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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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49 Responses to 988

  1. Caroline TOO says:

    NO! they’re Forward in Faith!!!

    just want the women to tag along behind and make the tea and fruitcake at appropriate moments.

  2. goodfield says:

    There wearing dresses aren’t they! :-)

  3. Rob says:

    that made me laugh aloud …. but sadly i’m convinced they would be shocked!

  4. sunil says:

    It’s like OT OTT

  5. rowsiff says:

    I laughed out loud to this…. genius! I would love, if this were to happen, to be a bystander listening in.

    Jon – you’re amazing… never stop what you do!

  6. dgsinclair says:

    Wow, do you even read the New Testament? More than likely, these visitors would be shocked and ask things like:
    1. Why are you wearing those priestly robes?!? That’s so Old Testament. Are you Judiazers? Don’t you know that the priesthood is gone, replaced by the priesthood of all believers? Don’t you know that your formal religion is anathema to following Christ?

    2. What?!? Homosexual bishops? Are you apostate or pagan?

    3. What?!? Female head pastors? Are you in rebellion against God? Are your men no longer able to lead? Are they effeminate?

  7. jonbirch says:

    haha… oh dear dgs… are we going to disagree again? :-)

  8. Graeme Smith says:

    I’d be interested in seeing where the term ‘Head Pastor’ is in the New Testament as I seems to have passed me by as I have read!

    And as for effeminate men in charge of churches in the West, well if we compare most of them with the New Testament version of discipleship with its risk of martyrdom and the like, then I’m sorry to say that they probably are – and I speak as a church leader myself!

  9. Graeme Smith says:

    BTW, I’m also a member of part of Christ’s body that has just appointed a woman to be its international leader, and has had women in senior positions since the 1860s. Maybe this ‘effeminate rebel’ should just slink away into a corner and be thoroughly ashamed of himself!

  10. jonbirch says:

    so glad you said that, graeme… two things…
    1. i hate the word ‘effeminacy’ being used negatively… as if it’s wrong to have the attributes of a woman, or that said person with those attributes, of which many are women, would not just as likely be (were and still are) martyred.
    2. ‘just appointed a woman to be its international leader’… good news. hope she’s great too.

  11. dgsinclair says:

    >> GRAEME: I’d be interested in seeing where the term ‘Head Pastor’ is in the New Testament as I seems to have passed me by as I have read!

    Sorry, I didn’t know I was dealing with a Biblical literalist. What I was alluding to was that, among those who take a softer view of women in spiritual leadership (many in the Reformed camp), but still hold to some acknowledgment of the spiritual principle of male leadership in the Church (and home), there is a distinction made between the five fold ministries (women were prophets and teachers in the NT, and perhaps evangelists too) and that of Pastor. In my church, for example, we have one female associate pastor who teaches every fourth sunday, but I think it is biblically sound to say that as a general rule, if your head pastor is a woman (not to mention elders/bishops/overseers), you may be in violation of biblical principle.

    >> GRAEME: And as for effeminate men in charge of churches in the West, well if we compare most of them with the New Testament version of discipleship with its risk of martyrdom and the like, then I’m sorry to say that they probably are – and I speak as a church leader myself!

    I heartily agree that we are somewhat cowardly compared to many, but that’s not really the biblical use of the word ‘effeminate’ as used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 –
    “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…”

    NKJ translates this word as ‘sodomites’ (and that is different from the preceding word translated as ‘homosexuals’ how?)
    NAS, considered one of the most accurate translations in English, translates this as ‘effeminate’
    ESV translates this as ‘men who practice homosexuality’, merging the two different greek words into one meaning

    Jon, I’m sorry you don’t like this word used as a negative, but that’s pretty much its common use. It’s not wrong for a man to develop the ‘feminine’ qualities of loving, nurturing, and gentleness, but not at the expense of the masculine. Essentially, an effeminate man is also ‘de-masculineized’ at the same time. Otherwise, he’d be considered mature, having developed both proper and healthy masculine and feminine traits.

    However, with regard to leadership, I used it because it also means “lacking firmness or vigour.”

    And that us often the case when a man allows his woman, or women, to lead spiritually. I’m all for women evangelists and strong women in general, but not if the men are comparatively and universally weak, which is usually, if not always the case when women are leading.

    One infamous historical, perhaps apocryphal story along these lines comes from the life of healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman. When asked about how she was called to be a healing evangelist, she said “when God asked me, I asked him why he didn’t go and ask a man to do it, and He said ‘I already did, and they refused!’”

  12. dgsinclair says:

    BTW, Graeme, my opening comment about being a literalist was a good natured joke, I just forgot to put in the ;) And what organization are you a part of? I’m part of AOG, but only loosely affiliated.

  13. Graeme Smith says:

    Hmm! Well where to go now? Firstly, The Salvation Army is the denomination I am part of!

    Secondly, as someone who has grown to maturity in the 20th & 21st centuries, my understanding of the word ‘effeminate’ is effectively ‘unmanly’! Suppose this is the problem of using a translation that whilst wonderful for its time can easily be misunderstood because of the transformation of language in the interim 400 years!

    I think the real situation is that, as you say, we may be in violation of biblical principle. Having said that of course given the way that most denominations are able to substantiate their oft differing views on all sorts of subjects on the basis of interpreting the Bible, the chances we are all liable to be in violation of some biblical principle or other. I’ll happily accept that if it means that we can reach out and share God’s love in a way that represents what we see exhibited by Jesus and the early disciples. At the end of the day that is what brings people into the kingdom through faith in Jesus, not who ‘pastors’ the believers.

  14. gfeef says:

    I would be very sad to think that if this happened they would first be concerned with church leadership, when there are so many big issues they could see. i would hope they would be more effected by the community or lack thereof in many churchs, the lives the leaders lead, and the arguments they choose to fight so loudly when the wider church is failing to grow. Personally i think the big screen projector would freak them to begin with!

  15. jonbirch says:

    so, dgs… what level of ‘effeminacy’ would be too much or not enough to qualify (or, rather disqualify you) from leading? perhaps a slightly limp wrist? a gentle feminine lilt in the voice, with perhaps a tiny lisp? maybe a walk that uses just a bit too much hip? holding the hand of another man? or, perhaps it’s kissing another man? perhaps it’s wearing a dress about the house? who knows… all i know is, that by any use of the word ‘effeminacy’ that i’ve heard of or used, it would be a stupid reason in every way to disqualify someone from leadership… unless they were trying to lead a group on ‘how to be filled with as much testosterone and manly grrrrrr as possible.’ :-) no… it’s all foolish, daft and lots of other words…

  16. shorter1978 says:

    dgsinclair in 30AD they didn’t have any NT books let alone the whole NT!, so i guess they have just had jesus’ example of teaching and action towards women. !!! ( it was a woman who first proclaimed the risen christ)

  17. shorter1978 says:

    and no i’m not saying that the gospels have higher importance than the rest of the NT, just a gentle reminder the Paul et al aren’t higher than the jesus stories in importance!

  18. laura says:

    “Wow, do you even read the New Testament? More than likely, these visitors would be shocked and ask things like:”

    I find that quite rude frankly.
    Hope this site doesn’t turn into one of those that has one person who feels the need to “correct” everyone else instead of converse with them in ways that are mutually respectful and assume equal knowledge and intelligence of the other members of the community.
    I’ve quite enjoyed the conversational nature of this place rather than the “lectures” that are available elsewhere.
    Hopefully the civil nature of the group will remain.

  19. Ogg says:

    DGS me thinks perhaps your a little to impressed with yourself!

  20. interesting stuff going down here, I don’t deny my feminine side in-fact I embrace it, and in some ways I prefer it, am I a woman? no, am I homosexual? I don’t think so.

    I seriously hate the whole ‘manly’ thing in general. A good leader is a good leader, i know some apparently effeminate men who are still men and will always be men and some gay men who are very gay but still men.

    If my girl leads spiritually then I follow, why because I like good leaders wether their women or men, what I don’t like are leaders who think they can lead just because they are men.

  21. JF says:

    DGS, you consistently write like a closet gay. :-)
    [Good natured joke].

  22. subo says:

    i wonder what Paul would make of the way his letters (to folk he knew) have been used over the yrs

    it must feel a little wierd to find a kind note you dropped off to someone, being used as a point of law?

    i wonder if there’s anything he’d have added if he’d known?

    and for someone who talked so ellequently about love, what’s it like to find your writting used as means of exclusion and judgement?

  23. Ben says:

    or they might say:

    “you spend your time worrying about heating bills and building work all the time?!”
    “you define yourself by what divides you not by what unites you?”
    “you mean that little black object allows you to talk to anyone you want? from anywhere?”

  24. dgsinclair says:

    >> JON: so, dgs, what level of ‘effeminacy’ would be too much or not enough to qualify (or, rather disqualify you) from leading?

    I think you misunderstand me – what I am saying is that if men fail to lead they are often BEING effeminate – not the other way around. Weak men fail to lead – they are not disqualified for being faggy (“oh no you didn’t!”), their failure to lead is their effeminacy.

    >> GRAEME: I’ll happily accept that if it means that we can reach out and share God’s love in a way that represents what we see exhibited by Jesus and the early disciples.

    While I agree that imperfect outreach is better than none, let’s not ignore the symptoms of spiritual sickness in our midst as evidenced by primarily female leadership and the absence of men from leadership in both the home and church.

    >> SHORTER: in 30AD they didn’t have any NT books let alone the whole NT!, so i guess they have just had jesus’ example of teaching and action towards women.

    Not true. They had the Old Testment for reference, and they had the spirit himself teaching them the lessons of leadership and spiritual health even before the Apostles and Paul codified them.

    >> LAURA: I find that quite rude frankly.

    Truth can be offensive. I’m sure you find many of Paul the Apostle’s statments ‘rude,’ but I think you’re just being thin skinned.

    >>JF: DGS, you consistently write like a closet gay.

    Trust me, those who are pro-gay often rejoinder “me thinkest thou protest too much.” Sometimes they might be correct. In my case, they are not. We’ll see if I end up pulling a Ted Haggard ;)

    >> SUBO: i wonder what Paul would make of the way his letters (to folk he knew) have been used over the yrs. it must feel a little wierd to find a kind note you dropped off to someone, being used as a point of law?

    I wonder how he felt about Peter calling his writings ‘scripture’ in 2 Peter 3:16 – I wonder if he ever got to actually see that.

  25. laura says:

    DFS,
    I can assure you I am not thin skinned. I just fine your attitude offensive and your lack of humilty borish.

  26. dgsinclair says:

    I suppose I could find your lack of tolerance offensive and boorish as well. Your inability to enter into dialogue, with a feigned or real offense, is a waste of time, and your evasion of the issues at stake could be seen as irresponsible.

  27. dgsinclair says:

    BTW, thin skinned is as think skinned does. It would be like me retorting “I don’t lack humility” supposing that my assertion makes such true.

  28. JF says:

    No DGS, Laura is right. You are excessively boorish, rude, hateful and totally lacking in humility. You come across as being very smug about having everything all worked out. In my view, you are not even close to grasping fundamental ideas about thought and relationships, yet you long to be the ‘teacher’. As your religious experience isn’t furnishing you with even basic skills for dealing with your fellow man, I suggest you return to the drawing board.

    Don’t confuse looking to the bible for guidance with picking & choosing bits of the bible to support your extremely narrow-minded views. Citing the OT as a reference for the role of women is the cherry on your small-minded little cup cake, as I think Genesis 19 demonstrates.

  29. dgsinclair says:

    >> JF: You are excessively boorish, rude, hateful and totally lacking in humility. You come across as being very smug about having everything all worked out.

    OK, I’ll consider that. However, ad hominems do not an argument make.

    >> JF: Don’t confuse looking to the bible for guidance with picking & choosing bits of the bible … Genesis 19…

    I’m sorry, didn’t you just cherry pick? I referred to the corpus of the OT, not sure how that is cherry picking.

    And just to reiterate and clarify amidst the many posts, my main objections to this cartoon are:

    1. I don’t think it is an accurate representation of early Christianity to think that they would be surprised by the lack of female bishops – not in the least – can you point to any in the NT? The book of acts?

    2. While Jesus and the NT certainly do show an elevated leadership position for women (as followers, prophetesses, business women (also found in Proverbs 31, btw)), Jesus in no way elevated women to positions over men. He chose 12 male disciples to lead.

    3. What I think *would* surprise 1st century Christians is our acceptance of homosexuality – and the fact that the Anglican Church has gay bishops (not to mention female ones) I think most certainly WOULD surprise and revulse a first century Christian.

    4. I continue to affirm that it seems biblical to me, that when men fail to lead, they are, in general, spiritually emasculated. In the home, Paul is clear that the man is the head of the union (and of course, he also counsels mutual submission, and in no way is he saying that those called to leadership are more valuable or better – they just have a responsibility before God).

    In the church, Paul also discourages female leadership over men, and I think a very good case can be made that when women and children rule, it is a form of judgment from God for spiritual error – see Isiah 3:12. When, as a patterin, men fail to lead a spiritual organization, and women have to take up the mantle, an organization is spiritually sick.

    SO, is any of that hateful? Boorish? Or just clear and offensive in content? In what ways am I erring in communication style or content?

    I again contend that this cartoon misrepresents 1st century Christianity and Christianity in generl – it is a worldly, feminist, unbiblical view of church leadership.

    Sorry Jon, I love the issues you bring up, and sometimes even agree with your nicely crafted sentiments, but not this time.

  30. linus says:

    DGS – for what its worth, i personally think that you sometimes err in communication style (i don’t think you’re the only one who ever does that here, but you asked the question, so…)

    This community is very good at recognising the right to hold differing views, but no-one responds well to writing that appears arrogant and patronising. So you got called specifically on the phrase “Wow, do you even read the New Testament?”, which, however tongue in cheek, implies the person you are questioning is lazy and / or uninformed. Whereas “With respect, i don’t think the New Testament actually says that” will make the same point in a way that might actually encourage readers to be more open to what else you have to say.

    Don’t forget that people reading this know nothing about you except what they read – there’s no context to put it in. So i would advise erring on the side of caution, especially when writing on someone else’s site, especially when writing that you disagree with them. And i don’t think smileys work – if something will seem rude without one, it will still seem rude with one. Better to re-write so as to be sure not to be rude. Of course, you’re entitled to write whatever you want, but that’s my honest answer to your question.

    As to the content of the discussion, here is some research i have done that i hope is pertinent: There are only two people (Titus and Timothy) described as Bishops in the writings that make up the new testament as we have recieved it today, so its hardly a big sample group. Examples of women in the New testament: Junia is described as Paul’s equal and possibly (depending on your reading) as an apostle. Priscilla is also described as Paul’s equal. Phoebe is described as a deacon (a word Paul uses to describe both himself and Timothy elsewhere in his writings). (All the above Romans 16) Lydia is described as the head of her household, and Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke stay in her house as her guests. The local believers gather in her house after Paul and Silas are released from prison. (Acts 16). Paul lists prophesy as a greater gift than teaching and there are examples of female prophets (Acts 21:9). http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=Priscilla&t=KJV&sf=5 has an equal share with her husband in their ministry, which included leading a church, discipling believers and accompanying Paul on missionary journeys.

    The word in 1 Cor 6 sometimes translated “effeminate” is http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3120&t=KJV which usually means ‘soft’ but in the context of sex means male or boy prostitute. It has nothing to do with leadership.

  31. dgsinclair says:

    Linus,

    Thanks very much for the specific examples and gentle pointers, I really appreciate it, great example of what you are asking of me. I have to say, being Jewish (at least that’s my excuse), I am used to robust arguments with somewhat hyperbolic challenges like “do you even read the NT?” Perhaps they are not very effective here ;).

    >> LINUS: And i don’t think smileys work at if something will seem rude without one, it will still seem rude with one.

    Damn, ignore that last smilee :D. And that one too. But you are probably right there.

    Regarding Priscilla, of the five times she is mentioned in the NT, it is never apart from her husband, so I’m not sure how you see her as an ‘equal’ in authority. More likely, she did NOT minister to the church or men apart from her husband. I have no problem with an equal share in ministry, but not without her husband as a ‘covering.’ This would square with Paul’s teaching on not allowing women to teach men.

    BTW, before I continue, let me say that I take a weaker reformed position on this, which is that women were and should be spiritual leaders, including Deacons, teachers (perhaps only of other women (Titus 2:4), evangelists, and prophetesses. However, as far as being an elder, bishop, or pastor, I think there is a Biblical prohibition, or at least a principle that these things are undesirable. In my church, with a staff of four pastors, we have one female teaching pastor who teaches on Sundays. So I’m not a hardliner on this.

    But I stand by my contention that Bishops should not be women, nor elders or Senior Pastors. If they are, it’s a symptom of a spiritual problem, imo, and that is usually a ‘Jezebel spirit,’ if you will, somewhere in the organization emasculating the men – Religion itself does that.

    Regarding the word effeminate, I was using it in a generic sense, not in the narrow sense of 1 Cor 6, but I probably muddied the water by mentioning that verse. However, I think scholars disagree on the meaning of malakos. Some think it is used in context to mean boy prostitutes, (as opposed to the other word here arsenokoites, male coitus, i.e. homosexual sex, also debated). However, this word is related to malakia, which has clearer precedent of meaning.

    “The Complete WordStudy Dictionary – New Testament” by Spiros Zodhiates, being malakia . Malakia is defined thusly:

    fem. noun from (3120), soft. Softness, a disease, a debility, infirmity (Matt 4:23; 9:35; 10:1). As refering to men, it means characterized by delicacy, effeminancy. In Aristotelian ethics it is the opposite of kateria (n.f), patient endurance, meekness.
    Syn. astheneia (769), disease, weakness; nosos (3554), malady, infirmity; nosema (3553), ailment, disease.
    Ant. ischus (2479), strength; dunamis (1411), power, might; sklerotes (4643), hardness.

    Strong’s gives a similar definition for malakia. It is used three times in Matthew rendered as “disease”.

    ** So it could be that this passage could equally be about spiritually emasculated men.

    Regarding malakos, the only other uses of it in the NT have to do with describing soft cloth (parallel passages in Mt 11:8 and Lu 7:25).

    Theologian Dale Martin, who errs in favor of homosexuality with respect to arsenokoites, confirms my view that malakos has more to do with classic effeminacy than pederasty or prostitution. From http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0MDO/is_5_33/ai_n27013812/ (sorry, not a primary source, no time)

    “As Martin points out, in Greek culture malakos was used to refer to “the softness of expensive clothes, the richness and delicacy of gourmet food, the gentleness of light winds and breezes. When used as a term of moral condemnation, the word still refers to something perceived as ‘soft’: laziness, degeneracy, decadence, lack of courage, or, to sum up all these vices in one ancient category, the feminine.”

    Martin focuses on this aspect of malakos as referring to what in NT times would commonly be considered feminine characteristics. He goes on to assert that the feminine in Greek culture was considered undesirable because “The female is quintessentially penetrable…. One might even say that in the ancient male ideology women exist to be penetrated. It is their purpose (telos).” Thus, in Greek culture, if a man submitted himself to penetration, he would leave himself open to charges of malakia. However, in those cases, it usually referred to effeminacy, the proof or sign of which would be penetration; it did not refer to the sexual act itself. “To put it simply,” Martin writes, “all penetrated men were malakoi [pl. of malakos], but not all malakoi were penetrated men.” In fact, some men would even get themselves “prettied up” to enhance their chances of heterosexual conquest.”

    But even if this passage does not apply, my contention that a pattern (not just exceptions) of a lack of male leadership in Christian spirituality is usually indicative of a problem.

  32. JF says:

    DGS: It was not an ad hominem. If someone is being a bully, they need to be told that their behaviour is unacceptable. In this thread alone you have now had this advice from three separate individuals, in varying terms.

    I do not cherry pick from the bible. I was brought up in a church and ‘learned’ from the bible on hundreds of occasions throughout my formative years. Sadly the church I attended preached intolerance, myth, threats and sometimes downright nonsense. This is a dangerous mixture when taught to children as literal fact, historical certainty and moral truth.

    In order to work out what is actually ‘right’, over the last couple of years I have picked my way through various writings including bits of Mill, Edward Wilson, Russell, extracts from Lucretius, Hume and Spinoza, as well as the lucid observations of Christopher Hitchens. In the place in which I currently find myself on life’s journey, I feel I have liberated myself from the warped indoctrination of my youth to a very large extent. The ‘good’ bits of the bible have been expanded and expressed in better terms by philosophers. The study of their words provides excellent stimulus for the pursuit of a moral and good life. They have also, to my mind, provided sound arguments why it is more likely than not that god (in all his guises) is a man-made phenomenon and that no religion can claim a shred of evidence for its own veracity over similar claims from other, conflicting religions. This is a particularly liberating realization when you have lived under the Thought Police for a few decades. I now wish to police my own thoughts and intend to do so to a degree which is an edification of the amazingly slight statistical chance of my very existence. In short I intend to live well and to love well. So you will deduce that I have no need of the bible as such, hence I do not cherry-pick at all.

    Cherry-picking is quoting chapter-and-verse when it suits and reverting to ‘the corpus of the OT’ when it doesn’t. This is what you do.

    I value the discussions on here (when conducted with respect) as they have been an insightful counterweight to other things I may have been reading in parallel. I am grateful to the many contributors who have borne my sometimes rather impertinent questions with good grace. Grace and respect, together with sincerity, are good ‘adverts’ for a religious life, but then only (I would contest) if there is a tangible outcome in terms of loving kindness for one’s fellow man. Without that, for me, it is truly nought.

  33. Jane says:

    There must be a typo. You should have left the “no” out.

  34. linus says:

    Hi DGS. You are entirely entitled to hold the doctrinal position you hold. I agree that emasculated men is a bad thing, in the same way that sexism against women is a bad thing. I’m not convinced that a female bishop, for example, is by virtue of her mere existence causing the emasculation of men.

    Regarding Aquila, of the times he is mentioned in the NT, it is never apart from his wife, so I’m not sure how you see him as greater in authority. More likely, he did NOT minister to the church or women apart from his wife. =] (Hope the smiley lets me get away with it =] )

    They are always mentioned together. They are always both participants in the activities they are mentioned as engaging in. There is nothing that i can see in these verses which would indicate Priscilla somehow didn’t have the same authority that Aquila had. I suspect, therefore, that you have reached this conclusion because of other passages entirely (which is fine, but we would need to talk about those passages – not the passages i quoted, which when taken on their own at face value, indicate women in positions of leadership alongside men in positions of leadership, with no distinctions based on gender.)

    As regards the idea of a husband ‘covering’ a wife in ministry, can you show me where this idea comes from?

    Your many paragraphs on Malakos convince me that the word here could mean lazy or degenerate or gigolo. I think you are arguing that it means “submitted to a woman’s authority”. From the evidence i’m aware of i think this is unlikely. At the very best it seems incredibly far from certain. So i don’t think you can build a doctrine from it.

    cheers. L>

  35. jonbirch says:

    dgs… i hope you won’t mind me asking. do you see the bible as the primary thing which informs life or do you weigh it up with your experiences? for example… it is true that where women dominate a male partner or colleague the man can become dis-empowered, yet it is also true that a dominating man can dis-empower a woman, or a woman a woman or a man a man. that is my experience. i’ve seen it with my own eyes every way round. this is why i think that out of the specific situation and outside of the specific relationship it is often only possible to speculate as to exactly what the letter writer is referring to, so therefore that is not how i build my world view. the world is ongoing… the story the bible tells i don’t think finishes at the end of the book, it is ongoing… informed by the past yet live in the here and now. i have my part in discerning what i believe right and wrong because nowhere are the details laid out plainly. some things are… if i see injustice done to man or woman, animal or tree i believe i have to decide what my response is based on what i see the outcomes are or will be. if there is a man and a woman and the woman to my mind would make the more effective leader in the situation, my vote would be for the woman every time… and if i believed the man would be the best, then i would not shy away from voting for the man. and i don’t find that stands in conflict with my faith at all, in fact my faith informs it and christ inspires it.

  36. dgsinclair says:

    >> LINUS: I agree that emasculated men is a bad thing, in the same way that sexism against women is a bad thing. I’m not convinced that a female bishop, for example, is by virtue of her mere existence causing the emasculation of men.

    I agree that sexism is bad. I think that each person has to decide where to draw the line – for me, when a woman is *leading* a church, I am outta there. I think that by the time they are that high in leadership, there is something that’s been wrong for a while.

    However, for example, my wife leads a MOPS chapter, and as I’ve said, we have a female teaching pastor on staff, and our worship team leader is a woman. That’s all fine with me. I listen to Joyce Myers all the time, and as a teacher and evangelist, i think she’s fantastic. But I draw the line at the head of the local, regional, or national organization.

    As an aside, one of my favorite authors is Ruth Tucker, who has shared her own struggles in some of her books as a woman in spiritual and educational leadership. Very interesting woman.

    >> LINUS: Regarding Aquila, of the times he is mentioned in the NT, it is never apart from his wife,…

    Very funny retort, but invalid for this reason – this passage must be harmonized with others where Paul talks about not allowing a woman to teach a man, man as the head of the home, etc. In that context, Priscilla’s appearance with her husband is conspicuous, while the converse is not.

    Men appear solo in ministry throughout the NT, while women NEVER do, including Priscilla. Your contention that this example proves that her ministry is ‘equal’ to her husband’s in authority (authority is the issue at stake) is probably NOT a good assumption, though in other ways, scripture may treat them as equals. At best, I would say that she shared HIS authority.

    So to return to my point, I do not see any NT precedent for female lead pastors, elders, or Bishops, and I think that is by design for spiritual reasons.

    >> LINUS: As regards the idea of a husband �covering� a wife in ministry, can you show me where this idea comes from?

    This idea is common in charismatic/pentecostal circles, not sure if it’s even talked about in evangelical circles. IT is an outgrowth of “Complementarian” doctrine. Basically, it teaches that women’s roles in ministry, particularly in church settings, as limited. The complementarian view holds that women should not hold church leadership roles that involve teaching or authority over men. Note the two biblical passages below.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementarian#Roles_in_the_Church

    “The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood holds that in the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (1 Cor; 11:2-16; 1 Tim 2:11-15). Some believe that women should be ordained neither as a pastor nor as an evangelist, while others believe that it is acceptable for women to be evangelists but not pastors.[15] This would not support placing women in leadership roles in the church or family that would imply or provide some authority over men. Which other specific ministry roles are open to women varies among complementarians.”

    It is extended from the above to say that women need to be under the authority of their husbands or a man in order to be spiritually protected from demonic attack and deception (1 Tim 2:11-15). This principle is not only applied to women, but even young ministers who are spiritually inexperienced.

    It is called a ‘covering’ because it is an interpretation of the problematic teaching on head coverings in 1 Cor; 11:2-16 – the term “because of the angels” is interpreted as women needing a spiritual authority over them to protect them from the decption and attack of fallen angels, i.e. demons, lest they be decieved “like Eve”.

    The abuse of the principle of spiritual authority of the man has caused many to abandon it altogether, or to even call it heretical (e.g. http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2009/10/27/woman-need-spritual-covering/).

    Also, in Pentecostal circles, Watchman Nee is very influential, and in his book Spiritual Authority, he talks about how God views authority much more seriously than we do, which is why, for instance,
    - juvenile delinquency was a capitol crime
    - the gang of youths who mocked Elijah were justly attacked and killed by bears
    - God judged Ham, not Noah, after Noah got drunk and fell asleep naked, and Ham showed his brothers his father’s nakedness (showing his rebellion against authority)

    None of this is to say that a man or woman can not strike out on their own and kick ass for the kingdom, it just means that there are spiritual principles governing authority that we ought to know about and obey, including “wives obey your husbands, children obey your parents, husbands love your wives.”

  37. dgsinclair says:

    >> LINUS: Your many paragraphs on Malakos convince me that the word here could mean lazy or degenerate or gigolo. I think you are arguing that it means “submitted to a woman’s authority”.

    Indeed. Again, perhaps my application of that specific and problematic word is unwise. However, at least in the popular use of the word today, and perhaps in Greek context, it could easily man someone who is frail, soft, and weak in disposition. Don’t know why that particular trait would be singled out along with things like theft and homosexuality, but for argument’s sake, I can surrender on that point while still maintaining for other reasons listed above that women leading spiritual organizations and the absence of men may be spiritually significant, and perhaps an indication that something is wrong, at least with the men!

  38. dgsinclair says:

    >> JON: do you see the bible as the primary thing which informs life or do you weigh it up with your experiences?

    Please see my posts on the Wesleyan Quadrangle. I think that covers how I approach scripture and the other ‘authorities’ in the Christian life, including experience, tradition/doctrine, and reason.
    http://www.wholereason.com/2011/01/the-wesleyan-quadrangle.html

    In a sense, I don’t believe in ‘sola scriptura’, but rather, ‘primero scriptura’

  39. dgsinclair says:

    BTW Jon, here’s the money quote from the first of my articles on the Wesleyan Quadrangle:

    “the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason. Scripture [however] is primary, revealing the Word of God – so far as it is necessary for our salvation.’”

  40. dgsinclair says:

    >> JON: yet it is also true that a dominating man can dis-empower a woman, or a woman a woman or a man a man. that is my experience.

    Absolutely! But the problem is, we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater. For instance, I exercise authority over my children, but I do it with love and their best interests at heart (most of the time!). But if a parent abuses that, should we then deny the principle of ‘children obey your parents’? No. Same with ‘authority over a woman.’ As you well know, biblical authority is being a servant leader, not lording it over. This is why the same passage that says ‘wives obey’ says ‘husbands love.’ There is even a warning for fathers to not frustrate their children, a needed balance or limit for the god-given command to exercise authority.

    As to husbands and wives, there are also passages for Christians to submit to one another regardless of gender. But that only informs and defines the boundaries and relationships of the authority principles – it does not negate male headship.

    >> JON: if i see injustice done to man or woman, animal or tree i believe i have to decide what my response is based on what i see the outcomes are or will be.

    While it is absolutely good and right to follow your conscience in this way, that does not mean that you are correct in your intuitions. We may, for instance, want to prevent a death-row inmate from being executed, but that may interfere with the greater command of doing justice in God’s eyes. We must mature so that our views match God’s regarding justice, mercy, truth and error, not MERELY rely on our intuitions. Again, I apologize, but since I’ve written on these things, see my post at:
    The Tripartite Man (Part 3): Spirit – Conscience
    http://www.wholereason.com/2010/10/part-iii-the-tripartite-model-of-man-spiritconscience.html

    I don’t just rely on intellectually apprehended truth, but I test it in my own experience, intuition, and against doctrine and tradition. However, I am a reader, and like all of us humans, am spiritually lazy enough to rely on intellect rather than communion with God or a heart shaped in meditation on scripture v. mere intellectual knowledge.

  41. jonbirch says:

    i think that all sounds pretty ‘bogged down’ dgs. what on earth do you do when you have to make a snap decision. :-)
    btw. i disagree with the death penalty under any circumstances. i believe it to be barbaric and unjust in every way. but that’s for another day.

  42. dgsinclair says:

    >> JON: i think that all sounds pretty ‘bogged down’ dgs. what on earth do you do when you have to make a snap decision.

    Well, of course, you don’t have time to analyze, but if you’ve developed a biblical world view and practiced Godly habits, you don’t have to think through this every time. You just do it.

    >> JON: i disagree with the death penalty under any circumstances. i believe it to be barbaric and unjust in every way. but that’s for another day.

    I guess we can disagree on that, it’s not central, though I do think that capital punishment is congruous with scripture. BTW, heard a great interview on Just War Theory on the Issues Etc. podcast, very thoughtful and informative.

    Also, more appropriate to this thread, a less good but still informative segment on the Ordination of Women. Both are on their Listen on Demand page at http://issuesetc.org/archive/

  43. JF says:

    Jon: If ‘godly habits’ include misogyny, homophobia and the barbarism of the death sentence, then you are probably better off listening to your conscience.

    In fact we have names for the three classes of person whose ‘conscience’ permits/encourages them to do what civilised society considers evil. We call them sociopaths, psychopaths and …. um… I’ve forgotten the third one…???

  44. jonbirch says:

    footballers agents?

  45. dgsinclair says:

    >> JF: If ‘godly habits’ include misogyny, homophobia and the barbarism of the death sentence

    This is a highly skewed view, even a mis-characterization of Biblical doctrines. For instance, to see “wives obey your husbands” as misogynistic is not only a gross exaggeration, if not misapplication of the word ‘misogyny’, it is usually taken entirely out of the context of scripture, which balances this idea with others such as “husbands, love your wives like Christ did” – i.e. putting their well being ahead of your own even to the point of death. It also ignores, for instance, commands to be gentle, patient, submitting to one another in love, the idea of servant leadership, etc.

    Second, if by ‘homophobia’ you mean moral disapproval of homosexuality, then I guess you must also disapprove of adulterophobia, primiscuophobia, lustophobia, and any other prohibition on sexual sin. Moral disapproval is not hate, but this is a typical immature view of disagreement which I outlined in What is Hate?
    http://www.wholereason.com/2010/11/what-is-hate.html

    Third, if you are rejecting Christianity based on it’s supposed support for capital punishment (which I think is true), I think this arguably secondary doctrine is not sufficient for such a rejection. You must, I think, therefore, also be against using force to stop tyrants like Hitler – also barbaric, but necessary and in some contexts, just.

    I suspect your abusive spiritual and intellectual experience with the faith of your youth is skewing your logic. Of course, none of us are entirely objective, but in these cases, I’d say you are heavily influenced by emotion and logically pretty far off the mark.

  46. JF says:

    DGS… and I would say that you are a living example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Given that you have just erroneously ‘deduced’ from my views that I would not forcibly oppose tyrants like Hitler (and, in so doing, invoked Godwin’s Law in a most spectacular fashion), it is you who displays the more questionable logic, coupled in this instance with an unhealthy dose of wish-thinking (as if wish-thinking is ever healthy!).

    My logic is fine. I am SO over the experiences of my youth, let me assure you.

    Forgive me if I do not read the ‘writings’ to which you so immodestly refer. I have looked at them in the past, but the mixture of circular argumentation and narrow selectivity of bible reference makes for quite painful reading. I did like one phrase I found recently, however (I paraphrase from memory:) “We should be wary of judging things which Christ did not judge”. That’s a good starting point. Having given dozens of pieces of guidance on behaviour and thought, Jesus appears either to have forgotten to mention homosexuality, or he was fine with it. You choose.

    I do feel that you approach the bible with a set of views and have then cherry-picked the bits that confirm you in them. Don’t worry; this is actually what everyone does with the bible. (And this, in turn, is why there is not one Christian community, but hundreds existing in parallel).

    The difference is that you try to impose YOUR conclusions as “fact” on people who are reading the same book as you and – with EXACTLY the SAME authority as you – have reached a different conclusion. This is why you often appear boorish and heavy-handed. Unless you can state HOW you know ‘better’ than anyone else what god is saying through his bible, it would really behove you to display more openness to the idea that everyone else is exactly as ‘right’ as you are. And not a shred less.

    And as for homophobia: It may feel like good old ‘moral disapproval’ to you. Even without knowing by which strenuous effort you have placed yourself on the moral high ground, I wonder, have you stopped to consider how it feels to the homosexual? How lucky for you that your god smiles on YOUR created nature, but not on theirs.

    I would implore you to extend the scope of your reading to include some secular philosophy. It will really broaden your mind.

  47. jonbirch says:

    jf… your hundreds of christian communities existing in parallel would actually be tidier than the reality (as i see it) of hundreds of christian communities, some almost parallel, some at odds with others, many going in opposite directions, some meandering, some zigzagging, etc.. in fact the only straight lines would be those of the certain and even they cross each other and bash in to each other. of course i know exactly what you mean and i am being deliberately obtuse, but your comment put a picture in my head and i could hardly see a parallel for the mess. :-)

  48. dgsinclair says:

    >>JF: and I would say that you are a living example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    I would say your’e a living example of the ad hominem attack. But thanks for teaching me a new term.

    >>JF: Given that you have just erroneously ‘deduced’ from my views that I would not forcibly oppose tyrants like Hitler

    Perhaps I have not made myself clear. I expected that, like any sensible person, you would NOT disapprove of using force against Hitler. But what I am trying to show you is that this conclusion is in opposition to your principle of being against using lethal force in either defense, attack, or justice. Since, I would argue, the war against Hitler was a ‘just war,’ I don’t really see how you can then turn around logically and be against lethal force in punishing evil doers. I’m sure such a distinction could be made, but I think that it is a bit disingenuous to be against capital punishment yet turn a blind eye to killing other murderers.

    >> JF: Forgive me if I do not read the ‘writings’ to which you so immodestly refer.

    Your choice, but perhaps I just lack your own false humility in presenting my own reasoned arguments as opposed to ad hominems.

    >>JF: I have looked at them in the past, but the mixture of circular argumentation and narrow selectivity of bible reference makes for quite painful reading.

    Well, I must say that I tire of unsubstantiated accusations without examples, and opinions rather than engagement with argument. Naturally, I suspect that you are wrong about my use of scripture, but rather, merely disagree with my conclusions.

    >>JF: The difference is that you try to impose YOUR conclusions as ‘fact on people who are reading the same book as you and – with EXACTLY the SAME authority as you – have reached a different conclusion.

    Actually, I reject subjective approaches to scripture in favor of using reason, experience, and tradition to interpret them. This is congruent with the common protestant doctrine of perspecuity, and I think that reasonable people can agree on basic hermeneutics to arrive at the clear meaning and intent of much of scripture, though not all.

    Certainly, in the ‘essentials,’ we should agree. Most bible-Christians agree on the essentials, or would not even be called Christian. In the non-essentials, we try to exercise liberty. Once can be pre-trib rapture, the other post, who cares?

    You are right, I have no authority, but arguments well made do have authority. And also again, you provide no examples.

    >>JF: And as for homophobia: It may feel like good old ‘moral disapproval’ to you.

    Let me use this as a case in point. While some would like to argue that scripture does not teach moral disapproval of homosexuality, or at least not in the New Testmament, I think a good, reasoned argument can be made to falsify such a position.

    >>JF: Even without knowing by which strenuous effort you have placed yourself on the moral high ground, I wonder, have you stopped to consider how it feels to the homosexual? How lucky for you that your god smiles on YOUR created nature, but not on theirs.

    I have more experience with homosexuality and homosexuals than you might imagine, though not the ‘suppressed homosexuality’ that some of my detractors like to imagine. Have you thought of how your moral disapproval of me makes me feel? Who are you to judge me for makeing moral claims? Don’t you think your position is self-refuting?

    Regarding my nature, I have news for you. I have the same sinful nature as you and every homosexual has, and God does not smile on that. He does not smile when I lust after a woman. Granted, I am blessed with at least a valid outlet for my love of the female form (my wife), but that is legitimate and healthy, while according to scripture and natural law (arguably, of course), same sex attraction is never healthy.

    That is tough for gays, esp. those who feel like even faith did not change them. Such difficulties do not change this dysfunction into a normal variant, nor do they change the bible’s condemnation of this and other sexual sin (just because we’re naturally promiscuos does not make it ok), nor will they change the fact that even nature itself rejects the claim of homosexuality as normative (through inability to have progeny).

    >>JF: I would implore you to extend the scope of your reading to include some secular philosophy. It will really broaden your mind.

    What makes you think I have not? I am a regular listenter to the excellent podcast at common sense atheism, which covers many philosophers (Graham Oppy was one of my favorites), and I also enjoy Al mohler’s podcast Thinking in Public.

    In conclusion, though my approach may be at times off putting and brash, yours seems to reveal an emotional, not rational opposition to faith, one that takes refuge in ad hominems and illusions of intellectual superiority (common among ex-religionists and atheists).

    And even if you are intellectually superior to others, your argument style, perhaps like mine, reveals a lack of ability to engage except with those who agree with you.

  49. JF says:

    Well, DGS, I leave it to others to judge which of us may have (in this thread and a host of others) over-reached himself in claiming/inferring any form of intellectual superiority. Similarly Ieave it to the historians of ASBO to find the inception of the ad hominem attack in these posts and to attribute it appropriately.

    My ‘opposition’ to faith is a very rational one (I am making accepted dictionary use of the word “rational”), i.e. I cannot determine any reason to believe.

    It also stems from the fact that I see little good resulting from faith that cannot be had equally through altruism, charity and love of a humanistic kind. On the other hand, religion is all too often used as a justification for the continuation of outdated superstitious thinking and the evils that these engender; evils which serve only to hold us back as a species. In these I include homophobia, although that is by no means the only one.

    If I die tomorrow and meet your god, I will reproach him with the fact that he gave me an enquiring mind and no valid reason to believe in his existence. I hope he will give me this much time before I am cast into the furnace to meet all the babies, practising homosexuals, those of other religions and the massive majority of humans throughout history who lived without any opportunity to hear about him. It will be of some comfort to me that I will be able to count on meeting many members of the clergy when I get there.

    There is no dispute between opposing the death sentence in criminal justice and the legality of a ‘just war’ to remove an inhuman regime. If you are in any doubt that this is a sensible or robust position, I would refer you to the Attorney General of the UK, for this has been the stance of our nation (for all intents and purposes) on these issues since 1965, as our society has thankfully developed and formalised new, improved codes of human behaviour. I know that some other countries, territories and schools of thought lag behind us on this and other salient issues related to equality, freedom and human worth. I pray that these may catch up over time, as old, superstitious ways of thinking die out. I also know that we have little to be smug about and there is a lot of work to do to make Britain anything like a heaven on earth.

    I gave you the example of where your blog encourages us not to judge things which Jesus did not judge. Any comment on that specific example?

    If I do have a moral disapproval of you as a person, it is because I feel it is within your power to address the points of view you hold, which I do indeed consider immoral. This cannot be compared with the innate (would you say “god-given”?) nature of a homosexual. Can’t you see the difference? To morally disapprove of another human being’s nature!?

    I am amused by the thought that I might take advice from you on argument style. (That has made my evening). However, I thought I was engaging with you? I do not agree with you, but I am at least engaging with you?!

    You have also touched on something that is on my mind (from other reading) at the moment, namely “ex-religionists” (as you call them). How would someone who has ‘known’ god be able to turn round and subsequently argue his non-existence? To me, this means they have recognised that their belief was a product of their own will to believe, i.e. it was never a recognition of a truly extant outside being. I’d be interested on anyone’s view on that… provided anyone other than you & I is reading this now-ancient thread!

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