Monday, September 17, 2007

Council for Biblical Hierarchy

I do earnestly appeal to you brethren to restore the people to their proper position in God's appointed and good hierarchical design, so that in God's will they may fulfill the submissive role under the leadership and authority of a unelected ruler. The following are matters of great concern to the church.

Puritans seek to retain an evangelical base while at the same time modifying Biblical interpretation to be sympathetic to the concerns of the people's movement. However, in order to embrace both, Puritans need to compromise the Bible. Puritanism therefore has become a theological crossing point between conservative evangelical theology and liberalism ... Puritanism and Christianity are like thick oil and water, their very natures dictate that the cannot be mixed.

We uphold as truth that men were created by God as equal in dignity, value, essence and human nature, but also distinct in role whereby one man was given the responsibility of loving authority over the other men, and the other men were to offer willing, glad-hearted and submissive assistance to the one. Gen. 1:26-27 makes clear that men are equally created as God's image, and so are, by God's created design, equally and fully human. But, as Romans 13:1 says , their humanity would find expression differently, in a relationship of complementarity, with many men functioning in a submissive role under the leadership and authority of one man.

Passages such as Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 exhibit the fact that God's created intention of appropriate absolute rulership and authority should now, in Christ, be fully affirmed, both in the state and in the church. Men are to submit to their ruler in the model of Christ's submitting to his father, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps. Monarchy, then, is seen to be restored in the Christian community as men endeavor to express their common humanity according to God's originally created and good hierarchical design.
    Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

    Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:13-21

    1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. Romans 13.

    Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD's anointed. 1 Sam. 24:10
Therefore, the monarch is the LORD's anointed. This holds true not only for the monarch that belongs to Him, but any ruler which God himself has allowed to have authority over you.
    Now royal unction gives no grace, but a just title only, in Regem, "to be king" that is all, and no more. It is the administration to govern, not the gift to govern well: the right of ruling, not the ruling right. It includes nothing but a due title; it excludes nothing but usurption. Who is anointed? On whom the right rests. Who is ununctus " He that hath it not? Suppose Nimrod, who cared for no anointing thrust himself in, and by violence usurped the throne; came in rather like a ranger over a forest, than a father over a family. He was no anointed, nor any that so cometh in.

    But on the other side; David, or he that first beginneth a royal race, is as the head; on him is that right of ruling first shed; from him it runs down to the next, and so still, even to the lowest borders of his lawful issue. Remember Job, Reges in solio collosat in perpetuum. It is for ever. God's claim never forfeits; His character never to be wiped out, or scraped out, nor Kings lose their right, no more than Patriarchs did their fatherhood. Lancelot Andrewes, 1610.
We learn by this that although God has created all men to be equal in dignity, only one has the administration of government. It is not based on the gift of leadership but the role of leadership. The monarch has the role of authority, and men have the submissive role.

The monarch ruleth over other men, as a father over his family, that common human dignity shall be expressed in all men by their partaking in the submissive role of Christ. For if men are not in submission to an authority over which they have no control, they will not share in the suffering of Christ and so they will be saved, but as by fire. Their works will be consumed, for they have had no part in Christ on earth.

It is seen then that "rule by the people, and for the people" is a preversion of the image of God who created humans, in all ways, to reflect the hierarchy of God's design. For if men do not submit to hierarchy, then they miss God's perfect plan. "Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." Rom. 13:2

Men need to be called to repentance and must place themselves under the authority of the servant leadership of a monarch whom God has appointed. Men must give up pursuing leaders of their own appointing and humble themselves before God's will. For if men serve only a leader which they can later depose, they make a mockery of the perfect design of hierarchy which God intended for mankind.

24 comments:

Ruud Vermeij said...

Ingenious! :-)

J. K. Gayle said...

Lo, now thou speakest openly and utterest no allegory.

Long live our King (God-text-approved), and may I (born a man, if a mere male, lucky me) live always in beautiful silent submission and lovely abject obedience to whatever (wacky thing) His Majesty desires and commands.

voxstefani said...

Flawless victory!

Clearly, you win at life. :-)

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I think there is something to be said for Christian ultraconservatism.

Democracy has its downsides.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Ah, you wish to increase the powers of her majesty.

codepoke said...

I had to link this one - too good. (You ought to get another 3 visitors now. :-)

I don't know why the trackback isn't working.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks, guys, I would like to say that I had a lot of fun writing this but I lifted most of it right off the CBMW site and only tweaked a word here and there.

Josh said...

I think this post thwarts the goal of the egalitarian position. To be in earnest for the Church to come together on this debate would be to seek the peace and take one another seriously with grace. Truly, this does not seem beneficial to either position.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Josh,

I think you misunderstand. This is not a mockery, this is completely serious, in a slightly humourous way. I have taken real texts from Lancelot Andrewes that few people are aware of, straight from his sermons. Then I have taken real text off of CBMW and put in men and monarchs instead of women and men. Nothing in the least disrespectful has been written. It is all text taken in all seriousness from somewhere else.

The fact is that there was this teaching about the monarchy as a just hierarchy, and there is now a teaching about marriage as a just hierarchy. It is very legitimately comparable. I felt that it was very relevant, and since in my readings of the English Civil War I was a little more in favour of the royalists, and rather fond of Andrewes writing, you must understand this as a very respectful and gentle sort of spoof on my part, a characterization of complementarians with something I was rather fond of, although I would not promote the power of the monarchy nowadays.

BTW, there is a complementarian who has commented and has I believe seen the humour in this.

I am sorry if you were offended. Do you have any idea how women feel when confronted with being treated as less, and as deserving restrictions as complementarians do. It is very painful, not at all a gentle or nice thing, but extremely distressing.

A complementarian may be kind to his wife and compensate her for her loss of rights, but he can do nothing to assuage the feelings of other single women who face restrictions in career choice and feel that they are looked down on as lacking in authority, all for the sake of someone else's favourite interpration of scriptures.

Josh said...

I am not offended at all. If only for the sake of humor, I still do not find this beneficial to the debate (maybe it was not meant to benefit the debate but for the humor of it, and if so never mind my previous comment).

Besides that, the correlation between societal governance and the marriage relationship is a hard case to make. I do not think for a moment that marriage should ever go the way of cultural norms but the way of Christ and his church. When marriage runs along with cultural norms I see a woman has to walk so far behind her husband because she is not equal in status (and there are many other cultures where one can see this). Marriage is a God-ordained institution. Therefore, the structure of it should never change.

I do not know what it feels like for a woman to be treated as less (I assume you mean less human, important, a child of God). I am certain it hurts very much and can understand your distress.

As for rights, I think a clear and full understanding agreement of what rights the Bible ascribes to individual human beings is in order.

Facing restrictions in career choice, I'm sure, must be very hard. At the same time, restrictions tend to surface with any career choice. Condescension happens, and I hate it, too. It's wrong. Condescension is either improper use of authority or poor understanding of authority or both I suppose. As for the authority of a man over a woman (this is where you cringe), I do not think it demands inequality of personhood. Similarly, the relationship of teacher/student and parent/child do not detract from each person's status as a child of God. Our status as adopted co-heirs with Christ is what it's all about, right? In the end, we all receive the crown of life. So I don't think anyone is least here.

Now, (please don't hate me) how is a woman teaching Hebrew syntax and exegesis to a women-only class less important (or worse than) a woman teaching Hebrew syntax and exegesis to a mixed class?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Josh,

You write,

I am not offended at all. If only for the sake of humor, I still do not find this beneficial to the debate (maybe it was not meant to benefit the debate but for the humor of it, and if so never mind my previous comment).

The submission to gov't was mandated in 1 Peter 2, and Romans 13, so it is part of the debate. Men were supposed to be in submission to their ruler, no matter how wrong he or she was. But the English, American and French revolutions changed all that and Puritans were behind the change.

Besides that, the correlation between societal governance and the marriage relationship is a hard case to make.

Not if you read 1 Peter.

I do not think for a moment that marriage should ever go the way of cultural norms but the way of Christ and his church.

But Christ and the church is not a human to human relationship. Monarchs are human and husbands are human. Both should be benevolent but are not. Both should be deposed if abusive, but this is difficult to control. Because of the pragmatic issues regarding abuse in gov't, gov't has become democratic and subject to the will of the people. This was the big issue of the 17th century and the social underpinnings of the King James Bible. It was the driving force behind the Bible, to preserve the hierarchic arrangement in gov't. This is known history.

Now the issue is the hierarchy of the male in marriage and in the church. And this has affected translations.

We see in 1 Tim. 2:12, that the KJV has "usurp authority" and the ESV, HCSB, has "exercize authority". So the ESV and HCSB have been shaped, as translations, by the present gender debate. This is all of valid historical interest.

When marriage runs along with cultural norms I see a woman has to walk so far behind her husband because she is not equal in status (and there are many other cultures where one can see this). Marriage is a God-ordained institution. Therefore, the structure of it should never change.

But how do we know that God set up marriage to be a hierarchy? How do we know this is not part of the curse? God set up marriage as an institution, and I support marriage and I support gov't. But I do not support hierarchy because men are not benevolent. That is why we do not support an absolute monarchy.

The fact is that between 1 out of 5 or 1 out of 10 women are abused physically. Since this cannot be controlled, it should be compensated for by men giving up power. This is the model of Christ, to surrender power, and humble oneself.

It also is in accord with the command to do to others whatever you would like to have done to you.

I do not know what it feels like for a woman to be treated as less (I assume you mean less human, important, a child of God). I am certain it hurts very much and can understand your distress.

Thank you. I appreciate your understanding.

As for rights, I think a clear and full understanding agreement of what rights the Bible ascribes to individual human beings is in order.

The scriptures teach submission to gov't. Do men understand that they should not vote against the gov't?

Facing restrictions in career choice, I'm sure, must be very hard. At the same time, restrictions tend to surface with any career choice. Condescension happens, and I hate it, too. It's wrong. Condescension is either improper use of authority or poor understanding of authority or both I suppose. As for the authority of a man over a woman (this is where you cringe), I do not think it demands inequality of personhood. Similarly, the relationship of teacher/student and parent/child do not detract from each person's status as a child of God. Our status as adopted co-heirs with Christ is what it's all about, right? In the end, we all receive the crown of life. So I don't think anyone is least here.

Now, (please don't hate me) how is a woman teaching Hebrew syntax and exegesis to a women-only class less important (or worse than) a woman teaching Hebrew syntax and exegesis to a mixed class?

Women are on the committees of very few Bible translations. Women do not decide doctrine, and so women, lacking any influence in doctrine, do not see value in studying Hebrew as a bunch of women. I don't even know if it has been done recently

Even Paula studied Hebrew to work with Jerome, and that was many centuries ago.

The real problem is that only a few men really excel, so the women who are good at Hebrew would have to submit to the doctrine of those who are not so good. There is the example of the many men who do not read the footnotes in Grudem's book Ev. Feminism and Biblical Truth, and are simply not aware that there is no data supporting the meaning "exercize authority" for authentein in 1 Tim. 2:12. A woman may know this, but how does she teach this to men, if she can't teach men. It is hard for women to read articles and posts which quote false information about this word. But

Kostenberger is aware of this difficulty and has developed a new grammatical thesis to combat the traditional interpretation, that 1 Tim. 2:12 has "usurp authority". And why should a woman not study Kostenberger's thesis and show that it is faulty.

Why should women not engage with men on par. Why should older women have less authority than younger and less educated men?

Anyway, you see some women see men as equals and friends, but believe that power corrupts and men are endangered in their souls by being given too much power. I would like to see men preserved from this.

Josh said...

Your statements SEEM to be based on personal opinion, i.e. you don't like the way the Bible has been interpreted for so long. The problem, however, is that your expertise is in the translation of Greek texts, so shouldn't you be basing your statements on the perspicuity of Scripture (unless you do not hold to that). I would appreciate your criticism of Grudem's supposed errors moreso if your criticism ran a little wider. Certainly, you may know of leading egalitarian writers, who make grammatical and lexical errors in making their claims. Or are they without error? Inerrant.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Your statements SEEM to be based on personal opinion, i.e. you don't like the way the Bible has been interpreted for so long.

Not at all. I am looking at some very significant changes since the King James Bible. For example, why has authentein been changed from "usurp" authority, to "exercise authority"?

Grudem writes,

Baldwin found 82 occurences of authenteō in ancient Greek literature and found that there are no negative connotations attached to this word in its appearances in literature around the time of the New Testament. In literature contemporary to the New Testament, authenteō mean “to exercise authority,” not “to dominate,” “to usurp authority,” or “to kill.” Since his study, no other examples have been found in Greek literature to counter his conclusions (see Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, pp. 307-318).

But only 2 occurences of authentein were contemporary. Grudem points out in the footnotes, page 680, that one means “compel”.

The other is reconstructed from a fragment, it doesn’t actually exist, but in any case, Baldwin got it wrong. The phrase with authentew possibly in it, is the one translated “powerful rulers”, and not the one translated as “those in authority.” page 679.

In fact, Grudem quoted Baldwin's error. He did not check the original documents. I don't trust either egalitarian or complementarian scholarship myself so I checked the source document.

The really interesting facts are that the Latin Vulgate had dominare in 1 Tim. 2:12 and the King James had "usurp" authority, which means to take unlawfully. In my post I mention Lancelot Andrewes. He preached a sermon in 1610 in which he severely ciriticized anyone who would be a "usurper" that is take power without right. So the obvious and clear sense of 1 Tim. 2:12 is that a woman should not take power without the right to do so. She should not take take over from men.

In other places women are called to submit, along with slaves and citizens. Clearly we no longer hold to an absolute monarchy, nor slavery. I am not distancing myself from any Christian group here. So, I am saying that the transformation required by Christ's teaching is that hierarchy is overturned by the command to behave towards others as you would have them behave towards you. If men are free from absolute monarchy, and slaves from masters, then it is a justice issue, that in marriage also submission be mutual as Eph. 5:21 teaches.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

PS Both egalitarian and complementarian authors make mistakes, I would assume. I do my own research and check original sources.

Josh said...

What original sources do you check?

Why do the Latin Vulgate and the King James hold so much weight in your opinion?

When you "cite" Grudem, your statements are inconsistent with the content, purpose and context of his statements. Then, you mix in your findings. For the purpose of greater understanding, I would appreciate an exact quote and citation, then a brief explanation of your differences of which you cite evidence in support of your opinion. Surely, you do not agree with the Kroegers' argumentation.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Sorry. I missed this. Do you have a copy of Grudem's book?

Regarding the one occurence meaning compel, page 677 and 680,

BGU 1208

Translation by John R. Werner, Wycliffe Bible Translators, letter as quoted by George W. Knight III. ...

"I exercised authority over him, and he consented to provide for Calatytis the Boatman on terms of full fare, within the hour."

In the footnotes at the bottom of the same page,


The translation of the text is disputed ... Preisigke ... lists this under "herr sein, fest auftreten' (to master, to act confidently) Liddell, Scott, Jones lists this under "to have full power or authority over." R. B. Payne, implies that the translation of Paul D. Peterson is superior: "when I had prevailed upon him to provide,." Of Payne's arguments the last is the most important - the use of προς. Payne writes that this use is "denoting a hostile or friendly relationship-a) hostile against, with after verbs of disputing, etc. .... This passage is about a hostile relationship; his action is called "insolence" in the text. None of the other uses of προς in the over three columns devoted to it in BAG seem to fit the text." It is difficult to evaluate the strength of Payne's argument. For all extant uses of verbal αυθεντεω that are transitive in the Greek-nearly all are followed by a genitive noun, only twice by an accusative noun, once by the preposition περι, once by the preposition εις, and here alone by the preposition προς. However, the meaning of "compel" does seem appropriate.


I'll give info on the only other occurence of authentein in a bit.

The most important thing is to see that the action in this text for authentein was called "insolence" and Grudem thinks it means "compel."

Werner did give it the meaning of "exercise authority over" but only in the context of being asked to contribute to an article by Knight to prove that this was the meaning. I think we can discount that.

There is one other example but it is a fragment. I will find the argument for that in a bit and type it out.

I hope this helps.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

The Latin and the Vulgate prove that up until very recently this verse said "usurp authority." All the evidence points to "dominate or usurp authority".

Grudem said that complementarianism could not be taught from the TNIV because it had "assume authority" in this verse. So Grudem must mean that the complementarian position cannot be taught from the KJV either. This shows that I am in the traditional position of someone who holds to traditional translations. I am not someone who is influenced by modern feminism away from the scripture. I find, on the contrary, that complementarians are influenced by culture to want to change scripture to make it say what they want.

Josh said...

Thank you for your hospitality and entertaining my questions. I'd like to pause in this current stream and ask a somewhat related question while keeping it clear of the gender issues. And, I'd like to think with you on it, if you are up for it. It will require strict attention to unbiased responses on each person's part.

Abstract: What is authority?

Concrete: What are good examples of authority?

Suzanne McCarthy said...

You ask a very powerful question. For Luther authority derived from baptism. I'll be back later on this.

There are very few scripture verses that mention authority per se with ministry or teaching.

One has to derive authority from other scriptures. What verses do complementarians get their views on authority from? I don't even know this.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys you overlooked the obvious. It is the Holy Roman Catholic Church. We are waiting and praying for our separated brothers to return. Peace be with you all.
Peter

Anonymous said...

Josh,

You said:

As for the authority of a man over a woman (this is where you cringe), I do not think it demands inequality of personhood. Similarly, the relationship of teacher/student and parent/child do not detract from each person's status as a child of God.

I work in the teaching field, and I have seen many good caring and Godly teachers go off their rockers and tear into children. That's the problem with authority, even if you really care about someone else your position of authority can blind you to seeing the harm you doing to them.

Anonymous said...

Second comment to Josh,

Being in the teaching field also allows me to see how truly caring parents unintentionally hurt their children because of the power inbalance in the relationship. Even Christian parents can seriously damage their children emotionally because their position of authority blinds them to the results of their behavior.

Anonymous said...

Third comment to Josh (and everyone else),

I work with behavioral and social and emotionally disturbed children. The big secret everyone seems to be keeping is that in teacher-child or parent-child problems, the one with the most authority wins. Even if the teacher is a Christian, or the parents are Christians, being the humans that they are they sometimes unintentionally their damage children. But because teachers and parents are the ones in authority, nothing gets done to stop the damage until a therapist or social worker who knows how to work with people in authority gets involved in the situation. If the therapist or social worker does not know how to approach the person with the authority in a manner that that person will accept, nothing gets done at all and the damage continues. Quite often the only way the therapist or the social worker can get the teacher or parent to listen is to baby them extensively until they become willing to listen to what they do not want to hear.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks Anon,

I work with special needs children too and I agree with you, there are enormous problems with most notions of authority.