gender issues

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My friend, Phil and I were talking about the article on Christianity Today - John Piper, Is My Femininity Showing. I kept asking, why can't they get that Piper made it clear that he wasn't talking about the female body - he was saying that, as a Complementarian, he believes that a woman should not have spiritual authority over a woman.

(run down...see my post from yesterday)

Phil didn't use these words, but we have used these terms before. It's the narrative.

The author of the article made a (false) assumption that Piper's concern was about the female body...and ran with that assumption...ran fast and hard.

Once the narrative was set, no amount of reasoning was going to shift the conversation to where PIPER had his concerns...women in authoritative teaching positions over men.

It's the narrative. And we hear the familiar refrain: words like evil, bigoted, hateful, comparisons to Islam...even the theory that he's not comfortable with the menstrual cycle (???) or that he cannot get beyond the "allure" of the female body...

Unable to discern between reading a book and sitting under authoritative teaching in person...I seriously don't get that. Example: I've read several of Rob Bell's books. I've gotten some good information...but I refused to even visit his church, with was only around 10 miles away from me (he recently left) - reading his book, I can put it away...in his church, with him in the pulpit, he become my teacher. But (you know...) it's the narrative.

I'm sure that these are not unintelligent people, but they are unwilling, or unable to veer from the narrative. It is not for me to judge whether unwilling or unable, but veering they will not or cannot do.

Thoughts on "Hey John, Is My Femininity Showing?"

The offending podcast is here.

The way I'm reading it goes like this.

The basics

  1. John Piper is a Complementarian
  2. He believes that men should be the leaders in the home and church and further...
  3. women should not be in spiritual leadership positions over men.

The question the podcast answers the question: Can men use commentaries written by women?

The logic:

  1. Piper doesn't have a problem reading spiritual material written by women
  2. Piper does have a problem with a woman sitting in spiritual authority over a man, whether in a church, or seminary class.
  3. Therefore: the mere presence of a female body (in general) is offensive to John Piper.

Apparently, most egalitarians don't see the distinction between reading a book (sitting and gathering information) and sitting under teaching authority.

You don't submit to a book, you do submit to a teacher.

You can put a book down, you can give it away, throw it away, burn it...you can't do those things to a teaching authority. You can get yourself out from under the authority, but as long as you're in that class, you're under authority.

I understand that it's not the body parts, it's the authority. Piper makes that clear when he says, "whereas if she were standing right in front of me and teaching me as my shepherd< /strong>…I couldn’t make that separation"

This is not the voice of "femininity" - it's the voice of worldly feminism (which is antithetical to femininity.) It's the brand of feminism that cannot tolerate dissension, cannot respect differing viewpoints and must tear down those who disagree.

So Rachel, don't worry...it's not your femininity that's showing.

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Wayne Grudem's article is no longer on CBMW.

I'm putting it here as a reference for myself...if Grudem doesn't approve, I'd love for him to contact me and see if he can get it back on CBMW as a reference (and to let him know that I now work with one of his former students 😉

But What Should Women Do In The Church?

Wayne Grudem

...continue reading

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So....shall we talk about expanding definitions?

Our definition of sexual assault is any type of sexual behavior or contact where consent is not freely given or obtained and is accomplished through force, intimidation, violence, coercion, manipulation, threat, deception, or abuse of authority. This definition gets beyond our society’s narrow understanding of the issue and expands the spectrum of actions to be considered sexual assault.

("Rid Of My Disgrace" by Lindsey and Justin Holcomb)

What is the problem with this definition?

"assault" is an ugly word, and it should be. But (for the sake of the victim and the aggressor) it needs to be defined objectively.

For instance, define "freely given" - does that mean that a partner needs to explicitly give consent each and every time an encounter happens? Does it mean that a consent that was granted when a wife accepts her husband's advances because he wanted her, even though she wasn't in that perfect "mood," that consent was not "freely" given?

Who gets to decide when "manipulation" happened?

The big one is "abuse of authority" - I'm firmly in the complementarian camp and I believe that the husband is an authority over his wife. If there is a pattern of him denied access to the blessings of the marriage covenant, and presses the issue, is that an "abuse of authority?"

These are subjective definitions.

If a girl or woman was treated inappropriately, does that rise to the level of "assault"?

For instance...when I was a teen, one of the fashions of the day was a button up shirt...not buttoned, but tied in a knot right at the bridge of the bra. Lots of cleavage there. (this, by the way, is something that I may have told one or two people...ever) A friend and I had been baby-sitting and when the man in the home came to pay us and send us on our way, he got real close to me, put the backs of his fingers inside my shirt and stroked my breast.

It was sexual behavior, consent was not give, and I felt intimidated. Inappropriate, certainly. Absolutely - and I was very uncomfortable with it. But, Inever ratcheted up to the level of "assault."

I rarely think about the incident, only when I hear similar stories, only the "victim" is so wound up about her "assault" that she cannot function. I end up thinking..."really?"

I have a friend who was brutally raped by multiple young men. The wounds went deep, and they should.

I have a problem when the distinction between my incident and gang rape is blurred. There should be "levels of guilt" (for lack of a better term) in this area. If we bring everything to the level of "assault" - then everything is assault and everybody is a victim. I'm not prepared to live life as a victim.

Women are strong (or should be) and resilient (or should be) - instead of being told that we are all victims of assault, we should be taught to distinguish between those levels and deal with the behavior at that level.

My friend, Jan, has what her husband calls the "awfulizer" - she can take a fairly mundane thing and "awfulize" it (but can't we all?")

By taking an inappropriate act and "awfulizing" into "assault" we are running the risk of taking an objective definition, leaving it at the mercy of subjective feelings, then having a few women "awfulize" it, leaving men to wonder if they're going to be forever branded as sex criminals on Megan's List.

That could be a very bad thing.

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A comment by minnowspeaks (an egalitarian):

"Then as now my greatest difficulty is with the notion that a loving Creator would purposely gift His creation in a certain way only to insist His creation NOT use the gifts. Such a notion goes against my belief in a loving God as well as the idea that our gifts are meant for the edification of the whole."

1) Complementarians do not deny that all members of the bride of Christ are gifted OR that they should be able to use their gifts within Scriptural limits.

2) Why is it that if a woman cannot use her gifts to teach or lead men, you do not consider her to be using her gifts?

possibilities:

...continue reading

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(With the name removed to make things interesting...but those who know...know)

"...is adopting a "literalistic" reading of the Bible when he takes Paul's 2,000-year-old words as proof for all time that the Supreme Being --!(#%&#)@*$(&%--.

"It's the same process of logic that leads to supporting slavery," -$*@$&%- said, noting that the apostle of Jesus also did not oppose slavery.

"It's important for people to understand that the holy scriptures is a very nuanced document. I think we need to allow people room to come to a new understanding,"

Not applicable for all time, same process that leads us to supporting slavery.

Question: is this an egalitarian supporting women in the pulpit? Or an Anglican supporting homosexual marriage?

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I'm finding that I don't like the word "subordinationism". There are better words to describe the belief that we're talking about. However...that appears to be the "word of the day".

Craig Keener (an egalitarian) wrote a rather long article: "Is subordination within the Trinity really heresy? A study of John 5:18 in context."
In the opening page he writes:

Nor, in fact, do Christological views coincide as closely with views on gender roles as some of the advocates of either position claim. Thus, for example, I frequently talk with Christians who espouse a complementarian view of gender roles while expressing surprise that anyone would deny the full equality in all respects of the Father and the Son. By contrast, I and some other scholars I know who support a very broad range of women's ministry affirm the Son's subordination to the Father. To be sure, that subordination may be voluntary, and we do not draw from it the same conclusions many of our complementarian colleagues do; but the fact remains that one's view on gender roles does not enable one to predict one's view of relations within the Trinity, or vice-versa. I do see evidence for the Son's subordination to the Father in rank; I also believe that evangelicals who differ on the matter should do so charitably. (emphasis mine)

The article begins at John 5:18

This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (ESV) (emphasis mine)

(A) Does Jesus Claim "Equality"? (5:18)

Jesus is "God the Son", but He is also acting as an agent for the Father. Keener makes the point that when we say that Christ as claiming equality with the Father in this passage, we are following the logic of Christ's enemies, not the actual words of Christ. Yes...clearly Christ is communicating His deity in this passage, but equality of roles with the Father? Keener believes not:

But while Jesus claims deity at various points in this gospel (e.g., 8:58; 20:2829), he also denies equality of rank with his Father. This is particularly clear in his response to those who think he has claimed such equality (5:19-30). Jesus does this by calling attention to his role as Son and agent. (emphasis mine).

In verses 19-23 we see the following points

  • Jesus is following the example of His Father
  • Jesus is saying that He can do nothing of His own accord
  • Jesus has been given authority by His Father

Nowhere in this passage does Christ claim equality - He claims Sonship, with delegated authority and obedience.

(B) Jesus as God Son

Keener brings up a point that I had not heard of or thought of. Jesus was obediently following His Father's example. In the Jewish culture, how did a son learn his trade? By following his father's example - apprenticeship.

Nevertheless, this part of the discourse is framed with Jesus' claim not to act "from himself," or on his own initiative or authority (5:19, 30),25 fitting the Jewish conception of the agent who carries out his commission? Jesus elsewhere emphasizes that he does nothing "from himself" (5:30; 7:17-18, 28; 8:28, 42; 14:10), as the Spirit does not (16:13), and that the disciples cannot produce anything profitable from themselves (15:5).

(c) Jesus as God's Agent

In this section, Keener touches on the argument that yes-Christ was subordinate for the duration of His incarnation. But Keener points out that since Christ was "sent", that the submission started (at least) a little while before His birth.

Also, as a "representative agent" He carried the full authority of the Sender. This was in accordance with the time;

Agency represented commission and authorization, the sense of the concept which provides a broad conceptual background for early Christian agency. In many cases, at least in our later sources, the agent's own legal status was comparatively low. Indeed, under rabbinic rulings, even slaves were permitted to fill the position.32 Yet agents bore representative authority, because they acted on the authority of the one who sent them. Thus perhaps the most common rabbinic maxim concerning a person's agent is that "he is equivalent to the person himself."33 In the broader Mediterranean world envoys or messengers were backed by the full authority of those they represented. (...)

Even when one sent one's son (Mark 12:6), the messenger position was necessarily one of subordination to the sender. Although the concept of agency implies subordination, it also stresses Jesus' functional equality with the Father in terms of humanity's required response: he must be honored and believed in the same way as must be the Father whose representative he is (e.g., Tohn 5:23; 6:29).

(and I'm just a third of the way through the article...)

We have the framework for Christ's submission, obedience, subordination, and agency for the duration of His ministry while He walked this planet - and (at least a little) prior to.
Still...that does not provide proof that this submission is eternal.

Next up: section II: 1 Corinthians 15:28.

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From Complegalitarian:

So if the relationship is sour, it *must* be because she's not acknowledging his leadership well enough. If she agrees with everything he says and complies in every single way, then there won't be any problems, now will there?

(No problems, but not much of a REAL relationship to speak of, either)... 🙁

I see that particular emphasis as being abusive in and of itself, even if the guy does not resort to physical violence, the emotional violence done to a woman in that kind of a "relationship" is enormous. In effect she ceases to exist.

I guess I would need to ask what "kind of 'relationship'" is being referred to?  Complementarian?  If it is complementarian marriages in general, it becomes more difficult to believe that egalitarians do not see all complementarian men in general are abusive.

If there is a different "kind of 'relationship'" being referred to, it would be helpful to know exactly what is being referred to?

I do have a few thoughts on "ceasing to exist".

Do we "cease to exist" when we are in Christ?  (Since Scripture refers multiple times in both New and Old Testaments as God / Christ relating to His peoples as husband and wife, it's a reasonable thing to do).

Is God / Christ being abusive when He gives us His commandments?

ALSO:  is dying to one's self necessarily a bad thing?  If the giving up on one's self leads to a greater tie of "one-flesh", why is that bad?  Especially since BOTH parties may be required to do exactly that.

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QUESTION:

How submissive should a wife be?

In what way should a wife BE submissive to her husband?

Whether or not the husband leads, whether or not you call your husband "leader", what does the Bible say about the submission of a wife?

Submit unless he tries to lead, in which case all bets are off?

Submission until submission is hard?

Submission until you don't agree on something? Anything?

Submission to the point of where he asks you to sin?

Submission to the point where he sins against you?

Submission until he is abusive?

Submission to the point of death?

If a wife is to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ, what does that mean?

Does the church submit to the Lord Jesus Christ as her authority?  What example does that set (or does not set) for wives?
There is a point to the questions. Submission of a wife is a tenet of both egalitarian and complementarian marriages. The difference (as I see it anyway) is the way the husband relates to (submits to the needs of)  the wife, not the submission (or not) of the wife. Egalitarianism does NOT say the wife should not submit. (I think) that egalitarianism teaches that the wife and husband should submit equally to each other and in the same way (if there is a difference in the way that egalitarians believe that a husband and wife (in general terms, not in a particular relationship) submit to one another), this is something I would like to learn of - with sources from CBE).

AGAIN: the questions are about how a wife relates to her husband. PLEASE do not speculate or comment on how you believe husbands are to relate to their wives.