Showing posts with label Women's Role. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women's Role. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Money Well Spent

Men and women are different in so many ways I’m not sure they’ve all been quantified.

Of course, these differences exist on a spectrum. There are logical women and emotional men and, in between, every permutation and combination of character qualities, personality quirks, family patterns unconsciously assimilated, and cultural affectations. Nevertheless, no matter how you slice it, men polarize at one end of the spectrum and women at the other. Those of both sexes who hew closer to the middle than the extremes, often through no fault of their own, may find life more difficult in certain respects.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Anonymous Asks (249)

“What does the Bible say about women pastors?”

Depending on what the person asking means by the word “pastors”, today’s question may point us toward two different potential errors in the interpretation of scripture.

Pastoring in Three Senses

First, we may think of pastoring, or shepherding, in at least three different senses: (1) in the modern sense, as a career in which one becomes the primary source of Bible teaching and leadership for a local church; (2) in the formal biblical sense, as one of a number of men feeding and guiding the people of God in- and outside of church meetings; (3) in an informal biblical sense, as anyone feeding and guiding believers outside of church meetings.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (26) says, “A straw man argument is a logical fallacy in which an arguer distorts an opposing point of view and misrepresents it … creating the impression of refuting an argument rather than addressing or refuting it.” That’s as good a definition as any, and will do for our purposes.

Rick Warren is a Southern Baptist pastor and author who has become one of the most influential evangelicals of our day. He is also very well acquainted with the straw man argument, though he probably doesn’t put that on his resume.

At the age of 69, after a lifetime teaching the Bible, Rick Warren has finally decided the Lord always intended women to teach in church. This is absolutely not, Warren says, based on culture or anecdotes or outside pressure, but based on the Bible.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Invincible Girls

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

You’ve seen the meme going around. Or maybe you haven’t. It reads like this:

“I took my girlfriend to see it. She knew nothing about Wonder Woman. In the opening training scene she leaned over and whispered, ‘Those are all women?’ After the movie, she had to take a moment in the car. She said, ‘So that’s what representation feels like. I had no idea that kind of role model was missing from my life.’ Then we cried. Thank you, Wonder Woman.”

Tom: Anything about that sweet story make you the slightest bit suspicious it isn’t 100% non-fiction, IC? (Hint: the claim, “Then we cried” is strongly suggestive.)

Immanuel Can: This is a guy we’re talking about, right? I just want to check, because it’s by no means apparent to me.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Anonymous Asks (229)

“Is it wrong for a Christian husband and wife to have separate bank accounts?”

Modern banking practices such as accepting deposits and transferring funds didn’t emerge until the late sixteenth century. As such, we can hardly expect the Bible to address the subject of bank accounts.

As usual with such questions, this one comes down to motivation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (22)

One of my seven “sniff tests” for heresy is that an author strings together impressive lists of verses unquoted and out of context, but a closer look shows most or all have nothing to do with the points they are alleged to support. Paul Ellis’s The Silent Queen serves as a great example of this technique, and I promised to do a second post examining his “evidence” that the Christians of the New Testament permitted women to participate in church meetings in exactly the same ways men did, and that Paul taught this as normative.

That’s the context here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Sniff Test

A heresy in the popular sense is a belief or theory at odds with established beliefs or customs. This is the way I will use the word throughout this post, and it’s not far off the way the word is employed by the writers of the New Testament.

Heresies vary in magnitude, detectability and potential consequences. Some heresies are obvious, and therefore easily avoided; others come couched in weasel words and obscured by rhetorical sleight-of-hand. Some heresies are outright damnable; others merit commendation or disapproval.

Few heresies pass my sniff test.

The religious world is full of theories. The sniff test is a set of criteria by which I make my own quick-’n’-dirty assessments of whether to buy into the theory behind any sermon, book, video or random expression of theological opinion. Other believers have their own sniff tests. A friend recently emailed me a link to a video with the tag line “Can you smell the brimstone?” Indeed, I could; the video provoked yesterday’s post.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Two Can Play That Game

Pearls of wisdom from Mary Kassian:

“A husband does not have the right to demand or extract submission from his wife. Submission is HER choice — her responsibility … it is NOT his right!! Not ever. She is to ‘submit herself’ — deciding when and how to submit is her call. In a Christian marriage, the focus is never on rights, but on personal responsibility. It’s his responsibility to be affectionate. It’s her responsibility to be agreeable. The husband’s responsibility is to sacrificially love as Christ loved the Church — not to make his wife submit.”

So it is “HER choice — her responsibility … deciding when and how to submit is her call”. So declares Mary Kassian.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Reasons to be Fearful

“And you are [Sarah’s] children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”

The world is a scary place. It was scary when Peter wrote these words, and it’s scary today. Maybe it’s scariest for women, though I can’t say for sure: there are plenty of places in scripture where men are told not to be fearful, and many exhortations not to let our fears control us which we may reasonably assume are intended to apply to both sexes.

In fact, some of the most powerful men in the Bible were scared.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Made for More of What?

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: Immanuel Can is sending me bad things again. And I’m not entirely sure how to respond. This time it’s Moody Publishers’ “Post Sunday”, in which Moody extols one of its new releases. This one is a Hannah Anderson special in which the author holds forth on the “lameness” of the church. Okay, I can’t stop there: the church is lame (according to Hannah) because she has crippled herself. In the words of Ms Anderson, we have failed to equip “Bible women” because we “don’t have a vision for how God could use them for His glory.”

Help me out here: what are “Bible women”?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Women in the Old Testament

Why were the lives of Old Testament women so wildly different from those of women today?

If you have never studied history in any serious depth, you might be forgiven for thinking that some of things that went on ancient Israelite households were absolutely barbaric, that wives and daughters were horribly oppressed, lacked agency, were regarded as mere chattel, and lived lives of virtual slavery.

Careful attention to the text of the Old Testament shows this was rarely the case.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The Help

Adam had a job to do.

Further, he had his job before Eve was in the world, and before the need for her was ever established. The Genesis account reads, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” While God undoubtedly had other things in mind when he created man, the very first task to which he set his new creation was the working and keeping of a garden.

Adam’s sole recorded bit of moral direction from God in the unfallen world also preceded Eve’s arrival.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Not With A Ten-Foot Pole

You can tell a fair bit about where modern evangelical culture is headed by the sorts of questions it asks and answers, and perhaps even more about it from those it doesn’t.

There are verses of scripture with which nearly everyone engages. Google-search a question related to one of these and you come up with pages and pages of links to discussions of the subject; more than anyone would ever have time to read. For example, the question “What is the sin unto death?” returns hundreds of possible answers based on what must be thousands of hours of Bible study.

Which is great if you’re concerned you might not yet have committed it and wish to avoid doing so.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Who’s Got the Microphone?

One natural follow-up question from Saturday’s post on the subject of roles is this: “Did women ever prophesy in New Testament church meetings?”

I ask it largely out of curiosity: even a crystal-clear scriptural example of a prophetess addressing both men and women in a congregation (assuming we could find one, and we can’t) would not really help us toward working out our own roles in a day in which we are no longer able to prophesy in the specific sense in which Paul uses the word.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mind the Ditches

The folks at the assemblyHUB website have embarked on an initiative to reexamine the biblical roles of men and women in the church, the world and the home (WAMS 2018). To date, Bernadette Veenstra (twice), Crawford Paul and others have weighed in on issues like complementary gender roles, women usurping authority and women’s silence in the churches.

For reasons I will get to shortly, I find myself less than delighted.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

One Bad Idea

Left uncontested, one bad idea can do astonishing damage.

When humanity fell, taking all of creation with it, the cause was a woman who defied the revealed will of God … and a man too weak to either call her on it or to take responsibility for his own sin.

A bad idea went uncontested. Today, generation after generation pays through the nose.

Again: assuming the Muslims are correct and that Ishmael is legitimately an ancestor of Muhammad, virtually every rocket launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip since 2001 can be attributed to a woman who proposed another really bad idea … and a man too weak to call her on it.

Abraham and Sarah, the Golan Heights sends its thanks.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I Liked You Better Before You Apologized

Here’s Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton last Wednesday, responding to a question from a female reporter about the “physicality” of one of his wide-receivers as he runs downfield:

“It’s funny to hear a female talk about ‘routes.’ It’s funny.”


Cut to the same Cam Newton last Thursday, after social media erupted over his “sexism” and at least one of his corporate sponsors went off in search of greener pastures:

“I sincerely apologize … I’m a father to two beautiful daughters and at their age I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be.”

You know, I kinda liked Cam better before he apologized.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

God on the Hot Seat

Cheryl Schatz on the subject of calling God to account:

“So the question we need to ask is, should we call God to account for gifting women in areas that men say God has ‘disallowed’ or ‘disqualified’ women from using their gifts for the benefit of all?”

Now we all trust Cheryl’s answer is going to be no, right? I mean, the idea of calling God to account for anything at all is actually pretty funny, and it’s especially odd to see a professing Christian use the phrase. After all, those who make the public claim that it is God who created and God who sustains them ought to be the first to recognize our relative place in the universe.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Invincible Girls

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, May 01, 2017

The Commentariat Speaks (10)

Ministers ... er ... ministering.
From the department of “If I live long enough, absolutely everything will get covered here at least once”, here is commenter Nate on the subject of women in church leadership:

“actually we [Methodists] aren’t nearly as hung up on this as you guys are. The point is ... regardless of how you can twist scripture ... women factually were leaders in the apostolic church. Yes ... including pheobe [sic] and more importantly lydia.

Not to mention Timothy’s own grandmother who paul credits.”

No scripture twisting required, but perhaps a little actual scripture reading would help.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Day Without Me

If you missed “A Day Without a Woman” last week, don’t feel bad: I didn’t notice it either until I read about it online. Women were encouraged to take the day off and not to spend money to show their economic strength and impact on American society. Most did not.

Perhaps our U.S. readers will tell us if they felt the impact of some sort of message being sent.

Cassady Findlay, spokeswoman for the protest, says, “We provide all this value and keep the system going, and receive unequal benefits from it.”

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Antiquated Ways of Thinking

I might fall over laughing if it weren’t so sad.

If feminists want to minimize their own joy in life, that’s one thing. God bless ’em and have at it. But it’s another thing entirely when they set out to trash the culture so comprehensively that nobody else enjoys their lives either.

If you are driving into Winston-Salem from Kernersville, about 85 miles northeast of Charlotte, N.C., expect to encounter a billboard that reads, “Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.

Better drive fast though: last Sunday at 11:00 a.m., the owner of a Winston-Salem women’s boutique called Kleur organized a demonstration against the billboard’s message and its “antiquated way of thinking”.

If that’s their metric, I’m an antique and proud of it.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Blind Spot

What happens when your church is riddled with false teaching and nobody in charge knows it?

If that seems an unlikely scenario, don’t laugh. It can absolutely happen.

It’s next-to-impossible to miss when a speaker goes off the rails doctrinally from the pulpit at 11:30 on a Sunday morning. Whether it’s a pastor, a local Bible teacher or visiting preacher, a public pronouncement that is wildly at odds with a church’s statement of faith will almost always generate serious discussion and immediate blowback. If there’s any question as to what was actually said, your soundman has probably got digital backup or even video. One way or another, error that’s visible and audible to all usually gets addressed.

But modern churches have a huge doctrinal blind spot.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

People Whom One Cannot Instruct

Perhaps if we dropped this on their heads ...
Wayne Grudem devoted years of his life to understanding and expositing a single word in a single verse.

Why, you may ask? Good question.

In an article entitled “Personal Reflections on the History of CBMW and the State of the Gender Debate”, Grudem asks himself the same thing: “Why did I spend so much time on this?”

What he discovered is that nobody’s listening. At least, nobody’s listening that wasn’t listening already.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Priests and Priesthood

If all believers are really priests, why is it that some churches still don’t allow women to exercise the priestly role of teaching the Bible publicly?

Martin Luther famously referred to a general priesthood in his 1520 tract To the Christian Nobility of the German NationLuther did not actually coin the phrase “priesthood of all believers”, and the idea itself obviously did not originate with Luther but rather with the writers of the New Testament. Still, the fact remains that the doctrine we know by that name has been a significant feature of Protestantism for almost 500 years.

This being the case, you’d figure any questions about the status of women in a universal priesthood must have been asked and answered hundreds of times.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

One Corporate Setting

What is the “whole church” anyway?

Crawford Paul says, “Home studies, conversation studies, group prayer times etc. do not fall under that condition [the instructions of 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2 about church order in which women are silent and men teach and lead, long as the whole church is not expected to attend or be gathered in one corporate setting. In these cases, men and women are free to participate in those activities.”

But what scriptural authority does Crawford have for this freedom of audible participation for both sexes in situations in which the “whole church” is not expected to be present but any combination of its members may be? If he has any, he does not cite it.

This may be because such authority does not exist.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

No Getting Around That

Rachel Held Evans vs. John Piper? Who could resist weighing in? Not me.

Some background: My favorite popular Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans has been sharing with her readers how well ditching “strict gender roles promoted by conservative evangelical culture” in favor of “a relationship characterized by mutuality and flexibility” is working for her and her husband Dan as they welcome their new baby into the world.

Yes, Dan is helping Rachel out by changing diapers, doing laundry, rocking the baby and making pot after pot of coffee.

Bravo, Dan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Inbox: Things Jesus Did for Women

Martin van Creveld is an Israeli military historian and theorist who, oddly enough, has written perhaps the best and most all-encompassing book I’ve ever found on the subject of equality. Equality: The Impossible Quest is not a theological book and van Creveld is not, to my knowledge, a Christian, but his diligent retracing of the historical development of the equality myth as it relates to all aspects of human interaction is well worth the few hours it takes to digest.

If equality was the original order of mankind (and it wasn’t, as demonstrated in an earlier post on this subject), something has gone very, very wrong.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Inbox: Taking the Curse Away from Women

A commenter who uses the name Unknown takes issue with this two-year old post on the subject of the equality of the sexes in the New Creation.

This is a blog about growing in the Christian faith. IC reminded me last week that since December 2013, the CU staff has published well over 700 posts on various subjects or passages. Since there is no statute of limitations on comments here, we often have reactions submitted to older posts. One caution about that: there is no guarantee that something I wrote two years ago was expressed precisely the way I would express it today. While my convictions about the fundamental doctrines of scripture have remained consistent over the years, study and discussion with fellow believers often lead me to work through the occasional untested assumption and fine-tune my thoughts. When that happens, I’ll usually post something new about the subject or passage to clarify my current thinking.

That’s as it should be, I hope. The day we stop growing in understanding is a sad day indeed.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Two Can Play That Game

 The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Inbox: The Original Order Was Equality

One of the great joys of blogging is receiving feedback from our readers. I mean that sincerely.

We love comments: wildly enthusiastic comments, bitterly hostile comments or comments anywhere on the continuum between them. The readers I enjoy engaging with most make an effort to moderate my views or qualify my interpretations with other scriptures. Right or wrong, that’s always welcome. If something I’ve written strikes you as goofy, ill-considered or off base, chances are there are ten other people (at least) out there reading the same post and thinking exactly the same thing.

An unknown commenter is looking to modify my views on equality, so let’s revisit the subject.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Rehabilitating the Proverbs 31 Wife

Poor, much-maligned wife of the last chapter of Proverbs! Google her and see. After you get through the usual commentary citations, much of what you find is Christians complaining:
Hmm, that last one may have a grain of truth to it ...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Inbox: Cultural Shenanigans

The role of women in the church is one of those topics that I’ve spent little time examining in this forum for various personal reasons.

But you may remember that despite my general enthusiasm expressed a few weeks back for Frank Viola’s “reimagination” of the church in all its various aspects, I found myself unable to get on board with all his views in the area of church authority and decision-making, and also expressed concerns about what I suspected might be Viola’s view of the role of women in the church (though in the pages of Reimagining Church, he never quite spells it out).

Other than that, I love much of what he has to say.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Does Christianity Discriminate Against Women? [Part 3]

In recent years the accusation that the Bible is anti-female has arisen more and more frequently. The first post in this series dealt with the objection that scripture is sexist because it uses the masculine gender to refer to God.

The second dealt with the objection that church order as taught in the New Testament discriminates against women.

In this post, I’d like to examine a third:

Objection #3 — Doesn’t the Old Testament Endorse the Victimization of Women?

Numerous incidents in which women were potential or actual victims of sexual abuse, such as Lot’s offering his daughters to the Sodomites and the rapes of Dinah and Tamar, are recorded in Scripture without being concluded by an act of divine judgment or by any moral commentary. Some people take this to mean that the God of the Bible does not consider the victimization of women to be a crime, and that the Bible endorses such treatment of women.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Does Christianity Discriminate Against Women? [Part 2]

In recent years the accusation that the Bible is anti-female has arisen more and more frequently. The first post in this series dealt with the objection that scripture is sexist because it uses the masculine gender to refer to God. The last post in this series deals with the objection that the Old Testament endorses the victimization of women.

In this post, I’d like to examine the objection that church order as taught in the New Testament discriminates against women.

Objection #2 — The Command for Women to be Silent in the Churches is Discriminatory

But if God really understands and values women just as much as men, why are men in the position of spiritual power? Why are women asked to keep silent in the churches, while men have the privilege of public ministry?

Doesn’t that prove that the Bible portrays women as inferior beings?

Friday, March 07, 2014

Does Christianity Discriminate Against Women? [Part 1]

In recent years the accusation that the Bible is anti-female has arisen more and more frequently. Because the Scripture uses the masculine gender to refer to God, it is labelled sexist. Because the Bible teaches that although men and women are equal in God’s sight they have different roles in His service, it is called discriminatory. Because the Old Testament relates how certain women were victimized, it is accused of endorsing the abuse of women.

Are these charges justified?

Whole books have been written about this subject, so it is impossible to give a complete answer here. However, we can examine the three main objections listed above and see if they are truly valid.

Objection #1 — The Bible Describes God in Masculine Terms

Some people assume that the use of a masculine pronoun is meant to imply that men are closer to God or more like God than women are. There is no Scriptural support for such a view, however, and indeed much Scripture to contradict it. Right from the very beginning, the Bible establishes that both men and women are made in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, male and female he created them”.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Boy in Black Leather

“I was crazy for Jackie
I was almost ready to say
when a boy in black leather
came and took Jackie away”
— The Waterboys
Those of you who are a few years younger than I am, and most, if not all, of the men, can probably relate to that one. I don’t mean that you necessarily know the song, but you’ve almost certainly had the experience.

I had it as a teenager, and oddly enough the girl’s name actually was Jackie, though I can’t remember if the boy who took her away wore black leather or not. Those were the punk rock years, so it’s not improbable.

And, if I am completely truthful, there was more than one “Jackie” over the years, and more than one “boy in black leather”.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Inbox: Marital Breakdown

In response to this post Tertius and Susan T. Foh seem to be in agreement. Susan’s position on Genesis 3:16 was advanced by Ted Hildebrandt in the Westminster Theological Journal. Tertius says:
I’m with Ted’s explanation; at the least there seems to be nothing in the immediate context to forbid it. Secondly, 1 Cor. 14:34-37 reinforce it, as does 1 Tim. 2:12. Thirdly, having spent some 50 or more years marriage counselling I have observed that much marital breakdown occurs when either a man fails to fulfil his role as a protector and provider or a woman competes with his leadership. She may do this by asserting her ‘rights’ or manipulating her husband into doing what she wants.
To which I can only add three more passages in the New Testament that also reinforce this interpretation, which are the subject of this coming Monday’s Bible Study 06.