Jonathan Leeman and 9 Marks: Gender Nonsense Continues, Even During a Pandemic. If They Only Had a Heart…


NASA: Eagle Nebula

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” CS Lewis


See vote at the end of the post!!!

I read all kinds of books and have always enjoyed studying systematic theology.  When I want a book for diversion purposes, I’m a fan of dystopian fiction and mysteries. The other day, when walking Tulip and Buttercup in my neighborhood, I felt I was a character in one of those dystopian novels. The one in which the heroine wakes up and realizes that she is the only one left alive in her community. It was 80 degrees (abnormally warm) and a light wind was blowing through the trees. I felt oddly alone.

My elderly mother is having a hard time understanding why I can’t find her favorite donuts. She also thinks it is cruel to keep children from playing with their friends. I am not allowed to visit except to help her fill her pillbox. She has never experienced anything like this in her very long life and it is confusing for her. She told me she feels a bit lonely since they are not allowing them to congregate outside of their apartments. Thankfully, the independent elderly community that she lives in is doing a great job keeping her and the others safe and well fed.

At the grocery stores, I make it a point to ask the workers how they are holding up and am so appreciative of their smiles and their *hanging in there* spirits. I worry about the health of my daughter who is a pediatric critical care (and emergency room) nurse in Boston. Today she called to let me know that the nurses have to reuse masks. She worries about a nurse friend in another state who is now sick. She now worries about her runny nose which she usually gets during the spring allergy season. We all worry about my husband who is caring for patients in his office and the hospital.

And I worry about being stupid. I bought some bird seed at Ace Hardware. I had to sign for it and grabbed the offered pen. Horrified, I doused myself hand gel. It is a scary time.

I’ve grown to be super appreciative of our grocery workers, delivery folks, the great teens who work in a favorite deli, our trash collectors, etc. I have had some awesome conversations with folks I tend to rush by, on the way to my *very important* business. I’m taking the time to ask them about their families as well as to encourage them that this, too shall pass. I have taken to praying immediately for needs mentioned on this blog as well as on Twitter.

I complimented the woman who runs my mother’s facility and she started to cry, so glad to know she’s appreciated. I’ve spoken with the families of the kids in my confirmation class, letting them know how much I care about them. I’m so grateful for our pastors and staff at my Lutheran church as they power through this most unusual Lent.

Now, I know that the good people who hang around this blog are doing the same thing because they have a strong emotional quotient. They feel for what’s going on around them and are being encouraging despite the mandated social distancing.

9 Marks proves, yet again, why I get email after email about problems with 9 Marks pastors.

When I saw this Tweet by Jonathan Leeman of 9 Marks, I was disturbed. Please note the date-March 20. Yep, right in the heat of the coronavirus pandemic, he’s worried about which gender is doing what. Most likely he’s upset that some women are doing things that he doesn’t think they should be doing. Men can do anything so they are rarely are his concern unless they are attending a talk given by a woman standing within 6 feet of a pulpit.

Leeman, on the same day, wrote Biblical Manhood and Womanhood—Or Christlikeness? This theological treatise was so gosh darn important that it needed to be released in the middle of a pandemic? Seriously?

It has become a common trope to argue that the Bible calls us to Christlikeness, not biblical manhood and womanhood. This is a category error. It undermines Christlikeness by turning it into something abstract, gnostic, idealized, even inhuman. It’s also antinomian.

He claims that there are all sorts of differences, gifts, strengths and opportunities for men and women.

The single question complementarianism tries to answer is, what does Christlikeness mean for a man versus a woman? Do we disciple our sons and daughters—in the flesh and in the faith—in precisely the same fashion? Or has the Giver of all good gifts prepared differing opportunities, challenges, gifts, and strengths for each?

I responded to him.

My daughter is out there risking her well being while Leeman sits in his nice, safe office/house, turning up his nose at those who are living out their lives, caring for the sick but who might disagree with him about the role of a woman. He says such a thought is *inhuman!*

What are these differences according to Leeman? There seems to be quite a few but he’s not saying what they are.

Think about it. I had always thought there were a few restrictions for these guys: no female pastors no female elders and no women teaching men and only women can give birth. But, there is obvious much, much more and this is something to think about.

Dever and Leeman will never change. I get that. They will find more and more rules regarding church membership.These will result in church discipline by these guys who claim to hold the keys to the kingdom.  It’s their way of saying they get to judge whether or not you are saved. Remember, this is a guy who says you should NOT give communion to old folks (who are members)in nursing homes. (What a heart!)  I am waiting for the day that some poor woman makes the mistake of using an 9 Marks, unapproved, gender-specific strength and church discipline is imposed. Since they do not define what these are, the sky’s the limit.

However, the reason that I am writing this post today is to point directly to the inability of these guys to get what is going on in the hearts of people during the pandemic. It appears to me that they don’t really care about our concerns.They only care about complementariaism and the pandemic is just getting in the way of their agenda.

If they only had a heart…


In the meantime, Neil Diamond does more for the folks than 9 Marks. I would much rather spend my social distancing with Neil than with Leeman.

Vote: Who would you like to spend your quarantine with…Neil Diamond or Jonathan Leeman?

Hands washing hands


Comments

Jonathan Leeman and 9 Marks: Gender Nonsense Continues, Even During a Pandemic. If They Only Had a Heart… — 156 Comments

  1. I am sending you a virtual hug, practicing social-distancing by standing 6 virtual feet away from you, and self-isolating here in California. Your post has reminded me to pray for you and your loved ones. You have sustained this website through thick and thin, you have been courageous, and you have brought a level of transparency and honesty to each topic. You have been a voice when others wouldn’t or couldn’t speak, and you have been a listening ear when individuals and institutions would not listen. For all this, thank you.
    I hope you will feel supported and uplifted by these warm hello and hug.

    With prayers for God’s blessings for you and your loved ones, Shirley Myers

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  2. I wonder why Mr. Leeman uses a lot of esoteric vocabulary (gnostic, antinomian, etc.). In the words of Inigo Montoya, I don’t think these words mean what Mr. Leeman thinks they do.

    I also wonder why Mr. Leeman doesn’t cite any actual scripture in his claims that Jesus offers different commands to different people. Is this lack of effort, or lack of evidence?

    According to John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Therefore, in the person of Jesus, God is abstract (Word) become actual (flesh), the gnostic (Word) become material (flesh), the idealized (Word) become imperfect (flesh), the inhuman (Word) become human (flesh).

    “Christlikeness” is so simple to understand that it has it’s own acronym (WWJD). It doesn’t need an entire Council to define and defend it.

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  3. Notably, Paul indicated who his example is here: “Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). This directly follows a series of verses where Paul speaks of the mindset and conduct believers should emulate: “Therefore whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God. Be you without offense both to Jews and Greeks, and to the church of God— as I also please all in all things, not seeking my own profit, but that of the many, that they may be saved” (1 Cor. 10:31-33). This seeking to do the Father’s will as it relates to seeking the profit (i.e. salvation) of the many corresponds to Paul’s imitation of Christ.

    Paul pointed to Christ’s example for how believers are to walk: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God” (cf. Eph. 5:1-2a). Paul also highlights those who had done so and had become examples like him and other sharers of the Gospel who walk in the path shown by the Lord:

    “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so as for you to became an example to all the believing ones in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and in Achaia, but in every place your faith toward God has gone abroad, so as for us to have no need to say anything” (1 Thess. 1:6-8).

    Here’s another call to Christ-likeness that’s Biblical and specific: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider to be equal with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, having taken the form of a servant, having been made in the likeness of men. And having been found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, having become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).

    One doesn’t really have to argue too hard that “(the) Bible calls us to Christlikeness” with such specific rather than abstract examples as clear as can be.

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  4. What a moron! I am allowed to leave my house because I work in a mental health hospital where patients cannot take care of themselves. In the meantime, my husband, who had surgery not too long ago, is still recovering before he will be able to find employment when this thing is all over. This 9 Marks guy knows what he can do with his gender roles crap. Guys like this are not Christlike, nor do I have to have some burden put on me to be Christlike in a different way than a man because a dude said so! This guy needs to shut up.

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  5. I think it’s only logical Leeman would post this at this time. All those poor husbands at home with their wives and kids? The wife should be stepping up and waiting hand and foot on her struggling husband, who can’t work and shouldn’t have to deal with bored kids who want their dad’s attention!

    And we can’t even go to church, where the pastor can remind wives over and over how they are supposed to be like Christ and eternally submissive?

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  6. He justifies differing roles for men and women because “Christlikeness” looks different for men and women. He opens up a terrible can of worms with that rationale as illustrated by this quote of his:

    Christlikeness looks different in different domains. Just consider: Christ offers particular commands to women and others to men; some to masters and others to bondservants; some to fathers and others to children; some to young men, others to old men, and still others to older women; some to pastors and others to church members. He has also ordained that some be born Gentile and some Jew; some barbarian and some Greek

    This argument justifies roles based on gender, class, age, vocation, nationality, and race, which violates just about every EO standard in existence.

    Where his argument should go is the elimination of all role distinctions. I am pretty sure that he would never argue for race-based roles based on this argument, which means he should likewise not argue for gender-based roles.

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  7. If Jonathan and I were two people on a deserted island, I would still not wish to be close to him, for he abuses scripture to aggrandize himself over others. NO ONE has the right to tell others not to serve God in the way they feel led to by the Spirit. And at the foot of the Cross, the we are all on level ground.

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  8. These guys (Leeman, Dever and 9marks) are tying themselves up in knots with their extra-biblical legalism.

    Because Dever’s Capital Hill Baptist Church cannot meet due to Covid-19, in his letter to the congregation (see @chbcdc) Dever has declared it ‘not a sin not to meet’ and that Hebrews 10:24,25 does not apply in these circumstances (phew! all his followers are let off the hook!).

    Yet despite having the expertise to do so, CHBC cannot seem to bring themselves to have any online version of church, presumably because that would not meet their strict criteria for what (in their view) constitutes a proper church gathering…

    …Let’s see what way around their legalism they come up with if this situation prevents the church meeting for a lengthy period of time.

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  9. I’m so torn here…….. Neil Diamond or Jonathan Leeman.
    My common sense and my taste scream for me to vote for Diamond, but I can’t help but salivate at the opportunity to repeatedly stick a fork in Leeman’s manly-man, baptized-in-Christlike-testosterone ego.

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  10. Please pray for medical staff , my son works at a nursing home here in TN where Corona hasn’t struck with fury yet, they are out of supplies, they had to use garbage bags with cutouts for head and arms in lieu of disposable gowns. They are short on masks too .

    Also my girlfriend is a nurse on quarantine ( New York ) for exposure to Corona positive patients and is exhibiting fever and muscle aches while at home, her name is Connie. Her Corona results come back Thursday. They are short of everything but people are helping ,construction crews are dropping off masks etc. Please Pray!!! They are exhausted . But our God is in control!!

    As someone said

    God is on His throne.
    Everything is going according to HIS PLAN
    and he loves us. Thanks

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  11. Wild Honey: I also wonder why Mr. Leeman doesn’t cite any actual scripture in his claims that Jesus offers different commands to different people.

    They have another Bible-that are their musings on church membership. They are applying their views of membership to gender correctness. They are not unlike the Catholic Church which uses tradition regrind papal declarations as rising to the level of Scripture.

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  12. Sjon: Because Dever’s Capital Hill Baptist Church cannot meet due to Covid-19, in his letter to the congregation (see @chbcdc) Dever has declared it ‘not a sin not to meet’ and that Hebrews 10:24,25 does not apply in these circumstances (phew! all his followers are let off the hook!).
    Yet despite having the expertise to do so, CHBC cannot seem to bring themselves to have any online version of church, presumably because that would not meet their strict criteria for what (in their view) constitutes a proper church gathering…

    Is this true? if so, I want to write about it. I’ll check at their website. Can I get a copy of that letter?

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  13. I read yesterday on the Beeb that researchers in Australia have managed to track the body’s immune response to It. Specifically, they followed the progress of a 47-year-old Chinese lassie* as she went through the various stages of infection, and on into recovery. (It doesn’t hurt to remember that most patients do recover. An illness may be neither trivial, nor extinction-level.)

    Significantly, they were able to identify a point at which specific immune cells were produced, and it turns out that the body’s immune response is similar to that for influenza. Still early days, but is is one step towards both a vaccine, and an understanding of why some people show a weaker immune response and thence a more dangerous infection.

    * I don’t know the Mandarin for “laddie” or “lassie”.

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  14. Thanks, Dee, for the astro photos that you typically include at the beginning.

    I’m reminded of the bit in “Return of the King” when Frodo glimpses a star through the fume coming from Mt Doom, and realizes that the evils that beset him and the rest of Middle Earth have not infected the entire cosmos. They shall not prevail forever.

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  15. Sad that theological goobers like Leeman are wasting their shelter-in-place sabbaticals to dream up new ways to oppress women. Their mamas must have been really mean to them, or perhaps they couldn’t get any dates in high school, or they have some other mental quirk about the opposite sex. They go through extreme distortions of Scripture to get back at them by subordinating female believers beyond Biblical bounds. Good Lord, 9Markers, let up on your sistren … they have much to offer the Body of Christ if you would let them!

    For all you women caught up in the 9Marks heresy, consider your options when church doors are open again … Christ set you free, don’t return to that bondage if you are able. For all you 9Marker men, be a man of God for your family’s sake … turn your ears from error. Read the red and pray for wisdom during the stay-at-home order … it’s time to social distance the New Calvinists and their aberrations of faith!

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  16. Wild Honey: I also wonder why Mr. Leeman doesn’t cite any actual scripture in his claims that Jesus offers different commands to different people. Is this lack of effort, or lack of evidence?

    One could point to multiple instances (the demand for signs, request for division of the inheritance, apostles asking for positions of preferred status) in which Jesus, perceiving bad motives in the hearts of his interlocutors, responded with a (sometimes strongly worded) “NO”, whereas in other instances he was moved with compassion to grant (“YES”) requests for mercy, healing, etc.

    The thought has occurred to me that the present crisis might, among other things, be a big “NO” to the “bigger is better” mentality that has taken over much of the Church in US.

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  17. dee: presumably because that would not meet their strict criteria for what (in their view) constitutes a proper church gathering

    I have the impression that Jesus’ “where two or three are gathered in my name” saying is understood in these circles to be qualified by the condition that at least one of them must be an ordained elder (in the Westminster-based “3-church-office” traditions, this would be further specified to be an ordained “Gospel minister” or “teaching elder”). So the meeting of two or more believers is not really “in Jesus’ name”, is not a properly constituted assembly of believers in Christ, unless a duly authorized representative of Christ is there to oversee the meeting. Likewise, the sacraments cannot be properly administered in such circumstances.

    I welcome correction on this point if I have misunderstood.

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  18. 9Mark Dever’s letter to parishoners posted at top of this twitter thread:

    https://twitter.com/MarkDever/status/1239605687208075265

    “Dear Church Family, I am writing to inform you that this evening, during our Elders meeting, we decided to…temporarily cease all of our public gatherings (Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday evening…through the end of March 2020”

    “Membership Matters classes will continue to be held” [later those were canceled too — you know it’s real serious, when they have to call those off!]

    “During this time that our church is closed to public services, we will not be streaming services online.”

    Dever’s twittered his verdict/guidance on that:

    “video of a sermon is not a substitute for a covenanted congregation assembling together” “it would be healthier to respect God’s strange providence in a period of abstinence from meeting together”

    to the query: ‘Mark, do you still feel this way now that the CDC is recommending a stop in public gatherings for 8 weeks?’, Dever replies: “I do”

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  19. “It has become a common trope to argue that the Bible calls us to Christlikeness, not biblical manhood and womanhood. This is a category error. It undermines Christlikeness by turning it into something abstract, gnostic, idealized, even inhuman. It’s also antinomian.”
    ++++++++++

    huh… i don’t recall any words or deeds ascribed to Jesus ever mentioning or alluding to gender roles.

    good grief, now adding “christlike” to the list of ‘absolute-truth-as-silly-putty’ words that mean whatever the professional christian influencer thinks they should mean.

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  20. elastigirl: huh… i don’t recall any words or deeds ascribed to Jesus ever mentioning or alluding to gender roles.

    Arguably Jesus shattered the then standard gender norms of his time by associating with females in contexts that would customarily have been male-only (Mary sitting at his feet during a teaching time, and not being sent into the back to prepare the meal, might be an example).

    In other news, one wonders if the mandatory closure of non-essential enterprises such as barber shops is going to create a crisis, long-hair being “contrary to nature” for males on some readings of Paul.

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  21. Dever: “video of a sermon is not a substitute for a covenanted congregation assembling together” “it would be healthier to respect God’s strange providence in a period of abstinence from meeting together”

    on the 9Marksist website it’s clarified that what they’re applying is this Scripture:

    First Corinthians 7:5 Do not deprive one another sexually—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again (HCSB)

    https://www.9marks.org/pastors-talk/episode-119-on-when-the-church-cant-gather-2/

    transcript:

    8:13
    9Mark Dever: “While I’ll certainly miss the assembly tomorrow and…the Sunday after that and…the Sunday after that–I don’t know if this is going pass more quickly or take more time than the Spanish Flu–but I do think that there will be a keen sense of appreciation the next time we are able to assemble as a church.”

    Jonathan Leeman: “This will be the first time you’ve not attended a church in how long?”

    9Mark Dever: “Um, in my memory I can’t remember a Sunday where I haven’t attended a church.

    Jonathan Leeman: “And there’s a sense of mourning…but I also hear you saying, and tell me if this is right, there’s almost a, what you’re recommending is, and this may seem like a strange connection, a strange text, First Corinthians Seven “Do not”–uh, where Paul is [inaudible] husbands and wives not to not be intimate together but if they do, only for a season, and for prayer.

    9Mark Dever: “Yeah…This is equivalent to that. Yeah, you’re not going to livestream your marriage. You know, you can’t reproduce, and it’s unhealthy to think you can…”

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  22. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    I was thinking the same thing! The best thing about leaving the Evangelical Church Complex is not caring about what these guys think anymore. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted.

    By the way, I heard that 9 Marks also developed an online church membership contract that included auto withdrawals of tithes and part of “disciplining” members would be fining them.

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  23. Jerome: Dever’s twittered his verdict/guidance on that:
    “video of a sermon is not a substitute for a covenanted congregation assembling together” “it would be healthier to respect God’s strange providence in a period of abstinence from meeting together”
    to the query: ‘Mark, do you still feel this way now that the CDC is recommending a stop in public gatherings for 8 weeks?’, Dever replies: “I do”

    Israel in exile was forced to discover new ways of preserving its sense of identity as “the people of God” in the absence of the prior focus that the unitary Temple and its priestly rituals had provided. After the destruction of the second Temple in AD70, and more so after the dispersal of the people out of Judea after the Bar Kochba revolt, obedience to the prior regulations about Temple worship was reconceptualized in terms of “study/observance of Torah” (to the extent possible). It’s an intriguing thought that the current Church practices strongly resemble Jewish synagogue meeting practices that arose as adaptations to the inability to worship God in the prior customary (and Scripturally commanded) ways.

    I suspect that the current crisis may lead to new ways of “being church”. Perhaps we are experiencing something of a Divine “NO” to our recent trajectory.

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  24. Samuel Conner: the current crisis may lead to new ways of “being church”. Perhaps we are experiencing something of a Divine “NO” to our recent trajectory.

    The first part is already happening. My own church has always been an in-person place, but now we have services to download. Pastoral care is happening by phone, email, etc. Our meals ministry has moved to an app where we can choose to pay for meals to be prepared by a safe commercial kitchen, and delivered without contact. Most of our customs will change back, but we are forever changed.

    I would disagree with the second portion of what you suggest. The worldwide pandemic is not targeting any specific religion, and it struck hard at a country that oppresses the religious. The virus is striking more at the old and the sick, the very people we are called to care for. It is affecting small and large churches, with and without covenants and the night club vibe. If we are hearing a loud NO, we can’t figure out what the NO is responding to.

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  25. Friend,

    I agree that the churches should not be so hubristic as to think that this crisis is aimed specifically at them, but that doesn’t mean that if there is a larger general lesson for humanity in this, that doesn’t have specific applications to the churches. I think that the down-side of pre-occupation with “scale” and “efficiency” could be an example of both wider and specific application. There might be others.

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  26. Jerome: “video of a sermon is not a substitute for a covenanted congregation assembling together” “it would be healthier to respect God’s strange providence in a period of abstinence from meeting together”

    This brings up the question of how he views a large conference like Together for the Gospel since he is begging people to pay for live streaming of that event:
    https://t4g.org/update/
    I suppose it is because he does not view T4G as a covenanted assembly. So what is it?

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  27. Jerome: “it would be healthier to respect God’s strange providence in a period of abstinence from meeting together” (Mark Dever)

    There is indeed a strange providence hanging around Dever and the Deverites, but it has nothing to do with Holy God, IMO. The New Calvinists have taken too many liberties in distorting truth to fit their belief and practice … Holy God doesn’t go to church with folks who do that.

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  28. Jerome: Dever: “video of a sermon is not a substitute for a covenanted congregation assembling together” “it would be healthier to respect God’s strange providence in a period of abstinence from meeting together”

    on the 9Marksist website it’s clarified that what they’re applying is this Scripture:

    First Corinthians 7:5 Do not deprive one another sexually—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again (HCSB)

    Connection between the two seems like a stretch.
    Especially since the proof text specifically mentions a Pelvic Issue.
    Makes it sound like “a covenanted congregation assembling together” is something sexual.

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  29. Julie Roys has confirmed that the old pastor that went to John MacArthur’s Conference, that should have been cancelled if the man gave a damn about anyone else, has indeed died from COVID-19. If you look on the comment streams of both posts you will find a bunch of harassing comments attempting to shame Julie for breaking the news. I strongly suspect that these trolls have been paid by MacArthur to do this. Is anyone really that heartless to think that the real issue is that Julie did not try hard enough or wait long enough for MacArthur’s chief partner in crime to respond? What claims to be Christian these days is actually totally insane!

    KP Yohannan paid an online management reputation firm back in the early days to try to suppress bad press about GFA on the Internet. I have no doubt that snakes like MacArthur regularly do the same with donations given to them for charitable purposes.

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  30. Niteowl: . I can’t believe they are drilling down on gender differences while ignoring the covid19 virus pandemic.

    They make it clear they have no concept of a way to reasonably prioritize but then these are the people who won’t deliver communion at home or do any gathering outside of church so…it would be nice to see their nonsense collapse against reality.

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  31. Article in the Washington Post today about those who carelessly endanger others mentions Liberty U:

    Marybeth Davis Baggett, a professor of English at Liberty University, writes:

    “Although Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s ban on gatherings of more than 100 people forced [Jerry Falwell Jr.] to cancel residential classes at Liberty University, the campus remains open, with students set to return to dorms early next week either to live out the semester or to clean out their rooms. . . . This decision runs contrary to the three other residential schools in our area who have closed their dorms, allowing only those with nowhere else to go to remain.”

    She points out that in “continuing to flout the danger of this novel coronavirus, Falwell also encourages reckless behavior in the university’s students. . . . Falwell cavalierly assumes no responsibility for at least an enabling and at most an incentivizing the students’ decision to return.” She argues that the decision puts at risk, faculty, local residents and anyone else who might come in contact with students who do not know they are infected.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/24/how-deal-with-people-carelessly-infecting-others/

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  32. In other news, Liberty University will reopen this week, because the virus is just a made-up conspiracy, according to Junior. There will be no opportunity for students to switch to online learning until next year and staff is “required” to return, no matter their condition. Students old enough will be allowed to move off-campus and might get a refund on their room/board.

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  33. I think the reason Mark Dever isn’t streaming the worship services is that he’s afraid that if he does his congregation will realize that they aren’t missing anything by not being there in person.

    I think a lot of church goers are going to have that experience during this pandemic. After all, you can already listen to thousands of sermons whenever you want through your smartphone. If your church service is sermon and pastor and worship leader-centric, where the most you are expected to do is maybe sing along to a song or two (and you can’t hear yourself or anybody else singing over the worship leader and/or band anyway) and the rest of the time you just sit as a passive receptacle of what’s going on on the stage, then why bother going?

    Full disclosure- I have not regularly attended church in 3 years.

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  34. Meredithwiggle: I think the reason Mark Dever isn’t streaming the worship services is that he’s afraid that if he does his congregation will realize that they aren’t missing anything by not being there in person.

    Ahhhh … but Mr. Dever will miss seeing the offering plates go from pew to pew. Actually, his congregation can find much better preaching online. This could be a good thing for the good people at Capitol Hill Baptist Church … a very good thing!

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  35. Lea: Does he think before he writes this stuff or is about to justify different rules for slaves?

    I never got the impression that thinking is one of his core competencies. One of the big shortcomings in the YRR movement is isolation within a bubble – too much confirmation bias and not enough exposure to opposing opinions.

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  36. Ken F (aka Tweed): One of the big shortcomings in the YRR movement is isolation within a bubble – too much confirmation bias and not enough exposure to opposing opinions.

    Indeed. There is a scarcity of critical thinking in the New Calvinist community. I sure wouldn’t want to depend on my spiritual well-being by listening only to Deevers, Mohler, Piper, etc. This is the stuff that cults are made of.

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  37. Lady Preacher,

    Nancy, I read these posts to know about the issues, and to pray for those who are hurting. However, like you, am not involved or connected with “covenant/contract signing churches, or complementarian churches, so these issues don’t affect my life. It does make me sad, though, to think about how much time and energy is spent by all of those groups in their designing of so many ways to suppress and control the people. It is equally sad to know that so many people willingly go along.

    John 8:36-38 New International Version (NIV) 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

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  38. Revisiting COVID-19…….. and bragging on my fellow Kentuckians:

    We had 2 doctor’s visits today. I had to go to the hospital in Hopkinsville for routine bloodwork this morning. Wacko Jacko, our pit bull/chocolate lab got kicked in the chest by a cow, so we had to take him to our vet in Elkton this afternoon. Both places had strict protocols in place to protect everyone from COVID-19. In both places, staff handled everything with professionalism and grace.

    To Dee, GBTC, and all TWW readers: if you have to be out and about, I hope your experiences are as good as ours were today.

    PS TWIMC: Jacko and I are both doing well!

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  39. From my daily scripture reading. Here are some verses I have never, ever heard any preacher talk about. I would remember if I had in my many decades worth of sermons that I have heard:

    Zep. 1:1:2 “‘I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,’
    declares the Lord. ‘I will sweep away both man and beast; I will sweep away the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea—and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.’ ‘When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth,” declares the Lord…'”

    There is more at the end of the chapter: “The great day of the Lord is near—near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.
    That day will be a day of wrath—a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness—a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.
    ‘I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord.
    Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung.
    Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.’
    In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.”

    And people calling themselves Christians keep telling me that God does not get mad…

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  40. shirley myers: It does make me sad, though, to think about how much time and energy is spent by all of those groups in their designing of so many ways to suppress and control the people. It is equally sad to know that so many people willingly go along.

    Bad actors would have no stage if they didn’t have an audience willing to buy tickets to the show. Gullibility in the pew is at an all-time high in America’s Christian Industrial Complex, and particularly acute in the New Calvinist corner. There would be no Dever without Deverites, no Piper without Piperites, no Mohler without Mohlerites, etc.

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  41. Shirley Myers,

    I second everything Shirley says! Prayers for you, Dee, and your daughter & family. What a tireless, courageous and compassionate advocate for the abused you’ve been.

    I so much admire your daughter, and all healthcare workers putting themselves in harm’s way right now. And I feel for everyone who’s suffering through economic uncertainty and/or devastation.

    Meanwhile, we are all, women & men alike, called to Christlikeness. This is so basic, it really should not bother pastors. Unless they think God’s messed up and should have sent a female Christ as well? Because following a male Christ isn’t sufficient for us ladies. Obviously.

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  42. Eli,

    “Meanwhile, we are all, women & men alike, called to Christlikeness. This is so basic, it really should not bother pastors.

    Unless they think God’s messed up and should have sent a female Christ as well? Because following a male Christ isn’t sufficient for us ladies. Obviously.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    i think they think that women are less than human. And how dare women presume otherwise.

    (i don’t think they realize that this is the substance of their beliefs.

    really, it doesn’t matter what words they say and the language they use — theory is rarefied air, whereas the corresponding practice is ground zero where it hits [others])

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  43. A little off topic, but I’ll bet these two demand everyone must be married and have kids too or they aren’t “approved” of God or even saved.

    They aren’t even trying to teach the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). If they at least acted in love, then if their exegesis was a little off base it wouldn’t be near as bad. It’s more about conformity, control and power with them.

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  44. Mr. Jesperson: And people calling themselves Christians keep telling me that God does not get mad…

    Errors normally come in opposing pairs, which makes it both tempting and easy to avoid one error by embracing its opposite. This is certainly true for the concept of God’s wrath. One should not minimize nor maximize deny his wrath.

    There is also the danger of cherry picking verses from the Bible and not looking at their full context. In the case of Zephaniah, the end if the book is very different from the verses you quoted.

    Here is an example from the late RC Sproul’s (pbuh) web site of running into error by cherry picking and avoiding context:
    https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/treasuring-redemptions-price/
    This view of the cross is actually formal heresy because it divides the Trinity. Even though it makes sense from the beginning of Psalm 22, it is contradicted by the end of Psalm 22.

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  45. Speaking of 9Marx, this is one of their Pastor’s Talks, where at 00:27 Deever points out that the other invited pastor is “just as important, if not more so” than Leeman and Dever. I might be overly picky, but the emphasis on the great importance of the pastor struck me as one of the big problems with 9Marx.
    https://www.9marks.org/pastors-talk/episode-120-on-shepherding-saints-while-sheltered-in-place-with-garrett-kell/

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  46. Ken F (aka Tweed): Dever points out that the other invited pastor is “just as important, if not more so” than Leeman and Dever

    Which is Dever’s way of saying “I’m important!”

    To which Paul would say “Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities” (Romans 12:3 Phillips)

    The arrogance level in New Calvinism is approaching spiritual insanity.

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  47. Meredithwiggle,

    After having “attended” our church’s first COVID-19 live-stream service, I wonder if Mr. Dever may have stumbled onto something here. I think giving a 40 minute sermon to a blank camera is challenging when a person is used to speaking to an audience and getting feedback from the mood of the room (that joke went over well, people are restless so let’s hurry it up, etc). And singing by yourself on command to piped in worship music is a lot different then doing it together in a crowd on Sunday morning (or organically in your own time).

    You’re right, there is a lot of good material out there to watch and listen to. And I’m kind of hoping my church re-thinks this whole live-streaming to recreate a “normal” Sunday when things are very definitely not “normal” right now. This last week, I got a whole lot more “church” out of the group video chat with the Bible study group than I did out of the Sunday “service.” And I think right now we need a lot more community connection and a lot less “let’s pretend everything is ok” sermons.

    For the record, I disagree with Mr. Dever’s logic for how he arrived at his conclusion. I just agree with the conclusion, that for this season, we could use a sabbath from traditional sabbath services.

    Just my two cents 🙂

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  48. Steel Phoenix,

    “If they at least acted in love,…”
    +++++++++++

    but they are smiley. and they have a winsome and irenic tone. 😐

    i think they equate these things with ‘loving’, and they assume that means they are acting in love.

    they don’t understand that love is as love does
    misogynist is as misogynist does
    totalitarian dictator is as totalitarian totalitarian dictator does

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  49. Wild Honey: If I was going to be “Biblical” about it, I’d say, Let’s not create an idol of the Sunday sermon.

    Or the Sunday preacher! New Calvinism is littered with preachers who borrow sermons from their idols, who are not “imitators of God” but each other. The young reformers could not live without their daily dose of Piper Points, Mohler Moments, and Dever Drivel. Idolatry which will be judged.

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  50. Ken F (aka Tweed): Speaking of 9Marx, this is one of their Pastor’s Talks, where at 00:27 Deever points out that the other invited pastor is “just as important, if not more so” than Leeman and Dever. I might be overly picky, but the emphasis on the great importance of the pastor struck me as one of the big problems with 9Marx.

    I think this is, at heart, the core problem of New Calvinism. It’s really not about God, but about them and their glory. Everything in their theology, philosophy, and structure is built around that.

    “Why not? If enough people believe, you can be god of anything…”
    ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

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  51. Wild Honey,

    “This last week, I got a whole lot more “church” out of the group video chat with the Bible study group than I did out of the Sunday “service.””
    +++++++++++++

    i’ve long thought that if people could watch a videotaped sermon instead of being there in person, they would be surprised at how flat it would be. the ‘power’ and ‘conviction’ simply would not be there.

    to me, this all reveals that a typical church service is built on a good deal of smoke & mirrors and hot air. (as i see it, at least)

    like a pep rally. like a multi-marketing convention is a pep rally.

    (i was invited to one by a good friend once, and went out of friendship. i made it through to lunch, then found an excuse to leave. it was unbearable. but the whole time i kept thinking, “…it’s just like church”)

    it’s nice to get together with other people with a common purpose. especially when that purpose simply involves sitting there and doing nothing in pleasant surroundings with the promise of nice coffee.

    and the feeling that you’re getting Godpoints in the process.

    i, too, get infinitely more out of a small discussion where i am processing intellectually and verbally through interaction.

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  52. ishy: the core problem of New Calvinism. It’s really not about God, but about them and their glory.

    And certainly has very little to do with Jesus … Jesus!! Listen to their sermons. While they talk about “God” (the Calvinist God), they seldom mention the precious Name of Jesus, and utter hardly a word about the Holy Spirit. New Calvinist icons, like Piper, are quoted more than Christ! The new reformation puts more emphasis on a handful of elite leaders, rather than the Son of God. The movement is a personality cult.

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  53. Wild Honey: If I was going to be “Biblical” about it, I’d say, Let’s not create an idol of the Sunday sermon.

    You are onto something important. The early church met primarily to read scripture together, sing together, share together, and celebrate the Eucharist together, with the Eucharist being central. It was the protestant reformation that made the sermon the centerpiece.

    The historical records show that Christian gatherings were liturgical and sacramental from the very beginning rather than being small informal get-togethers. Still, the sermon (or homily) was not supposed to be a big part of it. Ratherb, its purpose was to help explain the significance of the scripture reading for the day. That is not to say that great orators did not make the homilies too long, but the homily was never meant to be the main show.

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  54. elastigirl,

    “they don’t understand that love is as love does
    misogynist is as misogynist does
    totalitarian dictator is as totalitarian totalitarian dictator does”
    +++++++++++++

    too much christian theory is completely negated by its practice.

    what enables someone to espouse typical christian values such as love, the popular-&-trending ‘championing of women’, equality, democratic freedom,

    and then do things and support things that are cruel, discriminating, and controlling?

    faith

    i argue it is not faith in God but faith in an agenda

    (that serves those at the top)

    but looking at history, this is old news

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  55. Mr. Jesperson: Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.’

    So tell me, what happens to the little folk with no gold and silver?
    The ones who do the best they can with what they’ve got.
    The ones who mind their own Ps and Qs, and who don’t do the kinds of things to others they wouldn’t want done to themselves.

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  56. Mr. Jesperson: Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung.

    Way to quote out of context.

    I do not worship the god of dung-n-entrails. Yeah, I know you are quoting the Bible, and as always you are suggesting that he is really hopping mad this time, and if we don’t agree we are not really Christians.

    What can we do about it?

    What can we do about it?

    What can we do about it?

    I keep asking, and you never answer.

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  57. 9Marx is on a roll this week. See their most recent post:
    https://www.9marks.org/article/why-complementarians-should-be-first-responders-against-abuse/

    I’d like to take this idea of asymmetry and apply it to gender and our debates in Christian circles about complementarianism, the abuse of women, and the #MeToo movement. Here’s my basic point: complementarians such as myself should be the first to recognize the responsibilities and dangers of authority because we recognize the God-intended asymmetries between men and women in the church and the home. To match Adams’ vignette with my own, a husband shouting, “You stupid woman!” to his wife is doing something much worse than the wife shouting, “You stupid man!” to him in the exact same tone and volume. To the man, God says, “I’m not even going to listen to you when you talk to me” (1 Peter 3:7).

    And

    Gender and ethnicity are not the same. Complementarians believe that God himself established an asymmetry of authority in the home between husband and wife. They don’t believe that any power asymmetry should exist between different ethnicities. Any such authority or power asymmetries root in the fall and acts of theft. They’re historical, not by design.

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  58. No we won’t be bad Christians but I and others I know have missed church. I love my brethren and they love me. My study and understanding of Christianity shows it is to be lived best, if possible, in a communal setting. Also I believe that our president is trying to give folks some endpoint in all of this. Folks are hurting where I am at and they need some sort of hope that tthere May be a time whereby we can get back to some normalcy. I know I hope so.

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  59. On our daily walk, we pass these three guys who sit in widely spaced chairs and watch the world go by. We razz them, they razz us, we comment about closures and odd behavior during this pandemic. So the other day I called out to them, “When this is finally over, we’ll all have long weird hairstyles!”

    One guy took of his cap. He was bald as a cueball. He called back, “I’m growing out my toenails!”

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  60. Muff Potter: So tell me, what happens to the little folk with no gold and silver?
    The ones who do the best they can with what they’ve got.
    The ones who mind their own Ps and Qs, and who don’t do the kinds of things to others they wouldn’t want done to themselves.

    Reckoning they’ll be joining us unbelievers in the Holy weenie roast. Save you a seat?

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  61. Jerome: The mood lighting is just right for their grim communique.

    You would think that if they are asking people to pay so much for live streaming that they would have put out a better quality video. What they are telling everyone is the live-streaming will be low quality video and audio shot from each of the speaker’s homes.

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  62. Ken F (aka Tweed): Here’s my basic point: complementarians such as myself should be the first to recognize the responsibilities and dangers of authority because we recognize the God-intended asymmetries between men and women in the church and the home.

    They aren’t the first to recognize it so maybe this is a sign they don’t know what they’re doing????

    And ‘asymmetry’ is a nice way of saying who you think ought to be the boss.

    Gender and ethnicity is not the same but we will use passages that also related to slavery to defend ‘assymetrical’ power structures? Uh huh.

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  63. Mr. Jesperson: I strongly suspect that these trolls have been paid by MacArthur to do this.

    Nope. My experience with Scientology is thst if you pitch the job just right, those people will volinteer to go out and protect the Great Man on their own time. Why, they probably paid to go to Shepherds Conference and are defending their decision!

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  64. Max: Ahhhh … but Mr. Dever will miss seeing the offering plates go from pew to pew. Actually, his congregation can find much better preaching online. This could be a good thing for the good people at Capitol Hill Baptist Church … a very good thing!

    There are three megas in my neighborhood.

    Mega H (a subsidiary of a mega based out of Australia) is now online.

    Mega CCC (a local mega with several subsidiaries) is also online.

    Mega LWBC (another local with several subsidiaries) is OPEN but they’re telling the faithful not to attend in person, but watch online because they want to practice social distancing with the 15 or so new families that show up every week. Uhm, this is not how social distancing works. This church is also a serious “prosperity gospel” outfit.

    I’m sure there are other churches open in blatant disregard of the health and wellbeing of others.

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  65. Friend: Why don’t they cancel their shindig and ask people to donate the savings to their local food banks—or spend it at a drive through?

    Sounds like they already spent the money. If people ask for refunds they claim they will go bankrupt. They are not able to make claims about all the great ministries that will be impacted because T4G only supports T4G. The negative impact appears to be the financial viability of the people running T4G.

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  66. Lea: Gender and ethnicity is not the same but we will use passages that also related to slavery to defend ‘assymetrical’ power structures?

    It almost reads like satire. Maybe Leeman’s account was hacked and no one else noticed? TGC reposted it today. Maybe they were hacked too.

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  67. Nick Bulbeck: I’ve just realised there IS a possible use for an ESV study bible.

    Naughty, naughty! You always make me laugh Nick. But while we’re talking about using Bibles in unseemly places I’m remind of a friend who in the early 80’s was quite happy to receive a Bible while he in a refugee camp (fleeing his country after a communist takeover). He wasn’t interested in reading it, just smoking it. Turns out pages were the perfect weight and size to roll cigarettes. These days he is a Christian leader in his country but he still laughs when he tells what he did with his first Bible.

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  68. I just love the Methodist Church we discovered in June. The Pastor has called us twice in the last 5 days to make sure we are alright. I think he is calling everyone in the church. It is a very small church and people take care of each other. There is a team that will go grocery shopping for those who are high risk. And last but not least, he started a new bible study on the book of genesis, with the underlying theme of critical thinking for yourself through the Bible. In ten months there have been no red flags raised. He asked us if we wanted to become members and we said no not yet. He was fine with that. No pressure. After 10 years of being a “done” is is nice to find a very different place to worship and connect.

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  69. elastigirl: i’ve long thought that if people could watch a videotaped sermon instead of being there in person, they would be surprised at how flat it would be. the ‘power’ and ‘conviction’ simply would not be there.

    to me, this all reveals that a typical church service is built on a good deal of smoke & mirrors and hot air. (as i see it, at least)

    Indeed it is. I think especially of the churches which manipulate people through music (as we read they did at Harvest Bible chapel by grading the songs 1-5 and using them in a certain order so that people would predictably respond). Not gonna happen when the “service” is on a tiny computer screen on the kitchen table. It’s my ongoing prayer that this covid-19 shut down will be a wake up call for many who mistake watching a weekly Sunday show for being a disciple of Jesus.

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  70. Ken F (aka Tweed): Complementarians believe that God himself established an asymmetry of authority in the home between husband and wife. They don’t believe that any power asymmetry should exist between different ethnicities. Any such authority or power asymmetries root in the fall and acts of theft.

    What is it about the original Hebrew language which these men cannot grasp? BEFORE the Fall God created Eve to be a helper [“ezer” in Hebrew] for Adam.

    To quote Freedman, R. David. “Woman: A Power Equal to Man, ” Biblical Archeological Review 9, 56 January-February 1983. “In the garden story from Genesis, the Hebrew word translated into English as ‘help’ is ezer. This word is a combination of two roots, one meaning ‘to rescue,’ ‘to save,’ and the other meaning ‘to be strong.’ The other word in the Genesis 2:18 used to describe Eve is k’enegdo, which is used once and means ‘equal.’” “When God creates Eve…, His intent is that she will be—unlike the animals—‘a power (or strength) equal to him.’”

    Not Adam’s subordinate but his equal. Subordination didn’t happen till AFTER the Fall. As in, “This friends is the result of sin, not God’s original design.”

    Be that as it may, it is a sad reflection of Mr. Dever’s spiritual life that gender difference is all he can think to write about in the middle of the greatest societal upheaval the whole world has experienced together in centuries. Perhaps ever, outside of the Flood of course.

    I can think of tons of things to write about right now including:
    *ways to reach out to neighbor/colleagues with practical demonstrations of Jesus’s love.
    * how to lead discovery Bible studies with your family
    * how to lead a simple house church.
    * how to use the Zoom platform for Christian meetings.
    * sharing all the reasons Christians don’t need to be afraid of dying.
    * Sending an urgent call to prayer for the 1.3 billion people of India who are on draconian lockdown and can’t even go out to get food. (How many people will starve in the next month? the thought is staggering)

    That last one by the way is a deadly serious situation. Millions in India live day to day with no savings, no food stored, not even a cup of rice. May the Lord have mercy. May he especially multiply the meagre supplies of Christians and cause them to share with a neighbor through the window.

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  71. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    The pastor at our previous church regularly did 50 minute sermons. He was a good speaker, so that wasn’t the problem in and of itself. But he’d also frequently say that the church needed to pray more and focus on prayer and be known as a church of prayer. Their solution was to start monthly prayer-and-worship nights. Which lasted about a year, then were stopped. (I imagine not enough people were coming; we’d been chased off by then.) I always wondered, if prayer was so important, why he couldn’t give up 5-10 minutes of sermon time for more communal prayer each week.

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  72. My cousin is a nurse in our province, and she is super concerned. So far her area hasn’t been hit badly, we are hoping that the measures put in place mean it won’t be.

    Meanwhile we still have people who don’t get the six foot rule. I’ve been trying to educate them, but it is hard to get people to stop sharing elevators (we live in an apartment building), crowding you in the halls, etc.

    Here’s hoping the lock downs keep it under control.

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  73. Wayne Borean: Meanwhile we still have people who don’t get the six foot rule.

    I went crappie fishing yesterday, thinking it would be a good social distancing thing to do. I caught a bunch and filleted them at a cleaning station at the lake. A 20-something young man was curious to see my fillet process and proceeded to literally look over my shoulder. I felt bad since this was a teaching moment, but I had to remind him of the 6-foot rule. At the local Dollar Store, they have “X” marks on the floor at 6-foot intervals in the check-out line … brilliant. However, most folks still line up in the usual bumper-to-bumper mode and don’t understand why the X’s are there. I continue to ask them to back-up. There are millions of Americans who finished high school in the lower 10% of their graduating class … most of those appear to live in my area.

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  74. Max: Wild Honey: I think giving a 40 minute sermon to a blank camera is challenging when a person is used to speaking to an audience and getting feedback from the mood of the room

    Yeah, actors need a stage and an audience for their best performance.

    Not just “actors”, Max.
    When FDR was doing his “Fireside Chats” on radio during the Great Depression, he would always have a “live audience” of a couple people in the room when he was recording. Actually speaking his speech to a live person — getting that face-to-face connection — helped.

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