Phil Ryken's errors alive and well four months later...

(Tim) Back on June 15, I wrote Phil Ryken, pastor of Philadelphia's historic Tenth Presbyterian Church, to point out two significant errors in a sermon he gave at Tenth later published as a commentary on 1Timothy by P&R as a volume in their Reformed Expository Commentary series. Then I followed up our private correspondence with a public post warning the church at large of these errors.

After the post, Phil and I exchanged several private e-mails in which I asked Phil to correct his errors by amending the PDF offered on his church's web site and inserting an errata sheet in any future copies of his commentary shipped by P&R.

It's now four months later.

A week ago at our Ohio Valley Presbytery meeting we received a document justifying woman officers in the PCA. Phil's commentary was cited with errors intact and prominently featured in the document's arguments. One of Tim Keller's Redeemer churches distributed the document as justification for the statement to us by their session that "It remains the conviction of Redeemer's session (Indianapolis) that there is no scriptural basis to differentiate between men and women serving as Deacons under the authority of the Session." (Emphasis in the original. Here's an article giving some of the past history of Ohio Valley Presbytery's work with Redeemer in Indianapolis.)

Seeing these errors continue to be cited by churches not in conformity with our Book of Church Order, I wondered whether the PDF on Tenth's web site had been corrected? On the way home, I pulled up the PDF from Tenth's web site and found...

the errors remained precisely as they'd been from the beginning. (Here's a copy downloaded from Tenth's web site today, October 16, 2008 at 1:45 P.M.)

(NOTE: And here's a copy downloaded from Tenth's web site today, three and a half years later, on March 7, 2012 at 7:41 PM.)

Those who watched the battle over woman deacons at this year's PCA General Assembly know Tenth Presbyterian Church and its presbytery figured prominently in the work to change the PCA's constitution to allow woman deacons. The effort to have a study committee appointed was not approved by the assembly, but the issue isn't going away.

If my years in the mainline PC(USA) taught me anything, it's that those seeking to loosen denominational standards are predictable in the areas they focus their efforts. One need only read the op-ed pages of the New York Times to learn which Biblical doctrines our nation's elite hate most. Then it's child's play to predict the deforms that will be proposed as reforms in local congregations, presbyteries, and general assemblies.

Chief among those hatreds for several decades now has been the Biblical doctrine of sexuality--that Adam was created first, and then Eve; that it wasn't Adam who was deceived, but Eve; and that the Holy Spirit has decreed that these historic facts are given by God to teach us that woman is not to exercise authority over man. "If Christians want to be taken seriously," warn our cultural betters, "they'll have to give up their Neanderthal ways with women."

There are significant pressures, then, bearing down on northern PCA churches, pushing them to compromise. "How can I get city-dwellers to come to my church if I don't tip my hat to the new constitution? Do we really need martyrdom at the breach in the wall, today? No. What we actually need is careful contextualization. Then, you'll see how objections melt away and the masses flow in our church doors. Forget the scandal part of the New Testament. We live in a better day when there's a beautiful openness to the Gospel."

"Properly contextualized, of course. By me."

It can be quite painful to suffer the disdain of the Information Class, particularly if one desires a congregation of Ivy League alumni who are cosmopolitan and will soon make partner. Why allow the Biblical doctrine of sexuality to kill the sale, turning off our audience to larger and greater truths? You know, truths like...

Well, there's always grace, isn't there? Not grace for anything in particular, you understand. Just grace by itself. Or maybe grace for being too narcisistic and not thankful enough. There's lots of time for the other things, but not until we've set the hook.

So the race is on to hide the Fatherhood of God and Adam's federal headship in as many areas as possible while stopping short of the shamelessness of the mainline denominations. Snip around the edges, trim here and there as long as the trimming remains invisible to simple souls who might be scandalized were they to realize the true scope and purpose of the trimming enterprise.

Of course, the trimmers claim noble reasons for amending the Book of Church Order. They tell us they're only trying to restore the historic, Biblical practice of the church. But as I've said before, the movement for woman deacons in the PCA today bears almost no resemblance to the practice of the Early Church or the office of deaconess spoken of by John Calvin or B. B. Warfield.

How does all of this fit into the larger picture of the battle for sexual orthodoxy in Christ's Church today?

Well, as liberals demand sodomite marriage, conservatives demand that women be free to lead and teach men. Is one a worse violation of the plain teaching of Scripture than the other?

No. Both are contrary to the Creation Order and both demonstrate rebellion against God.

Those in the PCA who advocate for woman deacons are at the forefront of a broader deform movement led by churches in which women do everything except serve as ruling elders and preach during Lord's Day morning worship. Across the country, such churches (including those identifying with Tim Keller's Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City) have an oft-stated guideline that reveals the deformity they practice and promote: "A woman can do anything a non-ordained man can do."

This rule is their ordering principle. So we find churches where women exercise authority over men as small group leaders, Sunday school teachers, seminar leaders, Bible teachers, and theology teachers; women lead the worship liturgy, administer the Lord's Supper--women do everything except serve on the session and preach Sunday morning.

Former members of Church of the Good Shepherd here in Bloomington have (and do) hold membership in these PCA churches. One visited Bloomington, recently, and summarized the culture of her church's Lord's Day worship this way: "Women do everything in morning worship. They give the announcements, read the Scriptures, lead in prayer, serve the Lord's Supper... The only time a man leads is sometimes our songs, and then the sermon."

While I'm guessing historic Tenth Presbyterian Church has not gone this route since I last worshiped there, our friend's description of woman's leadership in her own congregation would be echoed by members of congregations across the country that are working towards woman officers receiving the approval of our General Assembly.

For years, the PCA has maintained her commitment to Scripture, not allowing women to exercise authority over men. On the other hand, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church has always been explicit in her willingness to deny God's Word in these matters. Everyone has known that churches wanting women to exercise authority over men as officers (deacons, pastors, and elders) should choose the EPC rather than the PCA. This is the reason almost all the churches departing the PC(USA) in the past couple of years have chosen the EPC. They couldn't conceive of repenting over their unbiblical practice of ordaining woman officers.

It's also the reason many churches (including my former Wisconsin congregation, Grace Presbyterian Church) chose the PCA when we left the PC(USA). We considered the EPC and the CRC, but it quickly became clear neither of these denominations were willing to stand on the Word of God's doctrine of sexuality, so we united with the PCA.

Sadly, almost sixteen years after we left the PC(USA) for the PCA, sexuality is again the hot-button issue as many work to lose their savor and hide their light under a bushel.

Such churches consider themselves to be the leading edge of evangelistic methodology. They aim to present a kinder, gentler face to the world, a contextualized Gospel more user-friendly in an egalitarian cultural ethos. Their pastors argue that they're providing a prophetic witness against hidebound legalists incapable of thinking the sophisticated thoughts contextualization requires.

If Tim Keller is the pope of the PCA north of the Mason Dixon line, Phil Ryken heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, called upon to provide conservative credentials for this deform movement. No one's going to win brownie points pointing out the errors of such evangelical megastars. Yet there the errors are, in plain sight and still being cited by the agents of change within the PCA.

So what to do?

One possibility was simply to send another private e-mail to Phil, hoping to accomplish something different by doing the same thing once more. But as I thought about it, it became evident that the failure to correct these errors has now become the more serious issue. Why such resistance to admitting and correcting the errors?

Now, though, these errors have a life of their own as they continue to be circulated across the PCA and the broader reformed world. They've already misled many thousands about one of the most controverted issues faced today within our denomination and there's no reason to think the errors won't continue to be circulated across the English-speaking world for decades to come. Who in their right mind would think to Snope Phil Ryken's quotations of B. B. Warfield to see if they're true?

With the above explanation providing the context for this request, will our readers each do his part to warn against the false quotation of B. B. Warfield in the service of the current movement to get the PCA to approve woman deacons? If you see a Warfield quote, don't trust it. Click here to download a PDF of the original made available on this blog back on June 4, 2008, then compare the quote you read in the secondary source to Warfield's actual words in the primary source. Pay particular attention to Warfield quotations citing Phil Ryken as their source.

But beyond quotations, let us trust the power of the Holy Spirit speaking through the Word of God for repentance and faith--particularly the repentance and faith of world-weary sophisticates for whom the proclamation of the plain doctrine of the Fatherhood of God and man may be the first time they've ever been spared the pandering of sycophants.

Comments

I suspect that this isn't my business - and the movement I do belong to has enough problems of its own - but I am increasingly thinking, as I have followed this theme, that it is only a matter of time before you 'raise a standard', and then leave the PCA.

The Fundamentalist community has been known to split over matters a lot less important than this one. While that may not be comparable in this circumstance, remember that there are other Christians who have been quite prepared in the past to take this choice.

I was immersed in the PCA for years and served in its churches. The churches I served were truly rock solid, biblical and really, flagship churches in the heart of the south with L. Duncan, Mike Ross, etc. I know there are still many in the PCA who fit this definition.

However, as time has progresses, I believe an eventual split in the PCA is likely, in part, because there ARE still rock solid churches

who may not stand for the current tide swell and direction of some of the PCA churches out of conformity.

Too many churches and congregants, especially in the metro areas,the north and left coast, have seemingly been seduced, not by the sufficient truth and clarity of God's word, the confessional standards and guarding the good deposit, but the progressive, big tent, postmodernist, black hole of modern evangelicalism.

I do not claim any special ability to predict this, but simply look at the churches who have gone down this road before when attacked in the area on biblical sexuality and some cited here, PCUSA, the CRC, etc. Satan is not particularly original because he simply does not have to be.

I also no longer hold any confidence in the Presbyteries to hold any renegade churches accountable anymore. There are too many who have already compromised in this area to smaller degrees and do not have the depth of soil in the scriptures on the matter to be able to credibly debate the subject. As a result, many others have been swayed by the craftiness of those promoting error and others are on the fence. For many others in Presbytery who may want to hold to the standards, but shrink back from any action, well, it is hard work that involves conflict and frankly, nobody wants to do it. It interrupts our comfortable lives as well as our tee times. Standing on the truth involves conflict and conflict involves casualties. That, we simply cannot stomach. Therefore, someone like Tim, constantly placing the issue to the forefront and waving the flag for all to see, is obviously going to be despised, even by, and especially by, those who truly AGREE with him, but have not the stomach for the fight. We'd rather have some in error among us then have to deal with possible casualties of battle and exposing our own weakness. We veil the retreat behind politics, institution, and big tent and then pat ourselves on the back for feeling magnanimous.

In this day, we also seem to equate

squeamishness with a higher morality, when, in fact, it is simply a defense mechanism that allows us to avoid walking by faith. It is faith in the sufficiency of scripture and the God who breathed it. I think at the heart of this debate is the sufficiency of scripture. Are we going to stand on it where it offends or do we believe it is deficient to address the hip, postmoderns out there? Is it eternally true or just marginally adequate for its original audience? Are we going to give them the truth or veil it behind a partition of equivocation and angst? Will it be a perspicuous call or a therapeutic based tonic of psycho-twaddle that feeds the narcissism of Americans and tips the hat to the pride of the intelligentsia?

The battle is never over until the church militant becomes the church triumphant. In between, we always would like

to meld the two due to our distaste for battle and the effort it requires. Or we'd like to believe

in our day we're on extended shore leave. Hey, that's me in spades. I confess, so many times when I see the giant

Phillistine, I look around and say, "who will go fight that man in the name of the LORD," 'cause

I know it 'ain't' gonna be me.' In the future, will the PCA stand on the truth and the standards and be a doctrinal

community or will it continue to become a big tent with faith, ultimately, in its own institution? I pray for the former.

Jeff

At our last Presbytery meeting (South Coast), two more men were voted in who agree with females reading and leading in prayer in our worship services. They equivocated on the deaconess issue, which, in reality, is a clear answer. I voted No and had my No vote recorded along with about five others.

Herman Bavinck said, "Politics often has a nasty side; church politics always has a nasty side." The dirty little secret in our Presbytery is that now there's a voting bloc from the Redeemer model churches and they can vote through whatever they want.

Prior to this time, however, they were on safe ground because my delegates did not possess the requisite manhood to take a stand on key issues. In short, they had no stomach for the fight. I sat by (I'm stated clerk) and watched two of my "allies" not saw a word the entire meeting.

We did send one man packing because of theological matters, but even then there was a battle. I asked him to define the active obedience of Christ and got the deer in the headlights look. One delegate suggested that I had asked the question in an obtuse manner, so I repeated the same words, "What is the active obedience of Christ?"

Yes, there is a call for the Presbyteries to step up to the plate, but it may be too little, too late. Some won't; others can't.

There is also a place in this for Mecca (Atlanta). When are they going to take a stand as well? Are they afraid of what might happen? Only time will tell.

I just found a page served by Tenth in which Phil has made some very small adjustments to his commentary, but without letting anyone know why those adjustments were made or their significance. Phil introduces it this way: "My own personal view is that (Tenth's) current practices follow the teaching of Scripture. I believe I understand the case for ordaining women as deacons. Indeed, I have presented that case below, in a slightly amended excerpt from my commentary on 1 Timothy ['What About Deaconesses?']."

http://www.tenth.org/index.php?id=652

"Slightly amended?" Could we not simply say, "corrected?" Is that so hard? In fact, could we not demonstrate the same practice of calling attention to our errors that the "New York Times" follows, featuring them prominently on the newspaper's second page?

Look at the words of Phil's amended text, though, and the problems multiply. There we find Phil claiming B. B. Warfield's support of the quotation he formerly erroneously attributed to Warfield himself. So, if you know why the text is amended and what the former text said, you'll be led to think his error wasn't that serious since it only put in Warfield's mouth something another man (McGill) said with which Warfield agreed.

But of course, Warfield didn't cite McGill's statement to agree with it. Look at the statement in its context and it's clear the part pertinent to what Warfield is discussing there is "Dr. McGill’s earnest desire to bring the women’s organizations at present existing into some sort of vital connection with the church at large." So Warfield's quote of McGill is not at all to show McGill's support of deaconesses, but to deal with certain proposals for a graded scheme of church courts reserved to women's ministries while under the authority of the regular and historic courts of the church led by men. Thus the section of the quote that's applicable to Warfield's discussion is this phrase with which Warfield's quotation of McGill begins: "“If the people of a particular church..." Local option is what's under discussion.

So this passage is not at all Warfield citing McGill to show Warfield's readers that he's in agreement with McGill's advocacy of deaconesses. Yes, in other places Warfield expresses openness to deaconesses. But here in this text cited by Phil where Warfield quotes McGill, the essential purpose of Warfield's quote of McGill is to address the possibility of instituting in the church graded courts of women.

Were we to turn from this issue of graded courts of women to the interface of Warfield's and McGill's position on deaconesses themselves, here is what Warfield says on that subject:

"Probably more than one Presbyterian congregation in America has already acted more or less in the sense of Dr. McGill’s suggestion. Dr. George P. Hays, on the floor of the Belfast Council, in 1884, announced himself as the happy pastor who possessed twenty-four deaconesses. In 1881 the Corinthian Avenue Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, under an impulse received from a visit from the younger Fliedner, placed the care of their poor and sick in the hands of five 'deaconesses,' reviving (so it is phrased) the work, but not the office. More recently, the Third Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles, California, empowered its three deacons to choose three women from the congregation to co-operate with them in their work, granting them seats and votes in the board's monthly meeting. These are probably only examples of what has been done in many congregations, although thus far without sanction from the higher courts of the church."

Then, Warfield concludes his summary of various attempts at implementing McGill's suggestions with this summary statement made by Warfield himself:

"Perhaps the nearest approach to the more formal and ecclesiastical revival of the office among us, in its proper Scriptural sense, has been made by the Southern Presbyterian Church, which sets forth in its "Book of Church Order," adopted in 1879, that 'where it shall appear needful, the Church Session may select and appoint godly women for the care of the sick, of prisoners, of poor widows and orphans, and in general for the relief of distress.' Here we have the essential features of the office. "

No ambiguity here, is there? Absolutely no problem implementing this suggestion that Warfield states is nearest to the revival of the office in "its proper Scriptural sense." What is that office? What is that implementation Warfield commends as being "in the proper Scriptural sense?"

It's precisely what our PCA "Book of Church Order" still allows today.

Warfield approves of this: "Where it shall appear needful, the Church Session may select and appoint godly women for the care of the sick, of prisoners, of poor widows and orphans, and in general for the relief of distress."

To all those wanting to study woman deacons and citing Warfield in support of their proposals, let it be noted here publicly that there's absolutely nothing in our own PCA "Book of Church Order" that would preclude any congregation of the PCA from implementing, immediately, what B. B. Warfield recommends above.

Sadly, dear brother Warfield continues to be used in support of an agenda entirely contrary to any historical practice of deaconesses within the Church.

Doesn't CGS alumni Sarah Childress hold a post at Tenth?

~Grace

Dear Grace,

There are more connections between our church, David's church, Mary Lee's and my families, and Tenth than you could shake a stick at--starting with Dad writing a monthly column that ran for a quarter century in the pages of "Eternity," the magazine Tenth's Donald Grey Barnhouse founded. Titled "Out of My Mind," readers now know the origin of this blog's name.

Sadly, dear brother Warfield continues to be used in support of an agenda entirely contrary to any historical practice of deaconesses within the Church.

At least he's in good company -- the egalitarians do the same with the inspired writings of Paul to suit their ends.

With the above explanation providing the context for this request, will our readers each do his part to warn against the false quotation of B. B. Warfield in the service of the current movement to get the PCA to approve woman deacons?

It seems to be the normal egalitarian tactic of taking an isolated quote and twisting the meaning out of all recognition while ignoring the author's views which become totally obvious by examining the big picture he draws.

Below is the concluding paragraph of an article by B. B. Warfield entitled "PAUL ON WOMEN SPEAKING IN CHURCH" from The Presbyterian, October 30, 1919.

"Perhaps it ought to be added in elucidation of the last point just made, that the difference in conclusions between Paul and the feminist movement of today is rooted in a fundamental difference in their points of view relatively to the constitution of the human race. To Paul, the human race is made up of families, and every several organism, the church included, is composed of families, united together by this or that bond. The relation of the sexes in the family follows it therefore into the church. To the feminist movement the human race is made up of individuals; a woman is just another individual by the side of a man; and it can see no reason for any differences in dealing with the two. And, indeed, if we can ignore the great fundamental natural difference of sex, and destroy the great fundamental societal unit of the family, in the interest of individualism, there does not seem any reason why we should not wipe out the differences established by Paul between the sexes in the church. Except, of course, the authority of Paul. It all, in the end, comes back to the authority of the apostles, as founders of the church. We may like what Paul says, or we may not like it. We may be willing to do what he commands, or we may not be willing to do it. But there is no room for doubt of what he says. And he certainly would say to us, what he said to the Corinthians: 'What? Was it from you that the word of God went forth? or came it to you alone?' Is this Christianity ours - to do with as we like? Or is it God's religion, receiving its laws from him through the apostles?"

If you see a Warfield quote, don't trust it.

I haven't verified the quote. This short article attributed to Warfield was inserted at the back of a flyer I have of R. L. Dabney's "Women's Rights Women."

Michael,

Please note something that is of monumental importance in that Warfield quote. It is the same monumental something you can find undergirding many of Dabney's arguments on cultural issues.

That monumental something is a completely different understanding of how God created social order. This observation is the first principle that separates Warfield's and Dabney's view on many cultural issues and the views that we find so prevalent today.

For Warfield and Dabney there is no countenance for social order arrangements like social contract theory or Rousseauian notions of the general will. Both of these theories rest on a-priori commitments that man is to be considered in his isolated individuality before he is considered as a someone whose social relationships are to be considered. If man is to be understood in his isolated individuality then man is free to make of his social relationships what he will.

For Warfield and Dabney the belief was that social order is not comprised by the isolated individual but rather man is to be considered and taken in his covenantal relationships -- relationships that are legislated and dictated by God's Word. Warfield and Dabney (and I would say Biblical Christians in general) would and should have no tuck with Rousseau's general will or Locke's social contract theory.

One can be sure that if the desire is to find success against egalitarianism, feminist, and homosexual advances then one most go to the source of the problem -- the first principle if you will -- and like Dabney and Warfield, they must attack the whole notion that man is to be considered as an isolated individual when it comes to consideration of the social order.

Now, doing so is a double edged sword because starting with the presuppositions that Warfield and Dabney started with on social order questions, while effectively dealing with egalitarianism, feminism, and homosexuality, will force Christians to examine other conclusions they like that likewise stem from wrong beginning points on social order questions.

Like whether we will honor our fathers and mothers in their decrepitude by caring for them in our own homes, or pawn them off on the state. Things like that, Bret?

...like Dabney and Warfield, they must attack the whole notion that man is to be considered as an isolated individual when it comes to consideration of the social order.

That sounds downright un-American and anti-freedom, Bret, but I'm with you. Thanks.

Considered as isolated, "free" individuals, we make the State's job of controlling us much easier. Divide and conquer.

So we find churches where women exercise authority over men as small group leaders, Sunday school teachers, seminar leaders, Bible teachers, and theology teachers; women lead the worship liturgy, administer the Lord's Supper--women do everything except serve on the session and preach Sunday morning.

Compare this with B. B. Warfield in the previously mentioned article:

"The prohibition of women speaking covers thus all public church-meetings - it is the publicity, not the formality of it, which is the point. And he tells us repeatedly that this is the universal law of the church. He does more than that. He tells us that it is the commandment of the Lord, and emphasizes the word 'Lord' (verse 37)." [1 Cor. 14]

Interesting distinction between publicity and formality. The complementarian minimalism of today (which Tim explains in the quote above) focuses on the opposite: strictly maintaining, for the time being, the formal restriction [no ordination] while looking the other way or even promoting women publicly leading informally.

And speaking of R. L. Dabney again, I'm reminded in this regard that his work is against "The Public Preaching of Women," not "The Formal Preaching of Women."

The OVP directive found on the Aquila Report states: "5.5 That the Ohio Valley Presbytery require the Session of Redeemer Presbyterian Church to provide good evidence to this Committee of their progress toward bringing their diaconal practices into full conformity with the Constitution of the PCA one month prior to the October 2008 meeting of the OVP with a report being made by this Committee to the Presbytery at the October 2008 meeting."

OK, what happened?

Perhaps the problem is also a matter of definition? What do you mean by authority, what do the proponents of women deacons mean by authority, and, most importanty, what do the Scriptures define as authority?

Ryken will not admit to anything.

E-mail me and I will fill you in on a much more important issue.

The.Bud.Meister@hotmail.com

A few years later...

According to Tim Bayly (see note added in main post) the mis-quoted piece is still accessible from their website, despite an amended version also being accessible.

So it seems to me that it is not entirely fair of Phil Ryken to say in his response that Joshua Butcher links to that:

"As Mr. Bayly knows, this error was corrected on the Tenth Church website several months ago."

Perhaps his website team is to blame for not being thorough enough to remove the earlier file.

And even in the amended piece Mr Ryken still says:

"Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield was a strong proponent of women deacons."

That would seem to be a gross overstatement, given the excerpts from Warfield that Mr Bayly has linked to in this later post, comment 16:

http://www.baylyblog.com/2012/03/greetings-in-the-name-of-jesus-christ-our-lord-and-savior-i-trust-the-lord-is-blessing-your-ministry-at-tenth-and-that-your.html#comments

Also, in My Ryken's response he makes the following 3 statements:

1) The Reverend Tim Bayly is alleging publicly that I promote women deacons

>>I can't find where Mr Bayly is saying that in this post. But the following statements 2 and 3 cannot both be false:

2) that I have widely disseminated an error concerning the position of B. B. Warfield on the issue...

3) and that I have refused his personal pleas to correct this error. These allegations are false.

How can 2 & 3 both be true?

If Mr Ryken *has* accepted the personal pleas to correct 'this' error then that implies he did indeed disseminate 'this' error.

But if Mr Ryken has *not* disseminated this error then he must have refused personal pleas to correct it - since there would not be an error to correct.

I want to believe the best about Mr Ryken but I wish he would be clearer in answering charges. To many times I have seen un-clarity as a cover up for evasion. I hope this is not the case here.

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: I've debated whether to take this comment down, but finally decided to leave it up. Feminism is a heresy and it's spread by women and men who think as this woman does--that, for instance, in Scripture "gifts are always spoken of in non-sexist language." She's dead wrong. The Holy Spirit says women are to be silent in the church and He forbids them teaching or exercising authority over men. Then there's the matter of Ms. Margaret's errors concerning the spiritual danger and destructiveness of the feminist heresy. There are other things, too, but I'll leave it at that.]

There is a litigiousness in men when they become truly wrapped around an idea and ruminate on it too long that becomes truly grotesque.  I believe you've missed the spirit of Scripture here!  Biblical Sexuality?  Read Genesis: therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  Or Ephesians: and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.  The emphasis is on Christ, and the dance between men and women is to reflect the godhead in every respect.  Including the mutual respect and love required in Jesus Christ in every aspect of the church, which is why gifts are always spoken of in non-sexist language, and why "In Christ there is neither male nor female."  Now in the terms of roles in active ecclesiology, there is room for discernment, but no where should the discussion involve such animosity.  There's no room for this anywhere in Scripture.  And the offense...Ridiculous and litigious.  Let's give one another the respect due to the house of God and admit that men of faith disagree, and on these issues, that there is no room for casting doubt on these men's integrity.  Then, let's discuss the issues without the name-calling or slant-biased animadversions on other's Christian character.  Then see who listens.  Maybe someone besides men in your own particular camp, maybe even women, maybe.  As it is, good luck.  As someone who's left a church over the proposed ordination of my pastor's wife to the priesthood, and who nevertheless has suffered under the misogyny of reformed churches and family where women are not granted holy-spirit-filled status, or the recognition of giftedness in the body, I find this discussion mean-spirited in the extreme, and very saddening and crippling to the business of evangelism and pro-life activism in the church and beyond.  May God have mercy on our souls.  There are way more serious battles at hand in our churches, homes, and families...MB

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