Phil Johnson and the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas

Phil Johnson and the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas

discernment-divas on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacs has struck up some heat on a post that he titles “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas”.  In this post and in his subsequent comments he makes his position plain that women are not allowed to publicly point out an error of a “duly ordained pastor”.  Phil classifies many “housewives and homeschool moms” as bad discerners who are discernment divas.   These “divas” believe that God has called them into a ministry of discernment but their abilities are not in rational understanding of doctrinal truth but an ability “to use a really sharp tongue” which Phil says is counter productive and embarrassing.  Phil doesn’t seem to mind that this may offend a lot of women as he tells Friel that he is a descendent of the John Knox clan. It was John Knox who offended more than a few when he wrote the book The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women in 1558.  In this book, Knox wrote that women compared to men were blind, weak, sick, impotent, mad, frenetic and their counsel is foolish. 

Knox also quotes Augustine favorably as saying: “How can woman be the image of God, seeing (says he) she is subject to man, and has none authority, neither to teach, neither to be witness, neither to judge, much less to rule or bear empire?”  When such harsh things are said about women even questioning whether women can be the image of God, would it be wrong for me to say that looking back on this kind of classification of women that Phil Johnson has associated himself with by aligning with John Knox’s Monstrous Regiment book, sounds sharp, counter productive and embarrassing and may have been a bad discernment decision forPhil?

In the audio file that accompanies Phil Johnson’s blog post, we can hear Todd Friel saying “There are two kinds of discernments that are a kind of discerner that are on the table right now. You have the monstrous regiment, and you have valid legitimate people who are concerned about theology.  That’s us.”

Who are the “valid legitimate people who are concerned about theology” who are allowed to present public criticism of Christian leaders and their bad doctrine?  They are males.  In his blog post Phil gives an answer to Denise who had written, “Certainly God didn’t gift believers with the Holy Spirit and with spiritual gifts according to their gender.”  Phil responds:

Of course He did. He gave us gifts that are in accord with our calling and office. Certain offices in the church are closed to women

No matter how broadly you want to interpret 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, one of the clear implications of that text is that it’s not fitting for a woman who has no teaching authority in the church to raise a public objection against a teaching elder whose office is recognized by the church. That’s not to say the pastor is infallible or above critique, and there is (of course) a proper venue for a lay woman to share her concerns or ask her questions, but a blog on the Internet is not that venue.

If any woman fancies herself a gift to the church as a guardian of sound doctrine because she thinks she has a special “gift of discernment” that entitles her to go online and write insulting epithets against a duly ordained and divinely-called pastor, She is seriously mistaken and grossly out of line–and she is an embarrassment to propriety and feminine modesty.

How are we to compare this kind of discernment with the Scripture?

1.  It is the Holy Spirit who decides who gets His gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:11

But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Men have not been given the right or responsibility to decide who will receive the Holy Spirit’s gifts.

2.  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:6, 7

There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.

But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

No man has been given the right to withhold the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the benefit of all.

3.  We are all told to seek the gifts for the purpose of the edification of the church.

1 Corinthians 14:1

1Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:12

12 So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.

No man has been given the right to tell a member of the body of Christ that he or she cannot be zealous for the spiritual gifts.

4.  Those who have been gifted by the Holy Spirit are told to use their gifts as a go-between (the term employ) bringing the gifts of God to the benefit of the church as a good steward.

1 Peter 4:10–11

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

No man has been given the right to demand that a servant of the Lord not be a good steward by using their gift publicly.

5.   We are told not to quench the spirit

1 Thessalonians 5:19
19 Do not quench the Spirit;

The gifts are not delegated by pastors, but by God Himself.  When we quench what God has given for the edification of the Church, we are guilty of quenching God’s Holy Spirit.

6. We are to be faithful to God with what He has given us because we must stand accountable to Him in the end.  We are not to judge one another unjustly nor are we to put a stumbling block in another Christian’s way.

Romans 14:12–13
12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.

I would like to ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to judge from the Scriptures.  Where does the Scripture give men permission to silence the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given for the common good?  If we are to fear God and love the body of Christ, we need to respect the Holy Spirit and His gifts.  If He chooses to gift a woman, who dares to silence her gift for the use of the body of Christ?

40 thoughts on “Phil Johnson and the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas

  1. Yeah, ol’ Phil would like to shut us up, wouldn’t he.
    He’d also like the think that God agrees with him, doesn’t he.
    Too bad ol’ Phil has such lousy discernment concerning women and is blinded by his own entitlement.

    Am I going to keep drawing attention to certain errors?

    You betcha.

    Women have been force fed a male-biased gospel for far too long. Female discernment has been shut down for far too long. It is the responsibility of all Christians to walk in discernment and no amount of scolding and shaming from a misguided man is going to stop me.

  2. Mara,

    Good for you.
    I had to go and read (as quickly as I did) at the blog post to get some kind of idea of what’s going on..

    Women have been force fed a male-biased gospel for far too long. Female discernment has been shut down for far too long. It is the responsibility of all Christians to walk in discernment and no amount of scolding and shaming from a misguided man is going to stop me.

    Based on Phil’s last comment on the 25th it does sound like he is stressing a male-biased gospel.

    Doesn’t the male-biased gospel have to do with lust? Lust for power, prominence, exclusive rights, authority, etc.

  3. I feel very sad for Phil. He has a copy of my DVD that was given to him back in 2006 for Phil and John MacArthur. I don’t think that he has watched it or he would not be able to make the claims about 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 as he does. He would know better. It appears to me that he will not be corrected by a woman no matter how much the Holy Spirit says thru her.

  4. Thanks for blogging about this – you did a great job bringing out the salient points.
    I must admit I’ve never given any deep thought to this issue, but I will now. I was utterly speechless when I read Johnson’s post. Most evangelical couples I have known over the years DO have the complementarian view, but many of the men would NOT have his attitude, and would never speak the way he did. Perhaps he thought his post with the photo was witty and amusing, gag. I’m not amused, but I do thank PH for drawing my attention to this topic!

  5. Bridget,
    Thank you for your kind thoughts. And welcome to my blog!

    I too felt quite speechless when I read Phil Johnson’s post because of the attitude that was displayed. It is my hope that some day the Church will be free of the attitude against women. I hope to see it in my lifetime because I believe that the Holy Spirit can do what no person can hope to accomplish.

  6. Actually, I think this is a good sign. The more dogmatic and oppressive they become, the more I realize we are winning the debate. They are using the only tools in their arsenal and the biggest tool is that they teach that it is a sin to take any instruction from women. Problem solved.

    Not so fast.

    They are becoming so dogmatic and oppressive that more and more comps are offended! And that is a good time to point to scripture interpretation. Guys like Phil sound more like Mormons in their view of women than Christians. (Be sweet, the Mormons tell their women). In fact, there are more and more parallels to Islam in their view of women than Christianity. (I often wonder what they do with Joanna…married to Chuza…who was traveling around the countryside with Jesus and supporting him financialy). The CBMW sounds more and more Mormonish every day. They are desperate.

    Can they make the case that there is a prohibition to women teaching men or having authority over men in the OT? No. So why is there a more drastic rule in the NT? At this point, they start pulling extra biblical rabbits out of the hat and read into the Word what is silent. They are teaching sin as a virtue. Women are to look to Christ. Not their husbands. Women are full co heirs in Christ.

    I think we are winning…little by little…as we see the slide right into blatent Patriarchy with these guys. Of course, there will always be women who do not want the responsibility that comes with being a full co heir of Christ. And they will go along with Patriarchy. We must pray for them.

    As an aside: Anyone who parrots John Knox has a historical problem. Knox was a co-conspirator to the murder of Lord Darnley in the Name of Christ. He even wrote a sermon absolving the deed. He also married a teenager when he was in his 50’s which shocked many of his followers. The guy was a creep.

  7. Lin,
    Thanks for the info Lin. I did not know that about John Knox. Now the quote by Phil seems even worse to me. If he were in my ancestral line, I don’t think I would brag about it.

  8. “‘Certain offices’ are closed…”

    Gotta love it. These guys all get off with their self-appointed status – as if they enjoy some sort of “apostolic succession.” Who “ordained” these guys? Just some other self-appointed “office-holders.” Where in scripture is a “teacher” or a “pastor” an “office”? It is a gift. And where does a certain gift elevate one in authority over another? These guys seem to be all mixed up and intimdated by anything that threatens to upset their ability to Lord over other sheep. Hilarious, yet sad.

  9. Gotta love it. These guys all get off with their self-appointed status – as if they enjoy some sort of “apostolic succession.”

    Yea, can be amusing, huh! LOL
    Nice post – funny

  10. These guys all get off with their self-appointed status – as if they enjoy some sort of “apostolic succession.” Who “ordained” these guys? Just some other self-appointed “office-holders.”

    Kicker is, these guys come out of churches that consider the historical Liturgical churches (who DO recognize Apostolic Succession) as “apostate” at best and “Satanic Counterfit” at worse.

  11. Can i just say that I find it a little humurous that the anti-spam word i had to type to make this post was “male”….

    Anyway thanks for the post and keep up the good work! Also be aware that this man’s statements likely have much more to do with his insecurities than an attempt at sound doctrine…

  12. This is what happens when believers think that much studying gives them the gift of ‘discernment’. The gift of the Holy Spirit in question is a gift of discerning of spiritual things that (as in all the Holy Spirit manifestations) needs the unction and revelation of the Holy Spirit in order to function. In short, this person doesn’t even know the Bible as well as he thinks he does. 🙁

  13. This is a classic case of two wrongs do not make a right.

    While I think the above quote and position outlined by Phil is preposterous, historically suspect and very biased, as a trained minister AND a homeschooling mother I have to say WOW, did he nail that crew on the head. There is a certain level of self-righteousness amoungst Christian Homeschoolers, and having been on the receiving end of it I totally agree that their ignorance needs to be treated as such. He is absolutely correct that the internet is not the place to air one’s opinion, nor does schooling your own children (a noble calling, without a doubt) give one the right to judge others while thinking themselves somehow “gifted”.

    Once you get beyond the prickles and slurs of his position against women in ministry, his comments on basic human civility aren’t that far out of line.

  14. Deborah, He chose not to include the “discerment macho men” who use the internet and are shrill/arrogant/ignorant. He focused on women only. Evidently, it is more acceptable if you are a man.

    TL above has it right.

  15. An excellent critique of those who misuse the Scriptures to justify male dominance, and to unjustly “keep women in their proper place,” denying their equal status as members of God’s household and as royal ambassadors of his kingdom. And it also shows, if I may say so, their true ignorance of what the Scriptures actually do teach on this subject.

    It amazes me that these people regularly read 1 Cor. 12:1-11 and Eph. 4:11-16, and yet cannot see that the gifting, preparation, and calling of the Spirit of a man or woman for a ministry precedes any formal training and approval by the “institutional church”; that the Holy Spirit chooses, gifts, prepares, and calls a man or woman into ministry in full agreement with both the Father and Son, who also want this man or woman to carry on this ministry; that the real purpose of any valid, useful formal theological training is to improve the knowledge, gifts and skills they already have as Spirit-called ministers of Christ, and not for placement in leadership and ministry for which neither they have been gifted nor called by the Triune God. This is a truth that many Evangelical Protestants, if they once knew it, seem to have forgotten.

    Our Evangelical forefathers and foremothers knew, on the basis of 2 Cor 3:6 ([God] has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”), that any preaching and teaching of the Scriptures, apart from Spirit-quickened interpetation that imparted power and comprehension to live out Gospel truth, often led not spiritual health and fruitfulness, but into deadening legalism and barreness. William Law, who was one of many involved in the Great Awakening of the 18th Century, expressed his concern this way:
    “Bible scholars are generally looked upon as having a divine knowledge when they are as ready at chapter and verse of Scripture as the learned philosopher is at every page of Plato or Aristotle. On the basis of prescribed religious education, the clergynman is thought to be fully qualified to engage in that ministry for which the apostles had to receive an endument of power from on high. This scholarly worship of the letter has greatly opposed the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and blinded men to the living reality which the gospel holds out to those who believe. The manner in which Greek and Hebrew scholarship is admired and sought after in the church would lead one to believe that a man has all the divine life and reality of a Paul if he can say his epistles by heart…What would be the advantage if he knew this letter in the original Greek, and had thoroughly mastered all the nicieties of grammar and shades of ancient meanings? Such a man, while more thoroughly grounded in the letter [of Scripture], must remain just as empty of the reality of the gospel, unless he knows in his own experience the immediate inspiration and quickening power of the Holy Spirit” (An Affectionate Address to the Clergy, 1761). And one of the leaders of the Great Awakening in New England, Isaac Backus, put it this way:
    “One very great means that God has been pleased to make use of from the beginning for the recovery and salvation of lost men, has been the preaching of his Word. And therefore in every age he has called and set apart particular men for that purpose. Jude speaks of ‘Enoch’s prophesying’ (Jude 14), and Noah is called ‘a preacher of righteousness’ (2 Pet. 2:5). And we are told that God ‘at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets’ (Heb. 1:1)…Hence it is a truth allowed by all persuasions (i.e. denominations), that the public preaching of the Word is an ordinance of divine appointment. But then there is a great diversity of sentiments about how men are to be qualified and introduced into this great work. Multitudes place their qualifications more in human learning than in divine enlightenings, and place their authority more in being externally called and set apart by men, than being internally called by the Spirit of God…And the main argument that is commonly brought to prove this is, that the Bible is completed, and the days of inspiration are ceased. Therefore, to hold that any are by the Spirit and the power of God, in our day, called and sent forth into this, this they say is giving heed to new revelations; for it is nowhere expressed in Scripture that this or that one is, or ever will be, called to preach the Gospel. But though I believe with all my heart that the canon of Scripture is full, and that there is a curse against any that shall ‘add to or diminish from it’ (Rev.22:18-19), yet I am far from thinking that it is just to conclude from hence that the Lord does not in these days as really call and direct his servants by his Spirit as he did in olden times; yea, to deny this is to contradict a great part of the Scriptures” (A Discourse on the Nature and Necessity of An Internal Call to Preach the Everlasting Gospe, 1754).

    Now, though these men were products of their time and culture, and so may not have been favorable to women preachers or women leading discernment ministries, what they say about the priority of the Spirit’s gifting, preparing and calling men and women to ministry to the formal preparation and approval of the institutional church, in my judgment, applies to the concerns of the present discussion. Neither Law, Backus, or myself mean to deny the necessity or credibility, of a good, solid theological education. After all, I myself have earned a bachelor of divinity degree, a bachelor of liberal arts, and studied for one year at a Reformed Episcopal seminary. Hopefully, it has made me a wiser, more knowledgable, more skillfull worker for God and his kingdom. However, any such education divorced from a true, vital and humble connection with the Holy Spirit is not only dead and useless, but even harmful to both the minister and those he ministers to. For I agree with Law when he states, “When this empty, powerless knowledge of the letter of spiritual truth is held to be the possession of the truth itself, then darkness, delusion, and death overshadow Christendom. For gospel Christianity is in its whole nature a ministration of the Spirit.”

  16. “It amazes me that these people regularly read 1 Cor. 12:1-11 and Eph. 4:11-16, and yet cannot see”

    Perhaps meditation would be a next step?

  17. I don’t want to get into Phil’s blog post (mainly because I’m not sure I agree with it in its entirety). But I would like to ask you about 1 Timothy 2 beginning in verse 9 the word of the Lord reads, ” 9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. 11 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. 15 But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.” (NASB 95)

    Would you please explain to me why this text says, “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

    Please be detailed in your response dealing with the immediate context.

    Please understand I’m not here to antagonize anyone I’m just wondering how you exegetically deal with this text.

    As far as “Discernment” goes I’m going to need you to be more specific are you saying that Women are discerning in the general sense or are you asserting that women have been given the spiritual gift of discernment?
    would you explain that to me in light of 1 Tim. 2:9-15?

    Thank you for your time and attention,
    you are loved in Christ

  18. Would you please explain to me why this text says, “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”

    Let’s start here:
    The text prohibits “a woman” or a specific woman because Paul was addressing a specific situation that invloved one woman – “a woman” who he does not name. (There’s a reason why he does not name her) There’s no way (I gaurantee it) to draw out of the passage more than one woman or there is no way to prove that Paul was prohibiting more than one woman! Contextualy the only proof that exists from within the passage itself is that Paul was stopping ONE woman from teaching. There is not one person on the entire planet (!) that could PROVE that Paul was placing a prohibition on more than ONE woman. Is it possible though that he could have been prohibiting mre than one woman? Sure it is possible but ONLY OUTSIDE of what the passage itself provides! In other words, if the scripture and what it says is where the line is drawn then Paul only stopped one woman from teaching. Ofcourse we can draw lines all day outside of scripture, but what would be the point in that if Scripture is our bases of faith?

    The immediate context – the verses prior to Paul’s prohibition speak of Godly women, opposed to the one woman who is decieved and should not teach. Paul didn’t stop the Godly women from teaching but only the one specific woman.

  19. Hi there!

    The main point is not what was prohibited, but rather that Paul states with emphasis that Timothy is to “LET a woman LEARN.” From there we deduce that this woman (or specific women) is to learn in the manner of a student — with all quietness and an attitude of submissiveness. While learning she is not to attempt to teach or to usurp (force her own) authority from the man (possibly her teacher or her husband).

    Paul has decided that this woman (or women) should be allowed to learn instead of thrown to Satan as Hymenaeus and Alexander were. It is possible that the reason is that the woman in question was one of those who were desiring to be teachers but were untrained in the law. 1 Tim. 1:3

  20. Pinklight is correct. What is part of the challenge of 1 Tim 2:12 is that the noun is anarthous, that means it is without the definite article, and Koine Greek does not have an indefinite article. So there are 3 basic choices on how to read it.
    1) Definite: referring to one woman at Ephesus (even tho there is no use of the article).
    2) Indefinite: referring to a generic woman
    3) As referring to a previously specified group: in this case it would be the woman or women at Ephesus.

    See Wallace “Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics” on anarthous nouns.

    So the only thing that can be said with certainty is that one woman

  21. “woman or women at Ephesus” referred to earlier in the passage.

  22. The main point is not what was prohibited,

    Right, and for me it is interesting to say the very least that the main point for gender hierarchalists is that women in general are being prohibited from having authority and teaching, in other words, it srikes me that the focus for them is a negative, not a positive. The second point for the gender hierarchalist is a positive for males – that they can have authority over females and teach without being restricted due to their gender. And these two ideas are very strange to me.
    Who can deny that their focus is a prohibition for women (a negative)? And their is an obvious red flag for me.
    What is it about negatives of all things that reel Christians in? I guess the flesh.

  23. Don Johnson thank you but anarthrous definitions are not necessary I am a 3rd semester Greek student. And although I enjoy Daniel Wallace’s work (especially his refutation of Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman) you would be far better served (definition wise) using A manual grammar of the Greek NT by Dana and Mantey or for an earlier perspective James Hope Moulton’s formative work on lexicography or Deissmann’s formative work on Koine Grammar.

    As far as the arguments posted above I’ll deal with them in detail as soon as possible.
    Kristen I regrettably cannot get into a lengthly discourse at this time I am in the middle of a major project but as the Lord provides time I’ll try my best to get to it.

    again, thank you for your time and attention.
    you are loved in Christ

  24. Dana & Mantey is copyright 1957. Moulton is 1963. Deissmann is 1908.

    Wallace is 1997 and his workbook for same is 2007.

    I prefer more up to date information and I have to wonder why you do not. The area of Koine Greek is an area of increasing information, especially with archeology.

    Methinks your assumptions are showing. In any case, Pinklight is correct that for all the options in understanding the subject of this verse, the minimum is 1 woman at Ephesus. If one wants to go beyond that, one needs to say why. I personally go beyond that and think that Paul was referring to a group of women at Ephesus as defined by the just previous text as I think that makes better sense of the she/they puzzle in 1 Tim 2:15, but hey, I might be wrong on that and as what Paul meant is anything but clear, due to so many translation choices and challenges. And a basic principle of prot Bible interpretation is not to use unclear passages for doctrine.

    To claim that 1 Tim 2:12 is referring to all women for all time is an interpretive choice and one that tells more about one’s assumptions than what is actually in the text. But go ahead, teach what you will and let those that agree with you reduce the effectiveness of half the church. I just will not be a part of that.

  25. Sir I came here humbly, I asked your position on the above posted text, I never disrespected, nor did I insult any one on this thread. I made sure to ask what you believed, so that I could directly address that view.

    I do not your recent reply to my earlier post reflects the mind of Christ nor do I believe it to be beneficial to the body of Christ.

    Soli Deo gloria

  26. Pastor TNew,

    you misinterpret Don’s comment. He is a kind hearted forthright speaker. His words are not meant as insulting. He has no ire in them. I’ve known him for many years and am pretty sure I can tell his tone now.

    Some of us just speak a little more plainer and blunter than others. Frankly, 🙂 , I appreciate Don’s plain speaking.

  27. Thanks, dear folks for adding good thoughts while I was not able to be here! I have been so incredibly busy the last while that something had to give and the blog just couldn’t have my attention. I will try to catch up a bit, but since my next DVD comes out by the end of the year, I am likely to be in an overwhelmed state until it is finished.

    Pinklight, I fixed the problem of your extra bolding on your post.

    Pastortnew, welcome to my blog! Sorry that I didn’t get to your request sooner. My 4 DVD set (linked at the top) has all the information that you are looking for on 1 Timothy 2:12 and although there is much on this blog that answers your question, the best is the DVD that goes through not just 1 Timothy 2:11-15, but also all the “hard passages of Scripture” on the women’s issue.

    Also about Don and Dr. Wallace. Don is a very kind individual that always strives for balance and gentleness and I am sure that you would like him a lot if you knew him. His comments are never meant to berate another, at least not that I have seen, so I think you misunderstand him.

    I like Dr. Daniel Wallace too. In fact he has been helping me with Greek grammar issues for my next DVD (on a balanced view of the Sovereignty of God) and I find Dr. Wallace to be a very knowledgable and gracious man. What I also like about Greek grammar from newer literature is that they are able to make use of the latest resources that may not have been published years ago. Dr. Daniel also has a copy of my DVD set.

    I will comment on a few things regarding 1 Timothy 2:11-15. First of all there is no command in verse 12. The imperative is in verse 11 which many people miss when they read the English. Secondly in verse 15, the she and they (singular and plural) are important to notice. Verse 15 gives the expected outcome for what Paul is not allowing in verse 12. Also the “she” is not the same as “they” as that would be bad grammar, so understanding the passage, it is important to go back to find out who is referenced by “she” and how far back do you need to go to reference “they”. No biblical passage ever has a generic person or a generic group with both singular and plural pronouns.

    As far as “discernment” that is a term that was used by Phil Johnson. I believe that all of us are to work hard to have discernment. One of the signs of the end time is that there will be great deception, so we must stick close to God’s Word, give it great care and attention and seek to be discerning in all things.

  28. As I look at the photo of the “discernment divas” that heads up your article, Cheryl, I can’t help but think that Phil is missing one thing: A true photo of godly women who are truly concerned about correct doctrine, and purity of biblical teaching, would be holding open bibles in their laps. Why is Phil focusing on women when he argues his point? He needs to realize that the key issue is that the vehicle itself is not where the Lord wants our gaze to be fixed. As Paul exhorted Titus in chapter 2, verse 8: “And let your instruction be sound and fit and wise and wholesome, vigorous and irrefutable and above censure, so that the opponent may be put to shame, finding nothing discrediting or evil to say about us.” Amplified. In other words, if someone finds something to say about our teaching that may call it’s validity into question, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE, we had better run to the Word of God and check it out! It is God’s will that all of His children submit to, and seek a correct understanding of the Word of God.
    It takes humility and a spirit of repentance to keep an open mind to diligently search the scriptures to discover the truth, when we may be in error. If it happens to be a woman who has kept herself well-versed in her knowledge of Holy Scripture, then any man whom she may approach to question/correct, had better heed the Holy Spirit’s warning! Being warned by a woman may be a blessing that could keep a man from a worst error! The following verses remind us of how serious God takes the sin of false teaching:
    Re. Holy Scripture…
    * Add nothing to it (Rev. 22:18)
    * Take nothing from it (Rev. 22:19)
    * Change nothing in it (Proverbs 30:6)
    The Word of God itself reveals very dire consequences for those who disobey the above warnings. Whether male or female, Phil and all teachers of the Word who will “…assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation'”, (James 3:1, Amp.), need to thank God for his merciful red alert, whenever it comes, whether through male or female vessels!

  29. Just might want to revisit this post’s idea again

    The subject has come up with Brannon Howse and Chris Pinto going after Christine Pack for questioning Chris Pinto’s scholarship and sources:

    Basically, women aren’t allowed in the discernment blogosphere and they sure better not show up a man who is botching the job! Same old same old. It made me mad when Phil and Todd did this, and gave ammo to these guys who are so inept in the logic department as to be more and more an embarrassment to the church.

    I agree with Biblical male headship in the church and family. However a male only has authority insofar as he is in sync with the Word of God. If he abuses his family the woman actually has a duty to speak and act against this with an aim to correct it from Scripture (without becoming abusive herself and without the AIM of taking over leadership, but to get the man to lead, ideally). Men also are told to submit to leadership in the church, and even so, the same justification men have from Scripture to speak out against pastors and elders in error gives women the ability to speak out against evil/error/abuse in the church or anywhere else, whether it is done by men or women. The order to submit is not an absolute. We see that very plainly in Scripture when authorities conflict with the Word of God, we are not to submit to the authority which is not in line with God’s word.

  30. Marie said “Phil is missing one thing: A true photo of godly women who are truly concerned about correct doctrine,”

    I think you’re right. He must think women aren’t capable of understanding what that is, or something. A woman who writes with a little bite, like himself, or particularly like Frank, is automatically labeled harsh. Well what does that make them? Frank in particular lacks the reasoning skills of Phil, and does best just lobbing grenades and sarcasm at people. It’s shameful, ‘frankly’ and I start to think that the reason Phil put up with him for so long is that Frank makes Phil look reasonable and gentle in comparison.

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