(I made a mistake quite late last night 6.29) and said the names under the OPC letter were the names of those over at GC. I had made a shortlist of GC names and didn’t post them. I should never post so late at night since I am not thinking as clearly. I apologize.)
As most readers know, I am not Reformed in my thinking. This is not due to a lack of reading and praying on the matter. In 2001, my family and I moved from Dallas to Raleigh. I had some time on my hands since I had no connections in the local church, etc. I decided, once and for all, to read extensively on the matter of Calvinism/ Reformed thinking. I even started a notebook in which I wrote the pros and cons of the theology. I read the typical thinkers of that time: Sproul, MacArthur, Grudem, Piper, Calvin (The Institutes), and others. I was truly open and, if truth be told, I really wanted to buy into the theology. I knew it would be easier for me to confess the TULIP (yes, I know that many Reformed thinkers reject that way of dumbing down their beliefs,), etc. No matter how hard I tried, I could not overcome my concern regarding predestination (knowing it is a done deal for everyone since the beginning of time or even before) and limited atonement.
However, I truly respected those who confessed the theology, believing that we have more in common than we have different. Oh, how naive I was! I believed this until I was introduced to the rise of the young, restless, and reformed Calvinists. I called them Calvinistas because it seemed to me they were involved in an all-out war to restore all churches to their peculiar brand of Reformed theology. They seemed to be warriors who were so self-absorbed that they were willing to stomp on those who didn’t march in their carefully constructed paths. Thankfully, I met Wade Burleson early on. He is a Reformed Baptist (yes, I know that some Reformed people claim one cannot be Baptist and Reformed but bear with me here.) Early on, I heard a sermon that he preached called *Don’t Let Your Theology Trump Your Love.* Here is one blog post he wrote on the matter. I have watched how he lives this out in his life, even when he is bitterly challenged. Both Todd Wilhelm and Wade Burleson are examples to me of relentless love and kindness
The weirdness I found when reading the original Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Muscular women are a no-no
But then, I read Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. This book was all the rage and won all sorts of awards like *best Christian book.* The Calvinistas felt this book was so important to the world that they decided to make it free in a pdf.
And that is when I realized that my differences ran far deeper than predestination. Can you imagine a section by John Piper in which he discusses that women who are muscular have unsatisfying sex. Here is a Piper(apparently believing he is the Masters and Johnson of the Calvinist set) writing in his section of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood(RBMW). I wrote about it in this post.
“Consider what is lost when women attempt to assume a more masculine role by appearing physically muscular and aggressive. It is true that there is something sexually stimulating about a muscular, scantily clad young woman pumping iron in a health club.
But no woman should be encouraged by this fact. For it probably means the sexual encounter that such an image would lead to is something very hasty and volatile, and in the long run unsatisfying.
The image of a masculine musculature may beget arousal in a man, but it does not beget several hours of moonlight walking with significant, caring conversation. The more women can arouse men by doing typically masculine things, the less they can count on receiving from men a sensitivity to typically feminine ”
Wayne Grudem’s gender rules.
Then there is the infamous *83 gender rules* by Wayne Grudem which spells out what a woman can and cannot do in the church.I wrote about it Wayne Grudem: 83 Biblical Rules for Gospel Women. Here is an example. There are lots of lists in the post. Oh, did I forget to say this was in RBMW?
List 2 -Bible teaching ministries
1. Teaching Bible or theology in a theological seminary
5. Preaching (teaching the Bible) regularly to the whole church on Sunday mornings
6. Occasional preaching (teaching the Bible) to the whole church on Sunday mornings
7. Occasional Bible teaching at less formal meetings of the whole church (such as Sunday evening or at a mid-week service)
8. Bible teaching to an adult Sunday school class (both men and women members)
9. Bible teaching at a home Bible study (both men and women members)
10. Bible teaching to a college age Sunday school class
14. Writing a commentary on a book of the Bible
16. Writing or editing a study Bible intended primarily for women
17. Bible teaching to a women’s Sunday school class
19. Bible teaching to a junior high Sunday school class
22. Working as an evangelistic missionary in other cultures
23. Moderating a discussion in a small group Bible study (men and women members)
24. Reading Scripture aloud on Sunday morning
35. Singing hymns with the congregation (in this activity, sometimes we “teach” and exhort one another in some sense: Col. 3:16)
Here is where Grudem draws his line.
With regard to areas of Bible teaching, I would personally draw the line between points 10 and 11. Once again, I think there is a strong similarity between a home Bible study which is taught by a woman (item 9) and the local church meeting in a home in the ancient world. Therefore I do not think it would be appropriate for a woman to be the regular instructor in a home Bible study.
Enter Aimee Byrd with her book, Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Amazon describes it:
Do men and women benefit equally from God’s word? Are they equally responsible in sharpening one another in the faith and passing it down to the next generation? While radical feminists claim that the Bible is a hopelessly patriarchal construction by powerful men that oppresses women, evangelical churches simply reinforce this teaching when we constantly separate men and women, customizing women’s resources and studies according to a culturally based understanding of roles. Do we need men’s Bibles and women’s Bibles, or can the one, holy Bible guide us all? Is the Bible, God’s word, so male-centered and authored that women need to create their own resources to relate to it? No! And in it, we also learn from women. Women play an active role as witnesses to the faith, passing it on to the new generations.
…The troubling teaching under the rubric of “biblical manhood and womanhood” has thrived with the help of popular Biblicist interpretive methods. And Biblicist interpretive methods ironically flourish in our individualistic culture that works against the “traditional values” of family and community that the biblical manhood and womanhood movement is trying to uphold. This book helps to correct Biblicist trends in the church today, affirming that we do not read God’s word alone, we read it within our interpretive covenant communities–our churches.
Needless to say, she recognized that there were problems with the original RBMW and that is just not allowed in the Calvinista circles. Little did she know she was about to be Calvinized. (That’s what happens when the warrior Calvinistas go for blood. Been there myself.)
Aimee also disagreed with the Reformed powers that be on the Eternal Subordination of the Son which led to a new doctrine on the eternal subordination of all women to all men in eternity. (Can you imagine? And they wonder why attendance in church is declining?))
According to Julie Roys in Aimee Byrd, Cyberbullying & the Battle Over Manhood & Womanhood
In 2016, Byrd touched off what Christianity Today termed a “civil war” between complementarians over something termed the Eternal Subordination of the Son or ESS. ESS holds that Jesus is eternally subordinate to God the Father. And, drawing on the analogy of the Trinity, proponents of ESS argue that just as Jesus is subordinate to God, so women should be subordinate to men.
ESS is also promoted in the so-called “blue book” of the CBMW—“Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.” (ed. note: uh oh…)
Aimee also published an earlier book Why Can’t We Be Friends?: Avoidance Is Not Purity.
According to Amazon:
Society says we are merely sexual beings and should embrace this, and in the church we use this same view as an excuse to distrust and avoid each other! We shy away from healthy friendship, and even our siblingship in Christ, in the name of purity and reputation . . . but is this what we are called to do?
Aimee Byrd reminds us that the way to stand against culture is not by allowing it to drive us apart–it is by seeking the brother-and-sister closeness we are privileged to have as Christians. Here is a plan for true, godly friendship between the sexes that embraces the family we truly are in Christ and serves as the exact witness the watching world needs.
These boys believe that men and women cannot be friends without it becoming a sexualized thing. In the years that I worked, men and women had lunch meetings with one another, met in offices, and even traveled together. It was required for the job and it is actually possible to do this. Not everyone is Harvey Weinstein. Also, for all of the blather I’ve heard about pastors refusing to be alone with women, there still seems to be a fair amount of pastor failures.
And an outcry against Aimee began to build.
- Aimee and Rachel are members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC.) They practice traditional Reformed theology. For example, only men may serve as elders and deacons because one must be ordained to serve in those offices.
- Aimee and Rachel agree with this mandate.
- Women are occasionally allowed to teach classes in the church. This allowance varies from church to church.
- Aimee spoke out against the doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son which upset the typical Gospel boys: Wayne Grudem, Owen Strachan, Denny Burk
- She said men and women the church could be friends.
- And she disagreed with some of the assertions of RBMW.
- CBMW was displeased. Those boys really loved the ESS.
She was removed from a podcast that she had done for years called The Mortification of Spin.
MOS included Aimee, Carl Truman and Todd Pruitt. This is a ministry of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
The Mortification of Spin is a ministry of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. The Alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today’s Church. Learn more about the Alliance at AllianceNet.org.
Apparently, Aimee miffed off some Calvinistas who believe in the *my highway of else* maxim. She wrote about this experience on her new website.
During this time, I was informed by our producer that she was notified not to book new recordings at this time and that they will be airing reruns of the Mortification of Spin. Then I noticed that they’ve discontinued my credentials to log in to post blog articles. While no reference was made to my future participation in the podcast, I later received an email from the Director in which they thanked me for the work I contributed for them and said that they “will strive to be gracious upon my exit.” Technically, ACE has related to me as an independent contractor. That’s all I really know.
Dee has something to say about this. Aimee was the lifeblood of MOS. Todd told me that she was the only one worth listening to. I concur. I am sitting here, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for Carl Truman or Todd Pruitt to makes some sort of public statement of support. Crickets…(Unless they have done so privately which doesn’t count in my book.) Todd Pruitt has closed his account on Twitter because he doesn’t like the negativity of the whole thing. I wonder if he was being held to account and doesn’t have the guts to face it?
I almost forgot. Carl Truman was involved in exonerating CJ Mahaney, along with Kevin DeYoung and Ray Ortland. Well, it appears we miffed off Todd Pruitt when we brought it up for conversation. Brent Detweiler wrote about it here: Todd Pruitt Defiantly Tells Readers at The Wartburg Watch that “Carl Trueman Does Not Owe Them Answers” Regarding His Vindication of C.J. Mahaney
In July 2011, Carl Trueman declared C.J. Mahaney qualified for ministry and a model of godliness to be followed by the Body of Christ. In April 2016, he reversed course and declared Mahaney unqualified to be a church leader.
Deb Martin at The Wartburg Watch wrote about this radical reversal. Readers by the hundreds wanted to know why Trueman changed his mind and how he viewed his previous vindication of Mahaney now. They began to ask good questions.
In response, Trueman’s colleague and friend, Todd Pruitt charged, “Carl Trueman does not owe you answers. And based upon the way some of these threads go I would discourage him from doing it.” Throughout, Pruitt made wild and bizarre accusations against those asking questions and making comments. Moreover, he accused them of slander when there was no slander. Only legitimate and reasonable inquires and observations.
Despite his belligerence, no one at The Wartburg Watch responded in kind. In fact, the moderators and most readers responded with kindness and patience. Nevertheless, once Pruitt was done commenting on The Wartburg Watch, he took to his Facebook page and Twitter account and audaciously misrepresented what actually transpired during the blog conversation. It was a genuine piece of slander. Even worse, Pruitt made himself out to be a hero for bravely “answering objections on a grievance blog’s comment section.” Rarely, have I seen such hubris and abuse.
The Calvinistas have been spotted at the Genevan Commons.
The comments you are about to read are deeply disturbing. It is hard to see any love at all being exhibited by these men. Most of them are pastors or ordained church leaders which would include deacons and elders. Most of these men are members of the PCA and OPC. This is the part of the story that is deeply distressing.You see, when I think of a Reformed Baptist pastor I admire, I think of Wade Burleson. I cannot imagine him ever speaking in this fashion about anybody, even if he thought he was being protected by a *members only* website. Wade Burleson often talks about not letting our theology trump our love. When Love Trumps Theology: The Moore Tornado
I was given access to some screenshots.
A disturbing racial comment
These men will die to prevent feminism as they define it.
Is this enough for you to realize that the boys of the Genevan Commons are problematic? Would you want any of them as your pastor, even if you if you were Reformed and complementarian?
The OPC comes to the defense of Byrd.
We the undersigned, as ministers, elders, and members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), present and publish this open letter in order to express our deep concern with regard to many comments and posts which were published on the “Genevan Commons” Facebook group and which were recently made public.
Our concerns include these:
We are greatly concerned that members of our church, including Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller, along with others, have been subjected to disparaging comments which are “corrupt,” “foolish talking,” and “coarse jesting” (Eph 4:29; 5:5). Such words are never acceptable, and certainly not from officers of the church.
We are greatly concerned that officers of the church, who have sworn to be accountable to “their brethren in the Lord” (4th ministerial ordination vow), would attempt to hide behind a group that pledges itself to secrecy, as if “locker room talk” could somehow be exempted from the accountability of the church on the basis of an alleged right to privacy. Indeed, our Lord warns us that “whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops” (Luk 12:3).
We are greatly concerned about the overtly misogynistic tone of the critiques leveled at women authors, whom many Geneva Commons members have not honored as fellow image bearers (Gen 1:27), as fellow heirs of the grace of life (1 Pet 3:7), and as members of Christ’s body who are endowed with many glorious and useful gifts for the building up of the church (Eph 4:7). Rather than thoughtful critique, we are dismayed to find officers of the church deriding and mocking others. Such behavior is completely unacceptable towards our sisters in Christ. It is the opposite of love.
The ninth commandment forbids “undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others” (WLC 145); therefore, we cannot remain silent after the public revelation of such unedifying words.
Such sins are an outrage and are extremely grievous in the sight of God. They bring shame and reproach on the church of Jesus Christ, and they encourage a culture of disrespect and derision in the very body which is to be known for its love (John 13:35). Rather than honoring women the way that Christ has honored his precious bride, these men have encouraged each other (and indirectly, the rest of the church and the world now that these words are made public) to disparage women.
To be clear, we the undersigned do not believe all members of the Geneva Commons group to be engaged in these sins, nor are we endorsing the books which they have attacked.
Update: Last night I had planned to place a list of names of those over at GC. I didn’t and made a mistake saying these names under this letter were those individuals. I am so sorry
These OPC guys did the right thing.
Rachel Miller, another member of the OPC, has also been subjected to what I believe are dismissive and unloving comments by these men.
The boys think she is one of the feminists out to destroy their church. She is also a member of the OPC and I have enjoyed getting to know her more recently. I may try to rite a separate post about her experiences. Here is a link to her blog A Daughter of the Reformation.
Julie Roys posted on Aimee’s story: Aimee Byrd, Cyberbullying & the Battle Over Manhood & Womanhood
She wrote an excellent post, as usual. It is well worth the read. The opinions in this post in no way represent the opinions of Rachel Miller and Aimee Bird. They are far nicer than me.