Denny Burk vs CRU: Is a Troubling Agenda Being Revealed?

Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.” Thomas Sowell


Tulip-What a Dog!

Before I begin, I want to thank all of you for your kind comments and emails ranging from well wishes to compliments (to be distinguished vigorously from complements). This blog is not Dee and Deb. Before we embarked on this endeavor, we would call each other and pontificate on these issues. We started a blog to see what others thought. Sure, we throw up a post. But it is you who make up the blog.

Both of us have learned so much from our readers. So, perhaps this is merely a way to say that a blog is the sum of its parts and you all make up the bulk of that sum. It is about the discussion, not about us. Thank you for your willingness to spend your limited time in sharing the thoughts that are important to you. We do not take it for granted because, without you, there is no blog.

We have not forgotten about the series on singles. It may have to wait until the start of the new year. But, we are hoping that singles who comment on this blog will submit their stories so we can spin them together into some topics.


Today's post is a continuation of yesterday's post which focused on a review by Denny Burk called When It Costs to Be Complementarian link. At the end of this post, I have a link to a video from The Music Man called "Trouble in River City." It brings home the point about how to foment a cause. Did Denny Burk unwittingly or willingly, with hubris, reveal what is behind the Calvinista agenda for the rest of us?

1. Burk alludes that there is a cost to be a complementarian.

There is always a cost when one goes against a company policy. If you work for Frito Lay, you are not supposed to be telling people that they shouldn't eat Fritos.  So, no big deal on the "cost." Every working slug in the world must go along with company policy, especially when it is spelled out in advance. If it wasn't then he has a lawsuit. My guess is that the real cost to this young man will not be great. He will now be a minor Calvinista celeb and will get a good job through SBTS. Think of the conferences, books, interviews and tweets… 

However, to which complementarian definition is Burk referring?  There appears to be a vast range of divergent opinions on what it means to be complementarian. As we learned from Mary Kassian link , complementarianism has nothing to do with being a homemaker or a doctor, whatever. Others claim it means a woman staying at home, raising kids, homeschooling, and using plumbing line to whack their kids into godliness. Paige Patterson even implies that it means to stay at home and get physically abused.

Some say a woman can teach; others like Piper and Challies say that a woman cannot even read the Bible out loud during a worship service. So, since Burk does not define to which complementarian philosophy he subscribes, we must figure it out from his post. It does not take a rocket scientist to discover that Burk does not believe that a woman can teach a mixed group of people in a parachurch organization. 

2. Burk believes that he, along with those who subscribe to his exact flavor of comp restrictions, should be able to define their form of complementarianism for other Christians.

I call this the "eat your own" mandate. He states that 

 Cru’s policy represents an egalitarian view of ministry roles

Throughout it's history Campus Crusade, and now CRU, has supported the complementarian point of view. The Brights even signed the infamous Danvers Statement. I have a friend who is a leader of  the organization in Orlando. I can speak to the fact that he, along with his wife, are complementarian, a fact that has yielded no end of interesting discussions between us. Oh yeah, we are still friends and he even thinks I am a Christian.

As we have discovered, complementarians have a broad range of views on the role of women in the church. Although all of them will restrict women in the pulpit, and almost all will not support female elders, there are those who would allow women to lead Bible studies. So, this mean, unless one follows Burk's definition, one is an egalitarian. That might even apply to Wayne Grudem, who, in his list of 83 functions, does allow for a woman to moderate a Bible study!

How does Burk let us know that he is the one in charge of the definitions. He says

Certainly Cru has the right to set their own policies. I hope their constituency knows that it excludes consistent complementarians.

What in the world is a "consistent" complementarian? Whatever Burk believes, perhaps?

3. Burk believes that parachurch groups are now supposed to kowtow to local churches. Oh dear, that's not right. They are supposed to kowtow to Burk's definition of a proper church which, of course, he gets to define.

At the very least, I think everyone should agree that parachurch orgs should never adopt ministry practices which would undermine the teaching and discipline of actual churches.

Do you think he might be referring to the local Assemblies of God church? What about Irving Bible Church which counts a woman amongst it pastors?  Nah-they ain't  "real" churches. I bet that the only "real" local church that might be concerned with doctrine being undermined is a Denny Burk approved Church of the Calvinista.

4. If the parachurch organization does not do it his way, he accuses them of actively undermining the church.

"Having said that, it is my view that parachurch organizations ought to be serving churches not undermining them. In other words, they ought to be conduits to help people be better church members and leaders. These orgs cease to be helpful when they undermine the very order that they propose to be “helping” and “coming alongside of.”( From the comment section)

5. Burk accuses parachurch organizations (read: CRU) of misleading people, fomenting conflicts and disobeying Scripture!

If parachurch orgs care about real churches, they shouldn’t mislead people and set up these kinds of conflicts. They should obey scripture. that’s what true discipleship is.

Once again, I must point out that Burk appears to be implying that, if anyone disagrees with his definition of complementarianism, then they are being disobedient to Scripture!  Burk=Scripture.  Any church which agrees with Burk is a "real" church.  Which then brings up the obvious question. Is any church that doesn't do it "Burk's way" not a real church? Burk seems to be invading the Almighty's turf here, doesn't he?  I believe that he is setting up a disturbing paradigm that will lead to a serious conflict within evangelicalism which I will discuss in a minute.

6. Burk claims CRU is disobeying Scripture.

Having said that, the idea that there is neutral ground on the gender issue is a fantasy. An org will either obey 1 Timothy 2:12 or they will not. CRU’s “neutral” policy allows women to teach and exercise authority over men. Most people can see that that is not a neutral position. 

Once again, if one sees it Denny's way, then one is correctly interpreting Scripture. Good night!

7. Burk disagrees with Tm Keller's position beginning the process of "eating his own."

It’s a functionally egalitarian position, even though CRU doesn’t want to acknowledge it as such.

Deb and I have been saying this for years. After they get rid of all of us, they will then turn on each other. Keller has said that, although he is a complementarian, his marriage is functionally egalitarian. Once he is eliminated, I wonder who will be left to rule the real complementarian roost. Is Burk gunning for himself? 

8. Burk believes that only the"official" church can baptize or give communion.

It is true that parachurch groups are not the church. They cannot baptize or administer the Lord’s supper.

Boy, oh boy, this is fraught with problems. TWW reviewed a book written by a called Son of Hamas by Mosad Hassan Yousef link. This young man grew up in a Islamic household committed to Hamas. He became a Christian convert and his story gained international attention. Poor guy. Looks like he doesn't live up to Burk's "biblical" standards of baptism. He was secretly baptized by a young woman who was instrumental in his conversion. Maybe Burk should set up a tribunal to determine who is, and who isn't, really baptized?

Burk believes that communion can only be given by designated "leaders" of a real church based on his obviously uber correct standards of what constitutes a real church. I have participated in wonderful communions led by small groups with which I have been involved. I have no trouble if Burk wishes to define who gets to do it in his church but it takes real hubris to insist on that standard for the rest of Christendom. Oh, I forget. He teaches at Southern. It reminds me of an old saying we used to have in Boston: 

"In Boston, the home of baked beans and scrod;
The Cabots talk to the Lodges and the Lodges talk only to God."

9. A complementarian CRU staffer makes some good points in the comment section.

Paul Addington said:

  • Parachurch organizations should in no way be required to make sure that they are in line with every allegedly biblically-founded doctrine taught by every church, especially when there are those denominations across evangelical Christianity that hold to an egalitarian view and there are those which hold to a complementarian view. They are conflicting perspectives. How is it at all reasonable to expect parachurch organizations to satisfy both points of view? You will always satisfy one to the exclusion of the other. 
  • Cru’s mission is to turn lost students into Christ-centered laborers, not to turn them into Calvinist, complementarian, Christ-centered laborers.
  • Let the local church take the responsibility of teaching and defending complementarianism, don’t place that burden on Cru, an interdenominational organization

10. Other commenters support Burk by instilling "fear."

  • This command in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 is to ensure that men stay engaged in the ministry. When women lead the pulpit, fewer husbands and fathers attend the church.
  • it would not be surprising if more and more people are fired and perhaps not allowed to provide for their families.
  • perhaps 20 years from now it is highly likely that such organizations will embrace homosexuality
  • Mr. Harman bravely lost his position due to answering the simple question, “What does the Bible say?” I find that we live in perilous times in Christianity when the answer to that question is not enough.

Could Calvinista groups be planning a coup d'etat ?

I believe that there will be a concerted effort to bring parachurch organizations "under the authority" of real churches. These real churches are those defined by Denny Burk and his Calvinista buddies. Perhaps they will use a system, not unlike The Gospel Coalition or Acts 29  in which a parachurch group will be loosely aligned with "correct" churches.

This is  a chilling scenario. The parachurch organization will be expected to bring its statement of beliefs and subsequent activities into alignment with those of their overseer. They might agree to push certain churches to their membership.

If parachurch groups refuse to play ball, then the local "real" churches will form an alliance and compete with their own brand of CRU that is a subsidiary of those exclusive entities.  Members of congregations would be encouraged to give money directly to the "real" church which endorses and pays for the activities. Sermons will be provided to "prove" that the parachurch groups are endorsing evil theology.

Paranoid? I do not think so. I have been reading comments throughout the blogosphere suggesting that churches stop supporting parachurch groups. When Mark Galli, the editor in chief of Christianity Today disagreed with Kevin De Young's analysis on the pursuit of holiness, this week,  there were some who called for people to drop their subscriptions to Christianity Today. Link You must always agree with them.

You see, with this crowd, there are no secondary issues. It's all primary and they are the ones who get to define primary. I predict that there will be people continuing to flee the church as increasingly hard lines are drawn between Calvinistas and all other Christians. Praise God that these men are not in political power.

Watch this video and note how the song describes how to marginalize a once acceptable activity. He is a Calvinista in waiting.

Lydia's Corner: Leviticus 20:22-22:16 Mark 9:1-29 Psalm 43:1-5 Proverbs 10:18

Comments

Denny Burk vs CRU: Is a Troubling Agenda Being Revealed? — 100 Comments

  1. Dee:

    The mindset of Denny Burk is described very well in the following book–”The Godmakers: A legacy of the Southern Baptist Convention? [Paperback]
    Bruce T Gourley (Author)”

  2. BeakerJ

    I wrote this post yesterday so I could just hit the publish button today. Mr. Dee survived his back surgery and the neurosurgeon let him come home tonight instead of making him spend the night since I knew what to keep watch on. He really needed the surgery and it went well. Thank you all for asking. 

  3. Nobody expects the complementarian inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise, suprise and fear, fear and surprise and ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope Al Mohler.

    Or, um, well, it looks like at least a few of us will be expecting it. I doubt the torture will involve the comfortable chair, unless it’s the comfortable chair in the pastor’s office right before he kicks you out of the church for serving in a parachurch organization that doesn’t agree with the church’s stance on gender roles…

  4. “Deb and I have been saying this for years. After they get rid of all of us, they will then turn on each other.”

    Yes. But I disagree with your use of Keller as an example:

    “Keller has said that, although he is a complementarian, his marriage is functionally egalitarian. Once he is eliminated, I wonder who will be left to rule the real complementarian roost. Is Burk gunning for himself? ”

    This is where I think CBMW is going to rebrand. I think they are going to go lighter on marriage roles and more strident on church polity. Keller would fit right in if they do that. Remember his wife’s review of RHE’s book? Think Mary Kassian and basically rewriting the history of comp roles in marriage in the last few months? I think we are seeing where they are going to go. POLITY.

  5. The “local church” tyranny has been brewing for a while now. I think we need to define it because it seems it is becoming more like the Hotel California where you can never leave.

  6. “Mr. Harman bravely lost his position due to answering the simple question, “What does the Bible say?” I find that we live in perilous times in Christianity when the answer to that question is not enough.”

    Oy vey. How do we know he “bravely” lst his position answering a simple questoin about what the bible says? Please! Good decent people disagree on interpretations. Are they suggesting someone like Gordon Fee is not saved?

    I read hyperbolic comments like this all the time from the YRR. Perilous times over a women teaching about Christ? These young’uns who follow the Denny Burk who follows Al Mohler are some of the silliest, most immature and inexperienced young adults around. I use “adult” charitably. They are not grown up at all. They are little tyrants who never grew up.

  7. Dee – So glad to hear that your husband’s surgery went well and that he’s able to come home to rest/recuperate.

    As far as this post goes – once again, we are seeing a display of complete and utter confusion about how to define complementarianism. It’s as if they are making it up as they go. They are trying too hard to force everyone into their agenda with all of the rules. I’ve felt this kind of control before – enough to know that this manipulation is not for me.

  8. http://louisvillecru.com/about-2/

    I think I am seeing the problem. Check out UofL Cru “leadership”.

    Hmm. They still have not updated? Looks like they show Daniel Harman as the leader, still. Are they sure he was “demoted”? Do they ever say to what? Does this mean one of the women on the leadership team is now the leader?

  9. Cru’s flagship tract, “The Four Spiritual Laws”, historically has a yellow cover. I suppose if the organization is infiltrated and overrun by Calvinistas there will be two tracts, one pink and the other blue since God loves you but has different wonderful plans for the lives of women and men.

  10. Sorry to be a blog hog but the more I read on this, the more suspicious I am. If you read and connect dots there is reason to believe this might have been orchestrated…even the media coverage. I mean how would we know about something this insignificant at UofL Cru. Why did World cover it?

    World Magazine:

    This fall…one of Louisville’s female Cru staff members asked Harman for clarification about whether women could teach the Bible in mixed-gender Cru meetings, and Harman said they could not. The exchange came to the attention of regional Cru officials, who met with Harman and reiterated Cru’s policy of “men and women leading together.” They gave Harman three weeks to reconsider his position, and said that if he remained “dogmatic” about the issue, he could no longer serve as Missional Team Leader. Harman decided that he would not change the practice, and Cru demoted him.

    As campus director at Louisville, Harman has permitted female staff to speak in front of mixed-gender audiences on a number of ministry-related topics, and to assume numerous leadership roles relative to both female and male students. But Harman contends that Scripture prohibits women teaching the Bible to adult men (including those of college age), based on passages such as 1 Timothy 2:11-12, in which Paul says, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”

    Mark DeMoss, a spokesman representing Cru, argues that the personnel issue is essentially about policy, not theology: “A local campus leader for Cru in Kentucky was asked to relinquish his current leadership position, not because of a theological disagreement, but rather, because of a failure to abide by the terms for holding a position of leadership within Cru,” he told me.

    Does anyone else see problems with all this? I think they wanted this in the public square and make Harman a marytr for the cause. Shoring up the base?

  11. Anon 1,

    When I was writing yesterday’s post, the idea of orchestrating the coverage did cross my mind.  Mohler and gang make calculated moves, and this could very well be one of them.

  12. Anon1: One thing that is interesting is all of these key comp people are in Louisville: Denny Burk, Al Mohler, Randy Stinson, Russell Moore, CJ Mahaney. I’m sure there are more. Is Louisville the Complementarian Capital of the US?

  13. Anon 1 and Deb -

    Does the SBC have writing contributors to World?

    I swear, instead of promoting unity in the body, it appears that many of Burk’s ilk are trying to find reasons to separate . . . into smaller and smaller factions.

  14. Julie Anne -

    Don’t be surprised if they find the need to start their own denomination with a complementarian logo on their crusade flag.

  15. How can they demand that an interdenominational group be Calvinista? If you don’t like CRU then go form your own Calvinista brand. Calvinists love to infiltrate non Calvinist organizations and make them Calvinist. In SBC churches I know of non Calvinist pastors and Calvinist Sunday school teachers. How can you learn anything when you hear one thing in Sunday school and another in church. As far as CRU goes, I thought the main purpose was lead atudents to Christ? I guess you can’t know Christ unless your doctrine on women in the church is correct. Heaven help us!

  16. “Anon1: One thing that is interesting is all of these key comp people are in Louisville: Denny Burk, Al Mohler, Randy Stinson, Russell Moore, CJ Mahaney. I’m sure there are more. Is Louisville the Complementarian Capital of the US?”

    Interesting is a nice way to put it. In fact, it is stifling. Oppressive. You would not believe what unleashing hundreds of little immature tyrant Mohlerites has done to some local churches. They come as student volunteers or paid staffers while in seminary. They are never upfront about their agenda but they wreck havoc but it took a while for folks to figure it out because they assume they can trust the seminary they financially support. This is why I am suspicious about Daniel Harmon who had worked for Cru for a while in another capacity. it is not like he did not know the policy. He got some power, he is in Louisville where he will be celebrated for his martyrdom. He was not upfront about having a problem with the policy BEFORE taking the job as a leader? Does that seem disingenuous to you?

    And because Churches were catching on and not hiring them, Mohler put his former pastor, Ezell, in at the church planting arm of the SBC and they started partnering with Driscoll/Acts 29 planting churches for jobs for the YRR.

    The Harman saga is so like the YRR who hide their agenda in interviews knowing the church is non Calvinist and moderate about women’s roles and then get some power and start their tyrannical agenda. Before they are done, the church is in factions. I have come to the conclusion that the YRR love conflict and seek it. They are doing it for the great Calvin, Mohler, Piper, etc. They are followers carrying out the great men of God’s agendas.

    I really do believe this whole thing at Cru was orchestrated based upon what I have seen here for the last 8 years or so by the despots at SBTS.

  17. Anon 1,

    “This is where I think CBMW is going to rebrand. I think they are going to go lighter on marriage roles and more strident on church polity. Keller would fit right in if they do that.”

    No- Keller promotes women preaching and teaching as Deaconesses. That HAS to be more objectionable to Burke than what CRU was doing.

    Dee is right, except Keller is going to be very difficult to take on. He’s very well respected (and I think deservedly so). I think he may have been swayed a little recently (evidenced by Kathy’s review), but he’s not going full patriarchal any time soon and he’s not going to be easy to push around or marginalize.

  18. “Does the SBC have writing contributors to World? ”

    NOt that I know of but Piper and his son, Abraham, are contributors. I first read of Piper in World mag years and years ago. The relationship goes way back.

  19. They will start a new club now. The ‘spiritually correct’ club. They will only associate with other ‘spiritually correct’ organizations, vendors, etc.

    Their pride is what is going to truly ‘cost’ them. They are going to alienate themselves so badly – people will look at them as one of the ‘fringe’ groups soon. Their statements are already to fringe for me already, and it sad to see them pushing others away. Hope they don’t complain when their membership numbers drop again. Pride is indeed their cost.

  20. “No- Keller promotes women preaching and teaching as Deaconesses”

    Really? Keller allows women to teach in the pulpit (the sacred furniture) to a mixed audience? I did not know that!

    I am not sure people really understand what goes on sometimes. my church has women deacons (we do not have elders)and we do not make a big deal about women teaching men at all. it is not even thought about. Women speak from stage all the time, reading scripture, teaching, etc.

    Mohler visits our church several times per year. (He wants to be seen around the SBC as a “friend”) One Christmas he was served communion by a woman deacon and did not bat an eyelash. (One time it was announced he would preach last year and a fraction of the people showed up! :o)

    Our church gives quite a bit to the CP program. A much higher percentage than Mohler’s church, Highview, which has 5x the membership. They keep more for themselves.

    Do not tell me it is not about the money because I know it is or he would not be visiting. When and if the money dries up, they will rebrand…again.

  21. “Dee is right, except Keller is going to be very difficult to take on. He’s very well respected (and I think deservedly so). I think he may have been swayed a little recently (evidenced by Kathy’s review), but he’s not going full patriarchal any time soon and he’s not going to be easy to push around or marginalize.”

    Jeff, one more thing, people do not like to think this way about their favorite guru but if you saw the income stream from their speaking gigs from the “in group” whether it is GC or T4G, you would understand why it is dangerous to say someone is not going to be easy to push around. I saw it all the time. Who wants to give up an extra 100,000 per year to speak and receive ovations? A great way to sell your books, too.

    You would be shocked how many souls I saw sell themselves to the speaking gig circut in my time in the Christian business world. I have often wondered why Kathy Keller was tapped for that review which seemed to really be about misrepresenting RHE. Then what about RHE saying she had not heard from her when Keller said she tried to contact her? Could be a misunderstanding but I doubt it. In that world, it is considered a sin to write about someone you have not tried to contact. I know this from reading all their blogs. it is the first thing they trot out when someone says anything negative in a comment about someone’s writing.

  22. “Really? Keller allows women to teach in the pulpit (the sacred furniture) to a mixed audience? I did not know that!”

    Yes. He does prohibit women from being elders (not that he has a choice, because he’s PCA), but the only difference he draws between a deacon and elder is that deacons are not involved in church discipline. Women definitely preach from the pulpit to mixed audiences, much to the dismay of the Blaylys who think he is taking the denomination down the tubes with his egalitarian ways.

  23. Thanks Dana, I get the picture. I could practically hear them spitting nails over Redeemer. I bet they both have high blood pressure. :o)

  24. “Jeff, one more thing, people do not like to think this way about their favorite guru but if you saw the income stream from their speaking gigs from the “in group” whether it is GC or T4G, you would understand why it is dangerous to say someone is not going to be easy to push around. I saw it all the time. Who wants to give up an extra 100,000 per year to speak and receive ovations? A great way to sell your books, too.”

    Yes, I’ve learned not to have favorite gurus, fortunately. I DO think he’s vulnerable, but he also has a lot invested in his ministry in NYC that would really suffer if he started being too influenced. And he’s demonstrated he’s willing to say stuff that conservative’s don’t like (such as we are responsible for aiding the oppressed and conservative politics aren’t good enough). Also, it takes guts to basically come out and say you believe in evolution in the evangelical world today.

    Still, I read Kathy’s review and I was pretty dissaponted in it, so I understand your fear. My guess is they have been swayed at least a little, but his influence with TGC has probably had a tempering affect too.

  25. Keller “commissions” female deacons. In the PCA deacons are ordained, and only men get ordained. Here is an explanation:

    http://byfaithonline.com/the-case-for-commissioning-not-ordaining-deaconesses/

    I’m glad to see the commissioning of women deacons at Redeemer, but still don’t like their brand of complementarianism. Keller says that he has a functionally egalitarian marriage. My take is that they preserve a symbolic male headship for the husband/wife – Christ/church metaphor, but I have trouble understanding how that doesn’t make them dishonest. They commission women deacons and I do believe that they respect women and treat them well, but that is still a way to make sure that women are not going to be fully engaged with their brothers in the kingdom.

  26. Yes, Keller is still a Complementarian, just very soft.

    I know that he is in the PCA because he and Kathy were convinced that women should not be elders (apparently she was actually studying to be a minister, and stopped because she became convinced it wasnt Biblical) so they couldn’t join the PC(USA). Now that he’s there, he couldn’t be any more egalitarian without leaving the denomination. He’s pushing it as it is. Remember that the PCA was founded on the issue of women elders.

    Obviously I’m a fan of Keller (from what I know of him, which really isn’t a lot), but while I understand his views still are going be be viewed by egalitarians as not good enough, surely if the issue of egal vs comp is truly “secondary” he’s the kind of comp an egalitarian could sit at the table with?

    To me, the most dissapointing thing about Kathy’s review of RHE’s book was that, given her background, I really had thought the two of them might really be able to have a great conversation enlightening to all sides. Seems like a real opportunity lost.

  27. Jeff S.

    That’s an issue I struggle with at times. Certainly, if egal vs. comp is secondary, than Keller is the kind of comp that egalitarians should feel comfortable with.

    But, what happens is this: the thought keeps going through my head that if that’s what they really believe (male headship and female submission), then why don’t they live accordingly? Why live as egalitarians while talking like complementarians? Surely it’s not because there is something wrong with their ideals? Or because it is convenient to only talk about them?

    And then of course, there will be the incidents like Kathy Keller’s review of RHE. Complementarianism is not a secondary issue to them.

  28. Pingback: Denny Burk vs CRU – The Wartburg Watch 2012 | Christian News Tweets

  29. As Rachel Held Evans put it in a conversation with Matthew Lee Anderson, there are a wide variety of people who self-identify as complementarian and it helps to clarify which groups are which. some people stake out complementarianism only as an ecclesiological concern and that in connection to confessional/denominational traditions. Others try to set up their ideal of complementarianism “all the way down”. It isn’t inconsistent to say that a particular view applies in a particular domain. Wartburg doesn’t have much to say about the Catholic or Orthodox traditions where women still aren’t likely to be bishops but these are of no concern because the entire nature of the custom is predicated on different grounds than Protestants who have an axe to grind for a complementarianism that, as a Doug Wilson might put it, has to go “all the way down”.

    If the Kellers are complementarian on ecclesiology but have an egalitarian marriage this only seems to be a problem for hardcore ideologues who don’t care to have ideals compromised by living in the real world.

    Besides, if the Baylys can’t stop braying about how terrible Keller is about this or that then he can’t be that bad, can he? ;)

  30. “If the Kellers are complementarian on ecclesiology but have an egalitarian marriage…”

    Here is Tim Keller on society and abuse,

    \http://www.upc-orlando.com/resources/written/doctrines/doctrine06.html

    “There is therefore no indication that women in general society need to defer to men. Women can be executives, presidents of banks, or the president of a country. Does this seem inconsistent? Why would the Bible insist on a Trinitarian pattern in marriage, but ignore it in society?

    Again, we must speculate a bit, because the Bible does not answer all of these “why” questions. One good possibility, however, may lay in the Biblical basis for democracy.
    2. DEMOCRACY IS FOR SOCIETY WHILE RULE-SUBMISSION IS FOR OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES.

    Christians are for democracy because we believe in sin. Many folk believe in it for the opposite reason. Rousseau believed in democracy because he thought that people were so wise and good that no one is fit to be a slave. Of course, Christians wish for no one to be a slave, but we believe democracy is good because no one is fit to be a master!

    Because of sin, people misuse absolute authority. Thus it is clear that monarchy, wise and good kings, would be a form of government that very much fits the Trinitarian pattern. God is a King, not a President, and our spiritual lives are based on monarchy. So why don’t we have Kings? The answer is that we have to abolish monarchy due to sin. We have to treat all people as equal.”

    When we come to Scriptural teaching on women-in-the-church, we discover again a different pattern. Unlike in marriage, all women do not submit to all men. But unlike society, there is a Trinitarian pattern. It is not muted.”

    What I notice the most about this is how strongly Keller advocates that in society because of sin and abuse, we must have democracy to protect ourselves. But in marriage this is not necessary. He advocates rule and submission in marriage. He asks for something for himself, democracy for his own protection in society, and he advocates rule and submission for women in marriage. He condemns women to an existence that he himself repudiates because it would make him a victim of abuse. I cannot imagine what it takes to harden the heart of men to this extent. I don’t want to be exposed to the teaching of these men ever. How can he ask for safety from abuse for himself, and big man, and not ask for this for women who get raped and beaten in the home. How can human beings become so desensitized to the suffering of others that they have no compassion.

  31. WTH – I almost hate to say this, but… I’m *so* glad I’m an ELCA Lutheran. We might argue about women bishops, but the thing is, we have them.

    No monkeying around with weird phony “history” re. the Nicene Creed, either. ; )

  32. Sue, if you were explaining something for Dana’s benefit I don’t know why you’d reply to a partial and completely decontextualized quote from me. :)

  33. numo, it’s the Orthodox and Catholics get to use the “history” argument. Protestants just argue about whether the Bible backs them up. :)

    The filoque doesn’t seem to be phony history for the Orthodox who don’t like the Western form but I’ll leave that to the actually Eastern Orthodox here to field that, if there are any here.

  34. Wenatchee,

    I have seen the Bayley brothers go up one side of Grudem and down the other, and it doesn’t make me any fonder of Grudem. Sadly, to me Keller is that bad. I don’t think subordinating women just a little bit is much better than a lot. Having 49% of the vote all my life, felt like crap.

  35. 49% for one person and 51% for the other. The other person wins every disagreement. Hands down. The first person has no say, ever.

  36. No, that part was implied, Sue. You could be describing a parent/child relationship, after all.

  37. But WTH, the thing is, Luther never intended to start a separatist movement; neither, really, did all the early C of E people who worked so hard to present Anglicanism as a via media.

    As for the filioque, that’s not something I want to go near – too touchy! (Though I’m not sure why; only that it is.)

  38. numo, true, a lot of separatist groups don’t start off with that in mind. Thigns just snowball. Some groups set out to be separate and depending on how separate they are Qumran takes a while to get discovered. :)

    Touchy, aw, come on, this is Wartburg! :)

    Sue, the ratio was pretty self-explanatory. You didn’t explain in what contexts it applied. That’s what I wasn’t sure about.

  39. numo, thanks for the ESS clarification. I don’t subscribe to ESS and so far consider it a stupid ad hoc retroactive redaction on the trinity as a way to deal with an ecclesiological debate that should be fielded on other grounds and drawing on more direct sources (like the possibility that eudioa and syntyche may have been co-bishops as a possible explanation for why their conflict was so central to the purpose of Paul writing Phillipians to begin with).

  40. Yeah, but that kinda proves the rule of thumb (which is pretty clearly all I was getting at) that Protestants trying to make their cases by appealing to history isn’t the same as a Catholic or Orthodox doing the same thing. It’s true (whether or not E’s and C’s concede it) that many incremental changes took place but wholesale wheel reinvention is more of a Protestant thing.

  41. WTH – No, dude – check the Athanasian Creed… this part specifically:

    And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.

    Whoever wants to be saved should think thus about the Trinity.

    In other words, the ESS people are tracking with some very heterodox doctrine.

  42. “How can he ask for safety from abuse for himself, and big man, and not ask for this for women who get raped and beaten in the home. How can human beings become so desensitized to the suffering of others that they have no compassion.”

    Sue, do you get an indication that Keller believes that women should submit to being “raped and beaten in the home”? I did not see that, and if he does say that, then I would really like to know.

    I understand that you are all or nothing, especially since this is an issue that is very close to your heart, given your experience with abuse. For similar reasons to your own, I am not going to participate in a marriage where it is 51/49 because such a model is inherently oppressive and unloving. I just want to say that I know of some people who hold to a comp position that are very active in fighting against domestic violence, and these are folks who “get it”, not just pay lip service. They dedicate their lives to stopping abuse and calling the church to repent of how it has co-abused people through its ignroance and policies. They would tell you that abuse happens in egalitarian churches and marriages too: if suddenly complementarianism went away, abuse would not.

    If Keller does believe that wives should submit to abuse, then it absolutely runs counter to everything he presents in his book “Generous Justice”, which is a book I’ve highly recommended to others. I’ve recommended it BECAUSE it calls us to be compassionate to the oppressed, which I think certainly includes the abused wife (or husband).

    Maybe you cannot give an inch to someone like Keller. If so, that’s totally understandable. I would just hope that you can look at him, who admits to functioning egalitarian in his marriage, who doesn’t make rules for women to follow in the marriage, who (as far as I know) does not believe that the cure for domestic violence is more submission, and see he is very different from someone like John Piper.

  43. “49% for one person and 51% for the other. The other person wins every disagreement. Hands down. The first person has no say, ever.”

    I will also point out that the way some marriages function, the first person can have ALL the say. That is, if the second person believes it his duty and responsibility to love “sacrificially”, then he must always defer to her desires. If her desires are abusive, then he gets to suck it up because it is his job to love her like Christ loved the church. Of course, comps will say he’s not been a good “leader”, which is a real mind job. You cannot tell someone to love sacrificially, give of himself, and then blame him when his sacrifice turns out to feed a sense of entitlement.

    It all turns out to be the same thing and it stems from the idea that a person can change their spouses behavior and has the responsibility to do so. Im my opinion, that is the real lie that keeps people in abusive situations and keeps the cycle going, and it is a pervasive lie within the church.

    I don’t want t be involved in a 49/51 marriage on either end, and I don’t ever want to be told it is my job to fix someone else.

  44. numo, understood. I’m one of the ones at Wartburg who undersells things to the chagrin of others at the site, I know. :)

  45. Oh, I wasn’t chagrined so much as surprised.

    and I’ve been catching up on south Park via netflix, which should explain the “dude” thing.

  46. …wholesale wheel reinvention is more of a Protestant thing

    Well, yes and no. Yes in general, but the RC church has done some wheel reinvention of its own over the centruies, like the Counter-Reformation.

    And the Orthodox had that big iconoclastic controversy early on…

  47. Dee- I’m really pleased to hear the op went well & he’s home under your watchful eye….my Mum was a neuro- Nurse so I’m all kinds of biased towards how wonderful Nurses are :) Did you watch the surgery or would that have been too much?

  48. Anon 1 said:

    "I really do believe this whole thing at Cru was orchestrated based upon what I have seen here for the last 8 years or so by the despots at SBTS."

    Anon 1's comment really got me thinking.  I decided to do a little Google search, and this is what I quickly discovered.  It has been added at the top of the Cru's Complementarian Conundrum post.

     

    UPDATE 12/6/12, 9:30 pm

    When I was writing this post, I should have taken the time to Google Al Mohler and Thomas Kidd, who wrote the WORLD article Campus Ministry Conflict).

    Better late than never…

    Mohler interviewed Kidd (no kidding!) on November 7, 2011.  The topic discussed was Thinking in Public.  Mohler then posted the interview on his website.  Take a look. 

    Rethinking Christianity and America’s Early History: A Conversation With Historian Thomas S. Kidd

    Here is how Mohler introduces Kidd:

    “Mohler: It is no accident that so much about intellectual activity is invested in thinking about history. It’s also no accident that we have so many conversations with historians because they are often those who in the academy are dealing with the most interesting ideas, not only in retrospect, but in terms of the contemporary meaning of these things. I’m looking forward to this conversation with Thomas Kidd. Thomas S. Kidd is Associate Professor of History at Baylor University where he also serves as senior fellow of The Institute for Studies of Religion. He is the author of several very well received and respected academic works in American History, starting with The Protestant Interest: New England after Puritanism published in 2004 by Yale University Press, and his most recent work, Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, published in just recent days by Basic Books. Professor Kidd, welcome to Thinking in Public.

    Kidd: Thank you for having me on.”

    WELL PLAYED CALVINISTAS!!!

    Not!

    I wonder whether the Cru leaders realize that this whole thing was in all likelihood orchestrated from the get go.  It certainly 'appears' that way…

  49. “They are supposed to kowtow to Burk’s definition of a proper church which, of course, he gets to define.”

    I did hear a Reformed person once say that non-denominational Bible churches were not “properly constituted churches.” I know this has to do with their theological definition of a church – I know the Puritans, at least, had a very specific definition – but at the time it struck me as something that could easily be twisted into a “control-by-fear” doctrine (i.e., “your church isn’t a REAL church!”). If it was twisted into this, it would rapidly lead to concerns over situations such as Mr. Yousef’s baptism in the article above. Did his baptism “take”? It wasn’t administered through a church. And even if it was, was it administered through a “properly constituted” (i.e., “real”) church? Would it still take if it was administered through a “not real” church?

    I know I’ve always been taught in the Lutheran church (ELCA and LCMS) that any Christian can administer the Sacraments. There’s even an “emergency baptism” rite in the back of the new LCMS hymnal – I would assume emergencies often happen outside of church buildings.

  50. This is a fascinating topic for me. I find myself seeing some of both sides on this one. (Usually I am keeping up with the TWW because I disagree, but enjoy the banter, and having my viewpoint challenged in a…bracing…way.)

    On one hand, I think Dee is being unfair of complimentarians. To expect there to be uniform thought on that issue is unrealistic. Of course there are different perspectives, difference “levels” so to speak. This happens with any general doctrine. Think about how many different perspectives there are on the atonement for example. Calvinists disagree with Arminians on one level, but then there are several different ways of looking at it within Calvinism (and I would imagine Arminianism, though I am less familiar.) And folks are always defending their particular brand of these things. I don’t see that as problematic.

    I consider myself a complimentarian. I think Scripture is clear about elders being men, and husbands being the head of the home. I don’t think this means the is some sort of a 49% to 51% decision making ratio.

    I also think women are free to be deacons, teach men in all sort of contexts other than preaching, including Cru bible studies etc. which pits me against others within my camp. I just don’t think that should be surprising, or problematic, or seen as anyone is eating his own.

    There is a lot I think Burke is wrong about. One being his role of parachurch ministries. Unless a parachurch ministry is designed from the start intentionally to serve a particular denomination, why would expect that it would? Most of them are parachurch specifically because they have a mission that is specialized in such a way that it wouldn’t make sense to make the distinctions he appears to want them to make. So on one hand, it would make sense for the SGM pastor’s college to promote SGM’s doctrine. That’s why it is there. But for CRU to worry about promoting anything other than their own ministries’ message doesn’t make sense.

    And lastly, and on a completely different note, I think there is too much made of the “instilling fear” perspective here, generally. I totally disagree with Burke on 1 Tim 2:12, and a host of other things (like whether baptism has to be officiated by an elder). I think he communicates his position strongly, and thinks that Scripture is clear on these things, and that others are wrong. He is free to communicate thusly, and there is no reason to call it instilling “fear”. IMO.

  51. Jeff,

    I would never say that any complementation endorsed abuse, none of them. But that is not the point. Keller compares marriage to a monarchy, to rule and submission. He says this is the trinitarian form of government.

    But then he says that because of sin and abuse in society we all need access to the position of power. We all need democracy to protect ourselves from abuse in society.

    But he does not believe that women need protection from abuse in marriage. It may be a sin of omission, that is enough. It is like those who saw the man lying by the side of the road and simply crossed the road to the other side. It is callous.

    Nobody in my life endorsed abuse and violence. I did not belong to some cult that endorsed violence against women.

    However, we were taught that a wife had to obey, sermons said a wife had to submit, that the Bible says a wife had to submit.

    So, I thought –

    - if I submit, this problem will go away
    - if I pray this will change
    - everyone suffers something, this will pass
    - divorce is a shameful thing
    - don’t lie or deceive

    So, I could never speak to anyone else about the abuse, because I was interrogated about that, and my social interaction and phone calls were monitored. I was not allowed to speak to the pastor or a counsellor.

    My ex told me that he knew it was wrong to hit me, but my lack of submission made him lose his temper.

    Finally I realized that submitting to abuse made the whole thing much worse. I came to a point where I said I would never obey him again. That made things much better because things were becoming absolutely irrational. I would often get hit over my ex’s left/ right confusion. He would say turn left and I would turn left, and then he would say I had disobeyed him. It was that crazy.

    So, when I explained that it was pointless to try to obey something that confusing and I would never obey again, things let up a little. I would still get hit, but with less pathetic preamble. Somehow it hurt less, because by that time, I had disassociated.

    But in the end, I took an MA through an evening online program, I got a good job over the years, finally a cell phone and my own car, and then I learned how to lie just enough to get some help, to rent an apt, and move out without him knowing, then I went to the police, there was already a record of a past incident, and got protection.

    This may sound unusual, but it is not. It is just that so few women talk about it. in one place that I lived, a small town, there was a woman who was raped in front of her kids, and the elders told her to bake pies, and be more nurturing, and one of the elders was a provincial court judge. In another church, the minister hit his wife routinely, she finally left, she was a concert pianist.

    Out of my sisters and good friends, one in four experienced routine violence in their marriages. They are lawyers and administrators in their working life, and they don’t tell anyone about the fact that they were beat up.

    Yes, I am an all or nothing person on this, because there is no need for any human being to live without really being alive, to live as a ghost, on the edge of insanity, as a victim of psychological torture every second of one’s life.

    The results are any combination of depression, PTSD, autoimmune disorders, cancer, poverty, debt, working into retirement, living in a basement suit as a little old lady, still working and counting pennies.

    It is somewhat like being a war veteran. Some of the same physical disorders arise. I have enormous sympathy for war veterans. It is very sad that they go through the rest of their life with people ignoring their pain.

    People ignore the pain of others because it hurts to be open to other people’s pain.

    This is what I am saying about Keller. He wants democracy for men in society and rule and submission for women in marriage. He shuts out the intense suffering of women in a rule and submission marriage because it hurts to know how much women suffer in this kind of situation. It can be sheer hell. And the church does nothing about it but reinforce the subordinate role of women.

    Keller’s own wife experienced this as trauma. She wrote,

    My first encounter with the ideas of [male] headship and [female] submission,’ she writes, ‘was both intellectually and morally traumatic.’

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/jesus-justice-gender-roles/id545362526?mt=11

    Somehow she has come to grips with her own trauma, but what about the trauma of other women. She doesn’t do anything about that as far as I know. She justifies the subordination of women through Phil 2. I don’t want to be obedient unto death. I almost was.

    I know a few complementarian wives. This is what their marriages are like.

    One wife is an alsoholic
    One disagrees with her husband, and does not go to church, perhaps attends another church, I don’t know
    One runs the household completely and lets her husband run the church

    These are the wives of the three top men in a complementarian church I attended. Everyone thinks these men are wonderful because the truth is hidden. Their own marriages are a mess. It is all veneer.

    Add that to all the violence and trauma among women I know in my Christian circles, and I can affirm that the non-Christian women I know in the workplace are much happier outside of the church, and are not in the tiniest bit attracted to Christianity.

    People don’t like to talk about this but I will.

  52. Sue, it does not sound unusual to me at all. I am regularly active on, and am one of the main contributors to, the blog “A Cry For Justice” which is specifically about addressing the evangelical church’s (mis)handling of abuse.

    http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/

    Over there I read and interact with women who have similar stories that all need to be told. No, it happens all the time, and it’s tragic. Domestic violence is tolerated and churches become co-abusers through their ignorance.

    And I totally identify with this list:
    So, I thought –

    - if I submit, this problem will go away
    - if I pray this will change
    - everyone suffers something, this will pass
    - divorce is a shameful thing
    - don’t lie or deceive

    All you need to do is change “submit” to “love sacrificially” and that was me. No, I was not abused physically, but emotionally I was a disaster. I can empathize in so many ways.

    On AFCJ we are specifically concerned with the fact that the church needs to “wake up” and get this problem. We can’t ignore it, because ignoring it sides with the abuser.

    My only concern with what you are saying is that I think Keller is one of the “good guys” who needs to be woken up. Based on what I’ve been exposed to of his teaching, I think if he just read some of the stories I have, it would induce a change in his ministry. It is the natural working out of what he’s written and preached. I could not say the same of more patriarchal comps. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m optimistic.

    And for my part, I absolutely WANT you to talk about this. The only way the church is going to “get it” is if they hear the stories.

  53. All of which goes to show the problem with using single words to describe things as complex as human beings. (As a thought experiment… what do the following words mean? Scientific… Feminist… Christian… Love… Truth… I could go on.)

    I quite like this definition, which I stole from Wiktionary, of “complementary”:

    From Latin complementum (“that which fills up or completes”)

    It wasn’t good for the man (Adam) to be alone, so God made a helper (about the Hebrew for which, many books have been written) suitable for him. And they filled up and completed one another. God blessed them, and told them to fill the earth (together… obviously…), rule over it (together), subdue it (together) and generally kick butt (together). Nothing about shoe-horning one another into made-up gender roles in there.

    The frustration for me is that most of the high-profile so-called “complementarian” theologies (and, as several posters have pointed out, there are many shades of these) are precisely about shoe-horning believers into made-up gender roles and betray no understanding of what “complement” actually means. In some cases, I think this is indeed cynically tactical, not ignorant – positions are called “complementarian” because “authoritarian” wouldn’t fly too well.

    Women’s groups (and individual advocates) here in the UK have long been calling for more women in higher management roles, especially in the boardroom. And not just for tokenist or ideological reasons: they argue that women bring a needed balance of skills and strengths to the workplace. That would imply that men, too, bring particular skills to the workplace, of course, and that both sexes bring particular weaknesses. But I think they’re right.

  54. Oh, and that comment from Burk’s blog quoted in the article above:

    Mr. Harman bravely lost his position due to answering the simple question, “What does the Bible say?” I find that we live in perilous times in Christianity when the answer to that question is not enough.

    That question has never been enough to genuine followers of Jesus who, in following Jesus, have sought to know the Father, taking up his gift of the right to become sons/daughters (the point is, not just servants or creatures) of God. The question has always been, “What is the Holy Spirit saying?”. We live in more than perilous times when that question is not even asked; we’re living in amongst a counterfeit church.

  55. Dee,

    “Deb and I have been saying this for years. After they get rid of all of us, they will then turn on each other.”

    As far as I have always understood, this is the general modus operandi of the truly reformed reformed movement since the beginning. Was there ever a time they didn’t put the slightly less than pure up on the chopping block? It’s kinda what being a “PUREitan” is all about.

  56. http://wfpl.org/post/mayor-greg-fischer-gives-wife-recycling-bin

    Gotta love the men of Louisville, KY including its mayor. They really know how to emphasis family values and honor the accomplishments of women at large in the community. Denny Burk would love this! So would Harman! So would Mahaney! Yes! WTG Mayor Fischer with using this opportunity to emphasize that women, whose role it is to stay home and keep house, are the appropriate recipients of new dust bins!

    I wonder if CJ Mahaney will take this seriously and follow the mayor’s leadership?

    CJ? Follow someone else’s leadership? Not sure what I was thinking, sorry.

    Carolyn and her girls may be disappointed if they don’t get a new recycling bin for Christmas from their hubbies though. Nothing says responsible homemaker like a brand spanking new recycling bin you can roll out to the end of the driveway and impress your neighbors! Think of it! It’s every complementarian woman’s dream! The perfect witnessing tool! After all, the essence of the gospel for these women is conforming to a roll. Maybe they can turn their recycling bins into advertisements for their churches!

  57. Jeff,

    Perhaps. Perhaps if a great big guy felt what it was like to be locked in a small cell with one bed, with someone significantly larger, who would use and abuse them for 30 years, they might begin to have an inkling of what it is like.

    Who would volunteer for that? Who would empty themselves and take on themselves the likeness of a slave for 30 years, and come out old and grey and praise the Lord for the experience of suffering for the glorious truth of the submission of one half of the human race to the other half?

    Why would any man condemn women to this insanity? Some women grow old and remain in the marriage and just never even know what it would be like to have a normal life. They just live as a shadow of a human being and then they die.

    BTW, I fully recognize that men can experience incredible abuse from the gender role set up as well. And it is very difficult for a man to decide to get a divorce and leave his wife. I deplore this as well.

  58. Points 3, 4, and 5:

    I would expect some rivalry and friction between churches and parachurch groups. Both have overlapping territories and functions, and there is going to be friction in the overlap. But this has become Jihad.

    Point 7: Once he is eliminated, I wonder who will be left to rule the real complementarian roost. Is Burk gunning for himself?

    What does a predator eat after he’s killed off all the prey?

    Point 8: Maybe Burk should set up a tribunal to determine who is, and who isn’t, really baptized?

    Shouldn’t that be INQUISITION instead of “tribunal”?

    Point 10: perhaps 20 years from now it is highly likely that such organizations will embrace homosexuality

    And “Teh FAAAAG Card” is now officially in play. Again.

    Anyone wonder why most young people see Christians as a more genteel version of Fred Phelps?

  59. This is why at the end of the day I say that in Fundagelicalism will end up as a million heretics each one convicned the other one is in a state of heresy. — Eagle

    The Ultimate End Stage of Protestantism: Millions of One True Churches, each with only ONE member, each denouncing all the others as Heretics.

    Sigh. It’s times like these that I think, “Young, Restless and Reformed? More like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvGADgehKoM “ — Garland

    That voice — Weird Al sounds like he’s doing Cartman from South Park.

  60. I wonder whether the Cru leaders realize that this whole thing was in all likelihood orchestrated from the get go. It certainly ‘appears’ that way… — Deb

    As in “Party Commissar for Spontaneous People’s Demonstrations”?

  61. Mot above:

    Folks like Burk do not trust the Holy Spirit.

    That’s sobering if true. “Trust” is a better translation of the Greek πιστεύητε, usually translated “believe”, which to the Calvinista means merely “subscribe to the doctrine that”. If they have no trust in the Holy Spirit, they have no trust in Jesus. And if they don’t trust in Jesus then even Calvinistas, who teach justification by creed, will eventually be forced to acknowledge that something is wrong.

    On a different note, re HUG’s quote above:

    I would expect some rivalry and friction between churches and parachurch groups. Both have overlapping territories and functions, and there is going to be friction in the overlap.

    To my mind, there is one church, so that anything calling itself “a church” is by definition a parachurch group. Sadly, HUG, I believe you’re right: there are turf wars and power struggles between “church” and “church”, as well as between “church” and para-church group, whenever these groups are set up to further the ambitions of men (and, more rarely, women) and not of the Holy Spirit. Paul was surely onto something when he described something to the believers in Philippi; “some are preaching just to get at me and build their empires at my expense – but hey! Envy shmenvy. They’re preaching Christ, so who cares?”

  62. Nick:

    Maybe I should have been clearer in my comment. Folks like Burke do not believe the Holy Spirit can operate in different ways than if they were God they would. They wish to narrow the operations of the Holy Spirit but always believe they are following the Holy Spirit. It is quite arrogant on their parts.

  63. I would say the issue is not about trusting the Holy Spirit, but trusting individuals to differentiate between emotions, our own understanding, and the Holy Spirit.

    This is something I struggle with a lot. People have done a lot of damage to others by assuming their own inclinations are from God. But we also cannot operate as if the Spirit is not alive within us.

  64. Sue,

    “Why would any man condemn women to this insanity?”

    I suspect because feedback from women is self-censored.

    Because of things like “Then He (Jesus) said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9. And other verses that talk about suffering for God.

    And in religious environments, the assumption is that anything pleasurable, fun, and good for self can’t be what is godly, and is viewed with at least a little suspicion.

    But the opportunity to suffer (mildly or extremely) based on something one believes is in the bible, now THAT’s godly! Now I’m on the right track. And i’m going for the gold, so I won’t complain. I won’t say a word.

    And their men, without that input, apparently aren’t able to understand on their own. Afterall, they’ve already been primed by the loudest, most celebrated religious voices. Bring the concept of “God” into the mix and a magnetic person can make many people believe many things.

    This is an explantion, and by no mean a justified excuse.

  65. Mot – fair point, but are we perhaps saying the same thing from different directions? (If you can say something from a direction…) If the Holy Spirit is only allowed to move within the parameters set by my doctrine and assumptions, then I control him, and he isn’t God…

  66. Nick – I wonder, do you think that human beings are “complete” on their own, or are they only “complete” when in a husband-wife relationship?

    I’m *not* meaning to sound hostile or provocative; simply asking a question – one that’s painfully relevant to all who are not married, for whatever reasons.

    I’m guessing you can see where I’m going with this… people who have never married, who for whatever reasons choose not to married, those who are divorced, and those whose spouses/partners have died.

    It seems as if Protestantism has historically gone overboard in attempting to balance out the enforced celibacy of the clergy and those in religious orders, from Luther’s time onward. And that seems to have resulted in yet another very difficult problem, as emphasized by the CBMW folks and the outright patriarchalists. To my mind, the “stay-at-home daughters” (who say that they “belong to” their fathers until such time as they are married) are pretty much in a state of serfdom, and maybe (depending on the case) outright slavery… they claim this is voluntary, but that can’t be true, because those who “choose” that life have never had a chance to grow as individuals – like all humans are meant to do.

    And I’m absolutely cool with disagreement… that’s the lifeblood of discussion and growth, I think! :)

  67. Note: Looking into the history of enforced celibacy of the clergy shows a couple of interesting things -

    1. It was not a requirement until the early medieval period

    2. One of the primary reasons it was forced on the clergy has to do with the inheritance of clerical work – and property – by priests’ sons.

  68. “And in religious environments, the assumption is that anything pleasurable, fun, and good for self can’t be what is godly, and is viewed with at least a little suspicion.

    But the opportunity to suffer (mildly or extremely) based on something one believes is in the bible, now THAT’s godly! Now I’m on the right track. And i’m going for the gold, so I won’t complain. I won’t say a word.”

    Colossians 2:16-23 ESV (16) Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (17) These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (18) Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, (19) and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. (20) If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– (21) “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (22) (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? (23) These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

  69. Jeff S – well, as with everything else, people ignore that which doesn’t fit with their particular agenda.

  70. Nick:

    You said to me:”Mot – fair point, but are we perhaps saying the same thing from different directions? (If you can say something from a direction…) If the Holy Spirit is only allowed to move within the parameters set by my doctrine and assumptions, then I control him, and he isn’t God…”

    Yes, I agree with what you are saying above.

  71. @ Joey:

    “I consider myself a complimentarian. I think Scripture is clear about elders being men, and husbands being the head of the home. I don’t think this means the is some sort of a 49% to 51% decision making ratio.”

    Just curious…

    1) Many egalitarians also believe in male “headship” in the home…though they would define headship differently than you would. (I don’t self-describe as either comp or egal at this point, but my personal position is that submission in marriage is mutual and “headship,” whatever it means, must be interpreted through that lens.)
    2) Per the “decision ratio,” does this mean you reject the idea of the “trump card” (husband gets final say in all matters and or at least has “veto power” in disagreements)?
    3) My bigger issue with comps at present is that they present egalitarianism as something that cannot be legitimately disagreed about by Christians. I think this is unhealthy and disingenuous. You didn’t do that in your comment, however. (And yes, I am aware that many egals also paint with too broad a brush and make it sound like complementarianism emerged fully formed from the head of the devil. I disagree with that as well.)

  72. “Jeff S – well, as with everything else, people ignore that which doesn’t fit with their particular agenda.”

    Of course. In this case it’s something of which I’ve been guilty, so it helps to cite scripture as a reminder that harder is not always more holy.

  73. Numo:

    Nick – I wonder, do you think that human beings are “complete” on their own, or are they only “complete” when in a husband-wife relationship?… etc

    That’s a good question.

    Theologically, I suppose there’s fairly broad agreement that we all need one another; no human being is created for life alone – hence the importance of the believing community. I think Adam, in the Genesis 2 account, was a special case, though: he was the only human in the picture! I can’t offhand think of anywhere else in scripture that even hints that a person is incomplete unless in the company of a marriage partner. In any case, Jesus himself, who (though he is kind of “engaged”!) was unmarried and sinless, sought the company of his disciples. Especially in Gethsemane when facing the cross.

    On reflection… Again theologically, Lesley and I are “one flesh”. But even together, I don’t think we’re complete. We need – and crave – the company of like-minded believers. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to hate the word “fellowship”, and the shallow and frivolous way in which Christians seem to slap it as a label on anything vaguely Christian, however purposeless. A profound and far-reaching term has become an empty piece of jargon that, more often than not, means nothing at all. [/rant]

    So, having been unhappily single, then happily single, then happily married (obviously we’ve had our challenges like everyone else, but I’ve never been unhappily married in the sense that several TWW-oids would use the term), I can’t say that marriage in itself has made me any more or less complete. I wouldn’t go back, nor swap my family for anything; and I’m only one data-point in 7 billion; but hey.

    To be single much past the age of 30 is relatively uncommon. To be an Oxbridge graduate but long-term unemployed is also relatively uncommon – I drop that in to claim at least a little experience at being “unusual” and in church. And I don’t think many church gatherings relate that well to minority groups. In a congregation where prosperity was pushed as a point of theo/ideology, being long-term unemployed (and therefore not prosperous) made me stand out, and not in a good way. I don’t doubt that in a congregation that pushes marriage ideologically, being long-term single is likewise a very uncomfortable state.

    I’m going to stick my neck out here. Because cheap theological answers are nearly always just law, which is contrary to the Spirit and doesn’t work, there are many church settings that will never help a person address these problems. They simply don’t have the Living Water to do it, though they’re unable to admit that. The two people who helped me most to beat unemployment were out-of-favour guys on the fringes of the congregation. But they believed in me. That’s authentic Christian love.

    Exits stage left…

  74. Nick – Great post!

    I think all of us humans need one another, but equally, I’ve seen this “completes me/him/her” thinking used in both popular and church culture in oppressive ways.

    There are, as you might have guessed, people in the “hard” comp camp who use this as a justification for women (wives, but also, in some cases, daughters) supposedly needing to be subject to men, whether in a marriage, in their families, or in churches in general.

    It’s a sword that cuts both ways, and in my personal experience, those cuts are deep and painful.

  75. Tag on my last post: when I was a kid, there was a very popular song that featured the following lines

    You’re nobody ’til somebody loves you
    So find yourself somebody to love…

    That song and others like it wreaked havoc on my psyche and sense of self long before I ended up in discipleship movement churches. In a way, the latter were the icing on the cake. (A very BAD cake indeed.)

  76. Just wondering how much all this posturing on the part of Denny Burk, the complementarians and Calvinistas has to do with Jesus Christ and him crucified?

    (I was going to say something more crass, like “****-waving” but I censored myself.)

    Seriously, I look at that stuff, I look at what Jesus told his followers to be about doing and I see two totally different things going on. I might have been more interested in staying Christian if I’d seen Christlike behavior being modeled by the leaders. However, what I see is a lot of argumentative nonsense being pushed on people. You know, the people who ask their fathers in the faith for bread and instead are handed a stone.

    No. Thanks.

  77. Southwestern:

    The Comps and the Calvinistas do more to turn people away from the kingdom of God than they ever do to turn folks towards it. The endless arguing and pontificating about who is in and who is not grows old very quick. They are religious bullies on many levels.

    But they do not get it and have no desire to get it.

    These people bring out the worst in me.

  78. Sue,

    I apologize for my comment above — perhaps too analytical for something of a sensitive nature. Not all questions should be dived (dove?) into with abandon to produce answers. At least, not without some discretion.

  79. Elastigirl,

    I agree with your comment completely. What I disagree with is the notion that we should tolerate both egalitarianism and complementarianism. I actually think that it should be against the law to allow a wife to vow to obey her husband. This is against what Christ said, and it is deeply wrong. Nobody believes that a wife should obey a sinful command. And how is the wife supposed to convince a sinful husband (that is all husbands now on this planet) that their commands are sinful? It is a deeply wrong vow, and should not be allowed.

    People can talk complementarianism if they like, in the privacy of the home, but it should not be endorsed in the public space, like smoking cigarettes.

  80. They simply don’t have the Living Water to do it, though they’re unable to admit that. The two people who helped me most to beat unemployment were out-of-favour guys on the fringes of the congregation. — Nick Bulbeck

    Didn’t Jesus have a habit of snubbing the Holy God Squad types and hanging out with messed-up losers instead?

  81. Note: Looking into the history of enforced celibacy of the clergy shows a couple of interesting things -

    1. It was not a requirement until the early medieval period

    2. One of the primary reasons it was forced on the clergy has to do with the inheritance of clerical work – and property – by priests’ sons. — Numo

    Remember the best way to become a Megachurch Celebrity Pastor? Be born the son of a Megachurch Celebrity Pastor and inherit the church from Daddy? (Especially if you’re named after your father — Bob Jones… Bob Jones Junior… Bob Jones III…) And if not and Celebrity Megachurch Pastor has no sons, there’s always a political marriage to one of his daughters (shaft-polishing or no).

    Now imagine an era where political power was routinely passed from father to son like any other personal property. And expand that to spiritual power. God as inheritable personal property.

    The Arab-Israeli wars are a 4000-year-old inheritance fight: Who really inherited God’s promises to Abraham — Isaac or Ishmael? The Sunni-Shia blood feud in Islam is a 1300-year-old inheritance fight over who are the real heirs of Mohammed — Ali or Fatima?

  82. HUG – the father/son thing happens in many kinds of churches, not just the ones that get big media attention.

    I’ve seen it, and it isn’t pretty.

  83. @ Sue “…..This is against what Christ said, and it is deeply wrong. Nobody believes that a wife should obey a sinful command. And how is the wife supposed to convince a sinful husband (that is all husbands now on this planet) that their commands are sinful? It is a deeply wrong vow, and should not be allowed……”

    Very much agree…..my husband did not want this either in our vows in ’74. We chose to pledge to each other: ” love, honor and cherish. ” I had thought the obey language had been expunged from most vows. However, went to a wedding last year and the pastor slipped in to the ceremony the passage of scripture stating, the need for a women, to be submissive to the leadership of her husband. Made me cringe. The bride didn’t have to pledge obedience in the vow, but still the idea of hubby being the boss was injected.

  84. At one point in the late 60s-early 70s, the then-Campus Crusade experimented with the idea of starting “churches” on campuses, which didn’t fly. That failure led to a mass exodus of staff who joined the
    Eastern Orthodox. Be careful what you ask for, Denny. They might not all go Calvinista.

  85. Mike

    I did not know that of Campus Crusade.They tried to start churches? Well, that sounds like what was going on in that time period. Do you know anything I could read about the Eastern Orthodox shift? My dad was Russian Orthodox and he, along with Father Vasily were shocked by my teen conversion. At my father’s Orthodox funeral, i got up to speak and presented the story of my father’s conversion at the end of his life. He looked panicked, especially when a few people started to cry.

    To this day, however, i miss the festivals and the food and am known to attend said feasts when I can. I can still cook a really mean pierogi.