard her accurately. Tell her “I’m concerned about you.” “I’m here for you, no matter what you do. You can ring me any time of the day or night”
    If she is talking about her husband ‘losing it’ ask her “What do you mean when you say ‘He lost it?’ What exactly did he do?” “Has he ever touched you in anger?”

    You also asked: “if my suspicions are correct, how do I help her to see that divorce is an option without her shutting down in fear of going to hell?”
    You take that topic VERY gradually, and you don’t push it. Invite the conversation, but don’t force it. Read my book (Not Under Bondage)and then you will be able to tell her that you have found out that divorce IS allowed for domestic abuse, and would she be interested in learning more?
    If she shows fear, ask her what she is afraid of. Let her go at her own pace. She needs to make her own decisions in her own time, she doesn’t need anyone forcing or coercing her into decisions — her abuser has been forcing her for years already!

    What is the WORST thing I could do if I suspect abuse, as far as getting her to open up? The worst thing you could do is to show her that you think victims of abuse are silly for putting up with it. Don’t ask her “Why don’t you leave?” in a tone of bewildered astonishment. If you ask her that question in dismay, she will feel judged and she will close down and stop talking to you.

    The best thing you can say to her if she discloses any abuse is say “It’s not your fault; you are not to blame.” And you can say those words over and over and over again, she needs to take them in and soak them into her soul, because the abuser has been brainwashing her to believe it is all her fault.

  99. There are a lot of explicit and tacit prerequisites that go into marriage and kids, though, for people who have actually been at Mars Hill for anywhere between six to ten years.

  100. WTH – while I can accept some of what you’re saying, I actually think you might be missing some important parts of the overall picture.

    Just my opinion, to take or leave…

  101. Also… unmarried men and women are *not* treated as fully adult in most evangelical circles, no mater how old they might be chronologically.

    Been there, done that – am in my mid-50s. Being treated as a superannuated teenager gets old *really* fast. I doubt MH is any exception; indeed, judging from much of what MD says about sex and marriage, it’s probably one of the worst places I can imagine for older single people. (and likely not anywhere that widows and widowers would ever want to be!)

    If I see one more reference by MD to women like Esther being “whores,” I think I’ll literally get sick. That is – among other things – a VERY childish thing to say about anyone, let alone about one of the bible’s great heroines.

    Your man MD has sexuality all wrong six ways from Sunday. I hope there will be a day when he talks about putting his wife’s needs and desires first, but I suspect that’s for a parallel universe, and not this one. (Sadly.)

  102. WTH,
    I can only speak from my limited Driscoll exposure, but when he came to Australia about 5 years ago I went to hear him speak, and he spent a lot of time complaining about immature guys, and the only answer/solution he gave was that they needed to ‘man up and marry some single Christian woman’.
    He didn’t talk to us women at all, other than asking the singles to put up their hand if they’d maybe like to marry one day.

  103. …often to the point of being dismissive of singles as categorically immature.

    yes, so that the married men can beat their chests and shout “I’m MATURE, dawgs!” and suchlike.

    Putting down another group of people in order to inflate one’s own status and reputation is categorically immature behavior.

  104. And thanks, Dave A A, for your appreciative remarks about what I wrote at Leeman’s post on Violence Against Women and Church Discipline.
    I’m copy/pasting what I said at Leeman’s post here, because I have a funny feeling that some of those comp posts may be taken down and hidden under the rug at some stage, if the **** hits the fan too much.

    Here’s what I wrote at Leeman’s post:
    http://www.9marks.org/blog/violence-against-women-and-church-discipline#comment-722308665

    I think it is very wrong to allow a perpetrator of abuse to attend any events at all in the church where his victims fellowship. The church needs to be a safe place for the victim, and it will not be safe when the victim is afraid that her (or his) abuser might show up, or might be attending a bible study or home fellowship of that church where he can elist allies and denigrate his victim and the allies will believe his lying distorted story, which is NEVER the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    The church should bar the offender from attending any event at all in that church. The offender can find another church, and if they do, that new church leadership should be warned about that person’s history, so they can protect the lambs in their flock that the abuser may be grooming as his next victim(s).

    While I am delighted that you [Leeman] say that church discipline should be decisive and that legal recourse should be made, I am dismayed that you only refer to physical abuse when saying this. The vast majority of abuse is emotional and psychological (read: verbal abuse, mind games, sneering remarks, abuse disguised as a ‘joke’, gas-lighting, re-writing history, denial of history, crawfishing tactics, treating the victim like royalty in order to suck them in to the perpetrator’s grasp…. and then we have financial abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, pet abuse, child abuse, legal abuse post-separation, and social abuse which prevents the victim from freely having relationships with extended family and friends.

    To privilege physical violence as the criteria for legal action, but make little mention of all the other kinds of abuse, is not an adequate response to this problem. For further info, please go to cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/

  105. A small observation: those 2 items that the Gospel Coalition recommend:
    “How Should You Counsel a Case of Domestic Violence? Helping the Perpetrator” by David Powlison & Paul Tripp, and “How Should You Counsel a Case of Domestic Violence? Helping the Victim” by Ed Welch … each cost $1.49.

    Well well. At that price, why not make them free, so victims can access them easily? Once they have woken up out of the fog, victims often want to read everything they can lay their hands on about abuse. They devour reading matter on this topic, but many pastors and counselors don’t bother, because they think they know it all. :(

  106. Pam, concerns that MD neglected to provide any practical instruction to women has been a recurring if occasional complaint from within MH. He seems to have punted completely on that for most of his ministry for reasons that may be too obvious.

    numo, I miss all sorts of things so if you’re willing to expand and explain I’m game to read.

  107. WTH – Yes, men at MH get married and act as providers (how well or how poorly, who knows).

    but they get to

    - demand sex

    - demand specific sexual acts

    - demand other kinds of sexual performances (strip tease, etc.)

    - demand that their wives not work

    - demand that their wives produce children

    - demand that their wives not see “outside” counselors

    - (from what I hear from Seattle, myself) control who their wives get to spend time with, including their own parents, etc.

    - monitor their wives’ communication with others

    Demand, demand, demand, demand; control, control control, control.

    yeah, I’m a man and so I have the right to oral or anal with my wife, even if she hates it (or fears, dreads or simply finds it distasteful).

    An adult man – one who is emotionally mature – doesn’t talk or act in that way. It’s just NOT right, and I think MD and his whole “church” have thrown out 90+% of the NT in order to come up with their own response to the Rolling stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” (Y’know, the song with the line that says “I can’t get no / girly action…”)

    And *anyone* who thinks it’s “cute” to post things about “the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader[s]” has VERY serious issues… on many levels. (Not to mention that the kinds of people who tend to say/write crap like that are … you guessed it: emotionally immature.)

    Apologies for the rant, but I just can’t stand to hear about how I’m missing the boat because I don’t know MH’s “culture” firsthand. What I do know: that there are MH women sitting in group therapy sessions in Seattle who literally shake with fear that their husbands will find out what they’re doing.

    Hmm.

  108. Of course, demanding that people get married to “prove” their adulthood/maturity means that somehow, Jesus and Paul (among others) were not adults, not mature.

    Where are the admonitions to love one another, to a husband to truly love his wife as Christ loved the church, to view women as fully human?

    I do not see those things coming from the stage (I hesitate to call it “the pulpit”) at MH.

    Cool graphics and even “cooler” bands and supporting flavor-of-the-moment dudely fashion seem to be the order of the day, along with trashing large portions of Scripture, dragging women through the mud (Esther, anyone?!), treating shouting and yelling from the stage as normal communication… I could go on.

    Everything I have ever read/heard about MH has left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a sick feeling in my stomach.

    MD deserves to be ignored – at best.

  109. Pam wrote

    He didn’t talk to us women at all, other than asking the singles to put up their hand if they’d maybe like to marry one day.

    Exactly.

    and I’m sure he also didn’t talk about education beyond HS, or domestic abuse, for that matter.

  110. Lots of peoople have praised Instone-Brewer’s books on this post. I know it’s not good to blow one’s own trumpet, but I would like to say that I relied on I-B when writing my book and built on what he said. However, my book deals much more with abuse than his books do. My book focuses on abuse as grounds for divorce, and touches on adultery and desertion as other grounds. My book also explains how victims of abuse hear and are hurt by the traditional interpretations of the divorce texts.
    You can find out more about my book here, and you can read the first chapter online for free:
    http://www.notunderbondage.com/book.html

  111. Breaking News!

    I’ve been pretty active writing comments on Mike Cosper’s post
    Dear Bob: Abuse and the (Complementarian) Christian Response.

    It’s been taken down. The post and the comments are not there any more.

    Here is link for my final comment that I submitted:
    http://mikedcosper.com/2012/11/25/dear-bob-abuse-and-the-complimentarian-christian-response/#comment-521

    That comment may never have been published (on that post all comments were being moderated before being published).

    But the fact is, the entire post has vanished into thin air.

    I have asked Mike why he took the post down or whether it is just a glitch that it has vanished. I had to use his ‘about me’ page to ask the question, as even his current post has not option for comments.
    I hope he answers me.

  112. Hi Barbara, I managed to follow your link above and read the post and comments, there were two comments from yourself and several from others from your blog. So, maybe it was just a glitch. BTW, I have been able to point a friend towards your blog.

  113. @ ES:

    “When you get that kind of treatment from total strangers and then their kids parrot those attitudes (and I just watched this happen two weeks ago between a group of public school kids and one homeschooler) – YOU GET DEFENSIVE!”

    I was also homeschooled K-12 and I can definitely relate to people assuming I’m stupid because I was homeschooled, esp. public school teachers. That happens to me even now that I’m 22. So I get the defensiveness/overcompensation thing and I know that might be why some kids do this. But I’ve also known many that did it because, in their teenage black-and-white thinking, they considered their parents’ beliefs to be the only way and they disparage any alternatives. I’ve also known kids who got a big mouth about politics because it was basically expected of them by their homeschool peers – to have any conversations at all (esp. in election years), they had to watch politics like a hawk and talk about it extensively.

  114. @ Numo:

    “the comp movement – and large sectors of evangelicalism in general – seems to promote some kind of perpetual adolescence for men, and in doing, so, they do men no favors at all.”

    …which is interesting given that most of their stuff is about being a “real man” and developing “virtuous/godly manhood.”

  115. Eagle, I understand where your comment is coming from now, and I get your passion.

    I agree 100% that a system that encourages accountability partners and then punishes them for struggling with sin it completely broken. More and more I’m hearing about evangelicals rejecting the practice of accountability partners, which is a good thing.

    I agree with you that we all do not struggle with the same things. I don’t remember the exact quote, but I know that CS Lewis talks about this in Mere Christianity. He says not to blame your brother for a sin he commits that you don’t struggle with, because you also don’t have the gifts that person does and deal with the perversion of those gifts. That thought as always struck me as humble and important.

    And really, struggle and perseverence of that struggle is evidence of faith. When we struggle we should not be seen as “backsliders”, but rather people on the road of sanctification. The fact that we create churches where we call ourselves “sinners” all the time but are shocked when we find out anyone has actually sinned beyond the apparently benign sins of greed, idolatry, covetousness, and other “permissible” American sins– it’s plain dishonest.

    I know very personally what it’s like for a private struggle to be made known, and fortunately those who found out where very gracious (much more gracious that likely I would have been in their shoes), but to have a private struggle made public without my consent, regardless of the reception, was crushing. I was physically ill for about a week and emotionally traumatized for long after.

    The only thing about pornography is, in the church this is seen as “every man’s battle” and the women married to them can easily start to feel like sins that really do affect and hurt them are being legitimized because “every man struggles with it”. Do men struggle with lust? Yes, a lot do. Is it a victimless sin? No– it can hurt the women who love them, and this has to be dealt with. Pornorgraphy is out of bounds in a marriage. But the real key is, what is the man’s heart? Is he given over to this sin, permitting it to invade his marriage without regret? Or is he sincerely burdened and taking concrete steps with a real plan toward not injuring his wife in the future through his actions. And “sincerely burdened” does not mean he regrets when he’s caught. We are talking about a real repentant heart who understands he is causing his wife pain and does not make excuses, but rather seeks solutions.

    So yes, I agree that people need to have more grace with those who are truly struggling, but at the same time we need to be firm with those who are not, especially when their actions cause oppression to others (and living with a man addicted to pornography is oppressive to the wife). A church ought to be a safe place for anyone who struggles with sin, not a place for pretending and putting on airs. And it out to be a dangerous place for those who overlook their sin when it hurts others, because a church cannot overlook oppression and be a safe place to the oppressed.

    And let me say, I do apologize for misconstruing any part of your comment. I was trying to see how it fit into the overall flow of the conversation abiut abuse and made some incorrect assumptions. Thank you for your clarification.

  116. Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts,

    I am so grateful for your bold stand against domestic abuse. Abuse of any kind is a hot button issue for us here at TWW.

    Thanks for all of your incredible information posted on your website! We would like to feature some of it on our blog from time to time to point those who are being abused in your direction.

    May God continue to bless your ministry!

  117. Headless, ok. Usually when a child has NPD, one or both of the parents have it too. Just speaking from experience and from what others have experienced. This is pretty typical.Also,there are those who have some traits of NPD but are not full blown NPD. This is no different than a parent having an drinking problem that the behavior gets passed down to the next generation.

  118. WTH,

    I would echo Numo’s comment and am curious to hear your thoughts. I take Numo’s point that, while men at MH are expected to be mature in the areas of financial provision, they are also given a sort of trump card to do whatever they want.

    From an outside perspective (I have never attended MH but have heard some Driscoll sermons, blog posts, etc.) it always seemed to me that Driscoll speaks out of both sides of his mouth. On the one hand, men are supposed to be “more” responsible for sexual misconduct from women; on the other hand, men are such slaves to their sexual desire that wives shouldn’t make them abstain during their period. On the one hand, men should be financial providers and not fritter their time away on stupid hobbies; on the other hand, men’s egos and leadership are so fragile that women have to constantly watch their attitude so they don’t end up sabotaging their husband’s confidence.

    It seems that for every instance we can find of calling men to maturity, we could also find a time where Driscoll is giving men a license to have everything their own way and quash any detail of life that displeases them.

    I don’t think Driscoll realizes his contradictory messages, but they’re definitely there. What do you think?

  119. I noticed the tidal wave of Calvinsta anti-abuse posts too. All I could think was, wow, Calvinistas – compensating for something?

    I wonder if this was a coordinated effort or if they all decided to post on this issue separately?

  120. Caleb: Could this be their way of addressing the SGM issue without naming him specifically? It’s safer that way. Now they all have on record that they have spoken out against abuse (on the same day, with the same narrow focus – domestic violence, none mentioning divorce as an option, only some mentioning calling authorities for crimes committed).

  121. “the comp movement – and large sectors of evangelicalism in general – seems to promote some kind of perpetual adolescence for men, and in doing, so, they do men no favors at all.”

    …which is interesting given that most of their stuff is about being a “real man” and developing “virtuous/godly manhood.” — Hester

    It fits if you redefine “virtuous/godly manhood” as “The Man ALWAYS Gets His Own Way. PERIOD.” And “Real Man” as “Always Getting My Own Way — especially when it comes to Women. Me Man, Me Horny, You Woman, You Shut Up. You Put Out. Praise Gawd.”

  122. So let me get this straight as I learned from Christian culture. The guy who confesses is hammered and driven away from Christianity. Yet the person who lives a double life, is dishonest and projects a facade and gives the right testimonies is celebrated.

    How’s that for a healthy belief system…. — Eagle

    According to Christian Monist, THAT’s the primary reason Christian kids are walking away from churches once they turn 18. NOT because of Evolution, NOT because of Teh Fags, NOT because of Barack Obama, Not because of “gummint schools”, NOT because of Secular Humanist Conspiracies. Because they can’t stomach all the phoniness and pretense they see in churches and thus associate with God and Christ.

  123. I’ve also known kids who got a big mouth about politics because it was basically expected of them by their homeschool peers – to have any conversations at all (esp. in election years), they had to watch politics like a hawk and talk about it extensively. — Hester

    As in “Cloning Little Rush Limbaughs”?

    (Come to think of it, wasn’t “Political Political Political Political Political” 24/7/365 originally characteristic of the Communists?)

  124. Cool graphics and even “cooler” bands and supporting flavor-of-the-moment dudely fashion seem to be the order of the day… — Numo

    Until, in the words of pre-Vampire Slayer Buffy, it becomes “Oh so Day-Before-Yesterday” and you have to shift over to the New Cooler Graphics and Even Cooler Bands and New Dudely Fashion and…

    Because NOTHING gets old-fashioned faster than Over-Relevance. Especially Pretentious Over-Relevance.

  125. yeah, I’m a man and so I have the right to oral or anal with my wife, even if she hates it (or fears, dreads or simply finds it distasteful). — Numo

    “WOMAN, SUBMIT!” or “The street whores charge too much and I Want It For FREE!”? (Or maybe the street whores laughed at my Mickey Mouse T-Shirt and Puka-Shell Necklace?)

  126. Eagle – I didn’t mean to sound like I was lambasting you. I have my own scars from being honest in a perfectionistic church.

    My apologies if I sounded like I was in any way minimizing what you’ve gone through and the resulting pain.

    I’ve been through some tough things as well, and it’s taken me a long time (almost a decade) to start feeling whole again. So believe me, I *do* feel for you re. how you were treated and why you were treated that way.

  127. RE: Eagle on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 10:40 PM, Well put and I concur. Perfection is a tyranny in and of itself. So what if hubby does this, that or the other (aside from real abuse of course)? The same goes for husbands. Look for and cultivate the good, let the less than perfect slide, and you're well on your way to real happiness.

  128. I hadn’t thought of that, Julie-Anne, but that is possible. It is at least some kind of defensive response to the criticism they have received lately. Maybe it is preemptive too, like you suggest.

  129. @ HUG:

    “Because NOTHING gets old-fashioned faster than Over-Relevance. Especially Pretentious Over-Relevance.”

    Speaking of pretentious over-relevance – I was once in a church that actually had a poster up in their sanctuary that said “RELEVANT” in big bold letters. Maybe, just maybe, if you have to shout to people that you’re relevant…you’re not?

  130. Eagle said: “I had many situations that led me to reject and walk away from Christianity. One of them is that I saw that Christianity is for perfect people. Jeff, you’re talking with a guy who was hammered for confessing lust. While confessing and being raw, I had to contend with an accountability partner for 7 years who ended up living a double life. THEN before that charade I had to deal with a Christian Minister who I used for an employment reference who played up my lust battles when he was consulted for reference. Why? As he explained when he visited me in DC years ago…he thought it would be good for me to lose employment to teach me a lesson about the consequences of sin. So let me get this straight as I learned from Christian culture. The guy who confesses is hammered and driven away from Christianity. Yet the person who lives a double life, is dishonest and projects a facade and gives the right testimonies is celebrated.”

    WOW! These Christians that you were involved with Eagle had everything backwards. First, anything confessed to the pastor should be kept in absolute confidence. That’s how Lutherans do it.

    And an “accountability partner?”

    True Christians recognize their failures. It’s those who seem to lead perfect lives that should arouse suspicion.

    The whole “testimonies” thing is a recent innovation stemming from 19th century onward manipulative revivalistic “Christianity.” I would tell anyone to avoid a church that does that.

  131. First, anything confessed to the pastor should be kept in absolute confidence. That’s how Lutherans do it.

    I’ve never been able to understand why people do that. Can anyone explain the reason behind “confessing” anything to a pastor and/or anyone else for that matter?

  132. notamohlerfan

    Things are going badly and will be getting even worse in the SGM lawsuit. If SGM leaders think they can save themselves by their silly “but we were confidentially counseling them’”they are about to see how badly mistaken they are. The Phillip Gunn strategy will not work here. There are was too many pastors, members and perps involved. If they use  Gunn’s strategy, it will backfire on them big time.

    Just the mere public exposure of these stories are going to turn the stomach of all who read them. I predict that the SGM lawsuit will be the biggest story of 2013.  I wonder-will CJ proudly admit that he was the “head Apostle” during all of this?”

    I have something to say to SGM leaders and all who protet them You should all be ashamed of yourselves. It is time to fess up and confess, as you often claim, that you are all truly “the worst sinners you know.”

  133. I can only speak from my limited Driscoll exposure, but when he came to Australia about 5 years ago I went to hear him speak, and he spent a lot of time complaining about immature guys… Pam

    I wonder what Driscoll’s REAL background (not the official biography) was like. Especially in high school, where the pressure is on and the weak are pecked to death. I suspect Bee Jay was the Omega Male of his school, and now that he’s the Alpha Male of Mars Hill, he’s throwing his weight around HARD.

    His appearance hit me just today. Mickey Mouse T-shirt and Kewpie-doll Faux-hawk. Add that on top of his kida-doughy build, sort-of rounded face, and big plumped cheeks and the guy looks like a five-year-old. A perpetual five-year-old who has to PROVE he’s a Big Man.

    …and the only answer/solution he gave was that they needed to ‘man up and marry some single Christian woman’. — Pam

    And get her to “serve” you through whatever orifice YOU want, just like in your pornovisions. “ME MAN!” sez the perpetual five-year-old.

    yes, so that the married men can beat their chests and shout “I’m MATURE, dawgs!” and suchlike.

    Putting down another group of people in order to inflate one’s own status and reputation is categorically immature behavior. — Numo

    The Zero-Sum Game. Since there’s only so much Status and Reputation and Prestige to go around, the only way to get more for Me is to take it away from You. Lobsters in a bucket.

  134. JeffS

    That quote from Piper about  an abusive marriage is abusive. He is GLAD?? for the marriage?

  135. WOW! These Christians that you were involved with Eagle had everything backwards. First, anything confessed to the pastor should be kept in absolute confidence. That’s how Lutherans do it. — Nicholas

    And Romish Papists.

    Also on being 50-something and Single: Catholic churches are usually pretty neutral on whether you’re married or single. No “Salvation by Marriage Alone” there. Maybe an occasional Church Lady busybody who “knows” you’re singleness means you have a Vocation for Holy Orders or a Monastery, but that’s about it.

    If you want to see where these “relevant” churches end up, go here: http://www.alittleleaven.com/ — Nicholas

    Not exactly. That site is coming from the Fundagelical Heresy/Apostasy/Idolatry Hunter angle — very Conventionally Christianese. I’m talking more like how “Relevant” ends up fixing you in the Past very quickly as time keeps flowing into the Future. Both Chesterton and Lewis wrote about the danger of welding the Gospel to a particular place, time, and/or cultural expression. As time flows, those places/times/cultures stay still and end up in the “old-fashioned” Past.

  136. Tikatu

    A few years ago I said the Neo-cals would eat their own after they got rid of all of us. It is beginning.

  137. Victorious,

    We don’t require people to do that, as opposed to Roman Catholicism. It is not necessary for the forgiveness of sin.

    In Lutheranism, if people wish to confess something to the pastor in private, he will absolve them. We base this on John 20:22-23. The pastor can never repeat to anyone else what was confessed.

    Since the 19th century, the LCMS has incorporated a corporate confession and absolution into its worship services because back then in the midwest the pastor couldn’t be there all the time to hear confession. We still do this today, but it is a newer practice.

    For more info, see the pdf entitled “Confession and Absolution” here: http://www.lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=388

  138. Deferred Disbelief

    Welcome to TWW. It is all about who you know. That is one of the resaons that the Calvinistas refuse to even say that CJ Mahaney + SGM are bing sued over the alleged despicable handling of child sex abuse. They are hypocrits when they talk about caring for the victims of pedophilia. 

  139. WTH

    However, Driscoll’s love of Mickey Mouse shirts, cage fighting and the wonders of microbrew and tattoos have marked him as immature in my book.

  140. HUG, alittleleaven.com is run by a Confessional Lutheran named Chris Rosebrough, not a “fundagelical.” And if you see the category on the site call “Graveyard of Relevance”, you’ll see many examples of what you are talking about.

  141. Barbara Roberts

    I have just linked permanently to Crying Out for Justice. Is your site a totally different entity?

  142. “JeffS
    That quote from Piper about  an abusive marriage is abusive. He is GLAD?? for the marriage?”

    No, I should have quoted more: he’s talking about a remarriage. He is glad for the second marriage even if he thinks they shouldn’t have gotten remarried.

    Again, fully recognizing that I think Piper’s stance on marriage is really bad. But if Wendy’s brother is trying to make her feel guilty on the basis of Piper’s words, then he should at least be made aware that Piper would not agree with him.

  143. Dee, “A Cry For Justice” is both Barbara and Jeff C’s blog. They administer it together as well as the corresponding FB page.

    I am one of the regular contributors there.

  144. Barbara

    Great job on those comments. The doctrine of total depravity is being misused in this instance. Although I have a bit of a problem with total depravity, if I were to believe in it, I would not counsel like Cosper did.  

    Here is an example.  Take the terrible shooting that took place in the movie theater.  Of course, everyone sitting in the theater at the time were sinners in one form or another. One might have yelled at his mother. Another might have stolen a pencil at work. Another might have been living with her boyfriend.

    After the shooting, would Cosper go to the victims who were in the hosptial and say “Well, the shooter was wrong but you shouldn’t have been living with your boyfirend?”  That is the trajectory of his comments.

  145. Caleb

    I also wonder if all of them have conspired to never, ever mention the SGM lawsuit. I wonder if all of this is because they know that stuff is coming that will  embarrass all of them.

  146. Victorious

    I think the idea behind it, so long ago, was meant to help Christians to be free and open about their sins and be encouraged about the grace of God to forgive those sins.  It was a way for the Body of Christ to minister grace to one another. But, and that is a big but, it has been a fail on a large scale. It has devolved in the “bad” Christian going to a “good” Christian leader ,totally begating the purpose. 

  147. “After the shooting, would Cosper go to the victims who were in the hosptial and say “Well, the shooter was wrong but you shouldn’t have been living with your boyfirend?” That is the trajectory of his comments.”

    That is exactly how SGM handled it’s victims of molestation or abuse. The point was, you are a sinner, too, so just forgive. You have no right to justice.

    It is a religion of death

  148. Jeff S,

    I just liked A Cry for Justice on facebook and glanced over some of the posts. Great stuff!

    And thanks for the Piper link. Good to know he believes God can “redeem” me.

    Piper’s divorce and remarriage position still bugs me. I agree with him to the extent that my current marriage, in theory, shouldn’t have been, because my first husband shouldn’t have been abusive. But since he was abusive and since we did divorce, which I believe was the right thing to do, it puzzles me why Piper believes I wasn’t then free to remarry and now require God’s forgiveness and redemption. And that my husband, who’d never married before me, requires forgiveness and redemption, because “it (our marriage) shouldn’t have happened”.

  149. It always saddens me to see the homeschool/public school/private school issue become so vitriolic. I know groups of homeschooled families here that have never gotten involved with the Patriarchy movement and cannot stand it. They are real into Latin.. That is their thing, a classical education. As far as public schools, I don’t think they are monolithic but there are disturbing trends that are mandated. In my city, there is really no such thing as a neighborhood school. We have had busing since the 1970′s. There are no “community” ties to going to school and this causes a ton of problems especially for the poor kids whose parents cannot come to ballgames across town, etc. Some kids are on a bus for almost 4 hours per day going back and forth to a school across town. So when we talk public school here, it is totally different from what someone in another state or city is talking about. Some live in rural areas and know the teachers at the school and other families. Here that is very rare.

    So, I think it makes a lot of sense to give folks a lot of grace when it comes to educating their kids. The last thing I want to do is have a government that mandates the methods even more. The public schools are still using methods that were developed when we were industrializing and adding a lot of “theory” for classroom management. Everyone gets a piece of candy for participating. Or a trophy for trying. And that expectation is brought into the workplace when “trying hard” on something should be ingrained already not exactly rewarded every time.. Skill sets for “how to think” independently or what it takes to work are missing in many cases.

  150. “But since he was abusive and since we did divorce, which I believe was the right thing to do, it puzzles me why Piper believes I wasn’t then free to remarry and now require God’s forgiveness and redemption. And that my husband, who’d never married before me, requires forgiveness and redemption, because “it (our marriage) shouldn’t have happened”.”

    Wendy, this is why Piper went after Instone Brewer like he did. INstone Brewer taught scripture and was bringing down Piper’s house of cards interpretations concerning marriage/remarriage. If you listen to Piper long enough as I did, you see he always leaves some tiny loophole somewhere in his teaching on whatever doctrine it is. I think his “passion” is a huge attraction for folks and they fail to analyze what he is teaching and take it to it’s logical conclusion. When they do, they will find lots of confusion and contradictions by redefining conceptsand words. God gave us the ability to reason and use logic. It is not a sin to do so even when reading scripture.

    Piper and others said we liked IB because he gave us an excuse to get a divorce. As if people just married for fun with the idea of getting a divorce. They reall do think that happens a lot. I just think it is easier to get a divorce nowadays and many people probably would have before if they could have.

  151. Yes, Wendy- I encourage you not to listen to Piper on divorce and remarriage (or abuse). I am still deeply hurt about how people applying his theology treated me as I went through my own divorce. There is no empathy there.

    For his sake, I truly hope his position is one of ignorance. If he understands the terror his doctrine puts people through (either by causing them to remain in abusive situations or making them subject to spiritual abuse when they do leave) and still holds to it, that makes him a monster.

    As I said, the only reason I linked you that was as a defense against your brother. You do not need Piper’s “ok” to know that your remarriage is right in the eyes of God.

  152. Dee,

    What does this mean?:

    Dee demonstrates that she is easily deceived, particularly when tired.

    Inquiring minds and all that.

  153. Regarding Cosper, I am mystified as to the doctrine that believers are still in a state of “Total Depravity”. I have actually been in an email discussion with Jeff Crippen and others resulting from my shock at Cosper’s statment about Total Depravity and they are informing me how widespread a view that is. So there you go– I learned something new today.

  154. Thanks Wendy– I am glad you like it. That blog has been a breath of fresh air for me, and I haven’t endured even close to what a lot of abuse victims have. It’s been great that they’ve allowed me to give back too.

  155. Anonymous,

    It means that Dee (and I) thought Eagle was serious when he said he was getting baptized. It was his humorous reaction to Pat Robertson's proclamation that the earth is old (see his comment earlier in the thread).

    At first we thought he was serious, and Dee posted a comment at the top of the blog. It was removed and replaced with this quip.

  156. Dear All

    I found this explanation/exposition of the divorce/adultery/remarrying texts to be very helpful and I am grateful for the existence of the Greek Gnomic tense.

    Question: “Is remarriage after divorce always adultery?”

    Answer: Before we even begin to answer this question, let us reiterate, “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16). The pain, confusion, and frustration most people experience after a divorce are surely part of the reason that God hates divorce. Even more difficult, biblically, than the question of divorce, is the question of remarriage. The vast majority of people who divorce either remarry or consider getting remarried. What does the Bible say about this?

    Matthew 19:9 says, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” See also Matthew 5:32. These Scriptures clearly state that remarriage after a divorce is adultery, except in the instance of “marital unfaithfulness.” In regards to this “exception clause” and its implications, please read the following articles:
    What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?
    I am divorced. Can I remarry?

    It is our view that there are certain instances in which divorce and remarriage are permitted without the remarriage being considered adultery. These instances would include unrepentant adultery, physical abuse of spouse or children, and abandonment of a believing spouse by an unbelieving spouse. We are not saying that a person under such circumstances should remarry. The Bible definitely encourages remaining single or reconciliation over remarriage (1 Corinthians 7:11). At the same time, it is our view that God offers His mercy and grace to the innocent party in a divorce and allows that person to remarry without it being considered adultery.

    A person who gets a divorce for a reason other than the reasons listed above, and then gets remarried has committed adultery (Luke 16:18). The question then becomes, is this remarriage an “act” of adultery, or a “state” of adultery. The present tense of the Greek in Matthew 5:32; 19:9; and Luke 16:18 can indicate a continuous state of adultery. At the same time, the present tense in Greek does not always indicate continuous action. Sometimes it simply means that something occurred (Aoristic, Punctiliar, or Gnomic present). For example, the word “divorces” in Matthew 5:32 is present tense, but divorcing is not a continual action. It is our view that remarriage, no matter the circumstances, is not a continual state of adultery. Only the act of getting remarried itself is adultery.

    In the Old Testament Law, the punishment for adultery was death (Leviticus 20:10). At the same time, Deuteronomy 24:1-4 mentions remarriage after a divorce, does not call it adultery, and does not demand the death penalty for the remarried spouse. The Bible explicitly says that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but nowhere explicitly states that God hates remarriage. The Bible nowhere commands a remarried couple to divorce. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 does not describe the remarriage as invalid. Ending a remarriage through divorce would be just as sinful as ending a first marriage through divorce. Both would include the breaking of vows before God, between the couple, and in front of witnesses.

    No matter the circumstances, once a couple is remarried, they should strive to live out their married lives in fidelity, in a God-honoring way, with Christ at the center of their marriage. A marriage is a marriage. God does not view the new marriage as invalid or adulterous. A remarried couple should devote themselves to God, and to each other – and honor Him by making their new marriage a lasting and Christ-centered one (Ephesians 5:22-33).

    Link added per numo’s request: http://www.gotquestions.org/remarriage-adultery.html

    Regards
    Gavin

  157. Gavin, I take some large issues with that statement. The first is "God Hates Divorce", which is not an accurate translation and I think this is wildly agreed upon at this point. Read Malachi in the ESV and you will see a much better translation.

    I also object to the limiting of "physical" abuse implies that emotional abuse is not abuse, or at least not as bad. In most cases, emotional abuse is the real core of abuse. Most physical wounds heal eventually, but the emotional effects are long lasting. Allowing for divorce only in physical abuse situations leads to emotionally abused women praying their husbands will beat them.

    David Instone-Brewer's evidence is overwhelming that divorce should be allowed for adultery, abandonment, or neglect (under which all forms of abuse would fall). It should be noted that "neglect" should be viewed as a very strong abandonment of marital responsibility.

  158. It means that Dee (and I) thought Eagle was serious when he said he was getting baptized. It was his humorous reaction to Pat Robertson’s proclamation that the earth is old (see his comment earlier in the thread).

    At first we thought he was serious — Deb

    i.e. Eagle Pwned You.

    I think the “hipness” of the visual and musical style of MH speaks to that – you can be a perpetual adolescent. If you weren’t in a “cool” clique in HS or college, guess what? You can be now, at MH. If you felt insecure before, you can now be the Coolest Kid on the Block (TM) just by being a member of MD’s church (And so on…) — Numo

    And MD is the Leader of the Cool Kids and the arbiter of What Is Cool. Alpha Male of the Cool Clique.

    More and more I’m sure he was one of the Omega Males in his high school, shunned and put down by all the Cool Cliques there. So he made his own Cool Clique where HE gets to be the Coolest Leader of All The Coolest Kids. Where there is no Cool outside of HIS Clique.

    “They have never left high school. They will never leave high school. And they will never let any of the rest of us leave high school.”
    – long-ago blog comment (on The Anchoress?) regarding Hillary Clinton fanboys in the Media

  159. Gavin – I’m wondering if you could post links when you paste in text from other sites?

    It would be helpful to be able to go to the sources you’re drawing on.

    thanks in advance!

  160. So he made his own Cool Clique where HE gets to be the Coolest Leader of All The Coolest Kids. Where there is no Cool outside of HIS Clique.

    My thought exactly re. M. Driscoll!

  161. Anonymous

    I will take it down soon. I thought Eagle was really getting baptized when he was joking. I should have seen it coming. So, I poked fun at myself since I had posted that he was getting baptized. he and I have had a good laugh over it.

  162. Jeff

    This is a very insidious belief.  Some ministries such as SGM have used to to control people who might disagree with the pastor. If they say something, they are told that they are in sin and couldn’t possibly know what is right. The pastors somehow get a pass on it.

  163. Gavin:

    At the same time, Deuteronomy 24:1-4 mentions remarriage after a divorce, does not call it adultery, and does not demand the death penalty for the remarried spouse.

    The reason the remarriage does not call for the death penalty is because the CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE eliminates the issue of adultery. Most everywhere scripture speaks of divorce and adultery is reconciled when the marriage ends with a Certificate of Divorce. That’s why God mentions His own divorce from His people in terms of a Certificate of Divorce.

    This also explains how the woman at the well had had five husbands and was not guilty of adultery or she would have been stoned. Jesus apparently knows she has been “put away” for any cause five times.

    The issuance of a legal document attesting to the divorce is the legal proof that a person is not committing adultery upon remarriage.

  164. Jeff S @ 4:07~

    “Regarding Cosper, I am mystified as to the doctrine that believers are still in a state of “Total Depravity”. I have actually been in an email discussion with Jeff Crippen and others resulting from my shock at Cosper’s statment about Total Depravity and they are informing me how widespread a view that is. So there you go– I learned something new today.”

    I have been reading this for a while — that believers are still totally depraved. I disagree. Are some re-defining what totally depraved means to now mean really bad sinners?

    I remember reading that Michael Horton said Christians were totally depraved as well-but I cannot remember where I read it. Matt Chandler called born again believers wicked sinners in one video I watched. The below article comes from Tim Challies’ blog last month. (Tim’s words are
    “Ain’t that the truth” so he apparently agrees as well.)

    “Christians Are Sinners Too – Here’s the best line from an article at the Westminster Seminary blog: “We not only believe in total depravity, we practice it too!” Ain’t that the truth.”
    http://www.challies.com/a-la-carte/a-la-carte-111-7

    “One of my colleagues here at the seminary likes to remind us, “We not only believe in total depravity, we practice it too!””
    (From the Westminster article found in the link provided above.

  165. linda

    The only issue with that is that she was living with a man who was not her husband and was startled when Jesus called her on it so much so she went into her town to say how Jesus knew this stuff about her. She even tried to change the subject. Although we do not know definitively about her previous relationships, it is evident that she was willing to live with men outside of marriage.

  166. I do suddenly see why Dee keeps talking about Total Depravity being an issue in how leaders rule over their congregations. I thought she was just mistaken about the doctrine. Turns out, she’s not the one mistaken.

    It honestly defies logic if you understand that the whole point of Total Depravity is that pre-conversion we are unable to choose Christ due to our corrupt nature. I realize that most here don’t believe this doctrine, but if we understand that that’s what it means I just don’t see how it can be applied post conversion without redefining the doctrine to mean something entirely different.

  167. Regarding the word “sinners”, I’ve always defined it as “someone who sins” so it doesn’t bother me when people use it. I hand’t realize people are using it to mean something more like “someone whose nature is defined by sin”.

    I am so naive at times.

  168. linda,

    Highly unlikely she had 5 husbands die imho. However, given what we know to be a popular, prevalent practice for men to “put away” their wives for any cause, this seems a reasonable reason for 5 husbands.

    The way this woman was going to be able to identify the Messiah, was His ability to “tell them all things.” That’s why Jesus “told her things” that He couldn’t have known unless He was either a prophet or the Messiah. When she went into town, she continued to use the phrase “told me all things” identifier. It was the proof she needed even after Jesus said “I am He.”

    Women were very often dependent on marriage or a living together arrangement for their support. That’s why David and Solomon were never punished for having so many wives, concubines, and women widowed as a result of war. Many were forced to live under circumstances that were not the best or preferred.

  169. Jeff S – I take it you’re talking about the Calvinist concept of “total depravity,” as opposed to “original sin”?

    I wish terms and definitions were clearer, but given the number of re-interpretations out there, I feel as if it’s better to err on the side of caution…

  170. Victorious – one thing we don’t know about the Samaritan woman is how old she was…

    Eagle – the words “depravity” and “depraved” make me wince, as I’ve always associated them with the very worst of human evils. (like what was done in the concentration camps.)

    So I just can’t fathom using the word “depravity” in theological discussions and feel that the word – as it’s being used – is outdated.

  171. Numo, yes, though the two are closely related. But the idea behind Total Depravity is that our “image bearer of God” nature has been corrupted so our nature is inclined against God. Basically you could say that Total Depravity is the result of original sin. But we should not understand the word “Total” to mean “all we are”. We are not necessarily as depraved as we could be. So while in a state of Total Depravity, even though the free gift of salvation is available to us, with our hearts inclined away from God at a core level, we would not chose salvation. One the Holy Spirit regenerates us, then we have a new inclination toward righteousness, though we still struggle with sin. But struggle we must, because we cannot have a new nature and be Ok with sin in our lives. And this last point is where I’m at odds with this teaching abiut Christians being Totally Depraved.

    But this is all how I’ve understood the doctrine. Apparently it is not the only view.

  172. Eagle, did my last post clear things up?

    I believe that Christians still sin, but that their core nature is inclined toward rightousness rather than sin.

  173. If the believer’s core nature is inclined toward righteousness, then how do you explain the constant and consistent moral failures of the numerous leaders of the evangelical world covered at this site?

    The believer’s sinful nature will never be completely eradicated until the resurrection.

  174. Nicholas, first off, I didn’t say Christian’s don’t sin. Secondly, I did not say all of those leaders are Christians.

  175. I don’t know if anyone else noticed but under the Challies link to the article on Total Depravity, there was a link to an article on how child molesters “get away with it”. Interesting juxtaposition.

  176. Second Presbyterian. Heh. Okay, so Presbyterians can have second churches. Can someone find a Second Baptist?

  177. Jeff S – Thanks for your explanation… it’s not something I can believe in, though. At least, not in the way you have explained it.

  178. WTH, Second Baptist in Houston is enormous. It’s where Ed Young Sr. pastors. I went there for quite a few years.

  179. “I do suddenly see why Dee keeps talking about Total Depravity being an issue in how leaders rule over their congregations. I thought she was just mistaken about the doctrine. Turns out, she’s not the one mistaken.” Jeff S.

    Jeff -

    Dee isn’t the only one that has seen this or been concerned with it. The idea is rampant in the Calvinista realm and is quite handy in controlling the flock. This is what has happened in SGM. I’m afraid they will all deny that it is what they teach. But simply look at the fruit of their teachings and you will see it all over the place. In the end, the leaders will even say, “I am the worst sinner I know” and not take responsibility for their actions because they don’t “perceive” all their sin. They hide behind their “total depravity.” It is quite sad.

    They control believers by making them think that they are incapable of doing the good works that they were created for. Believers doubt their ability to understand scripture, hear from the Holy Spirit, and discern situations because they have been told that they are depraved and shot through with sin. They now need the pastors and/or elders to be involved in every area of their life or they wouldn’t make it glory. Sometimes the teaching is subtle, sometimes it’s in your face. Either way, it is unbalanced and is causing a lack of growth and fruitfulness in many believers.

  180. Dee I can barely keep up with all the great comments here. And I’ve yet to go across the street and see all the cruise photos. Steve tends to elaborate on his travel experiences so I figure I will need a long long time to hear about it all.

    Also, some of us want to know how the puggles fared in your absence. Did Miss Tulip give you the cold shoulder for a few days after you came home because she was pissed that you left?

    Hey does anybody find it strange that Justin Holcomb, who is an advocate for the sexually abused, is in cahoots with the sexual abuser Mark Driscoll? Holcomb is also on the board of GRACE. Maybe he thinks it’s wrong to abuse children but it’s ok to abuse women?

  181. “Second Presbyterian. Heh. Okay, so Presbyterians can have second churches. Can someone find a Second Baptist?”

    Seriously? They used to be all over the South. Even in small towns one could find a Second Baptist. Always cracked me up.

  182. @Hester

    Sorry for the delay – I keep reading the comments and then running out of time to post.

    I don’t disagree on anything that you said concerning homeschoolers – I have seen it all. But I do think there is a cyclical problem. Some people who homeschool their kids do an awful job. People exposed to them can develop a bad attitude towards them and stereotype. Then many homeschoolers develop some defense mechanisms that only make the problem worse. Add in the black and white thinking of a teenager who has been the target and you end up with a kid who is obnoxious and alienated. If their parents don’t handle conflict well, then they do the same thing.

    All of this to say, that kids in these situations need to be extended some understanding and grace. They frequently have been taught that the world is out to get them, the more isolated they are the more their limited exposure increases that perception and decreases the chance that they will explore outside their domain. I keep seeing statements that have no compassion for how the kid ended up that obnoxious.

    Dee,

    In and earlier comment you were mentioning Driscolls style and entertainment preferences and I got a visual of Mickey Mouse cage fighting – Or rather Mickey mouse reluctantly stuck in a cage fight – he just isn’t very gruff.

  183. Miss Tulip? Dee has a dog with a Calvinism-inspired name???

    Seriously though, Holcomb needs to be expelled from GRACE. I did not know he was a member.

  184. It just seems creepy to me that when Calvinistas mention/discuss/explain their patriarchal views, they often throw in a footnote along the lines of “Oh, and abuse is wrong!”

    It’s almost as if they are overly defensive about the correlation between patriarchy (AKA complementarianism) and abuse.

  185. @Jeff S, Eagle, Nicholas:

    It may have already been mentioned, but “Total Depravity” as it was explained in classical Calvinism meant not that humans are “as bad as can be” but rather that all areas of one’s person (heart, mind, body) are tainted by sin.

    Only later did Total Depravity begin to take on the self-flagellating, “we’re all worthless worms” meaning.

    I’m not a Calvinist by any means, but I do think that Scripture clearly teaches the basic concept that Calvin termed “Total Depravity.”

    Sorry to butt in, and apologies if I’m just being obnoxious!

  186. “One issue I fail to see really talked about in regards to Neo-Calvinism is how it corrupts the character of god.” – Eagle

    This. This is a core part of why this whole doctrine (and all it’s little offshoots) is so insidious. It paints God to be a dictatorial, capricious, angry – just-like-the-pagan-gods – god. It makes him into a monster. And if you grow up in this stuff, you reach a point where you have to decide if that is someone you can worship. Many stay in out of plain old fear. Some stay in ’cause they never really believed any of it anyway and it’s a good gig. But those who look at the logical places this doctrine leads usually walk away in disgust – probably in there late teens or twenties. And many assume that this IS who god is and want nothing to do with him.

    I know. I have wrestled with this a lot in the recent years. The ‘Bogeyman in the Sky’ versus Jesus……and the only way my faith survived my childhood at all was because the Jesus that was there holding my hand when I was afraid at night protected me from his angry father who wanted to punish me. In that stage when I was 16 and first walked away from church, Jesus walked away with me and continued to protect me from that angry god.

    I am only now, at nearly 50, truly beginning to believe – and see – that God is not that angry father in the sky who is disgusted with us all and just barely tolerates us. The god that is portrayed in these doctrines is, like any other man-made god, a thing made in man’s own image. And that is always going to be scary. Anything made in man’s image does not deserve to be worshiped. I told a neo-cal that the god he was describing (total depravity and double-predestination) was an abusive monster that did not deserve to be worshiped. That didn’t go over so well, but….

    [/end rant]

  187. @Eagle, @Jeanette

    I agree! My numerous interactions and relationships with Calvinistas have taught me that, in general, there are some weird personal issues wrapped up in their Neo-Calvinist theology. They project their own baggage onto Scripture and twist it all around. Some of the basic patterns I’ve seen:

    - Narcissism (whether clinical NPD or just general traits)
    - Low self-esteem (I’ve never figured out how someone can have both Narcisstic traits and low self-esteem at the same time, but it happens!)
    - Feeling wronged by one or both parents
    - Control issues
    - Anger issues (especially when confronted, or critiqued)

    Reading those traits, it sounds an awful lot like the (false) picture that they create of God. They’ve re-made God in their own fallen image.

  188. Eagle,
    Sure. Sorry I haven’t been clear. Honestly my mind’s been reeling as I’ve just learned something that I thought was “duh” obvious (Christians can’t be Totally Depraved) is pretty much the minority view.

    So here’s what I understand Total Depravity to be: humans were created in the image of God as his image bearers. Through the fall sin entered the world and corrupted that image (RC Sproul prefers “Radical Corruption” to Total Depravity, and I tend to think in those terms). The corruption is not “utter”. That is, we have not lost or obliterated every aspect of the image of God that we are supposed to bare, but it has been corrupted at a core level. Before we are regenerated by the Holy spirit we sin in every area of our being, yet we can still chose NOT to sin at times because we retain the image of God in us.

    This “Radical Corruption” (or “Total Depravity” is what doctrine is traditionally called in order to preserve the acrostic “TULIP” for the five points of Calvinism) prevents us from coming to a saving knowledge of Christ until it is dealt with by the Holy Spirit. And this is the point where I differ from those who are saying Christians can be “Totally Depraved”- I believe that since our radical corruption has been dealt with, our sin nature has been replaced by a nature of righteousness given to us by the Holy Spirit.

    To be clear- the critical issue here is that if we still remain “Radically Corrupted”, then abusers can claim “It’s just my sin nature that I abused her, pastor- but I’m a Christian forgiven in grace- I still deserve to function as a part of this church!”. Whereas if we deny that Christians retain this radically corrupt nature, there are legitimate questions to how much abuse a person can do and still claim to have a changed nature.

    One final point, I do not believe that believing in Total Depravity is a necessary trait of a Christian, nor do I believe Calvinism or Predestination is. It’s just how I view it. I think there is plenty of room at the table for all of those who have repented of their sin and trust Jesus as Lord.

  189. ” But simply look at the fruit of their teachings and you will see it all over the place. In the end, the leaders will even say, “I am the worst sinner I know” and not take responsibility for their actions because they don’t “perceive” all their sin. They hide behind their “total depravity.” It is quite sad. ”

    Bridget, Your entire comment was spot on. AS to the above, the irony is that this thinking should disqualify them from any function in the Body that requires ‘spiritual maturity” as in “elder’.

    Total Depravity also means “total inability” if you listen closely. This means you have no input into any of it. Therefore you are not responsible for your actions/words. God is.

  190. @ Jeff:

    I do think you’re right about total depravity…about it referring only to the pre-conversion state. Otherwise we couldn’t please God (which is our goal as Christians) at all, even after being saved, which would make zero sense.

    Also agree with you on the use of the word “sinner.” “Sinner” has two definitions:

    1. An unsaved person, i.e. someone who is still enslaved to sin (this seems to be its primary definition in the Bible – i.e., “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”);
    2. Someone who commits sin (clearly this applies to everybody).

    I think the reason some people get so up-in-arms about the word “sinner” is because they hear someone say “I’m a sinner” and they fill in definition 1, when the speaker intended definition 2. They then walk away thinking that the person believes Christians are somehow not really saved or only provisionally saved, when all the speaker meant was that Christians still sin.

  191. Anon1, I grew up in western Oregon (aka the land that produced Gordon Fee for Pentecostals) so it’s not like I was going to see a bunch of Second Baptist churches in the South. :)

  192. @ ES:

    I get what you’re saying. Sorry if I came off as too cranky/judgmental – like you, I too have “seen it all” and continue to “see it all” since I’m still connected to homeschool groups, and it’s difficult not to get frustrated, esp. when I seem to be rapidly moving toward what most of my fellow Christian homeschoolers would consider the radical theological left (egalitarianism). It isn’t really the radical theological left, of course…unless you’re a patriocentrist. Just watch, any day now I’ll start spontaneously burning bras. ; )

  193. True, Mr. H. What you described as the Scriptural teaching is what Lutherans call Original Sin. There may be some differences between the Lutheran teaching of Original Sin and the Calvinist teaching of Total Depravity.

    In any case, I can see how the doctrine of total depravity could be twisted into something ugly by unbalanced people. Practically any Biblical doctrine can be twisted into something false by untaught and unstable men.

    Some unbalanced people focus only on God’s wrath to the neglect of His love and mercy. Others focus on God’s love to the neglect of His wrath, justice, and holiness. May God give His people balance.

    Jeanette mentioned the Calvinist teaching of double predestination. In truth, Scripture only teaches that God predestines the believers to salvation. It doesn’t teach that God predestined the rest to damnation. That is why Lutherans teach single predestination. We stop where the Scriptures stop. Calvinism has always had the unhealty habit of speculating on things that the Holy Scriptures are silent on. Doing that will always lead you into error.

  194. “One issue I fail to see really talked about in regards to Neo-Calvinism is how it corrupts the character of god.” – Eagle

    This. This is a core part of why this whole doctrine (and all it’s little offshoots) is so insidious. It paints God to be a dictatorial, capricious, angry – just-like-the-pagan-gods – god. It makes him into a monster. And if you grow up in this stuff, you reach a point where you have to decide if that is someone you can worship. Many stay in out of plain old fear. — Jeanette Altes

    Christian Monist put it this way: “You end up with a God who is Omnipotent but NOT Benevolent.”

    Where the only attribute of God is Absolute POWER. God’s Boot, Your Face, Forever.

  195. Eagle, the question of suffering and evil in the world is a tough nut to crack, and I absolutely reject the notion that God is the author of evil. I DO believe that God allows evil, but we are the ones responsible for it. And God uses our evil “for good”, but he still is not the author of it.

    The mystery is in God’s sovereignty and man’s freewill. These ideas appear to oppose one another, but the Bible appears to teach both. In fact, the idea of Freewill AT ALL (God or no God) is difficult for me to grasp intellectually, because even without God it seems I would be at the mercy of the natural forces of evolution and stimulus.

    One concept that does help is understanding that there are different ways scripture views God’s “will”:

    (a) Sovereign decretive will, the will by which God brings to pass
    whatsoever He decrees. This is hidden to us until it happens.

    (b) Preceptive will is God’s revealed law or commandments, which we have the
    power but not the right to break.

    (c) Will of disposition describes God’s attitude or disposition. It reveals
    what is pleasing to Him.

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/wills_sproul.html

  196. Eagle, what you are describing is determinism. Many (but not all) Calvinists teach that all events, and every human action, were foreordained by God. Most of Christendom doesn’t teach this.

    Anyway, the Calvinists do believe that people are still guilty for the sins they commit, even though God foreordained them, and Calvinists don’t believe the Holy Spirit is involved in acts of sin.

    As for SGM’s theology changes, evangelicalism is into fads. Shepherding was a fad, charismaticism is a fad, and neocalvinism/YRR is a fad.

  197. Oddly enough, the best argument I’ve ever heard for total depravity is the life of Calvin himself and his horrific treatment of Servetus.

  198. Just one more point on why this idea of totally depraved Christians bothers me.

    In Jeff Crippen’s book about abusers he identifies an abuser as “a person whose mentality, mindset, and even worldview is dominated by–
    -Power
    -Control
    -Entitlement
    -Justification”

    So people can do abusive things a NOT be “abusers” in the sense he is using the word, but when people are repeatedly and unrepentantly abusive, the above list is a description of their character. So here is the real question: “can a person dominated by a thirst for power and control while believing he is entitled and justified in having these things be a regenerate Christian?” In a world where there are Totally Depraved Christians, yes. Where there are not, well, it seems very unlikely. This list is at odds with everything the New Testament tells us a believer is.

    The reason this is critical? Because we know if a person is a Christian, the Holy Spirit is working in them and will be victorious over sin. It is quite reasonable for a spouse to wait for repentance and healing from a Christian abuser– and this is what people are told. They are told to expect that God will change the abusive spouse’s heart.

    But secular therapists (who are not inclined to look at every case as “just wait for sanctification to occur” the way some Christian counselors do) will tell you it won’t happen. People with the above attributes aren’t changing. Waiting for them or attempting reconciliation is dangerous and potentially life threatening. And if we do not accept abusers as having the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit occurring in their lives, we will not encourage victims to stay chained to their abusers. 

    Now I stop short at saying all abusers are unbelievers (Jeff Crippen doesn’t though!), but I think prudence and safety for the victim demands we treat them as unbelievers. If the Holy Spirit really is alive in their hearts, they will understand that they have violated the marriage covenant with their abuse and do not deserve to have a wife. Either way, protect the victim first, then show grace to the abuser where you can (but don’t “show grace” by protecting him and endangering others, for example by not turning a child molester in to the police).

    To some this may just be doctrine, but when victims are told to wait patiently for their abusers to repent, our doctrine has entered the realm of affecting real lives, and the fruit is not pretty.

  199. Eagle -

    It’s interesting you should choose that scenario as an example. I was molested (the first time) at 2 1/2 yrs old by a shirt-tale relative that we lived next door to. He was 17. My memories are fragmented, but I believe his mother caught him in the act, and then my mother put the ‘fear of hurting God’ in me and they covered it up. This is at the heart of why I have had to wrestle with this issue.

    To all-

    Although double predestination may be limited to the hardcore Calvinists/Calvinistas, this concept of painting God as the big ‘Enforcer in the Sky’ in not. It is present in many denominations from Neo-Cals to Catholics, Pentecostals to SBC. It is the easy way out for church leaders to enforce control of their congregations. And it is self-perpetuating – “I’m terrified of making God angry and by God, so will you be!”

    I am finally at a place where, most of the time, I am humbled and awed by God, but I am not afraid of Him. Children should not be afraid of their parents…..unless you subscribe to the Michael Pearl school of parenting…again, molding their god into their own image…..

    “Anyway, the Calvinists do believe that people are still guilty for the sins they committ, even though God foreordained them, and Calvinists don’t believe the Holy Spirit is involved in acts of sin.” – Nicholas

    They may say that they don’t believe the HS is involved with sin, but if God ordains and orchestrates everything, how could he NOT be?

  200. Jeanette, I think they believe just the Father ordains sins, while they believe (like the rest of us) that the Holy Spirit works only in believers. But their belief that God foreordains all human actions presents major problems.

  201. Nicholas, hmm….I understand. But I have come to see things this way. The Holy Spirit is and has always been a vital part of the Godhead. He was present and active in the creation. He was present and active in the progressive revelation of God to throughout the OT. He was an active and vital part of the conception, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. And I believe that he is not so easily separated from the Father. I believe he is actively working on all mens’ hearts to bring them to the knowledge of God. If he were not, none of us would ever get there. But that’s just my point of view…..

  202. I agree pretty much with everything Jeff S. has said in response to you, Eagle. I also believe that initially being created in the image of God allows unbelievers to bear the image of God to some degree. When God created man/woman he proclaimed what he had done as “good.” Our beings have been corrupted and require regeneration for a relationship with God to exist. Even after regeneration, our flesh is still corrupted and decaying and we are asked to put off the desires of the flesh. But our spirit has become alive in Christ Jesus.

    Another problem I see is that many Christians tend to focus on one or two characteristics of God (sovereignty, justice, etc.) and totally negate the fact that when God functions He does so from a place of ALL his characteristics (including love, long-suffering, kindness, mercy, grace, holiness) working together. This presents God the Father who desires that none would perish and provided a way for man to again fellowship with God.

  203. Dee, I gotta disagree with you a bit regarding the women at the well. I think it’s pretty ambiguous whether she had committed (or was currently involved in) any kind of untoward living arrangement. Women never lived alone in that society, and I’ve heard that it’s just as likely that she was living with a male relative after being “put away” several times as it is likely that she was living with a lover.

    It’s interesting that you used the term “calling out” to describe what Jesus does in mentioning this woman’s sin. Doesn’t this text read rather differently than other NT texts where Jesus calls out sin? For one thing, there is no indication that the woman is being called to repentance from something (Jesus neither asks this of her, nor does she seem to be led to it by conviction). After he mentions her living arrangement, the focus of the woman never becomes “I have sinned/he’s offering forgiveness of sin,” it jumps immediately to, “Wow…how did he just basically tell my fortune?” She is so startled by his omniscience that she runs into town to tell everyone about this amazing feat. Nowhere in the text does it make a confrontation with sin explicit. It rather says “You’ve had this many husbands…you are currently living with a male who is not related to you by marriage.”

    Now, I’m not saying that’s proof that she wasn’t in sexual sin. I just think it’s too ambiguous to be certain either way. To me, this seems a lot like the Mary Magdalene thing, where church tradition speaks louder than the actual text regarding our certainty of whether a particular woman was or was not a prostitute/sinner.

  204. I’m sorry. Even though I’m no longer a Calvinist, I still get bothered when the “Servetus” argument is used.

    Calvin didn’t hold a position of political authority in Geneva, and he opposed execution by burning, as the chapter I linked to above shows. Calvin’s role in the whole affair has been blown out of proportion by people who think it is a good argument against his beliefs. To portray him as a tyrant and executioner is not accurate.

    But I didn’t mean to refer to the affair itself as a “canard”, which would be to dismiss gravity of the affair.

  205. Jeanette – am very much inclined to go with your descriptions here re. sin, etc.

    Because if the image of God is *not* present in human beings, and if we truly do *not* have free will, why then… how can anyone make good choices, or do compassionate things?

    People do make good choices and do compassionate things all the time – regardless of what they believe, if they believe in any kind of God at all – and I’ve seen plenty of so-called “heathens” consistently acting, speaking and living in far more compassionate ways than many so-called xtians.

    I think it can be hard fro those who have been raised in certain kinds of evangelicalism to see this, or to accept it.

    also, yes to God being presented as the Big Enforcer in the Sky by many – this isn’t something that’s confined to either Calvinists and/or calvinistas. I’ve heard preaching about such a god in other theological streams/traditions. I think Luther himself viewed the Father very much in this way – at times. he can be pretty infuriating to read, though, since his opinions veered quite wildly at times, from one extreme to another, from his youth onward. (and while I do think he came up with some marvelous ideas and actions, he also wrote about and perpetrated many things that I believe to be utterly evil – “On the Jews and their Lies” in particular; it’s the ready-made text for Kristallnacht and even worse Nazi atrocities and was used as such.)

  206. Nicholas – or perhaps Calvin’s role has been explained away by his apologists?

    I’m of that view; there are always people who are more than willing to rewrite history so it favors their Great Man or chosen cause. (cf. the whole resurgence of love for the Confederacy and “the Lost Cause” in the South.)

  207. Well, I’m not an apologist for Calvin.

    As for Luther, there is no excuse for those sinful writings about the Jews he wrote later in life. He had apparently become enraged after reading the toledot yeshu, a Jewish tract that claimed that Jesus was an illegitimate child.

    Luther’s offensive writings on the Jews are repudiated by all Lutheran denominations today.

    I don’t know why you even brought it up.

  208. Because I used it as an example of his wild inconsistencies:

    I think Luther himself viewed the Father very much in this way – at times. he can be pretty infuriating to read, though, since his opinions veered quite wildly at times, from one extreme to another, from his youth onward. (and while I do think he came up with some marvelous ideas and actions, he also wrote about and perpetrated many things that I believe to be utterly evil – “On the Jews and their Lies” in particular; it’s the ready-made text for Kristallnacht and even worse Nazi atrocities and was used as such.)

  209. Look, I don’t want to get off on some big sidetrack, but the Calvin – Servetus thing came up, and…

  210. Dee, you said in relation to my comment on Mike Cosper’s post
    http://mikedcosper.com/2012/11/25/

    “The doctrine of total depravity is being misused in this instance. Although I have a bit of a problem with total depravity, if I were to believe in it, I would not counsel like Cosper did.

    “Here is an example. Take the terrible shooting that took place in the movie theater. Of course, everyone sitting in the theater at the time were sinners in one form or another. One might have yelled at his mother. Another might have stolen a pencil at work. Another might have been living with her boyfriend.

    “After the shooting, would Cosper go to the victims who were in the hosptial and say “Well, the shooter was wrong but you shouldn’t have been living with your boyfirend?” That is the trajectory of his comments.”

    I agree with you Dee that Cosper is misusing and misunderstanding the doctrine of depravity. Jeff Crippen is going to write a post for A Cry For Justice to discuss the correct verus the incorrect understanding of Total Depravity.

    You were correct to infer the end result of applying a distorted (wrong) understanding of total depravity doctrine to the people in that cinema.

    However, in my experience pastors don’t make that application to people who are shot at by mass killers in public, or people who suffer at the hands of sociopathic strangers. They only push their application at victims of domestic abuse.

    Why that is so is an interesting question. I think it stems from all sorts of interlocked reasons, one of the most important being the fact that marriage has been turned into an idol. Another is the rigid belief that abuse isn’t ground for divorce.

    On our blog we regularly tackle these things.

  211. Dee and Deb: to clarify about my web presence. Pastor Jeff Crippen and I co-administer the blog A Cry For Justice, http://www.cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com

    And I have a solo website http://www.notunderbondage.com where there are lots of resources and links for domestic abuse in a Christian context, as well as a section where you can browse my book ‘Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion, and purchase it if you wish.

    I created the notunderbondage.com site in 2008. Since early 2012 I’ve been most active at the Cry For Justice blog.

    I also have a solo blog at notunderbondage.blogspot.com.au/, but rarely do new stuff on it now, as ACFJ is the ‘happening’ place.

  212. Dear Jeff S
    I take the point on the translation of the Malachi verses but I think the KJV version just underscores the abnormality of the position, a bit like Jesus saying Moses allowed it but it wasn’t always so. I think emotional abuse is covered under the general idea of God acting/judging righteously. He knows the true position better than any of us.

    Dear Victorious
    Yes I agree that the certificate was a form of protection.

    Generally I was trying to make the point that no-one should have to view divorce as a burden that they will have to carry with them for ever. There is forgiveness and you can move forward. The difficulty lies with those leaders who apply a very narrow definition.
    Regards
    Gavin

  213. Wendy, you said that Piper’s divorce and remarriage position bugs you. It bugs me too, in fact it disgusts me.

    For your pastor to tell you, as a victim of abuse, that your husband requires forgiveness and redemption because “it (your marriage) shouldn’t have happened” –– shows that pastor was ignorant, unfeeling and totally lacking in empathy.
    The words “it shouldn’t have happened” are wrong wrong wrong. They are like putting a dagger into the victim’s heart.
    Why? Because they don’t name the perpetrator as the author of the wrongdoing. The perpetrator is invisible. He is not even mentioned in the sentence ‘It shouldn’t have happened.”

    The correct thing to say to a victim is “Your husband should never have treated you that way. What he did was abusive and wicked. Your divorce was justified because he abused you. ”

    That way you name the perpetrator as the cause, the active subject, the one who is culpable for the wrongdoing.

    I was given a very similar line as you were given, Wendy, when my ex abused my daughter on visitation.
    An elder from my church came to my house at my invitation (I was hoping he would say something to help my daughter). He said to my daughter, “This should never have happened.” Notice that in his statement my ex was not named as the wrongdoer, the crime was simply labelled “this”. The perpetrator of the crime was made invisible, while the wrong was condemned.

    I interpreted the elder’s statement to mean “You, Barbara, you wicked mother, you wicked wife, should never have separated from your husband because look what it’s led to! Your daughter has been visiting her father (whom you have shunned) and she has been abused because YOU ended the marriage and YOU were not around to protect her!”

    Okay, I was making some assumptions. But truly, that’s how victims of abuse are most likely to interpret a non-specific statament like that, because victims are so filled with shame and receive so little validation and vindication they tend to default to ‘It’s my fault’.

    Hence the importance of specifically NAMING the PERPETRATOR as the active subject of any sentence of condemnation. You need to label the perpetrator as the author and cause of the wrongdoing.

    Linguistic lesson ended!

  214. I think it’s great that Jeff Crippen has stepped up to address this issue and I hope his efforts are fruitful. But to me the most interesting thing in his letter is the fact that women in his church were treated as if they were inferior to men, and yet he didn’t realise, until he looked at himself and his attitudes with ‘ruthless honesty’, that he actually thought women WERE inferior. Really??? Hierarchical complementarians really don’t see a link between 1) making rules and gender essentialist theories that treat women as second class people and 2) responding to them as if they are second class people, and genuinely believing at a gut level that they are inferior? Because of this obvious link, (or, to complementarians, this MISSING link), I do believe that as long as there is ANY trace of hierarchy taught regarding Christian relationships between men and women(whether that’s ‘women can’t vote on church matters’ or just ‘men have the tie-breaker in a stalemate’), the church, churches will never be able to respond with optimum effectiveness to emotional, sexual or physical abuse in its ranks.

  215. Dear All
    Servetus was apparently a “dead man walking” when he left Spain for Geneva because of his heretical view of the Trinity -’God is a three-headed monster’ and his effigy had already been burned there. As has already been said, Calvin was not the political power in the city, in fact he was not currently in favour. He opposed the decision to burn Servetus at the stake and had written letters asking for leniency. Servetus had been offered the chance to return to France but he insisted on being tried in Geneva. The civil authorities took their decision out of political expediency.
    Regards
    Gavin

  216. “Nicholas – or perhaps Calvin’s role has been explained away by his apologists?
    I’m of that view; there are always people who are more than willing to rewrite history so it favors their Great Man or chosen cause. (cf. the whole resurgence of love for the Confederacy and “the Lost Cause” in the South.)”

    Taking a view like this means that you are always at the mercy of his detractors, who are also highly motivated to rewrite history (their “chosen cause”). The truth of the matter is, whatever did or did not happen with Servetus, Calvin’s teaching hangs or falls on scripture. Calvin himself may have not even been regenerate (though I think this is unlikely), but if his teaching aligns with scripture then we can agree with it. If we hold Calvin in a higher regard than that, then we have erred. And perhaps this is why the whole Servetus affair happend– so we would be reminded that only Jesus is Lord. We don’t KNOW Calvin’s hearts, but we do know the heart of Jesus.

    For my part, it’s clear that Calvin was no fan of Servetus and did want the man dead (which is terrible, but not so different that many who have wished for our enemies today to be dead- Sadam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden), but he only acted in accordance with law. I have no idea why Servetus decided to, as a refugee from the law, show up in Calvin’s church very publicly. In any case, Servetus was NOT executed for going against Calvin, though Calvin did turn him in and argue against him.

  217. Sophie, Crippen and Barbara both take the view that resolving comp vs egal is not the way to solve abuse problems in the church and consider it a secondary, non-critical issue. Because of this, they do not address or discuss comp vs egal on the blog, though they do not hesitate to bring to light oppressive comp teachings. With this view they are able to minister to many who would not take a egalitarian position.

    Regarding the honesty in his letter– he is being honest about his own moral failings regarding his views on women. I think if you read him now, you will see women have a great friend in him and he is willing to sacrifice anything he can in order to put an end to their abuse.

    But I will agree, if you see comp vs egal as a primary issue in the fight against abuse, then ACFJ will not be the resource you seek.

  218. “One issue I fail to see really talked about in regards to Neo-Calvinism is how it corrupts the charachter of god.” – Eagle

    In my opinion, it’s not just Neo-Calvinism, it’s any type of Calvinism, that runs counter to the character of God. That’s why, even though I’m a member of the PCA which is ostensibly Calvinist (though my pastor only preaches grace, and never the rest of it, thank goodness), I cannot subscribe to Calvinism.

  219. @ Jeff:

    Per the free will thing – and I don’t want to open this box too wide or all the monsters inside will get out and take over the thread – I’ve heard lots of Calvinists argue that humans don’t have free will, they have free moral agency, and that the two are different because humans having free will would mess with total depravity. Any thoughts?

  220. Hester,

    I noticed that too when I watched the news this morning.  When are we as a society gonna get serious about domestic violence (instead of just giving lip service to it)?

  221. Sallie,

    Thanks for that post.  As the mother of two unmarried daughters, I am doing my best to influence them AGAINST complementarianism (which I believe is patriarchy in disguise).

  222. @ Jeanette, Eagle, Muff Potter…..good posts. To me, Calvin’s Geneva was more like living in hell, then a taste of Heaven.

    I am the daughter of the King, beloved of my Father…He doesn’t treat His children as unfit heirs.

  223. Gavin

    I have read about the Servetus incident at length. I believe that Calvin could have stopped it. Since this blog started, I have received reams of “proof” that Calvin was practically sinless along with references out my ear about Servetus. I read them all until my eyes got bleary.

    However, what wearies me more is the absolute insistence on the beatification of Calvin, the Puritans, Luther, Charles Stanley, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Al Mohler, CJ Mahaney, and on and on. These guys were/are screw ups, just like me. But, try to say one negative thing about them and the troops arrive. I even had a pastor at a former church say that he was in a funk because Piper was going to retire in a couple of year! Need I remind him that the faith survived without a hitch until Piper came around to straighten us all out?

    As for Calvin, he was a control freak just like ever other Calvinista today. Does this negate everything that he did?  Of course not. He continues to be worshipped even today so I am not too concerned about his heritage. It will be lasting. But, we must deal with the severe authority issues that Calvinistas espouse. It is getting out of hand. We now have Calvinistas claim that parachurch organizations must be “under the authority” of the local church. Local church=my church, not any other church. Any other church who does not believe in the primacy of comp theology is heretical. This is a legacy of Calvin.

  224. Barbara

    I am learning a lot from reading your comments. This comment really opened my eyes.

    “He said to my daughter, “This should never have happened.” Notice that in his statement my ex was not named as the wrongdoer, the crime was simply labelled “this”. The perpetrator of the crime was made invisible, while the wrong was condemned.”

    I realized how much it played into SGM’a abusive philosophy. In this, a congregant would go to the pastor, make a comment about something abusive in the church. The pastor, part of the abuse cycle, would turn on said person and go after a numebr of sins in his/her life, claiming that said person was so sinful that their observations were moot. This had the effect of making this person as snful, or even more sinful, than the abuse they were reporting. 

    Underlying that comment is that the victim is also a terrible sinner so this is simply one sinner against another sinner which results in a draw. So, they use a dismissive term “this.” and rmove the people from the equation.

    I think this view of sin arises from some erroneous teaching that all sins are equal in God’s eyes. That, of course would mean that a man who shoots and kills his wife is equal to a guy who overeats at Thanksgiving. All sin separates us from God but some sin has terrible consequences. This is what the Bible means about “the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children.”

  225. Leila

    I think if you disagreed with Calvinism and attended John Piper’s church, you would be told you were in sin and probably be disciplined. If not, you would be told you were unregenerate. I am gald you have a grace oriented pastor.

  226. Numo

    Now you went and done it. :) Mention Calvin and Servetus and the Calvin cavalry (it does have a ring) rides to the defense. I am in agreement with you. I believe that Calvin could have stopped it and I have read a boatload. But that does not fit their narrative that Calvin was just this side of Jesus. Gavin will now attempt to clobber me but i stand firm that Servetus’ death was activle opposed by Calvin.

    Can you imagine if these men were in charge today? First, this blog would be shut down and I would be burned for allowing people of all stripes to freely discuss here. There is a good novel, Broken Angel, which deals with what happens when the legalists get control. The true Christians want to get away and live amogst the secualrists in the book. 

  227. Barbara

    I know that the Calvinistas do not take it to that extreme. They would be villified. But, I wanted to illustrate that this is where their trajectory takes them. I have seen if applied on a smaller scale in many authoritarian churches.

  228. Muff

    Regarding Servetus-when we first started this blog, and no one was reading it except some loyal friends, I mentioned Servetus in a comment. At that time we got 0-1 comment per post. Darned if the Calvin cavalry found me back then. I think they have some sort of compuer and computer program, ala “Person of Interest” tv series, keeping watch on the world  to prevent anything negative from being siaid about Calvin.  What does the rider on the show say? “When your number is up, we’ll find you.”

    We have been inundated with reams of “proof” that Calvin actively opposed Servetus’ demise. I read them all, and then some, and I still say Servetus is one proof that Calvini was merely a human, something  some of these guys tend to overlook. They quote the Institutes like they are the Sermon on the Mount.

    BTW, the comment to which those songs were dedicated was when you said that the vision of Mary loving and raising Jesus made you tear up. That comment made me tear up as well.

  229. Nicholas

    I think Calvin did have influence in that matter and could have stopped it. I do not use it to stand against all of his beliefs. But i do think it points some difficulties in what happens when moral busybodies get hold of the reins of government.

  230. sad observer

    I really liked your comment on the woman at the well. This past Sunday, my pastor taught on this passage in Sunday school. I am going to send our comments to him and ask him his opinion. I love stuff like this. i learn so much when readers challenge me. Thank you.

  231. “Per the free will thing – and I don’t want to open this box too wide or all the monsters inside will get out and take over the thread – I’ve heard lots of Calvinists argue that humans don’t have free will, they have free moral agency, and that the two are different because humans having free will would mess with total depravity. Any thoughts?”

    I hadn’t heard that, but it seems like splitting hairs to try and explain a mystery. At some point, believing in a Sovereign God and man’s responsibility is going to produce some questions we can’t answer. But I’d even broaden this to say is that believing in God AT ALL is going to produce some questions we can’t answer (and I would argue the other way as well, that disbelieving in God is going to produce questions we can’t answer).

    For my part, I honestly cannot see how we have free will from a philosophical standpoint, and this has nothing at all to do with Calvinism. We all are a product of our creation and experiences- all things being equal, I’d argue philosophically that we really don’t have any choices and we do what we are programmed to do. But scripture tells us that we have choices and bare responsibility for those choices, so I apprehend that scripture teaches we have wills that are free. I don’t comprehend how this is, but I believe it to be true in faith. But to be clear, to me the the mystery is how God gives us free will, not his sovereignty.

    Calvinism does at times run afoul of creating elaborate doctrines to attempt to explain mysteries in scripture. For example, I think “limited atonement” is one such doctrine (and it wasn’t even an idea Calvin himself ever voiced or taught). We have to be careful not to try and comprehend everything that we apprehend from scripture. We must be aware that some aspects of the divine are beyond our comprehension.

  232. “Generally I was trying to make the point that no-one should have to view divorce as a burden that they will have to carry with them for ever. There is forgiveness and you can move forward. The difficulty lies with those leaders who apply a very narrow definition.”

    Gavin, as someone who is divorced, I appreciate this intention and perspective. Thank you.

  233. “Her stance on domestic abuse is that you should cooperate and trust God to change his heart”

    Oh yeah, like God’s going to magically change an abuser’s heart. These people live in a fairy tale. They have no business telling anybody what to do. I even heard one preacher say that only when it is safe then she should go back home. The problem with that is that it is never safe to go back home.They also conveniently put out of their minds that there are kids involved. These so-called preachers and teachers have no clue about domestic violence. Their arrogance has made them think in their own minds that they have all the answers.

  234. Dee,

    I totally agree with you concerning Calvin/Servetus. Like you, I did a ton of reading. People forget that victors write the “official” history of the time and we all know there are many even today who want to uphold a view of the burning that exonerates Calvin. But it does not wash if you read around the subject. Those give the clues to the true history. Not the sanitized official version.

    We have to go back further to when Calvin returned to Geneva for the second time. He came back with conditions and that gave him a ton of power. He did try to soften his obvious power with the petit council but the man micromanaged and regulated Genevans with rules and laws that were incredible. He even regulated how many courses Genevans could serve at each meal. The regulation of every day life reads like Leviticus.

    Then, conveniently left out of the mongeristic history is the fact that Calvin and Servetus had doctrinal exchanges before Servetus ever came to Geneva. Servetus, a brilliant man, had the nerve to “correct” Calvin’s doctrine with margin notes in his writings and send them to Calvin. This infuriated Calvin and he writes to a friend and says if Servetus ever comes to Geneva he won’t leave alive.

    His burning was premeditated murder in Calvins mind. We have proof of it with the letter. Calvin had Servetus arrested when he came to hear Calvin preach.

    Another little known event is that Calvin petitioned to have Servetus beheaded because a beheading was the crime for civil punishment, not heresy. In other words, Calvin wanted the civil authorities to take the brunt of the blame. Why? Because already some in the leadership were uncomfortable with the planned burning. There was a political dance going on while Servetus was in prison and refusing to recant. But in the end, Calvin ordered “green wood” so Servetus would burn slower. Calvin did not win on the beheading but one thing is for sure, Servetus would be murdered.

    After all this took place, Calvin wrote a friend lamenting how some were turning against him because of the burning and he felt “persecuted”.

    Once the archives opened up totally to researchers after WW2, we were able to get a more complete picture of some of the happenings in the church/state of Europe. By the end of WW2, the state church had lost almost all of it’s already waning power in an increasingly secular Europe.

    On his second tenure in Geneva, Calvin became a bonafide despot. It astonishes me the lengths folks will go to in order to ignore many of his tyrannical actions. Servetus is just the one that is the hardest to explain away.

    I often wonder if one can order the burning, watch a human burn simply for disagreeing with a doctrine and be filled with the Holy Spirit. What a bloody, gory mess church history really is. Why we do not hang our heads in shame for daring to call it Christian, I will never understand. People will say, well it is all about the ‘doctrine”. If right beliefs do not drive right behavior at some point, then what IS the point of “correct doctrine”?

  235. I often wonder if one can order the burning, watch a human burn simply for disagreeing with a doctrine and be filled with the Holy Spirit. — Anon1

    For Purity of Ideology?
    Three words: Comrade Pol Pot.
    And half the population of Cambodia.

  236. Nicholas – or perhaps Calvin’s role has been explained away by his apologists? — Numo

    Remember the Red Fanboys and Red Diaper Babies of the 1920s through 1950s explaining away the role of their beloved Uncle Joe Stalin? (Note that none of them had ever had to live under Uncle Joe…)

  237. Anon1 asked, “Can someone find a Second Baptist?”
    Ours changed into a “Summit” (eat your heart out, unnamed Raleigh/Durham mega pastor) but kept “Formerly Second Baptist” on its sign.

  238. Dave A A

    :-)  Did you know that some who have joined a certain church in our area (Raleigh/Durham) do not know they are Southern Baptists? 

    Not only that, we have several Acts 29 churches in our area that are also cloak and dagger SBC. What a hoot!

     

  239. Calvin sounds like a sociopath. His whole agenda was obvious. To control others. He used Christianity to gain that control. The dude was far from saved yet people still worship him because of his so-called “correct doctrine.”

  240. Dee said: I realized how much it played into SGM’a abusive philosophy. In this, a congregant would go to the pastor, make a comment about something abusive in the church. The pastor, part of the abuse cycle, would turn on said person and go after a numebr of sins in his/her life, claiming that said person was so sinful that their observations were moot. This had the effect of making this person as snful, or even more sinful, than the abuse they were reporting.

    Dee – This is exactly what I have been reading for the last 5 yrs on SGMSurvivors. And this is what enables the pastors to keep it all in-house because sin is sin. Since the victims of course are in sin – total depravity – and the perpetrators are in sin – sin is just sin – it is all on the same scale. It becomes a biblical issue of confession, repent, reconciliation and then move on. All of this is about being entangled in sin. The legal aspect is never brought in and I honestly think it is never even considered because they are so focused on sin: the perpetrator’s sin and the victim’s sin. These churches (many with “grace” in their church name) are stuck on SIN. They are obsessed with it. They cannot move on from sin. They forget Christ rose again, that we are new creatures in Christ. And because of that, they are leading people down a false gospel and I would call these folks: false teachers!

    This is not isolated to SGM. It was at BGBC, Household of Faith, and so on.

  241. Jeff’s comment above:

    In Jeff Crippen’s book about abusers he identifies an abuser as “a person whose mentality, mindset, and even worldview is dominated by–
    -Power
    -Control
    -Entitlement
    -Justification”

    That is, someone who really should not be entrusted with situational authority. These are characteristics that should not be present in any elder or overseer (or pastor, Pastormark, bishop, archbishop, Rural Dean, Minor Canon, Deaconess or however the **** anyone wants to translate any NT greek word) in the body of Christ.

    Jeff – I concur with the remainder of your comment, to the effect that we really shouldn’t be blindly accepting people as being Saved™ when they display abusive behaviour (exactly what part of Christ in me wants to abuse my wife as He loved the church and gave Himself for her?!?!?).

    Keith Green put it rather well, in a dismissive comment on a bumper-sticker he say saying “Christians aren’t perfect – just forgiven!”. He observed something along the lines of: No, ma’am, you can’t trust my Christian teenage son with your daughter; he’s not perfect, just forgiven.

    Green’s point was not, of course, that Christians should beat themselves up (or be beaten up by their leaders) over every trivial deviation from some meaningless neo-Platonistic ideal of “perfection”. It was simply that, once the Holy Spirit lives in you, an ever-growing part of you cannot help but demonstrate love, gentleness, patience, kindness, self-control (you all know the list) towards others. If that’s missing, there’s no Holy Spirit present. Hence the NT instructions not to associate with someone who “calls himself a brother” but whose life shows no evidence of being shared with the risen Jesus.

    There’s a great new post here (I take it you spotted the dry English humour there) on the divisive nature of controlling leadership.

  242. Barbara Roberts,

    re: a distorted understanding of total depravity

    “However, in my experience pastors don’t make that application to people who are shot at by mass killers in public, or people who suffer at the hands of sociopathic strangers. They only push their application at victims of domestic abuse.

    Why that is so is an interesting question. I think it stems from all sorts of interlocked reasons…. Another is the rigid belief that abuse isn’t ground for divorce.”
    ***********

    If they make room for divorce due to abuse, their bible-is-inerrant-infallible thing is compromised. The “slippery slope” would happen yet aGAIN and one could make room for all kinds of things. (very inconvenient)

    Such a scary way of living — slippy slopes everywhere! The only solution is to stand perfectly still, feet firmly planted in a rigid stance. Don’t move one iota. We’ve been able to make it all fit together perfectly — don’t spoil it. (“i have too much at stake”, said their mind to their heart or vice versa). And we’ll call it integrity. Commitment. Standing tall and proud on this hilltop (and terrified of even shifting their weight a fraction lest the ground they’ve taken begin to give way and they fall on their duffs, slide down & away, and lose the hill. And sure look silly in the process).

  243. Mr. H,

    “It just seems creepy to me that when Calvinistas mention/discuss/explain their patriarchal views, they often throw in a footnote along the lines of “Oh, and abuse is wrong!”

    *************

    “I may be a prostitute but I am NOT promiscuous!” — Barbra Steisand as Doris Waverly/Washington/Wilgus to Felix in “The Owl and The Pussycat”.

  244. Dear Dee

    I agree that Calvin was sinful just like us. Calvin would have agreed as well. I also agree that some of the modern day adherents of Calvinism teach some dangerous doctrines regarding submission and authority.

    I don’t agree that Calvin could have stopped the burning of Servetus. All the evidence I’ve seen strongly suggests the opposite. He did write to the court asking for a different punishment but this was denied. He visited Servetus and tried to persuade him to recant but he wouldn’t.

    The punishment for denying the doctrine of the Trinity (heresy) was death throughout those lands where Rome ruled and it was the same in Switzerland. This is why I caution against seeing things through our own cultural lenses.

    I have to say that until recently I had never heard of John Piper, Mark Driscoll, C J Mahaney. I’m fairly sure that in a few hundred years’ time the history books will have only footnotes on them, unless they do a section on sects and cults.

    Regards
    Gavin

  245. I think it’s really hard to know the truth about Calvin and Servetus- there is a lot of passion on either side. I am comfortable not knowing because Calvin is not my lord and I do not worship him. I am only interested in his doctrine as far as it lines up with the Apostle Paul and, ultimately, Jesus. The devil himself can pronounce sound doctrine; it wouldn’t make it any less true or him more saintly.

    As an aside- we know good people are capable of murder, (the story of king David tells us this). We also know that good people repent when God convicts them of their sin (see David again). There is some evidence that Calvin was still proud of Servetus death at the end of his life, but people have cast a lot of doubt on the authenticity of those statements. I really don’t feel I have enough information to judge Calvin, but again I don’t feel I need to.

  246. Oops. The Morgan book is a sci-fi. Who is the author of Broken Angel? There are several choices at Amazon.

  247. Anonymous

    Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer.

    Here is the link . It is an awesome book. It is about a fantasy land in which the Christians get to have their own little country rule by Christian theocrats. Everyone else lives in the evil secualr world. Then why do people try to escape such a biblically sound system? Darn good fantasy that hits a little too close to home. 

  248. Gavin

    Nice attempt-just recant and we won’t kill you. Wow-that relieves me. That is why religious leaders should never, ever be in charge of a country. In fact, most of them should not be in charge of a church.

    You should read Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer.  It is pertinent to this discussion and it is an easy read.

  249. Gavin – yes, that “different punishment” was beheading.

    It was judicial murder, no matter how you try to spin it. And just because people and governments were more violent (and violent in truly grotesque ways) doesn’t excuse anyone’s bloodthirstiness.

    Would Jesus have ordered that people be burned to death or beheaded or otherwise tortured? After all, his kingdom is not of this world… if it were, as he said to Pilate, his servants would have been fighting to free him from custody.

    It didn’t take very long for us to discard Jesus’ words and commands on the treatment of others, did it? (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; “Who is my neighbor?” – parable of the good Samaritan, etc. etc. etc.)

  250. Dear Dee
    And here comes the Lutheran Light Infantry!
    According to H H Ben Sasson in his History of the Jewish People (Harvard award winning publication) points out that Luther only became hostile towards the Jews/resorted to Mediaeval-German-priest-type views after failing to convert them during the preceding five years. (The last straw was when three Jews tried to convert him and the rest of the protestant reformation to Judaism!). Fortunately Luther was surrounded by more moderate people, like Osiander, so his threatenings came to nothing.
    Regards
    Gavin

  251. RE: Anon 1 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:19 AM,

    “…People will say, well it is all about the ‘doctrine”. If right beliefs do not drive right behavior at some point, then what IS the point of “correct doctrine”?…”

    I agree with you. And to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin: “…Those of us whose consciences tell us so must all hang together in this life, because in the end, we will all assuredly burn separately…”

    [Provided of course that the Almighty is the big mean weenie in the sky that some theologians have made him out to be]

  252. Dear Numo
    It was judicial murder in the same way that capital punishment is. At the end of the day he was found guilty of an offence punishable by death at that time. He had been condemned in absentia in at least three different countries by three different authorities. It was Calvin’s – and Reformed Christians’- bad luck that it happened in Geneva because we never hear the end of it.
    Regards
    Gavin

  253. And on a more contemporary note, would any of this apply to the state-sanctioned murder of Osama Bin Laden, the secret “droning” of innocent bystanders or the illegal detentions at Gitmo. If you want to criticise, let’s do it in our own age and speak of things we are morally responsible for.

    Regards
    Gavin

  254. Would Jesus have ordered that people be burned to death or beheaded or otherwise tortured?

    Beheading was considered the humane way to execute someone. It was assumed (and likely true) that it was the quickest death with the least pain to the person. Usually high ranking captured military officers were given the option of being beheaded. The abhorrence of it comes from those watching or imagining the site.

    My basic point is it was not considered torture.

  255. Gavin

    Could you be saying-”Move along, nothing to see here?” I should examine and  critique any movement in history-like slavery and the church; the Lutheran church and Hitler, etc. History teaches us what not to do and we weem to repeat what not to do on multiple occasions. For example, i bet anything that , if jesus tarries, our day will be cirticised for Jim Crow, YEC and statements like “Christinaity has a masculine feel.”

    I know that you believe your interpretation of the events is correct-no other opinions warranted or needed. I dsagree with your conclusions, as do many others.Our opinion is also based in historical writings. I do not, for a second, buy the “Poor Calvin-What;s a theocart to do” argument.

    Calvini is important because today’s Neo-Calvinists are trying to set up a “heresy” brigade that goes way beyond the great creeds. They are living proof that religious men should never, ever be in control of the reigns of government until Jesus HImself returns and sets up a truly just society.

    Now, I return to beating back the advanced brigade of those who would marginalize women in the church by using clever new doctrines such as ESS.

  256. “Christianity has a masculine feel.”

    This is one thing I don’t get. Maybe I don’t understand what they mean by “Christianity.” Because when I think of Christianity I think of the church, so the question that pops into my mind is, why do they think Christ’s bride should be masculine?

  257. Sallie Borrink – your post concerning engagement counseling is spot on. Actually I think that it is worse than that. As a newly engaged or married couple you can end up inundated with “godly” advice by lots of well meaning people who would like to make your marriage just as dysfunctional as theirs is. My husband and I (married under 2 years) specifically avoided the marriage for newly weds Sunday School class at our church because we couldn’t take anymore advice that assumed he and I were at loggerheads. The books in particular are awful and when we read their quoted scripture in context they were like Cinderella’s step sisters trying to force her shoe.

    Actually, your post just made me realize something: the teaching that women are always trying to control their husbands, even if they are saved – because it’s in their nature – assumes that ALL women are power hungry witches (substitute correct consonant) who can barely manage to keep it under wraps. I can see where that teaching would lead to abuse. The further teaching to submit more in the face of abuse doesn’t change the underlying assumption that the woman is guilty of a power grab and incapable of innocence. Now it makes sense why these women are counseled to stay in the marriage – it is impossible for her to be innocent because guilt is in the intrinsic nature of the woman. No-one would ever admit this, but someone tell me if that is not the logical conclusion.

  258. Hmm–for starters, I am using the BCP daily office gospel portion for my morning time with our Lord, and maybe doing it all wrong, but today I read Luke 20:1-8 and came away with the thought that the religious powers that be ALWAYS want to outGod God. Truth be told, I think they are guilty at times of the sin of Satan–wanting to rule in God’s place.

    Food for thought.

    And then if Christianity has a masculine feel, which often it does, is that good? NeoCals take what was descriptive as sinful results of the fall (a tendancy in men to want to dominate women and a tendancy in women to want the man so much she allows it) at make it prescriptive.

    Kind of like saying if you play in traffic you get run over, so let’s all go play in traffic and if you don’t you are a sinner and in rebellion.

    Oh how pride shows up.

  259. These self appointed apostles of calvinista, already have their sights on, setting aright (taking over) para church groups. Bad enough some of them came into churches (incognito) and are wrecking havoc.
    Worse, and to the point., if they go after women and children, the next step is squashing men who oppose them.
    History repeats itself as men never seem to learn that power corrupts.

  260. I suspect the reason most churches do not allow divorce for abuse is they understand Jesus to be teaching one exception to the “no divorce” rule- adultery. They then believe that Paul adds another exception- abandonment, though some will say that remarriage is not allowed in this case. I think the standard view at this point is divorce is allowed for adultery and abandonment. Some include “emotional abandonment” as abandonment and will use this to justify divorce for abuse.

    The fact that Jesus and Paul both offer different “exceptions” to the “no divorce rule” and both contradict the old testament teaching on divorce apparently causes no pause. You hear of people saying that Paul “extends” Jesus teaching on divorce, which is strange to me. If Jesus really meant “the only exception”, then Paul couldn’t have expanded upon it.

    What Instone-Brewer shows is that the words Jesus used are clearly about one TYPE of divorce, not all divorces, so there IS NO blanket prohibition of divorce that requires exceptions. Once you are at this point you can see that the whole counsel of scripture is unified in its teaching and can be used to inform us about divorce, including God’s own divorce of Israel.

    I think the reason divorce is prohibited in abuse cases is mainly due to either ignorance or evil masquerading as Godly leadership. The ignorance is not so much about scripture as the effects of abuse- if more pastors understood what they were really asking the abused to endure, they would be forced deeper into the scripture because they’d see that such a directive from God would be completely out of character from how he is revealed (a defender of the week and an ender of oppression).

  261. Dear Dee

    I’m not saying that there’s nothing to see here, only that there is nothing new to see here – Calvin has been flogged half to death by the good citizens of Wartburg, along with the Anabaptists in the dungeons. I’d love to hear a critique of our own age, on subjects like those I mentioned, but I don’t see it happening any time soon, unless the navy seals who took out OBL are Calvinistas and the Drone pilots are part of the Chesley Driscoll Air Force Reserve.

    Regards
    Gavin.

  262. Dear Dee
    I thought I detected a hint of Jehovah’s Witness watchtower pamphleteering in your remark about the just society – surely some mistake?

    Regards
    Gavin

    PS I read history books too and I hope my conclusions/deductions are just as valid.

  263. Actually, your post just made me realize something: the teaching that women are always trying to control their husbands, even if they are saved – because it’s in their nature – assumes that ALL women are power hungry witches (substitute correct consonant) who can barely manage to keep it under wraps. I can see where that teaching would lead to abuse. — ES

    And just like the Lunatic Fringe of Femininists, they define ALL male/female relations and interaction as Power Struggle, with all the ugly baggage that brings in. The only difference is which sex is wearing the boot and which sex provides the face. Funhouse-mirror reflections of each other, like Josef Stalin and Ayn Rand.

    “Christianity has a masculine feel.”

    Yes, and Christianity also has a feminine feel. It is both, in a dynamic balance. But dynamic balances are always adjusting for changes and movement of the forces in balance, unlike the unchanging “So Shall It Be” of a static balance.

  264. Dee, did Gavin just call you a Jehovah’s Witness with Plausible Deniability?

    (I come from a background where passive-aggressive character assassination and Plausible Deniability was a fine art.)

  265. “The punishment for denying the doctrine of the Trinity (heresy) was death throughout those lands where Rome ruled and it was the same in Switzerland. This is why I caution against seeing things through our own cultural lenses.

    The reason why that dog won’t hunt when it comes to the Reformers is because of the Step Children. They were Trinitarians and were drowned, bannished and tortured for refusing padeobaptism and otehr state church mandates. So the cultural argument only works if we are willing to say that Driscoll is perfectly normal representation of Christianity today and a “man of his time”.

    As to comparing Osama bin Laden to Servetus’, Servetus was not a terrorist orderingthe murder of thousands of innocents through terror. He was a huunted man soley for his views (and daring to correct Calvin) bin Laden was not targeted BECAUSE he was a Muslim but because he was a terrorist funding and organizing terrorism.

  266. Eagle: “I would suggest that in many reformed camps people forget that they are not Paul.”

    A symptom of this is all of these pastors, teachers and godly gospel godly men running around claiming they are the ‘worst sinner they know’.

    Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

    Now we have all these mini-apostles running around, mimicking their own personal little god Paul. I have seen these types calling “Paulians”, instead of Christians, and I don’t think the ones saying that are far off the mark.

    It’s also a symptom of false humility… “I’m the worst sinner I know!” Oh really? So why are you lording your authority over other men and women? If you are the worst of the worst of sinners, REPENT. Turn away from your sin, and step down from your cushy position atop a pyramid made of people you’ve stepped on to get to the top.

  267. Dear Headless

    I thought you’d be here shortly.

    The answer is no. Quite coincidentally I was given one of their leaflets a couple of days ago and the phraseology stuck in my head. I was just surprised to see it again so soon here.

    You’ve mentioned the passive-aggressive thing before and I assume that it is meant to be an insult. But as I don’t know what it means, none is taken.

    Regards
    Gavin

  268. Jeff, I didn’t criticise Jeff Crippen for being honest about his moral failings at all. In fact I said that I actually applauded him for writing the letter.

    I criticised hierarchicalists(‘complementarians’ as they insist on misleadingly calling themselves)in general but I don’t know what Jeff Crippen’s position on that is. I can appreciate why they stay away from the topic of hierarchicalism vs egalitarianism and I think that’s probably the right approach for them given how many Christians believe that nonsense and yet still basically have mutually submissive(egalitarian) marriages. But I also think it’s bizarre that anyone can’t see a link between treating us women as if we are spiritual or intellectual inferiors as hierarchalists (‘complementarians’) insist on doing, and actually believing that we ARE inferior.

  269. Gavin, If the Calvin situatoin has been flogged to death, it is for a reason. With the resurgence of the idolatry of Calvin and the determinst god doctrine, we simply want to present another side. Read the legal and theological codes of Geneva during that time. Not just history books about Calvin. Read about the martyrs. Read about Anne LeFert (sp?)

    There is so much that REformed history has left out….on purpose to present a Calvin that is just not so. From my reading around that era in that region, I get the impression that Servetus never thought that Geneva would actually kill him. Banish him? Yes. Servetus was one of the first to speculate on a circulatory system. The man was brilliant and I suspect that bothered Calvin quite a bit reading Servetus’ margin notes in his own writings.

    He had written seven years before SErvetus ever came to Geneva that if SErvetus ever came, he would not get out alive. Today we would call that premeditated murder.

    People who dared dispute Calvin ran into all sorts of problems. He was the master at marginalizing people. But the tide slowly started turning and Calvin had to write Defensio to make the case for burning Servetus:

    http://books.google.com/books/about/Jean_Calvin.html?id=d55dO1n4myUC

  270. “It’s also a symptom of false humility… “I’m the worst sinner I know!” Oh really? So why are you lording your authority over other men and women? If you are the worst of the worst of sinners, REPENT. Turn away from your sin, and step down from your cushy position atop a pyramid made of people you’ve stepped on to get to the top.”

    Heh, yeah the next time some poor churchgoer gets smacked down by one of these ‘worst sinners’ they should use that as their reply.

  271. Dear Anon 1

    At least the reviewer of the Defensio recognises the complexities involved.
    Regards
    Gavin

  272. ….because they’d see that such a directive from God would be completely out of character from how he is revealed (a defender of the week and an ender of oppression).

    Jeff S….. Yes! To think God cares more for the “institution” of marriage than the two people in it, makes no sense. It’s the same principle as the sabbath made for man, rather than man for the sabbath. He is a merciful, compassionate, and just God.

  273. “a defender of the week”

    It occurs to me that this statement makes me look like a 7 day YEC.

    //ducks

  274. “It’s the same principle as the sabbath made for man, rather than man for the sabbath.”

    Yes, I 100% agree that marriage was made for man, not man for marriage.

    I’ve noted before that the “no divorce for any reason” that Piper holds reduces marriage to one definitive attribute: commitment. With his definition, as long as you are committed a marriage need not have love, mutual submission, or any other positive quality. Believing in separation instead of divorce also does the same thing. The “high” view is very “low” IMO.

  275. No one contemplating marriage says to his/her prospective spouse….”oh, by the way, I’m an abusive, controling person.” This characteristic doesn’t always manifest itself during the courtship and after the marriage the timeframe varies. So, in essence, the marriage is built on a faulty premise unbeknownst to one party. My experience with abusers is that they are outwardly very charismatic, charming individuals in public but behind closed doors a very different persona emerges.

  276. Sophie,
    “But I also think it’s bizarre that anyone can’t see a link between treating us women as if we are spiritual or intellectual inferiors as hierarchalists (‘complementarians’) insist on doing, and actually believing that we ARE inferior.”

    I get your meaning. I can tell that you as a man I’ve spent years buying into complementarianism (though I don’t think it was followed in my marriage- I certainly never claimed authority at any point I can remember) without thinking about it at all. I just assumed that a) it was in the Bible, so b) it must be a picnic for women when done right. I didn’t have any reason to think much about it beyond that, nor study the relevant texts to see if it’s what the Bible really said. I think most of us men don’t have any concept of what these doctrines feel like on the receiving end, and with no reason to think about it we just . . . don’t.

    Interestingly enough, comp doctrines can be used against men too: if your wife is being abusive, well you just aren’t loving her sacrificially. You need to learn how to love the right way. The problem is the presumption that a person (male or female) can fix their spouse with “right” behavior, which just doesn’t work.

    As a man, however, I did not have to contend with feeling the inherent inferiority of the comp position. Still, I had enough of a taste of it all to start thinking about what it must feel like in a woman’s shoes, and I don’t like where my thinking lead me.

    I do not necessarily reject comp- I am waiting for someone to show me a view of understanding male “headship” in a way that is not oppressive to women. Until then, if I remarry my choice will be to function as an egalitarian.

  277. “I would suggest that in many reformed camps people forget that they are not Paul.”

    Yes. Years ago, the reformed church I attended was in uproar and several ended up getting excommunicated. The whole situation made me very angry. I remember writing in my journal (can’t find the entry) that I was sick and tired of all these little men running around pretending to be little Pauls, patting themselves on the back for boldly offending everybody. There was only one Paul. And he was NOT like them.

    I am sick to death of theological “correctness.” It is so exhausting.

  278. Now we have all these mini-apostles running around, mimicking their own personal little god Paul. I have seen these types calling “Paulians”, instead of Christians, and I don’t think the ones saying that are far off the mark.

    Except that there is no similarity between them and Paul. Paul said the more abundantly he loved, the less he was loved. These people call their congregations narcissistic zeros and threaten to go OT on them or break their nose and are fawned over like rock stars. But Paul says “you put up with fools gladly…for you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one strikes you on the face.” Which one is Paul and which the fools, and which do the people put up with?

  279. “My experience with abusers is that they are outwardly very charismatic, charming individuals in public but behind closed doors a very different persona emerges.”

    Abusers are master manipulators, which is why stuff like “I talked to your husband and I can tell he’s repentant” is so insidious. Cue Paige Patterson’s woeful example at becoming a co-abuser and bragging about it.

  280. My experience with abusers is that they are outwardly very charismatic, charming individuals in public but behind closed doors a very different persona emerges. — Victorious

    Abusers, Pedophiles, Sociopaths BAVE to be masters at camouflaging what they are and grooming and controlling allies and pawns. If they weren’t, they would have been exposed and caught long ago.

    In People of the Lie, M Scott Peck speculated on “Perfect Possession”. Take the idea of demon possession literally or symbolically, “Perfect Possession” means a demon possession so complete and so total that it can never be detected as such.

    Which means we only hear about the “Imperfect Possessions” who DO get caught.

  281. “At least the reviewer of the Defensio recognises the complexities involved”

    In Calvin’s writing of his defense or the doctrine behind it? :o)

    No where in the NT are we told to murder people for wrong doctrine. Even Paul said Al and Hy made shipwreck of the faith and were to be handed over to Satan. Which does not mean doing Satan’s work FOR him when it comes to false teaching.

    I have heard every excuse known to man to excuse Calvin’s tyranny as typical born again believer behavior for that time. Scary stuff.

  282. Gavin, thanks to the link by Verduin. I have his books and love them. He has done an yeoman’s work on the research.

    But I am asking a different question rather than making excuses. People gave their lives to dissent from the state church. At the heart of if was a Body of True Believers. Not a state church where people were forced to come. If Calvin could not figure that out from his vast amount of study for preaching and writing and end up hiding in caves with the stepchildren, he must have had other motivations or was not really that great of a theologian. Me thinks he likedthe power he got during his second tenure in Geneva.

    And along with the statechurch mentality came murdering those who dared dissent from the leadership who mandated doctrine.

    From the link:

    The Stepchildren believed that the Church of Christ is by definition an element in society, not society as such. Their opponents, the Reformers as well as the Catholics, were unwilling to go along with this; they continued to look upon the Church as coextensive with society.

    BTW: It has been said that Verduin became a Non Calvinist after writing the book which was funded by the Calvin Foundation.

  283. @ Sallie:

    The marriage books make husbands and wives enemies…and then when they get pregnant, people give them Christian child-rearing books, which make parents and children enemies too. So what is supposed to be a loving family turns into a war zone with the word “godly” stamped on it. No wonder we have so many people leaving the church.

  284. Hester, I could not agree more. The entire comp doctrine and focus on it is about making an enemy of your spouse. It is about taking focus off Christ and on to each other. We know that “In Christ” there is no male nor female.

    It is about a spiritual condition. Not a physical condition. but the comps want us to focus on the physical.

  285. Hester, that is such a good observation. What gets me is that this is done all in the name of “strengthening the family!” And all it does is tear the family apart while damaging the individuals.

    Wow. That has got to be the oldest trick in the book. If you want people to buy your view, call it the exact opposite of what it is. I can’t believe I got duped.

  286. So question, a little off-topic but still about comps…

    Do comps claim that we are fundamentally male or female at the spiritual level, or only at the physical? If we are male or female at the spiritual level, what does that do to Jesus’ comments about there being no marriage in heaven? Also, per Jesus’ words we will “be like the angels in heaven,” so humans being fundamentally male or female at the spiritual level would necessitate a belief in angels that had a “spiritual gender.”

    But doesn’t this screw up the comps’ view on another level? Humans are “a little lower than the angels,” so we are below them on the ladder – but if we are fundamentally male or female (and thus the angels must be so too), then that would mean that there are female angels with authority over male humans. And esp. per Piper’s definition of femininity (an inclination to follow males), this might cause serious problems. To get rid of this problem, they may have to concede that gender is only an earthly/physical condition…which could upset some other apple carts.

    This thought just occurred to me so everybody tell me if I’m nuts.

  287. Addendum to earlier thought: Comps may try to get out of this by saying there are only “male” angels, since we only see Michael and Gabriel in Scripture (Raphael too if you count the Apocrypha). But then how are female women like the angels in heaven if there are “gendered” angels but no female angels?

    Note: I don’t actually believe there are “gendered” angels. This is a hypothetical argument.

  288. Gavin, honestly – I find your defense of abhorrent behavior on the part of Big Name xtians to be impossible to stomach.

    As for this

    And on a more contemporary note, would any of this apply to the state-sanctioned murder of Osama Bin Laden, the secret “droning” of innocent bystanders or the illegal detentions at Gitmo. If you want to criticise, let’s do it in our own age and speak of things we are morally responsible for.

    I think all of the things youvé jsut cited are reprehensible, including the “kill list” and the murder – rather than attempted capture – of people like Bin Laden.

    What about the bad things that *your* countrymen have inflicted on the world? They were many – including the opium and slave trades.

    Your empire’s gone; I hope we never have one. And I hope and pray that I will never be so lofty-minded as to forget the cost of human suffering. (I know that might sound arrogant; I don’t mean it that way. I grew up with people whose families somehow survived the Holocaust…)

    And that is a really, really pitiful excuse for Luther’s virulent anti-semitism. Of course, you’ll disagree with me, but I expect that. Perhaps you do not see how repellent it is to blame Luther’s anti-semitism on Jewish people, but I think other readers will get the point all too clearly.

  289. Hester – :) on gendered angels.

    That’s one of those topics I try to avoid like crazy, since what the heck do we really know about it, anyway? [sneaky grin]

  290. Hi, Jeff S,

    “I do not necessarily reject comp- I am waiting for someone to show me a view of understanding male “headship” in a way that is not oppressive to women. Until then, if I remarry my choice will be to function as an egalitarian.”
    *********************

    I like you. You’re a good guy. Honest question: what keeps complementarianism in the realm of possible legitimacy for you?

    Can we put a comma after “oppressive”, and add the words “insulting, or demeaning”? “Headship” may not manifest itself as oppressive in every instance — but it is always condescension. Even when very loving and kind. (it’s enough to make your toes curl backwards, let me tell you)

    “InSULting me softly with his song, inSULting me softly… with his song…”

  291. “Honest question: what keeps complementarianism in the realm of possible legitimacy for you?”

    A) Because people a lot more studied than I disagree about what the Bible means when it talks about the husband being the “head”.

    B) People that I respect and trust who know more than me teach it

    But I will admit the egalitarian apologists have been making a lot of headway with me. The best of the lot who sways me more with every word is John Piper. You should give him an award for egalitarian evangelism.

  292. @Jeff S, it was Piper and Grudem who converted me to egalitarianism. I read their tome back in the day to marshal my arguments to convert a friend who was clearly egalitarian and clearly “doing it wrong” … and Piper’s and Grudem’s arguments were so ridiculous that the scales fell from my eyes and before I knew it – walla! – I could no longer ascribe to complementarianism.

  293. Hi, Jeff S. If it’s close to 50/50, could a woman’s dignity tip the scales?

    Sorry, i know it’s as unfair a question as the time I asked my then-boss,

    “I wanted to ask if it was alright if I took a few hours off to go to a funeral — my friend just died.”

  294. Wow, what a lot of comments!

    @Jeannette (if you are still reading), I totally identify with what you’ve been through. I was influenced by my worship pastor’s neo-Calvinism for a short period of time, and it was living hell! I had been a Christian for 43 years and knew God as a loving Father for all those years. Then suddenly it appeared that I was all wrong, and he was actually a monster who “got glory” by condemning vast numbers of people to hell before they were even born! For the first time ever, I became terrified of dying and meeting this kind of God. I went into a deep depression and cried every day for several months. At the end of those months, the Holy Spirit got through to me by simply reminding me of our long sweet history together.

    My worship pastor may be more intelligent than I am, and he may know more systematic theology than I do, but I know the heart of God by long years of experience, and I won’t ever let anybody take that away from me again.

    I babysit my worship pastor’s baby so much they call me Grammy, and it pains me that he thinks the baby has already been predestined to heaven or hell and there’s nothing they can do about it. It also pains me that his heroes are Grudem, Piper, and Driscoll.

    I credit this website for helping me come back to my senses!

  295. “Hi, Jeff S. If it’s close to 50/50, could a woman’s dignity tip the scales?”

    I don’t think it’s close to 50/50. The ball really isn’t in your court- as I’ve said, right now I feel I have no choice but to behave egalitarian. Though, that means nothing in the immediate due to me not being married. :)

    Beyond that, I don’t want to delve into this more on a public forum, as things said in public tend to become mountains we die upon in other people’s eyes.

  296. Jeff S -

    Do A and B above carry that much weight? If your conscience before God tells you something different, why would you hold to something that men teach?

  297. Jeff –

    Your response to elastigirl wasn’t up when I posted my last comment. Ignore it if it asks too much.

  298. Bridget, yes they do mean a lot to me. Not so much for what men teach, but I want to understand God’s heart. God put the bit about “head” in the scripture, so I want to understand what it means. I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking a stand on a doctrine without being able to explain the scriptures surrounding it.

    And I am following my conscience: my conscience tells me that I do not know enough yet. I’d ask you (like I would ask my comp friends) to be patient with me. :)

  299. No impatience on my part. It was just a few questions. I probably wouldn’t have asked at all if I had seen your response beforehand.

  300. Elasti-girl
    “If they make room for divorce due to abuse, their bible-is-inerrant-infallible thing is compromised.”

    I agree that some of them may *think* that their doctrines on inerrancy and infallibility are threatened if they make room for divorce for domestic abuse.
    However, I challenge anyone to read my book and conclude that I have arrived at my conclusion (that abuse IS grounds for divorce) by allowing myself to think that the scriptures can be errant and fallible.

    I do argue that scripture has sometimes been mistranslated, and most grievously mistranslated in Malachi 2:16 in most versions (but not the ESV, the 2011 NIV or the HCSB).

    The rest of my arguments are based on interpretation and my interpration is all predicated on my conviction that scripture in the original languages is indeed inerrant and infallible.

    It would be nice if you read my book before jumping to any more conclusions about my work.

  301. elastigirl:
    “It just seems creepy to me that when Calvinistas mention/discuss/explain their patriarchal views, they often throw in a footnote along the lines of “Oh, and abuse is wrong!”

    I’m with you one hundred percent on that one! If find it not only creepy, but insulting and terribly hurtful to victims of abuse.

    I would like to ask such authors: “How would you like it if decades of unbelievable suffering and confusion in your life were dismissed by most authors in a footnote or a parenthesis?”

    Can’t tell you the number of times I’ve feel wounded like that, when reading all the books and articles I had to cover in research for my book.

  302. Glad you found this comment helpful, Dee.
    [ "He said to my daughter, “This should never have happened.” Notice that in his statement my ex was not named as the wrongdoer, the crime was simply labelled “this”. The perpetrator of the crime was made invisible, while the wrong was condemned.” ]

    I learned this linguistic stuff from Alan Wade at ResponseBasedPractice. He and his colleagues (all secular) are doing brilliant work in trauma and recovery. You can find out more about their work at
    http://notunderbondage.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/resistance-to-violence-chronic-mental.html
    and also at http://responsebasedpractice.com/

    Language is a most powerful key.
    Language can be used by abusers and their allies to minimise / invisible-ize the abuse.
    I can be used to mitigate the responsibility of the abuser, e.g. by not naming the perpetrator, or by describing the problem as mutual which makes it *not abuse*. (The mutualising tactic is what they are using when they say “But you’re a sinner too, and all sins are equal.”)

    On the other hand, language can be used to:
    Expose the abuse
    Name the perpetrator or perpetrators and their allies
    Make moral and ethical judgements about the abusive conduct: “It’s wrong!”
    And shift the false blame off the victim’s shoulders back to where it belongs:- with the abuser and his allies.

    We can all benefit from becoming more astute about the way language is used.

    You might like to read this post by Jeff Crippen:
    The Fallacy of Shared Blame in Every Marriage Problem

    http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/the-fallacy-of-shared-blame-in-every-marriage-problem-by-jeff-crippen/

  303. What about the bad things that *your* countrymen have inflicted on the world? They were many – including the opium and slave trades. — Numo re Gavin

    Just ask the Scots, the Irish, the South Africans, the Indians, even Englishmen of the Lower Classes…

  304. ES you made a REALLY important point here:

    “the teaching that women are always trying to control their husbands, even if they are saved – because it’s in their nature – assumes that ALL women are power hungry witches (substitute correct consonant) who can barely manage to keep it under wraps. I can see where that teaching would lead to abuse. The further teaching to submit more in the face of abuse doesn’t change the underlying assumption that the woman is guilty of a power grab and incapable of innocence. Now it makes sense why these women are counseled to stay in the marriage – it is impossible for her to be innocent because guilt is in the intrinsic nature of the woman.”

    I have written a Critique of CBMW’s Statement On Abuse in which (among other things) I tackle that idea that women are by default always wanting to usurp authority over men.

    You can read the critique here:
    http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/critique-of-cbmws-statement-on-abuse/

  305. elastigirl, I’ve just re-read my comment to you where I said “It would be nice if you read my book before jumping to any more conclusions about my work.” and I feel very ashamed of myself. I don’t know why I was thinking you were criticizing my work.
    Crossed wires behind my eyes, I think. Please forgive me if I offended you.

  306. Hi, Barbara Roberts.

    It’s no problem. I’m in agreement with you. I don’t doubt that your conclusions stem from your view that the bible as infallible/inerrant.

    My point was that I see people like John Piper, etc. unwilling to break away from rigid thinking because their ideas are so tightly bound together and are dependent on an infallible/inerrant bible understood in black & white. As opposed to a more holistic understanding of God as portrayed in the bible.

    I probably wasn’t writing clearly — i was taking off into metaphor land and mixing up voices. Putting the ridicuous film i was seeing in my mind’s eye into words as fast as it was happening. Didn’t necessarily make for clear communication.

  307. Dear Anon 1

    Thanks for the comment. I think it’s fair to say that the Reformers – ie Protestants – Eventually fell out with everyone else and that is one of the greatest tragedies to come out of what was such an inspired movement. And we’ve been doing it ever since.

    At this point I’d like to bring Numo into the conversation.

    One of the problems that has beset the Protestant church since the Reformation is the deliberate, or unwitting, maybe, misrepresentation of views that don’t happen to agree with our own. I quite clearly did not blame the Jews for Luther’s mistreatment of them, I quoted a fact that is clearly recorded in a number of historical documents. I passed no comment nor did I seek to use this fact to justify any of his views.(or mine for that matter). And resorting to puerile arguments in the “your lot did things we don’t like so don’t mention what we did” category is to miss the point completely. It really does trouble me that no-one seems to be willing to comment on contemporary issues. You either react like you did or ignore it altogether, as Dee and Headless and the rest have done.

    If you want to be a single issue pressure group, that’s okay, but at least make that clear and don’t pretend you’re interested in bigger issues. Having said that I had no idea there was so much trouble in American evangelicalism. Part of the problem, in my view, is that you are continuing to address long dead issues and in-fighting rather than looking outward.

    As for your aside about being brought up in a neighbourhood with Holocaust survivors, let me tell you a story.

    If you go to the Majdanek death camp in Poland, a number of things surprise you and assault your senses.

    The first thing is visual. The camp stands on a hill overlooking the town of Lublin and is quite clearly visible. At the entrance stands a Roman Catholic church.

    The second is olfactory or smell. You can still smell the ash, seventy years on. The memorial is a huge ash mound under a concrete canopy. Walk into the wooden huts and you see and smell the children’s shoes, thousands of them in mesh containers. Or the thousands of pounds of hair, shaved from the victims, to be used as lining for officers coats.

    The third is psychological. The place overwhelms you. How can it be that the good citizens of Lublin, saw nothing, smelled nothing, never wondered that the ash cloud was that covered their streets. Why did the Church at the entrance see nothing, never wondered where all those truck loads of people went, never heard the screams of the dying in the showers ( which were the nearest buildings to it). What possessed the Allied leaders, particularly Churchill, to keep quiet about it when they knew exactly what was going on (to keep the troops’ morale up won’t wash quite frankly).

    I’ve met survivors, I’ve talked with them and I continue to do all I can to publicize this great evil. The last time I mentioned this on the blog, I was mocked and my views dismissed. The Wartburg Watch needs to look around now and speak out, otherwise the same tragedy will happen again. Calvinism is not the problem, nor is any other ideology for that matter. It is the human heart of bad men who are doing bad things; -isms are just twisted to justify or cover their evil deeds.

    Regards
    Gavin

  308. Jeff:

    I do not necessarily reject comp- I am waiting for someone to show me a view of understanding male “headship” in a way that is not oppressive to women. Until then, if I remarry my choice will be to function as an egalitarian.

    I’ll have go at this one. I should add that we celebrate our 20th anniversary next month and at least one major aspect of what makes a good husband has only clicked this year. :-( I do garner some hope, however, from the fact that my husbanding skills are still improving after 19 years… ;-)

    But back to the comp thing and the headship spoken of in Ephesians 5. We shouldn’t, of course, dismiss the idea, because it is in the Bible and it must mean something. There are two specifics that, for me, produce compness that is more than banal misogyny:
    1) “Different in role, but equal in value” – agreed. But “equal” is not a self-deluding euphemism; equal means equal.
    2) Most importantly of all: as Christ loved the church.

    When you watch Jesus dealing with the Twelve, you watch Jesus dealing with the church. And Jesus continually trained them, authorised them, anointed them, etc etc, to do the Father’s work in the same way that he himself does. In other words, he invested the church with authority and appointed her to do his work: heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons etc. In Luke 10, when the church (and note: 72 others, not just the Twelve Godly Pastors™) returned with stories of demons submitting to them, Jesus told them, I’ve given you authority over all the power of the enemy. So Jesus never kept the church under control, but on the contrary, he built her up, and turned her loose to kick the devil’s butt.

    In our own marriage, we’ve found this works the same way. My role is not to keep Lesley beneath me, but to be a foundation beneath her. That theology is all very well, of course, but it really works. Specifically, Lesley’s found over the years that although she can read all kinds of good stuff and get encouraged by all kinds of good people, there’s a spiritual authority behind my encouragement of her that builds her up like nobody else can. As her “head”, theologically speaking, I have authority to build her up, to paraphrase Paul. (Not to pull her down; and any man who keeps his wife under control is constantly pulling her down because she is constantly growing.) Whenever I’ve helped her write a job application or go for a promotion at work, she’s got it, easily. Or, when we talk through some problem with a difficult client or colleague at work, somehow something always comes to me that helps resolve it.

    Now, clients she’s helped as a Business Adviser are queueing up to ask her to become a Director of their company/charity/social enterprise. People talk to her and say, “why can’t I get this help anywhere else? What’s special about you?”. All that and she’s beautiful – and I mean stunningly beautiful. Of course, her own diligence and giftedness, and her walk with God, have done more than I have to bring this about. (Someone said to me when we first became Interested In Each Other, “Lesley would be a real prize if you could get her”.) But the fact that she has a husband who loves her, believes in her, and is heaven-bent on enabling her to be everything she can be, is an important part of the jigsaw. At our wedding, I sang a Steve Curtis Chapman song to her that contains the words: I will be here, to watch you grow in beauty, until you are the thing you are to me. That privilege has been mine.

    Hmm… sorry, I’ve kind of gone off on one there. But in a way, I can’t help it once I start describing Lesley; there’s so much about her to admire. I suppose also that, through a glass darkly, I’ve caught something of how Jesus sees his own bride. A real (not Godly™) husband’s admiration and love for his wife has a unique spiritual authority to be self-fulfilling (though, tragically, the converse is also true). And that, if I’ve understood this right, is proper complementarian headship.

  309. Nick, I appreciate the illustration with your wife and how much you love and care about her.

    What thing are you called to do for her that she is not also called to do for you? Does she not also build you up, as you say you have the authority to do for her?

  310. Jeff – that’s an excellent question. She certainly does build me up, and the more I think about this the more I realise that it works both ways, though it functions slightly differently (hence my re-appropriating the term “comp” – different but equal).

    The story would probably be best told in her words; unfortunately she’s out at work at the moment (it being noon here in Scotland!), so I’ll summarise it. In a nutshell, the key is at the end of Eph 5 – where Paul says (as the NASB more accurately puts it) let the wife see to it that she respects her husband – my emphasis, obviously. Lesley came to understand that this respect is unconditional, in the same way that my loving her must be unconditional. It’s not that I don’t respect Lesley or she doesn’t love me. But to us, there’s a subtle but important difference between love and respect despite the large and obvious overlap.

    If I can put it this way; about six years ago, Gordon and Gail McDonald (the same Gordon McDonald that Dee and Debs quoted in the What is a Christian? post) spoke at a smallish leaders’ training day in Glasgow; there were a little under 20 of us there, I think, with an even gender mix. At one point, Gail made an observation, which was all the more arresting for our reaction to it. She said that in her experience, and very broadly speaking, a woman needs to be loved, whereas a man needs to be respected. All of the men there, including me, seized on that statement as though it were a long-lost brother, because – I think – it captured something we’d always known but never been able to put our finger on, and never heard taught in church.

    I stress that Gail was not making any legalistic generalisation, and nor do we believe we’ve discovered The Key™ To A Biblical™ Marriage, so that we can write a bestseller and get everyone to join our Network. But evidently I’m not alone in that my deepest personal need is indeed to be respected rather than loved per se. I certainly don’t mean I need to be put on a pedestal or idolised (which would be hollow and unsatisfying anyway). But I do need to be taken seriously, and to be treated as though my opinion is valid and my experience means something.

    I have ADHD which went undiagnosed for many years, and many people who knew me – including church leadership – simply assumed I was an arse. (That’s not a good word in the UK.) I struggled for years to get decent employment, for instance; so I’ve never really been much of a provider. A lot of people on the outside didn’t respect me, in other words, and Lesley was presented with many reasons not to. But she’s made a conscious ongoing decision to anyway. We’re both reaping the rewards of that.

    Hope that makes sense…

  311. Pingback: Evangelicals and Abuse « a profound mystery UNITED STATES

  312. Jeff, I went on a long journey with Kephale years back. I don’t have all my resources to cite but I can tell you most were not theologians but how the word was used and thought of in the 1st Century.

    First and foremost “headship” is a ridiculous way to use that work.It would be like me saying I have a “bodyship” or a “legship”. In the 1st Century, the “Kephale” was a literal head on your shoulders. They believed the head fed the Body as it was the “source” for eating, breathing, etc. And it the 1st Century status of women, men were necessary to provide the basics for women.

    On another note which is even more interesting in many ways, is that they also believed the “heart” was where the thinking and decision making process lay in a person. If you go back and read Paul speaking of the “heart” you will see a pattern. Some translators do use mind, though.

    It was not until about 100 years after Paul that the physcian Galen discovered the brain controlled movement and that thinking started changing.

    The big mistake in interpretation is the Western view of “head” If the Holy Spirit had wanted to denote an authority of sorts, there are several Greek words which would have communicated that clearly. One is used in 1 Corin 7 where the only instance of authority is communicated when it comes to marriage and it is mutual. Interesting.

    The Greek for submit is a whole other story and terribly misunderstood as well. It is more of a voluntary action. God would never require us to submit to something nefarious or evil. That would be enabling and promoting someone to sin.

  313. “. She said that in her experience, and very broadly speaking, a woman needs to be loved, whereas a man needs to be respected. All of the men there, including me, seized on that statement as though it were a long-lost brother, because – I think – it captured something we’d always known but never been able to put our finger on, and never heard taught ”

    This is why Emerson Eggerich made a fortune on Love and Respect. While I undestand how much this meant to many women, I could not relate at all. But I have a lot of understanding for the women who do value such a thing.

    Again, cultural context would be that men did not respect their wives. They were basically uneducated chattel and treated as brood mares. Read the Mishna and Roman household codes to get a feel for it. (there were exceptions for wealthy women)

    Trying to map this teaching to the 21st Century can be very confusing. Women are educated, independent and have rights given by government that women in th 1st Century could not imagine. Many men today report to a woman at work. Not even in their realm of thinking back then.

  314. Nick, it does make sense as seen in your situation. I’m hesitent to extend those needs to all couples everywhere, though. When a woman “needs respect” she is labeled a “feminist” (said with derogatory intonation) because it’s not something she ought to need. When a man needs love, he is labeled as unmanly or effeminate.

    And I realize that you qualified your example by saying “I stress that Gail was not making any legalistic generalisation”, however, without some kind of realistic generalization, all the idea of complementarianism means is that we find different roles in our relationships to meet one another’s needs. That sounds like egalitarianism to me, with perhaps a dash of tendencies between men and women to help us with the discovery process. It doesn’t really explain “headship” though, unless we assume headship to mean “needs respect” and it’s a need all men have and women don’t. But I don’t think that’s what you are saying.

  315. “The Greek for submit is a whole other story and terribly misunderstood as well. It is more of a voluntary action. God would never require us to submit to something nefarious or evil. That would be enabling and promoting someone to sin.”

    I totally understand this. There are plenty of Complementarians out there who teach that women should not submit to “something nefarious or evil.” However, even their perspectives I have trouble tracking with. I don’t really understand the submission issue since mutual submission is clearly called for in scripture. I don’t see where the idea of women having a special type of submission comes from.

    Regarding “head” etc., I’ve read what you and others have said on this. I’m still working it all out.

  316. Anon1

    I never liked the love and respect separation. I, too, would like to be respected by my family and find that love and respect go hand in hand in many instances. 

  317. Jeff S,
    If you haven’t read this article on why God used the term headship in scripture I think it is the best explanation ever. http://www.cbeinternational.org/?q=content/i-believe-male-headship by Dr. Gilbert Belizekian.

    I understand the bending of the ear to this or that view when so much has been studied and written from both sides of the issue.
    Sometimes though the scale is tipped by the simplest logic.
    For me, every last bit of struggle with the comp view that remained for me on the topic ceased when my daughter very simply asked where the Bible teaches that men should lead women in any way.
    It doesn’t. There is simply no instruction to men to lead their women. If it was such a big deal as the comps say then why is that so?

  318. When I read the respect issue in the original, I see a possibility that it could be rendered, “SO that woman might respect man.”.
    Or, maybe Paul only referred to respect and not love because wives were chosen in that culture and had no means for tangible agape for their husbands. I mean I am pretty sure that Paul would have told the not married yet men that if they felt like they could not agape the woman that they are thinking about, then don’t marry them. They were taking wives only for use without it mattering about love. They could have mistresses for love.
    The culture of the day must play into interpretation. The only thing that never needs culture for interpretation is love, of which there is no law against.

  319. Dear Jeff S
    I think most egalitarians confuse what Scripture says regarding the position of men and women to each other in Creation and before God, that is of equal worth and dignity, and the roles He assigns them in the Church where the principle role is given to men. In the family, the marriage relationship should be nurturing, self-giving and respectful of each other’s needs and desires. This is further qualified by each partner acting “as in The Lord”. Cruelty and abuse and disrespect have no place in that relationship and anyone who counsels otherwise goes against Scripture. Remember the fruits of the Spirit. Nick is to be commended for repeatedly reminding us that we are in A Spirit filled relationship.

    The problem lies in the deliberate misuse and misunderstanding of these principles to advance a godless feminist agenda, which all too often hijacks the legitimate aspirations of many Christian women. This is evident in their portrayals if those who defend the Biblical position .

    Regards
    Gavin

  320. Nick -

    Thanks for sharing the story of what God was showing you and Lesley about your relationship. I can see how you have both listened to the Holy Spirit and applied Truth to your lives to grow in love and kindness toward each other and those around you. I see that love spilling out into Lesley’s workplace and your neighborhood.

    As I was reading, though, I was immediately struck with the sense that this was a specific man and a specific woman who are specificallly working through how God has called them to love and care for each other. However, we are all individuals and God works individually with each of us and in each marriage. We are all called to know what God says to each of us as individuals and\or as couples. What your needs and desires are as a man, might be quite different than what my husbands are. What was good for your life and situation might be totally different for my husband and myself — as we are different people. For instance, I could see many women needing to be respected because they need to be built up in a way that strengthens them to be confident and strong. I can see some men that need to be loved more than they need respect.

    These are just two small examples, but they are for making the point that individuals have individual needs, giftings, desires, backgrounds, and brokenness, that all need to be addressed individually. I would think that love and respect come into play in all relationships between everyone. It would be helpful to define what these words mean, as well, because they can look so many different ways to different people.

  321. “The problem lies in the deliberate misuse and misunderstanding of these principles to advance a godless feminist agenda which all too often hijacks the legitimate aspirations of many Christian women. This is evident in their portrayals if those who defend the Biblical position.” Gavin (bold added)

    Gavin -

    This is a sweeping statement. Have you heard directly from God on this, Gavin? You seem to be speaking for God and for ALL women in general. I believe that feminism, in its simplest meaning, has brought much good into the lives of many women. I’ll let you ponder that along with this — it’s quite possible that Paul was an early feminist and abolitionist.

  322. There is simply no instruction to men to lead their women.

    Patti, I have challenged comps with this question so many times…they just keep coming up with sweeping assumptions from small/non-existent premises.

    How those educated men can continue to read something into scripture that’s simply not there is beyond me.

  323. This is a sweeping statement. Have you heard directly from God on this, Gavin? You seem to be speaking for God and for ALL women in general. — Bridget

    I’m always suspicious of those who talk like God has them on speed-dial.

    I believe that feminism, in its simplest meaning, has brought much good into the lives of many women. — Bridget

    As long as you keep an eye out for feminism’s dark side — what you call “radical feminists” and I call “female supremacists”. Because they are just a funhouse mirror reflection of the comp/patrios — almost literally yin and yang. And screaming. Nobody likes a religion or movement with people screaming.

  324. Patti,

    “How those educated men can continue to read something into scripture that’s simply not there is beyond me.”
    **********

    At this point, it will take a huge sacrifice of ego and personal kingdom to do otherwise.

  325. As long as you keep an eye out for feminism’s dark side — what you call “radical feminists” and I call “female supremacists”. Because they are just a funhouse mirror reflection of the comp/patrios — almost literally yin and yang. And screaming. Nobody likes a religion or movement with people screaming.

    HUG -

    I completely agree! That is why I said, “simplest meaning” to define feminism. When we move to the extreme in feminism, we have moved quite a bit from Christ-likeness.

  326. Nick – Thanks so much for sharing some of your story (journey, maybe?) with us.

    the thing is… I think that the “men want this/women want that” thing is a false dichotomy. Every person needs both love and respect – and believe me, a *lot* of women have received precious little of either in their lives.

    I could not be with a man who did not respect me.

    It does bother me when people boil things down to these kinds of formulas, because every person is different, and – as another commenter mentioned – what you and your wife need are probably not the same things that your next-door neighbors need, etc.

    To my mind, respect is part of loving someone; it’s can’t really be separated from love per se.

    Hope that makes sense!

  327. Yup, I think it comes down to ego.

    I just so happen to have a professional painter and a professional dishwasher repairer in my house right now. Both are female and I couldn’t be more proud to be female right now because of their accomplishments and that of my excellent female neurosurgeon for my recent spinal fusion. I did not specifically ask for female workers.
    Now, where are the males willing to CLEAN my house, huh? Yup, me thinks the boys like their class system too much to REALLY love their women as Christ loves the church, bringing them up to the level they hold in society just as Christ brings the church up to His spotless level before God Almighty. Instead, much of the comp world adds spots and wrinkles to their women. If Paul was referring to the lordship of Christ, which is indeed undeniable, then Paul would have used that term if he had meant that males were given that authority over females, or pastors over parishioners.

  328. Funny, I wasn’t even trying to draw an analogy between cleaning my house and spots and wrinkles.

  329. “The problem lies in the deliberate misuse and misunderstanding of these principles to advance a godless feminist agenda, which all too often hijacks the legitimate aspirations of many Christian women. This is evident in their portrayals if those who defend the Biblical position.”

    What you call misuse, others call proper use. I’ve seen enough poor interpretation of scripture that I am willing to question the standard. To my knowledge, the “feminist agenda” has done far more good for the world than patriarchy has.

    Labeling opposing viewpoints with negative titles and painting them with broad brushes is the number one way to lose the battle for my opinion. It reeks of having to default to tactics other than presenting the truth in order to win the war. For example, I am 100% pro life, but I will never call a person who self identifies as “pro choice” as “pro murder” or even “pro abortion” (even while they resort to calling me “anti choice” or “anti woman”). I do not need to tear down their image with negative labels (because no one really thinks abortion is awesome); I am sure of my position and can argue using logic and reasoning, I do not need to inflame passions with rhetoric (and if I do, my position is weak). You do not need to case egalitarians as “godless feminists” if you have the truth on your side.

    As I understand it, the position that you call Biblical is that man parts and women parts are important in determining what behavior is allowed for each individual, even behavior that has nothing to do with said man parts and women parts. If you want to convince me this is true, you are going to have to show me a model that works for everyone and is not oppressive or demeaning. “Tie Breaker” seems to be a lame theology, and “all women need xyz while all men need abc” always defines “xyz” and “abc” extra-biblicaly in a way that marginalizes people who don’t feel they fit the mold (but are told they are wrong for not fitting the mold).

    I want to understand what the scripture says and I want to be obedient to God’s will. Part of being obedient to God’s will is accepting no doctrine that is unloving toward another human being. So far, every version of complementarianism that I’ve seen has either been a) closet-egalitarian, or b) unloving and oppressive if applied to all people in all times.

    So I’m here, I’m listening. When you or anyone presents me with an example of complementarianism that is not unloving when applied to all people in all times, then I’ll be ready to throw my hat in the ring. Until then, I can assent to it all day long in a meaningless theological way, but without any practical application it remains just that.

  330. “However, even their perspectives I have trouble tracking with. I don’t really understand the submission issue since mutual submission is clearly called for in scripture. I don’t see where the idea of women having a special type of submission comes from.

    Actually Paul was being sort of radical without upsetting the cultural applecart of the time. The problem is in how we read Eph. It is a “letter” that we proof and passage ‘text”. Up in verse 21 we see mutual submission. You should read the gymnastics Grudem goes through to “qualify”this one as not being for ALL believers. He inserts a pecking order that must be followed with that verse.

    The words submit for the verse about wives was actually added by translators. It is not there…..so we are to submit to one another and further up in 18-19 “being filled with the Holy Spirit”.

    One thing we can all do and are capable of is reading on our own with the Best Teacher: The Holy Spirit. Waiting around for smart guys to tell us what it means is admitting we cannot have the same anointing. The “smart” guys can get it wrong and some have an agenda. They should be our last resorrt but never the final word for us.

    The Greek word for submit was actually a step up to equality for the 1st Century wife…in the spiritual realm of Jesus Christ.

  331. “I never liked the love and respect separation. I, too, would like to be respected by my family and find that love and respect go hand in hand in many instances.”

    It is really based upon personality styles today instead of the cultural context of the NT. I would much rather be treated with respect than love. In fact, how would one describe love in action if not respectful actions?

    As I listened to all the guru comp celebs (Eggerich is one of them) I would often think: Bringing me flowers or saying you love me does not make me feel loved at all. EVen narcissists are very good at that sort of thing.

    However, Every day things such as cleaning the toiletsand making sure the car oil is changed makes me feel very loved and respected. :o)

  332. “… a godless feminist agenda…”

    I don’t even know how to respond to this.”

    Perhaps it would be akin to putting all comps into the same category as Papa Pilgrim?

    Another term hijacked is feminist. Which is why I never use it. Visions of bra burners leap to mind for so many. When the truth is, Senceca Falls was a natural progression of what our Constitution proclaimed.

  333. “As long as you keep an eye out for feminism’s dark side — what you call “radical feminists” and I call “female supremacists”. Because they are just a funhouse mirror reflection of the comp/patrios — almost literally yin and yang. And screaming. Nobody likes a religion or movement with people screaming.”

    Every cultural movement tends to go too far with some fringe groups who get a ton of media and make many think it is the norm. As my older brothers have often commented that some seem to think their entire generation was actively protesting Vietnam which was not really true. The media made it seem that way and we still think that way today. Many people not supportive of the war were not demonstrating and having sit ins.

    This is why I give pew sitter comps a big pass of grace. Most are living out marriages of mutuality in practice.

  334. Bridget

    I based my comments on what I’ve read from egalitarians here. Just an observation.

    Just as they like to cherry pick the attributes of God that best suit their argument.

    Gavin

  335. Gavin,

    Just because something is secular doesn’t mean that putting “godless” in front doesn’t charge the conversation with emotions. I don’t tell people I’m going to a “godless restaurant” to meet for lunch after church, even though it would be a true statement.

    And by saying it, your implication is that all feminism is “godless”.

  336. Jeff S

    No it doesn’t imply that at all. Otherwise I would not have contrasted it with Christian women (feminists).

    Regards
    Gavin

  337. Jeff S
    And in the context of a Christian blog, the word godless is appropriate in such a discussion.

    Regards
    Gavin

  338. You certainly received an emotional response. Were you surprised, or was that completely unintended?

    I’m really not trying to attack you here- I’m saying how I read what you wrote. I believed you were using rhetoric instead of sound arguments. I believe you are capable of sound arguments having read a lot of what you’ve written in the past, so I think it is unfair to yourself to write things in a way that results in emotional responses.

  339. “Secular feminism is by definition godless. It is not name calling.” – Gavin White

    Gavin,

    Some observations:

    1. There’s a difference between secularism and atheism. You seem to be conflating the two.
    2. It’s rather redundant to create a definition and then refer to your definition as the standard by which you define your definition.
    3. There is no single ‘feminist agenda’, unless you count the ideal of gender equality as an agenda. There are many feminisms, and types of feminists. Sometimes their interests connect, sometimes they don’t.

  340. Jeff S
    I am trying to state how I see things as clearly as possible. I expected the response ad I wrote deliberately in that way, in part to show how people read into statements their own views. (Van Til’s Presuppositionalism).

    Regards
    Gavin

    No offence taken, by the way. I enjoy the cut and thrust, although that is not an end in itself.

  341. To Our Readers

    My husband will have to have back surgery on Thursday. he is now experiencing foot drop and progressive weakness meaning the nerve is compromised. Please forgive me if i am a bit discombobulated. 

  342. Dee, I will pray for you. Back surgery is really, really tough to go through for everyone involved.

  343. Gavin, I can assure you my questions do not come from a place of secular thought, but wanting to not do to others what was done to me. People I cared about let incorrect, traditional doctrine lead them to cause me a great deal of pain and loss at the time I most needed them. If they would have allowed themselves some empathy I believe they would have questioned more and seen that their doctrines where not doctrines of God. But how can I want their empathy and not do te same for others?

    As you can see, I wrestle with this. I have no agenda except the agenda to love others as God would have me love them. So when I challenge comps to show me how it’s really suppose to work- I mean it.

  344. Dee -

    I’ll be praying for your husband. My dad had to have back surgery for the same reasons (and severe pain). He was to the point where he couldn’t walk. He felt far, far, better after surgery than before surgery. I’ll be praying for the same result in your husband’s case!

  345. Gavin, Just to clarify, I cannot stand the emphasis on feminism just as I cannot stand the emphasis on patriarchy. It is one reason I have never felt totally comfortable in official egalitarian circles. In the secular world, I wish it were meritorius over gender or skin color. In the body of Christ, I wish it were spiritual focus instead of gender focus.

  346. @ Jeff & Gavin:

    “Just as they like to cherry pick the attributes of God that best suit their argument.”

    I’ve never seen any cherry-picking of God’s attributes from anyone at TWW, comp or egal. I have, however, seen a lot of it from many comps (i.e., Piper’s “masculine feel” comments and the extreme discomfort when God is portrayed in the Bible as having feminine characteristics). I’ve never seen anyone deny that God was omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving, just, holy, etc.

    Unless of course you’re referring to ESS, which is an even bigger can of worms.

  347. Gavin –

    First you say, “I am trying to state how I see things as clearly as possible.” You were trying to be clear? I would think that you want to be clear so that people can understsnd how you see things (maybe this is a presupposition on my part?) Then you continued with, “I expected the response ad I wrote deliberately in that way, in part to show how people read into statements their own views. (Van Til’s Presuppositionalism).” Here you seem to be saying that you wrote deliberately (or in part?) for the purpose of showing how people read into statements their own views.

    I am left completely confused. Are you trying to be clear? Deliberate? In part? Or, are you trying to teach people something about their presuppositions by stating something a certain way?

    I may be reading this all wrong but, after reading your above statement, I’m feeling like you are not being genuine with your wording. I hope this is not true, but honestly, all I have to go by are the words on the page and they don’t add up to a coherent statement to me.

  348. Jeff S
    I have an inkling of how you feel. I have gone through the same thing – many years ago, long before it was a common occurrence in the church. I had to start again. From youth leader, deacon, and lay pastor of a mission church to nothing. Just like that.

    I started again, fell in love and, after long discussion with our minister, married again. The local church welcomed us, we became regular worshippers, took part in mission work, felt part of the family and asked to become members. The deacons discussed it and said no – I was too big a sinner.the irony was the deacon leading the opposition was himself a divorcee who had remarried. (Maybe they’re allowed to have only one per church before the grace and forgiveness are used up). This happened twice before we finally were accepted in a church in another area.

    So I know the hurt and sense of isolation. When I write what I write, it is to be as honest as I can. I am not being unkind to anyone although I do point out inconsistencies and biases where I feel I have to. And I’m quite happy to be slapped down by those who disagree with my point of view. But I will demand that others are as honest in return. I feel that there is a lot of posturing going on in the blog sometimes and, dare I say, some intellectual dishonesty. That’s my view.

    So, if you are happy to accept that, may the discussion continue in a friendly atmosphere.

    Regards
    Gavin

  349. Bridget
    I think you can do both at the same time. I don’t see a contradiction or cross-purpose.
    Regards
    Gavin

  350. Gavin, thank you for sharing some of your history. I have not been uncomfortable with the conversation, but I wanted you to see that it is empathy that drives me, not any kind of agenda. Quite frankly, the folks preaching comp are the very ones teaching things like abused must remain married and sacrifice themselves for the sake of the Gospel. I realize there is not a one to one correlation here, but it’s intellectually dishonest of me to look deeper when it’s me on the line and not when it’s someone else.

    So if you can accept my motives, my challenge is still to present to me a model of comp that isn’t egal but is always loving for all types of people when applied correctly.

  351. RE: gavin white on Tue Dec 04,2012 at 03:54 AM,

    “…Calvinism is not the problem, nor is any other ideology for that matter. It is the human heart of bad men who are doing bad things; -isms are just twisted to justify or cover their evil deeds…”

    I am in agreement with you on the human heart thing. Where we may still disagree is on the issue of whether or not the human heart has a spark of divine in it, and whether or not an allegedly unregenerate human can choose to act upon it.

  352. Thanks to those who’ve commented on my comment (about how we practice husband headship in our home) – I’m starting with this because I’m going to clarify a couple of points and I want it to be clear that I’m not responding as if to any attack (nobody has attacked me!). (Well, not here, anyway.)

    The dichotomy “men are x, women are y” – well, I don’t like it either. Fortunately I didn’t draw a dichotomy, but described a broad statistical outcome. Consider… “Broadly speaking, men are taller than women”. Obviously there are tall women and short men. In other words, there may be no shortage of specific exceptions. But if (for instance) you’re designing ranges of clothing, there is still merit in the generalisation. You just deal flexibly with the people who don’t fit it. Please bear with me, because this is going somewhere.

    It’s quite true that the way our marriage works is just that – our marriage. But…

    If you check what I first said with a fine-toothed microscope, you’ll see that I concluded following Gail McD’s observation (that, broadly, women want to be loved whereas men want to be respected) simply that our marriage was not unique. And I don’t think it is. Saying “women/men are x; you’re a woman/man, therefore you’re x, whatever the evidence to the contrary” has no place in the body of Christ. But I think there are some broad differences between men and women that one should at least consider when, for instance, pondering what to do about the lack of men in the UK church generally. Indeed, it’s precisely because of this that I tend to believe the most healthy eldership in the local church is a plural, mixed-gender one. (That, too, is a broad generalisation and not a law. If a congregation is too small, or all the men/women are numpties, then you need another plan.)

    [slight_tangent]Lesley and I are both aware that Eph 5 says, wives, submit to your own husbands – it does not say, anywhere, women, submit to men. We don’t believe in “male headship” in the church or anywhere else. We do practice “husband headship” in marriage, because we find we can do so in a way that doesn’t make nonsense of the rest of the bible.[/slight_tangent]

    I described our marriage mainly in response to Jeff’s request for examples of “headship” that don’t (to quote myself) make a nonsense of the rest of scripture. I think we have one, though I’ve never claimed it’s the Biblical™ way to build a marriage. Actually, I wouldn’t go to war over whether I’m “comp” or not – to be honest, I only use the term to grab it back from the calvinistas, whose ideas on “biblical” gender roles make a nonsense of the word “complementary”.

    Thanks for reading… it’s bedtime in Scotland!

    zzzzzzz

  353. “The problem lies in the deliberate misuse and misunderstanding of these principles to advance a godless feminist agenda, which all too often hijacks the legitimate aspirations of many Christian women.”

    When people start complaining about feminism, I get the message that they would be quite happy if I was back being beaten up, and not able to get a divorce or a decent job. That is the message I receive.

  354. Hey Nick,
    Do you practice wife bodyship, and if so, what does it look like?

    (wish there was an icon of a smily face dodging tomatoes like I’ve seen elsewhere cause that’s the kind of comment this is.)

  355. Nick – I wasn’t meaning to criticize the way you related Gail McD’s statements. (In other words, i didn’t think that you were creating some kind of dichotomy, just passing on a précis of what she siad.)

    However… there are so many books on the market here that basically say “men are this/women are that,” and that’s been true since the early 1990s. I’m talking about books published for the general public, like Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, which was a huge bestseller and started a trend that took a while to reach xtian publishing houses. But when it finally *did* get there, it spawned God alone knows how many xtianized imitations (like John and Stasi Eldredge’s books) and that trend shows no signs of stopping. If it *had* stopped, I doubt Rachel Held Evans would have written her “biblical womanhood” book, since there wouldn’t be all that many people dictating to her – and to other younger women – what that’s supposed to look like.

    if anything, the perception(s) of gender roles in the evangelical church have become far more polarized than was the case in the 80s and early 90s. I think this echoes larger trends in society, including one that I’ve been aware of for some time, i.e. the swerve from unisex clothing to very strictly delineated types of clothing for men and women – though there’s always been menswear and womens’ wear, 25-30 years ago sporting outfitters like L.L. Bean (quite an institution over here!) were *mostly* creating mens’ and womens’ versions of the same garments. Now… not so much. (A few months ago, I ended up on the phone with An Important Person at L.L. Bean – an Englishwoman, fwiw – who was very sympathetic to my complaints re. “Why does your womens’ line look like maternity clothes? This isn’t L.L. Bean anymore!” – and etc. also fwiw, she agreed with what I was saying and apparently is someone who’s been trying to get the design department back to creating more utilitarian clothes for, y’know, running around outdoors – like they used to make.)

    but I digress! ;) (I do that a lot.)

    *

    Gavin – having grown up during the Red Scare and Cold War, I’ve heard the term “godless” more than I care to think about. (Usually “godless communists,” but it was also applied to Civil Rights movement protesters, opponents of the Vietnam War, opponents of Nixon, etc. etc. etc.) You might want to look into the Red Scare, Joseph McCarthy, the House Un-American Activities Committee (etc.) to see some of the ramifications of the term “godless” as it’s been commonly used – as a slur – here in the US.

    “Secular” does not equal “godless.”

  356. Re. Nixon, he was – not so coincidentally – very involved with the House Un-American Activities committee (HUAC for short). That came back to haunt him after Watergate… he had, after all, created yet another “enemies” list and was having people watched for supposedly “un-american activities” – *very* much including his political opponents.

  357. Nick – as a kind of aside (but not really!), I have a friend whose grade-school-age daughter was being written off as “slow,” and/or deliberately inattentive, disobedient, etc. etc. by a number of people at her school.

    Other kids bullied and harassed her for being “stupid” and “slow.”

    About 2 months ago, her parents found out that she only hears about 60% – at best – of what other kids her age hear. She now has hearing aids and is thrilled with them!

    the thing is, she’s an intelligent, sweet-natured child, but a lot of people refused to see her that way. Instead of this child having a problem (as yet undiagnosed [sp?]), she was (in their eyes) the problem itself.

    Needless to say, she needed (still needs) to be respected as an individual, for herself, without the kinds of judgments and bullying that so many kids with physical and emotional problems go through.

    I’m more than certain that you can understand some of the nuances of this child’s situation in ways that I cannot…

  358. Dear Jeff S

    I don’t actually think in terms of egalitarianism or complementarianism. I try to understand what the bible (and,therefore,God) teaches us.

    I see three scenarios

    1 An individual man and woman before God
    2 An individual man and woman in relationship with each other at home.
    3 An individual man and woman in relationship with each other in church.

    In one of last week’s blogs about Rachel Held-Evans, I quoted from Bruce K Waltke’s book, A Biblical Theology of the OT. What he says very much covers everything and I repeat it here for everyone to consider.

    “Bruce K Waltke in his OT Theology makes the following worthwhile points.
    He starts with this general observation.

    The varied contemporary versions of feminism have had the heuristic value of reasserting the equality of women with men. Unfortunately, as has been documented many times, both the synagogue and the church have not only failed to proclaim this glad truth but have shouted it down. Those are black marks in sacred history. The error, however,lies in the interpreters of Scripture, not in the Holy Bible itself. If a rusty can (ie the church) lacks pure water (ie the truth) we don’t blame the water but the can.
    He then notes the following.

    Equality in Creation
    In the first creation account, both men and women are created in God’s image. Together, as his image, they share his derivative authority to be culture makers. The second account reinforces this equality and clarifies t. When I AM says I will make a helper suitable for Adam’s, he means that he will form a woman who is equal to and adequate for the man. She stands opposite him in her sexual differentiation bit equal with him in her dignity as a human being. Adam’s words in response to her formation from his own body are the only human words preserved from before the Fall. Untouched by envy and/or a desire to dominate and control her, he celebrates with admiration their being family (ie of the closest woman relationships). this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh at the same time, he represents her sexual differentiation from him – she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man’. The rest of the OT reinforces women’s equality in being and in dignity with men. After Sarah overreacts to the arrogance of her maidservant Hagar and drives her out of Abraham’s house, the angel of I AM finds the runaway and speaks to her. Of the many thousands of Near Eastern texts, this is the only instance when a deity, or his messenger, calls a woman by her name and thereby invests her with dignity. Hagar is the OT counterpart to the Samaritan woman spoken to by Jesus in John 4.

    Equality in Parenting
    Mothers stand on equal footing with fathers in teaching their children.(Proverbs31:26) The father’s command to the son, do not forsake your mother’s teaching’ seems unexceptional until we realise that the mother is not mentioned as a teacher in ancient Near Eastern literature. For the mother to teach Israel’s inherited wisdom, she herself had first to be taught, suggesting that’son’ in the book of Proverbs is gender inclusive, not gender specific.

    Equality in Charisma
    In the OT, women are called to be’prophetesses,’ on an equal footing with prophets… Huldah is a most remarkable prophetess with regard to the question of women’s roles in worship and ministry. When Josiah’s workmen find the Book of the Low while they re repairing the temple, Josiah directs five leaders to enquire of I AM about the book. Instead of going to Jeremiah and Zephaniah, they go to their contemporary, Huldah, to verify the book.

    Equality in Prayer
    Covenant women pray directly to God without the priestly mediation of their husbands. (Contrast Jacob’s prayerlessness with Ramchel’s effectual prayer). Barren Hannah seeks dignity and worth through childbearing. She goes directly to God in prayer, independent from her husband and from the high priest, both of whom are insensitive to her need.

    Equality in Worship
    Women sing and dance in worship, expressions of the acme of life. Miriam and Deborah compose the two oldest pieces of literature preserved in the Bible, which are regarded by scholars as literary masterpieces. Women celebrate before IAM with singing, dancing, and tambourines, although they are not part of the temple choir. Women offer sacrifices and gifts along with men. The role of women in the NT is better known. Luke takes pains to stress the important role that women play on Paul’s second missionary journey when he establishes the church in Macedonia and Achaia. The apostle has a vision of a man of Macedonia begging him to come and help him, and when he arrives he finds women in prayer who become his first converts in Europe. Women engage in church authorised ministries: Phoebe, Priscilla, Euodia, and Syntache are celebrated as ‘ministers/courier’s (diakanos) or ‘co-workers’ (synergos).
    However in the church,as represented in the NT, no woman is appointed tonaposition of authority over men. Rather, a woman is to keep silent in the church if she has a question about her husband’s prophecy; she should ask him about it at home.

    The mutual submission of men and women to one another is unique to the NT. Their equality before God in their nature, spiritual gifts, and prayer is found in both testaments.

    I would underscore the importance of this equality by pointing out that the Lord Jesus met with women in various circumstances and talks about them in his teaching. He put them on equal footing with man, demanded the same obedience from them as from man and demonstrated that the same salvation was offered to them as it was to man.

    Furthermore, after the resurrection, women joined with men in prayer and supplication in complete fellowship. They helped elect Matthias and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was the home of Mary, mother of John Mark, that became a centre of the church in Jerusalem. Paul,s first convert in Asia was a woman, Lydia. Priscilla, with her husband, taught the full truths of the gospel to Apollos. Philip’s four daughters prophesied.

    It is not significant that there were no women among the Twelve and that fact cannot be used ad evidence that Jesus did not intend women to exercise leadership and authority in the Church. (If you use that argument then you have to say that no Gentile could exercise authority either as the Twelve were all Jewish).

    It is more significant that the Twelve did not constitute or provide the model or framework for leadership or authority in the early church, apart from the very earliest days in Jerusalem. What was significant for the character of leadership in the early church was Jesus call to discipleship and s definition in terms of service and the fact that both men and women were among His followers as disciples and proclaimers.

    The structures of leadership and authority in the early churches, especially those of Paul, were somewhat fluid and unstructured. In such contexts women did exercise leadership and authority ( twelve women are known by name among Paul’s co-workers in ministry).(cited in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels)

    Headship in the family has to be seen in the context of the times. In the Roman empire a woman was legally required to have a head. Marriages were arranged and the wife legally remained part of her father’s family. It caused a great deal of instability because fathers could take the daughter out of one marriage and place her in a more favourable one. It is in this context that Paul re-iterates the call of Genesis f the couple to become one flesh, head and body, and both as members of Christ’s body. What this meant was that the woman was called upon to join herself in an attitude of both accountability and commitment ( hypostasso: to submit to, identify with, assimilate to) a husband, freed of repressive family hierarchy and responsive to Christ as head.

    After stressing the mutuality of submission in Eph.5.21, Paul calls the husband “the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, Himself Saviour of the body, in v.23. The extended passage stresses the concern of Christ, the Bridegroom, for the full development of his bride, the church; and husbands are called to a similar concern. As Christ the head brought growth and empowerment to the body of believers, so the husband should be the enabler of the wife for personal growth and empowerment in a society, which at that time, afforded er few opportunities.( cited in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters).

    So within this context of mutual love and support, under the Headship Of Christ, the couple should seek to honour God and each other. What works in one marriage may not be suitable in another – the couple need to work it out prayerfully together. By all means seek the advice of fellow Christians or their Pastor but ultimately they are not under his authority or jurisdiction. I would suggest that would only become the case if they were living in wilful disobedience to the teachings of the church.

    Within their “oneness” it is for them to agree what honours God most and meets their needs best. The constraints of ” chastity and decency” should apply and nothing should be done or asked for if it demeans the other’s dignity within the relationship. It is not a relationship of two, it is a relationship of three. Violence, emotional or physical, has no place in such a relationship and they are wrong, those who would counsel otherwise. It is outside of their authority and jurisdiction. And to insist on returning to an abusive relationship makes the adviser partaker in the sin And accountable ultimately at the day of judgement for it.

    On a general point I would say that I understand where the neo-complementarians are coming from because they are trying to protect the integrity of the word of God. However, they need to be as circumspect in how they view the nature of the church. The mega-churches or para-churches have no basis in Scripture – read Acts and you will see just how fluid the set up was. The nearest comparable worship structure seems to me to be the Temple with the singers, choristers, attendants, priests and high priests and its rituals and segregation. That was all done away with in Christ and so there is simply no real theological or God-appointed basis for what we see nowadays.

    To me worship and teaching are organic, a phrase much loved by Herman Bavinck. We all feed on and learn from each other as we have been gifted by the Holy Spirit.

    And it may be that in our own day, when there appears to be a dearth of genuine God-ordained, male leadership, in these exceptional times (to quote Grudem) we need God to raise up exceptional women like Deborah, Miriam, Phoebe and Priscilla to fill the gap.

    I hope that makes my position, as a complementarian, clear.

    Regards
    Gavin

  359. Hi Gavin,

    To me, it’s almost embarrassing that believers should have to prove equality among themselves and bind them to rules, lists, regulations, and roles. But it is what it is today, so we must carefully examine, correct, and refute where we see error.

    Equality in Creation
    Equality in Parenting
    Equality in Charisma
    Equality in Prayer
    Equality in Worship

    The list presented overlooks at least one area of equality that is clearly emphasized in scripture and it’s that of equality of authority. And the reason why this omission must be emphasized and noted is because it’s the only place in all of scripture that mentions authority and attributes it to both wife and husband.

    The Equality of Authority

    The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband. And likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife. 1Cor. 7:4

    With that statement, Paul clearly levels the playing field so to speak in agreement with Jesus:

    Luk 22:25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’
    Luk 22:26 “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.

  360. Hi Victorious
    You’re right! Because I don’t see it as an issue in my relationship I tend to overlook it. I really can’t get my head around the idea of wanting to lord it over your partner.
    Regards
    Gavin

  361. Gavin, I’m happy it’s not an issue in your relationship with your wife, but since it is in the marriages of many, it’s important it be included in lists such as Bruce K Waltke’s. We could question why a theologian would overlook such an important area of equality.

  362. Victorious
    Maybe it was because he didn’t see it as an issue? I don’t know. I don’t think he would fall into the patriarchal camp given the way he was hounded out of his position for speculating that the earth might be old!
    Regards
    Gavin

  363. Victorious
    Another thought. I find that any time I feel slighted or undermined in a situation I usually have to pause and ask myself if its just vanity or pride on my part. And it usually is.
    Gavin

  364. @ Gavin & Victorious:

    Waltke’s article is very good. I am still examining the issue of women having “positions of authority” over men in the church (i.e., women pastors), but I definitely agree that submission in marriage is mutual…and with Victorious’ point above about mutuality of authority. I think you actually agree with most of the commenters here more than they/you realize…despite the heated conversations that occasionally get started. : )

  365. Gavin @ 10:42am –

    You may not see why it is an issue, but it is so widely taught throughout the US at the moment that it is a huge issue. I have not heard of a reformed church that does not teach it as a very important part of their values. One of the defining points in their about us statements is that they are complementatian, the husband is the head of the household, and should lead accordingly.

  366. Thanks for the post Gavin. To be honest, I’m not seeing how from a husband/wife standpoint what is described here is any different than the Egalitarian position.

    I’m going to save my thoughts on authority within the church for a later point when I have more time to expound.

  367. Bridget
    I think any church that feels the need to include such things miss the point of what the church is. I can agree with creeds and confessions. In fact I think they are vital for setting out the essentials of the faith. But as I said in my longer post,when they start to list and categorise expected behaviours then they have left the gospel far behind and become cult-like
    Gavin

  368. Hi Jeff
    I agree but egalitarianism has too many negative political connotations. It’s only value seems to be in using it as a term of abuse.
    Gavin

  369. Gavin, I am unaware of political connotations. In fact, I hadn’t really heard comp vs egal until recently, though I’ve been subject to comp teaching pretty much my entire adult life.

  370. I have been in personal conversation with Bruce Waltke on this and it is my impression that he does not affirm that women are equal in authority to men. I would reather be dead than live what I lived as a person without authority.

  371. “This is sickening, he is a nice man but has no idea how to affirm women in trouble.”

    I hurt for you Sue. This is true of a lot of well meaning pastors, even some who are genuinely concerned and think about the issue of domestic violence. There’s a lot of need for education; only by understanding what we are dealing with can there be real empathy.

  372. …when there appears to be a dearth of genuine God-ordained, male leadership, in these exceptional times (to quote Grudem) we need God to raise up exceptional women like Deborah, Miriam, Phoebe and Priscilla to fill the gap.

    I don’t see women as “gap-fillers.” Not only is this an insult to women imho, but to God as well since He is not able to find a “genuine, God-ordained male” in all the world to do his work. But alas… He’ll “settle” until He can.

    :(

  373. Numo – you certainly have a point about the book bandwagon. I still maintain that there’s a baby in that bathwater, but men and women are not from different planets.

    There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the feminisation of church. Park Fiscal, of course, refers to “chickified” men. (Not that high-school jocks in the pulpit make good elders or overseers in the body of Christ either. But I stray.) Much of this stems from a perceived emphasis on church as a risk-free, smothering, passive environment in which nothing (however exciting, positive, noble or Spirit-led) must ever happen to make anyone feel the least bit uncomfortable. Believe me, we do have our share of this in the UK. But I don’t think this is “feminine”; I think it’s just babyish. If it’s femininity, then it’s a very immature version of it. A lot of churchgoing women seem to get off on this stuff, but so do a lot of churchgoing men.

  374. ‘Re. Nixon, he was – not so coincidentally – very involved with the House Un-American Activities committee (HUAC for short). That came back to haunt him after Watergate… he had, after all, created yet another “enemies” list and was having people watched for supposedly “un-american activities” – *very* much including his political opponents.”

    So were the Kennedy’s. Bobby Kennedy was Joe MCarthys best friend and spent a ton of time at Hyannis Port.

    McCarthy was an idiot who hurt dealing with the REAL problem of infiltration in the Government especially in the early days of the New Deal. There is a ton of history out there to read the full picture. Harry Dexter White, Laughlin Currie, Henry Wallace…..there are tons of names. Eliz Bentley ended up outing many of them as she ran a huge network in DC.

  375. Gavin, there is one small reference in the NT in Luke 8 that refutes comp teaching as we know it today. It amazes me more folks do not see it:

    “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”

    There are more but they are not teaching verses. They are descriptors of how things were. Interesting enough. WE find it in Romans 16, 1 Corin 1 and quite a few others.

  376. Victorious
    You take offence when none is intended. Maybe it’s all in God’s plan for his church and there will be women leaders for hard times. Nothing is impossible with God and the exception proves the rule.
    Regards
    Gavin

  377. You take offence when none is intended. Maybe it’s all in God’s plan for his church and there will be women leaders for hard times. Nothing is impossible with God and the exception proves the rule.

    I could have misunderstood, but I thought you were quoting Grudem as your post included (to quote Grudem). So it was his statement I found insulting. It’s ok with me if you choose to defend it, but I find his statement that women are used of God only when He can’t find (“genuine God-ordained, male leadership)is insulting both to women and God Himself. And it’s clearly intended to marginalize women as gap-fillers who are God’s second choice in the absence of His first choice.

    Again, just to clarify, it was Grudem’s quote I was criticizing.

  378. Anon1 – Good point re. Bobby Kennedy’s early career.

    I didn’t understand the JFK-Camelot myth when I was a kid, and I still don’t, as he was responsible for intense escalation of US involvement in Vietnam.

    As for spy networks, of course there were spies. There always are – we have ours, They (whoever “They” are – pick a country!) have theirs. It’s not as if we have terribly clean hands re. espionage and consorting with dictators. (Going pretty far back, too.)

    As an aside, I’ve always enjoyed good spy novels, TV shows and movies, and wish someone would reissue the original BBC miniseries based on John Le Carré’s Smiley novels. (Partly because I’m a big fan of Alec Guinness.)

  379. On the subject of women in the church, I have a lot of concerns about the traditional view that they may not serve as elders.

    1. It makes no sense to prevent a woman from holding office of elder on the basis of being physically different from a man. Sexuality has nothing to do with the responsibilities of eldership. God’s ways may be a mystery to us, but he is also a God of order and logic. Using gender to divide non-gender related roles sounds a whole lot more human than it does divine.

    2. It seems clear to me that there were deaconesses in the first century (Phoebe).

    3. Deacons did preach and teach.

    (therefore)

    4. The prohibition in 1 Tim cannot reasonably mean that women cannot teach or preach for all times in all places. Either it doesn’t mean they cannot teach or preach, or its scope was limited.

    5. Using “husband of one woman” doesn’t make sense as excluding women from the position of elder since we interpret other single-gender verses as applying to both genders (don’t covet your neighbor’s wife equally applies to women coveting husbands)

    5. The most problematic verse for me is saying women must remain silent, which comes only a few chapters after instructing women on prophecy and interpretation. It is also problematic because he appeals to “the law” and we really have no idea what that means (it isn’t the OT or the civil law as far as I know). There is also the question of whether this text was even original, though it does appear in all sources, if in different places (implying it was written in the margin, but potentially by Paul himself if it is in the original). With all of the difficulties surrounding this verse, it’s hard to make it the gold standard in figuring out what women are allowed to do in church for all times and places.

    In fact, much of the reasoning in Gavin’s link above seems to run counter to the idea that God would suddenly silence women in church as a matter of created order, or even demand they cannot be used in the position of elder.

    I am FAR from convinced that women should not be elders in the church, and I’m about as convinced as I can be they should be teaching and preaching as Deaconesses (I believe this is the viewpoint of Tim Keller’s church).

    I have not researched this near as much as others, but those are my impressions from what little work I’ve done. At the LEAST it should be admitted that there are difficulties with the plain reading in this area. It actually doesn’t practically matter to me since I am not in a position of determining whether women can be elders in my church, but those are my thoughts.

  380. Gavin – It would be foolish of me to say that there are no differences between men and women, but equally unwise for me to advocate that men absolutely cannot understand women and vice versa.

    I think one thing that critics of Deborah Tannen (You Just Don’t Understand and many other books) forget is that she is a socio-linguist and in that book, she discussed socialization and the communication “styles” that she saw as a result of the way girls and boys were socialized. I do *not* think she was saying that men and women can’t communicate, so much as she was attempting to show why people communicate in the ways that they do. Am not at all certain that she was saying that either socialization or ways of communicating are immutable! ;)

  381. P.S.: Deborah Tannen’s book You Just Don’t Understand preceded the Mars/Venus (etc. etc.) books, but it was a bestseller – and, imo, often misread.

  382. I was trained in a premiere school for Near Eastern Studies, and a colleague is now prof at DTS. Several times I was asked to do a PhD program, but was not able. So, my male fellow students are now profs, while I lived as a slave for many years. It is pie for men and crumbs for women, and treating a woman as different from a man is an abomination.I can’t stand any of it.

  383. “Maybe it’s all in God’s plan for his church and there will be women leaders for hard times. Nothing is impossible with God and the exception proves the rule.”

    Thisis the typical “Deborah”argument made by comps. There were no good men around so God had to use a woman.

    We already have women leaders, they are just not celebs in mega churches, Some are in prison in China for preaching. The problem is that women want to be accepted in the institutions and I have come to beieve that is a big waste of time. We live in a free country and women can preach, teach and do all they want outside the institution. And they can laugh at the neanderthals who claim they are in sin.

  384. “1. It makes no sense to prevent a woman from holding office of elder on the basis of being physically different from a man. Sexuality has nothing to do with the responsibilities of eldership. God’s ways may be a mystery to us, but he is also a God of order and logic. Using gender to divide non-gender related roles sounds a whole lot more human than it does divine.”

    IN that passage the Greek is ’tis’ which means if “anyone” desires….
    husband of one wife is the confusing part. There were some instances of polygamy with some and that would do nothing but be a bother in the Body of Christ.

    Some translations use “likewise wives” when it could also be “women”.

    There is no denying physical differences between men and women but I have to ask why we make penis’ and vagina’s spiritual? If they are, then how can women be “Christlike” since our Savior came as a male? Which parts of JEsus are we to model or not model?

  385. JeffS, I highly recommend Cheryl Schatz’ dvd series, Women in MInistry. She has done a ton of research on these things. She did it because a man a long time ago called her out for witnessing to and teaching Mormon and JW’s who converted to Christianity. She did a lot of research and made this:

    http://mmoutreach.org/wim.htm

    She goes through all the “women” verses that are used and in context explains. She uses lots of quotes by the well known in comp circles like Piper, McARthur, Bruce Ware, Denny Burk, etc. She references everything and sources everything. Itis the most comprehensive work I have seen on this subject.

  386. “4. The prohibition in 1 Tim cannot reasonably mean that women cannot teach or preach for all times in all places. Either it doesn’t mean they cannot teach or preach, or its scope was limited.”

    Here is the total irony of how that is taught wrongly: No where in the OT is there a prohibition from God on women teaching or leading men. Now we are to believe their is a stricter law in the NT?

  387. @ Sue:

    “I have been in personal conversation with Bruce Waltke on this and it is my impression that he does not affirm that women are equal in authority to men.”

    Does Waltke restrict this only to the church, or to all women and all men in general? Because the latter is the patriarchal/patriocentrist view and if he affirms it, then in light of the (very good) article Gavin posted above, he has a serious case of cognitive dissonance going on!

  388. @ Jeff:

    “It is also problematic because he appeals to ‘the law’ and we really have no idea what that means (it isn’t the OT or the civil law as far as I know).”

    That’s what always bothered me about that verse too – there is no law in the OT ordering women to be silent (either in the temple/tabernacle/synagogue or anywhere else), and every other time Paul appeals to the Law, it’s the OT and not other rabbinic writings/Midrash (AFAIK). So what’s the deal? The only answer CBMW gave was that by “Law” Paul was referring to Genesis 3:16 (at least that’s what I seem to remember them saying) – except that verse says absolutely zero about silence, so it continues to befuddle me how they made that connection.

  389. @Hester,

    That’s what always bothered me about that verse too – there is no law in the OT ordering women to be silent (either in the temple/tabernacle/synagogue or anywhere else), and every other time Paul appeals to the Law, it’s the OT and not other rabbinic writings/Midrash (AFAIK). So what’s the deal?

    It is part of the Talmud (Oral Law) and I believe the verse about silence should be in quotes as Paul is responding to questions the Corinthians have presented in a letter. He says several times “now concerning the things you wrote” i.e. 1 Cor. 7:1

    The Talmud clearly affirms the silence of females:

    “A woman’s voice is prohibited because it is sexually provocative” (Talmud, Berachot 24a).

    “Women are sexually seductive, mentally inferior, socially embarrassing, and spiritually separated from the law of Moses; therefore, let them be silent” (summary of Talmudic sayings).

    The Talmud Called the Voice of a Woman “Shameful”

    “It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men” (Talmud, Tractate Kiddushin)

    “The voice of a woman is filthy nakedness” (Talmud, Berachot Kiddushin)

    If that verse is put in quotes and understood as a reference to the Talmud and the woman’s silence, Paul’s incredulous “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?” makes perfect sense as a response to the Oral Law.

    We know Jesus and Paul were consistently having to refute the teachings of the Pharisees who added to the law (Talmud/Oral Law)and made it burdensome and oppressive.

  390. Just to add…Adam Clark’s commentary refers to 1 Cor. 14:34 as a reference to the Oral Law:

    Let your women keep silence in the churches – This was a Jewish ordinance; women were not permitted to teach in the assemblies, or even to ask questions. The rabbins taught that “a woman should know nothing but the use of her distaff.” And the sayings of Rabbi Eliezer, as delivered, Bammidbar Rabba, sec. 9, fol. 204, are both worthy of remark and of execration; they are these: ישרפו דברי תורה ואל ימסרו לנשים yisrephu dibrey torah veal yimsaru lenashim, “Let the words of the law be burned, rather than that they should be delivered to women.” This was their condition till the time of the Gospel, when, according to the prediction of Joel, the Spirit of God was to be poured out on the women as well as the men, that they might prophesy, i.e. teach.

  391. Hester,

    Nobody says all women have to submit to all men. My problem is that if a woman has to submit in the home, she may live without any human rights at all – except for those her husband gives her. He is the one who tells her when she can breathe. The man is king, and the woman may be queen or slave, depending on the mood of the king. Its all dirty to me.

  392. Hi, Victorious.

    Your comments on the Talmud, etc. are interesting. How were you informed on these things? Can you recommend books you read? I long to undestand more of what was happening behind the scenes.

  393. I agree w/ some who have posted here. Maybe the comp posts on DV were mere damage control on the part of some. Maybe some who have been culpably ignorant in the past are now becoming aware of their need to address this issue. Maybe some comps are doing a good job at dealing with DV in their churches and have only recently become aware at how poorly others are doing.

    I expect there is a mix. Some pastors are callous and uncaring about abused women, some are merely ignorant and don’t stop to realize that their indifference and lack of awareness, combined w/ misapplication of their comp teaching is being used to oppress women, some are both aware and caring and will speak up on behalf of those who are in vulnerable positions.

    Whatever is going on, we shouldn’t dismiss their messages on this as just damage control. Regardless of their motivations, we should be encouraged when these men use their platforms to speak against DV, especially if they are not just addressing the men but empowering the women in the process.

  394. elastigirl, I knew it couldn’t be scriptural for women to be silent in church when Paul contradicted that when he mentioned them prophesying. By reading all the commentaries I could find, none of them referred back to the OT law Paul was referring to. Basic good rules of Bible interpretation require “scripture interprets scripture” and that to build a doctrine on one word or one verse invites error unless that truth runs through the whole counsel of God.

    I read Jessie Penn-Lewis’ book in 1975 entitled “The Magna Charta of Woman” and she references Kathrine Bushnell’s book, “God’s Word to Women.” Both quoted words from the Talmud that required silence of women and I began an internet search for those words, references, and attitudes toward women. btw, God’s Word to Women is on-line and an invaluable resource for women as she was both a Hebrew and Greek scholar if I’m not mistaken. You can find the chapters outlined at godswordtowomen DOT org/gwtw.htm.

    Finding direct references in commentaries and the above books were confirmed because the Talmud has been translated into English here: http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/index.html#intro.

    Bottom line, we know the Corinthians had written Paul conveying a number of questions they needed clarification on; i.e. circumcision, being yoked with unbelievers, celibacy, food dedicated to idols, etc. Some of those difficult verses with no apparent scriptural references can be clearly, reasonably understood when placed in quotes as questions to Paul from the new converts who are confused because of the influence of the Judaizers.

    Hope that helps a bit.

  395. “We already have women leaders, they are just not celebs in mega churches, Some are in prison in China for preaching. The problem is that women want to be accepted in the institutions and I have come to beieve that is a big waste of time. We live in a free country and women can preach, teach and do all they want outside the institution. And they can laugh at the neanderthals who claim they are in sin.” – Anon 1

    Considering that the megapastor celebrity culture is unChristlike in its practices, it would be better for women to stay out of that institution regardless.

  396. My first reaction to this post was joy! It meant a lot to me to see these words on these peoples’ and organizations’ websites. Dare I say it was the joy of the Lord? It was actually healing to read and know that abused/ demeaned women are finally being acknowledged and given hope.

    It reminds me of how Paul felt when he found out that some people were preaching the Gospel with evil purposes: “The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” (Philippians 1:17-18).

    However I think everyone else who didn’t feel this way is totally right! The patriarchal peoples’ true, hidden attitudes are seen clearly in the 14 years of silence Dee mentioned. They’ve been documented in the thinly-veiled, arrogant, demeaning things that they write about women.

    “wether in pretense or in truth” this is a HUGE victory and I’m hoping it is a sort of ‘first fruits’ of what is to come! I think the attention will cause some people to think- if not yet change.

    That is why this blog and others are so important. Testimony, documentation, and critique are forcing so-called ‘complementarians’ to be held accountable for the consequences of their disgusting, carnal, misogynistic theology. Under pressure, they are now takeing action to provide awareness- hopefully will lead to real help being provided- for abused women and children.

    I highly esteem those of you who have bravely shared your stories of abuse and misogyny. The ickyness is being exposed- more and more people are seeing it in the light and the “god-fathers” of the religious world can no longer hide it. Yay internet!

    I’m happy that many of you are like “not good enough Calvinistas!” More fighting needs to be done. Awesome as this is, it is merely a small step towards correcting a huge reality of injustice.