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Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Logical Extension of Christian Commitment

Wade Burleson has blogged extensively about the unjust firing of Dr. Sheri Klouda, Professor of Hebrew at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For details, see my last post entitled Remembering Addie Davis and Sheri Klouda.

In his latest post, Burleson writes...
I remind everyone, again, that the Klouda issue is NOT about 'women pastors,' which would violate our convention's official confession of faith, the 2000 BFM. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is not a church. Sheri Klouda is not a pastor. SWBTS is an institution of higher learning. Sheri Klouda teaches Hebrew and the theology. Nowhere does the Bible, the convention, or our official confession forbid this from happening. Some are of the opinion that a woman should not be in the position of professor in a school of theology, but when we let the opinions of a few select men become policy or dogma for the entire convention, then the fabric of our cooperation is ripped to shreds.
Burleson is correct. This skirmish being fought in the Southern Baptist Convention is not about "women pastors."

But it should be.

Surely, the equality of a woman within the confines of the workplace is just as important as the spiritual equality of a woman called by God to the Gospel Ministry of Jesus Christ???

1984 was a tumultuous year in the lives of many Baptists throughout the South. During the Spring of that same year, Cindy Harp Johnson was ordained by a small Southern Baptist congregation in Wolf Creek, Kentucky. A Baptist historian who observed the service wrote...
It was the laying on of hands that convinced me that Southern Baptist piety is stronger than dogmatism. Cindy knelt and the ordained preachers and deacons initiated the rite of the laying on of hands. Then, since the congregation authorizes ordination, all the members were invited to participate in that powerful symbol of "setting aside." They came, young and old, men and women. The formal laying on of hands turned into emotional embraces. Tears flowed freely. Then I caught sight of an old woman hobbling her way to the front, bracing herself on first one pew, then the next. It was Miss Eithel, the matriarch of the congregation and personification of Baptist feminine piety. She reached out for Cindy, hugged her close and said, "I love you, honey, and I'll support you, whatever you do." There was not a dry eye left in the place.

If they want to stop women from seeking ordination, Southern Baptists must give up much of their devotion. If they do, they may give up something of the Spirit as well.
I hope and pray that one day Wade Burleson and other Southern Baptists will realize that God does not discriminate on the basis of gender when choosing who is Called to preach the Good News of Our Lord - Jesus Christ.

Ordination is the logical extension of Christian Commitment.

62 Comments:

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Constantly referring to the BFM 2000 as the SBC's "official confession," shows how much creedalism has prevailed. NO ONE in Baptist life ever spoke that way in the '60s about the '63 BFM or in the late '20s about the '25 BFM. Confessions of faith are NOT to be used as religious tests of orthodoxy as the entire preamble to the '63 document shows.

As for women pastors, since I am married to one and have another for MY pastor, I agree. The SBC thinks that God is a respecter of persons.

6:48 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"I remind everyone, again, that the Klouda issue is NOT about 'women pastors,' which would violate our convention's official confession of faith, the 2000 BFM."

I was thinking along the same lines as Michael. Does what the BFM outweigh the priesthood of the believer or the autonomy of the local churches? Do SB's HAVE to agree with every line in the BFM to be SB's these days?

Is a signature on a doctrinal statement required?

7:35 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Guys,

Confessions have always been meant to be a "lowest common denominator" when it comes to cooperation and fellowship. That was the point of almost every single confession of faith from the Apostle's Creed onward. If that skews the difference between a creed and a confession, then so be it. We shouldn't be afraid of the word "creed", but rather we should embrace it, as the earliest Christians did.

Creeds and confessions serve as a way to both unite and separate. Christians unite under the banner of common convictions. And that is true whether you are a liberal Christian or a conservative one. There is a lowest common denominator which determines whether one identifies with Christ or not. Throughout history the marks that confirm what a Christian is have continually been debated, but under the realm of Christ, they are always the same and we can look to the Scripture to see what they are.

And so confessions and creeds seek to unite Christians under their convictions of what is a Christian and what should a Christian believe and do. But they also separate Christians from others in regard to what they believe. This has happened from the beginning of Christianity and there is nothing new under the sun in this regard. Surely the Apostle's Creed separated some, as did the Nicene Creed, and so forth. Southern Baptist are only doing exactly what their forefathers did in uniting under common beliefs and separating themselves from those who they believe are wrong in their convictions.

So, in regard to the BF&M, it is a creed to some extent. It is the lowest common denominator in regards to belief among its members. What the SBC must determine is how far is too far when it comes to determining the LCD for 8+ million members.


As for women as pastors, the SBC is respecting the time-honored tradition of Christians and the interpretation of Scripture that has been the majority reading for 2000 years. Paul obviously was able to write with perfect conviction both 1 Timothy 2-3 and Galatians 3:28. And so Southern Baptists and all Complimentarians do the same when they explain over and over again (though some like Michael continue to not get it or even seem to try not to do so - especially since unfortunately ad hominems and one liners are so much more postmodernly effective in debate) that there is a difference in equality before God and calling in regards to specific gender roles.

But of course, it's much easier to just slam Southern Baptists as members of the "He-man Woman Hater's Club" than to debate Scripture or deal with Church History, so I'll spare you the exegesis of those texts that will likely only be ignored anyway. Still, it would be nice to see one of you who think of us Complimentarians as sub-Christian Neanderthals actually spend some time with our wives and in our lives than to just heap grenades from behind your walls of liberal peity.

So I'll end with this: any woman can be ordained if she wants. But I and other Southern Baptists believe this is against the will of God and thus will not do it. They are welcome to leave the SBC and pursue that, but as long as they desire to be Southern Baptists, they should not expect this to change, nor should they be angry when it does not.

3:28 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"But I and other Southern Baptists believe this is against the will of God and thus will not do it."

That answers my question.

When I attended a SB church, women could indeed be ordained and preach and still be a SB. I hear you saying that can not be the case, now.

What a shame for Southern Baptists.

They are, of course, free to believe what they want. I'm just glad I'm not part of it anymore and feel a bit of shame as a Christian whenever they make the news.

4:35 PM

 
Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

qydd.r., the earliest Christians did NOT embrace the word "creed," with the meaning it has today. They didn't even use the verb "credo," meaning "I believe," because, of course, that is Latin and the earliest Christians spoke Aramaic, Greek, and maybe a little Hebrew for Temple use.

And I'm sorry, but although you might call the earliest confession, "Jesus is Lord," a lowest common denominator, you can't do that with something as elaborate as the Westminster Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, or Baptist statements such as the 1st London Confession of 1644, or the Baptist Faith & Message, etc. Those are elaborate systems.
And, as the 19th C. poet said, "Our little systems have their day; they have their day and go. But Christ is larger and Christ remains."

I like the Apostle's Creed, but even it is far from perfect. For instance, it hides the entire ministry and teachings behind a comma: "Born of the Virging Mary-COMMA-suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, dead, and buried, etc." So, with this one comma, the Apostles' Creed (not written by any apostles but a 3rd C. confession built off of the earlier Old Roman Symbol) discounts Jesus' healings, exorcisms, the Sermon on the Mount, the rest of Jesus' teachings--all as unimportant. Thus, this most ecumenical of all creeds distorts the faith--and leads people to misread the Bible--jumping from Christmas to Easter to the writings of Paul, etc.--and only sometimes sampling a parable or two from Jesus.

The Nicene Creed (actually the Nicene-Constantinopolitan in current form) does the same thing, "and was made man--COMMA--He suffered under Pontius Pilate. . ." Boom, the life and teachings of Jesus are hidden.

NO CREED, NO CONFESSION can be used as a test of orthodoxy without distorting the faith. Confessions are testimonies to faith, at most guidelines for interpretation--always revisable, always fallible, never to be treated as "official tests." That's the Baptist way--and the SBC by departing from it is no longer truly Baptist, no matter what it calls itself. It has placed a human document above Christ and above Scripture--it has placed a particular interpretation of Scripture above Scripture itself. It is creedalist. Our Baptist ancestors who died for living faith must be rolling in their graves.

Where is the faith of Baptist John Leland who called creeds, "Virgin Marys" who try to usurp the role of Christ as the one mediator between God and humans?

Where is the faith of those who wrote the preamble to the '63 BFM specifically DENYING that it was to be used as a creed? Where is the faith of the writers of the 1st London Confession who said they were writing ONLY to refute claims that they were heretics, not to "proclaim some new doctrine?"
And as for women pastors, Baptists have had them (few, but had them) since our 17th C. beginnings--along with women deacons (more than pastors), evangelists, missionaries, and teachers. It is the BFM 2000 that denies Baptist history and heritage and, in its creedal use is obscene and anti-Christian--certainly anti-Baptist!

I could agree with 90% of the BFM '63 at the very least. I agree with all of the Apostle's Creed and, though I would like a few footnotes, all of the Nicene Creed. But I reject them AS CREEDS to bind my heart and soul--to bind the living Word I meet in and thru Scripture.

Time was, not that long ago, when any real Baptist would refuse to sign ANY creed--would refuse to sign a paper saying s/he liked hot dogs for lunch!! The SBC is now ichabod--the glory of the LORD has departed and left this huge empty shell of creedalist fundamentalism in the place of living faith. It is a giant cult, now.
I just wish it would be honest and give up the name Baptist to those who do honor to the heritage.

7:36 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Tell us what you really think, Michael...

6:07 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

And good to hear from you again, DR.

8:17 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Michael,

I have to laugh anytime I hear you talk about OUR Baptist forefathers. OUR Baptist forefathers believed heavily in Church Discipline, homosexuality as a sin, and abortion as an evil that only pagans would participate in, yet you seem to accept these types of sin as "human rights". Wow, how far you have really come from your Baptist forefathers! I think my view of structuring of a denomination is much less problematic than your misunderstanding of Scripture on homosexuality and your complete denial of abortion being sinful (despite the prohibition given in the Didiche and the tradition of the Church on the subject).

One big problem with trying to make the function of historic confessions of faith correspond with today's confessions of faith is that we didn't have the structure whereby we pay the salaries of people we believe represent our values and beliefs. I don't want to fund a missionary on the field who doesn't hold to the fundamentals of the faith and couldn't sign a statement regarding what they believe. What is interesting about this is that from the beginning of the missionary movement, candidates had to go through an inquiry before the sending agency, even as we do today. And even the earliest Seminaries asked their employees to agree to a set of beliefs before they were able to teach. That is why Boyce wrote his Abstract of Principles and part of the reason why the BF&M 1925 was written and signed by professors.

So, like it or not, statements of faith have been used as tests of EMPLOYMENT and MEMBERSHIP requirements since the earliest Baptist days.

12:35 PM

 
Anonymous rc said...

I think we'll all agree that the church would fall apart without woman leaders. The word pastor means shepherd. The shepherd feeds and cares for the sheep. Women are doing a better job being shepherds. Contrast this with the 'Pastors,' who are just filling a necessary role, like accountant.

But here's where we start to disagree:
Absence of women pastors does not devalue women, it devalues the office of pastor.

"Ordination is the logical extension of Christian Commitment." I disagree. I'll be generous and say that Big Daddy Weave meant to say '-a- logical extension,' but still. We see the pastor's name in the bulliten and we think 'wow, that's a holy man.' I hope so, but he's not necessarily at the top of a pyramid of holiness, like that quote would suggest.

This is the key issue: As the world judges acceptance and power and success, it won't consider gender 'equality' until half the CEOs, cardinals, senators of the country are women. That's the world's priority of 'equality,' and it costs. I disagree with this priority, and I think it's causing a lot of this current trouble.

Of course, when we're talking about the SBC and pastors, we're not talking about half women- we're talking about none. But I don't think this Pastor argument would be so wound up if we weren't conforming to the values of this world.

Big DW quotes a historian: "If they want to stop women from seeking ordination, Southern Baptists must give up much of their devotion. If they do, they may give up something of the Spirit as well."

Did the early church have to 'give up something of the spirit?' They had zero women pastors, but they seem to have done ok. The only thing that has changed between then and now is our culture.

1:26 PM

 
Anonymous rc said...

A quick clarification.
When I said 'I hope so, but he's not necessarily at the top of a pyramid of holiness,' the he I was referring to was the pastor role in general, not Big Daddy Weave (who I don't think is ordained anyway).

In any case, I didn't want to wound like I was insinuating anything...

1:32 PM

 
Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

1)Yes, Dan, I may have been overly passionate in that response. 2) The earliest churches DID have women evangelists, deacons, pastors. The letters of John were probably addressed to a woman pastor ("the Elect Lady") of a group of house churches. Phoebe was a deacon; Junia was an apostle even before Paul. The document called Hebrews may have been written by Priscilla who, together with her husband Aquila, taught Apollos "the way of God more accurately." Early Christian documents reveal strong female leadership well into the 2nd C.
The earliest Baptist confession of faith, written by John Smyth in 1609 specifically allowed for women deacons. So did the 2nd Baptist confession written by Thomas Helwys in 1611. We know of Baptist women serving as deacons and pastors as early as the 1630s.
3) Did our Baptist forebears believe "homosexuality" was wrong? Yes, along with most of Christian tradition--although until the late 19th C. the term "homosexuality" did not exist and neither did any modern concept of sexual orientation. But Baptists have always believed that "God hath yet more light to break forth from His Holy Word," as the Puritan John Robinson (a Baptist precursor) put it. If we have new scientific information about orientation unavailable to the biblical writers and new information about the historical background of the biblical texts unavailable to previous generations of interpreters, then we must look at these texts again.

4)The question of abortion is much trickier--since the Bible is utterly silent on the issue. The Didache, for all its insight into the life of--at least one strand--of the early church, is not the canon. And the response of the early church to abortion and infanticide/abandonment (since the two went together in that context) was to set a different example, not to try to enforce their minority view on a pluralistic society.
I believe the vast majority of abortions are immoral. D.R. knows that and distorts my views for his own ends. I believe that ALL abortions are tragic. I simply believe that the way to reduce abortions is to go after their causes, not to pass a law that will only create an underground abortion industry. My models remain Belgium and Holland which have the lowest abortion rates in Europe--with liberal abortion laws. It is estimated that Belgium's abortions are 50% that of Italy and 30% that of the Republic of Ireland--where abortion is outlawed even to save the life of the mother. We know that Belgium's abortion rate is 40% of the U.S. rate--because of its strong family planning, sex education, pre-natal care, and a welfare state that makes it easier for girls with unplanned pregnancies to choose life.

You know, I would love to be a denominational employee. It's true. I have always wanted to work for Baptists in a seminary setting or at a relief agency (e.g. Baptist World Aid), or pursuing human rights with the Baptist World Alliance, etc. But if such an opportunity opens up, I will take it at someplace that respects my liberty of conscience enough to not require me to be a creedalist.

When I was visiting professor at Fuller Theological Seminary (a multi-denominational evangelical seminary near L.A.), I was asked to teach within their doctrinal statement--but I was allowed to explain how I interpreted it. Also, the statement is revisable and has been twice revised. The guidelines for doing so are right in the faculty catalogue.

When I taught at Spalding U.--as the only Protestant in the religion dept. of this Catholic institution--I was not asked a single doctrinal question. I was asked if I could the courses. I even taught a course in modern Catholic social teachings--without ever being required to consider the Social Encyclicals infallible.

I became a Baptist in Germany 1982. The little Heidelberg church that baptized me asked me many questions first about my conversion. Neither that congregation nor any other Baptist congregation I have been a member of since ever asked me to sign any creedal statement as a pre-req for membership, for serving on staff, or for teaching Sunday School.

So, I repeat, the SBC is no longer Baptist and should surrender the name to those who still are.

7:52 PM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Michael,

First, I have asked you to come over to my site and debate me on homosexuality. You have not taken the opportunity as of yet. Your short statement of your position is filled with problems, especially that the idea of a sexual orientation was not in Paul's thought or the Church's view. Plato's Symposium, which most Greek scholars agree is where Paul takes his language of "against nature" from, clearly speaks about the idea of a sexual orientation in regards to gay relationship (and even speaks of the idea of gay marriage!). The Greek world was much more sophisticated regarding sexual relationships that you give it credit for. Thus when the Church spoke on it, It did not do so in the ignorance you would like for others to think it did.

Further, the term "homosexual" was not necessary for understanding the practice behind it. The term Trinity doesn't appear in the Bible either, but from the earliest creeds we see the concept clearly. There are plenty of other examples of this. Also, Paul's term "arsenokoites" is clearly a combination of the two words used in Leviticus 18 to refer to male sexual behavior. Greek scholars recognize the use of a common skill of combining words to create words where they didn't formerly exist. And the historical Church recognized this.

Now your libertarian position on abortion is tragic. It seems you only want government interaction when it serves your purpose. You can ask that your views of war be imposed on a government based on the teachings of Christ, yet abortion is alright? That's nuts. Let's review: it's O.K. to kill life that can't defend itself, but it's not O.K. to kill terrorists who kill? And what about your position on capital punishment again? Hmmm...really problematic for someone who claims to be consistent. BTW, our Baptist brethren would not only be against war, but against any participation in government. So your support of the Democrat party would not have been viewed very well by your idol Menno Simon.

Moving on...
While you did a nice drive-by of women in the Bible, you stretch a lot to get your point. The term for "Junia" is quite a problem for Greek scholars, as it is not a majority reading and doesn't come out in the oldest texts, which means the conspiracy theory out there about the Church supressing this reading would mean that the Church took it out and then later allowed it in later texts. Serious Greek scholars laugh at such pseudo-scholarship. Maybe that's why the collaborators of the MAJOR Greek texts don't support this reading. Though, even if it did have merit, you have a husband-wife combo mentioned here, just as with Priscilla and Aquilla, with the need to jump to conclusions in order to make your point.

Now, there were women deacons. And I am all for women deacons. But, unlike now, deacons served, they didn't lead. Thus, Phoebe could be a deacon, but not an overseer or bishop, a completely different role, given strictly to men consistently throughout Scripture. Also, there were a few women evangelists and church leaders, but these were a terribly minority and like all minorities, making an argument based on the minority practice, rather than the majority practice is quite a stretch.

But of course that is what you do when you try to make Scripture say something that it plainly doesn't. You have to revert to scientific arguments (all of which are not proven or even universally agreed upon), dumb down the culture to force a view, and make points that stretch the context as thinly as your point.

So, I'll stand with the Apostles on abortion, the Early Church Fathers on homosexuality, and the entire Church when it comes to discipline regarding doctrine. I'm sorry that when you were ordained they didn't ask any questions to be sure of your doctrinal integrity. This certainly is not the case we see througout Church History, where ordination was a thorough process that included doctrinal assurances by the candidate.

So, if I am such a black kettle, you must be the pot, because none of us are quite as Baptist as you try to make us think you are. I'll stick with the majority groups though, even as you stick with the minority groups and pick and choose along the way.

9:46 PM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Michael W-W responds to Dan, and I repond to MWW. Dan has way reactionary views, but I respond because the discussion reveals how progressive thought has departed from reliance on cannon. I guess that means I 'side' with Dan. (note that I'm not a baptist- my cannon is less defined that yours).

"Early Christian documents reveal strong female leadership well into the 2nd C."

"The earliest Baptist confession of faith, written by John Smyth in 1609 specifically allowed for women deacons."

I thought we just went on and on about how confessions were bad, and how the bible was the sole authority. However, christian tradition is an important point, so I'll let mww's statement go for what it's worth. But to say that women held a big grip (or any grip) on leadership in the christain 1600's is ridiculous. Dig up a vague document if you want to... but it goes against Scripture and tradition.

Progressives spend so much time talking about how the past was like the repressive dark ages. 'Gosh, we need to change.' How then, in the sixteen hundreds, when culture was way more reactionary than now, would people claim values that are more progressive than the mainstream thought of 21st century America? Quote all the expertise and history you want... I'm still skeptical. Please prove how your vague researchings overrule what is clearly written in the Bible.

Clearly, even the new testament Bible passages were written in a time much more conservative than now. But what was written was clearly written. Prove me wrong. I mean, seriously, prove me wrong. "I forbid any woman from having leadership over a man." As much as this hurts, and as much as it must impede the progress of God's work in today's society... seriously. How do you proclaim the truth of God's word, yet abandon it as soon as it becomes inconvenient?

I know there are all sorts of escape verses, like 'there's no male or famale.' And I know there are unheeded ridiculous verses like 'don't drink blood.' But Paul's command for male leaders seemed defended, declared, relatively modern, and definitely directed toward the christian church. By what basis do we discount it? Seriously, I want to know.

We're so much more willing to take the world at its world- all people are 'equal,' whatever that means- before accepting the word of God. I suggest that God is above any worldly notion- like the idea that any right society has 50% male administrators, and 50% female administrators. I mean, I fully admit that I might be wrong, but when I hear my opponents crowing for 50% equality in all areas, I know they're grasping at air. Female deacon proponents base their position ion a notion that is based more on the world than on god's world.

I'll repeat: Female deacon proponents base their position ion a notion that is based more on the world than on god's world.

I admit that the debate is harder than that, since the conservative view is that there should be 0% female administrators. Especially in light of the fact that females contribute more than 50% of actual church servant leadership, His is a tough position to defend.

But can we at least first admit our biases? Before allowing vague researching to conspire to undermine the clear words of scripture?

10:29 PM

 
Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

d.r.,
Why should I debate you on your blog? I am blogging on "homosexuality" on my blog--in between other topics.

Would Menno Simons have disapproved of my membership in a political party? Perhaps. It is certain that other Anabaptists of his generation would have. But the early Baptists were blends of Anabaptist and Separatist-Puritan ideas and one idea that I think Helwys and others had right was that Christians could hold political office and vote. Menno seems to hold this open as a bare possibility--and he does not hesitate to address kings and other politicos about "your important and dangerous office."
Richard Overton and the Levellers were more robust in their political participation--I hold to their heritage, a form of nonviolence and church-state separation that is political.

You know this, D.R. because you've discussed my blog posts on this subject.

You also know that I think that both major political parties in the U.S. are deeply flawed, but that I believe the Democratic one is somewhat less flawed than the Republican one. (At this point in history; at other points, their roles were reversed.)

If we had a system that allowed third parties to play constructive roles, I'd probably be a Green.

2:55 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

dr said:

"You can ask that your views of war be imposed on a government based on the teachings of Christ, yet abortion is alright?"

No pacifists that I know of are calling for imposing our views of war on our gov't. Michael certainly isn't. Nor am I. Let's stick to the facts as they are, please.

rc said:

"Dan has way reactionary views, but I respond because the discussion reveals how progressive thought has departed from reliance on cannon."

I'm not sure what you're talking about here, RC. A little help? How am I way reactionary and how have I departed from reliance on canon (or is that what you're even saying)?

rc also said:

"Prove me wrong. I mean, seriously, prove me wrong. "I forbid any woman from having leadership over a man."

Deborah led the children of Israel. Including the men.

“And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.

And she said, I will surely go with thee; notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” (Judges 4:9).


The daughters of Phillip who were prophets (ie, teachers, exclaimers of God's Word):

And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. Acts 21:8-9

And with Joel and then Peter, who quoted him, we are told that women will be prophets:

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy... Acts 2:18

All of this within a society that did not allow women in leadership roles or even acknowledge them fully as human, but more like chattel.

6:49 AM

 
Anonymous rc said...

My reply to Dan: My quote- "Dan has way reactionary views, but I respond because the discussion reveals how progressive thought has departed from reliance on cannon."

Your response- "I'm not sure what you're talking about here, RC."

Sorry, that's because I meant 'DR' when I said 'Dan'. DR's the conservative here. I guess what I mean is that from what little I know, my views are probably closer to dr's than to Dan's or MWW's or Big DW's.

My quote- "Prove me wrong. I mean, seriously, prove me wrong."

Your response- "Deborah led the children of Israel. Including the men... The daughters of Phillip who were prophets... And with Joel and then Peter, who quoted him, we are told that women will be prophets."

I understand. And I acknowledge that any church at any time would fall apart without women leaders (though not necessarily without women pastors or deacons).

But Paul says "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."

How do we reconcile this? How does this not mean what it says? My first stab would be that it was not a timeless command, but only directed by Paul to that specific church. He also says 'I do not,' instead of 'God does not.' Or is it just that the Bible is contradictory? To me, these are not rhetorical questions. Paul is the leader of the church. If his words were not timeless, why were they included in the bible?

To make things more complex, the restrictions seem pretty hard to wash away. Paul outlined his reasoning for forbidding female authority in rather stark and general terms. I don't know why it's relevant that Eve was tempted first, and then Adam... but if it had any relevance at the time it happened (the beginning), and Paul later used it as his relevant reason around 40AD, why is it not relevant today? Again, this is not a rhetorical question. I want to know what you think.

1:41 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Okay, I'm more clear now on what you meant, thanks.

As to your question:

"If his words were not timeless, why were they included in the bible?"

I think you're right on that this was a specific command to a specific people at a specific time. The Bible has plenty of examples of this.

God told Hosea to marry a prostitute - probably not a command for all time.

God told Isaiah to run around naked for three years - probably not a command for all time.

God gave the Jubilee Laws to Israel (which they often ignored). These are mostly ignored today because we're in a different context (although, I'd argue that the spirit of the laws ought to be followed).

God commanded Israel to kill disrespectful children and called eating shrimp an abomination - not followed today, nor should it be.

I could go on.

There are many words in the Bible that are not timeless. So, when we have a seemingly irreconcilable difference, one quite plausible explanation is that it was not a rule commanded for all time.

And clearly, women have been leaders and teachers of men in the Bible, so it makes sense to me that rather than dismiss this reality, to assume the time-specific rule application.

2:11 PM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Michael,

It's kind of annoying that you keep telling me that I already know something, some of which we actually have NEVER discussed. You've done this before where you've assumed my views and attacked me based on a false assumption. You're doing it here again. But even so, simply saying that I know something isn't actually an debate tactic, unless you consider "bob and weave" an essential liberal debate strategy (which I have found in most of my experiences).

Now that we have established that, let's move on to actually dealing with the problems of your argument. First, you say you fit into the mold of an historic Baptist better than the SBC, yet in order to do so you must disagree with traditional Bapitsts who see abortion as heinous and homosexuality as sinful (BTW, you still haven't dealt with my argument about your misunderstanding of the sophistication of Paul and the 1st century Romans in their understanding of homosexual behavior, orientation, and concept of same-sex love). And while you claim that it is O.K. to disagree with your "Baptist forefathers" on abortion and homosexuality, you claim that it is unexcusable to disagree with them on their understanding of the use of Confessions v. Creeds.

So, my question is, "what makes them definitely wrong on abortion and homosexuality, yet not plausibly incorrect in regards to how they dealt with confessions of faith?" Further, how can you legitimately compare issues that relate to life-and-death, salvation-and-damnation, and sin-and-righteousness with issues related to the use of creeds and confessions with regard to denominations (especially since nothing like the SBC existed at the time of Menno Simon or the other early Anabaptist you claim in your tradition)?

Finally, you downplay the distain for government participation, as reflected in the ban against becoming any sort of governing authority in the State noted in the early Baptist confessions, and once again pick and choose from contradicting position throughout the history of Baptists. You do bring up a major point worthy of notation however. And that is that there may have been some development to the positions of the early Baptists regarding government based on context. I think the same thing exists for how they viewed confessions and statements of faith.

We see this especially in the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s. We have numerous examples of churches having statements of faith and requiring membership interviews, thorough oridination requirements, and church covenents which had to be agreed upon for membership, and to which members were held accountable. Additionally, charges of heresy, exclusion from leadership, and numerous occasions of excommunication based on doctrinal concerns have riddled Baptist life from its beginnings. Thus, why should we expect that now, after hundreds of years, soul competency and the priesthood of all believers would be taken to mean that one could believe basically anything he or she desires without any accountability or loss of potential leadership position?

So, as I said before even as Church Discipline was important in individual churches, so must discipline in the denomination be important in order to continue to cooperate under the umbrella of a shared commitment to the doctrines of God and the faith once handed down to the saints.

Another point before I conclude, I noticed that you disagree in another way with your Baptist brethren. In almost EVERY single Baptist confession of faith there is a statement regarding the right and duty of the state to execute the penalty of capital punishment and an acknowledgement that Romans 13 speaks to this duty of the goverment to be the sword of God in executing justice. You once said I misinterpreted that text and vowed to correct me on your blog. You have yet to do so. Now, though it appears I will be waiting for you to once again correct your Baptist forefathers, whom you say you try to emulate and do a better job of doing so than Southern Baptists like myself.

Finally, let me say that I apologize for my tone and irritability when dealing with this subject. It does anger me to see men such as yourself heaving grenades from behind the walls of your own churches which are rife with your own problems, trying to tell us as Southern Baptists how much less like Christ we are than you and your churches. In the end the one thing that I think we should do is to deal with each others' positions without acting as if the other person is either heinously sinful, or the other person's denomination is (what did you call it Michael? Oh, yeah ... ) ICHABOD! Continuing to tell me that I have distain for women or treat them more like "chattle" as Dan suggested is not only insulting, it's down right slanderous. As I have said before, come speak to women who are Complimentarians and ask them about their happiness. For goodness sakes, come have some coffee with my wife and I and watch us interact! She would be more than willing to answer your questions about submission, equality, and differing gender roles. But whatever you do quit telling me that I think women are below me or that I am superior to them simply because I think, like the majority of Christians throughout Church History, that men and women have been uniquely given different roles within the home and church.

I do think if you would start listening a little more to our positions then we might actually start listening to yours. But unfortunately that is not what I am finding anytime I enter a discussion about the SBC with any of you and it does disturb me. So I am asking for a little more discussion and a little less grenade throwing and maybe, just maybe, it might make both of our sides start listening to one another.

7:07 PM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Dan's response isn't convincing to me. Now let me just be clear that I think it would be good for the church and God's work if the rule was time-specific and not relevant today. I don't want it to be true. But I do want to follow a tradition of obeying God even if it's inconvenient.

"And clearly, women have been leaders and teachers of men in the Bible, so it makes sense to me that rather than dismiss this reality, to assume the time-specific rule application."

'Assume' is the word I have a problem with.

Time-specific rules have specific circumstances and are clearly changed over time. Like the change from Jew-only ministry to Jew and gentile ministry. Scriptures were alight with the details and the hows and whys. The change did not take place in silence- the leaders decided and we heard all about it.

If a longstanding situation like women in leadership was time-sopecific and changed, I wouldn't think such a contentious issue would be silent.

Other commands were clearly specific. If God says, "Hosea, marry a prostitute," that doesn't make me feel that I or anyone else has to marry a prostitute.

But when Paul talks about women and leadership, he says some wierd thing about the woman tempted first, then the man. I don't understand his logic, but if the logic is true, it's been true since the fall, and it was true when he said it. This basis is general and timeless. How can we then conclude that the rule he built upon it is time and situation specific?

7:08 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"It does anger me to see men such as yourself heaving grenades from behind the walls of your own churches which are rife with your own problems,"

If you were to favor us at our church down the road with your presence, you'd see that we're one of the most grace-filled, Godly, peaceful, charismatic (not in the religious sense) churches around. Jeff Street is a joy to attend and a blessing to all who attend.

So, if by "your own churches which are rife with their own problems," you are talking about Jeff Street, you are way off and know not of which you speak.

DR also said:

"Continuing to tell me that I have distain for women or treat them more like "chattle" as Dan suggested is not only insulting, it's down right slanderous."

If you'll read what I actually wrote, I was talking about the societies of the Bible, where women were, indeed, treated as chattel. And in those cultures, God chose to use women as leaders if we are to take the Bible literally.

Which leads me to your point, rc: If you don't set aside Paul's own command (not God's) as time-specific, then what do you do with the women who were leaders? Assume that those texts are wrong?

As to your comment:

"Time-specific rules have specific circumstances and are clearly changed over time."

I don't think that's the case. The command to kill disrespectful children is never set aside. The Jubilee Laws are never set aside. The ban on charging interest is never set aside, etc, etc. These are not clearly changed nor are specific circumstances that have changed.

You're free to believe as you will. I just don't think you can use these one or two passages that seem to say No Women Teachers offset the other verses that DO say Women Teachers.

In cases where the Bible says Both, use grace and common sense.

Finally, DR, Michael has begun an excellent, systematic exposition on Christianity and homosexuality. I'd suggest that would be a good place to have this conversation. Rather than have him rewrite here in comments whole essays worth of thought.

8:28 PM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Sorry, this is a long post...

"The ban on charging interest is never set aside, etc, etc. These are not clearly changed nor are specific circumstances that have changed."

If those commands you listed have never been recended, then why don't we obey them? Isn't disobedience sin? Note that I eat shellfish and feel no guilt. I contibute this to the fact that I'm not a Jew, that God's purposes for setting apart a people of His own has explicitly been set aside, and that Jesus' work on the cross represents a new covenant between God and His people. Not because I'm I'm "free to believe what I wish," or "exercising common sense," or "exercising grace."

Paul makes his rules during the New Testament. His rule was not an old Jewish law- it was the judgement of a holy and spirit-filled man who was elected by God and recognized by nearly all christians to lead the early church. He's also got a few bible books to his name. I'd venture that he knows what he's talking about. I'd venture also that he knew the Old Testament better than you or I, knew the examples of women and their roles, and still made his rule.

This is the guy who bucked all sorts of cultural rules and restrictions of the time that had nothing to do with God. No one can say Paul said what he did because he's all wishy washy and can't stand up to the prevailing culture of the time. He even explicitly said that the reasons for the 'no teacher' rule go all the way back to the nature of women. These are not the words of someone who just is paving over an issue so whiny folk won't get so torqued that they miss God.

Paul, the most respected church administrator in the world, makes an unambiguous rule in a verse that is included in the Bible. I see no wiggle room here. Paul was a Bible-educated man- I'm certain he knew of the instances of women and their roles in the Old Testament.

Do we know something he doesn't?

Do we know something he doesn't?

----
"I just don't think you can use these one or two passages that seem to say No Women Teachers..." Seem?

ITim 2:12: I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

That does a lot more than 'seem' to say no women teachers.

"...offset the other verses that DO say Women Teachers." No verse says that women shall be pastors or deacons or teachers. We can infer from the lives of good people, but it's an extreme uphill battle for inferences to overcome a rule that could not possibly be any clearer. People in the Bible do things they ought not to.

"In cases where the Bible says Both, use grace and common sense." As I showed, it doesn't say both. And common sense does not apply. Common sense suggests that there should be no women teachers, that the Bible contradicts itself, or that the Bible is just plain wrong. And Paul received and exercised God's Grace on a level we couldn't hope to attain. And yet he said no women leaders.

Neither grace nor common sense helps in this case.

Or is it that we somehow know more about God and His people than Paul did?

For this tough case, common sense doesn't work, Paul outranks us, and his rule could not be clearer.

10:57 PM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Dan,

First, I have generally ignored what you have had to say here mainly because, for the most part, you argue in circles and never seem to stay on point. I just have no patience for that anymore (and I noticed you once again brought up that tired old argument about shrimp -- PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GIVE IT UP!!!). And because of that I am going to answer you and move on.

As for my comments on your churches being rife with problems, I meant that in a general way denoting all moderate and liberal churches, since the members of which are generally those attacking the SBC. The types of problems I was thinking of were (in no particular order of significance): a continual loss of membership in comparison to conservative churches, declining birth rates among members in those churches, a decaying sense of absolute morality, a general loss in evagelistic zeal, a lack of focus in eternity and a prolongued focus on the now (something that I would contend Jesus certainly did not advocate), and a hodge-podge of problems associated with the failure to be both culturally relative and Biblically-sound. I have no doubt that there are many sweet, caring people in these churches. I have witnessed such in a couple of Unitarian churches where I stood knowing that all that charity was only leading them down a rosier and more polished road to Hell. Now, that's not to say that moderate and liberal churches are filled with people going to Hell, but merely to point out that care, concern, and love amongst a group of like-minded people doesn't necessarily mean that everything is fine and well with them spiritually. I think my church, Clifton Baptist off Frankfort affords me the same comforts of fellowship and love as does your church to you, but that doesn't mean my church is so much more spiritual than does yours. To me it comes down to commitment - commitment to the core principles of the faith - the faith once handed down to the saints - principles that I believe we see throughout Church history and only recently do we find churches high-stepping away from.

As for your comments about "chattel", I did read that selection and let me tell you what it sounded like to me. It sounded as if you were comparing the society that these women had to overcome in order to be used by God with the churches of today which believe that the roles of women and men are different and which believe that it happens that God designed men to be leaders in the household and in Church and women to be caretakers of the home and faithful servants of the Church. And such it seems to me to suggest that you see such a church as having a view like to be similar to those societies in which they believe women to be merely like "chattel". Also remember that this is not the first time you have used this rather provocative term when describing how women have been treated in a patriarchal society. Thus, I feel like that even if you did not mean it in this regard, my conclusions were not so out in left field as you let on in your last comment.

Finally, you are still misconstruing texts to feed your own presuppositions. First, by your own consistent view of the OT, Deborah is not a legitimate example of leadership for the NT Church. You, yourself, have pointed out that practice in the OT does not translate to practice in the NT. And in the case of Deborah it seems much more like the exception than any sort of rule. And as for the two passages on women prophesying, I have to say that is quite a stretch to make your point. You see, one did not have to be a leader to prophesy in that time. There was no office of prophet in the NT church. Prophecy was a gift that came and went, just as tongues were, as well as teaching, and on and on. Some gifts were prologued and some lasted a short time.

But the issue of women in leadership is not one of gifting, but rather of position. Paul in 1 Timothy speaks of the two main positions in the church, elder (overseer or bishop) and deacon. The position of elder is in vivid language strictly restricted to men. And when Paul speaks of not allowing a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man he means it in the sense that women are not to have an official position of elder in which they exercise ultimate authority over the men in the congregation. That duty is left to a man.

However, that does not mean that women cannot teach a Sunday school class, lead a retreat, direct the choir, or even give a testimony or devotion from the pulpit. What it does mean is that all of these activities must be done under the authority of the elders, even as everyone else in the church who is not an elder must do (men and women alike). Thus when Southern Baptists say that the office of senior pastor alone is reserved only for a man, they mean it - just the office of senior pastor (in SBC life that translates to the one elder recognized by most SBC churches, though I think a plurality of male elders is closer to the Biblical model). That is why I am all for women deacons, who are servants just like male deacons are (BTW, both of my last two churches including Clifton Baptist has had women deacons - also John MacArthur's church in CA and Mark Dever's church in DC have women deacons).

So, Dan I think you completely misunderstand the Complimentarian position and you stretch the text to the point where you lose the context in order to make a point that it simply doesn't make - all the while ignoring the plain reading of 1 Timothy regarding male eldership. I don't think I can say it any more plainly than that and so I rest my case. If you want to continue to hold to your presuppositions, then fine, but at least come up with some more consistent and meaningful arguments.

12:17 AM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Um, at this point, can I at least say I'm thankful that we're all Christians, bound for paradise despite our many faults? Christ's gospel is a wonderful thing, and I hope that we can help bring the Kingdom to more and more people.

Look, if discarding these points of doctrine are what I have to sacrifice in order for people to come to Christ, then so be it. As long as we don't lose sight of the one who saves.

I maintain that I am right. But I'm willing to sacrifice that and more, if Christ and Heb:12 are to be any example.

I say that progressive baptists only give lip service to the bible... and only because they must (for peer pressure reasons).

But if I have to allow nonsensical hippie viewpoints in order to keep some from souring completely from God... so be it. Let's call 'em all Christian... and let God sort 'em out.

1:01 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"and I noticed you once again brought up that tired old argument about shrimp"

RC asked asked, "If his words were not timeless, why were they included in the bible?"

And I was responding with very appropriate examples of "non-timeless" rules in the Bible. Including the shellfish rule. It is not a tired old argument, and we have not even discussed it in this context, DR.

I must say that it appears your hostility is causing you to see things that just aren't there (see my comments on chattel again).

RC asked:

"Do we know something he [Paul] doesn't?"

Yes. Paul was giving HIS command (not God's) to a specific church at a specific time. What we know that Paul didn't then, is that times have changed. Women are no longer expected to "learn in silence" and, indeed, it is offense to suggest something like that specifically towards women.

Where in Paul's day, it may have been a stumbling block to let women teach, in our day, it is a stumbling block to NOT let women teach.

Just as in Paul's day, he advised slaves to be good slaves, in our day, that suggestion is ridiculous.

Times have changed.

Finally, DR said (about progressive churches):

"a prolongued focus on the now (something that I would contend Jesus certainly did not advocate),..."

I'm not exactly sure what you mean here...Jesus certainly focused on the here and now. "What you do for the least...", "Thy kingdom come ON EARTH...," all of his Kingdom of God talk, etc.

If that's the kind of thing you're talking about. Of course, I'm it may be that you see all of Jesus' "Kingdom of God" talk as some pie in the sky theory and not how we're to live here and now. In which case, we disagree.

I think clearly Jesus' teachings were teachings for us here and now and he had much more to say about living now than the concept of heaven.

DR continued:

"and a hodge-podge of problems associated with the failure to be both culturally relative and Biblically-sound"

This sounds exactly like the problems I see in many of the more traditional churches. Interesting, huh?

4:12 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

One more, RC said:

"if I have to allow nonsensical hippie viewpoints in order to keep some from souring completely from God... so be it. Let's call 'em all Christian..."

If you're considering Michael and I (and my progressive and quite traditional anabaptist family of faith) as the "nonsensical hippies," you don't need to worry about "souring" us on God. Our commitment is to God, not the SBs. What they do could never impact our commitment to God (although, their actions can embarrass us, as Christians).

As Michael indicated, we've wiped our feet of the SBs and God have mercy on 'em. (Not that we have cut ties completely. Most of us have SB friends and families who are not part of the larger SB problems or, even if they are, still have our love.)

As you say, we call them Christian and let God sort'em out.

4:18 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Dan,

this is exactly what I am talking about:

You said:
I think clearly Jesus' teachings were teachings for us here and now and he had much more to say about living now than the concept of heaven.


I think it's clear that Jesus focus was on eternity, especially since that is going to last a whole lot longer.

Let's look at just one text:

John 18:36
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."

Add to this the emphasis in Matthew on the "Kingdom of Heaven" and the numereous times when Jesus speaks of entering the "Kingdom of God" and seeking the "Kingdom of God." There is no doubt that there is a temporal aspect to the Kingdom, but the eschatological aspect seems to be completely lacking in the focus of any liberals. Dr. Albert Mohler actually pointed this same thing out yesterday on his radio show in speaking of the new bishop of the Episcopal Church. You can read the interview he was speaking about here:

http://www.biblebeltblogger.com/biblebelt/2007/01/presiding_bisho.html

Basically, Katherine Jefferts-Schori said,

"I don’t think Jesus was focused on that. I think Jesus was focused on heaven in this life, primarily. The Judeo-Christian tradition has always said yes, there is resurrection. There is life after death. But I think Jesus was not so worried about that. I think he’s worried about what we’re doing to treat our fellow human beings as children of God. He says the kingdom of heaven is among you, and within you, and around you."


This just blows me away and I see it constantly in liberal churches. So much so that it makes it clear why there is no growth in liberal church (somethng I noticed you didn't challenge). Unfortunately for your churches, matters of eternity were the focus of the historic church, of Paul, of the Early Church Fathers, and very much of Jesus. Just go back and look at how often He spoke of heaven and hell. Read through the Gospels and notice what an incredible statement ole' Katherine really makes.

12:42 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Well all I can say then is, God bless Ms Katherine! Clearly a woman who has much to teach everyone. She said more of significance in that ONE paragraph than I heard in most sermons from men in all my years growing up in a SB church!

Twould appear we have a significant difference, DR, between how we see Christianity and how we read the Bible. This is evident in how we view God's Kingdom and talk of heaven.

While you read that John 18 verse and think that is representative of all the times Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God is used, I recognize it as the minority use of the notion as found in the Bible.

For every John 18, there are verses such as:

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Luke 17:20,21


From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matt 4:17

I believe in Heaven myself. In being forever in God's presence.

But from what I read of the Bible, the more common notion of the Kingdom of God found in the Bible is of the "thy Kingdom come - on earth" variety.

As to this comment:

"So much so that it makes it clear why there is no growth in liberal church"

Well, speaking of my personal experience, there IS growth in what you consider our "liberal" church. Growth of spirit. Growth of love. Growth of faithfulness to God's word and to God's community and to God's creation.

In short, growth in faithfulness to God's teaching. And that is the area we are called to grow in, biblically speaking. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to have a large church in terms of numbers or dollars. We are commanded instead to be faithful. It seems to this poor anabaptist that churches who are measuring success by the numbers on their score board are doing so extrabiblically.

Our church is a faithful church and working out our salvation by God's grace. Thank the Lord and amen!

1:59 PM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

It seems I'm rather late to my own discussion. That's what I get for failing to get a flu shot this year.

Anyways.

D.R.,

You wrote a few posts up that some problems that moderate/liberal churches face include 1) continual loss of membership in comparison to conservative churches 2) declining birth rates among members in those churches 3)a general loss of evangelistic zeal etc..

First, why the fascination with the declining birth rate? Other than from folks in your circle (Russ Moore, etc) - I've never heard anyone mention birth rate statistics or describe this as a problem. Should our moderate pastors start advocating its members to make more babies?? If this is a problem, how should it be fixed?

As to the general loss of evangelistic zeal, I don't see this among "moderate" Baptists. I can't speak for Ms. Katherine and the Episcopal Church - but out here in Texas, evangelism is still a priority. Among the folks in the pews, I have a feeling that much in common exists between the average Southern Baptist and the average former Southern Baptist.

2:33 PM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Dan holds the common view that women were forbidden from leading in the early church purely because of the cultural atmoshpere. I'll set aside that this does not address Paul's strange deeper justification for why women should not lead (it had nothing to do with culture or timing).

"Women are no longer expected to "learn in silence" and, indeed, it is offense to suggest something like that specifically towards women." I agree. But I wonder, how could we possibly beleive that, yet still believe that if we lived in Paul's time that we'd obey his command?

Bear with me while I make a strange illustration.
Imagine taking Condoleeza Rice on a trip with you back to Paul's time. On the way in, your DeLorean time machine skids out of control into a parked camel and is destroyed. So is the camel, whose angry owner demands that you give restitution. Your cash is worthless, so you both get sold into slavery to pay your debt.

Your job now, should you choose to accept it, is to convince Condi as a Christian to be a good slave and remain silent in church. Keep in mind that Condi is a skilled diplomat, very capable of understanding and fitting in with other cultures. Also keep in mind that she is appraised of the Epistles and Revelation, Biblical God truths that haven't even been written yet. What a great teacher she could be! So what kind of luck do you think you will have, convincing Condi to be a good, silent, obedient Christian slave?

Now, we could come up with all sorts of exceptions or excuses that could escape us from this dilemma. But the reality is, we would HAVE to come up with some exception or excuse, because we believe a timeless truth that says Condi should tell Paul to shove it.

This is not about culture or timing. It's a bout an underlying 'timeless truth.' No progressive would ever obey and be silent. Not now, not ever.

So is the Bible wrong, or just the hallowed founder of our church?

3:22 PM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

First, Dan,

NO! For every John 18 there is not a verse that says the opposite. John 18 is a passage that illustrates the thorough-going motif of His coming - salvation to eternal life! We are saved from eternal damnation through His sacrifice! That is the good news.

You showed your misunderstanding of Christ's good news in your insistance in a previous discussion that the Gospel was found in Luke 4, when Paul explicitly defines the Gospel in 1 Cor. 15. You confused (and continue to) the process of proclamation with the proclamation itself. Too much liberation theology if you ask me. If your reading were accurate then the Gospel is not even for middle class folks like us, but rather only the extreme poor. But that is not the case. The Gospel isn't about liberating one from their circumstances, but rather saving them from their sins. And that is the historic Baptist understanding of the Gospel - You know "Nothin' but the Blood", "There is a Fountain", and on and on that you recognize from your old church days (that must have included a terrible preacher to like what Jefferts-Schori said more).

Now, I noticed you used the KJV for Luke 17, but it includes a poor translation of the word "entos" in Greek (translated incorrectly as "within"). Jesus clearly would not have told the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God was "within them", especially after telling them they were children of the devil. The more common translation of "entos" is "among." And that would make much more sense to this context. And the "among" them He was speaking of was HIMSELF! Then He moves on to telling them about the future persecution and the Second Coming, which is God's end game (to borrow from "Alias").

So, maybe I should have said earlier that many liberals like yourself have an unhealthy and unBiblical fixation on the present and a loss of perspective and foward-look toward eternity.

And BTW, that desire for Christ's kingdom coming on earth is an eschatological one. Honestly, you guys sound like the postmillennialists of the past, expecting to usher in a utopian society, rather than the historic Church which looked forward to Christ's Second Coming and thereby an ushering in of the Kingdom of God by means of the Rule of Christ Himself. But that is just another way that you guys break from the Early Church and the earliest Baptists.

Finally in regards to growth. I am not fixated on it, but it does reveal the presence of God in one's congregation. And your comment, "It seems to this poor anabaptist that churches who are measuring success by the numbers on their score board are doing so extrabiblically" is quite incredible given Acts 2:41, 46-47. It seems that marks of the Spirit of God in the Church included continual growth. But maybe Luke just cared too much about numbers.

4:33 PM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

BTW,

Sorry that you have been sick. I understand. I am not feeling too well myself these last few days. And I also understand getting late on your own blog discussion. Been there.

You said:

First, why the fascination with the declining birth rate? Other than from folks in your circle (Russ Moore, etc) - I've never heard anyone mention birth rate statistics or describe this as a problem. Should our moderate pastors start advocating its members to make more babies?? If this is a problem, how should it be fixed?

First, I am not fixated on the birth rate, but it is problematic. I think God's original call for us to be fruitful and multiple has never been rescinded. Futher, the family has always been a central unit in Scripture and in Church History. As for children, they are part of God's plan for our sanctification, as is marriage itself. And they are part of God's plan to extend His kingdom. Remember Christ's words about children? "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." I think this reveals God's love for children and this should translate to us.

Now, that was a really rough sketch of why I think declining birth rates are problematic. I don't have time to launch into a full investigation, but I do think that you should check into what guys are saying about this and realize that they are not as out in left field as they are made out to be.

Now, as for moderate pastors and churches, I think there is just little emphasis on children and childrearing. Walk into a moderate church with 6 kids in tow and watch how people react. Then come to my church, do the same thing and note the difference. It will likely be staggering. It is as if large families are now a taboo. And maybe we should start thinking about why.

As for fixing the problem, I think it begins with making children a greater focus of our lives and part of our goals rather than bumps along the road toward our goal of retirement. Look up a guy down in TX named Voddie Baucham (you may already know him). He talks about this a lot. He noted that his church is all about children and that people are drawn to it because of their philosophy about childrearing. I just don't see this emphasis very often in moderate church and rarely at all in liberal churches.


As for evangelism among moderate churches, let me say that I recognize a huge gap between liberal churches and mainstream denomination churches and those moderate churches that identify with more Evangelical groups in regards to their attitudes and results in evangelism. So, I don't doubt that your Baptist church is involved in evangelism and/or missions. The problem is that as moderates begin to focus on cooperation with more liberal groups I think they will begin to look and evangelize more like the liberals than their Evangelical brothers. That may not occur, but one certainly must be worried about a loss of evangelistic zeal as one moves left, especially since several studies seem to suggest such.

4:55 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Daddy W, I was wondering where you were in all of this. Hope you're feeling better.

DR, what can I say? I've already agreed that we have different views of how to read the Bible and what it says. In your great learning, this poor Kentuckian is unable to reach you with my simple words and 'tis a regret on my part. But then, it is always God that has to do the reaching anyway. All I can do is testify to God's grace that I've come to know.

I'll take a couple of thoughts, though:

You said:
"If your reading were accurate then the Gospel is not even for middle class folks like us, but rather only the extreme poor."

No. It is we rich who need to be liberated from their dependence upon wealth just as much as the poor need to be liberated from the oppression of unjust systems. Surely, we could agree to this?

As to your concerns about church enrollment and having babies, I must say I'm baffled about your position, as these are entirely extrabiblical points. I mean, you said:

"I am not fixated on it [church growth in numbers], but it does reveal the presence of God in one's congregation."

?!

Oh, really? And the Bible says this, where?

On having more children: We have a population problem in our world. We can feed the 6.5 billion people here now only because of petrofertilizers and, as petroleum products go away in the next few years/decades, we are going to have some serious problems. It is irresponsible to encourage large families in our context.

That's a word not from the Bible, but from science.

And remember our discussions earlier about time-specific commands? God told the first people to be fruitful and multiply because it was appropriate then. It is not appropriate now.

The things that some traditionalists take literally and the things that you spiritualize is amazing and a large part of our fundamental differences.

Peace.

8:11 PM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Dan,

Wow, talking about unBiblical and extraBiblical. First, you asked,

Oh, really? And the Bible says this, where?

Let me quote what I said that you either skipped over or ignored:

Finally in regards to growth. I am not fixated on it, but it does reveal the presence of God in one's congregation. And your comment, "It seems to this poor anabaptist that churches who are measuring success by the numbers on their score board are doing so extrabiblically" is quite incredible given Acts 2:41, 46-47. It seems that marks of the Spirit of God in the Church included continual growth. But maybe Luke just cared too much about numbers.

Now, maybe this would be a good time to dust off your Bible and read Acts, but in case you can't find it let me quote the verses for you:

Acts 2:41-47:
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

As I said, it seems that marks of faithfulness to Christ and the movement of the Spirit include numerical growth. If there is no growth how do we fulfill the Great Commission? How does Christ put all things in submission under His feet? In your grand utopian viewpoint how do we implement the kingdom of God on earth?

Regarding your misunderstanding of overpopulation:
You've been reading way, way too much liberal propoganda. According to most scientists we DON'T have an overpopulation problem and the earth is well sustainable beyond 6 billion. Here are a couple of links discussing the myths of overpopulation:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?page=article&Article_ID=13087

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/3046/overpop.htm

As for petroleum consuption - that is another rabid myth being propogaded by uneducated liberals. I have read and read about the "peak oil" scandal, but the reality is there is absolutely NO evidence to support this coming from the overall geological community. If anything geologists are busy finding more and more oil. Take for example the recent finds by Chevron of possibly a field larger than Saudi Arabia or the oil sands in Calgary that contain almost as much, both of which haven't been nearly as tapped as Saudi Arabia. Add to that the increased call for alternative energy and the advances in both transportation, battery supply, and solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy and you have a much overpropogandized story that lacks real substance.

It might shock you to know this but I read Treehugger, Grist, Renewable Energy Access and lots of other Green-focused websites, as well as checking out Popular Science and other science magazines. I know what propoganda is out there in the Green community and how much of it is garbage and how much of it makes sense.

It's interesting that you wrote:

It is irresponsible to encourage large families in our context.

That's a word not from the Bible, but from science.


You're right that's not a word from the Bible, but it's not a word from science either. I've heard that tired old argument about "God gave us a brain so we should use it to ..." fill in the blank. Usually what always finishes it is something that is not based in the reality of our calling as Christians, but rather in our desires as sinful men and women. What constitutes a large family today is scandalous - usually four kids. How ridiculous!

What this world needs most is children raised to be ambassadors for Christ, who seek His face and desire His will.


Finally you said:
The things that some traditionalists take literally and the things that you spiritualize is amazing and a large part of our fundamental differences.

You are right - it is amazing how we do hold to the traditions handed down to us - those things that were taken literally by our forefathers, the Early Church and the early Baptist - and how liberals miss the boat and seek to be focused more on personal spiritualization than glorification of God. You can think how dumb it is to have children, to call others to account for their sin, and to run our households like our forefathers did, but remember, it only distances you further and further from those anabaptists you so claim to emulate and love.

3:34 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

On oil and population:

1. Everyone - from the Bush whitehouse scients, to oil companies, to environmentalists, to geologists, to those who understand the concept of "non-renewable" - acknowledges that oil is a finite resource. It is non-renewable.

2. Nearly everyone - see list above - acknowledges that we are reaching the peak of oil that is affordable to reach. The oil companies will tell you this, Bush's scientists will tell you this. Everyone except for a few with vested interests or who put politics over science will tell you this.

3. It's not a matter of IF affordable oil will peak, but when. It may be happening now (the oil companies are saying this, geologists are saying this), or it may be in the next 50 years, but it will happen.

ExxonMobile on Peak Oil:
http://energybulletin.net/23647.html

Chevron:
http://www.willyoujoinus.com/issues/

4. Our current global economy is fueled by cheap oil. When cheap oil goes away in our lifetime likely, nearly certainly in our children's lifetime, what then?

How will we grow enough food, once the petrofertilizers are gone? How will we transport it around the world? How will we transport ourselves?

In addition to peaking supplies, we also have increasing demand to consider. India and China are increasing their demand for oil daily. Additionally, because population IS growing, there's an increased number of people "needing" oil.

According to our census bureau, in 25 years, global population is expected to grow from our current 6.5 billion to 8.4 billion.

And you add a billion people here, a billion people there and that creates a lot of demand.

If we've gone through roughly the first half of oil - the easily accessible oil in 100 years (and mostly in the last 50 years - and 50 years ago the population was under 3 billion!), think about how much faster a demand of 8 billion human souls will go through this vital resource!

I'm assuming you understand supply and demand. When supply levels off (and it has) and demand increases (and it is greatly), what happens to price? It goes up. The more the demand/less the supply, the greater the increase.

Tell me, is it responsible to live beyond our means? Is it Christian to do so?

I'm out of time and have gone on too long on a tangent topic (sorry, BDW), but just think about those numbers and their implication for a while.

4:18 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Dan,

Thanks for giving us all the liberal talking points with little actual evidence to back it up. I noticed that you used oil companies to back up your views. I am not sure you know this, but the "peak oil" scandal is something that oil companies use to up the price of oil. Yet, as I said earlier new fields are being found daily. We have no clue just how much oil is under the surface.

Regardless, you concentrate way too much on oil. Oil is not the future of energy. As a good liberal you should know that renewable sources of energy are actually a much better potential for the future than is oil. As renewable sources increase in productivity, non-renewable sources decrease and once again balance the ability of individuals to sustain themselves (notice also that oil companies like BP are getting into the renewable game and a recent white paper from another oil company noted the need to begin investing in green sources, as they will eventually replace oil as the main staple of energy source).

I am sure that oil is limited. The problem with your assessment is it demands that oil be the only solution, when so many more are on the table that you completely ignore.

But, BTW, since you brought up supply and demand, maybe you should pay attention to it when it regards oil. In the past year demand has decreased and supply has greatly increased. That is why OPEC is calling for a reduction in productivity. If demand were so high then supply would not be being cut to keep the prices higher. Once again you are only getting half of the story.

5:12 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

BDW, sorry for contributing to getting this so far afield.

DR, when I get a chance, I'll post on this topic at my blog and you can look at the evidence there.

6:20 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"I am not sure you know this, but the "peak oil" scandal is something that oil companies use to up the price of oil."

DR, for the record, the reason I posted the oil companies as a source is that I didn't think you'd take actual geologists and scientists who study the topic seriously.

What source would you like your info from? Who will you trust?

6:34 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Dan, I've read the few geologists and scientists who cover peak oil. Most of the folks who do so are not in those categories. Many are common-folk environmentalists who mean well, but get caught up in the hype without reading the fine print, or as I said earlier, you have oil companies who benefit from scaring folks with peak oil stories. Other than that you do have a few politically charged individuals who use the peak oil stuff to bash Bush and all things capitalistic.

Now for what studies I would trust. Well, give me a study that takes into account 4 factors:

1. Newly discovered oil fields outside of the Middle East (especially the one discovered off the coast of New Orleans that could contain 15b barrels of oil and the one found recently in Mexico could could be larger than the 2nd largest oil field in the world - also in Mexico - see the article below for details).
2. The oil sands of Calgary and their impact on the global oil supply.
3. Co-Dependence on any other source for energy than oil.
4. Advancement in hybrid/battery/fuel cell technology.

I doubt you will find this because every single study I have ever looked at is flawed in one major way - they don't allow for any other source of oil EXCEPT the oil fields of the Middle East. Peak oil is based upon the correct assumption that one day oil will run out in those fields in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and the other major oil fields in the Middle East. Another problem with these studies is that they only take into account rapid escalation of oil usage. However, most were written before the last two years where we find that oil usage has actually slowed and reversed course, something that NONE of the peak oil studies take into account. Most all are based on "worst case scenarios."

So, find any peak oil data that takes into account those factors above and I will listen to it. Good luck trying to do so though. If you haven't noticed, peak oil research and propaganda has dropped as the price of oil has plummetted. There's a reason why. So please go and consider it.

Here's one article that should help you out. By the way, notice that it discusses a book whose authors deal with Dr. Thomas Gold's theory that challenges the entire peak oil thesis.

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51837

1:35 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

I don't usually use World Net Daily as I have plenty of toilet paper here at home.

5:57 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Did you see the WND story about teachers sexually assaulting students in public schools? Apparently it's an epidemic with "5 million students being sexually assaulted in public schools by teachers"!!

Egad!

Of course, the fact that there's only 30 million public school students and 3 million teachers is not noteworthy. It just means that those 3 million teachers are very busy sexually assaulting our children.

Please. WND is a sham.

5:59 AM

 
Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Sheesh! Are we far from BDW's post topic or WHAT? I have never heard of World News Daily, btw, and I am such a news junkie that I read not only my own daily paper, but the online editions of 5 U.S. dailies (New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, Miami Herald), 3 British sources (BBC, the London Guardian, and the London Independent), the English-language online version of Ha'aretz--plus many journals and magazines.
The scientific information I check on peak oil and related topics comes from the Union of Concerned Scientists--they can't be dismissed as either price-fixing oil barons or deluded uninformed environmentalists.
But, back to the topic, I continue to deny the premise of rc and d.r.--that women were forbidden leadership positions in the 1st C. church. It's simply not true, so questions about whether or not the changed context demands a changed response don't really apply. Sexist Christianity didn't begin until after the apostolic era.

9:45 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Dan,

Dismissal is not a form of debate, it only shows you can't deal with the data. Whatever you think of WND, you have to deal with the issues presented, not merely dismiss them as your view of the source matter to the data. The article was only part of my argument, and the findings therein can be confirmed by multiple sources. It's not like they made up the fact that the 2nd largest oil field is in Mexico or that there was indeed a find last March of a possibly larger field in that country - all facts that you haven't dealt with. I am still waiting on a study that considers the factors I mentioned regarding peak oil - factors that I noted are not considered by the studies conducted so far on peak oil.


Michael,

Again, I will listen to any study by any organization that can show consideration of those factors mentioned above. So far, no study has been conducted that I am aware of that does so. And all organizations have some political, social, or religious bias. It is naive to think otherwise.

As for women in Early Christianity, suggesting that your view was the thoroughgoing position of Early Christianity is not the same as proving it. Your view is based on a "conspiracy theory" concocted by feminists that is not based in reality or fact. What you are trying to convince us of is that the true Christian view of women was begun, lost, and is only now being rediscovered. To prove that you must have much more than a few scant illustrations that require a "DaVinci Code" piecing together in order to work.

So far we have NO female apostles, NO female elder, NO females writers of Scripture, NO female bishops in the Early Church. Unless you can PROVE that this is not true and you can show that the Early Church REJECTED 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 11 and 13:34-35.

According to all the Early Church writings, the Church believed in a Complimentarian view. It is your responsibility to prove we should reject that, but misrepresenting the Church based on a "conspiracy theory" is downright impossible.

10:33 AM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Michael w-w said: "But, back to the topic, I continue to deny the premise of rc and d.r.--that women were forbidden leadership positions in the 1st C. church. It's simply not true, so questions about whether or not the changed context demands a changed response don't really apply. Sexist Christianity didn't begin until after the apostolic era."

Let's assume thats true. Does that then mean Paul was wrong, the ITim verse is a fabrication, or that it was good that the church completely disobeyed an explicit and generally applied rule set down by an apostle?

And I'm very skeptical that what M W-W said was true. Progressives these days _rail_ at the sexism of fundamental branches like SBC. No 'cultural understanding,' no 'diversity of thought'... what the SBC does is said to be straight wrong, this time or any time. So what are the chances these same people (perhaps M W-W) would go back and find 1st century culture more progressive? No way. I mean, I've done no research, but that doesn't pass the smell test.

Thanks for continuing an interesting debate, though it's been distracted by some other topics (interesting too, but still). So after saying that, I have no idea why I'm willing to now pour fuel onto this fire (no pun intended).

Peak Oil. I get most of my perspective from my dad, who is an expert in oil exploration, an economic conservative, consulting with the oil industry. When it comes to finding and exploiting oil resources, he is an expert. So, with that foundation, I will say the following. Fifty to seventy five years from now, energy production will look _drastically_ different than it does these days. That's because current oil production and reserves will no longer be able to affordably meet demand. Current energy policy is completely tied to cheap oil. The best estimators and explorers in the world are working on finding more, but it is agreed that further discoveries will only briefly delay the inevitable. The proven reality of peak oil is that one or both of two things will happen: the economy will take a big hit as energy prices ramp up, and/or drastic changes will have to be made to how we make energy and how we use it. But whatever we do, there is _very_ little chance that future energy will be as cheap as it is now (disregarding a huge future development, such as cold fusion, Mr FusionTM, 'alien technology,' etc)

The oil 'scare' of the seventies was indeed a scare. But what came with it was a big increase in energy prices. What came with higher prices were big effects on the market and how we live our lives. Something similar is eventually going to happen again, with similar big changes as a result. Either consumption of oil must go down, or price will go up- and there is absolutely no way to prevent this. Everyone panic? No. Everyone plan and adapt? Yes.

One last thing. There are big enviro/economic implications to peak oil. But have you considered the political implications? In as little as fifty years, Saudi Arabia, as well as many other oil-ocracies, will be out of business. Right now, huge riches fuel huge corruption. What do you think they'd be willing to do to keep hold of that power? I mean, it's not like oil shale or hybids or photovoltaics are coming out of Katar or UAE. Chevron and Shell will adapt. The Middle East will either explode or implode. _That_ is the scary thing about peak oil.

1:36 PM

 
Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

RC,

I don't think anyone here would suggest that the verses in 1st Timothy are a "fabrication" of sorts. But can we give Paul's writings some historical/cultural context? During Paul's era, slaves and women were considered inferior. Surely a little history should be examined when reading and interpreting passages from Timothy?

Even D.R. would agree that some passages are time-specific and shouldn't be universalized. Southern Baptists don't speak in tongues, at least not in public. They don't demand that women be veiled. Modest clothes? The young and old get dolled up, cake on the makeup and dress quite nicely (GAP, Express, etc.). Do SBC women keep their hair long? These are time-specific passages.

Paul's writings often addressed particular places and problems. I don't interpret 1st Timothy as a timeless pattern that we should follow for the ages.

D.R.

I checked out Voodie Baucham. Granted, I don't live in your world but in my world I've only encountered one black Calvinist (that I know of). Voodie is # 2.

His views on youth ministry are interesting and he has some good ideas about the need for family and community.

11:35 PM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Big DW-
I agree that history and context are important in interpreting the bible. The only thing is, this ITim verse, which I chose as a very good example, leaves very little room for interpretation. Conservatives respond to this by giving the Bible the benefit of the doubt, while progressives respond by giving culture the benefit of the doubt. And we all end up somewhere in the middle.

But for nearly everyone, especially progressives, this doesn't boil down to a 'cultural' issue at all.

Example. Say ten years from now, the US is taken over by Islamists. Fifty years from now, their culture becomes the mainstream. Is it then ok for women to be barred from owning businesses, leading church, and running for public office?

Any progressive would answer emphatically 'no.' Similarly, any progressive would then be forced to admit that it couldn't be right in Paul's time, either. Is it ok for a supposedly holy leader of the church to cave in to an unjust culture? Well, maybe he made some mistakes, but should a big one in ITim still be enshrined in the Bible?

"During Paul's era, slaves and women were considered inferior."

During _our_ era, some people consider blacks (former slaves) and women inferior. The thing is, progressives (and decent minded people) deal with this by denouncing those belivers as straight wrong. No excuses for 'culture,' or 'my daddy believed women were inferior.' The SBC is not denounced because their stance is not right for present-day American culture, it is denounced because their sexist beliefs are _wrong_.

So how do progressives explain away Paul's words with some handwaving about culture? The whole point about progressives is that we shouldn't cave to culture.

Finally, the whole notion of cultural context in this case is irrelevant, as Paul based his sexist beliefs on an odd foundation- something about eve being tempted first. If that argument has foundation, it's had foundation since the Fall, it's had foundation then, and it has foundation now. It's a timeless argument.

Now, I don't know if Paul would be outraged to see today's women teaching Sunday school and leading women's groups. But even conservative bits of _this_ culture are leery of women pastors and deacons.

Progressives can't use both culture and absolute right to claim the moral high ground.

11:33 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

BDW,

Glad you checked out Voddie. He actually has a book coming out soon (if it's not already out yet) about his position on youth ministry and what he calls family-based ministry. And yes you probably won't agree with a lot of what he says, but he is a captivating speaker and he speaks as an apologist in some of the most antagonist places in the U.S., like Dartmouth College. If you can get ahold of a sermon, you should listen to it. His sermon at One Day 2000 is excellent. As for black Calvinists - there's a whole group of them - The Reformed Blacks of America.


As for you comment to R.C. -

Even D.R. would agree that some passages are time-specific and shouldn't be universalized. Southern Baptists don't speak in tongues, at least not in public. They don't demand that women be veiled. Modest clothes? The young and old get dolled up, cake on the makeup and dress quite nicely (GAP, Express, etc.). Do SBC women keep their hair long? These are time-specific passages.

I can generally agree, but with some caveats. First, I think that there are cultural differences that must be taken into account and that is the work of hermeneutics - to draw forth the kernal of universal truth from the passage and apply it to our time. Let's take your last example to show how this works. Hair length in our culture doesn't generally signify anything about a male or female like it did in that day. In that particular passage Paul is attacking a practice in the ancient world in which female prostitutes shaved their heads or cut their hair very short - like a Roman man would. Thus, to avoid such a perception Paul pointed out that hair style was a sign of the difference between the sexes and thus God desired for that distinction to be clear. What we do with that today is to first say, flee appearing like a prostitute or engaging in prostitution and second, to seek to exhibit the differences in the sexes and avoid blending the differences into a hodge-podge that negates the beautiful differences between men and women (or perverts them). Similar things could be said about women and their accessories.

But, when it comes to a passage like 1 Timothy 2:11-15, you see Paul not only making the statement, "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet," but also giving a reason behind it which is based not on cultural norms or symbolic expression, but rather on history and theology. Notice that Paul argues his case by adding, "FOR it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." This is not a cultural argument, but rather an argument from both before and after the Fall regarding the position of women to men. That is what makes that command timeless - the mode of argumentation and the type of argument made.

That's why we have to examine every passage and look at the context closely, buffering it with historical, grammatical, and theological research.


Now one more point I would like to make regarding this - the fact that there were time sensitive issues involving the relationship between men and women indicates why Michael's comment (I continue to deny the premise of rc and d.r.--that women were forbidden leadership positions in the 1st C. church. It's simply not true, so questions about whether or not the changed context demands a changed response don't really apply. Sexist Christianity didn't begin until after the apostolic era.) makes absolutely no sense and fails any historical or logical test.

1:25 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"Let's take your last example to show how this works. Hair length in our culture doesn't generally signify anything about a male or female like it did in that day."

The problem or limitation of this is that we are making assumptions when we go from "the bible says women should have long hair" to "but we don't have to because of cultural differences."

Which is not to say that you're wrong in this instance, but I'm just pointing out that you're asking us to take a leap of faith here that your hunch as to why it's okay today to have different hairstyles than what the Bible commands.

We could make some other guesses as to why or why not women's hair ought to be different than commanded in the Bible.

Similarly for women preachers (or homosexuality or war-making). We ALL make leaps from what the bible actually says to reasons why we need not take every jot and tittle as literally applying to us.

At the least, I'd think that would call for some humility on our parts when we're leaping from what the Bible says to what we have a hunch it means.

In other words, be careful when we say, "The Bible doesn't allow for women preachers. Period." when at the same time we say, "Well, when the Bible commands us not to have tatoos or to wear our hair a certain way or to love our enemies, we don't necessarily have to do so..." lest we stand accused of hypocrisy.

5:44 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Well, Dan you would be right IF I was the only one who concluded this, but I am only noting what Bihblical scholars and NT and OT linguists and cultural anthropologists have indicated about Hebrew, Greek, and Roman culture.

The task of hermeneutics is to understand how any specific passage affected the first hearers and why. Then we must determine how this translates to our context. It's a lot more complex than "this is what I like" or "this is what I don't". Yes, we come with biases and that is why Church teaching is so important, along with Church history in how these specific commands were acted out. It's a cop out to make assumptions, but it's solid research when we actually go to original sources, do our homework, and estabilsh a consistant hermeneutic.

8:20 AM

 
Anonymous rc said...

I agree with what Dan said.

Including the part where we chould "be careful when we say, "The Bible doesn't allow for women preachers. Period.""

We should be careful when we _say_ that the Bible says 'no women leaders.' But not just because we'll stand accused of hypocricy. It's because we're hypocrites. I mean, san there be any other explanation?

ITim does indeed say no women leaders. That's just not a topic that anyone wants to talk deeply about.

More than once, I have illustrated how progressive objections to ITim are not based on culture, but on core belief. And I have also illustrated how Paul backed up his command, not by culture or timeliness, but by core belief.

So how can we be a modern Christian and still say that the Bible is true? I thought if anyone had an answer, it'd be the progressives. But if this discussion is any indication, it seems the progressives aren't even asking the question...

What am I missing here?

8:23 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"So how can we be a modern Christian and still say that the Bible is true?"

We can be modern Christians, I'd think, and still say the Bible is a book of Truth, if we don't accept it as a book of literal facts.

That is, if we acknowledge that there's God's Truth to be gleaned therein, but realize that we need not believe that we ought to kill disrespectful children, that how we wear our hair is not that critical, that some of the truths were truths for a particular people at a particular time, etc.

And as we do this (and we ALL acknowledge on some level that the Bible is not to be taken word-for-word literally and that there are time-specific commands), we must humbly realize that it is God's Truth we seek, not the imposition of a few particular passages from the Bible that fit with our human-made religion.

And God's truth comes by the Spirit, not from a book - even the Bible. It is God we worship, not the Bible.

To raise the Bible from Book of Truths to Infallible Document is to misplace our faith. God reveals truth - in the Bible and in our lives.

That's how I think we worship God and love the Bible as a book of truth.

9:46 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Dan,

You just perfectly summarized the problem with your view of the Bible - you make it completely subjective based on your "experience" and not on the intent. You rob the Scriptures of their authority and basically ignore the Church Fathers and early Baptists in how they understood it. Your extreme liberal/Neo-Orthodox position is not in line with those the Anabaptists or any other Baptists you say you identify with. Additionally, you ignore the task of hermeneutics in favor of just picking and choosing based on subjective factors.

While it's much easier to just pick and choose what passages you want to believe are "literal" (still an inadequate word), it takes much more work, study, and dilligence to actually understand all of the issues in the text, to discern the meaning intended by the author, and to apply the kernal of Truth to our lives. You have chosen to take the easy path and forsake your Baptist forefathers. And you have usurped the authority of Scripture in favor of your own private version of the truth.

That's all fine for you. What I can't get is why you think it is arrogant or incorrect of US to claim to know the truth, when it is based on a closer reading of the Scriptures, a more dedicated study of the words that God inspired His prophets and apostles to write, and a desire to remain in tune with those went before us? It seems to me that your rogue opposition to so many traditional positions and rejection of these passages that are simply an "imposition" to you indicates that you are the one that feels you have it all together and need no instruction from the Word of God - after all its just a book, right? If God doesn't reveal it to you personally, then it's simply not true, right?

11:10 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"you make it completely subjective based on your "experience" and not on the intent."

As do you. That is, interpreting the Bible IS rather a subjective endeavor, only coming through the Holy Spirit. While God as revealed in the Holy Spirit is perfect and whole, unfortunately for us, we're fallible and human and NOT perfect. As such, we are likely to misinterpret a passage.

And so, we rely all the more heavily upon the Holy Spirit and upon our brothers and sisters in Christ and those who've gone before us, and yet, it is still subjective.

For me. For you. For us all. That's my point. You don't have any perfect knowledge any more than I do.

You're assuming I do none of the "work, study and dilligence" that you do. I have not been to the seminary, but I have studied the Bible my entire life. Diligently.

I've read what others have had to say, I've read the anabaptists, I've read, J Edwards, Art Gish, Yoder, Mohler, Graham, Billy Sunday, CS Lewis, Wesley, Aquinas, St Francis, Wycliffe, Wilkerson, Tozer, Sheldon, Chambers, Merton, Foxe, Knox, MLK, Torrey, Ravenhill, Dobson, Kennedy, Bounds, Sider, Bunyan, ten Boom, Foster and I'm sure others that I'm not thinking of - and probably the Bible most of the way through before you were born.

I've read them all and prayed for understanding and gone with the understanding revealed to me by God's Spirit. As I suspect you have.

And you know what? I may have made some mistakes in hearing the Spirit. You know why? Because I'm human and fallible and apparently have not reached your state of grace. But not from a lack of diligence or time spent at it.

Your pride will be your undoing, young brother. As will mine, no doubt.

11:34 AM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Dan,

I really don't care how much you've read and how old you are. You apparently haven't listened to those who you've read. And you have rejected your Anabaptist roots, yet continue to try to identify with them. Maybe I just can't understand why you are so blind to the differences in your theology with those who have come before or how you could know that your views on Scripture, God's justice and wrath, Christ's atonement, sin, and eternity are night and day from those who went before you and yet you still believe you are right and those guys were so far off. It just amazes me. It's like you consider yourself a modern day Gnostic or something. At least my arrogance is built upon a foundation of the assurance of those who came before and their interpretation of Scripture. Your's is so divergent from that and yet you seem to have no real explanation that doesn't require you to use the same examples of shrimp and killing disobedient children, even though those charges have been answered over and over again (and as if had our Baptist forefathers known Scripture enough to know about those examples, they would believe as you do). I just don't think you see how far from orthodoxy you really are. And as I said, it amazes me.

11:53 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

DR said:
"I really don't care how much you've read and how old you are."

You were the one making the issue of study, saying: "it takes much more work, study, and dilligence to actually understand all of the issues in the text" - I merely responded by saying you were wrong to imply that I have not done the work, study and diligence.

DR went on to say:
"You apparently haven't listened to those who you've read."

And you're basing that upon knowing my heart better than I? I have indeed listened to those I've read and took it all to God in prayer and relied upon God to help me make sense of what I'd read in those authors and in the Bible. Is this not what you do?

Do you pray that God reveal God's message and then, if that conflicts with what Mohler or someone else says, you go with Mohler? I don't think so. You go with God's leading.

"And you have rejected your Anabaptist roots, yet continue to try to identify with them."

From a Mennonite website:

The main tenets of the Anabaptist faith left to us by Menno and his followers include:

· community. People are baptized upon confession of faith into a discipling, nurturing congregation

· non-conformity: being citizens of the Kingdom of God, not of Satan or the World

· non-violence: resisting violence in personal and national life

· evangelical mission: spreading the Good News of Jesus, including this four-fold witness, through word and deed.

I am fully and 100% in solidarity and agreement with these tenets.

A bit longer, but even better put is the list from mennohof:

http://www.mennohof.org/php/who.we.are/beliefs.php

Or, as another source puts it:

1. The Bible [interpreted through the life of Christ] is Central
2. New Life In Christ
3. Voluntary Membership and Commitment to Christ
4. Reaching Out to the World
5. Belonging To Each Other
6. Taking the Teachings of Jesus Seriously
7. Helping Each Other

http://vaszary.com/basicbeliefs.htm

Again, I believe each of these 100%. Again, your arrogance will be your undoing.

That there may be one or two lesser teachings of traditional anabaptism that I don't subscribe to does not make me any less anabaptist than the fact that you have parts of traditional southern Baptist teaching that you don't cling to make you not a Southern Baptist.

2:44 PM

 
Blogger D.R. said...

Dan,

First, I am basing my opinion on our many discussion, during which you have shown yourself often to be either ignorant of the traditional position, ignorant of Church history regarding the issue, or in full rejection of those two without having dealt with them adequately (and being under persuasion of those who are either blind or deceived themselves). Look, you were the one who said you didn't understand my arguments about the Romans 1 passage and you simply ignored all of the Church and Roman cultural history that was presented. You tried to tell me how you didn't understand what I was talking about and how I was intentionally using too many words, etc., etc. But the reality is you never dealt with half of my arguments, but just continued to repeat your talking points over and over again (as if I did not address them). You have shown time after time that you have not grasped the full argument to many of our discussions. Just in this thread you don't deal with the facts presented concerning 1 Timothy 2, you merely throw out the "culture card" as if that adequately answers the charge that Paul used a historical and theological argument in making a statement about women teaching. You tell me Dan: Can you deal with this statement apart from shrimp and children or is that the depth of your understanding of hermeneutics, reason, and tradition? Were you anaBaptist brethren just not as culturally savvy as you to hold to the traditional views of women, homosexuality, Scripture, etc.?

And again you charge me with arrogance, when it is you who are rejecting the traditional positions on women, homosexuality, Christ's atonement, and Scriptural authority, as well as pit the Holy Spirit against the very Scripture He caused to be written, and God against His Holy Spirit's inspiration, all in the name of individual interpretation (as if in the 40 years since the sexual revolution we have grown so much that we can reject 2000 years of church history and tradition).

You know you talk about community, but the community of saints throughout the ages speaking on these issues is of no account to you. Yes, you can agree with a bunch of very open-ended and all-inclusive statements that even a 1st century Gnostic could agree with, but those only overarched the core of their theology, which included the absolute sovereignty of God over all things, the atonement of Christ for sins through His penal substitution, and the view that apart from one's knowledge of Christ and confession of the name of Jesus there is no salvation. And you undermine the traditional view of the family as man and wife when you accept that homosexuality is a valid expression of Christianity. Last time I checked the Church in Paul's letter to the Ephesians was symbolized in the traditional view of the husband as the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church. So in a homosexual marriage or relationship who would be the wife? Who is the husband? You have negated this great symbol of Christ and His bride without even understanding the language of Romans 1, without knowing Paul's argument regarding nature was an allusion to Plato's Symposium and without recognizing that even as far back as the 3rd century B.C. homosexuality was in pagan cultures spoken of in the same way as it is today - with marriage and love being core discussions among the pagans.

This is what you do Dan that is so frustrating. This is why I don't think you study hard and seek understanding, why I don't think you consider all of those men you read, and why I think you are either blind or greatly decieved. And it is why I have called you to repent of these views over and over again - pleading with you to reject this perversion of the faith and return to Christ under the authority of Scripture.

So, as I have tried before to do, I will again do. I ask, no, BEG you to repent and if you will not, then I am sorry, but I am not going to continue to strive and stuggle with you. I am done. I have prayed for your repentence, asked that your eyes be open, but I am certain now, that I can do no more to convince you. May God have mercy on you and through His kindness lead you to repentence.

4:48 PM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

For the last time, BDW, I apologize for helping this to keep going so far astray from the topic.

DR, you're right. I just thought I believed anabaptist teachings. I just thought I had spent hours and hours studying and praying over scriptures. But you are wiser than I - having obtained perfection, while I have not!

Pray for me, I'll take all the prayers I can get - especially from one who is incapable of being wrong on any point ("you think it is arrogant or incorrect of US to claim to know the truth"). And I'll pray for you, poor sinner that I am.

Again, Michael is doing an excellent job...I mean Michael is over at his site sadly deluded and talking about the gay agenda again. Please straighten him out, too.

In Daniel's name, Amen.

3:59 AM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Um... this discussion has gone sour, but I already wrote this response, so I suppose I may as well post it...

Progressives say (as Dan has): "We must humbly realize that it is God's Truth we seek, not the imposition of a few particular passages from the Bible that fit with our human-made religion."

Conservatives say (as I do): "we must humbly realize that it is God's Truth we seek, not the _deletion_ of ... particular passages from the Bible that _don't_ fit with our human-made religion."

Thing is, I _don't_ agree with the ITim verse, and most of my life is lived by ignoring it. However, I see no way to refute it, and still say the Bible is a book of Truth with a straight face. There must be a way, but I haven't found it.

So in the meantime, I'll default to a conservative postition. Must we have women deacons in order to bring about God's kingdom? No, the first church did ok without them. Must we have women deacons to satisfy the world? Yes.
So to whose standards are we really bowing?

7:24 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

As this is back on topic, I'd like to respond. The early church HAD deaconesses, a point that even Daniel seemed to admit ("there were women deacons. And I am all for women deacons.").

According to Romans 16:1, Paul says:
"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae"

That one place in the Bible seems to say only men could be deacons and here, at least, it appears women can be deacons supports the notion of taking into mind the context. We don't - nor should we - take every line in the Bible literally, we must think of context and recognize that some rules were time specific.

There's nothing in the Bible that suggests it's different with Paul's command (not God's but Paul's) to not allow women preachers.

I'm curious, RC, why does the point about Paul saying this is HIS - not God's ("I do not permit...") - rule not hold any water for you?

Here's a pretty good defense of women in ministry that goes indepth:

http://broadwayassembly.org/women.html

And it is a Pentacostal source, not a "liberal" one...

And finally, I'll offer the evidence of reality. I've sat at the feet of women preachers and behold, it was good. They preached the Word of God beyond all doubt.

In reality, there are women preachers. In my experience, they have been better preachers than men. That is, of course, objective, but it is a fact.

What do you do with the reality of women preachers who are preaching the Word of God and doing so quite well and being a blessing to those around? Do you say, "Well, the way I read the Bible, you can't be preachers and so that blessing and encouragement and prophesy is all to be ignored?"

You'll forgive us, I hope, if we choose to embrace that of God that we see quite plainly in our lives and ignore the interpretation of Bible of those who disagree with us?

10:11 AM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Dan says: "I'm curious, RC, why does the point about Paul saying this is HIS - not God's ("I do not permit...") - rule not hold any water for you?"

It does, but at first take it just smells like a hippie cop-out. Paul wasn't commended leadership over the church and had the Bible populated by his writings for nothing. 'Oh, it was only the judgement of the Apostle friggin Paul- we don't need to listen.'

Also note, whether you agree or not, that I've pointed out how it's pretty clear that Paul based his reasoning not on timing or culture, but on his take on the nature of people. Note again that if modern progressives were given a chance to sit at Paul's feet, they'd storm out in protest, egg his mud hut and slash his camel's hooves. Sexist bastard. :P

God trusted Paul, I think I can too. That doesn't mean that he was immune from mistakes... but he wouldn't be a bad model to follow. I think this is a mostly conservative thing- willingness to follow leadership even when some things seem odious. In the end, 'dorky follower' sounds more like a disciple than 'shrill whiner for individual rights.'

Looking up the verse, I see that Rom16:1 suggests that modern church leaders are making too big a deal out of ITim, regardless of how unequivocal the verse may be. Looking at the different translations and the strong's number, I don't know exactly what 'servant' or 'deaconess' means in this context, but it's clear enough. Pheobe played a role in the church that would not be approved of by modern conservative denominations. And Paul commended her, called her a sister, etc. Exactly how much approval of her rule is unclear, but the meaning is unmistakable. Paul acknowledged women deacons as part of the church. You got me, Dan.

7:05 PM

 
Anonymous Kathryn said...

In Genesis 1:26, we see that male and female were both given authority over creation, but not over one another. In Judges 4, Deborah had authority over men with God's blessing and approval. In the Gospels, the veil separating the women from the Holy of Holies was virtually destroyed, and Jesus sent women to teach men of His resurrection. In I Corinthians 11, Paul instructs women on their dress and deportment-when teaching men! Phoebe was a deacon ("diakonan"), and Junia was an Apostle. I Timothy 2 was about correcting a doctrine that was going about at that time that Eve was created first, and learning true doctrine before teaching was the emphasis. I know that Christians of honest intent disagree on this, but the world is lost and dying and going to hell while those who profess to love lost people are trying to prevent women from preaching the message of salvation. The devil knows that it is the "foolishness of preaching" that will ransack his kingdom to the glory of God. No wonder he wants to keep women silent. He is the real opponent, not the patriarchs. The world will never be evangelized until men and women stand side by side to proclaim the good news. The Klouda issue is tragic not only from a "gender-equality" perspective, but also because there is an issue of broken trust and integrity. Promises were made and not kept.

1:12 AM

 
Blogger Dan Trabue said...

"I think this is a mostly conservative thing-willingness to follow leadership even when some things seem odious."

Unfortunately, it's also an extremist thing. If the leadership you're following is wrong - or our interpretation of that leadership - then following an odious teaching would be, well, odious...

10:47 AM

 
Anonymous rc said...

Dan- "If the leadership you're following is wrong - or our interpretation of that leadership - then following an odious teaching would be, well, odious..."

It's a good thing, then, that we have the Bible as our guide. Paul has a rather decent track record, to put it lightly. I'd rather listen to him than some folks who say we -have- to have women leaders, because the world will get mad if we don't.

And again, we have the word 'interpretation.' Many times, I've mentioned that the ITim verse seems unambiguous, and based on non time- or culture-dependant reasons. Several times, the response has been a call for context, with no context given.

Rom16:1, however, is indeed important context.

kathryn responded with an even more important interpretation. I'm surprsed that it took this long. If I ever have this discussion again, I would lead off with Rom16:1, and follow with that bit at the beginning of kathryn's post.

kathryn's point is the first actual interpretation of ITim that seems to make sense.
Imagine:
A faction near the church is saying that women were created first, are sinless or something, and are saved by childbirth (I guess because they create life). Paul's objective is to integrate people into the church. And we all know that Paul isn't some sissy progressive who just smiles and nods when someone spouts heresy in the church. So in order to get the newcomers into the church, he needs to get them to stop causing dissention and learn right doctrine.

From this perspective, ITim reads differently. Let's assume that the women in church are mostly uneducated, mostly believe in the heresies I mentioned above, and some are caused faction by getting uppity and dissenting in the church.

"11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." Still pretty harsh and pretty general. But in light of two thousand years of change, I'd be willing to bet that what Paul would permit would change. In fact, a small cultural or circumstance change might be all it takes. (but that still is no reason to get upset at someone who thinks the verse says what it says).

Anyway, the changes in v13-15 are more vital- because they turn a seemingly universal reason into a very specific response. Too bad we don't have the letter that Paul was resonding to...

"13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." Instead of reasons for the verses he said just earlier, imagine if these are instead corrections to the heresy some women were speaking. In other words, it's not 'you can't teach because of these truths,' it's 'you can't teach because you believe something untrue.' This leaves open the possibility that once everyone learns proper doctrine and is submitted to the church, they can teach and lead with the rest.

"15But women[a] will be saved[b] through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety." This reads like a 'yes,but.' As in, if some believed that women are saved or restored through childbiorth, that heresy may indeed be true in part, but it's conditional upon living in faith, love... stuff Paul wants them to focus on rather than wierd heresies.

I've heard a lot of scornful and self-righteous progressives complain about ignorant and narrow-minded conservatives in my time (I don't think anyone here is like that), but this is the FIRST time I have heard this explanation.

What does that say about the tenor of this debate?

9:15 AM

 

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