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Month: September 2008

Three spheres of subordination shrinks to two

Three spheres of subordination shrinks to two

In my last post I pointed to USA Today’s editorial that challenged complementarians who are willing to accept a woman as the Vice President of the country, that they should admit that they are full fledged egalitarians in the realm of society, the workplace and public life.

Doug Phillips of Vision Forum, an organization that believes the bible forbids women from voting, has taken CBMW (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) to task saying that Dr. Gushee is right in his USA Today challenge that people like CBMW have experienced an historic change in their theological position.  He writes:

Dr. Gushee’s point was essentially this: Christians must formally acknowledge that a historic change has occurred in their theological commitments and policy objectives, or reasonable observers must conclude that that their position lacks intellectual integrity.

While I do not agree with Doug Phillips at all regarding his very legalistic interpretation of women’s “roles”, he is right in pointing out that if one interprets the distinctions between male and female as rooted in the creation order itself, then it is inconsistent to not apply that principle to all three realms – marriage (home), church and society – instead of just in marriage and the church.  If we are going to remove the realm of society and civil government, then we need to rethink our interpretation of Paul.

CBMW states that they are being consistent and that:

God’s design for male headship in the home and the church does not require the exclusion of women from leadership in public life, where spiritual headship is not involved. Such extrapolation carries the biblical teaching about the role of women beyond the Bible’s own application.

The apparent inconsistency according to CBMW only comes when one overlooks the priority of the church:

Complementarians only seem to be inconsistent if one overlooks the priority of the church and misses the distinction between the church and and civil government.  This confusion is resolved when one understands that complementarians simultaneously hold a high view of Scripture, a high view of women, and a high view of the church.

I think it is time that we test CBMW’s claim to consistency and see what they have taught in the past regarding the role of men and women in Society.

In 1987 CBMW formed as a concerned group of individuals and in that year they created the Danver’s Statement which is a list of CBMW’s core beliefs.

Point 1 under Rationale, CBMW lists a concern:

The widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity;

Note that the concern is not just about the home and the church but about “our culture”.  Did CBMW believe in 1987 that the difference between masculinity and femininity would necessitate different roles in society?  Their Danver Statement affirmations make it clear that they believe the “created order” that was ordained by God and it goes past an application to Christians because it is to be found within every human heart:

Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor 11:7-9; 1 Tim 2:12-14).

We find in CBMW’s 1991 book “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” that there is a “breaking point” of femininity that makes some “roles” for women inappropriate, unproductive and unhealthy:

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Questions of faith for semi-egalitarians

Questions of faith for semi-egalitarians

USA Today has an editorial written by David P Gushee in which Mr. Gushee challenges complementarians that they are actually semi-egalitarians and they should be willing to openly acknowledge this.  Gushee says that he writes about this issue as a moderate evangelical Christian.

Gushee writes that there are many theologically conservative Christians who accept Sarah Palin as the Republical vice presidential nominee.  Yet at the same time:

…at the local church level many congregations would not accept Palin or any other woman even as associate pastor, or deacon, or youth minister or Sunday school teacher in a gender-mixed classroom.  The most conservative would not consider it appropriate for her to stand behind a pulpit and preach a sermon, or teach from the Bible, or lead a praise chorus, or offer a prayer, unless her audience consisted entirely of women or children.

He notes that even CBMW (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) who Gushee calls “an influential advocacy group” and who are against women teaching men in the church, have no problem in allowing for a woman to serve as vice president of the country.  CBMW has replied to the article welcoming Gushee’s questions:

Dr. Gushee is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University and challenges complementarians with many questions in the September 15, 2008 issue of USA Today.

CBMW writes:

While we are honored that Dr. Gushee considers CBMW “an influential advocacy group” on gender issues, we don’t claim to represent the “evangelical voting base,” or even all complementarians.

It certainly is a fact that CBMW does not represent all complementarians.  There is a group called Vision Forum who were formerly associated with CBMW from its beginning, but who have since separated themselves from CBMW now calling CBMW in actuality semi-egalitarians.  Vision Forum has written that Dr. Gushee is “spot on”.  In an article regarding USA Today’s editorial, Doug Phillips writes this about CBMW:

It is our view, however, that they have erred by overtly embracing an egalitarian perspective of the roles of men and women in the public arena.

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The unorthodox view of the Trinity related to women in ministry

The unorthodox view of the Trinity related to women in ministry

Wade Burleson has blogged on the Trinity and the unorthodox trend that has come into the church that teaches an eternally subordinated Son of God in the Trinity.

Wade writes:

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is composed of many Southern Baptists who are introducing to evangelicalism a novel, if not peculiar, view of Christ which has more in common with Arianism than the historic, orthodox view of Christ’s person. The theologians and teachers who write for the CBMW are teaching what they call “the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father” as a basis for their hierarchal view that the female is to be subordinate to the male. Women’s subordination to man, according to the teachings of CBMW, is not a consequence of sin or a reflection of cultural values, but is built upon the heirachical order God established before the fall as a reflection of the Trinity.

This view of the Trinity has been used by some complementarians who have a lot of sway in Southern Baptist circles to support the functional subordination of women.  I would recommend that you read what Wade has written and then have a read through the comments on his blog as well.  It is a frightening thing to me to see the spread of this unorthodox doctrine and how many have accepted it as gospel truth.

It also comes at a very timely place for us as we are just getting ready to release our new 2 DVD set called “The Trinity: Eternity Past to Eternity Future, Explaining Truth & Exposing Error

The DVD will be availabe by mid October at http://mmoutreach.org/ or from Amazon.com.

(October 2008 update:  The DVD is now available and a preview is available on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLe-qF2nptA.)

A deeper look into 1 Timothy 2:12

A deeper look into 1 Timothy 2:12

This is a response to an article called “A Deeper Look into: 1 Timothy 2:12” by an author posting by the email address of carmradio@ymail.com on September 23, 2008.  I will leave his name off this post.

There are so many fallacies in the article that I hardly know where to start.  However, let me start with the area that caused so many problems a year ago and I will give here what I should have said in the debate.  The section I will be addressing is called:

What the Term “Quiet/Silent” Means

**See comments at the end**  The author of this particular piece receives much of his information from an individual and ministry that he is very supportive of.  His mentor in a debate a year ago made it clear that silence in 1 Timothy 2:12 does not mean complete silence, but rather quietness.  He stated in that debate that if Paul was stopping a false deceived teacher from teaching her error to her husband (as I have shown from the context of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and as he was trying to refute), then Paul used the wrong word and it should have been the Greek word meaning complete silence, otherwise, as this person said in our debate, it would mean that Paul is saying that this deceived woman can teach her error to her husband “just a little bit“.  Hear the short audio clip here where this mentor denies that the word from 1 Timothy 2:12 means silence. Click here:  Denial that 1 Timothy 2:12 means silence

This clip was taken from our audio debate a year ago.   For the reasons why I am refuting a particular person’s theology but not using their name, please refer to this statement.

Well, let’s just take the reasoning and apply it to his own interpretation to see if doing something “just a little bit” will work for him.  This “author”** writes:

This term “silence” is again used in 1 Timothy 2:12, but we can see Paul is using it in the opposite manner as opposed to 1 Tim 2:2. 1 Timothy 2:12 says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over men, but to be silent.” It says not to have authority over men, but to be silent. In other words, quietness/silence here means the opposite of having authority over man. So it reads, do not exercise authority over men, but instead be silent.

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Are we too emotional?

Are we too emotional?

Are we really too emotional?

I have had some interaction with a pastor via the internet on and off for the last half year or so and whenever I have passionately stated my case for believing that women are allowed in scripture to teach the bible to men, I have been accused of letting my emotions cloud my judgment and my thinking.  (Sigh)  Why is it that egalitarians are pegged as overly emotional while comps consider themselves both logical and biblical?

Now this particular pastor appears to be a very nice fellow.  I really quite like him.  He isn’t calling me an unbeliever or a heretic as some have.  He is also very supportive of my ministry work regarding my reaching out to Jehovah’s Witnesses to win them for Christ.  He appears to like me as a person, and as I said, I also like him, but there is a roadblock that is hard to cross over.  He thinks that there is no other way to see scripture but that it limits women from teaching the bible to men. Other than apparently my work with non-Christians, he holds the party line that women who teach the bible to men are sinning against God, and that we can see a pattern for human relationships and roles by the “roles” in the Trinity where the Father is the ultimate authority and the Son submits to the Father (double sigh!)

Never mind that he has not been able to answer even one of my challenges to his position.  He can wave my position off because he attributes it to emotionalism.  It is actually a wee bit humorous because I have been charged by others with being too logical and my dogged persistence is not a sign of weak emotions or a faint heart!

So why do you think that we have to defend ourselves against the charge of being too emotional?  Is this a name-it and claim-it-for-the-other-person a way to dismiss everything we say?  Are comps really the logical ones and are egalitarians the ones who have no heart for the inspiration of scripture but want to rest their beliefs on feelings, emotions and hurt?

One thing for sure….hierarchists have caused a great deal of grief for many egalitarians including myself.  For one who loves peace amongst the brothers to have to deal with name-calling, anger, vindictiveness, insults and rejection of even being called a sister in Christ, it probably would be okay to cry a tear or two for the hurt that has happened in the body of Christ.

I trust that a logical, full believer in the inspiration of scripture, persistent, peace-maker like myself is allowed to cry sometimes without being called overly emotional or that my judgment and thinking are clouded by emotions.  A soft caring heart is what I long to see in complementarians because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I trust that God will help to keep my heart soft to them no matter how many attacks I have to deflect that has been unfairly lobbed over the wall and against my name.

Pardon me while I cry.

Forbid not

Forbid not

Forbid not….

Paul said something profound in 1 Corinthians 14:39 that goes against the grain of the hierarchical mindset.  Paul said “forbid not to speak…”

This is not an issue of whether tongues is valid today or not.  What is the issue is the command to “forbid not” to speak in the assembly.  Let’s walk through this passage to see how it is all connected together.

In 1 Cor. 14:34 it says women are “not permitted to speak” in the churches.  The Greek word is “epitrepetai” and it means to give liberty to, allow, give permission, entrust to.  So according to verses 34 & 35, speaking in the assembly is forbidden because there is no permission given to allow women to speak and a “law” is appealed to that takes away the ability for women to speak in the assembly.  Verse 36 is set up as a contradiction of verses 34 & 35.   Paul answers by stating “n” which is a disjunctive conjunction which is used “to distinguish things or thoughts which either mutually exclude each other, or one of which can take the place of the other” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon.  Thayer’s lists 1 Cor. 14:36 as an example of “n” used “before a sentence contrary to the one just preceding, to indicate that if one be denied or refuted the other must stand”

What then is being denied by the “n” in verse 36?  It is the command in verse in verse 34 & 35 that women are to be silent.  How does Paul deny this command and the appeal to the law of men? (see The Elusive Law and Is a Woman’s Voice Filthy? for further information on why these two verses are to be considered a quote from the Corinthian’s letter to Paul and not the actual words of Paul himself.)

Paul demands to know if the word of God comes only through them (the men demanding the silencing of women) and he demands to know if only they are to receive God’s word.  In other words, Paul is demanding to know if God only speaks through men and God only gives his word to men and does not speak through women and to women.  Remember that the command to silence women also denied their learning in the assembly.  If they wanted to learn anything, they were commanded to learn at home.  Paul in essence asks where is this God’s word?  Where are women forbidden to speak God’s words and where are women forbidden to learn God’s words?  It is certainly true that in the oral law of the Jews women were forbidden to speak in the assembly and women were forbidden to be taught God’s word.  For a father to teach his daughter the Torah was considered immoral by the Jews because women were forbidden to handle God’s word and so there was no need to learn it.

Paul then goes on to say:

if anyone is thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write you are the Lord’s commandment.

Obviously those who wrote to Paul about the silencing of women believed that they were spiritual conveyors of God’s “laws”.  Paul says that if they presume to be spiritual guides and prophets giving out God’s words, then they must recognize that the things that Paul has written are the commands of the Lord Jesus.

What are the commands that Paul is referring to?  Let’s look back in the chapter to find Paul’s commands.  “Commands” here is in the plural, so we should expect to find several commands.

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Pastoral support

Pastoral support

Cheryl Schatz and her husband Richard, along with ministry partners Keith and Lorri MacGregor, are members in good standing at Bethel Christian Centre in Nelson, BC.  The MacGregor’s established a counter-cult/discernment ministry three decades ago and have recently partnered with the Schatz’s to form MM Outreach, Inc.  Together, these two couples continue with integrity and a passion for the Word of God what the MacGregor’s had already begun and, recognizing the importance of local church leadership and accountability, operate as a parachurch ministry while remaining closely associated with Bethel Christian Centre.

Rev Derwyn Costinak
Pastor
Bethel Christian Centre

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