Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

The good news: Do I really believe it?

I’ve been hearing amazing things all day at the CBE “Truth be Told” conference. I have heard that women can be mighty, that we can preach to mixed-sex audiences, that unseen women matter, that women do not need to hide away, that women can … And in my heart, I said: “Amen, preach it, sister!”

I have been so overwhelmed that I stood up to give a standing ovation (Dr. Miranda Pillay). I’ve been so overwhelmed that I could not remember to clap my hands, my whole mind was still on the message I heard (Pastor Janice Kaufmann-Chafunya). When I heard of how humanitarian rights tie in with the basic Bible message I could not take notes fast enough. When I heard of how to spread the message to children (I teach children’s church) I missed even more potential notes: there were moments when my mind wandered because I started to think up ideas of how to implement this with children…

In short, I enthusiastically believe all of this! But… do I really? (more…)

Teaching egalitarianism to teens: Ideas

Someone in the Facebook group Biblical Christian Egalitarians asked this question:

Hi friends. In a few weeks, I’m going to be the guest leader at a youth group, and I’ve been asked to present a biblical defense for women in all forms of ministry. I can give that lecture or preach that sermon, but I am ardently against just “talking at” adolescents. With that in mind, I am looking for some varied, creative methods for this session… I’m pondering some kind of ice breaker that requires group/teamwork, but where half of them aren’t allowed to speak or contribute to their team to demonstrate how silencing half of the church is counter-productive to our mission. Any ideas are welcome, especially if you’ve done them before with your own groups!


This got me brainstorming a few ideas for active learning to introduce egalitarian topics to teens. Here are what my little brain came up with:


What happens when women have to be silent, when over half the church cannot give their knowledge to the rest? (An intro for an egalitarian lesson that include discussion of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:)

a) Hide something, with some students seeing and some not. The seeing students may not say a word nor move from their chairs to lead the others to where the hidden thing is. They should try to indirectly influence the team nonetheless.

Even better if it is in two teams, looking for the same object. You try to influence your own team’s people to find it first.

(Not giving the chance to whisper may mean a rule that the looking-for-it people should stay a meter or more from the knowers, by a line you draw in the room. But work out such logistics by the nature of your room and situation)

Then discuss how it is not good for some in the church to be silent, showing that even the “women keep silent” are in a passage that repeatedly says all should bring speaking gifts to the church, and it is good if all prophecy.

b) Another commenter to the question suggested charades, but the first person (a girl) to get a turn has to play the normal way, while the second (a boy) can just say the answer. Once again, the point is that if some cannot talk, their wisdom is hardly as likely to get passed on. It is a starting point for discussing the importance of using female gifts.


An intro for discussing the impracticality of gender roles:

Mark off different areas on a floor with curvy (not straight) lines. Play a form of soccer* or hockey* where, for the first point or two, everyone of a certain team has to stay in their “assigned role” area marked on the floor, but the other team not. That is very impractical. Then let them play another point or two the normal way.

Discuss: If God’s team limit people to certain boxes, regardless of where they actually will be able to use their talents, then we are not very effective in the fight against the darkness (the other team).

(*Since the point of such games is never about the difference between people who played a sport for years and those who never do, try to make it different from normal sport by different equipment: Hockey with pool noodles and a rolled-up ball of socks, or soccer with the inflated empty foil packet from boxed fruit juice/ boxed cheap wine is an example.)


An intro for a lesson on how the Bible could be misused.

Divide into the green team and the red team. (They don’t have to go anywhere for this one – they could just be the left and right half of your audience.) Tell each team that you will give them a clue to interpreting the sentences you will give them. They should not show their clue to the other team. To the Reds, give a piece of paper: Red team should rule the world. To the greens, pass a paper saying: Green team should rule the world. (They read this and pass it among their team, but not to the other team.)

Give the statement:

1) Reds should help Greens.

Ask them if it means:

a) Reds should do the dirty work, Greens should tell them what to do.

b) Reds should help Greens by leading them to the truth.

2) Greens, raise children with love but be strict too.

Ask them if it means:
a) Greens are the real authority figures over children – what they tell children counts more than what Reds say.

b) Greens should stay at home looking after children while Reds make decisions over other things.

3) Everyone should work along with one another. Reds, work along with Greens. Greens, be willing to give things up for Reds.

a) Reds should work along by obeying, Green should be nice while telling Reds what to do.

b) Reds should consider Greens, but they are in charge and could tell Greens what to give up.


Red team will consistently choose b), and Green team a). Discuss why: It happened because of the paper that gave them a preconceived notion of how to read the messages. There are similar messages in the Bible (Genesis 2:18,20 is similar to statement 1; Eph 6:4 is similar to statement 2); Eph 5:21-30 is similar to statement 3). In a world that believed – and still, in many ways, believe – the Green team notion (Greens/ men should rule) people have read the Bible and saw it as an excuse for male rule.


Other thoughts:

My experience is in teaching children, with some knowledge of what kind of curriculum Sunday School teachers for teens like. But teaching 13- or 15-year olds cannot be completely different from teaching 10- or 12-year olds. As such, take this from whom it comes:
Remember that teens have a short concentration span. When you have one large time block, two hours, for example, I suggest several “sessions” of certainly no longer than 40 minutes each – and that is already long. Break it up between sessions by at least inserting things like a lesson-related game in between/ A new chance to move, a new attention-getter/ intro into the topic. Plus let them participate by asking them questions and letting them look up things in the Bible, and letting them discuss in groups and report back…

Since we are on the topic of teaching teens egalitarianism, I will mention that CBE has teen curriculum, named “Called Out”. You may be interested.

male female paper strip


Is Doug Wilson afraid to take Nate Sparks head-on?

Nate Sparks recently published an open letter to The Gospel Coalition, listing the troublesome, often abuse-condoning, things said and done by many members of TGC. Among others, he discusses Doug Wilson, a preacher who officiated at the wedding of one of his students, a guy he knew to be a pedophile, to a young woman. (This pedophile has now been forbidden almost all contact with his own baby from said marriage, due to worries about the child’s safety.) Wilson also made troubling claims on slavery and on sexual violence.

Rachel Held Evans linked on Twitter to this letter and made a claim which goes somewhat further than what DW actually said:

Doug Wilson says unsubmissive women deserve to be raped. Why do @TGC & @JohnPiper continue to support him?

Wilson responded by showing that he did not say what Evans claimed: (more…)

Reader question: Are there apologetics scholars in egalitarianism?

This letter comes from a reader:

For a long time, I’ve been a reader of Christian Apologetics websites. Since more recently, I’ve been a (male) reader of Christian anti-Fundamentalist and anti-Neopatriarchy websites like Recovering Grace. I used to read some websites that promoted these ideas, but my knowledge of Apologetics made me just uneasy enough about those sites to never fully commit, and my discovery of the active Christian web community that opposed these ideas helped me fully realize what a cesspool the Neopatriarchal movement is. (more…)

Priests and Levites are not evidence of male church leaders

Have you ever heard the argument that priests and Levites were male*, therefore male church leadership was the plan of God? Here is one apologist expressing the idea:

“…a system of religious authority was instituted in the Mosaic law, a system in which authority was in the hands of the priests and Levites – and only men could serve.” To make this point more clear now, let me point out that the closest OT equivalent to church leaders were the priests and Levites, and they were all men. Only males of the tribe of Levi could serve, which meant that in the OT, religious authority was allowed only for qualified men, not women – the same as in the NT.

– John Tors, from the web site Truth in my Days.


His main premise is wrong: Priests and Levites were not (more…)

Women are not the only group whose gifts we under-appreciate

Aaaarghhh! I heard it again, and this myth I cannot bust with Bible verses:

“I certainly never examined Mr. Mercer, but these details, if true, may point to conditions like schizoid personality disorder, Asperberger’s(sic) syndrome or even schizophrenia, any of which can dramatically limit the ability to socialize and empathize with others, contribute to feelings of emptiness and isolation and spawn anything from intense depression to paranoid delusions. ” – Dr. Keith Ablow, psychiatrist, commenting on the Chris Mercer mass shooting story.

I have Asperger’s syndrome. Ablow, for all the other things he may be an expert on, does not even know how to spell Asperger’s syndrome, and he opines this motivates someone to kill? Aspergers is not a pathology or a mental illness. Aspies are no more likely to kill than anyone else. (more…)

Created in the image of God…

This Sunday is Women’s Day in South Africa. Today, this was among my blog search terms (the words people put into search engines, to which the search engine suggest my blog):


Quotable quotes: An extraordinary response from an “ordinary” woman preacher

In a recent thread in a Facebook group, a woman in a position of church leadership grieved that she was called “in open rebellion against God’s word” by being a woman in a church leadership position.
To which Deborah Downs answered (with a quote she previously wrote on her blog:

“When we come down to the basics of the polarities, two truths remain. If I am called to the priesthood as a complementarian then I am extraordinary. If I am called to the priesthood as an egalitarian then I am ordinary. But in neither instance can I be construed as disobedient unless God has never and will never call a woman into leadership. But He has, and He does, therefore, I am either extraordinary or ordinary, but disobedient I am not.”

Dawn Wilson, also a female pastor, had an answer too. Once again, it points back to God and his calling, not what others think:

Those throwing this at you … to quote Sheldon … think they are having a BAZINGA moment .. as if they got you and now you have nothing to reply …. they have said the final all ending word.

Frustrating … yes … but not enough to go up on the ledge

My Scripture response to those who throw this statement at me is this …

1 Thessalonians 2:4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing to men but to God , who examines our hearts.

I throw the weight back on God and God’s approval of me and His examining of my heart motives. My BAZINGA right back at them!

The church should really learn to understand abuse: Tell Christianity Today to learn it

eveTrigger warning: Sexual abuse of a teenager, and condoning of it


This is yet more evidence that the Christian church, at large, does not understand or care about abuse:

take downChristianity Today’s Leadership Journal published an article  by a convicted ex- youth pastor, who sexually abused a teenager when he was in a position of trust over her. The nature of this article is not “I am a criminal, who caused this girl a lot of pain, having a long-term effect on her views on trust, relationships, sex, self-esteem, God and spirituality. I also hurt my wife, and others who trusted me.” It is: “I stumbled into an affair. We both did wrong. Now things are bad for me” – with a lot of preaching in between.

Many writers are telling them why they should take down the post, but this far, they are taking down negative comments instead. Commenters on more than one source told me, since yesterday, that they have left comments on that entry – and their comments were taken down. One say comments went from 75 to 15 in a few minutes, at another stage more than 20 comments disappeared again… (more…)

A vision for the church, and for an egalitarian logo

Bible pictures about Pentecost all have the same oversight in common: Invariably the pictures show flames on male heads and men

Freebiblepictures is a great site for Bible teachers - but their pictures on Pentacost - males with flames, males speaking about God, male listeners asking about the message, males fellowshipping together - do not reflect the truth of God's spirit coming to gift all flesh, of a Gal. 3:28 kingdom where male and female does not matter.

Freebibleimages is a great site for Bible teachers – but their pictures on Pentecost – males with flames, males speaking about God, male listeners asking about the message, males fellowshipping together – do not reflect the truth of God’s spirit coming to gift all flesh, of a Gal. 3:28 kingdom where male and female does not matter.

preaching the gospel. But Pentecost is the story of God’s spirit falling on manservants and maidservants, of sons and daughters prophesying. (See Acts 2:16-18)

The pictures are so male, because it is the reality of how the church at large thinks. It is male because the mere thought that women and even children could have the same spirit empowering them in the same way is not the first thing the artist think of.

In my vision, the church will look very much like and very much unlike these pictures: (more…)

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