• David Thomas

    Well, that will certainly do it.

    I haven’t heard anyone say, “Wowee” in a very long time. But it is the appropriate word here to be sure.

    • David Thomas

      Well, they’re going to have to do better than that to beat Arius.

      Then again, with our culture going the way it is, you never know!

  • Alex Humphrey

    The thing that never makes any sense to me with this sort of movement is how they call themselves a part of the church they’re trying to change. Don’t listen to St. Paul? God called me specifically and went back on that other stuff? The Pope is just some guy in a hat? At what point does someone look in the mirror and say, “Oh, hey…I’m not a Catholic at all!”

    For the record, I’m a protestant. But I done quite a bit of work with Catholics and learned a lot about the depths of their theology. Seriously, I don’t understand how a “Catholic” woman can call herself Catholic and then say all these things about the church.

    • David Thomas

      I am a Protestant (Pentecostal) former Catholic. I left the Catholic Church and remain separated for very specific reasons, among them them being an almost exclusively liturgical form of worship, the idea of a celibate male priesthood, and the magisterium headed by a
      Pope (among others).

      These things said, I also (paradoxically) respect these very things in the lives of those who sincerely worship God through them, and recognize there are certain undeniable strengths in them. In other words, these are the very things that Catholicism has going for it!

      For this reason (even though my particular tradition is more open to recognizing women as ministers than most of its Protestant counterparts), I have little tolerance for this nonsense, because that’s exactly what it is. The questions several are putting forth are spot on: Being a Catholic /means/ you submit to the papacy, and gladly do so because of the security and strength it offers. To reject canon law and papal authority but insist “…but I’m a Catholic…” (as the diddy states) is to choose the leading in Notre Dame’s famed windows but discard the stained glass itself. It is to idolize the superficial “culture” of (American) Catholic religion while having no regard for the spiritual essence of it.

      Sadly, this is nothing but rebellion. For me, it goes deeper than interpretive issues about certain texts (i.e., your clan feels this way but my clan thinks another). Here are people who are taking issue with their /own/ clan at the very root of its identity. They are exalting their own feminism and seeking to drape it with the vestments of a tradition their psych feels affection for but their spirit long ago rebelled against. The only one “calling” them is their own inflated ego.

      One might ask why, but it’s the same spirit that makes homosexuals drive and seek societal blessing through “marriage” on what they were already doing anyway…

  • Kathryn Elliott Stegall

    I’m very sorry to hear them say not to “listen to St. Paul.” This position is unacceptable for every Christian believer. But I empathize with their frustration.

    “Paul Slandered

    Some have said that Paul was a male chauvinist. But that is a false slander.
    By explaining the freedom I have in Christ so carefully to me, Paul has been an agent for the administration of God’s grace in my life. He has been one of the preachers through whom I heard the gospel. I heard and I believed. Since I believed, I called on the name of the Lord, and he saved me. Paul’s feet are indeed beautiful. He brought “good news” to me.
    I am used to reading Scripture with the understanding that it has been written to me, for me, and about me. The verses with the word “woman” in them speak to me, of course! They speak specifically to my gender. In fact, when Paul does speak specifically about women, he treats them as equals. Paul always upholds women’s status as equals among all the believers, before God, and within the church. But if it were only these specific references to women that spoke to me, I would not know much of the gospel.

    No Chauvinistic Gospel

    The gospel is not chauvinistic or exclusive. It includes all. And nowhere is that more clearly enunciated than in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
    Not long on introductions in this letter, Paul gets right to the point. “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.”
    This different gospel was that some were forcing the Galatians “to follow Jewish customs.” Paul called it “no gospel at all.” These teachings threw people “into confusion” and were a perversion of “the gospel of Christ.” These ideas were so perverted that Paul said those teaching such things should go to hell, “be eternally condemned!”
    Why did Paul consider these teachings “no gospel at all?” Because a salvation that depends to any degree on anything human is not good news. Whether these human things be our innate heritage of characteristics and abilities or our effort—how hard we try—they can never measure up to what God requires. God will accept only complete and perfect righteousness.
    The Galatians were being confused and led away by this false teaching. Paul calls them “foolish” for allowing such teaching to take hold in their midst.”

    “What is the standard for the believer? “Sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.”” (1 Tim. 1:10-11)

    Excepts from The Full Rights of Sons….watch for news of its coming publication.


  • Don Johnson

    I listen to Paul and in fact all Scripture and I am egalitarian, since Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc. were egalitarian in their culture. Yes, they can be misunderstood and have been misunderstood.

    The song is a riff on “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen.

  • Paul Jacobs

    Aside from the terrible theology, can we get back to the main point, the singing was just aweful! Next thing you know, they are going to cast Russel Crowe in a musical or something.

  • Bryce Palmer

    I thought contemporary protestant churches had the corner on the “bad secular song remake to seem relevant and make a statement but just look ridiculous” market. Well, I would officially like to welcome our catholic friends to the circus.

    • dr. james willingham

      And the Conservatives of the 1700s got there first or so it seems. Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall had eldresses at Sandy Creek Church. The best I could do in reconstructing the case, as the records were burned in a fire which consumed the home of the clerk of the Assn. and Church. A likely scenario is that Stearns who came from a Puritan Church might have known of the exception statement in Matthew Poole’s commentary on I Tim.2:12ff. Another Puritan also made a like remark, but I can’t remember his name. The exception was that a woman could teach and have authority over men, if she was specially called, gifted, and endowed, such as all the prophetesses of the Old and New Testaments (Memory says Poole actually named some). While the swat at Paul by the ladies above can hardly be condoned, neither can the rigid slamming of the door with unchecked complementarianism. We know there are exceptions to the rule as one dear brother said to me (and he was educated in a small Bible school), “Don’t you believe the Bible? God told Abraham to do what Sarah said about Hagar.” If complementarianism was unchecked there would be no exceptions, but there are even Miriam is called a leader of Israel on a footing of equality with Moses and Aaron.(Micah 6:4). Hope the Catholics don’t decide to re-introduce the Inquisition (they just changed the name of that outfit circa 1900) to deal with those ladies. I had a friend whose father was put in an Iron Maiden, an invention of that outfit.

  • Suzanne McCarthy

    Are you implying that you agree with all males who promote male only ministry. Do you agree with Pat Robertson that a man who needs to beat his wife should move to a country where that is legal? Do you agree with everything that men produce? I can find enough absolutely dissolute lies and deceit among men in evangelical leadership, to equal whatever you find wrong with this video.

    I can tell you that when I realized what Jim Packer had done with the TNIV, I said “Wowee.” I was appalled and disgusted.

  • Suzanne McCarthy

    I need to add that I am not divulging any secrets. Jim Packer, with his mouth, and I interviewed him on this, honoured the translators of the TNIV, and with his hand, dishonoured them. Until Packer and the CBMW apologize, there will be no honesty among these Christian men.

    Sure this video is ridiculous, perhaps a satire. But this is nothing in comparison to the inside of evangelical maledom.

    • Kathryn Elliott Stegall

      Suzanne, can you direct me to some more detailed info about what you are referring to concerning the NIV? Which version of the NIV are you talking about, 1978-84 or 2011? I’d appreciate knowing more about this. You can message me via FaceBook if a response does not seem appropriate here.

  • Suzanne McCarthy

    Hi Kathryn,

    Its been a while since I interviewed Jim but I will recap a little here and then leave an email.

    Jim Packer was a professor at Regent College in Vancouver alongside Bruce Waltke and Gordon Fee, translators of the NIV, and the Todays New International Version, the predecessor of the NIV 2011.

    When I interviewed Jim, he spoke of Waltke and Fee only with respect. But when I asked him why he had signed the statement against the TNIV, he replied that he had not written the statement and those were not the words that he would have used. He said that it was written the way it was because those who had written it were American, and he was British.

    I then asked him why he had endorsed Grudem and Poythress book on the TNIV, The Gender Neutral Bible Controversy, and he explained that he had not read the book. He then went on to explain that others, I leave this open for now, (he specified, but I will not repeat his words), he said that “others” did not know Greek as a language, as we (this meant himself and myself had) but had only studied NT Greek.

    So, he appeared to agree with me completely that the TNIV was a respectable Bible translation, produced by respectable scholars who knew Greek and Hebrew very well. But he had signed a statement against them, and was the best known of all signatories of the statement. In fact, my pastor, a committed complementation, asked me if there was any way that I could get Jim to take his signature off, because after all, we had Waltke and Fee as regular teachers as well as Packer in our congregation.

    But, ultimately, I felt that if the pastor was not willing to take on his honourary assistant, that is Jim Packer, then why should I? Surely I have little official weight. My only asset is that I was trained thoroughly in the biblical languages and in translation theory and methodology, so I can see through the attacks on the so called “gender neutral” Bibles.

    The truth is that, of course, adelphoi means “brothers and sisters” and is always has meant that. It is not an innovation of feminists, but comes from the fact that any collection of real brothers and sisters, or a brother and sister, in ancient Greek were always called adelphoi, which truly means “sibling.”

    I will contact you on your facebook page. This response seems appropriate here because Denny has taken up the fight against gender neutral Bibles without engaging with many of the scholars involved in this debate.

  • Suzanne McCarthy

    I have to admit that the title that Denny has given to this post is hilarious, and it was interesting to view the video. But it does not in any way discredit egalitarian women to me. After all, egalitarian women have worked for centuries to rescue other women from oppression and sex slavery. Look at Catherine Booth’s work to rescue little girls prostituted out in London. Who can say that she should have been shut down, that those little girls did not deserve to be rescued, just because it was a woman rescuing them? My heart breaks for women. Damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.

    • David Thomas

      Suzanne, as one who comes from a Protestant tradition that believes in women in ministry and, in fact, ordains them, I have to say you aren’t doing yourself any favors by suggesting Denny and other complementarians are in favor of wife beating, leaving children in sexual slavery, or somehow agree with all men because they are men.

      Denny and I are friendly colleagues from years past, and I know he would certainly disagree with my movement’s stance on women in ministry. Beyond that I would not deign to speak for him, but I will tender this: Many who oppose women in ministry would combine your claims to theological higher education with the absurd hyperboles, non-sequiturs, and false choices you have made here and conclude that they are completely correct in concluding that women cannot think critically, that they allow emotions to guide their argument, and are consequently unfit for the ministry of proclamation.They and their wives would also compare themselves and their marriages to your caricature and promptly conclude you haven’t a clue as to what you are talking about.

      Though they would certainly not accept me as one of their number, complementarian men (and women–a detail you have left out) are not the monsters you have painted them to be by a long shot. I don’t agree with all of their interpretations of certain NT passages, but to suggest that they arrive at those interpretations so that they might beat their wives or turn their backs on children in sex slavery rather than allow a woman to rescue them is itself “appalling and disgusting.”

      As for the matter of what it means to be a Catholic, which is the real issue behind the video, you can read my other post, above.

      • Suzanne McCarthy


        I lived a lifetime among complementarians. And I have never accused them of any of the things you mention. My intent was to say that I don’t particularly like this video posted above, and I disagree with many things that other egalitarians say. In like manner, so does Denny most certainly disagree with Pat Robertson’s statement on wife beating.

        We don’t all have to be painted by the worst examples of our position. I am so sorry that you have taken me to be saying the opposite of what I actually wrote. I really don’t know why you would take me that way.

        • Suzanne McCarthy

          In fact, I found that the way the men treated each other was appalling and disgusting. That is what I was being specific about. I really don’t like watching grown men making each other suffer for no good reason. It opened my eyes. I realized that men were causing each other extreme grief for no spiritual good, and then I realized that male authority wasn’t doing me any good either, but had ruined my life. These are just facts. They did not intend evil, but men, unrefined, have done a lot of damage.

          • David Thomas

            Suzanne, “facts” is a word that very rarely applies when it comes to spiritual judgments. You are obviously a very angry person, and anger never clarifies the vision. If you think someone else’s actions along these lines can “ruin your life” then you have larger issues to tackle than the one regarding egalitarianism.

        • David Thomas

          Suzanne, your clarification is both welcome and needed. I certainly hope as many read it as they read the posts I was referring to. I could explain, given your line of reasoning, precisely why I took them the way I did, but at the end of the day perhaps it’s best to say that blog posts are the dull axe that Ecclesiastes 10:10 refers to, and it is easy to mistake someone’s intentions.

          I would suggest that you seem quite angry.

          • Suzanne McCarthy


            Its a very difficult thing, but I saw men hurt other men, and I saw men excommunicated, and I myself was the victim of violence for a very long time. I have lived a very difficult life, with a great deal of suffering, and all I heard was that women are not entitled to the normal human rights that men have.

            Forgive me if I continue to live that trauma. I try to forgive, but no man will come to me and express their regrets that they taught that women must submit. Can they not imagine that this can deprive a woman of her life and lead her into slavery?

            I am so saddened by blogs where women castigate themselves for wanting a normal life, and encourage each other to submit, to humble themselves. But what is at stake – life, health, children, basic survival. I came close to losing all.

            Just like the woman who went to John Piper and told him that her husband had taken from his sermons that she must ask permission to go from room to room, including the bathroom, a husband can totally and utterly deprive a wife of all human dignity. What man has ever experienced the withdrawal of all human rights, even that of voiding oneself outside of a prisoner of war camp? And yet, this is the kind of thing women experience in the name of submission. You have to know that there is extreme pain behind the rejection of complementarianism.

            • David Thomas

              Suzanne, you keep blowing your own foot off with your statements. You cannot demand that general positions shouldn’t be taken based on extreme anecdotal evidence (your explanation for why you referred to Robertson and other abuses) then write the last paragraph about the woman in Piper’s church.

              I have suffered a great deal, too, at the hands of members of a church I pastored. Will I extrapolate from that “facts” about Christians, church members, deacons, or denominations? Forgiveness is a command for a number of reasons, one of which is that bitterness skews our worldview terribly. From a human standpoint I take you very seriously. From a theological standpoint it is difficult to receive anything you have to say (i.e., as an argument being thrown out there for discussion) because it is so clearly tendentious.

              I wish you no ill, and as I said, I actually believe in women in ministry. But I still have enough Catholic in me to believe fiercely in the power of submission. From where I stand, it is the lack of it–not over-emphasis upon it–that plagues our churches.

              • Suzanne McCarthy

                You continue to take my reference to Pat Robertson in the opposite way that I intended. I meant it as an extreme position that no other complementarian would ever take, not one that was related to any general statement.

                • Suzanne McCarthy

                  “But I still have enough Catholic in me to believe fiercely in the power of submission. From where I stand, it is the lack of it–not over-emphasis upon it–that plagues our churches.”

                  I cannot tell you how often I have had women email me to tell me about how they now life in debt, poverty, poor health and working into retirement, all because of submission. This doesn’t plague the churches because it is invisible. These women don’t always keep attending church.

                  • David Thomas

                    Funny, I cannot tell you how many people (men and women) whom I pastor who live under those same conditions and worse because of rebellion!

                    Everyone can quote anecdotes, Suzanne–everyone. I’ve got some doosies from my own family. But I choose to live by the Word of God and not by stories I hear about how this or that person got it wrong. Sin is a complicated and terrible systemic force. People–men and women–abuse the sacred institution of marriage. Does that mean we try to make our own way because some bad people twisted a good thing?

                    • Suzanne McCarthy

                      Sometimes there are practices that we reject because of the suffering and abuse they cause. For example, historically we have rejected absolute monarchy and dictatorship, slavery, and the notion that there is only one visible church on earth.

                      I say nothing against marriage. I do believe that the vow to obey, or the vow to submit, is against the teaching of Christ, that we should vow to no one.

                      If men want democracy, and voluntary church membership, because of abuse, how much more ought they to offer women the same dignity in the home. Ought not men to offer to women what they benefit from? Shouldn’t women be treated as the neighbours of men?

  • Kathryn Elliott Stegall

    Thanks so much for your prompt, kind and helpful esponse, Suzanne. I am indeed sorry to hear of these infightings, but it really isn’t new, is it? Coming to a common acceptance of the truths of our faith has always been a difficult, but worthwhile road. It seems there is no easy path to unity.

    I do not know the ancient languages so am especially indebted to those who do and use their gift to benefit the whole church. But even from my lay perspective there is much to be understood from our English translations. The fact that we have many translations is an added benefit for the church.

    I would certainly appreciate input from any and all of you.

    • Suzanne McCarthy


      In The Inclusive Language Debate, Don Carson draws attention to this passage in Romans 8,

      “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons (huioi) of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons (Huiothesia), by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children (tekna) of God, 17 and if children, (tekna) then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

      The point is that this passage makes our inheritance dependent on us being tekna of God, and there fore gender neutral. The huioi, are in fact, all of God’s children, male or female.

      The one Bible which has had more influence than any other vernacular Bible, that is Luther’s Bible, did not ever use the word “sons” for Christians, but rather the German were Kinder, that is “children”. The KJV alternated between children and sons. This is the heritage of the Reformation, that we are all God’s children, male and female, and our inheritance depends on being God’s children.

      Now in modern Greek, huiothesia is normally translated as “adoption” as it is in Luther’s Bible, and is not considered to be used in accordance with the Roman law of the time. Why would Paul want our membership in God’s family to be likened to the Roman family?

      So rather than saying “sons” means both male and female, one ought to translate the word as “children” since it was one of the ways that one could refer to all of one’s children in Greek.

      • David Thomas

        The problem with your (ultimately self-defeating) argument is that you are ignoring the historical context of the Scriptures. For both Jew and Gentile, it was pre-understood that only the firstborn son could inherit.

        In Galatians 3, Paul goes to great pains to assert that Abraham’s “seed” refers not to many, but to one–that one being Christ. Once he establishes this point he goes on to argue that all of us (Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female) are “in Christ” who are baptized into Him. Consequently, we are Abraham’s “seed.” Paul’s point in saying to women “you are all sons” (which is clearly what he is doing) is to ensure, in the language of contemporary social convention, that they well knew that they had the full right as co-heirs–in other words, the right of the firstborn son.

        If you will peruse OT passages, you will find that the concept of “sub-heirs” is entirely absent (see, for example, how Abraham treated his sons by Ketura over against the inheritance Isaac received). It is impossible that there would be any more than ONE firstborn son (see 1 Chronicles 5:1), yet that is precisely what the New Covenant does (see plural /prwtotokwv/ in Hebrews 12:23).

        I can hear Paul in hypothetical conversation with you, gently responding to your assertion and saying, “Yes, children–and more than children. Sons one and all!”
        By insisting that we all be “inclusively” called “children” rather than “sons,” you ironically obscure the very birthright that Paul is attempting to give you as a woman!

        • Suzanne McCarthy

          Actually, I am not insisting on anything. I am simply pointing out that if one wants to claim that the TNIV, and the NIV are untrustworthy Bibles, one must also put Luther’s Bible, and the KJV, only less so, in the same bucket. I am saying that there ought to be room for both kinds of translation, and there is no need to go around making statements against other Christians for using “children” when Luther did the same thing.

          However, to clarify, I have to ask you, do you mean that all Christians are “first born sons?” Paul does not say either “you are all sons” nor does he say “you are all first born sons.” You confuse me. Paul says we are all huioi, and this means tekna, and so we can inherit.

          The real question is whether adelphoi means “brothers” or “brothers and sisters” and we know it means “brothers and sisters” because it refers to many brother and sister pairs in Greek literature, like Cleopatra and Ptolemy.

          Likewise, pateres, the plural of pater, means “parents” because in Hebrew it refers to both the mother and father of Moses. It MUST be gender inclusive.

          And so, we have no knowledge that huioi alone of all these words is a gender specific word in the plural. None of the others are. In the LSJ, huios also has the meaning of “child.” And we know that the huioi of Israel, are usually referred to as the “children of Israel.” One gets a very skewed idea of our relationship to God, if we understand that Israel had children, and God has only sons.

          I find it difficult to believe that Paul would say that we must all be called “sons” in English, since we know that banim in Hebrew refers to children and there is no way to specify “sons” without calling them “male.” But Paul does not do that. Is Paul saying that using the Hebrew language, the relationship of women to God cannot be defined?

          Never mind. If I met Paul, I would ask him to speak to me in Hebrew, and the problem would not arise.

          • David Thomas

            Suzanne, you are so wrapped up in your own argument that you have failed to even attempt to understand mine from Galatians 3. You are also begging the question (including your desired “huioi=tekna” into the fabric of your argument in order to end there).

            Go back, read Galatians 3, read my post, and cease to be confused. Paul’s argument is that only the firstborn may inherit the promise, we inherit, ergo, we are the firstborn. Other passages by other writers confirm this theology. This means that whatever huioi /may/ mean elsewhere, it means “sons” here, therefore applying “maleness” to women under the terms of the New Covenant in terms of inheritance (and /only/ for inheritance). Once that is established, then the “huioi=tekna” principle hits the skids, which is perhaps why you are fighting so hard.

            The irony is that every time I have pointed this out to the sisters under my ministry, they have been stunned and blessed to tears. You are the first one who has balked at the gift. This tells me you need healing from a battle “not with flesh and blood.”

            • Suzanne McCarthy

              “including your desired “huioi=tekna” into the fabric of your argument in order to end there”

              This was Don Carson’s argument in the Inclusive Language Debate. It does not relate to my “desire.”

              I am aware that there are gnostic gospels that say that a woman must have maleness attributed to her but I had never heard this notion so clearly articulate today before now. I can only respond with bemusement. The sisters that respond, “blessed to tears”, probably weren’t students of Greek. I can’t comment on their reaction.

              You have vastly misjudged me. I will not give up my understanding of the Greek and Hebrew languages for either a complementation or an egalitarian. But thanks for trying 🙂

              I appreciate that you are attempting to say that women may be first born sons. If you actually treat women as equals to men, that is great. Very few of those who call women “sons” actually treat women as equals. However, if you do – that’s great. I appreciate that – honestly.

              But it does not change the fact that my academic opinion, and one that is shared by many complementation scholars, such as Don Carson, Bruce Waltke, and, of course, Luther, is that huioi is a translation of banim, and that this actually means “children.”

              It really doesn’t matter if one is complementation or egalitarian, this is a possible, and very likely, interpretation of the word.

              I can accept that you honestly believe your interpretation, and it is perhaps remotely possible. However, my knowledge of languages, and the interaction with Bruce Waltke regarding banim, and my reading of Don Carson, as well as my years of secular Hellenistic Greek, leads me to suggest that “children” is the more appropriate translation.

              • David Thomas


                Under normal circumstances, I would keep trying. But once in a while I run into a person who is so completely bound that it is impossible to help them. Your absolute conviction that the combination of 1) your personal experience, 2) your discernment of the hearts of others, and 3) your education–all of which are apparently superlatively unassailable within themselves, and therefore a veritable fortress of iron when combined–makes speaking with you fairly impossible. And I am likely the most sympathetic voice you’d find on such a blog!

                Frankly, I pity you in the prison you have built for yourself. In the economy of God, no other human being is able to impose such unhappiness upon another. It is always a verdict we hand down to ourselves.

                • Suzanne McCarthy


                  I am very sorry that you do not understand the point.

                  Let me say it again. There is no necessity for huioi to be translated as “sons” in order for people to become Christians. It is not an “untrustworthy” translation when huioi, and banim are translated as children. It is simply an alternate translation, equally valid.

                  What concerns me is that the statement and arguments against the NIV/TNIV have caused enormous pain even among complementarians.

                  You have no need to pity me for holding a common opinion with Luther, Carson, Waltke and many others. I really don’t know why you express such emotion.

                  I feel great sorrow when I talk to the translators of the TNIV/NIV, and I understand what it meant to these men to be spoken of the way they are. This is the real point here.

                  This is not about my discernment of the hearts of other people. This is simply reflecting long conversations that I have had with most people that I mention here. These are men, adversely affected by this argument.

                  Obviously none of the things you accuse me of are “unassailable.” Otherwise, why would I engage in lengthly discussion with the relevant scholars. Or do you reject all Christian scholarship.

                  I think you mean to be kind, but you reject the normal venue for furthering exegesis, which I regard as education, engagement with scholars, engagement with the history of interpretation, and so on. When I sit down with Jim Packer, Bruce Waltke, Gordon Fee, when I read several books by Carson, Grudem, and indeed, even Denny’s book listed on this page, I engage in the pursuit of understanding the Bible. I am sorry that you don’t agree with that.

                  • Suzanne McCarthy


                    I want to say that I regret that the discussion about “son” vs “children” has gotten out of hand. I did not intend to be dogmatic about it. I can accept your position as one that should co-exist alongside my position, which is that Bibles like Luther’s are valid translations.

                    I pray that some day your eyes may be open to the fact that there are two ways to look at this, and there is no need to attack those of a different opinion.

                    My concern is NOT that everyone use a Bible that I approve of. My real concern is that many of the men that I speak of will die before anyone makes a retraction and apology for the attacks on the NIV. That is my real concern.

                    Blessings, I wish you well.

  • Suzanne McCarthy


    Thank you for letting me once again put out an appeal for mercy and reconciliation for the translators of the NIV. I will try to remind you of this appeal of mine, only every once in a while. 🙂

  • Don Johnson

    David Thomas made a statement “For both Jew and Gentile, it was pre-understood that only the firstborn son could inherit.”

    This is not correct. For Jews, the first born son got a double share of the inheritance, all the other sons got a single share, and the daughters got their single share when they married. So the total inheritance was divided by the sum of the children plus 1 and divided out as stated. This sometimes matters when reading inheritance discussions in the Bible and sometimes does not matter, but that is the way it worked.

    • David Thomas


      Well, let’s keep our eye on the ball here. The question is whether we are all counted as “the firstborn of God,” and the answer is Jesus. In terms of inheritance theology, this means we have to look at the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants.

      I referred specifically to Genesis 25:5-6, which is instructive. The text says Abraham gave “all he had” to Isaac, but then goes on to say he gave gifts to his sons by Keturah. From a Western, rational viewpoint, then, Abraham did not, strictly speaking, give /everything/ exclusively to Isaac, correct? He gave some to his other sons. But the text uses the language it does almost idiomatically to indicate to the reader that Isaac was Abraham’s heir–and the inheritance (i.e., birthright) is NEVER shared.(But note Hebrews 12:23 for us.)

      In terms of David, the power struggle between Solomon and Adonijah in the opening chapters of 1 Kings would be a moot question if there were any such thing as a “sub-heir.” But in determining who sits on the throne there is no sharing the inheritance, of course, and that’s why the story goes the way it does. (But note Ephesians 2:6 and Revelation 3:21.)

      My point had nothing to do with whether offspring in OT times received good things if they didn’t have the good fortune to be the firstborn. My point was that Paul argues in Galatians 3 that Jesus is the sole heir of the promise to Abraham (Galatians 3:16), and through Him we are also heirs–not in our own right (that is not possible, else why the cross?), but because we are “in Christ.” [In the course of my discussion with Suzanne, my point was that Paul’s apparently exclusive language was actually the model of inclusivity and should not be tampered with.]

      The truth of the matter is, we are the firstborn or we are damned. There is no middle ground, no stepchildren in heaven.

      • Suzanne McCarthy


        Honestly, your position here is quite new to me. Interesting, but new.

        First, I have never heard anyone suggest that we ought to translate huioi as “first born sons.” Now if that is not what you meant, that’s fine. However, I restrict myself to translation issues, so I read what you say with interest, but it has no relevance to anything that I have ever written. I am simply discussing whether huioi can actually mean “children” or only “sons.” That’s it.

        Second, as we all know, almost all translations do use the phrase “children of Israel” as a translation of “huioi Israel”. We know that huioi can possibly refer to “children” and this is a possible translation. That’s all I want to establish.

        Third, I am not tampering with scripture. It appears that if I cite the KJV, Luther, Calvin, or many other translations which use some gender neutral references such as “children of God” or some other phrase, I am immediately accused of “tampering with scripture.” If I refer to the original Greek and Hebrew, there is also often this accusation as well that I am tampering with scripture.

        I am not here to accuse anyone of tampering with scripture.

        I am here to submit a request, every once in a while, that those people who have vilified the translators of the NIV/TNIV, please retract and apologize. I say this in the interests of the reputation of the Christian community. Why make fun of other Christians, when one’s own community has much to deal with? That’s my point.

      • Don Johnson

        Hi David,

        Yes, we are “firstborn” in a spiritual sense, when we are reborn, God becomes our spiritual Father. And Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise made to Abraham and which includes us when were are in Jesus. We get into the Kingdom by faith. The question of whether one is a physical firstborn male son or not is simply not relevant for spiritual things.

        The patriarchal stories are special, they show God keeping his covenant with Abraham regardless of various jeopardies made to the covenant by humans. There are both physical and spiritual realizations of the covenant promises. Yes, Isaac is the physical son, but so is Ishmael, the firstborn son. The difference is that Isaac becomes also the spiritual son and so God’s covenant is maintained thru Isaac and not Ishmael. Yes, Esau and Jacob are both physical sons, the difference is that Jacob becomes also the spiritual son and so God’s covenant is maintained thru Jacon and not Esau, the firstborn son. And then Jacob’s sons become the patriarchs of the tribes.

        It is of course true that there can only be one king of a nation, but Solomon was far from being the physical firstborn son, however he had the faith of David, at least at first. David himself was physically the lastborn son, but he was a spiritual son of God.

        • Don Johnson

          This is the law of inheritance from Torah. Paul was a Torah-observant Jew. ’nuff said.

          Deu 21:15 “If a man has two wives where one is loved but the other is unloved, and both of them bear him sons, but the firstborn is the son of the unloved wife,
          Deu 21:16 then when he bequeaths his possessions to his sons, he must not give preference to the firstborn of the beloved wife over the firstborn of the unloved wife.
          Deu 21:17 Instead, he must acknowledge the firstborn of the unloved wife by giving him double of everything he owns, because he is really the first fruit of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.”

          The way to interpret this is that the firstborn son (EVEN if from his (first) wife that is not the husband’s favorite) is STILL to get a double portion.

        • David Thomas

          Precisely. Firstborn is by appointment. Variously, either directly or indirectly, Adam, Israel, David, and (finally) Jesus are all called the firstborn of God.

          In this case, we are the firstborn of God in the spiritual sense because we are “in Christ.”

          I have no issue with your “double-portion” comments, but realize that the only reason I brought up the matter of firstborn was as a handmaiden to the larger issue of inclusive language translations of the Bible, which itself was a tangiental discussion to the point of this thread.

  • Suzanne McCarthy


    Honestly, your position here is quite new to me. Interesting, but new.

    First, I have never heard anyone suggest that we ought to translate huioi as “first born sons.” Now if that is not what you meant, that’s fine. However, I restrict myself to translation issues, so I read what you say with interest, but it has no relevance to anything that I have ever written. I am simply discussing whether huioi can actually mean “children” or only “sons.” That’s it.

    Second, as we all know, almost all translations do use the phrase “children of Israel” as a translation of “huioi Israel”. We know that huioi can possibly refer to “children” and this is a possible translation. That’s all I want to establish.

    Third, I am not tampering with scripture. It appears that if I cite the KJV, Luther, Calvin, or many other translations which use some gender neutral references such as “children of God” or some other phrase, I am immediately accused of “tampering with scripture.” If I refer to the original Greek and Hebrew, there is also often this accusation as well that I am tampering with scripture.

    I am not here to accuse anyone of tampering with scripture.

    I am here to submit a request, every once in a while, that those people who have vilified the translators of the NIV/TNIV, please retract and apologize. I say this in the interests of the reputation of the Christian community. Why make fun of other Christians, when one’s own community has much to deal with? That’s my point.

    • David Thomas

      Suzanne, I am replying for the sake of others who may read, because you have seriously rephrased my position and are literally saying things I NEVER said.

      WHAT I said was this:

      I believe huioi should be translated “sons” and NOT “sons and daughters” in Galatians 3 because Paul is employing inheritance language. I am NOT saying–and never did say–that we should /translate/ huioi as “firstborn sons.” Rather, I am asserting that Paul specifically uses the gender-laden term “sons” for a specific reason, that being his larger argument of casting us as the firstborn of God. Such an argument would not work nearly as smoothly by using a gender specific term like tekna, and the fact remains that Paul does in fact use huioi. Since you are saying huioi should /always/ be translated “children” and I am directly asserting that such a translation would obscure the meaning Paul intends in the passage, it is indeed /very/ relevant for your insistence on the same point in the opposite direction. It also serves as a powerful warning for those who think they understand everything the text has to say and are ready to bring their agenda to it to the point of politicizing the text. It is already inevitable that we do that with adding intentionality to the mix.

      To say “hiuoio=tekna” in other contexts may very well be so, provided that we don’t create a non-sequitur out of it, viz., by stating that since tekna is gender neutral/plural, and we have already established it “equals” huioi, therefore we should always translate huioi as gender neutral as well. That is both false syllogism and bad Greek.

      I would further note that both of us are way, way off the theme of this thread, which has to do with whether Catholic women have any place calling themselves thus when the warp and woff, the very DNA of Catholicism rejects the idea that anyone could, on their own and apart from the magisterium of the Church, claim to be “called” to a ministry. If you are a Catholic and want to remain so (I was, but didn’t want to remain so–but have friends and family I respect who are), then submit to the Church such as it is. If you don’t like it, then leave, and go to a church (like mine) that ordains women.

      As for the NIV/TNIV, I prefer it remain up to me. I read the NIV for years, until I learned Greek. Then I switched to the ESV. It had little to nothing to do with gender issues.

      Again, you are so completely locked and loaded for a fight you brought with you that you don’t appear to be jousting with the issues before you, but rather ones that you just imagine are before you.

  • Suzanne McCarthy


    I recommend that you read The Inclusive Language Debate by Don Carson on the tekna/huioi point. Don and I do not share any agenda or any other thoughts on the women. Far from it! However, as bilingual Canadians, we do share most points in this book.

    You seem to misunderstand bilingualism. Typically, one language is dominant. It seems very odd to me that Paul would express his most important point in Greek because he thought that the notion could not be expressed in Hebrew or Aramaic. Are you saying that membership in God’s family could not be expressed in Hebrew?

    I disagree that one should submit to the church such as it is. The church needs ongoing transformation.

    • Suzanne McCarthy


      I can’t engage any longer, as you are perhaps tired, and now muddled, I believe. You write,

      “Such an argument would not work nearly as smoothly by using a gender specific term like tekna, and the fact remains that Paul does in fact use huioi.”

      First, tekna is gender inclusive, not gender specific, and second, Paul DID use tekna, as well as huioi. That was my point.

      The real problem is that Greek does not display on this blog, and when we write in English, I keep getting accused of, just that, writing in English.

      • David Thomas

        ¡Ay de mi, Suzanne!

        ¿Cansado, yo? No, pues. Pero usted debe de estar exhausta.

        En cuanto al asunto de lodo, me parece que la que tiene lodo en el ojo lo ve en los demás…

        • Suzanne McCarthy

          Great! Yeah! And perhaps Paul spoke Greek first. I really don’t know. But the children of Israel, the huioi Israel in the LXX referred to men and women alike.

          I still don’t think God wants to attribute male characteristics to women to get them into heaven.


          1) women are represented by men, and get into heaven on men’s coattails, by being in a headship relationship, or

          2) women take on male attributes and get into heaven as “sons” or

          3) God actually treats men and women equally and women can get into heaven as females

          The Hebrew Bible certainly implies that women are supported by being members of a male-lead family group. But, on and individual basis, that does not hold true. For the group, it does. For the individual, almost anything goes. Women can inherit, build cities, and be judges. So, there is conflicting evidence. There is nothing in the nature of women that prevents them from being full members of the group. But there is something in the nature of the group that prevents women from being full members of the group.

          Does Paul mean that women are huioi theou, as women were once huioi Israel, and that they inherit because they are tekna? That is what Paul says. We inherit as tekna, children.

          I can see why you think what you do, about women being sons, I just don’t think Paul was actually being explicit about women being sons, but that children of both sexes, and of all nations, could all inherit. I don’t think that as non-Jews, we need to be called “Jews” in order to inherit eternal life. I think Paul means that before God there is no difference. Isn’t that what the text says?

          The main thing is whether the community using the BIble actually treats a woman as an equal. That has been a rare thing in my life. Very rare. Recently, I have attended a church where women are treated as equals, and they certainly don’t talk about women as sons of God. But if you do, if that is how you see women as equal, okay. I accept that. I wouldn’t call myself a “son of God”, but if you want to, okay.

    • Greg Anderson

      I agree that the Church needs ongoing change, it is only now catching up with the Enlightenment. Its medieval underpinnings are as grimy as the flying buttresses at Chartres, they could use a good scrubbing.

      • David Thomas

        Absolutely, Greg. Voltaire certainly has /so/ much more to say regarding the “scrubbing” the Church needs than those musty Scriptures that speak of the blood of Christ, and how God’s Word is what washes His bride clean. Ugh! /So/ primitive!

        Besides, how could we have done without the 20th century wars Modernism granted us? Goodness gracious, Global Warming would be absolutely /rampant/ with all that surplus population running around!

        • Greg Anderson

          I was thinking more along the lines of Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, & Madison. They knew full well that the goddess in the temple of reason could be just as cruel as the clerical despots in the old world. Not all riverbanks have slippery slopes.

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