"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Egalitarianism of Abolitionist John Brown

I have been researching the life of John Brown, the white abolitionist who led twenty one men - sixteen whites and five slaves - to overtake the U.S. Armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia on October 16, 1859. Brown desired to obtain weapons in order to arm Southern slaves and lead them in a war to end the institution of slavery. Brown's attack on the Harper's Ferry ended after two days when Robert E. Lee led a group of United States Marines in a counter-assault which resulted in the deaths of ten of Brown's men (including two of his own sons), and his eventual trial and hanging in Charles Town, Virginia (now Charleston, West Virginia). Most of my life I have considered John Brown a 'fanatic' simply because of the few, brief blurbs about his life that I read in histories of the Civil War.

Recently, however, I have come across literature that portrays John Brown as an evangelical, Calvinistic Christian gentleman who believed in the inspiration and infallibility of the Holy Scriptures. Brown is presented as one who believed that he was 'an instrument of divine Providence' and it was his divine mission to end the sinful practice of slavery. It should seem obvious that many African-Americans consider John Brown a hero. Men like Frederick Douglas, Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington hail John Brown as a man of principle and conviction. But the author who has caught my attention is a modern white man, the Rev. Louis A Decaro, Jr., who has written Fire from the Midst of You: A Religious Life of John Brown. Rev. Decaro writes the following about John Brown:

If Brown is misunderstood by modern scholars and writers, it is (also) because of his strong religious beliefs. However different their political and social views, even his nineteenth-century opponents had a better understanding of his religious world view than do many biographers and scholars today. That (Brown) considered himself "an instrument of Providence" smacks of delusion and fanaticism in modern and postmodern perceptions. That he likewise believed that all of the Christian scriptures reflect the same God at work in the history of redeption is likewise indigestible to most people in a post-Christian society. All the more reason, then, for a religiously oriented portrayal of the famous abolitionist. Indeed, such an approach suits him, as he might have put it, "midling well."

Brown was a man of faith, and well read in the Bible and the Christian literature. Like many Christians, he was converted as a youth, and he grew up in a theologically conservative, evangelical and Calvinist home. Though his early intention to study for the ministry did not work out, Brown was a founding church member, Bible teacher, and a devoted layman throughout his life. Even after he committed himself full time to the abolitionist struggle, he remained a church attender and faithful Bible student. Furthermore, he and his family represente a unique strand of the abolitionist movement. A devotedly Christian people who believed the Bible to be the inspired and infallible word of God, they were also biblical egalitarians - radical dissenters from the racialist beliefs of many white Christians. The Browns applied the biblical docrine of humanity the image of God to the frontier as well as the slave market, and were thus righteously indignant at the social, political and ecclesiastical realities of a society steeped in white supremacy. Like many Christian abolitionists, the Browns understood the Golden Rule as a mandate to fight slavery by undermining it in overt and covert political acts, such as anti-slavery groups, participation in underground railroad, and support of candidates who held similar opinions regarding slavery. John Brown's war on slavery was undoubtedly an extension of the Christian legacy of his family.

It is remarkable to me that you are hardpressed today to find any evangelical Christian who would advocate slavery, yet in John Brown's day, his egalitarianism - in terms of race - was definitely a minority viewpoint among evanglicals, not to mention all United States citizens. I wonder if a century from now the concept of the equality of women, seemingly a minority viewpoint of modern evangelicals, might be considered as 'normal,' 'Christian' and 'biblical' as we now view the equality of races?

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

74 comments:

Scott Shaffer said...

Wade,

It is always fascinating to see the faith of our ancestors in action. Thanks for posting this.

You wrote that the equality of women is a seemingly minority view in the evangelical world today. How would you go about substantiating that claim? And how do you define equality?

Scott

Wade Burleson said...

No concrete data Scott on evangelicals as a whole.

I am basing my comment on my perception, admittedly homogenous within the SBC, of the reaction (or lack of one) to the termination of an abundantly qaulified Hebrew female professor at SWBTS because 'she held a position reserved for men.'

Anonymous said...

Earlier Southern Baptists defended slavery, and later, segregation. How long did it take for the idea of racial equality to come about? I'm not surprised at the treatment of women. Disappointed, yes, surprised, no. It took long enough for the idea that we are all human whatever the color of our skin. I'm afraid it will take just as long for recognition that the SHAPE of our skin is of as little importance. In both cases, there are obvious differences, but the common humanity overrides the differences.

Thank you for being open minded, Wade.

Susie

greg.w.h said...

If sociology can be trusted to account for the change you predict, Wade, then the fact that in our secular businesses we are trained to use gender-inclusive language and to value diversity is likely to result in the change you refer to. And I'll also offer that it would be extremely unwise for Southern Baptists to try to stop that train.

Instead, I offer Jeff Iorg's comments during his 2004 inauguration ceremony as GGBTS president as a clearer vision of how to impact our culture.

Greg Harvey

Rex Ray said...

Scott,
You questioned Wade how he would substantiate the minority view of the equality of women. That’s a good question which could have a thousand answers.

Wade answered by reminding us of the termination of a qualified Hebrew female professor at SWBTS.

I’d like to relate two examples of how far the ‘evangelical world’ has come:

1. A letter from a Roman soldier to his wife said, “If the baby is a boy, take good care of it. If it is a girl, never mind.”
2. Today, a sect of Jews believe women are so unworthy the Messiah will be born a miraculous birth by a man, and the stride of their britches reaches their knees to catch the baby.

Greg Harvey, you referenced Jeff Iorg’s comments as a clearer vision of how to impact our culture.
What he said was good, but it also proved Wade’s point as he said, “I want every teenage boy in Los Angeles, every Native American in Arizona, ever…etc. to hear the Gospel”
Did he not care about the teenage girls in Los Angeles? Sure he does, but his words are typical of how the female is omitted without our thinking.

On the other hand, the equality of women is deliberately degraded by the BFM 2000: “The office of pastor is limited to men”; ‘a wife is to submit to her husband.’

For over 40 years our church has been guided by the BFM 1963, but I’m facing our church by-laws committee saying, “Whenever a vacancy occurs, an ordained MALE Baptist minister shall be recommended by a Pastor Search Committee.”

Susie, you make a good point that the SHAPE of our skin should not be a factor in equality.

greg.w.h said...

Rex,

I was more focused on Jeff's vision to engage all of the unreached and the unsaved--even among liberal constituencies--and didn't actually notice the comment you highlighted. But if Jeff is successful in teaching the leaders he trains to do that, the change in demographics will soften the hard edge on our current politics in the Convention. And it might lead us towards a more authentic, Matthew 25-inspired view of our mission as Baptists.

I offer this comment from Wikipedia as an indication that Wade's comment agrees with history:

To the family’s surprise, Lottie’s younger sister Edmonia accepted a call to go to North China as a missionary in 1872. By this time the Southern Baptist Convention had relaxed its policy against sending single women into the mission field, and Lottie herself soon felt called to follow her sister to China. On July 7, 1873 the Foreign Mission Board officially appointed Lottie as a missionary to China. She was thirty-three years old.

Greg Harvey

Dave Miller said...

Wade asks: “I wonder if a century from now the concept of the equality of women, seemingly a minority viewpoint of modern evangelicals, might be considered as 'normal,' 'Christian' and 'biblical' as we now view the equality of races?”

I have no doubt that in 100 years, the majority of Christians who call themselves evangelical will support women in ministry and other egalitarian viewpoints. I believe the church will also support homosexuality as an acceptable alternate lifestyle.

I don’t think it will take 100 years for these things to happen. But, it will not be biblical exegesis that leads to these positions, but compromise with the prevailing mindset of our culture.

I think Wade’s question raises a false comparison, one that I have grown tired of – comparing our current stand against women in ministry or male leadership in the home to our forefathers’ support of slavery. The subtle, condescending message here is that it is prejudice and small-mindedness that leads us to hold these positions. The same logic is used by (so-called) homosexual evangelicals. As our forefathers learned that slavery was wrong, someday we will "grow" into an understanding that discrimination against women or gays is just as wrong. (I know, Wade, that is not your viewpoint, but your argument is used by those who promote that point.)

I would say the exact opposite of this argument is true. Slavery was accepted among Christians because they allowed their culture to define truth. Society supported slavery, so people read slavery into scripture.

Now, society has come to support egalitarianism (and feminism) so, presto, we have found that teaching in scripture. Some are finding support for homosexuality in the scriptures now.

It is always dangerous when we let our exegesis be guided by culture, not by the text. Those who are trying to read the Bible to fit the drift of our culture, rather than confronting culture with the truth of God are falling into the slavery-supporters’ error.

What made Wilberforce (and perhaps John Brown) great was that they drew truth from scripture, not culture.

volfan007 said...

dave miller,

amen. that's exactly what i was thinking, and more.

david

Wade Burleson said...

Dave,

If the egalitarian view cannot be supported by scripture, it should be rejected.

The same with homosexuality.

Wade

greg.w.h said...

Well...

Actually, the Bible provides adequate support for slavery as an institution both in the Old and New Testaments. The only real arguments for causing society-wide disruption of slavery apply equally to women and arguably to women in visible leadership roles (think "neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor/and female").

I understand where you guys are coming from in saying we can only read the Bible as consistently choosing men for spiritual leadership positions. But even Wilberforce's argumentation emphasized certain biblical passages over OTHER passages that seemed to condone slavery.

But what I intensely dislike is the hubris that you guys (Dave and David) bring when you refuse to acknowledge that others can read the Bible, too. This is NOT about a lack of adequate inerrancy. There is a simple disagreement over whether the Bible permits women to serve.

I understand that you believe you're reading it correctly. I don't even disagree with how you interpret the Bible (as I've demonstrated in the past supporting David "Volfan"'s positions with biblical references including interpretations from Greek). But there isn't a lot of love in comparing freedom for women to serve in leadership with freedom for homosexuals to serve (unless they are celibate in thought and practice of course...in which case they're transformed sinners struggling against their sin nature like everyone else.)

Jesus didn't deal that way with the women in his life in the passages where he elevates them within their society. He consistently was supported by women. The Holy Spirit even gave Pilate's wife a dream warning him (thereby providing spiritual leadership) against getting involved with Jesus.

Paul was also consistently supported by women. Paul endorsed women as spiritual leaders who raise young men. He even took a rather moderate position on the leadership of Priscilla and Aquila over Apollos.

And--as I've noted before--just the single example of Deborah being called as the judge of Israel is sufficient to permit God the wiggle room to call ANY woman to lead men...any time...any place. Perhaps now is the time and here is the place?

And even if it isn't, please tone down the rhetoric and permit that other believers can in good conscience conclude differently than you do. Disagree to your heart's content. But don't talk down to fellow believers even if you're absolutely sure you're correct. Because sometimes you won't be and all of the time truth should be spoken in love.

Plus you WILL construct better argumentation if it is done in love. Argumentation that doesn't depend on guilt by association.

Greg Harvey

P.S. For those who support Huckabee: Meet the Press today showed him doing a whole lot of waffling and triangulation on the issue of homosexuals. Seemed awfully politically expedient/convenient to me. ;)

Todd said...

We have reached a new low when it is suggested the same interpretive framework used to assert women are different but equal to create fear that to do so opens the door to be open and accepting (meaning leadership roles) for those of a homosexual orientation in our churches.

It seems a false comparison to suggest a parallel Scriptural trajectory when discussing slavery and women but a perfectly allowable comparison to pit women and homosexuals in the same category ans so dismiss women due to some imagined slippery slope.

Surely we can say it better than that.

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Kaufman said...

I have no doubt that in 100 years, the majority of Christians who call themselves evangelical will support women in ministry and other egalitarian viewpoints. I believe the church will also support homosexuality as an acceptable alternate lifestyle.

As a Christian woman who happens to be Southern Baptist, it make me squinch to read putting women in ministry(and I am not talking Senior pastor) in the same vein as homosexuality. It's not even close. Is it that despicable? Why? It's sad when society has realized the value and treatment of women before many Christians have.

I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. I love the Lord God with all my heart, soul and mind. I am a diligent studier of the Bible, and I have yet for a male who is so against us being in ministry to tell me about the women in the OT such as Deborah or the women Christ used in His ministry. I believe scripture interprets scripture, yet these passages seem to be torn out of our Bibles. I am very Conservative btw. Do we not have a brain? Are we not indwelt with the same Holy Spirit? Do we not study scripture diligently, women are in seminaries. Sheri Klouda knows scripture probably more than most men.

Wade Burleson said...

Dave,

Greg, Todd and Debbie all three answered your logical fallacy far more eloquently and ably than I.

davidinflorida said...

Wade,

Do you see any similarities in Paul Hill, anti-abortionist, and John Brown, abolitionist?

Wade Burleson said...

David,

Frankly, I do not know enough about Paul Hill to comment.

Dave Miller said...

It is frustrating to be a dissenter on this blog, because those who support the predominant view don't seem to hear what is said.

I did not say that homosexuality and women in ministry were the same issue. I only said that the same logic Wade used here is used to support both.

I think they are different issues entirely. My point is that the church has always gotten in trouble when we have tried to fit scriptures into our cultural mindset.

Why is it that the proponents of dissent in the SBC attack anyone who dissents from Wade's viewpoint? I have watched it. Today I experienced it.

Greg, of course, as usual, just stated his opinions reasonably, even if I disagree with his conclusions. Todd jumped right over my point and went on the attack. I am used to Debbie's passionate attacks on anyone who disagrees with Wade - it is par for the course.

Why is it that dissenters are so quick to attack dissent?

I stand by my point. I believe it is both biblical and logically valid.

Debbie Kaufman said...

David Miller: I am quick to say something because your reasoning doesn't make sense to me Biblically or otherwise. The Bible is clear in several places that homosexuality is a sin both in the OT and in the NT. Where in scripture is women in ministry a sin? I and others gave Biblical passages that would refute what you are saying, yet you do not address them at all. Why is that?

John said...

C'mon Dave,

Comparing the defense of egalitarianism to the defense of homosexuality is barbaric and insensitive.

But comparing the defense of complementarianism and the defense of slavery...now that is completly alright...

Debbie Kaufman said...

BTW David: I do have a mind of my own, I am a woman. Stick to the facts and quit using excuses that are not valid.

Wade Burleson said...

David,

I apologize for the frustration. I sincerely appreciate your comments.

My point is simply this:

The SCRIPTURE is explicit about homosexual behavior - it is a sin - as is heterosexual behavior outside the confines of marriage.

The SCRIPTURE is not near as explicit in terms of females preaching or being involved in ministry. Conservative evangelicals who believe in the sufficiency and infallibility of Scripture interpret the Scriptures differently on this issue. The Bible speaks of Phoebe who was a 'deaconess' and the seven female prophetesses, and Deborah ruling over men, etc . . .

The comparison or the logic is NOT the same for women and homosexuals.

Wade

Anonymous said...

Dave,
As someone who does not comment on Wade's site very often let me first say that this has been an interesting exchange to read. I think you are correct in making the point that equating slavery and women in ministry might not be the best connection, however, as a women's minister and a conservative pastor's wife I also find your equating of women in ministry and homosexuality a bad connection and an insulting one. There is a difference between a deliberate sin and distortion of ones gender and ones gender given by God. I take my ministry very seriously and was educated for it in one of our fine SBC seminaries. I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was called by God to such a calling. As for the senior pastor position I do believe that it is primarily for the male gender, however, there is enough evidence in Scripture of God using women in leadership roles, some alongside their husband and some not, to lead both men and women that I find it hard even within my conservative perspective to say that God would never call a woman as a senior pastor. My difficulty with this is that like you said it is often a decision by women today that is based more on our culture, which says I can, than it is on Scripture and the true calling of God. It is my advise to any woman who believes themselves to be called to such a position to truly examine with that calling and allow God to say "no" if that is His decision. I have been asked many times by people about ever seeking such a position because my training has adequately prepared me for it. That may be true, but God has not called me to it and therefore I am not qualified, training or no training. What I find sad is that we have men and women in our pulpits that have not been called by God to such a position and have simply chosen a career, not followed a calling of God. Dave all this to say or rather to ask, from a sister in Christ who seeks nothing more than the calling of God in her life, please do not equate in anyway being a woman and a homosexual again, it hurts and I believe it hurts the heart of God. I would like to believe that was not your intention. Love in Christ-
Vicky Reed

Scott Shaffer said...

Several random, and hopefully not too rambling, comments.

1. Some have been criticized for making a connection between egalitarianism in the church and accepting homosexual unions. I don’t think we should be surprised when people make this connection as both are huge issues in our culture today. Secondly, Wade connected slavery to the equality of women, so it isn’t difficult to see how someone would connect a third dot.

2. But, it really doesn’t matter if any of these issues are logically connected. The question is what God says. We need to answer each question separately.

3. I continue to be frustrated with the straw man argument that assigning different functions to men and women automatically denigrates women. Let’s say for sake of discussion that Paul’s teaching on this matter was culturally conditioned and it no longer applies in 21st century America. Fine. But, what about in the 1st century? Was the 1st century church in error for heeding Paul’s instructions? Was Paul mistaken? Assigning different functions does not automatically denigrate women.

4. Regarding the Klouda termination – I know that PP was motivated by his view on the role of women and that this is certainly debatable (a seminary is not a church and a Hebrew instructor is not a pastor, and is it within the purview of a SBC entity to make such decisions without convention approval), but I am disheartened that apparently she was told one thing (her job was secure) only to have the same person later fire her over this issue. Jesus said we should be men and women (see I’m an egalitarian) of our word.

5. Wade, if my memory serves me well, and my children tell me it frequently doesn’t anymore, I recall you writing that you personally would not be comfortable serving in a local church with a senior woman pastor. Is that correct? If not, I’m sorry for mentioning it.

Todd said...

Dave,

Please read my comment again. I simply said we can say what was said better. If that is attack then we have issues related to the meaning and nuances of words that extend way beyond calling into question an illogical connection between women in ministry and homosexuality.

I had not intention to attack. I like to think I know the difference.

Wade Burleson said...

Scott,

In answer to number five, yes, I did say I would be uncomfortable - but freely acknowledged it was not for exegetical reasons. If the Bible clearly prohibited such a thing, I would stand with Scripture if I were the only man on earth who did so. I am unconvinced of the prohibition - though the BFM 2000 prohibits it. However, it should be obvious that we Southern Baptists have moved from the dangers of liberalism to that of legalism - adding TO the Word of God.

Scott Shaffer said...

Wade,

Thanks for answering my question. If I may, why would you be uncomfortable?

Scott

Kerygma said...

Wade, have you ever read any of the Southern Baptist sermons from the mid-1800s defending slavery? Very interesting, and instructive as well. The defenders were absolutely convinced of their rightness, and they based it on scripture. It should give us pause.....

Debbie Kaufman said...

Scott: I would have to disagree that it is a strawman argument that some who assign roles to women that go beyond what the scripture does denegrates women, it also frustrates some women whom God has called to do to more, yet when trying to get the church's backing get told no and almost act as if it is a sin to want to start a ministry in a certain area or teach mixed groups. Yet the feeling is strong. I can't understand how women who have a strong desire to do something more for God, who are true born again Christians with the Holy Spirit in them doing a work, are treated as if that desire is a sin and a wanting to be more like a man. That is the straw man argument in my opinion.

G. Alford said...

Has anyone on this thread ever read ‘A defense of Virginia and the South’ by R.L. Dabney? Does anyone here even know who R.L. Dabney was?

I am so tired of this self-mutilation of our “Southern” Christian Heritage… And I am offended by all those who would continue to drag “my” Christian Forefathers names through the mud in some weak attempt to score some politically correct points in Baptist Life today.

In case anyone cares (and I doubt they do) my Christian Forefathers from the South could read their Bibles just as good then as you claim to be able to read them today. And as one who has studied my “Southern” Christian Heritage with personal interest… I am of the opinion that they were far more obedient to what they read in the sacred text (both the slave and the slave owner) than what any of us are today.

We set in judgment of them, and speak of them with such contempt, that one would think that we esteem them totally void of saving faith and outside the family of God altogether.

Sad indeed will be our meeting of these brothers in glory…

Scott Shaffer said...

Debbie,

I want to make sure I understand you. Are you saying that scripture makes no distinction between the function of men and women in the church? What about the first century church?

Thanks

Debbie Kaufman said...

Scott: Thank you for asking that question. I am not saying there is absolutely no distinction of roles for women and men in the church, going by the model of the first century church as put to us in scripture however, I believe the restrictions were much less than is being taught both in seminaries and in churches today.

Wade Burleson said...

For cultural reasons. Not societal culture - church culture.

Dave Miller said...

I feel a frustration today that I presume Wade feels at times. I have had some pretty harsh things said about me today, and they have been directed at things I DID NOT SAY.

For instance, I DID NOT SAY that homosexuality and women in ministry were comparable issues. I only said that proponents of both issues have used the same slavery argument that Wade used in his post.

Regardless of how many people excoriate me for linking the two issues, the statement stands as true. Proponents of homosexuality and proponents of women in ministry have both used this argument to support their positions.

I DID NOT SAY that supporters of women in ministry are also closet supporters of gay rights (sad pun very much intentional).

I DID NOT accuse Wade of being either a supporter of homosexuality or even of women as pastors. I just disagreed with the logic of his comparison in the blog.

I DID raise a concern about our hermeneutics. I think we are guilty often of letting our exegesis be controlled by what is popular and acceptable in our culture. That was the real problem with slavery

I DID say that I believe that the women in ministry supporters are in my opinion very prone toward culturally-governed exegesis.

I DO assert that such culturally-governed exegesis is very dangerous. We are called to confront our culture, which has been deceived by the lies of Satan, with the truth of God's Word.

(To forestall attacks, I am not saying that women-in-ministry supporters are satanists)


Theological debate is a dying art. It is okay to disagree with someone's position, but it is essential to understand that position first. Now, we assume what we want to hear and go on immediate attack.

I was satisfied with Wade's first comment after mine.

"If the egalitarian view cannot be supported by scripture, it should be rejected.

The same with homosexuality."

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
About all I knew about John Brown was some song about ‘his body lies a moaning in the grave’ or something like that.

A history buff, informed me that Brown never fought in the Civil War, but had a ‘private’ war against slave owners etc. before the Civil War was in progress. (I thought it strange they would hang a prisoner of war.)

He must have believed an eye for an eye because in retaliation of 5 ‘slave sympathizers’ being killed his band made a raid and killed 5 on the other side which included a 12 year-old boy.
In the attack on Harper’s Ferry, the first victim of his band was a ‘free slave’ who worked as a guard.

Dave Miller,
Your first mistake was using the acceptance of equality of women and the acceptance of homosexuality in the same comment. The second mistake was using the two in the same paragraph, and the worst was using them in the same sentence.

True; you did not say they were comparable, but if a bull charges you for waving a red flag, are you going to explain you were only waving to a friend, or you going to run?

BTW, I replied to you in the last comment on the November 29 post.

Dave Miller said...

Rex Ray, I read it, but it seems like maybe we have chewed all the flavor out of that stick of gum. I will get my verbal knives sharpened for our next round!

I suggest for our next discussion:

Resolved - that Satan is behind all college and professional sports, making all Dave's teams lose and the teams he really hates go 16-0.

Rex Ray said...

Dave Miller,
Hey! Old friend…if the flavor’s gone it’s usually because we’re loosing. A neighbor asked our 5-year-old daughter: “What’s your mother doing today?”
“Oh, she’s pouting.”

Sounds like you should be on Wade’s previous post of having a pity-party.

I agree there’s a tendency to be attacked if you deviate from Wade’s viewpoint.
I once said he called Jesus a Southern Baptist and about 16 people yelled at me. The only consolation I received was Wade saying, “Sometimes, words do not convey their meaning.”
On the up-side; most of the time he’s correct; some president said if he was right 50% of the time, he’d go down in history as a great president.

In our next discussion, I’d prefer our knives be single edge (those double ones can cut you), and we’d be back to back in a touch-down dance. Ugh

Scott Shaffer said...

Debbie,

Thanks. And that is the point I was trying to make. You just did a better job of it.

Todd said...

Dave Miller,

Theological debate is often accused of being a lost art when it seems as though one is not perceived to be winning his or her side of the argument.

Theological conversations are entertained by those not necessarily wishing to win but to learn together. Scot McKnight offers a three part blog series on the Art of Conversation.

I comment on Wade's blog on rare occasions. I hopped over interested in this post to see how the comment thread would go. My quick, and apparently misunderstood comment, was intended to suggest I would like to learn from an argument that would not equate women with homosexuals.

I should have said, I would like to learn from those who will look with disdain on those supporting homosexuality co-opting a compelling argument that demonstrates if slavery denigrates humans made in the image of God then it should not be hard to see how the extreme right views of women have done the same to them.

When I read your comment, I thought there was another person after the fashion of, I believe Grudem, who does not trust someone to know when to pull off of an interpretive framework before straying into complete error. (i.e. similar arguments used by proponents of competing viewpoints - women and homosexuals).

For me, not suggesting you intimated this in the least - just hoping to illustrate I am still eager to learn, it is a bit elitist to assume some of us cannot discard instances of hijacking and ferret out the error. In nearly all of my reading the great danger is the "slippery slope."

Now sliding down this slope is not always a sure thing. But, to read those who don't want theological debate but theological supremacy you would think they needed to save some of we lesser lights from danger by using a logical fallacy to prop up their argument.

Let me see if I can push in another direction and take the heat out of the women issue for a moment.

Will Willimon pointed out in a Christmas Eve message how we often consider identifying with a character in the Nativity stories. He suggested for we in America it would only be possible if we assumed the posture of the Romans. For most of us we cannot possibly understand just how Good News of a Messiah might be when we stand in the position of power.

I am simply suggesting on some levels, we men cannot possibly understand what we have done from time to time when we speak about women's issues cause we aren't one. Please notice, I have used the inclusive "we." I am not implying, Dave, that would necessarily include you but that it does include "me" and not a few others.

Now that I seem to have written a Gene Bridges length response, he types with a smile, I want to assert once again, my comments were written in haste, not intending to attack, hoping to learn, and I assume responsibility for creating some of your frustration and I apologize.

Robert said...

I am, as my name suggests, male but I can represent the women of my family and church when I write that for many of us the issue of women in leadership ministry is not an issue of equality or justice.

Slavery was invented by humanity, womanhood by God; Wade's comparison is deeply flawed.

Because gender is a God-made difference it only remains to understand in what ways the divine designation of gender is intended to be reflected in roles and relationships. Some, by implication Wade in this post, imply there should be few if any differences; others trying to be equally faithful to God's revealed Word say there should be.

(The professor of Hebrew IS a matter of justice; the SWBTS falsehood is to imply that it is otherwise.)

Anonymous said...

OK, people. What do we know for sure about differences God made between men and women? Women give birth. Men start the process. Anything else (other than the related biology) is mostly generalization, for example: most men are physically stronger than most women, though some women are stronger than some men. As far as spiritual gifts, I expect all of us could name people of both sexes who have any given gift (at least if we have had the chance to know people across the spectrum).

So the twelve were all men. What chance would a woman have had in that culture to do what they did? When Jesus sent women with the news of the resurrection the male disciples (who had seen how affirming He was of women) didn't believe them.

Philip's daughters were prophets. Phoebe was a deacon, though many translations use a different word, but the Greek is the word translated deacon most places. There were cultural barriers then that do not exist in our society today. The early church was ahead of the culture then, but in many cases the present day church is behind the culture now.

As for defending earlier Baptists who beleved in slavery, they were probably right about some things we are wrong about now. I don't think their faith is being attacked, just their understanding and practice of it. No one of us is perfect in this area. How can we improve if we don't know what's wrong? (Although there are good and bad ways of pointing out things that need to be changed.)

Enough said (and probably more than enough for many readers!).

Susie

Anonymous said...

The Christian academic world has addressed the issue of women, slaves and homosexuality. I refer you to a text used by one of our SBC Seminaries.

William J. Webb, Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001.

It is just not on this blog where the three issues converge.

Roger D. Lee

Anonymous said...

Debbie, why not senior pastor?
Florence in KY (84 and going strong!

Anonymous said...

Debbie, why not senior pastor?
Florence in KY (84 and going strong!

davidinflorida said...

g alford,

There will be no " sad meeting in glory " because all of this " stuff " doesn`t make a difference. Any of your forefathers that a there don`t care either.

greg.w.h said...

John said:

Comparing the defense of egalitarianism to the defense of homosexuality is barbaric and insensitive.

But comparing the defense of complementarianism and the defense of slavery...now that is completly alright...


Given that slaves and women are both mentioned by Paul in one of his two "in Christ there is neither..." statements, there is room for a comparison of the two.

However, the same comment cannot be made regarding homosexuality.

I argue that to the extent Galatians 3:28 is a seminal verse to be considered in biblical argumentation against slavery, it is also a seminal verse to be considered in biblical argumentation for the position that the pastoral role is extended to all Christians in the same proportion that Hebrews extends the role of the priest to all believers.

I similarly argue that homosexuality is not in the same category for the simple reason that it is not mentioned in that verse while slavery, ethnicity, and "gender" (or, more accurately, sex) is. Broader arguments include:

1. Men lusting for men, exchanging natural function for perversion, men laying with men, and women preferring women to men are all explicitly mentioned in Scripture either as outlawed sin or perversion that leads to depravity.

2. Not a single homosexual is mentioned in the Bible as being in a leadership position. Not one. (Yes, I am refuting the attempt to color David's relationship with Jonathan as a homosexual relationship. There is not a single fact in the biblical text that supports that other than perverting the term "love" to imply sexual interaction.)

3. Women are mentioned in leadership roles in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. We can argue each one specifically, but it doesn't change the fact that they are mentioned.

I think the careful reader would acknowledge the truth they see in each of my points rather than saying it's just my opinion and they disagree with my opinion. Otherwise I'll repeat my previous comment: it's hubris to say YOU can read the Bible and understand it and to implicitly claim your view is the ONLY logical/theological view while referring to others similar readings as opinion.

Greg Harvey

Debbie Kaufman said...

Anonymous: Senior pastor is one I am still chewing on, but probably no senior pastor for the same reason I can't get myself to vote for a female President. :) I don't see a woman priest(or is it priestess) in the OT and do not see in the NT any female being appointed by Paul or any one else as sole head of a church. On this however I could be wrong. It's where I am now.

Dave Miller said...

Greg,

I want to respond to your accusation of hubris, because it was originally directed at me.

I am torn here between two positions.

1) I am convinced that anyone who reads the New Testament without preconception will see what I believe is a clear teaching - that God ordained male leadership in both the home and the church. I am convinced in my mind and heart that it is THE biblical position.

2) I am aware that people I respect who also love God's Word have taken a contrary position. So, in spite of my hubris, I try not to make women in ministry a test of faithfulness.

However, I remain convicted that hermeneutical integrity demands a complementarian, not an egalitarian position.

I guess I plead guilty to hubris, but hope it is a hubris bathed in some humility.

On a personal note, I think I am glad to live on the western side of the state. You folks in my old hometown have gotten nailed a few times recently, haven't you? I'm dreaming of a warm New Year.

greg.w.h said...

Dave,

Your ability to articulate both an understanding of the "other" position and your love for those who take it--even at the risk of them being in error and of correction from God--is, in my mind, the precisely correct approach. I understand the feeling that we must stand on the clearest understanding of Scripture and the need to not waver in the position we choose. But I believe the world finds reason to criticize God when his people show a lack of statesmanship in our discussions of theology.

And I even had my wife judge me as to whether she thought I was a complementarian or an egalitarian after my last post. She concluded that--in spite of sitting under a female associate pastor who taught our Sunday Bible Fellowship class while we were members at CBF-associated Highland Village Baptist near Dallas (between our two terms of tenure at Austin's SBTC-flagship Great Hills Baptist)--I'm a dyed in the wool complementarian as well as inerrantist.

But my "sense" of calling has always been to the whole Bride to help prepare her for the Wedding Day. So I search hard for understanding and agreement as I've tried to consistently portray it here in the conversations Wade has led.

I haven't even mentioned one MK who is a professor in Illinois and another who co-pastored in Texas that got more than a little upset with me for taking a stauncher complementarian view than either preferred. But in that case the egalitarian viewpoint was being adequately expressed while the complementarian one was being attacked.

I think we owe it to our brothers and sisters in the faith to help them express their own utterings and groanings that are difficult to understand with clear argumentation. After all, God is the author of reason because reason is a form of wisdom. (In fact, in my experience, comparing the reductionist human form of reason with God's reasoning with humanity shows how much richer his is.)

I trust God to reason with us through his Spirit and trust that he will not give up on conforming ALL of us to the eikon/image of Christ Jesus until the task is accomplished. So it is my hope that we assist in accelerating that process when we openly and tactfully discuss the Bible including the controversies and even the things I've referred to as "doctrinal opinion."

On the subject of an overly white Christmas: the ice and snow started around Thanksgiving and we have about 17-18 inches on the ground at the moment here in Marion. We dodged any appreciable precipitation from last night's clipper. But when it was merely 8 or so, I only made it halfway down the driveway before retrenching with the hope of making it the rest of the way the next day (the past weekend). God's grace showered down on me when my neighbor pulled out his two-stage right after I had gone inside and cleared our walks and the rest of the driveway. We're thinking that having our own blower might be wise. ;)

Greg

Wade Burleson said...

Greg and Dave,

Good discussion both and an even better spirit.

To me, you are exhibiting the spirit of cooperation without abandoning the desire for hermeneutical integrity.

Pastor Bob Farmer said...

What I find most interesting about this history lesson is the fact that both Robert E. Lee and John Brown were believers; however, they both found themselves on oposite sides in a desparate and bloddy standoff at Harper's Ferry. Can it be that two Christians can be both enemies and brothers- each claiming to act under the guidance of the Spirit? Each being wrong and right in some respect to PRovedence? I could burn some brain cells pondering the implications.

RKSOKC66 said...

Pastor Bob Farmer, et. al.:

You are right about there being some "tension" in various positions Christians hold.

While sharing a common understanding of 90% + of the crux of Christianity, and while sharing in common the gift of salvation that none of us diserve, we still divide over certain points.

What is tragic is that I think that both sides would have to acknowledge that those issues that divide us are subordinate to those that unite us.

For that reason, I think Wade is right, to call for more cooperation between fellow Baptists -- no less.

I don't think that this side of heaven either side will ever be able to lay out a "logical case" to convince the other side on some of these issues. A key example is the complementarian / equalitarian debate that is going on here.

We are just going to have to agree to disagree or else splinter into various factions.

Alternatively, given that there are four [maybe more] "secondary issues" (maybe they are "tertiary") in play then I guess we will have to have 2 ^ 4 = 16 different mini-SBCs. This way, you could be in a group that agreed with you precisely no matter which way you came down on each of the 4 issues.

The four issues that we could divide / cooperate over are:

1. role of women,

2. administrator of adult immersion baptism,

3. PPL,

4. total abstinance of any type of alcoholic beveridge

I wish everyone a great 2008. No matter where any of you come down on any of the four issues (mentioned above) you can worship with me and serve on a mission field using my Lottie Moon dollars. You don't have to be a "cultural clone" of me for me to be able to cooperate with you tword the promulgation of the Gospel.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City

greg.w.h said...

I agree with Roger. Our motto could be:

Because we share so great a salvation, we feel compelled to unify in order to faithfully transmit that faith and that salvation to the world, and we recognize that only Satan could be interested in dividing us.

Greg Harvey

Bryan Riley said...

While it may be minority in SBC, many evangelicals would already say it is normal and biblical.

Bryan Riley said...

Greg WH, when you say the following:

Otherwise I'll repeat my previous comment: it's hubris to say YOU can read the Bible and understand it and to implicitly claim your view is the ONLY logical/theological view while referring to others similar readings as opinion.

I'd expand on it and say it is not only hubris, but it is also elevating oneself to the position of god.

Rex Ray said...

“What would Jesus do?” has been around a long time. What would Jesus do today for the role of women, is what he DID when Martha asked him to send Mary to the kitchen.

“Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her except by the BFM 2000.” (Luke 10:42)

Oops…got carried away, but there’s a point there somewhere. If Jesus said women had a choice when they were looked on almost as property, surely they have a choice today for whatever God calls them to do.

Dave Miller said...

Brian, permit me to disagree with you a little bit.

I agree that we should have the humility to realize that people who love Jesus and the Word can come to some different positions, and we need to accept one another and be loving while we continue to seek truth.

But God does not speak with a confused voice. Just because we might not be able to sort everything out, does not mean that any view is just as acceptable as any other view.

The Bible does not validate every position. My job is to submit my mind to the Word and to seek God's truth from His word. When I diligently study God's Word, using sound hermeneutic principles, I can come to positions that believe are the correct biblical positions.

In the meantime, while I continue to seek to understand the perfect truth of God's Word, I accept those who accept faithful brethren who hold different views.

I do not believe it is hubris for me to study the Word of God and declare what it means. I am not making myself a god to say, "This is what God's Word says."

Are you really saying it is acting like a God to say, "This is what God's Word says?"

Am I misunderstanding what you are saying?

greg.w.h said...

Bryan's comments bring out the Devil's Advocate in me. A continuing theme that I've been exploring is the thought that we can only base our unity on doctrine that is present in the written revelation of God. If I were to say it just a little differently, there is no doctrine that is truth that isn't strongly present in Scripture.

Where we often find our disagreements isn't on the language of the text or even the interpretation of the text. It's stuff we've grafted onto it. We've been taught some of it so long that it is second nature to "read that" when we read the Bible. As two very clear examples consider the traditionalist position with respect to alcoholic beverages and the (Calvinistic) doctrines of grace.

On the one hand, alcohol clearly isn't condemned in the Bible. (I thank David Tolliver for actually saying this out loud...it is a breath of honesty to go that far.)

On the other hand, the word "election" demands some kind of definition and understanding. And since the Bible doesn't thoroughly define it, we're left to our own devices in doing so. We HOPE that the definitions that are offered are completely harmonized with Scripture. And the Calvinistic explanation is pretty deep, pretty thoroughgoing and pretty consistent (if not completely consistent) with the various comments on election.

But human beings being the creative, bright people that we are, there is ALWAYS room to add to the text in the attempt to clarify meaning. So, using Bryan's extension on my original comment, are we claiming the mantle of the Almighty when we diligently search and offer explanations of what is not clearly explained?

Well--as I said, I'm feeling feisty--I offer you this verse to contemplate with respect to Bryan's comment:

John 10:31-37 (HCSB...because I really enjoy using it in these kinds of discussions...btw...the word "gods" is indeed the Greek nominative male plural "theoi"):

31 Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him.

32 Jesus replied, "I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?"

33 "We aren't stoning You for a good work," the Jews answered, "but for blasphemy, because You—being a man—make Yourself God."

34 Jesus answered them, "Isn't it written in your law, I said, you are gods ? 35 If He called those whom the word of God came to 'gods'—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say, 'You are blaspheming' to the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God? 37 If I am not doing My Father's works, don't believe Me. 38 But if I am doing them and you don't believe Me, believe the works. This way you will know and understand that the Father is in Me and I in the Father."


The verse being alluded is in Psalms 82 and in context is (also HCSB):

1 God has taken His place in the divine assembly;
He judges among the gods:

2 "How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?

Selah

3 Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.

4 Rescue the poor and needy;
save them from the hand of the wicked."

5 They do not know or understand;
they wander in darkness.
All the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6 I said, "You are gods;
you are all sons of the Most High.

7 However, you will die like men
and fall like any other ruler."

8 Rise up, God, judge the earth,
for all the nations belong to You.


Those of you familiar with this passage know it is one of many that is used to support LDS "theology" of believers becoming gods of their own worlds and judging those worlds. So not only is it awfully inconvenient that Jesus would quote it, but I will offer NO ONE who reads Wade's blog can interpret it into clear meaning, clear theology, or clear doctrine. Both the Psalm and the John 10 passage are inscrutable.

We dare not interpret either because the only conclusion you will reach is that we are INDEED gods...sons/daughters of the Most High.

So rather than refuting Bryan's extension of my comment, I'll instead offer us what I call an electric-fence warning: as sons and daughters of the Most High, the things we say, the way we speak to each other, the conclusions we reach, the statements and beliefs we teach, the love we show, the charity/grace we dispense, the souls we engage, the bodies we baptize, the songs we sing, the Psalms we write...

...in some completely mysterious way, it is as if we speak on God's behalf in all of this and to some extent what we say matters more than we could ever imagine. So we should tread carefully in our pilgrimage from what the Bible says to what (we believe) it means.

Greg Harvey

P.S. AS much fun as I'm having--partially in deference to the always patient publisher of this blog--I'm going to silence my pen and go watch Underdog with my wife and my four kids as we observe the passing of the Old Year and the arrival of the New. So if you choose to respond to what I wrote, please do it to the general readership of Wade's blog rather than to me. I ask that those who read Wade's blog defend my comment that the two passages lead to inscrutability that we dare not interpret should anyone challenge that position.

Only By His Grace said...

Debbie,

Here is a hard choice for you. You said you could not bring yourself to vote for a woman for President. I take you are speaking of President of the United States and not President of the Southern Baptist Convention. I do not think any woman is seeking to be President of the latter one, and we are in an all out Presidential race with a woman leading the Democrat Party. I wonder if you could have voted for Margaret Thatcher for Prime Minister of England or Golda Maier for Prime Minister of Israel if had were a citizen of those perspective countries or if a Maier or Thatcher type were running in this Presidential race?

You know Golda Maier was the fourth PM of Israel, and was elected at a crucial time in Israel's history. She was called the "Iron Lady" by David Ben-Gurion and the "the only man in my cabinet." She was PM during the "Munich Massacre" of the Israeli athletes and coaches during the '72 Olympics. She authorized "The Sword of Gideon Operation" in which Mossad hunted down and killed the Muslim terrorists who perpetrated the act. She was the PM during the "Yom Kippur War."
In fact, there is a third woman who was head of State at the same time as Golda Maier. She was PM of India about ten years. Indira Ghandi faced many of the same situation Maier faced. India became a nuclear power under her leadership, She literally hated President Richard Nixon, but really had a deep respect for the United States. "The Green Revolution" is one of the wonderful economical stories in history, a story in which India produced enough food to be self reliant from the rest of the world. As much as Indira Ghandi disliked President Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher seem to have as much like for President Ronald Reagan. PM Thatcher like Ghandi and Maier had great crisis to handle in her ten years as PM of Great Britain. She had the apartheid to deal with in South Africa and the Civil War going on in Ireland. I doubt if any many could have handled the situations any better than these three women as heads of Israel, Indian and England.

It seems that Israel had a woman who was Judge of Israel. Not only was she a judge making spiritual decisions, she was the Commanding General of the Israeli army in times that were so horrible that to think about them tries our imagination.

I would have been happy voting for any one of these four women.

Phil in Norman

Only By His Grace said...

Debbie,

Here is a hard choice for you. You said you could not bring yourself to vote for a woman for President. I take you are speaking of President of the United States and not President of the Southern Baptist Convention. I do not think any woman is seeking to be President of the latter one, and we are in an all out Presidential race with a woman leading the Democrat Party. I wonder if you could have voted for Margaret Thatcher for Prime Minister of England or Golda Maier for Prime Minister of Israel if had were a citizen of those perspective countries or if a Maier or Thatcher type were running in this Presidential race?

You know Golda Maier was the fourth PM of Israel, and was elected at a crucial time in Israel's history. She was called the "Iron Lady" by David Ben-Gurion and the "the only man in my cabinet." She was PM during the "Munich Massacre" of the Israeli athletes and coaches during the '72 Olympics. She authorized "The Sword of Gideon Operation" in which Mossad hunted down and killed the Muslim terrorists who perpetrated the act. She was the PM during the "Yom Kippur War."
In fact, there is a third woman who was head of State at the same time as Golda Maier. She was PM of India about ten years. Indira Ghandi faced many of the same situation Maier faced. India became a nuclear power under her leadership, She literally hated President Richard Nixon, but really had a deep respect for the United States. "The Green Revolution" is one of the wonderful economical stories in history, a story in which India produced enough food to be self reliant from the rest of the world. As much as Indira Ghandi disliked President Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher seem to have as much like for President Ronald Reagan. PM Thatcher like Ghandi and Maier had great crisis to handle in her ten years as PM of Great Britain. She had the apartheid to deal with in South Africa and the Civil War going on in Ireland. I doubt if any many could have handled the situations any better than these three women as heads of Israel, Indian and England.

It seems that Israel had a woman who was Judge of Israel. Not only was she a judge making spiritual decisions, she was the Commanding General of the Israeli army in times that were so horrible that to think about them tries our imagination.

I would have been happy voting for any one of these four women.

Phil in Norman

Only By His Grace said...

Sorry, for the double copy. My electricity has gone off and on so many times, especially last week, my PC is still freezing up and is slower than I am walking on the golf course on a cold windy day like today.

BTW, Debbie, I did not mean this in any negative way. I enjoy reading your comments and admire both your humility and clear thinking.

Phil in Norman.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Touche' Phil and good points that I have no argument to give against. I think I still have some things I have to work through as you can see. :) Thank you for the kind words. Happy New Year.

Tim said...

Well, just as Southern Baptists were late to the game concerning slavery, it seems that we remain tardy on our view of women as well. Luckily, we're a minority of the world's Christian population.

Tim Dahl

Bryan Riley said...

Dave,

I am sorry, but my wireless router has been fickle of late, so I am slow to respond.

Yes, you misunderstand what I was saying.

Greg WH offers thoughtful comments thereon, but what I was really saying is that when we begin to judge other people by their doctrinal beliefs, particularly in areas (I will use the terms used on this blog for communicative purposes) of secondary or tertiary concerns, and act toward that person accordingly, we begin to play the role of the Holy Spirit.

There are clearly many things about God we do not know. As Greg mentions, the calvinist/arminian debate is one example. When we say it's so clear one way that surely those who believe otherwise can't know God, there is a huge problem. Remember the context of Greg's quote I expanded in the first place. He was talking about people who say their understanding is the ONLY understanding. If we think we are going to get to heaven and God will congratulate us because we had it all right, then we will be quite surprised. Haven't you ever had a change of heart on any faith belief?

Can we not declare what God says? Sure. But I think we will find that knowing what God says come more often from knowing Him and depending on Him rather than our intellectual dissection of text.

Rev. said...

I'll leave you all to continue discussing the whole role of women issue. I must, however, point out that John Brown led his band to attack five homes in Kansas at Pottawatomie Creek. In each case, Brown dragged the man of the house out of bed and the group butchered him while the families watched. They lived as fugitives after the Pottawatomie Creek Massacre and did not resurface until the raid on Harpers Ferry. In an attempt to raise an insurrection of slaves in the South and arm them, Brown and his horde murdered an African-American along six others. Surrounded by local citizens, militia, and U.S. troops led by Robert E. Lee, Brown and his band surrendered after 10 in their party had been killed. Brown and six of his followers were tried by a jury and hanged for treason. Although Brown was considered a pro-Union/ anti-slavery martyr following his death, his methods were unbiblical and bloodthirsty and his execution was just.

RKSOKC66 said...

Rev:

I didn't realize that John Brown was active in Kansas. I am going to have to do more research.

Also, it is interesting that one of his operational centers was Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas.

Pottawatomie must be a popular name. There is a county by that name both in Iowa (Council Bluffs) and just to the east of me here in Oklahoma (Shawnee).

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Only By His Grace said...

Rev,

I think any method of killing anyone is "unbiblical and bloodthirsty..."

I believe that is why St. Paul laid down the "ministry" of the State and the "ministry" of the Church in Romans 12:1-15:7. It is hard to love your enemies while shooting them (John Brown) or hanging them (Robert E. Lee).

Romans 12:1-15:7.
12:1-2. Our Relationship to God.
12:3-15:7. Our Relationships to Human beings..
a. 12:3-8. Using our Gifs for Church Ministry.
b. 12:9-21. Mature Love Covering all Human Relationships.
c. 13:1-7. Our Responsibility to Civil Authority.
d. 13:8-14. Our Lifestyle Witness to a lost world.
e. 14:1-15:7. Mature Interpersonal Relationships Edifying the Church.

Notice our responsibilities and the responsibilities of civil magistrates ("rulers", "higher powers") are diametrically opposite of each other; our responsibility being 12:3-21; 13:8-15:7 and the civil authority responsibility being 13:1-7.

I am afraid I utterly fail in every area in so many ways. I must and will plead for grace.

Only By His Grace,
Phil in Norman.

Sergeant Theophilus said...

As a father of two daughters, I have taught my daughters from Ephesians, not starting at Eph 5:22, where many like to jump into the teaching on female submission, but at Eph 5:21. All believers are to be submitted to one another, and in that context, the wife is to submit to a husband who is guided by the leadership principle of Jesus recorded in three gospels. The first instance is Matthew 20:25-28. Jesus contrasts Christian vs wordly leadership. The Christian leader is a servant, not a master. Sadly too many Christians have that order reversed, in the church as well as the home.

Only By His Grace said...

Sergeant Theophilus,

"As a father of two daughters, I have taught my daughters from Ephesians, not starting at Eph 5:22, where many like to jump into the teaching on female submission, but at Eph 5:21. All believers are to be submitted to one another,..."

I could not agree more, and you have said it much better than I could have. We know our problem stems from most men being absolute spiritual zeroes, abdicating their responsibility as spiritual leaders of the home.

May God grant "peace" to our nation and may we see many won to Christ. Happy New Year!

Phil in Norman.

Bryan Riley said...

I was just reading Rev's remark, almost as an aside, that said "I'll leave you all to continue discussing the whole role of women issue," and it caught me in the gut. I know he didn't mean it the way I received it, but it seemed like a way of tossing the role of women to the side.

Is it possible that we begin in the wrong place when we say "role of women" altogether? As has been noted in these latest comments, we all are called to be servants. Add to that that we are all called to go, teach and baptize. We are all called to use our gifts to edify. We are all called to love. We are all called to the ministry of reconciliation.

Does anyone here care to argue that those callings are not applicable to men and women alike?

Rex Ray said...

Bryan Riley,
Well said. I might add (dare I say it) the position of pastor is open to anyone called by God.

For too many choose this position as a throne of authority and not of service.

Wonder how many seek being a “Dr,” not for knowledge, but for esteem?

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Rex,

The hunger for position and prestige is not a desire that is limited by gender. We are all human and must check our motivations daily.

RMS

Anonymous said...

Rev.,

Thanks for pointing out that John Brown was a murderer in Kansas. It is amazing how many of us focus on what we want and ignore (or overlook when it does not serve our purposes) about an individual.

Thanks for the history lesson. I was going to do it myself but you did a great job.

Amy

Cheryl Schatz said...

Brian Riley said: "Is it possible that we begin in the wrong place when we say "role of women" altogether? As has been noted in these latest comments, we all are called to be servants. Add to that that we are all called to go, teach and baptize. We are all called to use our gifts to edify. We are all called to love. We are all called to the ministry of reconciliation."

Great point!

We are all to be followers of Jesus. There is nothing in scripture that says that there is a "male" way to follow Jesus and a "female" way to follow Jesus. All of us are to be committed followers of Jesus and as equal heirs of the grace of God we can esteem each other as spiritual equals.

Rev. said...

bryan riley:
I certainly did not intend for you to feel a punch in the gut over my remark. I certainly do not believe that women should be dismissed from an active role within church life. I wish that more SBC churches had women deacons, to be quite honest. I affirm the Baptist Faith & Message which says, "While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture."