Jerram Barrs has done research; he's so brave; he's my man...

(Tim) It's a great help to have Jerram Barrs continue at his post at Covenant Theological Seminary. But not for the reason you'd think.

Rather, because having him such a prominent voice representing Covenant's commitments and vision gives fair warning what kind of education men and women don't get there...

Likely they'll believe, similar to Mr. Barrs, that the church's problem today is women being treated as third-class citizens. Men, threatened by competent women, trying to make the lives of their wives and mothers and daughters miserable. Women's gifts being wasted by little men scurrying around trying to shore up the walls of patriarchy.

Such terribly original thoughts does Mr. Barrs have?

What world does this man live in? And who taught him how to read his culture? Certainly not the man he claims to speak for, Francis Schaeffer.

But then Franky has claimed to speak for his Dad, too.

Anyhow, if you needed to take the measure of contextualization at Covenant Theological Seminary just now, read this interview in the PCA's byFaith magazine.

Comments

I don't think I 'need' to say this to you, dear brothers, but I'll do so anyway; as you are engaged in a very worthwhile fight, don't forget to fight fair. Many in my wing of the church (fundamental Baptist) have succeeded in making our name a byword for fighting by not doing so....

....keep up the good fight, though, and I'm standing beside you in prayer and more.

What a lamentably sad representation of Covenant is this interview. It's an overwhelming task to even begin listing the problems in Mr. Barrs' responses, but most discouraging to me is the dishonest rhetorical slant that pervades his comments. It would be better for this resident "scholar" to advance his position with the academic coldness, detachment, and objectivity that used to mark even those scholars opposed to God's Word. Instead, we get dishonest characterizations of biblical faithfulness, and words whose hostility is delivered by lips that are buttery-smooth.

Really, what a great religious studies scholar is Dr. Barrs, and how grateful we can be that he has paused from his busy life to consider God's "perspective" on women!

Perhaps the most telling example of his rebellion:

"In that setting there was a glad submission to the teaching of Paul in the passages mentioned above—but there was also a deep commitment to honor the Lord’s declaration that women and men are equals as the image of God, equals as sinners, and equals in spirituality as joint-heirs of the grace of life."

It's gratifying to see Dr. Barrs so conspicuously careful in keeping track of the respective authors of submission and equality—without him we might conflate the two. I'm sure Dr. Schaeffer was a sloppy scholar by comparison.

Josh

It reads like an episode of Oprah, with Dr. Phil (Barrs) up there working the women.

I fail to see what your hatefulness, Josh and Tim, are supposed to achieve. The ironic thing is that Jerram's views of women in the church are probably quite similar to yours, even if you don't like how Jerram and CTS "contextualize" them. If you have some real points of disagreement, just come out and say them instead of badmouthing.

Elliott,

"Hatred?" Mr. Barrs is simply one more feminist yawn in a world chock-a-block filled with them. But he has a small pond in which to jump and flip and splash about. Anywhere other than PCA purlieus where there's still some effort to resist the egalitarian feminist heresy, his fifteen minutes would have been up twenty years ago. Like the EPC. The CRC. The PC(USA).

Or, for that matter, Fuller Theological Seminary.

>Jerram's views of women in the church are probably quite similar to yours...

Actually no. Our views are diametrically opposed.

Read the comments above and take a lesson from these wise men as to why I would say such a thing.

In Christ,

All I'm asking for are some specifics. Where is Prof. Barrs mistaken? Where is the Biblical refutation to his statements? Can we affirm anything that he has said in that interview?

Lines like "What world does this man live in", putting "scholar" in quotes like we don't believe it, or "one more feminist yawn" simply fail to address the issue. I'm honestly curious to see the error in Barrs' ways, and I truly believe pointing them out would be more helpful than simply bashing him. Isn't that fair enough?

>All I'm asking for are some specifics.

Actually, no. You began by attributing what I'd written to "hatred." So you want to move on past that, now, to issues of substance?

For specifics, please read the "Feminism" category here at Baylyblog. All that's archived there would put every past generation of Christians to sleep with its content. And all that's archived there would oppose what Mr. Barrs says.

The specifics are all there, dear brother:

http://www.baylyblog.com/feminism/

I am curious to why you accuse Mr. Barrs of "pandering." Are you adequately acquainted with the motives of his heart to make such a claim?

I don't even know why I'm carrying on this conversation. I came across this blog due to a mass e-mail that you sent out to the Ohio Valley Presbytery yahoo e-mail group. I was looking forward to some good reading. I am shocked that a RE in my dearly-loved presbytery would spend his time filling his mind with such animosity. The sad thing is that I agree with 95% of what you have to say, you just don't have a very loving way of going about saying. So I'm sorry that an apology is not forthcoming, because I don't feel that I have much for which to apologize. I would recommend that you go back and catch the tone of many of your posts. Is it befitting a minister of the Word? I'm not convinced that it is. I say this in love and concern for the church, truly.

p.s. Your comment hasn't shown up yet on the byfaith website but I am looking forward to reading it.

Elliot,

No hatred here. My reason for once referring to him as a "scholar" was to emphasize that his method and tack in this interview is very unlike what generations of scholars, Christian and non-Christian alike, considered scholarly—and very like what our society today considers "non-offensive." His argument, if it's even fair to use that word, is much tone and almost no substance, except the small, carefully nuanced point that the correct understanding of women has been shamefully buried by the Church in her unenlightened, benighted, grievously patriarchal past.

To say it again: my opposition is to Dr. Barrs' misleading and inaccurate characterization of the Church today and Scripture's teaching on sexuality and creation. I don't know Dr. Barrs from Adam (yes, pun intended), but I recognize his smooth-mouthed subterfuge a mile (or, in this case, 400) away, because it's the same pandering posture that's widespread on college campuses. The difference is that men at IU deny the true God and put education in His place; Dr. Barr acknowledges Him but tries to convince us He's no threat to our educated conceptions.

For one more "real point of disagreement," let's consider "God's perspective on women." The phrase appears three times in this short interview, and not once does Dr. Barr distance himself from it, over even try to redeem it biblically. Rather, he uses it himself. It's as if each of us must search among a multiplicity of different, valid perspectives to find God's, which is probably the best, after all...

Let's not be fooled here. God doesn't have a "perspective on women" in the way that Barr alleges. His is the perspective, against which all others so named lose any right to that word, and He has not hidden it among our individuated opinions, but clearly expressed it in His Word.

You may think it uncharitable to make such a fuss over one word, but I think not. We academics live off of words, and the ungodliness of that phrase did not pass his ears unnoticed. He heard it, used it, and let it stand in print—a living testimony to his own postmodern accessibility.

And that's not irony, but calculation.

SIncerely,

Josh

I agree that Prof. Barrs is trying to be "non-offensive" - it's one of the hallmarks of his ministry. I have never found his desire to be non-offensive to overwhelm his passion for the truth. I do, however, find your charge of "smooth-mouthed subterfuge" to be offensive. Prof. Barrs is one of the most blunt men I have ever heard speak. He says exactly what he means, which in my mind precludes smooth-mouthed subterfuge.

Barrs things God is no threat to our educated conceptions? That comment would be laughable if it weren't so sad. To accuse him of such a thing is totally baseless.

I don't understand your point concerning "God's perspective on women." Of course God has such a perspective, contained in his word as you point out. Barrs is trying to crystalize it into a book. What is so wrong with that? He is trying to make his perspective line up with God's as he sees in the Word. Shouldn't we commend him for that, and yet critique him when he falls short? I see little in this short interview to critique.

And finally, why you criticize a "postmodern accessibility?" Do you argue that we should not be accessible to the postmodern ear? There's a difference between being accessible to postmoderns and being postmoderns. I see no problem in being the former while avoiding the latter. Do you?

Josh, you may claim no hatred, but the second and last paragraphs of your first comment are downright nasty. And I would argue they add little to nothing your argument. Can't we discuss substance without such vitriol?

Elliott P.: "I fail to see what your hatefulness, Josh and Tim, are supposed to achieve."

Once that accusation of "hatefulness" is hurled.... (sigh).

Then we see this ironic gem by Elliott P.:

"Are you adequately acquainted with the motives of his heart to make such a claim?"

Elliot,

Do you realize that one cannot be "non-offensive" and speak the truth at the same time? The truth is the "aroma of death" to those who are perishing.

Truth Unites - that is hardly ironic. A simple question, in fact.

Adrian - I understand fully what you are saying. It just seems like some people try to be offensive as possible, while others guard the truth in a way that is not totally alienating. You cannot control whether or not others are offended, but you CAN control if you yourself are offensive.

Dear Elliot,

>I agree that Prof. Barrs is trying to be "non-offensive" - it's one of the hallmarks of his ministry. I have never found his desire to be non-offensive to overwhelm his passion for the truth.

Speaking as one who doesn't know him personally, I choose not to dispute you generally. Speaking as one who read this particular interview, I do dispute you specifically. There is far more non-offensiveness than truth in that interview.

>I do, however, find your charge of "smooth-mouthed subterfuge" to be offensive.

That's reasonable, because I was never trying to be non-offensive, though my heart does want to be. I, too, fear man more than God on more instances than I care to count.

>Prof. Barrs is one of the most blunt men I have ever heard speak. He says exactly what he means, which in my mind precludes smooth-mouthed subterfuge.

Taking only this interview as a basis, if that's bluntness, then Pres. Clinton was Charles Barkley. Seriously, Dr. Barrs' comments were not blunt; Al Sharpton's comments are. And, for example, I would say Pres. Obama also says what he means, but that what he means is carefully attenuated to register one way in the ears of those he intends, and to pass blithely over the rest of the populace as good-minded words. Those "Christians" who hate having to abandon their hatred of patriarchy heard Dr. Barrs loud and clear.

>Barrs thinks God is no threat to our educated conceptions? That comment would be laughable if it weren't so sad. To accuse him of such a thing is totally baseless.

Baseless, perhaps, except that Barrs perfectly packages his comments on women so that they fit in perfectly with our culture's enlightened, unscriptural conceptions. That's why, at least here, he makes God no threat.

>I don't understand your point concerning "God's perspective on women." Of course God has such a perspective, contained in his word as you point out. Barrs is trying to crystalize it into a book. What is so wrong with that? He is trying to make his perspective line up with God's as he sees in the Word. Shouldn't we commend him for that, and yet critique him when he falls short? I see little in this short interview to critique.

I believe you when you say you don't understand, but to fully address all the errors of the phrase under discussion would take an essay of its own. I'm sorry I can't produce that at this point; but suffice it to say that there are many, many presuppositions that attend the use of such language, and most of them are of this age, not of Scripture. I don't mean to be pedantic or condescending at all; but look up the word, and you'll find that the way Barrs used it does not bring honor to God. I accept that the baggage attending the phrase is not always easy to see; I do not accept that Dr. Barrs has trouble seeing it.

> And finally, why you criticize a "postmodern accessibility?" Do you argue that we should not be accessible to the postmodern ear? There's a difference between being accessible to postmoderns and being postmoderns. I see no problem in being the former while avoiding the latter. Do you?

Notice that I didn't criticize being "accessible" to postmoderns per se, if by that you mean "understandable." I agree with you that we need to be speaking the Gospel in a way that is clear. Actually, this is much of my criticism of Barrs, that in appealing to the "postmodern ear" he has made the actual requirements of faith in Christ more ambiguous to that ear. A feminist reading Barrs' interview would have little reason to believe that Christian faith resulted in a sexual ethos in any way different from that of the world. And that, sir, is subterfuge on Barrs' part.

Further, my actual statement noted that Barrs is using ungodly language to brandish his postmodern credentials. He's trading on the meaning of words in order to present an inoffensive front to the readers. Accessibility in itself is useful; carefully designing your words, so that postmoderns can embrace both Jesus and the sins of their culture, is condemnable.

And finally, lest we forget, Barrs is writing in a PCA magazine, not to pagans. What need should he have to temper his language for postmodern accessibility when he's writing to the Church, and to a conservative denomination of the Church, and from that denomination's flagship seminary? What did our Lord say about being faithful in little things? It's difficult to defend someone who emasculates his words even when he's preaching to the choir.

Or is the PCA world no longer the choir?

In Christ,

Josh

Josh,

Your answer concerning use of the word "perspective" is useful. It seems unfortunate that Barrs has chosen such a word, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think what he actually has to say about God's truth concerning women could be quite helpful, if only this interview had been deeper (or if we had the chance to read the book)! I agree that he was not being particularly blunt in this interview - I like Tim wish it weren't such a "puff" piece. But I fear you go astray when you accuse him of designing his words so that the culture can embrace their sins. Do you really see anything specific in this interview that would warrant such an accusation? I do not. I find it ludicrous.

Elliott P.: "Truth Unites - that is hardly ironic. A simple question, in fact."

The irony is that while you ask whether Tim Bayly is "adequately acquainted with the MOTIVES of his heart[Barr's heart] to make such a claim", you yourself commit the very practice you decry with your statement "I fail to see what your hatefulness, Josh and Tim, are supposed to achieve."

Because your statement begs that your own question be flipped back upon you: Are you, Elliott P., adequately aquainted with the motives of Tim Bayly's heart to make such a claim that Tim is being hateful towards Professor Barr?

Now do you see your judgmental hypocrisy?

Elliot,

>... the second and last paragraphs of your first comment are downright nasty

The second paragraph may have had too harsh a tone; I'll grant that, but the point is still important, I think. Dr. Barrs sounds very much in this interview like a religious studies scholar, and that is not a compliment. As for the "busy schedule" reference, it's hard to believe that the schedule of a Covenant faculty member is any busier than that of the readers who took time out to read this puff piece.

And as for the fourth paragraph, I stand completely behind it. It demands huge faith to believe his was a mere slip of the tongue, there.

> It seems unfortunate that Barrs has chosen such a word, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Our disagreement, though, stems from the fact that I find the baby to be a perfect fit with the bathwater. There's very little in this article that helps the Church, and much that harms it, particularly in the things that are omitted.

>I think what he actually has to say about God's truth concerning women could be quite helpful, if only this interview had been deeper (or if we had the chance to read the book)!

But, dear brother, notice the very words you used here: "has to say about God's truth"; "could be"; "helpful." Notice now the words that I wish both you and I could use to describe his interview: "Dr. Barr spoke God's truth. Dr. Barrs' unequivocally said words that were godly, Scriptural, loving, clear, of an accord with the Church's historic positions," and so on. Maybe the book's much better, but the interview...it was only as shallow as he wanted it to be.

> But I fear you go astray when you accuse him of designing his words so that the culture can embrace their sins. Do you really see anything specific in this interview that would warrant such an accusation? I do not. I find it ludicrous.

I'm not saying that he intentionally designed his words in order that he might allow the culture to embrace their sins. I can't make that judgment; if that's what I communicated, I apologize. But I do mean that he intentionally designed both his words and their meaning so as to remove offense from the Gospel, and that the RESULT (not purpose) of that is to allow postmoderns to embrace both Jesus and their culture's sins.

Thanks for allowing me to clarify.

Sincerely,

Josh

Yes truth I see my judgmental hypocrisy. Would you like me to give you my address so you can come follow me around and point out all my other sins? It would be soooooo helpful.

Josh, I see now that we are coming at this from two different angles. You are very familiar with the post-modern language of the day, and the damage that it does to the church. You see similar language in Barrs' interview, so you feel that you can properly condemn the interview because of it. You see Barrs as unnecessarily acquiescing to this culture.

I am just a hick from the sticks. I am not familiar with today's language nearly as much. I know two things. I know Jerram's heart, and I know the state of many PCA churches. Because of these two things, I know another thing - Jerram's words to our churches are right on. We do need to re-evaluate our many of our churches' first response is to squelch women's gifts.

You are addressing language, and I do not have the expertise do adequately respond to your critiques. I am addressing content, as little as their is, and see it spot-on.

Sorry that last sentence of paragraph two is jumbled. We do need to re-evaluate many of our denomination's churches first response to women's gifts, which is to squelch them. I have seen it happen.

Obviously last line of last paragraph should read "there" not "their."

Truth unites,

Sorry for my rude response. I think on things like these we should write a response, wait 5 minutes, then send it. That would eliminate a lot of hot-headedness. What I read sounded like hatefulness, and I would like a response to my question that you called out. Call it whatever you want, but even you would agree that Tim cannot possibly make such a statement in good faith.

Elliott P.: "Yes truth I see my judgmental hypocrisy."

God bless you for acknowledging this. Who among us has not committed this sin? Certainly not I....

Elliott P.: "Truth unites, Sorry for my rude response."

I graciously accept your contrition.

Elliott P.: "What I read sounded like hatefulness, and I would like a response to my question that you called out. Call it whatever you want, but even you would agree that Tim cannot possibly make such a statement in good faith."

Well, I saw mockery and sarcasm in Tim's post. And I've also read passages of mockery and sarcasm in the Bible. (Which is not to necessarily say that Tim's use of mockery and sarcasm is biblically justified in this instance.) But could Tim have made his statements of mockery and sarcasm in a "good faith" attempt to expose what he considers harmful error without him being *truly* "hateful" towards Professor Barrs?

I think so.

Then the natural question would be: "Why does Tim Bayly get a charitable benefit of the doubt and Professor Barrs doesn't?"

As someone who occasionally doesn't receive the charitable benefit of the doubt either from those intent on misreading what I'm saying, it just, unfortunately, seems to be the way these things go in blog interactions.

Thanks TUAD. I think you have a good point. And I will admit that I'm willing to give Professor Barrs the benefit of the doubt, but perhaps not Tim. That is wrong of me. They both deserve it. It's too easy to forget that Tim, you, Jerram, and I are in the end on the same side, and agree on far more than we disagree.

Elliot,

>You see Barrs as unnecessarily acquiescing to this culture.

No, "unnecessarily acquiescing" implies that he merely made a few unfortunate word choices, a little bit too soft of approach. Rather, I believe that Barrs is misrepresenting the sins of our culture and of the Church, and that he is selling the Gospel short because he loves the praise of men.

>We do need to re-evaluate many of our denomination's churches first response to women's gifts, which is to squelch them. I have seen it happen.

I don't doubt you've seen it happen, but saying it sometimes occurs is vastly different than saying it is a problem throughout the PCA, or a major problem in the PCA, or a major problem in the PCA so huge it demands that Dr. Jerram Barrs come to the rescue by offering us another book to buy. Think about it. In this day we live in, when nearly the entire the Western World pays homage regularly to the goddess of feminism, when one denomination after another caves to its destructive doctrine, is it really likely that the PCA is so untouched by these things that one of its chief sins is oppressing women? Unlikely, if history is any indication. Isn't it always the pattern of our hearts to follow after Baal, to want a king like all the other nations, to make a show out of following God even while we maintain the high places? Really, sir, please cultivate some discernment.

So, are we to believe that there is a glut of churches across the PCA all acting to squelch the gifts of their women? Which gifts then are being squelched—the gift of being able to love their husbands? Of being keepers at home? The gift of obedience to their own husbands? Of a gentle and quiet spirit? Hospitality? Sobriety? Weakness? Childbearing? Oh, but of course, these were not the gifts Dr. Barrs (and perhaps you, too) was referring. He has in mind the gifts of distinction, the gifts of notoriety, the gifts that allow one to speak loudly and be heard, not to be silent and quiet.

And how can I make such a contention? Because of the duplicitous way in which Dr. Barrs devalues the aspects of femininity that God especially prizes while promoting those that most appeal to our culture and our pride. Of course he says we can't set aside the "nasty" passages, but then he does precisely that, dispensing with the nasty, gnarly, Scriptural doctrines of patriarchy and submission in one sentence, while spending five paragraphs salivating over the progressive, sophisticated views of sexuality that he has been privileged to come to.

> It's too easy to forget that Tim, you, Jerram, and I are in the end on the same side.

No, we're not. Rather, we're on diametrically opposed sides on this issue.

Seriously, nearly every sentence of Dr. Barrs' interview is filled with content and words that are misleading and dishonest. How about this one:

"In many churches, reflections about women begin with the passage about male headship and women’s subjection in marriage (Ephesians 5) and the so-called restrictive passages about women’s ministry in the church (1 Corinthians 11 and 14, and 1 Timothy 2)..."

Let's see..."reflections" about women. How interesting, considering Scripture never "reflects" on women. "The passage about male headship"--funny, I count at least four passages where the Holy Spirit teaches this doctrine, and at least four or five commanding "women's subjection." By the way, it's good of Dr. Barrs to include "in marriage" there--we might be tempted to listen to Scripture when it talks about women's subjection even outside of marriage. Oh, and those "so-called" restrictive passages about women's ministry in the church--how good of Dr. Barrs to tell us that they don't really mean what they say.

"I was eager to write a book about women through God’s eyes—not a book about women seen entirely through the eyes of men reacting to feminist emphases."

Seriously, this is laughable. It's so good for the Church that Dr. Barrs has been able to leave behind the poor, stupid prejudices of 2000 years of faithful men, so that finally he can write about women through God's eyes and not his own.

So yes, I actually agree with his and your contention that the ministry of women is being squelched in the PCA. But, if anything, it's the ministry of women found in weakness, dependence, and quietness that is becoming more hated in the PCA today, not that of assertiveness and independence. There's enough of that to go around, and Dr. Barrs' smooth campaign to convince us otherwise is unworthy of a godly teacher. I'm sure it will sell more books, though. After all, what woman wouldn't want to be set free from the repressive regime of the PCA? Finally, a man we can truly follow!

I don't mean to weary you with sarcasm, brother, but the idea that Dr. Barrs' content is sound is far from the truth. Contrary to what he advances, the problem with feminism is not its "emphases," but its entire substance. Feminism is not simply a well-intentioned philosophy that became misguided and guilty of wrong "emphases"; it is a heresy that attacks the very character and nature of God, and it is ungodly and deceptive to call its errors "emphases." But more than that, it is not indicative of a Christian scholar to deliberately downplay those parts of Scripture that make him look unsophisticated in the eyes of the world. We have enough academics in the world who trade on the word of God because they love the seats of honor; we don't need them in the Church.

I ust submitted this comment to the ByFaith magazine:

If a group of young women never prayed out loud while growing up, doesn't that suggest they came from "modern" households, where their mothers weren't paying enough attention to the children?

Also, I wish the author would name names when he gives examples, so we can be more confident that the stories are true. If he's going to slam conservative PCA churches with implausible stories. Is there really a "prominent evangelical church" where women can't share their experiences and interpretations-- i.e. no women's bible studies? I'm skeptical.

I notice, though, that there are no traditionalist comments on their website. Since their comments are also moderated, this makes me think that they are dishonestly selecting only favorable comments to try to create an impression that everyone in the PCA agrees with Prof. Barrs. I am making a serious charge when I say that, so I should emphasize that I am merely speculating, but has anyone else posted a comment and not had it appear? (mine was just a minute ago, so it is not yet evidence)

Eric,

My as yet unpublished response to one comment in the string of the By Faith interview with Dr. Jerram Barrs (submitted early Thursday):

Comment posted in string:
We need to deal with the fact that Christ is building His church and at least 50% is female, statictics indicate it is much higher.
God has given gifts for the body to each member of the body regardless of gender. We (PCA and the church at large) have been subverting God's giving by restricting the use of the gifts He has given to women. Let's refocus our attention from secondary issues and let God be God in our midst without stumbling over gender bias.

My unpublished response:
I'm glad to see that those anthropological questions related to the principle rebellion of the last 100 years of American culture are simply "secondary issues". Do you honestly think that the generations of churchmen prior to Dr. Barrs missed the fact that there were females amongst them? Just as the sodomite community is promoting their agenda through covert sympathy building movements like the Day of Silence so we see unfaithful church leaders trying to push feminism forward in the church in the guise of ending the oppression of women.
Just what god are you wanting to be god in our midst?

Another thought: In the post a few days ago on church music, I said it was important to keep on the substance and not question motivations, but that on other posts, motivations were the actual subject. This Barrs post, is an example, I think.

The original post links to Barrs as an example of what's going on at Covenant College--- not, in this post, of whether that's bad or good, but just what faculty there think. Some people would applaud the feminism there, others condemn it, but that's a topic for a different post.

Also, though, the Barrs interview says something about Barrs' fairness and scholarly integrity. That's fair game, particularly since relativism and sophistry have a deep relationship. And there's no way to delve into that without getting unpleasant, yet delve into it we should.

On the other hand, motives of commentors are not relevant. I haven't read the thread closely enough to see if they've been discussed or not.

>I am making a serious charge

Dear Eric,

Clearly byFaith is a house organ. I've noted long delays in getting opposing comments up under some of their articles. It took months and a number of e-mails and phone calls to get them to correct Tim Keller's misrepresentation of the history of RPCES actions related to woman deacons. Months. Then, when they did correct it, they did so in a way that was designed to keep anyone from noticing. They simply altered the text of the piece as it now appears on their site, never mentioning anywhere that it had been altered. Even when I sent an e-mail pointing out how unprofessional it was, that no respectable newspaper would handle it that way, and that corrections should be made at least as prominently as the original error, they chose not to amit the correction had been made.

If you go to the Keller piece, you'll note the beginning is entirely different from when it was published, but there's no indication of the change at all. The editor refused to call attention to it. So, way down at the bottom of the comments, you'll find a comment I wrote telling readers that the text of the article has been changed.

Does byFaith refuse comments the institutional leaders don't want to put up?

Certainly. Otherwise, they wouldn't moderate comments prior to their being posted.

By what criteria do they refuse comments?

Who knows, but certainly those criteria include things perceived to be institutional threats. They might not see it that way, but I'm certain.

Do they delay critical comments while pushing agreeable ones right through?

Yes, certainly. After all, there would be times when critical comments would need consultation with the powers that be prior to being approved. That alone assures they have a longer lead time.

I've only made between five to ten comments on the site through the years, but even with that few, I've noted delays, and one that was extraordinary--days, if I remember correctly. Finally, the comment was approved, but not until I'd contacted the editor several times.

Having said this, keep in mind that byFaith is a house organ, an institutional mouthpiece--an alumni magazine, if you will. Who's doing what and saying things that are interesting; that sort of thing. And as David points out so well in his post, what conflict makes it into any issue is perfectly ritualized os it's no threat to institutional harmony. Like the jousting tourneys of the Middle Ages, the point of it is only to entertain the ladies who sit under the canopies breathless with admiration at the splendor of Tall Steeple Knight's accoutrements.

Years ago, Joel Belz and I used to talk about the need for a thoughtful magazine of reformed theological commitments that could displace CT's hegemony which has been so very destructive to the the People of God and the honor of Jesus Christ.

byFaith bears no resemblance to what we used to discuss. For those intent on being shepherds of the flock, rather than butchers, it's perfectly useless.

Love,

Quite interesting! I posted a comment that has been apparently deemed unworthy of being put up. (I say this because other comments have been accepted since I submitted mine.

My comment was:

**********************
Talk about women's "gifts", but the Bible actually gives criteria for determining whether women are making proper use of their gifts. "...having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work." (1 Tim 5:10) Also this: "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." Not exactly the use of gifts valued/encouraged by the world, are they? But that's what honors God's Word.
**********************

It's quite amazing to me that my comment would be rejected since it is almost entirely just a quote from the Bible.

I'm going to contact the editor.

Update...

My comment is up, and a response from Richard Doster stated that he approved it within minutes of his receiving it via email, but that for some reason some emails get delayed (which presumably happened here).

-Joseph

Just a quick response to a quick point:

"What world does this man live in? And who taught him how to read his culture?"

Hopefully, no one walking away from this article would presume that ALL the church was mistreating women. I didn't pik up that sentiment from the author, but admittedly I wasn't watching for it.

But the sad truth is that sometimes, some parts of the Church *do* mistreat women. I have been in a few congregations where this was the case, and it was excruciating. I have met other people who have reported similar problems--everything from being rebuked for being perceived unsubmissive (although their husband had no quarrel them), being forbidden on basis of gender to teach even other women or children, being accused of being easily deceived, all the way to being called a Jezebel and driven from the church.

Is this the majority and norm? From what I've seen, I don't believe it is, not by a long shot. But the reality is that *it does happen*. When it happens, it's tragic. And when it happens, the women coming out of such situations need to be reassured that God doesn't dislike or mistrust them simply because of their gender.

That being said, I have also, thankfully, been in a greater number of church settings where women were not treated like second-class citizens. I love the Body of Christ, and I hope that it is abundantly evident in this post that I in no way wish to malign anyone in it. My only point is that, due to our common fallen condition, sometimes real problems pertaining to gender relations do emerge in our communities. I think it's fine and healthy for an author to address such circumstances.

And when all is said and done, if the end result is that women actually decide to spend time in the Word of God and learn from it, that's a win.

Dear Amanda,

Yes, I too have known families where women were not treated in a godly manner, and yes, it is wrong. There are also undoubtedly churches that do not love women as they should. There are also churches that are cruel to animals, churches that forbid their children to read, and churches that say computers are evil.

But are these the common, representative problems of the church today? No, they're not. Are churches that repress women or despise education popular in the world's eyes today? Far from it; they're pariahs. And is it fair to characterize the PCA's problems as Barrs does? No, it's not, and it's disingenuous for him to suggest that treating women as "second-class citizens" is customary in the majority of the PCA. Remember, not all Pharisees (e.g., Nicodemus) were hostile, white-washed sepulchers—but Jesus often addressed the problems typical of their group, rather than pandering to those Pharisees who were not.

>...the women coming out of such situations need to be reassured that God doesn't dislike or mistrust them simply because of their gender.

Dear sister, saying it like this is, at best, a minimal, meager statement of the glory of sexuality as God's created it. Women need to be told that God "doesn't dislike or mistrust them"? How about showing them the wonder of God's design, that they are women, equal to men in their own fallen worthlessness, but allowed (along with men) to bear the image of God! How about telling them not that it's "because of their gender" that God loves (or hates) them, but rather that God loves them because He is love, and for His Son's sake, and that He has created them with the beauty that is the female sex, the beauty of grace, of gentleness, of long hair, of quietness, of submission, of hospitality...of weakness?

When men and women can glory in the liberty of what God has made them to be, they no longer need Dr. Barrs to weep for their chains and tell them they're free. They no longer need him to reassure them about anything. Christian ladies can then be completely loosed, free to follow their hearts' true desires, and free to follow their Heavenly Father, rather than free to chain themselves to Barrs' latest book.

Sincerely,

Josh

Josh--

I appreciated your excellent comments on this thread. The whole Barrs article is carefully crafted egalitarianism.

[Barrs:] "God’s Word has much more to say about women than we usually hear in most of our churches, and this has deeply troubled me for many years."

Such as...? He's deeply troubled, but not enough to give anything specific.

"I gladly agreed and the women in that group were greatly encouraged by the studies and they urged me to write this book."

Barrs IS preaching to the choir, and it is female. They're the ones who buy the books, too.

"...reflections on women often end with these passages, as if Scripture had nothing else to say about women."

Such as...? No substance, just playing to emotions throughout. Typical Egal "Yeah, but..."

"I am not saying that those passages should be ignored or set aside, for they are of course important, but beginning and ending with them has given rise to severe misconceptions."

They are important for what? Another sly way of saying we can't take them at face value? What *severe* misconceptions? Are "the so-called restrictive passages " not also part of "How the Lord sees Women"?

"It is as if the female half of the congregation were barely human. ...I weep as I think about the tragedy of this."

That whole paragraph is touchy-feely pandering to what I call the "You Don't Love Me Anymore" Syndrome. If women don't totally get their way, all sorts of irrational and exaggerated charges can be thrown out there. 'I don't even know how to pray because males have oppressed me all my life.' He's feeding this nonsense.

"In that setting there was a glad submission to the teaching of Paul in the passages mentioned above—but there was also a deep commitment to honor the Lord’s declaration that women and men are equals as the image of God, equals as sinners, and equals in spirituality as joint-heirs of the grace of life."

So, what else is new? As Tim says: "yawn."

"What will surprise my readers? I hope and pray that many whose experience is like the sad examples I shared above will be delighted to discover that God honors women and delights in giving them wisdom, moral strength, and gifts..."

Experience, sad stories, emotionalism. Women are human after all -- what a surprise!

"I pray that many women will be encouraged to delight in their creation, redemption, and calling, and that many men, especially pastors and teachers, will be challenged to honor women as does the Lord Himself."

This is so feministic, it isn't funny. Women will be encouraged to delight in *what* calling? Pastors will be challenged to do what -- accept the calling women claim they have?

"I long for men to treat their wives, and women in general, better, and I long for our churches to be places where women feel welcomed, treasured, honored, and encouraged to use their gifts to the glory of God."

Does he long for women to treat their husbands better? Men are bad, women are abused. This whole thing just feeds the discontent the culture has already got women hooked on. Like sex, it sells!

--Michael

Dear Amanda,

As a pastor, I am concerned about your examples of churches mistreating women.

"I have met other people who have reported similar problems--everything from being rebuked for being perceived unsubmissive (although their husband had no quarrel them)..."

Any pastor knows that women do sometimes need to be rebuked for being unsubmissive, whether or not the husband sees it. The question is not, does the husband have a problem with his wife's disobedience to God's clear commands? The question is, is there disobedience?

"...being forbidden on basis of gender to teach even other women or children..."

That is really weird. I can't imagine a church not allowing a woman to teach women or children simply because she is a woman.

"...being accused of being easily deceived..."

That is simply derived from the Holy Spirit's words in 1 Timothy 2:12-14: “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. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

"...all the way to being called a Jezebel and driven from the church."

Are there no Jezebels in the church today?

My point in all of these things is that you seem to say that it is never appropriate to discipline or rebuke women for sins that are particular to their sex, and that such discipline and rebuke is always "mistreatment." I'm sure you will say that there are obvious occasions when a woman must be rebuked or disciplined. But all of the examples you list (except for the women not being allowed to teach women and children simply because they are themselves women) would all come up in the course of faithful pastoral care.

Stephen Baker: "Are there no Jezebels in the church today?"

Heh, heh. And a snicker too. There most certainly are. And they have unfortunately risen to positions and offices of leavening influence due to the aberrant practice of Women's Ordination.

Fr. Bill is or was Episcopalian or Anglican. He could mention more Jezebels in TEc than I can. I'll just mention that I know of two outspoken ABORTION PRIESTESSES: Nina Churchman and Katharine Ragsdale. And Priestess Ragsdale is a dean of an Episcopalian seminary to boot.

Not to mention that the Presiding Bishopess Katherine Jefferts Schori is generally considered to be a heretical Jezebel by conservative Anglicans.

"...all the way to being called a Jezebel and driven from the church."

And how many pastors have been run off by influential women in churches? They don't hold an office, but they do grind and wield axes in their battles for control.

I can't point to a particular phrase or sentence in Dr. Barr's article that I disagree with but we need to view it in the context of today's society, where women are more educated and given more liberty of leadership in the world and the church than ever before. So my question is: Dr. Barrs, is this a timely message? Is this really the message that the church today needs to hear?

I've never personally met any women like the ones he mentions, i.e. so repressed that they don't even know how to pray. But sin has all manner of perversions, so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he's telling us the truth when he describes this situation.

Fine, I agree, it's sinful. Actually, it's quite disgusting. However, a good teacher never tries to make his point simply by implying the logical opposite. So some women are not encouraged through their church to grow in their faith, so then what? Is ordaining women the answer, or will having women deacons solve it, or maybe just giving some women the title of minister, is that the solution? What is he implying?

What a good teacher will do is blow wide open any kind of false dichotomy thinking, as in, "We don't want to take what Paul (and the Holy Spirit) say TOO far, because if we do, it will lead us to where women who don't even know how to pray. We have to find a balance between repressing women on the one hand and letting them take over the church on the other hand."

False dichotomy! The continuum does not exist! Balance is not the answer. You don't ever arrive at the truth by running in the opposite direction of Barr's faithless woman, which is what I felt the article was implying.

On the other hand, you never arrive at Barr's faithless woman by taking the scriptural parameters too seriously.

The woman of faith in the scriptures is teaching all the time. From the time she gets up in the morning, she's telling her toddler about why we pray. "We're going to thank God for our food now because everything we have comes from him. He's the one who made you."

She's teaching as she talks to her friends at the park. She's teaching her children how to die to themselves, how to respect authority, what it means to be a woman. She is teaching her friend from high school who calls on the phone and wants to leave her husband. She is teaching her family members, her neighbor whose husband just died, maybe even the checkout lady who asks her how she handles all those kids.

She's praying out loud plenty too, with her children, with her husband at night, with her friends who are struggling.

But her beauty is that she is wise enough to be careful when in the presence of other men and particularly her husband, that it is not her role to intimidate.

She does not want to lead the couples small group (something that an unordained man can do), because she feels it would dishonor her husband. She does not correct him in conversations even if she knows how to better state what he means. She does not want to use Sunday school as a way to show off all her spiritual knowledge.

She has plenty to say, but wants to encourage the men around her to teach, rather than saying everything so they have nothing left to say.

She is not silent because she has nothing to say. She is silent because she is obedient to God, and believes that God's design for male authority in the home and church is beautiful and quite refreshing. She's really quite exhausted from her week of ministry and shows up Sunday morning ready to be silent and be fed. She has no energy left to pout and shed tears about how she's excluded from the office of deacon, or any other title. She is thankful that the men are leading in that area, about what mercy ministries that the church should direct its attention to, and that she doesn't have that burden of responsibility. All she has to do is obey.

Paul and the Holy Spirit had a very specific message for the churches concerning the role of women. Somehow, overcoming the spiritual oppression of women wasn't the theme, not even for the day and age the New Testament was written in...

> I'm honestly curious to see the error in Barrs' ways, and I truly believe pointing them out would be more helpful than simply bashing him. Isn't that fair enough?

Elliot P.,

Yes it sounds fair but consider that as Tim said, there are oodles of stuff on this blog dealing with women.

I know I get tired saying the same things over and over again to people who won't hear it - I can only imagine how tired the pastors get of it.

Most of us come to blogs because we like to debate and talk out ideas - but these ideas have been hashed out a lot. You have a responsibility to educate yourself in these things too and approach a discussion ready to see the truth.

>We do need to re-evaluate our many of our churches' first response is to squelch women's gifts.

Leslie, I really liked your description, it reminds me of my wife. She doesn't fail to do things men in the church does because she is afraid or incapable but because she has no need to, she is busy with many many things that take full advantage of her vast spiritual gifts.

Are there churches that treat women like dogs? I'm sure there are. However, what most of us are seeing is a society where we're seeking to make men into dogs.

This whole thing is a cycle. Past men who didn't lead in Godly ways, treating women badly, these women growing up etc. and deciding never to be subjugated by a man and seeking to destroy male leadership. This generation begets one that has even less idea of how to be Godly men and women and the cycle continues in a feedback loop.

The only way to fix the problem is to restore the Biblical roles of men and women - to continue to try to correct one abuse (men leading sinfully by being too harsh or too passive) by having another abuse (women leading out of fear of men or thinking men are unable) doesn't fix anything - it just ensures a second, third, fourth etc. generation of unGodly people.

This really shouldn't be so hard to see but we've all seen so few examples of Godly families and churches and when it is done properly you do not see women who are afraid to pray or crying because men treat them as cattle. You see women flowering into what God intends for women, and it's far more beautiful than female deacons, elders and pastors.

-Clint

I'm not in favor of women pastors or women deacons, let me say that up front. Yet what I have a problem with is the PCA's narrow focus on gender as disqualification for office. Yes, a woman is disqualified for ordained office, but what about those men who do not hold to the qualifications lifted up in Scripture? What angers me is that I see outcry over women, but none over the men who are elected merely because they are good businessmen or are part of the good ol' boys club. We have a MASSIVE problem in the PCA in that there are a great many session who do not belong there. Men who have children who are uncontrollable because dad is absent at home. Men who use worldly, cutthroat tactics in business which give them a bad reputation with outsiders. If your only concern, at the end of the day, is that an elder have an XY chromosome, then the denomination is headed for as much ruin as having a feminist agenda.

Bottom line, I'm saying that it is good that we as a denomination are theologically discerning enough to not ordain women to office. But thinking that this has fulfilled our obligation to protect the offices of deacon and elder is a huge mistake. I'd like to see more articles on the biblical qualities of elder and deacon. I'd like to see blogs that blast those who ordain arrogant men (which is listed as one of those biblical abominations) and men who are shady in their business dealings and lacking in their home life. I've seen a lot of session. I've known a lot of teaching elders and ruling elders. Pride is an epidemic and favoritism is rife. We need to own up to this and repent of it before God. Then, when we tell women that the Bible doesn't allow them to serve in ordain office, we can say with a clear conscience that it excludes certain kinds of males as well. Maybe then it will be an easier truth to swallow.

Tim preaches about these things in his sermons from time to time, for instance last month he spoke of wealth as a non-qualification for eldership:
http://clearnotebloomington.com/audio/2011/october/09/you-will-save-your-wife-iii

Doug Wilson has a whole category on his blog titled "Elders of the Church" ( http://dougwils.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=69:elders-of-the-church ) where he deals with issues like this. A couple of examples:

"The Office of a Bishop" (a survey of all the biblical qualifications) http://dougwils.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3964:The-Office-of-a-Bishop-1-Tim-31-7&catid=34:parable

"How Old Does An Elder Have to Be?" (deals particularly with the "believing children" qualification) http://dougwils.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2403:How-Old-Does-An-Elder-Have-to-Be&catid=69:elders-of-the-church

Dear "Teaching Elder,"

A few responses to your mostly good comments...

>>>what I have a problem with is the PCA's narrow focus on gender as disqualification for office.

I don't think the PCA is any more concerned about an officer's sex than his greed. It's just that sex is firm and fixed. It's biological. It's objective. It's evident. Its inarguable. We'll always tend to be more faithful in objective things. Plausible deniability is everywhere when it comes to a prospective officer having his own home in order or being of good reputation. Not so with sex. Either he's a man or he's not. Halfway there doesn't count.

In the Nominating Committee someone exclaims, "But she's a woman!"

Who's going to respond, "I think that's grossly unfair. I think she's quite manly--more so than our pastor, that's for sure! We shouldn't be so rigid in our gender constructs. We need a feminine/masculine perspective in our session, don't you think? And if the pastor can bring it, why not a real woman, also?"

Of course, this sort of language and argument are precisely what is carrying the day in Tim Keller's church and presbytery and churches and presbyteries around the country...

They carried the day in my old presbytery recently when the elders and pastors examined a man RUF wants as a church planter within presbytery boundaries. He's drunk the Keller/Covenant Kool-Aid and thus took an exception to the Constitution in the matter of woman deacons. He explained that woman deacons would be helpful in order to get a woman's perspective into the deacons' decision making. One teaching elder asked him whether this same argument wouldn't apply to the office of elder and the session and the candidate agreed it would.

He was approved.

Tim Keller and (it seems apparent) Brian Chapell both agree that this so-called "gender" you think the PCA is "narrowly focused on as disqualification for office" is not a construct that needs to bar a woman from holding office.

Maybe Chapell would quibble over calling her an "officer" but Redeemer calls these women "officers" all the time.

I mean, really: have David and I been writing and documenting anything for the past seven years here on Baylyblog? Over and over again we have shown that Tim Keller promotes women officers in his church, presbytery, and denomination. He calls them "officers." He promotes them. And men from the deep south who are supposedly manly men with huge churches and the terminal degree give him the velvet glove treatment.

He's feted. He's a rebel against his own vowed polity.

Over and over again we have shown that no one will discipline him for it. We have spoken to Famous PCA Leader No. 1 and Famous PCA Leader No. 2 and Famous PCA Leader Nos. 3 and 4 and 5 and 6; we've spoken personally to every one of these men we know about the need to discipline Tim Keller and his congregation for this rebellion against the Constitution, yet Pastor Keller continues down the path with impunity. Immunity. We have voted and argued and written briefs and served on a GA study committee on this issue and what we've observed is that things only get worse. Occassionally a strategic retreat or two, but never discipline or repentance. And always the voices of the rebels get louder, institutionally.

You claim the PCA is "fixated" on not allowing woman officers and there are woman officers all over the denomination.

Maybe you meant that the PCA is fixated on not allowing woman officers who hold the office of elder or pastor?

If so, gotcha there, too. Did you know women have voice but no vote on Tim Keller's elders board? They hold the same amount of power and influence in Redeemer's session as Redeemer's assistant pastors. So reports a man who's served years there as an assistant pastor.

So what--because they can't vote you say the PCA is "fixated" on not allowing women officers? Wake up, dude. Or given your anonymity, maybe I should have said "dudette." Possibly you're a woman Minister of Family Life out in Denver or Northern California Presbytery and you didn't tell us your name so no one would know you're the PCA's two-hundred and fiftieth woman officer. Humorous break, dear brother. I don't believe for a moment that you're using a pseudonym to cover up your female sexuality. Not for a moment.

Typically, men would argue against the above by saying that deacons aren't really "officers"--only elders are. Or only teaching elders are. Or really, only the teaching elders who preach in the pulpit Sunday mornings are, so that's the place where we must not have woman officers--in the pulpit Sunday mornings. Oh yes, also in the elders meeting when we actually vote on the discipline of a man. Don't you know--that's ALL the Apostle Paul meant when he said he (himself) didn't allow (back then) women to teach (preach, really) or exercise authority (formal judicial authority, that is, and only in the context of the Church) over man.

Blah, blah, blah...

Then they trot out the old "Calvin and Warfield believed in women elders" canard.

But as we've pointed out again and again, the practice of Tim Keller's Redeemer electing and installing and (at least once) ordaining woman officers bears no resemblance to what Calvin and Warfield believed. Tim Keller's woman officers are not under the authority of the man officers of the Deacons board. Rather, they're all androgynous "deeks" together.

And get this: the authority over all their "deeks" has long been a woman. Jenny Chang is their "Director" of the diaconate and that's a clue about how Tim Keller's rebellion resembles John Calvin's Biblical obedience.

I have no problem with a non-PCA church having woman deacons so long as it's structurally and publicly clear that the woman deacons are subordinate to the man deacons and that the woman deacons are "deaconesses" and the man deacons are "deacons," and the woman deacons never teach or exercise authority over man. This is the policy of Calvin and Warfield, but it's directly opposite the policy and practice and communications of Tim Keller's Redeemer.

So now let's move on to your other better comments.

>>We have a MASSIVE problem in the PCA in that there are a great many session who do not belong there.

Yes, but what better proof is there of the failure of the PCA to follow Scripture's church-officer qualifications than that the PCA embraces woman officers at churches across the country and can't summon the courage to discipline them? In other words, if such an objective criteria as sex (not the social construct you refer to as "gender") is not disciplined according to Scripture, why on earth would you think subjective criteria such as having his own wife and children in order, not being greedy, or being humble would be in order? If a pastor and church and presbytery and general assembly and judicial commission can't have faith to discipline the criteria that are objective and verifiable, why on earth would they have the faith to discipline the criteria that are subjective and entirely susceptible to plausible deniability?

Why do we write so frequently here on Baylyblog about sodomy and abortion and woman officers and feminism?

Because these things are plain and evident. Objective.

And if we claim to love the God we can't see while hating the brother we can see...

Get it? Start with the no-brainers where there's can be no plausible deniability, and if you see rebellion and disobedience and love of this world and conniving and dissimulation and double-speak and formalism and quibbling there, don't move on until those have been dealt with.

If your teenage son slaps your wife in the face, don't sit down and talk to him about lust.

Here's an idea--you can do both! But maybe just maybe start with him slapping his mother in the face? In the presence of 250,000 people you had at your dinner table that night. Your most handsome and brightest son. Your firstborn son.

Here's the truth. Scripture is clear that woman officers are wrong because of God's Order of Creation. Everything we do in the Household of Faith is to be lovingly faithful to His Order of Creation. That's the Very Beginning, so obedience starts there.

Sex.

Now, going further, let me report that both David and I work hard in yoke with our other pastors and elders not to allow men who are living in clear violatation of God's qualifications into office. Sometimes we ourselves fail to live up to those qualifications and sometimes our fellow officers fail in that regard, also. But when we do, the other officers help us return to obedience. When we have rebellion and disobedience in our homes, we help each other through admonition and encouragement and discipline. There is no qualification of an officer of Christ's Bride that we intend to avoid or deny. And with all our elders, David and I believe in our own children being freely disciplined by the elders of our church as they see best. It's happened a number of times and, Lord willing, will continue to happen in our churches long after we're gone.

Discipline is wonderful. Qualifications are wonderful. Submission is wonderful. Rebuke is wonderful.

These are the things that must be restored to the PCA if she is to have a future in the plan of God. Sex isn't the only area of unfaithfulness in the mutual discipline within the PCA, but it's a pretty good place to start. In the home with elders and deacons whose wives rule them and their children with an iron fist. In our churches where no elders board decision is final until the Women in the Church (WIC) allows it to stand. In our seminary until Professor Barrs is gone. In our presbyteries until that church where women are officers in a dissimulating and pharisaical and conniving way are removed. In our denomination until Tim Keller's Redeemer is disciplined for her rebellion.

Start there, and I guarantee the other things will follow. Don't start there and I guarantee the other things won't follow.

>>Bottom line... I've known a lot of teaching elders and ruling elders. Pride is an epidemic and favoritism is rife. We need to own up to this and repent of it before God. Then, when we tell women that the Bible doesn't allow them to serve in ordain office, we can say with a clear conscience that it excludes certain kinds of males as well. Maybe then it will be an easier truth (for the women) to swallow.

Dear brother, David and I agree completely. And although none of us is good, let alone perfect, it's for the reason you give above that the women in our church love their officers and are delighted not to serve in office, themselves.

Much love,

PS: Here's a link to a chapter I wrote on the blessing of the discipline of pastors and elders and their families titled "Covenant Succession and the Emasculation of the Church."

http://www.baylyblog.com/2008/03/covenant-childr.html