Thursday, March 23, 2006

Poythress and Grudem: Prominence

I feel called tonight to blog on the book, The TNIV and the Gender Neutral Bible Controversy by Vern Poythress and Wayne Grudem. I do not write for your edification but simply that the truth would be brought to light. Certain circumstances have brought me to this.

    "In sum, there are profound spiritual issues involved here – and ultimately, two very different ways of looking at the world. On one side stands feminism and egalitarianism, promoting its own way of salvation and distorting the truth, insisting that there should be no gender-based differences between status, prominence, or authority of one person and another. On the other side stands the teaching of the Bible that God affirms both the honor of all human beings and the God-ordained differences among them, including differences in men’s and women’s roles in marriage (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7) and in the church (1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:2; Matt. 10:2-3).

    Of course, many other ideologies and religions oppose the Bible in other ways, by serving false gods, or by endorsing human oppression. We focus on feminism here, not because it is worse than other false ways, but because it has generated the particular controversy in language that we are discussing."
Here we learn that feminism is not worse than serving false gods, or endorsing human oppression.

    “He” includes both men and women, but does so using a male example as a pictorial starting point. In a subtle way, this use brings along with it an unequal prominence to men and women. Thus feminism attacks it as “unfair.” But in doing so, feminism relies on an egalitarian standard antagonistic to the Bible, for the Bible maintains some gender-based differences between men and women, and, in particular, it uses many male examples and male sample cases to express general truths. Of course, it also uses female examples, though not with the same frequency.
    And we must emphasize again that the Bible does teach the dignity of all human beings. Men and women alike are created in the image of God, and all have fallen into sin. But the Bible also indicates that there are differences in the gifts that God gives them and the roles that he assigns to them in this life. Feminism and egalitarianism fight against those differences.
Here we learn that there are differences in the gifts that God gives men and women, as well as the roles that he assigns them in life. We also learn that 'he' is important because it brings along with it unequal prominence to men and women.

    Husbands are imitators of Christ, and wives of the church which is subject to Christ (Eph. 5:22-33). Yes, the Bible gives honor to all members of the body of Christ (note the importance given to all members of the body in 1 Cor. 12), but it also refutes the erroneous aspects of feminism. Feminism replaces biblical honor with a misguided attempt to wipe out the differences in people with respect to prominence, order, leadership, and representation.
Here we find that men are to be imitators of Christ but women are to be imitators of the church. We learn that biblical honour makes a difference between men and women with respect to prominence, order, leadership and representation.

The quotes above are from the online TNIV and the GNBC. In order to locate these quotes within the text, you can follow the link and using edit>find on page> and input two or three words from the quote.

The Bible teaches,

    Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself and became obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!
    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5 - 11 NIV


Talmida said...

I'm almost afraid to read your blog, Suzanne -- I don't want to know that guys like this a) exist, and b) consider themselves Christian.

What's the difference between a feminist and an egalitarian?

Erin said...

Powerful stuff here! So glad I found you...

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Here are some comments that D.A. Carson, a complementarian scholar, has made about the work of Poythress and Grudem. These quotes are taken directly out of P & G's book. Why they have reproduced them, I don't know. Supposedly to show how they have been maligned.

"positively cranky"
"theologically naive"
"shockingly ignorant"
"deceptive and manipulative"
"uniformed and misdirected"
"reactionary wing"
"ignorant and manipulative"

From the TNIV and the GNBC, p. 53 - 54

I feel better when I read that. I am not the only one having difficulty critiquing this stuff with an even tone.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

About feminist and egalitarian. I'm not sure. See Scott McKnight's blog for a further discussion about different kinds of feminism.

Ruud Vermeij said...

In my opinion the term egalitarian is wider than feminist.
Egalitarian also includes equality of race and so on...

The CBE statement of faith says:

We believe in the equality and essential dignity of men and women of all ethnicities, ages, and classes.