“About three weeks left in a 355-day flight, my doctors for the first time said, ‘Hey, congratulations, you only have three weeks left’ I said, ‘Never talk to me about how much time I have left. I only have today, every day.’ I would have been miserable if I was counting off the days to some bright event in the future. That isn’t living in the moment. It isn’t paying enough attention to the gift of the day I’m living.” – Mark Vande Hei, the record holder for longest space flight by a NASA astronaut.” (He took the photo above.)
(I’m having trouble with Grammarly which helps with some editing. I’m trying to get it resolved.)
This has been on my mind in recent months. I have become aware of some theologians rethinking what they said in earlier years. Because they were well known during the beginnings of the theodudes movement, their words were recorded for posterity. As they back away from some of their earlier statements, do they ever take a moment to say, “I’m sorry?’
Russell Moore just wrote in Christianity Today ” Let’s Rethink the Evangelical Gender Wars subtitled:
“Maybe the lines of division between egalitarians and complementarians were in the wrong places.”
In 2004, he said that the teaching of Beth Moore was a” gateway drug to radical feminism.” He admits it.
Last year I came across stinging words of rebuke against the ministry of Beth Moore. Her preaching and teaching was a “gateway drug to radical feminism,” said a young conservative. I found the rhetoric appalling, but I couldn’t tell that to the author of those words because he no longer exists. He was Russell Moore, circa 2004.
I was wrong about Beth Moore, but I’m even more chastened by the phrase gateway drug. The gender debate between complementarians and egalitarians was often fraught because it was a debate about just that: which views were “gateway drugs” to what abyss, which “slippery slopes” led to what error.
Some were convinced that egalitarians would lead us away from what the Bible declares to be good: that God designed us as male and female, that we need both mothers and fathers, that sexual expression is limited to the union of husband and wife. Meanwhile, others warned that complementarian arguments wrongly used Scripture the way an earlier generation did to defend white supremacy and slavery.
He claims he was both wrong and chastened by his ridiculous overstatement of Moore’s teaching. I wish he could have said, “I’m sorry.” Perhaps he said it directly to Moore with whom he appears to share a cordial relationship. Perhaps she directly forgave him before he was summarily “chastened.” At least he mentioned that he was wrong. However, when one of the theodudes makes a mistake, it affects many more people than one. Take Mark Driscoll…
Moore has, until recently, been part of that Calvinista theodude movement. Do he and others realize that their words live forever on the Internet and are readily available to those who read?
Evangelical women live as feminists.
Here is a 2005 article in the Baptist Press: Many evangelicals unwittingly live as feminists, Moore says. This reviewed some of his comments.
Many complementarians are living according to egalitarian presumptions, and research has shown many conservative and evangelical households to be among the “softest” when it comes to familial harmony, relational happiness and emotional health, Moore said.
“Evangelicals maintain headship in the sphere of ideas, but practical decisions are made in most evangelical homes through a process of negotiation, mutual submission, and consensus,” Moore said. “That’s what our forefathers would have called feminism — and our foremothers, too.”
Egalitarian views are carrying the day within evangelical churches and homes, Moore said, because complementarians have not dealt sufficiently with the forces that drive the feminist impulse: Western notions of consumerism and therapy.
Patriarchy is a better word than complementarianism.
…If evangelical homes and churches are to recover from the confusion of egalitarianism, Moore said, they must embrace a full-orbed vision of biblical patriarchy that restores the male to his divinely ordained station as head of the home and church.
Moore pointed out that the word “patriarchy” has developed negative connotations, even among evangelicals, in direct proportion to the rise of so-called “evangelical feminism,” a movement that began in the 1970s. But the historic Christian faith itself is built upon a thoroughly biblical vision of patriarchy, he said.
“Evangelicals should ask why patriarchy seems negative to those of us who serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — the God and Father of Jesus Christ,” Moore said.
“We must remember that ‘evangelical’ is also a negative term in many contexts. We must allow the patriarchs and apostles themselves, not the editors of ‘Playboy’ or ‘Ms. Magazine,’ to define the grammar of our faith.”
Egalitarianism leads to open theism and a rejection of divine Fatherhood.
An embrace of biblical patriarchy also protects the doctrine of God from aberrations such as the impersonal deity of Protestant liberalism and the unstable “most moved mover” of open theism, he said.
A rejection of male headship leads to a redefinition of divine Fatherhood and divine sovereignty, Moore said. He pointed to open theism (a view that argues God’s knowledge of the future is limited) as an example of the dangers of rejecting biblical patriarchy. Open theism is built upon a denial of the Scripture’s portrayal of God as the sovereign Head of His creation, he said.
Moore hates the word complementarianism.
The link no longer works but we also recorded them in TWW. Moore’s words are carefully recorded by the Bayly Brothers in Russel Moore: “I hate the term ‘complementarian.’
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 complemnetarianism 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…
Mark Dever: So, Randy (Stinson of the Council on Biblical
Manhood and Womanhood), are you rewriting the CBMW materials to take
out the term complementarianism?
Best thing they could do, but don’t hold your breath…
CJ Mahaney is the bomb when it comes to complementarianism.
Although the post Reimagining Patriarchy, exists, the original paper does not. Back in 2011, when no one was reading g TWW, we quoted the following when we were able to read the whole paper which was presented. Russell Moore Tells Women to Stop Submitting to Men.
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.”
As time has gone on, Moore left his position as dean at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to become the head of the SBC’s ERLC. When things got dicey, he ditched the ERLC and the SBC by attending a non-SBC church and becoming, for now, the editor-in-chief at Christianity Today.
Moore has undergone a theological transformation although we don’t know yet to what extent. Time will tell. In the meantime, I think it would be helpful if Moore attempted an apology. When I was reading his remarks in the early days of TWW, I knew that I had little in common with him, except maybe the Apostles’ Creed. I think it might be nice for him to say, “I’m sorry. I’ve changed.” Until that happens, color me confused. Maybe he only apologizes in private? Is there any humility or is it just some sort of “Oops, I made a little mistake?”