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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. @ 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Bridget
    I think you can do both at the same time. I don’t see a contradiction or cross-purpose.
    Regards
    Gavin

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. “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.

  12. 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.)

  13. 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.”

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. @ 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. : )

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. “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.

  30. …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.

    🙁

  31. 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.

  32. ‘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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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

  35. 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.

  36. 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.)

  37. 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.

  38. 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! 😉

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. “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.

  42. “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?

  43. 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.

  44. “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?

  45. @ 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!

  46. @ 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.

  47. @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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. “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.

  54. 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.