What's in a name?

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.


Dear Tim,
For a while now certain sectors of the PCA have encouraged our young women to attend seminary--which is, I think, a good thing with notable qualification.
In her first book, CCJ encouraged women to study theology and become proficient in good theology. I heartily concur. There was a "paradigm shift" in the second part of the book that lost me completely because she began to sound mad or bitter. I couldn't put my finger on the crux of the problem, but something just wasn't right. It became more like whine that exposition.
My own wife has attended seminary, but never had any desires to be and office bearer in the Church of Jesus Christ.
That leads me to my next observation. When the young PCA women were being told to attend seminary I wonder if anyone took the time to explain to them that they should not expect to be Teaching/Ruling Elders or Deacons.
I believe the recent protracted back-and-forth in the "ByFaith" web debate on Dr. Roy Taylor's excellent article is indicative of the problems we're starting to face in the PCA.
I heard CCJ seminar at the last GA in Chatta-Vegas and was stunned when she described the woman's role (helper--'ezer) as warrior.
I asked her why Adam wasn't designated "warrior" as well and what "warrior" was an apt translation in the pre-Fall situation. I was actually hissed by women behind me. What they didn't know is that I'm a graduate of The Citadel and a former tank commander so no amount of hissing affects me at all. :-)
We are dealing with a new generation of PCA young men and women and we must invest our time in them.
I would heartily recommend the new book co-authored by Susan Hunt and Ligon Duncan entitled "Women's Ministry in the Local Church" (Crossway, 2006)
Rattlesnake 6

Before we hold that *too* much against her, is is possible that she had name recognition before she was married that it might have been useful for her to maintain afterward? I can think of other ladies -- Joni Eareckson Tada, Elisabeth Elliot (who never really used either Leitch or Gren publicly) -- whom we might be less likely to pick on for not going by Mrs. Husband's Name.

Rebecca Jones has written a new book about women in the church that looks excellent. I have never met her, but am well acquainted with her father--Dr. Edmund Clowney, and her husband Dr. Peter Jones, neither of whom seem scared of strong women. I shall try to find a copy of the book and will, if you like, write a review.

About names, my sister is Dr. MacDougall professionally but Mrs. Larry Rivers in her private life.

Dear Tim:

For those familiar with Presbyterian history of the last one hundred and fifty years, all one can say is, here we go again.

Hey Keith, Mary Lee is her first name, and she doesn't send out a c.v. telling people she has an international speaking ministry.

Alas, I think David is right. Here we go again...

Is there a written history you could recommend? It seems like many were faithful in the 19th century, and then all of a sudden blatant heretics and Christ-deniers like Harry Emerson Fosdick showed up in pulpits. It's a mystery to me what happened in between (Lewis: "the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts"). I have often wondered if the evangelical churches (including the PCA) are slowly following the script of the old mainline churches, or if this is a false analogy.

Not only that, Keith, but you might notice that the main sentence of the post was "but no one thinks of her husband, Frank, when people say 'Carolyn Custis James.'" And you also might notice in the other announcement that it makes a particular point of mentioning who Mary Lee is married to...


I appreciate the clarification, but what I'm saying is that Mary Lee Bayly is known as "Mary Lee Bayly" and not "Mrs. Timothy Bayly". I guess I'm just confused about why Mrs. James' being known as "Carolyn Custis James" is somehow unacceptable, but "Mary Lee Bayly" is cool. On top of that, Mrs. James' bio also clearly identifies her as Mr. James' wife.

Also, I used to go to the church pastored by Walt Handford, whose wife wrote what is probably the most hard-core book I've encountered about women being submissive to their husbands, a book called "Me? Obey Him?" And, what's her name? Elizabeth Rice Handford. She's the daughter of fundamentalist icon John R. Rice.

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