by David and Tim Bayly on December 6, 2005 - 5:31am
The latest email update from the PCA's magazine, By Faith...
To: byFaith Readers
From: Dick Doster, Editor
Subject: December issue of byFaith
Subscribers to byFaith will receive the December issue within the next few days. And, in two cover stories we discuss a topic which, in coming months, will become more difficult to ignore: the PCA's stewardship of women's gifts.
We begin with "Women Theologians: A Goldmine for the Church" where Carolyn Custis James calls our attention to the growing number of PCA women who are graduating from Reformed seminaries. "The PCA," James says, "has been remarkably successful in producing an army of solid female theologians." And this, the author believes, is one our great successes, but it also presents a great challenge: What should be our response to the influx of female seminary graduates as they arrive in our churches with their gifts, training, and theological wisdom?
Some, when they hear questions like this, don't understand why--in the 21st century--the PCA doesn't ordain gifted women. As James says, our views on women's ordination are "firm, clear, and defended by Scripture." But many wonder how.
L. Roy Taylor, stated clerk of the PCA's General Assembly, has written an article titled "The Authority of the Word and the Wisdom of the Church: Why the PCA Only Ordains Men to Ecclesiastical Office." Ordination, Taylor explains, is not a human rights issue but a biblical and theological one. The PCA's position is based on biblical and theological principles and solid historical precedent. But the challenge remains: How best may women use their experiences, gifts, and talents within the church for the glory of God?
Others, on the other hand, when they hear questions like this don't understand why this settled issue has risen to the forefront in the PCA. Evidently, there are some who wish it were not settled?
It's a classic trick of the "change-agent" trade to harp on the existence of a problem until, like Frankenstein awakened, the problem finally rears its head. Your shirt may be entirely inoffensive, but if I insist all day and night that it is offensive, ultimately I have defined the problem into existence.
So, as an alternative point of discussion and in order to propound the problem a bit more biblically, perhaps we should ask why Reformed seminaries insist on graduating women with degrees that throughout history have been given only to men preparing for leadership in Christ's Church? Why do our Reformed seminaries insist on confounding Reformed theology and polity by their practice in this area?
And, perhaps just as importantly, who sets the editorial agenda for By Faith?
by David and Tim Bayly on February 10, 2006 - 5:55am
Phil Henry, a Presbyterian Church in America pastor serving in Tucson, Arizona, has a good post critiquing an article in the latest issue of our denominational magazine, byFaith. Written by Carolyn Custis James, the piece is titled, "A CHALLENGE FACING THE PCA IS HOW TO PROFIT FROM THE GROWING POPULATION OF FEMALE THEOLOGIANS: Women Theologians: A SPIRITUAL GOLDMINE FOR THE CHURCH." And yes, that's a long and loud title, but without the use of small caps, that's about what it looks like.
There's a ton that could be said about this (and other) pieces in this issue of byFaith, but I grow weary. Pastor Henry is a younger man, though, and so you might want to watch him tilt at windmills.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2006 - 9:23am
The wife of Dr. Frank A. James III, current president of Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando), ordinarily would be known as Mrs. Frank James. Or, if one were on friendly terms with her, some variation of "Carolyn," "Carol," or "Custis" may be used. For some reason, though, Mrs. James is known as "Carolyn Custis James."
Now you may resent my pointing out the obvious, but no one thinks of her husband, Frank, when people say "Carolyn Custis James." Is that a problem?
Well, no. We all know who she is.
Speaking of which, my mother always preferred to receive letters addressed to "Mrs. Joseph T. Bayly." That was the title of honor back in the old days before women became warriors.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2006 - 11:44am
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. (1Peter 3:1-6)
David and I have mentioned our interest in the proceedings of the "Gender and the Church" conference going on this weekend at our denominational college, Covenant College. Sponsored by Covenant's Kaleo Center, the keynote speakers are Carolyn Custis James and her husband, Frank. The conference web site provides the following credentials for Mrs. James:
Carolyn Custis James is an international conference speaker for churches, colleges, seminaries and other Christian organizations. She is a new voice in Christian publishing with a strong, affirming message for women... Carolyn is President of Whitby Forum, a ministry organization dedicated to helping women go deeper in their relationship with God and to serve Him alongside their brothers in the faith... She is a founder and sponsor (along with Reformed Theological Seminary and Campus Crusade for Christ International) of Synergy conferences--a national gathering of women in seminary and in vocational ministries... During the years between seminary and her present ministries, she had her own business as a computer software developer in Oxford, England. She and her husband Frank (President of Reformed Theological Seminary-- Orlando ) live in Orlando, Florida. They have one college-age daughter.
What "strong, affirming message for women" does Mrs. James provide that is "dedicated to helping women go deeper in their relationship with God... to serve Him alongside their brothers in the faith?" Here's an excerpt from last night's Bible message by Mrs. James...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2006 - 4:14pm
Carolyn Custis James: How can we be faithful stewards of the rich ministry resources God has entrusted to us in the gifted female theologians in our pews? As vital and important as hospitality and nursery ministries are, these theologically informed women want to do more [than wash the feet of the saints and care for babies and young children] in their local churches, both vocationally and as volunteers. As Christians grow deeper in their knowledge of God, they sense a greater responsibility and desire to serve Him in increasing levels of ministry and leadership [above washing the feet of the saints and caring for babies and young children].
A widow is to be put on the list only if she... (has) 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)
John Calvin (on above text):
...Paul does not wish that any should be admitted... but those who had excellent attestations of the whole of their past life. Besides, they were not appointed in order to lazy and indolent inactivity, but to minister to the poor and the sick, until, being completely worn out, they should be allowed honorably to retire. Accordingly, that they may be better prepared for the discharge of their office, he wishes them to have had long practice and experience in all the duties which belong to it; such as -- labor and diligence in bringing up children, hospitality, ministering to the poor, and other charitable works.
If it be now asked, Shall all that are barren be rejected, because they have never borne any children? We must reply, that Paul does not here condemn barrenness, but the daintiness of mothers, who, by refusing to endure the weariness of bringing up their children, sufficiently show that they will be very unkind to strangers. And at the same time he holds out this as an honorable reward to godly matrons, who have not spared themselves, that they, in their turn, shall be received into the bosom of the Church in their old age.
By a figure of speech, in which a part is taken for the whole, he means by the washing of the feet all the services which are commonly rendered to the saints; for at that time it was customary to "wash the feet." An employment of this nature might have the appearance of being mean and almost servile; and therefore he makes use of this mark for describing females who were industrious, and far from being fastidious or dainty.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2006 - 4:39pm
Carolyn Custis James: With the educational and professional advancement of women today, many women come to our churches and wonder why the secular workplace values what they bring to the table, but the church shows so little interest.
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.
(1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
John Calvin (on the above text):
By the choosing of the poor, and the foolish, and the ignoble, he means, that God has preferred them before the great, and the wise, and the noble. For it would not have sufficed, for beating down the arrogance of the flesh, if God had placed them all upon a level. Hence, those who appeared to excel he put in the background, in order that he might thoroughly abase them.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2006 - 4:48pm
Carolyn Custis James: The Bible has a lot to say about women theologians... (Jesus) constantly stunned His male followers by openly teaching theology to women. Luke makes it clear that Mary of Bethany became a rabbinical student when she sat at the feet of Rabbi Jesus.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me."
But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)
John Calvin (on the above text):
As this passage has been basely distorted into the commendation of what is called a Contemplative life, we must inquire into its true meaning, from which it will appear, that nothing was farther from the design of Christ, than to encourage his disciples to indulge in indolence, or in useless speculations. It is, no doubt, an old error, that those who withdraw from business, and devote themselves entirely to a contemplative, lead an Angelical life...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2006 - 5:36pm
Carolyn Custis James: It is not overstating things to say that becoming a good theologian is how a woman fulfills her highest destiny--her calling to know and be like Jesus. This is truly the essence of a woman's calling.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3-5)
John Calvin (on the above text):
In short, he wishes women to be restrained, by conjugal love and affection for their children, from giving themselves up to licentious attachments, he wishes them to rule their own house in a sober and orderly manner, forbids them to wander about in public places, bids them be chaste, and at the same time modest, so as to be subject to the dominion of their husbands; for those who excel in other virtues sometimes take occasion from them to act haughtily, so as to be disobedient to their husbands.
If all through her article, Carolyn Custis James is using the word "theologian" simply as a placeholder for someone who seeks to know Christ and to make Him known, who would argue with her? But she equivocates, using 'theologian' also in opposition to nursery workers, those practicing hospitality, those decorating and setting tables, and so on...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2006 - 7:00pm
Just now as my dear wife MaryLee was heading for bed, I read the paragraph below out loud to her. She's a veteran but repentant feminist, so I knew she'd miss nothing. Sadly, she spoke epigrammatically, limiting her comments to a scant six words. You'll find them inserted in the text below, in bold.
Carolyn Custis James: One of the most theologically profound moments in the ministry of Jesus was when Mary of Bethany anointed Him for His burial as He braced for the agonies of the passion. Jesus' commendation of her anointing is unequaled and drops significant clues regarding how much her ministry meant to Him. Her actions were theologically driven, not blithely done in ignorance. [What about love?] As His rabbinical student, she knew His teachings. In the death of her brother Lazarus (John 11), she learned the hard way that Jesus can be trusted no matter how bad things get and that He is the resurrection and the life. She had been well trained by her seminary professor, Rabbi Jesus, and at a crucial moment made a definitive theological statement by openly affirming the gospel and boldly encouraging Jesus to obey His Father. [Whoa!] Jesus knew exactly what she was doing. He not only defended her against her critics, He interpreted her actions. "When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial." If she acted in ignorance, this was an appalling display of unbelief. But Jesus linked her actions to the gospel and said, "She has done a beautiful thing to me" (Matthew 26:6-13; John 12:1-8). So far as we know, she was the first of His disciples to understand the Resurrection--one of the key benchmarks for any Reformed theologian. [Go Mary!]
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2006 - 7:59pm
Note from Tim Bayly: Those clicking into this particular post from some other blog need to be aware that this is only one in a long line of posts on the subject of the particular theological commitments of Carolyn Custis James concerning the nature and meaning of sexuality. The other posts may be found on this blog's main page by searchin in the google search box on the left margin a little down the page. It would be helpful to read them all.
One reader points us to the following bio Mrs. James' provides us on her own blogger information page found here (but since scrubbed from that page).
Carolyn Custis James
Speaker, Author and Consultant
Author of When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference
Author of Lost Women of the Bible: Finding Strength and Significance Through Their Stories (forthcoming September 2005).
Consulting editor for Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary Series on the New Testament
Consultant for the Jesus Film for women.
BA in Sociology, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA
MA in Biblical Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
Carolyn is her husband's favorite theologian. She is not a kitchen wife. She does not keep house, cook, clean or sew, but she reads an awful lot and often talks to women (and sometimes men) from all over the world about women's struggles within the evangelical church. Lately, she has been reading a lot on the plight of women in the Middle East. She helped establish Synergy Conferences for women seminarians and women in vocational ministries, which is sponsored by her ministry organization, Whitby Forum, in alliance with Campus Crusade for Christ International and Reformed Theological Seminary/Orlando.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 13, 2006 - 9:52am
May I gently remind our good readers that Tim and I firmly believe that the practice of theology as currently conducted in much of the Evangelical and Reformed world is tragically warped by its disconnect from the authority of the Church and the shepherding work of the pastoral office.
Tim and I not only value the biblically-defined calling of women too highly to honor women who prefer the sterile realm of the rabbinical school above those who give their all to motherhood, we honor the calling of fatherhood in home and Church over that of professional theologian as well.
Theology can little more be practiced in the absence of authority than swimming can be practiced in the absence of water. We must be under Church authority and possessed of Church authority to be true theologicans. Theology without authority is philosophy. Theology without shepherding is dilettantism. Unfortunately, the Evangelical theological fraternity (much like the internet theological world) is filled with philosophical dilettantism.
Doesn't the PCA (along with many other Reformed and Evangelical demoninations) need more doers of and fewer speculators upon the Word? Though the issue that brings this to the fore is Ms Custis-James urging women to become rabbinical students, it doesn't end there. It continues on into Evangelical seminaries and internet monasteries where men are as likely to be dry clouds as the women who follow Ms Custis James.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 13, 2006 - 10:20am
One of our good readers finds it impossible to understand what all the fuss is about with Carolyn Custis James's article and words? Why are women and men opposing the quite-reasonable complaints Mrs. James makes concering the evangelical church's abuse of highly educated female theologians? Why are we opposed to women being theologians? Isn't that a good thing that every man should support?
Well of course. Where did anyone here ever say or even intimate that women shouldn't be theologians. But let's not allow this red herring to throw us off the real issue...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 15, 2006 - 5:20pm
The oft-repeated suggestion in comments on this site that the teaching of Carolyn Custis James remains firmly grounded in PCA teaching and Biblical orthodoxy runs headlong into this powerful counter-argument....
The best-known Evangelical feminist/egalitarian organization, Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), also claims Mrs. James's teachings in support of their own agenda.
Not only are two books and an audio tape by Ms James sold on CBE's web-based bookstore, Mrs. James's argument for translating ezer "warrior" are reproduced and footnoted as "an especially good recent study of this word" in an article critiquing "Complementarian Interpretations" of Scripture on CBE's site.
In fact, it would seem Mrs. James's etymological argument against the traditional interpretation of ezer ("helpmeet") amounts to little more than a stock egalitarian/feminist interpretation to which Mrs. James adds the interpretive gloss "warrior." CBE's egalitarian manifesto (Statement on Men, Women and Biblical Equality) says of ezer...
2. The Bible teaches that woman and man were created for full and equal partnership. The word "helper" (ezer), used to designate woman in Genesis 2:18, refers to God in most instances of Old Testament usage (e.g. 1Sam 7:12; Ps 121:1-2). Consequently the word conveys no implication whatsoever of female subordination or inferiority.
It's possible Mrs. James's books could appear on CBE's web site without her knowledge or permission. It's much less likely that an audio tape of Mrs. James would be sold in CBE's web store against her knowledge or will. Finally, similarities between Mrs. James's arguments and stock egalitarian fare are so far-reaching that CBE plainly views Mrs. James as an ally. At this point it's hard to conceive of anything other than willful credulity or dissembling standing behind a continued claim by her apologists that Mrs. James's teaching hews faithfully to Biblical doctrine or PCA practice.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 16, 2006 - 3:42am
February 16, 2006
Dr. Frank A. James III
President and Professor of Historical Theology
Reformed Theological Seminary--Orlando
Dear Mr. James,
I suspect Tim and I have both considered asking our wives to answer the egalitarian arguments of your wife, Carolyn, on these pages. It would appear more seemly and, let me assure you, they could do so competently.
But here's the rub: we don't believe in godly wives serving as their husbands' warriors. Over the eighteen years my wife and I have been in pastoral ministry we have mutually sought to keep Cheryl free from the bruising fray of intrachurch disputes and doctrinal battles. At times, this could lead to surprising incongruities... for instance, Cheryl might be taking dinner to a family where the wife was hospitalized and the husband was seeking to have me fired from my job.
Yet God has blessed this division of labor. Cheryl is loved by many who won't give me the time of day. And that's the way it should be. She's not ignorant of the battles, nor is she uncommitted to truth. But she is above the battle and beyond it: she's not a warrior, she's a woman, a mother, a wife.
The Bible does not declare wolves to be of a singular sex. Wolves can be male or female. And, as a shepherd, I must respond to wolves without regard to sex.
But I would rather deal with the male of the pack. Are you that in your home? I trust you are, that Mrs. James is not fighting these battles against your wishes, that you are indeed man of your house with Mrs. James in submission to you as a worthy daughter of Sarah. After all, you call her your "favorite theologian." Surely this implies your support and approval of her teaching.
If this is so, then do us both the favor of taking up the sword (or pen) from her hand. Come into the open and boldly proclaim as a leader within the PCA the teachings now primarily associated with your wife. Neither Tim nor I--nor any other committed biblicist in the area of manhood and womanhood--have the slightest desire to engage Mrs. James when we could and should be facing you.
Further, we know from personal experience how deeply stressful theological battle can be and we would not wish such strain on any woman or any marriage where a man is willing to fight on behalf of his wife.
Perhaps you fear the implications for your job or status within the PCA of taking your wife's place in this debate. Brother, may I gently say, that's the price both of us risk in taking a stand as men.
Finally, if Mrs. James is not in submission to you in these areas, simply say the word and we will leave her to you and speak no more.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 16, 2006 - 10:19am
Carolyn Custis James' association with evangelical feminists opposed to the teaching of Scripture goes back several years, at least. She was one of the principal speakers at the Christians for Biblical Equality conference held in Orlando in 2003. Here is the list of speakers and representative topics:
Find out why the devil hates women in ministry, how to be a wild-hearted woman, and what the Bible says about God's gender at the 2003 conference in Orlando. An all-star cast of speakers awaits you, such as David Hamilton, Kevin Giles, Linda Belleville, Lee Grady, Funmi Para-Mallam, Carolyn Custis James, and John Kohlenberger. Our conference will explore the theme, "The Priesthood of All Believers: Serving Christ as a Global Community.
Anyone who doubts that Christians for Biblical Equality is an organization in principle opposed to the teaching of God's Word concerning sexuality has only to go here and read their confession of faith to know who Carolyn Custis James is making common cause with.
It is impossible to support Christians for Biblical Equality's confession of faith and the Westminster Standards. It is impossible to be an adherent to CBE's false doctrine and to Scripture's true doctrine of sexuality. It is impossible for a woman or man to subscribe to the plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture and to the doctrines of Christians for Biblical Equality. To illustrate, here are a couple excerpts from CBE's confession of faith...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 16, 2006 - 11:13am
Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:26-32)
From the beginning, Christian faith is controversial. Not in a tight and rigid way, but in a way that demonstrates God's sovereignty and the loving affirmation of His sovereignty by those who are born again by His Spirit. Repentance is not simply the negative duty every Christian must walk through at the beginning of his spiritual life, after the completion of which he may breath a sigh of relief thinking "Thank God that's over."
Rather, as the first of Luther's ninety-five theses reminds us, "the life of a Christian is a life of repentance." It never ends. We must repent each year, each day, each hour. All Jesus' teaching, mirrored by the Apostles throughout the New Testament, emphasizes that the Christian life is a battle against principalities and powers, and that no growth, no sanctification will come to those who choose a life of peace. The life of repentance means we are to "take up our cross," to "endure hardship," to "fill up the cup of Christ's sufferings," to "wrestle," to "contend," to "guard, to "crucify our flesh," and always to keep in mind that "a man's enemies will be the members of his own family."
Few of us doubt the existence of this battle on a personal level since believers are well aware of the "law of sin and death" that wages war within us. With considerable relief (and even joy), we join in the prayer of confession near the beginning of our corporate worship services knowing that here, at least, among the people of God at worship we may rest secure that we are known as we really are, not as Robert Schuller or Dr. Laura thinks we should be.
But when faced with this battle on a corporate level, many of us revolt against it because here Christian faith is in direct opposition to the last value, the last moral or absolute left in these United States--namely, "Can't we all just get along?" We don't want to be in conflict with unbelievers because such conflict seems to be counterproductive to evangelism.
And beyond our squeamishness at the hatred the world showers upon Jesus Christ, His Truth, and His followers, conflict within the Church is the most grievous of all. After all, Jesus said that our love for one another will be the basis of unbelievers' judgments concerning the truth of our claim that we are Christ's disciples. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples..." How can we honor Christ Who prayed that we might be one when we are fighting with each other?
This is where we must toughen up and think with our Bibles rather than our cultural prejudices and emotions. Scripture teaches that we'll always have the poor with us. Scripture also teaches we'll always have false shepherds and false doctrine with us and it is those false shepherds promoting false doctrines that are the instruments of schism and division with the Body of Christ. How is the peace and unity of that Body to be restored?
By exposing both false shepherds and their false doctrine. By fighting against the wolves who seek to devour the flock...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 20, 2006 - 7:30am
As the dialogue on this blog concerning Covenant's College's Kaleo Center's conference on gender and the church comes to an end, a few observations are in order.
It is a great disadvantage to do the work of professing and fathering at a distance and by E-mail. Covenant students need on-site professors who will profess the biblical doctrine of sexuality with joyful abandon--not parsimoniously with a defensive attitude saying more what that doctrine doesn't mean than what it does mean.
These professors are physically present, and therefore in the perfect position to answer the question, "What is submission?"
Their answer should not come only in a classroom, but also in their homes around the dining room table. It's there in the hurlyburly of life that submission will become clear to Matthew, Heather, Stephanie, and hundreds of others who arrived at college thinking that feminism has questions that only twenty or thirty year olds hear.
When Covenant's Kaleo Center invites the James to campus to deal with the much-controverted question of authority and submission in marriage, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to read the signs and know where the Kaleo Center is trying to lead the campus. The headliner is a woman and she is approved of and promoted by the main evangelical feminist organization? Well now, let me see: I wonder what that means?
Not to put too fine a point on it, I think it means that she ought not to speak at Covenant since every confessional commitment of Covenant's ecclesiastical authority is opposed to the teaching of this evangelical feminist organization on the meaning and purpose of sexuality. Yes, to me it's that simple: Carolyn Custis James' books are sold by the organization and they use her to speak at their national conference so we cannot trust Mrs. James to teach our students the meaning and purpose of Christian marriage, sexuality, submission, authority, etc.
But some point out that while she was at Covenant Mrs. James took a second to affirm that she was willing to submit to Scripture's teaching concerning men alone being called to serve as pastors and elders, so she's obviously orthodox in her doctrine of sexuality.
Maybe an analogy will help make my point.
Let's say by some perverse error I was invited by the administration to be the keynote speaker at a conference on gender and the church at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, or Wheaton College where the community ethos is overwhelmingly feminist. And it was clear by the administration's invitation which direction they wanted to move their institution although, of course, nothing was ever said directly to me about their goal.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 28, 2006 - 8:38am
Our readers may remember two wise comments contributed by Rebecca Jones under this blog's posts concerning Covenant College's hosting of Carolyn Custis James a week or so ago. I've had the privilege of working alongside Rebecca and her husband, Peter, in the past opposing the feminist heresy and I commend this credo, this personal confession of faith. It's obvious here that being a mother and wife is no hindrance to being a theologian. Rather, as Rebecca would put it, being a wife and a mother is, for most women, how she must be a theologian. Note particularly Rebecca's explanatory statement at the end, in italics.
It would be good for Covenant College to require any future women being considered for speaking engagements on the subject of the meaning and purpose of sexuality to read and sign Mrs. Jones' Credo before the invitation is final. After all, we're a confessional community and asking women being considered for positions of authority at Covenant College should be expected to be confessional on this issue, and not simply the issues from centuries back.
My Credo as a Christian Woman
by Rebecca Jones
I believe God created me, a woman, in His image.
I believe God has the authority, as my Creator to define my whole person; body, soul, mind, and emotions.
I believe God has chosen to reveal Himself through the world in which I live and through the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ. I learn of both these revelations through His Word, the Bible, which becomes clear to me by the power of Jesus Christ, whose Spirit works in my heart and my understanding.
I believe that God exists as one God, in three equal persons and that these persons have Scripturally revealed relationships and functions within the trinity.
I believe that all human fellowship is a reflection of that perfect fellowship defined and experienced from all eternity by God Himself in the trinity.
I believe that God made both men and women in His image.
I believe that God gave the man a representative role in humanity in general (as seen in both Adam and Christ) and that He also gave each man a representative and authoritative role as head of his wife and of his family...
Just now we've added a new category to our index titled, "Frank/Carolyn Custis James." Having received a request earlier this evening for a compilation of everything written on this subject, we're happy to oblige. Clicking on this link will take our readers to a page that contains all the posts related to the James' time speaking at Covenant College on "Gender and the Church." Or, go to the left column, about halfway down, and click on the index entry, "Frank/Carolyn Custis James." (Pay particular attention to the more than 180 comments buried in these initial posts since much of the best content was contributed by our good readers and will be missed if readers coming lately to this subject skip the comments.)
Also, here is a statement, Responding to Gender Issues at Covenant College, written by President Niel Nielson and his wife, Dr. Kathleen Nielson, in response to criticisms of Mrs. James' teaching on sexuality given at Covenant and elsewhere.
25 Dr. Niel Nielson, President, Covenant College (First normal chapel of the year. No special designation for chapel or speaker.)
26 Convocation - Dr. Reg McLelland, Professor of Philosophy, Covenant College (The first special type of chapel--a "convocation," perhaps because more academic in focus?)
29 Assembly with Congressman Zach Wamp, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. (Second special type of chapel--"assembly." Address is by a political leader, and thus, I suspect, the reason it's called an "assembly"--differentiating it from a normal chapel session.)
30 Student Development Assembly (Again, an "assembly" marking less-spiritual content, I suspect.)
31 Rev. Randy Nabors, Covenant College Trustee, New City Fellowship, Chattanooga, TN (Typical chapel. No special designation.)
Now, having dealt with types of chapels and nomenclature, the following sessions were interesting:
12 Camille Hallstrom, Associate Professor of Communication, Covenant College (Woman drama professor, no special designation for chapel session. Apparently a regular chapel with a regular speaker.)
Last month, Covenant College hosted Carolyn Custis James and her husband, Frank, as the keynote speakers at Covenant's conference, "Gender and the Church." Since the content of the James' presentations was quite similar to standard evangelical feminist rhetoric, and since Carolyn Custis James is promoted by, has been a plenary speaker for, and still has her books sold by the evangelical feminist organization, Christians for Biblical Equality, it became apparent that Covenant's administration had erred in making this invitation.
Since then, Dr. Kathleen Nielson and her husband, Niel (who serves as Covenant's president), have issued a statement responding to the criticism they received for inviting Carolyn Custis James and her husband, Frank, to train Covenant students in the area of the meaning and purpose of sexuality. Acknowledging how malleable, confused, and easily misled their students at Covenant are in the area of sexuality, the Nielsons wrote:
For the younger generation in the church, what we would call the Scriptures' beautiful, clear, comprehensive teachings are not at all clear. This generation has grown up with an unprecedented multitude of voices coming at them from all sides, within and without the church, especially in relation to the issue of sexuality and gender roles. We older ones cannot imagine the ambiguity that exists for college-age students today, for they have grown up in the flowering of postmodern thinking, which tells them essentially to embrace the multitude of voices. Consider, for example, that today's college students have lived their entire lives in the context of a culture that persistently presents homosexual orientation and behavior as normal and acceptable, and demonizes those who, on the authority of the Scriptures, call for biblical holiness in all matters sexual.
Which makes it all the more surprising that Mrs. James, whose feminist leanings have been well-known for quite some time, was provided a forum at Covenant College. This invitation demonstrates an evident lack of proper preparation in the selection of speakers for this conference.
Adding to Mrs. James' record, here's a transcript of Carolyn Custis James teaching the women of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Winter Park, Florida, on April 2, 2002. The tape from which James' talk has been transcribed is titled "When Life and Beliefs Collide; The Japan Report." James' teaching was given under the auspices of St. Paul's Women in the Church ministry. (Women in the Church is the name of women's ministries within the Presbyterian Church in America).
An astute woman theologian from St. Paul's was present and expressed her concern over Mrs. James' teaching to her husband who, in turn, took the matter up with St. Paul's elders. Now, a few years later, our astute woman theologian is a pastor's wife in Temecula, California, where her husband, Jesse A. Pirschel, serves as minister of Providence Presbyterian Church. As we drop into Mrs. James' talk, she is summing up the message of the second chapter of her book, When Life and Beliefs Collide:
...It has a lot to do with the second chapter of the book where I am talking about why women avoid theology. And this whole idea that there is this fear in church that if women know too much they'll get out of line, they'll cause problems. And that they'll cause problems at home, because they won't submit to their husbands, or they'll cause problems in the church because they'll want to grab hold of the reins.
And what I found in my study of Scripture was a very different image of what happens when women get serious about their theology. Umm... I want to sort of lay out for you the terrain and umm...because what I found as I looked at what is being said about women in Christian circles is that we have polarized views of who women are.
And on the one hand you have your Traditionalist or your Complementarian view. And you may not be familiar with these but these are...these are the standard views of who women are. The theology of women and men in relationships. And umm...This is where they put forth the idea that a woman is called to marriage and to motherhood. And that what gives a woman fulfillment and meaning in life. And that men are called to think and lead. And women are called to follow. And the big word that gets used about who we are and how we are to conduct ourselves in relationships with men and relationships in the church is this word "submission".
by David and Tim Bayly on October 14, 2006 - 5:54pm
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master--that's all." -Through the Looking Glass.
One popular tactic employed by feminists as they wage war against Scripture's patriarchy is to argue that some word in each of the key Scripture texts dealing with sex has been misunderstood by prior generations of Christians. They claim that, now, a new light has dawned among Bible scholars and we're able to see the real meaning of the text. "Two thousand years of Bible translators got it wrong, but now we've finally gotten it right."
Not surprisingly, the "real meaning" of whatever particular word they've finally gotten right always turns out to be a meaning feminists like much better than the historic meaning understood by the Church.
For instance, one false claim frequently repeated by feminists is that the Hebrew word 'ezer' has been wrongly translated "helper" in all prior Bibles. "The proper translation is 'warrior,'" they say, "and thus Eve was not created to help Adam, but to fight by his side."
If feminists get their way with 'ezer,' future English Bibles will translate Genesis 2:18 by exchanging 'warrior' for 'helper' as follows:
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a warrior [not helper] suitable for him." (Genesis 2:18, NAS95).
The logic seems to be that serving as man's "helper" implies a subordinate status, but serving as his warrior-defender confers equality or superiority...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 16, 2006 - 1:10pm
An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it? (Jeremiah 5:30, 31)
Frank James is president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. His wife is Carolyn Custis James, the most visible feminist within the circles of our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America. Mrs. James has been a headliner at two of our most prominent centers of institutional authority--our magazine (byFaith), and Covenant College--both in a chapel series and at a special forum on women in the church held at Covenant this past spring. Mrs. James also has been the featured speaker at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, one of the three or four churches wielding the largest financial and institutional power within the PCA.
James spoke last year at Azusa Pacific University's Council for Christian Women in Leadership 2005 Dream Again conference. Here was the conference's stated purpose: "Through keynote speakers and workshops, this year's conference encourages women to pursue their God-ordained call with conviction, compassion, and determination." Mrs. James shared the lectern of this conference with Cynthia Rembert James, "pastor of two congregations in Oakland, California."
Going years back, Mrs. James has had stellar evangelical credentials, so it's no surprise leaders continue to invite her to the most prominent venues. Back in 1975, she was the first woman to be allowed to register for classes at Dallas Theological Seminary. When she arrived on campus, she was greeted by then-DTS professor and current Wheaton College president, Duane Litfin, who spread his arms wide and exclaimed: "It's about time!"
by David and Tim Bayly on October 17, 2006 - 7:08am
(Note: Here's another contribution from Andy Halsey.)
This argument keeps coming up from feminists and would-be non feminists who just can't seem to shake their modern anti-help bias. The argument, if I've got it right, is this:
1. God is an 'ezer when he delivers Israel from military occupation, when he fights for them and delivers them from their enemies.
1a. This is the predominant use of the word in the Old Testament
1b. It follows, then, that this must be the central meaning of the word in all of Hebrew usage.
2. God is a superior being to man.
3. Therefore every other 'ezer must be a strong military figure and be at least the equal of the one receiving help from the 'ezer.
Okay you logicians, have at it. Where are the holes here?
First, 1b doesn't follow from 1a. This is why word studies can so easily go awry--word meanings should not be established based on the words' use in only one type of literature (in this case, the canon of the Old Testament). God's help in the Old Testament necessarily means help against foreign oppressors He Himself usually sent to oppress them in the first place (so I guess 'ezers always deliver people from traps the 'ezer has set?).
by David and Tim Bayly on October 17, 2006 - 8:22am
(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.
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 29, 2008 - 2:27pm
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:
NEW! CAROLYN JAMES’ BOOK, THE GOSPEL OF RUTH, NOW AVAILABLE 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."
by David and Tim Bayly on February 1, 2008 - 8:17am
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...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 7, 2008 - 6:56am
(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 ...is 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?"
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...
"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...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 15, 2008 - 8:23am
(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...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 19, 2008 - 12:33pm
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.
(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.
Note 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...
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.
Again, at Women in the Church's (WIC) 2007 Leadership Training Conference Dr. Diane Langberg was a plenary speaker.
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.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 20, 2008 - 7:37pm
(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.
by David and Tim Bayly on March 18, 2009 - 10:07am
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 Telegraphquotes 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
Mrs Williams ...is 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
"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...
(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
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...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 25, 2010 - 11:54am
(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...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 15, 2010 - 7:21am
(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...
by David and Tim Bayly on March 14, 2011 - 10:31am
(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.
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)