Carolyn Custis James

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Carolyn Custis James is right...

The Carolyn Custis James who's made a name for herself dissing housewives and puffing theologettes has moved on to opposing spiritual abuse. In a post titled, "The Enablers of Spiritual Abuse... or when silence isn't golden," Ms. Custis James writes:

In July, when I was in the airport and spotted an abandoned backpack, I didn’t assume it was someone else’s responsibility. I knew the drill. “If you see something, say something.” So I did.

One of the many disturbing aspects of spiritual abuse and a prime reason that it thrives unchecked in so many churches and in highly respected Christian institutions and ministries is because instead of “saying something” when signs of abuse surface, we take the path of least resistance.

“If you see or hear something, mind your own business!”

Ms. Custis James is exactly right. The most wicked spiritual abuse suffered by sheep is pastors and elders who see sin and recognize error, yet betray their calling by saying nothing to oppose it. Take feminism, for instance...

From our Water-Finds-Its-Level Department...

Well-known feminist Carolyn Custis James will be in Fort Collins preaching to the women and men of Campus Crusade for Christ International this coming week. The occasion is Cru's National Staff Conference and this is one more indication of the necessity of Christians doing the hard work of removing Cru from their church and individual mission giving.

Egalitarian feminism is another Gospel. Let Ms. magazine and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and nonChristians for Biblical Equality and the National Organization of Women support Custis James, her husband Frank, and Cru. It's wrong for believers to use the tithes and offerings of the People of God to support those who turn the Scripture on its head, making a big show of their respect for God and His Word while promoting rebellion against them. (TB)

"This woman, at least, will be saved by childbearing..."

(Tim, w/thanks to Shelly) It disgusts me to have to direct Baylyblog readers to Roman Catholic sites as often as I do, but there's no helping it. Reformed men and women are so busy sinning so grace may abound that there's almost no comparable teaching in the Reformed world. And certainly not in the PCA--I defy you to show me one single article this spectacularly beautiful and sanctifying for women published anywhere under the auspices of the PCA. In fact, on any site having any affiliation to the PCA. Or rather, any site affiliated with any of the chest-thumping Reformed men: Together for the Gospel. Acts 29. Desiring God...

Brothers, if you want to do a more Biblical job of loving your wife, read this. Sisters, whether married or single, if you're willing to trade in your iPhone and laptop for the salvation 1Timothy 2:15 promises woman, read this.

There's nothing more foundational to godliness in Christ Jesus than your femininity.

A voice for the voiceless...

(Tim) Think about this. Ms. Carolyn Custis James is married to Frank James who for years served as president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. With this entree, Carolyn was uniquely positioned to introduce feminism into the world of Biblical (which is to say Reformed) faith. And this she has done and is doing.

Check out her blog and you'll see how sotto voce she is in her rebellion. She's only helping women to "ask why." She's only trying to get one half of the church to recognize there's another neglected half sitting quietly, waiting to be allowed "to serve." She's overwhelmed by global implications and suffering–-such as South Africa's apartheid and Rwanda's genocide.

She's feted by Westminster in Philadelphia, Park Cities in Dallas, her editor at Zondervan, and Campus Crusade everywhere. If you doubt it, just ask her; she'll tell you herself...

Theologian and international speaker, Carolyn Custis James, helps John Piper explain complementarianism to Religious Newswriters...

(Tim, w/thanks to Jesse) I never read which books are making which Christians how much money, nowadays. Growing up in the epicenter of Wheaton's giggling excitement over academic and publishing fashions, it's been almost twenty years since I made the commitment to stop subscribing to Christianity Today and Leadership, and to keep away from any and all news sources reporting on the latest product being offered by the Temple's moneychangers.

But I get links. Boy do I get links. And every now and then, against my better judgment, I take a peek. Shouldn't, but do. So here's a video of a self-promotional spiel given by Ms. Custis James to the Religious Newswriters Association. They say the topic was "The New Calvinists," but after the first half, Ms. Custis James' talk inevitably turns back to the one string she perpetually plucks to the exclusion of her harp's other ten thousand strings...

A word to church planters about the danger of adultery...

(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla who gave me a heads-up and has done several good posts on the subject) Here's the setup. Mrs. Frank James (who prefers to be known as Carolyn Custis James), was teaching a group of pastors how better to utilize women in positions of authority when one pastor asked her, "If we work with women, won't we be tempted?"

Mrs. James wasn't pleased with the question or what followed. She writes:

What followed (the question was) a laundry list of precautions to safeguard oneself

from moral hazards when working or dealing with women. Women find this kind of thinking offensive, and rightly so.

This low view of women conflicts with the Bible's high redemptive view

of us.

So now, a word for church planters and new pastors. When I took my first call, Dad forwarded an article about a youth pastor who had given a young woman a ride home after youth group. Later, he was sued by the young woman's parents for some sort of sexually predatory behavior--which he denied. At the top of the article, Dad had scrawled, "This is a warning. Never give a woman a ride in your car, alone. Never counsel a woman, alone. Have a woman present or keep your door open and stay within sight of your secretary."

When we built our church-house a couple years ago, we put lights (windows) in every door as protection for everyone, everywhere...

Pastors' wives: honor only to whom honor is due...

A widow is to be put on the list only if she is not less than sixty years old, having been the wife of one man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work. (1 Timothy 5:9, 10)

(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) In her new book, Marriage, Mitres, and Being Myself, First Lady of Canterbury, Mrs. Rowan (Jane) Williams, speaks of the hardships of being married to a bishop. In a news piece announcing the book, the Telegraph quotes Mrs.Williams in ways that remind me a great deal of the wife of the new provost of David's and my alma mater, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:

(Mrs.) Williams said clergy and their families have to endure "poor

boundaries" between their public and private lives, "laughable"

job descriptions and "few opportunities to congratulate oneself on a

job well done". She claimed the spouses of church leaders are expected to entertain guests as

well as raising children and following their own careers, and admitted

visitors to Lambeth Palace are sometimes "shocked" at how untidy

it is.

Mrs Williams a mother-of-two and theologian as well as the wife of Dr

Rowan Williams... "Housework has never been very high on my list of priorities," Mrs

Williams writes...

"The Church can be a thankless employer, with poor boundaries between

private and public space, vague practices about holidays and days off,

laughable job descriptions and few opportunities to congratulate oneself on

a job well done and completed."

Mrs Williams, 51, said many bishops' spouses feel "bitter resentment"

and "positively weighed" down by the expectations placed on them.

How David and I have been blessed by the wives God gave us! But also, by the wives of our fellow pastors and elders! Thank you Heavenly Father.

When Sydney Anglican, Phil Jensen, and his wife, Helen, were visiting with us some years ago, one of our conversations was about choosing staff members...

Spies in the land...

(Tim) Is there a larger point that sits above this week's posts; a larger lesson to be learned from the vulnerabilities we've seen in the PCA's Christian Education & Publications, Women in the Church, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Westminster Theological Seminary, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Covenant College and Seminary, and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City? What's to be learned from the sort of leadership we've seen demonstrated this week by the men called to guard these institutions and churches?

Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and said to them, “You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land.” (Genesis 42:9)

We have allowed spies into our midst and they are scheming how to capture the undefended parts of the land given us by our Heavenly Father.

Trustees, presidents, parents, and alumni of confessionally reformed colleges and seminaries (and, of course, leaders of denominational agencies and church elders) are going to have to decide which side they're on.

WIC/CE&P, Covenant, Westminster, Tenth, and ACE preacher and speaker holds membership in feminist organization...

NOTE FROM TIM: I've just taken the liberty of changing a couple sentences and adding some quotes to clarify this piece. So if you already read this post in its first day on the blog, please read it again. Having two writers contributing to this piece allowed a couple things through we'd normally have caught. They've now been corrected.

Westminsterseminary(David and Tim, w/thanks to Dave) Search for "Langberg" on the Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) web site and fifty-seven links are returned offering products produced by Westminster Theological Seminary adjunct professor Diane Langberg. (Here and here are sample pages.)


Check out CBE's  directory for a recommended counselor in Pennsylvania and you will find Calvary Presbyterian Church (PCA) member Diane Langberg.

Several years ago, controversy erupted within the Presbyterian Church in America over whether or not a certain woman actually preached at Covenant Theological Seminary. The controversy came to a head at the 29th General Assembly when Covenant's president, Dr. Bryan Chapell, explained the chapel address had mostly not been preaching although some parts strayed into "sermonic (and) some applicatory material." Bryan Chapell explained to the Assembly:

That Diane Langberg had been told ahead of time what the standards were for her speaking during the chapel time;

That after she spoke at Covenant Seminary, Diane Langberg received a letter reminding her of the standards, and expressing concern that those standards had not been followed; and

That the administration of Covenant Seminary met with students to explain the situation and to assure the seminary community that what had happened was not according to the standards they were committed to upholding.

CovenanttheolsemNote that the chapel message at the root of the controversy was given by Dr. Diane Langberg. Yet, despite her being at the center of this controversy...

Wiccep Two years ago, the Christian education arm of the Presbyterian Church in America, Christian Education and Publications (CE&P), held its 2006 International Women in the Church Conference in Atlanta. The three women employed to teach the 4,000 assembled women of the PCA? Joni Eareckson Tada, Paige Benton Brown, and Dr. Diane Langberg.

Wicleadership Again, at Women in the Church's (WIC) 2007 Leadership Training Conference Dr. Diane Langberg was a plenary speaker.

Tenth_2 Diane Langberg was principal speaker at Tenth Presbyterian (PCA) Church's 2008 TenthWomen Conference.

And this same Diane Langberg is featured speaker at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals' Princeton Regional Conference on Reformed Theology--together with Al Mohler and Don Carson.

Alliance sponsors conference where Dr. Diane Langberg preaches with Don and Al...

(Tim, w/thanks to David)
What's wrong with this picture?

Look more closely.

In a month and a half, Dr. Diane Langberg will be preaching at the Princeton Regional Conference on Reformed Theology co-sponsored by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and she'll be sharing the
conference pulpit with Don and Al. This ought not to be, right? Who governs this national parachurch

Among others, Bob, Lig, Al, John, C. J., Alistair, Mark, Phil, R. C.,
and Gene-- you know, men we all know as stalwarts in the battle for orthodoxy. So why are they approving and publicizing on their web site a
conference where a woman will preach to men? A conference on "reformed theology," mind you.

"Well, Tim; where have you been all these years? This is old hat. Women
have been plenary preachers at R. C.'s Ligonier conferences for years,
now. Dot your i's and cross your t's, dude. Clean up your precision.
Get a focus. When the Apostle Paul forbids women to "teach" men, he's
only speaking of the Church. Neither the Ligonier conferences nor any
number of other forums--say for instance, a seminary chapel
service--are the church. They're something else. Chill out, brother...

Not your mother's DTS...

"The fact that the women were there during the most significant events in the life of Jesus meant that the apostles, the male apostles could not write the Gospels without collaborating with the women." -Ms. Carolyn Custis James in Dallas Theological Seminary chapel on March 28, 2008

(Tim, w/thanks to John) During a CBMW council meeting about ten years ago, I listened to one of the high priests of evangelical exegetical scholarship rebuke the council for our work opposing gender-neutered Bible translations. Wayne Grudem had been excited at the possibility that an invitation to sit in on the council meeting might be enough of an enticement to get this scholar to allow CBMW to use his name on the council or as a member of the Board of Reference, but instead of being awed by the company he'd been given entree to, he took the opportunity to poke us in the nose...

A Maundy Thursday tribute to Rita Cuffey, mother in Israel...

There's much talk today about women needing recognition and, wanting to do something about it, it seemed a good day of the year--Maundy Thursday, when we celebrate our Lord's command that we follow his pattern in serving one another--to honor the woman who, more than
anyone other than my own family members, revealed to me the glory of
womanhood, femininity, and the humble service of motherhood. Would you please take the time to listen to this sermon preached at Mrs. James (Rita) Cuffey's funeral?

For eleven years Rita Cuffey was, other than my wife, my closest friend and wisest counselor. We met weekly and what a help those meetings were. Each time as she left, Rita would ask me what she could pray for me for? And since one of my most frequent prayer requests was that I would be faithful in my private devotional life, when she arrived one week, right out of the gate she asked if I'd had devotions, yet? One weeks the answer was "no," she'd cheerfully announce, "Well, I'll wait. You go ahead and have devotions and then we'll talk." I did while she patiently waited...

A vibrant, new, affirming, eloquent, and passionate voice...

(Tim) Troubled by a February 1 piece published by Carolyn Custis James in one of Christianity Today Inc.'s forums, a reader writes:

(In this article, Ms. Custis James) speaks of women finding their "voice" in the church, comparing us to Hillary Clinton and quoting statements such as: "It meant Boaz, through Ruth's leadership, discovered a whole new ever-expanding realm of obedience to God." This causes me concern, as I am not sure where such statements come from.

Titled "When a Woman Finds Her Voice," Ms. Custis James' article is 672 words. Her bio is 100 words. Think about it: One hundred words to tell the world who you are. Her bio's one eighth of her article. I'm assuming readers know evangelical stars write their own ad copy, so picture Ms. Custis James deciding to say this about herself, publicly:

Carolyn Custis James a vibrant new voice with a biblical and
affirming message for women. Her vision is eloquently and passionately
articulated in her books...

Is there even one reader who would write this about himself, sending in ad copy that puffed his own words as "vibrant" or "eloquent?"

Warrior Custis James' bully pulpit...

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

(Tim) Recently, our dear friend Kamilla passed on this link, commenting: "The website opens up with the picture of a woman and the caption, 'I am an Ezer'.  The caption loads piece by piece and the first thing you see is simply, 'I am' with 'an Ezer' loading a fraction slower." Hating blasphemy, we can rejoice that "I am" doesn't stay on the screen forever.

Despite the fact that Warrior Custis James chose a pretty woman for her first screen and does so regularly, how odd that a ministry of women strikes this man as utterly revolting. Utterly.


Well, notice the complete absence of femininity. Absolutely nothing about the site or Warrior Custis James' ministry would call to mind the biblical exhortation for men to live with women in an understanding way as "the weaker sex."

"The weaker sex?" Warrior Carolyn Custis James responds, "I am woman, hear me roar; in numbers too big to ignore!" and assembles her troops for the assault...

Reformed Seminary shills for Frank James' wife...

  • shill: a beguiler who leads someone into danger; an associate of a person selling goods or
    services who pretends no association to the seller and assumes the air
    of an enthusiastic customer; a person employed by the casino to begin a game, or to fill empty seats at a table.

(Tim, w/thanks to Jeff and Andrew) Several readers called my attention to the just-released E-newsletter of Reformed Theological Seminary which hypes the latest book of their president's wife, Carolyn Custis James, as follows:

Traditionally, the Book of Ruth is viewed as a beautiful love story between Ruth and Boaz. But if you dig deeper, you will discover startling revelations, including:
  - God makes much of broken lives
  - God calls men and women to serve Him together
  - God counts on His daughters to build His kingdom
Click here to order now.

According to James, simpletons think "traditionally" while "warriors" dig deep and find hidden treasures that just happen to conform perfectly to their own feminist ideology. You know, stuff like "God calls men and women to serve Him together."

Tip your hat to the new constitution.

Feminist influences in the Presbyterian Church in America...

The pastor of University Presbyterian Church (UPC) in Orlando Florida, Mark Bates, has been invited to candidate for the pastoral position at Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Yesterday he announced his departure from UPC. Not knowing Pastor Bates myself, I downloaded a sermon, read some web stuff including his blog, Certain Hope, and checked out UPC’s web site.

Pastor Bates is cut from the Pastor Tim Keller stripe, particularly in the matter of the nature and meaning of sexuality which today is the best predictor of how a man will stand in the gaps where Satan is focusing his attack on God’s Word. His Board of Elders at UPC adopted the paper titled “Women and Ministry” written by the Rev. Dr. Tim Keller and his wife, Kathy, as their own position statement on the matter. UPC’s elders make one differentiation, though, in the preface to the Kellers’ paper they’ve placed on their UPC web site :

(T)he Session adopted (Tim and Kathy Keller’s) paper as its position on the role of women in ministry, with the following exception:  The paper says that women may not be elders but that women may serve in any capacity within the local church that any non-elder male might serve. The Session of UPC would add to this that we believe this same limitation would also forbid women from shepherding men.

This short statement improves the Kellers’ position somewhat, but it’s also notable that two months ago UPC hosted Ms. Carolyn Custis James to teach Scripture on the subject of sexuality. Quite predictably, this led to what Pastor Bates on his blog referred to as some misunderstanding of UPC’s position within his flock...

Preaching and the feminization of discourse; a timely parable...

For a number of years, I've thought we need a book for preachers called The Feminization of Discourse. The book would show how the feminine priorities that have taken over the Western world have turned the preaching of God's Word from authority to mutual exploration and discovery. One friend lamented the preaching he'd sat under for a number of years saying, "Along with the indicative, can't we please have the imperative?" Read anything about the differences between male and female conversation and it's no mystery why the worship and preaching of our--yes, PCA--churches feel like a tea party. Having a reformed form of godliness, we deny the power thereof.

Our preaching is so graceful--more graceful than the preaching of Jesus or the Apostles. Anyone read the book of Acts, recently? Notice how often those listening to the sermon are confronted with the statement, "You killed Jesus!" No wonder repentance was the entry point to faith and baptism back then. But today? We're compassionate Christians, kinder and gentler elders, and sensitive graceful preachers who want to be liked. Above all. Yes, insofar as we can be liked and still be obedient, that's fine. But a choice between the two is no contest; being liked wins.

Now of course, right here the feminization of discourse kicks in and many are ready to condemn me for being dogmatic, making generalizations, or demonstrating a harsh and judgmental spirit, right?

Well, meet my friend Cesar Millan and see if we preachers have anything to learn from him about our exercise of the authority God has delegated to us, particularly in  the pulpit...

Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando) and evangelical feminism...


A few weeks ago, President Frank James and his wife, Carolyn Custis James, sent the above letter to RTS students encouraging them to register for a seminar sponsored by Mrs. James' Whitby Forum, The Impact Movement, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Reformed Theological Seminary. The April 13-15 seminar titled, "Mission Critical: Women on the Frontlines for the Gospel," will be led by Drs. Alice Matthews and Diane Langberg, and Mrs. James...

Domestic help and wet nursing: a clarification...

( Note: Responding to the post, Carolyn Custis James versus Jeremy Taylor and Brother Lawrence..., our eldest daughter, Heather, sent an E-mail detailing some concerns she had with the post. Here are those concerns, followed by my response.)


I like the first half of your latest post, but the second half will come across as harsh to many women. I think the quote from Jeremy Taylor will be seen less as an indictment of daycare and more as a requirement that all women nurse as opposed to bottle-feed.

And the sentence, "Certainly the temptation has always been there for wives and mothers of means to hire out their domestic and maternal responsibilities" makes it sound as though a woman can never hire anyone to help with duties around the house without feeling as though she has sacrificed her biblical duty. I think Mrs. Keebler was referring less to women hiring others to take over their child-rearing duties, and more to the times in history when all women with any money at all had, at the very least, one household help, because it wasn't possible to do it all oneself.

Many women today who have large families, homeschool, and also try to keep up with normal household duties would give their right arm to be able to afford someone just to come help clean, sometimes. I clearly remember (Jane Doe) talking about the unbelievable expectations being put on homeschooling moms that they be able to do it all.

Love, Heather

Dear Heather,

Thanks for the help. Please forgive me for not being sensitive to how my post would come across to wives and mothers. A little explanation is in order.

In my experience, there are two kinds of women who employ domestic help. There are women who consider domestic work to be beneath them and have the money to hire others to do all of it (or almost all of it) for them...

Carolyn Custis James versus Jeremy Taylor and Brother Lawrence...

(Note: Here is a comment left by a Mrs. Keebler under the post, "Carolyn Custis James: 'And my people love it so....'" Because of the nature of the questions Mrs. Keebler raises and the length of my response, both will be posted not only as comments, but also here on the main page.)

I had the extreme privelege of being under Carolyn Custis' Bible study for high school girls when she was in Dallas in the late 70's. It was so nice to be able to attend a serious doctrinal study for girls - our church had something for boys, but until then, nothing equivalent for girls. Over the period of two years in this girls-only study, I was able to be grounded in doctrine and thinking so that I was prepared for college. Is Carolyn guilty of making me a theologian? Now, I am not able to get into knock-down, drag out, Greek and Hebrew word discussions, but I am able to read and understand a lot, and doing so, am able to converse and discuss theological issues with my husband. We enjoy the pleasure of sharpening one another's understanding of God and His workings. Is being able to comprehend and discuss doctrine with one's husband being unsubmissive? Or must I take the attitude of an ignorant female who takes the crumbs that my husband throws to me?

Carolyn was also very strong on "relationship" advice for the girls in the study. She tried to steer us clear of the typical high school "I'm in love" periods and to think in terms of a forever relationship. It was during this time that she became engaged to Frank - as an older single. That is when I heard the best relationship advice I ever had. She said very clearly that she had made a decision to love Frank and that commitment would carry her through when there were things about him that she didn't like. I have remembered that advice many times in my marriage and pass it on to others freely.

As to not being a kitchen wife - what would you say about the previous ages when the wealthy had help in the kitchen and did not cook or clean or sew for themselves, but had servants to do the work for them? Seems to me that Abraham's wife Sarah had help and servants. Many of the O.T. heroes had servants. Were the women in these households being Mrs. Clintons, too? I think it unfair for you to equate the two women when you clearly do not know Carolyn personally. I suppose, though, that it is easier to disparage Carolyn when you can imply that she is just as unsubmissive and grasping as Mrs. Clinton.

(Mrs.) Keebler

Dear Mrs. Keebler,

No, Mrs. James is not "guilty of making you a theologian." Every believer is a student of God and His Truth, or should be.

As I type at this desk, in a bookcase an arm's length to my right are a number of volumes by Amy Carmichael. And downstairs is the dining room where we discussed Roman Catholicism with Dave Howard and his brother-in-law and sister, Lars and Elisabeth Elliot Gren. In the living room each week a group of women meet who are wending their way through a rather large work of systematic theology. And last night I listened as Jon Crum led our youngest, Taylor, through a recitation of the first twenty or so questions of the Children's Catechism, which our daughters learned, also...