It is important to realize, when reading Baxter and the Puritans, that there was no guarded language when speaking of how the Christian household ought to look like. They simply assumed the clear, biblical teaching of a husband’s authority in the family and a wife’s joyful submission. So then, at one level, Baxter’s direction for women wouldn’t sound too different than John Piper’s or Wayne Grudem’s.
However, Baxter, in a way that Puritans are known for, approaches the heart of the wife. What would cause a wife to rebel against the biblical mandate to follow the leadership of the husband? Baxter gives a few reasons:
1. Failure to believe God’s will is best. God’s design for the Christian family, which includes the structure of authority and submission, is best! God is wise and we, as sinners, need divine wisdom. He writes, “Who are you to assess God’s Word in a way different than his own qualifications.” What Baxter means is, we are to allow God?s Word to explain itself in its own terms. We must not explain away difficult, but clear, instruction. As Christians, we must trust God’s counsel for the home. Failure to trust God’s will can only bring turmoil and unrest.
According to Baxter, we as sinners need divine wisdom. And where does that wisdom reside? The wisdom for the wife and for the home apparently resides in the husband who exercises God’s will through the man’s own authority. Is this really the “clear” teaching of God’s word? Let’s test this by the Word of God in Proverbs 31. In verse 10 we see what is defined as an “excellent wife”. Let’s consider verses 10-12:
Prov 31:10 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.
Prov 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.
Prov 31:12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
Instead of setting the wife up as one who finds divine wisdom alone in the man, these verses show that it is her husband’s heart that finds trust in her. Notice that it doesn’t say that her husband takes authority over her or that she has no wisdom from God on her own. Proverbs lists her as a woman who is wise and who uses her wisdom to do good for him.
Today I read a blog post that really touched my heart because it showed the importance of mutual decision-making instead of unilateral decisions by the husband (the male trump card). I have asked and received permission from Michael Patton to post this on my blog. I think that this story puts a human face to the issues of a one-flesh union that we have talked much about on this blog. This testimony by Michael Patton and his willingness to listen to the wisdom of a godly woman really raised my respect for Michael. I think that you will be touched by his story as well. This is a fine example of how real complementary marriage works rather than a hierarchy model.
Wade Burleson has an interesting post about marital authorityand the only time that the Bible uses the word authority in the context of marriage. Burleson writes:
The often quoted book complementarian book Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanwood (1991), devotes entire chapters to passages like Ephesians 5:21-33, 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. Colossians 3:18-18, and 1 Peter 3:1-7. But the ONLY text in the Bible that actually uses the word “authority” in the context of marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, is given no consideration. Likewise, in John Piper’s book What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined by the Bible (2001) there are two lists of verses dealing with marriage provided, but 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 is not even included (see pages 21,66).
It is certainly interesting that the only place were the Bible gives the husband and wife authority over the other is missing in the sections dealing with authority and submission in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. …
Can complementarianism ever be considered spiritual abuse? Before we can discuss this, we need to know what spiritual abuse is. David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen have written a definition in The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.
Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining or decreasing that person’s spiritual empowerment (pg 20)
Spiritual authority can become spiritual abuse when leadership places a value on a “doctrine” (especially a secondary doctrine) over and above the value of the member of the body of Christ. Johnson and VanVonderen identify how subtle a matter of authority can become spiritual abuse.
It’s possible to become so determined to defend a spiritual place of authority, a doctrine or a way of doing things that you wound and abuse anyone who questions, or disagrees, or doesn’t “behave” spiritually the way you want them to. (pg 23)
Was it Adam alone who brought sin into the world? Was it Adam alone who was kicked out of the garden?
These are some of the issues about “Adam alone” that have brought some lively discussion on another post at https://mmoutreach.org/wim/2009/11/12/mark-head-as-authority/ and since the comments are now at 446, I am going to move our discussion over to this post so that we can continue with what will likely be many more passionate arguments and comments here. For those want to follow the original source of the discussion that pertains to this new post, the comments from #238 and on at the above link start the movement towards questions and comments about “only Adam” and these thoughts are important for what will continue here on this post.
There is a hot debate in the church today regarding whether a woman is in “sin” for teaching the Bible to men. While some say that a godly woman’s teaching of the Bible is okay for use with women and children, but all teaching by women to men is considered sinful. Others state that a woman may teach the Bible to men as long as it is in her home or perhaps outside on the lawn, but if she were to teach men inside a church building, she would immediately be involved in committing a sin.
The issue of a “special sin” that is only applicable for one gender becomes complicated by the understanding that the church originally met only in people’s homes. There were no designated church buildings during the early years of New Testament Christianity, so how could the “place” where she taught rather than what she taught, be a source of sin for the godly Christian woman? However, there is an issue much deeper than just the issue of within what building men allow women to teach. The issue is whether God taunts and torments a woman with gifts that she cannot use. If God gifts a woman with the spiritual gifts of pastor or teacher is He tempting her to sin when she freely uses her God-given gifts for His glory and for the benefit of His body?
Let’s think this one through. First of all, it is God’s Sovereign choice regarding whom He chooses to gift. Many complementarians will freely admit that God has gifted women with the gift of pastor and the gift of teacher. If only a man is allowed to be a pastor, surely God would not gift a woman with a forbidden gift, would He?
Thanks to one of the followers of my blog, I received a link to some excellent clips about Julie Pennington-Russell’s talks about the Georgian State Convention and issue of the church being kicked out of the GBC. The clips were recorded before the official word came announcing the removal of her church from the association. The Pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia, talks about the moment she found out that her church was kicked out of the Georgia State Convention, and her face-to-face talk with the executive of the convention. There are several more clips available on the right side bar.
On November 11, 2009, the Georgia Baptist Convention adopted a policy that ended its 148-year relationship with First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia. According to the Associated Baptist News,
Pastor Julie Pennington-Russell read a letter at the end of both worship services Nov. 15 from Robert White, executive director of the 1.3 million-member state convention. It informed her that messengers to the group’s recent annual meeting took action to declare them “not a cooperating church,” because “a woman is serving as senior pastor.”
The policy that declared the First Baptist Church in Decatur as officially disfellowshipped, resulted from a strict enforcement of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message (BFM 2000) which made the issues of women pastors as a cause for dividing the church. No longer is there room for personal conscience as far as women leaders in the church. Wade Burleson writes that it is dangerous thinking to make the Baptist Faith & Message tier 1 primary doctrine so that “if a Southern Baptist expresses any disagreement with any portion of the BFM 2000, he is not a true Southern Baptist and is not worthy of leadership in the SBC. “
Burleson goes on to explain why this thinking is so dangerous. …
Is God prejudiced against women while preferring men?
Recently, I had a woman write me who was troubled by some Bible texts that seemed to indicate that God preferred men. I felt that the questions she posed and the answers I provided might help other women who also have been troubled by these same questions.
Question: I have been struggling with a question for the past several weeks. Do I as a woman, have less worth in God’s eyes than a man does? Given that Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill the law…I was (and still am) struggling with several scriptures where women are concerned and the seemingly “double-standard.” I could not fathom why in Leviticus there is a law that states that women who give birth to male children would only be unclean for 33 days, but if they give birth to female children, they would be unclean for 66 days.…
This post is the second part in a “first” for Women in Ministry blog. I have never before taken the writing of a complementarian and posted it on my blog. To facilitate dialog, I have agreed to post Mark’s articles so that we can have a jolly good discussion/debate with those who care to participate on the issue of what “head” means. The first part of Mark’s article dealing with the context of 1 Corinthians 11 is here. These posts are carried forward from a previous postthat had a lot of good discussion regarding my youtube videos on the issue of women in ministry. If you would like to get a good idea of where this discussion comes from, I refer you back to the post called Women on Trial.
This post is a first. I have never before taken the writing of a complementarian and posted it on my blog. However, in order to facilitate dialog, I have agreed to post Mark’s article so that we can have a jolly good discussion/debate with those who care to participate on the issue of what “head” means in the context of 1 Corinthians 11. This post is carried forward from a previous post that had a lot of good discussion regarding my youtube videos on the issue of women in ministry. If you would like to get a good idea of where this discussion comes from, I refer you back to the post called Women on Trial. …
The following is a very eye opening article by Lee Grady. From Fire in My Bones online, November, 2009. Copyright 2009 Strang Communications; all rights reserved. Used with permission.
Christian teaching on male headship is often used as a weapon against women. This abuse must be confronted.
Last week during a ministry trip to Hungary I heard a painfully familiar story. Through a translator, a tearful young woman living near Budapest explained that her Christian husband was angrily demanding her absolute submission. This included, among other things, that she clean their house according to his strict standards and that she engage in sexual acts with him that made her feel uncomfortable and dirty. …
I have just uploaded onto youtube 6 approximately 10-minute clips from my 2006 talk in Pennsylvania at the Witnesses Now for Jesus Conference. I have added the videos below.
The first clip includes the testimony of Lorri MacGregor who is a former Jehovah’s Witness who God called into ministry after she left the Watchtower. She had a huge struggle with God because of her belief that women could not be teachers. The talk is called Jehovah’s Women on Trial – are you ready to be challenged? It is a simulated court case against two Biblical women using the charges against them by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. You will likely see a lot of similarities in the charges because they can also be found in complementarian churches. I trust that many people will be challenged to start to think outside of the box because of these clips. This will be the post where we can discuss the clips.
Southwestern Seminary and their policy of male headship
The Associated Baptist Press reports that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary adopted a policy statement October 21, 2009, that asserts that men and women are equal before God but created for specific roles of either headship (authority) or submission in both the home and in the church.
Paige Patterson, the president of Southwestern, was among those who drafted the Danvers Statement in 1987.
He will use the new policy to serve as a guide in both the hiring and evaluation processes according to the ABP report. His wife Dorothy is a professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern which offers a bachelor’s degree with the focus on homemaking. Southwestern has made a complete dive into the female submission program by showing the difference between male and female Biblical studies. The B.A. in humanities revolves around 20% of the instruction hours in homemaking with a fully equipped teaching kitchen, clothing, and textiles lab, formal dining room, and parlor along with Bible teaching in the classrooms. Will there be a male version of the B.A. in humanities? There has not been any announcement yet of hunting classes for the men, but since Patterson is an avid hunter, we expect that announcement will come sooner than later to help teach young males true “male headship.”
Submission and authority are a big issue in the church today. Closely tied into the issue of authority is the teaching that women need a spiritual “covering.” Men, we are told, are to be the spiritual “covering” to provide protection and to allow the man to have the accountability. But is a human “covering” a Biblical teaching? There is no New Testament concept of a human “covering” and only one clear human “covering” in the Old Testament
There was a tradition in the Old Testament of the kinsman redeemer who would “redeem” a widow by marrying the widow of a deceased relative.
Ruth 3:9 He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative.”
Ruth 3:10 Then he said, “May you be blessed of the LORD, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich.
Ruth 3:11 “Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.
Ruth 3:12 “Now it is true I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
Ruth 3:13 “Remain this night, and when morning comes, if he will redeem you, good; let him redeem you. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I will redeem you, as the LORD lives. Lie down until morning.”
I am creating a new post to continue the great discussion that we have been having on a previous post while I am out of the country. The original discussion is on this post https://mmoutreach.org/wim/2009/07/05/wayne-grudem-part-2/ and since we have grown to over 240 comments, I would ask that we continue our discussions with Mark the complementarian here.
Those who argue for the permanent subordination of women will frequently use the argument that Adam named the animals and that this showed his unique “role” given to him by God.
In a CBMW article written by Bruce Ware, Dr. Ware makes it clear that Adam was given authority in the beginning of creation that the woman was not given.
Under the heading B. Fallen Disruption of God’s Created Design, Dr. Ware states that there is an authority given to Adam at creation that is not given to Eve.
Gen. 3:15-16 informs us that the male/female relationship would now, because of sin, be affected by mutual enmity. In particular, the woman would have a desire to usurp the authority given to man in creation…
What authority is Ware talking about? Both the man and the woman were explicitly given the rule over animals in Genesis chapter one. However Ware believes that no one knows how Eve was going to rule, but Adam was special, and as the designated ruler of the world he had the right to rule by naming the animals. Ware writes:
Challenging my position that 1 Timothy 2:15 is a single woman
Neopatriarch has taken a second stab at trying to refute my teaching on 1 Timothy 2:11-15 as he has rewritten his article. Once again he has failed to poke a hole in my argument, but this time, he has dropped the charge that I am exasperating. Good for Neopatriarch for taking a much kinder tone in his introduction! He now calls it his “canned response.” From reading the comments, it appears that Neopatriarch has come to the understanding that brothers and sisters in Christ can argue their position passionately without attacking the other person’s character and their motives. This is certainly a change in his approach, and I commend him for that.
I must also give Neopatriarch credit for trying to answer my interpretation when others who make their living off of promoting the complementarian message just run and hide. However, Neopatriarch has major flaws in his argument, and his argument fails to present contradictions or holes in my own argument, so I am very pleased to be able to present this second refutation of Neopatriarch’s attempt to tear down my argument.
I will start my response by saying that I have no doubt that Neopatriarch is a brother in Christ. However, on the issue of patriarchy, he is dead wrong. It is a loving thing to confront a brother in Christ with his errors so that he can learn from his mistakes. I am certain that Neopatriarch continues to read my blog, even though he doesn’t want to post here any longer, and since my blog seems to have a higher following, I am posting my response here.
At this time I would also like to commend Mike Seaver for his willingness to debate me in this public setting. I do not take this kind of bravery for granted. Although Mike’s answers were not very weighty, the fact that he was willing to work with me to bridge the gap between complementarians and egalitarians was truly a remarkable act on his part. Hats off to Mike for being brave, loving and kind!
Now back to Neopatriarch’s second attempt at refuting me. Neopatriarch writes:
Schatz’s view has cropped up in various discussion groups like CARM and Worthy Boards, and, you might see it in various blogs as well. If you’re thinking about engaging her in a debate or discussion, you might first want to listen to this debate between her and Matt Slick:
On July 27th, 2009 Mike Seaver and I started a ten session debate on Women in Ministry where I was able to ask Mike questions on his position, he answered my questions and then we each had one response. Mike is still considering whether he will continue with another ten sessions where Mike will ask me questions, and I get the privilege to answer his questions on women in ministry.
Today I would like to summarize the ten sessions that I had with Mike. …
There is a good natured debate going on over at the Women in Ministry blog conference at the Presbyterian church in Ryde blog between myself and Peter Barnes. Those who would like to watch an Aussie and a Canadian duke it out over the issue of whether there is a “law” that forbids women to teach the bible to men can see the “brawl” (tooth and nail fight!) happening on this post linked here.
In the meantime I am visiting with my elderly folks for the next few days and will be in and out of my own blog as I have time as I also try to make time to help an Aussie realize that all of his arguments are invalid 🙂
My article is now up on the Australian conference for the Presbyterian church. Click here to read the article and feel free to comment.
What do you think? Are blog conferences like this a good thing? Will it help to bridge the gap between complementarians and egalitarians?
I will be posting a review of Mike Seaver’s arguments from the first part of our debate. I have just finished a grueling two-month video editing project, and I am just finishing the graphic work on the cover and the DVD menu. In the next day or two, I should be back to normal and not so preoccupied with extremely long work days. It is now time to talk about how the debate went and the way forward.
In the last blog post, Cheryl Schatz posed her fifth set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post. This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #5 and Mike’s rejoinder. Mike’s matching blog post is here. …
Women in Ministry Debate – Does God Contradict Himself?
This is question #5 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaverand Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry. The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz. Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl. Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.
Sign up to receive blog conference email updates at www.achurchinryde.com/blog This should be an interesting conference as participants have different views and will be interacting with anyone wanting to dialog and question the presenter on their view. You will see from the conference promotion that I am a participant. I look forward to the opportunity to answer questions and interacting with people from a world away down under in Australia. I do not yet know which day I will be presenting my thesis. I am sure that it will be announced on the web site so if you sign up for email updates you should be able to get that information.
I hope that many of you will interact with this unique venue so that it is a successful venture for Pastor Dave and the Presbyterian church in Australia.
In the last blog post, Cheryl Schatz posed her 4th set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post. This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #4 and Mike’s rejoinder.
Women in Ministry Debate: What authority do men have to restrict women’s gifts?
This is question #4 of a 10 question discussion/debate between Mike Seaverand Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry. The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz. Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl. Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post. Mike’s corresponding post on his blog is here.
John Piper: “What should a wife’s submission to her husband look like if he’s an abuser?”
On August 19, 2009, John Piper tackles a question on an abusive husband, and Piper’s answer directs women on how they should take abuse from their husbands. The answer is typical of a complementarian who sees the husband as king and priest and the wife as the follower of her priest-king.
My comments will be below the transcript. I recommend you listen carefully to what Piper says. I think there is a lot to discuss especially his Freudian slip calling the husband “lord.” An edited transcript of the audio is below. …
First woman elected to Executive Presbytery of AOG
A woman has become the first woman elected to the leadership of the national Assemblies of God USA.
Elizabeth (Beth) Grant, a veteran missionary and coordinator of the Women in Ministry Network, was greeted with a standing ovation from ministers and delegates after her election as the ordained female executive presbyter. The Assemblies’ Executive Presbytery is a 20-member body that serves as the board of directors for the 2.8 million-member fellowship of Pentecostal churches.
She was one of four candidates for the position on the Executive Presbytery that the 2007 General Council set aside for a woman, the first female position on that body. …
In the last blog post Cheryl Schatz posed her third set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post. This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #3 and Mike’s rejoinder.
This is question #3 of a 10 question debate between Mike Seaver and Cheryl Schatz on the issue of women in ministry. The discussion will take the form of five questions posed by Cheryl Schatz with answers by Mike Seaver and then five questions posed by Mike Seaver with answers by Cheryl Schatz. Each question and answer session will be followed up in the next post by one response each from both Mike and Cheryl. Links to the questions and the responses will be at the bottom of this post.
I have been invited by Pastor Dave Woolcott to participate in a new blog conference on women’s eldership in the church put on by the Ryde Presbyterian Church in Ryde, Sidney, Australia. The blog address for the conference set for September 1 – 15, 2009 is http://www.achurchinryde.com/blog/The blog is on line now and active and I invite you to participate by commenting on Dave’s blog.
There is a thought-provoking article on “Should a Pastor Rule Over You?” It is very appropriate to the issue of women in ministry and what the real issues are. …
Are Witnesses and Repetition needed to Prove Women may not teach the Bible?
In the last blog post, Cheryl Schatz posed her second set of questions to Mike Seaver regarding their discussion/debate on women in ministry. Links to all the previous questions and responses is at the end of this post. This discussion will be Cheryl’s response to Mike’s answers on question #2 and Mike’s rejoinder.
Regarding Mike’s denial that there is a need for a law to have a second witness: