A modest proposal for ordination exams...

(Tim) Within a number of reformed denominations holding to the Westminster Standards, we have men who seem not to have a heart for opposing the heresy of feminism. To work to reform this reality, we would do well to ask several questions on the floor of presbytery of candidates for ordination. Here are a couple that might serve the purpose.

First, we might ask, "Do you believe it's a faithful summary of the Biblical doctrine of sexuality to say, as many have said publicly in our denomination, that 'a woman may do anything a non-ordained man may do?'"

If the man responds, "Yes" or "Maybe," it's clear he's either woefully uninformed or opposed to the Biblical doctrine of sexuality and has no heart for opposing this heresy even though he likely knows he can't advocate women elders or senior pastors. Certainly no prior father of the Church would recognize this as a faithful summary of Scripture's teaching. They would be left scratching their heads.

If he says "No, I don't think that's a good summary of Scripture's doctrine" we ought to be encouraged, but still, we're not yet finished.

The first follow-up question could be: "Will you require the bride to repeat, as part of her marriage vow, the historic Biblical promise to "obey" her husband in those marriage ceremonies at which you officiate?"

If he says "No," our work is cut out for us. If he says "Yes," we're still not finished...

The second follow-up question could be: "Do you believe our Standards are correct in pointing out that vows are prohibited by Scripture that seek to bypass the authority of a husband over his wife?" Then, it may be helpful to cite the Confession and its (subordinate) Scripture proof simply by way of explanation of the question.

If he says "No," again, it may be he has no ability to oppose this heresy, although it could simply be a matter of his need of instruction. He may be teachable and grow into a faithful guardian of the good deposit. But there remains one final question.

Finally, he could be asked, "Do you believe that the Biblical doctrine of father-rule extends beyond the Covenant community, beyond the Christian Church and family, to all spheres of life?"

If he says "Yes," we're finished. He has demonstrated a faithful understanding of Scripture as it would be tossed off with no sweat on the brow by all previous generations of fathers in the Faith.

If he says "No," we should follow up by asking if he believes other aspects of the pre-Fall, Creation order are also to be applied to the People of God, only? Heterosexual marriage? Life-long marriage? Monogamous marriage?

Explaining our question, we could point out all aspects of God's Creation order stand or fall together. If we understand all of them were established by God in the state of perfection in the Garden of Eden, we'll confidence in proclaiming their beauty and calling men to repentance for their unbelief, leading them to Gospel grace.

Of course, at that point presbyteries in the north or metro areas may get impatient and some of our fellow elders may do everything possible to stifle "this inquisition."

In time, though, if this sort of faithful defense of the Faith were carried out when a candidate for ordination was examined, the Church would grow in faith. Also, I believe it would grow numerically--principally by the addition of young men and women who have not yet been habituated to feminism's untouchable status in the Church and whose hearts ache for Scripture's Truth.

Defending this doctrine is no effort to repristinate the past or to hedge up male perquisites. It is love of God. It is true love of Christ's Bride. It is love for the lost. And do I really need to say it? It is true love and compassion for  women.

* * *

After posting this, I read it to my wife. When I was finished, I asked her, "What do you think?"

She said, "It's good, but people will hate it."

"Really?" I asked.

She laughed and said, "You're an idiot."

Comments

Tim,

"Do you believe that the Biblical doctrine of father-rule extends beyond the Covenant community, beyond the Christian Church and family to all spheres of life?"

What percentage of currently serving PCA elders would say "yes"?

Thanks,

Keith

>What percentage of currently serving PCA elders would say "yes"?

A better question might be, "Do you know where I might go to find fathers in the Faith prior to, say, 1950, who would say 'No'?"

I'd answer: "Sorry, can't help you there."

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, dear brother.

How long before the PCA splits?

On my sums, I would see such a split as being between the Midwestern/Bible Belt and Southern presbyteries on one side and everything else on the other; or in people terms, about two to one in favour of the Midwestern/Southern churches. "Women deacons" might be the presenting issue, but in fact this question would simply be a touchstone for everything else that is bubbling away.

One doesn't want to advocate the 'nuclear option', particularly where it is not one's own church movement involved, but the writing on the wall is growing.

I would find it incredibly helpful if you could give a range of examples from American culture that are contrary to this position:

"...the Biblical doctrine of father-rule extends beyond the Covenant community, beyond the Christian Church and family to all spheres of life..."

Thanks.

Tim,

Agreed. To be frank, I'm trying to get a feel for how much hope there is for the PCA.

If you have a hard time finding even, say, 20% of GA to agree with you on that central question, then your proposal has literary/prophetic value but would probably be seen as a joke at GA. And that would be a very serious problem.

As for the "s" word (split), Ross, I tend to avoid it lest I slip and frivilously refer to such a tragic event. Sometimes less tragic than the alternative, of course.

Blessings,

Keith

>I would find it incredibly helpful if you could give a range of examples from American culture that are contrary to this position:

Dear Mr. Martin,

I'd find it about as easy to answer this as to answer a request for a range of examples from American culture that are contrary to any other aspect of God's order of sexuality. Say, for instance, monogamous and lifelong marriage; violations of the beauty of sexuality in this area, too, are everywhere. Why point them out in the world?

But if we're to be salt and light, the church must understand that they're violations and be able to witness to the beauty God intended as a part of our Gospel proclamation and witness.

There are times when the world's blindness about sexuality, every aspect, causes me sorrow, anger, frustration, fear--you name it. But things have always been this way across history and it's the center of our calling to be salt and light in such conditions. Not to be without savor and dark.

But how can we be salt and light when we have been robbed of the Biblical doctrine by those in our churches whose calling is to guard it? Or when we're so frightened by persecution, in or outside the Church, that we act as if we're deaf, dumb, and blind to what God said?

Business, government, culture, our flat-screen televisions in our living rooms, our Facebook pages, blogs, and magazines, our classrooms, the courtoom, the military; every one of these things is filled with violations of God's order of sexuality whether the Seventh Commandment or father-rule, and we should see all the violations as joined at the hip as we figure out how to live in the midst of it, and how to lead the lost back to their Maker and Redeemer.

I hope that helps, dear brother, but if not, I'm out of circulation for a time, now.

Warmly in Christ,

Tim Bayly

In case anything more excruciatingly specific is necessary:

- women serving as drill sergeants

- women serving as CEOs

- women running for president

I could go on, but I feel like I'm pointing out individual rain drops in the Pacific Ocean.

Mr. Martin,

Coming at this from as different an angle as one could imagine, I recommend you grab a copy of Steven Goldberg's Why Men Rule. This book was revised and retitled 22 years after its first appearance under the title The Inevitability of Patriarchy. The most recent version of Goldberg's work interacts with (actually demolishes) the acidic criticism his work attracted from the feminist academy when he first published Inevitability of Patriarchy.

Goldberg was president of the sociology department at City College of New York (hardly a bastion of conservative or orthodox Christian thought). He was also a rare academic -- one who took the data the world presented to him at face value and attempted to account for it.

Both books make the case from anthropology that every human society at every place on the planet in every era of history has been patriarchal. Next, Goldberg attempts to account for this. He is successful in his first project (to demonstrate the universality of patriarchy); he is less successful in explaining this universality, resorting to various biological/sociological dynamics and constructs. Christians -- such as Pr. Tim, for example -- would simply point to Genesis 1-3: patriarchy is hard-wired into human society from the beginning.

Click the links above to read the fascinating comments at Amazon's pages for these books, and also to find well-priced used copies. Every pastor contending for the Bible's account of human society would profit from Goldberg's work, since he can never be accused of shaving the truth in the interests of a religious agenda.

I hope during my examination someone asks me similar questions Rev. Bayly.

Thank you all for your comments, and I apologize for my delay in responding.

"I'd find it about as easy to answer this as to answer a request for a range of examples from American culture that are contrary to any other aspect of God's order of sexuality. Say, for instance, monogamous and lifelong marriage; violations of the beauty of sexuality in this area, too, are everywhere. Why point them out in the world?"

I would answer: in order to differentiate where on the spectrum a person is. Regarding modesty: is modesty defined as the Amish or Muslism define it? Or is it appropriate for a woman to wear more form fitting and/or revealing clothing (say capris, long shorts, pants, jeans, etc)? In the same vein, I wished to understand where you fit on the spectrum so that I could better understand your position as articulated above. I didn’t want to simply assume what you meant and honestly believed that some examples would be of great assistance to myself. Keithe’s post was helpful in that I was able to discern, to some degree, better where he falls on the spectrum and it allowed me to not take an all/nothing attitude towards his position but to be nuanced: I agree with some of his list, but not all of it.

To Keithe LaMothe:

Why can a women not serve as a CEO? And, granting that you convince me of this position: should I immediately quit my job because my CEO is a woman?

Again thank you for taking the time to respond to my question.

Dear Robert,

These are good questions, similar to some I asked not long ago. Very similar indeed, in fact.

Here's a link to my comment on a post from January of this year; you may wish to read the post itself first and then work your way down. In any event the response from Tim and Bill was extremely helpful.

http://www.baylyblog.com/2008/01/is-patriarchy-j.html#comment-96168658

Blessings,

Keith

Keithe, thank you for your response -- I browsed over to the other post and read that specific response and a few others. I am just not convinced that a woman can't be a CEO, that a Christian woman can't be the CEO of a company.

Perhaps I am just not understanding your and the Bayly's position very well, but the implications are that a woman can only enter the workforce in good faith/conscience so long as she is never in a supervisory role over men.

Again, as a personal example: when I got out of college I taught middle school math and bible at a reformed Christian school -- but the elementary/middle school principal was a woman. Was she in the wrong to be holding that position because she had male subordinates (me and at least 4 other male teachers)?

Feel no need to respond to the above (though you are welcome to), as it is more of a question that I am working through as I think through the Bayly's position and what it seems to entail.

Again thank you for your responses.

Robert,

Why can a women be a CEO?

What is the point of personal examples? To point out that women are skilled enough? I don't think you will get someone here arguing that it is a skill based issue.

Is the point to make me uncomfortable with my position? "Surely it would be wrong of me to keep this wonderful reformed lady from this wonderful reformed kingdom service?"

Is comfort and pragmatism the basis for our ethic?

Mark,

While there are folks out there who use sneaky rhetorical ploys to undermine the truth (particularly on the created sexual order), I don't think Robert's trying to do that here.

Robert,

"Perhaps I am just not understanding your and the Bayly's position very well, but the implications are that a woman can only enter the workforce in good faith/conscience so long as she is never in a supervisory role over men."

I think you understand us well as far as that point. One key text is:

Isaiah 3:12

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.

As for your personal example: there was something very wrong about the whole situation for there to be an inversion of God's created sexual order. Women should not rule over men, and if they do there's something messed up fairly seriously.

But was she, as an individual, in sin? Well, I'd like to hear what Tim or the others think about this, but I'd say that she probably wasn't "in" sin. She was just living as she'd been taught by her culture and church. There was probably sin involved on her part, as we all have a responsibility to understand the Scriptures (which are very clear on this point), but the lion's share of the responsibility would fall on her elders/shepherds for not teaching the truth.

Of course, if her elders WERE teaching the truth, and she was knowingly defying that truth, the situation would be different. But I get the impression that this was not the case.

Blessings,

Keith

Keith,

My Dad always told me that before I am allowed to attack (in the proper sense of the term) an opponent's argument, I must first understand their argument as well or better than they do. Your responses have been very helpful in giving me a deeper understanding of your and the Baylys' position and for that I am deeply indebted.

While I still have not formed a solid position on this yet, I am not sure that I am not willing to accept the conclusions/implications of your and the Baylys' position. Which means I still have much work to do in understanding the passages that I have seen cited as well as the whole thrust of Scripture on this issue.

Again I want to thank you for your kind and helpful responses, they really have given me much to think and mull over -- I deeply appreciate your willingness to work with me.

Robert,

When Tim's teaching on Biblical Patriarchy hit me in the forehead like a sledgehammer, it took a few weeks for me to come around to accepting it. We should react promptly and rapidly when we realize we've been wrong, but reform doesn't have to be a snap-decision cliff dive. It sounds like you're not as easily convinced as I was, and so there may be some additional stages of study.

However, do keep in mind the following:

1) the Church is at war

2) her enemies are attacking her

3) one of the biggest breaches in the wall right now is the church's widescale abandonment of the Biblical teaching on the created sexual order

4) a soldier who is willing to defend every part of the wall except the breach is a coward, an idiot, a traitor, or some combination of the three

5) the attack is taking many different forms (radical feminism, "soft" feminism", egalitarianism, appeasement-based forms of complementarianism, muslim-esque forms of patriarchy, etc) and we have to keep our wits about us

6) God will deliver the Church from her enemies

Also, while I don't know your situation, one of the hardest parts of this issue for me was the fact that I've had to learn to be a man. God's been working with me on that one for quite a while before, but huge pieces of the puzzle started fitting into place when I realized that the man was created to be the leader in each and every area, not just the church and the home. I've also had to learn to not qualify my statements unless really necessary (take, for example, the previous sentence), but rather to remember "If a man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" and that it applies in some way to my own speech.

It's painful, and the particular challenges facing you will also be painful, but God is gracious.

Blessings,

Keith

I'm hesitant to comment here because I know there is an important substantive biblical issue at stake.

We need to carefully contend for a biblical basis in every aspect of life. Coram Deo.

Scripture establishes male ecclesiastical authority by creation pattern and explicit command. It establishes, ordinarily, spiritual leadership in the home (I say "ordinarily" to recognize for the very real situations of broken homes, single parents, and other temporary situations).

However, saying a women cannot be a CEO seems to me to go beyond the warrant of Scripture. It may be difficult to have God's priorities right as a good wife and mother and also run a business, but it's not impossible. Qualification, yes, but not a prohibition.

Look at all the instances in Scripture women in extraordinary situations ruled in their sphere (Esther, Deborah, Proverbs 31). What about women who God has gifted to remain single- without the same role in the family?

Keep in mind a "CEO" could conceivably, even be a one person business.

Please understand, I am not arguing for usurping God-ordained authority or for the cultural notions of no difference between genders, any of that.

Only, it seems to be an arbitrary application to assert that Scripture prevents a woman from being "CEO." We want to be very careful that those who read these arguments understand the weightier issues and not distracted by doubtful and arbitrary application.

Blessings.

There is also the case of Lydia, the "dealer in purple cloth". It should be possible to assert a principle (male leadership in society), and still be able to make room for the exception that tests the rule. Another point is that if our putative Christian female CEO is single, then the questions of the clash with family responsibilities will probably not apply.

To keith: it is also good to see bad forms of patriarchy, notably the Muslim ones, acknowledged as part of the problem.

"Keep in mind a "CEO" could conceivably, even be a one person business."

Of course, or it could be a 100% female organization in which case she isn't in authority over a man. There may be other issues involved but that would not be a violation of the principle I have in mind. These exceptions occured to me but I did not qualify my statement because I figured the "common case" of mixed organizations would be in the mind of the reader.

"Only, it seems to be an arbitrary application to assert that Scripture prevents a woman from being "CEO.""

Yes, it was a list of arbitrary examples plucked out for the benefit of giving Robert something concrete =)

Blessings,

Keith

"it is also good to see bad forms of patriarchy, notably the Muslim ones, acknowledged as part of the problem."

It was a partial list, I should have included "abdicating fathers" though in a way that encompasses all of the list. One can abdicate one's God-given responsibility by absence, by weakness, by abuse, etc. The common theme is that it tells a lie about God, that God is not a good father, does not provide, does not love sacrificially, does not discipline, does not lead or have authority, etc.

And that is the primary problem with feminism or the various accomodations made for it in the Church: it lies about God. I don't so much mind women objecting to being under the authority of men; the problem is that they object to being under the authority of God.

Blessings,

Keith

The Biblical examples of women in positions of authority are rare examples--only a handful out of thousands of years of Jewish history. The obvious problem comes when you argue that every woman today can--nay, should--be just like Deborah. If there were only one or two women in a generation who "felt the call" to be a leader, I'd be more convinced. But we have multitudes upon multitudes of women in the church today being led by the nose by secular feminists to reject domesticity in favor of power, all claiming to be "called" and pointing to Deborah as a justification for their rebellion. It's transparent to anyone who has eyes to see.

As Keith points out, the issue is not whether a woman may run a business or find herself deployed in the marketplace. Rather, the issue is this -- when the woman does either of these, how should we evaluate all those instances where her activity in these spheres places her in authority over men?

The answer to this question lies in the nature of man and woman as they were originally created to relate to one another. The pattern for this is Genesis 1 and 2. And, Paul summarizes that pattern thusly: " ... the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man ..." This is, of course, a generalization, and the particulars of the pattern vary depending on social context.

So, "the head of the woman is man" will play out differently when father and daughter are in view, differently when husband wife are in view, or brother and sister, or single woman (or divorced woman or widowed woman) and society generally, whether that society is ecclesiastical, familial, or secular.

Indeeed, in 1 Cor. 11, Paul spells out in detail how this pattern of social headship shall work when Christians are assembled for worship. When the purpose of the social gathering is to glorify God, God's glory should be unveiled. Man's glory (the woman) and the woman's glory (her hair) should be veiled.

The point: woman is created to complete and to help man in how he lives his life as a steward of the world mandate given in Genesis 1:18ff.

That mandate is given to the man with the woman, of course, but that man with woman are ordered relative to one another by their creation (cf. Genesis 2).

Adam was created first, and so man's mandate as God's viceroy predates her and rests immediately on the man.

When she is created, she enters a universe different from the one Adam encountered. She joins an already functioning hierarchy; she does not get her own mandate, but acquires hers from the man. Indeed, her very raison d'etre is to secure his success in fulfilling a mandate given before she even existed. She is for his sake, not he for her sake.

Is all this of no account in the marketplace? The answer to that is found in the answer to this: are men and women in the marketplace not men and woman as God created them?

One might make the point that women ruling men outside the family or church cannot be a "moral" issue insofar as there is no express statute in Scripture to proscribe it. Even so, there is the "wisdom angle" to consider, and that consideration is decisive.

If woman in her very sexuality is a creature formed and fashioned in relation to the man as God has portrayed that relationship, then to place her in authority over a man is the same profound mistake of nature as using a spoon to do the work of a knife, or a knife to do the work of a spoon. Such abuses of design and misuses of nature can be forced to "work" after a fashion. But all such work blunts and/or warps the knife or spoon precisely because of its misuse or abuse.

In another thread, Kamilla has referenced S. M. Hutchens' observation that egalitarianism (as well as its unbaptized sister feminism) arises out of what he terms anthropological modalism. It's Hutchens' way of getting at the same point that Keith, I, and others above are making.

The blog in which Hutchens' refer off-hand to anthropological modalism is Losing God the Father. After he received a query on what he was talking about with respect to anthropological modalism, he posted Note on Anthropological Modalism.

A line from "Losing God the Father" goes like this:

The apostasy of a church rarely happens as the result of an epiphany; it is normally a slow process involving “certain currents of ideas” plunged into because they seem modern and successful, a drift, unresisted, unstudied (or only prejudicially studied), and prayed about dishonestly only after the current has been entered.

He describes here the spiritual life of both egalitarians and accomodationist complementarians.

In "Note," Hutchens pithily affirms what every egalitarian and accomodationist complementarian denies:

Because of the relation of God and man in Christ, any anthropological heresy also inescapably infects theology and becomes a theological heresy as well--although some egalitarians with more conservative instincts do not understand this or will not admit it. A Christ who is Human in the egalitarian sense cannot be Man in the orthodox sense, but is merely the apotheosis of the egalitarian ideal. He cannot be the head of the man as the man is the head of the woman as God is his own head; the ordinal relations of which the Apostle spoke, and in which the Church believes, are utterly broken on the egalitarian wheel. That is why egalitarianism is a heresy and no orthodox Christian can be an egalitarian.

Keith,

I appreciate your helping me to be clear as it wasn’t my intention to accuse Robert of anything approaching sneaky. It seems to me that most churches view as anachronistic the idea that patriarchy extends to the civil sphere. Our modern sensibilities are embarrassed by the idea that God might have ordered things in such a way, and so we help God along like we would a feeble grandfather who unfortunately hasn’t given up all of his old prejudices.

Following the assumption that patriarchy is anachronistic, I find people will often mention examples of women whose talent would be “wasted” by unnecessary restrictions. So my question was whether Robert thought he was being pragmatic and if he thought this was an appropriate way to determine ethics. This is also what was behind my question of why he thought a woman could be a CEO. Is it because she possesses the ability?

No offense was intended and I hope none was taken.

Before feminism, many women, all the while subject to their husbands, ruled over other men in the home and on the manor or homestead: servants, farmhands, serfs, and stewards. Think of women married to men of position, wealth, and power (or women with these in their own right). Although this still happens today, it is also our own acceptance of egalitarianism that can make us uncomfortable with the idea that some man or woman might be another man's "superior," to use the catechism term. Genesis does not subject all women to all men, but wives to their own husbands. That's another reason it's hard to give definitive examples of what's acceptable in jobs and positions.

Mark -- in regards to my bringing up specific examples: its because those have occurred recently in my life (I am currently employed at a company that is run by a woman and I taught at a k-12 school where my direct supervisor (principal) was a woman, whom I respect greatly and thought did an admirable job in her position (side note: the school also had a headmaster who was over all principals and he was a man.))

As for my ethics, I understand the deep seated problems with any approach that grounds itself in pragmatism and I can assure you that was not my intent. However, I brought up my specific examples because Scripture is not exceedingly clear on every aspect of God's creation about which it speaks. Yes, regarding salvation Scripture is clear -- but there are many issues that require at the very least depth of thought and even then are still heavily argued. It seems to me that the extent to which women can function outside of the home (particularly if they are independent and unmarried) is not something that Scripture is exceedingly clear on. Yes, Scripture gives some solid guidlines and some solid prohibitions, but those do not extend to all circumstances and so we are left with general principles, overarching thrust of Scripture and the need for wisdom in applying the Word to each situation.

For instance, is it categorically wrong for a woman to be the primary breadwinner in a home? If there are children? This is not a specious example, but a very real one for me. I hope some day to pursure my PhD. studies, however I already have two children. Whenever I am able to attend graduate school, it will require that I do so fulltime and I will not be able to hold a job. That means my wife will have to provide, financially, for our family while I am in school. Is this wrong? I surely hope not, else a large number of pastors within the PCA are in trouble (if you think about what was required of them while attending seminary). Or consider another example: my wife handles all our finances (managing accounts, paying bills, etc). Is that an abdication of father-rule? I surely hope not (she is far more capable at those things than I am -- though I still retain the right to step in at any time and involve myself more closely, even to the point of overriding her decisions if needed). In all of the examples that I raised, I was attempting to discern the nuances of what the Baylys' (and Keith) have articulated previously.

Keith,

Thank you again for your follow-up posts -- I am aware that the church is at war (as she has always been, both from within and without). And I know that God will preserve her. And no, I am not as easily convinced -- it is the blessing/curse of my pride and training. I think I am close to the position that "pca friend" articulated. Yes father-rule is quite explicit articulated by Scripture as it pertains to ecclesiastical and familial spheres. But it is only implicit regarding the civil/secular sphere. There are some things that it is clear about (for instance no women in combat, leading those in combats -- and that seems to prevent a female president for the president is the very real head of our nations military.) But it is not clear regarding a female ceo of a mixed company (particularly if the company has very little to do with ecclesiastical/familial affairs --- i.e. no a woman couldn't run a seminary/missions agency..but i am not comfortable with a woman running a company where her husband is her subordinate regardless of what type of business the company performs).

-- As a random side example/food for thought: say a church decides to hold a churchwide picnic and puts together a team/committee to organize it. The committee includes a couple of men b/c the picnic is going to involve some building of things (say a 'dunk the pastor' thing), but primarily the committee is formed of women who have talents for organizing/preparing a picnic. Is it required that the committee be run by a man? or could a women run the committee and even give tasks to the men on the committee? -- Please don't respond (primarily because I'm not sure that I am going to have time to return to this thread; and secondarily because this is simply meant as food for thought, not as a "lets figure this particular scenario out").

Again, thank you all for your willingness to engage my questions and comments and provide very helpful feedback, enabling me to better understand the nuances and differing perspectives on this issue.

May God watch over all our hearts and minds that we would love HIm more dearly, and cling to Him and His word more strongly each passing day.

>Genesis does not subject all women to all men...

No one's ever said it does. Or better, no one's ever said God did.

>but wives to their own husbands...

If you mean to limit what God did by His order of creation to husbands and wives, you aren't even left with a proper order of the sexes in the Church. But the Apostle Paul's statement prohibiting "woman" teaching or exercising authority over "man" and citing God's creation order shows your error. If your interpretation of Genesis were right, the Apostle Paul writing under the Holy Spirit would not have said what he said, but rather "I do not allow a wife to teach or exercise authority over her husband..." and so forth.

Clearly, we're dealing with sexuality, not marriage. And clearly we're not dealing with every woman submitting to every man. So are there any other alternatives?

God be praised, yes. There's the alternative the Church has always in every place followed, at work, home, and church.

Pastor Tim,

Thanks for the helpful distinction between all women subordinate to all men, and women and men functioning in particular settings.

Maybe I just don’t get what you’re arguing for, but I don’t see that the Church has always forbidden women to be the superior of a man in the home (which was also a chief workplace for centuries), or in the state. (In the church it has been forbidden.) Noble women (and women of means—even in our democracy) have often had men under them.

Even in the Old Testament Abigail had servants to whom she gave orders, presumably like many women in Israel. (Not to mention that she countermanded her husband’s orders, as his “second-in-command,” saved their lives from David’s anger, and received David’s praise.)

Women will probably have occasion to rule as long as some men are slavish or poor, and other men are powerful. Bear with me; I’ll have to think some more on whether Paul in 1 Timothy forbids this.

Tim,

I believe that it was Chuck Swindoll who said: "Our seminaries are turning out men with more and more opinions, and fewer and fewer convictions". Whoever said it was certainly correct.

Perhaps one of the problems is that so many seminary students head to pastoral training right out of college. Often this means that we train men first, and hope they demonstrate character later on. Wouldn't it be better (in general) if the church chose men of demonstrated character and godly leadership in their homes and then provided them with the training necessary to be Ministers of the Word?

Frankly, I hope the PCA splits and fairly soon. The two factions are so far apart that they cannot see each other.

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