Opinions on faith and life

The Merry-go-round

2009-09-02

At this blog an old, old list of male supremacist scripture twisting is repeated for the umpteenth time. But my focus this time is not on the list itself but the comments on this particular reincarnation of it.

At comment 10 begins some, shall we say, interesting claims. The first is a classic example of ad hominem:

these ten reasons have been cited countless times by Biblical traditionalists over the past 50 years as religious feminism has infected evangelicalism.
Note two assertions: that the people citing (promoting) these “ten reasons” are labeled “traditionalists”, while their opposition is pejoratively labeled “religious feminism”. That is the ad hominem. Then the opposition is described as having “infected” evangelicalism, as if they are on the level of vermin or disease. None of the terms are defined or backed up with any data.

As anyone familiar with the debate over restrictions on women as Christians and wives knows, “feminism” is the most common label (after Jezebel I suppose) applied to anyone who dares to argue that women are fully human and equal participants in the church and the home. Now they try to claim that making half the human race below the other doesn’t make women sub-human or unequal, but that is self-contradictory. This “separate but equal” argument was thoroughly debunked on the topic of slavery in the US. Instead, we egalitarians do not argue for the supremacy of one half the human race over another (regardless of which would be dominant) but for equality, or lack of hierarchy.

Next up is an attempt to misapply a scripture:

… that his flock may be strengthened against the chorus of naysayers who continually parrot Satan’s question: “Has God REALLY said … ?”
The statement cited is made by the serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and it questions God’s commands. But in order to apply this scripture to arguments against male supremacism, one first must establish that such arguments are attempting to question or dismiss or change the Bible. This is a false and presumptuous charge at best. What this commenter is attempting to do is to claim that anything but the “plain reading” or surface-skimming of scripture amounts to what is commonly called “hermeneutical gymnastics”, where what the text communicates is hidden or twisted. But this method is never consistently followed; I have yet to see its proponents gouge out their eyes or sever a limb if it causes them to sin, though Jesus stated this “plainly”. Their interpretive method has more to do with their personal preferences as to what is “common sense” than what is contextual.

Context is paramount in comprehending any writing, especially one written in another language, culture, and time. To ignore all this is a true case of “attempting to question or dismiss or change the Bible”, because it turns the Word of God into whatever the reader feels it should be. Ironically, it has been my experience that such people are the ones who “bow to culture” and twist scripture to suit their wishes.

Notice also that anyone who rejects such superficial treatment of scripture is labeled “naysayers”, another ad hominem, and that they “parrot”, though the commenter has just defended his own (spec. Ware’s) practice of repetition.

So the charge that egals deny the Word of God is shown to be false, and in fact can be more accurately applied to the accuser.

Now we come to a most heretical claim:

male headship is, in fact, salvific doctrine. Paul points to male headship as the reason that all in Adam are damned (cf. Romans 5). And, male headship is the reason that all who are in the Second Adam are redeemed (again, Romans 5). Deny male headship and you deny the way the gospel works its redeeming effect on any individual, whether they understand this or not.
The commenter has begun here with a patently false claim: that saving faith must include acceptance of something called “male headship”, another undefined and unsubstantiated term. Scripture never cites this alleged requirement in any passage related to how a person is saved. The apostle John speaks of needing to believe that Jesus came “in the flesh” (1 John 4:2), and the context clearly indicates a rebuttal of the proto-Gnostic heresy that Jesus did not become human at all. But no mention of maleness is found in any passage concerning what one must believe to be saved.

Then the commenter claims Paul was referring to this “male headship” in Rom. 5, but there are no statements that could be construed as “male headship” anywhere in the passage. Many interpret vs. 12 as a teaching about inheritable sin, but the end of that verse clearly refutes such a notion: “because all sinned”. No one denies that “sin entered the world through one man”, Adam, but scripture does not go on to say that sin was passed down genetically, and in fact says the opposite (see also Ezekiel 18). The “inherited sin” view also ignores Rom. 5:14 which speaks not of sin but of death. And that “man” should be used to refer to both Adam and Jesus is simply because both were male; nothing is said about maleness in general. And this view also ignores Rom. 5:18 which says “all” for both condemnation and justification / life. If all are lost because of Adam, then all (emph. ALL) are saved because of Jesus. And if we take the Calvinist spin that “all” means “all without distinction”, then what of the universal depravity of humanity? They paint themselves into a corner here.

So the commenter’s assertion that all who deny his undefined “male headship” (commonly ref. to also as Adam being “federal head”) deny the gospel itself is groundless, and if not heretical, certainly highly disputable. And to risk labeling fellow believers as lost on such a shaky foundation is not a wise thing to do.

The commenter’s next bit is found inside comment 11, which appears to be some kind of glitch in the blog software or something. But he begins with a straw man: that his opponent “complained” about not being Christlike. There was no complaint there, but only an attempt to understand his claims. But, quite ironically, he goes on to dismantle his own foundational assertion that maleness carries an intrinsic spiritual property by citing personal experience within his own family.

This is all followed by another non sequitur: that “Christ’s maleness is a requisite for His saving you”. His paragraphs leading up to that claim negate it. But the statement following, also unrelated to the premises, is rank heresy:

Eve fell under condemnation— not because she sinned, but because she was in Adam. Death came to Eve, not because she sinned, but because Adam sinned. And, Paul teaches us in Romans 5, you and I will die one day for the same reason Eve died.
Scripture tells us that God said “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will certainly die.” (Gen. 2:17, 3:3) There is nothing in Genesis to support the commenter’s claim that Eve died because of Adam. In fact, what we see is that Eve was confronted separately and directly by God, and her answer was true, without any attempt to pass blame to God as Adam did. And what about the promised Seed which would come ONLY through Eve? What does this say about Adam’s sin as opposed to Eve’s? Why would a woman’s seed alone be suitable to produce the savior? Also note in Gen. 3 that while Adam and the serpent are told by God, “Because of you” or “Because you have done this”, Eve is not. And it was the ground, not Adam or Eve, that was cursed because of Adam (who alone came from that ground).

The commenter has imposed his interpretation of Rom. 5 onto Genesis and thus read into the text that which God did not say, putting words into His mouth. He also has ignored Paul’s many clear statements about the gospel (e.g. Acts 16:29-31, 1 Cor. 15:1-4), none of which hint at maleness as a necessary component of saving faith.

Next comment:

The Jehovah’s Witnesses try the same thing when they protest that the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible…
The commenter has made a faulty inference here. The concept of the Trinity is clearly taught in both Testaments, as I’ve written elsewhere (see my booklet at Scribd). But the concept of “male headship” is not taught in scripture as a divine mandate, and is expressly rejected in the NT (Mt. 20:25-28, Gal. 3:28, Eph. 5:21); in fact, ALL hierarchical rule is rejected.

Now to what I would classify as the mother of all non sequiturs:

Jesus Christ is a human male. Jesus Christ is God. I think you’ll affirm both of these, right?

If so, then in the person of Christ we have human male flesh elevated to Godhood.

P1 - Jesus Christ is a human male P2 - Jesus Christ is God C - Human male flesh was therefore elevated to Godhood.

The conclusion does not follow from the premises. It was never “human flesh” that went to heaven (1 Cor. 15:47-50), and no scripture ever elevates anything to Godhood. Jesus was divine in eternity past and returned to his equality with God after His ascension (John 1:1-2, 13:3, Phil. 2:5-11). 1 Cor. 15:49 clearly states that “so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man”, and there is no fine print excluding women from this promise. The commenter’s claim here is identical to that of the cults which elevates men into gods, and is therefore blasphemy.

The commenter goes on to repeat (dare I say “parrot”?) his earlier interpretation of what being “in” someone means, ignoring context and figures of speech. But then he does what I already referred to on the matter of inconsistency, claming that male supremacy, even to the point of being elevated to Godhood, is somehow not a claim to male preeminence. I would be most interested in his definition of preeminence, and then see how it would fit in scriptures such as 3 John 1:9.

Finally, we will examine the commenter’s reference to something called “anthropological modalism” by an S. M. Hutchens, who defines it as one “who effaces the critical distinctions between man and woman by making the sexes into functions or modes of existence of the ”human.“” Yet if male and female are not “modes” of the human, then one of them must not be human at all— and it doesn’t take a PhD to figure out which of the two groups that might be. It also shows a fundamental misunderstanding of theological modalism, which teaches that God is simply taking on “roles” when He uses terms like Father, Son, and Spirit. So Mr. Hutchens has inadvertently proved that the teaching of “roles” is the modalist heresy, and that is what the male supremacist doctrine of “the eternal subordination of the Son” is all about.

The commenter then denies having done any name calling, while expressing agreement with Hutchens’ self-incrimination. He also tries to divide Christ Himself into “human” and “male human”, a completely groundless assertion.

I’m sure more comments will follow, but what has been covered to this point should be sufficient for the intelligent reader to make an assessment of the various claims. Sadly, this sort of fallacious and blasphemous teaching is growing in popularity as proud men sense they are losing their iron grip on the controls of Christendumb. They love the position of importance and to think themselves “first in line” with God. But their teachings are indistinguishable from those of any given religion in the world, such as Islam or Mormonism, which regard women as empty shells whose only purpose in this life (and the next, in most cases) is to serve the cravings of male flesh.

This is NOT what Jesus or the NT writers taught, and this truth needs to be shouted from the rooftops on behalf of all the women who are running from this phallus-worshiping “gospel” in droves. Eternal subservience is the opposite of what Jesus came to do: free the prisoners and give justice to the oppressed.

108 Comments

Paula Fether

Two very different questions, neither of which has to do with culture. ;-)

Re. "federal headship", what exactly do you mean by that term? Since it is not found in scripture, it requires inference and that can vary. Do you mean metaphorically as in "in Adam" or do you mean positionally as in "the boss of all humanity because he got there first"? Either way you’ll need to cite scriptures that themselves do not require presuming the conclusion in the first place in order to support the claim.

Re. 1 Tim. 2:13-15, I’ve covered that here more than once, but I take the passage (actually 1 Tim 2:11-3:1) as follows:

That woman must learn, in a respectful and humble way. I am not even giving her permission to teach, much less to oppressively control the man; she must quiet down. For Adam was formed first and Eve second, and Adam was not fooled; but this woman, being completely fooled, has fallen into a state of error. In spite of that, she will be rescued by means of the proper spiritual upbringing, as long as they both remain in faith and love and wisdom. You can count on that.
As I said, neither issue has to do with culture but with paying careful attention to the context, which includes the habits and expressions of Paul.

So please be more specific.

PS: For the "big picture" on how and why I take Paul as I do, please read my book free online at Scribd.

Fr. Robert

Note, this is a question, what would we say to the Federal Headship of Adam? And what about the texts of 1 Tim.2:13-15? This certainly cannot be thrown over for "culture"! Fr. Robert (Anglican)

Paula Fether

I need to add another point to the faulty syllogism, as follows: P1 &nash; Jesus Christ is a non-English speaking Jew P2 &nash; Jesus Christ is God C &nash; Non-English speaking Jews were therefore elevated to Godhood.

If that makes sense to anyone, then they could agree with the commenter’s argument.

TL

Excellent post. And may I say thank you for expounding on the points I also found astonishing on that blog. :)

Lydia

"Jesus Christ is a human male. Jesus Christ is God. I think you’ll affirm both of these, right?

If so, then in the person of Christ we have human male flesh elevated to Godhood."

And this applies to Fr. Bill how? That is some leap he makes for himself.

Good point above, Paula. You are taking characteristics of Jesus Christ and applying them to his faulty logic.

These guys don’t even make me mad anymore. They are so lost in their narcissism.

Lydia

Oh, and may I say this blog is represetative of what is coming out of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. If you are sending money to the SBC, you are funding this heresy. And ESS, which lessens our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Paula Fether

Tanx 2u2, and you’re very welcome.

I have given up trying to engage such people directly, because it winds up being yet another mud-wrestling match with endless rounds of "you’re the heretic!" "No, you are!" All we can do is present our case and let people decide for themselves.

TL

Ah, so are you suggesting that some male gender hierarchalists prefer mud wrestling to dialogue? hmmmm that does present a picture for thought. "wink"!

TL

BTW how does one do ’pingbacks’?

Paula Fether

Yes, and it isn’t just gender hierarchialists. Mud wrestling is by far the most popular sport on teh internetz.

"Pingbacks" are automatically generated by blogging software. They can be enabled or disabled by the blog owner, but once enabled they happen on their own.

TL

Really? Even over football? :)

Paula Fether

Oh yeah, easily. Heck, football can cause more matches to start!

Dave

Great post Paula. When hierarchiasts repeat arguments, you do begin to wonder if they are trying to convince themselves, though sadly they have a large following who do not always think for themselves.

I have been reading a bit of Grudem lately and found him creative in his re-painting of the history of the debate!

I like football, but you Americans have a funny way of doing it...

Paula Fether

Tanx Dave! And welcome. :-)

The repetition is either (a) in the hope that people will believe a lie if they hear it enough times, or (b) the definition of insanity (continuing to do the same thing but hoping for a different result). Or maybe even (c) a temper tantrum.

And good point about Grudem. Revisionist history is at the heart of this topic, as the hierarchy side keeps claiming to be orthodox and traditional, even when people present evidence to the contrary. But no fact will be allowed to get in the way of the new Alpha Male!

I like both kinds of "football", but the big draw for me is that we get to watch millionaires hurt each other. :-P

TL

"I like both kinds of “football”, but the big draw for me is that we get to watch millionaires hurt each other. "

now that gave me a chuckle. Some are likely billionaires too. What a thought, eh. :)

Paula Fether

Notes on 1 Cor. 15:48-49

The Greek reads like this:

the-which the soulish-one such and the soulish-ones and the-which the celestial-one such and the celestial-ones and according-as we-wear the image of-the soulish-one we-shall-be-wearing also the image of-the celestial-one
The word for "man" or even "human" isn’t in those verses at all! We have to get such words from the preceding verse, which uses anthropos, not aner, and thus means "person" in English.

Either way, "males in heaven" has a problem, and a serious one. Either nobody is male, or we all are.

Lydia

Thanks for pointing that out. I can still remember reading with total shock the article at CBMW that stated we ’could’ have male/female authority submission on heaven. These men have lost it.

Yes, that is a Mormon belief as is the doctrine of elevating men on earth.

Paula Fether

And this is how it happens, a little at a time. Subversion is Satan’s trademark; "antichrist" doesn’t just mean "against" but "replacement" Christ, so we know his tactic is to pass himself off as truth and light.

That those who are held up as Bible scholars can knowingly and willingly promote falsehood, and fool the majority of professing believers, is surely a prophetic sign. Like our government, subversives are in power, and the people are the victims.

Don’t know if you’ve seen my NT Letters, but what do you think: is an ultra-literal version needed to go with it? Maybe a parallel format?

TL

What would an ultra literal version look like?

Paula Fether

I suppose anything from just copying the English equivalent for each Greek word, to only rearranging the word order enough to make it readable as English. But maybe it would be better to just get people used to interlinears for study, and whatever translation for reading.

TL

Lydia, we’d love to dialogue with you over at Equality Central Forums. We are discussing this topic there also. Just click on my ’name’ for the link.

TL

IMO an ideal study Bible would be an interlinear on one side, with root words in English with translations and full ending in grk., noting forms, endings, etc. On the other side, possibly something like the Amplified Bible. Then in the notes (lots of notes like Nyland’s NT and the NET Bible) have notes on the difficult or most abused grk words as well as historical and cultural notes on the difficult verses. In the back have a short concordant dictionary of each grk and hebrew word. Also in the back have a reasonably full concordance. And have a Hebrew and Grk. listing of name meanings. As well the margins on both sides should be wide enough for note writing. Perhaps, a blank page on the first page to each book. Also, there should be introductions for each book, giving information on author, time of writing, style of author and other critical notes on author, cultural events in the era of the writing, and a very brief outline.

I’d pay well for such a Bible. :)

TL

Oh and don’t forget maps. I had to look all over for a map that would show the distance that Barak had to walk to get to Deborah, and the surrounding towns that Deborah called out to to join them in the war (noted in her song). There should always be maps of the 3 voyages of Paul.

Paula Fether

Sounds like an interlinear with a readable English rendering on the side and commentary/notes at the bottom. Tall order!

Now where are all those egal scholars who could make this happen? CBE would seem like the place for them to collaborate on such a worthy project. But as always, I’m sure it comes down to funding, and then we’re back where we started.

TL

I’m thinking bigger. Open your Bible. One page on the left is the interlinear. The page on the right is a Bible translation, complete with notes, cross ref’s, etc.

TL

We could make a deal with scriptures4all.org and Ann Nyland for her notes to NT...... to start with.

Paula Fether

Works for me!

OK, so how do we go about this? And what if they’re not interested?

TL

My guess is that, hands down, it would become the best selling Bible of our era. And thinking about it, Nylands NT translation is really good. Combining yours and hers would be excellent. The layout needs to be vastly improved though. I could easily do outlines for the NT books. As well as add notes here and there.

TL

My guess is that Nyland would be interested. Her reputation needs redeeming. The question is whether the Concordant Publishers would go for it. They are an old company. They haven’t done anything new in ages. :)

TL

And I’d get some names involved..... those who would be real supporters. Cunningham, Bilzikean, and others from CBE.

TL

You could make your own interlinear. But yeeesh what a job. Take a year.

Paula Fether

I’ve been looking around for any available database of NT Greek words, but they’re either costly or in a format I can’t work with. Once they’re in a database they can be displayed in a variety of formats, and eventual features like cross-references would be much easier to add. I wish we could get such a database from S4A, but any interlinear’s database would be a start. But yeah, a ton of work, especially for one person with zero creds.

TL

What I would like to see is a page exactly like S4A posts on the web (without a trans. on the side as they have). Why not contact them and tell them you’d like to create a Bible with an interlinear and wonder if they had a database you could use. ???

do you have a sample database you could email a link to, so I know what you are looking for?

Paula Fether

What I mean by a database is pretty much what S4A already has. But theirs is encoded and proprietary, meaning I can’t view it or export it to another format such as mySQL (the database most websites use, including mine and yours). That would be a HUGE timesaver.

Other databases include any of the online Bible search sites like Bible Gateway or Blue Letter Bible.

TL

So that means they’d want to sell it?

Paula Fether

Most likely. There are some places that give their Bible software and modules away for free, but you have to use their stuff and can’t export it to another format.

If I can just get the Greek into a mySQL database I can display or print it however I want. But of course, printing extremely large docs would require resources beyond my capacity, meaning we’d have to pay someone else to print nice copies, and that is the biggest obstacle.

TL

I think we could solve the printing. :) One thing at a time.

If all you need to create a page similar to S4A is a Greek database, that is hopeful. There must be one out there somewhere.

Paula Fether

To clarify, what I need is the data itself. I could easily set up the structure of the database. It’s the entering of every word with parsing and translation that would take up all the time and be very tedious work. Since that wheel’s been invented so to speak, I’m hoping to find some source that would be willing to open up their data.

TL

this is Starke’s latest answer to me....

"He is the source of life, but only salvifically when he is by faith, our head. You should read over Romans 5 and I Cor 15. Adam is our federal head or representative - in sin and our condemnation. Through the righteousness of Christ, his headship is applied to us, by faith. This isn’t difficult. It making sense of the language of Romans 5 and I Cor. 15. I am not saying anything different than what others have said since Augustine, Anselm, Luther, Calvin, the Puritans, and the evangelical tradition."

Paula Fether

PS re your message board discussion on swine flu: please read this article.

The very habit of vaccination is itself a method of conditioning the masses to willingly accept whatever measures the government deems necessary, after it has filled the populace with fear. We already know that the mercury-based preservative Thermiserol (sp?), typically found in children’s routine vaccinations, is suspected of causing a variety of illnesses such as asthma and neurological disorders. The fact that a patient can request non-thermisrol shots should tell us something.

TL

did my last comment go through??

Paula Fether

For some reason it went into moderation, but that usually only happens if you don’t use an email or it’s different than the one you’ve used before.

Paula Fether

Per the quote:

His equating Calvinism with "evangelical tradition" and inferring that it is the only reasonable interpretation aside, the fact remains that he confuses his interpretation with God’s Word. He seems to be oblivious to the fact that "in Adam" we all DIE, not that we all SIN. What he says "isn’t difficult" is simply what he had decreed to be the only possible view, and he expresses shock that others don’t agree.

Like I said, I have given up trying to converse with such people.

Janice

Hi Paula,

I found an article by John Sanders. It’s titledOn Heffalumps and Heresies: Responses to Accusations Against Open Theism. It’s an excellent discussion of the sorts of accusations that are made against people with whom we disagree. (Fr. Bill’s comments in the linked post come to mind.) It’s also quite funny in parts. If you haven’t read it before it’s well worth taking the time to do so.

A very small sample: “The Bible clearly teaches” is equivalent to “our interpretation of scripture is inerrant.” This is to confuse the inerrant scripture with our fallible understandings of it. Our interpretations of scripture are human understandings and are fallible for two reasons: (1) we are finite — we never know all there is to know and (2) the noetic effects of sin — sin can distort even our reasoning processes as we interpret scripture.

Janice

Another, quite delicious, quote:

Those who play with these rhetorical weapons typically do not notice that they can be turned back upon themselves. What if we were to say that both Islam and Calvinism affirmed meticulous providence so Calvinism is really Islam? Astrologers and classical theists believe the future is exhaustively definite so classical theism is dependent upon astrology! Of course, Calvinists would rightfully cry “foul.” Open theists have been accused of worshiping a “finite god,” and a “user-friendly God.” The Calvinists making these claims believe that their view does not have a user-friendly God but Paul Tillich and Gordon Kaufman claim that any evangelical view of God as personal is user-friendly. Others claim that humans have more power than God in openness theology because we can oppose God in some respects. Of course, this claim applies just as much to traditional Arminianism. It is said that we are “making God in our own image.” We could turn this around, however, and claim that the God of meticulous providence is really in our image since that God typifies the ideal Western male—in control and not relying on anyone else. This God exemplifies the Platonic, Aristotelian and Stoic understandings of human perfection.

Paula Fether

Good stuff Janice, thanks. I’ll check out that link soon as I can.

Paula Fether

That was a very well-written piece (well, there were a few typos, but no biggie). Regardless of one’s personal convictions on the topic, very good points were made, esp. on pages 7-10, 26-27, 29,32-33, 38, and 40. That last one is something I think our Lydia can relate to:

However, at least a part of the scandal of the evangelical mind is the fear many evangelical theologians have of investigating certain topics because they are afraid of losing their jobs. Many evangelical institutions only allow professors to teach doctrine, not practice theology. George Marsden says that most of the brightest evangelical minds of the past thirty years have gone into philosophy instead of theology because they see what the gatekeepers of evangelical orthodoxy do to those who question the status quo.
But I think the biggest challenge for all of us, especially me, is to rise above the personal insults, just though we may be in striking back in defense. It is a fine art indeed to point out flaws in someone’s arguments without rancor.

Lydia

Janice, That must be the John Saunders they lump NT WRight with and call both heretics?

I can attest to the fact there is NO academic freedom in scholarship at ourSBC seminairies? I was a big supporter of the CP because there were a few flakes at the seminaries who denied the virgin birth, etc. However, the witch hunt never stopped past basic salvic doctrine.

After 30 years you can see what is has wrought.

now someone like my Grandmother, born 1889 who received her bachelors and studied more at Moody, became a scholar on Romans and was consulted by many pastors in our region to teach and did up to the early 60’s --- Would be considered in SIN for teaching MEN.

That is where we are today in Christendom.

She died before I was born but her legacy lives on. Was it a legacy of feminism? Ha! She married late but had 8 kids. Her legacy was to LOVE HIM with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.

Lydia

"George Marsden says that most of the brightest evangelical minds of the past thirty years have gone into philosophy instead of theology because they see what the gatekeepers of evangelical orthodoxy do to those who question the status quo.

Yeah, Hegal.

Anyone who cannot see that Western Christianity has not become a business is blinding themselves on purpose NOT to see it. That business extends to ivory towers, too.

Paula Fether

Power, status, money... all the ingredients in the Pharisees who sought to kill Jesus for fear of losing their place.

TL

"now someone like my Grandmother, born 1889 who received her bachelors and studied more at Moody, became a scholar on Romans and was consulted by many pastors in our region to teach and did up to the early 60’s — Would be considered in SIN for teaching MEN."

Awesome grandmother. You are so blessed. :)

Paula Fether

I suppose I should mention something about the "H word", just to clarify. I used it in my article with a smidgen of tongue-in-cheek, meaning I know it irritates people regardless of whether or not it may be an accurate term in this case. But it’s such an easy, convenient epithet... stopping the use of it will probably require as much discipline as giving up Mt. Dew for one of those flavored water drinks that are way over priced.

:-D

Janice

Lydia,

That must be the John Saunders they lump NT WRight with and call both heretics?

Sorry, I don’t know. I’m new at this stuff and only starting to recognise the big names but the name on the paper is Sanders and he’s described as Professor of philosophy and religion, Huntington College, Huntington, Indiana. But yes, he’s definitely being called a heretic.

Alison

Have to say it, I loved your term "Christendumb". There’s so much error floating around that it takes an industrial strength chainsaw to cut through all the nonsense.

You are very right in your diagnosis of some forms of evangelicalism, so determined to hold on to male dominance, even at the price of truth. The sad thing about it is that Jesus never taught any of this, and is probably appalled that some of us are teaching it in His name.

Junkster

Interesting article and comments. I, too, am bothered by the current practice of indoctrination rather than education prevalent in evangelical seminaries (including, perhaps particularly, SBC seminaries). Students are being taught what to think rather than how to think. And the fruit of that is seen in the shallow preaching in the churches, where pastors merely provide guidelines and steps and tips (aka rules) for Christian living, rather than encouraging people to develop an intimate relationship with God and to dig into His Word and learn to apply it to their own lives.

Like Lydia, I was a big CR supporter, and I thought it was all about whether a person affirmed the inerrancy of the Bible, not whether they affirmed specific interpretations of it. Maybe that’s what a lot of folks had in mind at the start, but it has become clear that the power structure has moved beyond simply insisting that orthodoxy requires belief in the truth of Scripture – now to be considered orthodox in SBC circles one must affirm an ever growing list of specific interpretations and secondary and tertiary doctrines.

It’s no surprise, I’m sure, that, as a (shudder) Calvinist, I affirm federal headship. To me, it boils down to the doctrine that God imputes Adam’s sin to all those "in Adam" (his descendants), just as He imputes Christ’s righteousness to all those "in Christ" (those who believe in Him). That’s my take on Romans 5, anyway.

That said, I think it is a huge stretch, and by no means historical orthodoxy, to say that the imputations of either Adam’s sin or Christ righteousness are connected in any way to their maleness. That is, federal headship is not about them being male, but about them being human. I can understand someone saying that "federal headship is salvific doctrine", if they mean that we are lost with Adam as our head and saved with Christ as our head. But neither condemnation in Adam nor justification in Christ are related to their maleness, just to their humanness. So I can’t agree with the assertion that "male headship is salvific doctrine".

As an aside, note also that the use of "head" in "federal head" as I have defined it (which, I believe, is as it has historically been defined), carries more of the connotation of "source" than of "authority". The phrase "male headship" is a new one on me, and appears to promote the idea of male authority by associating that concept with federal headship. They have hijacked historical Reformed doctrine in support of their doctrine of male authority over females, which is "revisionist history" indeed.

Concerning openness theology -- I consider it to be aberrant and unorthodox doctrine, but that’s another debate. But I really liked the Sanders quote that said:

“The Bible clearly teaches” is equivalent to “our interpretation of scripture is inerrant.” This is to confuse the inerrant scripture with our fallible understandings of it. Our interpretations of scripture are human understandings and are fallible for two reasons: (1) we are finite — we never know all there is to know and (2) the noetic effects of sin — sin can distort even our reasoning processes as we interpret scripture.

Very true -- and quite compatible with the Calvinistic perspective on human depravity. :)

Paula Fether

Tanx Alison!

And Junkster, good thoughts. I’m distracted this weekend and will try to be more conversational later. :-)

Lin

What is with all the Fr.’s? Just curious.

I am seeing that a lot lately. Are you a priest in RCC or Episcopalian?. (How DO you spell that???)

Lin

Sorry, I now see you are Anglican. I had a kid climbing on my lap at the time. :o)

I agree with Paula, the passage is not cultural for that time only. Understood properly,with respect to properly translationg authenteo and agreeing I do not have to have babies to be saved, it is for today, too.

But unfortuantly, many really believe women must have children to be either saved or sanctified. Where is the corresponding ’work’ for men?

Fr. Robert

The term "Federal Headship" has to do with theology, and Reformed theology in general. Though I am certain many other Christian groups use the term and concept. It has to do with all of fallen humanity..."In Adam" (Rom. 5:12-21). Thus in Christ, the Last Adam, has redeemed sinful human beings. Fr. Robert (Anglican)

Fr. Robert

Also, the so-called correspondence for men, would be their responsibility and human & spiritual headship..."But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ..etc." (1 Cor.11:3) See also, Eph.5:21-32. Fr. R.

Junkster

Lin asked, "Where is the corresponding ‘work’ for men?"

Well, it is in begetting those babies, of course. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it! :)

Fr. Robert

The birth of every child is a holy act and blessing from God, and most especially for the Christian! We should all look to the holy action of the birth of Christ, thru the womb of Mary, the Mother of our Lord! It is the blessed Incarnation Itself...1 Tim.3:16! Fr. R.

Paula Fether

Fr. Robert,

So you take "federal head" as a metaphor then, such that "in Adam" simply means "mortal human"? I think we would all agree to that. As the first human, Adam was the source of all the rest, but scripture never assigns authority on that basis.

Yet this causes a problem with your statement about an alleged correspondence for men to women’s alleged salvation or sanctification by childbearing. How does a position one has by virtue of being male relate to a work not all women can perform? Is Christianity really reduced to the flesh in this manner? Do men who fail to "exercise headship" (whatever that means per the understanding of Adam simply being first) fail to be saved or sanctified, and do women likewise fail if they do not bear children?

It seems to me that this "federal headship" causes more difficulties than it purports to solve. ;-)

Fr. Robert

Paula Fether

Note I said, the "so-called" correspondence. Theology, ’the study of God’ is not a mere human science, though certainly it has human analogy. So yes, we are talking spiritual and theological truth. But for the Judeo-Christian, dogmatic theology is the charm and blessing of God’s truth given in absolute and definite form, thru the Apostles Doctrine! But if you note, I have not said, nor really have given a full exegetical statement to 1 Tim.2:13-15. For that one must go back to Gen. chap. 1-3, and there work forward to what our Lord said, as also the Apostles. That both men and women have been given definite and different roles is most biblical. - Fr. R.

Paula Fether

Then to clarify, you were only citing a position held by others, right? If so, then of course my response would apply to them and not necessarily to you. And of course I agree that one must consult Gen. 1-3 in order to see what Paul was referring to. But what "roles" do you see there in Genesis, especially pre-sin?

Fr. Robert

Paula, Well first, we must see that God made Adam and Eve in His likeness and image. And this to me, is as Augustine, something triune. Here there is a ascending series of triads that culminates in the unity of thought, speech, and will, and in the interpenetration of knowing and loving. And here we find that Triune love the bond or person of that love the Holy Spirit, between the Father and the Son. So both man and woman are triune, in the image and likeness of God! Fr. R.

Paula Fether

Okay, but what about "roles"? Just as I see in scripture an overlapping of activities within the Trinity, meaning no concrete "roles" assigned only to one "person", so also I see no concrete roles assigned to all males and all females, beyond the purely biological. The only thing Genesis tells us that Adam was charged with and Eve was not, was to "keep" or guard the garden. And as I’ve pointed out before, the guard is not the mayor of the city.

TL

Fr. Robert 
September 8th, 2009 at 10:53 pm The term “Federal Headship” has to do with theology, and Reformed theology in general. Though I am certain many other Christian groups use the term and concept. It has to do with all of fallen humanity…”In Adam” (Rom. 5:12-21). Thus in Christ, the Last Adam, has redeemed sinful human beings.
Fr. Robert (Anglican)

12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

I consider federal headship an erroneous term. The fact that Adam being the one who knowingly rebelliously choose to sin rather than being deceived into sinning does not make him the source of sin or any kind of authority over humanity. He’s dead, remember. Adam is the one through which sin entered into all of humanity by his rebellious choice, nothing more. That’s bad enough. In the lineage of Adam we all die. And yes, the contrast is that in Christ, through Him, we are born anew and redeemed/saved from our inheritance in Adam and given a new inheritance, eternal life and freedom from the bondages of sin. We can now have power over sin rather than being overtaken by it.

Fr. Robert

Paula, There are "roles" in the Trinity of God. The Father is the regal, or the cause and origin of the Godhead, from whom the Son is begotten eternally and also from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally. (St John 15:26) This subject of our Triune God is so profound, and needs careful study and regard. On a blog post it is very hard to cover, etc. Fr. R.

Paula Fether

Please see my booklet on the Trinity for a listing of scriptures which show that these alleged roles are not exclusive but overlapping. I wrote it there because, as you said, this topic cannot be covered adequately in a blog post. But the point is this: what do any alleged roles within the Trinity have to do with scriptural statements about relationships in the church or the home? The post topic is whether roles or "federal headship" have any basis in scripture for such relationships, and to this point I’ve seen no basis for such claims.

Lin

"Well first, we must see that God made Adam and Eve in His likeness and image. And this to me, is as Augustine, something triune. Here there is a ascending series of triads that culminates in the unity of thought, speech, and will, and in the interpenetration of knowing and loving. And here we find that Triune love the bond or person of that love the Holy Spirit, between the Father and the Son. So both man and woman are triune, in the image and likeness of God!"

hmmmmmmmmm. So, in your world, it maps like this:

God-male Jesus-female Holy Spirit-?

Where is the triad?

But the comps usually map it this way:

Husband-Jesus Wife- The church

Junkster,

No wonder the comp guys interpret that passage that way. :o)

TL

"There are “roles” in the Trinity of God. The Father is the regal, or the cause and origin of the Godhead, from whom the Son is begotten eternally and also from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally."

I’m not sure where you see any roles in that description. The Son being begotten eternally is not a role. And actually the HS proceeds from the Father and the Son, which is also not a role.

There is quite a bit of confusion is the philosophy of roles between men and women or between married men and women. A role is not something which is part of one’s inherent make-up. A role has to do with a part one plays in different relationships, which is most often determined culturally, and which changes according to the relationships.

It only adds to the confusion to try to equate the temporal relationships of husband and wife, with the eternal equal in value, power and will relationships of the Trinity.

Fr. Robert

First ladies, I have a busy job with people and ministry (ax-bishop) And I have been very busy also with my dear sick wife. So blogging is something I do on the fly often. So bear with me please.

I quoted the Augustinian model of the Trinity, first because of what it gives in the realm of the eguality between man & women, made in the image of God. (Gen. 1:26-27) I can see that you are unfamiliar with Ausgustine here? He brings about what is called in theology, as the psychological idea of the Trinity. And in the Western Church there is the classical formula of "three persons in one substance" (una substantia et tres personae). In Eastern Christianity, or Orthodoxy it has been, "three Hypostases in one being" (tre hypostaseis, mia ousia). Both are correct however. So I was but beginning my argument. Before we can get into the different "roles" of man and woman. We must begin with their equality in the "image" of God.

This is a long and most theological subject and cannot be given quickly or simply. Fr. R.

Fr. Robert

PS..Also, though I am an Anglican, I see the "Filioque" as wrong in the West. The Holy Spirit "proceeds" alone from the Father (John 15:26), but it is thru the Son also since the glorification and redemption, (John 7:39). Fr. R.

Fr. Robert

Also I was using "role" in the figurative sense within the Trinity of God. The likeness of our triune model is as I wrote, in asending series of triads which culminates in the unity of thought, speech, and will. And in the interpenetration of knowing qnd loving. You would have to read Augustine to get this full theological reality. (See his De Trinitate, it is in English also). Fr. R.

Paula Fether

Robert,

Our prayers go out to your wife.

That said, please consider that lots of people are busy or distracted or burdened, such that they post when they can. There is no need to explain (or to use it as an excuse, as some people seem to do).

Personally, when it comes to examining any scriptural topic, I don’t give a rip what Augustine said. Nearness in time to the first century is no guarantee of being more faithful to the teachings of the Apostles, nor of having more insight than the Spirit is capable of giving to anyone else. While we can perhaps gain understanding by considering the views of such people, we should remember their frailty as humans.

But please remember that this post is only partly about the Trinity; the main point is the teaching that male is over female in Christ, in spite of explicit statements such as Gal. 3:28 and the many "one anothers". If you wish to present a long discussion of various theories concerning the Trinity, please begin a post in your blog and let us know.

Fr. Robert

Paula, First, it was no excuse at all, just a statement of fact. Also I do not sit in some ’blog high tower’! Blogging is not "my" first place ministry at all. In fact I am only blogging now because I have some time, etc.

Finally, we have very different presuppositions, yours appear to be rather ’fundamentalist’. Mine are not, so I think we are done! But best regards. Fr. Robert

Paula Fether

Robert, I didn’t direct the "excuse" statement at you, it was just a remark.

As for blogging, I’m not sure why you call it a "high tower", but if you want to expound on a topic at length, it doesn’t make sense to take over an existing thread on someone else’s blog. I’m only asking you to remember the topic. You might want to familiarize yourself with "netiquette".

Call me a fundy or whatever, but it has no bearing on whether the Bible can support the concept of "roles" in the Trinity, much less that such alleged roles could be mapped to human relationships.

TL

"I quoted the Augustinian model of the Trinity, first because of what it gives in the realm of the eguality between man & women, made in the image of God. (Gen. 1:26-27) I can see that you are unfamiliar with Ausgustine here? He brings about what is called in theology, as the psychological idea of the Trinity. And in the Western Church there is the classical formula of “three persons in one substance” (una substantia et tres personae). In Eastern Christianity, or Orthodoxy it has been, “three Hypostases in one being” (tre hypostaseis, mia ousia). Both are correct however."

Most here are very familiar with everything you said, including Augustine’s words, man and woman made in God’s image, three persons in one substance, hypostases, etc. We just differ in the concept of roles. I do not consider God’s essential nature to be about ’roles’ or that they could be similar or equal to a human concept of social roles.

TL

BTW Robert, if you have a blog I’d be interested in further discussion.

Fr. Robert

TL, I do have a blog (irishanglican) but as I told Paula, I don’t have much time for it, as I am in full time ministry (ax bishop). But once in awhile I put out a few things. But I do like Polycarp’s (Joel) blog very much and follow it often. And as I told Paula, the term "roles" was used figuratively. Again, one must read Augustine here, and I mean really "read" him on the Trinity! Few do, of this I am convinced. Fr. R.

TL

do you have a link for your Blog?

Fr. Robert

It is irishanglican.wordpress.com

As I said, I have not blogged much this past year. Very busy with ministry and the people, etc. Fr. R.

Lydia

’Personally, when it comes to examining any scriptural topic, I don’t give a rip what Augustine said.’

I have to agree with this and am amazed at how many times I interact with masculinists, especially of the Reformed view, who tell me to read Augustine, Calvin, etc. As if only these men can interpret the true meaning of scripture to us.

But then it is amazing that Bruce Ware and Kevin Giles do not agree on what Augustine said!

All this does is take us further away from our Lord and His Word. But it sounds scholarly to quote them, I guess.

Paula Fether

And as noted in my series here on the Hunt/White debate, Augustine was the "father" of both Roman Catholic and Reformed theology!

I wholeheartedly support all the education people can get, but I have serious misgivings about the amount of indoctrination the typical university imposes on students. Ideas not supported or endorsed by the institution are mocked or suppressed, and anyone who doesn’t believe that can try espousing young-earth creationism even in a philosophy class. It seems that people often mistake complexity for wisdom and a large collection of theories for understanding.

Paula Fether

Robert has sent me additional emails, but I’m guessing he meant to post instead of reply. I’d hate to think all that divine utterance were meant only for me. ;-)

Fr. Robert

Paula, The young-earth position is very hard to sustain in science! My father (RIP) was a physicist, and R. Catholic. I expect to see him in heaven also. But the point is that natural science seems to point to the old-earth position. But ya see this should be an open question, rather than dogma. Fr. R.

Paula Fether

I of course completely disagree, and since I’m sure my lowly opinion doesn’t count, I would direct you to many PhDs in the various sciences whose writings you would do well to study. The one I think you’d like best is Creation Ministries International (ignoring their male supremacist bias), and I also recommend Evo for Intellectuals, Evolution Refuter, and the odds of evolution.

And no, the point has nothing to do with whether evo is a salvific issue, but whether the universities are doing more indoctrination than education, as your comment illustrates. Try and keep up.

Fr. Robert

Paula,

Again, as our friend Lydia said about Augustine, she could "gave a rip"... I also could care less about the issue of young verses old earth creation. AS you state, I am much more concerned about salvific issues! True, if one is an evo person, to the loss of the full intent of the saving Word of God, then the issue becomes different. But you Americans have too much time on your hands to argue, young and old earth issues in the main. And yes, we I will try and keep up..lol. My older irish self. But, you both have shown, that you really cannot keep up with me theologically. And this is not a male issue, though you fem’s make it so. Very sad! Fr. R.

Paula Fether

Robert, you need to read this verse a hundred times:

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. --Galatians 6:14

You Europeans are elitist enough already, but you must excel at that too I suppose. I will post your other emails and let the world see your arrogance. And trust me, this is not a "man hate" thing, though you masculinists love to make it so.

Paula Fether

Some nuggets of wisdom (and impeccable punctuation) from His Royal Highness:

It is very sad to see you in constant tension with us men, and pastor-teachers. I am not an American either, but an Irishman in England. It is also sad to see how narrow your American theolog’s can be. Indeed the Church Catholic has many fine teachers, especially that are not American’s, Scot, Irish, English, Dutch Reformed, etc. There are even some good Germans! Oh yes, look around...please!
However, as someone 60 next month, my education was not like this at all. I was blessed to sit under some of the greats in the UK. I will not drop names here, but I was certainly very fortunate! I was educated in both places R. Catholicism and conservative Anglicanism. I was born in Dublin Ireland. And I thank God I am not an American! lol Some of your best theologians came from the UK and the Europe.
There you have it from an Authority, we’re all a bunch of ignorant country bumpkins who never leave our little hometowns.

Fr. Robert

Paula, I love this verse! For the real Christian, the cross is a spirituality of redemptive suffering! It is well beyond positional truth also! Fr. R.

Fr. Robert

Paula, Wow, now it is not just poor ad hoc, but also personal ad hominem? Sad! Shame on you dear! Oh sorry, that was a bit male chauvinist, I suppose? Fr. R.

Paula Fether

Oh I get it now, it’s only "personal ad hominem" when somebody feeds you what you’ve been dishing out. Gotcha.

Keep going man, you’re doing a great service for Americans, egalitarians, and PLCs! (peons lacking credentials)

Fr. Robert

I think I will leave this "merry-go-round" thank you! When you can dialogue without the satire, "come see an old man" (to quote Jon Wayne from True Grit).

Semper Fi! Fr. Robert

TL

" But, you both have shown, that you really cannot keep up with me theologically. And this is not a male issue, though you fem’s make it so. Very sad!"

There is a difference between one who is intent in knowing God and one who is intent on knowing much. The one seeks to know, love and honor God and all of God’s people. The other seeks to appear to know God and seeks to appear elevated and honored more than the most of God’s people. One does not have to appear theologically superior in order to do the first.

Fr. Robert

Paula, I might have made few poor ad hoc’s myself, but I did not make a personal ad hom, once! And I can say something about Americans, as I fought side by side with them in Gulf War 1! Yes, Semper Fi Americam Marines! Fr. R.

Lydia

Fr. Robert,

From the brilliant Augustine:

The woman together with the man is the image of God, so that the whole substance is one image. But when she is assigned as a helpmate, which pertains to her alone, she is not the image of God: however, in what pertains to man alone, is the image of God just as fully and completely as he is joined with the woman into one (De Trinitate, 12, 7, 10)

Did he really say this,