Lotz of picking and choosing in the Garden of Eden...

In her article cited in an earlier post, Anne Graham Lotz is pandering to some of the more ungodly prejudices of our culture by attacking the church for not being biblical on the meaning and purpose of sexuality. What she really means, though, is not that the Church isn't biblical, but that it's not enlightened or progressive--it's not, as they say, "evolved."

Before the watching world, Ms. Lotz argues that those who maintain distinctions between the sexes (other than those irrepressible biological and physiological ones) are bound for extinction as her new age of feminist gender equity finally dawns among the slowpoke people of God.

One looks in vain for any recognition on Ms. Lotz's part that she's thrown the entire history of the Christian Church's doctrine of sexuality in the dumpster. Likely she'd deny this, pointing to her strong stand against sodomy or divorce as proof that, where the rubber meets the road, she's rock solid on sexuality.

Yet the order of God's creation prior to the Fall is as clear concerning the sinfulness of women exercising authority over men as it is concerning the sinfulness of men having sex with men, or as it is concerning divorce. The authoritative primacy of man over woman, the heterosexual limits of physical intimacy, and the evil of divorce are each equally and undeniably established by our Creator in the Garden of Eden, and the rest of Scripture only reinforces God's Edenic order.

Asked whether divorce is right or wrong, Jesus responded by going back to Eden, prior to the Fall, making it clear that God's order from the beginning was heterosexual, monogamous, and lifelong:

(Jesus) answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." (Matthew 19:4-6)

Asked whether it was proper for women to exercise authority over men, the Apostle Paul responded by going back to Eden, prior to the Fall, making it clear that God's order from the beginning was neither matriarchal nor egalitarian, but patriarchal:

But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. (1 Timothy 2:12, 13)

Do Ms. Lotz and other evangelical feminists really think they can pick and choose between the details of the sexual order God established in Eden which is reinforced repeatedly in the sacred words of Scripture?

"Let's see, I'll have some heterosexuality and monogamy, please. But no patriarchy today, thank you."

Well, any simpleton can see what's happened, and therefore what's coming.

What's happened? Well, for many years, now, evangelicals have lived in an increasingly egalitarian and feminist culture, and that culture has won us over--all that's left is the mop-up operation. Few of us would be willing to preach or listen to the sermons of past centuries our fathers in the faith preached concerning male authority or female deference and submission. And structurally, our practice bears no resemblance to the church's historical practice.

Denominationally, some of us are still forced to toe the line: we don't yet ordain women to the pastorate or eldership, but we've taken every other step we can. We have women leading our corporate worship, administering the Lord's Supper, preaching in our pulpits, teaching mixed-sex adult Sunday school classes, leading mixed-sex small groups, serving as commissioned deacons, serving on our national theological study committees, preaching at our conferences, serving as regional directors in our parachurch and mission organizations... Need I go on?

Yes, we have our Pharisaical righteousness in each place we're fiddling around the edge. Women preaching in our pulpits are the exception--not the rule--and they do so under the authority and review of the elders board. Our women deacons are not ordained--they're only commissioned. We've limited the Sunday school classes led by women to one quarter of our offerings each term. Women lead our call to worship and prayer of confession, but never our pastoral prayer. Women administer the Lord's Supper, but our senior pastor is a man and he's the one who hands the trays to the women before they go out into the congregation. The woman on the study committee has special expertise in the subject under review, and she's not a full voting member. Our conference isn't a church meeting, our speakers aren't really preaching, and we don't have any authority over those who attend. Our organization is parachurch--not church--so we have no need to submit to Scripture's prohibition of women exercising authority over men.

At this point, some readers are likely hung up on one or more of the particulars I've cited and are asking themselves, "Is it really wrong to have women deacons?" "Why shouldn't women lead in prayer during corporate worship?" "If women shouldn't be regional directors of mission agencies, should they be running for president?" Or, "If it's wrong for women to preach in morning worship, is it also wrong for them to serve as professors in Christian colleges and seminaries?"

Although these are important questions, such examples are only meant to be representative of the sea-change the evangelical church has embraced. We will differ over which of the above practices are within the proper boundaries of Scripture, but we must not differ in acknowledging that, taken as a whole, these practices are not a reformation returning us to the doctrine of Scripture, but rather a revolution leading us away from Scripture...

In the matter of God's order of authority and submission between the sexes, we have denied that it was established by God in Eden before the Fall by allowing it to become privatized. We hold that it's a truth for the Christian home and church, only. Then we work to limit its practice even there. We're timid and defensive, fearing the world will persecute us if we uphold this order. Having a practice of leadership and authority that has become increasingly difficult to distinguish from that of our secular society, we have allowed ourselves to be pressed into the world's mold.

Turning from what's happened to what's coming, note well that our culture is not standing still. Having left patriarchy--the Fatherhood of God in man--behind, the Western world is well on its way to obliterating biblical sexual morality, also. Sadly, we evangelicals are keeping up with the Joneses. Fornication, adultery, and divorce are pretty mainstream for us, now. And as the world turns to the normalization of sodomy, we're making our adjustments here, also. Our language has changed. We avoid any words that would attach shame to the act. 'Sodomy' is out and 'homosexuality' is in. We join the gay rights lobby in opposing what the legal community, mass media, and our courts still refer to as "sodomy laws." And the beat goes on.

Without question, evangelicals will continue to slake our own lusts and avoid persecution by conforming ourselves to the world's mold. The same dishonesty we've used to deny father-rule in Scripture will be used to deny monogamy, life-long, heterosexual marriage. We can't pick and choose which part of God's creation order we'll keep, and which we'll toss. It's all an intricately woven fabric, absolutely beautiful when God's plan is honored and fulfilled, but horrendously ugly and destructive when we fiddle around the edges and the fabric begins to unravel.

To reiterate: Every essential truth concerning sexuality is there in the Garden of Eden, prior to the Fall. From the beginning, our Creator ordained sexuality to be patriarchal, heterosexual, covenantal, and monogamous. Those who honor the parts of His plan they like, dismissing the parts they hate, will be broken by their own rebellion. Sadly, their children and the members of their congregation will be broken, also.

As Billy Graham turns over his mantle to his daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, calling her "the best preacher in the family," we see God's hand of judgment on us, as it was prophesied by Isaiah:

O My people! Their oppressors are children, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray And confuse the direction of your paths. (Isaiah 3:12)

Comments

You wrote. "Denominationally, some of us are still forced to toe the line: we don't yet ordain women to the pastorate or eldership, but we've taken every other step we can. We have women leading our corporate worship, administering the Lord's Supper, preaching in our pulpits, teaching mixed-sex adult Sunday school classes, leading mixed-sex small groups, serving as commissioned deacons, serving on our national theological study committees, preaching at our conferences, serving as regional directors in our parachurch and mission organizations... Need I go on?"

In my efforts to know as much as I can about the subject, I have been reading as much as possible.

A common "objection" that I get from people is "where do you draw the line," when it comes to women teaching. When you included that link to frame-poythress.org, I was very intrigued, and the first thing that I wanted to look up was what they said about women.

Only one article is listed, and Frame writes about whether or not women should be allowed to teach Sunday School. After giving several warnings he concludes that it does not go against Biblical teaching for women to teach in Sunday School.

After reading that, I went back to a Grudem article that I read three months ago, and much to my suprise, the article held the same position.

I don't know where to go from here. It appears that your stance is against women teaching in Sunday School amongst other things, and I'm still going through your archives so that I can be caught up. Is there an entry where you confront this position that some of your peers have taken using the Word?

I remember reading the entry about the woman who taught Sunday School for more than 50 years, and then was asked to step down. I'll check that out after making this comment. What else is there?

Thanks

Tim,
You talk a lot about "Scripture" as if the major problem with evangelicals (and Episcopalians) is their view of Scripture. But isn't this just theology-speak for what the Fathers called "metaphysics"? For if our view of Scripture is post-modern, we can affirm everything you want us to say about Scripture, we can even recite the Nicene Creed without meaning any of it. And then the debate centers, not on what we don't believe (which can get contentious) but on what we do. Anne Graham Lotz makes the claim in her WashPo article that "In other words, the Biblical record is clear: God created men and women equal. Period"

Now I realize that to disagree with Anne is to bring down the wrath of Thomas Jefferson upon us all, but may I suggest that TJ and AGL use the words in very different ways, with very different metaphysics.

Let's begin with the word "created". If we are materialists, then what God created was human beings with different chromosomes, women having XX, and men XY. So clearly Anne can't be talking about material creation. So she must be talking about "spiritual" creation. But other than "breathing" into them the breath of life, the Genesis account really says nothing about spiritual creations. And for that matter, the way in which God did the spiritual breathing was different for Eve than for Adam. In fact, St Paul, not a poor metaphysician himself, sees a huge significance in this difference. So what do we make of Anne's insistence that they are "equal"?

Well she could be talking about a legal standing, that Eve and Adam are equal before the law, that they are equally moral beings, or that they are equal in importance. But the rest of the article belies that interpretation. She seems to be saying that they are metaphysically equal, that some substance of which they are made is absolutely identical. She goes further, and attributes inequality to the Fall, to the introduction of human sin into the relationship. This makes the conclusion rather iron-clad, affirming the positive and denying the negative leaves little wiggle room.

Therefore one would have to assume that Anne is referring to a dualistic creation, that the spiritual nature of Eve is identical to spiritual nature of Adam. But what does this dualistic interpretation require? It requires that the spirit and the body be disjoint, separate, unable to influence each other. For if the XX could influence the spirit differently than the XY, then they wouldn't be equal, would they?

And so we see in Anne's metaphysics, that specter of Gnosticism and its dualistic universe contaminating evangelicalism. It is the defining characteristic of the American religion, and now it marks the end of the Graham legacy. It is, perhaps, an unfortunate consequence of the Reformation emphasis that elevated the mind while neglecting the body, for at the core of dualism is an inordinate trust in the intellect, and a mistrust of the flesh. But there is a deep significance in genes, in the genetic differences between men and women, and it is not only a poor theology that ignores it, but a soon-to-be heretical theology that denies it.

Dear Alex,

When someone asks you where you draw lines on this issue, they aren't asking a question. They're making an argument. The line of reasoning goes like this: Paul said "never." I NEVER permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man. That's a universal statement. And then Paul goes back to the order of Creation to support this edict, further making it absolutely indisputable that his claim is universal. Well, Alex, that poses a problem, doesn't it? I mean, you're talking about women in the pulpit and in the home and all, but what about women in the workplace? What about Sunday School teachers? What about regional directors of Campus Crusade? You're making a claim about little things, but you haven't thought about the big implications of it. Come on, Alex, think a little. If you stand against women in authority over men in the church or home as Paul does- ESPECIALLY on the grounds of order of creation, you have to stand against women teaching and exercising authority over men everywhere, and that is absurd. You don't want to be standing that far out to the right, now, do you? Clearly you've misunderstood the passage and should come back to center. Or just learn to keep your mouth shut.

I'm not discouraging you from being settled in your own mind on these issues. You must be. But there's a couple of clear issues in the asking of that question. Even if the question is asked in earnest there's a basic problem. Implicit in it is the idea that God's decree on this issue is oppressive. "Where am I safe from this oppressive man-rule that you speak of?" Instead of taking pleasure in the order of God's creation and his very good, very gracious rules and asking, "How do I be obedient to my God?" In other words, more often than not a good way to rebut the argument is to ask, "Wouldn't you rather be seeking out ways to be obedient and submissive to God's order than seeking out ways around them? Asking what's permissible instead of what's beneficial is one of the most clear indicators of idolatry I know of. What are you afraid of losing here? What do you have that is so much more precious to you than glad submission to God?" And like Jesus, you turn their wiggly argument right back onto their rebellion and pray that God would give them light and humility to see. And when you can, lead the argument back to a point of the authority of Scripture. But be wary of playing their games and careful that you don't answer a fool according to his folly.

With affection,

Jake

Um, Tim, isn't it "Mrs." Lotz? Or are you pointing at the way she prefers to be addressed?

I used to attend a church that did its best to come as close as possible to what they considered Scriptural limits in this area, and it was sadly a war zone. Everybody thought that they had authority.

"When someone asks you where you draw lines on this issue, they aren't asking a question. They're making an argument."

Astute point. When people ask about the line, it's usually because they want to redraw it.

Tim's post makes the useful point that what's going on here is death by a thousand cuts and the church bowing to the morality of the world.

----

How now, good fellow!" said Mr. Worldly Wiseman. "Where are you going with that heavy burden on your back?"

"To yonder wicket gate," said Christian. "For there, Evangelist told me, I shall be put into a way to be rid of my heavy burden."

"Evangelist is a dangerous and troublesome fellow," said Mr. Worldly Wiseman. "Do not follow his counsel. Hear me: I am older than you. I can tell you an easy way to get rid of your burden. You see the village on yonder high hill?"

"Yes," said Christian. "I remember the village is called Morality."

"It is," said Mr. Worldly Wiseman. "There you will find a very judicious gentleman whose name is Mr. Legality. If he is not in, inquire for his son, Mr. Civility. Both of them have great skill in helping men to get burdens off their shoulders."

Jake, thanks for your comment. I want to call you and talk to you more about the issue.

Here's a thought though. How do I explain this to a female student who has a very strongly developed mind, and believes that the fall is a man-made creation? She references such non-Western authors as Bonhoeffer and Volf when she says that.

So here I am saying that Paul references a time before the fall, and guess what she says? There is no fall.

Alex,

Is this young woman claiming to be a Christian? If there is no fall, there is no redemption.

I'm honestly having a hard time understanding what she means. She is indeed claiming to be a Christian. I don't know much about Volf, but by using Bonhoeffer as a source, I think I may know where she is coming from. If I know this correctly, I believe that Bonhoeffer may not have believed that Adam and Eve even existed.

Quote: "'When someone asks you where you draw lines on this issue, they aren't asking a question. They're making an argument.'

Astute point. When people ask about the line, it's usually because they want to redraw it."

I am still not sure that is true in all cases, as I've seen this sort of question asked in an attempt to address, Biblically, how to determine church practice. But, as I think about it more, it dawns on me that many do in fact ask this question in an attempt to redraw the line.

For example, I think of several churches that ended up redrawing the "women should keep silent in church" line to mean that no female voice could be heard in any church gathering, except perhaps at meal-times. Husbands and sons had to voice prayer requests, answer questions for a woman, etc. There was the one church that didn't even permit women to sing with the congregation and that later drew the line even further and no longer allowed women to hold hymnals and Bibles, since they were not turning pages "silently" enough for some of the men.

There are churches that redraw the "Titus 2:3-5" line to mean that a mother can never teach her daughter to memorize a Bible verse, but can only teach her the "female curriculum" as outlined in that passage. There are churches that do not allow any women to counsel one another, but require even the most delicate matters to be brought before a male elder board, sometimes with very ungodly results.

There is the church that decided to sing without any musical accompaniment because the woman pianist might possibly be construed as "leading" --- after all, she was deciding the tempo and key of the songs being sung.

How to decide where to draw the line without arguing for its redrawing? Not easy!

Dear Rebecca, Your comment is ridiculous. You remind me of Ron Enroth who, teaching at an evangelical college in one of the richest and most beautiful towns in the country--Westmont College, my wife's alma mater--issued books and ran around the country speaking against churches and pastors that abuse. And one prominent example proving the timeliness of his warning was the story he told of a church in the LA area where the pastor was displeased with his church softball team and, to teach them a lesson, required them to play their next game batting and fielding left-handed.

Yeah, I hear about cases like that all the time. For instance, recently at my home church, College Church in Wheaton (whose senior pastor is Kent Hughes), someone in the choir loft sneezed during Kent's sermon and he was so ticked off he made them all sing their anthem next Lord's Day at the opposite end of their range: sopranos had to sing bass, altos tenor, tenors alto, and basses soprano. It was horrible and everybody thought Kent was being so unreasonable. But hey, it worked: no one sneezes during his sermons any more, and if they absolutely have to, they muffle it with a handkerchief, hymnal, or Bible. Joke.

Another friend, who will remain nameless, drove into his church parking lot one Lord's Day morning and found that the nursery coordinator had parked in his Senior Pastor spot, right by the doorway. So he had to drive to the end of the parking lot and was late for prayer in his office with the elders and other pastoral staff. Monday, an E-mail came out from his executive secretary announcing that none of the babies' diapers were to be changed next Lord's Day. The nursery coordinator and her workers would have to live with the screams until their mothers returned from worship. Joke.

I mean, this stuff goes on all over the place and you can never be vigilant enough. There's a woman who's tenure-track at Westmont who mentioned the word 'evolution' in her lecture when a rich member of Westmont's board of trustees happened to be sitting in on her class, and Westmont's president was so angry that he made her finish out the semester dressed in a gorilla suit. Joke.

Really, the only solution is to get rid of all authority. No more presidents, no more Senior Pastors, no more preachers--just Ron Enroth and all his super-apostles with their enlightened intellects who understand that the real danger facing evangelical churches today is not the abandonment of pastoral care and the abdication of pastoral authority, but dictators and tyrants answerable to nobody but themselves--you know, like tenured professors. Joke.

Your examples, dear sister, are equally absurd. In decades of work with pastors and churches, including serving as executive director and council member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, I've never heard one story as absurd as these stories you're coming up with by the handful. And since there's no question that you would not cite these examples if you didn't personally know they were true, I must conclude that you keep the queerest friends and read the world's most exotic blogs.

Speaking pastorally, if someone who told such stories to me as an explanation for their rebellion against God in the matter of women exercising authority over men, and refusing to submit to their husbands, I'd wonder what terrible pain in her past, committed by her father or husband or uncle or pastor, had led her to hate men and the authority God caused to reside in their sex.

In other words, the citing of such absurd examples has nothing to do with logic, but the heart.

I'll admit that the examples seem absurd and it might appear that I keep strange company and read strange blogs. I'll also admit that I've visited some odd churches over the years, including one that believed that women should only teach one another the "female curriculum as outlined in Titus 2:3-5". My husband and I also sat through a lengthy six part tape series on the headcovering passage taught by a pastor (Steve Wilkins? it's been many years) who taught that women's voices could only be heard in group singing or congregational reading (he oversued his pet phrase "as a voice of one" so much that our pastor at the time joked that he and his wife said, as a voice of one, that they could not sit through any more of his teaching.)

There were other examples that I could have cited, but I chose only those that I had either personally experienced or verified. But I don't expect you to believe me, for obvious reasons.

I did not intend to be ridiculous. It is just that I have been around the block long enough, in my almost 50 years of church membership and my lengthy friendships and associations with a diverse body of Christians, including man within various types of ministry, to know that it is not an easy thing to determine where the line should be drawn. Redrawing it takes place in both directions. It is interesting that many people want to deny that they are guilty of any sort of redrawing or of any wrong motives, yet are so quick to attack any perceived disagreement as sin and rebellion, especially if it comes from someone of the opposite gender.

Leadership can be a heady thing indeed.

Yes, leadership can be heady. But after observing your comments on this blog for quote some time, now, I would add a statement I believe more pertinent to this discussion than your own: namely, that rebellion is never lacking in excuses.

Note, dear readers, that "Hath God truly said" is as fresh today as it was in the Garden of Eden when Satan approached Adam by coming up through Eve--"as through a mine" as Luther put it.

Rebecca: "How to decide where to draw the line without arguing for its redrawing? Not easy!"

Hello. Since you said you listened to a tape series on headcoverings, why not start "redrawing" it there -- that is actually commanded -- instead of worrying about whether or not women can hold Bibles and hymn books quietly enough. If you are serious about where the lines are, why not start with what is spelled out? Don't dismiss things with examples of silly practices while neglecting practices that are right there in black and white.

--Michael Mc

Tim Bayly:
And since there's no question that you would not cite these examples if you didn't personally know they were true, I must conclude that you keep the queerest friends and read the world's most exotic blogs.>>>>

Tim, thank you for saying this. Yes, the stories are pretty absurd. They provide no help in knowing how to apply the Biblical principles to specific situations. They seem to be meant to discredit those who would wish to honor God's Word on the subject of women being silent in gathered worship and not exercising authority over men. I mean, since there are these weird examples of patriarchalist abuse out there - whether they are true stories or urban legend - the best way to handle things is to just let women do what they think is right.

You know? Kind of like in the times of the Judges, where everyone was free to do as they felt was right. It's safer for women that way, since you never know when a woman might find herself in some absurd, abusive situation or another where she has to let her husband hold the hymnal or listen to her sons pray. Goodness! That's gotta' hurt.

If the obvious Biblical teachings are accepted - women's silence and not exercising authority - then the rest is just details, really. If someone wants to reject the Biblical teachings, then all kinds of absurd stories can be trotted out to undermine confidence in God's Word.

Of course, I know that these sisters do not accept that you, Tim Bayly, are teaching the truth. You must be resisted. You must be defeated. You are the enemy. You are an abusive patriarchalist, and your teachings harm women.

Well, I'm sure that I am not telling you anything that you do not know.

Thank you, though, for holding the line when many have decided that there are no lines worth drawing at all since we are free in Christ.

Yes, we are free. What are we freed from, and what are we freed to? That is the issue. Are we set free from sin so that we can live and think as we please? ...or are we set free so that we can live lives which bring glory to God because we live as His bondslaves?

BTW, there are weird teachings out there that do twist Scripture and make a mockery of God and His Word. Some of it does come from the patriarchal side. More of it comes from the egalitarian side of the aisle, though. The worst kind of abuse is the misuse of Scripture in order to take people captive to doctrines of demons. I honestly think that at this point in time, it's the feminist ideology invading our churches that is the much, much greater danger.

...but that's just me...

God bless,
Donna L. Carlaw

'Asked whether it was proper for women to exercise authority over men, the Apostle Paul responded by going back to Eden, prior to the Fall, making it clear that God's order from the beginning was neither matriarchal nor egalitarian, but patriarchal:'

Can you tell me WHO 'asked whether it was proper for women (plural) to exercise authority over men'? Are you saying Timothy asked Paul? Where is this recorded in the Word?

The phrase 'a woman' can mean either generic for all women or Paul could have used it to refer to 1 specific woman. So how would one determine whether or not 'a woman' is generic for all women or used for a particular woman? By looking to the context.

1. Looking at vv.8,9&10 we have generic plural, men and women.

2. Then look at v.11. It says 'a woman'. Is it generic for all women or used for a particular single woman? Well one cannot say that it is plural thus far in the text BECAUSE so far, up to v.11, PAUL made a change from plural in vv.8-10 to singular, v.11. So the question stands the moment Paul makes the shift from plural to singular.

3. Ask yourself, is there anywhere in the passage then or next that tells which Paul had in mind? Paul's mention of Eve doesn't tell us anything. Paul's mention of Adam doesn't tell us. (Unless one assumes or believes Adam had some gender status, based on his being created first, above Eve because remember, in This text thus far at this point it cannot be established whether or not Paul's uasge was meant genereic or particular.)

4. You can only find the answer once you read v.15. There is a single reference and a plural reference that is, a 'she' and 'they'. Who's she? Who's they? 'She' and 'they' cannot refer back to the same thing, that is, 'a woman' as that would not be grammaticaly correct. NOTE: If one begins here at the part of the text with the idea that she refers back to 'a woman' having already in mind that 'a woman' is used generic for all women, then one has started backwards when in fact it is the 'she' and 'they' reference that cannot refer to the same thing which determines Paul's meaning and besides, one would still have to answer for 'they'.

There is nothing contextualy to support 'a woman' being used genericaly for all women. 'She', Paul says will be saved if 'they' (the woman and the man, probably a married couple) continue to do something that some had already began to stray from, that is, faith and love, see 1 Tim 1:5. So the connection goes back to chp 1, the context being false teachers.

Kathy,

1) only a small minority of the church is sufficiently skilled to raise or address grammatical arguments of that form, so there won't be a lot of direct interaction on those points. People might see it and say "huh, that seems reasonable" or "nah, sounds wacky", but most of them don't have the background in Greek necessary to verify or disprove the claim. I've written a couple papers on the passage lately and may be able to do so, but...

2) typically the objections just move on to another word in the passage, or another "possible" meaning of the word. Indeed, your claim is mutually exclusive with many other claims being made against the traditional understanding of the passage. Honestly, from what I've seen a number of "scholars" do, it looks like any stick is good enough to beat the traditional dog.

3) if you would like to see a detailed, scholarly response, I would suggest searching on www.cbmw.com and/or finding a copy of "Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15", which is available on Amazon (or cheaper if you find it used).

4) may the Lord bless you (and all of us) with zeal to understand His word rightly, and to submit to His word regardless of the consequences, avoiding the pitfalls of rebellion on the one hand and unthinking adoption of others' interpretations on the other.

Blessings,

Keith

'1) only a small minority of the church is sufficiently skilled to raise or address grammatical arguments of that form, so there won't be a lot of direct interaction on those points. People might see it and say "huh, that seems reasonable" or "nah, sounds wacky", but most of them don't have the background in Greek necessary to verify or disprove the claim. I've written a couple papers on the passage lately and may be able to do so, but...'

Simply, all one has to do is go to scriptures4all.org. They can check the interlinear and see the grammar for themselves to verify that what I say is true.

'2) typically the objections just move on to another word in the passage, or another "possible" meaning of the word. Indeed, your claim is mutually exclusive with many other claims being made against the traditional understanding of the passage. Honestly, from what I've seen a number of "scholars" do, it looks like any stick is good enough to beat the traditional dog.'

What is not in context is 'a woman' being used for generic women. Outside context, the ignoring of v.15, and Paul's intentional shift from plural to singular, and chp 1, false teaching and the connection to 1:5, anything can be passed on unchecked. We are to be as bereans and have the responsibilty to learn God's word.

'3) if you would like to see a detailed, scholarly response, I would suggest searching on www.cbmw.com and/or finding a copy of "Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15", which is available on Amazon (or cheaper if you find it used).'

I've read much literature on the subject from both sides. The issue here is that there has been no refutation given. I've been waiting for one.

'4) may the Lord bless you (and all of us) with zeal to understand His word rightly, and to submit to His word regardless of the consequences, avoiding the pitfalls of rebellion on the one hand and unthinking adoption of others' interpretations on the other.

May we all make use of are critical thinking capabilities rather than accept any wind of doctrine or let others think for us.

Blessings

>May we all make use of are critical thinking capabilities rather than accept any wind of doctrine or let others think for us.

Yes, it would truly be a pity if I let someone like the apostle Paul prevent me from doing my own autonomous thinking...

"Yes, it would truly be a pity if I let someone like the apostle Paul prevent me from doing my own autonomous thinking..."

Indeed. This thread is beginning to remind me of the old Phil Medley/Bert Russell tune recorded by the Isley Brothers. You know the one, Twist and Shout

"May we all make use of are critical thinking capabilities rather than accept any wind of doctrine or let others think for us."

Mark and David,

I think you've missed the point - Kathy's the one with a "wind of doctrine" beating against two millenia of universal church witness.

Kathy,

Doesn't it give you at least a little pause to make the claim that you now, after two thousand years of church history, now you and a few of your fellow travellers are the only ones to understand what Paul was really, REALLY saying?

Kamilla

>I think you've missed the point - Kathy's the one with a "wind of doctrine" beating against two millenia of universal church witness.

I think that's what I was trying to say. Must not have done it very well...

Mark and David,

I think you've missed the point - Kathy's the one with a "wind of doctrine" beating against two millenia of universal church witness.

Ya think?

Now I know how the stage comedian feels when his best joke is followed by silence and blank stares.

> The phrase 'a woman' can mean either generic for all women or Paul could have used it to refer to 1 specific woman.

Kathy,

I don't know why something so straightforward has to be made into something complicated, as if only a skilled linguist can fathom it. "A woman" would be singular if used in a narrative, but not when generally pronouncing a proscription against something.

> So how would one determine whether or not 'a woman' is generic for all women or used for a particular woman? By looking to the context.

No, the context shows he is obviously talking about women as a group. Is v.11 also only referring to one particular woman?--

"A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness."

How is Timothy supposed to figure out which particular woman Paul is talking about, with such an evasive and cryptic command?

So, this argument only applies to your supposed one particular woman?--

"For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve."

It really makes no sense for "a woman" to be singular in v.11 or 12.

I'm not a scholar and I don't know any Greek, but I do know a little English...

"A child rode in the car."

That refers to one child (and one car).

"I do not allow a child to ride in a car without a seatbelt."

That refers to all children (but not all in one car or one seatbelt).

"I do not allow the child to ride in a car without a seatbelt."

That refers to one child in any car, using one seatbelt.

"But I do not allow the woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet."

That refers to one particular woman and all men.

I also see you unfortunately overlooked a similar concern for the male(s) spoken of: "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet." If we are going to question the female part, we must also question the male part. So now we have the additional quandry over whether:

1) Paul is prohibiting one particular woman from teaching one particular man.

2) Paul is prohibiting one particular woman from teaching all men.

3) Paul is prohibiting all women from teaching one particular man.

4) Paul is prohibiting all women from teaching all men.

If we follow your example, the answer would have to be #1, but the particular parties referred to are anonymous. It doesn't fit the context, and besides, it is illogical for Paul to say that.

I guess now the case can be made that #4 has only a 1-in-4 chance of being the right meaning. I'm sure we can reduce the odds of the traditional meaning even further without much effort--

Paul personally didn't allow it, but he didn't say he wouldn't allow someone else to allow it. (In other words, Paul was postmodern before his time.)

Perhaps we should also question the word "or"? If a woman is teaching and exercising authority, maybe that is okay. But if she is only doing one or the other of them, it isn't.

--Michael

David,

I'm sorry. I was looking at it the other way around, I guess. We can hardly call St. Paul a "wind" now, can we?

Kamilla

>I'm sorry. I was looking at it the other way around, I guess. We can hardly call St. Paul a "wind" now, can we?

I guess I was thinking more of the part of the phrase where she was hailing the criticality of the autonomy of individual thought...

'I don't know why something so straightforward has to be made into something complicated, as if only a skilled linguist can fathom it. "A woman" would be singular if used in a narrative, but not when generally pronouncing a proscription against something.'

I'll focus here right now.

Let's put all things aside OTHER THAN precisley what Paul said, penned in this passage of 1 Timothy. In the passage, Paul simply wrote, 'a woman'. He changed from plural, generic 'women' in v.9 to singular, 'a woman' in v.11. Paul, then literaly prohibited a woman from teaching a man. That is what he wrote, but YOU write that he prohibited 'women' which makes it complicating since the word is not in the text as it doesn't exist and so, here we are ready to find out how it is imagined that Paul said 'women'.

Kathy,

Again, why make it so complicated. Given the context of St. Paul's "a woman" the simplest and most obvious meaning is a = any, period. And so the church has said for 2000 years yet now you come along and say all those wise folks were just so very blind?

Kamilla

> In the passage, Paul simply wrote, 'a woman'.

So? I suppose Moses is writing about a particular, individual man, and not referring to something that applies to men in general, here...?

Exodus 22:16

"If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife."

> He changed from plural, generic 'women' in v.9 to singular, 'a woman' in v.11.

The meaning remains --obviously-- plural.

> Paul, then literaly prohibited a woman from teaching a man.

...because Adam was created first, a particular woman [let's call the anonymous woman "Elizabeth"] can't teach a particular man [let's call the anonymous man "Simeon"]. Why does the Adam and Eve reasoning only fit Liz and Simeon and not other males and females in Timothy's church? A meaningless thing to say, especially in the context of the passage. (Which is how most egal interpretations end up.) Timothy doesn't know which individual woman must remain silent.

> That is what he wrote, but YOU write that he prohibited 'women' which makes it complicating since the word is not in the text as it doesn't exist and so, here we are ready to find out how it is imagined that Paul said 'women'.

What does "I do not allow a motorist to drive over the speed limit" mean? Is it referring to a specific individual we'll call "Tom," or any person who comes within radar range? This is so obvious, it is absurd to have to even mention it.

--Michael

Why make What so complicating? A woman is a woman, not women. Is that complicating? What's complicated about Paul having prohibted 1 woman from teaching 1 man?

You mean, why be so precise?

> So? I suppose Moses is writing about a particular, individual man, and not referring to something that applies to men in general, here...?

Exodus 22:16

"If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife."

Only if you suppose that he refered to a woman as she and a they at the same time, somwhere, in some scripture? ('she will be saved if they continue')

> The meaning remains --obviously-- plural.

By what evidence and proof?

> ...because Adam was created first, a particular woman [let's call the anonymous woman "Elizabeth"] can't teach a particular man [let's call the anonymous man "Simeon"]. Why does the Adam and Eve reasoning only fit Liz and Simeon and not other males and females in Timothy's church? A meaningless thing to say, especially in the context of the passage. (Which is how most egal interpretations end up.) Timothy doesn't know which individual woman must remain silent.

I've not commented here yet. But we'll get there.

> What does "I do not allow a motorist to drive over the speed limit" mean? Is it referring to a specific individual we'll call "Tom," or any person who comes within radar range? This is so obvious, it is absurd to have to even mention it.

Will He (Tom) be given another citation if They do not continue to abide by the traffic laws?

>You mean, why be so precise?

Not precise, willful and arrogant...

Kathy,

Yes, you are making it complicated. Please take note of the context, which has been interpreted the same way for 2000 years. IOW, in this context a = any, period.

Why should we believe that you, all of a sudden and in the middle of a culture largely driven by feminism, understand what literally no one in the history of the church has understood before these last two generations?

Unless you've got a good reason for believing all your predecesors were simply too stupid to understand the simple grammar you advocate, I don't think there's anything further to say here.

Kamilla

> What's complicated about Paul having prohibted 1 woman from teaching 1 man?

[Did someone say "lotz of picking and choosing"? Now we discover Paul is picking on a solitary woman, whom he prohibits from teaching a particular man! [A restraining order of sorts.] What straws feminists pick and choose to grasp at. This is a classic example of them complicating a passage to the point of intellibility. As long as the regular meaning is somehow clumsily done away with, it doesn't matter if the resulting interpretation is

meaningless.]

Kathy--

What one woman is Paul prohibiting from teaching?

Why did he switch from women to one woman?

Why is she prohibited from teaching just one man?

Does this mean this same woman can teach all the other men?

Why is Paul doing this to this particular woman? ...because Adam was created first? Could it be because, uh, she is a woman?

Isn't he still being mean and sexist by bringing up all this gender talk?

> 1. Looking at vv.8,9&10 we have generic plural, men and women.

> 2. Then look at v.11. It says 'a woman'. Is it generic for all women...

Yes, obviously.

...or used for a particular single woman?

No, there'd not be a shred of continuity of meaning, if that was the case.

> 3. Ask yourself, is there anywhere in the passage then or next that tells which Paul had

in mind?

Yes, there is. Here and elsewhere.

> Paul's mention of Eve doesn't tell us anything. Paul's mention of Adam doesn't tell us.

"Us" must mean dismissive feminists, because it does indeed tell people who take it all seriously something very important.

--Michael

Sorry... "This is a classic example of them complicating a passage to the point of unintellibility."

> Will He (Tom) be given another citation if They do not continue to abide by the traffic laws?

I see the one about not "permitting a motorist to speed" must have been too complicated. Try these from 1 Cor. 11:

v.3 "...Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman..."

Note the use of "every" & "the" man in practically the same breath, both referring to the same thing [generic/plural], not 2 different situations [plural and singular], like you keep advocating.

Here's another no-brainer:

v.5 "But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head...

v.6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off

In verse 5, "woman" is used in a universal sense, because of the modifier "every." The very next verse, continuing with the very same subject, he is all of a sudden talking about a single, specific woman (to hear you talk). He must be picking on "Liz" again!

He switches horses midstream with the men, too, talking about all men and then "switching" to just a lone, anonymous man:

v.4 "Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head."

v.7 "For a man ought not to have his head covered"

You'd think an inspired Apostle would stop jumping around and changing the subject back and forth from groups to individuals so much.

And there are also a couple verses on Adam and Eve in there again, like in Timothy. Interesting coincidence. But I guess it doesn't tell us anything.

I sure am curious who the one particular woman was that was required to wear a headcovering --and why!-- and why only one man isn't supposed to cover his head. It would be odd for only one unidentified man and woman to have this required of them.

> The issue here is that there has been no refutation given.

Likely because it is such a stellar argument (out in space).

> May we all make use of are critical thinking capabilities rather than accept any wind of doctrine or let others think for us.

Feminists are certainly thinking for a lot of people, the way the most bizzare things get accepted as being more certain than the Word taken at face value.

> So the connection goes back to chp 1, the context being false teachers.

So, Paul was really an egalitarian, and we are false teachers for painting him as something else?

--Michael

> Yes, you are making it complicated. Please take note of the context, which has been interpreted the same way for 2000 years. IOW, in this context a = any, period.

Complicating is turning this matter into something other than what it is, not the inspired word. You don't want to claim tradition as inspired do you? You would make it equal to the word of God itself. Idolatry. If you want to talk about the passage, that would be a simple thing for you to do.

> Why should we believe that you, all of a sudden and in the middle of a culture largely driven by feminism, understand what literally no one in the history of the church has understood before these last two generations?

Beleieve me? Believe Paul, literaly, 'I do not allow a woman' or you can phathom he wrote 'I do not allow women', when he did not. It's simple. 'She will be saved if they'.

> Unless you've got a good reason for believing all your predecesors were simply too stupid to understand the simple grammar you advocate, I don't think there's anything further to say here.'

I don't think you have anything to say on the passage in context as you've not yet and so I won't be responding to you further as my interest is not in anything other than the passage in context.

Again making it complicating. Simple, 'I do not allow a woman'.

> [Did someone say "lotz of picking and choosing"? Now we discover Paul is picking on a solitary woman, whom he prohibits from teaching a particular man! [A restraining order of sorts.] What straws feminists pick and choose to grasp at. This is a classic example of them complicating a passage to the point of intellibility. As long as the regular meaning is somehow clumsily done away with, it doesn't matter if the resulting interpretation is

meaningless.]

The regualar meaning of Paul has not been done away with, because it is written, "I do not allow a woman'.

> What one woman is Paul prohibiting from teaching?

The 1 about which Paul says, 'She (a woman) will be saved if they ( a woman and a man) continue'

> Why did he switch from women to one woman?

Paul says this woman is deceived in v.14. See how simple this all is?

> Why is she prohibited from teaching just one man?

Paul prohibited her from teaching who she was teaching and because she was deceived. (v.14)

> Does this mean this same woman can teach all the other men?

See answer to last question.

> Why is Paul doing this to this particular woman?

Paul says in v.14 that she is deceived as in 'this woman' notice NOT 'Eve'. Verse 14 says, 'woman, not Eve'.

> ...because Adam was created first? Could it be because, uh, she is a woman?

Because she was a deceived woman. We'll get to the rest...

> Isn't he still being mean and sexist by bringing up all this gender talk?

You've got the wrong Paul.

> Yes, obviously.

Proof?

> No, there'd not be a shred of continuity of meaning, if that was the case.

Proof of this continuity of the meaning you impose on the text please?

> "Us" must mean dismissive feminists, because it does indeed tell people who take it all seriously something very important.

Yes, indeed it tells us something very important but here you've hacked off my words from their context and then replied. I asked what I did in the context of, Paul speaking of women plural. Context, context, context.

> I see the one about not "permitting a motorist to speed" must have been too complicated. Try these from 1 Cor. 11:

v.3 "...Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman..."

Note the use of "every" & "the" man in practically the same breath, both referring to the same thing [generic/plural], not 2 different situations [plural and singular], like you keep advocating.

HE will receive another citation if THEY continue to not obey the traffic laws.

Is it too complicating for you to stick with just this 1 scripture for this discussion? DID he refer to a man or a woman as 'she and they' or 'he and they' in that passage of scripture? NO. Doesn't work. Try again.

> 'Here's another no-brainer:

v.5 "But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head...

v.6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off

In verse 5, "woman" is used in a universal sense, because of the modifier "every." The very next verse, continuing with the very same subject, he is all of a sudden talking about a single, specific woman (to hear you talk). He must be picking on "Liz" again!

He switches horses midstream with the men, too, talking about all men and then "switching" to just a lone, anonymous man:

v.4 "Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head."

v.7 "For a man ought not to have his head covered"

You'd think an inspired Apostle would stop jumping around and changing the subject back and forth from groups to individuals so much.'

See above. Simple.

> And there are also a couple verses on Adam and Eve in there again, like in Timothy. Interesting coincidence. But I guess it doesn't tell us anything.

Tells us alot, we are just not there yet and still at 'a woman', 'SHE will be saved if THEY'.

> I sure am curious who the one particular woman was that was required to wear a headcovering --and why!-- and why only one man isn't supposed to cover his head. It would be odd for only one unidentified man and woman to have this required of them.

You are making this complicating by jumping all over the board. Think, 'a wman' and 1Timothy 2:15. Keep it simple.

> Likely because it is such a stellar argument (out in space).

Paul's writing is not in space but in the bible.

> Feminists are certainly thinking for a lot of people, the way the most bizzare things get accepted as being more certain than the Word taken at face value.

Take at face value, 'I do not allow a woman', 'SHE will be saved if THEY'.

> So, Paul was really an egalitarian, and we are false teachers for painting him as something else?

Paul was an apostle who stopped a deceived false teacher from teaching the man she was teaching. You should take his words at face value.

> 1) only a small minority of the church is sufficiently skilled to raise or address grammatical arguments of that form, so there won't be a lot of direct interaction on those points. People might see it and say "huh, that seems reasonable" or "nah, sounds wacky", but most of them don't have the background in Greek necessary to verify or disprove the claim. I've written a couple papers on the passage lately and may be able to do so, but...'

Now what was so complicating again about reading for themselves 'SHE will be saved if THEY" at scriptur4all?

Brothers and sisters,

Kathy's words are sounding more and more like a Monty Python skit. It seems like she almost has to be joking, her logic is so absurd. I suggest that we all stop responding to her. Most likely, she is already getting a good laugh, simply because she is being taken seriously.

I would also like to suggest that in future situations those who advocate a biblical patriarchal position should treat ladies like ladies even if they are feminists. If we treat them in the same manner as we would treat a man advocating the same ideas (which is to say, taking them behind the woodshed for a good thrashing) then we are showing that we actually agree with them in part.

How, exactly, do we treat them differently? I don't know, I leave it to your own consciences, I cannot accuse anyone here.

Blessings,

Keith

Keith,

I'm not sure how anyone can read your words other than as a rebuke to those who have responded to Kathy here. If you did not intend this, it were best for you to make that crystal clear. As it is, your comment reads like a hit-and-run glancing admonition directed at those who challenge Kathy in this thread.

As for feminists like Kathy, I would agree that civility is just as incumbant for those who challenge her as for anyone else. On the other hand, I see no incivility here, even when the engagement is pointed and agressive. After all, Kathy is the one who welds her persona (in this thread, of course) to the notions she pushes foward. If her femaleness somehow insulates her from a cogent, coherent, pointed response ... well, we might as well all pack our bags and leave the Church to the feminists, right?

"Civil" does not mean "soft" or "dissembling" or "pulling punches," particularly when those "punches" are minimal responses to error, obfuscation, and irrationality.

There. I did it -- I called Kathy's arguments erroneous, obfuscating, and irrational. Others in this thread have done the same, and they've laid out their reasons for these judgments, which I need not repeat (THAT might be construed as incivil, right?).

If you would fault these analyses of Kathy's argumentation, step forward and defend what she has put forward against these admonitions.

Kudos Bill, for an excellent post.

Bill,

Sorry for being so terribly unclear.

Feminism is a deadly poison from the pit of hell that has killed countless churches. Kathy is trying to spread that poison through arguments that are "erroneous, obfuscating, and irrational" (at best) or wolfish manipulation (at worst).

Given that, is there any difference between how we should treat her and how we should treat a man doing the same thing?

In any event, I clearly had my "pusillanimity" filter on if my words were seen as a hit-and-run on the people confronting Kathy. I repent of that, thank you for your rebuke, and ask your prayers as I continue to figure out how to be a man after having been indoctrinated so thoroughly otherwise.

Blessings,

Keith

3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach...

3:4 He must be one who manages his household well...

3:5 ...but if a man does not know how to manage his own household...

Hey -- I just realized Paul is only talking about one particular elder here!

> [Kathy:] The regualar meaning of Paul has not been done away with, because it is written, "I do not allow a woman'.

Ma'am, are you aware of the difference between "a" and "the"? May I politely suggest that the meaning you want to force on this passage would actually be more properly written:

"I do not allow the woman..."

"I do not allow that woman..."

"I do not allow her..."

"I do not allow what's-her-name..."

On the other hand, "I do not allow a woman" is generic. No proof required. Just is. Ask your elementary English teacher.

> The 1 about which Paul says, 'She (a woman) will be saved if they ( a woman and a man) continue'

My Bible says "But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they..." You are actually saying "they" means "a woman and a man"? Yikes.

> Verse 14 says, 'woman, not Eve'.

Eve is the woman in verse 14. [Sorry, I don't have "proof," you'll just have to trust me.] The verse is about Adam, and especially Eve "[falling] into transgression." The verse starts with "and," continuing v.13's discussion of Adam and Eve. You also failed to note that v.14 says "the" woman, not "a" woman like in v.12. Therefore different women are being referred to.

With all due respect, to advocate any other meaning than Eve for "the woman" is utter foolishness or willful manipulation of God's word to suit one's own perverse ends, and that includes ladies.

> You've got the wrong Paul.

How would you know? You've got the wrong woman in v.14 (and elsewhere).

> Paul says this woman is deceived in v.14. See how simple this all is?

Yes, very.

> Paul prohibited her from teaching who she was teaching and because she was deceived. (v.14)

Good. Well, Paul would definitely not allow any deceived woman today to teach, right? And since feminists are deceived, they should cease and desist. [I notice how they will assert the Bible prohibitions referred only to out of control women, but won't apply it today!]

If she ("a woman") was deceived, why was she only prohibited from teaching "a man" (ol' what's-his-name) instead of all men and all women, too?

> [Stephen:] I suggest that we all stop responding to her.

Aw, that wouldn't be nice. This Monty Python feminist theology needs to be clearly pointed out for what it is. The more they say, the more ridiculous it gets.

> It seems like she almost has to be joking, her logic is so absurd.

A man could wish. [That's generic, whereas "the man" would be singular.] If she is joking, God's Word is a rather unwise choice of subject matter.

> [Stephen:] Most likely, she is already getting a good laugh, simply because she is being taken seriously.

No, rather, this conversation serves to illustrate how impossible it is to take feminists seriously, how they fend off serious replies with frivolous comments while demanding proof, etc. Classic.

In my humble opinion, such contorted reasoning sounds more like the brainwashing of a bizarre cult, than anything.

--Michael

> ...those who advocate a biblical patriarchal position should treat ladies like ladies even if they are feminists.

Hello Keith--

I can hear Paul now: "I do not allow a man to refute a woman's false teaching like a man's." But we're all off the hook, because "a man" would refer only to a particluar un-named male individual in Timothy's 1st century church.

--Michael

Michael,

The inadequacies of my communication skills have been made very well known to me already. All I can do is ask forgiveness and, if I may, ask:

What sex-based difference (if any) should there be in our dealing with opponents/deluded-opponents/wolfish-opponents?

Michael,

You said, "No, rather, this conversation serves to illustrate how impossible it is to take feminists seriously, how they fend off serious replies with frivolous comments while demanding proof, etc. Classic."

Exactly.

> The inadequacies of my communication skills have been made very well known to me already.

Hi Keith--

Naw. I was only taking another opportunity to further show the absurdity of Kathy's "I do not allow a woman..." interpretation -- how convenient it would be to explain away what you were proposing, if Paul had said something similar to men. (Sorry that didn't come across.)

> All I can do is ask forgiveness

No offense was committed.

> What sex-based difference (if any) should there be in our dealing with opponents/deluded-opponents/wolfish-opponents?

That is about as hard to figure out as their theology. It would depend upon the situation and the individual. Some feminists may be insulted by being treated like a lady. Some count on gaining ground by being handled with kid gloves.

I think Fr. Bill alluded to the fact that the present situation possibly calls for more blunt treatment than it has received. People need to be warned of their stubborn disbelief, which does not reside in one gender more than the other.

Some folks are misguided and can have things explained to them nicely, and they are willing to actually hear what is said, and look at other views. Some are on a crusade and just want to deconstruct everything with a sledge hammer and are determined to not listen to any reason whatsoever, no matter how politely it is presented.

I was just reading in a recent copy of "Modern Reformation" I picked up at General Assembly about the modern trend towards designer religions. It is getting harder and harder to reason with people about their personally customized beliefs. People demand their own comfortable reality, and won't be dissuaded from it. God must be tamed to a comfortable fit. No amount of etiquette will avail in some cases.

I admit it is easy to be harsh from the start when you've heard all this same nonsense for years from others. That isn't necessarily charitable, as it should be. It reminds me of when I was a naval flight instructor. Each new student invariably tried to kill you (and himself) in the same way, but you had to treat him with some grace as an individual, and not unload on him for all the times his predecessors had tried to do the same thing.

--Michael

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