Feminism


27 Jan 2007

There’s yet another fearless post on Baylyblog. To this day, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) holds to the Scriptural doctrine of sexuality, but cracks have appeared where they always seem to first appear — in the seminary. Much of what Tim Bayly heard in the 1980s at Gordon-Conwell (which sends many pastors into the mainline Presbyterian Church USA), he and others are hearing now from Covenant Seminary.

23 Jan 2007

Tim Bayly puts his finger on the problem again.

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

The implementation of feminism in the church, one exception at a time, is really nothing more than conforming to the world.

25 Dec 2006

A belated Merry Christmas!

Last evening we visited a conservative, by ELCA standards, church, mainly to hear the music. After a bit we noticed a few things weren’t quite right. In the theological heavyweight “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” we sang:

Pleased with us in flesh to dwell

And then soon afterward:

Born that we no more may die

Now, the real words to the song are “Pleased as man with men to dwell” and “born that man no more may die.” By then even the slow afoot (that would be me) had caught on, so I sang “born to raise the sons of earth” instead of the obnoxious “born to raise each child of earth.”

In “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” we were offered the not-so-enchanting:

Peace on the earth, good will to all.

After the service, several family members asked something along the lines of “What the dickens was that all about?” Why did we sing those dunderheaded alternate lines? Evangelical feminists will tell you that they are just clarifying terminology to help us understand that “man” means “men and women.” But these feminists are doing (quite intentionally, I believe) the exact opposite: obfuscating. Eve was formed from, and created for, Adam, and thus “men” and “sons” are truly inclusive terms.

But this foundational Biblical concept offends the sensibilities of the tolerant (whose Scriptural understanding is oddly similar to that of the world), and so… Change the words!

08 Nov 2006

Hebrews 12 speaks of Christians as strangers and exiles on this earth. Always a minority.

This became clear yesterday when ELCA parishioner and late-term abortionist George Tiller won a major victory after contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to oust a pro-life attorney general in Kansas who was fishing around his hellish “business” for evidence that he was doing late-term abortions under false pretenses. Such is justice on earth that murderers like Tiller run loose.

I don’t believe that late-term abortions are more vicious than any other abortion. In fact, I think(?) I’d prefer to have pincers jammed in the back of my neck and my brains sucked out rather than being scalded to death in saline as has happened to tens of millions of our unborn fellow citizens. However, it surely says something that consciences aren’t even pricked by a fully developed baby who may be days away from birth.

And yet we can be comforted:

Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. -Ps 37:1-3

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. -Rom 2:6-8

11 Aug 2006

Ever wanted to know an abortionist’s marketing dream for the future? Well, how about this menu from a Pittsburgh abortion clinic? One proposed package provides the gist:

5. Deluxe Spa Treatment– Get the luxury and personal attention you deserve!! Check into our special suite at the Jetson Hotel where you will meet with our experienced guide, who will be available to you for your abortion experience. After extensive orientation for you and your partner or family, enjoy a relaxing massage and jacuzzi. Full emotional support is available to you and those close to you, tailored to your needs. A full range of sedatives and pain relievers to choose from make for a pain free procedure by our experienced and friendly physician. Recover back in your suite and choose from 3 relaxing options–a foot massage, a mud pack facial, or a rebalancing of your shakras by our expert Reiki master. Then, enjoy room service from a 4 star restaurant. Our guide will be available to you to review aftercare and discuss any emotional issues. Full cable and choice of video entertainment available, and enjoy our feather pillow beds for a good night’s sleep. $3000

Sickening.

15 Jul 2006

Take a look at this list compiled by the well-respected pro-life group, LDI. Companies have many worthy and non-controversial charities to give to, and yet they fund Planned Parenthood. Many of these companies market children’s products, and yet still they fund prolific child-killers. Let’s not get cute here; that’s what’s going on.

Consider calling or writing these companies to let them know what you think. Anticipate this reply: “We don’t support abortion; we support Planned Parenthood’s educational endeavors!” Which reminds me of an old MAD Magazine cartoon which shows a man standing at a gas station in front of regular and premium pumps, while hidden underground we see that both pumps draw from the same tank. In other words, the money is going into the same pot. It’s like supporting the KKK and telling them that you want your dough going to their administrative functions, not cross burnings.

Planned Parenthood’s “educational” endeavors, centered around promiscuity, are bad news anyway. Hire Larry Flynt to educate your kids and you’ll at least spare them the euphemisms.

02 Jul 2006

As a follow up to the June 28 post, Operation Rescue bought a Wichita building that housed a former abortion clinic. Here’s an excerpt of what they found (hat tip: Slice of Laodicea):

“Under the sink was one of the biggest garbage disposals I have ever seen,” said Newman. “The entire area had the stench of death. It was the sink where the suction machine bottles were washed. In fact, dried blood could be seen that had seeped out from the metal band that surrounded the sink top. There was a bucket marked ‘biohazard’ next to the sink. “We were all sickened by the thought of all those thousands of innocent children whose blood had been washed down that sink. It was an experience I will never forget.” Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” of Roe v. Wade who once ran abortion clinics but now is a pro-life activist, confirmed it once was common practice to put aborted baby remains down such disposals. “Oh, yes!” she told Newman in a phone call. “And you can’t pour enough bleach down that drain to get rid of the smell.”

The clinic’s last abortionist, Ronald Yeomans, was formerly an abortionist for… drum roll please… Planned Parenthood. So the next time you see a Planned Parenthood spokesman on TV, or a glossy ad in the phone book, just think about that monster garbage disposal. It’s their perfect symbol.

18 May 2006

We see more and more articles on debating women’s ordination, even from evangelical churches. The idea is that it’s not a key issue, so all the he and shes out there can lovingly disagree.

Since Christ ascended into heaven, the church has debated the sacraments, soteriology, and a multitude of other things, but it never debated women in the pulpit until the 19th century. Think about that. The standard retort is that we are enlightened now. That view doesn’t hold up to scrutiny; does the average evangelical leader really want to compare his walk with Athanasius, Tyndale, or Spurgeon? Moreover, it denigrates the Spirit’s witness in nearly every leader the Church ever had. The ordination of women was not debated for a simple reason: the Scripture is utterly clear on the topic. You don’t need to generalize Galatians 3:28 or speculate about the life of Eunice, you just need to read what Paul clearly stated. You can just look at the entire context of Scripture, where priestesses and apostlettes are conspicuously absent. Our walk is about renewing our minds (Rom 12:2) to conform with the ancient but ageless Word of God, not pandering to the spirit of this age.

It’s no different than debating shoplifting. Shoplifting, pro or con? If we debate it in enough articles and books, perhaps people will discover a more “balanced” view of the Eighth Commandment that the entire church missed out on for 2,000 years. What nuances does “Thou Shalt Not Steal” hide?

It’s aggravating to see the church having to waste time dealing with convoluted arguments that muddy the obvious. But I guess that’s what it means to guard the good deposit (2 Tim 1:14).

02 May 2006

The sinner hates God, disobeys God, is ungrateful to God for all His favors, would kill God if he could. He is dead in trespasses and sins. (Eph.2:1) -John Gerstner

Professor Sally A. Jacobsen, former head of the Northern Kentucky University women’s studies program, was upset. And so what once was this… soon became this.

“Any violence perpetrated against that silly display was minor compared to how I felt when I saw it. Some of my students felt the same way, just outraged,” Jacobsen said. “I did, outside of class during the break, invite students to express their freedom-of-speech rights to destroy the display if they wished to.”

01 Apr 2006

“I would say his acceptance of the Mohicans of the time is similar to my inclusion of gay- lesbian -bisexual- transgendered people now,” Janet Edwards said.

That non sequitur is from this descendant of Jonathan Edwards… Perhaps it won’t be too surprising that she is a priestess in the Presbyterian Church USA.

Ms. Edwards receives support from another seminarian, an Edwards “scholar,” no less.

…Jonathan Edwards scholar Amy Plantiga Pauw, a doctrinal theology professor at Louisville (Ky.) Presbyterian Seminary, calls Janet Edwards’ argument persuasive. “There is a kind of parallel — Jonathan Edwards was not afraid to challenge so-called respectable Christians of his time,” Pauw said.

Banal political-speak aside, this quote reminds me of an interview with a Duke graduate with a degree in religion. Asked what he learned in his four years, he replied that it boiled down to one thing: all religions are the same.

Learned, but never learning.

26 Mar 2006

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has a church that shields George Tiller. And then there’s this ludicrous blasphemy (hat tip: Rev. Paul McCain).

17 Feb 2006

It is painful, being a man, to have to assert the privilege, or the burden, which Christianity lays upon my own sex. I am crushingly aware how inadequate most of us are, in our actual and historical individualities, to fill the place prepared for us. But it is an old saying in the Army that you salute the uniform and not the wearer. Only one wearing the masculine uniform can (provisionally, and till the Parousia) represent the Lord of the Church; for we are all, corporately and individually, feminine to Him. We men may often make very bad priests. That is because we are insufficiently masculine. It is no cure to call in those who are not masculine at all. A given man may make a very bad husband; you cannot end matters by trying to reverse the roles. -from the essay Priestesses in the Church?

25 Jan 2006

[Gordon-Conwell Seminary] was well-known for its adherence to the inerrancy of Scripture, but precisely in those areas where our culture focused its attack on God’s Word and doctrine, our professors often seemed to fall all over themselves demonstrating their acceptance of whatever ideology the Academy currently found infatuating–and when my two brothers and I were enrolled in Gordon-Conwell, that ideology was feminism. -Tim Bayly

Many Bible-believing churches seem to be slowly tracing the frontprints of the mainline congregations last century (with seminaries leading the charge). Many in our churches think that the prohibition on women’s ordination is an old-fashioned relic, another domino soon to fall in the relentless march of Progress. Yes, this movement has its evangelists, but most people in the pews simply do not know the Biblical case against it. They don’t understand that men and women are equal in nature and in esteem before God, but not in role.

Here is why women should not be in leadership and authority roles over men within the church:

  1. The binding order of creation. 1Timothy 2:11-14: “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” Note that Paul explicitly roots his reasoning in the order of creation and Eve’s punishment (Gen 2:7, 18, 21-22, 3:16). What was true thousands of years before the 1st century AD was still true and in force. It was not a confined to Corinth. This article starts at the beginning and is a good intro to exploring this further.
  2. Headship. cf. verses like Titus 2:3-5, 1Cor 11:9, Col 3:18-19, and Ephesians 5:22-23: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.” God created and named Adam. Woman was taken out of man to be his helper. Adam named the woman Eve. Although Eve committed the first sin, God recognized Adam’s headship by calling him to account first (Gen 3:9-11). As the head, Adam bore responsibility. In Adam’s fall we sinned all (Romans 5:15: ). As it says 1 Peter 3: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands… For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. … Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life…” Seriously folks, how much clearer does this need to be?
  3. The “Law” confirms it. 1Corinthians 14:34: “The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” The reasoning here is rooted in previous Old Testament revelation. It was not limited to Corinthian culture.
  4. Qualifications for elders. 1Timothy 3:2 says that overseers (elders) must be the “husband of one wife.” There is no mention of the opposite case. (Many churches see the offices of elder, bishop, and pastor as the same. Others believe a pastor or bishop has pre-eminence. But in either case the argument holds– in the first, because the office is the same, in the second because of the lesser-to-greater argument. No church I know of that ordained women as pastors has not allowed them to “lower” office first.)
  5. Scriptural practice confirms it. All of the authors of Scripture are male, all Old Covenant priests — hundreds are mentioned — were male (cf. Numbers 16), all of Israel’s monarchs except the usurper Athaliah were male, all the Apostles were male, etc. Worship is a ritual with the pastor proclaiming on behalf of the Bridegroom, to the Church, the Bride. As C.S.Lewis said: “Only one wearing the masculine uniform can (provisionally, and till the Parousia) represent the Lord of the Church; for we are all, corporately and individually, feminine to Him. We men make very bad priests. This is because we are insufficiently masculine. It is no cure to call in those who are not masculine at all. A given man may make a very bad husband; you cannot mend matters by trying to reverse the roles.”
  6. The witness of the Holy Spirit to the communion of saints. We have the nearly unanimous interpretation of the church in all ages, spanning multiple cultures for thousands of years. Is it not arrogant to assume that we have suddenly discovered new facets of Scripture that bypassed the meticulous and godly titans of the past? There has never been a female bishop of Rome or any of the great ancient sees, and all esteemed theologians up until modern times were men, from Irenaeus, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Athanasius, the Cappadocians, Ambrose, and Augustine to Aquinas, Wycliffe, Luther, and Calvin (“Not that he takes from [women] the charge of instructing their family, but only excludes them from the office of teaching, which God has committed to men only.” -Calvin). The views of the early church fathers were bluntly sampled by the great Scottish reformer John Knox (whose name still curiously adorns the PCUSA’s publishing company).
  7. Bad fruit. What trees bore the fruit of women in the pulpit? In the 19th century, there were the Quakers and some Wesleyans. There was Charles Finney, who encouraged women to speak in mixed assemblies. His baneful influence is well chronicled elsewhere. Finney founded Oberlin College, which produced the one-time Congregationalist Antoinette Brown, who who later was ordained Unitarian. The 20th century brought doctrinally-shaky Pentecostal movements. It saw mainline churches fall like bowling pins, denying miracles, Christ’s divinity, and of course the Gospel itself. After rotting sufficiently, all of them ordained women. Today, every church that I know of with an apostate national denom ordains women and fiercely guards it. Most are now busy considering homosexual ordination. (In some still-faithful churches we may be seeing the same pattern repeat itself: Today female deacons; in 10 years, elders; in 20, pastors. Do these re-evaluators really believe that they will end up in a different spot than the mainliners?)
  8. No Explicit Commands. There is not one passage of Scripture stating that women can be called to be pastors or where a woman is called to it. (cf. Timothy, Isaiah, etc.).

And here are the usual objections:

  1. “We are more progressive now.” This ubiquitous argument reeks of arrogance and historical ignorance. As Lewis said, “the modern conception of Progress… is simply a myth, supported by no evidence whatsoever… [It is] an illegitimate transition from the Darwinian theorem in biology to the modern myth of evolutionism or developmentalism or progress in general.” We see this attitude often in our irony-addicted pop culture that looks down its nose at things it hardly understands. Our environment has modern conveniences, so we laugh at ancients who rode a horse rather than a Honda, even though most of us have contributed little to technological progress (for example, I have no idea how to build a TV, much less invent it). And then there is the matter of our moral progress– Should not the denizens of a culture that has birthed conspicuous consumption, porno chic, and 40 million+ abortions pause before dismissing the morality of the past?
  2. “Paul’s prohibitions were only for his time.” This is the most insidious argument of all, for it can be used to invalidate any part of the Scripture; even the Gospel can be segmented as cultural. But as noted above, the Bible appeals to the Law and the order of creation, which predated Corinthian culture by thousands of years. R.C. Sproul: “In Creation, God makes a covenant not simply with Jews or with Christians, but with man qua man. As long as humans exist in a covenant relationship with the Creator, the laws of Creation remain intact. They are reaffirmed in both the old covenant and the new covenant. If anything transcends a cultural custom, it is a Creation ordinance. Thus, it is a dangerous business indeed to treat the matter of subordination in marriage and in the church as a mere local custom when it is clear that the New Testament mandates for these matters rest upon apostolic appeals to Creation. Such appeals make it crystal clear that these mandates were not intended to be regarded as local customs. That the church today often treats divine rules as mere customs reflects not so much the cultural conditioning of the Bible but the cultural conditioning of the modern church.”
  3. Galations 3:28: There is neither… male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The context of this passage is about salvation, not church governance. Also, this general statement does not contradict the specific statements noted in 1Tim and 1Corinthians. Christian women and men will equally enjoy the benefits of salvation! So will children. However, just as children are not to be in authority over their parents, women are not to occupy teaching and authority roles in the church. It is a question of God-given roles.
  4. “What about Deborah?” Deborah is the only judge in Judges who has no military function. The others judges lead Israel into battle, but Deborah receives a word from the Lord that Barak is to do this (Judges 4:6-7). It’s clear that she was the exception, not the rule (she was the only female judge), arising at a time of anarchy. John Knox commented: “Deborah did rule Israel, and Huldah spoke prophecy in Judah; ergo [the argument goes], it is lawful for women to reign above realms and nations, or to teach in the presence of men. … For of [such] examples, as is before declared, we may establish no law; but we are always bound to the written law, and to the commandment expressed in the same. And the law written and pronounced by God forbids no less that any woman reign over man, than it forbids man to take plurality of wives, to marry two sisters living at once, to steal, to rob, to murder, or to lie. If any of these has been transgressed, and yet God has not imputed the same, it makes not the like fact or deed lawful unto us. For God (being free) may, for such causes as are approved by his inscrutable wisdom, dispense with the rigour of his law, and may use his creatures at his pleasure. But the same power is not permitted to man, whom he has made subject to his law, and not to the examples of fathers.” As it says in Isaiah 3:12: “My people! Infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them…”
  5. “How about Miriam, Huldah, Samson’s Mother, Hannah, etc?” To quote the 19th century Presbyterian pastor, R.L. Dabney: “First, the Old Testament, which contained, in seed, all the principles of the New Testament, allowed no regular church office to any woman. When a few women were employed as mouthpieces of God, it was in a purely extraordinary office, and in which they could offer supernatural evidence of their commission. No woman ever ministered at the altar, as either a priest or a Levite. No female elder was ever seen in a Hebrew congregation. No woman ever sat on the throne of the theocracy, except the pagan usurper and murderess, Athaliah.”
  6. “And Anna?” Anna was an old prophetess who worshipped in the temple before Christ’s ministry began. She was a devout woman, worthy of honor. but again there is no evidence that she held a ministerial role. Many think the word prophetess here is simply linked with praise. (Many traditional expositors do not deny the ability for women to teach at very special times, but it is not normative, as Scripture makes contextually clear throughout.)
  7. “And Priscilla?” Wife of Aquila, they ran a house church and together and rebuked the young Apollos. She has been called a “pastor” by feminists, but there is no evidence whatsoever of this in the brief mentions of her. It is mere speculation and wishful thinking.
  8. “How about Euodia, Phoebe, Junia, Syntyche, etc?” These are classic examples of taking brief mentions and running with them. Any speculation is overruled by more explicit Pauline commands and by the context of Scripture. (To give an idea of how short the mentions are, here are the passages in question– Romans 16:1-2: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.” Romans 16:7: “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.” Phillipians 4:2: “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”)
  9. “1Corinthians 11:5 condones women prophesying.” R.L. Dabney answers what he calls a “feeble attempt:” “…When we turn to the fourteenth chapter… we find the same apostle strictly forbidding public preaching in the churches to women, and enjoining silence. No honest reader of Scripture can infer that he meant by inference to allow the very thing which, in the same epistle and in the same part of it, he expressly prohibits. It is a criminal violence to represent him as thus contradicting himself.”
  10. “Archaeology shows evidence of women deacons, priests and bishops.” So, then why don’t the written words from the period support such a contention? Pick your patristic: All men. When we read the histories and writings, the women just are not there in a pastoral role.

Supporters of women’s ordination are right about one thing: the issue is cultural. However, the cultural problem is ours. We are a product of a worldly age, a product of a culture that sees homemaking as inferior to well-paying managerial jobs. And this is where we must renew our minds (Rom 12:2).

Friends, this is not an issue where crusty old farts need to lighten up, it is one where the proponents of women’s ordination need to submit to God’s unchanging wisdom, for He is wiser, more loving, and more merciful than we will ever be. And the emasculated men who have lamely allowed this to happen in our churches need to be men.

To close with Dabney:

The competent archeologist and historian know that it has always been the trait of Judaism to assign an honorable place to woman. Accordingly, we never find the apostle drawing a depreciated picture of woman; every allusion of his to the believing woman is full of reverent respect and honor. Among the Christian women who come into Paul’s history there is not one who is portrayed after this imagined pattern of childish ignorance and weakness… [A]ll appear in the narrative as bright examples of Christian intelligence, activity, dignity, and graciousness. It was not left for the pretentious Christianity of our century to begin the liberation of woman. As soon as Christianity conquered a household, it did its blessed work in lifting up the feebler and oppressed sex; and it is evident that Paul’s habitual conception of female Christian character in the churches in which he ministered was at least as favorable as his estimate of the male members. Thus the state of facts on which this argument rests had no place in Paul’s mind; he did not consider himself as legislating temporarily in view of the inferiority of the female Christian character of his day, for he did not think it was inferior.

08 Dec 2005

The Narnia film’s director explains how he felt a strong need to alter a line from Lewis’s original:

[W]hen Father Christmas gives the weapons to all the kids, and he says to the girls: “I don’t intend for you to use them because battles are ugly when women fight.” …[T]hat might have been acceptable in the 1940s, but after doing two movies that were, I think, empowering to girls, with the ‘Shrek’ films, I didn’t want to then turn around and say: “Susan, you don’t get to use that bow, you have to rely on your brother.”

Progress strikes again, accompanied as usual by the lilting beauties of political-speak. To quote Joseph Sobran from many years ago:

The ultimate Progressive categories are not heaven and hell, or good and evil, or order and chaos, but Future and Past. Even the cusswords of the Progressive are chronological: archaic, outdated, Neanderthal, medieval.

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