The complementarian hermeneutic: Adam and Eve/Adam and Steve...

(Tim, w/thanks to Joseph) If you'd like to see into the future of churches that market themselves as Evangelical or hip and Reformed, this article gives a clear picture of how it will fall out next with sodomy. First we threw out God's Order of Creation concerning patriarchy and next we're going to throw out God's Order of Creation concerning heterosexuality. But the work will be hidden behind the high moral ground of past church reforms in slavery and male dominance, and the wreckers will be chattering on about love.

If we could deny the application of Adam first, then Eve, to anyone other than Christians, and only among Christians to tie-breaking votes at home, men preaching Sunday mornings, and women having voice but no vote in our elders meetings, the next step is only logical: we'll deny that God creating Eve (rather than Steve) for Adam bars practicing sodomites from church membership and we'll think it's progressive to refer to heterosexual marriage as "God's ideal" while approving monogamous sodomite unions as a worthy second-best. Outside the Christian home and Church, we'll seek to repeal laws against sodomy because, like patriarchy, heterosexuality is a private Christian truth.

Trimming God's Word and authority is a coherent strategy that moves on to the next project and giving away territory to Satan never causes him to be less aggressive on his next mission. Every last bit of territory we concede will serve him well as the staging ground for his next attack on God's Order of Creation.

Some complementarians have written about the inevitability of the feminist hermeneutic giving birth to the homosexualist hermeneutic. By this they only mean that the complete denial of Adam's headship over Eve will also result in the complete denial of God's gift of Eve to Adam and His limiting of sex to monogamous heterosexual marriage. They're right, as far as they go. But they fail to see the inevitability, also, of their own minimalistic complementarian hermeneutic giving birth to an equally minimalistic heterosexualist hermeneutic...

If the patriarchy decreed by God when He created Adam first is limited to Christians; and even among Christians, is limited to tie-breakers in marriage as well as who preaches and who votes in elders meetings in the Church; it only follows that the heterosexuality decreed by God when He created Eve for Adam, not Steve, is limited to Christians and is only "God's ideal;" and that unbelievers and other special people who claim to be unable to live within that ideal should, nevertheless, be acccepted by the church and encouraged to enter into a monogamous sodomite union.

Minimalism driven by fear, trimming driven by a lack of faith, the confession of the misogyny and homophobia of our church fathers driven by our own fear of not appearing sufficiently progressive, turning away from God's Creation Order in Genesis to an obscurantist fixation on the true meaning of this and that word in this and that phrase of the New Testament driven by our desire to stricly limit the argument to a fraternal debate over Greek exegesis rather than the blood and guts work of a theology of sexuality; these strategies are logically coherent and more noteworthy for the truths they give up than those they keep.

We must be faithful to fight at the gaps in the wall; and there, our primary concern must not be the medals we hope to receive but the faithful defense of every last bit of God's precious Truth.

A good test would be to compare the condition of the wall after we've fought the good fight to the condition of the wall left us by our faithful fathers when they'd finished the fight, themselves. At the end of the day, has that good deposit suffered attrition or is it intact, faithfully passed on to our Covenant children and grandchildren?

(The Apostle Paul wrote) "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2Timothy 4:7-8).

Comments

"Every last bit of territory we concede will serve him well as the staging ground for his next attack on God's Order of Creation."

This ought to be proclaimed with bold-face type, all caps, and an exclaimation point. How often we forget that we live in a battlezone. Thank you for reminding me of this today. It gives me courage to persevere in the training of my children, in submitting to my husband, and in running the race so as to win.

"The truth is that the Bible endorses all sorts of attitudes and behaviors that we find unacceptable (and illegal) today and decries others that we recognize as no big deal."

So, if the Greek word for homosexual actually does refer to a male prostitute, what if in 50 years we come to recognize male prostitution as "no big deal" either? Then it won't even matter what the word means. Tada!

It's hard to imagine the fatal compromise that calls itself, "complementarianism" will *not* fall in this direction. The CBMW folks don't seem to have changed their stance on women in combat since the resolution they published in 1996 and yet I've not heard a single comment criticizing the possibility of a woman as Commander-in-Chief. Carolyn Custis James has written an entire book based on one of Mao's proverbs and yet they still list her/her work as "undeclared.

And, most tellingly, they still treat the folks over at CBE (who, until recently hosted a blog link to a "godde" worshipper) as if they are nothing more sinister than misguided colleagues. CBE also carries the book, "Finally Feminist" by John Stackhouse in which he notes that homosexual relationships can be condoned for pastoral reasons.

How much more will it take for folks to wake up?

Trouble is, Kamilla, that they're not asleep. Just very, very carefully wrong. There's a big difference.

There's some hope for those asleep -- that some shock will awaken them.

There's no analogous hope for the very, very carefully wrong. For they have seen the shock, and have expended considerable energy and personal credibility in avoiding the implications of the shock. When they hit bottom, there's nothing more to do than to keep digging.

"But they fail to see the inevitability, also, of their own minimalistic complementarian hermeneutic giving birth to an equally minimalistic heterosexualist hermeneutic."

Lots of good phrases in this post, as the earlier comments show. The one above is my favorite.

It's curious that in Judaism, legalism turned into behavior much stricter than the World's, whereas among evangelicals it turns into behavior as close to the World's as possible while honoring the letter of the text. I guess the motivations are different: the rabbinical Jews loved the Law and wanted to be able to think they'd obeyed it perfectly so they made that possible by confining it to lots of rules, whereas the evangelicals dislike God' law and so seek to marginalize it.

An addendum to what I posted above, if I may. What I assert concerning "institutional" complementarianism (e.g. CBMW) is a kind of error which obtains in other areas of the Christian faith. Sometimes, what one sees is error that has not encountered the "shock" of its implications. Other times, one encounters error which shows evidence that the errant soul at least senses the shocking implications of his unbelief, and therefore undertakes to sheild himself from those implications so he may hold fast to the unbelief he has chosen.

Decades of pastoral observation convince me that one's pastoral response should be different for each situation.

Toward the blithely foolish sinner who airily advocates sin and folly essentailly founded on ignorance, the proper pastoral strategy is one of teaching, admonition, warning, exhortation, challenge, preaching and so forth. Marshalling an apologetic for the truth makes sense in this situation. Fervent prayer for such errants is vital. God hears and answers with great patience and grace.

With the very carefully wrong, however, a pastor encounters a dead end. Judging that one has come to a spiritual cul-de-sac when engaging an errant brother is a judgment one ought to reach slowly. But, having reached it, there's nothing more to do than commit him to the Lord's mercy (and it may be a severe mercy), and to refocus one's pastoral attention on others who may yet grow in grace and true knowledge of the Lord.

Albert Mohler has given a testimony in several venues about how he changed his mind after expouding his "default" egalitarianism to Carl Henry when He was Henry's "minder" at the latter's visit to the campus for some lectures. After hearing him out, Henry calmly told Mohler that he would one day be deeply embarrassed by what he had just said.

It reflects much good upon Mohler that Henry's calm observation registered as a shock. Mohler was a student; Henry was one of the living Lions of evangelicalism. Mohler's conscience was shocked, and he turned back to the Bible with chastened ears. He repented.

On the other hand, I offer this anecdote from my early Christian life at the campus of Texas Tech University, which I got from a mentor who was chief pathologist for The Premier Hospital of Lubbock in those days. Dr. Jerry was a young-earth creationist, well versed in the hard science and data which validates that reading of the Scriptures. He related to us college students how he had spent several weeks patiently reviewing that evidence with his supervisor at the hospital, a man at the pinnacle of his profession in hospital administration.

The end of that evangelism occurred one evening when the administrator and Dr. Jerry were alone, at the end of a review of all the evidence Dr. Jerry had laid out for him. Hopeful that this man would repent not only of his entrenched Darwinism, but also embrace the gospel, Dr. Jerry was amazed to hear, instead, something like this (a paraphrase from my memories):

"Dr. Jerry, you've made a solid case for your convictions. But, I cannot accept them. I have spent a lifetime building my career and on a view different from yours. I cannot believe what you urge me to believe without repudiating everything I've done and stood for professionally. I am not going to do that."

Evangelicalism is long past the time when its leaders are like young Albert Mohler. Instead, its leaders -- particularly those at the top of their evangelical careers -- are more and more like that hospital administrator, virtually incapable of repentence, for it is not just a "viewpoint" they must repent themselves of, but a lifetime, a career, a future based on both.

Fr. Bill;

Good words, I have often thought in that way and how easy will it be to lay aside the years of a faulty "belief" foundation upon hearing the TRUTH in love.

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