January 27, 2020

Where Are They Keeping That Secret Book?

UPDATE: One actually should be wondering at what kind of church will a person be ostracized and labeled for not believing the whole enchilada. Who is drawing the lines here on what is and is not “essential” to the complementarian position?

Listening to the discussion at the “Send in The Clowns” post, I had a thought.

Some evangelicals seem to have a very detailed view of the issue of authority as it pertains to men and women in the church and in the family. Extremely detailed. Like they’ve got a book or something.

When I say detailed, I mean these brethren have a view of authority that answers all sorts of questions- detailed questions- right down to some rather astonishing specifics like who can read what book on what topic in what room with whom present.

Where is this information? Can I get my hands on it?

This view of authority must be out there somewhere in some accessible form, because various evangelical leaders- especially Southern Baptist ones- are able to make all kinds of “rulings” on gender matters with confidence and authority.

For example, how did SWBTS President Paige Patterson know that it was against Biblical authority for a female professor to teach Hebrew to male students?

Where exactly is that kind of thing explained? Is that in print, or is it just running around in the head of certain people?

Where in Southern Baptist theology is it explained, from the scriptures, that a woman can’t teach any man the Bible in any context unless she’s “under authority?” Just where is it explained that a woman can teach the Bible in the church at all? To anyone? Where is it explained exactly why the secular realms are not held to the same kind of authority structure as the church and the family? (In other words, where is it explained that Sarah Palin has to be under the authority of her husband at home and in church, but not under the authority of a man if she becomes President of the United States?)

Where are fathers told that they must see that their adult, unmarried daughters remain under their authority until they are married?

Where in Southern Baptist or evangelical theology do we hear whether a woman can be a youth pastor or an associate pastor? Write a theological blog? Write theological books for a general audience? Where’s the age break for a boy being able to have a female Bible teacher in Bible study, VBS or youth camp?

Why did I get in trouble once for having a female worship leader, even though no rule stating a policy existed anywhere in our church constitution? Where is it in the Bible that a woman can’t lead a song or a choir?

Where in Southern Baptist theology is it explained that, while elders and deacons are separate offices, a woman cannot be a deacon? (In fact, where is the authority of deacons discussed at all?)

Where will I be able to read a thorough discussion of authority within marriage and family that is recognized by Southern Baptists and is specific enough that I will know what to tell my daughter regarding what is permitted and not permitted?

How do Southern Baptists and other evangelicals KNOW that Vaudie Baucham isn’t correct when he says that Sarah Palin cannot be President because of the Biblical teaching on gender and authority? It appears that Baucham’s church has thought more deeply about these issues than any church I’m familiar with, and their position seems more consistent with a strictly literal view of the passages involved.

I’m being a bit facetious. I don’t believe these detailed theological discussions of the issue of authority exist. In fact, I doubt that these issues were addressed in any detail until very recently. I do completely respect the broadly complementarian position and I respect those whose reading of the scripture leads them to complementarian convictions. But I am very doubtful that any version of complementarianism that questions whether a single mother can teach the Bible to her own sons is standing on sound interpretation.

It appears to me that these issues of authority are not spelled out within broadly accepted Southern Baptist theology or tradition. Certainly these issues aren’t expounded in the kind of detail assumed by those who claim to have detailed answers to such questions. I grew up in Southern Baptist Sunday School, and aside from hearing that women shouldn’t wear slacks and guys shouldn’t have earrings, I heard nothing I can recall about why a woman couldn’t teach Hebrew.

Yes, my brand of fundamentalism was very strongly against “women preachers,” but we never went into finger-wagging mode over women speaking in associational meetings (and we knew churches that did) or huddled discussions disapproving of women telling about their Bible teaching on the mission field. We wouldn’t have made the first “Together For The Gospel” meeting for men only, that’s for sure.

No, my Southern Baptist fundamentalism was OK with Lottie Moon, Bertha Smith, Annie Armstrong, and Sylvia Russell (the woman who was President of the school where I serve in the 1920’s and kept the place from going under.) We didn’t have any pushy feminists, but we also didn’t have any men saying that women who were “out from under male authority” were violating scriptural order. (From my experience in church, we had a lot of women out from under male authority, and that’s about the only way anything actually got done at our church.)

It seems to me that we’ve got a class of men who are occupying some kind of authoritative interpretative role in these detailed questions, expounding a tradition that’s only vaguely available to the rest of us, and making case law as they go on issues like who can blog and who can write a book. It’s way out in left field, it’s far past the Catholic view of a magisterium interpreting scripture and tradition, and it’s rather like something you’d encounter in Islam, where issues of female behavior and male authority are ruled on by some guy who’s been given that job by some other guy.

In other words, a good portion of these detailed interpretations of authority that have developed in Southern Baptist life have all the characteristics of being bogus and containing a lot of hot air. These guys have set up their booths and are dispensing authoritative pronouncements on things the Bible simply doesn’t talk about.

These are matters for local congregations to decide. Radio talk show pundits and internet theologians may sound impressive on all this business, but I’m not buying most of it as anything more than grandly stated opinion uttered in the presence of the fan club.

Comments

  1. How ironic that a group of people who historically claimed “no creed but Christ,” and the individual’s and local congregation’s freedom of conscience in matters of faith and practice now speak ex cathedra on these subjects.

  2. That part about teaching Hebrew makes me wonder if there’s something else behind it; is she teaching a certain translation of words or passages different to the ‘accepted’ one and that’s why they want shot of her?

    If it’s genuinely a matter of “no Christian woman can be a teacher of adult males on any subject whatsoever, not just in a preaching/leadership capacity”, then – yes. Bit of a problem there.

  3. Mike, I you will find that Baptists have had and have historically stood by creeds and confessions. Anabaptists have had them, General Baptists have and of course Particular Baptists have had them. You may find many of them listed at http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/hbd.htm since there are some 64 of them listed there I will not bother to list them here.

    I am a Particular Baptist (aka Reformed Baptist).

    I will endevour to ascertain if there is a formal document laying out the current position of the complementarian side of things, though I expect it will all be found at the council for biblical manhood and womanhood (http://www.cbmw.org/).

  4. RK:

    Let me save you some time. Except for the alterations made to the BFM in 200, there’s nothing.

    Further, are you saying that the positions YOU took in the previous post are confessionally required?

    **stunned**

    MS

  5. IM, my comment about creeds and confessions is a direct response to Mike’s comment on “no creed but Christ.” The remainder was to the topic of your post.

    I think if you want the real story you are going to have to look at the Baptist Fundamentalist Resurgence that began in 1979. Two of its leaders are still alive: Judge Paul Pressler (sp) and the ever anti-calvinist Paige Patterson.

    I will not go into my particular interactions with either, but last time I heard one of them in the pulpit I stood up and walked out.

    What the Ana-Baptists and General Baptists do is often times unfathomable to we Particular Baptists.

    I know i am not really answering your question, but for the fundamentalist/ SBC response the origin is in Patterson. – again I am a 1689 2ndLBC Baptist 🙂 not a fundamentalist or general or anabaptist.

  6. JCL: Exegesis by scores of competent scholars have yielded two points of view.

    Let’s not say that the hundreds of egalitarians scholars who have addressed this issue as a cultually influenced on like slavery and head coverings aren’t doing exegesis. They are, and they are coming to a differnt conclusion than the Grudems and Piper.

    Peace

    MS

  7. I’m 52 R.K. I was at Southern Seminary in 1979 when the conservative first “came over the walls” so to speak.

    I’ve lived the resurgence from both sides. SBTS. Founders conference, etc.

    I just don’t see the amount of definition for the complementarian position that you used in your initial post. I respect your position, but I can’t see where the source of such detailed applications come from.

    peace

    MS

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    For example, how did SWBTS President Paige Patterson know that it was against Biblical authority for a female professor to teach Hebrew to male students?

    Where exactly is that kind of thing explained? Is that in print, or is it just running around in the head of certain people?

    The Koran and the Hadiths?

  9. IM:I just don’t see the amount of definition for the complementarian position that you used in your initial post

    RK: Oh, thats simple to explain My training is in engineering, philosophy, history and theology. That combination means I can’t sign my name in under 2 pages, let alone state a position. The complementarian / egalitarian issue is a common topic of conversation in my circles and so the definitions get worked out to became as precise as possible. Unfortunately, i don’t know how much else I can contribute to the conversation. I suppose if someone really wanted to know my derivation of the complementarian position I could work it up and post it on my blog, but I imagine that would be Ivory pure(99 and 44/100%) boredom for most everyone.

  10. BK, thanks for the perspective. My point was not meant to cover all Baptists; merely to speak to the broader notion of autonomy to which many Baptists long adhered.

    Also, your response to MS about the SBC underlines a point I made in yesterday’s discussion. This issue has become inflamed because of a wrong-headed “culture war” mentality, not because these kinds of gender matters represent the heart of Biblical teaching.

    I am in full agreement with Michael, these are matters for local congregations to work out, within the guidelines of Biblical wisdom and love.

    Michael, how does the SBC reconcile such authoritative pronouncements about “what Baptists believe” with the concepts of autonomy and freedom of conscience?

  11. Where in Southern Baptist theology is it explained, from the scriptures, that a woman can’t teach any man the Bible in any context unless she’s “under authority?”

    if you open your bible to the book of 2nd opinions, it’s all there.

  12. Book of Second Opinions – LOL!

  13. RK, I have a question you could answer succinctly, regardless of how detailed a formulation of your position is:

    Why does it matter?

    More specifically, what value does having such a refined doctrinal self-consciousness provide to the practice of your faith?

    You seem like a respectable guy: you didn’t come in here weighing in on how everybody else was wrong and risking their souls or whatever to differ on these opinions with you. So, you’re clearly not monomaniacal (though I’ve read your blog a little, and you do have a gift for the MOST precise agonies of theological stipulation – it’s really a whole other level, y’all).

    So, since you’re not out there browbeating others with the force of your rhetoric, what is all this reasoning actually for? What does being so specific about these proprieties gain for you? Is this real clarity such that everybody and Jesus should all have it, or a hobby, or what?

  14. Scott Miller says

    >>Where is this information? Can I get my hands on it?

    Don’t question the Lord’s Anoited. I can’t count the number of times I have heard that used as an excuse.

  15. More and more men leave churches. One Sunday soon, churches with women pastors, women elders, women deacons, women liturgists, and women lectors may lead all women before the altar, with no men, not even effeminate men, in their midst…not because women exclude these men, but because men exclude themselves. Will the feminization of churches and the usurping of men by women have nothing to do with the genesis of such churches?

  16. Not much of an egalitarian/complementarian (I’m such a moderate), but Michael (not you, iMonk or the Mike above), your post makes it seem like women are some dangerous sex or something. Why is feminization (though I’m hardly seeing this in the churches) painted as bad, but masculinity as good? Seems to be some dualism here. It’s as if a woman without a male “covering” over her is going to be a heretic and just plain crazy.

    And personally, I’ve seen that there have always been more women than men in any church. It has nothing to do with ongoing feminization.

  17. “these are matters for local congregations to work out, within the guidelines of Biblical wisdom and love.”

    So if you are living in a small town (with one church) and you are a woman with excellent teaching skills for thirty years, and along come some newly enlightened conservatives, what happens? Are you silenced and your gifts stifled? I guess this happens often in every denomination, but who’s calling the shots? Not the Holy Spirit.

  18. An excellent tome exists that, among other things, covers the denominational context for ‘masculinism’ in the American church – “The Churching of America: 1776-2006″ Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy”, by two awesome, awesome sociologists (Finke and Stark) whose work is totally worth spending all your free time for the rest of your life studying voraciously.

  19. Honestly you guys, I have been reading this “women in leadership” line of discussion. It’s been good. It’s made me think quite a bit. When it comes down to it, I believe that men should be in leadership roles. God has hard-wired men that way (in general). We think differently than women, we see the world differently than women, we tend to cut to the chase. We compartmentalize differently than women.

    Yes there are many churches in China and Japan led by female pastors, but this is not ideal. The missionaries that I have met in those countries pray for more men in the churches and for more male leadership.

    I believe God is calling more men to go into the mission field, but few are responding, or morally in a position to go.

    I have never done a Beth Moore Bible study, although my wife really appreciates her ministry. So I wouldn’t know about all that. As far as a female Hebrew prof. Mine was a Vietnamese guy, awesome man of God, Alex Luc. (My Greek profs were all men as well)

    Bottom line; Christian men in America need to start (or continue) to walk in the roles that the Bible lays out for men. We need to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. We need to live a life worthy of the calling that we have received. Too many men have turned these into slogans and sound bytes. The problem is that Christian men in America have heard these before, many times, but we do not really know what it means to live according to them.

    I desire to love my wife as Christ loved the church. I’d be happy to come somewhere close to Robertson McQuilken’s love for his first wife before she passed away.

    I guess I echo the Monk’s sentiments. Some people are all running around asking in frantic tones “where’s the line? What can and can’t women do?” meanwhile how is their wife doing? How are the women in their church doing? Is their home and church a place where women feel safe and loved?

    Sorry if I got off topic. Feel free to edit this one, IM

  20. I see this kind of need for a ‘fence around the Torah’ regarding complementarian interpretations as the most compelling reason that something is defective in that position. I’m sure that the folks who spend time finding these answers are sincerely trying to be faithful to the Bible, but it’s too close to the Pharasaical practice of reading Scripture to command my assent.

  21. Nicholas Anton says

    It seems to me that the egalitarian debate usually rises to idiotic profundity. No one that I know even wants egalitarianism in it’s most extreme and logical forms. And thus, because neither individuals nor genders are equal according to the many criterion we define them by, we place all types of protectionist grids around the so called visible minorities. We have councils for the status of women without equal councils for the status of men. We divide the Olympics and sports in general according to gender. Women want the freedom to play on men’s teams but will not permit equal freedom for men to play on women’s teams. And on and on it goes. Why? Because there are definable differences between the genders that equip people according to gender to perform at superior levels in various functions. If there was true egalitarianism in the Olympics, there would be few women medallists other than in the “aesthetic”, “artistic” sports. We would be back to the original male dominated format of the original Athenian Olympics again.

    The result? Because of the attempt at establishing egalitarianism, reverse discrimination has replaced and far supercedes the original perceived discrimination that it was to cure. Because women want to do everything that men normally did, motherhood has become marginalized. Who wants to be a mother when one can wear pants like the males. Who wants to nurture young children when one can rule the world. And thus, the birth rate has declined in the Western world to the extent that they have to import members of the Taliban who have a radically different view on women in order to keep the economy afloat. How silly can we get. Not only will our economy be kept afloat by people who have a radically different world view, but we will be ruled by them, and our women will simply become part of the harem of these male chauvinists.

    Our attempt at egalitarianism in the church will result in equal foolishness. And thus, we orient the church to accommodate, and to conform to the female ethos. Normal males become marginalized and leave. And thus the church becomes dominated by women for women at the exclusion of men.

    The Bible recognizes the genders as complimentary to each other. Let us return to the freedoms of Christ, where men can be men, and women, women.

  22. Oh, my! All of the discussion contributors seem to be “theologically” informed. I’m not. I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a retired teacher of severely disabled students for eighteen years. I am chosen by God, not from scriptures or directives from any earthly form, but by direct spiritual encounter only….to SERVE the needs, spiritual and physical, of those around me….in the name of Jesus. I am directed to be “the temple of God”, not in the afterlife…but in the here and now. No desire supersedes my desire to help with the “harvest” of souls. I know that in order to be the “greatest”…one must be the least. I know that to lose….is to win. I know that preferring others greater than oneself brings success. I know that God created male and female….and both are required to describe “man.” I know that Adam was a type of Christ….physically and spiritually demonstrating redemption…as he deliberately ( Adam was not deceived but Eve was in the transgression) went to his lost Eve so they, as one, could be redeemed by God (the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world). I know my perfect God had a perfect plan with man…both male and female. That plan has never been thwarted. Not even as Eve transgressed. God purposed man to be in His image and likeness…..knowing both good and evil. The fulfillment of that purpose occurred after the encounter with the serpent in the garden and after both Adam and Eve experienced evil (Behold, now the man has become as we are…knowing both good and evil). That declaration alone proves that God purposed the encounter…and the result. Also, that scripture proves that Eve transgressed the law (command) of God…but not willfully since before the event…she knew only good. They both walked with God daily…perfect fellowship…perfect love…perfect souls. But our Heavenly Father, who is LOVE…..wanted and needed offspring to share that immense LOVE. THE NATURE OF LOVE IS THAT IT HAS TO BE GIVEN AWAY…..LOVE CANNOT REMAIN STATIONARY. Our Father wanted children born out of darkness as we are born physically from the darkness of the fleshly womb. Only those born with his “spiritual genetics” would be his children. He purposed we would encounter (“know”) and experience evil first hand….as well as “good” first hand…as did our earth parents…..then we would choose between the two. Adam played the part of Christ….Eve played the part of the beloved Bride (the Church, the body of Christ). As Eve was physically an extension of Adam…so is the Bride an extension of Christ…and are One (Christ prayed that we, He, and the Father be One). No matter how various doctrines, traditions, or interpretations of scriptures portray the role of women…..I, personally, am subservient to all…both male and female. In years past I taught an adult Bible study on Sunday nights for five years. The teaching was “meat”…not milk…and I would lay on the floor..on my face..before the altar of the church before anyone arrived. I made it clear to those in hearing that I was not the teacher but that the Holy Spirit was the teacher. None would likely dispute the fact that we are the body of Christ, the temple of the Living God (lively stones fitly joined together). I grew up in a small rural church and community who practiced humility. Votes within the church were done by a “show of hands.” Members disagreed…voted contrary to each other…then went home with each other and celebrated friendship immediately afterwards. I am blessed and I know it…to have had that example in my life. If pew time was flyer miles…I’d be rich. Jesus came to me in a vision and said, “Carolyn, follow me.” It was the same “Follow me” that the apostles heard. I am chosen and God’s gifts and callings are without repentance. God knows I am female. He has positioned me my whole life…for now. My joy was teaching scripture. But He closed those doors for a higher calling…..that of servant…because we are in the time where “they won’t endure sound doctrine” but they will “believe the works I do.” (If you don’t believe my words, believe the works I do.) He began to position me from first grade to the present time. I am to crucify the flesh…meaning I am to stop serving the flesh…whether through food in abundance or whether through excess of material things. I am to develop the spirit-man within. He has given me a faith that is so pure and so simple. He has given me the understanding that “the battle is the Lords.” He is my rock, my fortress, and my strength. He has given me peace and not fear. He has shown me that physical death is painless for the believer….that through physical death we inherit “life”. More importantly…He has shown me that the physical world here is darkness, death, and destruction…and as we are born into his “kingdom” by way of the “gospel of the kingdom”…we are birthed into the family of God…into Life. My earthly “daddy” and mother has already taken that path. Their roles were to point me to my Heavenly “Daddy”….and they did so beautifully. My earthly “daddy” and mother were examples of kindness, mercy, and love. Neither ever raised their voice to me during their lives. The were good to each other and always considered the feelings of the other before themselves. They respected and honored each other. They worked beside each other in their small business. My childhood was rich with “life” and “death” and example. Subsequently, I don’t have the answer to whether subservience runs a vertical or a horizontal continuum….but I think, possibly, since we are certainly in the last days….that a better debate might be done with oneself concerning whether we, individually, are subservient to that which can redeem us……..
    the Heavenly Father who took the form of the Word (the beauftiful Jesus Son)…and the beautiful Jesus Son who became the Holy Comforter so He could remain with us…both in the present…and for Eternity. As Jesus spoke to the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelations, (paraphrased) “Jesus and His Love are not at the core of your religious or “church” experience…REPENT!” As Galations says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye all are one in Christ Jesus. And if ye are Christ’s, then ye are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    God loves you all. He gave the soul of His son….and therefore His own soul..for you.

  23. iMonk,
    You wrote:
    “(In other words, where is it explained that Sarah Palin has to be under the authority of her husband at home and in church, but not under the authority of a man if she becomes President of the United States?)”

    Do you e-gals honestly think this is an issue for complementarians? I mean, seriously?? One concerns authority in the church. One concerns authority outside of the church. The two are non-contridictory and mutually exclusive. And your comment about a woman policeman pulling a man over? Come on, behave.

  24. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    One Sunday soon, churches with women pastors, women elders, women deacons, women liturgists, and women lectors may lead all women before the altar, with no men, not even effeminate men, in their midst…not because women exclude these men, but because men exclude themselves. Will the feminization of churches and the usurping of men by women have nothing to do with the genesis of such churches? — Michael

    (Whose altar? Mother Gaia’s? Ishtar’s? Mary Magdalene’s a la Da Vinci Code? May as well be some Goddess at that point…)

    Because men will have left for another faith. A Real Man’s Faith, marinated in testosterone instead of estrogen. And children tend to follow the father more than the mother in what religion to follow and how intensely to follow it.

    You DO know that Islam has been described as “The Real Man’s Religion”, don’t you?

  25. Martha,

    If you want to learn more about the woman teaching Hebrew in seminary, please google “Sheri Klouda”. The story is very sad, as it always is, when brothers and sisters hurt each other.

  26. @ Chip: “God has hard-wired men that way (in general). We think differently than women, we see the world differently than women, we tend to cut to the chase. We compartmentalize differently than women.”

    Really? God has done that? “Hard-wired?” We recently had a series of sermons at my church where the pastor was able to neatly segment “Pink” and “Blue” qualities that God had given to women and men respectively. Unfortunately, other than anecdotes, there is no scriptural support for such a view. Are there gender differences? Certainly, but they tend to be learned rather than built-in. The 21st century is not much more enlightened than the 20th when it comes to gender roles (try buying clothes for boys that are not trucks or footballs or dinosaurs or for girls that are not pink or purple with flowers). How can we leave that baggage behind when we come to God’s word? I’m not sure, but surely we must.

  27. There is a lot to find humorous in the original post. But even while I’m probably a moderate on these issues, and am undecided on any number of points, I don’t think the idea of detailed beliefs is ludicrous on the face of it.

    I think the broader point of how some beliefs are a bit detailed given the lack of teaching until very recent history is the real nugget. That dynamic gets very scary. I have seen this happen in the conservative Lutheran blogosphere, where someone is suggesting that perhaps the majority of Lutherans are guilty of mortal sin over ethical issues which most consider trivial. And this among those who were taught by what appeared to be responsible teachers. While I’m sure this is logically possible, it is quite implausible to most. They’re likely to leave the conversation because they know that a simple change in venue will have the world looking sane again.

    But I think some care needs to be taken to distinguish conservative views where people’s detailed beliefs DO have a longer history from those whose detailed beliefs are of recent vintage.

  28. Joe Blackmon: Please see the link on Bill Mackinnon’s post “Ten Questions for Complementarians.” You need to listen to what your fellow complementaians are doing with this idea before you act so shocked.

    Carolyn: Your post is very long. Please try to make them shorter. Few people read comments that are really long.

    Nedbreck: I’m sure you are aware that many of us don’t see male headship in an authoritarian way in Genesis 1-2, but complete equally until it is ruined by sin. Male dominance if part of the curse in Gen 3. If we are going to install the complete contents of the Bible on male-female relations as derived from Gen 1-2, then we have some talking to do about the treatment of wives in the OT, esp in Leviticus, where they are basically handled as property.

    I would challenge anyone on here to give a practical description- no warm fuzzies- of how “male headship” works in your marriage. Please include as much detail as possible. I’m not interested in spiritual Hallmark verses but actual situations where women run the house and family. I want to know what it looks like when a man has authority over a woman Old Testament style.

  29. I Monk

    Perhaps I should have been more clear in what I meant. I don’t, nor do any people I personally know, believe that all christian women should submit to all christian men. That’s just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever read and I’m particularly proud because it was someone other than me who wrote it. If there are people (i.e. Patterson, if he believes that, or anyone else) who want to think like that, that is their problem.

  30. I want to know what it looks like when a man has authority over a woman Old Testament style.

    I’m sure someone from Saudi Arabia could give us some good examples.

  31. Joe Blackmon,

    Perhaps you don’t know personally know people who think that way, but they are out there. They exist. They blog. They have cheurches that believe the same thing.

    The fact that you find the concept ridiculous is a credit to you, because there are people who think it is a very logical position.

    Of course, I’m not one of them.

  32. Oh my….forgive my many typing errors. I should never multi-task while commenting.

  33. iMonk,

    To answer your question about how male headship works in a marriage, I liked my brothers response when he was asked the same question.

    “Its quite easy in my family”, he said. “I make all the big decisions, and my wife makes all the little decisions.”

    I am quite sure I had a shocked look on my face.

    He then smiled and said, “The only problem is, I’ve been married 18 years now, and I am still waiting for the first big decision!!!” 🙂

  34. Nicholas Anton says

    Our Male Chauvinist God

    God chose Adam (male) first, and not Eve to lead

    God chose Noah (male), and not Noah’s wife to build the ark.
    Gen. 6:8+13-14

    God chose Abram primarily and Sara secondarily as the founder and figurehead of a country and race;
    Gen. 12:1-2;
    Genesis 18:17-19,

    God chose Isaac and not his brother Ishmael, nor his half brothers and sisters, nor Rebecca, Isaac’s wife, to carry on the line of Abraham.
    Gen. 17:19;

    God chose Jacob, and not his brother Esau, nor his sisters to be the forefather of His chosen people. (Esau formed a separate race.)
    Gen. 25:23-26;

    God chose the twelve sons of Jacob, and not any daughters to be heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. (from all appearances, the sisters were absorbed into the twelve tribes of Israel based on the sons.)
    Rev. 7:5-8;

    God chose Moses, and not Aaron or Miriam to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land.

    God chose David and not Bathsheba to be the root from which the Messiah would come.

    In the Incarnation, God chose Mary to be the human mother of Jesus. (Oops, God goofed)
    Luke 1:

    In the Incarnation, God came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus. (not a woman).
    Is. 9:6;

    Jesus chose twelve men (not twelve women, nor any women at all) to be His Apostles
    Luke 6:13;

    My point is not to say that men are better, only that God can do and does as He pleases.

  35. Nicholas:

    I am not understanding the spirit of your post. You start out announcing something along the lines of poking our female readers with a stick, then run a role call of the obvious- especially in fallen, male dominated cultures- and end with a denial that you meant anything offensive.

    I’d say you completely failed on that count, sir.

    Do people like yourself believe that culture reflects human fallenness, or do you believe that the fact males dominate in leadership shows that somehow that aspect of culture isn’t fallen?

    And are we supposed to not see the crucial role of women in the plan of God? Abram was not much without Sarah. Nor would any of us have much to talk about without Mary.

    And the 12 sons of Jacob only had one sister- a rape victim. While the boys were murderers. Other than getting names from those guys for the tribes, what exactly am I supposed to be pointing out is so important about them?

    As shall we talk about Ruth? Esther? Mary Magdalen (Apostle to the apostles?) Timothy’s mother and grandmother? Rahab? Tamar? Deborah? Is there some point system on how much their role counted as compared to others?

    What’s the point of this kind of verse flinging anyway? Every argument has been made thousands of times. No one changes their minds. If we can talk about our differing views with some respect and dignity, great. But posts starting with “Our Male Chauvinist God” or anything close won’t be posted again.

    MS

  36. Yes Nicolas…..God used men.

    Men who let their wives be taken into a harem out of cowardice and lies.

    Men who got drunk and passed out naked.

    Men who lied to their dying, blind father to steal a blessing from their brother.

    Men who murdered, used prostitutes, slept with their father’s concubines, left their brother for dead.

    So yes, you proved your point.

    God has proved he can use just about anyone for his pruposes….maybe there’s hope for women after all.

  37. Nicholas Anton says

    Michael;

    I apologize for any offence I may have caused.

    However, because I believe the Bible to be the Word of God, and, because I believe it to have been written with eternal precepts, to be understood primarily by it’s own culture, I cannot for the life of me see how one can come up with an egalitarian view of gender relationships within the home and church.

    re;
    “…then run a role call of the obvious- especially in fallen, male dominated cultures- and end with a denial that you meant anything offensive.”

    The purpose of what I wrote and implied, was not intended to offend but rather to call the attention of the reader to the following; “Were these choices of individuals from and by God, or were they simply the choices of humankind in a sinful, fallen, male dominated society?”

    According to my Bibles, “a fallen male dominated culture” had nothing to do with the listed choices other than in a secondary way. And thus, the list that I gave was not “…a role call of the obvious- especially in fallen, male dominated cultures…”. It rather was a rough outline of key representatives and progenitors chosen Sovereignly by God, because of fallen humankind, to chart the lineage of our Savior. The dominance of male choices is not accidental but Sovereign. Sara, Rebecca, Rahab and Ruth, though significant, are not heads of families, tribes and nations.

    Also, contrary to what you seem to imply, I was not attempting to delineate merit before God, but rather authority and responsibility within and among God’s people, especially in the church. According to American law (Republic), all people are to be equal under the law, but not all people have equal responsibility and authority in it. E.g. President versus one on death row. Likewise, Rahab, Ruth, Mary, Martha, Phoebe, Junia etc., though equal in merit before God, are nevertheless not heads of families, tribes and countries.

    I will gladly admit that in my lifetime my mother influenced me more than my father. However, her influence was largely effective because she did not exercise it as an authoritarian, in a domineering way, but rather as a “traditional” Mother, in a traditional home, in love and in kindness.

  38. Wow…and here I thought all along that Jesus was the Incarnated Word of God. The Bible, on the other hand, the incredible story of God’s people in a broken world called to be to set apart.

  39. Sara, Rebecca, Rahab and Ruth, though significant, are not heads of families, tribes and nations.

    That’s all good and well, but it begs the question: “Why?”

    Complementarians will often say that they don’t really think that women are inferior to men, just “different”…..different natures, different roles, different abilities….etc.

    IT just so happens that all those “differences” make a woman an inappropriate person to lead, in their opinion.

    You may say ability to lead and merit before God are not the same thing, but when half the population is prohibited from having any kind of authority or ability to teach, simply because of their biological makeup, you are declaring an inherent flaw in them.

    They “didn’t lead” in the past becomes they can’t lead now; they shouldn’t lead in the future; if they do lead they are sinful before God.

    Because you invoke God choosing men for all time, you also invoke God’s displeasure with women for all time.

  40. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Yes Nicolas…..God used men.

    Men who let their wives be taken into a harem out of cowardice and lies.

    Men who got drunk and passed out naked.

    Men who lied to their dying, blind father to steal a blessing from their brother.

    Men who murdered, used prostitutes, slept with their father’s concubines, left their brother for dead.

    So yes, you proved your point. — Terri

    And the point was? “What were they thinking?!?”

    — “Stupidity is like Hydrogen; it’s the basic building block of the Universe”? (Frank Zappa)

    — “People are people, and the world is filled with tricks and twistiness yet undreamed of”? (One of The Whole Earth Catalogs)

  41. “but rather as a “traditional” mother, in a traditional home, in loving kindness.”

    Which tradition, again?

    Hebrew tribalist polygamy? Diaspora Judaic culture? European, Eastern or Coptic Christian? The same, but 1000 years ago? Medieval Christian under a fiefdom? Frontier missionary Baptist? White American Protestant, circa now?

    Family norms vary widely. All those are different; people adapt to each other and their circumstance, and do what seems to work for them. Haven’t they always? God’s seen ’em all, and blessed a variety of different ways of arranging the household; my mom ran our house growing up, and God doesn’t love her or us any less. The power sharing dynamic that seemed to get things done in your family doesn’t suit every pairing of male and female or their division of labor.

    I don’t think Jesus was particularly interested in establishing strict norms for all time about what family is or isn’t (in 30 A.D.), nor do I think that even in ancient times families were all arranged same everywhere in that culture. It seems ridiculous to me that a very wise person like Jesus wouldn’t have noticed that, and to say that God “tolerates” deviance in that sphere but “prefers” we do things differently isn’t really saying anything at all. If it were more important to God than, say, poverty or injustice, you’d think we’d have more extant writings quoting Him about it.

  42. Nicholas Anton says

    Headless Unicorn Guy

    “Yes Nicolas…..God used men.
    Men who let their wives be taken into a harem out of cowardice and lies.
    Men who got drunk and passed out naked.
    Men who lied to their dying, blind father to steal a blessing from their brother.
    Men who murdered, used prostitutes, slept with their father’s concubines, left their brother for dead.”

    Let’s reverse the gender tables;

    A woman who was a prostitute.
    A woman who because of her beauty allowed herself to become the king’s “call girl”.
    A woman, who at her mother in law’s advice, attempted to “sleep” with her kinsman.
    A woman who told her husband to get her handmaiden pregnant, and then abused the handmaiden and her offspring.
    A woman who got her younger son to lie to his blind, dying father and steel the older son’s blessing.
    A woman who exposed herself and enticed the king to sleep with her.
    A woman who stole her father’s idols and lied about it.
    A woman who introduced Israel to Baal worship.

    Shall I continue?

    On the whole it is quite safe to say that where there is an Ahab, there is a Jezebel.

    A few basic principles;

    1) God is Sovereign to do as He pleases.
    2) God used and uses men and women for His purpose and Glory, not because of their sin, but in spite of their sin.
    3) God can, did and does discriminate according to age, gender, race etc. as He pleases.
    4) The Biblical model and instructions for inter-human relationships within the home, family and the church is patriarchal rather than democratic or egalitarian.

    Patrick Lynch

    “but rather as a “traditional” mother, in a traditional home, in loving kindness.”
    Which tradition, again?

    If I am going East, from which direction was I coming? Why make issue of the obvious?

  43. Nicholas Anton says:A woman who because of her beauty allowed herself to become the king’s “call girl”.

    A woman who told her husband to get her handmaiden pregnant, and then abused the handmaiden and her offspring.ENDQUOTE</i)

    Dear Mr. Anton,

    You dishonor Sarah. God, in HIS Word never has an unkind word to say about her. To the contrary, she is held up to wives as God’s Chosen role model of how a woman is to behave when married to a disobedient husband (1 Peter 3).

    Jesus was clear about the hypocrisy of dishonoring our fathers and mothers (Mark 7:5-11) and women are told in 1 Peter that “you are Sarah’s daughters if…”. If I am Sarah’s daughter, then she is my mother and I don’t appreciate your slandering her.

    In the space for “website”, I have linked to the FACTS about Sarah’s situation and actions which you can read by clicking on my screen name.

  44. SARAH is also listed, in her own right, in the Hebrews “hall of faith” (Hebrews 11:11)

    And, are you aware, Mr. Anton, that GOD HIMSELF changed her name from Sarai-“contentious” to Sarah- RULER? and GOD personally instructed Abraham as to how he is to be referring to his wife from now on? 🙂 (Genesis 17:15)

    I’ve changed the “website” attached to my screen name to a different post about Sarah which has the dictionary references for her name changes as well as relevant scriptures.

  45. I believe the best thing for everyone to do is to pray and seek God’s will and read from His word. God isn’t going to lead you in another direction then he leads me, God is unchanging yesterday, today and forever (pertaining to topics of faith and scripture, not personal convictions)

    I’ve attended a baptist church for years, but I don’t profess to be a baptist. I profess to be a follower of Christ. Man-made denominations are stupid, IMO. My baptist church follows the Spirit of God and the lead of scripture (for the most part, no one is perfect) But I don’t care that the word “baptist” is on the street sign out front.

    I don’t have a problem with women in leadership and I think SWBTS was wrong for what they did to Sheri Klouda. But I am not anti-baptist.

    Men are flawed… and women too. One is not more or less sinful then the other and even if one was, would it matter? 1 sin or 1,000,000 sins, you are still out of synch with God without Christ.

  46. Nicolas…my point is not that women are more virtuous…though I would say that in some of your examples, especialy those referring to Bathsheba, you are assuming that a woman in those days would have had the power to stand up to a king without having to fear for her life…my point is simply that history is not an automatic definer of purpose. Just because things happen in a certain way in Scripture….it’s not an automatic principle that it’s meant to be that way for all time.

    Think of all the horrible things that happened in Judges. Stories told without many editorial comments, but hardly indicative of how things should be….such as the sacrifice of Jephthath’s daughter who had the misfortune of being the first thing to walk out of the house to meet her father. He had made a vow to sacrifice whatever came out first. He kept his vow.

    So…was he right to do so? Did God approve and sovereignly appoint such a thing?

    Just because it happened that way, doesn’t make it right or God-ordained.

  47. Bart M sounds like a Quaker.

  48. Nicholas Anton,

    “…because I believe [The Bible] to have been written with eternal precepts, to be understood primarily by it’s own culture, I cannot for the life of me see how one can come up with an egalitarian view of gender relationships within the home and church.”

    The point I’ve made, simply, is that culture, context, and individual circumstances are the presiding factors by which Biblical myths are interpreted, and before we (people from a long time from then, and far, far away) affirm them, we have to suppose that they teach some kind of perennial order, and use that as a starting-point for relating to them.

    The problem is, when Books are written by and for a culture over it’s own evolution, and THAT culture has a history of debating their meaning, finding support for the implicit idea of “always and for all time” teachings of pan-cultural order and primeval origin seems less possible. And if you do so anyway, you risk cross-referencing your interpretations of Scripture right into Jesus’ mouth, or even more curiously, finding yourself with a faith you strongly believe with prescriptions for conduct and organization from a culture that no longer even exists, and tasked with trying to resurrect their teachings so you can “live” your faith (ignoring, of course, the thousands of years of wild diversity in Christian church-lives, let alone the family lives that make them up, we call Tradition). It’s like assembling a broken pot from half the pieces, and “glueing” it together with faith – noble for the trying, but you’re not going to convince many people that what you end up with looks much like the original.

    In short, logistically, since we’re not fishermen from Palestine or campers around Mt. Sinai, we’re probably not going to have sufficient cultural fluency to fully understand the dispensations we’ve been given – so maybe less pronouncements of “right and wrong” re: women’s roles and more meditation on their charitable applicability is appropriate?

  49. Nicholas Anton says

    Charis

    Why was there no one to decry the slander listed against the Patriarchs? Why? Because it was true, and the men on this blog are willing to admit it. On the other hand, what I stated about Sara and Bathsheba is also true. True, Bathsheba probably could not have refused a king; but, on the other hand, she need not have exposed herself in public.

    Gen 16:1-6;
    Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
    Gen 16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
    Gen 16:3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
    Gen 16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
    Gen 16:5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
    Gen 16:6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

  50. Tsk tsk, I don’t think you read the link, Nicholas.

    Sarah- of the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith
    Sarah- GOD’s CHOSEN role model for wives married to DISobedient husbands (1 Peter 3)
    Sarah- whose daughter I am if I… (see 1 Peter 3)

    SARAH was OBEYING the laws of her land when she offered her maid to Abraham (as you quoted from Genesis 16)!

    QUOTE from Katherine Bushnell (click on my name for the link)
    528. … Before ever he [Abraham] obeyed God, and left his own kindred with Sarah, he put her under bonds to represent herself as merely his sister, to save his own life from all risk (Genesis 12:13)…

    529. Sarah, at this period, lacked self-respect; and Abraham had insufficient respect for her.…

    530. Sarah ought not to have agreed to such an arrangement with Abraham, and she would not have done it later in life,¾if we read her character aright, in its unfolding. But not knowing any better, God protected her,

    537. The legal requirements of King Hammurabi which Sarah obeyed… Par. 144 says: “He shall not take a concubine” if his wife “has given a maid to her husband;” and Par. 146 says, if “she has given a maid to her husband and she has borne him children [and] that maid has made [should make] herself equal with her mistress,” the mistress may reduce her to servitude again, but may not sell her. This is surely wonderful confirmation that Sarah’s treatment of this whole matter, up to the time of Isaac’s weaning, was precisely in accord with the legal provisions and customs by which the country was governed. But when Isaac was weaned, she took another course, and God, by express revelation to Abraham, confirmed her new departure as in the line of His will.

    538. It is worthwhile for us to pause long enough to call attention to these very unjust and humiliating laws, as relates to women, engraven on that stone which records the Code of Hammurabi, …

    539. Sarah did go through the form of asking Abraham to bear a son by Hagar, but the act should be judged by the fact that a man had legal right to divorce a childless wife, and she was now past seventy-five years of age. That Sarah had had reason to fear divorcement seems certain, because when Hagar became arrogant in her treatment of Sarah, the latter accuses Abraham of being himself to blame for Hagar’s conduct, in the words: “My wrong be upon thee.” The Septuagint gives the idea conveyed by the words as, “I am wronged by thee.” Sarah is opening her eyes in new self-respect; she tells Abraham he had no right to have ever brought Hagar¾the price of her humiliation¾into the family; and then to have so conducted himself as to have created in her the fear of being divorced, through no fault of her own, but merely because she had not fulfilled for him the promises of God, that he should have a son. This is what we understand by her expression, and she adds: “The Lord judge between me and thee,” declaring her confidence that her position was just in God’s sight.

    540. And Abraham yielded, which he would not have done so readily had he not felt she was right. Then Sarah did the only thing allowable under the law; she attempted to discipline Hagar, and return her to the position of a handmaiden. Sarah was not willing that her household should be polygamous; the law cut Abraham off from the right of a concubine in the family, since Sarah had given him her maid to bear a child for Sarah (see par. 537). But Hagar would be nothing less than a wife, so she left the house, doubtless thinking Abraham, for the sake of his only child, would divorce Sarah and take her back in Sarah’s place. Sarah made no effort to keep the child, so far as we know, which the law allowed.

    545. God cannot always elect,¾that is, select¾persons who are ideal, for they cannot be found. He takes faulty ones, but those capable of development. Such was the condition in which he found Abraham and Sarah. It is simply ludicrous to read some of the attempts that have been made by blundering expositors to explain away all the wrong things Abraham did: “Abraham’s venture was not from laxity as to the sanctity of marriage, or as to his duty to protect his wife: it was from a presumptuous confidence in the wonderful assistance of God,”¾thus speaks Lange’s Commentary. Such men, in their strained efforts to make Abraham appear ideal from the day God called him, leave no place for that most valuable and much-needed lesson, as to the wonderful transformation of character which the grace of God can bring about in the faultiest person who will submit to God’s authority, as Abraham began to do when he left his home in Chaldea.

    546. The character of Abraham changed greatly under the moulding influence of divine grace, but we will not occupy the space to describe this transformation, for the reason that, as women, we are more interested in the character of Sarah, who, we hold, has been greatly belittled by the same commentators who will not admit that Abraham ever had many faults. Her character underwent a transformation quite as wonderful as Abraham’s. Think what she was, as the servile female who went, apparently without protest, into the harems of Pharaoh and Abimelech, not knowing that she could ever come out undefiled; accepting polygamy weakly, if not happily. Like almost any Oriental woman of today, her husband’s wish seemed as law, even when it bade her do that which was immoral, and which she may have utterly detested to do. She makes no complaint, but obeys.

    547. Now study her character a little later, when she wakes up to resent the way she had been treated by Abraham in the matter of Hagar. She accuses Abraham as in the wrong, and appeals to God to judge between them. There were reasons why she might have been very cowardly at this moment, for Hagar was in the ascendancy just then, and was making the most of her position. Sarah might have reasoned: “I must not offend Abraham now, while Hagar seems so much more in his favor because of the boy.” Doubtless Hagar counted on such a compromise. But Sarah was courageous, and met the situation boldly, calling upon Abraham to defend her in refusing Hagar the right to be a concubine, or a second wife, in the family,¾for Sarah had yielded to the provisions of Hammurabi’s Code on purpose to prevent this. (See par. 537).

    548. Then follows the later scene. Ishmael is older now, and Sarah demands that the last vestige of the semblance of polygamy be cleaned out of the household. If she again called on Jehovah to judge between her and Abraham, we do not know, but we do know that when she made the demand, God told Abraham to obey what Sarah said, and it was done. If Abraham improved in character and saw the hatefulness of mixed marriage relations in the sight of God, it was under the joint training of God and Sarah. And later, after the old man had lost Sarah, and mourned deeply, her loss, he married one Keturah (Genesis 25:1). But though the word “concubine” is used in the sixth verse of this chapter, since Abraham did not marry Keturah until after Sarah’s death, the word is not used in its ordinary sense, for, too, Hagar never bore this relation to Abraham.

    549. But to return to Sarah: How are we to account for this development of such force of character, as that she has become quite “imperious”? Men usually do not like “imperiousness” in women; they think it “unwomanly” and they criticize Sarah because of this trait. But was it not of God’s own planting and development, in Sarah’s case? God called her “Mine Anointed” and God uses no idle words. He anointed her to be the Prince of the tribe, for God gives no empty titles. God commanded Abraham to cease calling her Sarai: “As for Sarai they wife, thou shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah (prince) shall her name be,”¾Genesis 17:15. The older form “Sarai” meant the same as “Sarah” in Chaldea, but it did not in Canaan, hence the change. Sarah means “prince.” We do not say “princess,” for the reason that the–”ss” has been used as rather a wifely termination among us, signifying the rank of the husband. Abraham was not called “Prince” by God. His name was changed from Abram to Abraham, “father of a multitude.” Sarah was constituted by God a ruler, in her own right; she, not Abraham, was the anointed ruler of the tribe. Not because she was a woman, ¾not at all for that reason; but because she had better views than Abraham on the subject of social purity, and probably on other subjects.[3]

    550. God had laid His hand upon a previously pagan family, to make of them a Christian household. He began by checking sensual tendencies in Abraham, taught him the benefits of monogamy, and respect for his wife; wrought upon his instincts of fatherhood, and taught him to aspire to have a progeny that would bless the world, because of its excellencies. Furthermore, in receiving a special revelation as to the right course of dealing with spurious matrimonial relations (Genesis 21:12), Abraham must have learned the lesson that the headship or leadership in a household turned not upon sex, but upon which one, husband or wife, know best what to do. As for Sarah, He taught her He was her Protector and Deliverer from peril; trained her in self-respect; restored her to her place as the recipient of His promises when she had yielded it to another to secure a child for her husband; named her the Prince of her tribe, and anointed her for the office. We have shown that the oldest and most inveterate faults of man are the love of ruling and sensuality. Abraham’s training was to correct these. Sarah’s training was in dignity, authority and self-respect; and both in faith.