Understanding The OPC and Their Pastors Who Hold the Keys : A Guest Post

“Many never realize they always had the key in their pocket, so they die at the locked door, never reaching deep inside to pull it out.” ― Anthony Liccione link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=95081&picture=old-keys
Old Keys

I was contacted by a reader who spent many years in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. She offered to submit a post to help us all to understand some of their core beliefs. Her name shall remain anonymous for a number of reasons. However, the Deebs know her identity.

I was surprised to see that the OPC sounds like many super conservative Reformed and SBC churches. They believe that: 

  • the pastors are anointed,
  • that the church holds the keys to the kingdom which means they can judge whether or not a person is a Christian
  • that when the pastor preaches. he speaking the very word of God.

It appears the leaders do not think too highly of the priesthood of the believer and are not really big into revivals. It is the pastor's responsibility to do the Great Commission stuff like teach and baptize. Basically, pastors were born to speak and the church member was born to listen, agree, and give money.Also, I bet TWW readers can guess what their views on women after reading that list.



SHAME ON THEM

After spending upwards of twenty years in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) also known sardonically as the Only Perfect Church (OPC), I think I have seen a new low in the denomination with the conviction in North Carolina of a pastor for not getting his disabled wife to church often enough. This is really incredible.  

The minister [mentioned in Dee’s previous article] who was defrocked in 1977 had taken vows to uphold the strict subscription of the Westminster Confession and Larger and Shorter Catechisms’ Sabbath view. He may have disagreed, but he probably should have known better than to organize sports on Sunday given his vows. Ditto for one pastor who privately “spoke in tongues” in 1976, another well-known no-no in the OPC. Similarly, neither the secondary subscription documents nor the Bible, seem to favor an evolutionary view of humanity, so it comes as no surprise that such a view is strongly discountenanced by the denomination. But convicting someone for not forcibly hauling a disabled family member to church to partake of means of grace? In such a scenario one wonders, What Grace?

ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE OPC BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK

If you want to really understand the culture of the OPC, your best bet is to read (or at least peruse parts of) a very long article by John Frame, a fair-minded, sensible, and most importantly, peaceable Reformed professor and church musician. He wrote “Machen’s Warrior Children” and it may tell you more than you ever wanted to know about Reformed denominations. Please be sure to read his closing “Observations” and “An Unrealistic Dream”. Although he posted the “Warrior Children” article on his (and Vern Poythress’) website in 2012, it was actually part of a book that was published in 2003, so it’s not really up-to-date with current controversy (controversy being the gist of the article and the raison d’etre, it seems, for the OPC). This “warrior” complex explains much of what is wrong with the OPC, and Frame has said it well.

Despite what you may think of Frame’s own take on doctrine and practice, he’s still too “liberal” for some of the OPC and URC (United Reformed Church) people. He’s had his share of grief from Westminster Seminary in California https://www.wscal.edu/  and was blessed enough to escape it. He also wrote another book well worth a read, The Escondido Theology, which Westminster Seminary, California vociferously protested and bashed.

INSULARITY AND THE FAMILY FEEL

Another element that contributes to the denomination’s problems is its insularity or parochial mentality. It is a small denomination. Wikipedia notes:

“270 churches, 49 mission works, and 30,555 members and 534 ministers” 

and also largely white.  Small churches draw people who are disenchanted or neglected by larger and more flourishing one–let’s face it, small churches are desperate for members, and OPC churches are no different in that respect from other small congregations. A person of moderate wealth can immediately become a big fish in a small pond, or a person of deep Reformed theological persuasion can likewise rise to the “top” most easily. Small churches have a tight, family feel and this is comforting for many people. In many if not most OPC congregations, everybody gets to know everybody’s business, if inclined to do so, and many are so inclined.

 Depending on the congregation you may find lots of little friends for your children, or you may be in a church with an elderly demographic. The OPC published an article by Jeffrey J. Ventrella warning Reformed churches not to adopt a “hyphenated “identity.  I have been in congregations that varied in their hyphenation, be it holding to the republication of the covenant of works, two kingdom theology, theonomy, framework Interpretation (of creation), amillennial, postmillennial, and panmillennial (a joke, as in “it all pans out in the end”). I have never heard of a premillennial OPC, however.

A THEOLOGY CLUB

To be a part of a denomination for nearly 20 years and never see a conversion is so disheartening. It’s downright deadening to one’s spirit. Anglican John R. W. Stott advised that congregations feature testimonies of converts as an encouragement to the flock, but when no one is converting to Christ, this is an impossible task. Having left the OPC and become part of a flourishing, evangelistic congregation, I cannot stress enough how much of a faith-builder it is to hear people say things like, “Five years ago today I was an atheist but I had no one to thank,” and then hear of her conversion to Christ (not to “the Reformed faith”). It sounds so much like the early Church, experiencing the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Instead, many Reformed churches, the OPC among them, tend to grow almost exclusively by children born to members, and by membership transfers from other Reformed churches either because someone moved residence or because of disenchantment with one’s current congregation.  The Church becomes more like a theology club than a living organism, the Bride of Christ.

HIGH CHURCH PRESBYTERIANISM

This is a recent trend in the OPC. The OPC is all about ecclesiology and this is its latest manifestation.  Keep in mind that no pastor is going to proclaim, “We are having a new focus and it’s called High Church Presbyterianism.” This focus is, I am sure, the basis of the conviction of the North Carolina pastor whose wife supposedly had no access to the means of grace because she wasn’t regularly at church.

One of my friends used to tell me that the OPC “is getting like the Roman Catholic Church” and I used to tell her she was nuts. But now it seems that churchmen in the Southeast Presbytery of the OPC do view themselves as grace-dispensers. I should not be surprised. The move to High Church Presbyterianism has been promoted by one D.G. Hart, OPC elder, “religious and social historian”, and name-caller extraordinaire.  This is the man who promotes respect for Reformed ministers (he claims he does, because they hold the keys of the kingdom) yet he dares refer to George Whitfield as “Boy George”. I suppose under Hart’s paradigm Whitfield didn’t have his ordination right, or his preaching ended in revivals. Revival is another no-no for the high-minded OPCers.

So take all Hart says with a grain of salt and a small glass of sherry. High Church Presbyterianism is spreading through Reformed churches like measles at Disneyland. Consider this analysis your vaccination. Hart presents the pieces of what he calls “the mosaic” of High Church Presbyterianism.  I will enumerate them and call them pieces of the High Church Presbyterian “puzzle”. We should not be surprised either than Hart relies strongly on Calvin, Calvin, Calvin. If you do not, and try to rely on the Bible, he will call you a Biblicist, Biblicist, Biblicist. You need a strong stomach to endure the dish that this OPC elder serves up. (Ed. note For any interesting discussion on Biblicism, see this article at First Things.)

Puzzle Piece 1: An order of worship (i.e., a liturgy).

Most churches have a set list of elements of worship and most print them in a bulletin to make the service easier to follow. But that is not enough.

Puzzle Piece 2: Written prayers.

There’s nothing wrong with written prayers. After all, a written prayer is just a prayer with a lot of thought behind it, set down on paper ahead of time. It helps the nervous person who is in a dither, come prayer time. There is nothing wrong with formal, written prayers. But a person who prays spontaneously or maybe with a bit of forethought but who is not referring to a form is not to be despised, either.

Puzzle Piece 3: Weekly communion and the Real Presence.

This is our Christian battery charger. Weekly charges are the best way to stay energized spiritually. The Roman Catholic Church goes further with daily communion. If their theology was right, maybe daily communion is the way to go. That’s for High Churchers to answer, not Low Churchers  like me.

The Lord’s Supper = the visible Word.

With this I agree. It shows forth the Lord’s death, something we should be focusing on—the Cross, the provision of Christ to renew us and later to renew the world when New Jerusalem comes down from heaven. The push for weekly communion is not necessarily bad, but not needed, unless one wants to avoid the moniker “Low Church Presbyterian.”  The Real Presence is a doctrine that rebuts the idea that the Supper is merely a memorial. Thus, if Christ is really present (not physically, but spiritually) then communion is a big thing. Thus the infirm, homebound are in big trouble for not taking it. But why can’t the Lord’s Supper be brought to the infirm? Give a short sermon, read the Bible and pray, and then share in Communion. It seems like the gracious, loving and common sense thing to do.

Puzzle Piece 4: The Word should be preached.
 

This is a no-brainer. But, the preached Word carries far more weight for High Church Presbyterians than the Word read at your house or favorite coffee shop. Why? The Second Helvetic Confession says in its first chapter:  “THE PREACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD IS THE WORD OF GOD.” Here we see a problem—a reliance on creeds and confessions (written by men and therefore subject to error).

Wisely, the Westminster Confession of Faith itself says that creeds and confessions “may err and many have erred” and are therefore not to be made the rule of faith and life. But if you are a Biblicist (bad, remember) you may tell me that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God and how will they hear without a preacher?”  (Romans 10:13-17) Good question. Back in the days of the New Testament it was probably very hard to know God’s Word without a scroll to read or a preacher to preach, and scrolls were not widely available. Also, the whole Word of God was not written at that time.  And even then, the Ethiopian eunuch could not understand what he read. He needed help. I agree.  

But if this verse is used to mean that faith only emerges when one hears a preacher at a church service, then I think we have pushed the logic too far. In fact, and I know my sample is limited, I know more people converted by reading the Bible on their own, than converted by the preaching in a church. And, to push the matter further, if the Word preached = the Word of God, then when we hear differing interpretations of Scripture by pastors of the Gospel (even pastors in the same denomination), who is right? I am puzzled.

Puzzle Piece 5: Pastors rightly ordained hold the keys to the kingdom ("On the meaning o rightly ordained: that’s the subject of another paper that I am not qualified to write, but trust me, you won’t find a lot of Scripture references in the answer). They let in and let out; they tell who is a Christian and who is not a Christian. It is the pastors’ job to do the Great Commission which involves teaching and baptism. You are snarkily warned by D.G. Hart that next time you deign to go spread the Good News, take a bottle of water with you for baptisms.

There are other interpretations of the “keys of the kingdom”. One involves the use of one key for the Jews and one for the Gentiles. See Acts, Romans, and Galatians. That makes a lot of sense to me, but then again, I am Low Church. High Church believes pastors hold the keys and it’s a scary thing to be shut out of the Church by them.  You may ask, but wasn’t the man convicted in NC for not taking his wife to church also a pastor? How was he wrong, but the others right? I cannot solve this conundrum for you.

Puzzle Piece 6: This states: “the priesthood of the believer has been much abused”.

I heard a sermon in a ‘high church’ OPC on 1 Peter 2:9,

” But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

The verse was read in its entirety and the sermon covered every part of the verse except “a royal priesthood.”  That was totally left out. Odd, wasn’t it? The work of ministry is for ministers, not individual laymen. And again, in Ephesians 4: 11, 12, the KJV (not normally used in this church) includes a useful comma when it says:  “And he gave some… pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry. The pastor and teachers perfect the saints and do the work of ministry. Other Reformed and even other OPC ministers think otherwise. They believe that pastors and teachers equip the saints to do the work of ministry (no comma). Another OP church puts on each of its bulletins, under the pastor’s name, “Every member, a minister.” This is a case of High Church vs. Low Church in the same Presbytery.

WOMEN IN THE OPC

In one OPC we belonged to the pastor recommended women in the congregation read The Total Woman by Marabel Morgan. Of course, many of the women talked about it as “the totaled woman” and paid no attention.  This pastor had many oddities, if one can call them that. He told women that sleeveless dresses and tops were sinful. (Women opposed it with the slogan “A woman’s right to bare arms”.) I first heard the words, “touch not the Lord’s anointed” at this OP congregation. What a useful phrase! It was really sad because the targets of his pulpit tirades were only thinly veiled. Yes, he used the Scripture but in a most unscriptural way. He was a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. 

I heard one female speaker at a women’s retreat at another OP church say “If you are married, you are married to the perfect spouse!” Yeah, what about the woman whose spouse is an adulterer or an abuser? This was such shallow thinking, and poor teaching, possibly a result of believing that whatever is, is right, because God ordained it. It was a convenient but incorrect way to view the world.

Some sessions (elder boards) in the OPC handled marital problems with much discomfort and ineptitude. They were not trained to do effective counseling. I think it is presumptuous of a man, whether he’s an elder or a pastor, to try to counsel women on sexual matters. How difficult would it be to find an older, wise woman who could do this? Even if one is opposed to women’s ordination, utilizing the gifts of unordained women in a congregation is one of the wisest things a church can do.

Case in point: One man we knew well, in fact, a former elder of ours in the OPC, divorced his wife. First, he declared her not a Christian, though she was a deep lover of Jesus and attended church regularly. He left for another large Presbyterian congregation in a different denomination. He then claimed his wife had deserted him, so the divorce was OK. Shortly after the finalized divorce he married someone in his new church. Before long he and the new missus joined other OPC just minutes from the one where his ex-wife was a member. He was given communion without a hitch because (I surmise but have no proof) he was wealthy and theologically “sound” (in knowledge, not practice). The elders at the new church never contacted the ex-wife to hear her side of the story. This was a real tragedy.

One young woman, home from college, noted that in her home OP church the elders talked enthusiastically with her brother, but merely said hello to her. She also mentioned how, for the most part, women talked to women and men talked to men before and after the services. When she ran into an elder after church when her brother wasn’t around, she was greeted and then asked how her brother was doing at college! She couldn’t figure out why her college experience wasn’t worthy of a conversation. I cannot buy the view of the Christian Curmudgeon who says that the way Dr. Valerie Hobbs was treated is just the way people chat in the South. Absolutely not. The elder that spoke so unkindly to Dr. Hobbs was at minimum a boor, and more likely a practiced intimidator.

BASHING EVERYBODY?

This article is not an indictment of everybody in the OPC. I have met and been supported and nurtured by some of the godliest people around. They are wonderful and precious people whom I love deeply. That being said, it is difficult for anyone to rise above the church culture, ecclesiology, and governance of the OPC. Since one must take a membership vow of obedience, and since the OPC has been experienced by me as lacking in many ways as “a place of grace” I would advise against membership there.

THE NEED TO LEAVE

My experience in several OP churches mirrors that of those folks in 9Marks churches who experienced so much grief when they decided to leave a church like Capitol Hill Baptist. You must join a new and approved church or you will be hassled. If one is strong minded and perceptive of the inconsistencies and unjust actions of a church, you will eventually run afoul of the powers that be.  I did that, and then sought advice from a professional counselor who happened to be Reformed himself. After hearing my story he asked if I had ever been in an OP Church before and I said I had. He asked how that experience had been. I said, “Not good.” He said, “I thought so. You need to leave the OPC,” and offered the name of a nearby PCA. I am now happy to be part of a truly Christ-centered, living, gracious Church. I plan to stay here.

Lydia's Corner: Exodus 35:10-36:38 Matthew 27:32-66 Psalm 34:1-10 Proverbs 9:7-8

Comments

Understanding The OPC and Their Pastors Who Hold the Keys : A Guest Post — 665 Comments

  1. “that the church holds the keys to the kingdom which means they can judge whether or not a person is a Christian ”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    so, they have control of the Lamb’s book of life? God defers to them? or is it only on earth (for purposes of the institution)?

    (how weird and ridiculous this all sounds)

  2. “The Church becomes more like a theology club than a living organism, the Bride of Christ.”

    The more I read this post, the more I saw the truth in that sentence. This type of thinking and practice lead to too much church and not enough Jesus.

  3. One of you historians need to help me here. How did this happen in the first place? At the time of the German reformation it was one thing for somebody to say that the church had problems and then one thing led to another and politics got involved and there ended up not just reformation but schism. I got that. I am not saying that is good or bad; merely that it makes sense how something like that happens. Or the politics in England at the time of the English reformation/schism. I got that. But what was going on at the time that made Calvinism catch on? It seems so far out and so bizarre and unappealing and so excessive, but yet it caught on and is still with us. What is the appeal of religion like this, either then or now?

  4. @ elastigirl:

    actually, this applies to all Christians (technically I am one, as embarrassing as that is to say). if we only realized how goofy, weird, scary we all sound and appear when wearing the Christian hat.

    (pretty sure jesus would never wear this hat)

  5. Nancy wrote:

    What is the appeal of religion like this, either then or now?

    For people who like intricate and detailed systems, who love trivia, who compulsively collect and collate data – IOW, nerds – Reformed theology can’t be beat. When I became a Christian in college, I was taught that all my nerdy pastimes – sci-fi, fantasy, and most especially D&D – were suspect at best if not downright evil. So my natural nerdish tendencies were unfulfilled… until I found theology. Reformed theology is almost tailor-made for people like me, and it attracts them like flies to honey.

  6. The Real Presence is a doctrine that rebuts the idea that the Supper is merely a memorial. Thus, if Christ is really present (not physically, but spiritually) then communion is a big thing. Thus the infirm, homebound are in big trouble for not taking it.
    The Catholic Church sends out lay people after every service to bring communion to the infirm and homebound. All you have to do is request it.Its easy to attack what you do not know !!!!

  7. Nancy wrote:

    But what was going on at the time that made Calvinism catch on? It seems so far out and so bizarre and unappealing and so excessive, but yet it caught on and is still with us. What is the appeal of religion like this, either then or now?

    I actually read something on this long ago. It seems that there was real fear the Catholics would make inroads back into Geneva. There was really no other “system” at the time to implement against Catholicism. Calvin had one but was forced out of Geneva then after he left Catholicism was making inroads so he was begged to come back and implement his systematic theology. He had conditions which they met and the rest is history. It was simply a matter of people not knowing how to live as Christians without some form of system. Most likely the result of church/state, Monarchies, Princes, Electors, Popes, etc. That was how the world worked.

    Part of that explanation is what makes the Radical Reformers so interesting during those times.

  8. -the pastors are anointed,
    • that the church holds the keys to the kingdom which means they can judge whether or not a person is a Christian
    • that when the pastor preaches. he speaking the very word of God. ”

    This is exactly the thinking that has being taught in the SBC from the Mohler wing.

  9. Eeyore wrote:

    Reformed theology is almost tailor-made for people like me, and it attracts them like flies to honey.

    Oh. Thanks for the reply. That is a disconcerting answer.

  10. Lydia wrote:

    implement his systematic theology.

    So, Jesus died and/or disappeared in a cloud but left us with systematic theology. And, apparently only systematic theology. This is too sad for words.

  11. And it is the first time I have ever posted to any blog. Hi everyone. I just want to say that I appreciate this blog so much. Keep up the good reporting and analysis. Proffy

    dee wrote:

    @ Proffy:
    You beat out Dave AA by seconds!

  12. @ Nancy:
    Could not agree more. The more I study different ST’s the more I despise even the thought of them. The syllabus Jesus exegeted or God in a box. Of course living at ground zero means I am surrounded with ST types so please forgive my passion.

  13. Nancy wrote:

    So, Jesus died and/or disappeared in a cloud but left us with systematic theology. And, apparently only systematic theology.

    Except he didn’t even leave us that. He made us wait 15 centuries for someone learned enough to Institute the Christian Religion.

  14. I attended a OPC church for a time growing up. Historically, its wildly disproportionately influential compared to its size. John Gresham Machen, probably the most influential evangelical intellectual of the first 40 years of the 20th century, hailed from the OPC, and I believe Schaeffer broke from it as well.

  15. The real problem is largely that these groups are too small and homogeneous – it matters little what their underlying starting theology.

    In such a situation all sorts of odd tangents develop – and people who are locally influential end up having a disproportionate influence on their denoms.

  16. May I rise in defense of systematic theology…

    Theology and ideas do matter. Church history tells us that. For that matter, secular history tells us that. Much of the Reformation hinged on the difference between the “imputation” of grace (Luther et al.) and the “infusion” of grace. (RCC) The logical results that flowed from that seemingly minor difference created the rift that divided entire nations.
    Systematic theology isn’t evil in itself – it’s an organization and collation and some attempt to make ones theology consistent. We all have one to a limited degree in our own minds, some just have the nerve to write theirs down.
    I’d disagree on the analysis of Calvin – it wasn’t his “system” they wanted, but they asked him back because no one in Geneva had the intellectual capability to argue against the RCC. And Calvin famously walked into his pulpit from which he’d been expelled and said, “when last we were together, we studied this verse. Now we look at the next one.” Calvin was above all a teacher of the Bible – book by book and verse by verse. His “institutes” were a handy “reference” guide to what the Protestants actually believed, since there really wasn’t one go-to volume to lay out with some clarity the difference between Protestant and Catholic theology

  17. Ok, but a question for the ethicists and theologians on the thread: does anyone here really think that people like this would behave differently if they had different theology? My own position has been that theology is nearly always post hoc selected to reinforce a person’s existing worldview and values.

  18. @ Joe:
    Joe, I could argue all day that the Institutes do not represent the God of the holy Scriptures but I won’t go there. Instead I will say that systematic theology has nothing to do with a true relationship with Jesus Christ. And that is what Christianity is. That is what we were created for: a relationship. The most ignorant illiterate peasant in the world can know Jesus Christ in a relationship but never be able to read systematic theology. That does not mean I eschew any intellectual pursuit of theology, it just means I know it’s place: invented by mere men.

    In my neck of the woods there are more young man reading Grudems systematic theology Than read the Bible. In fact, they equate it knowing his systematic theology with knowing Jesus Christ.

  19. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    I will only say this – even when I used to hang out in Reformed theological circles, I was often reduced to saying, “I believe in Reformed Theology because I think it is true – NOT because Reformed believers are such nice people.” :-/

  20. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    There’s a $1m question. Here’s my theory: there is a direct link between belief and behavior. Whichever came first, who knows. BUT, I’d also say that since we tend to all be at some level hypocritical (speaking for myself first of all), there’s a difference between what we SAY we believe and what we actually DO believe. So whatever we truly in our hearts believe, is either the result of or source of behavior, and that will correspond to what we say we believe in varying degrees.

    I think it’s always a mistake to neglect the reality of sin in every person and situation too. It’s a great “variable” that throws any theory of behavior for a loop.

  21. Lydia wrote:

    @ Joe:
    that is what Christianity is. That is what we were created for: a relationship. The most ignorant illiterate peasant in the world can know Jesus Christ in a relationship but never be able to read systematic theology. That does not mean I eschew any intellectual pursuit of theology, it just means I know it’s place: invented by mere men.

    That Christianity is a relationship with Jesus is a statement that is the result of systematic theology. And I don’t think it’s possible to share the gospel without systematizing theology unless you strictly quote scripture. “Trinity” is the fruit of a systematizing of theology. That doesn’t necesarily make it a human invention. So I think we have to be a bit more nuanced. I can appreciate the concerns over a single school or slavish dedication to a single theologian, but that’s not the discipline’s fault, rather the disciple’s.

  22. This is coming to a SBC Church near you…..and will be another nail in the SBC coffin….Lydia wrote:

    @ Ken:
    Westminster? A lot of SBTS profs studied there.

  23. As a long-time reader, and one who regularly interacts in the comments, and someone who is sympathetic to the mission of TWW for victim advocacy, this article not only saddens me, rather than clarifying the issues surrounding the debacle in one OPC presbytery, it was a hit piece directed toward a denomination in general, and individuals in the OPC who not only are not part of the Southeast Presbytery, they would likely be among those who would have ruled in favor, not against the Reverend who was acting in his wife’s best interests.

    Let me preface my response by affirming two things:

    1) Like Brad Sargent (Futuristguy) so brilliantly noted, the problem of spiritual abuse is not so much rooted in one’s theology, but rather from a posture of authoritarianism. The sad fact of the matter is abuse (spiritual, physical, sexual) happens in nearly every part of the church, regardless of theological distinctives.

    2) The ruling of the OPC’s Presbytery of the Southeast was reprehensible – but, it was not unanimous. Many of the presbyters voted against it, and the ruling has caused no small uproar within the OPC, and the broader conservative Reformed community. While the ruling was grevious, hopefully God will use it to shine a light on the chauvinism and authoritarianism that has damaged our Reformed denominations and those who have been hurt directly by it. The ruling of the Presbytery of the Southeast will most definitely be appealed to the OPC’s highest courts during this year’s General Assembly, where the matter will be debated not only by one region, but by representatives from the whole country. I, and many others are praying that this will be a wake-up call for not only the OPC, but to other Reformed denominations who share similar convictions, that whatever our doctrinal stances may be, authoritarian one-upmanship like what has been demonstrated will not be tolerated.

    Now to the post, much of it actually did not clarify anything regarding the presbytery of the Southeast’s ruling, it just reiterated some of the old, long standing rifts that have (sadly) existed amongst the conservative Reformed community for a long time, and impugned an imperfect and certainly flawed, but faithful denomination as a whole. For example, the commendation of John Frame’s Escondido Theology needs to be understood in light of broader debates in the Reformed community. Many of those sympathetic with Frame’s views of the OPC, “Machen’s Warrior Children”, or Westminster Seminary California (home of the so-called “Escondido Theology”), implored him not to publish the book, and no major Reformed or conservative publishing house would publish what was commonly viewed as a “hit piece” against his former employer and many within his former denomination. It needs to be understood that John Frame’s departure from Westminster California (hereafter WSCAL) was both controversial and acrimonious. Without assigning blame to Dr. Frame who is a fine scholar, or to WSCAL which is a respected seminary in the Reformed community.

    The ad hominiem against DG Hart, who is also a target of Frame’s criticism, doesn’t deal substantively with his views, or that of WSCAL, where he once taught. The major distinctives of certain professors at Westminster CA, including DG Hart are as follows:

    A) Reformed Confessionalism: The worship, piety and practice of Reformed churches should be chiefly informed by Scripture, and by extension the summaries of biblical doctrine found in the historic reformed Confessions, Creeds, and Catechisms. These are a summary of the content of what Reformed Christians have historically understood to be an articulation of the Christian faith outlined in Scripture. Reformed confessional heritage, rather than fads, trends, or extra-biblical ideas should inform Reformed churches how to “do church”.

    B)Two-Kingdom Theology: The Church and the World represent two different kingdoms under Christ’s rule. While both are ultimately under Christ’s authority, during the present age he governs them differently. He rules the church in grace, and the mission of the church is spiritual – to go and make disciples among the nations, proclaim the gospel, and administer the sacraments and ensure an orderly church of believers who are growing in grace. The world is ruled through Providence, where evil is to be restrained (at times by force), good promoted, and order upheld. Christ’s rule is expressed by human governance, some goverments reflecting his rule better than others, but none perfectly. At the end of the age he will return and judge the earthly/temporal kingdom where good is rewarded and evil punished, after which his perfect justice will be forever established as the Kingdom of God comes in all its fullness. The primary, and most controversial component of Two Kingdom theology is that the church should not take upon itself the burden of meddling in the affairs of worldly kingdoms (with some rare exceptions), but should pursue its spiritual mission – basically meaning that while political activism is something that Christians are free to be part of as their conscience dictates, the church as an institution should stay out of politics and focus on the spiritual mission given by Christ in the great commission and elsewhere in the NT.

    It should also be noted as an aside, that WSCAL is not known as a a hard-core complimentarian seminary. Many of the professors there support, and teach that women being allowed to serve as deacons. While they do understand the role of elder to be for men, the Seminary is not as an institution seeking to marginalize women. I doubt the ruling in question would be supported by any of the instructors there.

    I am not trying to disparage the author of the post here, but I think that what has happened is some of the “inside baseball” stuff, i.e. doctrinal disputes that happens in every corner of Christianity, seems to be at the forefront of this post, and I don’t think any of this has much to do with the Southeast Presbytery’s ruling. If you want to talk about mysoginy in Reformed denominations, which I think played a part in these rulings, that is fair game, because unfortunately this is far too present.

    I’ll address a couple of the other minor points.

    1) Church holding the keys of the kingdom: This goes all the way back to the Reformation, where Reformers such as Luther and Calvin argued that contrary to the Roman Church, the Pope did not hold the keys to the kingdom, the church did, and the leaders of the church have the authority to affirm who is in the visible church, especially with respect to their local congregations. The visible church is not to be equated with the invisible church, nor are the keys to be equated with the Lamb’s Book of Life. The way Reformed church elders have historically used the keys is in recognizing a credible profession of faith – i.e. has the individual placed his faith in Jesus and made this profession public. Unlike those in other evangelical traditions, Reformed churches, including the OPC, or my denomination the PCA, does not assume that every member in their congregation who has made a profession of faith and therefore is part of the visible church, is necessarily part of the invisible or universal (or small c catholic) church or by extension has had their names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. True saving faith is known only by God who knows our hearts. Those who are part of the visible church are presumed to be true Christians, and are held accountable to live as such. In cases where one apostasizes from the visible church, or lives in blatant, gross, and unrepentant sin, elders are to exercise the keys by removing such individuals from the visible church (and access to the Lord’s Table), until the individual repents.

    2)The Priesthood of all believers: Remember the backdrop of the Reformation here, only priests had unfettered access to God’s presence, and in some cases access to the Lord’s Table (specifically the blood of Christ). Luther and Calvin taught that this was not the case, rather every believer has access to God, and as those in whom God is present, bring the presence of God into the world outside the church. Every Christian is not called to the ministry where the word is preached and sacraments rightly administered. This is meant to remove guilt from the believer who feels s/he isn’t evangelizing enough or ministering enough. This doesn’t absolve the Christian’s responsibility to testify to their faith, especially when asked, nor does it absolve the believer from edifying the body of Christ in the ways that Scripture commands. To be fair, there are times when Reformed churches abuse this doctrine in such as way that leaves Christians complacent in service. But, the doctrine is meant to dissuade people from confusing basic Christian duty as “ministry”, which in the Reformed context is fairly narrowly defined, and it is also meant to the overall dignity of non-ministerial vocations, which is one way God takes Christian’s out of the confines of the church, and into the World where we can testify to Christ’s saving work and carry God’s presence with us wherever we go.

    I have made this lengthy response because A) I love the OPC, and many in the OPC are friends of mine, and I don’t think that this post has done justice to many of the good contributions of the OPC to the broader church. B) There are serious issues in the OPC and other Reformed churches, but rather than impugning the theological witness of these churches, I think a harder look needs to be taken at the real root of these issues. I will gladly admit that theological arrogance, misogyny, and authoritarianism are all major, MAJOR, problems in Reformed Christianity, and we need to own this, and the abuses that have resulted, so that we can continue to reform according to the Word of God. I applaud TWW for calling this case to attention, and believe God has providentially allowed this terrible ruling to expose some glaring problems in the OPC and Reformed churches in general. This I see as a good thing, and I pray God would guide our church to faithful and winsome witness, especially to the sick and hurting. Practically, I would hope this might mean allowing our ministers to commune sick, and infirm members who are too frail to attend weekly worship privately, which has been the practice of the church since the beginning.

    Sadly, there are unhealthy Reformed congregations in every Reformed denomination, so the spirit of this post is not off in encouraging people to remove themselves from toxic and abusive congregations. In the reformed world, each presbytery (region) has it’s own peculiarities, as does each congregation. I would advise anyone who is looking for a Reformed congregation to really do their homework. There are congregations I would run from, and if another healthy Reformed church isn’t nearby, I would opt for another Bible-believing congregation that one can grow in. So, inasmuch as this was a concern of the guest’s post, I do agree. I am concerned however, that we not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  24. Joe wrote:

    I can appreciate the concerns over a single school or slavish dedication to a single theologian, but that’s not the discipline’s fault, rather the disciple’s.

    True. it is just that there are so many of them being churned by seminaries! young men who are more indoctrinated than they are real thinkers.

    it has gotten better though. in Calvin’s Geneva you would be in big trouble if you disagreed with his systematic theology out loud. :o)

  25. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    My own position has been that theology is nearly always post hoc selected to reinforce a person’s existing worldview and values.

    The fact that there are a number of “theologies” available, and some at least associated with workable church systems (I said workable, not perfect) and the fact that people at least theoretically have a choice, (take a deep breath) lead me to think that you have a point there.

    Joe wrote:

    BUT, I’d also say that since we tend to all be at some level hypocritical (speaking for myself first of all), there’s a difference between what we SAY we believe and what we actually DO believe.

    I certainly agree with that, but I also think that it is not all from being hypocritical. I think that people fool themselves into the idea that they actually do think/feel what they believe that they ought to think/feel and thus real motivations may not be known even to the person himself. This seems to be one thing that is sometimes dealt with in psychotherapy, so they say.

  26. @ Nancy:
    There is also the whole group think aspect to what people believe. I used to wonder about this when people attended the ‘what we believe’ classes when they join a church. Especially megas. most people joined because they found a circle of friends there not because they studied the church creed first. that always came after. It was as if they wanted to find out what they were supposed to believe.

    the really scary part is when they sign off on the covenant or creed of the church.

  27. Nancy wrote:

    But what was going on at the time that made Calvinism catch on? It seems so far out and so bizarre and unappealing and so excessive, but yet it caught on and is still with us. What is the appeal of religion like this, either then or now?

    With Predestination, you don’t have to do a thing (except check & try to prove you’re REALLY one of the Elect). You’re not responsible. Everything has been Written in Fate before the creation of the world. Whatever Will Be, Will Be. In’shal’lah. Eh, Kismet?

  28. lydia wrote:

    True. it is just that there are so many of them being churned by seminaries! young men who are more indoctrinated than they are real thinkers.

    Reciting their indoctrination by conditioned reflex like Good Little Party Members?

  29. lydia wrote:

    it has gotten better though. in Calvin’s Geneva you would be in big trouble if you disagreed with his systematic theology out loud. :o)

    The 200-year Plan to Take Back America and Establish a Truly Christian Nation will remedy that.

  30. Eeyore wrote:

    Reformed theology is almost tailor-made for people like me, and it attracts them like flies to honey.

    As Marxism-Leninism did a century ago.
    Life, the Universe, and Everything mapped out in detail for Superior Intellects.

  31. Lydia wrote:

    @ Ken:
    Westminster? A lot of SBTS profs studied there.

    I think Ken was being a punster and referring to the Yale brand of door hardware. OTOH, Founders are 1689ers, so they and the OPC have some similarities.

    @ Joe:
    Systematics are helpful but, as you say, are prone to abuse by a particular type of personality. Studying a ST can make one feel as if they know God when in fact they have learned what a person thinks about God and his work and his plan. Maybe the best thing is to read systematics from various perspectives to see how different presuppositions shape the way that the Biblical data is synthesized. In the wake of Grudem’s indoctrination of a generation, I have to really swallow hard to defend ST when I see the damage the popularization of one man’s view has done to so many. ST is like a long-form creedal statement and should come with the same caveats.

    @ Jed Paschall:
    Thanks for taking the time to write such a helpful comment from someone inside of conservative Reformed circles. I don’t see the post as a hit piece, though it is hard-hitting, and maybe that is what is needed. I thought Frame’s essay was good background material when I read it several years ago, and I’m going to re-read it again, though I’m sure his departure from WSCAL was messy in different ways. Thanks for highlighting what I appreciate most about the contribution that WSCAL makes to the doctrine of the spirituality of the church. That’s probably because the OPC’s I’ve known were in the theonomic and reconstruction streams which have devastated so many through the homeschool movement. And let’s give Darryl Hart some credit for exposing the YRR movement that is devastating Baptist churches.

    If you don’t mind, could you offer some insight into how to rid the church of its misogyny and the elitist attitudes of some in the clergy? Do you think this verdict will be overturned at the GA?

  32. @ Corbin:

    Being both reformed and unashamedly non-communist I’d like to see the support for that charge. Or is it just similar to the correlation between prison and a church – they both have doors with locks?

  33. @ Jed Paschall:

    Thank you for your well thought out response to this post. I would have been happy to post your opinion as a post as well.

    I want to come to the defense of the author of this post. She was a long time member of the OPC. Her opinion isn’t one based on hearsay or a few months experience. She has years of insight and experience. If she has left the OPC with these observations the OPC needs to pay attention. She really feels this way and her expression is honest.

    I think we all benefit from finding out why people leave churches or denominations. Her observations for leaving are as valid as those who stay.

  34. Very informative blog on the OPC. I am definitely low church and a biblicist. These would be complements rather than insults in my baptist tradition. This is kind of alien tradition for me.

  35. Joe wrote:

    Being both reformed and unashamedly non-communist

    Ah, but are you a follower of Jesus? It doesn’t seem like it sometimes.

  36. @ Jed Paschall:

    Thanks so much for your informative post. I learn a lot in forums such as these where discussions can take place without flame wars.

    I firmly believe that the love we are to have for others that makes us Christian can never be realized in any church that believes and practices male supremacy because it relegates women to subservient role to men which inevitably leads to their oppression, such as that highlighted in this post, and which is completely anathema to the body of Christ where there is no male or female.

    The authoritarianism in conservative churches seems to be spreading like a disease. The number of people who are allowed to have any say in the church has been shrinking and it seems that some seminaries are churning out graduates who go out into the world as if they have been appointed as mini-popes to rule over whatever church they called to. Every denomination or church must have some kind of creed, even if they don’t call it that, which binds them together as a Christian community. But the list of things that one must believe in order to be a member of a particular church has, for many churches, grown into a very long one where disagreement with even one belief brands one as an outcast. A byproduct of this authoritarianism is that the mere asking a question on wholly unrelated matters, such as church spending or treatment of parishioners, is received by the powers that be as high treason.

  37. @ Joe:
    When I say “Reformed”, I’m almost always referring to the leaders of the “New” Calvinism or YRR or whatever you want to call them; I should have said “some” reformed circles, sorry. As for support, I think it’s pretty self evident when you pay attention to how they treat people who dare question “sound doctrine”. Yes, it’s an exaggerated comparison, but it does hold some truth.

  38. dee wrote:

    I want to come to the defense of the author of this post. She was a long time member of the OPC. Her opinion isn’t one based on hearsay or a few months experience. She has years of insight and experience. If she has left the OPC with these observations the OPC needs to pay attention. She really feels this way and her expression is honest.

    Thanks Dee. I hope I didn’t come across as blasting the author’s experience in the OPC or her motives, and I sincerely apologize to her if anything I wrote even hinted at this. I could tell right away that she definitely was not ignorant over the issues she addressed. One of the things about conservative Reformed denoms in N. America represented by NAPARC (North American Presbyterian and Reformed Churches), is that while we are bound by common confessions, each region (Presbytery or Synod) has its own idiosyncrasies. I am not at all shocked when I hear of people who have bad experiences in one region/denom, only to have great experiences in other Reformed churches. Admittedly, women are sadly marginalized in far, far too many Reformed churches, and I would say that the reasons for this are complex, rooted not only in the way doctrine is understood and applied, but also due to cultural, and socio-political influences as well.

    For example, here in Southern California in the OPC, there is a great deal of influence from the late Greg Bahnsen (theonomist/reconstructionist), so there are many hard line right-wing culture-warrior types, as well as hard core Young Earth Creationists that heavily influence the SoCal presbytery. Even though Westminster West espouses a very different vision of Reformed Christianity, and para-church ministries such as White Horse Inn/Modern Reformation covers Reformed & Lutheran Christianity with far more ecumenical. There are more PCA, or URC churches I would recommend in SoCal than OPC churches for this reason, even though there are several wonderful OPC churches in the area.

    Like I alluded to earlier, the marginalization of women in Reformed, and Reformed Baptist churches is a complex matter. Some is due to a mis-appropriation of Reformed doctrine. However, I would say that the problem of authoritarianism, and pride are far more central to this problem. I would even admit that the problem is wide-spread enough for some of the general criticisms of Reformed Christianity in the US to be warranted. However, I do not think the problem is ubiquitous, nor does it stem from a close reading of Reformed theology, as much as a mis-application. I am prayerful that this will change, and exposing the ruling of OPC Southest is an important step. Any change will not only involve Reformed women like Dr. Hobbs standing up and reporting what happens, but for Reformed men to get the message and seek out healing and change.

  39. @ Corbin:

    I have friends who spent most of their lives under communism in the Soviet Union. They’re not reformed, which means I can have non-reformed friends woohoo! Anyway, the comparison to how they described life there and the handling of dissent and a believer trying to define and defend doctrine seems a bit far fetched. Minor point but we’re not all thugs 🙂

  40. JeffT wrote:

    ….The authoritarianism in conservative churches seems to be spreading like a disease. The number of people who are allowed to have any say in the church has been shrinking and it seems that some seminaries are churning out graduates who go out into the world as if they have been appointed as mini-popes to rule over whatever church they called to….But the list of things that one must believe in order to be a member of a particular church has, for many churches, grown into a very long one where disagreement with even one belief brands one as an outcast. A byproduct of this authoritarianism is that the mere asking a question on wholly unrelated matters, such as church spending or treatment of parishioners, is received by the powers that be as high treason.

    Spot on comment, JeffT. At my former church, a godly doctor (married for 40+ years, major contributor of time and money to the church, even treated the senior pastor to a trip with the doctor and Pastor John MacArthur for a personal visit with the Rev. Billy Graham at his North Carolina home) was ordered to be excommunicated and shunned! His “crime”? He had questioned the pastors/elders about doctrine and how they were leading the church.

    Then it was my turn. My “crime”? The pastors/elders had brought in their friend, given him church membership, and placed him in a position of leadership despite the fact that guy just got out of prison and is a Megan’s List sex offender. They defended him, said he’d never harm a kid, they ‘trusted him with their own’, and proclaimed that he was ‘coming off Megan’s List’ because ‘he said so’. His supervising law enforcement agency, The Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force, called that ‘total lies’ and ‘all lies.’ The Sheriff contacted the California Attorney General who also confirmed it was ‘all lies’ and that this sex offender is NOT coming off Megan’s List. Since when do you take a sex offender ‘at his word’ instead of ‘taking the word’ of his supervising law enforcement? Since when do you bet the safety of other peoples’ children? According to the pastors/elders this was their ‘right’ and we were to ‘obey’ them and ‘to submit to them’. They even said mothers had no right to protect their children and the fathers had the ‘final say’ about the sex offender interacting with his children.

    Gosh parents who don’t protect their children can get up to 1-year in jail or 6-years in state prison and lose their children to Child Protective Services.

  41. Jed Paschall wrote:

    I will gladly admit that theological arrogance, misogyny, and authoritarianism are all major, MAJOR, problems in Reformed Christianity, and we need to own this, and the abuses that have resulted, so that we can continue to reform according to the Word of God.

    It is for these very reasons that TWW exists…to bring the abuses to light, administer love, grace, and support for those victimized by these abuses, and wave red flags so others are careful about placing themselves in these types of churches that adhere to “theological arrogance, misogyny, and authoritarianism.”

  42. JeffT wrote:

    I firmly believe that the love we are to have for others that makes us Christian can never be realized in any church that believes and practices male supremacy because it relegates women to subservient role to men which inevitably leads to their oppression, such as that highlighted in this post, and which is completely anathema to the body of Christ where there is no male or female.

    I think we are definitely in agreement.

    I hope you don’t mind if I push an implication of your remark here. While I am not at all sympathetic to movements like the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and I think they are definitely guilty of majoring in the minors, I am persuaded that the role of elder is reserved for men who meet the requirements of elder as listed in the Pastoral epistles. That’s probably as far as I go with this, as I think male/female roles in the home and workplace do need to be informed by Scripture, but will look different in varying times and cultural settings. So, for example while I do believe I have a spiritual responsibility to be a leader in my home, I cannot think of a single instance in 9 years of marriage where I have asked or demanded my wife submit to me or a direction I felt God was leading our family. I am more in favor of a consensus model, mutual submission, and shared authority. So, I DO NOT think gender roles are a central tenent of Christianity, or that churches that do have women as elders and pastors are guilty of apostasy. I think there is liberty for differing views here, even if this means landing in different church bodies as a result. However, the problem of abuse and authoritarian abuse is something that concerns us all.

    This is where I see ecumenical approaches to abuse in the church needing to allow for liberty on how gender matters are parsed, while insisting that women not be marginalized or abused. While this is just an educated guess, I do believe that more often than not women (along with children) are the objects of abuse in the church. Whatever one views on the matter of gender role, I see no evidence that women are to be silenced or marginalized. The divine image is only complete with male and female, and how can the church witness to a redeemed imago dei if we also allow abuse and marginalization of an essential element of Divine image bearing?

  43. Jed Paschall wrote:

    am persuaded that the role of elder is reserved for men who meet the requirements of elder as listed in the Pastoral epistles.

    I guess that means no single men are allowed to be elders in your religious tradition. either. :o)

  44. @ Lydia:

    Ha! Probably not the case in theory, but my guess is single pastors are rare in Reformed churches. However, J. Gresham Machen, one of the founders of the OPC never married.

  45. Jed Paschall wrote:

    The divine image is only complete with male and female, and how can the church witness to a redeemed imago dei if we also allow abuse and marginalization of an essential element of Divine image bearing?

    Amen to that! My only pushback would be that to exclude a group from any position of leadership based solely on the characteristics they were born with inevitably leads to their oppression and subservient status. To me, those few NT passages used justify exclusion of women are completely contextual to very specific places, as evidenced by other passages where women did exercise leadership in other places.

  46. Jed Paschall wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    Ha! Probably not the case in theory, but my guess is single pastors are rare in Reformed churches. However, J. Gresham Machen, one of the founders of the OPC never married.

    I realize he wasn’t OPC, but Clarence McCartney, a conservative Presbyterian preacher and friend of Machen also never married. I wonder if in ages past unmarried pastors were less frowned upon? Now per Albert Mohler and ilk, they would have to be married.

  47. Jed Paschall wrote:

    Admittedly, women are sadly marginalized in far, far too many Reformed churches, and I would say that the reasons for this are complex, rooted not only in the way doctrine is understood and applied, but also due to cultural, and socio-political influences as well.

    Could you elaborate on this? Are the reasons different than the ones in the SBC? I’m so sorry that you live in a place dominated by the Rushdoony/Bahnsen stream of the OPC! Could you also comment on why women are permitted to be deacons in some conservative reformed churches but not in others? In the SBC it is the interpretation of the clobber verse 1 Timothy 2:12, though females are ordained as deacons in some SBC churches.

  48. JeffT wrote:

    Amen to that! My only pushback would be that to exclude a group from any position of leadership based solely on the characteristics they were born with inevitably leads to their oppression and subservient status. To me, those few NT passages used justify exclusion of women are completely contextual to very specific places, as evidenced by other passages where women did exercise leadership in other places.

    Thanks, and I can definitely see where you are coming from. For me as a Reformed Christian, all matters of church life and ministry (e.g. what happens on Sunday) falls under what we Reformed call the Regulative Principle – which basically states that whatever we do in church has to have an affirmative warrant in scripture. This is a subset of the Reformed doctrine of Sola Scriptura. This would set us apart from Lutherans and probably a good deal of conservative evangelicals, who hold to a Normative Principle which means nothing contrary to Scripture is allowed in the church, assuming this if some issue isn’t directly addressed in Scripture it is permissible so long as it doesn’t violate Scripture or common sense.

    Since the Regulative Principal is in play, and there are no positive affirmations of women filling the role of pastor/elder in Scripture, Reformed Christians have restricted the office to men only. However, since the NT mentions women as deacons, I would argue there is warrant there (not all Reformed Xians agree).

    The Regulative Principle is only in play (for Reformed) as it pertains to the life of the church, in the Christian’s everyday life, the Normative principle is in play, which is why I give far more weight to cultural convention arguments for equality in the home and workplace. The reason why I hold the view of men in the pastorate is not because of some prior cultural bias or view that women are sub-standard Christians unable to serve the church, it is founded on prior commitments to how Scripture regulates the worship and practice of the church gathered on the Lord’s Day.

    I do understand and respect the egalitarian view, and wrestle with it from time to time. I think there are fundamental assumptions that drive both views that are held deeply as a matter of conscience. So, while my church doesn’t have female pastors, if I ran into someone who this was a real sticking point to their conscience, I would try to point them to a place of worship that a) places no restriction to women in church office, and b) holds a high view of Scripture. Maybe we cannot worship together on Sunday morning, but this does not diminish our abilities to fellowship as brothers and sisters in Christ, or work together on common causes.

  49. @ Jed Paschall:

    “So, for example while I do believe I have a spiritual responsibility to be a leader in my home, I cannot think of a single instance in 9 years of marriage where I have asked or demanded my wife submit to me or a direction I felt God was leading our family. I am more in favor of a consensus model, mutual submission, and shared authority.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    Hi, Jed. You are a kind commenter. Honest questions:

    To me, your statements above typify comp-speak: statements that are carefully crafted to maintain stature with one’s comp peers while not sounding too obnoxious. The result is…. it means absolutely nothing.

    Do you see yourself as the leader of your home, in a way your wife is not? If so, why didn’t you say “I do believe I have a spiritual responsibility to be THE leader in my home”? is it because of how it sounded?

    What does it mean to be “in favor of a consensus model, mutual submission, and shared authority”? Aren’t these things cancelled out by any leverage you’ve assumed in your relationship with your wife?

    Jed, I can’t help but feel what you really mean is that you affirm these concepts as good, but still retain the trump card of the last word in your back pocket. And that way, you can say that you are “in favor” of these things, but still reserve the right not to practice them at your discretion.

    And so, I wonder if you are being 100% honest with yourself & others (as I wonder about all comps).

  50. @ elastigirl:

    You have asked some tough, but fair questions, I will try to answer them as candidly as possible. My answers won’t be in sequence, but hopefully they will clarify my position, even if we don’t ultimately agree on the issues.

    Do you see yourself as the leader of your home, in a way your wife is not? If so, why didn’t you say “I do believe I have a spiritual responsibility to be THE leader in my home”? is it because of how it sounded?

    To cut to the chase on this, I do not ask or require my wife to “submit” to my decision making as if I have final say on all matters. In Ephesians 5, before Paul calls on wives to submit to their husbands, and for husbands to lay down their lives, he calls Christians to mutually submit to one another, which I think is the controlling concept, echoed in Philippians 2 where we are called to not act in our interests but in the interest of others following Christ’s example. I think these passages mean I bear ultimate responsibility before God for seeking the spiritual well being for my family, and in this sense I am called to lead. If I act in my own interests, in a way that is sinful or damaging to this end, my wife is duty bound to obey God and not submit to me. However, as I act in accord with Scripture, she should respect and support me in this. I am very careful to demarcate this as what is in the spiritual interests of my family and marriage.

    Here’s three examples from our marriage. The first demonstrating how I have in the past shown spiritual leadership, and the second two show how I as a Christian have acted in submission and sacrifice for my wife and family:

    !) When we moved to a new area 5 years ago, we had to find a new church. I spent many months researching churches in our area, and found a small Presbyterian church (PCA) that seemed like the best fit for our family. It was not like other churches we had attended in the past (one Presbyterian, and one Evangelical Free). After we had moved, we attended for about a month, she asked me how I felt about the church. I let her know that I felt that this was indeed the place that God was leading us, and that it was a place where we could grow as a family. I asked her how she felt about it, and she said she was not used to the liturgy and formal worship, and that she was unsure about being in such a small church. She didn’t feel any particular leading to other churches in the area, but felt that this little Presbyterian church would take quite a bit of getting used to. I asked her to trust that God was leading us there, and that if she felt at any point that this would not be a good church for us we could re-assess from there. We never left, and over the past 5 years our kids have been baptized there, and she and I have grown tremendously in our faith, and have found a community of friends and fellow believers that continually enrich our lives. She could have objected at any time, and I would have honored this, but she trusted that God was leading me, and as a result we have flourished in our church.

    2) My wife is a successful speech-therapist, and worked hard to get where she is in her career. She has done adjunct professor work after completing her masters, as well as practiced primarily in elementary special education. When we got married I was doing well in my family construction business. Our plan was to have kids, I would work to take over my family business, and while we raised the kids she would stay at home and possibly take part-time contract work to keep up in her field. God had other plans, shortly after she became pregnant with our oldest, the economy failed (2007-08), my family business went under, and my career was in disarray. When my son was born shortly thereafter, we discovered he had a very serious heart defect which would require an open-heart surgery before he was 6mo old, and that he would need ongoing medical care thereafter as a result. Since my wife worked in public education, and had amazing health benefits, we decided she would continue to work full-time as the breadwinner, since her position was more stable while I stayed at home and went back to school to re-train for another career. While it was profoundly difficult for me to feel like I was not providing financially for my family, we both decided together that the stable pay and benefits from her job were what our family needed. I could have (in typical complimentarian fashion) demanded that she let go of her career and stay at home so that my ego wouldn’t be bruised by being a stay at home dad and pursue a couple of start-up business opportunities before me so I could be the bread-winner. But, I knew that God was asking me to submit to a different path that would afford my family the stability we needed a) for my son’s health concerns, and b)my wife was uniquely skilled to provide the financial stability for our family that I could not at the time. Much to the chagrin of complimentarians I know (including my own father) I have stayed at home for 7 years now raising our children, working part time at night and attending school. It was always a source of great pain for me to hear complimentarian leaders decry men who stayed at home with their kids or do not “provide” for their families. Yet, being at home with my 2 sons and daughter has been a source of great joy and blessing, in spite of my own career insecurities. I will graduate with my bachelors this spring, and likely move toward a full time career in the coming couple of years, but I wouldn’t trade these years at home with my kiddos for all the career fulfillment and accolades in the world.

    3) It was my dream to move on from my undergrad to attend seminary, and then from there to go on to pursue a doctorate and to teach Old Testament and Ancient Near East History. Until last summer, this was my wife and my plan. However, as she began to look at the cost of education, coupled with the fact that I wouldn’t have any significant income for 4-5 more years, and the fact that academic jobs in my field of interest are hard to come by, she began to have misgivings about us moving in this direction. Over the course of several months we talked about these concerns, and she asked if I might enjoy teaching at the high school level and possibly coaching wrestling (one of my other passions). This would entail less cost in continuing education, less time, and since we would both be in education, it would afford us both the same schedule (free evenings, weekends, holidays and summers), and would be less of an overall risk for our family. At first I struggled deeply with her concerns, since it entailed letting go of a dream I have held for a long time. As we prayed through this prospect, and discussed it, I felt more and more in my own heart that God was leading through my wife, and that the risk of pursuing my dream could represent real cost to my kids and to her financially and the time I would have to spend with them while I pursued higher education. Eventually, we came to the decision together through prayers, tears, and long, hard discssions that I would not go after my PhD, but pursue teaching high school. In a very real sense I submitted to her, and the wisdom God gave her, because as we sought him, it became clear that this was the better path. Since then, I have really warmed up to the idea of being a HS teacher and coach, as it will give me the opportunity to invest in young peoples lives, and it will enable me to have a good deal of time to invest in my family.

    To me this paints a picture that is quite different that what complimentarians paint as how the Christian home is to be run. At times she has sacrificed and submitted to where I felt God’s leading; however I have done the same. We did this through prayerful consensus building, as opposed to me asking her to submit to me because I am the “man of the house” and as such should determine our directions, spiritual, family, career, or otherwise.

    Jed, I can’t help but feel what you really mean is that you affirm these concepts as good, but still retain the trump card of the last word in your back pocket. And that way, you can say that you are “in favor” of these things, but still reserve the right not to practice them at your discretion.

    And so, I wonder if you are being 100% honest with yourself & others (as I wonder about all comps).

    Do these examples show you otherwise? From what I have shared to you think I am being dishonest in any way? I am certainly open to criticism if it is constructive as I seek to do right by my wife and children, and to serve God with a clear conscience.

    You TWWers ask some tough questions, I’ll give you that! I can go more into the theological ways where I differ from complimentarians in a later comment, but suffice to say, there are some profound ways where I would depart from their views on Scripture, even if we might agree on one aspect of church leadership.

  51. Jed Paschall wrote:

    For me as a Reformed Christian, all matters of church life and ministry (e.g. what happens on Sunday) falls under what we Reformed call the Regulative Principle – which basically states that whatever we do in church has to have an affirmative warrant in scripture. This is a subset of the Reformed doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

    Which is based on a faulty interpretation, sadly.

  52. @ Jed Paschall:
    That is the problem with comp interpretation….often ‘needs must’ in real life which only leaves couples with the need to explain something that does not exist.

  53. Gram3 wrote:

    I think Ken was being a punster and referring to the Yale brand of door hardware

    You have unlocked the correct interpretation!

  54. Ken wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:

    I think Ken was being a punster and referring to the Yale brand of door hardware

    You have unlocked the correct interpretation!

    Well duh!!! I was way off.

  55. Jed, You say “Practically, I would hope this might mean allowing our ministers to commune sick, and infirm members who are too frail to attend weekly worship privately, which has been the practice of the church since the beginning.”
    Why is this so tentative? Isn’t this an obvious responsibility of the church in caring for its members? Tell me, in your experience, do OPC or URC pastors and elders currently do this anywhere in the U.S. (You seem to make much of regional problems).

  56. Ken wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    I think Ken was being a punster and referring to the Yale brand of door hardware
    You have unlocked the correct interpretation!

    Finally you have seen the light! 🙂

  57. lydia wrote:

    Which is based on a faulty interpretation, sadly.

    Sorry Lydia, we are simply going to have to disagree here. This is the position of Reformed churches, and has been for 500 years. The Reformed church certainly isn’t for everyone, nor do I claim we are the only expression of Christ’s church. I trust you worship in a place that suits your conscience, and that God blesses you in that.

  58. lydia wrote:

    He was in violation of the 1 Tim scriptural mandate according to your interpretation.

    No, he was not. And, this is not “my” interpretation. It is the position of many confesssional Reformed churches worldwide. If a man lacks a wife, he is still held to the other requirements of elder. If he has one, he must also demonstrate his competence and care as a husband (and father).

  59. @ lydia:

    I am not a complimentarian, I simply uphold that the office of elder is for men only. There are many areas where I depart from complimentarianism, especially in the home and in all matters outside church governance. If you insist on pinning the label on me, that’s fine, but it would be a misunderstanding of my views.

  60. @ Jed Paschall:

    Thank you, Jed. That was a very helpful description of many things, and I hope you don’t feel attacked by hard questions. You may be surprised to find what a ministry you can have to high school boys and girls as a teacher and a coach and a Christian.

  61. @ Jed Paschall:
    Just an aside: the word is “complementarian”. And for Lydia, “the husband of one wife” probably means not a polygamist. At least that’s how it is interpreted on Reformed mission fields. A man with more than one wife is not qualified as an elder or minister. And, finally, what battles are worth dying for? I grew up in a church in Massachusetts with a woman pastor and she certainly didn’t scar me for life. She didn’t assume the office to defy God. Her belief system included women pastors. She was a graduate of Gordon Divinity School (now Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary).

  62. Jed Paschall wrote:

    The way Reformed church elders have historically used the keys is in recognizing a credible profession of faith – i.e. has the individual placed his faith in Jesus and made this profession public. Unlike those in other evangelical traditions, Reformed churches, including the OPC, or my denomination the PCA, does not assume that every member in their congregation who has made a profession of faith and therefore is part of the visible church, is necessarily part of the invisible or universal (or small c catholic) church or by extension has had their names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life

    Sometimes I get a might irritable when folks make assumptions of evangelical churches which are not Reformed. I have been blessed to have been a member of a number of such churches which are intellectually rigorous, Biblically thoughtful and community oriented. Those churches include Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, Park Street Church and Chapel Hill Bible Church which was not Reformed until 2 years ago.

    In all of those churches, no assumption was made on the salvation of ALL members. It was assumed that some were not. Thoughtful evangelical churches of all traditions understand the difference between an outward profession and a true conversion.

    I have also watched Reformed churches which have made judgements on the outward professions of faith by Christians which they have deemed not credible because the person doesn’t buy all articles of their membership covenant or the words preached by the pastor.

    I have also watched Reformed big dogs give platforms to other Reformed pastors whose lives have clearly demonstrated a disregard for the welfare of those under their watch.Take Mark Driscoll as an example. Those same big dogs have made negative *keys* judgements on others and endorsed men like him who clearly exhibited serious problems.

    If the church truly has the *keys* to make sound judgements, then I would have to say that there has been a massive failure both now and in the past. Needless to say, I am not a proponent of the *keys of authority* as it is being lived out in many churches.

  63. Jed Paschall wrote:

    I simply uphold that the office of elder is for men only

    I have often said that complementarianism (besides being a pain in the neck to spell) has a serious problem. If one takes all of the words spoken by those who claim to be the ones defining it, one comes to the conclusion that the only thing complementarians agree on is that the elder/pastor role is for men only and the man get the tie breaking vote at home.

  64. @ Jed Paschall:
    Thank you for sharing that you stayed at home with your kids. I have been frustrated by Reformed leaders who say that such a solution is not Scriptural. I know a number of men who have done so and have had great marriages.

  65. @ Victorious:
    I definitely do not support the tie breaking vote stuff. A good marriage will find a way to work around the objections. I agree with Wade on this.

  66. Godith wrote:

    Just an aside: the word is “complementarian”. And for Lydia, “the husband of one wife” probably means not a polygamist. At least that’s how it is interpreted on Reformed mission fields.

    Yes I think that was the meaning but I must interpret the Greek ’tis’ as meaning ‘anyone’ therefore when the passage is interpreted as meaning only men then let’s take that interpretation to its logical conclusion and say only men who are married to one wife. No single men allowed. Yes I know it makes no sense which my point. there is a reason these things were focused on in Ephesus the way they were. the poor Philippians had no idea. :o)

    Jed is very imtems

  67. Sorry…iPad sent before I was finished. Jed is intense on dotting all the theological points of his tradition. I think what is scaring me is his comments sound a lot like the young restless and reformed guys in the SBC. a lot of them have wives to work and put them through seminary and I hear a lot of the same things. Yet the women are not really free to function in their giftings in the body of Christ.

  68. Gram3 wrote:

    Finally you have seen the light!

    Oi, I’ve just realised what you are getting at! 🙂

    Do you think this subject (if I may use this word without misunderstanding), which has raised its head (if I may use a term like that) again is becoming the new predestination versus freewill?

  69. dee wrote:

    one comes to the conclusion that the only thing complementarians agree on is that the elder/pastor role is for men only and the man get the tie breaking vote at home.

    This is so true! Other than those two things they are all over the board. Some are more egalitarian in every day application in marriage like Jed, while others are patriarchal in every thing.

  70. lydia wrote:

    Yes I think that was the meaning but I must interpret the Greek ’tis’ as meaning ‘anyone’ therefore when the passage is interpreted as meaning only men then let’s take that interpretation to its logical conclusion and say only men who are married to one wife. No single men allowed.

    There ARE a lot of churches who DO interpret it that way.
    “No Single Men Allowed.”

  71. dee wrote:

    the man get the tie breaking vote at home.

    As if marriage were a democracy, albeit lopsided? Marriage isn’t anything like a democracy. The Bible says the woman and man become one, and that means they act together. There’s no tie-breaking vote because there is no vote taken in the first place. It’s abut working together at all times, mutually submitting to one another at all times, and going through life together at all times.

    Why is it so hard for the men-get-the-deciding-vote people to see this is what the Bible really teaches? Because they are more interested in power structures than in Jesus.

  72. @ Godith:

    I have no problem with this at all. While we are discussing gender issues in the church here, it is closer to the bottom of matters that I deem important. Disagreement should never entail a breach of fellowship IMO. For example, if I had to choose between a hard-line complimentarian church, and a biblically sound church where a woman was the pastor, I’d choose the later every day. While it would not represent an ideal scenario for me, I would submit to her leadership. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with women elders, it is not a make or break issue for me. Nor do I think that women who become pastors do so in rebellion to God.

  73. About OPC pastors “holding the keys”:

    What’s their opinion on the Argentine guy in the Vatican (also a chief pastor of a major church) who also claims the keys through Apostolic Succession from Peter?

  74. Jed Paschall wrote:

    While it would not represent an ideal scenario for me, I would submit to her leadership

    What does “submit to her leadership” mean to you?

    I find “submitting to her/his leadership” such a very loaded (by presumptions) yet undefined (practically speaking) term that I loath the term. Where in scripture are we told to submit to a leadership other than to Christ? Who has been given all authority? I see all relationships more as mutual love and respect for one another (including the usually referenced Eph. 5).

  75. Tim wrote:

    dee wrote:
    the man get the tie breaking vote at home.
    As if marriage were a democracy, albeit lopsided? Marriage isn’t anything like a democracy. The Bible says the woman and man become one, and that means they act together. There’s no tie-breaking vote because there is no vote taken in the first place. It’s abut working together at all times, mutually submitting to one another at all times, and going through life together at all times.
    Why is it so hard for the men-get-the-deciding-vote people to see this is what the Bible really teaches? Because they are more interested in power structures than in Jesus.

    Absolutely….

  76. @ Jed Paschall:

    “If I act in my own interests, in a way that is sinful or damaging to this end, my wife is duty bound to obey God and not submit to me. However, as I act in accord with Scripture, she should respect and support me in this. I am very careful to demarcate this as what is in the spiritual interests of my family and marriage.”
    +++++++++++++++

    Thanks for the totally sincere reply. There’s lots for me to interact with here! (what fun) (if time permits)

    on this one, “sinful” & “in accord with scripture” are about as concrete as looking for images in clouds. People see different things. And they generally change their minds over time on what these things are and mean. (even systematic theologians)

    i’m glad this works for your relationship — but it isn’t as solid as it seems. Your premise destroys lives. Anyone can justify a number of destructive things by labling them ‘not sin’, or ‘it’s a sin if I don’t’, or ‘it’s scriptural’ / ‘not scriptural’.

    “However, as I act in accord with Scripture, she should respect and support me in this.” This is frightening. “Scripture” is like silly putty — it can be formed and re-formed. Molded into whatever a person wants it to be — slap christianese language on it, & with a deft touch a person can sell any number of destructive ideas and others will feel duty-bound to go along with it.

  77. __

    “The Narrow Way?”

    hmmm…

    As you know, Calvin’s Institutes is an exposition and an expansion of the Apostles creed. 

    It was later used to defne what was understood as true religion,

    It was later used to define state religion and state politics,

    It was later used to define state law,

    It was later used to justify a death sentence to those who did not comply,

    What?

    One totalitarian system replacing another only to pursue the same religious tyranny,

    Animal Farm.

    (sadface)

    To say we know God, and say we understand His word, yet to concentrate primarily upon His sovereignty, is shear folly.

    In John Calvin’s religious system, God’s many attributes are sacraficed to his sovereignty, – this is quite evident, creating a gross imbalance in our understanding of God, thus becomes fleshed out in our common protestant practice of ‘true religion’.

    I don’t think we have it all figured out yet, we’re not perfect, but we’re on the right path?

    (grin)

    hahahahahaha

    Sopy

  78. Whoa. I hold no brief for Calvinism, but the OP lady’s misconceptions re Catholicism and ignorance of Church History are disturbing to say the least. Several of her comments strike me as classic Anti-Catholic bigotry. Forgive my saying so, but such bigotry is deeply ingrained in American Protestantism, especially here in the South.

    May I make a modest suggestion I’ve made before? Please, if you haven’t already done so, read the Early Church Fathers, including the Apostolic Fathers, who knew the apostles personally. If what you find there is remotely relatable to either the Magisterial or the Radical Reformation, I’ll eat my missalette.

    I am not here to push Catholicism down anyone’s throat. But by the same token, I do not find misrepresentations of my own Faith particularly pleasant or palatable.

  79. Hahaha. You said it so much better than I could. 😉

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    About OPC pastors “holding the keys”:

    What’s their opinion on the Argentine guy in the Vatican (also a chief pastor of a major church) who also claims the keys through Apostolic Succession from Peter?

  80. Sopwith wrote:

    In John Calvin’s religious system, God’s many attributes are sacraficed to his sovereignty, – this is quite evident, creating a gross imbalance in our understanding of God, thus becomes fleshed out in our common protestant practice of ‘true religion’.

    Have you read the Institutes? I would contend that Divine Sovereignty plays significantly in the Institutes, but it is not the controlling in Calvin as is often presumed. Part of this is owed to those who claim to be “5-Point Calvinists” following the acronym “TULIP”. These 5 points obviously emphasize Divine sovereignty, but they obscure more than they clarify what Calvin taught, or what constitutes Calvinism. The TULIP acronym and the attendent 5-points did not appear on the theological scene until the late 1800’s, over 300 years after Calvin died.

  81. Ken wrote:

    Do you think this subject (if I may use this word without misunderstanding), which has raised its head (if I may use a term like that) again is becoming the new predestination versus freewill?

    Sure, let’s open another barrel of worms!

    You still owe me an answer to a question: Do you provide for and sacrifice for and feel responsibility toward your wife because you are designated (by God somewhere?) as her “head” or because you love her? I’m guessing you would do the same things you do for her if the “headship” teaching had never been invented. Because you love her!

  82. elastigirl wrote:

    This is frightening. “Scripture” is like silly putty — it can be formed and re-formed. Molded into whatever a person wants it to be — slap christianese language on it, & with a deft touch a person can sell any number of destructive ideas and others will feel duty-bound to go along with it.

    Sometime it might be fun to list all the gazillion things scripture doesn’t mention about a marital relationship and who does what. 🙂

  83. Tim wrote:

    mutually submitting to one another at all times, and going through life together at all times.

    Thank you for saying this. So many in the NeoCalvinist tribe do not believe this. They believe that mutual submission is trumped by the hierarchy.

  84. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    What’s their opinion on the Argentine guy in the Vatican (also a chief pastor of a major church) who also claims the keys through Apostolic Succession from Peter?

    It is interesting. My understand is the the Reformed tradition says the keys belong to the church, not to the Pope. Then, they proceed to make each local church have a mini-pope who, with his boys, hold the keys.

  85. Catholic Homeschooler wrote:

    I do not find misrepresentations of my own Faith particularly pleasant or palatable.

    So far in this particular conversation I have heard misrepresentations of catholicism and of evangelicalism, both of which have been done by protestants. I do think this is anti-ism of various kinds, but why anybody would not want to be as accurate as possible in their statements is beyond me.

  86. @ Catholic Homeschooler:
    I am so glad that you comment here and help us to see things through the lens of a faithful Catholic adherent. Please continue to let us know when we say things that appear bigoted or silly to those within Catholicism. I can assure you that many here do not understand how this sounds because we are so used to talking within our own circles.

  87. Catholic Homeschooler wrote:

    Hahaha. You said it so much better than I could.
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    About OPC pastors “holding the keys”:
    What’s their opinion on the Argentine guy in the Vatican (also a chief pastor of a major church) who also claims the keys through Apostolic Succession from Peter?

    And some of us who are particularly cranky think that the Keys to the Kingdom is the Gospel which was entrusted by Jesus to his disciples, starting with the Twelve. The Gospel is what opens the Door to the Kingdom, and Jesus is the Door. It’s not about human power and authority at all.

    I don’t mean that to be anti-Catholic or anti-9Marks or anti-the author of the post, but just to offer a “biblicist” view of the Keys.

    I’ve been “keyed” out of the church, so I’m a little ticky about this particular issue.

  88. Gram3 wrote:

    I’ve been “keyed” out of the church,

    I should have said “a local church” rather than *the* church. Yikes!

  89. Jed Paschall wrote:

    Have you read the Institutes?

    I have read quite a bit of the Institutes. I had a hard time doing so. I have to admit that I felt a sense of controlling authority that seemed more controlling than freeing. The YRR crowd had not yet come into existence when I started reading them so I had very little concern about such matters.

    I decided to read them after I met a true blue Calvinist in my church in Texas. I do not remember how the conversation started but here is where it ended up. I said to him “Surely you don’t believe that God sends infants to hell.” He said “If they are not one of His elect, they will go to hell.”

    I quickly bowed out of the conversation because I knew I would get irritable with him. But, it caused me to do some reading.

  90. Gram3 wrote:

    I’ve been “keyed” out of the church, so I’m a little ticky about this particular issue.

    You may have been keyed out of one local church but you are a member of EChurch at Wartburg. For a small love offering, we will send you a certificate of Member in Good Standing. For a moderate love offering, we will even make you a member of the Board of Elders.

  91. Nancy wrote:

    But what was going on at the time that made Calvinism catch on? It seems so far out and so bizarre and unappealing and so excessive, but yet it caught on and is still with us. What is the appeal of religion like this, either then or now?

    Permit me my Indian-head-penny’s-worth here: I think the appeal is the very human desire for a kind of certainty beyond the roulette wheel of real life. In my own opinion, and in a broad an general sense, Western Christianity (in all its variants) provides that certainty, a certainty of ‘heaven’ if you believe without question such-and-such and don’t stray too far from the approved path.
    In Calvin’s time when life was “…short and brutish…*” the appeal was even stronger as a opposed to the present day, in which solace from the vicissitudes of life is only a tile away on your ‘smart device’.

    *From the writings of Thomas Hobbes

  92. dee wrote:

    For a small love offering, we will send you a certificate of Member in Good Standing. For a moderate love offering, we will even make you a member of the Board of Elders.

    🙂 I probably need to read the full fee schedule and membership covenant…

  93.   __

    “Perpetual Idol Factory?”

    Jed,

    hey,

    hmmm…

    Go fish.

    The disparity between what John Calvin wrote in his Institutes and what later theologians did with it is quite Interesting, n’est-ce pas?

    A dog barks when his master is attacked; you would be a coward if you saw that his truth is attacked and yet remain’d silent?!?

    -snicker-

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    Comic relief: “Religious Blog Writer?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEfOOVO7Qts

    🙂

  94. Gram3 wrote:

    I’ve been “keyed” out of the church, so I’m a little ticky about this particular issue.

    Or…You found the lock pick set and made your own set of keys… 🙂

  95. Gram3 wrote:

    I probably need to read the full fee schedule and membership covenant…

    Would you like me to do a cost/benefit analysis?

    I’ll get back to your other question, but need to disappear for a while. Though it tarry, it will come.

  96. dee wrote:

    I said to him “Surely you don’t believe that God sends infants to hell.” He said “If they are not one of His elect, they will go to hell.”

    Yikes! How did he claim to know that? God is just and merciful, and while it isn’t made clear in Scripture what happens (no verse that explicitly spells it out) to deceased babies, I tend to defer to God’s mercy here. For certain, there is no “official” Reformed doctrine on the matter. Who ultimately belongs to God is for God to answer, so I am inclined to trust him and believe his love extends to all little ones.

    Sometimes Calvinists do themselves no favors. Admittedly many of the things we believe are difficult, the great journalist HL Menken grouped Calvinism right up there with cannibalism in terms of detestable beliefs (ironically he was also a great admirer of J. Gresham Machen – his obit for Machen was a tear-jerker), but the way we sometimes represent and even mis-represent Reformed Christianity is less than helpful.

  97. I know there are a couple of other questions that have been posed to me, I’ll try to get to those this afternoon or evening… my wife and I have to have a long talk about her lack of submission to my dreams of becoming Batman 😉

  98. @ Doug:
    From my POV, if they want the keys to their kingdom, they are welcome to them. I’m in the only Kingdom that counts, but you have a good point in that I did find a way to pick the lock on their little kingdom they have created!

  99. Jed Paschall wrote:

    Yikes! How did he claim to know that?

    The only time I’ve heard this view is from an OPC Reconstructionist. That family’s belief is the functional equivalent of eternal justification, IMO. What was worse was that they were referring to one of their own children who had died. I wouldn’t want to ascribe that view to all in the OPC, but I do think it illustrates the danger of over-emphasizing one doctrine, in this case double-predestination, which is developed from one interpretation of the relevant scriptures. The almost inevitable conclusion to that exercise is gross error as we take an error or misunderstanding to its logical conclusion.

  100. Regarding the issue with “submission”, I do agree that it is a loaded term that has some subtle, and, not so subtle, abuses that can manifest themselves. But ALL terms can be misused and abused by those who seek to live with self as the final arbiter of truth.

    For instance, take the recent TJ scandal. One could argue that LOVE is the highest calling, and TJ was simply following his heart and giving physical expression to LOVE….what ever could be wrong about that?

    Obviously there would be so many holes in that sort of argumentation. Yet, this “loaded” term of love is used in a variety of ways to justify horribly self-centered actions. While from the outside we might perhaps all say that who in the world would accept such a defense….yet..only in my mid-thirties and I know of 4 different peers who used that EXACT line of reasoning when they abandoned their spouses.

    Similar to LOVE, SUBMISSION has an important and truthful Biblical context that should drive the interpretation and implementation of the term.

    It really isn’t that hard to rightly discern what is and is not appropriate and acceptable in scripture for the lives of God’s people. To give an incomplete generalization of it in practice…

    As a member of my church I “submit” to the leadership in all areas that are not explicitly instructed by Scripture. Meaning, if I don’t agree with a song “style” my biblical responsibility is to trust the leadership of the church. Whether we play an organ or a guitar is not important. —-but as a caveat, I also think it is acceptable to say, I respect the direction of the churches leadership, but I really am put off by this style, so I will respectfully bow out and fellowship at a church more closely aligned with my “wiring”—–

    Now, if the church leadership is instructing something sinful, or acting in direct contradiction to scripture, I am not under an obligation to submit, but instead to speak out against it. (The MH controversy of the last year is a great example of this happening….and the blanket term of submission being used sinfully)

    So much of what people argue about in the church(in my experience) are non-essentials that are simply personal preferences dressed up with spiritual language. Where the serious problems often come from are when loud groups in the church decide that something petty is now a non-negotiable. We recently had a gentleman storm out of the church because the board didn’t approve his plan to spend over 30k on something that we could do for 10k. The equipment was inconsequential in the big picture, but he was offended that his “expert” opinion wasn’t given the honor he felt it deserved…..though he didn’t offer to cover the cost difference….

    While that might be a silly little story, I run into stuff like that all the time. People are simply overly antagonistic to Church leadership. No church leadership team is ever perfect, but so many problems could be solved if people simply said, “Ehh, not sure if I agree, but they disagreed with my point of view, so, that’s ok”

  101. @ Jed Paschall:
    According to the Canons of Dordt, etc. only the elect go to heaven; the only ones in hell are the non-elect. Dee said the person answered “if they are not one of His elect, they will go to hell”. He didn’t say that they weren’t elect, so his answer is in accord with all Calvinist thinking. I am surprised you are surprised.Clarification? (When you have time.)

  102. Sopwith wrote:

    In John Calvin’s religious system, God’s many attributes are sacraficed to his sovereignty, – this is quite evident, creating a gross imbalance in our understanding of God, thus becomes fleshed out in our common protestant practice of ‘true religion’.

    Sovereignty and Omnipotence.
    Just like Mohammed.
    Wasn’t there some online essay (First Things, maybe?) who described Calvin as “Islamizing the Reformation”?

  103. @ Jed Paschall:
    @ Godith:

    I have been holding onto a post that was written by Tim Challies on the salvation of his children. Unless something major comes up, I think I might focus on that tomorrow. It would fit perfectly with this discussion.

  104. Muff Potter wrote:

    Permit me my Indian-head-penny’s-worth here: I think the appeal is the very human desire for a kind of certainty beyond the roulette wheel of real life. In my own opinion, and in a broad an general sense, Western Christianity (in all its variants) provides that certainty, a certainty of ‘heaven’ if you believe without question such-and-such and don’t stray too far from the approved path.

    Some months ago, I suggested that the reason the “More Calvinist than Calvin” types are so into Perfectly Parsing Theology is they’re trying to PROVE to themselves that they ARE one of the Elect. “Ye Shall Know the Elect by their Perfectly Parsed, Utterly Correct Theology”?

    During the aftermath of the Reformation Wars, one of the PROOFs you were REALLY Elect was that you were rich and everything broke your way. This led (starting with the Puritans) to the Protestant Work Ethic and eventually (outside of Calvinism) to the Name-It-and-Claim-It Prosperity Gospel.

  105. Jed Paschall wrote:

    Yikes! How did he claim to know that?

    There’s always some guy who thinks God has him on speed-dial and who KNOWS the mind of God better than God.

    “Gnostic” is Koine Greek for “He Who KNOWS Things”.

  106. dee wrote:

    My understand is the the Reformed tradition says the keys belong to the church, not to the Pope. Then, they proceed to make each local church have a mini-pope who, with his boys, hold the keys.

    And it turns into kids in the schoolyard fighting over a set of keys and channeling Daffy Duck on the side.
    “MINE!”
    “NO, MINE!”
    “NO, MINE!”
    “NO, MINE!”
    “NO, MINE!”

  107. @ dee:
    Challies was the first blog I read way back in 2006 or 7 where commenters proclaimed that when God throws babies into hell He is glorified. It freaked me out.

  108. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “Ye Shall Know the Elect by their Perfectly Parsed, Utterly Correct Theology”?

    I am thinking that if you reject free will and reject anything that looks like or can be labeled ‘works ‘and reject any church authority based on apostolic succession including the sacrament of baptism how else would you confront your own anxieties about eternal alienation from God? And if you think that your god may have pre-ordained you for damnation and that you have no way to know if that applies to you, who could live with that? All that leaves is salvation by doctrinal accuracy. However,why someone would not think that such salvation by doctrine looks like just a variation of salvation by works–somebody else will have to process that. It looks like never ending works which are not satisfying or comforting or giving any peace, which would lead to ever increasing rigidity of thinking.

    But I could be wrong. It has happened a few thousand times. I am just saying that this is how I would think/feel in similar circumstances.

  109. @ lydia: No the doctrine can mean that all babies dying if infancy are elect. It doesn’t say one way or the other. Just if they go to heaven they are elect. Very possibly an infant death or abortion is an instant trip to heaven for the little one.

  110. Godith wrote:

    Very possibly an infant death or abortion is an instant trip to heaven for the little one.

    In what circumstance would an aborted child not be in heaven? If they had it coming?

  111. @ Godith:
    So where does infant baptism fit in? Wasnt it originally the anecdote to Augustines imputed guilt of original sin. That changed over time to other traditions.

  112. lydia wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    I have been ‘keyed’ out too and agree with your definition.

    I suspect but cannot prove that the notion of the keys being owned by humans or human institutions (visible churches) is an artifact of culture. The traditional interpretations arose within a cultural context of absolute-ruler kings and those traditions have not been revisited since absolute-ruler kings have been shown to be merely cultural and not a divine imperative.

    The idea that the keys might be held by or given to any and all who believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ would just not seem plausible to those who have only ever known being ruled by a human king. Those culturally-derived presuppositions have not been examined and critically compared to the actual textual evidence. It is a failure to imagine the possibility of a kingdom which is not visible to humans nor ruled by humans.

    I have similar suspicion regarding the gender question as well.

  113. lydia wrote:

    @ Godith:
    So where does infant baptism fit in? Wasnt it originally the anecdote to Augustines imputed guilt of original sin. That changed over time to other traditions.

    Augustine’s view of infant baptism got complicated by the reformation and the doctrine of sola fide. IIRC it was Zwingli who taught that infant baptism was to be applied to the infant as a sign of the New Covenant or at least moved the discussion in that direction. I believe the Lutheran view is different still, and maybe Numo can help with that.

  114. Godith wrote:

    @ lydia: No the doctrine can mean that all babies dying if infancy are elect. It doesn’t say one way or the other. Just if they go to heaven they are elect. Very possibly an infant death or abortion is an instant trip to heaven for the little one.

    That is the view taught at SBTS, for example, to account for the doctrine of election and also the death of infants who have imputed guilt. The issue gets a little tricky, obviously, and I’ll have to check Grudem to be absolutely sure what to believe about it. 😉

  115. @ Gram3:
    Oh absolutely. I always thought it strange those traditional concepts stayed alive in America.

    I kind of grew up with the ‘no king but Jesus’ attitude along with soul competency and priesthood of beliver drilled into our heads so it was a shock when I first discovered things like ruling elders and humans who held the keys to the kingdom as a teen.

  116.   __

    “Impressions Of The Deity?”

    hmmm…

    John Calvin beleved that God did not want us to be ‘mistaken’ about what we saw in creation,

    OK.

    He also believed that God gave the light of HIs word in order that He might make Himself known unto salvation, showing us ‘the true God’ clearly,

    OK.

    Then he tells us this cock & bull story about Man having no choice (fatalism) and presenting us with a picture of a fixed preset divine unalterable selection process; John Calvn presumabably metering out the precious blood of Christ, and redefining what Jesus meant by : “God so loved the world…”

    How kind.

    Then he has the gall to say we have ‘forgotten’ God?

    -snicker-

    Get this, then he tops this all off by saying we are inherently susceptible to devising new and fictitious religions…

    …calling the kettle black, perhaps, John?

    How touching?

    (grin)

    hahahahahaha

    Sopy
    __
    Comic relief: “Here’s To You John Calvin?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE1dz6_u2JI

    🙂

  117. Gram3 wrote:

    IIRC it was Zwingli who taught that infant baptism was to be applied to the infant as a sign of the New Covenant or at least moved the discussion in that direction. I

    That is what I understood finally resulted from his dispute with his students like Felix Manz. Of course they were drowned for believers baptism.

  118. I have consulted WayneGrudemGoWayneGrudem’s ST, pages 500-501 for the Reformed Baptist view. In short, it is not unreasonable to expect that the infants of believers will be saved since that is how God normally acts (in Grudem’s view.) The fate of the infants of unbelievers who die is left in the hands of God and his mercy and justice. Obviously the idea of a “covenant child” is inherent in that view which would probably not be shared by non-covenantal Baptists.

    Now off to check Nancy’s link.

  119. lydia wrote:

    That is what I understood finally resulted from his dispute with his students like Felix Manz. Of course they were drowned for believers baptism.

    Zwingli had a real problem on his hands because he had a practice–infant baptism–which only had a rationale that the reformers rejected. Plus baptism had political implications, too. So, what do you tell parents who have been taught that infant baptism washes away original sin, and what do you tell the magistrates who were depending on knowing who’s who in the wars among the cantons? Yet another legacy of the church-state fusion.

  120. @ Gram3:
    I don’t think “washes away original sin” has ever bern the rationale, though i could well be wrong. The view of baptidm as a sacrament – not as something ththat we do as a profession of faith but thst God does something in us through baptism – is part of the confusion here, i think.

  121. dee wrote:

    I do not remember how the conversation started but here is where it ended up. I said to him “Surely you don’t believe that God sends infants to hell.” He said “If they are not one of His elect, they will go to hell.”

    It’s just plain wrong to hurt a baby and there is no ‘holy god’ or ‘holy book’ that will ever make it right (small ‘g’ and small ‘h’ intentional).
    You did the right thing in disengaging from the convo. It is not possible to dialogue with an imbecile who will listen to the father of lies rather than his own moral compass and Jiminy Cricket within.

  122. I should have explicitly stated, also, the important point that the church existed before Augustine, though the OPC and the rest of the Reformed world is Augustinian to greater or lesser degrees. It appears that the practice of infant baptism predates Augustine, as well, and I would have to look up the rationale(s) for infant baptism before Augustine.

  123. @ numo:
    To which i can only add the suggedtion (which Nancy already mentioned) regarding checking out the cathechisms of various churvhes in order to understand varying beliefs about baptism (including, but not limited to, infant baptism).

    Am not suggesting thst anyone adhere to a specific set of beliefs, only that there are good sources for understanding those beliefs that are readily available on the internet.

  124. @ Gram3:
    It came about very early in the existence of the church, so I’ll second your choice re. looking into it. It certainly is not an invention of Augustine.

  125. dee wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    I’ve been “keyed” out of the church, so I’m a little ticky about this particular issue.
    You may have been keyed out of one local church but you are a member of EChurch at Wartburg. For a small love offering, we will send you a certificate of Member in Good Standing. For a moderate love offering, we will even make you a member of the Board of Elders.

    If we donate enough do we get a Doctor of Divinity degree?

  126. @ Nancy:

    I don’t really see any writing by Piper in that link. He just quotes the three perspectives. He doesn’t even proclaim how he views infant baptism.

  127. K.D. wrote:

    If we donate enough do we get a Doctor of Divinity degree?

    HONORARY Doctorate(TM), of course.

  128. numo wrote:

    It came about very early in the existence of the church, so I’ll second your choice re. looking into it. It certainly is not an invention of Augustine.

    I suspect it did arise very early in church history, and I think it was certainly reasonable for parents to want to have their babies baptized if they also believed that baptism confers benefits on the child. The question of the benefits of baptism is the real issue, I think.

  129. Gram3 wrote:

    The question of the benefits of baptism is the real issue, I think.

    …because the same issue arises even among credo-baptists, some of whom believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. It’s not just a paedo-credo thing.

  130. @ Gram3:
    It is about more than “benefits,” though. Which is pretty much why i was contradting baptism as a public profession of faith vs. other views (Orthodox, Rc, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian, and probably some others). Liturgical churches differ on some points re. baptism, but the general understanding of baptism as a sacrament is markedly different from that of those who do not view it as such.

  131. @ Gram3:
    I think it is more about sacramental views, as contrasted with other views, of baptism. The nuances of sacramental views vary, just as the nuances of nnon-sacramental views. I don’t suggest that any specific way is right/wrong, better/worse, though i personally view it as a sacrament.

  132. @ numo:

    Quite so. Now that the question has been brought up, however, I do think that it was honorable of him to go to original sources and refrain from commentary.

  133. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    I think it is more about sacramental views, as contrasted with other views, of baptism. The nuances of sacramental views vary, just as the nuances of nnon-sacramental views. I don’t suggest that any specific way is right/wrong, better/worse, though i personally view it as a sacrament.

    I agree with the sacramental/non-sacramental distinction. I was including sacramental benefits within the category of benefits which baptism either confers or does not confer. The issues are sufficiently complicated that a good measure of humility is in order.

  134. @ Muff Potter:
    The fact that questions like these even get posed – because it’s not clear – makes me want to run far far away. Why would anything like this be left unclear, or ‘hell for babies glorifies God’ be discussed by sane people?

  135. Something I noted from blog above is that a denomination or school of belief can be conservative Protestant and not be evangelistic. It can retend members, but not necessarily be obedient to the great commission. If election is preordained then what of human agency to be obedient to the Lord? How are the two reconciled in such a system? It may be in the

  136. Bible, but it may not be doctrinally sound to the whole of Scripture? Just some questions I have………..

  137. Also what of the Gordon Clark belief that God is the author of evil? This is something Clark wrote that has always bothered me. It definitely is consistent with taking free will out of the equation, but not what I understand of the nature of God…..

  138.   __

    …into your Marvelous Light!

    hmmm…

    hey Jed,

    The ‘God’ I serve gives me both ‘freedom of will’ and ‘the power of choice’. He secures His salvation by His faithful words…

    always has, always will…

    Imagine dat?

    Why do I need a dead theologian,  when I can have Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God?

    I lõõk unto the hills from wince my help comes from !

    yeah !

    “…those who ‘believe’ in Me shall not walk in darkness.” ~Jesus

    (smiley face goes here)

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    inpurational relief: Ellie Holcomb’s song: “Marvelous Light” 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-5axIcYFVA

    🙂

  139. @ Gram3:
    It is a vety complicated isdue, that’s for sure.

    And even though i believe that baptism is a sacrament, my undrrstanding of that is very different from that of others who believe the same – fwiw, i differ from those in my own denomination as well. My thought is that Lutherans (from various synods, not just the one i belong to) have spent far too much time coming up with all kinds of explanations as to why (iin general, why infants? and much more) that seems, to me, beside the point. Either God works through baptism -in ways that we only dimly comprehend – or he doesn’t. In general, i think we all love to fill in the blanks, but sometimes it’s best to admit that we really can’t. I think this is, for me, one of those times.

  140. Gram3 wrote:

    I suspect it did arise very early in church history,

    I read somewhere (who knows where) that early on infant baptism had some cultural/religious similarity to jewish infant circumcision in including the infant into the faith into which it was born, but that the idea of including female infants in baptism was uniquely christian. Have you read that or something like it? Sorry I don’t know where I got that.

  141. @ Gram3:
    I would suggest that any and all benefits are conferred by God, through the sacrament, but now I’m starting to split hairs myself… 😉

  142. @ Nancy:
    Some people believe that, but it is complicated and I’d suggest chasing down some sources. For myself, i don’t think it matters, though to most of yhe very early followers of Christ, it likely did, especially after the destruction of the temple, since infants could not be presented there any longer. Both Jews and Christian developed other ways of carrying that out, over time, though.

    But i also think that it is far too restricting to claim that as a primary reason.

  143. @ Nancy:
    Some Lutherans are big on this view, but I’m not one of them. That it is one of many posdible historical reasons or possible reasons, i don’t doubt, but to mske an absolute statement based on basically no historical evidence seems, at very least, unwise and an example of filling in the blanks to suit ourselves.

  144. @ Mark:
    In fairness to the OPC, I don’t think that a lack of evangelism *necessarily* follows from their belief WRT predestination. They are firm monergists, so they reject “revivalism” or “decisionism” or other synergistic thinking that they would characterize as man-centered rather than God-centered. There is a difference between high Calvinism like the OPC and hyper-Calvinism which *does* entail no evangelism. The OPC emphasizes nurturing covenant children in the faith, but I don’t think that means they are against evangelism.

    I did not know that about Clark. Interesting.

  145. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    I would suggest that any and all benefits are conferred by God, through the sacrament, but now I’m starting to split hairs myself…

    🙂

  146. @ Nancy:
    Maybe you have in mind the comparison between circumcision as sign of the Old Covenant and baptism as a sign (and seal) of the New Covenant? That is Reformed reasoning in contrast to the view of baptism in the RCC or Anglican/Methodist or Lutheran tradition where baptism has to do with original sin.

    I have read, but cannot recall, the reasoning for infant girls being included in baptism while circumcision was limited to boys.

  147.   __

    “Mud Slinging?”

    hmmm…

    Honorable & Distinguished  HUG,

    John Calvin polluted the stream he ‘washed’ in.

    My ‘water’ comes from a ‘pure’ source!

    JESUS, I love U !

    Father God, I adore You !

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    Inspirational relief: “Marvelous Light”  by Ellie Holcomb 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-5axIcYFVA

    🙂

    ^^^

  148. @ Gram3:
    Hee. And you certainly would, imo, be correct in thinking that baptism signified inclusion in society prior to the Reformation, but which is a benefit that’s more about social history/sociological study than anything else.

    A (rather odd) parallel that comes to mind is getting registered with Social Security. We take that for granted, and it’s a passport to (and requirement for) all kinds of things. The Amish don’t believe in that kind of involvement with the state, and Amish kids who want to leave face that – with all the possible benefits that hinge on it – as a formidibale hurdle to leaving. Some are unable to get documentation that proves date and place of birth in a way that the goverment requires for getting an SSA card.

    I think baptism functioned in similar ways in the past.

  149. @ Gram3:
    No, no, some Protestants (especially some Lutherans) go on and on about infant baptism as analagous to circumcision. The Lord alone knows why, because i sure don’t!

    Also, this biz of “washing away original sin” is also misleading and inaccurate. For the foregiveness of sin – yes. But the other thing? Not afaik, and not in my book, but then, i don’t believe in original sin per se.

  150. @ Gram3:
    I think there are Catholics and Orthodox who would take this position as well. From what i understand, many Orthodox prefer to baptize infants on the 8th day after their birth, though how many people observe such a strict requirement is another thing, since they do it by partial immersion.

  151. @ Gram3:
    As an aside,the US Lutherans who serm enthralled with that whole circumcision parallel are the LCMS. which is irony of a high order, since they left Germany when the Lutheran (state) church there admitted German Reformed churches, back in the 19th c. I don’t know more about the church controversies involved, though, since my synod was here (oor, more accurately, its precursor was here) from the late 1600s on. My family’s ancestors were all here by the mid-late 18th c. and thus blissfully unaware of infighting overseas. 😉

  152. Getting back to the NC OPC Trial again, Jed says that the verdict will be overturned. OK, but what must it have been like for those people to go through such an ordeal? I hope they are vindicated, but in the meantime maybe the OPCers in Raleigh ought to try Dee’s church. And not just try but transfer…if they can transfer freely. What’s weird is, how would anyone joining that OPC ever have known that a disabled woman staying home because of disability would end up with her husband on trial? If the mainstream media gets it the whole OPC could possibly be sued for not treating the disabled properly. The OPC is not like the Roman Catholic Church. The RC Church brings communion to its homebound!

  153. @ Beakerj:
    This tests what we think of God. A good friend of mine became an Anglican vicar of a church that had had 30 solid years of liberalism and absence of teaching the NT, and he said to me at the beginning he was constantly saying to people ‘God is not like that’.

    I think what happens to infants has to be left in the hands of God, and he will be absolutely fair and just – and merciful. This is the very essence of faith = trust in God’s character, goodness and mercy. He will do what’s right, but he hasn’t told us specifically any more than that.

    Whilst I still have a fair amount of sympathy remaining for reformed doctrine, worrying about ‘infants going to hell if they are not elect’ paints a picture of a God whom I don’t see reflected in the Jesus who took children in his arms and blessed them – and told the disciples off when they tried to prevent this.

    I suppose we need to avoid being sentimental on the one hand, and having a God who is so sovereign on the other that he is impossible to relate to, who is remote and detached, and offends our natural sense of justice.

  154. @ Ken:
    Worrying about where unbaptized infants go has a far longer history than this “eelect” thing does, actually…

  155. @ Ken:
    I am curious as to how your friend actually knows that God is/isn’t “like that.” Sounds like interpretative differences rather thsn certain knowledge, insofar as none of us can prove (iin the scientific sense) that what we believe is objectively true.

    Makes much more sense to me to stick with “this is what/how the Anglican church has historically understood x” indtead.

  156. @ numo:
    Well, there was also the whole Luther-Zwingli thing going on in addition to their rebellion against the RCC. If state and religion are inextricably linked, then how do you overturn one–religion–without the other? The Anabaptists tried that, but I just don’t think society was quite ready for that yet. Zwingli and Luther both felt the pressure to be non-Anabaptist at all costs!

    The thing with circumcision and baptism also includes the question of what did circumcision mean? Did it signify membership in the covenant community? Was it a mark of being an ethnic Jew? Was it necessary to be circumcised to be “saved?” Did it signify the Promised Seed? Something else? Depending on what one’s answer is to that question, one can come to various conclusions regarding the significance and effects of baptism. And that is just within the sectors of Protestantism who see the two as being analogous. There are so many points of difference and confounding variables that have affected how we see a practice and its significance.

    IMO, like so many of these questions, it comes down to how we see various things and the conclusions we draw from that and what “makes sense” to us.

  157. Gram3 wrote:

    I have read, but cannot recall, the reasoning for infant girls being included in baptism while circumcision was limited to boys.

    I disagree with him on infant baptism, but Sproul says its indicative of the broader inclusion of the New Covenant than the Old. Whereas in the old Covenant the symbol was restricted to boys, in the New it is symbolically broader by being available to girls also. Hence the Old Covenant was largely restricted to a single ethnicity but in the New is opened to all ethnicities.

    I hope that’s a fair representation of a belief I don’t hold 🙂

  158. Ken wrote:

    worrying about ‘infants going to hell if they are not elect’ paints a picture of a God whom I don’t see reflected in the Jesus who took children in his arms and blessed them – and told the disciples off when they tried to prevent this.

    I’ve often thought that there are some people who are pathologically worried that God might accidentally let someone into heaven if he’s not really careful. I don’t see a stingy and parsimonious God hanging on that cross.

  159. @ Gram3:
    I firmly believe that Luther was trying to reform the RCC, rather than simply rebelling against it, though there are certainly elements of the latter. But for German and Dutch anabaptists, ghe question was much bigger, because they were/are pacifists. Even today, the Amish do not use buttons, which serms to derive from their objection to the military and military uniforms. (Which were, until the 20th v., replete with many shiny buttons, especially in Europe. Check out older paintings of European cavalry officers prior to WWI, for example.)

  160. @ Gram3:
    Also, not sure that you meant that the anabaptist were trying to overturn society? In Germany and the Netherlands, most weren’t. Luther tried (unsuccessfully, imo) to entirely dodge the question, and ended up saying some really terrible things about the legitimate grievances of the peasants and artisans against their rulers. Otoh, i am not sure *anyone* (on any side of the question) was prepared to go forward with social reforms in a way that didn’t plunge people into civil war. English history went differently, and the Civil War and its aftermath were not exactly England’s finest hour. (We got the Mass. Bay Colony as a result of the kind of thinking snd belief that characterized many who fought against the monarchy, but it isn’t a cut and dried thing for either side – both had pros and cons, and some people who were genuinely decent folks who were trying to do what they believed was right.)

  161. Joe wrote:

    I hope that’s a fair representation of a belief I don’t hold

    That’s hard to do for me. The covenant with Abraham was intended to be broad, ISTM, from the very beginning, given that all males in the household were to be circumcised. So I’m not persuaded by the scope of the covenant argument. But that’s probably because I think that circumcision wasn’t a sign of the covenant community but rather was a sign in the flesh of the Promise of the Seed of the Woman who would come from Abraham, which Seed would bring ultimate cleansing from sin and full Atonement (covering), etc. I think that others have said that Galatians 3:28 bears on it (no male or female), but can’t recall for sure. No doubt Jed could explain it much better from the Reformed perspective.

  162. @ numo:
    Actually I was just trying to show that it was going to be a messy ordeal to separate church and state. No one quite knew how to do it, and both the Reformed, the Lutherans, and the Anabaptists failed to do that. I, for one, do not lump all of the Anabaptists together, though some reformed folks imply that Anabaptist=Anarchist.

  163. numo wrote:

    Even today, the Amish do not use buttons, which serms to derive from their objection to the military and military uniforms. (Which were, until the 20th v., replete with many shiny buttons, especially in Europe. Check out older paintings of European cavalry officers prior to WWI, for example.)

    Yet another example of why your comments are so interesting to me. I assumed the button thing was about being “showy.” I agree about Luther’s intentions, but practically speaking he was being rebellious against the RCC, IMO as a non-historian.

  164. Ken wrote:

    I suppose we need to avoid being sentimental on the one hand, and having a God who is so sovereign on the other that he is impossible to relate to, who is remote and detached, and offends our natural sense of justice.

    Islam ended up with the latter, “a God who is Omnipotent but not benevolent”, and look at all the trouble that’s caused in their history.

  165. @ Gram3:
    Oh, it definitely is about not being showy, but apparently has its origins in what i mentioned. And really, i can think of few things showier than 19th c. European cavalry uniforms! (Don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie The Duellists, but that makes it very clear.)

    I’m not a specialist in costume, let alone military uniforms, but i used to work in a museum archive where we had to learn a lot about historical dress in order to assign approximate dates to paintings that were not dated by the artist (and for which we had no other dated documentation, like bills of sale). One of the volunterrs there *was* a speialist in military uniforms from the mid 18th-mid 19th c. and he was pretty amazing at being able to date paintings based on those deatails.

  166. @ Gram3:
    There were some German anabaptists who were anarchists, though. The whole period is so complex, and there are tons of sects that fell by the wayside and are basically forgotten today.

    As for Luther, i don’t think he realized that church reforms would inevitably lead to calls for social reform, and ultimately to revolts in many parts of what is now Germany. (Was a whole passel of lityle states until the mid 19th c.)

  167. Leadership is the biggest problem,as they have set themselves above all others. Leaders,true leaders,are to humble themselves. Not lord it over thur brethren. Jesus was against a hierarchy in the body,save He, Himself,as the only head.”the Nicolayatins I hate” Go on and look it up.Authoritarianism has been a problem for all denominations. Only some are benevolent dictators using a softer club. Hierlings,and not true servants. If you want to know What a true servant leader looks like,then read this short book ,or rather long article.

    http://www.cultwatch.com/authoritarianleadership.html

    I read this several years ago,when I left an abusive,independant fundamentalist Baptist (“non-denomination”) group. And the article above could have been describing this group and many,many more. Perhaps the baby should have been tossed out with the bath water AFTERALL. The reformation retained much that was bad,and wrong. Many groups have tried to adhere to an Apostolic model over the centuries. And organization crept in,creating a hierarchy,and the experiment was over. In the end,they always fail. Diotrophies always finds a way to take over. Have any of you noticed that it is always a leader who defends leadership? They want to preserve their self-exalted positions. I hope someone finds the link helpful. I know I did. God bless you all,in Jesus name!

  168. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    But that is, at best, not true of most of Islam. I think you can, however, say that the beliefs of sects like the Wahhabis are very different than those of most Muslims, histotically and now.

    I mean, one of the single most common religious salutations in Idlamic history is “In the name of God, the compasdionate, the merciful.” Check into the traditional 99 Names of God for more.

  169. K.D. wrote:

    If we donate enough do we get a Doctor of Divinity degree?

    Absolutely. For a significant love offering, you may get a Doctor of Divinity or even get the title of Bishop of Wartburg. I can be bought.

  170. david L wrote:

    Have any of you noticed that it is always a leader who defends leadership? They want to preserve their self-exalted positions.

    Yes. Look at all the Neo Reformed leaders who still hang with CJ Mahaney.

  171. Joe wrote:

    That Christianity is a relationship with Jesus is a statement that is the result of systematic theology.

    Well I for one don’t think Christianity is a relationship with Jesus. In fact, I think it is basically absurd to assert that I (or anyone) has a “relationship” with a man that, by all accounts, was taken up into heaven and has yet to return. If it is a “relationship”, it isn’t like any other relationship I have, and it becomes a mere word game. Oh wait…am I doing systematic theology 😀 ?

  172. numo wrote:

    There were some German anabaptists who were anarchists, though. The whole period is so complex, and there are tons of sects that fell by the wayside and are basically forgotten today.

    Not necessarily anarchists, but there were some strains of early Anabaptists that were radical and violent. They participated in the German Peasants Revolt and other uprisings. After these were brutally put down, this radical strain died out and the remaining Anabaptists were completely nonviolent and separatist and became the targets of persecution from Lutherans and Catholics. One scholar I listened to said the only thing that Lutherans and Catholics could agree on was the killing of Anabaptists.

  173. Gram3 wrote:

    @ Mark:
    The OPC emphasizes nurturing covenant children in the faith, but I don’t think that means they are against evangelism.

    There is nothing wrong with their concern about raising their children in their faith. I think that decisionism is a part of regeneration. If I get sprinkled as an infant, get catechized as an adolescent,and go thru the motions of the faith of my fathers, it may be more tradition than regeneration, at least from my perspective. Traditions are great, but sometimes they leave little room for thought. If a person is tested will those creeds one memorized as a child protect one from the snares that are in the world outside the silo of one’s faith? I hope they will. I notice that confessional Lutherans also dislike revivalism. I come from a revivalistic tradition, but could it be more an issue of style than substance? For example they may make that decision to follow Jesus, but they say that He chose them? I don’t really understand and I am trying to make sense of this all, Hope I did t offend anyone…

  174. @ JeffT:
    Not anarchists in the modern political sense, no, but there were some groups that were so radical that they do look like anarchists when set against the social and political backdrop of the time. I don’t believe that most of the people involved in the Peasants’ War were like that, though. The demands they made were very reasonable, though i think some became radicalized when they were not given a hearing by the rulers.

    One hugely embarrassing thing about the most recent movie on Luther (with Joseph Fiennes) is that it shows him as not only sympathetic towards those who fomented the uprising, but literally weeping over the bodies of people slain by the forces Luther sided with in actuality. It’s a great sequence, but absolutely wrong.

  175. @ Mark:
    Not all Lutherans are confessional – I’m from a non-“cconfessional” Lutheran background, and revivals are just not part of my background. Otoh, i have heard of Lutherans in yhe Upper Midwest actually conducting tent revivals, back in the 50s and prior. How *tthat* happened is a mystery to me!

    Also, i honestly don’t think one has to believe in “ddecision theology” in order to make conscious choices about how one lives. I am grateful to be out of churches where decisionism was the order of the day. Lutheranism is so restful by comparison! As in “CCome to me, all who labor and are heavily laden…” restful.

  176. @ Mark:
    You know, there are Lutheran services (Catholic, too) where people can very consciously renew their baptismal vows during the course of the service. It’s corporate prayer, but I’m sure nobody would frown on that prayer (oor one like it) being said anywhere, at any time.

  177. @ JeffT:
    There is a good summary of some of these issues in The Amish, by John Hostetler (who was raised Amish and became the 1st sociologist to publish on Amish life).

    A Mennonite friend once mentioned having been told all about the ways in which her ancestors were tortured when she was very young. There are German-language equivalents of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, and they’re commonplace among the Amish and a lot of Mennonites.

  178. numo wrote:

    One hugely embarrassing thing about the most recent movie on Luther (with Joseph Fiennes) is that it shows him as not only sympathetic towards those who fomented the uprising, but literally weeping over the bodies of people slain by the forces Luther sided with in actuality.

    Sure, I can totally see the guy who wrote “Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants” doing that {sarcasm}

  179. @ Mark:
    You didn’t offend me, and I think you make some good points. I think that the response from the “covenant nurture” emphasizers would be to point to the problem of false conversions resulting from from emotional manipulation or peer pressure, for example. OTOH, the children in a “covenant nurture” culture might yield false conversions as a result of parental expectations, etc. There is no silver bullet, and both viewpoints have valid concerns. I think it is a both/and when we are talking about children. The Holy Spirit regenerates, and parents and teachers raise and nurture the children. But, I am a Baptist, so there you go. 😉

  180. numo wrote:

    Not all Lutherans are confessional

    Is that like loose subscription, or do you mean really no confession at all? What defines your synod’s Lutheranism? I’m learning how very little I know about Lutheranism…

  181. @ Gram3:
    The LCMS and WELS (Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Synod) are Confessional. It has a very specific meaning. Can’t explain, but they certainly do! (Google and see…)

  182. dee wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    If we donate enough do we get a Doctor of Divinity degree?

    Absolutely. For a significant love offering, you may get a Doctor of Divinity or even get the title of Bishop of Wartburg. I can be bought.

    david L wrote:

    ….If you want to know What a true servant leader looks like,then read this short book ,or rather long article.

    http://www.cultwatch.com/authoritarianleadership.html

    I read this several years ago,when I left an abusive,independant fundamentalist Baptist (“non-denomination”) group. And the article above could have been describing this group and many,many more. Perhaps the baby should have been tossed out with the bath water AFTERALL. The reformation retained much that was bad,and wrong. Many groups have tried to adhere to an Apostolic model over the centuries. And organization crept in,creating a hierarchy,and the experiment was over. In the end,they always fail….I hope someone finds the link helpful. I know I did. God bless you all,in Jesus name!

    Thanks David for the link. I found it helpful and I am no longer a member of an abusive, authoritarian church (independent with no oversight….what a mistake that was!). I’ve heard from friends in Europe who are conservative Christians, including having served for decades as elders in their churches, and they don’t understand what has gone wrong with American Christianity and churches (authoritarian control, excommunications and shunnings, etc). They are dismayed and grieved.

  183. @ numo:
    ECLA is also confessional. The difference is in the definition. For LCMS and WELS, “confessional” means that the pastors agree with the confessions as an accurate representation of Scripture. For ECLA (and others), confessional means that the pastors agree with the confessions insofar as the confessions agree with Scripture. Personally, I think the latter is far more humble, reliable, and frankly sane than the former.

  184. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
    Yes, i agree. I could never be part of either the LCMS or the WELS, and have recently seen the ELCA referred to as heterodox by someone from the former. Frankly, if we’re hetetodox, i would far rather stick to it than join the self-professed “orthodox.”

  185. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
    Also, in the context of some comments upthread about confessional Lutherans, i was attempting to clarify that not all Lutherans have the same views as the LCMS and WELS, but wasn’t specific enough. Should have specified that the ELCA isn’t capital-C confesdional.

  186. Eagle wrote:

    Guys…I wrote an article on de-toxing from Mormonism. I hope its helpful for those detoxing from your own religious system, whatever it may be…

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/de-toxing-from-mormonism/

    Hi Eagle,

    Your new website looks great. I look forward to reading your article. You have some great resources. Why did you put Mark Dever’s 9 Marks? He claims it’s the mark of a ‘healthy’ church, however those of us who’ve lived through it know it’s a sign of an ‘unhealthy church’. Perhaps you could quote his stuff…and qualify it?

    I just heard from some conservative Christians in Europe, one who has been an elder at his church for many decades and is a Godly man. They were stunned to find out about all of these excommunications and shunnings, saying that it has never taken place in their churches, their country, or for their knowledge even Europe for decades (they know of no cases). But this is something that Mark Dever espouses, along with John MacArthur.

    Now that I’ve learned the flipside of 9 Marks, I have some questions. Mark Dever says you have to have church covenants and can’t let members escape the back door. OK, why don’t you don’t admit that members don’t like you OR your other leaders if they feel the need to escape and can’t freely leave. As to the members that Dever proclaims no longer attend church and are on the membership rolls, my question is: Are you too lazy to pick up the phone and call them, ask them how they are doing, if they would like to be considered members or not?

  187. david L wrote:

    Leadership is the biggest problem,as they have set themselves above all others. Leaders,true leaders,are to humble themselves. Not lord it over thur brethren. Jesus was against a hierarchy in the body,save He, Himself,as the only head.”the Nicolayatins I hate” Go on and look it up.Authoritarianism has been a problem for all denominations.

    Well said and so very true, and it’s true of non-denoms as well. I’m happy you got out of your authoritarian church!

  188. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Personally, I think the latter is far more humble, reliable, and frankly sane than the former.

    I agree, but then I’m one of those pesky old-line non-creedal Baptists. 🙂 How great would it be if people in non-confessional churches didn’t try to institute de facto confessions (like in the SBC nowadays) and churches with confessions really defended their confessions and the degree of subscription required? That way everyone knows what they are signing up for and consciences are clear. People are different, and as Dr. Fundy says, times change.

  189. Michaela wrote:

    Mark Dever says you have to have church covenants and can’t let members escape the back door. OK, why don’t you don’t admit that members don’t like you OR your other leaders if they feel the need to escape and can’t freely leave.

    “We never had to build a wall to keep our people in!”
    — JFK speech at the Berlin Wall

  190. @ Gram3:
    I don’t understand why anyone would quarrel with using the Apostles and Nicene creeds – and if the SBC were to accept the Athanasian statement (on the nature of the trinity), the advocates of ESS wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

  191.   __

    “Mercy Called My Name ,,,And Made Me Free !”

    Yeah !

    I am not who I once was, 
    Defined by all the things I’ve done,
    Afraid my shame would be exposed, 
    Afraid of really being known,
    But then you gave my heart a home…

    Well I walked out of the darkness and into the light,
    From fear of shame into the hope of life,
    Mercy called my name and made a way to fly,
    Out of the darkness and in to the light…

    Years of keeping secrets safe, Wondering if I could change,
    ‘Cause when you’re hiding all a lone, 
    Your heart can turn into a stone,
    And that’s not the way I want to go…

    So I walked out of the darkness and into the light,
    From fear of shame into the hope of life,
    Mercy called my name and made a way to fly,
    Out of the darkness and into the light…

    There’s no place I’d rather be,
    Your light is marvelous, your light is marvelous,
    You have come to set us free,
    You are marvelous, your light is marvelous to me…

    La La La La  la…
    La La La La  la la…
    La La La La la…
    La La La La  la la…

    So I walked out of the darkness and into the light,
    From fear of shame into the hope of life,
    Mercy called my name and made a way to fly,
    Out of the darkness and into the light…

    La La La La  la…
    La La La La  la la…
    La La La La la…
    La La La La  la la… [1]

    YaHoooooooooooo!

    ***

    You too can bee free!

    —> please venture out of the darkness and into His marvelous light !!!

    La La La La  la…
    La La La La  la la…
    La La La La la…
    La La La La  la la…

    (grin)

    hahahahahaha

    Blessings !

    Sopy
    __
    [1] Lyrics & Chords: http://www.e-chords.com/chords/ellie-holcomb/marvelous-light
    Music video: Marvelous Light” | Ellie Holcomb 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-5axIcYFVA

    🙂

    ^^^

  192. numo wrote:

    I am curious as to how your friend actually knows that God is/isn’t “like that

    From years and years of reading the bible, amongst other things. The point was that where the NT isn’t studied and thought about, people can develop all sorts of unhealthy or inaccurate ideas about God. One of these, for example, is a God who is nothing but strick like a Victorian father and who spends all his waking moments measuring us to see whether we meet his standards or not. A couple of days without reading the bible and people are guilt-ridden. That sort of thing.

    Probably today the error is more likely to include a false view of a God who is too ‘tolerant’, and who is hardly bothered at all at what we get up to.

    It’s the truth that sets you free from all and any of these false pictures of God.

  193. Ken wrote:

    This tests what we think of God

    Yes it does, & for the last 4 years now the wavering nature of Biblical words & the pluralities of interpretation, see Christian Smith’s ‘pervasive interpretive pluralism’, are why I no longer know which God the Biblical one is… could be the God of Calvinism, could be that of other interpretations. Can’t trust what you can’t know. And if anyone (else) says ‘just look at Jesus’, when my portrait of Jesus is mediated through language then I will finally lose my grip. The weight of eternity rests on all this & for there to be doubt about issues that cast a hideous light on the character of the God whose hands we are all in just seems cruel.
    My trust in Biblical language broke when I tried to trust God through watching my Mum die. Noooooo idea how to repair this. I’m like a scalded cat around this stuff.

  194. K.D. wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    I’ve been “keyed” out of the church, so I’m a little ticky about this particular issue.
    You may have been keyed out of one local church but you are a member of EChurch at Wartburg. For a small love offering, we will send you a certificate of Member in Good Standing. For a moderate love offering, we will even make you a member of the Board of Elders.

    If we donate enough do we get a Doctor of Divinity degree?

    I love where this is headed…

  195. Gram3 wrote:

    How great would it be if people in non-confessional churches didn’t try to institute de facto confessions (like in the SBC nowadays) and churches with confessions really defended their confessions and the degree of subscription required? That way everyone knows what they are signing up for and consciences are clear. People are different, and as Dr. Fundy says, times change.

    If I understand you correctly you are saying something quite different (opposite in some ways) to how my new church (‘anglo-catholic’ episcopalian) operates. Sometime we could talk about the philosophy behind how one views the interaction between what a particular church ‘teaches’ and what it requires of its membership. That would have to be on the ODP however. Suffice it to say that we (that would be my new ‘we’) differ from my original ‘we’ (baptist) in basic philosophical ways and this is one huge area of disagreement. And my new ‘we’ differs in significant but not earth shaking ways from the RCC in this particular area of christian thought and practice.

    May I just say this by way of illustration. When this nation tried to switch to the metric system (remember the old road signs with both km and mile listings?) people just could not get the hang of it. At the same time in my life including profession we used multiple systems as needed: metric, pharmacological (now not used), household and of course the english system mostly in daily life and had to difficulty with it. So how could that be? We learned the systems separately as different entities rather than always looking for how to convert from one to the other all the time.

    I think that one problem we have here in talking about religion is that we are trying to find similarities sometimes where none exist. Numo has repeatedly noted on one thing or another that she does not see anything comparable in this or that. Right on. Precisely.

    When I first went to this ‘anglo-catholic’ church and threw myself into studying episcopalianism I thought it might be rather easy since I was born in bred in protestantism and since I had spent the better part of three years immersing myself in RCC mass and RCIA. I had studied the catholic catechism diligently while at the same time old-style baptist was my mother tongue. So–just a little modification and ‘anglo-catholic” episcopalianism ought to be a piece of cake-right? I could not have been more mistaken. It is yet a different thing itself. And one of the differences is that nobody has to ‘sign’ on any dotted line, not in the way the baptists do or in the way the catholics do; the via media functions differently. There is both much agreement on substantive issues with at the same time an attitude of tolerance toward what the other person may think/feel. Like Numo says about lutheranism, I find this restful.

  196. @ Beakerj:
    Since it would appear you don’t need loads more words, I’ll keep this short!

    Perhaps, if reading the bible is only leading to confusion or your head is exploding with differing interpretations you have picked up over the years (I’ve got the T shirt too), it might be a good idea to stop reading it for a while. Come away and rest for a bit.

    There, I’ve said it! For all those who suspected I was heretical all along, I have now proved it.

  197. @ Ken:
    Oh Ken, I haven’t read a single word of it in 4 years now. I’m not sure I haven’t got some kind of scriptural PTSD, which sounds like a joke, but isn’t. My brain goes bonkers trying to tie down some kind of foundational ‘key’ to language, even just a few words I can use to safely interpret all the other words through… and so know God.
    Back in the real world, where I would be considered more than functionally literate (I wrote my undergraduate thesis on metaphor – metaphors of illness in poetry nonetheless) and am currently scoring amazing grades at Masters level, I am an entirely different person, language works for me out here, not perfectly, but well enough. I even love it’s little mysteries & slipperiness. This huge chasm between my two literary words is not what I was expecting.

  198. Curse this tablet! Hangs head, not Hans head… it’s entirely possible I am currently procrastinating in my local library instead of writing up a 4000 word project on the outcomes of youth work. Serves me right.

  199. @ Gram3:

    I guess I should clarify where I am coming from with Augustine. It is not about who “invented” certain doctrines but about “influence”. I realize how nuanced history is but it really does boil down to who/what had the most influence during any particular time in history even if it is looking back. Augustine’s views/interpretations/etc spread West for a reason and heavily influenced the direction of Christendom for several centuries. I realize good people might disagree on that point but I do think it is a valid view.

    I have often wondered how different things might have been if there had been more openess of ideas/understanding between Pelagius’ views and Augustine’s views. Pelagius was condemed by Augustine at one of the Council’s of Carthage as a heretic. Most of his writings were destroyed so much of what he believed is gleaned from records/writings of those denouncing him. He was too much into individual spiritual freedom/ responsiblity for someone like Augustine who had a more “philospher king” bent to his version of Christianity.

  200. Beakerj wrote:

    I haven’t read a single word of it in 4 years now. I’m not sure I haven’t got some kind of scriptural PTSD, which sounds like a joke, but isn’t.

    Oh my. What a great way to describe it. And why wouldn’t that descriptor fit when scripture has been used as a club to beat you with?

    I had a variation of it for years after the massive spiritual abuse I witnessed and was a part of. I was still able to read ONLY Jesus’ words. NO Paul and NO OT though. It was like that for about 3 years. That really helped me. I figured Jesus had been so twisted by the “Paul Only People” (TM) that I really needed to go back and focus there. It really helped. I also learned to understand Paul through Jesus Christ.

  201. Beakerj wrote:

    I haven’t read a single word of it in 4 years now. I’m not sure I haven’t got some kind of scriptural PTSD, which sounds like a joke, but isn’t.

    Oh my. What a great way to describe it. And why wouldn’t that descriptor fit when scripture has been used as a club to beat folks with?

    I had a variation of it for years after the massive spiritual abuse I witnessed and was a part of. I was still able to read ONLY Jesus’ words. NO Paul and NO OT though. It was like that for about 3 years. That really helped me.

    I figured Jesus had been so twisted by the “Paul Only People” (TM) that I really needed to go back and focus there. It really helped. I also learned to understand Paul through Jesus Christ and put him in his proper place.

  202. The SBC and related churches do have confessions. The most recent revision is from the year 2000.(Most churches follow the 2000 edition, while others use the 1963 revision) It starts with the Trinity. Now it doesn’t address ESS, but at some point this will need to be addressed . I hope it is addressed taking into account the historical precedent of what was decided centuries ago, so it doesn’t travel into Arianism. Sometimes baptists have forgotten we are part of the Church Universal. This is where Landmarkism originated. Baptists are not Protestants according to this view. I do worry the SBC going to split with three of their seminaries controlled by the Neo-Puritans. It was a costly deal made during the Conservative resurgence. The Athanasian statement is much simpler and would take care of the ESS issue.

  203. Lydia wrote:

    NO Paul and NO OT though. It was like that for about 3 years. That really helped me.

    This is sad but totally understandable. I have been known to advice women and children recovering from the patriarchy movement to not read Ephesians 5 ever again. I tell them rather to pretend Ephesians has only 4 chapters because those chapters are so rich and so ignored by those who pretend Ephesians has only one chapter, labeled chapter 5 hidden amongst some other less important words that can be skimmed over (to get to the good bits) or outright ignored.

    As far as the O. T. is concerned. I would have told people to read the books of poetry, including the Songs, to balance out the judgement of the prophets. But then along came Driscoll to muddy up the waters there too.

  204. JeffT wrote:

    Not necessarily anarchists, but there were some strains of early Anabaptists that were radical and violent. They participated in the German Peasants Revolt and other uprisings. After these were brutally put down, this radical strain died out and the remaining Anabaptists were completely nonviolent and separatist and became the targets of persecution from Lutherans and Catholics. One scholar I listened to said the only thing that Lutherans and Catholics could agree on was the killing of Anabaptists.

    Call me horrible, but I have some empathy for those peasants. They were in an impossible situation for trying to implement any change in their status in that world. I think Luther blew his big ‘leadership influence moment’ when it came to dealing with the peasants positions.

    Most Radical Reformers (who were never monolithic) went on to be pacifists while on the run from the Reformers. It is that part of history that makes it hard for me to see much “spiritual” good in the Reformation past the fact it was a necessary step to break with Roman rule and print scripture in native tongues. But it ended up as just more church/state brutality.

    Have you read Verduin’s “Reformers and their Stepchildren”? It is an interesting read.

  205.   __

    Beakerj,

    hey,

      When my Mum died of cancer, many years ago, as her lifeless body lay there in the hospital bed, I remember the sunshine shone through the hospital windows, the red roses blooming in the window seal – in all this, God in His mercy showed me a picture of where she was, and what she was doing as I sat there.

      My tears quickly vanished when I saw her, she was about eight years old, with a bright yellow dress on, laughing and running up a hill picking flowers…

      What was interesting was my mother got polio at six and did not walk until she was nineteen. She was never able to run her entire life…

    (fast forward)

      I don’t fully know your situation, but it is possible for me to share your pain, lighten your burden(s), wipe your tears, and possibly wash your feet as well, given the chance…

      I say this because all my life my Mum taught me what it was to serve others as Jesus did day in and day out through the years…

    Faithful is He who calls, Faithful is He who brings it to pass…

    He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

    ***

    Talk is cheep, so I’ve taken the time & trouble to ask the God I serve ever so imperfectly, to come to ‘your house’ (I just prayed right now), His mighty angels as well. Your life is not going to be the same, I can assure you…His word is good enough!

    …watch and see.

    …watch and see.

    …watch and see.

    Which God, you ask?

    You can have my God, He is gentle, attentive, and full of care, and compassion,

    His name is Jesus, (that means : ‘God with us’ ! )

    Please let Wartburg know how it goes the next few weeks and months…

    Blessings !

    Sopy
    __
    Inspirational relief: “The Broken Beautiful” by Ellie Holcomb 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpOXrY4BHMA

    🙂

    — 

  206. Jonathan wrote:

    Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
    @ numo:
    I think the latter is far more humble, reliable, and frankly sane than the former.
    I attend a confessional WELS/ELS church. Does that make me crazy?

    Definitely not, in my opinion.

  207. Christianity is a faith that is at war with itself. The reformed movement is the worst of the bunch along with the extreme rapturology brethren right on their tails.I’ve grown tired of the bickering and infighting.

  208. Nancy wrote:

    But what was going on at the time that made Calvinism catch on? It seems so far out and so bizarre and unappealing and so excessive, but yet it caught on and is still with us. What is the appeal of religion like this, either then or now?

    I can only speak from personal experience but what changed my old church’s soteriology from mainline Baptist to Calvinist or as they prefer to be called “Reformed” Baptist was church drama, plain and simple. Our mega church pastor had a breakdown and stepped down which left a gaping hole in the leadership. People left. His successor was fired, then an interim pastor came in and preached on the “5 Doctrines of Grace” or TULIP. Half the people left and half the people stayed. I ultimately left because it has essentially deteriorated down into a CBMW type cult. For instance, one of their closely held beliefs is that women are in grave sin if they are not living in submission (their twisted version) to their husband or some other WHITE man of authority cause, you know, they’re pretty racist too. That interim pastor actually had some really weird ideas about the South and slavery that I don’t even want to get into. Just makes non-ignorant Christians look ignorant and I’m embarrassed I stuck around that place as long as I did. My husband and I left there 9 months ago. We feel like we’re healing but still haven’t found a new place to plug in yet.

  209. numo wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    I don’t understand why anyone would quarrel with using the Apostles and Nicene creeds – and if the SBC were to accept the Athanasian statement (on the nature of the trinity), the advocates of ESS wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    Honestly, I think it is mostly a cultural thing. Baptists are very big on the conscience of each believer and the priesthood of every believer and the supremacy of the Bible. Probably that is an artifact of Reformation history. As a practical matter, every Baptist church I’ve been a member of had a “Statement of Faith” which functions in the same way as a confession. Also, the really out-there Baptists are the 1689ers. There are the IFBs who are out-there, too, but for a whole nuther set of reasons. Agree with you about the old creeds.

  210. @ Nancy:
    Yes, I think it is not only different systems but different cultures and ways of looking at things. My problem is when the system rules or get changed in the middle of the game and everyone is supposed to adapt to the new regime. Numo brings up good points for me because I have no real experience with the Lutheran view. Much more with RCC, Baptist and Presbyterian which frames my thinking.

  211. Beakerj wrote:

    My trust in Biblical language broke when I tried to trust God through watching my Mum die. Noooooo idea how to repair this. I’m like a scalded cat around this stuff.

    Not sure what you mean by trust in Biblical language, but I do understand the deep grief from losing your mother. I couldn’t read the Bible for a long time except for remembering certain verses I had learned as a child and good music based on the words. Is it the Christianese that you heard that was so wounding to you or the people clobbering you with verses or what. Sorry for not understanding.

  212. @ Lydia:
    Yes, I see what you mean. Don’t know what the Western church might look like as a whole if Pelagius had more influence. I need to read more about the Philosopher-King idea, but what I’ve read makes some sense of what came from Augustine. And then there’s the personal baggage he brought into his clerical career.

  213. Mark wrote:

    The SBC and related churches do have confessions. The most recent revision is from the year 2000.

    I’m going to quibble with you on technical grounds about the BFM2K. As a practical matter, it does function as a confession but it shouldn’t have the binding power of confessions in confessional churches. Even in the confessional churches there are different levels of subscription required for clergy and laity and different levels even among versions of a given denomination.

    The BFM2K was revised precisely to become a confession by men who are confessionally-minded. You can see that also in the way that Baptist ecclesiology has changed due to the influence of the Founders-1689er wing. I think you’re right that eventually the SBC will either split or the current enthusiasts will moderate.

  214. @ Nancy:
    I find that i regularly run up against “this is not that” when i read about religion. (Doesn’t matter which religion, fwiw.) Beliefs are complex, and people are complex, and history is complex, and there are just so many nuances that we miss, especially if they’re outside our experience. (Which is true for me whenever i read about, say, Americans who call themselves “baptists,” as well as with most any Reformed and/or Calvinistic thinking, and there is so much else that i could add to this list.)

    There are other hurdles there, regional cultures being one of them, but by no means the main thing. I bet that Catholics from Scotland (and there are a lot of them, though they are a minority) would be baffled by Catholicism as practiced in, say, Mexico, or most any other part of Latin America. Yes, key beliefs are the same, but there’s so much more to it than that.

  215. @ Nancy:
    Speaking more than one language is like your measurement analogy. Each language has its own ways of helping concetualize the world, and that can differ vastly, even in languages from the same geographical region. Lots of things can’t be translated.

  216. @ Beakerj:

    “I haven’t read a single word of it in 4 years now. I’m not sure I haven’t got some kind of scriptural PTSD, which sounds like a joke, but isn’t. My brain goes bonkers…”
    +++++++++++++++

    oh beakerj, me too. not a joke at all. shortness of breath, panic-feelings, etc.

    And for added fun, the nuisance of scripture put to song that I can’t turn off in my brain. (annoying advertising jingles that hang around your mind?? this is 100 times worse) Melodies & rhythms that are either too dorky for words or else dripping with sentimentality or melancholy — it is incredibly invasive. (can’t tolerate the new local Hobby Lobby for that very reason)

    It has ruined my ability to read those parts of the bible (& to see them for what they are, not for how they have been manipulated)

    although I am recovering from all this. psalm 23 is like a gem to me. the latter half of ephesians 1, and WOW…. I feel like fireworks after reading that one.

  217. Lydia wrote:

    Call me horrible, but I have some empathy for those peasants. They were in an impossible situation for trying to implement any change in their status in that world. I think Luther blew his big ‘leadership influence moment’ when it came to dealing with the peasants positions.

    Oh I do too. They were were oppressed to the point of desperation. While Luther initially sympathized with the plight of the peasants, when the revolts started he was more than willing to sacrifice them in the name of order.

    Lydia wrote:

    Have you read Verduin’s “Reformers and their Stepchildren”? It is an interesting read.

    Thanks! I’ll have to check that one out.

  218. numo wrote:

    Lots of things can’t be translated.

    I have not been able to “translate” the word grace between non-calvinist baptist, reformed and catholic. It is almost like they are not talking about the same thing when it comes to the feel and perception of the complicated results and evidences of grace variously understood. No definition that I have every had somebody sling at me has come even close to covering the nuances of what is being said.

  219. @ Gram3:

    Beakerj: “…biblical language…”

    Gram: “Is it the Christianese that you heard that was so wounding to you or the people clobbering you with verses or what.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    perhaps it’s that it’s become like boilerplate, with all the impact of a “terms & conditions”. but charged with the moniker “GOD’s WORD” and the baggage of how i’m supposed to feel in response. and when the reaction is not there, the problem must be me.

    but it became like Teflon. either me or it or both. & I couldn’t do the automaton thing (push button, get right reaction)

  220. @ Michaela:

    In the course of time I want to discuss 9 Marks. In most situations I would leave it alone, however since its been pushed upon many denominations I think it should be addressed. Since it will be addressed that’s why I have it linked. Make sense? Same with the Gospel Coalition and John Piper. I’m actually going to be working on a post soon about my family’s expereince with John Piper. It will be called, “My Mom’s Pancreatic Cancer, John Piper and Me”

  221. @ Nancy:

    I agree with this. The word “grace”, to me, has become like the word “Gospel” as in meaning so many different things it becomes meaningless.

  222. elastigirl wrote:

    it’s become like boilerplate, with all the impact of a “terms & conditions”. but charged with the moniker “GOD’s WORD” and the baggage of how i’m supposed to feel in response. and when the reaction is not there, the problem must be me.

    Totally get that feeling. For some reason, people forget that *Jesus* wept at the tomb of Lazarus even though Jesus knew he was going to raise him. So when people start getting more spiritual than the Son of God, it is safe to disregard what they are saying. I don’t mean disregard the person, because Christians sometimes just speak and act from Christian culture of “shoulds” rather than from the realization that Jesus has all the emotions that we have. Anyway, people find comfort in different things when grieving, and the story of Jesus weeping helps me.

  223. Anyone want to discuss Lev. 19:14 and putting a stumbling block in front of disabled with particular regard to this OPC case. Is it possible someone could put the elders on trial for that?

  224. Gram3 wrote:

    Do you provide for and sacrifice for and feel responsibility toward your wife because you are designated (by God somewhere?) as her “head” or because you love her? I’m guessing you would do the same things you do for her if the “headship” teaching had never been invented. Because you love her!

    I’ve not spent that much time since I got married agonising over this subject, believe it or not. We’ve by and large simply got on with it.

    If I could try to summarise it, I see the Eph 5 parallel between wife and husband and Christ and the church as the ‘key’ (sorry!) to understanding this. The wife submits as the church submits, and the husband is head as Christ is the head of the church. The headship here is used because in this particular context, we are not talking about equals. It is not so much the husband has authority over the wife, as she is to submit. (Do you get what I mean by this?)

    I have traditionally understood head in this context to be expressed in terms of taking responsibility for. Paul explicitly casts this in terms of the parallel sacrificial love shown by Christ in ‘saving’ the church, and the husband loving = nourishing and cherishing his wife. He sums it up in terms of the wife should respect her husband and the husband should love his wife.

    On re-reading this passage, I think I’ve seen some things a bit clearer than before. One thing is I see a bit more why you don’t like making ‘head’ a synonym of ‘has authority over’, because although this is a legitimate understanding of the word, it is expressed here in terms of giving to the wife rather than being in charge if you like. You cannot press the parallel of Christ and the church too far, and there is no sense in which a husband can command obedience like Christ can the church.

    I’m afraid I am also more convinced at the same time that the submission in this context is not mutual. That is true in general of believers, but from v 22 onwards Paul discusses various relationships with mutual responsibilities between those who are not functionally equals. They may be equal in the sight of God, as all those mentioned are made in his image, but some distinctions in responsibilty and behaviour remain but that do not negate this.

    As far as I am concerned personally, my marriage vows – which were more or less the traditional Anglican ones – reflected what I’m supposed to do, which is the nourish and cherish bit – being head wasn’t mentioned iirc. But I do sometimes wonder whether I have taken responsibilty and initiative to the extent I ought to have done. The discussions here have brought this into focus rather than thinking I ought perhaps to be the ‘lord of the manor’ a bit more.

    I hope this won’t generate another 400 comments! It’s a pity that this subject is controversial because it can and has been abused. I’m sure the passage and parallel ones are meant to be a blessing to us, not a burden, liberating rather than enslaving.

  225. @ Gram3:
    Don’t worry Gram… I’m not exactly the easiest person to figure out 🙂
    How it came about for me was not so much through a particular church or anything, it was more that after becoming a Christian aged 18 or so, the more I read, watched & experienced of Christianity in many contexts the more I realised that so many people believed so many different things, but used the same words. A good example of this is my reading of Watchman Nee when I was about 19, who quite clearly teaches that our humanity is as much of a problem to God as our sin, & that we are to be more like empty shells the Holy Spirit can work through, putting all of our selves aside. At that time I was still so naïve & unlearned that I didn’t realise that God would let people write totally untrue things about him if they prayed & so on(sheesh, what an idiot)so I thought it was true. So Christianity looked like death to me, not death to self-centredness but death to the whole self, & I so longed to be a person… then I get to L’Abri & their teaching is that our humanity is the creation of God & is to be redeemed, not junked, pretty much the polar opposite, about the same topic. But when I read the Bible myself none of it was so obvious & there is lots of wiggle room on how things can be interpreted…I never seem to get to a definite answer on many things, including God’s character. There have been so many times over the years that I look at certain expressions of Christianity – the Amish, the Pentecostals, Quakers, whoever- and it seemed each group was getting so much differing meaning about God & life from the Bible, & I couldn’t work out where all the information they seemed to glean from the Bible was coming from, it was like the words were little boxes & each group found different things inside when they opened them. I used to feel like the Bible was a huge paint by numbers picture, that some people painted in very dark tones & others in much lighter ones, changing the overall nature of the entire picture. I just couldn’t work out where they got their seemingly iron clad understanding of which colour went where from. I suppose I ask a very particular type of very intense questions about the language into the Bible, its meaning & the overall teachings of the entire texts combined. I’ve prayed & prayed & prayed about this, & then it all blew up when Mum died & I just wanted to rest on knowing God was good & I could leave her in his hands. No such luck. The language issues just intensified & God was just a set of potential characters, including that of serious hideous Calvinism, which I could neither rule in or out. Bloody brilliant. I prayed so much that God’s Spirit would just break though all that, given that God created me & my brain, & give me a supernatural knowledge of who he was so I could be at peace over it, but it never happened. So I stressed my Mum out in her last days by being utterly freaked out by life, the universe & everything, initiated by realising she was going to die. To this day I don’t understand why God didn’t answer that prayer, all I wanted was to trust him in the worst of times. I wasn’t after anything more. So now, I suppose I think either God doesn’t want me (I’m not elect) or he’s not there. Not where I thought I’d end up. And it’s all a language issue, now with a huge amount of hurt behind it.
    But I do appreciate Sopy’s prayers, although if God answers now it would just be so weird, why leave me then & come now?

  226. elastigirl wrote:

    perhaps it’s that it’s become like boilerplate, with all the impact of a “terms & conditions”. but charged with the moniker “GOD’s WORD” and the baggage of how i’m supposed to feel in response. and when the reaction is not there, the problem must be me.

    I call this “Bible becomes The Party Line, Comrade”.

  227. It’s also why I find Brad’s stuff so helpful, he breaks stuff down in a way which enables you to build from the base up on subjects. I feel like he’d get my questions, which most people find ridiculous, obsessive or annoying.

  228. @ elastigirl:
    I really hear you… one of my other issues is that much Christian culture is so unappealing, anaemic, reductionist, mediocre. I have always been someone who would never have been a ‘cultural’ Christian, it was all totally different from how I wanted to live. I was a punk & biker chick when I joined the church, it wasn’t my natural habitat at all 🙂 I’m also just too loud, creative & humour loving by nature to fit in many places… I’m just not proper.

  229. Beakerj wrote:

    … I’m just not proper.

    And Jesus was?? . . . NOT either 🙂

    He, of all people, gets you, me, elastigirl, Gram3, Ken, Lydia, Dee, the Jeff’s, etc.

  230. Beakerj wrote:

    I have always been someone who would never have been a ‘cultural’ Christian, it was all totally different from how I wanted to live.

    Lots of us say that about ourselves in lots of ways. The proper christian has been so narrowly defined that droves of us just do not fit in.

    I do think I know a couple or so things about you, however. You fit in here. Seriously. I have never read anything you had to say that I did not think that it was beneficial to me to hear it. FWIW I love your general attitude.

    You are probably not going to be a thoroughly convinced sola scriptura person. All that you have said is quite true and accurate when thinking individuals look at scripture and listen to people talk about scripture. I am not saying that truth is not to be found in scripture. I am not saying bad things about scripture. But I am saying that anybody with only moderate skill can make scripture prove whatever they want it to prove, sad to say. I know that “take it with a grain of salt” is pathetically simplistic, but maybe that is why I find it useful for myself.

    And you are apparently nowhere near the people Jesus condemned the most–the religious pretenders who cared about show but not about people. You seem to be just the opposite. Congrats on that.

  231. @ Ken:
    Thanks for that. I think you should look into the entire context of Ephesians 5. The letter is not concerned with establishing social hierarchies but rather with instructing believers how to live in the power of the Spirit while still under the hierarchies as they existed, having been instituted by humans and not God.

    The other thing that perhaps you would consider thinking about is the implications of the non-mutual submission view WRT to slavery. I know that is an American thing, largely, but the very same arguments were used to support that hierarchy.

    And finally, grammar. Verse 22 is absolutely dependent on verse 21, since there is no verb in verse 22, much less any imperative verb. IOW, Paul is describing a list of behaviors that characterize life in the Spirit, and he describes them with participles, not imperatives. Therefore, the “imperative” command for wives to submit simply does not exist. What does exist is Paul describing what a believing wife’s behavior would look like WRT her husband who was, in fact, her head socially.

    Finally finally, there needs to be some recognition of the difference between description and prescription in the texts. Clearly this passage is descriptive of the social hierarchies which existed. Whether those hierarchies are prescribed is another question, and if someone wants to say that God prescribes one hierarchy, then the others are prescribed as well, ISTM, and that is where the American southern churches got way off track. It’s much better, IMO, to say that God is speaking into human realities as they are and describing Christian life looks like in a sinful world rather than prescribing hierarchies.

    I take it your answer is “Love.”

  232. @ elastigirl:
    Yes, I’m in the same category as you two, although i have on occasion picked up the psalms just to read them, likewise a couple of other books/parts of books. But i can only do it *very* infrequently. Prayer does the same to me, except more so. Although i can say basic things like help! or thank you or have mercy. But that’s probably more than enough; i do not think God ever wants us to feel that kind of stress or fear.

    Btw, same with songs that trivialized and ruined passages from the Bible for me.

  233. @ Nancy:
    Same here. It reminds me of an old story about a bunch of blind men who were taken to “see” their ruler’s elephant. They all went and touched it, but since they were touching different parts, they came up with completely different takes on what an elephant actually is like (tail means it’s like rope, trunk means snake, ears mean giant leaves, etc.). Of course, none of them were taken around the elephant so that they could touch different parts of it to get a clearer immpression.

    Obvy, the point is that none of them truly understood what an elephant *is.* i think we are all like the blind men, in all kinds of ways.

  234. Beakerj wrote:

    So now, I suppose I think either God doesn’t want me (I’m not elect) or he’s not there.

    God has told us he wants us, and that is why Jesus came. And died. That is how much God wants us. That’s the thing to focus on instead of what various people say about him. If you look at the clobber verses on God’s election only in light of what people have said those verses mean, then that takes your focus off of Jesus and what he has done. He is how we know what God is like!

    When my parents died, I had two minds about God. One mind was comforted knowing they were with him, and the other mind was furious at God for not making things otherwise. The things people said did not help. At all. What helped was what some people did by just being there for me during the process. I can’t make you feel his presence or his love, but I can only tell you I’ve been in a dark place where I could not see him and where I had a very hard time believing he cared about me, too.

  235. @ Beakerj:
    I can’t answer your question, but i know that i am in a very different place now than i was 12 years ago, or 10, or 5. I sought the help of a good therapist, as i was trying to manage multiple traumas/health crises on top of the trauma of being booted and shunned, and was ddveloping full-blown PTSD. It took years for me to begin to feel like i could see a tiny pinprickmof light at the end of the tunnel, but i now feel like I’m out in the sunlight. (Though some days are still dark and gloomy.) Imthink you already know what a huge part animals have played in the healing process. It is like they are embodiments of God’s love, of what is good in creation, of humor and mischief and joy in life. I have also learned a tremendous amount about dealing with stress and physical pain simply by watching how they go about living their lives.

    I don’t know if that helps any, but thought it might be worth noting.

  236. @ Beakerj:
    A whole lot of us aren’t “proper,” I’m thinking! And i see I’ve got company in going through a private hell (at about the same age as you) per W.Nee.

  237. Nancy wrote:

    And you are apparently nowhere near the people Jesus condemned the most–the religious pretenders who cared about show but not about people. You seem to be just the opposite. Congrats on that.

    Isn’t that the truth! A bunch of uneducated guys from Galilee were the ones entrusted with the truth, not the priests, scribes, and Pharisees in highly-refined Jerusalem. Galilee was hicksville that was up there near the Gentiles, for Pete’s sake. The thing with being proper for the sake of being proper is that being proper becomes the reason that makes us forget about the main thing. It’s a proxy for holiness that can be measured and ranked. And of course, it goes in the other direction as well where being not-proper and an outlier becomes the reason for everything. Both are irrelevant where there is love and humility.

  238. Gram3 wrote:

    Paul is describing a list of behaviors that characterize life in the Spirit, and he describes them with participles, not imperatives.

    Amen, Gram! Emphasis on all behaviors for all believers.

  239. @ Nancy:
    I am completely in the dark as to what is meant by “grace” in Calvinism, as it seems to bear little resemblance to what I understand the word to mean.

    But that’s just me.

  240. @ Ken:
    The thing is, I’ve known people from just about any kind of denomination you could name (myself included) who have gone through (or are still going through) the fallout from that particular view of God, so clearly, a lot of people who do know the Bible are in fact teaching/preaching/dropping unmistakable hints about it. I think it is much, much harder for people who come from families where one or both parents are perfectionistic and/or controlling to be able to view God as the kind of father pictured in the parable of the prodigal son, or in what Jesus says of his Father. There are now – and have likely always been – people who have been invested in that view of God precisely because it allows them to control people and gain power. It’s just plain wrong, but it’s not gone away in over 200 years, nor do I expect it to go away anytime soon.

    And when you combine that with people who believe in hardcore penal substitutionary atonement and the like, it becomes hugely damaging (explosive, really). You could add in some of the dispensationalist views as well, though for me, the big thing was being told that we are never, ever good enough for God and must strive to constantly improve/repent/sweat blood/keep running on the hamster wheel forever and ever, even though nobody can ever succeed at all of that.

    If you are a perfectionist, then you are going to preach a harsh, mean, judgmental, perfectionistic god – or at least, I have found that to be true in my own experience. Some people set themselves up in place of the real God with messages like that, and they enjoy being there.

  241. @ numo:
    the perfectionistic message was put across in terms of “god’s love.” I’m using the lowercase G there for obvious reasons.

  242. @ Gram3:
    Does the conscience of each believer not allow for believing in and reciting the Apostles and Nicene creeds? Seriously, this boggles my mind, and maybe I understand incorrectly. It is like a parallel universe to me.

  243. @ Gram3:
    As I suggested some time ago, I would highly recommend internetmonk.com, specifically posts by Chaplain Mike, on Lutheran views. He is a hospice chaplain who was an ordained minister in an evangelical denomination, but switched to the ELCA several years ago. He is extremely articulate – and very plain-spoken, no fancy vocabulary – and truly can explain these things better than most others I’ve read (and certainly better than I can).

    He is a good writer, and I really enjoy his posts even when we disagree. it’s a good blog, with a lively comments section, and you might enjoy it.

  244. Gram3 wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    Yes, I see what you mean. Don’t know what the Western church might look like as a whole if Pelagius had more influence. I need to read more about the Philosopher-King idea, but what I’ve read makes some sense of what came from Augustine. And then there’s the personal baggage he brought into his clerical career.

    Oh man, you want to see the Neo-Cals go wild, just mention Pelaganism….and then, the Anglicans in England still have some who sort of follow Pelagius. ( and we won’t discuss LDS theology…)

  245. @ numo:
    Sure, but I think this is where the cultural aspect comes into play. Baptists have a positive identity as each believer being a priest, but like every group, we/they also have a negative identity. So, if the liturgical churches recite a creed as part of the liturgy then we *don’t* do that because we are *not* that and *they* do that. I’m not saying that’s correct but just that’s the way it is in cultural groups. There is also the reality that some of us have had bad experiences in liturgical churches, so we react against that. Others have bad experiences in non-liturgical churches and they find comfort in the liturgy. Does that help?

  246. @ numo:
    I’ve read it sporadically since about 2005 or so, and actually Michael Spencer’s thoughts were very interesting to me. I like the comment community because it is a thoughtful one.

  247. @ K.D.:

    Being a Pelagian heretic was the insult du jour within the SBC YRR a few years back on quite a few blogs. Unless you were a determinist then you were a Pelagian. I just had to find out as much as I could about the poor man. Who proclaimed him a heretic? Augustine,for one

  248. Gram3 wrote:

    Isn’t that the truth! A bunch of uneducated guys from Galilee were the ones entrusted with the truth, not the priests, scribes, and Pharisees in highly-refined Jerusalem. Galilee was hicksville that was up there near the Gentiles, for Pete’s sake. The thing with being proper for the sake of being proper is that being proper becomes the reason that makes us forget about the main thing. It’s a proxy for holiness that can be measured and ranked. And of course, it goes in the other direction as well where being not-proper and an outlier becomes the reason for everything. Both are irrelevant where there is love and humility.

    I remind my kids about this often and to take a long look at who Jesus got angry with and why: The religious leaders of His own tribe.

  249. Gram3 wrote:

    Verse 22 is absolutely dependent on verse 21, since there is no verb in verse 22, much less any imperative verb. IOW, Paul is describing a list of behaviors that characterize life in the Spirit, and he describes them with participles, not imperatives. Therefore, the “imperative” command for wives to submit simply does not exist

    Devils advocate… Then “just as Christ is the head of the church” in v.23 also means the church and Christ have absolute equality of role and engage in mutual submission and Christ has no right to authority in the church?

  250. Lydia wrote:

    take a long look at who Jesus got angry with and why

    That would be a good conversation on the ODP some time, because he got angry more than once and got angry about more than one kind of thing.

  251. Joe wrote:

    Devils advocate… Then “just as Christ is the head of the church” in v.23 also means the church and Christ have absolute equality of role and engage in mutual submission and Christ has no right to authority in the church?

    Gram3 will answer for herself, but if I may…

    Jesus calls his disciples “friends.” He washed their feet. He came to give abundant life. He gave up his very life for them/us.

    That’s the behavior husbands are called to emulate in Ephesians 5. They are called to lay down their very lives for their wives as Christ did for the church. No mention whatsoever of authority only the sacrificial giving up of one’s life for another.

  252. Joe wrote:

    Devils advocate… Then “just as Christ is the head of the church” in v.23 also means the church and Christ have absolute equality of role and engage in mutual submission and Christ has no right to authority in the church?

    The context is “being filled with the Holy Spirit”. Read it like a real letter with no verses or chapter breaks. It is not about hierarchies. Then do an indepth word study on Kephale and how it was used even in secular Greek writings. If the Holy Spirit had wanted to communicate authority, there are Greek authority words that would have clearly communicated that.

    Head was viewed differently back then than we understand it today. During that time it was thought that decisions/thinking came from the “heart”. (Check out the heart passages and you will see what I mean). What came from the “head” took care of the “body”. As in eating, breathing, etc. Ergo, the head/body metaphors. But Western thinking is that head means boss. The Head/body is used in scripture as a relationship metaphor. Not a who is boss, metaphor.

    About a 100 years after Paul, the physician Galen discovered the head actually controlled the limbs and that thinking started to change concerning where decision/thinking originated in the body which is why we read head as boss.

    The other problem you have is that when we map the husband head to the Christ head as boss then we are basically saying that the husband is a sort of Christ to his wife. Not good. Very bad. That negates a whole bunch of other scripture and puts a spiritual mediator between the wife and Jesus Christ. No way that is what Paul meant. If that is the meaning then it is best if no Christian women to ever marry.

    “Submit” to a 1st Century wife was literally a step up from her legal status. The only place a woman had any personal power in Ephesus was in the Pagan temple cult.

  253. While the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is entirely unrelated to the Eastern Orthodox Church, we also believe our priests and bishops hold the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, as the One Holy Catholic and Aposotolic Church, and the Roman Catholic Church and other churches who are our partners in ecumenical dialogue believe the same thing. So clearly the belief each apostolic church holds is that it has the keys, and the ecumenical dialogue between rhem suggests most of the Patriarchs of the Eastern, Oriental Orthodox, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Roman Catholic Church, all believe the others might also hold said keys. After all, Christ had twelve disciples. What disturbs me about this article is that it seems to attack the view that the Orthodox and high church Protestants traditionally have about themselves. Now I had no idea the OPC was high church or liturgical; there was a Scoto Catholic movement known as Mercerburg Theology but I thought it was largely dead or confined to a few posh parishes in the Church of Scotland that wished they were Anglican (or Scottish Episcopalian) but whose members felt obliged to be a part of the Established Church.

    What also disturbs me deeply is the apparent attack on liturgical Christianity.

    Let’s remember one thing: the 21 Coptic Christians who just died in Egypt were members of a church led by a Pope, who believes that he and his bishops, and the Patriarchs of the Syriac Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic and Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Churches with which he is in communion, but has no jurisdiction over (unlike the Roman Pope and the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, who are his subordinates), all have the keys to the kingdom, and who also believes judging by his remarks that his colleagues the Pope of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox bishops such as the Greek Orthodox Pope of Alexandria, whose name I forget, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow, and their subordinate bishops, also have the power to lose and bind.

    In fact, the Catechism of the Syriac Orthodox Church, which is in full communion with the Copts, says the same thing, essentially. I don’t think the Coptic church has an English catechism but their theological publications from Pope Shenouda II of blessed memory say the same thing.

    The Coptic Church is also a liturgical church, with long, ornate services lasting four hours or more, full of incense and chanting. And this is the church that the 21 martyrs we’ve been eulogizing belonged to.

    Now I suspect the OPC is very different from the Coptic church, but this article appears to be criticizing it for its similarity to the Coptic church, not intentionally, but by implication; in other words, the article is attacking the OPC because it’s high church and not really for anything related to Calvinism. Note that the Copts do not believe in predestination and are not Calvinists, but they don’t do revivals either.

    Now my understanding was that Wartburg Watch liked and respected high church denominations such as the Catholics and the Copts, and so an article largely criticizing OPC for being high church troubles me. Now I would imagine the OPC would look very low church to my eyes, but the criticisms here seem targeted at those aspects of the OPC which are in common with the Eastern churches of which I am a member, and the Roman Catholic Church, and that troubles me.

  254. Beakerj wrote:

    one of my other issues is that much Christian culture is so unappealing, anaemic, reductionist, mediocre.

    For which, read “middle-class”. Churches here in Blightly tend to be made up of people for whom everyday life basically works. Thus, they don’t really need to persevere for answers to prayer; it doesn’t really matter if the bible reads like a sheep of height and nobody knows where the clucking bell God has gone or what he’s doing. When I say “tend to”, I mean exactly that; there are honourable exceptions. (Bit like saying men tend to be taller than women. Everybody knows that’s true, AND that there are short men and tall women.) But statistically they are exceptions.

    Personally, UK christendom’s infatuation with gentle, non-threatening, calm and safe environments frustrates me no end.

  255. Joe wrote:

    Then “just as Christ is the head of the church” in v.23 also means the church and Christ have absolute equality of role and engage in mutual submission and Christ has no right to authority in the church?

    I don’t see how that follows. First of all, the metaphor of head/body is used for a particular purpose *in the context* and the idea that it is about authority is imported into the text. Of course Christ has authority over the church. He bought us! The problem, in my view, is that the hierarchicalists must get to authority somehow, even though authority is not conferred on anyone in the texts. And submission is not commanded for anyone, either. Even if submission were commanded for one person does *not* necessarily confer authority on the other person. The authority always resides in Christ, in this case.

    Not saying you are suggesting this, but I don’t think it is reasonable to just yank a point of comparison out of thin air and say it applies. That Christ is in authority over the church does not entail males being in authority over females because both the husband and Christ are referenced in the *metaphor.* The “headship” in this context means provision and care and sacrifice and love. That was a truly revolutionary thought in the 1st century!

    But maybe I’m missing your point.

  256. @ Joe:
    Just another thought on equality and mutuality. When I say “equal” I do not mean “identical.” What I am getting at is the idea that one gender is ordained by God to be always the Leader and the other gender is ordained by God to be the Follower. There is no textual evidence for God ordaining any such “roles” for the genders or for particular races or particular classes. At various points in history, people have maintained that God ordained hierarchy on all of those bases. Why the gender one persists is beyond me.

    I prefer to think of mutuality. Every healthy relationship is a mutual one, and there is no magic formula of gender roles that creates a healthy relationship. Both the male and the female are kept in immaturity as they are constrained by expending so much energy fulfilling “roles” rather than imitating and growing up into Christ who is the Head of both.

  257. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Personally, UK christendom’s infatuation with gentle, non-threatening, calm and safe environments frustrates me no end.

    I have a British friend who likens it to bubble wrapping everyone and everything. We have our share of it here.

  258. @ William G.:
    I know someone who is Eastern Orthodox and I agree there is little in common. In fact, when the OPC calls itself “high church” it means it’s less like broadly evangelical churches. The posting said they rely heavily on Calvin, not Gregory of Nyssa. Do you bring communion to the sick at home who cannot get out? If a husband didn’t get his disabled wife out to church regularly (whatever that means) would you put him on trial in your Church? I sincerely ask these questions. (Most Orthodox I know infrequently go to church services and don’t get into trouble.) So I truly wonder.

  259. @ Gram3:
    I hear you, and understand, insofar as it’s a very human way of reacting to/against things. But I think I would have to be in Baptist circles for a while to truly “get” the whole culture (as opposed to beliefs only).

    It is, I’ll admit, difficult for me to physically be in extremely plain, undecorated churches where there’s no emphasis on choral singing and a *huge* emphasis on preaching. I have known people who left churches that look/feel like that, not because they wanted to leave per se, but because they are artists and musicians and what they had to offer was not understood there. Other kinds of churches suited them better, as far as that part of their lives is concerned. And I totally get that – it would be like the desert for me, in many respects. (Not because of the people, but because of the lack of emphasis on the arts and creativity.)

  260. @ William G.:
    William, I don’t think the poster meant to attack anyone. I do think they don’t understand and probably have had extremely limited exposure to liturgical churches of any kind, and tend to lump some liturgical church distinctives (speaking in a very broad-brushed way here) together.

    But I would probably make similar mistakes if I were to write about Reformed or Baptist churches of any kind, because I know little about them and likely misunderstand both the beliefs and cultures of these extremely broad categories of churches.

  261. As an aside, I am so glad that “keys” have never been mentioned in any Lutheran church I’ve attended.

  262. @ Gram3:
    One reason that I enjoy Chaplain Mike’s posts is that he deals with things that come up in his pastoral work (stuff we all face – people dying, the grief process), social issues and much more. He and the very diverse crew of writers and commenters keep me coming back. I always learn something over there!

  263. I’ll try to bundle my replies…

    Ephesians 5 as one text…

    Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭21-24‬ NIV)
    Mutual submission – “to one another.” Got it.
    Wife submission to husband “wives submit.” Got it.
    Comparison of wife’s submission – “as you do to the Lord.” Check.
    Comparison of spousal relationship to relationship between Jesus and church – “for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.” Ok
    Submission of church example of wife to husband – “as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands.” Check.

    Now, when you work through the text beyond that, watch how Christ is the “head” of the church. He nourishes, cherishes, gives himself up, etc. Headship is clearly related to the idea of submission, but headship does not need to equal dictator. Rather it means using authority for the good of the other person.

    I think it’s unfortunate that there is (with good reason) such a fear of any sort of authority. The fear exists because it’s abused so bad. I’m thankful to the authorities I submit to… Police, the mayor, my employer, etc. They have authority so they can help make my life safer, more prosperous, etc.
    In the same way, husbands ought to use their God given authority for the express purpose of “serving and protecting” their wife. If they did that, instead of trying to use their authority to justify “beer me woman” maybe we wouldn’t have such a tough time with this one. Authority is not evil – it comes from God. But it gets so dang twisted out of whack that what is good becomes evil, and that’s a shame.
    I would also add this, that it’s clear to me that those who have abused any authority given to them by God (and we all have some at some level) will be judged very very harshly for that abuse, from kings who oppress their people to pastors who eat rather than feed their sheep to husbands who abuse their wives to mothers who neglect their children.
    Children are after all the next order of business in Ephesians, and they are to “obey their parents.” That’s submission. And it’s not because they’re of lesser value – it’s ultimately because it’s for the good of the entire family. Next is slaves, for the good of society, and so forth.
    I look forward to the day when Jesus comes to straighten out the abusers and establish perfect order. May it be soon.

  264. @ numo:
    You would know more about this than I, but I believe that the rejection of art in sacred spaces was itself a reaction against perceived misuse of art in worship. I personally think that is regrettable and often think about the artistry that God prescribed for the Tabernacle, for example. It just seems that we as humans are inclined to worship the gifts rather than the giver. And pipe organs!

    I suspect you are correct about the need to be immersed(!) in Baptist culture and practice to get it. Definitely it is more inward rather than outward, more invisible rather than visible. It would probably seem very spare to you.

  265. @ William G.:
    William, I think that the context here is the OPC and not the Orthodox churches. High has different meanings, and the main point was authoritarianism and not particular doctrine or practice, IMO.

    There has been discussion about whether the Coptic martyrs were Christians if they died confessing Christ as Lord. I want to say, as the lowest of the low-churchers, that I believe they are with the Lord today. As you know, I do not agree with EO practice and some doctrines, but I believe that is a separate question.

  266. @ Gram3:
    Oh, I think the main reason for rejection of the arts by many American evangelical churches is about rejecting “the world.” Mark Noll covers a lot of the ground (though not necessarily re. the arts) in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. The rejection of normal things, like dancing or painting, as “worldly,” seems to underlie a *lot* of this, to me, anyway. I mean, I pretty much accept/kind of understand it with German anabaptists churches, like most Mennonites and Church of the Brethren (though there are people who *are* involved in the arts who come from both denominations), but understand that where I grew up, the landscape is dominated by Lutheran and Methodist churches, with small communities of Catholics, Episcopalians and Presbyterians (PC-USA), along with the German anabaptist churches. We have a couple of places around now that are pretty fundy and use the word “baptist” in their names, but they are independents. There’s also a charismatic church that is WAY out there and, to me, worrisome. But we are not home to large numbers of baptists (in the American sense), let alone fundies. There are a few other denoms represented in the area, like the CMA, but they have very small congregations. The Catholic population is up due to the large numbers of Latin American immigrants who have come here looking for steady farm work. (Kind of an oxymoron, “steady” + “farm work,” but I bet some of the are well on their way to owning their own small farms. Whether any of the local small farmers can continue to make a go of it is another thing entirely…)

  267. Gram3 wrote:

    It would probably seem very spare to you.

    Most non-liturgical churches do, but I *love* going to African American churches with good choirs! There is no spareness in their music, nor in their ways of preaching and worship.

  268. Joe wrote:

    Next is slaves, for the good of society, and so forth.

    Did you just say what it sounds like you said?

  269. Gram3 wrote:

    the rejection of art in sacred spaces was itself a reaction against perceived misuse of art in worship.

    True in the 1500s, in some places (like the Netherlands), but that’s a long way off, in space and in time, from the US today.

  270. Joe wrote:

    I think it’s unfortunate that there is (with good reason) such a fear of any sort of authority.

    I, for one, do not fear authority. But that begs the question, doesn’t it? We first must establish that there is an authority relationship between male and female or husband and wife or clergy and laity first, ISTM, before we jump to the conclusion that someone who rejects that purported authority is therefore rejecting authority.

    Here’s an example. Suppose a duly-sworn officer of the law shows up on your doorstep and tells you to go with him to the lockup. Would you be rejecting his authority as an officer of the law if you declined to do so unless he/she presented you with a warrant? Of course not, because the officer’s authority does not reside in the officer. Rejecting the authority of an officer who is acting on his own authority is not the same as rejecting the authority of the law.

    That is what I’m saying. I am not rejecting authority. I am rejecting the assertion of authority by certain people who cannot demonstrate textual evidence for the authority they assert. I’m saying that they need to produce textual warrant for this purported authority of males over females and clergy over laity. And the evidence from the text needs to be honestly generated using context and grammar and by applying a conservative hermeneutic.

    Saying that people who reject this assertion of authority are only doing so because we reject authority or because we are feminists or whatever is really just an ad hominem argument bundled with begging of the question.

    So, I’ll ask you where in the actual text of the Bible does God establish the authority of male over female or clergy over laity? That is the same simple question I keep asking. I just keep asking the officers to produce the warrant signed by the judge that says I, as a woman, am bound to obey, simply because I am a woman.

    I’m trying hard not to be totally offended by your comparison of wives’ submission with the obedience demanded of children, but you aren’t the first one to raise that. Adult women are not children, and we do not need another adult to direct our lives. A marriage should consist of one adult male and one adult female who, if they are believers, are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who enables them both to mature in Christ and grown in oneness.

    That sigh of sympathy you hear is from Ken. 🙂

  271. @ numo:
    fwiw, this guy is a favorite of mine. Even whitewashed church interiors in 17th c. Amsterdam ended up in art! The Dutch “golden age” of art came after the big iconoclastic moves by some of the reformers there. But the Dutch started to become wealthy (or, at least, prosperous) merchants, and everyone wanted paintings to put in their new houses. Portraits, landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, quaint scenes of country folk, and… church interiors. Lots of them!

  272. Joe wrote:

    I think it’s unfortunate that there is (with good reason) such a fear of any sort of authority.

    Joe, I read your list mentioning submission, but what was missing is even one scripture that tells husbands to be the authority over his wife.

    Wade says it very succinctly here:

    http://www.wadeburleson.org/2009/12/only-time-bible-uses-word-authority.html

    The only time authority is mentioned within the context of a marital relationship is in 1 Cor. 7 where both the husband and wife have the same authority over one another.

  273. numo wrote:

    True in the 1500s, in some places (like the Netherlands), but that’s a long way off, in space and in time, from the US today.

    I had in mind a free church in Zurich that was really, really plain. White walls with nothing on them. Our Swiss friend explained the reason for that along with the reason for the roosters on the roof, which we were puzzling about.

  274. @ numo:
    As I think about this a bit, there also may be a socio-economic reason for part of it. Baptists became numerous on the frontiers and during the Awakenings. For the most part, they were not the upper crust establishment types. Art was a luxury good for them. So maybe that is part of it as well.

    Though I don’t know much at all about art, we spent a long, long time one afternoon in a relatively small gallery in Bruges being absolutely amazed by the Flemish painters. I know realistic painting isn’t cool, but I was floored by the way they captured detail. Also, the wood-carving was amazing in the churches in Ghent, IIRC.

  275. Gram3 wrote:

    Of course not, because the officer’s authority does not reside in the officer.

    Bingo. Joe has used examples that many pastors use that are not well thought through because we live in a country that is ruled by laws. Not humans. That was the intent. It was on purpose.

    It is not a “fear” of authority as if we adults are errant teens. it is an understanding. For example, employees/employers have a contractual relationship that is voluntary. Both are to hold up their end of the bargain.

    I do worry about a generation of Christians who only see authority relationships. I hear these sorts of talks all the time from the YRR guys. It is almost as if they forget we actually elect people to represent us because they are so into the whole authority paradigm. It worries me for our country. There is a growing love of collectivism and an oligarchy. People want their place in the pecking order instead of being relational or contractual grown ups.

  276. Eagle wrote:

    @ Michaela:
    In the course of time I want to discuss 9 Marks. In most situations I would leave it alone, however since its been pushed upon many denominations I think it should be addressed. Since it will be addressed that’s why I have it linked. Make sense? Same with the Gospel Coalition and John Piper. I’m actually going to be working on a post soon about my family’s expereince with John Piper. It will be called, “My Mom’s Pancreatic Cancer, John Piper and Me”

    Thanks, Eagle for explaining why you posted a link to 9 Marks. I am of a different mind set and see the incredible, and unrepentant, damage that Mark Dever, 9 Marks, and his church have done to Christians (including conservatives). I would NEVER endorse Dever or 9 Marks.

  277. Haitch wrote:

    K.D. wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    I’ve been “keyed” out of the church, so I’m a little ticky about this particular issue.
    You may have been keyed out of one local church but you are a member of EChurch at Wartburg. For a small love offering, we will send you a certificate of Member in Good Standing. For a moderate love offering, we will even make you a member of the Board of Elders.

    If we donate enough do we get a Doctor of Divinity degree?

    I love where this is headed…

    OK…she’ll toss in Christmas photos with the pugs! In person or photoshopped.

  278. Joe wrote:

    Now, when you work through the text beyond that, watch how Christ is the “head” of the church. He nourishes, cherishes, gives himself up, etc. Headship is clearly related to the idea of submission, but headship does not need to equal dictator. Rather it means using authority for the good of the other person.

    I think it is less than clear that “headship” is about authority. That is not the way kephale is used in this metaphor. As Head of the church, Christ nourishes and cherishes and gives up his life for us. It does not follow from that that a husband’s “headship” is about authority.

    There is no imperative for a wife/woman to submit. Check it for yourself in the interlinear. So, we need to remove the check from that point in your analysis.

    The facts on the ground in the 1st century were that wives were property, and they were certainly not the objects of their husband’s love. Every wife was required by social norms to submit to her husband on pain of physical discipline or divorce. Period. It would have been totally redundant for Paul to instruct Christian wives to submit in word and deed. Same for children and slaves. So we can be fairly sure that Paul would not waste scarce resources to instruct people to do what they were already bound to do.

    As I see it there are a few possibilities for what Paul and Peter were doing. There may be others.

    1) Establishing hierarchies and cultural norms; 2)Ratifying existing hierarchies and cultural norms and perhaps modifying them; 3) Teaching people how to live as Christians in a distinctly unChristian world without ratifying the existing cultural norms and also without overturning them overtly, though realizing that changed hearts would change culture eventually.

    I think that 3 is the most likely case given the evidence. Otherwise we are left with God either establishing or ratifying slavery.

  279. Lydia wrote:

    I do worry about a generation of Christians who only see authority relationships. I hear these sorts of talks all the time from the YRR guys.

    I agree, and I also worry that an entire generation is being deprived of full and rich relationships that are grounded in Christ rather than a role system. Their spiritual maturity is being stunted by this system. And for what?

    I also fear that this entire generation in the YRR are being taught by the Gospel Glitterati to look to men rather than to God and to regard God primarily as the Big Authority Figure in the Sky rather than the Father that Jesus taught us. The god they teach about reminds me more of a pagan deity than the loving and patient Father who desires to have a relationship with us, his dearly loved children. The household of the Father is made to look like an army regiment rather than a family.

  280. Godith wrote:

    @ William G.:
    I know someone who is Eastern Orthodox and I agree there is little in common. In fact, when the OPC calls itself “high church” it means it’s less like broadly evangelical churches. The posting said they rely heavily on Calvin, not Gregory of Nyssa. Do you bring communion to the sick at home who cannot get out? If a husband didn’t get his disabled wife out to church regularly (whatever that means) would you put him on trial in your Church? I sincerely ask these questions. (Most Orthodox I know infrequently go to church services and don’t get into trouble.) So I truly wonder.

    The Orthodox Church, the Eastern and Oriental ones, which I consider to be the real one, (the OPC is Orthodox Presbyterian in my view but not Orthodox Christian) does bring communion to the sick, in home and in hospitals, and also annointing them with oil as per St. James. If they are up to it, we can even where we have enough priests bring seven priests to their house and do the full two hour Liturgy of Unction, which features seven Epistles, seven Gospels and some beautiful unique hymns. We usually can’t muster seven priests in the diaspora but a single priest can also do the service, and for sick people it’s a huge comfort.

    My mother and myself have both been to church only infrequently due to illness in the past month and no one has gotten on our case about it, in fact the priest was going to come by but we’re doing better, and we’re going to visit the Coptic monastery again tomorrow God willing.

    I read the other article about the OPC and found the pastor bragging about dragging his wife to church even though she was very sick to be utterly repulsive. So I deeply resent the OPC daring to use the word Orthodox in their name, especially in light of the fact that John Calvin was unique among the reformers in attacking the Orthodox Church. The Lutherans reached out to us, and Archbishop Cranmer borrowed from our liturgy in the Book of a Common Prayer, but Calvin decried the “Greeks” as “the worst of idolaters” and also as hypocrites for not using three dimensional, realistic icons. So there’s that.

    But, Gram3 and Numo also, I read you. I see now this article was criticizing the OPC exclusively and did not have liturgical churches or anything Numo or I would call high church in its sights. But it looked to me initially that it was criticizing the OPC for the degree to which it resembled the high church tradition and to the extent that it was not sufficiently Evangelical or Revivalist, hence my initial consternation. By the way I do regard John Wesley as a saint, but I don’t think the eighteenth and early nineteenth century revival model should represent normative ecclesiology or missiology. Rather I see the revivals as an emergency response on the part of devout Christians in Britain and the early United States to rationalism and deism, which had by 1800 caused the majority of Puritan churches in Boston and the very first church established by the Mayflower pilgrims to become Unitarian. So the revivals were extremely important in countering this wave of deist rationalism, which itself was probably a reaction to Puritan excesses and the Wars of Religion in the 17th century. But the last few revivals of the 19th century IMO actually made a mess of things and facilitated the spread of the Mormons, the Millerites and other fanatical groups from the “Burned over district” in New York by exciting a popular zeal untempered through proper catechesis.

  281. numo wrote:

    @ numo:
    fwiw, this guy is a favorite of mine. Even whitewashed church interiors in 17th c. Amsterdam ended up in art! The Dutch “golden age” of art came after the big iconoclastic moves by some of the reformers there. But the Dutch started to become wealthy (or, at least, prosperous) merchants, and everyone wanted paintings to put in their new houses. Portraits, landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, quaint scenes of country folk, and… church interiors. Lots of them!

    Alas his church interiors would have been all the more interesting had it not been for the iconoclastic vandalism that had occurred therein. 🙁

    I’m not a fan of iconoclasm in any form. I even resent the pulling down of all the Lenin statues in Eastern Europe. Also the planned demolition of Enver Hoxha’s mausoleum, which looks a bit like Space Mountain.

    I believe the OPC is officially iconoclastic. Also a number of their comgregationa are in 9 Marks if memory serves.

  282. Gram3 wrote:

    @ William G.:
    William, I think that the context here is the OPC and not the Orthodox churches. High has different meanings, and the main point was authoritarianism and not particular doctrine or practice, IMO.
    There has been discussion about whether the Coptic martyrs were Christians if they died confessing Christ as Lord. I want to say, as the lowest of the low-churchers, that I believe they are with the Lord today. As you know, I do not agree with EO practice and some doctrines, but I believe that is a separate question.

    Your belief regarding the Coptic martyrs is much appreciated. Not wanting to stroll off topic, but it turns out one was not a Copt or a Christian but decided on seeing the others beheaded for Christ to confess the Lord also; thus he received what the early Church called the Baptism of Blood. It’s a bit like St. George actually.

    By the way, you and Numo doubtless recall the monastery I went to; well I didn’t want to say at the time which jurisdiction it belonged to but in fact it was Coptic and God willing, we’re going back there tomorrow. But the really sad thing is these 21 martyrs are the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been hearing reports of the Islamic State doing evil things starting with crucifixion and descending to things I can’t stand to think about that to captured Syriac Christian and Yazidi children in the Mosul sector, and in Syria, so please pray for them.

  283. I have my own personal story with the Presbyterian Church of Australia. What I see is that their denomination is no longer Christ centered. If it was everything they do would reflect Him. I believe they view God through their creeds, their rules, their regulations, their hierarchies, their courts and not through a personal relationship with Christ.

  284. @ Gram3:
    Oh, realist styles are far less uncool than they were 40 years ago. 😉 And what a delight Bruges must have been, overall. I would love to go there myself, and suspect the gallery you visited has some gems in its collection.

    I think it’s possible to make the case that 19th c. revivalism was anti-intellectual, but i do take your point regarding the frontier (s).

  285. @ numo:
    They symbolize the need for the Reformed church to wake up from its deadness. Or, from a different perspective, they symbolize that the free churches were the roosters trying to rouse the established Reformed church. Or that the free churches are the ones who are awake.

  286. rhondajeannie wrote:

    I believe they view God through their creeds, their rules, their regulations, their hierarchies, their courts and not through a personal relationship with Christ.

    What happened that made that apparent to you?

  287. @ Nancy:

    Ha! It depends on what you think I said 🙂
    What I meant was there was a way Paul was telling slaves to conduct themselves – namely “obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” (‭Ephesians‬ ‭6‬:‭5‬ NIV)
    And that command was for the testimony of the gospel and the good of society. The flip side being anarchy and lawlessness, which are nowhere commended in Scripture

  288. Gram3 wrote:

    There is no imperative for a wife/woman to submit. Check it for yourself in the interlinear. So, we need to remove the check from that point in your analysis.

    It’s a participle… “Submitting” and assumes submission is happening. The imperative is in the verse “submit to one another… Wives to your husbands…”

    Regarding the source of authority and the policeman – totally with you all the way. No policeman, congressman, president, or judge is any more valuable in Gods eyes as a human being than any other one of us, but that’s not to say I can sentence anyone to a prison term, pull over speeders, or sign bills into law. That authority, and thank goodness corresponding accountability, isn’t mine.

    I know I won’t argue you into seeing what I see in the text for a husbands or pastors authority so I’ll let it be. 🙂

  289. Gram3 wrote:

    What happened that made that apparent to you?

    I see their Westminster Confession of Faith as one example. Taken from the PCAust website: ‘You will find the Church’s doctrine of the Bible defined in Chapter 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith’. If you look at Chapter 1 4 and 5 it says: ‘which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary;[5] those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased’.
    I don’t believe the ‘former ways of God revealing His will unto His people are now ceased because we have the Holy Scripture’. This limits God to their understanding and interpretation of Scripture.
    I am in the process of writing a couple of blog posts for TWW the first is just about finished so you will get to read my story.

  290. Gram3 wrote:

    Mark wrote:
    The SBC and related churches do have confessions. The most recent revision is from the year 2000.
    I’m going to quibble with you on technical grounds about the BFM2K. As a practical matter, it does function as a confession but it shouldn’t have the binding power of confessions in confessional churches. Even in the confessional churches there are different levels of subscription required for clergy and laity and different levels even among versions of a given denomination.
    The BFM2K was revised precisely to become a confession by men who are confessionally-minded. You can see that also in the way that Baptist ecclesiology has changed due to the influence of the Founders-1689er wing. I think you’re right that eventually the SBC will either split or the current enthusiasts will moderate.

    The Baptist Faith and Message 2000, I need to read it in depth. I understand that it is controversial, especially in an article that is complementarian. Traditionally Baptists are non creedal, but I don’t see anything wrong with confessions to set up some sort of guide, as long as that guide doesn’t become binding and legalistic. Baptists have had confessions throughout their history. Examples are the London confession, the Philadelphia confession, the New Hampshire confession, and the three Southern Baptist confessions.

  291. Gram3 wrote:

    I’m trying hard not to be totally offended by your comparison of wives’ submission with the obedience demanded of children

    Thanks… It came out awkward. As far as kids go, moms and dads authority is equal. “Honor your father and your mother… Obey your parents…”
    It’s totally wrong to say the mothers authority is like the oldest child’s – below dads and above the others… It’s equal as far as that goes.

    I’d say the ultimate expression of equality of being and diversity of role is in the Trinity – Son submissive to the Father, Spirit to Father and Son. But that doesn’t mean the Father is a dictator, or asks anything that the Son doesn’t already want to give/do. Any husband who has to remind his wife of his authority is already out of line. That’s why I wouldn’t use the word “hierarchy,” because that’s not a biblical word. Submission amid equals is.

  292. Joe wrote:

    It’s a participle… “Submitting” and assumes submission is happening. The imperative is in the verse “submit to one another… Wives to your husbands…”

    Actually, no, that isn’t the imperative that drives this particular passage. The imperative occurs in verse 18: be filled with the Spirit. What follows are descriptive participles which *describe* what people who are filled with the Spirit (instead of wine) do. Check the interlinear if you want to know what the Holy Spirit has inspired. If you want to know what Grudem and Piper teach, then read them.

    You haven’t made an argument yet. I’m waiting for you to show me where these hierarchies were ordained by God. And I’m waiting for you to show me where “head” means anything like “authority” in Ephesians 5. Or 1 Corinthians 11, for that matter.

    If we believe in the authority of Scripture, then it doesn’t matter what you see or what I see in the text, because we can see whatever we want to see. That’s why there are principles of hermeneutics which govern how we interpret any text. When we are talking about an inspired an authoritative text, then it is even more important to use sound hermeneutical principles and not just look for what we already want to find.

    The question is what did the Holy Spirit say in his inspired words? I don’t think Grudem is God or Piper is Pope, so I’m more concerned with the actual textual evidence than I am in their pontifications. So far, you haven’t offered evidence for the hierarchies that you assume, and you haven’t made an argument except to say that people like me fear authority.

    Where in the text did God ordain male priority and authority?

  293. Joe wrote:

    I’d say the ultimate expression of equality of being and diversity of role is in the Trinity – Son submissive to the Father, Spirit to Father and Son.

    That is the doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son. Where do you find that doctrine in the Bible? I’m guessing 1 Corinthians 11. I think you need to check into this doctrine a little more closely, especially if you have been told that it is “the orthodox and historical view of the church.” It put that in quotes because it is the line that so many of us have heard which is simply not true. The Eternal Son is not subordinate to the Eternal Father.

    I could go on and on about this, but you can probably search TWW for our many discussions of ESS. It is a totally fabricated doctrine designed to get around the irrational notion of a person being unavoidably in an inferior position while being ontologically equal. It is nonsense, and that is my candy-coated word for what it really is.

  294. @ Mark:
    No, really I was quibbling. I think that the BFM2K does, in fact, operate as a confession. *Some* Baptists have been confessional, as you said. Founders and ARBCA, for example, think that having a confession is practically mandatory, and they have greatly influenced attitudes in the SBC.

    IMO, the Baptist aversion to creeds/confessions comes mainly from the Anabaptist influence which is vehemently denied by Founders and other 1689ers. It is a reaction, I think, to the misuse of confessions. IOW, I think it is cultural rather than doctrinal to the extent that the conscience of the believer is not bound. I think you will find the history of the BFM2K interesting.

  295. Joe wrote:

    It came out awkward. As far as kids go, moms and dads authority is equal. “Honor your father and your mother… Obey your parents…”
    It’s totally wrong to say the mothers authority is like the oldest child’s – below dads and above the others… It’s equal as far as that goes.

    The way I read your comment was that the authority structures of Husband/Wife, Slave/Master, and Child/Parent are proof that the undifferentiated “submitting” in verse 21 could not possibly be mutual. That is the view taught by Schreiner, Kostenberger, Ware, and company.

    Respectfully, you may not be aware that Doug Wilson and others who are like-minded from the Rushdoony school make the “ordered good of society” argument for slavery. That was one of the “Biblical” arguments of the anti-abolitionist churches as well. Those same churches and churchmen accused the abolitionists of being atheists and captives of the Enlightenment. Are you sure you want to go there?

  296. Muff Potter wrote:

    dee wrote:

    I do not remember how the conversation started but here is where it ended up. I said to him “Surely you don’t believe that God sends infants to hell.” He said “If they are not one of His elect, they will go to hell.”

    It’s just plain wrong to hurt a baby and there is no ‘holy god’ or ‘holy book’ that will ever make it right (small ‘g’ and small ‘h’ intentional).
    You did the right thing in disengaging from the convo. It is not possible to dialogue with an imbecile who will listen to the father of lies rather than his own moral compass and Jiminy Cricket within.

    Amen!

  297. @ zooey111:

    It’s for that belief and others like it that St. Augustine is generally ignored in the East.

    By the way, Eternal Subordination sounds more than a trifle semi-Arian to me. I love how in the Eastern church so many of our prayers are addressed to Christ while others are addressed to the Father, and some even to the Holy Spirit.

  298. So what happens to the pastor? Do they have an OPC jail where they put him and throw away the “key”? No, really. What is his punishment?

  299. Joe wrote:

    d say the ultimate expression of equality of being and diversity of role is in the Trinity – Son submissive to the Father, Spirit to Father and Son. But that doesn’t mean the Father is a dictator, or asks anything that the Son doesn’t already want to give/do

    There it is, ESS. In a more benign form but there.

  300. numo wrote:

    …for me, the big thing was being told that we are never, ever good enough for God and must strive to constantly improve/repent/sweat blood/keep running on the hamster wheel forever and ever, even though nobody can ever succeed at all of that.
    If you are a perfectionist, then you are going to preach a harsh, mean, judgmental, perfectionistic god – or at least, I have found that to be true in my own experience

    Indulging in a piece of personal testimony, I still remember the Friday evening bible study when we got to chapter 7 of Romans and the liberation when the light finally dawned that God no longer has us as believers under the Law or any other set of ‘laws’ – baptist, evangelical or pentecostal. It was the day “religion” lost its grip. (Please don’t ask how long ago this was!)

    It was as though something had gone out of me, a kind of deliverance from a ‘spirit’ of religion. (I’m not saying this was actually demonic, I don’t know that, but I have sometimes wondered. Whatever it was, the important thing was getting free of it.)

    I wonder if this kind of ‘I’m not good enough’ thinking is almost inevitable where you are brought up in a church where the bible is at least theoretically taken seriously. It’s not just that, it’s the myriad other human rules and regulations that have accrued in church life that can get you down or tie you up in knots.

  301. Gram3 wrote:

    The way I read your comment was that the authority structures of Husband/Wife, Slave/Master, and Child/Parent are proof that the undifferentiated “submitting” in verse 21 could not possibly be mutual. That is the view taught by Schreiner, Kostenberger, Ware, and company.

    Oh yes indeedy do. This thing of ‘slavery is okay’ is not gone off the face of the earth. I do resent and find unreasonable any idea that somehow we in the south are a breeding ground of such as that. But aside from the error (as I see it) of thinking that this idea is geographically confined, which some careless folk seem to do (I just had to throw this in) this idea of submission (subjugation) seems to draw some of its energy from the old slavery arguments.

    Consider how some of these people think that child rearing should be. ‘Break the child’s will?” Harsh physical punishment starting in infancy? All based on scripture of course. Consider what some of the comp people think is appropriate between a husband and wife. Again based on scripture. Consider the idea of the elder ruling over the congregation the way some do. Scripture again. And now comes from Joe a good word about how slavery should be played out. From scripture of course. This is unadulterated slavery style thinking. It comes from a heart that says it is okay for one person to own another person, and the next step up from okay is ‘commanded by scripture.’

    In this area not just religious ideas but also some of the political and philosophical bulwarks of our society are seriously coming under attack, and from the ‘bible christians’ who have found a way to implement the dictates of a hard heart by quoting scripture. Does not the same scripture talk about some people (” the ignorant and unstable” -Mounce translation) who distort scripture to their own destruction? That would be Peter talking about some things in Paul’s letters which are difficult to understand, and saying “as they do other scriptures”. Behold a case study of that. I believe it was something similar that the Pharisees were doing (misapplying religion to the detriment of people) that Jesus got so riled up about.

  302. Ken wrote:

    It was as though something had gone out of me, a kind of deliverance from a ‘spirit’ of religion. (I’m not saying this was actually demonic, I don’t know that, but I have sometimes wondered. Whatever it was, the important thing was getting free of it.)

    Can anything ever compare with that sense of freedom? I remember the feeling well in my own life. We should be careful to guard the freedom that was bought for us at a great price to Jesus.

    Gal 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

    Thanks for sharing that Ken!

  303. So what happens to the pastor? Do they have an OPC jail where they put him and throw away the “key”? No, really. What is his punishment?

    It depends. The pastor can appeal the decision to the General Assembly while staying in that congregation. That could take at least a year but probably longer. Presbyterianism is notoriously slow. If the decision is upheld by GA then the pastor will lose his ordination in the OPC. Essentially he’ll be fired by the denomination.

    The congregation can vote to leave the OPC. Since everything belongs to the pastor or the congregation this a viable option. This has happened on more than one occasion. Sproul Jr. did this, not with the OPC but with the RPCGA.

    I suspect that this whole episode was because someone wanted to remove this man because of something other than not getting his wife to church enough. This isn’t the first time that pastor’s in the OPC have had troubles like this. Usually the get prayed for not brought up on charges.

  304. numo wrote:

    @ Beakerj:
    A whole lot of us aren’t “proper,” I’m thinking! And i see I’ve got company in going through a private hell (at about the same age as you) per W.Nee.

    Numo-

    Thanks for saying that you went through a private hell per teachings of W. Nee. I was born into and grew up in a church / cult that followed his teachings. From birth till 18 years. We even had a “recovery version of a bible with his notes and interpretations of scripture”. Very painful and confusing experience growing up under these teachings. 🙁

  305. Thank you, Dave for your clarification. Yes, the RCC sees to it that anyone who can’t get to the Eucharist gets it. David Crawford wrote:

    The Real Presence is a doctrine that rebuts the idea that the Supper is merely a memorial. Thus, if Christ is really present (not physically, but spiritually) then communion is a big thing. Thus the infirm, homebound are in big trouble for not taking it.
    The Catholic Church sends out lay people after every service to bring communion to the infirm and homebound. All you have to do is request it.Its easy to attack what you do not know !!!!

  306. @ elisabetta:

    When I was an intern at a catholic hospital I personally saw communion brought to patients many times. I never saw anybody but a priest do it however, but that was before V II and there were priest chaplains at the hospital so that may explain that. I also saw administration of baptism, twice I think, in OB when the newborn was in distress and in danger of dying. The baptism was done by a catholic lay RN.

  307. @ Ali:

    It’s interesting to read people’s reactions to their experiences. It sounds like you were in a cult of Nee. I read one or two Nee books in the early 80’s, but remember them being interesting, informative. I don’t have negative responses to them now like some people seem to have. Then, again, Nee was also not turned into a demigod with his own pages in the Bible. Anything that is “forced upon us” seems to come back to haunt us later on.

  308. Jonathan wrote:

    I suspect that this whole episode was because someone wanted to remove this man because of something other than not getting his wife to church enough.

    Then I wonder why the Presbytery didn’t charge him with that offense? IIRC, Sproul Jr. had some serious problems like misusing the tax number of the church. Then there are his FV tendencies. Sproul Sr. is a member of a Presbytery but his church is or was independent. That doesn’t make sense in Presbyterianism.

  309. @ Jonathan:
    Thanks for the answer. Sounds like a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act but maybe the church is so separated from state it doesn’t matter. So Christians can do what they want with the disabled; even deny them communion? Jed P. never answered my question as to why his “maybe they could sometime bring communion” was such a tentative one. As I mentioned at the beginning of this thread, one lady I knew in an OP left for a Lutheran church over just this issue. Astounding. Think of it. Communion with Christ is denied to someone who is too infirm to attend services. It sounds like a complete inversion of Christianity.

  310. Gram3 wrote:

    the irrational notion of a person being unavoidably in an inferior position while being ontologically equal.

    Submissive does not equal inferior position. You are reading that into what I said. Different does not equal inferior. One person exercising authority over another does not equal the person under authority being in an inferior position.

    And to prove I can contextualize, I’d say slavery equates to employer/employee relations. God is very very clear that labor deserves to be paid for. And I would also say 19th century American slavery is not necessarily equal to biblical slavery in which there were cases when slaves willingly and gladly would forego mandatory release to become lifelong slaves because they loved their masters. American slavery and the purchase and sale of humans is evil. Period.

  311. @ Gram3:
    My response exactly. If the OPC wanted to get rid of him they certainly went about it the wrong way. This kind of a ruling will forever tarnish their reputation. I think they are so wrapped up in their theology they can’t think straight. Even if appealed and the appeal wins, still there were a group of people who did some horrendous things for over a year and a half. I really hope the members scoot to another church.

  312. Joe wrote:

    Children are after all the next order of business in Ephesians, and they are to “obey their parents.” That’s submission. And it’s not because they’re of lesser value – it’s ultimately because it’s for the good of the entire family. Next is slaves, for the good of society, and so forth.

    Joe, children are to obey and submit to their parents because they are not mature enough in years or life’s experiences to make wise choices and decisions. When they reach the age where they have, they become adults and begin to take accountability for their own lives separate from parental supervision.

    As you noted, children are to obey both parents which obviously indicates equal authority in the area of discipline and nurturing.

    Slaves are paid by masters to perform and function within the parameters determined by the one who owns him/her. But we know Paul was not advocating nor encouraging the practice because we see him request Philemon to change his relationship with Onesimus from one of slave to one of a brother.

    …Phm 1:16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother…

  313. Ali wrote:

    Thanks for saying that you went through a private hell per teachings of W. Nee. I was born into and grew up in a church / cult that followed his teachings. From birth till 18 years. We even had a “recovery version of a bible with his notes and interpretations of scripture”.

    Was this in the Seventies? That shepherding church/cult I was involved with also had a “thing” about Watchman Nee, but didn’t carry it that far (“that far” was reserved for Hal Lindsay). Still, I got the impression that Watchman Nee’s writings were the 68th Book of the Bible (Lindsay’s Late Great Planet Earth being the 67th).

    That shepherding church/cult also had a “Recovery Version of the Bible with HIS Notes and Interpretations of SCRIPTURE” — a “Dake’s Annotated Bible”; nobody I knew read the actual KJV text on the center two columns, only Dake’s notes on the outer two. And they were WEIRD — I’ve never read the like before or since.

  314. William G. wrote:

    Alas his church interiors would have been all the more interesting had it not been for the iconoclastic vandalism that had occurred therein.

    Just as the Wahabi do to the mosques they take over, whether by Saudi money or ISIS AK-47s. Smash and sledgehammer and whitewash until there is nothing but plain white walls, written over by verses from the Holy Book. (ISIS just got in the news again today by smashing Iraqi artifacts as idols and burning ALL the books in Mosul’s library except the Koran/Scripture.)

    And “The Wrecknovation of Mecca” continues, bulldozing ALL sites connected with early Islam except for the Kaaba and Great Mosque; even the site of Mohammed’s home was bulldozed and rebuilt as public toilets. Destroying the historical trace of their own faith, until with no link to history their own Koran/Scripture becomes just another book of myths, “A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away…”

  315. Godith wrote:

    So what happens to the pastor? Do they have an OPC jail where they put him and throw away the “key”?

    Scientology has its own prison system…

  316. Lydia wrote:

    I do worry about a generation of Christians who only see authority relationships. I hear these sorts of talks all the time from the YRR guys. It is almost as if they forget we actually elect people to represent us because they are so into the whole authority paradigm.

    The Gospel According to Lord Voldemort:
    “There is no Right, there is no Wrong, there is only POWER.”

    and The Gospel According to Nineteen Eighty-Four:
    “The only goal of Power is POWER. And POWER consists of inflicting maximum suffering upon the Powerless.”

  317. Joe wrote:

    And to prove I can contextualize, I’d say slavery equates to employer/employee relations

    Not contextualize, but rather read the verse(s) in their contexts: immediate, book, and canon. Use the analogy of faith.

    Please explain to me using ordinary logic and without invoking a speculative doctrine regarding intra-Trinitarian relationships how the “complementarian” position makes any sense at all.

    Females are always under the authority of males and can never be in authority over males. Female agency is unavoidably inferior to male agency in this system. Agency is fundamental to being human. Under the “complementarian” system, gender/sex is essential and ontological. Since, under the “complementarian” system, a female’s agency is unavoidably subjected to a males’ agency, her inferiority of agency is ontological and not merely functional. Trust me when I tell you that this argument of “separate but equal” has already been tried and found wanting. That is from the practical perspective, though maybe you were born after that period. The logic of “complementarianism” does not work, either, and that is why they must make an appeal to speculations about the Trinity.

    You neglected to point out in the text of Scripture where God ordained hierarchy of male over female or clergy over laity. Unless you can do that, the rest of this is irrelevant because the entire question has been begged.

  318. Joe wrote:

    Submissive does not equal inferior position. You are reading that into what I said. Different does not equal inferior. One person exercising authority over another does not equal the person under authority being in an inferior positio

    Some of us are quite familiar with these explanations that are full of cognitive dissonance. They are a rehash of the preceding archetype, “separate but equal”.

  319. Victorious wrote:

    But we know Paul was not advocating nor encouraging the practice because we see him request Philemon to change his relationship with Onesimus from one of slave to one of a brother.
    …Phm 1:16 no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother…

    Yet, some persist in not viewing husband/wife as brother/sister in Christ but as one having authority over another. Odd, since the husband/wife relationship is a much closer and intimate relationship than master/slave ever was.

  320. Bridget wrote:

    Odd, since the husband/wife relationship is a much closer and intimate relationship than master/slave ever was.

    Excellent point. The problem with “complementarianism” is that their primary hermeneutical principle is Authority, and everything must fit through that rule first before anything else can be considered. The idea of intimacy and oneness without someone being in authority is unthinkable to them for some reason which escapes me.

  321. Joe wrote:

    And I would also say 19th century American slavery is not necessarily equal to biblical slavery in which there were cases when slaves willingly and gladly would forego mandatory release to become lifelong slaves because they loved their masters.

    You might be saying that if we could create some other type of slavery, and if we can implement the ‘happy slaves’ concept, then slavery could be re-instituted in the US. The more you talk about this the worse it gets.

    Joe wrote:

    One person exercising authority over another does not equal the person under authority being in an inferior position.

    Of course it does. Less power is less than more power. Less freedom is less than more freedom. Less than is always less than compared to more than.

  322. What often gets lost in the discussion over male/female hierarchy is the fact that many churches have a clergy/laity hierarchy that isn’t in the Bible either. Without that hierarchy, the whole Keys business and a man being disciplined for not bringing his disabled wife to church often enough does not make sense.

    The overseers and elders were recognized by the body to serve the body, not to rule over them and Key them in and Key them out and bring them up on charges for caring for their wife as they see fit. I think that when serving functions became “offices” with Authority is when these things we talk about at TWW became possible and ultimately inevitable.

  323. Gram3 wrote:

    The idea of intimacy and oneness without someone being in authority is unthinkable to them for some reason which escapes me.

    And it’s unthinkable to me that someone believes that true oneness and intimacy is happening when some’one’ has authority in a relationship between two adults. This relationship would seem more like a parent/child relationship where the wife is considered immature and not able to contribute completely to the relationship as a grown adult.

  324. Joe wrote:

    position.

    And to prove I can contextualize, I’d say slavery equates to employer/employee relations. God is very very clear that labor deserves to be paid for. And I would also say 19th century American slavery is not necessarily equal to biblical slavery in which there were cases when slaves willingly and gladly would forego mandatory release to become lifelong slaves because they loved their masters. American slavery and the purchase and sale of humans is evil. Period.

    this sounds eerily familiar to some of Doug Wilson’s arguments. Are you familiar with his “Black and Tan” or the revised “Slavery As It Was”?

    I think a lot of this goes back to the foundational beliefs of God controlling every molecule instead of human volition. therefore what happens in Scripture is more prescriptive. Doug Wilson approaches the issue of slavery in a similar way.

    It is basically the determinists belief that God would have never allowed such things unless he wanted them to be that way. It was all part of His grand plan, so to speak.

    I have a different view, of course. Which entails reading OT through the lens of the Israelites being brought out of bondage for Centuries to a pagan culture. God met them where they were and proceeded to “reeducate” them in a way they could understand and try and form a nation whose charge was to be the light of the world. This makes for some uncomfortable reading.

    Was any form of slavery God’s intention at creation? If not, how can we defend it? did you forget that Paul, in another letter, told slaves to win their freedom if they could? Was he sending mixed messages to two different groups of people?

  325. @ Bridget:

    Yes! Philemon changes everything. It turns the Roman/Greek system on its head in the “Kingdom”. Neither slave or free….IN CHRIST. The kingdom of God is to operate differently. It was radical in the 1st Century.

    A runaway slave could be put to death in that system. Instead, Paul does not argue for him to simply be forgiven as a slave. He pleads for him to be received as a brother in Christ.

    I love that book.

  326. lydia wrote:

    this sounds eerily familiar to some of Doug Wilson’s arguments. Are you familiar with his “Black and Tan” or the revised “Slavery As It Was”?

    Which he got from Rushdoony, who was OPC. Social order hierarchies are ordained by God for the good of humans. I’m slowly reading an anti-abolitionist book published in 1850. It is astonishing and frightening how badly the Bible can be misused to justify what needed to be justified.

  327. Gram3–back in the dark ages when I first became a SBC member, the role of the preacher was sure different, wasn’t it?

    We weren’t ordaining people to be some authority figure. We were calling preachers. Now, granted, in my neck of the woods we just didn’t call women. We believed them to have been given a different set of skills to use in the church, and to have been forbidden the preaching role. Of course, we also believed men had some forbidden roles.

    But here is the key: the men, even if called to preach, were not in authority over diddly squat. The authority resided in the church members, equally, male and female. It was the local church given authority to act for God, not the preacher. And he certainly was not our pastor, or a reverend, or anything suggesting he was somehow better than the laity. In fact, I grew up with Baptist preachers vigorously arguing and preaching that they were most definitely NOT clergy.

    There was no clergy/laity divide among Baptists in our area because of that.

    Now, today, we have both power hungry men avid to make a career out of collecting their pew rents from the sheep, and sheep so happy to turn over the responsibilities of the priesthood of the believer to a hireling that we have gone to a denominational system and the local pastor is pope.

    What we used to do is not call someone, train them, ordain them, and send them out to rule. The most we could do was to RECOGNIZE how God was using someone.

    Comps and egals would have a valid argument or study through the scriptures if we stopped trying to find out who is in authority, accepted that no single human is, and tried to decipher if scripture is open to accepting that God is actually using both men and women in more roles today. Not could He. Not will He. But back to simply recognizing when someone is ALREADY being used by God in a specific role.

    But to get there, far before we decide the role of women’s ordination, we have to get back to a Baptist view of ordination period. That it doesn’t create a two tier system or ordain anyone to be clergy. It simply sets some folks aside to certain jobs in the church.

    We already recognize that the musicians are not a cut above the Sunday School teachers who are not a cut above the building and grounds committee who are equal to the hospitality committee. We already focus on plugging in the people with the right skill set into those jobs without making demigods of them.

    I dare say remove the profit motive or career-for-pay from the preaching job and we will get back to those who are so called of God they can’t not preach. And the hirelings will disappear like a puff of smoke.

  328. It is also somewhat ironic that the WCF was modified to reject the church/state paradigm but still retained the idea of authoritative offices. The good news is that the confession really is subject to modification. I need to find out if that modification was due to a re-interpretation of the Bible or some other reason. Maybe JeffS or Jed knows the background on that.

  329. lydia wrote:

    Was any form of slavery God’s intention at creation?

    I’m going to do a study on this for the family at their request. It’s very common for atheists to use it to trip Christians up, and both girls have encountered it already.

    A short reply is that enslaving people was a capital offence for the ancient Hebrews. That is hardly God ‘approving’ it. They could own slaves under ANE conditions from the nations around, for whom the law of God did not apply, but they could not enlave each other. The unlawfulness of enslaving is repeated in the NT (1Tim 1 : 10, where kidnapping = seizing with a view to enslaving).

    There is obviously more to it than this, and I’m looking forward to getting into the subject.

  330. Ken wrote:

    I’m going to do a study on this for the family at their request. It’s very common for atheists to use it to trip Christians up, and both girls have encountered it already.

    A study of slavery itself or whether it was God’s design before the fall? The problem with using the Mosaic law or the NT is that both record the situation as it exists in a sinful world, and we don’t have any info about God’s intent before the fall.

  331. linda wrote:

    There was no clergy/laity divide among Baptists in our area because of that.

    That is a Baptist distinctive, and I think our experiences in Baptist churches is somewhat similar. One thing I did observe was that regardless of what we said we believed, we Baptists still recognized the pastor as someone who was super-spiritual. Maybe that is just a human failing to want a king or tribal leader. I don’t know. Pastors certainly were not paid like they are today! The ones I knew lived in the same neighborhoods and had the same lifestyle as the pewpeons. But that was generally true of all denominations, I think. Ironically, the autonomy of Baptist churches facilitates the formation of little kingdoms and personality cults.

    I believe that the notion of “offices” within the church is a legacy of the church/state fusion where the form of the church took on the form of the state. WRT to Baptists, the English Baptists lived in a society that presumed class privileges, and I think the Founders/1689ers would like to get back to that presumption. Back before the SBC was, as Nancy said, resurged upon, Southern Baptists operated under the priesthood of every believer doctrine that came from the Anabaptists and later from the Awakenings. That is anathema among the Gospel Glitterati who love to be first. Among equals, of course. 😉

  332. @ Ken:

    I believe that God’s intention at creation was for humans to grow in wisdom with God’s guidance in close relationship with Him. this wisdom would be used in their dominion over the earth. I actually believe that God through His wisdom guidance wanted humans to govern themselves according to His love mercy and compassion and perfect justice. they were to learn from Him and Him alone. They were to be His Image reflected on earth. (We are to be His Image now as per the resurrection and new life.

    I believe that things like patriarchy, authority, slavery polygamy and all those things are the results of looking to deceptive evil instead of God. And they continue today even after Jesus Christ.

    I think your case can be made with “image of God”.

  333. @ Gram3:

    Bridget wrote: “Odd, since the husband/wife relationship is a much closer and intimate relationship than master/slave ever was.”

    Gram wrote: “Excellent point. The problem with “complementarianism” is that their primary hermeneutical principle is Authority, and everything must fit through that rule first before anything else can be considered.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    (anyone still here? in case you are…:)

    what dodoheads. is there a historian in the house? what in the world brought this on?

    certainly is a result of fragile male ego. but i’d like to understand it more deeply.

    is it truly a reaction to feminism? fear of change, slapped with a “liberal” lable to justify it? fear of cultural change?

    is it that the male ruling class of Christian culture felt they were losing control, a drowning sensation, and started grabbing a hold of flotsam and jetsam to stay afloat & then assembled it all into a newfangled vehicle w/driver’s seat reserved for them?

    (however true the drowning sensation/loss of control might be, I suppose i’d say it wasn’t that you were drowning — it was that you didn’t know how to swim.

    continuing on in metaphor land here, the water is gender equality. when you know how to relax in the new environment of water as opposed to not water and know how to work with it, you can move around successfully as well as very peacefully, and have fun, too.

    metaphor closed now, so some dodohead opportunist underminer doesn’t take it to unnecessarily too far.)

  334. @ elastigirl:
    Honestly, I don’t think there is a simple answer to the “why” of it. For some, I think they are genuinely convinced that God has ordained male rule, and they are trying to be obedient. Others make a nice living off of these doctrines and prey on the ones who desire to be obedient. It is a system that they are selling which appeals to those who are fearful and also to those who desire to please God.

    The history of modern compism is pretty clear and stems from George Knight III who invented the idea of gender roles and also the idea of roles within the Trinity. He came up with that in order to prevent female ordination within the PCA. Separate but equal gender roles was the rationale he invented to solve that immediate problem. The “feminism is responsible for the breakdown in society” tactic is just another version of “the woman you gave me” blaming tactic.

    What is distressing to me as a conservative is the way that the Bible is misused and even changed (!) and the dishonest language that the comps use. If it is so Biblical and so obviously necessary in God’s design, then it should be easy to demonstrate it from the text without torturing both language and logic.

  335. @ Gram3:

    I think you may be just way too lenient with these people, mostly because I have heard ideas that are comp-ism on steroids from people who not believers and in fact who despise christianity and everything about it. These ideas of supremacy (gender, racial, economic, social, etc and etc) are part and parcel of our society. I think the comp-ers just found a way to hose it down and bring it into the church house.

  336. Gram3 wrote:

    Others make a nice living off of these doctrines and prey on the ones who desire to be obedient. It is a system that they are selling which appeals to those who are fearful and also to those who desire to please God.

    This is how I saw it back in the mega days. it was a HUGE money maker. Not so much now. The books, studies, marriage seminars, etc not only brought in bodies but tons of sales. It was staggering.

    When you track the advent of CBMW, you can see it was a stepping for some to greater things which is where I think Owen is and guys like Russ Moore and Denny Burk used to be As in see what you can make of this and you will be eligible for some more exalted position. Burk did it and is now Dean of Boyce at a relatively young age. (Compared to the grey heads of yesteryear who were supposed to earn it the hard way by lots of experience in the classroom, research, papers published and peer reviewed, etc.) And we see new fresh faces in the forefront of CBMW today like Clark Peacock.

    Comp is not so much the money maker it once was but it seems to be a way to prove their bonafides within the club. The internet has actually hurt compism. Too many peasants can now study on their own and listen to other scholars. And a bad economy does not help, either. People start questioning such things more because they have less time or money.

  337. @ Nancy:
    No, I totally agree with you. I think that the desire to put ourselves above others is part of sinful human nature. How we go about doing that is largely a function of how much power we have.

    I am somewhat lenient on some young men and women I know who have been truly convinced by their leaders that to believe otherwise is rebellion against God’s design. They are deceived, but I’m not at all sure why they are deceived. Is it because the man really wants that power over his wife? Is it because they are afraid of their peers who have bought into the system? Are they afraid of their mentors who have taught them this?

    The leaders and the ones who profit from this false teaching are the ones who I blame for this. The teachers who know what is in the texts but twist them. The teachers who know the historical context and cover it up. Those teachers who make a lot of money and have built their careers on hierarchies and cloaking themselves in the decree of God for their own benefit. They remind me of the scribes and Pharisees who withheld the truth from the people so that the people would continue to serve them. That is odious stuff, IMO.

    The book I’m reading about anti-abolitionism curls my teeth. But I’m reading it so that I can perhaps understand how something so totally wrong could have been so forcefully defended by Biblical scholars like Dabney and Hodge and the SBC ones. How can we get things so very wrong? How can we be so deceived?

    The other thing that *might* be going on is that someone who is less than 50 probably has no real meaningful memory of what “separate but equal” really meant. They don’t know about “colored” restrooms and “colored” water fountains and “colored” beaches and “colored” schools and Woolworth’s where “colored people” could not get a Coke or “colored towns.” So they don’t have the same visceral response to the idea of unequal equality, which is what the comps are really saying.

  338. @ Lydia:
    Cronyism and nepotism are two things which should never be part of the church. I would really like to see what any of these guys could actually produce in “real life.” I suspect not very much if this is how they decide where they focus their mental energy.

  339. Gram3 wrote:

    The book I’m reading about anti-abolitionism curls my teeth

    The History Channel ran a 4-part series on the history of slavery in America going back to 1641 when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize slavery. I couldn’t watch it, so I taped it for a time when I could. Two nights ago I watched part 1. It was so sad I can’t watch another part. Unfathomable…

  340. Gram3–agree with your post. And bear in mind my experience was one where most of the preachers did not do so as a career. They were not seen as super spiritual, since they were also out there working day jobs in the oil fields or on ranches. I’m sure it was different in an urban environment.

  341. Gram3 wrote:

    Then I wonder why the Presbytery didn’t charge him with that offense?

    Whatever gets the job done. That’s all that matters.

  342. Gram3 wrote:

    That doesn’t make sense in Presbyterianism.

    I have come to the conclusion, based on my experience, that nothing makes sense in Presbyterianism unless you are a minister or an elder. Male of course.

  343. Joe wrote:

    Submissive does not equal inferior position. You are reading that into what I said. Different does not equal inferior. One person exercising authority over another does not equal the person under authority being in an inferior position.

    But it does denote inferiority (and unfairness) if the one being told they must be in submission to someone else must do so permanently, and due to some factor they cannot change, such as gender or skin color.

  344. linda wrote:

    Comps and egals would have a valid argument or study through the scriptures if we stopped trying to find out who is in authority,

    Christian Gender Egalitarians are not trying to fight to have authority over men.

    They are arguing that under complementarianism, women are treated as inferiors, not allowed to practice their God-given gifts, etc.

    Complementarians believe that there is a male hierarchy over women, and egalitarians disagree.

  345. @ elastigirl:

    IMO one motivation is to fight against things such as the legalization of homosexual marriage, feminism, abortion, etc. Gender complementarians are socially conservative, as I am, and I used to be a complementarian, so I kind of understand what makes them tick.

    I also suspect that men in the system use complementarianism as a way of hoarding all the power and control for themselves and don’t want to share decision-making and so on with women.

    I also think some of them honestly think things like women are weaker than men and more easily deceived, so they feel sorry for women. They feel women need to be protected and led by men for their own safety.

  346. Submission does not equal inferiority. Not having an authority someone else does does not mean inferiority. My senator is a woman. She has authority I don’t have. And you know what? I submit myself to the laws she passes, because God gave her that authority. I don’t get to pass laws.

    There’s a biblical principle of “delegated authority.” Jesus uses it in the Great Commission – “all power has been given unto Me.” That’s odd. Who gave it to Him? Didn’t he have it before? Satan recognizes it too when in the temptation of Jesus he said “all these nations have been given to me.” For that matter, consider spiritual “gifts.” Given by whom? For what? On what basis?
    God ordains Kings. Kings have some authority. We are told in Romans 13 to obey God-ordained authority. Elders have authority. They are called shepherds. Shepherds lead sheep. It’s not my metaphor. Shepherds aren’t the head of a democracy not should they have to apologize for being a shepherd.
    All authority ultimately rests in God. Can we at least agree on that? So then, the question is, does God delegate any of it, or are we so radically individual that we can cast off any authority that is in another person since someone else having authority I don’t have automatically makes me “inferior.” And still, I reject that word. As a human being I’m not inferior to my mother, whom I obey, my president, whom I obey, and building inspectors, who tell me what to and not to do. Their authority comes from God, not from their being “superior.”

  347. As for the “unfairness” of being born into a certain place, I could wish I were born the queen of Sheba, but I wasn’t. I could wish I was born the blood brother of Jesus, or an apostle, but I wasn’t and won’t be. Unfair? Maybe. It would be nice at times to be a Saudi prince and have my own Boeing 777. But not gonna happen. I think of my Christian bros and sisters suffering in North Korean labor camps for the gospel – while I debate minor points of theology on my iPhone. Fair? Heck no.

    Race is a non-issue. That is, anyone (and I’m sure there’s some kook somewhere, probably a whole denomination of them) who claims one race is superior to others is deplorable and a fool of the highest degree.

  348. Joe wrote:

    So then, the question is, does God delegate any of it, or are we so radically individual that we can cast off any authority that is in another person since someone else having authority I don’t have automatically makes me “inferior.” And still, I reject that word. As a human being I’m not inferior to my mother, whom I obey, my president, whom I obey, and building inspectors, who tell me what to and not to do. Their authority comes from God, not from their being “superior.”

    You have written a lot of words while carefully avoiding the actual text where this supposed authority you claim has been “delegated” to males by God or where such authority structure of male over female has been ordained by God. Until you produce that textual evidence, you are actually arguing against yourself. An assertion of authority is not an argument for authority much less is it proof of authority. Let’s start at step 1 in this process which is to show where God ordains that authority.

  349. Joe wrote:

    Submission does not equal inferiority. Not having an authority someone else does does not mean inferiority. My senator is a woman. She has authority I don’t have.

    What if the Congress passed a law stating that only females could be Senators. Would you still be “equal” or not?

  350. Joe wrote:

    Race is a non-issue. That is, anyone (and I’m sure there’s some kook somewhere, probably a whole denomination of them) who claims one race is superior to others is deplorable and a fool of the highest degree.

    What you do not understand, for whatever reason, is that the same arguments you use to support male authority were used to support slavery and after that were used to support racist practices. Read your history before you airily dismiss things.

  351. Joe wrote:

    Race is a non-issue. That is, anyone (and I’m sure there’s some kook somewhere, probably a whole denomination of them) who claims one race is superior to others is deplorable and a fool of the highest degree.

    You could start by reading Dabney’s Defense of Virginia which is available online for free. Then you could read what he wrote about women which is also available online for free. Then you can ponder how those same arguments are used by “complementarians” who, not coincidentally, love Dabney. After you have done that, you can offer a reasoned opinion regarding the pertinence of race.

  352. Gram3 wrote:

    You have written a lot of words while carefully avoiding the actual text where this supposed authority you claim has been “delegated” to males by God or where such authority structure of male over female has been ordained by God.

    Indeed that is the crux of the matter but most endlessly skirt around that.

  353. Victorious wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    You have written a lot of words while carefully avoiding the actual text where this supposed authority you claim has been “delegated” to males by God or where such authority structure of male over female has been ordained by God.
    Indeed that is the crux of the matter but most endlessly skirt around that.

    The remarkable thing is that nowhere in RBMW does anyone reveal the magical authority decree. I was astonished when I looked for it there and couldn’t find it! So far my search for the elusive text has been in vain, though I have certainly asked a lot of people where it is to no avail.

  354. Gram3 wrote:

    So far my search for the elusive text has been in vain, though I have certainly asked a lot of people where it is to no avail.

    Most will refer to Gen. 3 implying it was commanded by God that Adam should “rule” over Eve rather than correctly interpreting it as a prophetic warning about the negative conditions that would be prevalent outside of the garden. Context…context…

  355. Victorious wrote:

    @ Victorious:
    P.S. But they conveniently overlook the fact that if it was a command, God forgot to tell Adam.

    Yes, that’s what I mean. They say that female subordination is part of “God’s good and beautiful design” which to me means before the Fall. I cannot find God putting the Man in authority over the Woman in Genesis 1 or 2, but the text is quite clear in Genesis 1:26-28 that God gave an undifferentiated mandate to fill and subdue the earth to both of them, and God gave an undifferentiated Father’s blessing on his “son” and his “daughter.” There is definitely complementarity, but there is no hierarchy. Honestly I cannot understand why this is such a huge deal to these guys!

  356. @ Joe:
    As I said above, yes, submission does in fact denote inferiority if it is permanent (the person has no hopes of going up the ladder), and if based on a fact of birth they cannot change, such as skin color or gender.

  357. The elusive text you’re “looking” for is simple, you just don’t see it. Submission in Eph 5 is implicitly talking authority. I don’t see how it’s possible to work around that. Heb 13:17 I’m sure you’ve got a way around too, so at some point since you’ll avoid the texts I’ll just operate on a philosophical level and save myself the frustration 🙂

    And saying I’m using logic supporting slavery is silly. I don’t care if the communists use the law of gravity to execute people by dropping them off a cliff, just because I believe in Gravity doesn’t mean I want to drop people off cliffs, is that fair?

    And, if my senator passed a law that said only females could be senators, you know what, I’m ok with it. The powers that be are ordained of God, whoever they may be. And it’s not sinful for all senators to be women, so if that was the law, I’d abide by it.

  358. Joe wrote:

    The elusive text you’re “looking” for is simple, you just don’t see it.

    No, that’s not the problem, Joe. The problem is that you don’t have a text where God ordains male authority because that text does not exist. Despite your snark that I will probably avoid the text, everything I have claimed regarding male authority is from the text. You are the one who insists on assuming and asserting that it exists. When you resort to ad hom argument, it makes people not pay much attention to what you have to say. Again, where did God institute male authority over females? If it is so obvious that even one as blind as I could see it, where is it?

    WRT Ephesians, please consult the interlinear Greek. There is no imperative for submission. Verse 22 does not have any form of that word, including the participle that appears in vs.21. The clobber verse 22 is totally dependent on borrowing (assuming) the participle in verse 21. Again, stop avoiding the text! The imperative which most immediately precedes vs. 22 occurs in vs. 18.

    So, tell me how you get from a borrowed participle that refers to an undifferentiated group of believers to an imperative for all women to submit? How does that work grammatically? Further, how do you reasonably derive intrinsic male authority from a borrowed participle when the participle itself is describing explicitly mutual behavior?

    I did not ask you if you would be OK with a law which barred males from being Senators. I asked you how such conditions could possibly be construed as equality between the sexes. But that was a clever attempt at evasion.

    If you want to maintain that Paul’s instructions to wives and husbands means that the Holy Spirit is instituting or ratifying male authority, then he is also ratifying slavery. You have obviously not read Dabney or you would not dismiss what I say as silly. Yet another ad hominem.

    Where is that text where God revokes the explicit equality in Genesis 1:26-28? I’m not trying to avoid the textual data. I’m asking you where the textual evidence is for your confident assertion of male authority.

  359. Joe wrote:

    Heb 13:17 I’m sure you’ve got a way around too, so at some point since you’ll avoid the texts I’ll just operate on a philosophical level and save myself the frustration

    Sorry to disappoint, but I won’t avoid Hebrews 13, either. That verse plainly says that the Hebrews should be persuaded by their leaders and not resist their teaching because the leaders will be held to account for what they teach. In the context of Hebrews 13, the teachers the Hebrew believers were instructed to have confidence in or be persuaded by are the true teachers (vs.7) and not the false ones (vs.9.) There is no authoritative office instituted in 13:17 unless you want to make a description of a function (those who are leading or thinking) into an office whose incumbent must be obeyed. There is no imperative to obey an “authority” unless you are speaking of the moral authority of persuasion by a true teacher. Don’t avoid the text. Check the interlinear and look up the words and grammar.

  360. Gram3 wrote:

    The remarkable thing is that nowhere in RBMW does anyone reveal the magical authority decree. I was astonished when I looked for it there and couldn’t find it! So far my search for the elusive text has been in vain, though I have certainly asked a lot of people where it is to no avail.

    When I was researching this issue, I ran across a scholar named RK McGregor Wright who wrote an analysis of the Danvers Statement. He as aghast at not only the little scripture used but by how badly it was used. He wrote it back in the early 90’s I think. Long before the internet was passing stuff around so freely. The comps promoters had a run on the Christian market but not anymore.

    And as I was researching I was astonished at how much has to be “read into” the text to get where they were going. What they do with Genesis 3 is a travesty. How they interpret 1 Tim is also a horror because they end up making roles a works salvation for women!

    I do think it is the filter for most people because it is what has mostly been taught since the 80’s in most evangelical churches by the big names.

  361. Joe wrote:

    The elusive text you’re “looking” for is simple, you just don’t see it. Submission in Eph 5 is implicitly talking authority. I don’t see how it’s possible to work around that. Heb 13:17 I’m sure you’ve got a way around too, so at some point since you’ll avoid the texts I’ll just operate on a philosophical level and save myself the frustration

    There are very clear words for authority in Koine Greek that were not used. You simply do not fully understand Kephale and the head/body metaphor Paul was using.

    Gram has it right about Hebrews 13:17. If I take your interpretation it would mean Joel Osteen must be obeyed. I would suggest a very deep word study on that passage. You will find that some of the same exact Greek words were translated very differently in other passages. The translators were definitely working within the state church paradigm on that one.

  362. Joe wrote:

    And, if my senator passed a law that said only females could be senators, you know what, I’m ok with it. The powers that be are ordained of God, whoever they may be. And it’s not sinful for all senators to be women, so if that was the law, I’d abide by it.

    I thought they were elected by us. Did God force me to fill in a specific bubble on the voting ballot? Or, did He expect me to educate myself and pray about my selection?

  363. @ Beakerj:

    A few weeks ago, my Sunday school teacher (yes, I have a sunday school teacher, whatever) pointed out that God chose a name for his people. Israel. It means “Wrestles with God.” Those moments where we just don’t know any more, those are where He wants us, I guess because the gods we create as humans can’t be argued with. Rather than it being a sign of failure, questioning is the fundamental characteristic of our relationship with God.

  364. Lydia wrote:

    , I ran across a scholar named RK McGregor Wright who wrote an analysis of the Danvers Statement. He as aghast at not only the little scripture used but by how badly it was used.

    Interesting. I’ve taken a good look at Danvers, and honestly, it looks like a propaganda piece. Start with the scary stuff that is happening, blame “feminism” for the scary stuff (which is a variation on the Blame the Woman theme), and then say the only thing to keep us from careening off the cliff is for women to submit and for men to take authority. I asked myself, OK, at what point did increasing female equality start to cause all this chaos? What connection is there between the scary stuff and female equality?

    The telling thing is that they don’t start with exegesis of the actual texts but rather with the blatant appeals to fear to poison the well and prepare the battlefield, to mix a few things up. The prooftexts that they proffer don’t prove what they say that they prove.

    I think I’ll start working on my own response to the Danvers idiocy.

  365. Bridgette
    and
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Thanks for your kindness. I wrote a comment in response to a comment Numo made about W. Nee.

    The ‘church’ I grew up in followed Watchman Lee’s teaching. Here is the bible version I referenced. Study notes in this Recovery Version Bible were written by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee. I came away from the teaching of this group with the idea that God preferred men and that women were inferrior…sadly, for most of my life I have just believed these ideas as truth. I did not want to go against God and I struggled with not wanting to be labeled “bitter” or “rebelious”.

    My most recent “church wound” came from within a community group at a mega church.

    Now, I’m trying to sort through what I have been taught in the past. It is tough work. I am not yet able to defend my new forming views. I read here often but, rarely write comments. I am learning a lot here.

    I copy pasted this description of the bible I referred to.

    “The Recovery Version of the Bible was translated and revised by the Editorial Section of Living Stream Ministry from 1974 to 2003. The Recovery Version of the Bible contains numerous study aids, including, the subject and background of each book; detailed, interpretive outlines; enlightening footnotes, valuable cross-references, and a variety of useful charts and maps. All of these study aids were written by “Witness Lee”, who received much help from the writings of noted Bible expositors throughout church history, including his co-worker, “Watchman Nee”.”

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

  366. Its late and I already see typos. Please forgive me for confusing.

    The “church” I grew up in followed Witness Lee’s teaching.

    @ Ali:

  367. I’m reading the comments of Gram3, Lydia and Joe. Very interesting. Thanks for these insightful thoughts on scripture passages.

  368. Sorry if I came across snarky. This is not a subject I’d take a bullet for. I’d take a paper cut and a drop of lemon juice but that’s about it 🙂

    Let me say something quick about dealing in Greek. I have a basic knowledge of Greek. I minored in it in college. I’m no authority, but this I’ve learned – appealing to the Greek to show a text isn’t saying what it looks like it’s saying is seldom helpful. It’s great for nuance, but a good English translation gets the point across. So I’ll appeal to the Greek for nuance but the main thrust of the ideas come through in English.

    The main thrust of what I’m trying to convey is that God has ordained authority and that yes, it gets abused, but no, it’s not inherently evil. It tends to evil, but that’s because of sin. God has ordained governmental authority and expects us to obey it. It doesn’t mean he had to ordain me as king, or that it’s unfair that I’m not the king. He’s ordained authority in employment, and expects servants to obey their masters or employers “as unto the Lord,” and I would say that holds true regardless of gender.
    I would never argue that a man never submits to a woman’s authority. That’s silly. Hence my senator, or a policewoman, or for that matter, my boss is a woman and I must submit to her, not because she’s superior and I’m inferior or there’s some sort of ontological disparity, but because God gave her authority in our relationship of employee/employer. So to the rigid guys who say they’ll never submit to a woman in any situation boo on you. (Snark is back. Sigh!)
    In the church, God ordained that men be the leaders. Paul appeals to the creation order for that: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭12-13‬ NIV)
    If the appeal was culture, it’s easy to write that off. But Paul’s appeal is creation. But I would say that this is the context of spiritual leadership. This text isn’t about family and marriage. But what it DOES demonstrate is that God asks women within the relationship of the church (as opposed to society in general) not to exercise authority over men.
    Is it fair that God would exclude an entire gender from exercising authority over the other gender based on gender? Maybe not, at least in the American sense of “fair.” But my Dad always taught me life isn’t fair. And when I think I could have been born in Pyongyang, I guess I’m ok with unfair. But that’s not nice of me either is it? Ha! What a poor wretched sinner I am.
    Gram and Lydia, Thanks for wading in with me, I think we’ve gone full circle at least once so I’ll let it be, but I’ve enjoyed it!

  369. Joe wrote:

    In the church, God ordained that men be the leaders. Paul appeals to the creation order for that: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭12-13‬ NIV)

    Are women saved through childbirth? That’s what 1 Timothy 2:15 plainly says. And it must mean that if the hermeneutic is “what the verse plainly says in the English translation. Does it matter to you that all of those verses form a complete argument and that they are joined by conjunctions? Given that, what is the hermeneutical rule that justifies severing off one verse, 2:12, from the others? Why are you insisting on hermeneutical oddities” (borrowing from Danvers) as well as the other hermeneutical oddities like disregarding the literary and historical and authorial and canonical contexts? Those are basic to the grammatical-historical methodology which is the conservative one?

    Do you believe that the English translations are inerrant? Do you believe in an infallible magisterium of English translators and CBMW interpreters?

    God did not establish male authority anywhere, including the clobber verses you have cited *when a grammatical-historical” method is consistently applied. But the fact is that the entire set of doctrines are contrived to achieve the end of keeping women out of ministry positions just like every other professional guild tried to do.

    You are relying on the “Order of Creation” argument, and that is why you need to read some anti-abolitionist screeds by respected Reformed theologians like Dabney. They appeal to God’s ordination of the white race to rule over all others, and particularly the black race. Dabney, whose Systematic Theology is in the library of most reformed pastors and students.

    You say that God established male authority in 2:12 because Paul appeals to Creation, presumably in Genesis 1-2. Where is Paul’s appeal grounded there? As I have said, God explicitly did not differentiate “roles” of “leader” and “follower” at Creation. In Genesis 1:26-28 the non-differentiation is explicit in God’s own words. Was Paul pulling that appeal to Creation out of thin air? Are you aware that Paul also appeals to Eve’s deception in 2 Corinthians, but that he applies it to the entire church there?

    Maybe the *interpretation* by CBMW and the Gospel Glitterati has been pulled from thin air or elsewhere! They must employ a proprietary hermeneutic and proprietary logic to get their result. Please recall that Paul was trained in classical logic before you try to deconstruct his arguments.

    Where is that male authority verse again?

  370. Joe wrote:

    But my Dad always taught me life isn’t fair.

    I see your lemon juice paper cut and agree.

    My mother taught me the same thing about life not being fair.
    But we aren’t talking about life. We are talking about God and justice.
    Is it just for God to make genders or races and ‘ordain’ (as you say) one to rule over the other?

    And is it really GOD doing all this authority ordaining? Are these letter from Paul speaking to the culture and cities that his letters are specifically addressed to? Or is every word and instruction a law for to all people for all times? Is Paul trying to instruct about “God Ordained Authority” or is he actually trying to apply the Words of Jesus to what they already had going on, i.e. patriarchy and slavery.

    I keep seeing people preach that the Ephesians 5 verses are “God’s plan for the family” and yet nowhere does Paul state that this is God’s ordained plan anymore than head coverings and not wearing jewelry or braided hair.

    Here are the Words of Jesus concerning authority.

    Matthew 20: 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His [n]life a ransom for many.”

    I’m seeing that we obsess over authority far more than we should, thinking that the social constructs that help cultures keep order are God ordained when really they probably aren’t.

    Laws are for the lawless.
    But we are to have the Law of God written on our hearts. It is a Law far more simple and profound than we make it out to be with our long lists.

    Those who chase after God obey God and fulfill all the laws when they do these things (again the Words of Jesus):

    Matthew 22:37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [o]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

    And

    Luke 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

    We need to avoid the temptation to take letters of specific instruction written to specific, and even named cities/regions, and legalizing them for all people for all times and using them to undermine what God/Jesus actually teaches concerning authority. What Jesus actually ‘ordained’.

    There is so much inspiration in Ephesians. Especially the first 3 chapters. But guess what? Few people know what is contained in chapters 1-3 because chapter 5 has been so ridiculously over-emphasized. Chapter 5 has been so beaten to death that some women get PTSD over the very mention of the word “Ephesians”. These things should never be. And yet they are. Because we humans obsess over who is the boss of whom. That is a result of the fall. It is NOT the result of God’s heart. Nor God’s plan. Nor what God “ordains”.

  371. Joe wrote:

    In the church, God ordained that men be the leaders. Paul appeals to the creation order for that

    Joe, Paul is using the analogy of Adam being “formed/molded” first and because Eve was deceived, let the women learn before teaching. Jewish women had not had the opportunity to learn the Torah or Oral Law so it was their “turn.” LET THEM LEARN in a quiet manner…then they will be equipped to teach the truth.

  372. Joe wrote:

    Let me say something quick about dealing in Greek. I have a basic knowledge of Greek. I minored in it in college. I’m no authority, but this I’ve learned – appealing to the Greek to show a text isn’t saying what it looks like it’s saying is seldom helpful. It’s great for nuance, but a good English translation gets the point across. So I’ll appeal to the Greek for nuance but the main thrust of the ideas come through in English.

    Actually it is a problem. And I will use the passage you allude to later in your comment to illustrate my point. In 1st Timothy the word “authenteo” is used the only time in the New Testament. It has been translated as ‘authority over’ in more modern translations. In much older translations it is translated as domineer which is a bit better. Even Calvin translated it as domineer. It is an unusual word that if you look at it in the secular Greek of the first century and has more of a meaning of a ‘sinister compelling’. That meaning fits perfectly with the cultural backdrop of Ephesis in the first century and the cult of Diana which was pervasive.

    What is interesting to note is that clear Greek words that mean ‘authority’ ‘were not used in that passage. Translators chose not to do their homework. A while later Chrysostom wrote that a husband should never “authenteo” his wife in one of his Homily’s.n So we know that it is something that a husband should not do, either.

    The point about the Greek is that we should seek to understand how a first century person would have understood it. Instead we read into a lot of Scripture Western post Enlightenment thinking.

    When you start with an authority paradigm it always ends up teaching a different Jesus.

  373. Gram3 wrote:

    You say that God established male authority in 2:12 because Paul appeals to Creation, presumably in Genesis 1-2. Where is Paul’s appeal grounded there? As I have said, God explicitly did not differentiate “roles” of “leader” and “follower” at Creation. In Genesis 1:26-28 the non-differentiation is explicit in God’s own words. Was Paul pulling that appeal to Creation out of thin air? Are you aware that Paul also appeals to Eve’s deception in 2 Corinthians, but that he applies it to the entire church there?

    It has been pointed out by some scholars that Paul is not alluding to the order of creation but actually correcting an error that was taught in the cult of Diana. It was taught that Eve was created first. One only has to read Acts to see how grounded in that cult Ephesus was.

    I absolutely love the reference to childbearing in that passage. When it is understood correctly it is beautiful. There was a great concern about dying in childbirth in that time and that is what the temple cult focused on. Paul plays on words and refers to it as ‘the childbearing’ as in the birth of Messiah would save them. Jesus saves. Even if you die.

    It is wrong and rather sad for people to accuse Paul of promoting a work of salvation for women.

  374. Joe wrote:

    Is it fair that God would exclude an entire gender from exercising authority over the other gender based on gender?

    Could you explain to me what the exercise of authority looks like in the church? What is authority?

    Let me give you one example. A pastor who I loved called me and asked me to lead off the building campaign. I despise and hate raising money. So I turned him down. Was I wrong?

  375. Lydia wrote:

    That meaning fits perfectly with the cultural backdrop of Ephesis in the first century and the cult of Diana which was pervasive

    Exactly! Paul wasn’t establishing church structure,” but to dealing with the circumstances that the church faced in Ephesus.

    From Wade’s blog:

    What is unusual about 1 Timothy is the amount of space devoted specifically to women. This includes appropriate dress for women who lead in worship (1 Tim 2:9-10), behavior befitting women who teach (1 Tim 2:12-15), qualifications for women deacons (1 Tim 3:11), suitable pastoral relations with women (1 Tim 5:12), qualifications for women elders (1 Tim 5:9-10), correction of young widows (1 Tim 5:3-8, 16). In no other New Testament letter do women figure so prominently.

  376. Victorious wrote:

    Jewish women had not had the opportunity to learn the Torah or Oral Law so it was their “turn.” LET THEM LEARN in a quiet manner…then they will be equipped to teach the truth.

    That is a very important point. The woman is commanded to learn (or viewed alternatively Timothy was commanded to permit them to learn) because what the women in Ephesus knew about the Artemisian cult–female supremacy and exclusively female priesthood–was wrong. They needed to be taught correctly, just as Paul says he needed to do in chapter 1, because they were teaching their wrong beliefs, just as Paul says he did in chapter 1, because they had been deceived, just as Paul says he was in chapter 1. That is why it is crucial to read the letter to Timothy in its literary and historical context.

    That is the connection between deception (Eve), false teaching, mandatory learning, and not seizing the teaching mantle on one’s own initiative as the Artemesian cult women were accustomed to doing. How would they have known the scriptures? They, like the Galatian Jews who were teaching falsely, were deceived and therefore they needed to be stopped.

  377. Gram3 wrote:

    Victorious wrote:
    Jewish women had not had the opportunity to learn the Torah or Oral Law so it was their “turn.” LET THEM LEARN in a quiet manner…then they will be equipped to teach the truth.
    That is a very important point. The woman is commanded to learn (or viewed alternatively Timothy was commanded to permit them to learn) because what the women in Ephesus knew about the Artemisian cult–female supremacy and exclusively female priesthood–was wrong. They needed to be taught correctly, just as Paul says he needed to do in chapter 1, because they were teaching their wrong beliefs, just as Paul says he did in chapter 1, because they had been deceived, just as Paul says he was in chapter 1. That is why it is crucial to read the letter to Timothy in its literary and historical context.
    That is the connection between deception (Eve), false teaching, mandatory learning, and not seizing the teaching mantle on one’s own initiative as the Artemesian cult women were accustomed to doing. How would they have known the scriptures? They, like the Galatian Jews who were teaching falsely, were deceived and therefore they needed to be stopped.

    Such an important point to read it like a real letter. An interesting point to glean from chapter 1,is that Paul does not name names when he believes they are deceived out of ignorance like he was. But he does name names when he believes they are deceiving others on purpose.

  378. Lydia wrote:

    It has been pointed out by some scholars that Paul is not alluding to the order of creation but actually correcting an error that was taught in the cult of Diana. It was taught that Eve was created first. One only has to read Acts to see how grounded in that cult Ephesus was.

    Absolutely! The weird parts of 1 Timothy make sense when viewed in the context of the Ephesian Artemis (Diana) cult. The account in Acts which Paul certainly had in mind when he wrote to Timothy is quite amazing.

    In that cult, Artemis was born first and acted as midwife for the birth of her twin brother. She was born first! She was the one who protected women in childbirth. Women had the superior knowledge and the power in the Artemisian cult rather than men. Childbearing was not valued, hence the instruction to Timothy to encourage the women to bear children.

    Like in his other letters, Paul was addressing problems in individual churches and correcting their false creation narrative where the woman was created first with the knowledge. The circumstances were different in those various churches, but we cannot make the correct application to different circumstances if we miss the principle Paul was trying to address.

  379. @ Gram3:
    I should add that I got the information about the Ephesian Artemis cult from secular sources, not from egalitarian scholarship. Apparently the CBMW crew don’t know about the Ephesian Artemis cult and think the rest of the letter to Timothy is a late addition to the text which was supposed to only contain verses 11-12. 😉

  380. dee wrote:

    I despise and hate raising money.

    That is going to seriously impact your religious credentialing ministry. How will you get your conference ministry off the ground? How will you be able to distribute your ministry resources to all the first-world countries that lack resources? How will you be able to produce your ministry videos with superior production values that inform the ignorant of your amazing ministry resources and ministry-building conference opportunitiess? There are winsome ways to go about marshaling ministry partnerships. 😉

  381. Joe

    You write…
    “In the church, God ordained that men be the leaders.”

    Seems to me Jesus, God, has a different understanding on “leaders” for His Disciples.
    His Ekklesia, His Church, His Called Out Ones, His Kings and Priests, His Ambassadors…

    “ONE”

    Seems Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called “leaders.”
    For “ONE” is your Leader – Christ

    Mat 23:10-12 NASB – New American Standard Bible
    Do NOT be called leaders; for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    But the greatest among you shall be your “Servant”.
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
    and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

    The Message – Mat 23:10-12.
    And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.
    There is only “ONE” Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
    **Do you want to stand out? – Then step down. – Be a servant.**
    If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you.
    But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

    His Disciples must have believed Jesus because, in the Bible…
    NOT one of His Disciples called them self “leader.”
    NOT one of His Disciples called another Disciple “leader.”

    In the Bible, I can only find His Disciples calling themselves “Servants.”

    Ro 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ…
    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ…
    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ…
    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God…
    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God…
    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant…
    ————-

    Joe

    If someone calls them self a leader?
    Allowes others to call them leader?
    Ignoring what Jesus taught?

    Are they one of His Disciples?

    What did His Disciples know 2000 years ago?
    That today’s self appointed leaders miss today?

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

  382. Gram3 wrote:

    I should add that I got the information about the Ephesian Artemis cult from secular sources, not from egalitarian scholarship.

    If you’re interested, Wade Burleson posted an excellent piece on Artemis entitled:
    “Artemis and the End of Us: Evangelical Errors Regarding Women”

    http://www.wadeburleson.org/search?q=+Artemis

  383. Victorious wrote:

    Jewish women had not had the opportunity to learn the Torah or Oral Law so it was their “turn.” LET THEM LEARN in a quiet manner…then they will be equipped to teach the truth.

    Were these Jewish women Paul was speaking to or Gentile/Roman women? I thought they were Roman/Gentile women. The Roman/Gentile cult participants who are now Christians would certainly not have known the Torah or Oral Law. Jewish women probably knew some.

  384. Bridget wrote:

    Were these Jewish women Paul was speaking to or Gentile/Roman women? I thought they were Roman/Gentile women. The Roman/Gentile cult participants who are now Christians would certainly not have known the Torah or Oral Law. Jewish women probably knew some.

    Bridget, its my understanding that the Jews were well established in Ephesus as were converts of Roman, Greece and many who were baptized by John the Baptist. (Acts 2:9 and Acts 19:1-3).

  385. Bridget wrote:

    Were these Jewish women Paul was speaking to or Gentile/Roman women?

    My understanding is that, because of the diaspora, the churches were likely mixed to some extent, especially since Ephesus was an important port city. Based on the nature of the Artemis cult and the weird instructions Paul gives, my opinion is that the false teachers addressed in 1 Timothy were Gentiles who had come from the indigenous cult of Artemis and were introducing those false doctrines into the church there. Those doctrines would have produced the results described in 1 Timothy. To me that makes more sense than Paul having to make an obscure reference to Creation Order in an ad hoc argument that doesn’t actually make sense in a “complementarian” framework. Surely Timothy already knew women were forbidden to teach before he was sent to Ephesus if indeed women were forbidden to teach men. So why does Paul consume scarce and costly resources to instruct Timothy with such a weird argument about something Timothy already knew? Paul was trained in classical logic, so that does not make sense. However, when the content of the cult of Artemis is taken into account, Paul’s argument makes perfect sense, including vs. 15 which is notoriously difficult.

    It is true that Jewish women were not permitted to study Torah formally, though they would have heard it at various times. The Gentile women at Ephesus probably would not have studied the scriptures at all. Regardless, the women would not have the knowledge necessary to recognize or refute false beliefs until they learned. Obviously that’s true of men as well, including Paul himself as he says in chapter 1. 😉

  386. Gram3 wrote:

    Surely Timothy already knew women were forbidden to teach before he was sent to Ephesus if indeed women were forbidden to teach men. So why does Paul consume scarce and costly resources to instruct Timothy with such a weird argument about something Timothy already knew?

    Although it was Timothy’s mother and grandmother who passed the faith on to him as his father was Greek. So he wouldn’t have a problem with women teaching I wouldn’t think. hmmm….

  387. Victorious wrote:

    So he wouldn’t have a problem with women teaching I wouldn’t think. hmmm….

    Oh, I’m sure they stopped teaching Timothy before he reached the Authority Age of Accountability which is located in the same chapter with the verses on God ordaining male authority. 😉

    Why was Timothy such a slow learner regarding male authority? He spent a *lot* of time with Paul, and one would reasonably expect that Paul would have already told him, “Don’t Let Those Uppity Women Usurp Male Authority” before he sent the lad off on his own to deal with the Jezebels.

  388. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Personally, UK christendom’s infatuation with gentle, non-threatening, calm and safe environments frustrates me no end.

    Which is gonna be a big help when (not if) Tash kicks in the door.

  389. dee wrote:

    A pastor who I loved called me and asked me to lead off the building campaign. I despise and hate raising money. So I turned him down. Was I wrong?

    Well, of course, if the Holy Spirit nudges you towards overcoming your inhibitions in that area, it would be wrong to turn it down. There is some history for God using others to spur us into doing something we would never have done on our own:

    [Sarah] said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
    The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you…”

  390. Gram3 wrote:

    You could start by reading Dabney’s Defense of Virginia which is available online for free. Then you could read what he wrote about women which is also available online for free. Then you can ponder how those same arguments are used by “complementarians” who, not coincidentally, love Dabney.

    This the same Dabney (former aide to Stonewall Jackson) who was considered a rabid racist even by 19th Century Confederate States standards?

  391. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Personally, UK christendom’s infatuation with gentle, non-threatening, calm and safe environments frustrates me no end.

    Which is gonna be a big help when (not if) Tash kicks in the door.Gram3 wrote:

    dee wrote:

    I despise and hate raising money.

    That is going to seriously impact your religious credentialing ministry. How will you get your conference ministry off the ground? How will you be able to distribute your ministry resources to all the first-world countries that lack resources? How will you be able to produce your ministry videos with superior production values that inform the ignorant of your amazing ministry resources and ministry-building conference opportunitiess?

    How will you be able to juice your book onto the NYT Best Seller List?

  392. Lydia wrote:

    Such an important point to read it like a real letter.

    Instead of a checklist of unrelated Verses.

  393. Gram3 wrote:

    Which he got from Rushdoony, who was OPC. Social order hierarchies are ordained by God for the good of humans. I’m slowly reading an anti-abolitionist book published in 1850. It is astonishing and frightening how badly the Bible can be misused to justify what needed to be justified.

    Ever notice that the justification always comes from those who see themselves as the ones Who Should Hold the Whip, never the ones who Feel the Whip?

  394. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    I think the desire to use other people for our own purposes is a fundamental goal of sinful human nature. The corollary to that sin is that there are hierarchies where I and people like me are at the top and Others serve the Elites. Not at all like the Kingdom of Christ.

  395. dee wrote:

    Joe wrote:

    Let me give you one example. A pastor who I loved called me and asked me to lead off the building campaign. I despise and hate raising money. So I turned him down. Was I wrong?

    No I wouldn’t say that was wrong. I don’t equate “authority” with one person giving orders and everyone “under” falling in line. That’s why at the beginning I said “beer me woman” isn’t an expression of authority. I however would define the proper use of authority as being the tool available for the improvement and care of those for whom he is responsible. So a shepherd has authority over his sheep (speaking literally here…) so he can protect and feed them, not so he can hitch them to a wagon and demand a free ride.
    I see a policeman as having authority I don’t have for this reason – so he can protect and serve me. A leader in the church has authority for this reason – the protection of those whose souls he is charged to protect. Sure, it’s frightening to have sinners with any authority, but I contend society falls apart without it, because evil will assume authority where good men fail to exercise it.
    My wife says it’s time to go to supper – and I’m submitting – Mexican tonight woohoo!

  396. @ Joe:

    Where this breaks down for me is that our government only has the authority that the people have agreed to give to them for the good of the people. They don’t have authority to exercise what was not given to them. Most pastors/elders do not come into their position by an agreement of the congregation they serve. I never had a say in who was supposed to serve a church body I was part of. Graduating from seminary or a pseudo bible school should not be a “shoe-in” for the position either. Unfortunately, likewise, police departments can be corrupt and should have outside oversight by the citizens they serve. A pastor/elder needs the same as far as I’m concerned, by those they serve, not oversight from above and far away.

  397. @ Victorious:

    That is true. Which faith did they pass on . . . Jewish or Christian or both?

    I don’t really understand why there would have been a need to teach the Torah and Oral Law to new believers, especially to Gentiles. Christianity (following Christ) was very different from following The Law and the prophets. Most all of what new converts learned was from letters, word of mouth, and the Holy Spirit. The NT did not exist for some time.

    I don’t

  398. Joe wrote:

    I however would define the proper use of authority as being the tool available for the improvement and care of those for whom he is responsible. So a shepherd has authority over his sheep

    You haven’t established any biblical warrant for your assumed authority or the “Order of Creation.” You are avoiding the text again. If you, as a pastor, do not have authority over me and yet you claim said authority, you are the usurper of my personal priesthood and of the authority of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    “Pastors” are sheep, too, and are not an elite order.

    How do you wield this “tool of authority” for the improvement and care of your wife (and church?) Why can you not use your giftedness and your strengths to serve others without inventing some hierarchy? What purpose does the hierarchy serve?

  399. @ Bridget:

    Bridget, I think perhaps I didn’t articulate very well what I was trying to convey. I think Paul (and Timothy perhaps) were familiar with the Torah and the Oral Law being passed down through generations orally from father to son. I believe the Hebrews based the “father/son” responsibility literally based on Deut. 4:8-9.

    In the NT, schools for the Jews were taught by Rabbi’s as was Paul who boasted of being educated under Gamaliel. The posture of disciples or learners was at the “feet” of their teachers, that is, beneath them, in a humble place.

    To my knowledge, we have no record of daughters/women attending these schools nor being the primary recipient of the teachings of the ancient Hebrews as were the sons. That made the story of Mary (and Martha) sitting at the feet of Jesus as Rabbi, listening to His words all the more precious.

    I guess to clarify my previous comment: based on the above, the idea of women learning, let alone teaching was a radical change as was Paul’s teaching on equality of husbands and wives, freedom for slaves, meat sacrificed to idols, circumcision, etc. Women were even relegated to a separate area of the synagogue if I’m not mistaken. Women who desired to teach about the Jewish Messiah might need to learn first and Paul is encouraging that when he says “the woman” must receive instruction in a quiet manner.

    We should remember in reading Paul’s letters that he was very educated in the things of the Patriarchal dispensation which is why he encountered so much conflict from the Pharisees for his teachings following his conversion.

    Hope that clarifies what I meant. (maybe not….:)

  400. Jonathan wrote:

    I attend a confessional WELS/ELS church. Does that make me crazy?

    Not at all. I attend an LCMS church. Not all churches are the same, and judging an individual instantiation based on the broader beliefs of a denom is just silly. But I do believe that claiming a 400 year old document that came 1500 years after the birth of Christianity is the final say on what the Bible says is borderline lunatic. 🙂

  401. William G. wrote:

    we also believe our priests and bishops hold the keys to the kingdom, so to speak

    My family is Armenian Apostolic. From what I understand (not much; I don’t speak enough Armenian to understand the services) the understanding of the keys in the AAC is radically different from what the OPC believes. The Apostolic Church believes the keys are for opening the doors to heaven, the OPC believes they are for shutting them up.

  402. @ A. Amos Love:
    I hear what you’re saying and it’s correct. However, I would also add that when push came to shove Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to defend his apostleship – so they couldn’t just blow off what he was teaching. It’s clear Paul didn’t want to do that or go down that road, but for the sake of the Corinthians, he did. He called it “foolishness” then engaged in it most unwillingly. And that is, I think, the mark of a true leader. I’ll be the first to admit the guy running around saying “submit to me! I’m the authority” is better spoken to by Balaam’s donkey than the rest of us bothering with him.
    For that matter, I really don’t care to pursue the debate cuz at some point it makes me look that way, and I’m not… Just ask my wife, who would, I think, tell you I’m most imperfect but she’s never heard me ask her to submit to anything

  403. @ Bridget:
    Yes, we have the luxury of voting in our own governmental authorities. But they are also ordained by God and that’s ultimately why Paul says obey them. Jesus said some things are Caesars and need to be rendered to him. Paul said “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (‭Romans‬ ‭13‬:‭1‬ NIV)
    Kings actually exist because of the result of warfare or birth, or presidents by a vote, but behind that is God Himself

  404. Gram3 wrote:

    How do you wield this “tool of authority” for the improvement and care of your wife (and church?) Why can you not use your giftedness and your strengths to serve others without inventing some hierarchy? What purpose does the hierarchy serve?

    First, again I reject the word hierarchy. Not a bible word and we agree on that. Second, suppose I had some authority in the church. The only time it needs to be “used” is in dealing with crappy unpleasant stuff. Dealing with adulterers, for instance. Suppose an adulterer doesn’t want to quit teaching first grade Sunday School. Who tells him to leave and why? Suppose someone comes in teaching what ought not be taught, it happens often, who says what can and can’t? Bad people exist in the flock – I’m glad someone has a sling and stones for the lions and bears. Jesus said false Christs were coming to lead astray and destroy people. Who deals with them? Who has the “right” to say as Paul did – “I deliver you to satan!” That’s tough stuff.
    I don’t think authority in the church or a home for that matter is for the subjugation of anyone. It’s for protection and well being. A policeman, to go back to him, has authority to invade a house – not any house and not so he can enrich himself – but if my daughter is held hostage, I’m all of a sudden glad there are people who can legally carry tear gas and sniper rifles and whatever it takes. It doesn’t mean I want my neighbor to have that same capacity though! I hope that makes sense.
    I feel like there’s a perception that if I believe in authority I believe in subjugation and I think twice it’s been insinuated I’m potentially racist. That’s not at all what I’m saying or why I’m saying it. Authority exists to make better servants, and it’s a tool to be used sparingly, rarely, invisibly, and always for the protection of the innocent and if I may carefully use the word, the weaker.

  405. And I’m using the “him” in my Sunday school teacher example in the old fashioned generic sense 🙂

  406. Joe wrote:

    feel like there’s a perception that if I believe in authority I believe in subjugation and I think twice it’s been insinuated I’m potentially racist. That’s not at all what I’m saying or why I’m saying it. Authority exists to make better servants, and it’s a tool to be used sparingly, rarely, invisibly, and always for the protection of the innocent and if I may carefully use the word, the weaker.

    Now I am totally confused what your position is. You started off talking about Order of Creation hierarchy and priority and now you are saying you are not advocating hierarchy. Either there is a hierarchical relationship or there is not. Either the policeman has a warrant to search your home or arrest you or he does not.

    No one has said you are a racist. What I said was that you need to read Dabney, for example, for yourself to see that the very arguments you were making for authority hierarchies between male and female and between clergy and laity were made with respect to races being ordained by God to be in authority over other races *for the good of social order.* That isn’t an accusation of racism, but it is an admonition that you are making the same arguments for hierarchy between the sexes as Dabney and Furman made for white authority.

    I believe that you want to do the right thing and be obedient. I also believe that you have put undue confidence in the teachings you have received and have not tested them adequately. If you want to obey God’s word, you need to study God’s word with standard conservative methods and not be swayed by persuasive speech that Paul warned us against. Persuasive speech–another word for propaganda–is what CBMW and its allies put out. Test what they say with the Bible. There is no Order of Creation. There is no hierarchy. What there is is a partnership between a husband and wife who together decide how to use their personal strengths to create a strong marriage. What there is is a spiritual organism–the body–rather than an institutional church with a bureaucratic hierarchy. The “leaders” are those who are recognized by the body for their service and for their spiritual maturity. It is not a clergy that is credentialed and which wields authority.

    I have challenged you pretty forcefully because several years ago I might have said just what you have said. I had unexamined beliefs that I had taken by faith in teachers. Then I found out what they really teach is legalism and hierarchy. And that is when I started studying these things.

    You cannot in good conscience just wash your hands of the matter. You are a member of the body and you have a responsibility to study to show yourself approved. That means study the texts and not the curriculum sold by people who make a lot of money selling you their ideas. Look to God and the words he has given us and the example of Jesus instead of these gurus.

  407. @ Gram3:
    Just because we don’t agree on what the text means doesn’t mean I haven’t studied it. I haven’t pushed on any one text simply because I’m not going to convince you even though I think you’re dancing around the obvious and clear to fit a certain perspective. And I have no doubt I do the same without knowing it too. But since it’s a paper cut and lemon juice level debate, I’m happy to leave it there.
    I haven’t read much of the Neo guys you refer to – to say I’m influenced by them wouldn’t be accurate. I don’t use the word hierarchy because it carries such baggage and it’s not a biblical term. I might use “order” perhaps but even that’s loaded and needs to be defined, because you might think of it in terms of “1,2,3,4” while I would only mean opposite of chaos.
    I understand how arguments can be made from principles of authority to racism – but they’re wrong-headed and faulty and it’s just guys distorting a principle to justify sinful behavior. So it’s not fair to say the end result of what I think ends there, just because some have ended up there. I’m not proud of lots of people that would claim to run in the same circles of logic as me, and I’m guessing you’re not proud of all yours.
    I believe there is authority that comes from God and resides in some. That’s really the point I’m shooting for. In an effort to define the “some” I think the backlash in the egals has been to say the “some” doesn’t exist. I suppose I could use that logic to reach anarchy, but that’s probably not a fair assessment of your belief either.
    Anyway, thanks again it’s been fun and enlightening. Have a blessed Lords day tomorrow!
    -joe

  408. @ Joe:
    God ordained Henry the VII as Defender of the Faith? Pol Pot? Stalin? The list is long of tyrants God “ordained”. you may want to rethink what Paul means when he says that in the book of Romans. You read way too much into it. even going as far as believing it means the opposite of what Jesus said concerning the Gentiles lording it over.

    Did you forget that God was angry when the Jews begged for a king like the Pagans had? They had a King.

  409. Joe wrote:

    nce. Suppose an adulterer doesn’t want to quit teaching first grade Sunday School

    The parents stop taking their children to that class? Or are they too stupid to be informed and make a decision?

  410. lydia wrote:

    The parents stop taking their children to that class? Or are they too stupid to be informed and make a decision?

    Certainly a viable option. But I think the church is worth trying to keep alive and as best we can, pure. Certainly running away at every problem isn’t the answer.

    Concerning dictators, I’d say Jesus told Pilate

    Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (‭John‬ ‭19‬:‭11‬ NIV)

    So where did Jesus say Pilates power came from, and why in the world would Jesus say “power over Me?” I don’t want to try to have to defend God here in regards to the list of guys you gave – Paul didn’t when he wrote to submit to governmental authority, in his specific case roman tyrants.
    And I wouldn’t rule out civil disobedience either; obviously we obey God rather than men when the two are in direct opposition.

  411. Joe wrote:

    Certainly a viable option. But I think the church is worth trying to keep alive and as best we can, pure. Certainly running away at every problem isn’t the answer.

    Joe, we have such different paradigms of Jesus Christ, I doubt if we could ever come to much understanding although I would like to. You start with an authority/submission paradigm for everything and it colors everything you believe.

    One reason I ansered the way I did is because I believe the body is corporate. All believers are priests. How can we grow and mature if we do not deal with issues in the proper manner as a Holy Priesthood?

    I have seen so many guys like you come through the mill. You are so focused on the pecking order that you may not even recognize when the “order” above you might use you to carry out some of their dirty work. There is such a blind loyalty to the “pecking order” that God “ordained”. After all, you have to obey/submit because “God” ordained them. At the very least it might cause you to hesitate in standing up to corruption because of their “position”. And that is not good but it happens all the time.

    How can I possibly know this? Because those who really are “leaders” as in those who have “gone before” in the trenches NEVER argue for a pecking order or an authority/submission paradigm. They disdain that sort that thing and would never use scripture as a mean to secure their place in the pecking order. Never.

  412. Lydia wrote:

    we have such different paradigms of Jesus Christ, I doubt if we could ever come to much understanding although I would like to. You start with an authority/submission paradigm for everything and it colors everything you believe.

    Sadly so true… They don’t see the Jesus who came have we might have an abundant life, living water, and freedom. They refuse to teach the Jesus who came as a servant rather than to be served; who called us “friends”; who said we should not seek authority like non-believers do; the one who washed the feet of the disciples; and cried when he lost a good friend.

    He’s the one we hold as the perfect example to follow.

  413. Lydia wrote:

    You are so focused on the pecking order that you may not even recognize when the “order” above you might use you to carry out some of their dirty work. There is such a blind loyalty to the “pecking order” that God “ordained”. After all, you have to obey/submit because “God” ordained them

    I actually do hear what you’re saying and again I wouldn’t use terms like “pecking order.” It’s not a biblical use of the term. And I’ve said a few times now that authority gets abused. And I do believe in the individual priesthood of believers – how could I not when its so clear?
    And honestly, you don’t know me but I dont “focus” on this subject. It happens to be the one we’re talking about now but it’s no hobby horse or lynchpin of my theology. Paper cut and maybe a drop of lemon juice is all I’d suffer for it 🙂

    I’ve been in various positions of leadership in a church at times. And the only times I’ve felt compelled to exercise any authority is when there is some issue, be it doctrinal or moral, threatening the flock. And frankly even having to deal with that kind of crap sucks and makes me not want to be in leadership at all. Leadership and authority is taking on responsibility to deal with crap if and when it happens. Honestly there’s not a lot positive about it, if you catch my drift. It’s not about hitching sheep up to a wagon and getting a free ride. It’s being a sheep entrusted with protecting other sheep. Always 🙂

  414. Joe wrote:

    I believe there is authority that comes from God and resides in some. That’s really the point I’m shooting for. In an effort to define the “some” I think the backlash in the egals has been to say the “some” doesn’t exist. I suppose I could use that logic to reach anarchy, but that’s probably not a fair assessment of your belief either.

    I am not dancing around the text, Joe. I have dealt extensively on this thread and on other threads on this blog with the texts. That is because I want to be sure I am following God and not following doctrines of humans. I say humans so that it is understood that women can be false teachers as well.

    You claim there is authority ordained by God but you have not demonstrated that from the text. Either it comes from the Bible or it comes from humans who want it to be there. To bring up anarchy is a huge red herring. The problem with your idea of “order” is that you mean only certain people can be the authorities, namely males. You can say that all day long, but it doesn’t make it Biblical. Grudem and Piper can say it all day long and it doesn’t make it Biblical.

    Please show me one instance in this thread where I have not dealt honestly with the actual words and grammar of the text. I am the one asking you to go to the actual texts when you make assertions like you do about Hebrews 13 or 1 Timothy 2 or Ephesians 5.

    Which rules over the other: heart or brain? Kidney or liver? Etc. The metaphor that God has given us for the church and for marriage is a Body which is an Organism with mutually interdependent parts, not an Organization with an Organizational Chart with the top tiers solely by possessors of Y chromosomes.

    Are you a conservative evangelical? I ask because conservative evangelicals are ruled by the text of the Bible under the rulership of Christ and the Holy Spirit. I am, and that is why I will continue to challenge people who want to put other people in bondage to their man-made (or woman-made) rules.

    Where is this authority that you claim God has instituted in the text?

  415. Joe wrote:

    I’m not proud of lots of people that would claim to run in the same circles of logic as me, and I’m guessing you’re not proud of all yours.

    I have no idea what circles of logic you run in. I do know that the “complementarian” doctrines are not based in logic. They are not based in sound principles of conservative hermeneutics. They are not based on honest exegesis of the text as in Grudem’s additions to 1 Corinthians 11 which change the meaning to the exact opposite of what Paul wrote. That is exactly what false teachers do. Change the texts by adding to them or taking away from them.

    You have no idea what circles I run in. I am a conservative Baptist who believes in the solas of the Reformation. You would like to put me in the category of a flaming feminist, but you cannot do that. You would like to put me in the category of an egalitarian anarchist, but you cannot do that, either. The reason is because I am not either. I came to my outrage over “complementarianism” by reading what they wrote and seeing how they misuse the Bible to put people under their control. They are usurpers of God’s authority while they talk about other people usurping their authority.

    If you would like to discuss the issues and the texts, let’s do that. Maybe you don’t believe the Bible. You sound exactly like the Gospel Glitterati fanboys, even if you say you’re not influenced by them.

  416. Gram3 wrote:

    You would like to put me in the category of a flaming feminist, but you cannot do that. You would like to put me in the category of an egalitarian anarchist, but you cannot do that, either. The reason is because I am not either.

    So, so many of us resemble this comment.

  417. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Jonathan wrote:

    I attend a confessional WELS/ELS church. Does that make me crazy?

    Not at all. I attend an LCMS church. Not all churches are the same, and judging an individual instantiation based on the broader beliefs of a denom is just silly. But I do believe that claiming a 400 year old document that came 1500 years after the birth of Christianity is the final say on what the Bible says is borderline lunatic.

    Nice back handed comment. I guess I’m a borderline lunatic then. Unless of course you can prove something in the BoC to be incorrect.

  418. Joe wrote:

    The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (‭Romans‬ ‭13‬:‭1‬ NIV)
    Kings actually exist because of the result of warfare or birth, or presidents by a vote, but behind that is God Himself

    You’ve neglected the entire second half of my comment which has to do with the church and governing authorities having checks and balances. I guess citizens in countries where evil rulers reign should simply obey their rulers? We are seeing a lot of that now. We saw it in Germany, Italy, and Japan in WWII. We saw it in America concerning slavery.

    What I quoted above is for governing authorities in society at large. Do you believe that Paul was addressing this to the Church as well? I really don’t see that in Romans. If you believe this verse should be applied in all circumstances, then why did the Protestant Reformation take place? Why are Luther and Calvin perceived as such wonderful guys when they obviously didn’t submit to their church authority?

    I don’t think we can take that one verse and apply it all over the place like you are suggesting. Although, I think it happens all the time and many people are abused with that very verse . . . it is misused by some church leaders without consideration of the two greatest commandments. It is misused by evil rulers in society to control people. It is misused by husbands to control wives and families. One verse ripped out of contexf and applied when desirsed has causes much anguish

  419. Bridget wrote:

    verse ripped out of contexf and applied when desirsed has causes much anguish

    Posted to early. Should read.

    One verse ripped out of context and applied as desired by the user has caused much anguish in and out of the Church.

    To me, it seems you have done the same thing here.

    @ Joe:

  420. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    I do believe that claiming a 400 year old document that came 1500 years after the birth of Christianity is the final say on what the Bible says is borderline lunatic.

    Luther wrote revelatory things– after all he was a reformer. Final say on the Bible? I don’t know because Calvin had some good ideas and came after Luther. Then we have Arminius and the Wesleyan revivals later on. Anabaptists and Baptists are added to the mix and we really haven’t figured out what we are other than that we are distinctive. Then we have Princeton theology. Hodge supported slavery, and was a man of his time. And we have had social controversies such as slavery emancipation and pro slavery and its sister women’s rights and women’s suffrage and anti-suffrage. All these have biblical precedents because Protestants were very much advocates for much of this. Then we have as opposed to Covanent theology, dispensational theology. We have confessional and non confessional Christian viewpoints, and evangelicalism and fundamentalism and modernity. We have advocates of complementarianism, some who are friends, and egalitarianism, which is more my view. Protestants are a mix of viewpoints and we all feel we are right, but we are all followers of the King, no matter our view. It is evident in this blog.
    Were Luther and Calvin and others without fault? No! Thet were people warts and all who we can look at now as people who were of their time. Luther was responsible for Jewish pogroms and Calvin tortured and executed Michael Severitus, the founder of Unitarianism. He wasn’t exactly known for his tolerance, though he had some great ideas. So here were are descendants of the Reformation with 2000 or sects, because we don’t agree on everything.

  421. Joe wrote:

    Is it fair that God would exclude an entire gender from exercising authority over the other gender based on gender? Maybe not, at least in the American sense of “fair.”

    The Bible does not teach that one gender is to exercise authority over the other.

    From Matthew 20,
    But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant…

  422. @ Gram3:

    Another interesting point I heard from a Christian (I can’t remember where I heard this or read it), is that all men in the church today are Eve.

    The person cited a Bible verse to back that one up, I don’t remember what the verse was.

    But Christian men are the Bride of Christ too (not just women), they are in need of salvation – they, men, are Eve also, and have transgressed, and some of the comments from the New Testament about Eve apply to male believers also, not just to women. The person’s commentary went something like that.

  423. Joe wrote:

    Yes, we have the luxury of voting in our own governmental authorities. But they are also ordained by God and that’s ultimately why Paul says obey them.

    In American government, women get to run for office and hold office. Men are expected to submit to those women in authority.

  424. Joe wrote:

    I don’t use the word hierarchy because it carries such baggage and it’s not a biblical term.

    But hierarchy is what your view teaches or implies, or it’s a necessary underpinning of your views.

  425. Joe wrote:

    And I’ve said a few times now that authority gets abused

    The Bible doesn’t teach that men are to have authority over women, so that authority gets abused at times is not necessarily pertinent.

  426. @ Daisy:
    I think the textual evidence that is used to support the idea that Adam represents all males and Eve represents all females in the way it is commonly asserted in “complementarian” circles is very dubious.

    It is true that Paul says that sin entered through Adam, but I don’t think that means that men are more apt to sin than women, or that men are more apt to sin when they listen to the voices of women or even, as some say, that it is a sin for a man to listen to a woman in authority. I’m not personally sure exactly what Paul meant by that in Romans, but I do know that every human being since Adam and Eve have sinned, so I don’t worry about that detail so much.

    I don’t think that women are more apt to be deceived than men, and in fact Eve is used as an example of someone who is prone to deception in 2 Corinthians. Paul made that comparison between Eve and the entire church at Corinth including the males, so it is not just a female trait. Don’t get me started on the Jezebel spirit and the supposed desire of women to usurp authority. It is not in the text.

    A lot of things are just assumed and asserted and built on nothing much at all other than “sounding right” or “that’s they way things have always been taught.” I think way too many traits are ascribed to gender that are human traits exemplified by humans of both genders in the Bible. Deception, pride and vanity, greed, lust, exploitation, etc.

  427. @ Daisy:
    Maybe I missed your point and you were highlighting that Bride does not just mean female. That seems to be the main error in the Ephesians interpretation where Christ=husband and Church(Bride)=wife. That analogy is misused to draw all sorts of wrong inferences from ideas brought into that text.

    In general, metaphors and figurative language in the Bible is often misused or misapplied and idea foreign to the metaphor are smuggled into it that do not belong to it.

  428. Gram3 wrote:

    The problem with your idea of “order” is that you mean only certain people can be the authorities, namely males

    Maybe the quote I should have highlighted is where you said you don’t know what I believe, because that’s apparent. I never said only males can be an authority – and I willingly submit to my female senator and employer and county clerk and whoever else regardless of gender. I can’t make that any clearer. They are legitimate authorities given to my corner of society by God and I place myself under them, though equal to them ontologically.

    Also I never said you were a feminist in any degree, that’s something you assume I’d say but didn’t and haven’t. So maybe if you aren’t getting what I say correctly you’re not getting Paul quite right either 🙂 – that’s supposed to be whimsical and fun. You’re great Gram and I love visiting with you.

  429. Joe wrote:

    Maybe the quote I should have highlighted is where you said you don’t know what I believe, because that’s apparent. I never said only males can be an authority – and I willingly submit to my female senator and employer and county clerk and whoever else regardless of gender.

    And again you are evading the point and also avoiding the textual evidence. You are the one, IIRC, who brought up the idea of an Order of Creation. Now you say that the Order of Creation does not apply in the secular sphere. Do I have that right?

    So, does this purported Order of Creation mean that females may not be in authority over males of a certain Age of Gender Accountability in the church? Does this purported Order of Creation apply in marriage where the woman can never be in authority over her husband (or put in terms I prefer: both mutually submit to one another.)

    What exactly do you mean about the Order of Creation? I’m assuming that you are using that in the same sense that the “complementarians” use it. Where in the text does God ordain his Order of Creation of male over female? It isn’t in Genesis 1-2. So, if it isn’t there, then by what logic can Paul possibly be referring to some Order of Creation in 1 Timothy 2? That would be entirely circular reasoning and beneath Paul’s training and ability.

    Since I’m just a stupid woman who doesn’t get what you are so clearly saying, why don’t you just restate it plainly and cite your textual evidence, your hermeneutic, and a coherent and logical argument. Please use only 1 syllable words, and I will try my little female best to understand your superior male reasoning. In your world a dismissive insult may pass for an argument, but in the real adult world it does not. Don’t be a fanboy.

  430. Daisy wrote:

    Joe wrote:
    Yes, we have the luxury of voting in our own governmental authorities. But they are also ordained by God and that’s ultimately why Paul says obey them.
    In American government, women get to run for office and hold office. Men are expected to submit to those women in authority.

    John MacArthur did a sermon on praying for our leaders because God gave them that position. During the early 90’s I got turned off by the demonization of political leaders by the religious right, and I appreciated MacArthur’s sermon. Also Macarthur stated that America has never been a Christian nation. I was turned off that my Baptist mega church was busy picketing abortion clinics instead of witnessing to the lost, and the poor women were being demonized when they needed a witness. I was also concerned about my churches political activity and I was asked in reference to my questioning political involvement if “I felt persecuted because” I wasn’t a member of “God’s Own Party.” I was worried that my church was involved in a movement that would ultimately be the undoing of evangelucals losing iinfluence because it was placing all its emphasis in the political realm instead of the spiritual realm, and of instead of prayer and in getiing out there and witnessing to the lost.(sorry Princeton theology Calvinists and confessional Lutherans, this is decisionism at its best. I am a revivalist but there can’t be a revival when hate bars the way) And I didn’t feel sending a rage filled hate letter to President Clinton a friend sent was fulfilling the great commission. Why couldn’t he have sent Clinton a letter saying he was praying for him. It is a poor witness because it just makes us look judgmental and mean, which we are in some cases. Now in one of the latest polls evangelicals are less popular than gay people in some precincts, probably deservedly so,

  431. Joe wrote:

    In the church, God ordained that men be the leaders. Paul appeals to the creation order for that: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2‬:‭12-13‬ NIV)

    This is a quote from your comment where you make a very large assertion with no evidence or argument while violating the rule of context at the very least.

    Where in the text did God ordain male authority over females in Genesis 1-2? If God did not ordain male authority there, then the argument you are ascribing to Paul is circular. Unlike the Gospel Glitterati, Paul reasons much better than that.

  432. @ Gram3:
    I don’t agree with this one statement justifying complementarianism, but I heard when I was a young one that woman could not have authority over men in a church setting (such as office of pastor) because “they were first in the Edenic fall. ” From what I understand it is opinion that became dogma? Could it be cultural? Look at Western history until the dawn of this past century? What about women’s right to own property, much less the right to vote in secular societies?

  433. Mark wrote:

    I was a young one that woman could not have authority over men in a church setting (such as office of pastor) because “they were first in the Edenic fall.

    IMO, the text clearly says that the Woman ate the fruit first, and to me that means that she sinned first. IMO she was deceived and ate as the text in Genesis says and as Paul reiterates in 1 Timothy. The problem is the inference that is drawn from the temporal order of events. It is almost as if some think that Adam would not have eaten the fruit if Eve had not given it to him! I’ve seen quotes from some of the Church Fathers to that effect where Eve is the gateway to hell or some such.

    The other argument that comes up a lot is that women are more prone to being deceived which is an inference from Genesis and 1 Timothy 2. And yet another is that the sin of Adam was listening to his wife. No, seriously. A lot of “comp” reasoning is like this. They assert what something “means” even though there is no indication from the text that is what is being said. Sometimes they just make stuff up like the Original Sin of Usurpation which not in the text at all!

    When you examine the “comp” narrative, they assert that Eve left her proper place under Adam’s presumed authority when she engaged with the serpent. So, their narrative makes Eve the first sinner for usurping Adam’s authority not for eating the forbidden fruit. Funny that God never rebuked her for usurping Adam’s authority but only for disobeying God and eating the fruit. The “comps” make her supposed sin against Adam the first sin rather than her real sin against God.

  434. @ Jonathan:
    This is from wikipedias timeline of antisemiticism. Luther was a great man but a man of of his time.

    1543
    In his pamphlet On the Jews and Their Lies Martin Luther advocates an eight-point plan to get rid of the Jews as a distinct group either by religious conversion or by expulsion:
    “…set fire to their synagogues or schools…”
    “…their houses also be razed and destroyed…”
    “…their prayer books and Talmudic writings… be taken from them…”
    “…their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb…”
    “…safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews…”
    “…usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them…” and “Such money should now be used in … the following [way]… Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed [certain amount]…”
    “…young, strong Jews and Jewesses [should]… earn their bread in the sweat of their brow…”
    “If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews’ blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country” and “we must drive them out like mad dogs.”
    Luther “got the Jews expelled from Saxony in 1537, and in the 1540s he drove them from many German towns; he tried unsuccessfully to get the elector to expel them from Brandenburg in 1543. His followers continued to agitate against the Jews there: they sacked the Berlin synagogue in 1572 and the following year finally got their way, the Jews being banned from the entire country.”[19] (See also Martin Luther and the Jews)
    1540
    All Jews are banished from Prague.
    1546
    Martin Luther’s sermon Admonition against the Jews contains accusations of ritual murder, black magic, and poisoning of wells. Luther recognizes no obligation to protect the Jews.

    Sounds like a pogrom to me.

  435. @ Mark:
    With the exception of modern Western culture, women have universally been considered inferior to men generally and incapable of managing themselves or anyone else. Really, “complementarianism” is a system contrived to deal with the reality of female equality before the law which implies equality everywhere to the disinterested observer. The church and the Christian home are the last fortress of masculinism in the West. Some of the stuff I’ve heard is outright misogyny. Once you get outside the modern West, “compism” makes no sense at all. It’s not even necessary because everyone “knows” females are inferior.

  436. Gram3 wrote:

    @ Mark:
    Apologies for the typos. Past my bedtime.

    Hey, I am the worst speller, especially in my iPad. You do good.

  437. Jonathan wrote:

    Mark wrote:
    . Luther was responsible for Jewish pogroms .
    What pogroms was Luther responsible for?

    I have responded to your question. It is justifiably in moderation. I don’t believe we can judge Luther by our 20th century standards because he was a man of his time, a very violent and threatening time, You get comfort and certainty in your faith through your reading of the Book of Concord ( it encapsulates what the Bible teaches which is I understand the confessional view, and that is all that matters. ) I have a LCMS Book of Concord and it starts with the three creeds. You can’t go wrong there. Most of my relatives are Lutheran, so I have seen the good fruit from Lutherans, and only think good people because this what my relatives are.

  438. Gram3 wrote:

    I’m not personally sure exactly what Paul meant by that in Romans, but I do know that every human being since Adam and Eve have sinned, so I don’t worry about that detail so much.

    Paul is contrasting one man with one man. One (Adam) brought condemnation by his transgression; the other (Jesus) brought justification and righteousness. One (Adam) was disobedient; the other (Jesus) was obedient. One (Adam) resulted in judgment; the other (Jesus) resulted in the free gift of grace.

    My personal understanding as to why Eve is not mentioned is because of the difference in intentional, deliberate, purposeful sin and unintentional sin caused by being deceived. Both are sin, but the intent is important to understand. No one intentionally gets deceived. God told the serpent “because you have done this…” and to Adam, “because you have done this…” but not to Eve because she had (intentionally) done anything. A snare resulted in her “falling into the transgression” (per 1 Timothy 2:14).

  439. Joe wrote:

    I don’t use the word hierarchy because it carries such baggage and it’s not a biblical term. I might use “order” perhaps but even that’s loaded and needs to be defined,

    It’s difficult to discuss this topic without indulging in stereotypes. Like you, I don’t like the word hierarchy. In the church, there is imo a flat hierarchy of members and elders/leaders, and maybe amongst leaders a certain difference in responsibility and ‘rank’. First apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then …

    In the home, the wife submitting because the husband as head is hardly a hierarchy, which to my mind implies a whole series of different ranks. Mutual submssion here won’t work if there is deadlock on some issue, someone has to give way and someone take responsibility. My view is the bible does not prescribe who should give way, but it does say that hubby always carries the responsibility before God for whatever is decided.

    I’d like to coin the term ‘complementarian lite’ for those of us who do see some distinctions of role being there from the beginning, but who don’t want pharisaical rules and regulations being made out of them. Those who are to the left of patriarchy but to the right of egalitarianism and well to the right of unisex no-difference-ism!

    Similar with shepherding, this doesn’t have to be heavy, yet there is a shepherding/pastoring/eldering enjoined in the NT where the members are expected to yield to those in charge of a fellowship of believers. The idea is to promote good order, not subjugate anyone. I’m sure this is what is intended to happen in the home as well.

    As ever, the answer to abuse is not non-use but right use.

  440. Ken wrote:

    but it does say that hubby always carries the responsibility before God for whatever is decided.

    Ken, would you please provide a scriptural reference for a husband to take responsibility for decisions? Thanks!

  441. @ Victorious:
    Who carries the responsibility when it is a single adult wwoman or widow? Does God deem them fit for responsibility since there is no man available?

    Hmm. We need some sort of guide to lay out every scenario for us.

  442. Victorious wrote:

    Ken, would you please provide a scriptural reference for a husband to take responsibility for decisions? Thanks!

    I am waiting for that chapter and verse also.

    I think I hear them ‘saying’ that said husband would also get the credit for everything that went well and also the blame for everything that went wrong. There is a problem here, in that Paul did not give any details as to how to attain the one (things going well) and avoid the other (things going badly.)

    Since he was talking about marriage, let me suppose here. Suppose the marriage ends in divorce-does the husband always take the blame for the failure since it was his responsibility before God in the first place to see to things? Suppose the marriage continues in some mangled form because the wife is one of those long suffering people who puts up with the un-put-up-able for some reason. Does the husband get the credit for sustaining the marriage?

    Now I see that as silly, of course, but I do not hear anything in current comp/ pat theology to prevent such conclusions. Where, then, does that leave ‘do justice and love mercy?’ There is neither justice nor mercy in that sort of thing. Only heartless legalism. But heartless legalism does not sound like Paul. At all. And for those who believe that the very words of scripture are verbally inspired, does that sound like the Holy Spirit? Or are some people misunderstanding scripture?

  443. Nancy wrote:

    I am waiting for that chapter and verse also

    Me too.

    Here’s what I know that refutes Ken’s understanding:

    Abigail overrode her foolish husband’s decision. The King commended her for her wisdom. God took Nabal’s life.

    Sapphira went along with her husband’s decision and it cost her her life.

    Sarah made the decision to evict Ishmael from their family and while Abraham didn’t want to, God told him to do as Sarah commanded.

    Paul tells the young widows to marry and rule the household.

    Paul clearly notes that certain decisions are to be mutually agreed upon so the husband may not overrule his wife.

  444. @ Nancy:
    Good points, Nancy. Actually if Paul’s words are of worthy consideration, being and staying single is better than being married. (1 Cor. 7) Widows and singles can focus on more important matters rather than focusing on their spouse. He must trust their ability to make their own decisions, right?

  445. Nancy wrote:

    I think I hear them ‘saying’ that said husband would also get the credit for everything that went well and also the blame for everything that went wrong.

    Actually, that is not the result I have seen often with the application of this doctrine in evangelical circles. It is usually played out that the wife did not submit properly if there are problems.

    Let’s think about this for a minute: If the wife does not submit properly then the husband cannot be a proper leader in that doctrinal world. So most of this doctrinal stance falls on the woman by default.

    As one who has heard so many pastors preach: The husband is the head but the wife turns the neck. (I know, ridiculous..she is being told be a good little manipulator so he can feel like a man)

    Oh, and another silly one: Anything with Two heads is a freak so there can only be one head in a marriage. (Nevermind they have no comprehension of Kephale in the 1st Century usage and they are basically saying Jesus cannot be her “head”, too because the husband is her head)

    My dad used to say that if you have to convince people you are the leader, then you aren’t.

  446. Mark wrote:

    You get comfort and certainty in your faith through your reading of the Book of Concord

    I get my certainty of my faith through the gospel of Christ. If you really new Lutherans you’d understand this. But hey like I said before, if you can prove the BoC wrong let me know.

  447. Lydia wrote:

    It is usually played out that the wife did not submit properly if there are problems.

    Indeedy so. But I have also heard: “What is wrong with you, boy, that you can’t make her do?” I don’t know where that fits in, but you do notice that I have phrased that in southern colloquial type talk, so maybe it is at least partly tapping into some bad residuals in our culture.

  448. @ Ken:

    “In the home, the wife submitting because the husband as head is hardly a hierarchy, which to my mind implies a whole series of different ranks.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    well, if that makes you feel better about it.

    hi·er·ar·chy

    /ˈhī(ə)ˌrärkē/

    noun

    a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.

  449. @ Ken:

    “Mutual submssion here won’t work if there is deadlock on some issue, someone has to give way and someone take responsibility.”
    +++++++++++

    so, I assume you make decisions with friends, family, co-workers. And I assume occasionally there is deadlock. On what basis do you work through this?
    ——————

    “My view is the bible does not prescribe who should give way, but it does say that hubby always carries the responsibility before God for whatever
    is decided.”
    +++++++++++++++

    WHERE????

    if that isn’t the biggest crock of conjecture….

  450. Nancy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    It is usually played out that the wife did not submit properly if there are problems.

    Indeedy so. But I have also heard: “What is wrong with you, boy, that you can’t make her do?” I don’t know where that fits in, but you do notice that I have phrased that in southern colloquial type talk, so maybe it is at least partly tapping into some bad residuals in our culture.

    Ha ha. Driscoll has been quoted saying that to men in his former church which has been bought by another church with a female pastor. Love the irony.

  451. elastigirl wrote:

    WHERE????
    if that isn’t the biggest crock of conjecture

    Because the wife is the “church” and the husband is “Jesus”. Anyway, that is how Ken described it earlier in the thread. The mapping does not work, but nevermind that.

    I am not sure but I think single women and widows can be their own Jesus in that context. Some patriarchal groups say her dad (if alive) or her pastor are her Jesus. It all boils down to ADULT women need an earthly Jesus representative. A mediator male “Head” to submit to.

    This is always a problem when metaphors are taken way too far and changes in word meanings are ignored. That is why taking this stuff to it’s logical conclusion in application is so confusing.

  452. Lydia wrote:

    Driscoll has been quoted saying that to men in his former church which has been bought by another church with a female pastor. Love the irony.

    Their website is almost iconic of America and imo looks a lot like the kingdom. Check out the staff.

    And speaking of, look what I found in the Articles of Religion (1801) of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. (This is what they did with the thirty-nine articles after the revolution.)

    I present this as of historical interest, not myself being a historian.

    “Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be make of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.”

    So much for not touching God’s anointed!

  453. @ Victorious:
    That’s my understanding, but I haven’t looked into that Adam reference as much as I have the circumstances of the Fall. I believe that God does differentiate between sins done unintentionally and those done intentionally based on the sacrificial system in the OT.

  454. Ken wrote:

    Similar with shepherding, this doesn’t have to be heavy, yet there is a shepherding/pastoring/eldering enjoined in the NT where the members are expected to yield to those in charge of a fellowship of believers. The idea is to promote good order, not subjugate anyone. I’m sure this is what is intended to happen in the home as well.

    The Christian husband and the Christian wife both share a Head as well. There is an embedded assumption in the “deadlock” scenario that agreement cannot be reached if both submit to one another. I think that is precisely how the Spirit works in a marriage. And in a church. I do agree that there are representative leaders chosen by the local assembly, but there is no “office” specified and the local assembly is not commanded to be obedient but rather not to be oppositional and to listen to the elders and teachers. That is an important distinction that has been abused by “leaders.”

  455. Nancy wrote:

    Where, then, does that leave ‘do justice and love mercy?’ There is neither justice nor mercy in that sort of thing. Only heartless legalism. But heartless legalism does not sound like Paul. At all. And for those who believe that the very words of scripture are verbally inspired, does that sound like the Holy Spirit? Or are some people misunderstanding scripture?

    Yes to this. People are misunderstanding Paul because they are disregarding the context and bring presuppositions into it. Before something truly outrageous happened, I didn’t think twice about what I had been taught because I thought the teachers were teaching the Bible. Then I looked into what the Bible actually said and I was furious that they had misused it so much.

  456. Lydia wrote:

    Actually, that is not the result I have seen often with the application of this doctrine in evangelical circles. It is usually played out that the wife did not submit properly if there are problems.

    That is certainly true in “complementarian” and patriarchal churches. It is another form of blaming the woman. Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood that women are not ever knotheads and manipulative and all sorts of difficult to live with. But that is where the teaching of mutuality helps. It eliminates the need for a power-manipulation dynamic and teaches husbands and wives to work together toward a solution.

  457. Lydia wrote:

    Because the wife is the “church” and the husband is “Jesus”. Anyway, that is how Ken described it earlier in the thread. The mapping does not work, but nevermind that.

    I agree that is a big part of the problem. Was it Ken or Joe who said that? I was thinking it was Joe yesterday or the day before.

    Totally agree on the misuse of metaphor. The Gospel Glitterati put out a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense or is speculative and then pronounce it God’s Good Design.

    I do think that Ken makes a worthy point about taking responsibility for the good of his wife. It’s just that I think that the wife should take responsibility for the good of her husband. What that “good” looks like will be different for different marriages and in different situations. That’s why the rulebook is so thick when the principle of mutual love and deference is so much simpler and flexible and adaptable.

  458. Gram3 wrote:

    Then I looked into what the Bible actually said and I was furious that they had misused it so much.

    That is so like what happened to me. Except it was not on a single subject or two. I had more or less accepted that what I was taught as a child was actually what scripture taught, but I had problems with right much of it. Finally I just rejected all of it (burned the bible) not realizing that what these people were saying was just one slice of understanding about a lot of it. Then when my children were little and wanted to go to sunday school I tore into scripture in order to protect them from error and lo and behold I discovered that some of what I had absorbed as a child as actually scripture was not at all what the bible was saying.

    It is such a crying shame that this sort of thing happens to people. Had not time passed and had not a lot of the stuff washed out of my mind with time I doubt that I would have been able to see the problems with earlier teaching when I got back around to checking it out.

    Teachers of scripture have a responsibility to be careful what they say. Now somebody will say that all a person has to do is pour time into bible study, presumably in greek, while majoring in bible with a minor in church history in college. Not necessarily. Some people won’t get it even then, having been basically brain washed in some areas during childhood, and some of us were busy working full time while going to school full time while trying to raise a family full time (any two but not all three at the same time) and there is not enough left for trying to out-psych the false teachers.

    Rant over. I still am furious about it, but this particular rant is over.

  459. Victorious wrote:

    Ken, would you please provide a scriptural reference for a husband to take responsibility for decisions? Thanks!

    Victorious – that’s a fair question. I’ll try to answer it, based on my reading of the NT text rather than Other People’s books!

    On re-reading Eph 5 for the first time in a long time, I was struck by the words As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands, in particular in everything. It is easy to balk at that (I did!) as being some kind of an exaggeration. Yet is is there, and won’t go away.

    It cannot possibly mean a subjugated, doormat wife who only ever does as she is told.

    The parallel picture of Christ and husband as head, and the wife and church in submission is Paul’s, not mine. Since no husband is completely Christ-like, this cannot be pressed too far.

    Nevertheless, the husband is to love etc his wife following Christ’s example. To the extent head here has connotations of responsibility for, the wife’s submission in all things means there is nothing for which the husband does not carry responsibility. Her submission is to be as complete as his sacrificial agape-type love. That’s my explanation for in everything.

    I still think responsibility here includes some element of authority (Christ is head over all things for the church earlier on in the epistle), but Christ has absolute authority, and the husband a much more limited authority. Both husband and wife are under authority, or if this word has too much baggage with it, are given specific commands that are not interchangeable. They are both submitted to Christ.

    Neither the wife’s submission nor the husband’s loving and cherishing are contingent on their other half fulfilling their obligations – even Spirit-filled Christians are going to live this out imperfectly. And sometimes perhaps we need to lighten up about it a bit.

    The one flesh relationship Paul goes on to mention in v 31 is imo reminiscent of the oneness of Gal 3 : 28. Oneness combined with distinctions.

    Satan attacks this doctrine and practice in two ways: the one most discussed here is men who obsess with ‘having authority’ and demand wifely submission but who fail to be loving and treat their wives harshly. The other is wifely insubordination or disrespect. Both errors make believers and their churches vulnerable to spiritual attack; both are a work of the flesh refusing to submit to God.

    It was charismatics who, in my experience, started taking this aspect seriously and were the ones who also realised the need to stop ignoring Eph 5 and other related passages.

    So, there you go!

  460. @ Ken:”

    Aren’t you a bit concerned that the church in Philippi and others were not given these specific mapped instructions for husbands/wives? In Galatians Paul sent a totally different message that women are FULL heirs of gifts, etc. He even had the nerve to say “In Christ” there is no male or female.

  461. Ken wrote:

    It cannot possibly mean a subjugated, doormat wife who only ever does as she is told.

    It also cannot mean for the christian wife to be subject to her non-christian husband in each and every thing because Paul elsewhere ways to let them leave if they want to-just don’t be the one who throws them out if they want to stay. He does not say do everything to make them stay, one notes.

    It cannot mean forced conversion-as in the husband ordesr the wife to convert to christianity-because that is nowhere taught in scripture.

    It cannot mean the wife has to forsake Christ if her husband orders her to. Jesus was clear that allegiance to Him supersedes allegiance to family.

    It does not mean that she has to continue to live with an adulterer and just smile sweetly if that’s what he wants to do. Scripture speaks about divorce due to adultery.

    So ‘everything’ does not mean ‘everything’ just like everybody does not always mean everybody or the whole world (todo el mundo) does not always mean the whole world. This particular ‘everything’ that you have referenced seems to me a good illustration as to why doctrine should not hinge so much on what is between the semicolon and the comma (much less on one word) in one sentence in scripture.

  462. Ken wrote:

    On re-reading Eph 5 for the first time in a long time, I was struck by the words As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands, in particular in everything. It is easy to balk at that (I did!) as being some kind of an exaggeration. Yet is is there, and won’t go away.

    I don’t want it to go away, but I also don’t want it to be misunderstood. Another way of reading Ephesians 5 is by re-reading Ephesians from the beginning and then taking that “In the Spirit” theme together with the “same attitude as was in Christ Jesus” and applying that framework to Ephesians 5.

    There is no way of getting around the grammatical fact that any submission that is found in vs 22 must be borrowed from somewhere, namely vs. 21 where submission is explicitly mutual and is itself an expression of what being “in Christ” looks like.

    So, in everything, a wife should have the same attitude as was in Christ Jesus because she is “in Christ.” That means she does not grasp for things or manipulate or be difficult when her husband is trying to provide and care for her. It means not being demanding. It means expressing her love and gratitude toward her husband as she does toward Christ *in everything.”

    Similarly, a husband is to have the same attitude as was in Christ Jesus and love his wife as Christ loved the church. Paul describes what “head” means in the context, and it does not mean authority in that context. “Head” means one who provides for and cares for the body. In the ancient world, everything necessary for life came via the head: air, water, food. The universal application is that men should love and care for their wives in whatever way conveys the attitude that was in Christ Jesus.

    You mentioned the authority/head connection earlier in Ephesians 1:21-22. In that context Christ is appointed to be far above all other powers and and dominions and authorities which have been subjected *under his feet.* That is subjection/authority language. In vs. 22 the reason for this is that Christ is the Head over his body, the church and he is above all things *for the sake of* the church. That is consistent with chapter 5 and the head/body metaphor. Check out the interlinear and the other versions, especially the ones not influenced by the church/state power paradigm. The imagery is clear: Every other power is put under Christ’s feet so that he is the only Head of the church, his body. In any case, this has nothing to do with any man’s authority over any woman.

  463. Nancy wrote:

    This particular ‘everything’ that you have referenced seems to me a good illustration as to why doctrine should not hinge so much on what is between the semicolon and the comma (much less on one word) in one sentence in scripture.

    That’s a big problem when a small portion of the Bible is not interpreted in a way that is consistent with the rest of it. Especially in the NT, and especially when the author is the same person! And there is no punctuation in the text, either, so we have to be careful about that.

    I think that the “in everything” refers to the wife’s attitude toward her husband and not her actions. I can choose to have an “in Christ” attitude even if someone is being sinful. That doesn’t mean I always make the “in Christ” choice. Also, if “everything” applies to actions, then very bad consequences can result. However, if “everything” refers to an “in Christ” attitude, I can respond to sinful behavior as Christ would have responded. That eliminates enabling sin or participating in sin because the actions flow from the “in Christ” attitude and posture toward the sinner.

  464. @ Ken:

    “The parallel picture of Christ and husband as head, and the wife and church in submission is Paul’s, not mine. Since no husband is completely Christ-like, this cannot be pressed too far.”

    “but Christ has absolute authority, and the husband a much more limited authority”

    “Neither the wife’s submission nor the husband’s loving and cherishing are contingent on their other half fulfilling their obligations – even Spirit-filled Christians are going to live this out imperfectly. And sometimes perhaps we need to lighten up about it a bit.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    Hi, Ken. You are a very nice person. Thank you for spelling out the basis for your conviction, “it does say that hubby always carries the responsibility before God for whatever is decided.”

    Like comps in general, what i hear you saying is

    “yes, it’s like this, and God ordained it…. but not exactly.”

    “Men must do/be x and women must do/be x… just don’t go too far with it.”

    Well that certainly clears things up.

    You undermined the basis of your conviction 3 times. You don’t seem to feel the tension of believing in square circles. Ken…. take off the discopants.

  465. Ken wrote:

    I still think responsibility here includes some element of authority (Christ is head over all things for the church earlier on in the epistle), but Christ has absolute authority, and the husband a much more limited authority. Both husband and wife are under authority,

    Thanks for your reference for a husband having responsibility albeit the decision-making aspect wasn’t addressed. My objections to this assumption are threefold…

    1) There is no mention of either authority, responsibility, or decision in this passage and we know Paul was surely articulate enough to have used these words if that’s what he meant.

    2) To the best of my knowledge, Jesus never refers to Himself as an authority to those he came in contact with. He told the disciples they were friends. He told them He didn’t expect to be served, but to serve. He washed their feet in an act of humility and told them to follow His example and wash one another’s feet. He gave up His very life for those He loves. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” That’s the meaning of Eph 5:25. The husband surrenders/lays down/gives his very life for the one he loves just as Christ did.

    3) And most importantly, a correct hermeneutic cannot be ascertained by one word, one phrase, or even one verse without support from the whole counsel of God in scripture. Words are important (though they change meaning over time), context is important, culture is important, and comprehending the author’s intended meaning. Also we must consider allegories, hyperbole, figures of speech, and near/far implications and applications.

    The enormous numbers of assumptions originating from this particular passage are unfounded inasmuch as we find no words to husbands implying he has any authority over his wife outside of 1 Cor. 7 where the wife has the same authority. A reasonable conclusion is that Paul would not contradict himself nor would he contradict the words of Jesus that “it shall not be so among you.”

    In conclusion, again I thank you for taking the time to share your understanding although still absent is any prescribed words to husbands regarding decisions, responsibility, or authority in the marriage.

  466. Victorious wrote:

    although still absent is any prescribed words to husbands regarding decisions, responsibility, or authority in the marriage.

    Those teachings and words that aren’t actually in scripture sure have stuck like flies on fly paper. Asking oneself the question “why have they stuck” might be helpful at this point.

  467. @ elastigirl:

    What Ken describes is what I have heard for years in most evangelical churches. It rarely works in actual application and is as confusing as ever. Don’t like the word hierarchy (but it is) and it should never have to be used. Actually, it is “responsiblity” we just don’t understand how that really works in application….he makes the money? He is the one who prays at meals? (wait until your dad gets home!) Is he supposed to the one who makes everyone get up and get to church? Read the bible to the family?

    Is there a job description somewhere that lays out this “responsibility” for today. We do know that in the 1st Century is was quite different. Very few women had autonomy in the sense we have it today and her husband (usually an arranged marriage where he was older) was the “kephale” for her life as in providing what she needed to live and care for children because she could not. Can they provide for the family together today? Some women I know earn more than their husbands.

    It reminds me of the kind of “authority/submission” from a parent as in: Don’t make me stop this car! Which would mean that if you submit as you should (whatever that is at whatever time) then I won’t have to use the trump card God gave me.

    Once you really delve into this stuff with practical application it is bizarre and simply infantalizes women. Some women like that.

  468. I’d love to have a word with the translators who wrote in all the little subheadings into the text where they saw fit, especially this one before vs. 22 in Eph. 5

    Instructions for Christian Households

    Wrong interpretations can destroy intended meanings.

  469. Bridget wrote:

    Asking oneself the question “why have they stuck” might be helpful at this point.

    OK. Tradition. The way things have always been. Fear of changing the way things have always been understood. Fear of disobeying the plain words of Scripture and thus disobeying God. Husbands who hear the call to self-sacrifice and therefore see themselves. Husbands who want absolute authority and so see themselves. Wives who want all the responsibility if stuff goes kablooie put on the husband. Wives who fear the disapproval of others, both male and female, if they speak up. Fear of being “liberal” or abandoning the Bible’s authority. Abdication of our responsibility as priests of the New Covenant and outsourcing that to professionals.

    That’s a start. Of course many of those apply to the Reformation, as well, so there’s that to consider.

  470. Lydia wrote:

    Very few women had autonomy in the sense we have it today and her husband (usually an arranged marriage where he was older) was the “kephale” for her life as in providing what she needed to live and care for children because she could not. Can they provide for the family together today? Some women I know earn more than their husbands.

    That is important. Is God ratifying the authority that existed or prescribing it? Or is God speaking into the existing environment and giving instructions regarding how to be “like Christ” in whatever situation we find ourselves? I think it is a mistake to assume that God is ratifying the social structures in the first century, whether it was female supremacy in the Ephesian culture or male supremacy in most of the rest of the world. He tears down social structures like ethnicity, class, gender, and the other status markers of a fallen world system. That’s going to look different, and the instructions in Paul’s letters show us those differences.

    IMO, within the framework of imitating Christ in everything, husbands and wives and singles have the freedom to live their lives in a variety of ways. I think that pleases God who is a God who delights in unity in diversity. He obviously put that into his creation, regardless of whether theistic evolution or 6-day fiat is true. Imagine a world with only roses. Now imagine a world with roses and hydrangeas and magnolias and azaleas and daisies and tiny little orchids that are barely visible and lenten roses that bloom in January that deer won’t eat. OK, probably should include some tulips as well…

  471. Bridget wrote:

    I’d love to have a word with the translators who wrote in all the little subheadings into the text where they saw fit, especially this one before vs. 22 in Eph. 5
    Instructions for Christian Households
    Wrong interpretations can destroy intended meanings.

    I like to print out entire letters at nasb.literalword.com so that I can mark them up and not have the propaganda commentary and paragraph breaks that at placed in grammatically unlikely places. Even the ESV-only crowd can print out their Official Complementarian Version by replacing the “nasb” with “esv.”

  472. Ken wrote:

    The parallel picture of Christ and husband as head, and the wife and church in submission is Paul’s, not mine. Since no husband is completely Christ-like, this cannot be pressed too far.

    “50 Shades of Grey and Patriarchy”
    http://juniaproject.com/50-shades-of-grey-and-patriarchy-what-exactly-did-we-expect/

    Snippet from page:

    The most perfect possibility that complementarianism can offer is a safe, life-giving relationship resting in the capable and loving authority of a man who is at all times just like Jesus.

    Except even the most godly man simply is not Jesus, and does not have the unwavering selfless love or the omniscience required to lead perfectly.

  473. One thing those pushing hyper-comp teachings, which requires the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father, seem to forget is this:

    To get there, you have to hold to a more tritheistic faith than a Trinitarian one.

    There are times when I wonder if the Biblical Monotheists don’t get it more correctly. The Jews probably could have handled Jesus if He only claimed to be a demigod, or an exalted angel, or such. It was that they held to one God, and Jesus made claims to Deity, that threw them.

    He was basically saying Yeshua, or Yahweh saves, which was Himself, was indeed Yahweh. As monotheists they knew there was one God. And Jesus was claiming the title.

  474. Gram3 wrote:

    Husbands who hear the call to self-sacrifice and therefore see themselves.

    I usually think in terms of how gender complemenatarianism hurts women, but it sometimes hurts men, too.

    Over at “A Cry For Justice” blog you will find many Christian people telling stories of abuse they suffered from their spouses. Most of the participants are women, but a few are men.

    One thing I noticed is that when some of the men tell their stories, is that they were encouraged to stay with their abusive wives and just put up with being abused by using those same passages. The Bible passages that tell men to lay down their lives for their wives, to be a head to their wife, etc.

    Those same passages used against women are sometimes used against men, too.

    You would think more men would want to re-examine these verses to see if they really, truly teach what the complementarians say they do, since these teachings are causing a lot of unnecessary stress on people and damage to people already in abusive marriages.

  475. Gram3 wrote:

    Since I’m just a stupid woman who doesn’t get what you are so clearly saying, why don’t you just restate it plainly and cite your textual evidence, your hermeneutic, and a coherent and logical argument. Please use only 1 syllable words, and I will try my little female best to
    understand your superior male reasoning. In your world a dismissive insult may pass for an argument, but in the real adult world it does not. Don’t be a fanboy.

    Ok, so now I’m pro-racism, pro-slavery, call you a flaming feminist and now stupid? Sigh. Thanks for the insight – I have a wicked heart.

    I think this is what Paul meant:

    The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭18‬ NIV)

    Who is already made in this verse? it wasn’t good for whom to be alone? (By the way, I’m in total and increasing agreement with this and find the longer I’m married the more miserable I get when my wife and I aren’t together even for a day) Who was made for the sake of whom? Who was made suitable for whom? That is, I think, what Paul is getting at.

    Now, again, lest you think that I think this makes males dictators in all spheres of life, I emphatically don’t, as I’ve said multiple times now. Eve, and by extension women as a gender, are not “inferior” (a word you incorrectly like to hang on me) in any way. But in certain relationships, especially perhaps we could say ones of particular equality – husband and wife, brother and sister in Christ – as opposed to relationships with inherent differences of role – govt, employment, etc., – there is a proper place for leadership, submission, authority, and I like Kens word “responsibility.”

    It is for this reason, “responsibility” that I believe the sin problem is attributed to Adam and not to Eve. Eve sinned first, but Adam took the blame, and rightly so. Anyone who thinks biblical authority is fun and games and owning slaves and bossing a woman around is corrupting and perverting the clear teaching of the scripture.
    Also, any husband who throws his hands up and says, “don’t blame me!” is trying to weasel himself out of a responsibility that God won’t let him be rid of. In my opinion, the success or failure of a family rests squarely on the shoulders of a husband and father. The success or failure of a church, humanly speaking, rests squarely on the shoulders of it’s leadership. And authority is given them to make sure they fulfill their responsibility hence the “tool” metaphor from before.

    I gladly admit there is no text with the exact wording you’re asking me for. You got me. I’m doing the best I can to make sense of what is there so I can make sure my family and my church are a success in Gods eyes – because I truly believe I’ll answer directly to him one day for it. And if my home is a mess and my kids are a mess and my church is a wreck, it’s because I, by either throwing my hands up and saying, “it’s not my problem, nothing I can do!” or, because I misused authority and made myself king and the others slaves. Both are evil and an abdication or abuse of Gods tool given to me for the good of those in my care.

    Please don’t accuse me of saying you’re s feminist and stupid. I haven’t and wouldn’t. I disagree with your interpretation of some texts, but I’m okay with it and hope you can be too.

  476. Daisy wrote:

    Except even the most godly man simply is not Jesus, and does not have the unwavering selfless love or the omniscience required to lead perfectly.

    Totally agree. As Paul said, “pray for us.”

  477. Joe wrote:

    Eve sinned first, but Adam took the blame, and rightly so.

    No he didn’t take the blame. He blamed Eve and God!!

    Gen 3:12 The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”

    and he tried to conceal his sin…

    … Job 31:33 “Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom…

  478. … there is a proper place for leadership, submission, authority, and I like Kens word “responsibility.”

    That’s the problem with trying to make scripture say something it doesn’t. “Let’s use this word…I like that…” Let’s use “responsibility” that sounds good. Let’s use “leadership” or “headship” or “servant-leader” that sounds good.

    Wow. Just wow.

  479. @ Victorious:

    I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to rewrite the text rather to flesh out the meaning with synonyms. Some think when I use the word “authority” I mean hierarchy, inferiority, and subjugation. So defining terms is important, yes?

  480. Somebody explain this to me. Some people take Paul’s analogy of husband/ wife compared to Christ/ church and then construct a picture of the husband/ wife interaction as not at all like Christ and the church as shown in scripture and as experienced in our churches. They then seem to reason backwards with the analogy and start with their idea of marriage as the baseline and then say that Christ is like that with the church. For instance, the endless lists of thou shalt and thou shalt not micromanagement in a marriage. A husband in a hypercomp marriage might well determine how many ply in the potty and expect obedient shopping from the wife. Have you ever heard of a revelation from God to a board of elders about potty ply? Is there anything in scripture that says that believers become unable to sweep the parking lot without a special word from God about PL sweeping? So, are the hypercomp people guilty of misrepresenting God to the world? If so, that is some really serious stuff.

  481. Joe wrote:

    @ Victorious:

    Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man… (‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭12‬ NIV)

    Joe, Paul is contrasting Adam’s sin with Jesus’ free gift. One was negative and adverse (Adam) and the other is positive (Jesus). Read it…

    Rom 5:16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.

    Both arose from deliberate, intentional actions. Adam disobeyed…Jesus gave His life.

    Surely you’re not trying to give Adam some authority, leadership, or responsibility because he disobeyed, are you? The passage says nothing about entitlement except on our part because of Jesus. Adam brought death and condemnation; Jesus righteousness and justification.

    It’s a contrast… There is not one, single positive thing said about Adam in scripture that warrants any imitation or honor.

  482. Joe wrote:

    Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man… (‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭12‬ NIV)

    Uh Oh…. I’ve seen lots of people make up another word and use Romans 5 as the basis for inventing “federal headship.”

    That deserves another wow in my opinion…. 🙁

    Really, who comes up with these things?

  483. @ Joe:
    Jesus died “for our sakes.” Jesus is not subordinate to us. Please investigate this claim a bit further.

    The suitable helper angle doesn’t work for a number of reasons. One, suitable means one who is fit for, or corresponds to, or completes. Think of right eye and left eye for stereoscopic vision. If you don’t think that matters, then spend a day in my body. Suitable certainly does *not* mean anything to do with hierarchy. This is where true complementarity is found: a man and woman side-by-side and face-to-face. That is the meaning of kenegdo. You can look this up if you would like.

    Helper doesn’t work, either. The word for helper is ezer. God is our ezer. God is not subordinate to us. Helper sounds like “assistant” but it is actually much more than that. It means something more like “urgently necessary.”

    You are making an implicit Order of Creation argument by implying that there is some significance to Adam being formed first with his designer assistant being custom-made for him. That is not at all what is happening in the text. God made the woman for the man because God knew the man would not be able to fulfill the Creation Mandate alone. Hence it was not Good or Complete until God fashioned the Woman to Complete/Complement/Help the Man. Together God commissioned them to fill the earth and subdue it. He did not commission the Man who then commands his wife to do what he says that will help him do that.

    There is no hierarchy ordained or intended. The idea of a hierarchy is smuggled in by the meaning of the English words, not the meaning of the Hebrew words. God did not inspire an infallible English translation.

  484. Joe wrote:

    Ok, so now I’m pro-racism, pro-slavery, call you a flaming feminist and now stupid? Sigh. Thanks for the insight – I have a wicked heart.

    I don’t believe you are a racist. The reason I exhort you to look into people like Dabney and Furman is because they used the same reasoning and methodology that you are using. We now know that what they said was an abhorrent misuse of the Bible. But people at the time who needed to believe in the institution of slavery bought what they were saying. The point is to learn from others’ egregious mistakes. If you don’t want to sound like Dabney did WRT race and women, then don’t use his arguments and methods. That’s all.

  485. Victorious wrote:

    No he didn’t take the blame. He blamed Eve and God!!

    And Patriarchy and “complementarianism” are just gussied-up woman-blaming by people with Ph.D. (PhD) degrees who certainly know better or should know better.

  486. Victorious wrote:

    Let’s use “responsibility” that sounds good.

    A real problem can occur with equivocation on “responsibility” that can harm both men and women. If a man cannot support his wife for whatever reason, then he is a man-fail. A man who loves his wife but is disabled and cannot provide for her or even be her protector is shamed. They make it into something ugly when actually the fact that the husband and wife pursue each other and life together through the challenges is the real picture of the Gospel, not this fake ESS hierarchy fabrication.

    Responsibility can have the sense of doing what is responsible, and that is good and biblical. Responsibility can also have the sense of blame if something doesn’t go just right.

  487. Gram3 wrote:

    And Patriarchy and “complementarianism” are just gussied-up woman-blaming by people with Ph.D. (PhD) degrees who certainly know better or should know better.

    Oh, I can’t imagine they don’t know better, but how else can you arrive at the intended agenda?

  488. Joe wrote:

    Some think when I use the word “authority” I mean hierarchy,

    What does it mean to have authority without hierarchy? The essence