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

Posts tagged ‘CBMW’

Why Biblical Womanhood theology is even worse news for single women than for married women

Biblical™ Womanhood theology, if consistently applied, is worse news for widowed women, divorced women, not-married(-yet) women, and girls of all ages, than it is for married women.

The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood does not officially say women should live with male relatives, not go to college, not work outside the home, and not be independent. But they are – I will motivate my accusation just now – on a road that logically lead towards the views, by Biblical™ Patriarchy supporters, that I will quote here*:

And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?” – Brian Abshire, quoted from now-deleted material at the Vision Forum ministries website.

Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner believe parents should not raise daughters who are going to compete with men in the marketplace,” but should train their daughters to be “a woman who will be a helpmeet to a man so he can compete in the marketplace.” They speak out against female independence.* (more…)

Androgyny

Biblical manhood and womanhood tells us how bad androgyny is, how terrible it is when females pick up attributes that makes them less distinguishable from the males around them. (more…)

Smoke and mirrors: A review of the Danvers statement (Part 5)

8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.

Since the question is BMaW and not a restriction or two on one gender, we should see if God’s Biblical criteria for ministry include that everybody of a certain gender should be involved in any of these tasks, with none of the other gender. With that in mind, we study these texts now:

1 Tim 2:11-15: Part 3 linked to other explanations of this contradictory passage, and  part 2 discussed the possible gender roles in :12-14. (To recap, the only thing in that text that may be just for one gender is teaching men – or perhaps teaching in general. But not all men are called to teach, so this is not a gender role meant for all men.)

As such, we will look for possible gender roles in :11 and :15.

:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

This woman – singular, the Greek manuscripts from which we translate our Bibles also has it as singular – should learn in silence and subjection. An individual that should do something does not make a gender role. And if it was a gender role, what is then the role of men? To see to it that they do not learn? To learn with noise and argumentation?

God certainly calls everyone to learn of him – male and female. We all should subject ourselves to truth. We all should reject error, and none of us should be so submissive to leaders that we accept false doctrines from them. 1Thes 5:20-22 says we (male and female) should listen respectfully to religious teaching, test if it is good, accept it if it is, and reject it if it seems not to be.

1Ti 2:15  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Is being “saved in childbearing” a gender role? By one common understanding among scholars, it means she shall be saved in the childbirth (of Jesus). Being saved in Christ is not a gender role.

If it means that bearing children will have a significant meaning to women, then it is a gender role we do not need CBMW for. Women were having children long before CBMW penned the Danvers Statement. Men have never usurped the childbearing role. They cannot. While bearing them is a biological gender role,  both mothers and fathers are called to love and raise their children. If CBMW sees a non-biological gender role in here, they did not explain what it is. And it says nothing of the gender role of those women who have no children, of which I am one.

The second part of the sentence – faith and charity and sobriety – is obviously not a gender role.

1Tim 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9 explain the requirements for elders and deacons. First things first: even if those are gender specific, it will only be a gender role – meant for the whole male gender – if God called all Christian men to be elders and deacons. If not, it is not a role for the whole male gender.

Once again, it has no corresponding, complementary female gender role. Submitting to the elders is not a gender role – Male and female church members should submit to elders.

With that in mind, we can study the text and see what evidence exists that these tasks are restricted to men. The gender-specific evidence in these texts comes down to this:

>     “The husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2; 3:12; Tit 1:6) is a saying that meant, in the Greek speech of the time, a faithful man or woman. Even some complementarians, like Douglas Moo and Thomas Schreiner, admit that this text does not clearly exclude women.

>     Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers…”(1Ti 3:11) has, in my KJV, a few words in gray to show they were inserted because translators thought they made sense of the text, not because the Greek say that. More literal translations say: “Likewise women should be …” Why suddenly speak of women in the middle of talking of deacon requirements? Probably because female deacons should, like mentioned before of deacons, be grave and not slanderers.

>     “he”, “a man“, etc. In several spots where Paul wrote gender-neutral Greek, our translations inserted “he” to make a coherent English sentence. For example:

“If a man desires the office of bishop, he desires a good work”

… means:

“If anyone desires overseership**, that person desires a good work”.

None of these “he”s and in some translations “a man”s actually  denote maleness, if you read Paul in the language he wrote in.

9. With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world (1 Cor 12:7-21).

True, but this is no statement about BMaW. In the same vein, it could be said that with the labourers so few and the need so big, limiting the potential workers in what they may do is detrimental to church health.

And this could contradict other things they said. If, for example, a woman with grown children want to be involved in a fulfilling ministry, but her husband orders her to stay at home 24/7, should she submit to his headship (Danvers statement, points 3-6), or should she get involved in a fulfilling ministry? (Don’t answer here that home-keeping for the man is a fullfilling ministry. I am responding to a passage that does not include “with the stresses and miseries of unmade beds and non-home-cooked meals” in the subjects that need to be adressed in fulfilling ministry.)

If men have the role of leadership, and a spiritually immature man who came to Christ recently nevertheless wants to be involved in a fulfilling ministry, should we make an immature man the leader of some ministry (the Bible speaks against it), or should he take a church task which is not a Biblical manhood gender role?

10. We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large.

They are convinced that denying/ neglecting BMaW will have dire consequences. And some people are convinced that they have been abducted by aliens. I don’t care one whit what CBMW are convinced of – unless they also convince me.

What did the Danvers statement give evidence for?

>    It gives no evidence for all the dire consequences (unraveling marriages, uncertainty and confusion, ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood and vocational homemaking, illicit or perverse sexual relationships, pornography, abuse in the family, threats to Biblical authority, etc.) which, according to their rationale, will follow if people do not live BMaW.

>   As far as roles at church go, these male roles was defended:

1) Teaching,

2) being an elder and perhaps a deacon, depending on how they interpret 1 Tim 3.

These 2 tasks are not for all men: All men are not spiritually mature enough to teach or oversee. Scripture even warn that all should not try to teach, because teachers will be judged more strictly.(James 3:1) In a congregation of 200+ people, all 100+ men cannot teach.

There was one bit of evidence (1 Timothy 2:11-15) given for women not teaching in church, but none for a gender role that women, but not men, actually do have at church.  (The Bible passages quoted, not the Danvers statement itself, may add a female role of either wearing something on your head to church, or deciding for yourself if you want to do so; and a male role of not covering your literal head.)

>    When it comes to roles in the home, one role is given for married women: They have to submit to their husbands. That does not cover how they should treat any other person, beside the husband. They also defended a husband’s headship of his wife.  (Yes, some people understand the Bible in ways that disagree with said evidence. But the dissenting views are not the topic right now.) Nothing showed the man having a kind of authority over his children that the wife does not, or over any other kind of family member. Nothing showed Biblical home gender roles for singles living alone, young adults living with parents, boarders living in someone else’s home, individuals living in communes or boarding houses, etc.

> In the broader community, no gender roles were defended. It may have been asserted that leading is a general role for all males, but it was not proven from any Bible texts.

These applications are so limited that half of all adults really have no gender role under it. No teenage or child believer (except for a few who married in their late teens) have a Biblical gender role.

Conclusion:

The Danvers statement uses 10 passages in an attempt to prove gender roles.* Of these 10 passages, only 2 (1 Tim 3 and Titus 1:5-9) was aways used in a way that can arguably be justified from the texts. The other 8 were used, at least once, to say something that is simply not in there. That is notoriously bad eisegesis!

But even if all the scripture actually supported the confessions they made, there is still not evidence that gender roles are meant for all. The Danvers statement defended Biblical wife-hood and husband-hood in a way I understand, even if I do not agree. But I saw no scriptural defense of Biblical womanhood and manhood.

—————————————-

Note

* The 10 passages are: Parts of Gen 2:16-24 -5 times; Parts of Gen 3:1-16  – twice; Parts of 1 Cor 11:2-16 -3 times; Eph 5 – twice; Col 3:18-19 – twice; Parts of 1 Tim 2:11-15 -4 times; and 1 Tim 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9; Tit 2:3-5 and 1 Pet 3:1-7 once each.)

At least 2 of those 10 are also among the most seemingly contradictory passages in the New Testament – 1 Cor 11 and 1 Tim 2. Proof texting from these is not wise.

The Danvers Statement also use 6 other passages besides these(Gen 1:26-27; Dan 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Cor 12:7-21; Gal 3:28; 1 Pet 3:1-2), but these six were used to show points like equality, avoiding sin, and having a fulfilling ministry.

** See the first comment for why this change was made.

Smoke and mirrors: A review of the Danvers statement (Part 4)

6. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.

It does, but the Danvers statement did not biblically back up their assertions on what distortions was caused by the curse, except for one part: The curse caused male domination. (See the discussion under point 4, in part 3.) I do not expect to see a solution in the Bible for “problems” not taught in the Bible, and as such, any solutions offered here for “removing the distortions introduced by the curse” has to be for problems mentioned in the Bible .

·     In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership (Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; Tit 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7).

Husbands should forsake harsh leadership. In fact, nothing teaches that they should lead at all. It say they are – not should be – the head of wives. (Eph 5:23; also see 1 Cor 11:3 which the Danvers statement did not handle up to this point.) As such, even the most hen-pecked man is “the head” in some way, but no  command is given to men to lead. And even if the two male headship verses and the Genesis prediction is turned to commands, no text would show men should rule families.

As for “wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority”, Eph 5 could be understood that way, if  “head” means authority. Otherwise, she is asked to submit without him having authority. Col 3:18-19; Tit 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7 do not mention his authority either. The only text in the whole New Testament which speak of the man’s authority is 1 Cor 7:4, which in some translations uses the word authority, and in Greek has the Greek word for authority. That text say that spouses, male and female, both have authority over each other’s bodies.

This wifely submission (and perhaps husbandly lead, if you think that is in the text), if you refrain from adding to scripture – is a marriage role or two. It is not gender roles. It say nothing of the still-singles, the divorced or the widowed, who make up a very great percentage of adults. It makes no distinction between children, the girls and boys who want to follow God.

Titus 2:3-5 tells older women to teach submission to younger women. It does not command wives to submit.  Having to teach something, and having to keep on doing it is not synonymous. Nor does it give husbands leadership.

1 Peter 3 also speak of wives submitting, but it does not call men leaders either. In fact, the reason for submitting to unbelieving men is so the men could perhaps be led – to God.(:1) And husbands should do “likewise (:7)”. Likewise to what? Likewise to what was said before to wives, we may presume.

Joyfull submission? None of the texts tell women to submit “willing(ly)” or “joyful(ly).” Joyful submission to husbands, which is certainly not commanded in the Bible, is even harder than submission. Submission goes like this:

Husband: I won’t spend money on the heating for the home where you and the eight children live full time this winter, nor on our youngest who suffers from failure to thrive. I want to spend money on my tractor collection instead.”

Wife: Yes, dear. I won’t protest your decision.

Joyful submission goes like this:

Wife: Yahoo! My husband is getting an extra tractor for his collection! Rather than crying about my children who are suffering, I will rejoice in my non-farming husband’s extra tractor!

This example is not fictitious. There really is an ex-very-submissive wife whose non-farming husband bought an extra tractor while her house had no heating and her baby failed to thrive. Joyful submission is not only unbiblical, but a crazy requirement.

·     In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 1 Tim 2:11-15).

Something is strange about the Danvers wording here: If men and women have equal share in the blessings of salvation, but some governing and teaching roles are restricted to men, are those roles not part of the blessings of salvation? Is having a teaching/ governing role in church not a blessing, or not for the saved?

If some governing and teaching gifts at church is a blessing for only males among the saved, then females do not share equally in the blessings of salvation.

Gal 3:28

Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Gal 3:28 say men and women have an equal share in “the blessings of salvation.” I believe we should not define these blessings too narrowly.

There is neither male nor female, and then the Bible gives a reason why this is so: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. The plain meaning is that in some sense there is no male or female, and “for ye are one” gives the reason why this is true. “One in Jesus” does not limit the prior part. It does not give us the only way in which this is true.

1 Cor 11:2-16 limits no teaching or governing roles to men. Read for yourself: The one task reserved for men is the role of not having anything on the head while praying. Two verses probably weakly defend the notion of men and women having an equal share in the blessings of salvation: verses 11 and 12. But the rest of 1 Cor 11:2-16 seemingly has no relevance to this point.

If you take 1 Timothy 2:11-15 on face value, it does say that a woman (singular, in the Greek and in at least one translations) should not teach or usurp authority over a man. Since Jesus said clearly that believers should not exercise authority over other believers (Mat 20:25, Mar 10:42, Luk 22:25), you do not have to read that as a gender role. Still, it is possible, if you ignore or explain away a myriad of other things in the Bible, to get to the conclusion that this verse limits some church roles of teaching and authority to men.

Note that this will not be a gender role either: The majority of men at church are not leaders or teachers. Is following the leaders a female gender role? No. Everyone in church – leaders and teachers and men and women – should be eager to learn and to follow good church leading, so that is no gender role either.

7. In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission-domestic, religious, or civil-ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin (Dan 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Pet 3:1-2).

True, but not a defence of BMaW (different gender roles). This is also more problematic than it sounds at first glance. To show one problem, here is a quick story:

Cindy came to God from an unbelieving background, shortly prior to marrying a church-going man. Their church, like the Danvers statement and the Council of Biblical manhood and womanhood, emphasizes female submission and never emphasize how each woman and man have the responsibility to read the Bible for themselves. Her husband say she should sleep with his friends too. She have heard at church that she should not commit sexual sin, without sexual sin being specified, but she believe her husband is her authority, and he commands this. She can easily conclude that the real sin is the one directly preached against – disobeying her husband.

If some kinds of authority and teaching only belong to men, then the authority from men to do [x] will obviously count more than the idea, unconfirmed by men, that [x] is sin.

On the other hand, there is also a way of reasoning which could use this idea – submit short of sin – to negate submission almost completely, unless you know your husband just spoken the will of God. But an egalitarian wife who knows that her husband just spoken the will of God will also submit, and  a Christian husband also has to submit when he knows his wife just spoken God’s will. This way of thinking probably makes complementarianism in marriage meaningless.

And submitting, without following into sin, could also leave women like this out in the cold:

Annie has an abusive husband who spends his money on alcohol rather than food for his family. Annie say she submits short of sin – if he abuse their children, she does not join in doing so. She would not take money from him on payday to ensure her children gets fed – he is the head of the family and his choices for the family is law. She does not protect her children from abuse by him, for the same reason.

Of course, the way of understanding that I link to would solve that. But how much room would that leave for complementarian submission?

[To be continued in part 5]

GRIME: The Ethiopian eunuch and the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Acts, Chapter 8

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, a writer for CBMW: “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, … (more…)

God-on-the-back-seat religion: Wayne Grudem imply God is inferior to us

It’s not just Sarah Faith Schlissel who wants to give God the back seat.

Consider these quotes:

>   Whenever someone helps someone else the person who is helping is occupying a subordinate or inferior position with regard to the person being helped.  – Wayne Grudem in Systematic Theology

>   Helping speaks to difference. The text says that God created her to be a “helper”–a role that involves aiding and supporting the leadership of her husband. God did not assign this role to the man. He assigned it only to the woman.  –Denny Burk, who also posts on the CBMW site, here.

As you probably know, and as Grudem and Burk certainly will know from their scholarship, the bible mostly uses the word helper (that same word used for Eve) for God. So we can superimpose this onto their explanations of helper, to see if they explain “helper” right:

>   Whenever God helps someone, God is occupying a subordinate or inferior position with regard to the person being helped.  – Wayne Grudem

>   Helping speaks to difference. The text says that God is our “helper” –a role that involves aiding and supporting our leadership. God did not assign this role to men. He assigned it only to Himself. – Denny Burk

Like Sarah Faith Schlissel, they practice God-on-the-back-seat religion. But there is  a major difference between Schlissel; and Burk & Grudem & Co. The poor girl was probably taught from a young age to think as she does, to not ask questions or study the bible for herself, but believe her father’s religion.  Grudem and Burk, on the other hand, are bible scholars. They will know that helper is mostly used for God. They either purposefully deceive their readers, or they honestly believes God is inferior to us/ aiding and supporting us as leaders over Him.

Either way, this statement, IMO, is a reason why Christians should not give CBMW views the time of day.  If the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood aligns themselves with scholars who purposefully deceive, or who put themselves above God, we cannot trust their teaching.

Tag Cloud