Sunday, December 30, 2007

What's your theological worldview?
created with
You scored as Emergent/Postmodern



Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


Roman Catholic


Reformed Evangelical


Neo orthodox






This is for Molly and Peter who also also scored emergent/postmodern.

Here is the definition of postmodernism from
    A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

    Postmodernism is "post" because it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a characterisitic of the so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the philospher Richard Tarnas states, postmodernism "cannot on its own principles ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews against which the postmodern mind has defined itself."

And here is the emerging church,

    The emerging church (also known as the emerging church movement) is a controversial 21st-century Protestant Christian movement whose participants seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched. To accomplish this, "emerging Christians" (also known as "emergents") deconstruct and reconstruct Christian beliefs, standards, and methods. This accommodation is found largely in this movement's embrace of postmodernism's postfoundational epistemology, and pluralistic approach to religion and spirituality. Proponents of this movement call it a "conversation" to emphasize its developing and decentralized nature as well as its emphasis on interfaith dialog rather than verbal evangelism. The predominantly young participants in this movement prefer narrative presentations drawn from their own experiences and biblical narratives over propositional, biblicist exposition. Emergents echo the postmodern rejection of absolutes and metanarratives. They emphasize the subjective over the objective since postmodern epistemology is ultimately destructive of certainty in objective propositions.

    Emerging church methodology includes frequent use of new technologies such as multimedia and the Internet. Emergent blogs are quite numerous. They have not neglected more traditional means of communicating their ideas, however. Many emergent books and articles have been written, and leaders in the movement often conduct seminars.

    Critics of the movement are found in academic and evangelical circles. Academics critique the movement for being without legitimate theological, historical and philosophical roots. Conservative, evangelical theologians and pastors believe the movement's embrace of a postmodernist philosophy leads emergents to unorthodox theology, relativism, antinomianism, universalism, and syncretism. These critics frequently equate emerging church theology with the liberal theology that has historically been at odds with Christian fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, and other selective-literalist interpretation of the Bible.

Update: Here is a quick interpretation of the results.

First, these results represent how I scored on this particular assessment tool. They do not represent my actual beliefs.

I have noticed that all the results that I have seen have above 50% for emergent/postmodern, so I assume that this label represents all of us in some basic way because of our culture and generation. I do not think that Christian belief can ever be extracted from the cultural matrix, and those who think of themselves as basic bible-believing Christians are as influenced by culture as anyone else although it manifests itself in a different way.

My opinion is that there is a bias that the majority will score emergent/postmodern and it is not terribly significant.

Next, we are most of us evangelical or we wouldn't have Bible blogs, I assume.

My results also demonstrate a bias for classic liberal which reflects a course I took this fall which encompassed this viewpoint. It was a first introduction for me and I appreciated reading many of the original documents for the first time. It doesn't necessarily mean that I will retain these views but they did interest me.

The Roman Catholic element is problematic since it reflects Roman, Anglican and Orthodox all rolled into one. Read that as Anglican in my case.

I scored higher in the modern liberal and lower in the reformed tradition. I have come from a very fundamentalist brethren setting and skipped the reformed tradition altogether in a cultural sense. So probably modern liberal reflects an absence of high scoring in the reformed and fundamentalist areas.

Finally, since I come from a very explicitly fundamentalist background, I think it is clear that I am rejecting this in many ways. However, I would like to add that even in my most fundamentalist days, there was absolutely no room for a 6 day creation. That kind of Christianity is foreign to me.

No doubt, overall, my results are also swayed by the fact that I am west coast Canadian, I do not live in a Bible belt area, and I am in personal transitional space.

Is this an accurate representation of my beliefs. Not really, but it does reflect a couple of areas reasonably well and some not at all.

The best way to assess this is to try the test yourself and see how you think the test represents your own beliefs.

Am I conservative? In some ways very much so and in other ways not at all.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The List

As soon as I had finished writing The Dog House I knew I would have to write a story from another point of view. Here is a story which I think I have written before but I don't know where.

It happened when my children were young and I was a stay-at-home suburban housewife with time to go over to my neighbour's house and sit for a mug of coffee in the kitchen while the children entertained themselves with their playmates in the bedroom or playroom.

On this occasion, my son decided to play superman and you all know what that means. He climbed the highest piece of furniture in sight and took a flying dive across the room. He didn't injure himself. (Now that he is grown up, he has just finished training with the parachute division that lands jumps the lowest and lands the hardest in the world. Some things never change.)

But let me get back to my story. I sat in the kitchen with my friend and drank coffee and let the boys be boys. My eyes wandered over to a list on the refrigerator door. It was written on an endless piece of adding machine tape, the kind that makes a nice little scroll about three inches wide and two feet long and curls up at the bottom. But this was held flat by those little refrigerator magnets in the shape of a fruit, a banana or an pineapple.

I studied the list and thought about it. It was a list of chores, most of which would require the use of a tool or two. Some things were quite easy, change the washers on the bathroom faucet; some were a little more difficult and required the ability to handle heavier tools. I was impressed and I looked at my friend and asked,

"You do all those things. You must be quite handy."

"Oh, no," she answered, "That is a list for Sean. Those are the things that he needs to get done. But he comes home so late, I don't know when he'll get anything done. How do you get your husband to do anything?"

I changed the subject. This was out of my experience altogether. I had never written a list for another person in my life, and I still haven't.

I am surprised that Sean came home at all.

In the evening when you drive down the rear lanes and you see lights on in the garages and sheds, you will know that in some of those humble shelters there is a husband here and a wife over there, each preferring their damp discomfort to the warmth and tyranny of their home.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Dog House

This afternoon I ran into a neighbour while walking the dog. The weather was cold and wet - something between very wet snow and slushy rain fell on our faces and the chill wind kept our hands in our pockets. We hiked through mud and deep boggy puddles of black goo. We hiked for two hours - both of us knew a lot about being out in the woods and not going back to the house. But I didn't realize that yet.

Her dogs were unruly and poorly trained. They barked at everything and leapt about. They were a constant demand on her time. Why would she want to put up with such an irritation?

My friend has 6 children, now in their late teens and early adulthood. Her husband works hard and makes a good living, while she stays at home and manages the house. They have recently moved into a large and beautiful home, but one without a basement.

Now nobody wants three muddy and noisy dogs in the house, not even her. So she put up a shed in the back yard for the dogs to live in. And then she put a chair, a light and a heater in the shed. And now she spends every evening in the shed with a blanket over her knees and her favourite novel in her lap, so the dogs "won't be so lonely."

What is wrong with this picture?

Finally it all came tumbling out. Her husband's other children, the yelling, the fights, the violence, the police. She has endured all that, but she is still hanging in, hopeful and caring for her family, spending each evening out in the shed with her dogs, doing what she has to do to survive. Out there she is the mistress of her dog house, there is no one to harass her and complain that she did not get it right.

... so she spends her evenings in the doghouse.

She explained all this to me with a cheerful voice, but full of questions - were women really created to be servants, wouldn't it be better to live alone all one's life and never marry, be a servant or remain single, what do you think?

I recognized her voice, her questions, her cheerfulness, because it used to be mine. It's pretty normal isn't it - to spend your evenings in a quiet place with those who love you most. Don't you think?

This isn't fiction, who would invent a story like this?
    Today's young women are disillusioned with their mother's inability to sustain marriages.
This morning I read this quote above from Mary Kassian on Gender Blog. I want to tell the untold stories, the stories that won't be told.

Men have their own stories, but I don't know those stories as well. I just get a glimpse once in a while. Here is one story I do know and have written.

A timely reminder

This video arrived in my email today from my good friend Cigal. She is half French Canadian and half Israeli. Last year she made the decision to return to Israel to live. Thanks, Cigal, for this reminder of the holocaust. A time to laugh and a time to weep. This is a time to weep.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Teacher Tag: for Aristotle

I have overall tried to maintain a balance here in writing about both men and women, and writing about books by both men and women. Here are two of my favourite autobiographies, one by Archibald Fleming and the other by Wilfred Grenfell. I have written about some women whom I admire here, here and here.

In response to a request by Kurk to write about great teachers, I will write about some of the Christian men who have been my professors. It is ridiculous to even state that these men treated women as equals, there was no question of anything else.

But, just in case someone wanders on this site who is in danger of believing that egalitarians diminish manhood and womanhood let me say, these men are not diminished by their egalitarian views. Actually most of them don't even know what the word "egalitarian" exists because they have not been informed of the existence of "complementarianism," so I apologize to them in advance.

Here's to great men I have studied with:

Al Gleason an exceptional linguistics professor and a great storyteller. He taught me that the writing system is a worthy object of pure linguistic research.

Al Pietersma editor of the New English Translation of the Septuagint, an encourager and a friend. He taught me to translate without a crib.

R.T. Lutz who made introductory Hebrew truly enjoyable. He is a very patient man. He taught me that learning Hebrew does indeed open up a new understanding of the scriptures.

Richard Longenecker serious and funny at the same time.

Gordon Fee inspiring and constantly confused as to whether he is lecturing or preaching. Maybe he is offering you conspiratorial personal confidences, but to the whole lecture hall at once. Very personable.

Ellis Deibler Truly one of the nicest people I have ever met. But he still disapproves of students' not doing their homework.

Kurk's tag is for 13 teachers. This will have to do for now. I can't say anything profound about this except that I am fortunate to have known these men, and being a feminist does not mean that one does not appreciate men and learn from men.

Note: I think I may pass on elaborating on various members of my family in this meme for now. Of course, this would include many women, my mother, my aunts and sisters, and my beautiful daughter. There are many exceptional women teachers in my family.

Feminism and Christianity

I have written a fair bit about the women who have been primary role models for me. I haven't much use for the notion that a woman seeks out or prefers only male role models. That gets in the way of one's basic identity. You can't do away with your sex, so you have to get over it.

I say "get over it" because it is very common for girls to go through a stage when they would rather be boys, but boys do not usually go through a stage when they would rather be girls. So, in fact, women really do have to get over the enormous injustices perpetuated by both the church and society. Some parts of the Christian community are sadly in collusion with the lower echelons of non-Christian culture, sharing the lowest common denominator, that of keeping women down.

I see the best in women. I work in a secular environment in a public school where my colleagues all consider themselves equal to men, AND they want to marry, have kids, stay home for a while, maybe part time, and just be with kids, and have a long term marriage. These are the openly stated goals of the women I work with.

We celebrate each baby that comes along and ensure the mother her continued welcome at staff events with the baby. Just because she takes maternity leave does not mean that she is not one of us. The baby is brought into the school and paraded from class to class. At lunch the administrator takes the baby and holds it till it falls asleep, gently rocking it. I kid you not, this happens, and the last day of school we all celebrated the announcement that one of our younger teachers, married last year, is pregnant.

These women are the product of secular feminism. I have learned a lot about how to be happy as a woman from these women. Too bad my experience of church has not been so benign. Too bad other people's experience of feminism has not been so benign. Too bad, but we have to admit that Christianity has been used to promote a lot of terrible events and practices, and so has feminism. However, we need both.

Here are some definitions of feminism.

  • The view, articulated in the 19th century, that women are inherently equal to men and deserve equal rights and opportunities. ...

  • A school of though that examines the oppression, subjugation, or inequality of women. Feminism has flourished since the middle of the twentieth century and has taken different forms, focusing variously on language, the construction of power, and the institutions that perpetuate sexism.

  • (a) a range of contemporary theoretical perspectives (political, sociological, legal, psychoanalytic, literary, philosophical) in which women's experiences are examined in relation to actual and perceived differences between the power and status of men and women; (b) a social justice movement in ...

  • The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.

  • a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women

  • feminist movement: the movement aimed at equal rights for women

  • Feminism is a collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies largely motivated by or concerned with the liberation of women. ...
  • Tuesday, December 25, 2007

    Favourite Christmas Music

    We've been listening to the African Children's Choir CD, Christmas Joy. The African Children's choir is a longtime favourite of my daughter's and we used to make sure to hear them sing every year. My son always loved French Canadian folksongs like le canadien errant when he was little so we listened to some of that performed by a cousin who gives us a tape every year. After that there is Celtic Music, Aled Jones, Oxford carols and some Russian choir music. I like the feel of listening to the music of different ethnicities at Christmas. I also don't feel that it has to be Christmas music, but any music that is full of memories.

    Gingerbread Outhouse

    I don't care how jaded you are about Christmas - you gotta love this. I used to be involved in the design and creation of gingerbread houses, lots of scope for imagination, etc. but this one takes the cake! Two nice little side by side white toily seats - how romantic!

    Monday, December 24, 2007

    Guillaume Postel

    Postel is significant in the history of writing system theory. He thought that Hebrew was the universal language and he could prove it from the evolution of the alphabet. He was a truly exceptional scholar of Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac. Otherwise he might have had his life curtailed because he sounds like a bit of a oddity and was a feminist to boot in the 16th century. Oh yeah, he was a mathematician as well.

    Here is a something nice about Postel by Matt Goldish,
      A contemporary case was that of Guillaume Postel (ca. 1510-1581), the great French millenarian reformer. Postel's mission was the harmonization of Jewish, Christian and Islamic thought, which would ultimately create a single universal religion under a single universal monarchy (France). Postel was also a prophet, but his astounding erudition and the assumption that he was mad prevented these proclivities from causing his execution at the hands of the church.

      Postel's scheme of universal harmony again reflects the patterns which have become familiar by now from Iberian examples (note added - Michael Servetus): it is prophetic, deeply practical and political, and involves a return to primitive Christian Judaism.

      Professor Kuntz, Postel's biographer, says that "Postel constantly speaks of the Jewishness of all men. He speaks of Christian-Jews, rather than Jewish Christians, and the distinction is significant." Postel studied Hebrew and Aramaic, and eventually became an actual convert, though he remained a "Christian Jew." Again, then, we have an example of a Christian millenarian who found that a Christian-Jewish space, like that occupied by conversos, was the best possible path toward a true apocalyptic reformation.
    Goldish, M.D. Patterns in Converso Messianism. in Goldish M.D. and Richard Popkin. ed. Millenarianism and Messianism in Early Modern European Culture. Vol. 1. Springer. 2001.

    Taking the lid off the pickle jar

    Okay, I am thoroughly dense. I thought the pickle jar thing was a joke - right. But maybe not. I read Gender Blog today and just about cried for all those biblical women stuck in the kitchen with a 20 pound turkey and a flock of whining and tired little children around them on the floor, while their husbands live out biblical manhood in front of the telly. Praise God, I grew up in a home without a TV.

    But then this line,
      Finally, recognize that if there were only one gender you might never extract pickles from a jar.
    Okay, I am going to say it straight out. If there was only one gender we would be missing sex and children, but not the pickles.

    So, here is how to open a pickle jar, ladies. Eat brocoli!

    What I mean is that you should take the wide blue elastic band which comes on the brocoli, and stretch it out until it fits around the lid of the pickle jar. Now grip the lid making sure the elastic band does not slip off. Turn, and open.

    If extra inducement is needed, turn the bottle upside down and bang it on the counter, or bang it sideways on the counter, denting the lid slightly - you are not going to use the lid again when this jar is empty. You can also hold the jar under steaming hot water from the tap. The heat expands the metal in the lid but does not expand the glass jar, so the lid loosens.

    Remember that wearing gloves makes any job which requires manual strength easier. Gloves aren't great for playing the piano, though. I should make that clear.

    Okay, these are several good solid ways to assist in opening a pickle jar. You do not have to swear away your life in unilateral submission to the male to get the pickle jar open. Now, focus on all the sweet and lovely reasons why you may actually want a man in your life!

    Saturday, December 22, 2007

    Links 07-12-22

    I don't have time to write anything much but I want to thank those who have written or recommended great posts, great sites and great books.

    Husbands and Wives are as Gardener and Soil (and should LIKE it)
    Thank you, Molly, for writing a post that so well expresses the extraordinary pain of female subordination. It is a balm to my soul and a further step towards release to read what someone else has written on this topic.

    Silent Night, Lonely Night Thank you, Carolyn, for giving voice to those of us who are lonely at Christmas.

    Faith Dance Thank you, Jadon, for recommending this exceptional website on cross gender friendship.

    John, thank you for writing What I learned about gender while excavating at Tell Qarqur Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

    Thank you to my colleague, Dale, who gave me Volkswagen Blues to read over the holidays.

    Well, you can see how wrapped up I am in Christmas (not). It is happening in our house, and, as always, is a festival of foliage and lights. We trim and gather armfuls of cedar, fir, spruce, holly, ivy, juniper and laurel, and hang it from everywhere. I have little white nails above the white trim just below the ceiling. So, up go the branches and then the strings of white lights. When the fire and candles are also lit there is no need for lamps.

    I know some people complain about the commercialization of Christmas. I remove myself so far from that scene I lose awareness of it and simply wonder what people are talking about. There is a little snow on the ground so I will walk in the deep woods with the dog, and maybe cook some cranberry sauce tonight.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    Momma's boy and endearments

    I blogged recently about the use of endearments in the scriptures. Shortly after that I read this post of Resurgence, in which the author wrote,
      She may even continue to call her son an emasculating nickname, like "my sweet little boy."
    I protest that Christ himself used many endearments in addressing his loved ones. The use of endearments does not emasculate. Why then would the term "beloved" be used in scriptures? It is not the endearment which keeps someone from becoming an adult. The endearment gives pleasure and security. It tells people so called that they are loved. It enables them to go forward with greater courage and confidence.

    However, the article argues a more relevant point.
      Moms that are married to either passive or abusive men or are divorced often turn to their sons for emotional (and sometimes physical) intimacy that they lack from their husbands. Many moms can't "let go" of their sons even when rightly protecting them from violent men, and put their son's masculinity in arrested development.
    The problem is rather that women are taught that they exist in relation to man. The woman is told that her role is to be the submissive assistant to man, who carries the authority. Since women are all too human, there could be a tendency for a woman who is told that the man bears authority, to attach herself in an inappropriate way to the closest available male, her son. She may seek to make some sense of her life by giving her son a role in her life that he should not have.

    The divorced woman should recognize that she is a fully adult human being who does not need to be attached to a male. However, if she yearns for intimacy, then she should seek out the company of someone more her own age and have a relationship between two adults. She should consider remarriage if that seems appropriate for her, or simply find the friendship of other men and women with whom she shares common interests. Then her son can do the same and enjoy doing his own age appropriate activities.

    My son is home now and has to put up with being called "babypie" and a great deal of other names that would offend some people. However, not yet 21 years old, he has seen more of the world than most men twice his age, so I don't worry about what anyone says about this - he doesn't either. I hope other young men - and women, have someone to call them foolish and endearing names.

    At school we often call the children "honey". Of course, sometimes this is because we forget their names. But it is better than "Hey, you!"

    Tonight was the school Christmas concert. As usual we all sing and rock and boogie to the old Christmas carols, and santa jingles. Nobody is the least bit correct about what we sing. As usual I herd the youngest children into the gym. While doing this, I received a greeting of random love from one of the littlest. I threw out my arms to exclaim at the beauty of the kindergarten children in their Christmas finery. One tiny tike was so overcome with happiness she threw her arms around me in return.

    We give those young ones that we know the sense that they are loved so they can become adults, so they can venture into the world alone, knowing they are loved.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007

    Crossing cultures and authority

    One of the most important things to be aware of in describing cross-cultural experience is how diverse the experiences are which carry this label. For example, a person may enter a cross-cultural exchange either as a bearer of authority, or as one of those who is taught. The person who carries power into the situation experiences the other culture in a completely different way than the one who enters without power.

    And this was drilled into my head as a corrective to the way a typical white person enters the world of the First Nations people of North America. If you enter as a representative of a more powerful culture, you carry that with you at all times. This is one of the difficulties in studying linguistics. You become an authority on the language of some group other than you own. It takes great effort to resolve this.

    To take this model over into cross gender friendship, it seems that women experience the culture of men as producing ideas which come to be authoritative in biblical studies. Women read an enormous number of books by men. While some men read books by women - no doubt John Piper has read Shadow of the Almighty by Elizabeth Elliot, I had seldom heard women quoted as authorties in the field of biblical studies. That is changing, however.

    Here are a few examples. Rick has recommended to me articles by Linda Belleville. John introduces us to too many people for me to track, women as well as men. Kurk has a running commentary on women in classical studies and feminism.

    Recently, Iyov has featured The Torah: A Women's Commentary . Here is the comment thread attached to this post.

      Why men and women "need" separate commentaries is now, and will always be completely beyond me.
      My guess as to why they need a separate commentary is because of the underrepresentation of women scholars in other commentaries. It gives these women a voice in their area of expertise.
    David E. S. Stein,
      No need to guess; the book speaks for itself! According to the introduction, the need for a women's Torah Commentary is twofold.

      First, this book provides a corrective by filling in the gaps in nearly all commentaries to date. The latter have (relatively speaking) overlooked women's presence in the narrative and legal materials, trivialized female characters, and skipped over subjects that are of interest (either by nature or nurture) to women. I have found the Women's Commentary to be eye-opening in this regard; often I hadn't noticed what other commentaries were missing until I could see the difference by what is said in the Women's Commentary.

      In other words, men who study Torah need this book nearly as much as women do, because until now none of us have been getting the whole story.

      Second, a book containing the work of 100 women commentators (including 38 academic biblicists, by my count) showcases the significant inroads that women have recently made into Bible scholarship. One of this book's target audiences is Jewish women who have never before studied Torah. (Some women think of Torah as men's domain or of themselves as too ignorant or otherwise incapable.) This book's contributors model how women can and do take Torah seriously. It offers encouragement and strives to make the world of Torah accessible to a broader audience than ever before.

      It's a multi-layered book; one can hardly do justice to it in a few paragraphs here. But in the interest of full disclosure, I will add one more thing: I was the only man directly involved in the editing of this book (its midwife, as it were), and I am very pleased with how it has turned out, and honored to have been part of the endeavor.
    I welcome books like this, and appreciate those who treat such books as having equal general interest as those written mainly by men.

    On the one hand

    So on the one hand, I say that women, in general, wish to be part of a couple. They want companionship and intimacy with the opposite sex. On the other hand, I write that a woman does not want to be the only one in the couple who is under the authority of the other. This destroys intimacy and companionship.

    So, my posts will alternate between arguing against the teaching which has created such a negative atmosphere for intimacy and friendship, and, on the other hand, trying to promote a more appropriate atmosphere for friendship. Remind me if when I fall into posting too much that is negative.

    CBMW 1: Kostenberger on The Crux of the Matter

    David Kotter introduces a series of articles by Dr. Kostenberger on the Gender blog today. I looked at one of them. Here are some excerpts,
      While there were precursors of egalitarianism, an egalitarian school of biblical interpretation did not fully take hold until a few decades ago. However, nineteen centuries of virtual unanimity in this matter constitute strong presumptive evidence that the “historic” reading of the relevant texts is valid.
    Is this how biblical interpretation is to be decided?
      Scott Baldwin, in a recent comprehensive study of the term αυθεντεω, leaves no stone unturned in examining all the available instances of this term in ancient literature. In short, he concludes that there is not a single unambiguous reference where the word means “domineer.”
    Actually there is only one example which predates the epistle and it is published on the CBMW website. It reads,
      BGU 1208 (first century B.C.): "I had my way with him [authenteō ] and he agreed to provide Calatytis the boatman with the full payment within the hour."
    The next example reads,
      Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos III.13 [#157] (second century A.D.): "Therefore, if Saturn alone takes planetary control of the soul and dominates (authenteō ) Mercury and the moon ..."
    Kostenberger doesn't deal with this evidence in any way at all.

    Next, Kostenberger writes about 1 Tim. 2:15,
      Arguably, 1 Tim 5:14–15 thus makes explicit what appears to be implied in 1 Tim 2:15: “childbearing” is merely a pars pro toto (a “part standing for the whole”), encompassing a woman’s entire range of marital, familial, and domestic responsibilities; and by adhering
      to this role, women will be “preserved,” i.e. from Satan, contrary to Eve, who, when stepping outside her God-ordained sphere, was not preserved from the serpent but fell into transgression (verse 14).
    I have enormous difficulty believing that this was the uniform interpretation for this verse over the last nineteen centuries. I think rather the contrary. Women believed that if they went to a convent, they would be preserved from Satan.

    On the comparison between female subordination and slavery Kostenberger writes,
      First of fall, it should be noted that, unlike female subordination, slavery is never in Scripture substantiated from the created order. In other words, slavery is considered by the biblical writers as a socioeconomic institution, albeit flawed, while the principle of female subordination is supported, not merely by an appeal to societal conventions, but by pointing to creation (cf. esp. 1 Cor 11:8–9; 1 Tim 2:12–13).
    So Kostenberger argues for female subordination, because it is definitely and absolutely part of the pre-fall order of creation. This point, however, is not proven. In fact, there is enormous doubt about this interpretation since up until the reformation, Gen. 3:16 read,
      thou shalt be under thy husband's power (Douay Rheims from the Vulgate)
    It was then, not part of the created order, but part of the curse, that woman was to be subordinate. It was because women was deceived that she was to be subordinate.

    Kostenberger is clear that those who disagree with him are not radical feminists but Gordon Fee and F. F. Bruce.

    However, he concludes by saying,
      Rather than embracing the radical feminist agenda and subscribing to the notion that women will only be able to live up to their potential if exactly the same church functions are open to them as to men, we affirm that Scripture teaches that man and woman are equally created in God’s image; that man and woman are equally saved by grace through faith in Christ; that man and woman are fellow-heirs of grace, of equal worth in the sight of God.
    Since most complementarians believe that women have the same potential as men, women are, indeed, constrained from living up to their potential if they are not allowed to fill all the functions that men fill, functions for which they have the potential?

    Dr. Kostenberger teaches that men are in positions of authority over their wives, thus denying that the only time husbands are given authority over their wives is in the reciprocal command in 1 Cor. 7. Complementarians deny fundamental aspects of the scriptural commands regarding marriage.

    Complementarians bind the female half of the human race to submission to the male half and thus deny the equal dignity of man and woman before God. Many complementarian women say that in this case they will be judge of when their husband is exercising authority over them "in Christ" and when he is doing it in the flesh. In this way some complementarian women set themselves up as judges over men.

    I have blogged before about articles on the gender blog, and staff from the CBMW assured me that they would interact with my writing. To this date they have not.

    Monday, December 17, 2007

    he never came

    I opened a can of worms the other day when I wrote that women can change their own light bulbs. Codepoke responded,
      Of course the main thing for unmarried guys is we no longer have any reason to change the light bulb.
    Here is a story, which I heard Elizabeth Elliot recount in one of her sermons, about Gladys Aylward.
      She had been a missionary in China for six or seven years before she ever thought of wanting a husband. When a British couple came to work near her, she began to watch the wonderful thing they had in marriage, and to desire it for herself. Being a woman of prayer she prayed - a straightforward request that God would call a man from England, send him straight to China, and have him propose. She leaned toward me on the sofa on which we were sitting, her black eyes snapping, her bony little forefinger jabbing at my face. " Elizabeth," she said, " I believe God answer prayer! He called him." Then, in a whisper of keen intensity, "but he never came."
    This story is written verbatim, in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, as Elliot preach it at Urbana in 1981. There are many other stories in this introduction which you can read online in google books. I knew some of the people mentioned here and all the stories of single missionaries, both men and women, who longed to be part of a couple, are familiar to me.

    I do not believe that men and women need each other because women want babies, or because men put furniture together and women cook. I believe that the reason why men and women get together has been the same forever, because of loneliness. Few people really want to be alone. I don't actually know any that do.

    However, as this chapter makes clear, and we all know, (and because my matchmaking skills are in the negative values), many of us will remain single. Therefore, we all need close and warm friendships, people around us, both those who appreciate us and care for us, and those who we mentor or provide for. Feeling that someone cares for you goes a long way, showing that you care for others is essential.

    Someone brought me a plate of homemade choc. chip cookies today. The fact that I don't actually like choc. chip cookies is irrelevant. I appreciate the fact that someone cares.

    Challies on public education

    Here is an excerpt from Tim Challies' post on public education.
      And from there I think we will see as well that the downfall of the public education system becomes almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I look at the examples Dr. Mohler provides—examples of all kinds of ugly things that happen in the public schools, I realize that things in Canada do not seem so bad. Canada is a very liberal nation and, by rights, it should be in worse shape than in America. Yet I do not see that this is the case. Yes, there are occasional stories that strike fear in this parent’s heart, but it seems that our education system is less corrupt than that of our neighbors to the south. And I can’t help but wonder if this owes to the fact that fewer Canadian Christians have exited the public schools.

      While the homeschool movement, following the American trend, is beginning to catch on in Canada, and while it seems that homeschooling is fast becoming the favored or even the default option for conservative Christians, this is largely a recent development. With Christian schools notoriously underfunded and overpriced, and with homeschooling not an option many believers have even considered, most Canadian Christians have kept their children in public schools. They have maintained their voice and their influence. When all the Christians leave, we would expect the schools to decline. And perhaps this is what we are seeing in the United States. Perhaps Christians are inadvertently contributing to the decline.
    I am not sure that I agree with everything Tim says here but overall he gives a fair assessment of Canadian Christian's attitude to public education. I know that Canada may be seen as a very liberal country, and this is something I am proud of. We don't fund a plethora of Christian schools here in Canada, although there are some very contentious politics behind this. I am not sure if Challies reasons are accurate, but certainly there is a broad acceptance of state run schools.

    Saturday, December 15, 2007

    Lottie Moon

    I have taken this prose from Wikipedia. Denny Burk posted on Lottie Moon today. Thanks for the great idea.
      She had come to China to "go out among the millions" as an evangelist, only to find herself relegated to teaching a school of forty "unstudious" children. She felt chained down, and came to view herself as part of an oppressed class - single women missionaries. Her writings were an appeal on behalf of all those who were facing similar situations in their ministries. In an article titled "The Woman's Question Again," published in 1883, Lottie wrote:

      “"Can we wonder at the mortal weariness and disgust, the sense of wasted powers and the conviction that her life is a failure, that comes over a woman when, instead of the ever broadening activities that she had planned, she finds herself tied down to the petty work of teaching a few girls?"

      Lottie waged a slow but relentless campaign to give women missionaries the freedom to minister and have an equal voice in mission proceedings. A prolific writer, she corresponded frequently with H. A. Tupper, head of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board, informing him of the realities of mission work and the desperate need for more workers —- both women and men.
    Lottie Moon is one more of those admirable 19th century feminists. To all those who exclaim at women who don't want to be stuck teaching a few girls, think of Lottie Moon.

    Monday, December 10, 2007

    Different by Design??

    This is a recreational post. I am burned out on serious blogging. I won't tell you what I googled to get this comment but it is real,
      Sure, there are lots of things that men and women CAN both do. I can kill cockroaches (I let the spiders live tho because they are our bug-eating friends). I can change lightbulbs. I can go on vacations by myself, and I can walk alone at night. But that doesn't mean I want to or even feel safe doing so. Every time I get in a taxi alone, I call someone and tell them the licence plate of the driver's car. Everytime I leave my home to go on a bike ride, I take my cell phone which is full of (male) students I could call in case of an accident or emergancy.

      When I had a bunch of funiture delievered that needed to be put together--sure I had the ability and smarts enough to put it all together by myself. BUT, I didn't want to Just because I can doesn't mean that I am created for it. I asked a few of my male students to come take care of it for me. They did--AND they ENJOYED doing it. In return, I did what I enjoyed--I took care of their physical hunger and thirst for the afternoon. :)

      We are designed differently.

      And just because I am able to live alone does not mean I don't still long for and need protecting. It does not mean I still don't long to take care of and help the men in my life. Being a "helper" or "helpmate" doesn't make me less important--it makes me feel good and valued and right.
    What I learned from this is that a 28 year-old woman, who is entirely capable of putting together her own furniture which comes in a carton from the nearest big box retailer, actually acted like she did not know how to do this in order to give her male students the experience of knowing that men and women are designed differently. How would they feel if they read this comment?

    I work with a group of single women over 50, previously married and no longer married for a series of unhappy reasons, none of them being that these women don't want to be married. It is the consensus that the main difference between living with a man and living without a man, in the post-baby age group, is that you have to change your own light bulbs.

    Most women have never had a husband fend off an intruder or rescue them from the path of an oncoming car. It just doesn't happen that often, so they don't miss it.

    Women help other women when their life is messed up. If there is a risk of violence any man in his right mind will tell you to call the police or the appropriate authorities instead of trying to handle it himself.

    And anyone can assemble furniture. In my house the teenage daughter likes that job. If females can assemble furniture then I think females are created for figuring out how to assemble furniture. Okay, my traditional mom bought tinkertoy for us girls. I can't help it.

    Putting the whole baby thing aside, I really wonder what the gender based responsibilities are in a household. In the over 50 crowd, most women will not ask their husband to help with heavy lifting. Having to care for someone who has put their back out is a very difficult task.

    I think if you want to live with a man, it really is not useful to pretend you can't do things. I think it is better to be honest and say that some things seem difficult because you are not used to doing it, some things fall within the professional expertise of your spouse or partner, some things are tiresome or distasteful. I think it might be nice to say that you like your partner just "because" instead of having a list like men kill spiders, trace license plates and assemble furniture.

    Okay the truth is I have to get back to work. Bye.

    Sunday, December 09, 2007

    Church and home

    I think this is the best that complementarianism has to offer,
      Paul does seem to make a distinction between church and home. In the home, the wife humbly submits, while the husband lovingly leads. In the church, the body of Christ should be characterized by a mutual submission, a behavior where we are deferring to one another, rather than trying to push our own agendas, and thus be filled with everything but the Spirit.
    I found this on a blog where a bunch of guys were really trying hard to be scriptural. However, they have no idea how to carry the ethos of Christian behaviour into the home. I don't want to say that complementarianism contrasts with Christianity. But it does jeopardize some basic Christian beliefs and demonstrates that the truly complementarian home can never stand as a testimony to the world of the how the Christian church would look. I see complementarianism as a handicapped form of Christ's intent for his people.

    I have been reflecting on some of these things and thinking that since I have lived among complementarian Christians most of my life, I really don't know of any truly happy marriages among my Christian friends. That is just my impression, not a blanket statement of fact.

    However, in thinking further I do know at least three couples who are not Christians - they are atheists in fact. In one case, the wife is Quaker, but the other five people are declared atheists. This is how their marriages look to me.

    The husband has a business or academic professional job and the wife has a half time to three quarter time professional job teaching or working as a librarian. A school librarian is a good job here requiring a MA, and is reasonably well paid.

    They all have children, and the wife/mother likes to cook and sew. For some, the husband also likes to cook, but in all cases, the husbands spend time in the kitchen either cooking or helping. The women are motherly and old fashioned, both father and mother read to the children and teach them manners and take them to cultural events and tutor them in school subjects. The children are expected to not engage in premarital sex until they are at least 21. They are also taught the value of a life long monogamous relationship, and this is modeled to them by their parents.

    One family has a special ministry with abused and abandoned children. They have adopted two children in addition to their own two, and they welcome foster children into their home.

    What I notice most is that the wives are relaxed and relatively non-conflicted over life. They are able to show concern for others and are involved in reaching out and helping. They are loving people and demonstrate the basic values of life long fidelity and mutual respect.

    These couples are just ordinary people with their own foibles and particularities, but they make it seem possible that two people could live out their lives together without being completely miserable. The women are not self-seeking feminists and the men are neither harshly dominating nor are they wimps. There are just normal, successful people who are involved in social justice issues, doing their job and helping others when they can.

    I truly don't think these people would be drawn to Christianity by seeing a typical comlementarian marriage. So to whoever wrote,
      We are called to be an attractive light in a dark world. We will do that most effectively as our marriages and our culture’s assumptions are submitted to the word of God.
    let me kindly say that I think the best a Christian couple can do is demonstrate kindness, respect and deference to God, to each other, to the children and to others, in a mutual and ungrudging way. This does not go against scripture as I know it.

    Wednesday, December 05, 2007

    Rough Crossings

    I once had a job teaching high school history in French. I don't really know if this information would be included in an English medium history class, but in teaching the American Revolution in French, I became aware that American Blacks had fought on the side of England and why.

    Then, in my theology class this fall, I learned that only Anglicans could attend university and sit in parliament in England until the 1830's. This explains why Wilberforce, as an Anglican, is known as a leader of the anti-slave legislation rather than the many Quakers (and women) who also fought against slavery.

    And, of course, Granville Sharp, one of the first anti-slave protesters is known to many as the author of the famous rule of Greek grammar named in his honour, a rule intended to prove the divinity of Christ.

    Where do all these disparate strands come together? In Rough Crossings by Simon Schama. Here is a review found on Charging RINO. It lines up well with my first impressions of this book, a very powerful and moving tale of little known history.
      Columbia University professor Simon Schama's newest offering is Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves, and the American Revolution. In his signature narrative style, Schama tackles a subject which certainly does not rank among the most popular or comfortable for American readers - the treatment of slaves during the Revolutionary era, and in particular the tension between the expressed ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the practical implications of those concepts.

      The first section of Schama's book is concerned with the Revolutionary conflict proper, focusing (as one would expect from the subtitle) on the measures taken by British commanders in the southern colonies to upset the standing social order by offering emancipation to slaves who would join the royalist forces. The book covers little new ground here, relying heavily as it does on prior work by Benjamin Quarles, Woody Holton, Sylvia Frey, Gary Nash and others. The latter portions of Schama's book are more original: his coverage of British abolitionists Granville Sharp, Thomas and John Clarkson, and William Wilberforce is quite good, as is the important discussion of what happened to the escaped slaves in the years following the Revolution as they were shunted about from Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone and other locations just trying to make a go of it.

      While I found myself annoyed at times with Schama's frequent shifts from scene to scene, and some of his stylistic quirks bugged me (his capitalization of Certain Phrases was particularly obnoxious), in general I enjoyed the narrative. Sometimes a synthesis like this is the only way to get academic research into the public eye, and I think Schama's work will contribute to that in regard to the role of blacks (slaves and otherwise) in the American Revolution. More important still is the treatment of the Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone colonies.

    The Washington Post Review is here.

    Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    Grudem puts Foh before Calvin

    In a new turn recently, the CBMW gender blog is featuring some egalitarian women bloggers. Today it was the turn of Molly Alley. Molly writes,
      Complementarians and Egalitarians both find their position from Scripture. The Armenian and Calvinist positions both claim they are found in the clear teaching of the Bible. Charismatic and non-Charismatic both base their stance on the Scriptures. The Church of Christ claims it best reflects God's desire for the way "church" ought to be, but then again, so does the Baptist and the Pentacostal, and all three of them point to the Bible for "proof" that they are right.
    And in response Dave Kotter quotes Wayne Grudem who has said,
      But in no case are we free to say that the teaching of the Bible on any subject is confusing or incapable of being understood correctly. In no case should we think that persistent disagreements on some subject in the history of the Church mean that we will be unable to come to a correct conclusion on that subject ourselves. Rather, if a genuine concern about some such subject arises in our lives we should sincerely ask God's help and then go to Scripture, searching it with all our ability, believing that God will enable us to understand rightly. (Bible Doctrine. p. 53)
    However, here are three instances where Grudem has a substantial differences in understanding with others of his own tradition in the basic meaning of scripture,

    1. Gen. 3:16
      et te soumettras à ton mari, Bible Olivétan (with preface written by Calvin)

      (and you will submit to your husband)
    But Grudem writes,
      Susan Foh has effectively argued that the word translated "desire" (Heb. teshûqah) means "desire to conquer," and that it indicates Eve would have a wrongful desire to usurp authority over her husband. (Systematic Theology. page 464)
    Calvin believed that the curse of Eve was that she would submit to her husband. Grudem has decided to follow Foh's lead and teaches that Eve's curse is her desire to conquer Adam. Most translations of the Bible retain the literal alternative that Pagnini offered of desiderium or "desire." I find that to be the most appropriate approach. One should not change scripture and interpret it as Grudem does here in following Susan Foh's lead.

    2. 1 Tim. 2:12 An early English translation from 1560, called the Calvin Bible, translated the verse this way,
      1 Ti 2:12 But I suffer not the woman to teach, nor to assume authority over the man, but to be silent.
    However, Grudem says,
      To take one example: in 1 Timothy 2:12 the TNIV adopts a highly suspect and novel translation that gives the egalitarian side everything they have wanted for years in a Bible translation. It reads, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man”
    I wonder why Grudem calls the 1560 Calvin Bible a highly suspect and novel translation. I have no ideas on this.

    3. Eph. 5:21
      submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    1 Clement 38.1:
      “So in our case let the whole body be saved in Christ Jesus, and let each man be subject (ὑποτασσέσθω) to his neighbor, to the degree determined by his spiritual gift,”
    2 Macc 13.23,
      ”[King Antiochus Eupator] got word that Philip, who had been left in charge of the government, had revolted in Antioch; he was dismayed, called in the Jews, yielded (ὑπετάγη) and swore to observe all their rights, settled with them and offered sacrifice, honored the sanctuary and showed generosity to the holy place.”
    However, Grudem writes,
      But in spite of all these different forms of submission, one thing remains constant in every use of the word: it is never "mutual" in its force; it is always one-directional in its reference to submission to an authority.
    It clearly is mutual in Clement, and it clearly is not in reference to an authority in 2 Maccabees.

    How else can one explain the significant difference in interpretation between Grudem and Calvin, or Grudem and Clement (a native speaker of Greek) if not by saying that scripture is confusing. In fact, I find Molly to be incredibly generous when she simply comments,
      Was the Bible ever supposed to be clear? That's what I'm wondering.
    On top of this, Molly is a good friend of mine.

    Now, I won't disagree if someone says that Calvin and Grudem have somewhat similar attitudes to women preaching. Calvin probably wasn't too happy with Marie Dentiere. But one must admit that if we hold to sola scriptura, one really has to wonder how these two came to the same conclusions with such a different view of what scripture actually said.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Abigail Adams

    MARCH 31, 1776

    "I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.

    "Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.

    "Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

    "That your sex are naturally tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute; but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up -- the harsh tide of master for the more tender and endearing one of friend.

    "Why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity?

    "Men of sense in all ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the (servants) of your sex; regard us then as being placed by Providence under your protection, and in imitation of the Supreme Being make use of that power only for our happiness."

    APRIL 14, 1776

    "As to your extraordinary code of laws, I cannot but laugh.

    "We have been told that our struggle has loosened the bonds of government everywhere; that children and apprentices were disobedient; that schools and colleges were grown turbulent; that Indians slighted their guardians, and negroes grew insolent to their masters.

    "But your letter was the first intimation that another tribe, more numerous and powerful than all the rest, were grown discontented.

    "This is rather too coarse a compliment, but you are so saucy, I won't blot it out.

    "Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems. Although they are in full force, you know they are little more than theory. We dare not exert our power in its full latitude. We are obliged to go fair and softly, and, in practice, you know we are the subjects.

    "We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight."

    MAY 7, 1776

    "I cannot say that I think you are very generous to the ladies; for, whilst you are proclaiming peace and good-will to men, emancipating all nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over wives.

    "But you must remember that arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken; and, notwithstanding all your wise laws and maxims, we have it in our power, not only to free ourselves, but to subdue our masters, and without violence, throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet."

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    Marie Dentiere

    I have not written about Marie Dentiere before but she is a woman who preached on the street corners and in taverns in 16th century Geneva. She wrote the first history of the Reformation in 1536. As a former nun and abbess, she was accustomed to leadership and didn't think much of distinct roles for women.

    Marie Dentière was a former nun and abbess who married a Protestant minister and went to Geneva with her husband and children during the period just before the Reformation when the attempt was being made to convert the inhabitants of the city to the evangelical faith. We know from the chronicle of a nun in Geneva that Marie went to the convent to preach to the nuns and to attempt to persuade them to convert to Protestantism and leave the convent.

    She wrote and published at least two books. One is the first Protestant history of the Geneva reformation, published in 1536,7 a small booklet describing how God was at work liberating the city from the tyranny of the Pope and of the Duke of Savoy. It is more a theology of history, an account of the victory of the Gospel, than a chronicle, though it follows the principal events. Her theology is very much in the tradition which came to be known as Reformed, marked by emphasis on the authority of the Scriptures and on God's work to save humanity because of God's grace alone, without any merit on the part of those saved. It is striking that she is very conscious of the women in biblical history, speaking of Abraham and Sarah, Elizabeth and Zechariah, and very much aware of violence against women in her own day.

    Three years later, also in Geneva, she published another small book,8 addressed to Marguerite, the Queen of Navarre, a Renaissance woman who was also writing on topics concerning women. Marie's book contained among other things a "Defense of Women." In defense of women's right to interpret the Scriptures, she discussed the bold roles God gave to women whose stories are recorded in the Bible: for example, the mother of Moses who defied the law to protect her son; the Samaritan woman at the well who became a preacher after her encounter with Jesus; the women at the empty tomb who were instructed by Christ to go and preach.

    She concludes, "If God has given graces to some good women, revealing to them something holy and good through his Holy Scripture, should they, for the sake of the defamers of the truth, refrain from writing down, speaking, or declaring it to each other? Ah! It would be too impudent to hide the talent which God has given to us, who ought to have the grace to persevere to the end."9

    Marie argues powerfully for one Gospel of the undivided Christ: "I ask, didn't Jesus die just as much for the poor illiterates and the idiots as for the shaven, tonsured and mitred lords? Did he only say, 'Go, preach my Gospel to the wise lords and grand doctors?' Did he not say, 'to all'? Do we have two Gospels, one for men and the other for women? One for the educated and the other for the multitude? Are we not all one in our Saviour? In whose name are we baptised, in that of Paul or of Apollo, in that of the Pope or of Luther? Is it not in the name of Christ?"10

    This book, highly critical of some new pastors in Geneva and urging women's freedom to announce the Gospel as God calls them to do so, was confiscated by the city officials and never permitted to be distributed. Marie, like Katherine Zell, made her male colleagues uncomfortable because she did not fit their understanding of the proper role of women. Once the Reformation was established in Geneva, she no longer played any public role.

    Glimpses of Reformed women leaders from our history

    Friday, October 26, 2007

    Utopianism and relationships

    I posted this on Complegalitarian. It seems to be part of my series here as well.
      Equally as Christians, sin in our lives is also a serious business. We are never merely to explain it away in ourselves, in our group, or in our family.

      On the other hand, knowing that all men are sinners frees us from the cruelty of utopianism. Utopianism is cruel, for it expects of men and women what they are not and will not be until Christ comes. Such utopianism, forgetting what the Bible says about human sinfulness, is hard-hearted; it is as monstrous a thing as one can imagine.
      The Christian understanding of men is not just theoretical. Christians should also be able to show more understanding to men than can either the cynic or romantic. We should not be surprised when a man demonstrates he is a sinner because, after all, we know that all men are sinners. When someone sits down to talk with me, I should convey to him (even if I do not express it in words) the attitude that he and I are both sinners.

      And immediately, when I communicate this perception, a door swings open for dialogue. Nothing will help you as much in meeting people, no matter how far out they are or how caught up they are in the modern awfulness, than for them to perceive in you the attitude "we are both sinners."
      Utopianism is terribly cruel because it expects the impossible from people. These expectations are not based on reality. They stand in opposition to the genuine human possibilities afforded by the realism of the Scripture.

      Utopianism can cause harm. In the home, in the man-woman relationship, nothing is more cruel than for the wife or husband to build up a false image in his or her mind and then demand that the husband or wife measure up to this false romanticism. Nothing smashes homes more than this. Such behaviour is totally contrary to the Bible's doctrine of sin. Even after redemption, we are not perfect in this present life. It is not that we avoid saying sin is sin, but we must have compassion for each other, too. Francis Schaeffer. No Little People. 2003.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Martin Bucer on Divorce cont.

    I have taken a long break from posting on Bucer. This came about because I realized that the Latin text that Bucer used for his scripture quotes differs from the English. Once again, I was up against a difference of interpretation. However, this is an interesting document which I perused carefully noting how he read the scriptures. I hope others interested in this time period will enjoy reading it.

    Here is a section in which one finds many of his conclusions about divorce.

      To this first institution did Christ recall his own;
      when answering the Pharisees, he condemn'd the
      licence of unlawful Divorce. He taught therfore by
      his example, that we, according to this first
      institution, and what God hath spoken therof, ought
      to determine what kind of Covenant Marriage is, how
      to be kept, and how far; and lastly, for what causes
      to be dissolv'd. To which Decrees of God these also
      are to be join'd, which the Holy Ghost hath taught
      by his Apostle, that neither the Husband nor the
      Wife hath power of their own body, but mutually
      each of either's. That the Husband shall love the
      Wife as his own body, yea as Christ loves his Church;
      and that the Wife ought to be subject to her
      Husband, as the Church is to Christ.

      By these things the nature of holy Wedloc is
      certainly known; wherof if only one be wanting in
      both or either party, and that either by obstinate
      malevolence or too deep inbred weakness of mind, or
      lastly, through incurable impotence of Body, it
      cannot then be said that the covenant of Matrimony
      holds good between such; if we mean that covenant
      which God instituted and call'd Marriage, and that
      wherof only it must be understood that our Saviour
      said, Those whom God hath join'd, let no Man

      And hence is concluded, that Matrimony requires
      continual cohabitation and living together, unless
      the calling of God be otherwise evident; which union
      if the parties themselves disjoin either by mutual
      consent, or one against the other's will depart, the
      Marriage is then broken. Wherin the Papists, as in
      other things, oppose themselves against God; while
      they separate for many causes from bed and board,
      and yet will have the bond of Matrimony remain, as
      if this covenant could be other than the conjunction
      and communion not only of bed and board, but of all
      other living and helpful duties. This we may see in
      these words; I will make him a help-meet for him;
      bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh: for this cause
      shall he leave Father and Mother, and cleave to his
      Wife, and they twain shall be one flesh. By which
      words who discerns not, that God requries of them
      both so to live together, and to be united not only in
      body but in mind also, with such an affection as none
      may be dearer and more ardent among all the
      relations of Mankind, nor of more efficacy to the
      mutual offices of love and loyalty. They must
      communicate and consent in all things both divine
      and human, which have any moment to well and
      happy living. The Wife must honour and obey her
      Husband, as the Church honours and obeys Christ
      her head. The Husband must love and cherish his
      Wife, as Christ his Church. Thus they must be to
      each other, if they will be true Man and Wife in the
      sight of God, whom certainly the Churches ought to
      follow in their judgment. Now the proper and
      ultimate end of Marriage is not copulation, or
      children, for then there was not true Matrimony
      between Joseph and Mary the Mother of Christ, nor
      between many holy persons more; but the full and
      proper and main end of Marriage, is the
      communicating of all duties, both divine and human,
      each to other with utmost benevolence and affection.
    Tender words, that the proper end of marriage is benevolence and affection.

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Martin Bucer on Divorce

    I will be posting from a document called,

      WRITTEN To EDWARD the Sixth, in his Second Book
      of the Kingdom of CHRIST.
      And now English'd.

      Wherein a late Book, restoring the
      Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, is
      here confirm'd and justify'd by the
      Authority of MARTIN BUCER.

      To the Parlament of England.
    I will be taking excerpts just to give an idea of what is in the document.

    CHAP.  XXII.

    Of lawful Divorce, what the ancient Churches have

    Now we shall speak about that dissolving of
    Matrimony which may be approv'd in the sight of
    God, if any grievous necessity require. In which
    thing the Roman Antichrists have knit many a
    pernicious entanglement to distressed Consciences:
    for that they might here also exalt themselves above
    God, as if they would be wiser and chaster than God
    himself, is, for no cause, honest or necessary, will
    they permit a final Divorce; in the mean while,
    Whoredoms and Adulteries, and worse things than
    these, not only tolerating in themselves and others,
    but cherishing and throwing Men headlong into
    these evils. For although they also disjoin married
    persons from Board and Bed, that is, from all
    conjugal Society and Communion, and this not only
    for Adultery, but for ill Usage, and matrimonial
    Duties deny'd; yet they forbid those thus parted, to
    join in Wedloc with others, but, as I said before, any
    dishonest associating they permit. And they
    pronouce the Bond of Marriage to remain between
    those whom they have thus separated. As if the
    Bond of Marriage, God so teaching and pronouncing,
    were not such a league as binds the married couple
    to all society of life, and communion in divine and
    human things; and so associated keeps them.
    Something indeed out of the later Fathers they may
    pretend for this their Tyranny, especially out of
    Austin and some others, who were much taken with
    a preposterous admiration of single life; yet though
    these Fathers, from the words of Christ not rightly
    understood, taught that it was unlawful to marry
    again, while the former Wife liv'd, whatever cause
    there had bind either of Desertion or Divorce; yet if
    we mark the custom of the Church, and the common
    judgment which both in this time and afterward
    prevail'd, we shall perceive that neither these
    Fathers did ever cast out of the Church any one for
    marrying after a Divorce, approv'd by the Imperial

    Nor only the first Christian Emperors, but the
    latter also, even to Justinian, and after him, did
    grant for certain causes approv'd by Judges, to make
    a true Divorce; which made and confirm'd by Law, it
    might be lawful to marry again: which if it could not
    have bin done without displeasing Christ and his
    Church, surely it would not have bin granted by
    Christian Emperors, nor had the Fathers then wink'd
    at those doings in the Emperors. Hence ye may see
    that Jerom also, though zealous of single life more
    than enough, and such a condemner of second
    Marriage, though after the death of either party, yet
    forc'd by plain equity, defended Fabiola, a noble
    Matron of Rome, who having refus'd her Husband for
    just Causes, was married to another. For that the
    sending of a Divorce to her Husband was not blame-
    worthy, he affirms, because the Man was heinously
    vitious; and that if an adulterous Wife may be
    discarded, an adulterous Husband is not to be kept.
    But that she married again, while yet her Husband
    was alive; he defends in that the Apostle hath said,
    It is better to marry than to burn; and that young
    widows should marry, for such was Fabiola, and
    could not remain in Widow-hood.

    But some one will object that Jerome there adds,
    Neither did she know the vigour of the Gospel,
    wherin all cause of marrying is debarr'd from
    Women, while their Husbands live; and again, while
    she avoided many wounds of Satan, she receiv'd one
    ere she was aware. But let the equal Reader mind
    also what went before; Because, saith he, soon after
    the beginning, there is a rock and storm of
    slanderers opposed against her, I will not praise her
    converted, unless I first absolve her guilty. For why
    does he call them slanderers who accus'd Fabiola of
    marrying again, if he did not judge it a matter of
    Christian Equity and Charity, to pass by and pardon
    that fact, though in his own opinion he held it a
    fault? And what can this mean? I will not praise
    her, unless I first absolve her. For how could he
    absolve her, but by proving that Fabiola, neither in
    rejecting her vitious Husband, nor in marrying
    another, had committed such a sin, as could be
    justly condemned? Nay, he proves both by evident
    reason, and clear testimonies of Scripture, that she
    avoided Sin.

    This also is hence understood, that Jerome by the
    vigour of the Gospel, meant that height and
    perfection of our Saviour's precept, which might be
    remitted to those that burn; for he adds, But if she
    be accused in that she remained not unmarried, I
    shall confess the fault, so I may relate the necessity.
    If then he acknowledg'd a necessity, as he did,
    because she was yound, and could not live in
    Widowhood, certainly he could not impute her
    second Marriage to her much blame: but when he
    excuses her out of the Word of God, does he not
    openly declare his thoughts, that the second
    Marriage of Fabiola was permitted her by the Holy
    Ghost himself, for the necessity which he suffer'd,
    and to shun the danger of Fornication, though she
    went somewhat aside from the vigour of the Gospel?
    But if any urge that Fabiola did public penance for
    her second Marriage, which was not imposed but for
    great faults; 'tis answer'd, she was not enjoin'd to
    this penance, but did it of her own accord, and not
    till after her second Husband's death. As in the time
    of Cyprian, we read that many were wont to do
    voluntary penance for small faults, which were not
    liable to excommunication.

    Manly Dominion by Chanski

    Peter expresses incredulity that Chanski was writing about men only in Manly Dominion. Here is another review of the book from 9 Marks.

    I confess, I am confused about whether this is about the stewardship of the planet by humans or the dominion of the male over everything and everybody else. I went back and forth on this, but evidently a "nice guy" is a "wimp eunuch" in Chanski's view, and "husbanding" - and this means in marriage, not in creation - is a "crucial endeavor requiring manly dominion."

    The reviewer writes,
      We are a generation of wimps raised by mystics.

      Such are many Christian men today. Exaggerated piety, deficient manliness, and outright cowardice have conspired to bring about the current state of affairs.
      I can say that is true from my own life. Many a decision has left me paralyzed. Which girl to pursue? Which job to take? Which pair of socks to wear? So it is for much of my generation. From the great to the small, we confront the decisions of life with a position of weakness, believing that no decision should be made unless

      i) direct revelation has unquestionably led us to it (in which case we may cite divine providence as the reason behind our decision, should said decision prove disastrous)
      ii) every conceivable factor points to it (in which case we can blame each factor, should said decision proves disastrous).

      This is a sad picture indeed.

      How welcome, then, is Mark Chanski’s Manly Dominion. Chanski, a Reformed Baptist pastor from Holland, Michigan, has penned this text to encourage the wimpy-hearted to think, pray, and act like men.

      According to Chanski, contemporary Christian masculinity lacks the will to take dominion of the earth, that mandate which rang first in Adam’s ears as recorded in Genesis 1:28. Chanski summarizes his central argument on page 18 by exhorting the reader to recognize that "Man is to aggressively dominate his environment, instead of allowing his environment to dominate him." He does this only by the grace of God: "Subduing labor achieves its goals only by divine enablement" (47).

      Chanski understands that men will only act out manly dominion through the power of God himself. With that power before them, men are to act. "I have not been assigned to stare out my bedroom, living room, or office window, passively daydreaming about what I might do, if only there weren’t so many obstacles. Rather I am to get out there, so help me God, and plan it, clear it, and do it, with all my might, to the glory of God" (18).

      Chanski’s thesis is itself aggressive, scriptural, and invigorating. He combines biblical study with a vibrant collection of stories, historical examples, and personal testimony to lay out the importance of acting courageously in one’s work, decision-making, spiritual life, and romance. Manly Dominion will be of great help to pastors in their efforts to encourage strong male leadership in local churches, especially in the following areas.

      Living Industriously

      Men have been indoctrinated to believe that work is bad. We have been trained by commercials, music, movies, and television shows to be lazy and passive. Chanski cuts the cultural attitude no quarter. Countering the spirit of disgruntled aimlessness, he writes, "In contrast, we ought to view ourselves as men of destiny, each created by the Lord and placed in this garden, in this world, with a very important task to accomplish" (58).
      Indeed, "Each of us has been endowed with talents and opportunities to accomplish great things in the Lord’s world" (59).

      Chanski gives us the big picture behind all of life here, articulating that God has given us gifts to accomplish meaningful work for him while we are here. This is a helpful point for the pastor trying to figure out how to counter secular gender theory with its emphasis on passive masculinity. Give ‘em Chanski, and watch them come to life.

      Making Decisions

      Chanski is equally helpful on the subject of decision-making, a matter that many men struggle with, as the introduction noted. Many of us are good at analyzing. Fewer of us are good at deciding.

      We can trace this failure rate to laziness, a fear of mistakes, and improper notions of guidance. Chanski tackles this collective attitude in his chapter on providence when he writes,

      In decision-making we must not adopt an unscriptural, mystical model that results in our passively permitting ourselves to be pushed around by our environment—like a four-ball. Instead, in circumstances where we are biblically allowed and authorized to press forward, let us humbly, prayerfully, and aggressively seek to do the pushing around (96).

      These words are helpful for all men today, but they may be particularly helpful for pastors. Chanski reminds all Christian men, pastors included, to make decisions and shoulder the consequences, good or bad, that come. When pastors live out these words, they create a culture of courage in their church and provide a model of leadership that commands respect and promises emulation. This, not passivity or fear, accords with the biblical testimony on this subject: "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (2 Tim 1:7).

      Shepherding Wives

      Here’s how Chanski diagnoses the marital temperature of many homes:
      The constant imbibing of feminism, mixing together with man’s native sinfulness, has resulted in an epidemic of passive-purple-fourballism in modern marriages. Men have permitted themselves to be emasculated into a company of wimp eunuchs, who believe it should be their goal to strive toward being passive nice guys in their homes (167).

      That’s spot-on. My generation was raised with men like Steve Martin’s character in Father of the Bride as role models. Martin’s character was more of a clueless baby than a manly man. This model of masculinity, repeated many times over in the culture, has transferred to many Christian homes today.

      To counter this trend, Chanski urges, "We’ve got to reject modern thinking and take up biblical thinking. Without apology, the Scriptures teach that the man is to be the leader in his marriage and in his home. Husbanding is a crucial endeavor requiring manly dominion" (168). How important these words are for the pastor seeking to instill a biblical understanding of marriage amidst a culture where men were taught either to be distant and solemn (as in the 50s and 60s) or silly and weak (as in the 70s onward). Chanski’s words will help pastors to teach the men of their churches to reject laziness and to take action to care spiritually and otherwise for their wives and children.

    I have to ask if there isn't some other word besides "dominion" that would serve as the opposite of "laziness."