Evangelical Gender Wars and the Authority of the Bible

In years past, the gender debates among evangelicals have focused largely on the interpretation of key biblical texts. Complementarians have presented their interpretation of of the Bible’s teaching, and Egalitarians have presented theirs.In recent years, however, a new line of argument has been emerging among those of an egalitarian bent. According to a recent book review by S. M. Hutchens in Touchstone magazine, this new approach appears in John G. Stackhouse’s 2005 book Finally Feminist: A Pragmatic Christian Understanding of Gender. Hutchens writes:

The problem for egalitarian theologians has become associated less with particular passages of Scripture as with the Scriptures considered as a whole. . . [For Stackhouse] patriarchy is an interim measure that God has, in “holy pragmatism,” ordained for humankind in its sinful and ignorant nonage, and from which he intends it to become extricated as it ventures further into the life, knowledge, and love of the genderless God—presented in male terms in Scripture because of the cultural captivity of the world and the Church to patriarchalism.

According to Hutchens’ review of Stackhouse’s book, Paul and other writers in scripture do teach patriarchy. The problem is not that complementarians have misunderstood Paul’s teaching. The problem is that complementarians have not been able to move beyond Paul’s teaching to the egalitarian ideal that God desires, despite what Paul has written.

If Hutchens is correct, then Stackhouse’s approach is not unlike William Webb’s infamous “redemptive movement hermeneutic” (RMH) which has taken the evangelical world by storm. Webb argues in his book Slaves, Women, & Homosexuals, that partriarchy in the Bible (including the writings of Paul) is but an interim ethic, an imperfect state of affairs that an RMH can cure. Webb’s RMH enjoins readers to move beyond pesky Pauline commands such as “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man” and to realize that God has a more perfect will that Paul’s patriarchalism often falls short of. Thus we should move beyond Paul’s teaching so that we can realize God’s hitherto undisclosed (but more perfect) will.

The bottom line is that Webb and other egalitarians relativize the teaching of Paul in certain texts (e.g., 1 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 11:3) so as to make way for Paul’s teaching in egalitarian-friendly texts (e.g. Galatians 3:28). So folks like Webb (and apparently Stackhouse) admit that Paul forbids women to teach and exercise authority over men in the church. They just think Paul’s teaching is wrong for today’s church.

The net effect of this interpretive strategy is the elimination of the authority of scripture by marginalizing the teachings of the apostle Paul. That is why Wayne Grudem responded so forcefully to William Webb’s book in his essay “Should We Move Beyond the New Testament to a Better Ethic?” Of course Grudem answers this question in the negative, and Hutchens does the same in his evaluation of Stackhouse’s book.

So I commend to you S. M. Hutchens’ clever and critical book review: “A Maid To Order Bible.” He is right on the mark in his critique, as he recognizes that nothing less than the authority of scripture is at stake in this debate.

6 Responses to Evangelical Gender Wars and the Authority of the Bible

  1. dennyrburk October 23, 2006 at 10:00 am #
    1. Martin Downes Says:
      September 7th, 2006 at 4:07 am

    Interesting post Denny. Do you think that this change on one doctrine has the capacity to rewrite the whole evangelical system? Is it (the form of egalitarianism that you described) the outworking of a non-negotiable idea that is willing to re-shape and accommodate the doctrine of Scripture and other doctrines if need be?

    The reason I ask, to lay my cards on the table, is that this is the way that heresy develops.

    1. Bryan Says:
      September 7th, 2006 at 9:52 am

    Did you read Stackhouses book?

    1. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      September 7th, 2006 at 11:20 am

    I heard Stackhouse speak last spring and wrote this post about the event. I also recommend to you the writings of F.F. Bruce, Richard Longenecker, Fee, and Witherington who all champion the equality of women.

    1. Bryan Says:
      September 7th, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    The reason I ask Denny, is because it seems like whenever there is a theological debate in the church (like women in ministry, The New Perspective, Charismatic Issues, Baptism etc…) it’s seems like most people don’t want to examine the other side’s views or take the time to read the books they’re writing. Instead they would rather just take somebody’s word for it and trust that they know what they’re talking about. They think they can be really informed by reading reviews of the books instead of the actual books. That’s like the people who get the Cliff Notes in high school instead of reading the books, only it’s worse since often the review is only a few pages long and the reviewer is obviously biased against the position he’s examining.
    Or instead they just read books against the position that they inherited from their church or pastor or teacher and over time. Often the views they think they are arguing against are caricatures of the actual views of authors, or straw man arguments that no one holds to, or it’s a view that’s pulled from many different authors that has pieces of each of them but none of them would actually subscribe to since it doesn’t represent what any of them actually believe.
    I only mention this because I know many people are going to read this blog and others like it and think just because so and so reviewed this book negatively and Denny linked to the review and made a comment on it, that the issue is settled and they don’t need to do any of their own research or studying on the issue. These types of issues are way too big and affect way too many people to just sit back and take somebody’s word for it.
    Instead of just taking the reviewers word for it or reading a book against the position that you’ve never actually examined (not saying you did this Denny), read the books yourself and see if the arguments are compelling or not.

    Blessing,
    Bryan

    1. Jim Hamilton Says:
      September 7th, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    Great post, Denny!

    Thanks for alerting me to the review,

    Jim

    1. S. M. Hutchens Says:
      September 7th, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    I was told by a friend of this posting, and appreciate it. I strongly urge people who are concerned about these things to obtain and read Prof. Stackhouse’s book. I have far more cause to fear that it will not be read than that it will.

    Once one writes a review, his own opinions are on display every bit as much as those of the author he criticizes–he places himself at exactly the same level of exposure. If he is not being truthful, that can easily be judged by anyone who takes the trouble to read the book and place it against the review. The only people I would expect to take my word for this are those who know me well enough to trust my accuracy and integrity.

    Biased–prejudiced–against his point of view? That is putting it very mildly. Hatred would be closer to the mark. It is a bias born of years of reading the writings of egalitarians and dealing with their attempt to destroy the Christian faith. This book is an excellent example of where it brings us when the infection approaches its terminal phase.

    Again, I strongly recommend that Stackhouse’s book be carefully read–particularly by those who regard themselves as Evangelicals–and that the message of the man who has replaced J. I. Packer be allowed to penetrate the mind and conscience.

    1. dennyrburk Says:
      September 7th, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    Dear Mr. Hutchens,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on the review of your review. You have certainly piqued our interest in Stackhouse’s book. If that was at least part of your aim, then mission accomplished.

    Thanks again,
    Denny Burk

    1. Bryan Says:
      September 7th, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Hatred towards the Egalitarian view?!! Gosh that’s pretty strong feelings. You think Egalitarians are destroying the Christian faith? Like who (I figure you probably won’t mind naming these enemies of the Christian faith)? Do you even consider these people brothers and sisters in Christ? Just out of curiosity is there any other theological movements in the church right now that you consider the proponent of to also be enemies of the Christian faith? Denny do you feel the same way as Dr. Hutchens?

    Blessing,
    Bryan

    1. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      September 8th, 2006 at 3:12 am

    Denny,

    Here is the link I had hoped to add to my last comment. This gives a good idea of how some people here feel about the way women are talked about.

    http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2006/06/john-g-stackhouse.html

    I know Dr. Packer and Dr. Stackhouse both and am very thankful that I live in an environment where both are allowed to express their views without vicious attacks.

    I am truly shocked that the men that I mentioned above are being accused of attempting to destroy the Christian faith. Is that the kind of discourse that is accepted in your part of… sorry I have no idea where this is.

    1. Martin Downes Says:
      September 8th, 2006 at 4:40 am

    Suzanne,

    Shouldn’t we expect men to destroy the faith from within the church? Unless such possibilities are part of our theological framework then we are not being true to the NT. Drawing a conclusion like that must be warranted by substantial evidence, but that it is a legitimate conclusion within the parameters of Christian discourse is beyond question. It is impossible to avoid the force of Acts 20 in this regard.

  2. dennyrburk October 23, 2006 at 10:03 am #
    1. S. M. Hutchens Says:
      September 8th, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Of course people who are attempting to destroy Christianity from within never say, or even believe, that this is what they are up to. At a certain place along the way of self-deception they are normally able to convince themselves that they are operating only with the best and most innocent of motives. (Read C. S. Lewis’s pericope on the apostate bishop in The Great Divorce.) They’re just refining or improving an outmoded faith, or reading the Bible realistically, or in line with the assured results of modern scholarship, or expunging mythological or culture-bound elements, or making it more humane, or reasonable, or scientific, or fair. Stackhouse’s book is a fine example of several of these methods of improvement, of the gentle re-definition of Christianity, of improvement meant for everyone’s good and happiness, according to the superior wisdom of an enlightened generation.

    In every age such benefactors arise, almost always from within the Church, and in every age, the nasty, reactionary, backwards, ignorant, vicious, hateful, and mean-spirited have to rise up and beat them down.

    I have a few things against you. You have those among you who hold to the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. You also have people that hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

    This guy is pretty touchy, isn’t he? He wants the Balaamites thrown out and HATES the teachings of the Nicolaitans? Pretty strong feelings here. Obviously he isn’t really in control of himself. He thinks the Nicolaitans are destroying the Christian faith? No doubt he’d like to send us a list of them so we’ll know he is a witch-hunter at heart. Well, I’ll tell you, I know orthodox Christians and Nicolaitans, too, and I’m glad I live in an environment where the Nicolaitans are allowed to express their views without vicious attacks like this.

    1. S. M. Hutchens Says:
      September 8th, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    And, oh yes, we must add that the Balaamites and the Nicolaitans, being members of our church, and eminently likable people, many of them, are manifestly our brothers and sisters in Christ. Curse their doctrines and throw them out? It’s just not Christian–in fact, it’s the farthest thing from Christianity I can imagine, “in my environment.”

    1. dennyrburk Says:
      September 8th, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    Dear Mr. Hutchens,

    Thanks for answering the commenters’ objections. I think you sum up the heart of the matter in these lines: “Of course people who are attempting to destroy Christianity from within never say, or even believe, that this is what they are up to. At a certain place along the way of self-deception they are normally able to convince themselves that they are operating only with the best and most innocent of motives.”

    I agree. The road to apostasy is a journey, and one must put one foot in front of the other to make it all the way down the road. To be sure, we’re not saying that all egalitarians go all the way down that path. But oftentimes the first step down the broad way is a compromise of biblical authority.

    Many of us on the complementarian side of things see egalitarian hermeneutics as a compromise of biblical authority, and we know where that road ends. That is why we are so blood-earnest about this issue.

    Thanks,
    Denny

    1. BJoslin Says:
      September 8th, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    What is alarming is that those who are egalitarians in this posting are not even interacting with the matters that Hutchens raises, and that is most troubling. The issue is none other than biblical authority, and yet Hutchens and complementarians are merely being accused of being knuckle-dragging cave men. Get serious. Piling up name after name of egalitarian scholar does not decide anything. I have read Bruce and love him, but he is dead wrong about this issue and its implications. Again, the issue raised by Hutchens with Stackhouse is that Stackhouse knows what the Bible says, yet argues that we are now too sophisitcated in our culture for such a view. This is pride at its worst and demonstrates his being over the text and declaring what will be obeyed and what will not. That is the issue: authority. Good post, Denny.

    PS – At what point will we be too sophisticated in our culture for preaching the blood of the cross for salvation? Blood and death to avoid the wrath of God is pretty knuckle-dragging and caveman-like, not to mention gory. Oh yes, that is on the radar too. And – it is being propounded from within the church.

    1. Bryan Says:
      September 8th, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    BJoslin,
    I don’t know if you realize it or not but Egalitarians interact all the time with this stuff. Just read some of the other blogs (as well as this one). After a while it just gets old because nobody is willing to even really discuss this stuff. Read Hutchens’ comments. Does he sound like he wants to discuss these things or that he has an open mind to them? No, he’s already decided what’s right and wrong and the only reason he’d read an Egalitarian book is to criticize it and show others why it’s wrong (in his opinion). Why try to discuss the issue when Hutchens has already made his mind up and no one else has read Stackhouse’s book? Are we going to discuss the issues raised in a review?
    BTW Did you read Stackhouse’s book? Do you know what he said in it or are did you not read it and are just doing what Hutchens said not to do?

    A couple of months back we had a long discussion about inerrancy (related to Egalitarianism I think) and Denny and friends just stopped responding, without ever answering the questions (or else it comes to agreeing that we aren’t getting anywhere). These issues have been dealt with so many times, and the Egalitarians have been more than willing to engage the arguments. It’s just over time it begins feeling like a waste of time after people keep backing out of the discussion, not answering question/objections or moving on to a new topic.

    Piling up names happens on both sides. I mean just look at how Denny linked to a negative review for people to read. But in the end no one wants to seriously discuss the ideas of the authors. We could go back and forth talking about what so and so said but each side is just going to think their favorite author is right about the exegesis or application.

    Sure the issue here is authority, but not of the Bible, but instead the interpreter and one side is saying that their interpretation is the right one that everyone should follow or else they’re enemies of the Gospel.
    If Egalitarians were so against the authority of the Bible why would they even be arguing from it or using it in this discussion? Read these authors, do they sound like people who don’t care about the Bible? No. They’re extremely serious about discerning what it means, and how it applies to us today. Please name some of these Egalitarians that are against the authority of the Bible. Even Roger Nicole who is an Egalitarian, tried to kick some people out of ETS over an issue that he thought was against inerrancy and the authority of the Bible.
    It’s not as simple as you would like to make it seem.

    Blessing,
    Bryan

    1. moverstreet Says:
      September 8th, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    Wow. I have long argued that inerrancy isn’t necessarily the issue, but the authority of Scripture and its related sufficiency.

    1. BJoslin Says:
      September 9th, 2006 at 12:57 am

    Bryan,
    I have read so many egalitarian books, articles, commentaries, and essays, read more blogs, downloaded PDFs etc. that, after reading much on the topic, it becomes rather easy to see the broader trends and movements regarding such a position as that of egalitarianism. Aside from Webb’s book a few years ago (2000, I think) there has not been any big movement or earth-shaking argument concerning this view – just a piling up of books on each side of the issue. After having read so much on the matter, it seems clear that all egalitarian views break down into one of two categories: either 1) they argue exegetically, saying that the Pauline texts (and Peter’s too) are not saying that there are distinct gender roles, or 2) they essentially agree exegetically with complementarians that there are gender roles, yet then argue that we, in our culture, are past that somehow. Now, I am truly trying to be fair. Is that not the case?

    (The biggest difference, you’ll note, is that the first group affirms that the written is word is still authoritative, i.e., if it can be proven exegetically that we complementarians have simply misunderstood the text, then we are still to obey the word. The assumption for group 1 is that we are still to obey the word. However, group 2 essentially affirms exegetically the complementarian exegesis of the texts, yet then argues culturally that we are not to follow those words any longer. In short, for #2, the text is clear, yet no longer authoritative.)

    Therefore, those in category 2 argue that even though the inspired apostle said that there are gender roles, we now do not believe that holds true. As such, for these what is God’s will and thus best for Christians in our culture is to do the opposite of what God has commanded through Paul. Unless Hutchens is lying, and I have no reason to think that he is, then Stackhouse, whom I have not read, is saying that for us to do God’s will now in the 21st C., we practically have to do the opposite of what Stackhouse agrees the apostle said to do. That really is the bottom line, Bryan, isn’t it? God’s will is now the opposite of what the written word says. And yes, it is that black and white – either it is now OK for women to teach men or it isn’t. If it is God’s will for them to, then complementarians are outside of the divine will. If Paul’s words still are authoritative, then egalitarians are outside of God’s will for His covenant people. Let’s not muddy the waters, since the two sides cannot both be right, since such is illogical.

    The question I have is simply, when did God’s will for his people change? At what point did Paul’s words no longer retain their authority? If these words of his are no longer authoritative and a fixed guide for God’s people, then it is not a leap to ask the question as to what is next. When did God’s written, infallible word “go bad” like a piece of fruit that we can no longer stomach?

    That is the primary issue that Denny et al. are raising: that some egalitarians (group 2) have progressed beyond what the written word says and what it meant when written by, in this case, Paul. Can you not see the danger in that issue? Help me to see how that is a safe line of argumentation. As I mentioned, what is next? How can we maintain biblical authority when we agree on what the author means, yet make sophisticated arguments whose end is the exact opposite of what God has said?

    1. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      September 9th, 2006 at 1:31 am

    First, I am a little surprised by the tone on this blog. However, you do at least acknowledge that I have commented, which is more than most.

    So here is a question that I ask many theologians but they don’t answer.

    Aristotle wrote,

    και πασιν ενυπαρχει μεν το μορια της ψυχης, αλλ’ ενυπαρχη διαφεροντως. ο μεν γαρ δουλος ολως ουκ εχει το βουλευτικον, το δε θηλυ εχει μεν αλλ’ ακυρον, ο δε παις εχει μεν, αλλ’ ατελες.

    He also wrote that men have the αρχικη ανδρεια and women that of υπηρετικη. He explains,

    το γαρ αρχειν και αρχεσθαι ου μονον των αναγκαιων αλλα και των συμφεροντων εστι, και ευθυς εκ γενετης ενια διεστηκε τα μεν επι το αρχεσθαι τα δ’επι το αρχειν.

    So clearly Aristotle teaches that the complementarian relationship is embedded in nature. This, however, in practical terms was achieved by 35 year old men marrying 17 year old girls.

    I understand by this that the complementarian paradigm was a pagan paradigm. Paul responded to this, but did not deconstruct the paradigm of his day. He taught that slaves should obey but not be treated harshly.

    However, because we understand that we as Christians are to love our fellow human beings as ourselves, eventually it has come to be understood that slavery is not Christian. So also should women be treated as the fellow human beings of men, for in this is ‘the whole law is fulfilled’.

    Those men who teach that women find their fulfillment in difference do not treat women as they themselves would want to be treated. A woman who finds fulfillment teaching Greek in a secular setting may well be fulfilled by teaching the same subject in a seminary, but this is denied her. She is not permitted to be fulfilled in this way.

    However, we must go back to God’s economy and ask if He so divides the world into secular and sacred. If He regards knowledge as divisible and discrete. In God’s eyes, from his viewpoint, does He see a woman teaching Greek in a secular setting as holy and in a sacred setting as unholy?

    You must understand that I speak as a woman who is past the child-bearing age.

    1. BJoslin Says:
      September 9th, 2006 at 12:47 pm

    Suzanne,
    I am surprised by your statements that the complementarian paradigm is pagan. This is troubling given that Paul does not express it by using Aristotle, but rather by quoting the Old Testament- Moses, to be exact. As such, it is not “pagan,” but biblical, rooted in the OT teaching itself. Moses, as you know, lived long before Aristotle.

    Second, many egalitarians apparently confuse ontology with functionality, and equate the two. This is clearly where the two sides need to dialogue. For complementarians, there is a difference between unique roles (funtionality) of the genders, while maintaining equality in nature and being (ontology). I am surprised that most egalitarians merely equate the two, since in both philosophy and theology the distinction is made.

    Hope this furthers the discussion.

    1. Bryan Says:
      September 9th, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Denny, did you delete your response to my very first question? Why?

  3. dennyrburk October 23, 2006 at 10:03 am #
    1. dennyrburk Says:
      Dear Bryan,

      I had initially posted three responses. I posted them but then decided that that was not the direction that I wanted the conversation to go. So I deleted them.

      I deleted them before S. M. Hutchens began making his comments.

      Is there something you wanted to talk about concerning the deleted comments?

      Thanks,
      Denny

    2. Bryan Says:
      Just curious why you deleted your statement that you hadn’t read Stackhouse’s book after Hutchens said “I strongly urge people who are concerned about these things to obtain and read Prof. Stackhouse’s book. I have far more cause to fear that it will not be read than that it will.” It seemed like you were comfortable mentioning how you hadn’t read it until he said that. Plus it just seems odd to delete comments you were making so that no one would be aware of how you responded. I wasn’t aware that it was 3 responses. Anyway it’s your blog. Do as you wish.
      Blessing,
      Bryan
    3. Bryan Says:
      BJoslin
      I’m glad you’ve read so much but your point was that Egalitarians aren’t answering Hutchens’ points, like Egalitarians are just sitting back with nothing to say. But in reality this debate takes place all the time and for some of the participants it just gets old. And why bother answering objections from a reviewer that has hate for the view of the book he’s reviewing. It’s not like he’s going to give us a fair and accurate representation of Stackhouse’s views anyway. He’s going to pick the easiest targets in the book, not quote everything he says, generalize, and not answer some many of the questions/objections that Stackhouse has put forth. Besides nobody here has even read the book. People don’t want to discuss what Stackhouse wrote; they want to discuss what Hutchens said about Stackhouse and some things Stackhouse wrote, but out of context. Is that how we’re supposed to engage the views of those we disagree with; by reading what their opponents wrote of them instead of their actual views?

      You said,
      God’s will is now the opposite of what the written word says. And yes, it is that black and white – either it is now OK for women to teach men or it isn’t. If it is God’s will for them to, then complementarians are outside of the divine will. If Paul’s words still are authoritative, then egalitarians are outside of God’s will for His covenant people. Let’s not muddy the waters, since the two sides cannot both be right, since such is illogical. The question I have is simply, when did God’s will for his people change? At what point did Paul’s words no longer retain their authority? If these words of his are no longer authoritative and a fixed guide for God’s people, then it is not a leap to ask the question as to what is next. When did God’s written, infallible word “go bad” like a piece of fruit that we can no longer stomach?

      I don’t believe it is so black and white as you’d like it to be. Paul in his letter’s wasn’t always either or. He made suggestions. He gave his opinion. He became a Jew to the Jews and free to the free. He didn’t say that it’s always either or.
      I believe that although God may have a better way, that he does still accommodate to culture so that the Gospel won’t be hindered. I believe in some places because of men’s attitude towards women it isn’t ok for women to teach or have authority over men. In that case I think to do otherwise does harm the message of the Gospel. But in our modern western culture to proclaim that women should not be allowed to teach of have a position of authority over a man (no matter how ignorant, uneducated and unqualified a man might be) would instead do harm to the message of the Gospel (as it does in many places).
      If you don’t think that Paul at times accommodated to the culture on certain issues that he saw as important but not top priority, just so that the message of the Gospel wouldn’t be hindered, then you haven’t been paying attention to his letters. Do you think it’s at all possible that that might have happened in some instances?
      Just look at slavery. I’m sure Paul disagreed with slavery but he never tried to undo that particular institution in his letters and in many ways he upheld it. He accommodated to the culture for the sake of the Gospel message. He didn’t feel that it was so important at that time so as to risk compromising the message of the Gospel.
      Even though he was totally against believers being under the law why did he still become one under the law to Jews? He was accommodating. What about food taboos? Why did he have Timothy circumcised even though he felt so strongly against believer’s getting circumcised and even said they were cutting themselves off from Christ if they did?
      I’m sure God did this in the OT as well (accommodated to the culture). Do you think God still expects us to kill certain people because they don’t follow certain laws? We would be outraged if we saw someone killed today based on one of God’s commands. Did God change? Or was he accommodating to the culture?
      What about some of the laws concerning women in the OT? Look at them. Women are often treated as property. Do you think that is how God intended it to be? Do you think if a woman is raped by a man that the man must marry her (Deut 22:28-29)?
      In the OT it was ok to beat a slave since they were your property (Exod 21:20-21). You’d be punished if they died but it wasn’t considered enough to warrant the death penalty. Do you think that was God’s desire? Do you think he thought that slaves life was worth less than a free person? But look throughout the law. You get the impression that a slave’s life wasn’t worth as much as a free person’s.
      In all of these cases would you say that this is what God desired? Do you think perhaps He was accommodating to the culture? Why don’t we still believe and follow those same laws today (and don’t say because we aren’t under law anymore).
      So then why is it impossible to believe that maybe Paul accommodated to the culture as well even though he had a greater desire? Why is it impossible for you to believe that he gave his opinion in 1 Tim based on the situation that was going on there? He did this in other places. In fact sometimes he said to do different things based on the church situation. In one place he says he wants widows to remain unmarried, in other places he says he wants them to marry. What’s going on there? He’s speaking to the situation and giving his opinion on the best way to handle the situation going on that may be causing a problem. In one church he seems to welcome their financial support while in another because of how they are he refuses support from them even though he says don’t muzzle the ox and a worker deserves his wages.
      1 Tim is just as much as a historically conditioned situation as any of his other letters and that needs to be taken into account. Either way I’m getting bored from writing this so I’ll leave you with that.
      Blessing and thanks for the challenging questions and thoughts.
      Bryan L

    4. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      RJoslin,

      I demonstrated how very closely modern complementarians do indeed quote Aristotle. Any notion that men have the quality of leadership and women of subordination a direct quote from Aristotle. Any notion that the decision-making of women is without authority is a direct quote from Aristotle. Any notion that women offer silence is from Aristotle, any notion of hierarchy between the sexes is developed in great depth in the pagan paradigm.

      But Christ says to love the one who is next to you as yourself. Paul also.

      I gave you my references to show that compelementarians quote Aristotle verbatim but you do not supply yours.

    5. dennyrburk Says:
      Dear Bryan,

      I have edited the original post so that it would be clear (if it wasn’t already) that my remarks are occasioned by Hutchens’ book review, not my reading of Stackhouse.

      The reason I didn’t really want to pursue this line of argument is that you are taking this discussion away from the point I was trying to make. My main point is that Hutchens’ review of Stackhouse confirms my observation about a larger trend in egalitarian hermeneutics. Many egalitarians (like William Webb) are embracing a patriarchal interpretation of Paul’s writings while denying that Paul’s patriarchal teaching is normative for today.

      Once again, I deleted the comments before Hutchen’s wrote his. If you don’t mind, please stop suggesting that I did otherwise.

      Thanks,
      Denny

    6. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      RJoslin,

      To continue with your second paragraph, if women have the same nature as men, but are restricted in their activities to do less than their nature and gifts anables them to do, then they are not fulfilled. They are made to submit to conditions that men would not be fulfilled in.

    7. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Denny,

      It would be really useful if you read the books you discussed because, of course, I have read Stackhouse, and talked to him, and now I find that that is not what we are talking about here at all.

    8. dennyrburk Says:
      Suzanne,

      My post was not a discussion of Stackhouse’s book. I am happy that you, Bryan, and Hutchens have been discussing it, but I was not. My post is about Hutchen’s book review and a larger trend I’ve been witnessing in egalitarian hermeneutics.

      Thanks,
      Denny

    9. BJoslin Says:
      Bryan (# 23)
      1. I didn’t say that everything Paul ever said was black and white. You clearly did not read my response carefully. What I said was that on this issue, when a woman stands to teach men and exercise authority over them, it either is, or is not, ok. There can be no gray in this.

      All of your examples are of OT commandments. And no, we are not under the Law anymore. Believers relate to the Mosaic Law differently now than when under a theocracy of the OT. I am surprised that you would even use such examples. This is one of the weaknesses of Webb’s argument as well. He (and you) are not recognizing the progress of Heilsgeschichte, salvation history. Whether a dispensationalist or covenentalist, no one relates to the OT commandments the same as when under the Mosaic covenant. Yet Paul, in the New Covenant era, commands 1 Tim 2 without ever saying, “I don’t want you to do this, but the only reason is because of the culture.” Interesting that when Paul does capitulate to others’ views (such as 1 Cor 8 ), he tells you he is doing so. To think that he is doing this in 1 Tim 2 is to put it there.

      Are you saying that either God changed or he accomodated himself to the Canaanite culture? I think that you need to look for another option.

    10. Bryan Says:
      BJoslin,

      You said,
      “I didn’t say that everything Paul ever said was black and white. You clearly did not read my response carefully. What I said was that on this issue, when a woman stands to teach men and exercise authority over them, it either is, or is not, ok. There can be no gray in this.”

      Even if you didn’t say that it was all black and white (sorry I misunderstood you, although you do seem to keep suggesting that because Egalitarians might not think that 1 Tim 2:11-15 is binding on us that they are throwing off the authority of the whole word of God), why then is this issue so black and white for you. Why are you willing to say that there is some things that aren’t black and white but not this? Why no gray? Why is it not possible for it to be ok in some instances and not others (based on the culture like I mentioned)? Why isn’t it possible that Paul was accommodating to the culture and he expects us to do the same with this issue? Why is it not possible that Paul was giving a specific command/suggestion for a particular historical setting? I don’t understand why you have to have it one way.

      You said
      All of your examples are of OT commandments. And no, we are not under the Law anymore. Believers relate to the Mosaic Law differently now than when under a theocracy of the OT. I am surprised that you would even use such examples.

      I realize we are not under the law but Paul does still often use the law as his basis and motivation when trying to show people God’s will and what he desires them to do.
      So do you believe that those things are what God desired at one time? Do you believe he thought treating women and slaves like property was fine? If not, then why?
      What about my examples of Paul and slavery? Do you think he thought slavery was ok? What about my examples of how Paul did different thing in different circumstances, even things he seems against or to make a big deal about elsewhere? What are your thoughts on those things?

      You said,
      This is one of the weaknesses of Webb’s argument as well. He (and you) are not recognizing the progress of Heilsgeschichte, salvation history. Whether a dispensationalist or covenentalist, no one relates to the OT commandments the same as when under the Mosaic covenant.

      Please elaborate and explain this a bit more.

      You said,
      “Yet Paul, in the New Covenant era, commands 1 Tim 2 without ever saying, “I don’t want you to do this, but the only reason is because of the culture.” Interesting that when Paul does capitulate to others’ views (such as 1 Cor 8, he tells you he is doing so. To think that he is doing this in 1 Tim 2 is to put it there.”

      Do you think that every single time Paul wants someone to know something he wrote is his opinion he has to spell it out for them like he does in Corinthians? Maybe when dealing with the Corinthians, but what about when writing to his spiritual son, Timothy, in a letter that would have been read in the church and be used to uphold Timothy’s authority? Also interestingly in 1 Corinthians even though he says a command comes from himself and not God he still has to convince them that his opinion is trustworthy or should be held authoritively (as their apostle). Do you think he needed that kind of persuasion in a letter to Timothy? Does your Pastor always have to persuade the congregation why they should listen to him or do they have an understanding that what he says is his best attempt at interpreting God’s word for them today? Maybe if a Pastor or preacher was talking to a congregation that was hostile to him, he might feel the need to defend what he was saying as trustworthy and the best way for the congregation to interpret and apply God’s word for them today. To think that Paul wouldn’t say things differently or wouldn’t feel the need to express himself differently in different letters written to different groups many years apart seems wrong. Just because he does something one way in Corinthians doesn’t mean he’s going to do it the same way elsewhere.

      Bjoslin,
      Paul says he wants young widows to marry in 1 Tim 5:14. Do you believe this is an opinion, his advise for their historical situation, or a command that has to be obeyed for all times including today or else we’re disobeying the authority of the Word?
      Read 1 Tim and ask yourself how much of it sounds like Paul, as the authority and mentor over Tim, is telling him how he best feels he should deal with the situations presented to him.

      You said,
      “Are you saying that either God changed or he accomodated himself to the Canaanite culture? I think that you need to look for another option.”

      I believe God did accommodate himself to the culture in certain ways in the OT, I believe Paul did too and I believe we are to do that as well today when it comes to furthering the Gospel without compromising the essentials. What is your explanation/option?

      Blessing,
      Bryan

  4. dennyrburk October 23, 2006 at 10:04 am #
    1. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      It seems that I am getting the same reaction as usual. I quote something useful, an example of how the compelementarian paradigm looked in pagan philosphy and no one is interested in interacting with that.
    2. dennyrburk Says:
      Dear Suzanne,

      I am not familiar with the complementarians who have been appealing to Aristotle to support their position.

      I am, however, familiar with complementarians and egalitarians who appeal to the Bible to support their position. My view is that what Aristotle thinks about gender roles is not ultimately very important. The only opinion that really matters is what God thinks. I believe the best way for us to know His mind on the matter is to focus on what He has disclosed to us in His written word.

      The Bible teaches that man is the “head” of woman (1 Cor 11:3), that the husband is the authority over his wife (Eph 5:21ff), and that a principle of headship-authority must be practiced in the life of the church (1 Cor 11:3ff; 1 Timothy 2:8ff).

      I think it would be more productive to leave behind Aristotle and what complementarians have said about him and to focus on what the scriptures teach.

      Thanks,
      Denny

    3. Brian W Says:
      What this conversation illustrates to me is the tremendous respect for others and care of our own words that is needed in these highly charged discussions. Honestly, little has been given. As a complimentarian, let me pick on those who hold a similiar view as me: complimentarians can’t have it both ways. We can’t call egalitarians like Fee and Witherington excellent exegetes, men of God who care for God’s word and its authority, and then say egalitarians undermine God’s word and want to exercise authority over it. Egalitarianism is not a fringe view; many godly, humble NT and OT scholars who submit to its direction are egalitarians. Complimentarians can’t speak with broad strokes about egalitarians without obviously including them all. My advice is this: when you find an egalitarian who undermines scripture, who rejects its authority, then cite him or her specifically and address his/her particular argument.
    4. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      My point is that one cannot interact with what Paul says about the asymetric relationships without realizing that he was dealing with a paradigm that was explicitly, in so many words, echoing a pagan view.

      One can say that it was also his view, but it was also explicitly pagan. So be it.

    5. dennyrburk Says:
      Suzanne,

      When you read through the corpus of Paul’s letters, it’s very clear that the primary background for his thinking on every subject of theology is the Old Testament. He quotes and alludes to the Old Testament throughout his writings. That is precisely what he does in 2 Timothy 2:13 (cf. Gen 2) and Ephesians 5 (cf. Gen 2).

      You would be hard-pressed to argue that Paul derived his views on Gender from paganism when at almost every turn he basis his teaching on gender on the Old Testament (especially Genesis 2).

      Paul is not “echoing” a pagan view. He’s expounding the Old Testamnet.

      Thanks,
      Denny

    6. dennyrburk Says:
      Brian (in #33),

      This is from Richard Hays’ commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:

      Any honest appraisal of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 will require both teacher and students to confront the patriarchal implications of verses 3 and 7-9. Such implications cannot be explained away by some technical move, such as translating kephalē as “source,” rather than “head,” because the patriarchal assumptions are imbedded in the structure of Paul’s argument . . . There are various possible approaches to this problem . . . we must reconsider how the doctrine of creation might lead us to conclusions about the relation between male and female that are not precisely the same as Paul’s (p. 192).

      So Hays is an intellectually honest egalitarian in his willingness to interpret Paul’s meaning on Paul’s own patriarchal terms. Hays is also intellectually honest in acknowledging that Paul’s view is in conflict with Hays’s own egalitarian view.

      Yet, I think Hays’s analysis represents what’s at the heart of the evangelical gender debates: whether to accept the Bible’s teaching on its own terms and to submit to its teaching even when it is radically counter-cultural. While Hays is willing to read this text on Paul’s terms, he is not willing to let Paul’s patriarchal vision have any authoritative weight over the Christian’s conscience.

      While I appreciate Hays’s willingness to let Paul’s voice be heard, the implicit compromise of biblical authority makes his solution untenable for the Christian who wishes “to live on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

      Thanks,
      Denny

    7. Bryan Says:
      Denny,
      In what way was Paul’s view “radically counter-cultural” from the normal view of his day? Maybe it would seem counter-cultural today but then we have to ask why since along with what Suzanne has mentioned it doesn’t appear too different from what some of his contemporaries were saying, and what was a common view back then? So how exactly was this view that counter-cultural back then Denny? Maybe then when we see how it is was counter cultural in Paul’s time, then we can continue the movement that would make it counter cultural and revolutionary in our time (especially in much of the church).
      Blessings,
      Bryan L
    8. jb Says:
      Bryan, are you basically making the same arguments as Stackhouse? If so, I really don’t have to read the book. I’ve got the principles.

      With any luck the NEW New Testament will show soon and we can toss the OLD New Testament on to the trash heap of history.

    9. Suzanne Mccarthy Says:
      Denny,

      I have the distinct impression that you write as you do because you are not familiar enough with pagan philosphy to recognize the similarity.

      I believe that Paul is writng about asymetrical relationships as they were in the reality of his day, that he instructed masters to treat their slaves well, and husbands to love their wives, BUT he did not overturn that structure or paradigm. He improved on and mitigated the social conditions that surrounded him, but he didn’t replace the paradigm.

      I also cannot accept that women should be treated nowadays as they were in the Hebrew scriptures, as one who belongs to the father to dispose of, without the civil rights that men had.

      That paradigm has been replaced. The stauts of women in society, the right to vote, to own property, to be trained and to work, to not be beaten by their husbands, these are all rights earned recently by Christians speaking out. Christianity has brought about the equal status of women, but now some men wish to turn back the trend.

      Now, today, men are trying to turn back the clock, to keep women in home that no longer serves as the centre of production as it did until recently.

      After chldren leave the home, women must participate and contribute in real terms in society. They have projects and inventions, they create and cope with the real world on their own terms.

      You cannot say that the evils in society today are due to the changing status of women.
      Abortion, prostitution and homosexuatlity have been with us always, they were in no way less practiced in previous eras. We deal with these issues in whatever way we do, but without tacking it onto the chnaging status of women.

      Only a man who has picked a woman off the ground after she has been raped or beaten by her husband has the right to talk about ‘joyful submission.’ Let that man tell her that this is her her Chrsitian duty.

      There is no making men to be without sin in this world. At least women should not be made to suffer for the sake of maintaining the myth of a husband who is devoid of self-interest.

    10. jb Says:
      Susan, is chivalry a good thing or a bad thing? Your thoughts?
    11. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Could you respond to my scenario first?
    12. Steve Walker Says:
      Suzanne,

      You say to Denny, “I have the distinct impression that you write as you do because you are not familiar enough with pagan philosphy [sic] to recognize the similarity.” I disagree. I think Denny is trying to stay true to the text. When Jesus dealt with divorce in Matthew 19, for example, he pointed to God’s created design for marriage: “but from the beginning….”

      Irrespective of Aristotle’s teaching, or any other pagan view of gender roles, Paul is addressing the issue from a frame of reference that predates the pagan view, as he specifically notes in 1 Tim 2:13-14 and 1 Cor 11:8-9, for example. When Paul wanted to reference a pagan view, he could do so, as evidenced in Acts 17:28. If Paul had not specified creation design, perhaps your reference to the pagan view would have some merit. But Paul is indisputably telling us that the pagan view is not the basis for his teaching on this matter.

      You close your #39 comment with this statement: “There is no making men to be without sin in this world. At least women should not be made to suffer for the sake of maintaining the myth of a husband who is devoid of self-interest.” I’m not clear as to why you say this. No one here has made men to be without sin. And I have read no one here maintaining the myth of a husband who is devoid of self-interest.

      Regardless of our differing views, I appreciate you participating in this discussion.

    13. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      So you believe that women should submit to self-interested human beings. And some women will be physically abused and out of submission to their husbands they will keep silent and not get help.

      However, I wish ro congratulate you for not deleting my comments as Köstenberger does.

    14. Steve Walker Says:
      Suzanne,

      It is my belief that both men and women are WITH sin in this world, and both men and women are self-interested. Don’t you?

      I do not believe women should be abused, nor should they keep silent and not get help when they have been (are being) abused.

      I have not read any comments here that imply physically abused women should keep silent and not get help. Perhaps you have encountered such ideas elsewhere, but here you are arguing against “straw men.”

      It is not God’s created design that is flawed; it is the people (both male and female) who are supposed to be living according to God’s created design that are flawed. Our sinfulness does not mean we should reject our Creator’s plan for us. That’s what originally got into the mess we’re in, don’t you agree?

      Suzanne, God does not only speak to wives regarding submission. 1 Pet 2:18ff says we are all to submit to self-interested human beings, right?

    15. Susan Says:
      I’d be interested to hear answers from the complimentarian perspective in regard to dealing with physical abuse in marriage. Thank you.
    16. BJoslin Says:
      It seems clear that Suzanne has either not read (m)any complementarian writers, or there has been some kind of breakdown. I know of NO complementarian who would argue that a wife is to stay even in the same house with a husband who abuses her, as if she is just to stand there and take it, calling it “biblical submission.” That is a gross perversion of the biblical teaching, and am shocked that Suzanne would articulate it as if it were the compl. view.

      Steve Walker is correct when he said that this is a straw man argument, Suzanne. Are you telling me that the only option to egalitarianism is abuse? Is that what you are saying? You wrote,

      “So you believe that women should submit to self-interested human beings. And some women will be physically abused and out of submission to their husbands they will keep silent and not get help.”

      Give me a break. Are you really serious? Of course no wife is to just take abuse and call it biblical submission. Again, I know of no complementarian author making such a claim. If they are, I would like to know who. So, Suzanne, please tell me who believes such a thing. I am not being sarcastic here. If there is such a compl author (in other words, someone whose words we can verify by examination), I would like to know so that he and other biblical complementarians can denounce him.

    17. BJoslin Says:
      Steve,
      Good point when you said,

      “Suzanne, God does not only speak to wives regarding submission. 1 Pet 2:18ff says we are all to submit to self-interested human beings, right?”

      See also Rom 13:1. Who is more self-interested than a politician? And yes, in case anyone is interested, Paul uses the same word for submission in Rom 13:1 concerning governments as he does in Eph 5 referring to wives.

    18. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      I have read a great number of complememntarian books and attended a church with this belief until I was told by a woman in that comgregation that she was told to ‘nurture’ her physically abusive husband. Her doctor, fortunately, saw that matter through court. I complained to the elders and was given Biblical Manhoood & Womanhood to set me straight and help me counsel other women. These books have absolutley contributed to support abusive situations. This is a fact.

      Athough violence is itself a pathology, the complementarian viewpoint teaches 1. submission, that a woman must look to herself first for the blame, 2. loyalty which leads to silence, 3. the shame of divorce, 4. the priority of the male, and a host of other unhealthy attitudes that I have seen worked out in the home in rape and physical violence by men who feel that they are not meeting the human standards set by an unthinking church in terms of their ‘manhood’.

      This article provides some data.

      Drs. David H. Olson and Shuji G. Asai of the University of Minnesota, published a survey on spouse abuse in 2003. This study examined spousal abuse dynamics using data from a national sample of 20,951 married couples that took the ENRICH couple inventory during 1998-1999. A clear association was found between the marital health of the couples and the level of abuse. For example, vitalized couples, that is, couples with the highest level of satisfaction, had the lowest incidence of abuse at 5%.

      Traditional couple types experienced spousal abuse in 21% of marriages, a rate more than four times higher than in vitalized marriages.[18] This study confirms what has been known by many marriage and family therapy professionals. That higher marital abuse exists in traditional marriages in comparison to equal or egalitarian marriages.

      So I believe that there is a higher incidence of abuse in complementarian marriages, not that all are abusive. But the viewpoint enables and supports the abusive husband. And second, submission of one human to another is never ‘joyful’ and never contributes to intimacy. The govt. the army, the slave and master, are not about intimacy. This is submission of one human to another, it is a pragmatic arrangement.

    19. dennyrburk Says:
      Suzanne,

      The main problem with your argument is that it fails to realize that by definition “complementarian marriages” are not abusive. You misrepresent complementarianism when you suggest that complementarianism only defines the role of a woman.

      Complementarian teaching also defines the role of a husband in a marriage, that he should love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5). Any marriage in which the husband fails to love his wife sacrificially (putting his wife’s needs before his own, even to the point of death) is not a complementarian marriage.

      The Southern Baptist Convention’s statement of faith, for example, recognizes that both the wife and the husband have roles to fulfill in a complementarian marriage. It reads as follows:

      The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation (Baptist Faith & Message 2000, Article XVIII).

      Suzanne, I think you need to be more careful. You are misrepresenting complementarianism.

      Denny

    20. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      The main problem with your argument is that it fails to realize that by definition “complementarian marriages” are not abusive. You misrepresent complementarianism when you suggest that complementarianism only defines the role of a woman.

      I very clearly did not say that they are by definition abusive, not physically in any case. They are sshown by research more likely to be abusive. You do not read my comments at all!

      You do not respond to the research I present.

      However, any ethic which recognizes the identical human potential of men and women and restricts women to a narrower role than men, is restrictive by definition. That must be recognized.

  5. dennyrburk October 23, 2006 at 10:04 am #
    1. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      I would also add that a woman’s psychological needs may be to contribute to society, to invent and create, to exercise the intellect beyond and after the rearing of her own children. This may be in a domain that is unrelated to her husbands work. Single women would like to stand on the same basis as men. They do not want restrictions and prohibitions. This does not fulfill them.
    2. dennyrburk Says:
      Suzanne,

      The research you cited does not support your proposition that complementarian marriages are more abusive than others.

      Denny

    3. Steve Walker Says:
      Suzanne,

      Again I appreciate you participating in this discussion. However, I, and I think everyone else here, take issue with your statement that the complementarian “viewpoint enables and supports the abusive husband.”

      As Denny has correctly asserted, no husband genuinely following Christ in his behavior toward his wife would abuse her. As a complementarian, as a Christian, as a man, and as a husband, I find the thought of abusing my wife repugnant. I have been and will continue to be involved in preventing abuse, and ministering to abused wives.

      The problem is not with the complementarian view; the problem is with sinful men. To the degree that the study you cited is accurate, 5% of egalitarian husbands abuse their wives. Are we to blame the viewpoint for that abuse, or the sinful men who hold that viewpoint?

      I don’t know how to be more clear — my complimentarian views do not support and enable abuse. Neither Jesus nor Paul support and enable abuse.

      As BJoslin says, please name the complimentarians that support and enable abuse so we can denounce them. Until you do so, I can only state that no complimentarian trying to honestly interpret and apply the Bible supports or enables abuse. And until you cite the books, articles, or statements that support such an assertion, I have no choice but to believe you are trying to blow smoke up our sleeves.

    4. BJoslin Says:
      Suzanne,
      You also said, “And second, submission of one human to another is never ‘joyful’ and never contributes to intimacy.”

      To say this is to say that you truly are in need of going to a good church who is doing this right so that you can actually see this occur in biblical marriages. I am sad that you have never seen this to know that what Paul said is true, and right, and for the glory of God. Denny’s comments are right on when he challenges you to think about the biblical summons to be a Christian man and husband. It is not macho-ism designed to keep a woman in her “place.” Rather, it is self-sacrificing servant leadership in the home and in the church, reflecting the arrangement of Christ and His Church.

      I have read your research and respond to it by saying that biblical complementarianism never leads to abuse. How can it when a husband serves his wife as sacrifices like Christ? I regret that you seem to have only been privy to unbiblical marriages.

      Also, you charge of “unthinking” is ill-founded. The issue seems to be that you are using modern psychology to override Paul, and that’s just not going to fly. In fact, that really is what this whole argument is about from the outset of Denny Burk’s original posting, wasn’t it? You seem not to differ with me or other complementarians, but your arguments are actually against Paul, since you affirm that his meaning is for there to be distinct roles.

      Also, it is not a “pragmatic arrangement.” The reason why I and others are impassioned about this is since it is not rooted in what is “pragmatic.” It is rooted in the gospel: Christ and the Church, Christian husbands and wives reflecting that mystery. You might not like it, and it seems clear that you don’t, but no amount of secular surveys and research is going to overturn the fact that Paul roots his discussion in Christ and the Church, and not what is “pragmatic.” In fact, if we comp’s were all being honest, we would say that it is quite often difficult to live this way since it is a daily dying to self for the glory of Christ as we are relating to our wives and children. Thus, what would be easier and pragmatic, would be not to give a rip and be an egalitarian!

      Suzanne, by saying “These books have absolutley contributed to support abusive situations. This is a fact.” is like saying McDonalds leads to people being fat, and therefore McD’s should be held accountable. Abuse of something does not violate its being right.

      Speaking of not responding to arguments, you still have not given the name of a single compl. author who would advocate or even tolerate abuse under the guise of submission. Were someone to hold such a perverse view, they should be roundly corrected and admonished to abandon such a view. If some pastor or some deacon (etc.) in a church somewhere did it, then A) they are wrong and need to get their minds right, and B) an abuse of a postion does not make the position invalid.

      So now, you have heard a complementarian perspective on abuse. Does that help? Abuse is sin and God abhors it. We should speak of it in no less terms than this. This is not His design for a marriage relationship at all. However, neither is egalitarianism. We are fellow heirs in Christ, told to reflect Christ and the Church in our marriages. As such, how can Paul’s words be culturally bound since it is tied to the pre-fall mystery of marriage and Christ and the Church? No amount of research or appeal to sinful situations is going to overturn that.

      Also, why would Paul be afraid or unwilling to overturn “asymmetrical relationships” in his day? I have heard this argument many times, and yet not heard a good reason why he would be unwilliing to do so. He overturned the entirety of Judaism in his day, was arrested, beaten for overturning pagan worship in Ephesus etc., and you’re telling me that he maintains these “asymmetrical relationships” because he doesn’t want to rock the proverbial boat? I cannot believe that to be the case. It is a common egal. reading of Paul, and it fails to be persuasive.

    5. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Speaking of not responding to arguments, you still have not given the name of a single compl. author who would advocate or even tolerate abuse under the guise of submission.

      I did not make that claim, nor would I expect to find any book advocating abuse. I listed what is encouraged – submission, silence, loyalty, endurance, and dependence, both financial and emotional. These things are enablers and supporters of abusive situations.

      If complemenatarian teaching is proven to increase the incidence of abuse to any extent at all, then it must be addressed.

      What about the command to love the one who is next to you as yourself. To consider that a woman is as a man, inspired to work beyond the home.

      Thank you for allowing and accepting my comments. As I said I am often silenced by deletion, even when discussing something much less controversial than this.

      I hope this has provided some food for thought.

    6. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      I see an error in the above. Only the first paragraph is a quote and the rest should not have been in italics.

    7. BJoslin Says:
      What complementarian would deny that a husband should love his wife as himself? You assert that to truly love, there can be no gender specific roles. If I have read your statements correctly, “” then that seems to be precisely what you mean. If what you are saying true, then you are putting Paul against Jesus. That is never a good idea.

      I really wish you would address what has been said above about abuse. If that satisfies you, then are you open to considering the complementarian view? What about my other points such as Paul’s “unwillingness” to overturn things in his day and the point that his commands are rooted in creation and the mystery of Christ and the Church? Suzanne, I don’t want to win an argument, I want my sister in Christ to come under the Word.

    8. BJoslin Says:
      Webmaster,
      Why is everything in all caps? I am not sure that I did anything, at least on purpose!

    9. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Half the women my age are single. They support themselves and often their children. Even in marriages, there are husbands who are unemployed or need support.

      So, regardless of what one might *like to* accept, this is not an option for half the women my age. It is obviously easier for these women to work if they already have an established vocation.

      Two women I know in a complementarian relationship, lost their houses recently because they were unwilling or unable to take over the financial provider role. In one case, the husband lost a business and in the other the husband had suffered a ’silent stroke’. Both these tragedies came about because the couple had been committed to a certain stereotype about marriage.

      So even if women came under the ‘Word’ as you put it, there is no possible way for them to enter into a complementarian relationship in the care of the servant-leader. They don’t have one.

      You write,

      Suzanne, I don’t want to win an argument, I want my sister in Christ to come under the Word.

      Please don’t speak to me as if I were a younger woman. 1 Tim. 5:1

      How could I possibly consider a comeplementarian ‘view’? It is a relationship, not a point of view! A man can only ask one woman in his life that question! I am very surprised at this. In the past single women missionaries simply went far afield to where rhey could engage as full individuals. They did not have complemenarian views!

      Outside of childbearing, there are no different capabilities between men and women. As people get older, mutual respect and interchangeable roles maintain a relationship well. If you love someone ‘as yourself’ then this interchangeability is a natural outcome.

      I have never accused complementarianism of teaching abuse, but note the research that shows that it relates positively with abuse in relationships.

    10. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      BJoslin,

      I should not have taken such liberties. I can only imagine that you would propose to me a complementarian view of women in the *church*. What gender-specific role in the church would you recommend as fulfilling for someone with this level of Biblical Studies knowledge?

    11. jb Says:
      Interesting research, briefly, below.

      An enduring canard about the Religious Right would have us believe that conservative Christianity encourages men to be insensitive, hyper-masculinized patriarchs: strong, silent, tough, and–not to put too fine a point on it–blockish. Fortunately, a prominent sociologist–University of Virginia professor W. Bradford Wilcox–has taken the time to study the reality of the conservative Christian family, and he finds that the stereotype is factually incorrect. In Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands (Chicago, 328 pp., $20), Wilcox reports that evangelical religion actually “domesticates men…. At least when it comes to parenting and marriage, the soft patriarchs found in evangelical Protestantism come closer to approximating the iconic new man [of more liberal gender-ideology] than either mainline or unaffiliated men do.” This is because “the positive effects of high levels of theological conservatism, familism, and church attendance among conservative Protestant men more than offset the negative effects of gender-role traditionalism.” The “active and expressive approach to family life” taken by these conservative men may, ironically, make them, “in some ways, more progressive than their nonconservative peers.”

    12. jb Says:
      And what I’ve found to be true…

      The book is full of fascinating information–for example, women who are married to theologically conservative husbands are more likely than other married women to report themselves happy with the understanding they receive from their husbands; and husbands who are active conservative Protestants are much less likely to commit acts of domestic violence than husbands who are only nominally adherents of that religion. Wilcox has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of the American family as it tries to preserve the best part of its traditional character.

    13. jb Says:
      And even a little more Wilcox.

      Although conventional and academic wisdom propagate the idea that best marriages are a blend of equals, in reality, it seems to be more complicated. Although women are sensitive enough to appreciate inequality in routine tasks and efforts, this is something that might probably be ignored, provided they are emotionally satisfied. More importantly, husbands need to be attuned to their partner’s feelings about both marriage and their relationship in general. Much spoken about and less done, it has now been proved that equality does not necessarily generate equity.

      ‘Regardless of what married women say they believe about gender, they tend to have happier marriages when their husband is a good provider – provided that he is also emotionally engaged. I was very surprised to find that even egalitarian-minded women are happier when their marriages are organized along more gendered lines’, remarked Wilcox, one of the study authors.

    14. jb Says:
      The references

      “Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands”
      Wilcox, W. Bradford

      “Soft Patriarchs.” I like that. Of course at this stage of my life I’m doing “Wilted Patriarchs.” grin

    15. jb Says:
      Wilcox in a speech at the Heritage Foundation

      What I find is that the wives of active Evangelical Protestant family men report the lowest levels of violence (2.8 percent), followed by the wives of unaffiliated men (3.2 percent) and the wives of active mainline men (5.4 percent). In this case, there’s at least some evidence that the active Evan­gelical Protestant men are the least violent in their marriages compared to other men in the book, but we see that the highest levels of violence (7.2 per­cent) are reported in the nominal Evangelical Prot­estant homes. We’re talking about a nominal Southern Baptist who attends church maybe once or twice a year; this is the kind of guy who’s going to be more violent with his wife compared to other men in the U.S.

    16. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Yes, I had heard of that book. Sadly I have heard too many testimonies of the exceptions. And single women don’t get much of a crack with soft patriarchy.

      I would certainly be concerned that the nominal Southern Baptist is more violent than other men in the US. That doesn’t sound too good either.

    17. jb Says:
      “And single women don’t get much of a crack with soft patriarchy.”

      Suzanne, I expect that is sadly true.

    18. BJoslin Says:
      Suzanne, I attend an SBC church, and anyone who only attends once or twice a year is likely not even a Christian, so that accounts for more violence. They are likely lost.

      Also, here is a great link to a summary/review of that book of which JB spoke. It’s not too long, and I would really like to see Suzanne’s take on it. Here is the link:

      http://www.gender-news.com/other.php?id=124

      It promotes the essentiality of each parent while acknowledging the distinctions between men and women in parenting.

    19. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Today our newspaper is flooded with the issue of sexual abuse. Any teaching that promotes an imabalance of power between people living at close quarters cannot help but contribute to abuse at some point, since all humans are fallible. It is deeply disturbing, all the more so, since I have knwon some of these people personally.

      WIth regard to your cited research, gender-specific roles in the home may exist in egalitarian homes with happiness. This does not in any way support the notion that the imbalance of power taught in the complemementarian or patriarchal ethic is not a danger and a supporter of abuse.

      Outside of marriage speaking to a woman as if she were not an equal human being on an equal footing with an equal function, is simply inappropriate. No man can have a complemenatarian relationship with more than one woman. That is why I often perceive the complementarian vocabulary as sexually harassing to women. This is the viewpoint which John Stackhouse was very clear about. It is disrespectful of women to speak to them as ‘receivers’ and ‘responders’. They are only equal Christians in the priesthood of all believers.

      Younger women may not feel it as much but an older women is incredibly offended by such an attitude and a suggestion that she enter into a complemaentarian discourse with a male.

    20. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      This article does not in any way suggest that there should be an imbalance of power between the parents.

      HOwever, many of the characteristics are culturally determined after the first few years of child-rearing. And I do believe that a man could raise a baby if he had to. But this is not what I am discussing.

      At some point, the priority of the male, male representation, and all that goes along with it, must be detached from the fact that parents come in two sexes. This whole pile of research makes comlementarians look good.

      However, Kóstenberger and many others have been clear in declaring that the term ‘complementarianism’ is a fudge, and that what should be taught is clear and simple ‘restrictions’ and ‘boundaries’ for women, all women, married, single, mothers or not. This reveals the nature of these men.

      When is this injustice going to be recognized.

  6. dennyrburk October 23, 2006 at 10:04 am #
    1. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      What I am trying to say is that submission cannot be made palatable to victims of male violence.

      And complementarianism of any kind is useless to single women, as well as to older women qualified to teach in a seminary but shut out by gender-based hiring.

      If a woman is qualified, an older woman, and a younger man is hired instead, then he is in a position of power over her. This is deeply dishonouring to the older woman who has no sense of benefitting by the existance of young male providers who care for their own families, or young male pastors. Women might just as well live in a society apart as endure such conditions.

      So complementarian teaching cannot benefit more than a segment of the female population. It is very distressing to see this exclusivist ethic being taught as an ideal.

      By all means make conditions better for women to stay home with their children, but don’t relegate this to a ’supporter’ position, to a ’submissive’ and ‘restricted’ and ‘boundaried’ position. Why the coercive language?

    2. Kyle Barrett Says:
      Suzanne….

      You said, “What I am trying to say is that submission cannot be made palatable to victims of male violence.”

      This certainly is an overstatement. I’m sure every complimentarian in this thread could list numbers of ladies who have been the victims of male violence (sexual, physical, emotional, etc) who now embrace (champion?) a complimentarian view. To say that victims cannot be happy and satisified in a complimentarian (as Denny and others have defined it here) “world” is simply unfounded.

      You said, “And complementarianism of any kind is useless to single women…”

      Again, I’m sure every complimentarian on this thread could list several single ladies who are active in complimentarian churches and love the vital roles that they play. I can think of one lady in particular in my church who is active in the women’s ministry in our church and also actively disciples younger women in our college ministry. She has embraced a “useless” world view and found her self to be wholly useful.

      The way you seem to frame the discussion downplays the significance of the Scriptures for the discussion. We can talk sociology, Greek philosophy, personal experience, etc. all day long. The issue only arises because the NT says certain things about the structure of the church and the home and it grounds them in the pre-Fall creation accounts. The issue has to be resolved in the text of Scripture. We may disagree at that point but the conversation must end up there.

      As far as your concern about the language used; it seems to me that the language has baggage that is not the intention of the author’s to communicate which is why those words need to be read in the context of what individual comps are writing and in light of what comps on the whole espouse.

      Thanks so much Suzanne….

      kb

    3. BJoslin Says:
      Suzanne, I thought you might be interested in an official statement regarding the compl view and the issue of abuse. Here is a link to the CBMW’s statement on that issue. The CBMW abhors abuse and denounces it without equivocation. Here is the link:

      http://www.cbmw.org/resources/articles/abuse_statement.php

    4. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      BJoslin,

      The sad thing is that they had to publish such a statement!

      Unfortunately, I could mention, but will not, the names of those who were hit because of the Danvers statement back in the 90’s. Those women were succoured by non-Christians. I wrote a long letter to that church and left.

      The dangers inherent in this teaching have since been recognized.

      On another tack, you can read quite a lot about and by me on the internet, here>/a> and here. But you have not introduced yourself to me.

      Thank you for your concern in this matter.

    5. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      BJoslin,

      The sad thing is that they had to write such a statement.

      Back in the 90’s I knew several women who were hit in the name of the Danvers statement. They were succoured by non-Christians. I wrote a letter to that church and left.

      The dangers inherent in this teaching have since become recognized.

      On another topic, you can read a lot about me on the internet as well as posts by me, for example, here. But I have not been introduced to you.

      Thank you for your concern.

    6. BJoslin Says:
      Suzanne,
      You said,
      “The dangers inherent in this teaching have since become recognized.”

      What you are saying is that Paul taught a doctrine that was dangerous and viloent to women. Do you not see the hermeneutical and applicational fallout that comes with such a statement? Again, aside from citing modern psychology and sociological studies, which do not overturn the Bible, what is the mark of your reasoning? No compl advocates violence, and biblical compl teaches the exact opposite. Have you really understood what the position is? It teaches the husband to love and sacrifice for his wife and family, and that that kind of leadership reflects Christ and the Church, which the wife lovingly follows. It is not, “Woman! Bring me my Cheetos or I’ll bash you head!” I am sorry that there have been husbands who arguably have never read past Eph 5:24, given that no such thing as abuse exists when husbands love like Christ. (Also note that in the Eph 5 passage, there is more instruction given to the husband than to the wife. This should be instructive.) Can you not agree that when done biblically, reflecting Christ and the Church, there is great glory and honoring of Christ and the gospel? Again, abuse/obvious misunderstanding of a position do not mean that the position is invalid. Again, refer to my McDonald’s illustration.

      As far as introducing myself, you can click on these links:

      http://www.boycecollege.com/About_Us/faculty/faculty_joslin.aspx

      OR

      http://barryjoslin.blogspot.com/

      Finally, how does one read the Danvers Statement and go out and beat their wives? I am greatly puzzled how women were “hit in the name of the Danvers statement.” Clearly, they did not read the Danvers statement.

    7. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      I am continually emabarassed at finding that I am talking to men of a younger generation. I should have learned by now that this is a theology of those who are limited in experience! Bye.

    8. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      I am sorry for being so abrupt but quite frankly I am appalled that someone barely out of school would talk to an elder the way you have.

    9. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Barry,

      Where do the young women who love Greek and thelogy work? Where do they find their fulfillment? What kind of environment does not treat women as full side by side human beings, with intellectual equality? I know and listen to the woes of young women studying languages and theology in seminaries. I was lucky to take my training from theologians teaching at a secular university.

      But what would a man want to learn about Greek from a woman who studied in both Classics and Near Eastern Studies departments with famous scholars?

    10. BJoslin Says:
      Suzanne,
      Please tell me at what age one gains credibility. I did not know a biblical discussion was only accessible to “elders.” You are a bit hypocritical, ma’am, given that on the one hand you talk about gender discrimination, while being guilty of age discrimination.

      As such, you still haven’t answered the essential question as to the Bible (#76).

      Also, I find it interesting that you seem to argue that a woman cannot be fulfilled unless she is teaching a man. So teaching women is not fulfilling? Aren’t you denying what you are trying to establish?

    11. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Unless we go back to segregated colleges, a woman who does not teach a ‘man’, as you write, but not I, is not teaching in a fully accredited context. A man may teach a woman, so a woman is more restricted. Do you deny that you restrict women!

      Yes, a woman may teach in a secular context and find that fulfilling, but do not suggest that teaching Greek and Hebrew in a Christian women’s studies programme is not going to be less than fully exposed to interacting with the latest research!

      A woman must have access to the full range of scholarship and interaction. She should be allowed to perform intellectually as men do, fully, and not restricted.

      I was indeed taught by women, but those women also taught men, the women in my family and circle of acquaintance taught Greek to men, but in the university. Now I have young women friends in the Christian community who suffer.

      It disturbs me greatly that there are segments of the population that restrict women. That consider women as restrained in function, of narrower performance and productivity, having less ambition for projects and scholarship. So women must go out to secular society for fulfillment and full participation and acceptance as equals.

    12. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Regarding #76, you must understand that I have seen police called into Christian homes. I do not write from my imagination.

    13. » Postscript on Women in Ministry Says:
      […] A spirited discussion continues under my previous post “Evangelical Gender Wars and the Authority of the Bible.” In the comments under that post, one of the items in contention is the idea that complementarians limit/restrict women who want to serve in Christian ministry. […]

    14. Jesse McMillan Says:
      I am far too lowly and unqualified to enter such a conversation. But if I may, after reading the above comments it seems that there is a distinct and irreconcilable difference in presuppositions. BJoslin has the basic presupposition that the Bible is the ultimate measure of life and faith. While Ms./Mrs. Suzanne (that I may not offend) seems to firmly hold that pragmatism should be the final governor of our lives. This is a debate that cannot come to conclusion without agreement on the ground rules.

      Bjoslin is not arguing that women are not good teachers, writers, instructors, etc. (In fact there are women who excel in such areas even beyond their male counterparts) He is arguing that the Bible places the teaching ministry of the church squarely and solely in the hands of men. Not that woman cannot teach men (in regards to ability), only that they are not to teach men (in regards to role). This may seem archaic and backwards, but if it can be shown that the Bible teaches such a doctrine and that this teaching has not been repealed by further biblical revelation, to be true to the presupposition that the Bible is the standard for faith and practice, this position must be held no matter the perceived pragmatic consequences.

      (This last statement is not to endorse or allow abuse in anyway, it simply does not allow the disqualification of the teachings of the Bible by the sins of humanity)

      So there it is. The Bible is either the standard or it is not. If so, there must be Biblical arguments. If not, there is no common ground and resolution or even progression is impossible in this debate

      Humbly,
      Jesse McMillan

    15. SB Says:
      Suzanne,

      Police being called into a “Christian” home should make one question the authenticity of that Christianity in the home.

      Also, I was surprised at your comments in #77 & #78. Are you imposing age restrictions in your interactions? Don’t you think you were unfair to BJoslin in these comments? Explain how he should have known you were an elder…

    16. S. M. Hutchens Says:
      After reading the comments up to this point, I have two remarks to make. First, on the sheer oddness of the observation that where New Testament writers agree with pagans like Aristotle, their teaching is necessarily sub-Christian. One would think that someone who boasts of a classical education, proving it with untranslated Greek forsooth, would understand that Christians have agreed with pagans on a good many things. Aristotle was not “the Philosopher” to St. Thomas for nothing. Nor is it odd that Plato and the Stoics especially have a long history of honor in the Church. One might even be able to contemplate a possibility I don’t see mentioned by anyone: that truth is abroad everywhere in the world, and we who are graced with its definitive Revelation should not be shocked if we find it outside our familiar grounds. In any event, egalitarians who argue like this show an odd form of narrowness, historically rare among educated Christians, nearly all of whom recognize some kind of debt to pagan intellectual labor, often seeing in it a true (and hence useful) but incomplete knowledge of God.

      The second strangeness, which I have seen tossed off ad nauseam in egalitarian writings, is that today we believe slavery wholly immoral, so modern Christians must acknowledge an evolution in understanding of the matter which in New Testament times was only beginning. To these I would ask if St. Paul, who identified himself as a “slave of Christ Jesus” thought of himself as an object of eventual emancipation. No reasonable person could think that he did. Slavery in the New Testament is another one of these relations so offensive to egalitarians because it is not . . . egalitarian–in fact, it is the earthly perfection of everything that is not. They are not concerned to inquire as to what Christian slavery (such as Paul admitted to Christ) looks like any more than they wish to inquire into what Christian marriage is. They would rather indulge in the absurdity of citing instances of abuse–that is, unChristian slavery and unChristian marriage–as indictments of the Christian varieties. They are forbidden by their (wholly unChristian) principles to do otherwise.

      Quem deus vult perdere, prius dementat.

      (See, we patriarchalists can do it too!)

    17. Mark B. Hanson Says:
      “There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who say there are two kinds of people and those who don’t.”

      Much as I hate to not leave Mr. Hutchens the last word, so much of the high heat and moderate light of the discussion with Suzanne seems to take for granted that there are only two types of understanding in man – woman relationships: egalatarian and complimentarian. But surely there are views even farther away from the egalatarian that cause complementarians to shout “not me!” The problem is that we don’t have a generally agreed (i.e self-identified) name for them. The complementarian writers above tend to identify such views as non-Christian (although they probably mean sub-Christian).

      Maybe we should call that view (apologies to Wilcox) “hard patriarchialism” – the idea that women ought to be subordinate to men in many or all areas, as opposed to the complementarian view that that the roles are asymmetrical in constrained ways (teaching / leading in church and submission of the woman to her own husband).

      A question arises: if we admit that complementarianism is not abusive per se, is hard patriarchialism by its nature abusive? One could hardly argue against the idea that it tends toward that direction (although “abuse” is a vague word).

      The gist of Suzanne’s argument would then become: given that hard patriarchial beliefs exist and tend toward abuse, and that both other groups stand against them, isn’t complementariansism more likely to lapse over into hard patriarchialism than egalatarianism?

      Although the answer seems clear, I am not sure that one could say more than that hard patriarchialism sometimes draws aid and comfort from complementarian ideas. This in itself is not an indictment – many other viewpoints we consider evil or misguided draw part of their justification from ideas we consider good: communism from human equality, vigilantism from a thirst for justice. In fact, all evil is in some way a twisted form of good. Only a fool would condemn the good idea because of the abuse.

      Hard patriarchialism seems to share outward similarities to complementarianism. So can the “all things in common” of the first church seem communistic, although driven by an entirely different inward impulse. Without looking specifically at the beliefs providing motive power for each, I think Suzanne’s list of abused women is a non-sequitur as an indictment of complimentarian beliefs.

      I have known hard patriarchialists in some of the churches I have visited and seen the attitudes that Suzanne decries. But the antidote to that is not “we need to move beyond the scripture” but rather, “Husbands, love your wives.”

      Soli Deo Gloria

    18. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      I was unaware that the conversation was continuing here.

      Mr. Hutchens,

      I had translated the Greek for Dr. Kostenberger but he ignored it, so I decided not to bother the next time.

      Are you familar with the Sepulveda and Las Casas debate? Do you know how many native Americans were enslaved, tortured and killed because they were proven to be ‘natural barbarians’ in Aristotle’s ethic? Do you know the damage done to our own continent by this kind of thinking?

      It is time to denounce the power politics of Aristotle. I am well aware of the influence of Aristotle on St. Thomas! And of the long history of honour for Plato. Where did all those misogynist ideas come from? You do see that.

      Do you not admit that you have presuppositions about women and slaves? If, of course, you present yourself as an advocate of slavery you demonstrate that you are internally consistent and I laud your honesty. However, I refuse to be member of the same cultural group as you.

      Barry,

      I apologize. The difficulty is that I had been reading Dr. Kostenberger’s presentation of women as childbearers and creatures who present children to their husbands. But I am past the childbearing age. If a man says that a woman’s chief purpose in life is to present children to a man then I must emphasize how inappropriate that thinking is to older women. Men must have a different basis for interacting with older women. They are no longer childbearers.

      I am waiting to see what the older woman is in the complementarian framework. She becomes only a person who can teach other women. Then she must not interact with men at all.

      Please be honest and delete me, Denny!

      Only when men move away from defining woman as a vessel, can a woman interact on par with men.

      Paul is saying that women must not interact with men from a superior position as those who give birth. Women are not to dominate men and men are not to dominate women.

    19. smh Says:
      Good heavens, Dr. McCarthy, did you imagine that I was saying that Christians did or should have purchased pagan ideas wholesale? How can one argue with a person who treats his observations in this way?

      You seem to come back, with your comment that it is time to denounce the power politics of Aristotle, to the argument you presented originally, that the Church, (principally through St. Paul?), inherited a misogynist ethic from pagan sources–not from the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit, or through genuinely apostolic (Christic) authority, and this, once again, seems based on no thicker a premise that on at least one point, Paul and Aristotle agree. I am afraid you have boggled my mind, and I will bow out at this point.

      I am happy to hear, however, that you provided a translation. With classical Greek, at any rate, that was the gentlemanly thing to do.

    20. The Hoodlum Says:
      Barry,

      You would be MUCH more credible if you had a picture of Uncle Rico throwing a football on your website…just like Denny!

    21. Gina Says:
      If a woman considers it beneath herself to go out and teach classics at a “secular” university, leave aside the job of staying home and teaching her own children, her first problem is with her definition of ministry.

      And if in any of those contexts she considers it appropriate to throw her weight around such as Suzanne has done here, she’ll likely find the disrespect she’s looking for. Saying something equivalent to “I demand some respect around here!” is 90% guaranteed to earn you none.

      So that you may know me: I’m 34 and engaged. Prior to meeting my fiance, I had never been in a long-term relationship. Suzanne, if you feel it necessary to champion “egalitarianism” on behalf of single women, all I can say is *don’t do me any favors.* At worship I wear a veil because as a woman, I figure the Beloved of God, the church- whether I am married or not. My feminist “friends” would no doubt despise the notion. I am in a church that teaches the intimate interdependence of the sexes, rather than some bland form of leveling- a church that sees St. Mary’s submission, which Suzanne would call being a “mere” vessel, as anything but mere.

      Finally, I am in a family that was torn apart when my father, a decent man but somewhat passive, fell in with a young woman who bragged around our small town how many homes she had broken up. Do NOT talk to me about the sins of men without as they were a breed apart from the sins of women. I fervently wish for more patriarchy, more men who are true *fathers* and caretakers of our homes and churches.

    22. » Touchstone Editors Weigh in on the Gender Conversation Says:
      […] I would like to thank three of the editors at Touchstone magazine who have taken the time to participate in the conversation that we have been having on this blog. Of course the conversation that I am referring to is the one about gender (here, here, and here). Two posts have appeared on the Touchstone blog that refer to our debate. […]

    23. Dominic Glisinski Says:
      My goodness…
      I’ve known a few women resembling Ms. McCarthy in my time…
      Anger, bitterness, spite and ‘unfulfillment’ personified. It’s all about my feelings, my experiences, my friend’s experiences, my struggles, my subjective little life, my needs, my unmet dreams, my, my, my…
      It’s all about ME.Listen to ME, hear ME, Look, Look, see ME?

    24. Suzanne McCarthy Says:
      Denny,

      Do you encourage this kind of name calling? I think people could choose a few choice quotes or something, but there seems to be contest for ad hominem going on here.

      I try to limit my critique to those who publish articles and posts, centering critique around quotes.

      It is a good idea to develop guidelines for blog comments at some point. I have triggered some pretty strong feelings in a few people.

      I don’t feel so much disrespected myself, as I feel that other people have revealed there own personalities. Blogging is an interesting media and people become uninhibited. I may be so myself, but I stick to what can be verifed, quoted etc.

      And I have yet to criticize a complementarian women, ever! So, I have to wonder if people feel better after calling me down.

      I am feeling kind of sad actually that there is a groundswell of unhappiness coming to the surface.

    25. Glenn Says:
      As you are discovering there are very good reasons some people delete Suzanne’s comments from their blogs.
      There comes a point where it serves no purpose at all to interact with someone who refuses to acknowledge the authority of Scripture and who raises almost never ending ’straw men’ arguments.
      I’m afraid that it becomes an exercise in futility. Truly there are better things to do with ones time.

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