19.8.09

This blog and its issues

This blog has wrestled with many things: the women in ministry issues and the egalitarian / complementarian divide and that really worrying teaching ESS - the eternal subordination of the Son. This is used by some complementarians to justify a relationship of authority and submission between hubands and their wives! Ahhh! Yes, frightening! Anyway, as you know I have looked into ESS. It is there in my sample posts on the left.

Suzanne's Bookshelf has an excellent post on Bruce Ware who champions this teaching, alongside Wayne Grudem, whom you know has left me feeling riled on more than one occasion. She convincingly dismantles their false teaching in such a way so that I come to the issue of ESS now with the same sense of 'rest' which governs my feelings about what God intends for women. So that's a relief for everyone!

Read here.

35 comments:

David Ould said...

she writes:
I persist in viewing this as one of the most inhumane and ungodly teachings on the face of this earth, that the wife is to be sacrificed, willingly or not, at the will of the husband.
I have only two words.

STRAW MAN.

Come on, Rachel! I am so tired of reading this stuff. Can't you see that it utterly fails to engage with what is actually being argued? You're better than this. Surely?

Again, she seems to think that the Ware and Athanasius quotes are in conflict. But they deal with entirely different issues. Ware notes that Augustine saw a distinction of persons in the relationships and Athanasius says the same thing!
Note carefully what he is observing: that the Son comes from the Father and NOT the Father from the Son. That is, there is a distinct nature to that relationship - it is asymmetrical in relationship while AT THE SAME TIME not being distinguished in "power or substance".

Athansius is arguing FOR subordination. Had he been arguing against it his second clause would undermine his position for he goes out of his way to note the asymmetrical nature of the relationship, "the Son being from the Father, not the Father being from the Son."

David Ould said...

sorry Rachel.
Hadn't read closely enough. Augustine, not Athanasius.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Ah David - I do have a problem with this teaching in its practical outworkings. It is absolutely championed by CBMW who speak of it constantly, saying things like: 'There are few things more counter-cultural and gospel-displaying than a wife joyfully... [submitting].'

The idea that it is counter- cultural is just rubbish when we have been under patriarchy for so long - it is completely of our culture, a culture Jesus turned upside down.

Whilst walking this planet, Jesus submitted to his heavenly Father, but to be subordinated in terms of a 'hierarchy' in Heaven. Hierarchy is a human concept. Christianity is all about serving. It is about mutual submission and equality. Because of CBMW, our one Lord Jesus Christ is replaced with male lords - husbands - and even if this is not quite what they intend, it is happening to thousands of women, particularly across America who home educate their children, do nothing without their husband's permission and, quite frankly, live in chains. You and I might get it but many people do not and this teaching is seriously abused. There is something not quite right about how it is taught and I think people like Suzanne need to keep speaking up about it.

CBMW also teach a very faulty logic about headship, hierarchy within male and female relationships continuing in heaven because it is built on this dodgy premise: 'Because the new creation is, fundamentally, a return to the divine order that prevailed before the fall, it follows that male headship will remain in the new creation.'

CBMW claim 'It is neither necessary nor practical to show that male headship is a prelapsarian construct, for this has been thoroughly established' - so everything we read there is built on this foundation so confidently asserted.

You will agree with this, I do not. Thankfully it is not a salvation issue and we will know for sure when we meet him 'face to face' but until then I feel called to speak against the very painful outworkings of this teaching, for women have been abused because of it for thousands of years and about that few people would disagree.

Sincerely Rachel

David Ould said...

The idea that it is counter- cultural is just rubbish when we have been under patriarchy for so long - it is completely of our culture, a culture Jesus turned upside down.
And yet even that is to misread the statement. The point they are making is that JOYFUL submission is counter-cultural.
If Jesus overturned all gender roles then why pick 12 men as Apostles? The odds of doing that at random are 1/(2^12). The facts on the ground don't support your assertion.

I cannot speak to headship in heaven. Jesus said that we are no longer married. How the CBMW paper then makes it point is something I don't know.

CBMW claim 'It is neither necessary nor practical to show that male headship is a prelapsarian construct, for this has been thoroughly established' - so everything we read there is built on this foundation so confidently asserted.
Well, you know very well the texts that assert that male/female roles are asserted as being instituted prelapsarian. Right?

More importantly, the fact that your cited author has completely misread Augustine stands. Augustine's argument would be nonsense if he were asserting an egalitarian position. Rather, he is at pains to note 2 things:
1. That the Father and Son are equal in essence.
2. That, nevertheless, there is a distinction in role and an asymmetrical relationship between Father and Son.

Sadly, it is becoming increasingly the case that exegesis of all the various texts, whether Scripture or those commenting on Scripture, tends to decline when the position that is defended with a tenacity that the Scriptures themselves will not support. I think that is, perhaps, my greatest frustration in all this. The egalitarian position rides such roughshod over Scripture that it allows sloppy exegesis to be accepted.

Rachel Marszalek said...

'The egalitarian position rides such roughshod over Scripture that it allows sloppy exegesis to be accepted.'

Replace the word egalitarian with complementarian and this captures exactly how I feel.

What you say about Augustine's position is great - what is the biggest leap by some complementarians is that man is to God as woman is to Jesus - there is actually no scriptural backing for this when we are all the bride of Christ and the sooner that men are able to include themselves in the bride analogy and that submission for them should be primarily to our Lord, the better. It seems to me that until then some men, Grudem, Piper et al are obsessed with asserting only their authoritive role in some sort of God-ordained hierarchy amongst the creatures God created - very sad.

David Ould said...

'The egalitarian position rides such roughshod over Scripture that it allows sloppy exegesis to be accepted.'

Replace the word egalitarian with complementarian and this captures exactly how I feel.

And yet, with the greatest respect, it is not about how we feel. It's about whether the exegesis is sloppy or not. In this instance the reading of Augustine was abysmal.

what is the biggest leap by some complementarians is that man is to God as woman is to Jesus

I have NEVER seen that position expressed. Could you point me to an example?

It seems to me that until then some men, Grudem, Piper et al are obsessed with asserting only their authoritive role in some sort of God-ordained hierarchy amongst the creatures God created - very sad.
Really? I see men who keep telling me that my unique role is to lead my wife by dying for her and serving her. Can you provide a Piper quote where he suggests otherwise? For example, can you provide a clear quote where he asserts an authoritative role in the "patriarchal" sense that you imply?

Rachel Marszalek said...

David, I think that this says it all, don't you:

Quote from John Piper's latest teaching at Desiring God:

"If it’s not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church."

And if it's help from a complementarian church, then Heaven help her, please!

Unbelievable! And yes, I know some of the stuff he teaches is okay, but this just taints it all for me.

Yous respectfully,
Rachel

Rachel Marszalek said...

Re above
(Audio and video of this answer is found at John Piper’s site here http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/AskPastorJohn/ByTopic/49/4154_What_should_a_wifes_submission_to_her_husband_look_like_if_hes_an_abuser/)

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

David Ould said...

I'm struggling to know how to respond to this Rachel because it seems that you read everything from a complementarian through a negative lens.

I think what I want to ask you is this...

When Peter writes the following:

1 Peter 3:1 ¶ Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that b)even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-- 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

...
what do you think he means?
What, in particular, do you think such women have to "fear" (as he puts it) in v6?
How does this mirror the submission of Jesus outlined immediately prior?
Why do you think Sarah calling Abraham "Lord" is a good thing (since Peter obviously thinks it is).

I take it that Peter is no misogynist. He immediately calls upon husbands to love their wives in a quite particular way. It strikes me that Piper has said nothing that the Apostle is not saying here. Would you castigate Peter too?

Surely not. But then there is the problem. The Scriptures call all of us to submit in various ways. It does not condone abuse at any time but also challenges us as to how we respond to it. You appear to be saying that the Apostle Peter is wrong in his approach and I'm sure you don't actually want to be in that position.

Rachel Marszalek said...

David, I find your reasoning very truncated here. The word of God is beautiful and inerrant. The teachings of Grudem and Piper, as they appear at CBMW, are legalistic and extra-biblical. You asked me to point you in the direction of complementarian teaching where it troubles me and this I have done.

I have made no comment about the Peter.

I have a problem with hierarchical-complementarianism not the idea that men and women are complementary. I think that at times we are talking past each other.

Blessings
Rachel

Rachel Marszalek said...

"I have made no comment about the Peter"

Was supposed to read 'I have made no comment about the 1 Peter 3 quote but I will here'

Peter alludes here to husbands who are not believers, whereas the husbands whom John Piper is referring to, whose wives must tolerate the smacking and abuse, are believers.

But that aside, my response to 1 Peter 3 contains these reflections:

In freely honouring their husbands, Peter is teaching women that they are actually honouring Jesus. Sarah served and honoured her husband. But Peter understood that the relationship between Abraham and Sarah was mutually honouring, surely, for Abraham was guided by Sarah as much as she was by him. But that's another story.

I think the main thing that I find interesting about the verses here is that Peter shows that the wife's actions are not to be coerced since the term 'without being frightened by any fear' means 'without fearing human intimidation' (Analytical lexicon of the Greek NT). In other words, Christian women are to fear God and not to fear their husbands, but how could a wife who is being verbally abused or smacked about not fear her husband or be intimidated by him?

Submission is never to be forced upon a woman but it so often is and until men in hierarchical-complementarian churches dwell more on Jesus' teachings that we are to serve and not call ourselves leaders, that women are equal in the eyes of God and we are called to 'mutual' submission (Eph 21), the abuse will continue.

David Ould said...

Rachel, I don't think we're talking past each other. I think, rather, that some very important issues are at stake.

Your definition of "complementary" is confusing. Complementarity in the Bible is consistently lived out in different roles while maintaining equal dignity and status. You yourself recognise that this is the issue since you make such a big deal of the claim of eternal subordination of the Son. Something which, of course, is asserted clearly in the Scriptures.

As for Peter, I'm afraid this is just another example of how your position is reading things into the text that just aren't there.

In freely honouring their husbands, Peter is teaching women that they are actually honouring Jesus. Sarah served and honoured her husband. But Peter understood that the relationship between Abraham and Sarah was mutually honouring, surely, for Abraham was guided by Sarah as much as she was by him. But that's another story.
There are a number of problems with this, aren't there?
first, while there is no question that marriages are to be mutually honouring, the issue is how the Scriptures call the respective parties to honour one another.

second, Abraham was most certainly not guided by Sarah, at least not in a positive way. In chapter 16 Sarah herself guides Abraham straight into adultery. In chapter 18, which Peter is referring to since it's the only place where Sarah ever calls Abraham "lord" (18:12), Sarah is again hardly a positive guide for Abraham - she laughs at the promises that God made. She, at that point, models unbelief. It can't be seen as a positive laughter since she tries to pretend she didn't laugh.

So, in terms of the Abraham/Sarah narrative, one can hardly point to it as honouring behaviour, on the part of either party.

David Ould said...

I think the main thing that I find interesting about the verses here is that Peter shows that the wife's actions are not to be coerced since the term 'without being frightened by any fear' means 'without fearing human intimidation' (Analytical lexicon of the Greek NT). In other words, Christian women are to fear God and not to fear their husbands, but how could a wife who is being verbally abused or smacked about not fear her husband or be intimidated by him?
But that's the whole point! Peter calls upon them not to fear despite the fact that there may be much to fear, even physical abuse! It is only in such situations that we really see submission properly acted out, whether it is a man or a woman who is submitting (and, of course, Peter gives us many other examples in the letter of men facing similar positions). we are all to submit just as Jesus did, "in the same way" (3:1). Of course, the reference to Jesus is, in the first instance, to physical violence.

That is, of course, not to say that he is at any time condoning physical abuse. Quite the contrary for Peter goes on to tell men quite clearly that they are to love their wives. Which makes me wonder why you write the following:

Submission is never to be forced upon a woman but it so often is and until men in hierarchical-complementarian churches dwell more on Jesus' teachings that we are to serve and not call ourselves leaders, that women are equal in the eyes of God and we are called to 'mutual' submission (Eph 21), the abuse will continue.
But, frankly, I don't see any men teaching that such submission should be FORCED, least of all John Piper himself.

You do him a great disservice when you represent him in this way. When challenged you have not once provided an example where he says submission should be forced.

The great problem, it seems to me, is that we are not taking seriously the command in Scripture that ALL of us should submit. Nor do the egalitarian writers that you have quoted recently make any effort to properly understand what is being communicated.

So please stop reading this material through the filter of "they are condoning abuse". No such thing is happening. If you are going to make such a charge then you will have to make it of the Apostle Peter himself. Again, I don't think you want to do it so perhaps you need to reconsider what is being said her.

Submission is hard. It's hard for ALL of us. Christian men or women. But the call in Scripture is for all of us to submit JUST AS Christ did. It never means condoning abuse. The staggering thing is that Peter (and others) call us to this despite speaking out clearly against abuse. But then our Lord modelled it for us at Calvary. If He calls us to it then surely we need to reassess the situation?

And we also need to be more charitable to those we disagree with. Piper is by no means the monster you have made him out to be. Perhaps you should ask his wife. And then you could ask mine ;-)

David Ould said...

Rachel, I'm keen to blog about this issue but don't want to particularly link to your blog. I wouldn't want to invite unwelcome or even unpleasant comments from others that disagree with you.

I also want to state a quite clear disagreement with you and point out why I think the egalitarian position is so dangerous. Again, I wouldn't want to personalise it.

Are you happy for me to quote you anonymously?

Rosemary said...

Rachel, you say, "Submission is never to be forced upon a woman but it so often is and until men in heirarchical-complementarian churches dwell more on Jesus'teachings that we are to serve and not call ourselves leaders, that women are equal in the eyes of God and we are called to 'mutual'submission, the abuse will continue.

There is much 'light' in what you say Rachel, and I have no doubt about your concern for the plight of many women in our world who are in abusive situations like the one you mention in Afghanistan for instance. Unfortunately, the teaching of Jesus means nothing to those women, nor to the men who abuse them .. so there clearly is our task, our mission. They are lost and we need to reach them for Christ and set them 'free.' We should be demonstrating in our own lives, especially in our relationships, what it means to be set 'free' to serve one another in Christ. That is our mission as Christians, as in particular with regard to many of your posts, as Christian couples.

You are correct, submission cannot be forced, whether on a male or a female, it MUST, it NECESSARILY has to be .. voluntary. Otherwise it is NOT submission, but subjugation. Jesus Christ does not subjugate anyone to submit to Him .. we fly to Him voluntarily, and then struggle to submit to Him in total. We can never quite achieve it because of our selfish, sinful nature, we constantly have to try and forgive ourselves for our failures .. that He has already forgiven. But that is the nature of submission. It is the ultimate freedom. The freedom to choose to obey. Freedom FOR.

We tend to think that freedom is freedom FROM something, in your case I think you're trying to express the woman's need to be free FROM fear of her husbands strength, but that's not true freedom. The truth that sets you free, is the truth that is in Christ, and it's a freedom FOR, not a freedom FROM. It's positive, not negative.

You are very critical of the author [female] of a book you've just read whose views you disagree with. You're also very critical here of those you refer to as being in heirarchical-complementarian churches, which would include me. But I wonder if you can see that you're asking us to 'submit' to YOUR thinking here. You are certainly not giving them any respect that might be their due as your 'elders' in Christ. Please try and find the grace to see that they too have arrived at their conclusions after years of study and living in relationships. That before God they are trying to reach the lost by demonstrating with their lives the freedom they have in Christ in their relationships. Perhaps you might speak to one or two of the older married ladies in your own congregation to gain some insight into the difficulties that face two people who wish to love Jesus and each other, and demonstrate that to the lost world.

Rachel Marszalek said...

David
"But, frankly, I don't see any men teaching that such submission should be FORCED, least of all John Piper himself."

David, it's all much more subtle than this, of course, Jesus-following men and women are not going to condone abuse! Never, ever! But there is such a lot of extra-biblical stuff going on at CBMW and with the theologians behind this ministry: eternal subordination of women in marriages in heaven, lists of jobs which women should and should not do etc. John McArthur, another theologian I find problematic, even has things to say about the appropriate length of a woman's hair.J. I. Packer suggests that “a situation in which a female boss has a male secretary” puts strain on the humanity of both. Really? On their humanity?! Aren't they secure, new creations in Christ? For Piper there are certain roles which might 'stretch appropriate expressions of femininity
beyond the breaking point,'and these include the following:
Prime Minister and her counsellors and advisors.
Principal and the teachers in her school.
College teacher and her students.
Bus driver and her passengers.
Bookstore manager and her clerks and stock help.
Staff doctor and her interns.
Lawyer and her aides.
Judge and the court personnel.
Police officer and citizens in her precinct.
Legislator and her assistants.
T.V. newscaster and her editors.
Counsellor and her clients.

It's all the extra stuff that I find problematic.
Yours respectfully, Rachel.

Re the quoting me thing. Could you not just explain your own views rather than your interpretation of mine, but whatever you decide, ah, I rest. Thinking out loud now and probably sounds too defensive but within my own denomination, the Church of England, women's contributions to the church, in so much as they can teach mixed congregations and lead (servant-leadership) has been recognised after much prayer, debate, study and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Fee, NT Wright and many other orthodox evangelicals teach the complementary but egalitarian perspective.

Regarding Piper, I can love those with whom I disagree and I never paint him to be a monster. Also with respect, we can love our wives and husbands as I am sure you and Piper do, as do I and yet still teach interpretations of scripture (in the sense of teaching their practical applications) in ways that are at odds with the conclusions that others would come to from exactly the same passages in scripture. I am really glad to blog with you, to read up about Piper and Packer and Grudem and McArthur but I also learn a lot from the ministries of NT Wright, Fee, my college professors, Cheryl Schatz at Strive to Enter, CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality) and my own Bishop: Alistair Redfern who spoke very movingly about how the Spirit opened the eyes of so many men during those important synod debates of the early nineties. Once again, we will only know for certain once we meet him 'face to face' and I am sure he will smile and sigh all at the same time. You can continue with a clear conscience and strangely at the same time, so can I, even though I come to a different conclusion. I am absolutely certain that at times my exegesis is left wanting. I am certainly no theologian and pray constantly for a better brain and a more teachable spirit but about God's gifting us on the basis of his Spirit and not because of our gender, means I recognise women administering the eucharist and leading churches because at the end of the day, Jesus is Lord not some human being. Simple and basic reasoning I know and certainly nothing particularly egalitarian or new about that!
Blessings
Rachel

Rachel Marszalek said...

Rosemary
'But I wonder if you can see that you're asking us to 'submit' to YOUR thinking here.'

Never, as I said above we are strangely free to follow our consciences and the Anglican Church recognises the integrity of both our positions. I do not ever wish to 'lord it over' another and have them agree with me. We can love each other despite our differences on these secondary issues.

Rosemary, I agree with nearly everything you say and I feel equally called to have human beings understand their freedom in Christ. Just as much as there are men who lay down their lives for their wives and women who put their husbands needs before their own: mutuality, there are also husbands who abuse their wives and women who come under authoritative teaching and are more imprisoned by this than they are free in Christ. When women are taught that the gospel calls them to recognise only one as Lord, Priest and King and that he is called Jesus Christ, then they shall be truly free and this is just the ideal that I am living for.

Yours faithfully
Rachel

Out of interest and a cheeky aside, yes, I am smiling as I write this, Rosemary, when does one become 'mature' 'elder'? X ;-)

Rosemary said...

Smile .. well with regard to the cheeky comment, the answer is I don't know. I tend to regard ALL as my elders. Age doesn't seem to have anything to do with it.

More seriously, if we agree about the supremacy of Jesus Christ, why is it that we disagree with His choice NOT to call women to be Apostles?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

David,

Augustine writes in Latin and says,

"For he was not sent in virtue of some disparity of power or substance or anything in him that was not equal to the Father, but in virtue of the Son being from the Father, not the Father being from the Son."

But in Latin the word for power is potestas and this is always a translation of exousia in the Greek NT. So Augustine was clearly saying that there is no disparity of authority between the Father and Son.

However, Ware says that the Father has inherent authority and the Son has submission. He teaches that the Father has soveriegn authority OVER the Son. I don't see this in Augustine.

What Augustine does say is that the Father sends and the Son dies. Gut he also says that the Son sends as well. He is with the Father in the sending.

For Augustine, as for the NT writers, it was key that the priest and the sacrifice be the same person. How is woman both priest and sacrifice?

I don't see any comparison possible from Augustine as to how the Father and Son relationship resembles the husband and wife relationship.

There is something about this argument from Augustine that doesn't hang together for me. I think it is permissible for me to express this puzzlement.

David Ould said...

But in Latin the word for power is potestas and this is always a translation of exousia in the Greek NT. So Augustine was clearly saying that there is no disparity of authority between the Father and Son.

In D.T. iv.20 Augustine is clearly arguing that the Son being sent does not imply any lack of authority or power, granted. But that does not deal with Augustine's view of subordination. You have assumed that equal power/essence = a lack of subordination but, instead, Augustine along with the Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodox argues the exact opposite.

Again, Augustine is clear on the asymmetrical nature of the their relaitonship:

the Son is from the Father, not the Father from the Son; for the Son is the Word of the Father

Augustine's argument requires him to defend the equality of divinity of the Father and Son precisely because he has just spent the previous sections speaking again and again of the distinct and differing roles of Father and Son.

indeed, Augustine is at pains to reject the incredible notion that the Son would ever exchange roles with the Father. It is inconceivable to him:

32. ... yet it would be most absurd to say that He was sent either by the Son, whom He begot, or by the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from Him.

Even his repeated language of "emanation", though drawing more from neo-Platonic thought, pushes strongly in this direction. It would be crazy to suggest that Augustine would consider that the Son could emanate the Father. The consistent language is of differing roles of Father and Son.

In terms of positively asserting this same truth, Augustine is also clear:

:I.7 the Scripture says both the one and the other, both that the Son is equal to the Father, and that the Father is greater than the Son. ... the latter is on account of the form of a servant.
...
The Son of God is ... less in "fashion".


Chapter 11 of the same book goes over this in great detail. The divine Son is also the servant.

Ultimately Augustine's intent throughout is to defend the full divinity of the Son. But nobody on the complementarian side of the argument is denying the Son's divinity. Curiously, however, Augustine readily assumes and agrees with the servant nature of the Son with respect to the Father which is the very issue the egalitarians are so resistant to.

David Ould said...

[Augustine] also says that the Son sends as well. He is with the Father in the sending

Yes, in that he also chooses to go.
So, again, Augustine draws our attention to 2 seemingly contradictory assertions: that the Father sends the Son and that the Son is equal to the Father.

The mistake of the Arians and the egalitarians is to insist that a strong understanding of the former means we must conclude that the Son is somehow less than the Father.
Augustine explicitly corrects the Arians on this point. ISTM that he also corrects everyone else how makes the same error in logic.

Rachel Marszalek said...

David
IMHO Egalitarian belief in mutuality and equality in the Godhead is nothing like Arianism.

Suzanne said...

But Augustine says there is no difference in authority between father and son. Complementarians say that there is

Augustine explains that the father sent the son. Complementarians deny that the husband sends the wife.

In fact, I can find nothing analogous between the father/son relationship in Augustine and what the complementarians are saying about gender. Nothing at all.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Rosemary
Re why we disagree about Jesus and his calling men or/and women.

It's all down to hermeneutics, I guess.

X

Rachel Marszalek said...

'In fact, I can find nothing analogous between the father/son relationship in Augustine and what the complementarians are saying about gender. Nothing at all.'

Ditto

I don't get the whole God/man Jesus/woman analogy either.

And who gets to be the Spirit in the analogy? ;-)

David - egalitarians get the whole homousious thing, what we do not understand is how some churches create all those rules about practical outworkings - some kind of gender doctrine which emphasizes less the mutual submission of Eph 21 and more some kind of subordination of woman's will to the authority of man. I think essentially it all boils down to how we read the fall, to what we understand about hierarchies. Hierarchy will always seem more worldly than Christian submission.

sometimes semantics and language also fails us so that we concentrate on what dides rather than what unifies Christians. Women should be free and not fenced in by complementarian rule books like those written by Grudem, Piper and CBMW.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Some complementarians, ie Grudem and a few others, have reinterpreted Eph. 5:21 so that it now says,

Some Christians are to submit to other Christians.

David Ould said...

IMHO Egalitarian belief in mutuality and equality in the Godhead is nothing like Arianism.

Of course, but it suffers from the same error - of equating role and value.

David Ould said...

Some complementarians, ie Grudem and a few others, have reinterpreted Eph. 5:21 so that it now says,

Some Christians are to submit to other Christians.


Frrankly, if you are so intent to deliberately read them in that way then there is no point to any dialogue.

That has to be one of the most uncharitable, deliberately forced things I have read on this subject in a while, and there's been a few.

Sunzanne, you would do well to think a little kinder of those you are disagreeing with. You do them a great disservice by refusing to read them carefully. And you do your peers no good either by misrepresenting those you are disagreeing with.
When it's in an academic arena is begins to look less like being sloppy and more like simple dishonest or utter lack of regard and respect.

It may suit your purposes to so distort what they are saying, but it utterly undermines your argument.

David Ould said...

David - egalitarians get the whole homousious thing, what we do not understand is how some churches create all those rules about practical outworkings - some kind of gender doctrine which emphasizes less the mutual submission of Eph 21 and more some kind of subordination of woman's will to the authority of man. I think essentially it all boils down to how we read the fall, to what we understand about hierarchies. Hierarchy will always seem more worldly than Christian submission.

Frankly, I am staggered.
We have gone through 1Cor11 and you have not had a simple answer to the most basic of arguments I have made.

As for Eph 5, it has been pointed out to you on numerous occasions that Paul himself shows how there is a difference in the mutual submission of 5:21. He tells us that we must submit to one another and then IMMEDIATELY proceeds to shows us how that looks DIFFERENT for men and women.

As for 1Tim2, the convoluted arguments that are brought out to obscure that text are legion.

And the think I don't get in all of this is that the egalitarians on each and every occasion must bring out the more contrived, more complicated device in order to avoid the plain implications of the text.

and then, the audacity to claim that those who think those texts are rather simple and mean what they say are the ones actually making the impositions on the text...

sometimes semantics and language also fails us so that we concentrate on what dides rather than what unifies Christians. Women should be free and not fenced in by complementarian rule books like those written by Grudem, Piper and CBMW.

No one here is arguing for fencing women in. I have NEVER seen Grudem or Piper or any of the CBMW people argue that women should be FORCED to submit and I've asked more than once for even one simple example but, to date, none has been given.

So will you give up the canard?

Rachel Marszalek said...

No David, that's not it at all.

Many egalitarians are skeptical though about those who write advice books re what constitutes feminine and masculine behaviour and downright suspicious when these same writers claim that what they are saying is based on the precious and inerrant word of God.

We think that much of what constitutes male and female behaviour is due to socialisation. We understand that men and women are complementary, for even the shapes of our bodies testify to this.

What we disagree with is the legalist and pharisitical interpretations of the Word of God which restrict women and men in the home, the world and the Church.

Just imagine for a moment, David, if I advised men regarding the behaviours/roles/jobs which might 'stretch appropriate expressions of masculinity beyond the breaking point,' (Piper) emm let me think:

Okay, roles which 'stretch appropriate expressions of masculinity beyond the breaking point,';-)

Men should not engage in
Giving advice to a female member of parliament
Working for a female school or college principal
Drive a bus full of female passengers
Become nurses, hairdressers or fashion designers
Ride bicycles
Fix their children's hairstyles for school
Do any kind of housework
Feed babies their bottles at night

Sorry, I got a bit silly - bicycles, I don't know where that one came from. ;-)

Anyway, just trying to get us all to laugh at ourselves a wee bit.

There are probably truths from both perspectives. The trinity debate is an interesting one. I think that complementarians and Egalitarians understand the orthodox position. For the first group "authority" seems to be the buzz word and for the second group "perichoretic mutuality". Egalitarians do understand that there is role differentiation in the trinity but ontological equality.

How though is a list of rules which restrict what women can do in the Church and the home ever going to help them to understand their ontological equality, in practice, esp new Christians, seekers etc?

Egalitarian churches just don't get swamped down by all this role-negotiation, they just get on with complementing each other ie their giftings fit together like jigsaw pieces as one person's holes are filled by another's strengths, if you're with me (metaphor a bit awkward, have only ever used in church as a visual)and they just get on with bringing in God's Kingdom without all this concern over gender.

Trust me, it's such a better place to work (egal churches). We trust each other. We see passed the gender thing. I remember once seeing a comp. vicar whose wife always had to be in the same room whilst I was present - it was ridiculous. However, I have visited my egal. vicar once a month for the last two yrs (male) and such a thing never occurred to him to be necessary, or to me, we just got on with talking about God and planning stuff. Flips, let's all grow up a bit and trust each other and that God's grace is sufficient. What was so great about early Christianity (amongst many other things!) was that women were not segregated from the men anymore as they had once been in the Jewish temples, house churches contained men and women who all worked together to preach the gospel and share the good news so why are churches starting to split the genders again? I've been to a bible -study ( I left in the end) where men could not attend - crazy! I''m now in one with both genders - we can learn from one another!

David Ould said...

Trust me, it's such a better place to work (egal churches). We trust each other.

Frankly, the implication that, somehow, the same is not true in places with which you disagree is hardly worth you.

David Ould said...

I remember once seeing a comp. vicar whose wife always had to be in the same room whilst I was present - it was ridiculous.

That has next to nothing to do with gender roles and, rather, everything to do wtih safe ministry practice.

I never meet a woman on my own in private. Just don't do it. The reputation of my office is worth too much.

David Ould said...

segregated from the men

No-one is arguing for segregation. Seriously, the straw-manning is ridiculous.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Only speaking from own experiences and looking at practical outworkings of these ideas, which we should do as Christians. Our theorising has practical implications which affect real people once churches try to implement beliefs in practical ways. You are as aware of that as I am.

Hey, you know, I'm moving on and we should wrap this up. I'll submit to you (;-) in so much as your next post I'll publish and that one can close the debate. I reckon the thread is getting too long, do you?

I'm going to start reading my next book tomorrow.
Blessings
Rach

David Ould said...

sure thing Rachel. You're right. Far too long.

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