April 2, 2020

Review: Evangelical Feminism: A New Path To Liberalism? by Wayne Grudem

Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?Wayne Grudem is accumulating an impressive collection of credentials as an influential theologian within conservative evangelicalism. Grudem’s Systematic Theology is as close to a standard evangelical theology as you can find today. His writing on Biblical prophecy is standard reading for anyone interested in issues debated among charismatic and cessationist evangelicals. His work on gender is gaining authoritative status and quickly earning him the mantle of “most widely cited” theologian among conservative evangelicals.

Grudem’s new book, Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism, is a definitive book for complementarians looking for an organized, well-written collection of arguments against the growing acceptance of egalitarianism among evangelicals. The book’s 263 pages are made up of short chapters, clearly stated arguments and responses, representative quotes, extensive footnote documentation, and a willingness to get to the point without embarrassment. The reader is never in doubt about where Grudem is going or what he believes is at stake.

Grudem’s book is the first easily accessible comprehensive answer to the full range of pro-egalitarian arguments found throughout evangelicalism. Grudem knows his intellectual opponents, and believes, in fact, that he knows where they are going better than they do. Central to Grudem’s book is the argument that the theological and Biblical reasoning used to under gird egalitarianism is the same argumentation used to support what he calls “liberal” theological conclusions regarding women’s ordination, homosexuality and a general rejection of the plain and obvious reading of the Biblical message.

Grudem’s thesis is refreshingly easy to grasp, and he doesn’t hesitate to name names. (In fact, one wonders at times, especially when naming book endorsers, if Grudem wants to primarily engage arguments or personalities, schools and publishing houses.) From well known schools to denominations to books and scholars, Grudem lays out how, from his point of view, liberal-leaning egalitarianism has penetrated into evangelicalism, bringing with it a rejection of the plain teaching of the Bible on women’s roles in the family and women’s ordination to pastoral ministry.

Unlike books that see one grand error, conspiracy or historical shift as the culprit in theology, Grudem sees a diverse variety of flawed interpretations, unsupportable assertions and politically/culturally influenced moves affecting evangelicals who have adopted egalitarianism. He is deeply concerned that the plain and undeniable sense of Biblical passages has been rejected, that inerrancy is at stake and that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the freedom of eglitarianism, but the train wreck of liberalism.

Each chapter is a tight, documented, presentation leading to the conclusion that each egalitarian argument is a prelude to liberalism. By liberalism, Grudem, means the ordination of women and various levels of approving homosex behavior in the church. In this regard, Grudem is engaging in a “slippery slope” argument that is highly controlled by what has happened to liberals in the past. This “slippery slope,” however, is not a scare tactic. The slide is obvious there, and much of previous evangelicalism disappeared down it.

One line of response to Grudem, however, will need to be how accurately he portrays and autopsies liberalism in the mainline denominations. My impression is that what Grudem identifies as a collapse of Biblical authority in the mainlines is accurate up to a point, but that its worst developments- Gene Robinson and homosex ordination and marriage- owe more to the political takeovers of these denominations than to a loss of presumed inerrancy of the Bible. Grudem seems to assume that liberal Biblical scholars are controlled by their presuppositions on these texts, and he may be right. Many of those scholars could write similar books on how conservatives seem similarly blind to texts dealing with economics, justice, community and discipleship But Grudem is exactly right to point out that the mainline liberals engage in a kind of Biblical interpretation that is often controlled not by the text, but by the goals and presupposed agendas of the groups using the Bible. I would suggest that such a warning could be heeded by all concerned, and not just on gender issues.

Grudem acknowledges at several places that there are egalitarian complementarians who do not follow the pied piper into the woods of approving of homosex behavior. He also acknowledges that other issues of interpretation, such as head coverings and slavery, have a place at the same table of discussion.

Central to Grudem’s thesis is the assumption that male headship is a transcultural issue, taught clearly in Genesis 1-3, is not a result of sin and ties together New Testament and Old Testament texts on the subject without strain or contradiction. On page 40, he lists the aspects of Genesis 1-2 that he believes endorse male headship.

The man is alone in the garden.
The man is told to work and keep the garden.
God’s command to the man to eat and not eat.
God saying it is not good for man to be alone.
God bringing the beasts to the man to name.
The man naming the creatures.
There not being a fit helper for man.
God causing a deep sleep to come upon the man and creating woman from a rib.

I’ve been teaching Bible survey for more than a decade with students in grades 10-12. We do a close reading of Genesis 1-3- taking more than a week- because I am confident that the main emphases of the texts are available to the average reader without scholarly subtlety. Grudem’s assessment that the texts above teach that female subjection was part of the created order is, frankly, amazing to me. It isn’t that one cannot, from a particular standpoint, see these texts as suggesting that position. It is that the plainest, simplest reading of these texts seem to not be about that question at all and I cannot believe that, left alone, most readers would come to such a conclusion without the presumption already present.

The primary text- the controlling text- is not some description of Adam in the garden, but the clear statement that both male and female are made in God’s image according to Genesis 1:26-27. Here biology is clearly and unequivocally subjected to the truth of being made- mutually- in God’s image. When this is combined with the New Covenant statements of our fullness in Christ, there is a strong argument that the primary truths should be those most stressed by the text.

I do not believe Grudem would deny this, and I am not saying he fails to appreciate it. I am saying that if the case for female subjection is made, it’s made in plainest form in chapter 3, in the curse resulting from sin, not in creation.

I am sure that most readers are aware that many egalitarians and those of us leaning that direction are not convinced that those details of the creation story listed above were intended to teach an original subjection of women to men. That subjection is explicitly spelled out in Genesis 3:16, a text Grudem only cites once.

Gen 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

The statement that man will rule over woman seems an oddly out of place if eight previous citations in Genesis were meant to bring the reader to the conclusion that subjection was the original intent, and not the result of the fall. Even Paul’s statements in I Corinthians regarding the priority of Adam in creation doesn’t build the case the same way complementarians read the details of Genesis.

Grudem also spends two chapters dealing with the various versions of the “trajectory” theories that state that the direction of New Covenant teaching may not be completed in the New Testament. Grudem does an outstanding job faulting these theories for their complexities, but he does a less in dealing with the nagging questions such theories leave any serious reader of the New Testament: Should women teach men at all, in any capacity, in or out of the church? Should women wear head coverings? Is slavery still acceptable today?

I am impressed with Grudem’s confidence that the trajectory methodology is not needed because of the consistency and plainness of scripture. I await his book resolving the question of baptism and the sacraments, divisions in Christian doctrine that are also build on plain texts interpreted in similar ways, with similar results.

Many of us who lean toward some version of egalitarianism share Grudem’s distaste for the casting aside of scriptural authority, but we are also engaged in a discussion of the nature of that authority, where it resides and how it works. Homosex is clearly not a trajectory issue, but a social and political one. Genesis is specific on created nature and the nature of marriage. The discussion on the role of women in the church, it seems to me, is of a different kind. We are not debating what is the role of homosex in the church, but there are no conservative evangelicals who give women no role in the church at all. The question is, even for complementarians, what does that role look like?

Grudem would allow women to prophesy, I’m sure. How many of those reading this book would agree? What would Pentecostals who allow women to pastor and affirm inerrancy say? Grudem acknowledges that passages in I Corinthians speak about women praying and prophesying, but also of those same women being silent and not teaching or having authority. Evangelicals who endorse Grudem’s views are a long way from agreeing on what they look like in practice.

Is Beth Moore teaching men? Does she have pastoral authority when she preaches from the Bible? At what age must men teach men? (Pity the small group minister who must segregate all small groups by gender and find same sex leaders for those middle schoolers.) What can women do and say in church? If we agree they cannot be elders, can they create blogs and denounce elders? Can they write books saying what teaching elders say?

How do the principles Grudem articulates work out in the interaction between the Christian and the secular world? Can Condi Rice be President but not an elder of her church? It doesn’t trouble me at all if that is the case, but I want conservative evangelicals to talk about these issues. I want to know how to tell my daughter that she is saved by staying home and having children.

Grudem’s work is absolutely must reading for all sides. It’s a book I will read and reread. I’ll recommend it and but it on my resource shelf. His warnings and analysis deserve to be heard. (Those who don’t want Gordon Fee or other respected scholars to be hauled out to the woodshed need to avoid this book. Grudem is unsparing.) It’s easily one of the most appealing, convincing and persuasive cases from the inerrantist side of this debate.

Many of us look at scripture’s authority in a way differently than Grudem does. Grudem well represents the way that inerrantists evaluate arguments that deal with the text differently than they do. Those of us who believe that Jesus Christ is the way we hear and understand the message of the Bible must still answer the challenges raised by the texts themselves. For us, the question is how does Jesus Christ illuminate all of scripture? Is a post-evangelical way of reading scripture automatically the “liberal” slippery slope? Or is there, in a Christ-illuminated reading of the texts, resources for understanding questions that must, eventually, move beyond biology to the discussion of humanity in Christ?

Grudem’s warning to those of us who believe that cultural contexts are critical in the ongoing issues of gender and authority is on-target. There are wrong ways of reasoning, fallacious arguments and dishonest agendas lurking everywhere. If there is, in the fullness of God’s grace that comes to each person in Christ, the freedom to choose roles of unrestricted ministry in the church, then such freedom must come from the honest interpretation of texts in the light of the Final Word himself. Grudem’s book is a true gift to all evangelicals in that regard.

I don’t want to be or become the kind of liberal Grudem warns about. I don’t believe all those who are egalitarians in some measure are in danger of doing so. But the danger is real, the texts are there, and the discussion needs to continue. This is a benchmark work in that discussion. I hope Grudem’s central thesis is wrong, but that will be up to those of us who insist we believe in Biblical authority to demonstrate.

A copy of this book was furnished to the reviewer by the publisher.

Comments

  1. > I am saying that if the case for female subjection is made, it’s made in plainest form in chapter 3, in the curse, not in creation.

    I don’t think the apostle Paul would agree with you. His apologetic for subjection was clearly drawn from pre-curse conditions (see 1 Timothy 2:13-14 and 1 Corinthians 11:8). Evidently, he and his hearers found the case for subjection made plainly enough without referencing God’s malediction.

    But to say that subjection is a result of the fall puts Paul in an even more awkward position. Not only is he using an obscure text when a clearer one is readily available, Paul is now arguing that churches should exemplify characteristics that came about as a result of mankind’s fall into sin! Is there any other characteristic of the church in which Paul advances this kind of argument?

  2. Good comment, and it follows Grudem exactly. It’s a strong argument, but I’m not sure I believe that every rabbinic view of a text settles all interpretation.

    I simply can’t see how we are disallowing from reading the plain sense of Genesis on its own.

    EXAMPLE: The NT says that Lot was a righteous man, vexed by unrighteousness, etc. Is that what YOU come out of Genesis 12-19 thinking about Lot?

  3. > I am saying that if the case for female subjection is made, it’s made in plainest form in chapter 3, in the curse, not in creation.

    I tend to agree for the text is pretty clear in Gen. 1:26-27. “Man” was made in the image and likeness of God and was to have dominion (rule, authority, etc.). Verse 27 is clear that the word “man” in verse 26 is not defined as “Adam,” but as both the male and female. It is not until chapter 3 that you can make some case for female subjection.

  4. Thank you for responding, Michael.

    > I’m not sure I believe that every rabbinic view of a text settles all interpretation.

    I agree, but nobody suggests that Paul’s few statements will settle all angles of interpretation of Genesis. Nor would anyone suggest that a single reference in 2 Peter pretends to be a comprehensive summary of the Lot’s life, or even an explanation of how he was considered righteous.

    However, if I wish to follow Jesus, and consequently desire to hold the same position on scriptural authority that He did, and find myself blessed with a case of scripture interpreting itself, what is my reaction? I am compelled to give that interpretation an authority far above my own.

    Hello Beggar,

    Applying your hermeneutic of “man” = “male and female” to Genesis 2 results in a jumbled mess. Try it and see. But Gen 2 is the chapter from which each of Michael’s examples of Grudem’s endorsements of male headship was taken.

  5. LeightonTebay says

    I am saying that if the case for female subjection is made, it’s made in plainest form in chapter 3, in the curse resulting from sin, not in creation.
    Thank you, this is a very solid point. Why would female subjection be a curse if it was already in place?

    I think Paul’s appeal back to Genesis in 1Tim 2 was merely to illustrate deception just as he did in 2Cor 11:3.

    I really thought the 1tim passage was solid until I saw it laid out in a very literal translation. Here it is in the RSV.

    12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

    Follow the logic

    1) I permit no woman to teach or have authority over a man
    2) she is to keep silent
    3) For Adam was formed first
    4) Then Eve
    5) And Adam was not deceived
    6) But the woman was deceived
    7) and became a transgressor
    8) Yet she will be saved through childbearing
    9) provided they continue in faith
    10) and love
    11) and holiness
    12) with modesty.

    At point 2 “she” is every woman
    At point 6 “woman” is Eve
    At point 8 who is she – logically it must be Eve.
    At point 9 the subject changes to plural “they”

    If this passage is about all women everywhere it doesn’t make sense. As I look at there must be something going on here that we don’t see. I’m inclined to believe it had something to do with the unwed widows causing problems in Ephesus. I believe Paul is addressing them.

    How can a woman be saved through childbearing?
    How about the women mentioned in chapter 5 of the same letter? A very specific group of women were in circumstances that were a prime environment for deception. That environment would change if they married and had kids.

    11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

    If the best explanation for 1tim 2:15 is involves a very specific situation in one place, is it not fair to conclude that the whole discussion is addressing that very specific situation.

  6. The New Testament interprets the Old, not the reverse. They are not on equal planes as it applies to ecclesiastical form and operation. And Paul is the chosen revelator to the church. As Moses was to Israel, so Paul is to the church. All Scripture is inspired with different functions and purposes. Come to think of it…kind of like men and women!

    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2006/10/unique-calling-of-apostle-paul-in.html

  7. LeightonTebay> Why would female subjection be a curse if it was already in place?

    A good question. I haven’t read his book so I don’t know how or if Grudem handles it, but where in Genesis 3:16 does it say that “he will rule over you” is a curse rather than just general prophecy? Only two things are explicitly cursed in Genesis 3: the serpent, and the ground. It seems that some operate on the assumption that submitting to rulership is a curse. Think for a minute on where that point of view leads us.

  8. geoffrobinson says

    Good review.

    I remember a Lutheran mentioning that in a mainline seminary the homosexuals would point out to the women (with success) at the seminary that their arguments require approval for them as well.

  9. “Applying your hermeneutic of “man” = “male and female” to Genesis 2 results in a jumbled mess.”

    Kaffinator: Thanks for responding and of course you are correct, but I don’t believe I said anything about carrying it over to chapter 2 ;-). Gen. 1:27 clearly defines man in 1:26, but man = Adam would be the better understanding in chapter 2.

  10. Hi Blind, we agree there, and true, you didn’t mention chapter two in your post but you did bring up a semantic point and then claimed that it was only in chapter 3 that the case for subjection can be made, which is why I thought we should clear the air on terms used pre-curse. And, as argued by both Wayne Grudem and, indeed, the apostle Paul, a case for subjection can be grounded on pre-curse texts.

    Whether one accepts the case being made is another question entirely.

  11. I know this is probably the most unpopular answer to give to both the liberal and the conservative, but why can’t evangelicals make better use of the traditions and authority of the Church of the Ages in a matter like this?

    I realize you admire Grudem’s work but really his arguments and approach are dated in the sense that he struggles with battles in an academic world between liberal and conservative–distinctions which are largely lost today except in the most fundamentalist and rigorist adherents to both sides of this issue.

    Truth be told, Grudem’s arguments are as prejudicial as the liberal ones he attacks in looking at the text and trying to determine meaning. Liberal and conservative are two sides of the same coin and always viewing a subject like this in that light is going to lead to an eventual skewing of the matter one way or the other.

    This is more of the stunted ‘Reformed’ Baptist approach which really doesn’t help solve anything. Not everything is about inerrancy and conservative/liberal concerns.

    Evangelicals will never get out of this morass unless and until they are willing to return to a context that values both the authority and the traditions of the ancient Church.

  12. Since the word ‘rabbinic’ has come up in the argument, I think someone should point out that there is a whole body of interpretation – much of extending back to the 1st century or before – surrounding Genesis and the male-female issue that takes the bible very seriously indeed but reads it rather differently than the so-called ‘plain’ reading put forward by evangelical inerrantists. And, it seems to me, that if the folks who read Genesis in its original language get a different reading, then maybe those trying to build a case from a ‘plain’ reading of a translation should be a bit careful of their conclusions.

    Even from Orthodox Jews – who are certainly about as far from being theological liberals as possible! – the usual interpretation of Gen. 2 that I’ve heard is that ha-Adam is not specifically a male until *after* the creation of Eve. Adam is a human creature comprising both aspects until the ‘rib’ (or side) that becomes Eve is taken. (Btw, this is pretty cool if you consider the idea of creation being recapitulated in fetal development since we all pass thru a stage where the precursors to our sexual organs are the same).

    And if Jewish thought is to be ignored, there is also the body of interpretation coming from the early church Fathers (also pretty darned far from being liberals). They are a bit of a mixed bag, but modern inerrantists trying to claim a ‘slippery slope’ if female subjugation really ought to do some reading. I imagine many of them might be horrified if someone today said something like this for instance:

    “Why also did it not prefer to make its attack upon the man instead of the woman? And if thou sayest that it attacked her as being the weaker of the two, [I reply that], on the contrary, she was the stronger, since she appears to have been the helper of the man in the transgression of the commandment. For she did by herself alone resist the serpent, and it was after holding out for a while and making opposition that she ate of the tree, being circumvented by craft; whereas Adam, making no fight whatever, nor refusal, partook of the fruit handed to him by the woman, which is an indication of the utmost imbecility and effeminacy of mind. And the woman indeed, having been vanquished in the contest by a demon, is deserving of pardon; but Adam shall deserve none, for he was worsted by a woman,-he who, in his own person, had received the command from God.”
    -St. Irenaeus (Asia Minor, Gaul; ca. 140 – 203 AD)

    Yet strangely enough, despite this high opinion of women, it took more than a millenia and a half before ‘liberalism’ even came up. Also note that Irenaenus, despite being far closer in time and culture to Paul and a leader in the church seems to have a rather different understanding of women than we think is ‘plainly’ expressed in 1Tim. It seems far more likely to me that our modern understanding is the one that has ‘drifted’.

    Lastly, I find the whole argument amusing since, had Mr. Grudem lived in the early 1st century, I’m sure Paul himself would have been accused of leading us down the slope to liberalism. Afterall, he regularly did such outlandish things as putting a woman’s name ahead of her husband’s in greetings, or worse, greeting women as though they had some standing in the churches that met in their homes. And, of course, there are the women he praised as fellow ministers (of course we carefully translate the same word as minister for men and servant for women in English) and even (possibly) one as a fellow apostle. (Of course, Jesus was even worse what with letting Mary sit with the men and listen to His teaching instead of sending her back to the kitchen with Martha!)

  13. Kipp Wilson says

    “Why would female subjection be a curse if it was already in place?” I’d say look at the other curses.

    To the serpent:
    “Because you have done this,
    Cursed are you more than all cattle,
    And more than every beast of the field;
    On your belly you will go,
    And dust you will eat
    All the days of your life;”

    Unless you assume the serpent had legs beforehand, he already was going on his belly.

    “And I will put enmity
    Between you and the woman…”

    Seems to me he wasn’t exactly the woman’s friend beforehand.

    To Adam:
    “Cursed is the ground because of you;
    In toil you will eat of it
    All the days of your life.
    Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
    And you will eat the plants of the field;
    By the sweat of your face
    You will eat bread,…”

    According to Gen. 2:15, he was already required to cultivate and tend to the garden.

    To Eve:
    “I will greatly multiply
    Your pain in childbirth,
    In pain you will bring forth children…”

    Notice her pain will be “multiplied,” which implies that she would have had pain in childbirth if she had not eaten the fruit.

    In all of these cases, God’s poetic justice shows up in that the curses are not anything new, they are an intensification of the potential negative of what was already there. The serpent already crawled; now it would “eat dust.” The man already worked the earth and ate its produce; now it would be a burden to do so. The woman already would have had pain in childbirth; now that pain is “multiplied.”

    Why would the authority curse be any different?
    “Yet your desire will be for your husband,
    And he will rule over you.”

    (Note: it doesn’t help that the word for “desire” is used in only two other places in the Bible; the only other time Moses uses it is in Gen. 4:7 where sin “desires” Cain.)

    So it is quite reasonable to say that this curse was an intensification of what is already there: not just a relationship–the curse not just an intensified relationship–but a headship that will be warped both by the woman’s desire (which could mean a desire for mastery, or could mean other possibilities; the limited use in the Pentateuch precludes dogmatism) and by the man’s abuse of his authority.

    I’m not saying this is conclusive. I’m just suggesting that it is unfair to say that headship suddenly appeared out of thin air at Gen. 3:16.

    By the way, Michael, it’s “complementarian” not “complimentarian.” Mind you, I don’t mind when my wife compliments me…

  14. Kipp Wilson says

    Shoot. My bloated comment is gonna kill the thread.

  15. “How can a woman be saved through childbearing?”

    A better rendering of this verse is “But women will be saved during childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

    One of the claims to fame of the Artemis cult in Ephesus was that women who were pregnant would come to Artemis to be saved during childbearing (due to high instance of female death in childbearing). Paul is instructing Timothy that he should tell women that they will not be saved in childbirth by superstitious worship of Artemis, but by their faith in Jesus.

    (This is a rabbinic interpretation from Flusser, Bivin, VanderLaan and other Christian/Hebrew scholars I’ve now heard several times, including a recent trip to Ephesus.)

  16. Kipp – a lucid and well presented thought. And to fortify with New Testament teaching Paul admonishes a woman not to take authority over a man (I Tim.2:12) and the first reason he gives is that Adam was formed first (I Tim.2:13).

    And inferring the “weaker vessel” principle, Paul goes on to say the woman was deceived not Adam (I Tim.2:14) and that was before the curse. In context from verses 11 through 14 Paul brings out the leadership role of Adam was usurped by Eve when she submitted to the serpent rather than Adam.

    Remember, Adam was given dominion over the garden, and it was Adam who named the beasts and he even named Eve. And when God called for accountability he called for Adam and asked him what had happened. It seems evident that Adam was the accountable leader before the Lord.

    It is impossible to culturize Genesis, it reflects what the New Testament teaches.

  17. LeightonTebay says

    A better rendering of this verse is “But women will be saved during childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

    I took a look at about a dozen modern translations. None of them render the phrase with the word during. The word translated through (dia) occurs 509 times and is rendered “during” once in the NASB. I’m not enough of Greek scholar to tell which meaning of dia is the best one, but it looks like most translators hedged their bets by going with through, which could easily mean “by reason of” or “on account of”.

    “Paul is instructing Timothy that he should tell women that they will not be saved in childbirth by superstitious worship of Artemis, but by their faith in Jesus.
    That really doesn’t fit with the context of the chapter.

    a) Why would Timothy need to be reminded that faith in a false God will not save women through child birth

    b) There is no indication that Paul is telling Timothy to pass this on

    c) Is Paul saying that faith in Jesus keeps women safe from injury or peril during childbirth?

  18. OK, I know I’m going to get killed over saying this. Hwever, to me, complEmentarianism FEELS wrong. It produces a feeling of rationalized guilt in me. I’d feel the same way if I crushed a frog under my foot (on purpose). I know that I have every right to do it, nothing says that I can’t, but I would still feel guilty about it. Its like using your freedom to sin…If that makes sense. You know that you’re the man, therefore the privelidged class, but denying women authority just doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy. I know that most of you out there are saying to yourselves, ‘What a load of crap’. But something just doesn’t sit right, and I don’t know what it is.

  19. ‘beerhallrevival’,

    You and I think alike. I really think it has to do with drinking exceptional beer and hanging out in places where this stuff really is completely unimportant other than something to blog/talk about (ie. the local pub). All this wrangling over this text and that just gets really tiring in the end. I think it’s time for another beer!

  20. beerhall revivla said:

    “…denying women authority just doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy.”

    I’m not weighing in one way or another in terms of where I stand on this argument, but let me say one thing with great certainty:

    The truth of a biblical teaching does not depend in the slightest on whether or not it gives me a warm fuzzy.

    That is all.

    Kyle

  21. Kyle,

    The truth also doesn’t depend on whether you think you are right about a particular passage. For my money, I’m going with warm fuzzies on this one. Oh yeah…and the tradition of the Church. Now…where’s my beer?!?

  22. lookingforananswer says

    I don’t pretend to understand all the debate about women and men’s roles in relationship to each other or even consider myself to be an expert in the study of the Bible. And I’m a woman besides. 😉

    But for me, I always come down to this:

    Mark 16:6-7 NIV – “6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'”

    The angel of the Lord is talking to Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome (all women). He’s telling them to tell Peter and his disciples (all men) the good news that Jesus is risen.

    That’s women preaching to men, isn’t it?

  23. Beerhallrevival wrote “OK, I know I’m going to get killed over saying this. Hwever, to me, complEmentarianism FEELS wrong.”

    Well, I think killing might be a bit of an overreaction, but —

    One thing I have learned during the last 22 years of being a Christian is not at all to trust my own feelings on such matters.

    I became a Christian, from an agnostic-shading-to-atheist background, in a Brethren church, which was extremely complementarian, to the point where the only sound a woman would ever make in a church meeting would be joining in the hymns. Not only would women never preach, they would never lead the worship, never pray out loud, never even read the bible out loud. I was taught the reasons for this and in my youth an naivety accepted them.

    … so then then when a couple of years later I went to friend’s church, a charismatic evangelical church not wholly dissimilar to a Vineyard, I was utterly shocked to hear womean doing these things. Not preaching, I mean: just praying and reading. Really, I can hardly tell you how completely alien and wrong it felt to me, as though a righteous anger swelled up in me that anything calling itself a “church” could allow such things to happen.

    I’m very pleased to say that I got over that 🙂 But what it has left me with is a profound mistrust for my own feelings concerning doctrine and practice — even, or especially, when those feelings seem to have spiritual weight.

    Sorry, beerhallrevivial. If it’s any consolation, I am totally in agreement with you about getting that beer!

  24. The truth of a biblical teaching does not depend in the slightest on whether or not it gives me a warm fuzzy.

    I know…I agree completely, but I intentionally used this language (warm fuzzy) exactly because it seems so absurd. I just can’t shake the feeling that one day I’m going to stand before Jesus and he’s going to say,’Why did you deny me the blessing of teaching others, why did you not value what I said.’ I’ll reply,’Lord, when did I not do these things?’…and you know the rest.

  25. Know what really doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy? The prospect of knowing that I will be called before the Lord BEFORE my ex-wife, to account for the failure of my marriage. She won’t escape judgement, but neither will she be held to my standard.

    I wish it weren’t true. I kind of hate it in a way. It offends my fallen sense of justice.

    But deep inside, I know it’s the truth.

    SO— that’s MY “fuzzy intuition” regarding complementarianism. I sense it’s true by the way it offends me.