Archive | Politics

Responding to David Gushee

I mentioned on Monday that David Gushee penned an opinion piece for USA Today in which he criticizes conservative evangelicals who support Sarah Palin’s candidacy. He writes:

“It is an uncomfortable fact that many of the theologically conservative Christians who have endorsed Palin’s nomination would not be willing to endorse her or any other woman for service as pastor of their church. Women cannot serve as pastors in groups such as the Churches of Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, most non-denominational Bible churches, and an influential advocacy group called the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).”

I belong to two of the groups that Gushee lists as transgressors on the gender question: the SBC and CBMW. I know, therefore, a little bit about the biblical and theological basis for the complementarianism represented in these organizations (though I am not claiming to speak for either one of them). With that in mind, allow me to respond briefly to the series of questions that he puts forth in his article. His questions are in bold, and my response follows each one. Continue Reading →

David Gushee Highlights ‘Inconsistency’

This is a no-frills post. I am writing this from my phone because Hurricane Ike has left me without electricity. So I apologize in advance for the raw links and the pictureless post.

David Gushe writes about the so-called “Palin Inconsistency” in today’s USA TODAY:

We have already discussed on this blog the issues that Gushee raises. Nevertheless, I will try to respond more fully when I have electricity. For now, I will just say that it would really help if Egalitarians like Gushee would take Complementarians on their own terms. For years, Complementarians have been addressing the very questions that he raises. There is a biblical and theological rationale for the Complementarian response to Palin; Gushee, for whatever reason, simply doesn’t acknowledge it.

Hell and the Religious Right

Lisa Miller at Newsweek magazine has this to say about the beliefs of Sarah Palin’s pastor:

“The senior pastor of that church, in sermons that circulated online before they were taken down last week, preaches hell for anyone who isn’t saved by Jesus. America does not know enough yet about what Palin personally believes, but her church background—she now worships at a nondenominational Bible church—puts her squarely in the tradition of the old-school religious right.”

What is fascinating here is that Miller treats this as a newsworthy item—that Christians believe that there is such thing as hell. It says a lot about where we are as a nation that such a thing would even be considered “news.” In any case, Albert Mohler has some commentary on Miller’s piece that is worth reading. He concludes:

“What this article in Newsweek represents is the absolute confidence that discovering people who believe that those who do not believe in Christ will go to hell is supposed to be shocking.

“So we find in Sarah Palin’s pastor an evangelical who believes in hell and preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only means of escaping hell.  In other words, he is an evangelical preaching like an evangelical.  Alert the media.”

Here’s the rest:

“Alert the Media — A Pastor Believes in Hell” – by Albert Mohler (

Balancing Motherhood and Governing?

Governor Sarah Palin’s candidacy has provoked much discussion about women who try to balance a career with motherhood (the topic of my previous post). In today’s New York Times, there’s a story describing a little bit about how Palin tries to do it:

‘Many high-powered parents separate work and children; Ms. Palin takes a wholly different approach. “She’s the mom and the governor, and they’re not separate,” Ms. Cole said. Around the governor’s offices, it was not uncommon to get on the elevator and discover Piper, smothering her puppy with kisses.

‘”She’ll be with Piper or Trig, then she’s got a press conference or negotiations about the natural gas pipeline or a bill to sign, and it’s all business,” Ms. Burney, who works across the hall, said. “She just says, ‘Mommy’s got to do this press conference.’ ”

‘Ms. Palin installed a travel crib in her Anchorage office and a baby swing in her Juneau one. For much of the summer, she carried Trig in a sling as she signed bills and sat through hearings, even nursing him unseen during conference calls.

‘Todd Palin took a leave from his job as an oil field production operator, and campaign aides said he was doing the same now.’

Here’s the rest:

“Fusing Politics and Motherhood in a New Way” – by Jodi Kantor, Kate Zernike, and Catrin Einhorn (New York Times)

Complementarian Hypocrisy?

In my previous post, we were addressing the question raised by the “On Faith” forum in light of Sarah Palin’s candidacy (a joint venture of The Washington Post and Newsweek):

“Women are not allowed to become clergy in many conservative religious groups. Is it hypocritical to think that a woman can lead a nation and not a congregation?”

In answer to that question, I noted that the Bible specifically enjoins believers to order their homes and their churches in light of a principle of male headship. There is no complementarian consensus, however, on how these matters apply outside of the home and the church.

One other item is related to this issue—whether wives and/or mothers should work outside the home at all, much less in a leadership position. I want to discuss this latter point in light of two biblical texts: Titus 2:3-5 and Proverbs 31. Continue Reading →

A Pitbull with Lipstick

I think Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Governor Sarah Palin delivered the two best speeches of the Republican National Convention. Up until this point, the Republican line-up has been pretty weak compared to the strong showing the Democrats made last week.

Palin gave a barn-burner. My favorite line from her speech was an off-the-cuff remark in response to delegates holding signs that said “Hockey Moms 4 McCain.” Palin, a former hockey mom herself, said this:

“I love those hockey moms. You know [what] they say the difference [is] between a hockey mom and a pit bull? . . . Lipstick.”

Classic. Continue Reading →

A Visit to Palin’s Church

You will not want to miss Newsweek‘s profile of Sarah Palin’s faith and her church. Among other things, the article says,

‘Palin has said she was baptized in the Roman Catholic church. As a teenager, she began attending the Pentecostal Assemblies of God church in Wasilla and was baptized there by the founding pastor, Paul Riley. Todd Stafford, an associate pastor at Wasilla Assembly of God, says Palin often publicly thanks Riley–now nearly 80 and still working as a prison chaplain–for bringing her to Jesus when she visits the church. She attended that Pentecostal church until she was 38 years old, when she switched to Wasilla Bible Church, saying she preferred the children’s ministries there.

‘Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing branches of Christianity in the world, and the Assemblies of God is one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the country, claiming 1.6 million members. Pentecostals are generally characterized by a strict adherence to moral codes–no tobacco, no alcohol, no social dancing, no sex outside of marriage–and by their belief that the Holy Spirit bestows upon some the gift of “speaking in tongues,” a reference to Acts 2: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues.” A spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign has said that Palin attends many churches and does not consider herself to be Pentecostal.’

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