"I hate ….the word 'complementarian', I prefer the word 'patriarchy'…"
French Tapestry (Taken by Deb)
David and Tim Bayly — patriarchal Presbyterian pastors — took great pleasure in Russell Moore's words (quoted above) in a post they published on May 27, 2008. Here is Moore's quote in the context of their blog post: (link)
"(Tim, w/thanks to Chris) Here's an interesting statement by Southern Baptist Seminary's Russell Moore unburdening himself about the nomenclature of the sex battles; and more particularly, expressing his extreme dislike for the word 'complementarian' and preference for 'patriarchy.' He's exactly right.
Tune in at 29:45, and you will hear this:
Russell Moore: Gender identity and complementarianism… I hate ….the word 'complementarian', I prefer the word 'patriarchy'…
Again at 37:00 ff….
Mark Dever: So then, why is it you don't like the word complementarianism?
Russell Moore: Because complementarianism doesn't say much more than the fact that you have different roles. Everyone agrees that we have different roles, it just a question of on what basis you have different roles? So an egalitarian would say, "Yeah, I'm a complementarian too, it's on the basis of gifts." I think we need to say instead, "No you have headship that's the key issue. It's patriarchy, it's a headship that reflects the headship, the fatherhood of God, and this is what it looks like, you then have to define what headship looks like…"
In case you're not familiar with Dr. Russell Moore, he is "the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church, where he ministers weekly at the congregation’s Fegenbush location." (link)
Several years prior to the Bayly Brothers' post, Russell Moore published his own post entitled Reimagining Patriarchy (on November 22, 2005). He begins with these words:
"At last week’s Evangelical Theological Society, I argued for a word contemporary Christians greet with fear and loathing: patriarchy."
The paper Moore presented was entitled: "After Patriarchy, What? Why Egalitarians Are Winning the Evangelical Gender Debate". I remember reading this paper in the fall of 2008, and even then I couldn't get over the fact that Moore held up C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries as role models of ministry. Here is what Moore wrote on page 6 of his patriarchy paper:
"It is noteworthy that the vitality in evangelical complementarianism right now is among those who are willing to speak directly to the implications and meaning of male headship—and who aren’t embarrassed to use terms such as “male headship.” This vitality is found in specific ecclesial communities—among sectors within the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, the charismatic Calvinists of C.J. Mahaney’s “sovereign grace” network, and the clusters of dispensationalist Bible churches, as well as within coalition projects that practice an “ecumenism with teeth,” such as Touchstone magazine. These groups are talking about male leadership in strikingly counter-cultural and very specific ways, addressing issues such as childrearing, courtship, contraception and family planning—not always with uniformity but always with directness."
To see for yourself, just click on the link in Moore's post.
Given this background information about Moore, you can probably understand my UTTER SHOCK when I read his December 5th post entitled: Women Stop Submitting to Men. What?
At first I thought he made a mistake in the title of the post. Then I began to read Moore's words. Here's how the post begins:
"Those of us who hold to so-called “traditional gender roles” are often assumed to believe that women should submit to men. This isn’t true.
Indeed, a primary problem in our culture and in our churches isn’t that women aren’t submissive enough to men, but instead that they are far too submissive.
First of all, it just isn’t so that women are called to submit while men are not. In Scripture, every creature is called to submit, often in different ways and at different times. Children are to submit to their parents, although this is certainly a different sort of submission than that envisioned for marriage. Church members are to submit to faithful pastors (Heb. 13:17). All of us are to submit to the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). Of course, we are all to submit, as creatures, to our God (Jas. 4:7).
And, yes, wives are called to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22; 1 Pet. 3:1-6). But that’s just the point. In the Bible, it is not that women, generally, are to submit to men, generally. Instead, “wives” are to submit “to your own husbands” (1 Pet. 3:1)."
Moore goes on to explain that it is very harmful to women when they "submit to men, as a category". Moore rightly states:
"Too many of our girls and young women are tyrannized by the expectation to look a certain way, to weigh a certain amount, in order to gain the attention of “guys.”
Additionally, too many predatory men have crept in among us, all too willing to exploit young women by pretending to be “spiritual leaders” (2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Pet. 2). Do not be deceived: a man who will use spiritual categories for carnal purposes is a man who cannot be trusted with fidelity, with provision, with protection, with the fatherhood of children. The same is true for a man who will not guard the moral sanctity of a woman not, or not yet, his wife.
We have empowered this pagan patriarchy… Fathers assume their responsibility to daughters in this regard starts and stops in walking a bride down an aisle at the end of the process. Pastors refuse to identify and call out spiritually impostors before it’s too late. And through it all we expect our girls and women to be submissive to men in general, rather than to one man in particular."
I want to encourage you to read Russell Moore's post and provide us with your feedback. Do you believe he is dancing to the beat of a different drum? Well, maybe I should have said singing a different tune since Baptists aren't supposed to dance. I guess they can sing though.
Moore ends his post with these imperatives: "Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as unto the Lord. Yes and Amen. But, women, stop submitting to men."
I appreciated what Carl Kincaid expressed to Moore in the comments section (comment #5). He wrote:
“Excellent blog, appreciated it. Also appreciated Loretta’s comment. I would also add to her thought that i have observed too many Christian men leverage Eph 5:22-24 without truly living Eph 5:25-33 and don’t think the former can be removed from the latter. . .”
Another commenter, David Meyer, appreciated Carl’s comment and provided an important reminder by writing:
“@Carl Kincaid, I was about to make that point but you hit the nail on the head. If men live Eph 5:25-33 then they become the godly husbands the women can safely submit themselves to because the husband has first submitted himself to Christ and to his bride . . .”
This fall Russell Moore had the opportunity to speak at Covenant Life Church (link), and one can only hope that he now knows how incorrect his assessment of SGM was when he wrote his patriarchy paper back in 2005 (when Mohler was so enamored with C.J. that he endorsed his books). Here's the verse that comes to mind:
"O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?" (Galatians 3:1 ESV)
This blogger hopes and prays that Russell Moore has renounced patriarchy and that he will meditate on Ephesians 5:25-33 as Carl Kincaid and David Meyer have suggested.
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (ESV)
Unfortunately, we don't hear the above passage nearly as much as we do the verses that precede them:
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." (Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV)
Lydia's Corner: Job 20:1-22:30 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 Psalm 40:11-17 Proverbs 22:2-4
Moore has not renounced patriarchy. There is a concerted effort to reimage themselves at SBTS because of certain things that have happened. Mohler is taking a hit in certain SBC circles for his support of Mahaney now that people are finding out SGM taught pastors that they should mediate between victims and sexual predators caught that go to their churches and not call the authorities. There are even instances they have told a mother to make a daughter leave home so the predator father can be the “head” of the family and not be tempted by the teenage daughter. SGM is a sick mess.
Mohler wrote a blog post about changing SBTS policy to calling the authorities. He wants everyone to think he is the big hero.
There are a few other issues come to light about not dealing with sexual predators in the SBC and the issue is getting so much internet focus they are simply trying to ride the wave and put themselves out there as on the right side.
But if they were, Mohler would not have insulted the SGM bloggers in the secular media and thrown his support to Mahaney. Obviously, if he can insult and rebuke them in the media, he knew about all the stories of how SGM pastors handled molesters, right?
This is about image branding. They can point to their blog posts and say, see? We believe the right things. Even while they promote and protect Mahaney instead of publicly rebuking him for what he taught his pastors.
Moore is simply following orders as he always does. They have gone too far with their patriarchal teaching and there is a backlash among their own. They are “leaders” sticking their fingers in the wind saying: were are our followers going? It is the same reason they never say anything about Driscoll. They don’t want to alienate all the young followers who love Driscoll.
They are political strategists or better yet, the biblical word is “hirling”. This is a business for them.
I read this article on the CBMW and was encouraged at points and confused at others. For one, it is H-U-G-E that Moore rejected the notion that women, as a category, do not need to submit to men, as a category. I found this very encouraging, and much more biblically supportable than the kind of blanket statements about one gender’s role in relation to the other’s.
But I was confused because Moore did not just say, “This is not what I believe,” but that “this is not what complementarians teach”. I had to beg to differ with him on a couple of points:
1) The very definitions of mature masculinity and femininity, according to Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, do prescribe ways in which women, as a gender, are to conduct themselves relative to men, as a gender–and men are supposed to feel a benevolent inclination to lead women. Though of course this will be most pronounced in a marriage relationship, it is not constrained to it–the principle is simply dampened by saying that it should be expressed in ways appropriate to one’s varying relationships.
In chapter 3 of that same book, Ortlund states that “A man, just by virtue of his manhood, is called to lead for God. A woman, just by virtue of her womanhood, is called to help for God” (p. 91). So it sounds very much to me that complementarians do teach that women are supposed to submit to men–or the corollary that men are supposed to lead women.
2) Moore’s contention that women are too submissive to men, rather than not submissive enough, clashes with Mohler’s assertion that women are fairly taking over the world in his article “The End of Men” on the CBMW blog.
3) Moore decries the pressure on women to “look a certain way”–which is certainly commendable–but it goes against articles written by Mary Kassian on the CBMW blog (see “What not to Wear” and “Female Beauty Matters”, where she considers Christian women’s physical appearance to be of gospel importance).
So while Moore is of course free to write about what he thinks–and as I said, I am encouraged at some of his points–I am not sure why he is claiming to speak for the complementarian movement as a whole. I would be very interested to see what he would have to say about the above contradictions.
Finally, I was a little confused that he seems to be defining submission almost entirely in terms of marital faithfulness. If this is really what he believes–and if it is a biblically defensible position–then it seems like the entire complementarian case falls apart pretty spectacularly.
My $0.02. (P.S. I can provide links to the above articles if needed; I just didn’t want my comment to get sent to the spam bin for having too many links.) 🙂
The realization that some sinful men will take advantage of a woman (someone’s daughter, someone’s mom) who unquestioningly submits to all men, and the need to provide her with some self-protection against that, is almost always the first step OUT of a patriarchal / complementarian mindset.
The second step is to put conditions on the submit passages: “Yes, yes, yes, she should submit, but to the right kind of husband — take a look at this list of requirements!”
I think his new stance is an encouraging step in the right direction.
Thank you for pointing out some of the contradictions you are seeing among complementarians.
I have read some of the same articles over at CBMW. I’m glad for the internet so that we can show how theological positions “appear” to be changing.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
Well….I have the same impression as the first time I read it. He is presenting the idea that women, who presumably don’t want to submit, are actually submitting to a cultural ideal of women and pressure from men to present themselves in a sexual way. I don’t think this is a deviation from standard complementarian teaching.
I think that this is a repackaging of the same ideas. You’ll notice all the pushback he gets in the comments. The idea is that women should not submit to an ungodly culture (“men”), but I’m not so sure that idea of a women’s autonomy actually extends to any area they consider godly.
I always love it when pastors of independent churches explain to whom everyone should or should not submit. Of course, the pastor is always at the top of the chain,receiving submission from all in the church without being in submission to anyone else.
You may be right. That’s why I said in the above comment that we’ll have to wait and see. The truth always prevails.
Great article. I think Moore’s statement has something to do with the push-back that these “patriarchs” are getting from committed Christians everywhere.
Good night! When women are told they can’t even read Scripture in church, we have been invaded by the ghosts of Christmas past! Frankly, I fear Moore is sipping too much Christmas cheer. He does not renounce the Grinch-like ESS ; he does not repudiate his “bah, humbug” patriarchy, and he does not reject the Scrooge, CJ Mahaney, who is the example of bizarre gender practices (keep you kitchen counters clear of all Christmas cookies).
I wonder if the stats that seem to indicate that there is no shift in those who now adhering to extreme Calvinista-hood is worrying them. There is no way they can label folks like you and me “radical feminists.” We have not led such a life and they are beginning to look foolish.They have developed a theology which makes no logical sense as they try to parse a woman’s role. They remind me of the priests who used to argue about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Same concept with similar results as they look at the role of women.
One will look in vain for any prominent woman in SBC life who isn’t on a committee or trustee board as a result of the man to whom she is married. I don’t think Moore’s differentiation of the proper and improper arenas for submission is followed in the SBC these days.
Dee and/or Deb,
Could you give me bible verses that support a female pastor or women in leadership positions in a church?? I see no problem with God calling anyone he wants to teach and share the gospel but I just can’t get past the verse that says women are to be silent and church and no to be in authority over men. That just seems so clear to me. I really want to know that God says. I want to get it right once and for all.
Sorry for the type-o’s!!!
“but I just can’t get past the verse that says women are to be silent and church and no to be in authority over men. That just seems so clear to me. I really want to know that God says. I want to get it right once and for all”
It would take 20 blog posts to exegete why those passages are taught wrong. Just a few quick points: For example in 1 Corin 14…you need to start at 1 Corin 1 to understand it. And to understand why the Joel Prophecy is for YOU today you need to got back to Gen 1. This something you will have to study deeply including understanding the Greek and grammar. Another example is in 1 Tim, the word they translate as authority over is authenteo. Which is only used once in NT in that passage and not the familiar words the Holy Spirit chose for authority or rule. Why? Because that is not waht it means. Jerome translated it as “domineer”. And we know that Chrysostom wrote in Greek in 300 AD that a “husband should not authenteo his wife”. So we know it is a bad thing that both men and women can do.
And another thing…the Greek in 1 Corn 14 on silent means total silence as in no singing or saying hello…just like the synagogue rules from the Talmud which that verse is almost word for word from the teaching in the Talmud. In fact, Paul refutes this “quote” in next verse by saying “What!” Did the word of God come only to YOU?
Don’t expect many males to give up the preeminance that their faulty understanding gives them. Many like the “creation order” pecking order passed down throughout history. It is teaching sin as a virtue.
Here is an excellent resource. This woman has a ministry to the cults of Mormonism and JW’s. She started seeing much of the same teaching toward women from Christians as the cults believe about women so she dove into it and did a DVD exegeting every single passage within the entire context of scripture that is used to teach this nonesense about women not being allowed to proclaim the Word or shepherd anyone reguardless of gender.
Here is a link:
There is simply going to be no agreement on this issue in modern times.
I like your blog. But I have not learned anything new on this matter in about 5 years.
When I come across this topic, I can pick up the same stuff I read 5 years ago, and it’s the same stuff that is being said today.
The issue is so exhausting, too. There is so little grace displayed when this issue comes up.
I can discuss infant baptism with a Presbyterian, the role of the Pope and the Church with a Catholic, the nature of free will with a Methodist, and come away with an appreciation for those people even though I disagree with their views. And it’s not because of a false “niceness” that surrounds the conversation.
I don’t see that being done on this issue. No one ever comes away with an appreciation for the views of the other person or a kindness toward that person.
The people that hold to the traditional view of the Church come away thinking that the people pushing the newer view of women pastors etc. are liberals (which is not true in evangelical circles), and the people that hold to the newer view truly believe that the people holding the traditional view are proponents of or controlled by evil.
Something is not right about the dialogue on this issue.
I want to answer you by asking some questions. As you well know, this topic has been debated by committed, Biblical theologians and pastors for a long time. And, there are many different answers. There are tomes written on this subject and i find that short Bible verses are often used as a duel. Basically there are “gotcha” verses on both sides. Not only that, but we have thousands of denominations, filled with people who absolutely convinced that they have the edge on Biblical interpretation. So, once and for all seems a little beyond our grasp. I did this with the issue of Calvinism versus Arminianism. I wanted to know “once and for all.” You should see my notes! I am now neither-believing that it is a divine mingling of the two. Trust me, I know ALL of the verses.
So, if a woman is supposed to be “silent” in church, then why should she be allowed to sing? As you know, Tim Challies does not allow women to read Scripture in church. Why on earth would God tell women to be silent” That makes little sense on a grand scale but makes sense in a particular situation.
When the Temple curtain tore, God was showing us, quite vividly, that we no longer need a priest as a go-between. So why do we now insert a male between God and women. Why do we women need an “authority” over us? What is that authority? Describe what that authority would look like? What would someone in authority tell me to do or believe that I would not recognize for myself? In fact, authority often boils down to “i believe in Calvinism” or” I believe in infant baptism” and that is how we will do it in this church. So, I can mosey on over to another church that “authorizes” it differently.
Also, having taught both men and women, I have found the guys, including deacons, etc. to be just as confused and clueless as women. They do not seem to have any particular edge on “authoritative” understanding.
Take a look at these guys who preach their authority. Driscoll, Noble, Mahaney, etc. Why in the world are they invested with “authority?” They are more like admirals in rowboats. I know Who has authority, and it is not me, Mahaney, Driscoll, etc. It is Jesus and he is the only authority that I need. And I am smart enough to not put myself in a situation in which one of these guys would “be in authority” over me. If I can see such a thing, then why do I need their “spiritual” authority?”
There is much in Scripture that needs to be looked at in light of the day in which it was lived out. Remember, women had never attended church with men. There were prayers that said “Thank God I was not born a woman.” At His Resurrection Jesus first appeared to women who needed to alert the men, who were depressed, caring little for ministrations to the dead body of Jesus, that Jesus was alive. Now that was a piece of authoritative teaching if I ever heard it! Jesus did not tell them to tell only women and kids. Why not? Surely they needed to be silent before their authority which would be the men who were hiding out? These women corrected the men and told them to get off their butts and get over to the Tomb where they should have been in the first place.
And why is it “married” women? Are they somehow more “authoritative” than single women?
One theological question that I have is whether the verses you have quoted above about husbands and wives can be read interchangeably.
I saw this discussed on blog one time.
One person said that they could and should be read interchangeably, as in – Wives, love your husbands, as Christ loved the church. For the Wife is the head of the Husband as Christ is the head of the church, etc.”
I personally believe that is unwarranted. It appears to me like a re-write. I am uncomfortable with that.
But I would be interested in the opinions here.
Do you think that these scriptures should be spoken, read and interpreted with the husband and wife instructions reversed?
If so, why and what does that mean?
If not, why and what does that mean?
“I just can’t get past the verse that says women are to be silent and church…..
If I may address the “silent” part of your post…. This word does not mean complete silence. Scripture tells all believers to live a “quiet” life; i.e. devoid of chaos, hostility, etc. The following verses use the same Greek word for “silent” in 1 Cor. 14:34:
[1Th 4:11 NASB]…and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,
[2Th 3:12 NASB] Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.
[1Ti 2:2 NASB]…for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
[1Ti 2:12 NASB] But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
[1Peter 3:4 NASB]…but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
Hope that helps a little with the “silent” confusion.
“the people that hold to the newer view truly believe that the people holding the traditional view are proponents of or controlled by evil.”
red flag in your comment: It is not a “newer view”. It goes back to Gen 1. One has to ‘read into’ the creation account a ‘pecking order’ for gender. It is not there. God never once says Adam is in charge of Eve. God never says Eve is to submit to Adam.
Even with the fall, God says in Gen 3 that Eve will be “turning” to Adam (badly translated to “desire) and he will rule over her. The problem is that Eve turned to Adam instead of God. It was a description. Not a prescription.
Your choice of words is interesting. Newer view/traditional. One would think our “traditions” would come from the Garden pre fall and not church history which is a nasty mess of politics and killing.
After all, what is being Born Again really about?
“One theological question that I have is whether the verses you have quoted above about husbands and wives can be read interchangeably”
No they cannot. ‘Head” does not mean authority. It means source or origin. We are talking about 1st Century here. In the 1st Century when communicating decision making or thinking they used the word “heart”. You can see this used all throughout scripture.
When communicating providing for the “body” they used “head” as in source for eating, smelling, etc. This is one reason these passages are so misunderstood. Jesus is the “source” for the “body of Christ”. The husband was the “source” for the wife in that respect. (She could not even go out alone unless a wealthy Roman or Greek woman)
The husband was the “source” for the wife because she was basically legal chattel. In fact, submission in the Greek is a voluntary submission and a step up for the 1st Century wife on the food chain.
It helps to understand ancient Greek and how it was used in the 1st Century not to mention the household codes of the time. But the most glaring revolutionary verse is Eph 5:21. The translators decided to bring submit down to verse 22 to make it look like wives only. But it is not in there. It was added. The main thought is we all, as believers, submit to one another….
I think it is so difficult because it involves a whole classification of a people group-women. Think about the issue of slavery and civil rights. That was such a painful issue because it dealt with the restrictions placed on one group of people-African Americans. Why was that such a contentious issue?
Infant baptism does not restrict or limit a group of people. Same goes for communion, charismatic gifts, etc. None of these things is based on the DNA of a person.
Just as slavery and racism, which some in the church participated in, took centuries to overcome, so will this discussion go on for a long, long time. This involves something that women and men cannot change-their genes. It also is an issue that is currently the hot topic for the Calvinistas and some in the SBC who are not Calvinists. It is something that gets shoved down our throats every time Driscoll makes some new ridiculous comment. And when Moore pronounces “patriarchy” as the latest and greatest permutation of doctrine.
I think Mara commented in a way that brings out the underlying problem. She said that women are told that they are separate but equal-they get to care for the kids and have women’s groups. But underlying these role definitions put forward by men, there is, as she said, a little bit of “Sucks for you” from the men.
I attend a church that does not have a woman pastor or elders. I disagree with this but do not discuss this at my church because i accept that this is where they are coming from. However, I do hope for the day when there are more pastors like Joanne Hummel leading the way, showing others that it can be done well and we can all get along even if we disagree.
So, yeah, the issue is old, the problems are well-defined on both sides, and the discussion will go for a long, long time. but, it is that discussion, always in the public eye, that will one day result, I think, in a change for many. And we will all still be deeply committed Christians.
“but I just can’t get past the verse that says women are to be silent and church and no to be in authority over men.”
That scripture has been presented as prohibitive to women using their gifts in ministry, however, if you read Paul’s letters regarding gifts, (Romans 12, Eph. 4) he makes no mention of “male and/or female” giftings. Ministry is based on gifts and abilities, not gender.
Also, you will find no scripture commanding men to have authority over women either. Jesus specifically said we are not to live our lives as unbelievers do lording it over one another.
Hope this helps.
I hate to be bearer of bad news but it is not the same thing as 1 Corin 14 at all. In 1 Corin 14 is not about leading a quiet life. It says, they are not permitted to speak. (Check the interlinear). The word for silence is siago which is often translated as “Hush”.
The passage actually says they are not permitted to “speak” laleo. That is not even to utter one word.
But here is the catch. It says, as the “law” says. What law? Where is this law that says women cannot speak? There is NO law in the OT concerning this. There is no new law in the NT concerning this.
The “law” referenced is the oral law. The passage in question is almost word for word from the Talmud. Paul is actually quoting the letter in verses 34-35 and answering it . in 1 Corin he answers quite a few questions sent to him. Some translations use some quotes and some don’t.
And Paul totally refutes v 34-35 in verse 36 where he says “What!”, the word of God came only to YOU? And verse 37 where it is translated “man” is actually “tis” which means “anyone”.
Russel Moore is a right winger and a traditionalist, but of the very best kind. Believe me, though him and Mohler are best buts, he’s miles apart from the rest of the Reformed Baptist crowd. For one, he just writes better. His writing on the Baptist perspective of the Lord’s Supper is the best in print, imo. He’s not egalitarian and won’t become one anytime soon, but he is sensitive with his views and doesn’t bulldoze into a cockfight like MacArthur, Mohler, and Piper do. He is the only Baptist preacher I find worth listening to anymore.
The SBC needs more like Moore. He may yet become the convention president, and if he does, they’ll be in for a Renaissance. I can’t stand Baptist theology right now, but this guy does it as good as it gets. Oh, and I believe he’s only a four point Calvinist.
Thank you for your insight. Could you please interpret his “patriarchy” comment in a positive light?
Oh my, that should read “best buds…” not…
Anyways, just another shining example of Moore’s character, read this:
Everybody’s writing about Hitchen’s death, but nobody comes close to this much honesty, humility, and Jesus like generosity when approaching the subject.
Dee, probably not. I’m currently on the fence with many of these issues. I do believe wives should “submit” to their husbands because the Bible says that about as clearly as possible. I also recognize, however, the the preceding verses about husbands loving their wives and laying down their lives for them is a greatly ignored passage. Imo, those verses describe what male headship is all about: Be the first to leverage self sacrifice in service of others and the building of God’s kingdom. The only other thing I would add to that is, while I believe both men and women are gifted and called to service within the church, I believe ordination is reserved for the dudes. I’m not too dogmatic about it, however, because I’m still exploring the reasoning and hermeneutics on both sides of the issue; there should be room for disagreement on this one. Currently, though, my reasoning for the stated postion probably sounds closer to Roman Catholic theology than anything fundagelical.
@Miguel, that’s not saying much. Moore is on record as being against mutuality in marriage. The Baptist Press quoted him a few years ago as saying, “Practical decisions are made in most evangelical homes through a process of negotiation, mutual submission, and consensus. That’s what our forefathers would have called feminism — and our foremothers, too.” Moore’s attitude here is so far off base it’s amazing people even take him seriously. Who on earth would ever want to marry someone who doesn’t believe in cooperation and mutuality in marriage?
I see in your response to Scooter’s mom that you said this topic has been debated for a long time.
I was trying to figure that out.
The Church is 2000 years old. I would be interested in the earliest references that you or anyone else on here has to a debate about these issues.
I am not a church historian. The best I can do is think back maybe to the Nazarene Church in the turn of the 20th century, Mary Baker Eddy (7th Day Adventists), the McPherson woman who was an evangelist and lived in the LA area in the 1930s or so.
I think that the Episcopal Church may have been the first mainline church in the U.S. to ordain women. Was that around 1970?
I am sure that there “blips” on the radar screen (Joan of Arc etc.).
But from what can gather up in my mind, these issues are really only about 50 years old in the U.S. Protestant Church, and maybe 20 to 30 in evangelical circles.
Now women’s ordination is a separate issue from the relationship of husbands and wives, but it all gets muddled in discussions.
I would be interested in any ancient, medieval, reformation, post reformation debates about these issues.
This is a case in point.
I am not unaware of various modern arguments about Genesis 1, and yet, you were so quick to chide me for something innocuous – calling one group the “newer” view.
That really isn’t necessary.
My point was that people who hold the newer view (newer, in terms of church history) hold certain views about the traditionalists.
That was my point.
If you want to substitute something for “newer”, that’s fine.
But there’s no need to jump prematurely to the defense, when I meant to offense at all.
But I see a lot of “shoving” down throats on both sides of this.
I suppose your belief in eventual change is what drives you on.
But that belief – and that desire to change others is often not appreciated by people, men and women, who really don’t want to change. They have made a reasoned decision, so they think.
And it seems to me that unlike slavery, people can join whatever church they want nowadays.
Given that, I wonder if people can lighten up and realize that there are 2 sides to this issue, some come down on one side and some come down on the other.
It’s worked in the Catholic/Protestant debate, which has issues that are even more fundamental to the nature of Christianity and salvation.
If those 2 groups can get along, you would think the dialogue in this area could be respectful.
Here is one thing you can look at:
It doesn’t answer everything you have asked, but it is still good info to have.
Re: the women in ministry question, I’d love to give a lot of info but simply don’t have time. I think you can start w/ the presence of Junia, Priscilla, Pheobe, and Nympha (her house would really be her church according to most Greek scholars). You could also acknowledge that the strange instructions in 1 Cor 11 presuppose that a woman IS praying and prophesying out loud, whatever else the instructions say. And the silence of 1 Cor 14 is in the context of silencing (with the exact same Greek words!) prophets and those who speak in tongues (yet those were hardly across the board silencings for all times and places given the totality of Paul’s words!).
Although there are books out there that are more contemporary (and thus have taken into account recent papayri stashes that somewhat transform our knowledge of women in early church times) and more scholarly (looking at more possible readings of each passage and going deeper into things that this book only gets to glance at for one sentence), I think that the best accessible-but-deep book out there for the question of women in ministry must be Loren Cunningham and David Hamilton’s “Why Not Women?” I’m a slow reader but easily breezed through it in spare moments of one weekend. It goes through all of the pertinent passages. It also shows in an accessible way the likelihood that 1 Timothy is referring to female elders not elders’ wives in the pertinent passages.
Well, I’m probably not able to defend Moore’s every quote. He’d even recognize he’s said some bullheaded things before. I don’t see anything in your quote that outright condemned mutuality as explicitly anti-biblical, it seems that he is just noting the change. As for mutuality in marriage, I got 20 bucks that say his wife get’s more of a say than you think. I can’t imagine the marriage where the husband doesn’t even consider the wife’s input on decision making: Even if he “makes the final call,” they are still arriving at the decision together through mutual consideration. Of course, he is complimentarian, so he will insist that the husband is the one “calling the shot,” but I could technically say the same thing about my marriage even though my wife and I come to consensus before making big decisions. It’s just bad leadership to hand decisions “top down” without any consideration of its effects on “subordinates,” so even if he view husbands as the “top,” if he is a good “leader” in his marriage, they make decisions together.
I agree too with the need to be irenic. Sometimes it is hard when you have seen teachings actively and pronouncedly hurting men and women in direct ways and so feel a particular urgency for your views. And it is also hard when you have been attacked for your views. I apologize on behalf of egals who have come across as too harsh or too sure of themselves re: passages that are simply never going to be 100% clear one way or another this side of heaven. The reality for me, personally, is that most of the believers I have fellowship with are comps, and some of them have really good marriages too full of mutual respect amid gender role prescriptions.
“For a long time” was said in reference to your comment which says this has been a debate in which nothing new has been said. I don’t wish to shove this down anyone’s throat. That is precisely why i started a blog which allows me to promulgate a particular viewpoint. People can come to this blog or totally ignore it. For example, i dislike Tim Challies’ point of view on lots of things so I only scan his blog from time to time to see if anything surprising is happening.
As fo two sides to this issue-I think there are many angles to it. I did say that I go to a church that does not have a female pastor. Is that not me accommodating one of the other viewpoints? I keep my mouth shut there, even though It affects my church life which is very important to me.
Here is a part of the problem with this issue. If one groups believes that women must keep silent and women have no business “teaching” men, then they have little reason to dialogue on the issue. In fact, some of the leaders accuse bloggers of being boys who live in their mommie’s basements.
As for the Catholic/Protestant debate, there are a few evangelicals, like Charles Colson, who dialogue. But, within the SBC and other groups, Catholics are often referred to as a “cult.” For example, Jimmy Smryl said so from the pulpit at FBC Jax.
As for the racism issue, there were some churches that allowed blacks to attend during the time of Jim Crow. Billy Graham fully integrates his crusades. So there were some places for African Americans to go, even during the bad times.
Perhaps you attend a church and run in circles in which people are more kind and accepting of differing points of view. However, having been in the blogging business for awhile now, I have found that some people use terms that are pejorative in their application. Newer can mean “See, you are accommodating all those liberals theologians that the SBC got rid of 2 decades ago.” Sometimes, it is important , especially in the blogosphere to be saliently clear with what you mean. I have made many. many such mistakes along the way.
Victorius – “Also, you will find no scripture commanding men to have authority over women either.”
I never thought of that. Good point.
Dee – You asked some really great questions. What DOES authority look like? What would they tell me to do or what to believe? Gosh, you guys are so right. Jesus died for ME! If God revealed himself to me about the gospel, why not the rest of His Word?
I love reading all the comments and ideas in these blogs. You think of things I don’t. I’m so tired of being beat over the head by so called christian men “putting me in my place”. Being a single woman, I often feel I don’t fit in anywhere. I doubt Jesus would exclude from taking part in worship of any kind.
Just because an application has been around for a long, long time, does not make it just. The divine right of kings, the strict class system which meant that bakers stayed bakers and royals stayed royal, the Pope/church hierarchy, imperialism, slavery, etc. All of these things were well defended by the church throughout the ages. Just because something is “newer” (and I mean that in the nicest of ways :)) does not mean it is right, merely accepted traditions of men (not meaning gender).
However, The Journal of Church History did two issues on the role of women in the early church and the role of women in medieval days. Things were not as monolithic as they might appear. Maybe i ought to do a couple of posts on that information.
i have been laughing continuouslly about your comment from several days ago. You said something to the effect that men tell women they have equal yet seperate roles and make a bog deal how honored they should be. Then you said “Sucks for you.” Does that sum it up or what!
Miguel, You have been bamboozeled and it worked exactly as they want it to work. Moore is being groomed to take over for Mohler at SBTS. He also claims to be 4pt but you had better believe he is very Reformed. He also is double dipping as Dean at SBTS and “teaching” pastor at Highview since Ezell (another 4pter?) took over NAMB. This is all about putting specific people in place for the New Reformed brand.
(Ezell is also known to play the “I am a quasi Calvinist/not a Calvinist” game with whatever audience he is speaking to at the time)
Moore’s patriarchy always cracked me up because he is about 5ft tall and cannot weigh more than 120 lbs soaking wet. He has some very strange beliefs, too, if you read him long enough. He wrote something a while back about Christians should not be cremated. And he had the nerve to give advice about drilling in the Gulf of Mexico during the BP spill that did not go over well with some well heeled businessmen in town who complained to Mohler that Moore should stick to theology.
Moore is on the fast track. double dipping and even making lots of money off his books. He is a player. The whole thing about 5pt and 4pts is simply a ruse. It is a business for them. And they like to pretend they are not all in agreement on every issue but if you lived at ground zero as I do, you would know that that they are playing Mohler’s tune. What ever that is this week. There are no independent thinkers left at SBTS or they certainly do not last
Did you ever read his stuff in Touchstone? He is backtracking in what he normally taught according to this blog post. Did he admit that? Does he still believe women will be in submission to their husbands in heaven?
I’m glad you got a tickle out of that.
I should learn to laugh like that more.
My sister had a button that said, “I used to get disgusted, now I’m just amused.”
I guess I’m still in the disgusted stage and need to learn to laugh more.
It’s just that these men don’t get it. They have turned the Good News into something so completely NOT Good News for women.
They have taken the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and turned it into a “Sucks to be you” Gospel, or gender gospel for women. It is no longer good news, but bad news. It is no longer the Living Water that Jesus Christ offered the woman at the well but has become Bitter Waters that they offer all women. And women have to accept it because these men are, “Only preaching what the Bible ‘clearly’ teaches.”
And they have so entrenched and interwoven the gender gospel into the true Gospel that when women get tired of drinking the bitter waters and start spitting it out, they spit our the true Gospel with it because men have made the gender gospel unseperatable from the true gospel.
It’s hard to laugh because I’m finding these women everywhere. They have either rejected Jesus and turned to some feminine pagan diety that can understand her, or they have become great promoters of the sucks to be you gospel and telling women they they need to get over it, suck it up, and accept the bitter waters.
Yeah, I need to learn to laugh more.
Maybe I can learn from you. 🙂
“I am not unaware of various modern arguments about Genesis 1, and yet, you were so quick to chide me for something innocuous – calling one group the “newer” view”
Words mean things. It is not a “modern” arguement. It simply IS what it is….. If you care to read Gen 1 and 2 without the filters and point out to me where God makes it clear that Adam is to be in leadership of Eve. It is simply not there. That makes it the original biblical position. Everything else is “new” or “traditional” as in man made.
I don’t think your word choices were “innocent” at all. I think they were carefully chosen to plant a seed. I was simply rebutting them. I am sorry you took it personal. But the faulty interpretations are very personal for many women who know better and study. I simply cannot allow the “premise” that mutuality is a “new” or “modern” position to go unchallenged. It isn’t new or modern. It was in the Garden.
I’ve never known a complimentarian husband who believed he was “calling the shots.” That’s very foreign to my personal experience with men who actually have a complementarian understanding of marriage. Almost to a man, these guys are consistently respectful of their wife’s feelings, beliefs and thoughts. If you’re really a complementarian you know darn well you had better cherish your wife. After all, God is going to hold you accountable as to how you treated your wife. Complimentarians understand this well.
On Gen Creation stories, 1 Cor 11, 1 Cor 14, Eph 5-6, Rom 16, 1 Pet 2-3 and all the other gender verses, there are egalitarian ways to read them and non-egalitarian ways to read them. I am egal so I read them that way, but the non-egals choose to read them they way they want. I think the egal reading is the most consistent with the rest of Scripture and with itself, but I am egal.
I see Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc. as egals in their times and what they said or wrote needs to be understood in cultural context, as does any text.
Thanks for the book recommendation. As I explore this issue, I was looking for a biblical, exegetical presentation of the egalitarian hermeneutic to give me the other side of Wayne Grudem’s book.
Anon1: Bamboozeled? How dare you bring such a silly word into such a serious conversation! 😛
Listen, I don’t know a ton about Moore, I just know he is significantly different from the rest of the Spurgeon crowd, if for nothing else than he states his position with a lot more grace and tact. Not all the time, but generally he is more prone to civil disagreement than the Calvinistas he runs with. I don’t think you have a right to question his motives, however, with the whole “double dipping” thing. Lots of high profile ministers have two jobs, across the spectrum of protestantism. Liberals get book deals too. That doesn’t mean any of them are in it for the money. It’s business alright, but it’s how the game is played. Many pastors doing this type of juggling truly are the real deal, and some are hustlers. Unless you really know the person, I’m not willing to call the shot. Don’t get me wrong, 4 point Calvinists view themselves as part and parcell of the monergism camp, but the are rightly skeptical of the exegesis used on “limited atonement.” Does he cater to Mohler? Mohler is is boss! (I think…) They have to work together. That’s how it is; he must make certain concessions as a bare minimum to keep the working relationships flowing. He probably feels like they see eye to eye on more than most issues, but Mohler is an “Eat the tulip or go to hell,” type sometimes.
Sorry to be absent from this very interesting discussion. I have been wearing my “MOM” hat today. My younger daughter and I just returned from visiting my older daughter in Hillsborough, where she teaches first grade. We took our Maltese to visit with the children on the playground, and they loved it! It’s the last day of school before the Christmas break, and my daughter had promised that our dog “Coconut” would come to see them. She was so cute in her little pink Santa hat!
On the way to school we drove past the Orange County Courthouse where a jury is deliberating the fate of Laurence Lovette Jr., who is charged with robbing, kidnapping and shooting Eve Carson on March 5, 2008. My older daughter was a student at UNC when Eve, the student body president, was shot to death. It’s still difficult to process. Please pray for the families involved, especially Eve’s parents who I understand have been in the courtroom. This story is getting quite a bit of press coverage nationwide.
“I suppose your belief in eventual change is what drives you on.”
Prevention of changing back to the dark ages for women is what drives me on. Even if it only means that both genders have equal opportunity to learn what the original scriptures say. Neither side has a different interpretation to ‘let the woman learn.’. It doesn’t matter who that woman was, it is a principle. And that is starting to be denied her again in this country by many influential patriarchalists. True, some partriarchalists such as Calvin did more than the world was doing for education but even he stopped short of letting women learn the biblical languages. That in itself should making any thinking woman suspicious with a desire to learn so they can see what they think it says for themselves. As far as how recent this debate is, it has been almost 100 years since Katherine Bushnell discovered the Chinese were deliberately mistranslating the Chinese language Bible to keep their women subjugated so she checked the English Bible to find similar problems.
“…That said, I find the topic to be quite disturbing. It’s the 21st century and some are acting and living like it’s the middle ages. This is one of the concerns I have for the Bible. It’s probably the most abused book in history…”
I hear you Eagle. Over the last decade, I’ve realized (for me anyway) that the Bible is not a ready-made answer book for everything, and that the only way it can be made to be so is by “spin”.
With regards to the “newness” of women’s equality in the gospel, the fact is that history has been largely written by white males– and this is as true of church history as any other. Here is a link to a Lutheran website that shows that women were in leadership ministries in the church up until the 4th century, when the church cracked down on the practice.
I would also recommend reading Daughters of the Church, a history of women in Christianity by Tucker and Liefeld. It shows that there have been dissenting voices to the subjegation of women throughout the history of the Western church (the book does not deal with Eastern Orthodoxy specifically). Women were functioning in ministry during the middle ages as abbesses and traveling prophetesses. Often they wound up having authority over male monks as well as female nuns. In the Reformation a woman stood up to proclaim equality of women; but Luther and Calvin were having none of it. In fact, part of Luther’s crusade against monasticism had to do with his belief what women were created to mind the home and have babies, and that they had no business being nuns and abbesses.
In the time of the First and Second Great Awakenings, more and more women came to the forefront of ministry. Men like John Wesley and Charles Finney, though conflicted in some ways about the roles of women in the church, found that they could not deny the giftings of the Holy Spirit upon women. Finney was actually a suffragist and required his followers to sign a pledge dedicating themselves to womens’ right to vote!
The 1800s and early 1900s saw the rise of the women’s missionary movement. Women who were denied ministerial roles at home found that they were needed overseas. Amy Carmichael and Lottie Moon were among the great evangelists of this time– until the men got jealous and shut down womens’ missions.
In fact, the history of women in the church shows a pattern repeating itself over and over. A new awakening of the Holy Spirit will begin; men will need womens’ help and will recognize their giftings. Then the movement will grow up and settle down, become mainsteam and accepted– and the women will be told to sit down and be quiet.
As far as equality in marriage is concerned, that is something that men have resisted through the ages. Many women in the early church and in medieval times found freedom through celibacy. The Protestant Reformation, while wonderful in many ways, also had the fault that it elevated marriage above singlehood and relegated women to subordination in the home. But there have been men and women speaking up for women’s equality in the home as well. Sarah Grimke in 1837 published a number of works on female equality.
Here is a link to an 1800s timeline of some of what was being done and said on behalf of women by Christians at that time:
Female equality as an issue in Christianity is not a new thing at all. It’s just that the male historians wrote the history books that way.
BTW, I have an in-depth analysis of 1 Tim 2:15 starting here:
and an in-depth analysis of Eph. 5:23 here:
The full participation of all, without distinctions based on race, gender or economic status, is what the New Creation kingdom of God is all about. Gal 3:28-4:6; 2 Cor 5:16. Too many times Christians who want to hold onto power read the Scriptures in ways that support their power: as has been said, the divine right of kings, the supremacy of white Europeans, and the authority of popes have all been defended using the Bible. But that is the antithesis of what Jesus came proclaiming. He said we were all to become “as a little child” to enter His Father’s kingdom– and a little child was understood at that time to be first and foremost a person with no authority, status or power.
“don’t think you have a right to question his motives, however, with the whole “double dipping” thing. Lots of high profile ministers have two jobs, across the spectrum of protestantism. Liberals get book deals too. That doesn’t mean any of them are in it for the money”
I don’t question motives. I don’t have to. I simply look at actions. And strangely enough, there is a line a mile long with pastors from SBTS looking for preaching gigs. I find it strange that Moore has one while also being a Dean. How does he find the time to do both well? Along with writing books, etc. And I have every right to question that since Moore is paid with SBC dollars that come from folks like me.
1. The KJV, which is where most later translators go to resolve options and preserve the KJV meanings, was a deliberately hierarchical translation at the behest of King James. Keep in mind the issues of whether a woman could rule, primogeniture, divine right of kings, etc. The translators inserted words, chose masculine over feminine translations of names, and gave us the treatment of Paul’s quotes from letters to him as if they were Paul’s words, and thus God’s words.
2. For solid academic exposition of the egalitarian understanding of the Bible, Christians for Biblical Equality, an evangelical Christian organization, publishes an academic journal under the title “The Priscilla Papers”, and also sponsors a popular magazine and many conferences. Check out their web site at http://www.cbeinternational.org/. They have a site that allows free download of many of the articles for personal reading and use at: http://www.cbeinternational.org/?q=content/free-articles.
“They have to work together. That’s how it is; he must make certain concessions as a bare minimum to keep the working relationships flowing”
Actually, Moore is being groomed to take over for Mohler as Prez one day. It goes much deeper than what you might realize. The big question in Lou for many several years have been: Is Ezell a Calvinist? It depends on who you talk to for the answer. In fact, Highview would have split early on if the answer was yes. The bottomline for these guys is that the doctrine is not as important as the power and position. However, the doctrine is the rallying cry for the troops. But there are well heeled factions who will never donate to a place with only 5pters. That is the game.
That book won’t be quite as extensive as Grudem’s partially b/c it only deals w/ women in ministry. They say in the book that they wanted to write another on marriage, but they never did. Anyhow, it is geared for the lay-reader, although there is a lot of meat to it. Craig Keener’s Paul, Women and Wives would go a bit deeper on texts. Complementarity w/o Hierarchy, edited by Pierce, has emerged as something of a counterpart to Grudem’s text, although I actually disagree w/ some chapters in it. The scholarly book that came closest to my understanding was Sarah Sumners’ Men and Women in the Church. However, she is actually not egal, mostly (it would seem) b/c she does not want to “push” the issue and has a picture of egals as being pushy (I’m putting words in her mouth there though). Anyhow, her challenges to complimentarians are uber-gentle. There are a lot of good books out there really, and I end up taking bits and pieces from different ones, sometimes changing my mind regarding some texts after reading a wider array of authors.
I hope that helps.
As far as books that counter Grudem, I recommend Man and Woman, One in Christ by Philip Payne. His book, and some essays by him, can be found here:
“I can discuss infant baptism with a Presbyterian, the role of the Pope and the Church with a Catholic, the nature of free will with a Methodist, and come away with an appreciation for those people even though I disagree with their views. And it’s not because of a false “niceness” that surrounds the conversation.”
I would like to suggest an experiment for anyone that thinks women who disagree with male dominance are not being nice enough about being told they need to sit down be quiet and let the men do all the ministry.
Go to a black person and tell them that because they are born black, they need to not seek the type of authoritative jobs that the white people have. Tell them they need to give up seeking authoritative good paying jobs and be quiet about it. Just accept that that is the creation order that God instituted. I imagine that if you say it nice enough they will accept it graciously and step back allowing white people to take the most responsible jobs. What do you think?
here is a good one:
Includes Gordon Fee as a contributer
I think sexism is as much a sin as racism.
Ezell is a four point Calvinist. Mohler and others have tricked the SBC for years trying to pretend 4 pointers aren’t really Calvinists while claiming to cooperate with nonCalvinist. Mohler has only 4 & 5 pointers on staff at Southern. Akin a 4 pointer is doing the same thing at Southeastern. Moore is being groomed to take over Southwestern when Patterson retires thus completing the Calvinization of the SBC.
You’re buddies in Enid threw a tantrum when it was alleged Patterson was going to an all nonCalvinist staff. They remain silent to the Calvinists keeping nonCalvinists off staff at Southern and Southeastern. Many have been fooled by the 4 pointers but they are Calvinists.
I agree with your comment. I have been called a race baiter by bringing up this issue. Yet the issue is similar. One cannot one’s genes. i think Mara says it so well. She calls it a “Sucks for You” Gender Gospel.
You are right. Just because an argument is old doesn’t mean it is right.
I was just trying to gather how old the argument is.
Thanks for the article about the Quakers. It appears that they had this debate in the open in 1848, with some on both sides.
I appreciate the reference. It was well written and did not cast aspersions of other Christians. Just very fact oriented.
Thanks for such a kind post.
You make a really good case.
But why would anyone tell a black person that? There is no support for such statements in the Bible.
The Bible has much to say about gender roles, the roles of men and women. There is a question of interpretation of those verses.
At any rate, most of the black Christians I know and have worshipped with and ministered with for years would simply laugh and move on.
It seems you may be of the opinion that black Christians would act aggressively or violently.
Like it or not, change is coming to American Protestantism. The old models will be modified & the power of medieval thought will wane. Nostradamus would probably have a quatrain for it.
One last word from me on this subject.
Am I a prophet – or what!
Gordon Fee’s written a lot of pretty solid stuff. I found his case that the “all women should be silent” is probably an interpolation rather than a logical part of Paul’s overall argument to be something that could use some more discussion. Some people have said Fee is trying to overstate the significance of the omission of the passage from some early Western MSS.
In response to this: “But why would anyone tell a black person that? There is no support for such statements in the Bible.”
Believe me, those who believed that black people were designed to serve white people, used to find Scriptural support for it. And proponents of slavery used to use the very same kind of “biblical” arguments that proponents of “gender roles” (meaning men get all the authority roles and women get all the subordinate roles) do now.
Why do you think the SOUTHERN Baptists split off into their own association in the 19th Century? To Scripturally justify & defend their Peculiar Institution regarding certain Animate Property.
“I hate ….the word ‘complementarian’, I prefer the word ‘patriarchy’…”
I prefer the word “Male Supremacist”…
Go to a black person and tell them that because they are born black, they need to not seek the type of authoritative jobs that the white people have. Tell them they need to give up seeking authoritative good paying jobs and be quiet about it. Just accept that that is the creation order that God instituted. I imagine that if you say it nice enough they will accept it graciously and step back allowing white people to take the most responsible jobs. What do you think?
I’d like to see someone try that line on a certain President Obama, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of State Rice…
And why is it “married” women? Are they somehow more “authoritative” than single women? — Dee
Maybe it’s the older trope that a woman’s status is primarily determined by her husband’s status. No husband, no status.
I am so glad your blog addresses the debate between complementarians and egalitarians and how this is impacting churches.
Over at sgmsurvivors, the dear leaders are not comfortable discussing this issue and won’t engage with the topic because they have judged this isn’t a hole in the SGM sinking ship. Sadly the survivors dinghy has the same hole in it.
You want to identify SGM’s central systemic issue? This is it!
I’ll bet you ten bucks that THE single greatest reason why CJ & Carolyn Mahaney will not admit to any wrong-doing is because they believe SGM is under assault because of their long-standing vigilant stance against (what they call) FEMINISM!
I think in CJ’s mind, the greatest proof of his leadership lies in his perception of how well he has established a male-only hierarchical, authority structure.
To CJ Mahaney, the ‘gospel’ is all about authority. Authority is defined in the church and in the family by male headship. And in SGM, this authority is personified by CJ (as the male leader) and Carolyn (as the submissive wife) and the way they have managed their home.
CJ has carefully crafted the whole SGM culture based on this. The whole environment of CLC was continuously monitored to filter out any “pollution” resulting from the “air of feminism.” They refer to feminism as the ‘Enemy of the Gospel.’
CJ and Carolyn worked & worked and tried so hard, but now they’re under attack by feminism. This is why they won’t admit to any wrongdoing. They’ve done nothing wrong! They did everything they could to establish the pure, unadulterated, male-only authority structure that’s at the heart of the true gospel! Naturally the world is going to hate them! Like Russell Moore said, “Many pastors are going to suffer for this.”
Different Jesus = A Different Trinity (Jesus is called The Savior in SGM because that’s his role in the eternal ‘hierarchy’ of the Trinity.)
Different Gospel = A Different Enemy of the Truth (The enemy in SGM is “feminism” because feminism – as they call it – upsets the entire authority structure of SGM – which is based on male-only leadership roles.)
Different Jesus + A Different Trinity + A Different Gospel + A Different Enemy of Truth = A Cult
Here are a few more Russell Moore gems(taken from the message, “Feminism in Your Church and Home with Russell Moore, Randy Stinson, and CJ Mahaney” at 9Marks):
Russell Moore responding to question, “What is feminism?”
Russell Moore responding to the question, “Now, for the pastor who’s eyes may be glazing over right now…and they’re thinking..Ah, I don’t really need to spend an hour listening to something like this. Why is this an important thing for them to listen to?”
Russell Moore responding to the question, “So you’re saying the sheep may be sick with something that pastors are not even generally aware of?”
Russell Moore responding to the topic of biblical authority and the ignorance of church members:
Russell Moore responding to the question, “I know one popular, sorta middle-evangelical position, I think the one John Stott holds, is as long as you have a man in authority – as long as HE is in authority then women underneath him could be on staff at a church and teaching the bible even to other adults, males…thoughts, comments on that?”
Eagle, I agree, but I think in many ways SGM is a more dangerous trap because of how it ensnares true believers.
Most Christians wouldn’t step foot in a Mormon temple, know what I mean?
Regarding this quote from Russell Moore:
That’s why the Apostle Paul says, “A man who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel.” He says that because the man IS an infidel. He’s a blasphemer. A man who will not protect and provide for is blaspheming the gospel of Christ and His church.
That passage is not actually about men providing for their families at all. It’s about Christians providing for their extended families, and the specific context is children providing for their widowed mothers. The verse is 1 Tim 5:8, and it’s right in the middle of a passage about widows in the church!
This is the problem with translations that translate that word “man” where it is more accurately translated like this: “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (NASB, emphasis added.) The word should be translated “anyone,” because it is gender inclusive.
Moore is among those people that fault translations which include gender-accurate wording according to modern usage– but they themselves show, by this kind of misreading of this verse, that they too need gender-accurate updated versions, so they don’t read “men” as meaning “males only” when it doesn’t mean that in the original.
Headless Unicorn Guy said:
Why do you think the SOUTHERN Baptists split off into their own association in the 19th Century? To Scripturally justify & defend their Peculiar Institution regarding certain Animate Property.”
I’m sure you didn’t intend to come across as “mansplaining” (defined as when a man tells a woman something that’s fairly common knowledge, as if he is the expert and she is ignorant), but I did, in fact, already know this. . . No offense taken, however. 🙂
I agree with you that “male supremacy” is an accurate description. I use it sometimes myself.
“Gordon Fee’s written a lot of pretty solid stuff. I found his case that the “all women should be silent” is probably an interpolation rather than a logical part of Paul’s overall argument to be something that could use some more discussion. Some people have said Fee is trying to overstate the significance of the omission of the passage from some early Western MSS.”
I can see where you would think that. Just as I think Piper is
“overstating his case” when he says women should take care when giving men driving instructions not to appear to be instructing them. Or when he says that women should take abuse for a “season”. And his instructions to women whose husband asked her to be in a threesom: That she should tell him that she wants him to be her leader but she cannot sin. (Right. That would be my first reaction to such a request)
Fee makes much more “spiritual” sense when it comes to “Reading the Bible for All It’s Worth”.
“The Bible has much to say about gender roles, the roles of men and women. There is a question of interpretation of those verses”
Not at all. Only what people read into it. Actually, the way gender roles are read into it means that women cannot be Christlike because He is male.
I prefer we look at a “spiritual” standard. Not a gender standard. If we look at gender standard for spirituality, where is the female model of Christlikeness?
I guess i am fool enough to believe that IN CHRIST, there is no male or female. I believe we focus on the spiritual aspects and not biological. The biological are what they are. Men cannot have babies. Not sure how that makes a difference when it comes to being Christlike. Perhaps you could explain a pink Christianity to me? How is salvation and sanctification different for females?
There are wonderful husbands who are complementarians. No question. However, this view goes much deeper than a marriage in which both parties agree to particular gender roles. It goes into the heart of the church as well. This secondary issue is becoming a primary focus of many churches, being carried to the point that men, such as Challies, do not believe women can even read Scripture in the church service. Even amongst complementarians, there is a panoply of beliefs and that becomes problematic,especially within the church.
Evie, Your quotes above are the Russ Moore I know. I have heard this stuff out of his mouth.
I could go into his ridiculous teaching on adoption I heard last year at a meeting. (Of course he failed to note when he spoke that a private donor showed up at his office with a check for 10 thousand dollars to help him pay for his adoption…even though Moore was making money on the side with books and speaking gigs back then, too, and did not need help)
These men live in ivory towers and have no clue. They are a close knit group who feed off each other with well paid speaking gigs, book deals where they promote each other’s books, etc.
Of course the man who approached him is supposed to live in a trailer in order for his wife not to work. But don’t expect that lifestyle from Moore.
“Because most of the people in their churches are feminists. And most of the people in our churches are in same sex marriages right now, they just don’t realize it.”
I remember this! If you all wonder why Moore wrote the article about women submitting only to their husbands it is because they have “overstated” Patriarchy even for most YRR folks. And the rise of focus on predators has them all a bit scared because of what they teach about the “role” of women in all aspects of life.
If you heard this entire teaching, you would see what I mean. Can you imagine how some men responded to this? That If you are not patriarchal enough it means you are in a homo marriage? Talk about division!
Moore and others are trying to rehab their image in certain quarters. I don’t think they have changed their minds at all on male supremacy. I think it is about something else. And that something else is that the problem with predators in Christendom is becoming a very big deal. They want to be able to point back to their public writing and say, “see…this is what I am teaching people…so you cannot say I can take any blame for victims”. So Moores article can be parsed to be something it really isn’t.
Mohler has done it, too, with a recent blog article about changing policy at SBTS. Even though he came out publicly supporting Mahaney who did the opposite of what Mohler is doing at SBTS concerning victims teaching his SGM pastors to not call the police but mediate sexual molestation themselves. Mohler, Moore and others…..These guys are protecting themselves legally. Because what they teach lead some men to think of themselves as “entitled” and of women as second class citizens.
Now, now-you did get a lot of respectful comments as well! This is an emotional issue for many because women cannot change their genetics. There is nothing they can do to ever be seen as “worthy” by some- even to reading Scripture in church!
The problem gets worse when there is no standard for comp beliefs. It range from “Thou shalt not read Scripture in church” to “Women deacons are A-OK.” And everyone is adamantly convinced that they are “Scripturally” correct! This topic will continue to dominate discussion throughout the years. If Jesus tarries, I wonder how the post-evangelcial church will look 100 years from now. I think you and I would both be surprised. Instead, we will be friends in heaven, laughing at our little imbroglios.
Frankly, my buddies in Enid specifically sought out two women who believe differently on some of these finer points of the faith. Yet, it appears we can work very well together. Also, never forget that Wade has made a stand on women that significantly differs from the Mohler crowd. This goes far deeper than Reformed issues. Interestingly, he and I have differences on creationism as well. Wade is one who gets the idea of non-essentials.
Oh, he also allows people who differ with him on these issues to teach adult Sunday school at Emmanuel. And that is something that I rarely see with today’s “I am 100% right with my interpretation of Scripture” pastors and seminarians. They are the ones who are arrogant.
The “Sucks to be you” gospel! I am still laughing. You say it so clearly. I wish some of the rigid men could understand what you are saying. Never fear-TWW is going to making some stands on this issue in the coming year. I think you may hear from the “Sucks to Be You Gospel” again.
Good night! You have done your homework. I think we will need to explore this more in depth in the new year. Thank you for these comments. They are worthy of posts in and of themselves.
You brought up this verse. “A man who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel.” Did you know that Driscoll uses this to beat his flock? Except for a sick husband, a woman should not work. Here is a scenario with which he would disagree. I know a woman who is a doctor. Her husband is a computer expert. When the children came along, she continued to work while he stayed at home. The both wanted this solution.
Over the years he developed a computer business at home. The children were successfully raised and are happy, Christians. She is well-known in certain Christian medical circles and has testified before Congress on pressing ethical issues. He now has a great business. According to Driscoll, this man is worse than an infidel. That, to me, is silly.
Here’s another verse that perhaps you also might not be able to “get past”:-). It’s the one that I could not get past that helped me to get past the one you quoted waaaay up there in the posts:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
To CJ Mahaney, the ‘gospel’ is all about authority. Authority is defined in the church and in the family by male headship. And in SGM, this authority is personified by CJ (as the male leader) and Carolyn (as the submissive wife) and the way they have managed their home. — Evie
“The only object of Power is POWER.”
— Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party, Airstrip One, Oceania, Nineteen Eighty-Four
I both agree and disagree with your post regarding SGM (I was a member for 15 years). The PRIMARY problem with SGM is that pastoral authority trumps all, even the Bible. They have an extremely hyper-inflated view of their own ability and infallibility as pastors. I agree though that it is an EXTREMELY patriarchal system; and they take the “wives submit” verses to hyper-literal, extra-biblical manifestations. In “submitting” to me, I tell my family that I forbid the daughters to be pressured into courtship; pressured into homemaking; pressured into attending anything but the college of their choice in the field of their choice, whether close to the “local” church, or in Australia, as well as many other things.
It is the hyper-application of gender roles that will lead to the eventual downfall of this movement. There are not enough “submissive” people in the world that will put up with this stuff without questions. Look at you. You are the reason there is hope. Most people wake up and smell the coffee and read their Bibles with their eyes wide open. When that happens, there is a whole lot of “hey, wait a minutes” going on and they “authority hounds” do not know how to deal with it.
Just this week, I learned that TWW is perceived by “someone” as being angry. Well, next week, we shall do a post on the” Top Ten Reasons to Be Angry.” We will wear that “adjective” with pride.
Wow! so many great comments and references. Kristen, those are some great links. I am saving them to read later on this weekend. More comments later. but good stuff!
Oh and as many of you know, I am African-American, and I do see the importance of the analogy. Interestingly enough, that racist bent is still present in the SBC today… It’s just a little more subtle, that’s all. I know this firsthand and would dare anyone to challenge me on it. Jus’ sayin’
Dee, you know that I know you are not baiting the convo by making the comparison to slavery. The argument isn’t that this is worse or as in direct comparison to slavery, but that the Bible is being used in the same way to support the suppresion of a group of people, namely women, in the same way that it was used to support a “race” of people, African-Americans. It doesn’t matter the level of suffering but simply that Christ came to free the oppressed, set the captives free. And yet, men are using Scripture to violate and counter the very will of Christ, who wills our freedom.
Thanks for pointing me to more resources. However, the complexity of these issues are so deep I don’t believe I will ever resolve them all to my own satisfaction. Sometimes it seems that the Bible is pretty clear on some points, other times it seems that common sense should lead, and it doesn’t always seem like the two agree. Hay carumba.
Miguel, my own standard is this: if I’m going to err (which I certainly will from time to time), I’d rather err on the side of love and mercy than on the side of judgment and exclusion. The standard is Christ’s own statement of the two greatest commandments: Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. And loving your neighbor is defined as doing to others as you would have done to you. So– if you wouldn’t want to be told that because of your genetics at birth, you are to be forever restricted to subordinate positions (“roles” is a misnomer) in the church and home– then don’t do it to someone else. Enough said.
Thanks for the kind words. I have much hope in the ultimate goodness and freedom in our God; thanks to you, and so many others who are pointing out that life in Christ is refreshingly free indeed. In SGM the call to change one’s life…no, one’s very identity, to conform to an extrabibilcal and suffocating man-made standard is oppressive and palpable. So glad to see Christ with new eyes.
So…I guess “angry” is the new and presumably final piece in the anti-blog trifecta. Gossip, slander, and [now] ANGER. After that…who knows. Hard to say with this group, since they will NEVER concede a point. I just hope that you and Deb aren’t vegans! [gasp!]
It doesn’t matter the level of suffering but simply that Christ came to free the oppressed, set the captives free. And yet, men are using Scripture to violate and counter the very will of Christ, who wills our freedom. — NLR
And “men of sin” will always glom onto any Cosmic-level authority — Bible, Koran, Marx, Freud, Nature, whatever — for Cosmic-level Justification of what they wanted to do anyway.
I believe this is an example of locking the barn after the horse has been stolen. There have been too many news stories about authoritarian pastors mishandling sexual predators in their churches and abusing victims, and this post is an effort to save some aspect of male authority when it is clear that fundamentalists and ultra-conservative evangelicals have gone way too far.
You said “the complexity of these issues are so deep I don’t believe I will ever resolve them all to my own satisfaction.” I, too, have come to a similar conclusion. There are several issues in which theologians and philosophers far more educated than I cannot agree. I instead read with interest and smile at the slings and arrows that those who know “without a doubt what the Bible says on X” throw at one another.
You may have more of a humanist streak in you than you realize. As I’ve written here before, humanism and Christianity are NOT the mutually exclusive spheres some fervent ideologues (evangelicals) would have you believe. ===> (smiley face goes here)
Wow, good point. Cosmic-justification. Thats really huge if you try and wrap your mind around it. I gotta go and think about that one. (signs off)
This whole issue of what the Bible “really” teaches about women is THE reason I started searching out Church History. Ultimately, it has led me to believe that the Bible teaches that Women are to be servants/slaves to their husbands and are to be silent (as in-no singing, talking, teaching etc…) To say the Bible doesn’t plainly teach this is to ignore the literal teaching of the pastoral Epistles.
This very issue has also led me believing that the Bible is not God’s word. If God does want women to participate in the life of the church, than why didn’t he make sure he was clear in the Scriptures he inspired? He surely should have seen the 2,000 years of misery, mistreatment, and murder that has occurred by the NT teaching on women. Why didn’t he make sure he was clear?
Doubtful, first of all, the “pastoral epistles” are not. They were not written to teach men how to be pastors. They were directives to certain individuals about how to deal with specific problems with particular congregations. To misunderstand that is to start off on the wrong foot as far as what is going on in the letters to Timothy and Titus, which can lead to a misunderstanding of what individual sections are about.
With regards to the “women be silent” passage in 1 Cor. 14, how can that be something the Bible “plainly” teaches when a few pages earlier, in Chapter 11, Paul talks about women praying and prophesying in church meetings– and asks only that they keep their heads covered when they do so? Maybe the “literal teaching” of these passages is being taken out of context and thus misunderstood. It is quite likely that Paul was actually quoting something the Corinthians had said to him, in order to refute it. I’d urge you to do more reading on this topic before making a final decision as to what’s going on.
There is also the issue that maybe these passages were perfectly clear to their original audiences, but we are now misunderstanding them because we have divorced the scriptures from their historical-cultural context. Women participated fully in church leadership for the first few centuries after Christ. Was it the Scriptures that changed, or the church’s understanding of them? History shows that it was not until the 4th century that male leaders in the church decided to forbid female leadership. Was that God’s fault, or the fault of the male leaders?
Please have a look at this blog post of mine regarding “plain-sense” readings of the Bible and how they can lead to misunderstandings:
You might also find this helpful, about what it means to “take the Bible seriously”:
So how should the pastoral epistles be read?
As for 1 Corinthians….why would God allow for such contradictory teaching to occur? 1 Corinthians alone proves my frustration that scripture is clear as mud on this issue, and it has caused great harm to women because it is so unclear and contradictory.
As for reading, I have been on this topic since 1988. I can’t make a square fit in a round hole….the Bible teaches horrible things about Women and continues to be one of the main sources of abuse towards women in Christian society. I have tried putting on the rose colored glasses, and played scripture wars to try and make it seem like the God of love would never say those things (in the way he seems to), but it is intellectually dishonest to do so.
I will check out your links and get back to you.
Read your links (love the picture of Canon Beach), and your position is exactly what I tried to believe and taught for over 10 years.
But your assertions that a cultural understanding is the key does not solve the issues….if Paul worked within his culture and did not proclaim slavery or male supremacy as sinful, then why should we assume that it is? How do we know when to toss out a command as just cultural and when not to? Again, why couldn’t just been clear….he could’ve inspired Paul to say to not beat your wives or children, don’t own other people and deprive them of their freedom, etc….but he didn’t.
Why didn’t he just teach it to be wrong, without all the nibbling around the edges about love, so that….maybe in 1500 years or so, you’ll figure out why this is such a terrible thing to do to another human? I just don’t get it…and I won’t believe in a God who can’t just say what he believes to be true and good, without all the confusion, contradictions, and pandering to his audiences “culture” so that they will follow him.
Sorry if this is harsh in tone, it’s not directed at you personally. I just have given up on the Bible because of this very issue.
In the first century, in some parts of the world, the only woman without her hair and her head covered would be a prostitute or a temple prostitute.
Second, I believe that Paul is quoting back to them something that they wrote to him regarding head covering, and not setting forth policy for the church.
Question to consider: Paul clearly and forcefully says that “in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female.” Now we know that in other places he touts all Christians as being free, as that was the purpose of Christ on earth, as Jesus taught in Luke 4. And we know that Paul said that circumcision, the top issue of the OT law, was nothing for Christians. So why do humans insist on interpreting Paul as saying that head covering is important or that women should not be as free as their male counterparts?
The translators almost always insert the masculine pronoun in the NT translations where “one” would be more appropriate in the context. Keep in mind that a congregation of one man and ten women would result in pronouns and other forms referring to a congregation of 11 men. But then we interpret everything to support male supremacy, given that the indefinite gender is always a masculine form for verbs, etc.
We end up with ridiculous issues to deal with. For example, some believe that a person without spouse and children cannot be a pastor or elder, because the NT says that to be an elder one must manage their household well.
God gave us common sense. And our failure to use in when reading scripture is SIN, because it diminishes the central message, which is that we have been redeemed by the God of Love and justice, who seeks to adopt us and treat us as siblings of the Christ, with an inheritance that is greater than all of the world’s wealth combined. So why do we oppress ourselves with this nonsense?
For quite some time, patriarchy pushers like Doug Phillips, Scott Brown, and C.J. Mahaney have worked hard to “court” high positioned men in Baptist circles. One thing you have to give them credit for is their keen ability to schmooze. Brown’s wife, Deborah, is the veritable queen of two-faced glory.
I suspect that many of the higher ups in Baptist circles have never delved deeply enough into the teachings of these men to see the full error of their ways. I believe that, thanks to blogs like Wartburg and Survivors, more people are seeing the light and the truth is trickling up to the big dogs who either see continuing association with this bunch of losers as detrimental, or who possibly see association as giving credibility to outright heresy.
Like doctors protecting one another’s reputations, these men are not likely to openly expose any of their own “profession” so they opt instead to downplay the teachings instead.
If Dr. Walter Martin were still alive, he might be more bold in exposing these cultists.
” didn’t he just teach it to be wrong, without all the nibbling around the edges about love, so that….maybe in 1500 years or so, you’ll figure out why this is such a terrible thing to do to another human?”
God is much much smarter than we are. Humans are complex. Achieving radical change from what people have been programmed into not only from birth and choice, but from family generations, is tricky. Some will never accept the changes, holding stubbornly onto the comfortable traditions. Some things can be demanded with reason. Most things require more real life proof and something else that involves enlightenment of the soul, which is really difficult to achieve. Just as God waited a couple thousand years before He sent His Son, The Messiah, so God has waited to show humanity other points of truth when we were more ready to hear them.
Yet, they are hidden in His Words for those so inclined to search His Word. For those who have ears to hear and eyes to see, the truths of godly love, mutuality, true spirituality and so forth are all there throughout Scripture.
God is much much smarter than we are. Humans are complex. Achieving radical change from what people have been programmed into not only from birth and choice, but from family generations, is tricky. Some will never accept the changes, holding stubbornly onto the comfortable traditions. — TL
Several years ago at an SF convention, a Jewish contact of mine talked about honor killings, slavery, and the Wisdom of Torah.
You see, all Semitic tribes had honor killings (such as when your unmarried daughter got pregnant), including the early Jews. If Torah had simply forbidden them, they would have done them anyway in secret. So Torah allowed them, but they had to be authorized by the Elders of the town, in public “at the gates”. In front of everybody. Since the whole idea of an honor killing is to keep the matter quiet (“If nobody knows of my sin, I Am Not Shamed. Dead Men Tell No Tales.”), having to get public permission negated the whole point.
I wish I could repost your comments at Relevant and all the other sites that are re-pubbing this article. I had also been struck by how much his view did indeed seem to be a departure from the CBMW stance.
I have Martin’s Kingdom of the Cults. It is a great book.
Yes, these guys are masters of manipulation of not only high-profile leaders but of their followers. Hopefully, the internet is playing a big role in exposing them.
Did you see that R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s wife died last Sunday. She had been battling leukemia, and she leaves behind her husband and eight children. I guess that’s one of the downsides of Quiverfull. My heart breaks for the children she leaves behind.
Doubtful, it seems to me like your questions come down to a “theodicy” issue– that is, this is part of the “why does God allow bad things/why does God let humans hurt one another?” big question.
I think you might find the Doxa pages of interest. The author has an MA in theology; he is not an evangelical, but tends more to the liberal side of the faith. His approach might resonate with you. Here’s his essay on free will and why God doesn’t just make everything clear and easy:
He also has some interesting thoughts on the Bible and Bible interpretation. If the evangelical approach does not make sense to you, some of this might.
Please keep a couple things in mind when reading these: 1) the author is dyslexic, and though he has tried to edit his site for spelling errors, he has not caught them all; and 2) sometimes he seems to speak disparagingly of “atheists” as a group, when what he’s really talking about is a small group of what I call “fundamentalist” atheists who are determined to eradicate all religious belief. But I have found this website very helpful, even where I don’t agree.
I might also point out that the household structure where the “pater familias” ruled his slaves, children and wife was considered by Rome to the backbone of its empire. If Paul had said, “Free your slaves; slaves and women need no longer submit,” Rome would have come down on the infant movement like a tiger on a pen of lambs. . .
This is nothing really new to introduce into the conversation, but these things Russell Moore says (about “women stop submitting to men”) are absolutely contrary to the complementarian manifesto “Redicovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”.
I read most of this big book a few years ago, trying to understand this new thing i was encountering (in a church i was new to). At the time, the only word I had for this new thing I had never experienced before (anywhere, in church or elsewhere) was “discrimination” (i was familiar enough with the fact of discrimination, just couldn’t believe how shamelessly it was being practiced — in a God environment, no less).
After poring over the book in earnest, i decided the better term was “discrimination as ordained by God” (otherwise known as complementarianism / patriarchy / headship).
This “Rediscovering Biblical (whatevers)” book goes out of its way to make an airtight, watertight case that women are to submit to men, at all times and in all places. Except they like Margaret Thatcher (conservative superstar and Ronald Reagan peer that she was) and had to explain her away, and so they added the caveat that only in extremely unique situations should someone like Margaret Thatcher ever happen.
The point of CBMW’s treatise is clearly that womanhood is to submit to manhood.
Unless I’m misunderstanding you, I can see the reason for your disagreement. It would seem you hold to the fundamental hiearchical belief that wives are to subordinate themselves to their husband’s authority, and women in general are subordinate to male leadership w/in the church.
As I see it, you ‘forbidding’ your daughters from doing anything from the assumed position of being the male ‘head’ of the household is an inaccurate position, regardless of what you are allowing or disallowing. The fact you are a parent is an appropriate position from which to be guiding your children’s behavior, in agreement with your wife. But if you are assuming that you hold a position of greater authority over the whole of your family based on your gender alone, I would have to say that you are standing on shaky theological ground.
If this is the case, then I can understand why you would disagree with male-hierarchy not being the primary systemic issue in SGM.
I am completely unimpressed with Russell Moore. That guy is creating messes while thinking he is resolving them. Holy cow! Somebody needs to put him in his place!
Of course I don’t want to see blacks enslaved again…it’s one of the reasons that I’ve given up on the Bible. It’s a book whose ethics are unclear at best, and immoral on most of the big issues.
We have oppressed ourselves with this nonsense because it is clearly taught in the New Testament. Again, it is not because we are sinful, it is because a plain reading of the text would lead us to believe that women submitting to men and slaves to their masters is the Christ like thing to do.
It’s only when we practice these things or observe them up close do we realize how horrible these teachings are and start looking for a way to get the Bible off the hook, since we all have been taught that it is the word of God. At least, that’s how I see it…
You’re idea that their are hidden ideas in the plain teaching of scripture almost sounds Gnostic.
I don’t find the idea of God standing back and letting humanity (and even the church)kill, rape, and enslave each other for thousands of years comforting. The whole “his timing is not our timing” or “his ways are not our ways” seems to be be an excuse for God’s lack of moral action.
If I had the power to stop someone from hurting my children or even a stranger, but failed to act…it would be called immoral by most. Why not more so for a being that can see all, know all, and is all powerful?
You say that Romans would’ve come down on the church for preaching freedom of slaves, women, and children…to which I say, so what?
Wouldn’t God be able to protect those that dared preach the truth, that these things a horrible and unjust? If the morality of the early church was no different than the average Roman, than what is the point?
Again, thanks to all and your responses….sorry to not have gotten back earlier, but I was at work until closing time.
Kristen, I will read your link and get back to you….
anon1, I was the one who brought up Fee on 1 Cor 14 and textual issues. For some reason the blog accidentally dumped my comment in as Anonymous. Be careful not to lump all Anonymous comments in to an undifferentiated mass. 🙂
I don’t get the Piper fondness and think Fee’s case that the “silence” is a later interpolation and interrupts the actual logic of Paul’s argument in 1 Cor 14 to be compelling, but I’m too rusty on the MS issues that some other people say Fee skates over to field it. Plus I’ve got real world concerns like job-hunting that are a distraction. Fee is Assemblies of God (Pentecostal) so it’s not all that shocking he’d appreciate the value of an egalitarian perspective more than a bunch of Baptist sticks in the mud. 😉
“Plain” reading of the text is the problem; you are not reading all of it in the context. You do not take into account the clearest reading of Paul: “In Christ, there is neither . . ..” What the distinctions Paul advocated elsewhere were and are solely accommodations to the culture of the time. As Paul said, he would become anything for the purpose of the Gospel. He also said often, that Christ died to set us free, as Christ himself said was his mission, see Luke 4.
Jesus died to set us free from oppression. Masculinism is part of the sin resulting from the fall. Paul was willing to work within a culture that mandated that women be neither seen nor heard in many portions of the Roman empire, in order to further the Gospel.
IF you insist on masculinism, you are refusing to be IN CHRIST, but choosing to remain in sin. You are putting yourself and those who believe as you do back under the oppression of sin.
BTW, unless you are reading the earliest Greek manuscripts, you cannot be making a plain reading of the text. All of the English translations suffer from skewing by the translators, who make choices to fit their theology and ecclesiology, as well as their culture biases.
“Fee is Assemblies of God (Pentecostal) so it’s not all that shocking he’d appreciate the value of an egalitarian perspective more than a bunch of Baptist sticks in the mud.”
One would never know that listening to his lectures and reading his books. How To Read The Bible For All It is Worth is an excellent starter book for those who want to learn but not to go seminary. He taught at Wheaton, Gordon Conwell, and is now at Regent (with such notables as the Calvinist JI Packer whose egal wife does not even attend church with him!)
So not sure how AofG can explain everything considering his bio. He has done his homework on the woman question and tends to shy away from discussing it because it is so divisive. He is a very deep theologian. Some of his lectures are simply brilliant. You can find a few on youtube. He is an expert on the NT in textual criticism.
And just to make sure there are no misunderstandings, The SBC was much more mutualist 40 years ago than it is today. Women served all over in SBC churches before the CR. My mom was one of them. She taught men all the time. No one thought a thing about it until it became a sin after the CR.
Doubtful, What you are really arguing for is for God to treat us like robots. Where is our responsibility for studying in context? Doing the hard work? If you look at the OT, God worked around bad people all the time. It is why we have the law. He regulated sin. Why did he allow polygamy? Becasue of sin and it actually helped women in that horrible culture. What you are arguing about is really the devestating effects of sin since the fall.
I can remember reading the law that said women who gave birth to a daughter had to be in confinement longer than with a son. I always thought that meant daughters were less than males. But God showed me something while reading one day. He showed me that His law helped women. Sinful man wanted a male and would try real soon after having a daughter to try for a male. A mother needed time to bond with the baby girl and heal. So the law helped her do that.
It is not God but sinful man. And unlike Calvinistas, some of us believe we have a choice to sin or not. We have free will.
The question is really: Why are people so evil they would translate God’s Holy word to benefit themselves and hurt others?
There is a passage in Isaiah that was translated to make women sinful that is a very wrong translation. (I don’t have time to look it up) Catherine Bushnell spent years diving into this sort of thing, learning Hebrew and Greek in order to teach truth. I really recommend her book: God’s Word to Women.
She had all sorts of experts critique every lesson in her book and she put the findings in her footnotes. That book is a big lesson for us all. And it will astonish you. What you think is God endorsing women to be treated horribly is just the opposite. In fact, if you read Gen 3 close, you will see that Eve made a horrible choice. She choose to ‘turn” to Adam and he ruled over her.
I can relate to what you are saying. There was a time I had a hard time with scripture. But that is before I understood the deceit of sinful man even when it comes to the things of God. Look at the YRR! If people believe them then God is a tyrant Who is thrilled that you go to hell.
But our God is long suffering and patient with us. Someone mentioned earlier all the years before Messiah. He always warned people over and over. He sent prophets over and over. And He reserved his biggest rebukes for those who were religious leaders! Those who twisted His Word. And they live among us today.
anon1, I grew up in Assemblies of God churches in Oregon and Fee is also a native Oregonian. Coming from the same state and denominational background as Fee I ended up learning about his denominational affiliation due to what might be called an unfair homecourt advantage. I learned about Fee from an Assemblies of God youth pastor who introduced me to Solzhenitsyn and Francis Schaeffer and could actually talk about Kierkegaard’s works. It may be that Oregonian Assemblies of God folks buck the denomination’s cultural trends? If so I count myself fortunate. 🙂
WTH, this is very good to know. Thanks for sharing! I was concerned people might think him unscholarly because of AofG connections.
Deb said, “Did you see that R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s wife died last Sunday. She had been battling leukemia, and she leaves behind her husband and eight children. I guess that’s one of the downsides of Quiverfull. My heart breaks for the children she leaves behind.”
Yes, Deb, very sad. Let’s pray he remarries and finds a woman who has a full quiver of love for those children.
Dear Scooter’s Mum
Complementarians love to use proof texts but conveniently ignore other archaisms. We need a new language for the authority of Scripture, for much of Scripture is no longer relevant. The following article points out how absurd it is to hold that all of the Bible is inerrant and infallible.
We, in the Lutheran Church of Australia, have been discussing women’s ordination for decades, but current presidential leadership is making its reality difficult.