Thursday, December 31, 2009

A common sense of humanity

Here is an excellent video on abuse against men. HT John Hobbins I really like the way she emphasizes that if something is unacceptable and inappropriate it doesn't matter if it is against men or women. We must be sensitive to both.

I like the sense of empathy across gender lines, the sense of women helping men with issues of abuse against men. Its all about a common sense of humanity.

However, I am once again blocked from commenting on this video on John's website because I recently remarked to him that Dallas Theological School has a doctrinal statement that God chooses men only to be teachers and leaders, based on Eph. 4:8,

But John responded,
    I do not agree with you that religious formations which exclude women from some kinds of leadership - you give the example of DTS - are thereby sexist. At the very least, that is not how they see it, and you show no inclination to even try to understand their point of view.
Many Christians share this view, found at Dallas, that a common sense of humanity does not apply to church leadership, and it most certainly does not apply to marriage either. In marriage, women are responders only, living as assistants to their leader husbands.

While John suggests that I try to understand the viewpoint of DTS, it happens that DTS has had a profound influence on the congregations I attended for 30 years. I do understand DTS, and it is not about a common sense of humanity.

The intense alienation between men and women, fostered by doctrinally based discrimination against women, is a huge block to men and women being able to pool resources and create a common front to fight abuse in the home, whether against women or men.

I look forward to a time when Christian men and women can move beyond the current rhetoric and care for each other as brothers and sisters. I need to become more sensitive to how many men suffer psychological abuse either in the church or in the home.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rights and the Christian: The rights that Paul claimed

Paul, the apostle, both stated his rights and claimed them. Some rights he gave up voluntarily because he was able to provide for himself. Here is what he says,
    This is my defence to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who at any time pays the expenses for doing military service? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not get any of its milk?
Here Paul argues that an apostle has the right to food and drink and to travel with a wife. These rights are based not only on human calculation, but also on the law of Moses,
    Do I say these things as a human? or doesn't the law say the same? 1 Cor. 9:8
In 1 Cor. 7 Paul makes it clear that both husband and wife have the right to physical intercourse with a spouse. Therefore, an apostle has the right to food, drink, companionship and sexual intercourse. These things are seen a human rights, not only rights declared by God in the law but rights that we are also aware of as humans.

Paul does not use all of his rights but he is careful to lrefer to them nonetheless. In Acts 22:25 Paul also claims his legal rights as a Roman citizen.
    And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
Paul establishes three foundations as a basis for rights - our humanity, the law of Moses and the civil law. He claims the right to eat, drink, have a sexual partner, be reimbursed for his work and not to be beaten unless he is condemned of a crime.

Now here is that horrifying passage in 1 Peter 2,
    19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
I don't think that there is any suggestion that it is wrong to demand the right to be treated properly. Unfortunately the scriptures do not spell out the rights of slaves to eat, drink, get married, have a sexual partner, raise their children and not be beaten.

We see that basic human rights are in view. There is nothing wrong with demanding basic human rights within the civil law. But there is little about expanding these rights to those who don't have them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spiritual Abuse Recovery

Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness

By Barbara M. Orlowski

What factors contribute to active Christians in ministry leaving their church and becoming exiting statistics? Every year dedicated Christian people leave churches because of spiritual abuse. The stories of people who left their home church because of a negative and hurtful experience paint a picture of a widespread occurrence which beckons consideration by church leaders and church congregants alike.

Spiritual abuse, the misuse of spiritual authority to maltreat followers in the Christian Church, is a complex issue. This book shows how people processed their grief after experiencing spiritual abuse in their local church and how they rediscovered spiritual harmony. Their spiritual journey shows how one may grow through this devastating experience.

This book offers a thoughtful look at the topic of spiritual recovery from clergy abuse through the eyes of those who have experienced it. It invites church leaders to consider this very real dysfunction in the Church today and aims to demonstrate a path forward to greater freedom in Christ after a season of disillusionment with church leadership.

Endorsements for Back Cover

"In an age of increasing calls for strong church leadership, this book is a gift to church leaders and those who have been severely hurt and abused in our churches. Through careful research and an insider's perspective, Barb has opened up both pathways for healing from church abuse and insights for leadership to ensure that potential future abuse is stopped."
—Alan Jamieson, author of A Churchless Faith

"What we refer to as spiritual abuse was a concern for Jesus in his earthly ministry and it is a common problem today. It is, therefore, surprising that more attention is not given to it by today's Christian community. Barb Orlowski, however, does take it seriously as she offers insight into the causes of bad church experiences and how to recover from them. Her counsel alerts people to the dangers of spiritual abuse, and if leaders hear her, they will be less likely to become part of the problem . . . I encourage you to read it."
—Ken Blue, author of Healing Spiritual Abuse

"Dr. Orlowski's research has provided a balance for various perspectives on the experience of woundedness. She listens to the voices of the wounded and lets them inform us of their reality of feeling disappointment and disenfranchisement, tragedy and turbulence in the Church . . . For recovery, Dr. Orlowski gives an excellent starting point—the voice of the wounded—and follows that with the grace of God demonstrated through hearing the voice of God and basing recovery on the Word of God."
—Kirk E. Farnsworth, author of Wounded Workers

Execution in China

URUMQI, ChinaChina brushed aside international appeals Tuesday and executed by lethal injection a British drug smuggler who relatives say was mentally unstable and unwittingly lured into crime.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "appalled" at the execution of 53-year old Akmal Shaikh — China's first of a European citizen in nearly 60 years. His government summoned the Chinese ambassador in London to express its anger.

China defended its handling of the case, saying there had not been documentary proof Shaikh was mentally ill. Beijing also criticized Brown's comments, but said it hoped the case would not harm bilateral relations. The Foreign Ministry called on London not to create any "obstacles" to better ties.

Shaikh's daughter Leilla Horsnell was quoted by the BBC and other British media outlets as saying she was "shocked and disappointed that the execution went ahead with no regards to my dad's mental health problems, and I struggle to understand how this is justice."

The execution is the latest sign of how China's communist government, with its rising global economic and political clout, is increasingly willing to defy Western complaints over its justice system and human rights record.

Rights and the Christian: Women in Creation

I am currently interested in pursuing the language of "rights" as it is represented in scripture and in contemporary statements such as the Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. Do Christians have rights, as Christians, or just as citizens of the world? If Christians do have rights, what can we say about them? And, do women, as human beings, have equal rights to men; but, as Christians, have lesser rights than men?

These are some of the questions I am asking myself. I will post excerpts from a variety of sources, but here is one I don't want to lose. In this passage women do not have equal rights with men,

    The idea of "one flesh" must be given proper emphasis, especially in light of the common understanding of chapter one's emphasis on equality. The term, "equal," is never used in these two chapters, but "one flesh" is used. Unity of the two distinct roles of the man and the woman is more strongly emphasized than equality. The emphasis is not on two individuals who are equal, leading according to their individual strengths, but rather on two individuals who are "one," the man leading and the woman complementing.

    The intent in the garden is not to have a man and a woman co-ruling with equal rights, opportunities, and authority based on perceived strengths, but rather to have a man and a woman co-ruling, with the man as leader and the woman coming alongside of him in his tasks based on the mandate of the Creator. Their "togetherness" is not a 50-50 relationship, comprised of two individuals who maximize their effectiveness by focusing on strengths to determine who takes the lead, but rather a complementary relationship with the man leading and the woman completing under the authority of God. Again, the man and the woman will know joy most fully as they learn to live in the manner God created them to live.
Gender and Sanctification: From Creation to Transformation by David Lee Talley

Clearly, in this passage, women do not have equal rights with man. Man has the right to be a leader and decision-maker, and woman has the right to help man.

I will be looking at many other kinds of rights in the future, not only gender-based rights.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pogorelich playing Scarlatti: K20

Meditating on Mary

Joel has a post on Mary, suitable for this season, which brings together many threads, including a translation from Kurk Gayle on the incarnation, and an excerpt from Wisdom of Solomon. I don't have a Christmas post this year, but these two stand out. I see in them many of the snippets of conversation which have came up in the dialogue between us.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What happened to Wrebbit?

Does anyone know what happened to the Wrebbit 3 D puzz sets? We used to buy one or two every year and build them over Christmas. Sadly, I am not a collector and eventually our structures were deconstructed and sent to a thrift shop.

Now I find that the ones we had are collectors items, and oddly I can't find one in the stores. Is it just me, or have they disappeared from the market?

Mary Robinson on the subjugation of women

I feel that Mary Robinson speaks in a more authentic way to the circumstances of women. While Carter tries to confront issues relating to the authority of the scripture, Robinson simply explains that male religious leaders must take part in creating euality for women within the religious framework.

I noticed that Carter mentioned both the Southern Baptists and the Catholics. I would guess that he speaks so confidently about Catholicism as a locus of subjugation for women because of his interaction with Mary Robinson.

Many may think that it is only a church which self-identifies as patriarchal that subjugates women. However, many women are now identifying the complementarians dictate that while men have authority, women have submission, as a locus of subjugation for women. See Submission Tyranny and Women in Ministry.

Jimmy Carter continues his campaign

On Dec. 11, 2009 Jimmy Carter addressed the parliamnent of World's Religions on the issue of the subjugation or women. Here is the video.

President Jimmy Carter addresses the Parliament from Parliament of Religions on Vimeo.

Here is the full text of his speech and an article by Nicholas Kristof in the NY Times.

Some powerful excerpts:
    Every generic religious text encourages believers to respect essential human dignity, yet some selected scriptures are interpreted to justify the derogation or inferiority of women and girls, our fellow human beings.

    The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.

    Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views and set a new course that demands equal rights for women and men, girls and boys.

One of the goals of this site is to present the fact that those who interpret the Bible have a choice as to how to do so. Often they choose an interpretation that harms women, when two equally valid interpretations exist side by side. This is not acceptable.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I love you

I got to thinking of the general category of exegetical fallacies, and remembered the common one that agape refers specifically to Christian love, to the love of God for humanity. But actually agape just means "love" as in s'agapo - I love you.

So here are a few tidbits of modern Greek to add to your repertoire. I am just going to cut and paste them from other sites, so I hope they are accurate.

M' areseis = I like you

S' agapo = I love you

Kego s'agapo = I love you too.

M' agapas? = Do you love me?

Agapi mou = My love, Darling

Filise me = kiss me

Fili = kiss

Filos / F ili = friend (male) / (female).


Se latrevo = I adore you.

Se thelo = I want you.

More phrases from

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Universalism in Luke 2:14

John has a collection of posts on Luke 2:14 and now the discussion developing there and on the BBB is about whether peace on earth was intended for all (hu)mankind or only for those people who please God (or some such thing).

Universalism seems to be the topic of the moment and Scot McKnight is going to start a series on The Evangelical Universalist soon. David Congdon blogs about Christocentric Missional Universalism. HT Chris Tilling. exegetes 1 Tim. 5:8

    Another way to serve your wife is to provide for her. This provision first involves assuming responsibility for meeting the material needs of the family. 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. Dennis Rainey

    The headship of men in the church and home is rooted everywhere in Scripture in protection and provision. This is why the apostle Paul calls the man who will not provide for his family "worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tim 5:8 ESV). Russell Moore

    Does the Bible not speak of manhood specifically in the terms some of these students provide (Matt 7:9-11; Eph 6:4; 1 Tim 5:8)? Robert Sagers

    Husbands and fathers are specifically given the role of provider in the New Testament (Eph 5:29; 1 Tim 5:8). Stuart Scott

    And even widows or women whose husbands have left them are not expected to leave their domain and children to work outside the home. Paul declared this in 1 Timothy 5:8 John McArthur

    In order to honor the Lord by filling his quiver, the man must take the burden of provision for the family squarely upon his shoulders. Though this may be difficult at times, he is doing what he is called to do (see 1 Tim. 5:8 and Titus 2 for starters). Owen Strachan

    She is not the nourisher. She is not the provider. You're to do that. That is the man's responsibility.

    And if a man doesn't do that, according to 1 Timothy 5:8, he is denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Throughout Scripture the man is always the provider as Christ is the provider for His church. That's key. We provide nothing. The church provides nothing. We just receive Christ's provision, protection, preservation, His care, His nourishing, His cherishing. It comes to us. In a sense, it's very one- sided. Men, we are to provide that in our homes. John McArthur

Calvin exegetes 1 Tim. 5:8

    8 And if any person do not provide for his own Erasmus has translated it, “If any woman do not provide for her own,” making it apply exclusively to females. But I prefer to view it as a general statement; for it is customary with Paul, even when he is treating of some particular subject, to deduce arguments from general principles, and, on the other hand, to draw from particular statements a universal doctrine. And certainly it will have greater weight, if it apply both to men and to women.

    He hath denied the faith 90 He says that they who do not care about any of their relatives, and especially about their own house, have “denied the faith.” And justly; for there is no piety towards God, when a person can thus lay aside the feelings of humanity. Would faith, which makes us the sons of God, render us worse than brute beasts? Such inhumanity, therefore, is open contempt of God, and denying of the faith.

    Not content with this, Paul heightens the criminality of their conduct, by saying, that he who forgets his own is worse than an infidel This is true for two reasons. First, the further advanced any one is in the knowledge of God, the less is he excused; and therefore, they who shut their eyes against the clear light of God are worse than infidels. Secondly, this is a kind of duty which nature itself teaches; for they are (στοργαὶ φυσικαί) natural affections. And if, by the mere guidance of nature, infidels are so prone to love their own, what must we think of those who are not moved by any such feeling? Do they not go even beyond the ungodly in brutality? If it be objected, that, among unbelievers, there are also many parents that are cruel and savage; the explanation is easy, that Paul is not speaking of any parents but those who, by the guidance and instruction of nature, take care of their own offspring; for, if any one have degenerated from that which is so perfectly natural, he ought to be regarded as a monster.

    It is asked, Why does the Apostle prefer the members of the household to the children? I answer, when he speaks of his own and especially those of his household, by both expressions he denotes the children and grandchildren. For, although children may have been transferred, or may have passed into a different family by marriage, or in any way may have left the house of the parents; yet the right of nature is not altogether extinguished, so as to destroy the obligation of the older to govern the younger as committed to them by God, or at least to take care of them as far as they can. Towards domestics, the obligation is more strict; for they ought to take care of them for two reasons, both because they are their own blood, and because they are a part of the family which they govern. Source

Erasmus exegetes 1 Tim. 5:8

This is Erasmus' paraphrase of 1 Tim. 5:8, (page 27)
    If anyone (7) takes refuge in the church under the pretext of widowhood and sheds in this way her responsibility to her children and grandchildren or to any other member of her family, I not only do not consider her worthy of the bishop's favour but I think that she should be viewed instead as one of those women who have denied the faith of the gospel and consequently are worse than the pagans.
Endnote 7 (pge 265)
    The Vulgate takes this pronoun to be masculine gender 'any man' (DR). In his annotation on 1 Tim. 5:8 (si quis autem suorem) LB VI 940D (first in the 1519 edition of the Novum Testamentum) Erasmus argues that Paul is talking about the widow and cites in support of this interpretation of the Greek indefinite pronoun tis the "Greek Scholia" (by which he means, I think, a catena or a commentary like that of Oecumenius found in one of his Greek manuscripts; cf the note to the Argument on Philemon below) and Ambrosiaster Comm in 1 Tim. 5:8 CSEL 81/3 280:19-23.
Erasmus' Latin translation of 1 Tim. 5:8,
    Quod si qua suis et maxime familiaribus non provider, fidem abnegavit, et est infideli deterior.

    But if anyone (feminine) does not provide for [their]* own and especially [their] family, [that person] denies the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Bibligraphy and notes:

New Testament Scholarship: Paraphrases on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, the Epistles of Peter and Jude, the Epistle of James, the Epistles of John, and the Epistle to the Hebrews by Erasmus, Robert D. Sider, and John J. Bateman page 27

Nouum Testamentum iam quintum accuratissima cura recognitum à Des. Erasmo Roter. cum Annotationibus eiusdem ita locupletatis, ut propémodum opus nouum uideri possit.

* If anyone wants to try and reword this without using the singular 'they' please try it out.

Declaration of Independence from Complementarian Church

and Husband Tyranny

If you have not been following Waneta Dawn's blog, you should. She has just written an excellent statement declaring independence from the tyranny of complementarianism. This is just what women need. Many of us have a trained resistance to declaring ourselves independent of what the church teaches. We think it may end us up in hell, but some of us were living in hell already. It was time to go. It helps to have someone else voice this for us if we have strong imhibitions preventing us from rejecting the damaging traditions that we have inherited.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Luke 2:14

Everyone and his or her dog has posted about Luke 2:14. But I can't agree that Christ only came for those whom God favours and not all of humankind.

I think the main point here is that anthropos needs to be understood as applying univerally to all of mankind. I notice that a lot of other blogs are going with "people" in the restricted sense of only "those people who are favoured." But because of the use of "earth" it seems to me to mean "all people," not just "some people". How about disposing of the plurals altogether and writing,

Glory to God in highest heaven,
And on earth peace
to mankind whom God favours.

It is not poetic and can't replace the KJV in a ritual setting, but at least is does not too severely distort the meaning of the Greek. It leaves no doubt in the mind that God loves all of humankind and not just the favoured few.

Other blogs which discuss this passage are:

Jim West
Kirk Gayle
Shields up

1. In Mark 3:28 we see a precedent set by the ESV of translating the plural of anthropos into English as "man" as a generic for the human race. I don't think "men" functions as a generic any more, so it is really just time to give that one up and get over it.
2. I just reread Kirk's version and I think it hits the nail on the head, but mine is a little more spare.

Monday, December 14, 2009

An interesting definition

This definition of egalitarianism appeared in the sidebar of Parchment and Pen on Dec. 3, during the debate on that blog,

"Theological position held by many Christians (contra complementarianism) believing the Bible does not teach that women are in any sense, functionally or ontologically, subservient to men. Women and men hold positions in society, ministry, and the family according to their gifts, not their gender. The principle of mutual submission teaches that husbands and wives are to submit to each other equally. Prominent egalitarians include Doug Groothuis, Ruth Tucker, William Webb, Gorden Fee, and Linda Belleville."

This is from the doctrinal statement of DTS,

"We believe that divine, enabling gifts for service are bestowed by the Spirit upon all who are saved. While there is a diversity of gifts, each believer is energized by the same Spirit, and each is called to his own divinely appointed service as the Spirit may will. In the apostolic church there were certain gifted men—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers—who were appointed by God for the perfecting of the saints unto their work of the ministry. We believe also that today some men are especially called of God to be evangelists, pastors and teachers, and that it is to the fulfilling of His will and to His eternal glory that these shall be sustained and encouraged in their service for God (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:4–11; Eph. 4:11)."

Erasmus Latin New Testament

I have wanted to look at a version of Erasmus Latin New Testament for some time and now it is possible through the Erasmus Centre. Click on Facsimile and install the plug in if necessary. Its worth it.

Its always interesting to compare the Vulgate with Erasmus and see some significant differences. It was Erasmus, apparently, who decided to translate phobeo in Eph. 5:33 as "reverence" instead of "fear." This is the text which came to influence Calvin's Latin translation, the Beza Latin translation and eventually the KJV. It is the missing link, as it were, between the Greek text and the English.

HT the Amsterdam NT Weblog

Ancient Abbreviations

It is easy enough to find the list of abbreviations in BDAG, if you own it, and perhaps the same for LSJ. However, for those of us using the Liddell Scott Lexicon online, it seems impossible to find the abbreviations.

So here is an excellent source, at the DICCIONARIO GRIEGO-ESPAÑOL on their abbreviations page.

So often, I read somewhere that a word had such and such an origin, where the commenter assumes that lexicon references to occurences of a word are listed in chronological order with the earlier ones being first. This is not the case.

You can now look up a reference at DGE and then plug the name into wikipedia and find out what century the reference belongs to and notice that, lo and behold, the references are listed according to the meaning and use, not according to chronology.