If one has the answers to all the questions – that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. Pope Francis link
CBMW is unable to clearly define differences of roles between men and women.
I often say that CBMW has an Achilles Heel. They are unable to tell someone like me, who is well versed in Scripture, what I can and cannot do if I were a complementarian woman. For purposes of this post, complementarianism will sometimes be written as comp. Brownie points will be given to anyone who can come up with a better word!
I have read the books. I have even privately contacted complementarian women leaders to help me understand. The one person who I admire the most could not give me any specifics. She said "I can tell you what it look like for me and my family but not what it looks like for you and yours."
Yet, CBMW claims their mission is to delineate these differences so that I can be obedient to Scripture and my family can be healthy. I think my family is just as healthy as any other Christian family yet I don't get it. I try to be obedient to Scripture and have my good days and bad days just like any other person. They say their mission is:
The mission of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is to set forth the teachings of the Bible about the complementary differences between men and women, created equally in the image of God, because these teachings are essential for obedience to Scripture and for the health of the family and the church.
They seem to claim that if I do not see *it* and apply *it* their way, things are going to go south.
- The authority of Scripture is at stake.
- The health of the home is at stake.
- The health of the church is at stake.
- Our worship is at stake.
- Bible translations are at stake.
- The advance of the gospel is at stake.
About the only thing I understand is that women cannot be pastors and elders. But churches even apply this in weird, difficult to understand ways. In my former church, which is a member of TGC and the pastor is on the council, women were unable to collect the offering. I asked why. I was told that there was no reason they couldn't but the deacons voted against it. They refused to reconsider. So, I sat in church and watched as young boys collect the offering but mature women were not permitted to do so. Why?
Tim Challies' church does not allow women to read Scripture from the pulpit.
We consider this a teaching ministry, which means that it is a ministry reserved for men link.
So, would he have allowed Mary to speak her own words in his church? That beautiful Magnificat that starts at Luke 1:46? Why is it considered teaching if it is merely reading the words? Better yet, would he allow a woman to sing her words. Why is it different when it is sung instead of read?
I now attend a church that allows women to help with communion, read the Scriptures of the day, collect the offering and light the candles. Men do these things as well. As I watch them in their service, I struggle to see why other churches would not allow them to do this. How do men like Challies and former pastor come up with these rules and then expect for me to figure out their reasons for doing so. Everyone seems to have differing opinions on what actions put the very Bible at stake. And really, will the gospel falter because one week a woman reads Scripture? Seriously?
CBMW cannot have it both ways. One cannot preach the limitation of functions for women and then have everyone else define the limitations in different ways. It makes little sense to those of us in the church and, for sure, those who are outside the church.
Even one of CBMW's council members, Mary Kassian, who considers herself one of the originators of comp theology had this to say.
I pointed out that though complementarians agree on the principle of complementarity, we often differ as to its application in the home and the church. I emphasized that even those involved in CBMW have a divergence of opinion as to the specifics of how to apply the principles of manhood and womanhood. – Mary Kassian
Divergence of opinions???? So, the gospel and the Bible are apparently at stake and everybody has different thoughts on the matter? Good night!
Is CBMW a church? If not, then why are there no women on the Board?
I am well versed in the NeoCalvinist view of the local church. I am sure each of those who serve on the Board would roundly deny that CBMW is a church. So, why are there no women on the Board of Directors. So, why are there no women on the Board of Directors? What is the Scriptural admonition that bars women from being present on such a board? This question needs ot be answered in some coherent fashion or it will continue to show the arbitrary gender rules and regulations of these comp men.
CBMW's stated beliefs center around the *biblical* roles of women and men in marriage and in the church. The definition is incomplete since the entire trajectory of their core beliefs page primarily centers around marriage and the church. What about single women?
The CBMW Council: Do you see a gender difference?
Why do the women mention their roles as homemakers and wives? Did any men mention their role as husbands? I wonder what would have happened if they did not mention homemaker or wife.
But CBMW's Mary Kassian and Dorothy Patterson claim that homemaking is not an essential comp role.
Perhaps the most outspoken individual on this council is Mary Kassian who is a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is curious that she lists her role as homemaker since she had this to say a few years back.
Mary Kassian link
Homemaking as woman’s highest calling is our critical centerpiece? Hmmm. Maybe I didn’t get the memo. I found myself curious about which “proponent of the modern biblical womanhood movement” used “strong, unequivocal language” about homemaking being woman’s highest calling. And which complementarian in her right mind would even remotely assert that “the only sphere in which a woman can truly bring glory to God is in the home.” I am personally acquainted with virtually everyone at the core of the modern biblical womanhood movement. If anyone in my yard is saying this, I want to know about it. – Mary Kassian, Review of The Year of Biblical Womanhood
This statement startled The Deebs and we wrote a post about her remarks which were found in a review of Rachel Held Evans' The Year of Biblical Womanhood. We assert that her words demonstrate the inability of the comp movement to define biblical™ gender roles with any sort of consistency. I use the trademark symbol because I am convinced that there is a divergence of opinion in the comp ranks on when the Bible actually mandates.
In the following except from our above linked post, you can read Mary Kassian's attempt to prove that homemaking has nothing to do with comp. The most humorous part of her denial is when she seeks to quote Dr Dorothy Patterson, the head of the School of Homemaking at SBTS (I am not kidding.)
Begin excerpt here:
5. Mary Kassian surprisingly looks to Dorothy Patterson to help “prove” that homemaking has nothing to do with complementarianism.
A degree in homemaking?!!
It is at this point, I knew that something was amiss. She does not mention that Dr Dorothy Patterson (PhD University of South Africa) is the head of the homemaking degree at the College at Southwestern Link
“The classes are part of a homemaking concentration for a bachelor of arts in humanities degree through The College at Southwestern, the Texas seminary's undergraduate school. Three-credit-hour courses in the concentration are General Homemaking, Biblical Model for the Home and Family and The Value of a Child. Also required are seven credit hours in meal preparation and nutrition and seven hours in the design and sewing of clothing.”
Kassian quotes Rachel Held Evans who stated that Patterson, in 1990, said
“Keeping the home is God’s assignment to the wife—even down to changing the sheets, doing the laundry, and scrubbing the floors.” (p. 23) “We need mothers who are not only family-oriented but also family-obsessed.” (p. 178)
Kassian claims to be irritated that that Rachel Held Evans used 20 year old material written by Patterson but kind of forgets” to remind her audience that CBMW republished the article in 2006 in the Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Book! “Link
“Mrs. Patterson told me that she would nuance the first quote by clarifying that “though she may not do these chores herself, she senses the responsibility to see that her home is kept in order.” (Ed. note:No nuance needed back in 2006 but seems to be needed now).
Well, you betcha Patterson doesn’t scrub those floors at Pecan Manor. She has a boatload of help. So, are Kassian and Patterson implying that, if you have enough money and servants, you receive a “get out of scrubbing the floor” card? Instead Patterson can go and teach women getting their “homemaking degree” how to sew clothes while cooking meals.
Also, notice how she does not address the child-care issue at all. So, do women stay home to raise the children or can they hire that help as well? Or is this just a question to be avoided.
End excerpt here.
Patriarchy is really just another word for comp theology
In that same TWW post, Kassian goes on to *prove* that complementarianism and patriarchy are not in the same camp. Dee's mouth hung open at this statement because the President of CBMW's Board of Directors of CBMW, Owen Strachan, supports the term patriarchy on behalf of CBMW. He is also the son in law of Bruce Ware who is arguably the modern day inventor of the Eternal Subordination of the Son doctrine, which states that women shall be subordinate to men in eternity!
6. Kassian denies that patriarchy has anything to do with complementarianism.
In my opinion, this is her most startling statement yet. In fact, she must either have her head in the sand or is deliberately spreading misinformation. I sure hope it is the former.
“The second woman Rachel quotes is Stacy McDonald, who wrote a book entitled, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God. McDonald is associated with the Vision Forum and the biblical patriarchy movement, so it’s clear that she isn’t representative of the core of modern evangelical complementarianism either.”
TWW reader has Facebook exchange with Kassian. Here is a link to the Facebook page.
Better yet, one of our readers sent Kassian an email challenging her statement that patriarchy and complementarianism are not the same. Kassian replied to her
“My complementarian colleagues do not embrace the term"patriarchy." And like you, I am gravely concerned about some of the abuses and oppression of women arising from that ideology.
Owen Strachan (son in law of Bruce Ware and President of CBMW) link
“For millennia, followers of God have practiced what used to be called patriarchy and is now called complementarianism.” Owen Strachan, writing for CBMW.
So, we end our look at CBMW as confused as when we started. It has everything to do with homemaking. It has nothing to with homemaking. It restricts women in leadership in churches. It restricts women in leadership outside of churches. Women can't read Scripture out loud in the pulpit. Women can read Scripture. From what I can tell, there is little cohesiveness to this movement. However, they claim the very gospel is at stake. Perhaps this next example will add to our general confusion.
PCA: Nothing less than 100% agreement or you are out!
The pastors of the PCA are very supportive of CBMW. There is apparently no room for any doubts.
At this years' General Assembly of the PCA, we learned that nothing less than 100% agreement is allowed on issue of complementarian theology. Not 89%, not 99% but 100%, now and always. Let me make something clear. I believe that all denominations have the right, and perhaps even the obligation, to clearly state their denominational distinctives. But is the PCA naive enough to believe that no one doubts on occasion?
From what I can tell, a pastor in the midst of his ordination exams stated that he was not 100% sure of the universal prohibition on women eldership. Make sure you understand this. He didn't say he would allow women to be elders. He didn't say "Here I stand, I can do no other!" He didn't say he didn't like John Piper, John Calvin or Tim Keller. He didn't deny the essentials.
It appears the Philadelphia Presbytery, understanding that all of us at one time or another have some questions, allowed this man to be ordained. So, the General Assembly, obviously horrified, *cited* the Philadelphia Presbytery for ordaining this man.
Complementarianism: The PCA continues to be a solidly complementarian denomination. The Committee on the Review of Presbytery Records (RPR) cited the Philadelphia Presbytery for sustaining the ordination exams of a candidate who was not “100% sure the New Testament itself teaches a universal prohibition on women eldership” (* I wrongly stated in the original post that this pastor is now moving to the RCA. He has not filed to do so and continues to be a member of the Philadelphia Presbytery. My apologies.). A minority report emerged from RPR recommending that the Assembly not cite Philadelphia with an exception of substance on this matter. The Assembly was overwhelming in its vote on this issue, rejecting the minority report by a vote of 258 in favor and 554 against.
Being the type of person who often questions things, I wondered how many people are truthful when they claim to believe something 100%? Do they never have a doubt? Is a momentary doubt enough to disqualify one from the pastorate? How many people are pastors who lied about their 100% belief? Even worse, how does one define comp theology to the pastors taking the test? It appears the CBMW council members can't do it, so why do they expect anyone else to understand it 100%.
It appears that I was not the only one who questioned this decision. However, most of those who disagreed did so by asserting that they believed women should be elders.
Although I do believe than women can be elders, that wasn't my chief concern in this situation. It was the insistence of *nary a doubt or you are out* position. Doubt is a part of faith. The greatest growth in my faith is when I was presented with some evidence that caused me to doubt the canon. However, I am proactive. I decided to find answers for my questions and my doubts. My faith grew by leaps and bounds. In fact, it is the very act of wrestling with doubt which has strengthened my faith. Even at the CBMW promoting The Gospel™Coalition, I put the word "doubt" into the search engine and came up with 491 entries!
So, I am left with this. I don't understand the practical application of comp theology and I don't think the CBMW crowd does either. If I don't understand it, I can assure CBMW that few people in the church or outside the church get it either. Yet, for some reason, the gospel is at stake. Go figure.