Saturday, December 14, 2019

What Standard? Founders Flounder over Authority

I spent two hours watching the new documentary By What Standard? published by Founders Ministries.

Before I critique a couple of unfortunate statements in this film, I wish to express my prayer for Tom Ascol, leader of Founders Ministries, for a full recovery from his recent medical episode.

I believe, like those who lead the Founders Ministries, that Scripture is God's infallible, revealed word to mankind. I believe, like they, that Scripture is the sole guide of faith and practice for followers of Jesus Christ.

However, I have a fundamental disagreement with Tom Ascol and others in the Founders Ministries. They hold to a Reformed Presbyterian view of covenant theology which teaches that God established a Covenant of Works in the Garden of Eden with the first Adam, and then entered into a Covenant of Grace with the last Adam (Jesus Christ).

Without getting into the technicalities of Reformed Covenant theology, those who hold to it believe that the Hebrew Scriptures are as binding on followers of Jesus in terms of "faith and practice" as they are to the Jews of ancient days and to orthodox Jews today.

But followers of Jesus have a New Lawgiver, and His name isn't Moses.
While Peter was speaking to the other disciples (about Moses and Elijah), a cloud enveloped them, and they were afraid to enter the cloud. And a voice from the cloud came, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him." Luke 9:35. 
The authors of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message understood the clear and present distinction between the Law of the Old Covenant and the Law of Christ.
"The sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ whose will is revealed in the Holy Scriptures...the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ." (Introduction and Section I: The Scriptures, 1963 BFM)
The above two statements were strangely and sadly removed from the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.

There is a clear distinction and separation between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. There is a fundamental difference between the faith and practice of a Jew in ancient Israel (Old Testament days) and the faith and practice of a follower of Jesus since the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Law and then abrogated it.

All the promises of God made to His people in the Old Covenant were conditional upon the obedience of the Jews, but all the promises of God made to His people in the New Covenant are "YES in Christ, and Amen (it is so!)" because Christ is the fulfillment of the Law (II Corinthians 1:20).

In Christ, everything changes.

Whereas only male priests served in the Old Testament Temple, in the church, both males and females ARE the Temple of the Living God (I Corinthians 3:16).

Christ builds His church (us), and He gifts His people (us) with specific gifts, never using "gender" as a prerequisite for His gifting.  In the New Testament, the gifting of service (deacon), teaching (teacher), pastoring (pastor), elder (wisdom), evangelizing (evangelist), or any other Christ-bestowed gift is never restricted to only those with male genitalia, or to only those who are rich, or to only those of a certain ethnicity.
"For there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28). 
We are one body, gifted as Christ the Authority pleases.
We are one building, gifted as Christ the Architect designs

But the Founders flounder over spiritual authority.

Like good Orthodox Jews who believe in the Hebrew Scriptures, those books that we Christians call The Old Testament, but Jews call The Tanakh, Tom Ascol and the Founders seemingly join with Orthodox Jews and pray at least two of the three Jewish blessings for themselves every morning:
“Blessed are you O God, King of the Universe, Who has not made me a goy [Gentile], a slave, and a woman.”
Jesus ended that Old Covenant with the Jews and made all things new - radically new.

Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18).

There is only one Teacher with authority in the church: Jesus Christ. Listen to Him.

But Tom Ascol and the Founders believe that men possess spiritual authority over women and children. They believe that male pastors have spiritual authority in the church and that they are called to spiritually rule over people.  This "ruling over" other people is fulfilled by declaring God's will to others, for they alone (male pastors) have this so-called spiritual authority. Thus, according to these authority addicts, any Christian woman who is teaching, preaching, shepherding, evangelizing, (e.g. fulfilling the call of God by exercising her gifts) is breaking God's Rules in God's World (the subtitle of the film), for only men are to have spiritual authority over others.

In summary, Tom Ascol and the Founders say that women who teach, preach, or evangelize men are violating God's "chain of command." And any denomination or convention that allows women in leadership are "sinning" by breaking "God's rules."

But many Bible-believing, Christ-honoring, gifted teachers in the body of Christ disagree with Tom and the Founders.

Read what Ray Steadman had to say about authority among Christians.
There is no command structure in Christianity.
Authority among Christians is not derived from the same source as worldly authority, nor is it to be exercised in the same manner. The world's view of authority places men over one another, as in a military command structure, a business executive hierarchy, or a governmental system. This is as it should be. Urged by the competitiveness created by the Fall of the human race, and faced with the rebelliousness and ruthlessness of sinful human nature, the world could not function without the use of command structures and executive decision making.
But as Jesus carefully and clearly stated, "it shall not be so among you." Disciples are always in a different relationship to one another than are the "worldlings," those who are outside of the church. Christians are brothers and sisters, children of one Father and members of one another in the body of Christ. Jesus put it clearly in Matthew 23:8, "You have one teacher, and you are all brethren."
Throughout twenty centuries, the church has virtually ignored these words. Probably with the best of intentions, it has repeatedly borrowed the authority structures of the world, changed the names of executives from kings, generals, captains, presidents, governors, secretaries, heads and chiefs to popes, patriarchs, bishops, stewards, deacons, pastors and elders, and gone merrily on its way, lording it over the brethren and destroying the model of servanthood which our Lord intended.
In most churches today, an unthinking acceptance has been given to the idea that the pastor is the final voice of authority in both doctrine and practice, and that he is the executive officer of the church with respect to administration. But surely, if a pope over the whole church is bad, a pope in every church is no better!
According to Tom Ascol and the Founders, God forbidding women to teach, to preach, to evangelize, to shepherd men "is not unclear, it's just unpopular" (13:10 in the video).

Sorry, Tom. It may be clear in your mind, but it's just as clear in my mind that you are mishandling the Scriptures. You and the Founders flounder over authority.

In Conclusion:

My friend Dwight McKissic is in  the video at minute fifteen. Dwight speaks about the inconsistency of the Southern Baptist Convention sending Lottie Moon to China to preach, teach, and evangelize men and women overseas, but now the SBC is seeking to prevent women like Beth Moore preaching to "white men" in America.

Dwight McKissic makes a valid point.

Tom Ascol comes in with his rebuttal to Dwight McKissic. Read carefully what Tom says (minute 16).
"I sat down with the Vice-President for Global Training of the International Mission Board and asked him about the policies of the IMB with regard to women serving as missionaries. I asked him specifically if we send women overseas to preach to men... and he said, 'Absolutely not....' The International Mission Board is operating on the basis of the Baptist Faith and Message which says, "The role of pastor is limited to qualified men." 
That is a classic "bait and switch" by Tom Ascol.

Tom starts talking about Dwight McKissic's illustration of Lottie Moon going to China to evangelize the Chinese - men, women, and children - by preaching (proclaiming) the gospel. That's the function of the missionary and the purpose for which Lottie Moon was sent as a missionary to China.

But Tom switches to talking about "the role of pastor."

Tom and the Founders are attempting to frame the debate around "pastors" and "pastoral authority" by defining the role or function of a pastor as being something "reserved for males." A member of the Founders also made a (failed) motion at the Southern Baptist Convention this year that "the function of a pastor is to be reserved for males." 

When I heard that motion at the 2019 SBC, I tweeted my response:

When all you care about is protecting authority, you must specifically define the function and role of the person in "authority" so guardians of the galaxy of authority will know when someone without "authority" gets too close to "authority."

It's a crazy game.

Tom Ascol proceeds in the film to call Dwight McKissic "dishonest" and says he is being "sinful" by talking about Lottie Moon preaching to men on the mission field. She never did, says Tom.

Tom needs to catch up on some reading. I realize that revisionists have pressured the IMB to say Lottie Moon went to evangelize only women and children...

But anyone who's read anything about Lottie Moon's ministry understands that she led men to Jesus Christ by preaching and proclaiming the gospel to men, women, and children.

Lottie Moon was gifted by Christ to teach others about the Kingdom.

But she's a woman. The Founders flounder over "spiritual authority," so Lottie Moon doesn't fit neatly into their narrative.

Neither does Joanna P. Moore (1832-1916), a Southern Baptist home missionary appointee (a single woman) who taught preachers about the sin of drunkenness.

I was a trustee of the International Mission Board. I know where views of inherent male authority over women leads, and it's not pretty (please pay attention to Number 4).

Tom Ascol and the Founders are on the losing end of this debate. They are unbiblical and illogical in their arguments, as well as infatuated with authority in their misjudgments.

I've written two books exposing the problem: Hardball Religion  and Fraudulent Authority.

If someone asks me, "Can women be in an office of pastoral authority over men?" I answer, "No."  But I also point out that neither can men be in an office of pastoral authority over women.

The entire problem is fraudulent authority of the pastor.

The only authority in the church is Jesus Christ and He dispenses gifts to His people, building His church, as He sees fit. He is the Head; we are His body.

At the eight minute, ten-second mark, Josh Buice makes this statement:
"When we talk about the abuse of women, I would go on the record stating that if we ask a woman to do something spiritually that God did not intend her to do, that's abuse." 
Tom responded to Josh:
"That's abuse. That's a great point."
Gentlemen, you might want to consider this statement:
"When we talk about the abuse of women, if we prevent a woman from doing something spiritually that God has gifted her to do, that's abuse." 
As my great-grandfather used to say, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it."

More to come. 


Christiane said...

Wow, what a post you have written, WADE.

"Lottie Moon preaching to men on the mission field. She never did, says Tom."

my goodness, Lottie Moon preached to us all of Christ the Lord in her loving-kindness to those starving Chinese people and she gave away her food to them and died eventually from the results of that self-sacrificial love she preached with her own being . . . .

what is 'preaching' these days to these men? her goodness and mercy to those poor people will live in the memories of the whole Church far far longer than any pronouncements of a Tom Ascol against that good woman's 'authoritative voice' . . . she gave 'of herself' out of love in imitation of Our Lord's self-giving and if that is not a sermon, than there ARE no sermons that can have meaning any more in those dead places where men idolize themselves.

We WILL remember her, if Tom Ascol will not honor her message. We from the whole Church will hold her memory dear and give perpetual thanks to God for her service:
The life and service of the Southern Baptist Christian missionary Lottie Moon is celebrated on the Anglican Church liturgical calendar in this way:

“December 22: Charlotte Diggs (Lottie) Moon, Missionary in China, 1912″

” O God, who in Christ Jesus hast brought Good News to those who are far off and to those who are near: We praise thee for awakening in thy servant Lottie Moon a zeal for Thy mission and for her faithful witness among the peoples of China. Stir up in us the same desire for thy work throughout the world, and give us the grace and means to accomplish it; through the same Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

May God keep this good woman's memory safe from the likes of those who would discredit her.
Her life and death lived out in Christian service IS a lasting sermon for the Church. She will not be dismissed or forgotten, no.

Thanks for this post, Wade. Thanks for 'getting it'.

Victorious said...

Wade, I have often read your reference to "gifting" as the criteria for members of the Body of Christ. What's missing in my understanding is, who determines who has what gift? If a man holds the position of a pastor, for example, who recognized that gift in him and how did that become visible? Likewise, if a woman may have the gifting necessary or compatible for serving in the pastoral role, who and how would that be visible?

In other words, if teaching and/or preaching was somehow rotated or made available to members, that gift would most likely become evident. 1 Cor. 14 seems to imply that "each one" has a gift that should be used for the edification of all.

So, my question is then, who determines the necessary giftings for pastoring or teaching in males and females within an assembly that qualifies them for that service?

Wade Burleson said...

"So, my question is then, who determines the necessary giftings for pastoring or teaching in males and females within an assembly that qualifies them for that service?"

Victorious, the local church does.

Older (elder), wiser men and women of the faith, recognize those with gifts "for the edification of the body," and "set them aside" (laying on of hands) for the fulfillment of the task to which the body has assigned them.

Once the ministry is fulfilled, the setting apart for a specific ministry ends. There's no such thing as "lifetime" spiritual authority. Ministry takes place through humble, gifted, men and women being recognized as leaders in particular ministries of a local church.

So to answer your question simply, each church body makes that determination.

Victorious said...

So to answer your question simply, each church body makes that determination.

So...I'm picturing a sorta bulletin board with a number of "Help Wanted" notices that describe the ministry available and request those who feel they might be "gifted" in that area. Then the elders call a meeting to "recognize" those who may have exhibited the necessary "gifting" at one time or another. Then there's a vote and one of those who "applied" for the ministry is chosen and notified. That individual ministers in, for example, a class for married couples. And when that class is finished, that individual then resumes his/her place with the other members of the congregation to await another opportunity to express the gifting?

I still don't understand how one's gift becomes recognized by the wise men and women of the faith.

I thank you for answering and my continued lack of understanding is no way due to your reply....just to an apparent block in my

Wade Burleson said...


Your second paragraph above is superb.

That's a functional church.

Just keep processing... you are getting it (and helping others along the way).

Rex Ray said...


Excellent Post.
You said, “Jesus fulfilled the law” [Matthew 5:17] “and then abrogated it.”
That gets confusing since “abrogated” means ‘to do away’. Did Jesus do away with what he had fulfilled? No, no, no.

You quoted part of Matthew 23:8: “You have one teacher and you are all brethren.”

All the verse states: “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi’, for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.” (NLT)

From that verse I believe Christians should not refer to any pastor as Doctor, and we all are equal with each other.

BTW, Today, our church had a Lottie Moon fund raising by selling many things and ‘eats’.

Anonymous said...

Buice’s statement about abuse is very sad. It takes the life changing trauma of abuse and belittles it by comparing it to not following his interpretation of scripture. Statements like such are “easy preaching.” When a person who has suffered abuse hears comments like this it is hurtful and confusing to who God is and how He views her. Buice making his “point” this way only causes harm and shows a lack of understanding for trauma. Considering the number of hurting people sitting in the pews, it seems we would want to do different.

Shawn said...

The irony is that this danger presented in By What Standard originates from the hands of the sons of Patterson (Akin, Mohler, et al) who returned the SBC to Inerrant Scripture. Now his sons are leading it away in a dangerous direction at a major clip.

Gary Sweeten said...

I was reared in a Baptist church and saw the male/female authority conflict was obvious to me as a teenager. I asked that question of our church as a kid and received grunts! My mother and grandmother taught, preached and evangelized but informally since the unbiblical practice of “ordination” was not allowed for them.
As a Presbyterian I ran into the same problem and led a debate about it. One friend said, “You have a low view of scripture because you believe in women’s ordination”. I replied, First, I have a high view of scripture, a high view of women and second I have a low view of ordination. Third, if I were Roman Catholic, I would reject women in ministry as well.”
The issue of the mystery of gift discovery says a lot about the unbiblical ways we “do” church. If we disciples and equipped people personally we would see them in action and realize quickly what gifts, talents and level of maturity they possess. By sending people for “school ization” rather than “socialization” we look at grades rather than performance.

I would much rather make a gifted mechanic a Pastor than a bookish Ph. D. My best training for ministry came from teaching elementary school and coaching kids. In a BB game the Coach is not allowed to play. In church HE is the ONLY one allowed to play! If my kids could not count or spell they suffered.

I was given the Left Foot of Rejection because I led small groups to do Inductive Bible studies and told them to read and arrive at their own conclusions. That was too much Bible authority for the Pastor.

Lissa Roberson said...

My daughter wrote a summary and critique of our church for a class assignment this fall. One of the areas where our church falls short is in the area of helping members identify and apply their God-given spiritual gifts. The emphasis is "go and serve", but very little direction is given beyond that.

Our mega-church has ministry opportunities all across the board, but no strategy to assist members (new or existing) to discover their giftings. I think this is one reason why 20% of the membership carries out 80% of the ministry.

It's a daunting task for a staff of elders to address individual spiritual gifts assessment when the membership is in the thousands. It seems much easier in this case to default to the traditional "ladies teach the Sunday School and men serve as the deacons and elders" than to complicate matters. Peripheral ministries such as ESL, short-term missions, Prayer ministry, backpack ministry, mid-week meals often run short of volunteer participation.

In my opinion, the situation could be much different. Even an optional workshop that assists members in discovering their spiritual gifts, followed by presenting them with ministry opportunities that employ their gifting is a good start.

Wade Burleson said...

Gary Sweeten,

Superb insight.

Wade Burleson said...



Wade Burleson said...


"For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." (Matthew 5:18)

"Heaven and earth" is the biblical way to describe the Old Covenant with Israel - "When everything is accomplished" - "Heaven and earth will disappear."

That's what Jesus says.

So, the Old Covenant abrogated? Absolutely. It's disappeared because Jesus has fulfilled it.

Now listen to Him.

See this article for more information.

Rex Ray said...


If I said, ‘I mowed the yard and then burned it’, it could only mean I burned the yard.
I should have said. ‘I mowed the yard and then burned what I’d mowed off.’

You wrote: “Jesus fulfilled the law and then abrogated it.”

Maybe I’m being pecky, but it would be clearer if you’d written, ‘Jesus fulfilled the law which abrogated the old law.’

Judy ordered your book, ‘Happiness Doesn’t Just Happen’.

Anonymous said...

I had started the old Baptist Doctrine Diploma in the early 80's. When I went to finish it in the late 90's the titles of the books were the same, but upon comparing the new set with what I had purchased before I went to my pastor with the complaint "these are NOT Baptist but are Presbyterian." He told me use the new books or do not complete the diploma as he would not sign off on the old books. I did an end run, since the instructions with the books were "get your SS teacher to sign that you completed the work." Showed them to my SS teacher (new and old) and he agreed with me, so I used the old books and he signed off. Got the diploma but seriously hacked off my pastor.

A few years later the BFM2000 came out. I could not sign off on that document as we were asked to do. Eventually I realized there were some manipulative lies and string pulling being done, starting at the pulpit and trickling down through our new "elders" which were replacing our deacons.

I left the SBC. Have tried repeatedly to make it work in different towns as we transferred, but keep running into the same old thing. Plus I swear that pastor must have put me or my husband (even less likely to follow "I will listen to God and your job is to listen to me) on some sort of blacklist for it.

Happily no longer SBC, still in a strong Bible believing church and serving the Lord.


Wade Burleson said...


"But it would be clearer if you’d written, ‘Jesus fulfilled the law which abrogated the law."

I see what you're saying.

Listen to this verse:

"By calling this covenant (e.g. the New Covenant) “new,” He (Jesus) has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear" (e.g. at AD 70 when the Temple was destroyed). Hebrews 8:13

Shawn said...

Curiouser and Curiouser.

""Heaven and earth" is the biblical way to describe the Old Covenant with Israel - "When everything is accomplished" - "Heaven and earth will disappear."

That's what Jesus says."

I am curious, have you found anyone else who agrees with your exegesis?

Wade Burleson said...

Charles Spurgeon of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London said (in a sermon on Isaiah 65:17-19), "Did you ever regret the absence of the burnt-offering, or the red heifer, or any one of the sacrifices and rites of the Jews? Did you ever pine for the feast of tabernacle, or the dedication? No, because, though these were like the old heavens and earth to the Jewish believers, they have passed away, and we now live under new heavens and a new earth, so far as the dispensation of divine teaching is concerned. The substance is come, and the shadow has gone: and we do not remember it." (Charles Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. xxxvii, p. 354)

Wade Burleson said...

Randall Otto, speaking of the cosmic disturbances as mentioned in Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:23, 25, Luke 21:25-26, said: "The prophet's use of the language of cosmic catastrophe is not intended to be taken literally, for it. is clear that it generally has to do with instances of judgment either upon apostate Israel or upon its pagan neighbors that issue from God by means of a national army!" (Randall Otto, Coming in the Clouds p. 103).

Wade Burleson said...

John Owen quotes from Isaiah 65:17, 18, II Peter 3:13, and Rev. 21:1 (vol. 8, Works of John Owen p. 255) and equates the New Covenant to the new heavens and new earth and the Old Covenant as "heaven and earth passing away." In his commentary on II Peter 3, John Owen applies the destruction of the old heavens and earth to the destruction of the Jewish system and the new heavens and new earth to the new order under Christ.

Wade Burleson said...

Shawn, do some more research for yourself and you will find hundreds of scholars from the middle ages to the end of the 20th century who say the same thing.

Tom said...


It seems to me that many of our "sacred" theological understandings are based on flawed understandings of the Scriptures. This can be seen even in our understanding of Genesis 1 right through to the last chapter of Revelation.

God encouraged Abraham/his descendants that if he/they walked the length and breath of His "earth" on this globe/planet that he and his descendants will inherit the "renewed earth" after the end of the Age of the Ages.

What should our "earth" look like to conform with God's promised "earth" that we, the righteous of God, will inherit after the end of the Age of the Ages.

Our desire to control our environment that we exist in, is not Godly, or righteous behaviour.

There is much error that needs to be corrected now that we need to renew our minds such that our understanding of how we should live, should reflect God's understanding and that we should put on this renewed personhood and live it out in the world we live in rubbing shoulders with the people who live around us.

Sadly, men have not embraced God's purposes for women from the beginning, where God created Eve to be Adam's companion and helper through life.

Sadly, many people do not embrace God as their companion and helper in their lives, and as such they miss out on much of what God wants for each and every one of us independent of the functional appendages that our bodies may have.

Did not Christ say that if we want to be honoured in this life then we must become like servants to all around us. It is strange that women have a better understanding of this servanthood attitude than men.


Rex Ray said...


If you had copy/paste what I wrote, there wouldn’t be one important word omitted. :)

Lee Saunders said...

I think it needs to be noted that Lottie Moon was not the only Southern Baptist appointed missionary who preached to, taught, and helped evangelize men. I've met several women who served in places where, as a woman, they were exposed to danger because of their gender, yet never doubted their call. They had different roles on the mission field, one was the head of nursing at a Baptist hospital in West Africa, another the head of a school for missionary kids, another working with her husband who led a small seminary and pastored a church. All of them, at one time or another, found themselves in a situation where they were the only Christian witness with the opportunity to preach the gospel and extend an invitation. These aren't the kind of people who keep tallies of their baptism numbers, but there are more Christians in the world today than there would have been if they'd decided to keep silent and stick to someone's interpretation of their role in the church.

Rex Ray said...


Jesus fulfilled the law which abrogated the law. Vs.
Jesus fulfilled the law which abrogated the OLD law.

James, the brother of Jesus, brought back the OLD law at the First Church Counsel when he said:

“For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish Synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.” (Acts 15:21 NLT)

In order to prove what James said to be from God, he said:

“For it seem good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater BURDEN than these NECESSARY THINGS.” (Acts 15:28 KJ)

I believe if those words had not been spoken, there would never have been a ‘Catholic Faith’ because it eliminated the true way to be saved the way Peter explained it:

“So why are you now challenging God by BURDENING the Gentile believers…We believe that we are all saved the same way by the UNDESERVED GRACE of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 15:10-11 NLT)

“undeserved grace” is explained by:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

That verse means for a person to be with the Lord someday, there is not a burden of “necessary things” that James said.

James continued to live by the OLD law as shown:

“…Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe, and they are all zealous of the Law:” (Acts 21:20 KJ)

Wade Burleson said...

Good word, Rex.

Wade Burleson said...

Lee Saunders,

"here are more Christians in the world today than there would have been if they'd decided to keep silent and stick to someone's interpretation of their role in the church."

Never heard it said better.

Michelle said...

If I am understanding, you are saying women should be fully equal members of the church and that no role should be limited to only men (including teaching men, eldership, and lead pastor)?

Wade Burleson said...


I'm saying that the Bible teaches that Christ is the sole authority in His church, and He gifts men and women as He sees fit, and no man should forbid a gifted woman from teaching, preaching, shepherding, leading, encouraging, counseling, exhorting, serving, or otherwise ministering in any capacity with which she is gifted. Nobody rules over anybody in Christ's church but Christ Himself.

Tim Bushong said...

So, and I'm genuinely curious about this: when Paul mentions "elders who rule well" to Timothy, is he referring to a men who have NO authority in the local Church?

Christiane said...

perhaps these men referred to are apostolic witnesses to Christ Himself, and from them we have received the Apostolic deposit of faith handed down from generation to generation over two millenia . . . the basis for much of what is creedal in the Church

Michelle said...

So the answer to my question is yes, you believe women are fully equal to men and able to serve in the church in every area including all leadership roles (even as elders, pastors, and teachers of any/all genders)?

Wade Burleson said...

Tim Bushong,

Paul uses the same Greek word translated "rule" or "ruler" in Timothy to describe THE WOMAN Phoebe in Romans 16:2. Let me repeat that: Paul uses the EXACT SAME GREEK WORD in Romans 16:2 that he uses in his letter to Timothy where English translators translate it "rule well." However, the Greek word in Romans 16:2 is PROPERLY translated "succourer" (KJV), "helper" (NKJV) or "benefactor" (NIV) there, not "ruler" or "rule over" (which is not the meaning of the word.

With that background, I'll answer your question.

"Is he referring to men who have NO authority in the local Church?"


Paul is referring to older people who "help," "succour," and "benefit" the church.

Wade Burleson said...



Rex Ray said...

Thanks Wade

Since I consider him the worst President America ever had.

But today on Judy’s favorite TV show, “Outnumbered”, they quoted him as saying:

“I’m absolutely confident if every Nation on earth was run by women for two years, you’d see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything; living standards and outcomes.”

Tim Bushong said...

Wade-you wrote:

“Let me repeat that...”

Well, Wade, repeating it doesn't make it any less incorrect. A “presbuteros” (elder) who is “proistēmi” (one “put before, to set over, to rule”) is definitely not the same as an “adelphē” (sister) who “diakonos” (one who serves).

I mean, even a cursory overview shows that it's not the “EXACT SAME GREEK WORD.”
(I'm not yelling—I'm quoting you and your 'all caps.')

In the context of 1 Tim. 5, the 'elder' is more closely related to the Israelite Sanhedrist than with just an older person in general.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim, deaconos (servant) is not the word to which I refer.

It’s the word Ruler (Greek: προστῆναι, transliterated proistami)

This word literally means "to assist, to help, or to manage."

Unfortunately, the English King James translators of the Greek Bible sometimes wrongly translated this word prostenai as "to rule." For example, Paul wrote to Timothy and gave the qualifications of character for those who truly shepherd God's people.
"One that ruleth (proistami) well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule (proistami) his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)" (I Timothy 3:4-5 KJV).
The word prostenai doesn't mean "to rule." It means to help, assist, or manage.

The King James translators came across this same word prostenai in reference to a woman named Phoebe. This time, King James translators used the proper English words to convey the true meaning of the Greek proistemi. Paul told the Christians at Rome to: "Receive Phoebe in the Lord as becometh saints, and assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you; for she hath been a succourer (proistami) of many, and of myself also." (Romans 16:2).

Succourer is an old English word which means "helper."

Ironic, is it not, that English translators in the early 1600's wanted to make men "rule" over women and children, while at the same time, they wanted women and children to help and assist men?

I also agree with you, repeating something doesn’t make it true.

Ignoring something doesn’t make it false either.

Rex Ray said...


You wrote: "One that ruleth (proistami) well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule (proistami) his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)" (I Timothy 3:4-5 KJV).
The word prostenai doesn't mean "to rule." It means to help, assist, or manage.”

I trust the New Living Translation.

(1 Timothy 3:4-5 NLT) “He must MANAGE his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot MANAGE his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”

Tim Bushong said...


You said (and repeated for emphasis) that the word (proistēmi) was the SAME as used for Phoebe. It's not. The word is used for "have charge," "lead," and "rule." That's not what Phoebe does. It's nowhere near Romans 16.

Wade Burleson said...

καὶ γὰρ αὐτὴ προστάτις πολλῶν

Also for she a ruler of many

That's Romans 16:2b. In the original and in the English literal translation, Ruler should be better translated "helper" here and everywhere else.

Wade Burleson said...

I don't know what you're reading, Tim, but I denying the word is present doesn't make it true. Laughing.

Tim Bushong said...

Laugh away, but "prostatis" (in Romans 16:2) the feminine derivative of "proistēmi," and to say that both "should be better translated "helper" here and everywhere else" simply couldn't be applied with any real consistency. BTW, "prostatis" occurs only once in the NT, and it's in Rom. 16:2.

Rex Ray said...


Many times, I’ve been told that I talk about my brother too much, but that can’t be said about James the brother of Jesus. In his book of five chapters of the NLT, he refers to God 61 times and to his brother 5 times: (1:1 2:1,7 5:7,8)

“The Epistle of James…makes no explicit reference to the death, resurrection, of divine sonship of Jesus.”

I believe James thought of himself as an expert and a teacher of God’s laws, as he referred to himself:

“…not many of you should become teachers in the church, for WE who teach…” (James 3 :1 NLT)

To me, James saying, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” “…faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:17, 26 KJ) is like saying, ‘if water is not wet, it’s not water’ because faith always has works.

“…You say that the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too…So you see, a man is saved by what he does, as well as what he believes.” (James 2:18, 24 Living)

Wade, since the book of James was written before the book of John, James never read John 3:16 did he?

Anonymous said...

What founders is saying is, you are sinning by allowing women to preach.
But,it's not sin when you allow verbal,spiritual and mental abuse to take place. Get the plank out of your eyes before you condemn others!

Wade Burleson said...


The ROOT WORD is the SAME. In Greek, as you know, the endings MUST change based on the subject (masculine or feminine). When the ending is feminine, you are saying it should be "helper." When the ending is masculine, you are saying it should be "ruler." That's a bias in the translation, in my opinion, but I accept that's your view. We don't agree, but we sure can fellowship around what's important - the Lord Jesus Christ.

Tim Bushong said...

"But, it's not sin when you allow verbal,spiritual and mental abuse to take place."

Who in the wide, wide world of sports said THAT???

Wade Burleson said...


Tim is right. They are not saying verbal, spiritual, and mental abuse of females is NOT sin.

It is in their minds.

Mental, physical, verbal, and spiritual abuse is deemed gross sins by them - on par with the sins of allowing a woman to teach a man, preach to men, or otherwise for females to lead males in any spiritual capacity.

Anonymous said...

misogyny pre-supposes that women are 'less than' human persons made in the image of God

that kind of thinking not only led to male-worshipping patriarchy but also to the belief in female 'witches'

hence, the way Patterson spoke of a woman that he would 'break her down' . . . what kind of a mind thinks that way? what kind of poison leads to that kind of contempt for women?

Anonymous said...

Agree, it wasn't said in their film but understand one thing, I personally know Ascol and have for many years. What I said, I meant!

Ken F said...

Hi Tim,
Is this your church?

I see that it is associated with Founders, which would explain your comments. Why would your church quote Voddie Baucham? He has made some pretty creepy comments about both daughters and infants.

Tim Bushong said...

Yes - I am the pastor there. I wholeheartedly support the Founder Ministries, their current projects, and Pastor Baucham, too.

Ken F said...

Hi Tim,
Thanks for the clarification. What do you think of these articles:

I first heard of Voddie Baucham through my sons, as his materials were promoted by the college ministry they were part of. So I started looking into his teachings and was not impressed (gross understatement).

Christiane said...

FYI, for them what doesn't have access to this:

Rex Ray said...


Your link,

put all the nails in the ‘Democratic Coffin’.

I thought you didn’t like Trump. Maybe you’re standing for justice.

Tim Bushong said...


Let's not make the "fundy" error of hyper-associationalism, where if one man supports another man, then that means that he must agree 1000% with everything someone has ever spoken or written.

I skimmed through those 5-years old articles, and they were simply slanted from the start.

Maybe this article, written a year later, can provide some "proof-in-the-pudding."

BTW, did you notice that this same "Homeschoolers Anonymous" also supported (or had taken a sponsorship from the HASRO group? From the same page as the Baucham article:

"Thanks to our generous donors, this year Homeschool Alumni Reaching Out (HARO) was able to offer two $500 scholarships for homeschool alumni, one for women in STEM fields and one for LGBT+ alumni."

Not sure I'd be trusting the perspective of these folks, either.

Ken F said...

Hi Tim,
I am not associated with that homeschooling group and have no knowledge of them. I used their links simply because they conveniently collected some of Baucham's problematic statememts (whether or not that group is good or bad has no bearing on the statements Baucham made). I could have used other sources, such as youtube, but it would have involved more links and I did nit have a lot of time.

I don't think there is any doubt that Baucham made those statements. Do agree with those statements? Do you agree that infants are "vipers in diapers"?

When you feature someone on your website you are endorsing them, which means you are endorsing even the things you don't agree with. If you don't agree with those statements, cku2kd you not find some quotes from people less controversial?

Tim Bushong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Bushong said...


The 1st article began "spun" (Like "For those unfamiliar with Baucham’s extremism..."), and the spin continued right down to the end. It was slanted, biased, and hyperbolic. I'm saving it to use as an example of how NOT to argue of hope to persuade.

The 2nd one took up the mantle of dismissing "the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity."

I'm a confessional Calvinist, so of course I'm in agreement with Voddie on this issue. Whether I completely agree with every point of application is not relevant. Yet I totally disagree with the author's conclusions. Mr. Ducote has a host of massive category errors in his piece. Again, it's like the now-famous quote: "It takes a brilliant and clever mind to turn "I do not permit" into "I DO permit. Hermeneutical gymnastics."

Yes - infants are cute, beloved, wanted, adorable little bundles of sin and selfishness.

Rex Ray said...

I predict Trump will be impeached because there are more Democrats. They don’t realize winning the battle will lose the war, because Trump will win in the next election

Ken F said...

“One of the reasons that God makes human babies small is so they won’t kill their parents in their sleep. They’re evil.”
~ Voddie Baucham

Hi Tim,
Your argument is very similar to ad hominem in that you change the focus from what Bacham said/wrote to the character of the group that wrote about him. But the fact remains that Baucham did indeed say/write these things.

The real question is whether or not he is correct. If he believes that infants are evil vipers who would kill their parents if given the chance, he does not get this from the Bible. Yes, the Bible confirms that all humans sin. But Baucham goes way beyond what is in the Bible. How can you support what is not in the Bible?

In terms of him emphasizing how often parents should spank and break the will of a child, I strongly believe he is advocating for abuse. Isn't there a verse somewhere in the Bible that says, "the kindness of God leads to repentence"? Does that principle have no applicability to children?

I have three adult children who are very productive members of society. My wife and I had to discipline them along the way at times, but we never had to break their wills. My wife and I rejected the pressure way back then to follow the Ezell style, and we rejected the peer pressure to home school.

Tim Bushong said...

A few more responses and I think we're done here.

"you change the focus from what Bacham said/wrote to the character of the group"

The author of the article(s) focused on Voddie's previous associations, and cast them in a very negative light. I still agree w/ Dr. Baucham, since he knows that in the battle of the wills, it's either the father's will, or the child's will - only one of them will have the day.

It's VERY telling that the site promoted a sodomite-friendly group. IOW, if they're that foolish and wicked, then why would I ever take their conclusions about Voddie seriously?

So you agree with the author's conclusions? I don't, and could demonstrate where the author switched horses midstream (category error) to reach them.

And now you went from "what does the Bible say?" to "this worked for my family." That's just pragmatism, and depends solely on your claims. Focus?

Ken F said...

Hi Tim,
I have no disagreement with you about the character or intent of the people running the site that I used. As I wrote above, I only used that site because it conveniently lists some of Baucham's problematic quotes. When I copied those links I was wondering whether you would focus more on the website or the content of Baucham's quotes. Even though I did not purposely set a trap for you, you fell into it. That actually tells me a lot about you.

Since you have mostly avoided commenting about Baucham's quotes, I assume generally agree with him that:
1) infants are evil killers who abstain from killing only because they are too small to do it,
2) infants should be physically punished,
3) children cannot be raised without breaking their wills through physical punishment,
4) frequent spanking ("five times before breakfast") should be the norm,
5) affectionate daughters will prevent a man from having affairs with young women,
6) women should not be allowed go away to college,
7) all children should be homeschooled.

I also find it interesting that you accuse me of pragmatism when you did exactly the same thing by pointing me to an article showing that it worked out well for Baucham's daughter. Why is it ok for you to do it and not me?

I don't know why you chose to include a Voddie Baucham quote on your church website. What it communicates to people is that you generally agree with him and endorse him. It's a way of saying that people who like him will like your church. I am personally suspicious of religious leaders who find a need to quote from celebrity Christians when the celebrity Christian is not saying anything unique.

Anonymous said...

" My wife and I rejected the pressure way back then to follow the Ezell style, and we rejected the peer pressure to home school."

Ken F, Perhaps you meant Ezzo - as in Gary Ezzo? :) Ken

Ken F said...

"Ken F, Perhaps you meant Ezzo - as in Gary Ezzo? :)"
Yes. Thanks. It's been a long time. :-)

Ken F said...

"A few more responses and I think we're done here."

Hi Tim,
I did not address this in my early reply. Why do you you think "we're done here"?

Rex Ray said...


I’ve heard it said the reason the poor don’t kill the rich is religion.

Tim Bushong said...

Ken - yes - this will be it.

"Even though I did not purposely set a trap for you, you fell into it."

How? I disagreed with the conclusions, and only then did I notice the site's agreement with the sodomites. I DO agree w/Voddie. So what? BTW, at least the "infants are evil killers" statement was hyperbolic. But yes - I agree with all of those statements.

"I am personally suspicious of religious leaders who find a need to quote from celebrity Christians"

We also have quotes from William Tyndale, Benjamin Keach, Nehemiah Coxe, James Petigru Boyce, and John Wycliffe. You must like those men. But celebrity Xians?

Ken F said...

Hi Tim,
I am curious about why you think our diacussion is now done. Is it because it is going in a direction you don't like?

Thank you for clarifying your views on the statements Voddie Baucham made. If this is what you and your church believe, then it is very good that you included a quote by him on your website. It gives full disclosure to those who are thinking about participating in your church. Not every church is so honest. What you are doing is much better than the all too common bait-and-switch approach.

As far as my trap comment goes, I was more interested in your views on Baucham's statements, which you finally answered. It was a bit frustrating for me that you kept going back to the website. It left me wondering if you did not want to state whether or not you agree with Baucham. So thank you for clarifying.

Even if Baucham's statement about infants being evil vipers is only hyperbole, I believe it still fosters a culture of abuse because it makes parents think they need to beat the evil out of their children. I find it odd that someone from a Reformed perspective would believe this because if the five points of Calvinism are true there is nothing a person can do to get on the list of the elect, and there is nothing a parent can do to get their children on the list. They are either on the list or not based on the decree made in eternity past. So spanking the hell out of a child literally has no ultimate eternal impact, other than the trauma it will create in the child and the effects of that trauma on everyone with whom that child relates.

Ken F said...

On another note, I have noticed that authoritarian pastors refuse to engage in thoughtful dialogue. When the dialogue does not go their way they exercise control. When it is someone in their congregation it is the form of church discipline. When it is an area where they don't have control, such as a site like this, they take their ball and go home. I can understand why they do this - if they have built a career on a certain way of thinking, they cannot channge their mind without threatening their source of income. So to engage in meaningful dialogue is too risky for them.

Rex Ray said...


My Dad said it’s natural for man to tell lies, be lazy, and steel. He said you can’t teach honesty; you have to catch it.

The Bible says, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

I told the mother of my best man at my and Judy’s wedding, “You didn’t whip him enough when he was growing up.

She replied, “Didn’t whip him? I whipped him on his wedding day!”

Our Dad taught us this poem:

Let me tell you this, John
Before you make the start
There’s twice more in being honest, John
Yes, twice more than being smart

Ken F said...

The Bible says, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

Hi Rex,
Did you have a chance to read or watch any of the Voddie Baucham quotes? He takes the idea of discipline to a dangerous extreme. Both of my sons were in a church in their college years that heavily promoted Baucham at one point. They both recognized him as a colossal jerk, and rightly rejected his teachings.

Rex Ray said...


Never heard of Boddie Baucham. Probably a good thing.

Ken F said...

Hi Rex,
Voddie Baucham is one of the big names in the movement know as New-Calvinism. This movement is attempting to take over the SBC. Here is a link on it, but it is a bit out of date by now: