Monday, February 21, 2011

Heiser and Hobbins

Mike Heiser and John Hobbins are engaged in a debate in which Hobbins defends the right of women to be ordained, and Heiser comments,
Actually, I’d describe myself “unconvinced of egalitarian views while being relatively unconcerned over complementarian fears.”But, because of the nature of the debate, I guess that makes me a complementarian, and I’m comfortable with that (since it is the traditional view, it’s also the default view).
Both these posts defy summarizing.

My position is that the different scripture passages do not present one unified view of the role of women in ministry. I do not suggest that these passages are egalitarian, but rather that contemporary categories are irrelevant. What we need to do is analyse whether complementarian arguments are truthful, and if they are not they must be rejected. That's about it for now.

I am waiting to see if Mike Heiser will interact with me.


Kristen said...

It is the fact that he is so "comfortable" that bothers me. I have sent him this message:

All that I desire from you is that you not be so “comfortable” in your position, understanding that though it causes you no hardship, that position does cause real hardship to countless others. If you want to continue to hold the complementarian position, you are free to do so– but please understand the cost and hold it becauce you are fully convinced, not because it’s comfortable to stay there.

Right now, he is insulted that I also called him "privileged." Anyone born male is privileged-- particularly within Christianity. I'm hoping he will see that.

Kristen said...

It is very peculiar to me that with regards to women having to fight complementarian attitudes, Mike says,

"I say to the woman who feel called that she should not be deterred by such things."

And yet he sides with the group that is holding her down, even while telling her not to be deterred by it. That's just -- odd.

Muff Potter said...


Heiser has no intention of interacting with you. His job is maintaining a gender policy that has been law since Constantine and the Nicene Fathers.

If he interacts with you, he risks having to make statements that are no longer neutral and can no longer guarantee him mugwump status.

Suzanne McCarthy said...


Mike and I have had a positive email exchange. I don't predict such things. Even though I find complementarianism to be repugnant, I have had very friendly exchanges with some complementarian bloggers - quite a few actually.

Kristen said...

I have bowed out of the exchange because things got too heated between Heiser and myself. But honestly, I can't stand someone claiming to be "comfortable" with a view that creates difficulties for others which they themselves will never have to deal with.

One point, though, if you continue to engage him, Suzanne. He wants a clear exegetical argument for female ordination. I have never found a clear exegetical basis for the type of priesthood Heiser seems to assume still applies in the New Covenant. If that kind of priesthood still applied, he might have a point. But the NT speaks only of all Christians being "a kingdom of priests," without any exception made for the female sex.

So before he denies any exegetical basis for female priests, he needs to give exegetical support for an exclusive priesthood of any kind in the New Covenant.

Muff Potter said...


You have a gift for dialogue which I do not possess. I would last about 5 minutes with those guys. They fear you because more and more people are beginning to see that their patriarchal tradition is really an emperor with no clothes.