"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Let's Love Our Wives, Daughters, and Granddaughters Enough to Examine the Wrong Teaching of "Male Authority" in Church

Readers - for this Mother's Day weekend, below I am re-posting my article from last year on Mother's Day. Much has been written about the doctrine of "complementarianism" in the past 12 months at the Wartburg Watch, and I have learned so much from Dee and Deb's research on this doctrine that has solidified my own beliefs on what the bible teaches on women and their role in the church. Wade Burleson also has written some very helpful articles on the biblical role of the equality of women.

My blog over the past 4 1/2 years really has been sharing my journey of my eyes being opened to the reality of what is going on in institutional churches in America. It started with my church and my new pastor at the time as I was having my eyes opened - but after a year or so I began to realize concerns I had at my church were really larger, more far-reaching systemic problems in modern evangelicalism.

This journey of my blog has been in some ways an attempt to get other people to realize that they should stop believing doctrines and teachings simply because a preacher has been preaching it, or because a cackle of preachers in their convention all sing the same tune.

One of those doctrines is the doctrine of "male authority" in Christianity. The idea that the Paul's writings in 1 Timothy must be interpreted in the most narrow sense preventing women from being able to fully and equally function in the church is seriously flawed. But it is a doctrine that "good Christians" in the SBC must abide by, else they are subject to being excommunicated. It is taught in the SBC churches and seminaries with such force and certainty, that church members just accept it as "truth". It is not biblical truth, it is biblical error, and error that has caused and will continue to cause great harm to our churches and to our women.

So I ask readers again this Mother's Day: as a gift to your wives, mothers, daughters, nieces, and granddaughters - just at least consider the idea that you might believe wrongly and that you may have been taught wrongly in this area. Dare to expose yourself to the ideas of men like Wade Burleson and Jon Zens, and women like Dee and Deb of the Wartburg Watch.

Here is my article from last year that has some helpful links.

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Happy Mother's Day to all of you WD-reading Mothers! I hope your day is filled with love and joy!

I want to take this Mother's Day as an opportunity to encourage all men who read this blog - for the good of your mothers, wives, daughters, and granddaughters - to consider that you just might be wrong about what the scriptures say about women and their subordinate role they must play in the church.

I know that the prevailing thought based on scriptures such as 1 Timothy 2 and the account of the fall in Genesis 3 is that women should be subservient to men, and that men should have authority over women, and that women are forbidden from teaching men, or holding certain offices in church.

I know, because I was taught that in Southern Baptist Churches my entire Christian life. I've been taught it by people in my family and by my baptist pastors for over two decades. It was when I heard of the firing of Dr. Sheri Klouda by Paige Patterson that I first considered that perhaps this doctrine that led to this tragic action taken by Patterson was wrong. I read a good portion of Patterson's deposition in the Klouda case a couple of years ago, and the absurdity of statements made by Patterson under questioning of Klouda's lawyer, Gary Richardson, further led me to believe that this doctrine of male authority in the church is counter to scripture and the will of God and required my further investigation.

And I have to say one of the turning points that caused me to dig even deeper, is last year when I came across Ergun Caner's "joke" at the 2007 Ohio Free Will Baptists Men's Retreat when he said that he believed women should be behind the pulpit...how else could they get back there to vacuum....and his jokes about "mutant granddaughters" barking like dogs. It made me sick that this sort of thing came from one of the most popular baptist preaching-circuit personalities.

So after much reading and research I have come to the conclusion that I was wrong, that in fact the bible does NOT teach that God's plan is for men to have authority over women, and that the Bible does NOT teach women are exempted from having leadership positions over men in the church. I may explore this topic in future posts as to the particular arguments for what I believe, but I want to in this post simply implore men to consider an alternative view by a conservative teacher that can be trusted in this area. His name is Jon Zens.

Jon Zens is a preacher and author that has spoken around the world, but mostly outside the institutional church which is why many Southern Baptists have not heard of him. He is a pastor of a church, but does not draw a salary. He has taught and lived out for years a different model of pastor, not of a pastor having authority over people, but of serving and being amongst the congregation as a servant. You can read Jon's bio here. Jon is a good friend of author Frank Viola ("Pagan Christianity"), and also of Cal Thomas who uses Jon as a reviewer and editor of his work. Jon and his wife Dottie are sweet Christians who in recent years have been involved in traveling to the Philippines to help women and children get out of the sex-slave trade.

I had the privilege of meeting Jon for lunch last September (2010) when he was in Jacksonville to do some teaching at a home church group here in Jacksonville, after which he traveled down to Gainesville to meet his friend Frank Viola and minister in that city. We talked over lunch about my family's experience at First Baptist, the journey I have traveled through my blog, and my views on tithing which Jon has written about for quite some time. Jon graciously shared with me a bag full of books and other materials related to topics I was writing about on my blog that he had written about.

What I would recommend for men (and women!) who are willing to just possibly consider they have been taught wrongly what the bible say about women is to listen to Jon Zens' 8-part teaching series he delivered at Wade Burleson's church last September. Click here to go to Emmanuel Baptist Church's video archive, and scroll down to September 2010 to see this teaching series. Also, Jon has written a book entitled "What's With Paul and Women", and another one out this year entitled "No Will of My Own - How Patriarchy Smothers Female Dignity and Personhood". Read Wade Burleson's forward to this latest book here at Wade's blog.

Let me give you a quote from Wade Burleson's foreward he wrote for Jon's book "What's With Paul and Women":
"The viper known as 'the doctrine of male authority' has bitten the church. the toxin emitted by this errant teaching affects the females within our assemblies. It debilitates their God-given gifts, denigrates their Spirit-led ministry, and downplays their role as new Covenant priests. Those of us who have seen the church bitten need assistance, and help has arrived. This book will help you suck out the venom of male-only authority within the church. It will do so by helping you be able to articulate Jesus' view of the equality of women and then revealing for you how Paul's words in 1 Timothy 2 are consistent with Jesus' own teaching and ministry. You will be able to point out to others how the modern institutional church has misconstrued and misinterpreted Paul's writings on the subject, while at the same time ignoring Jesus' words and life on the same subject."
So I hope this Mother's Day you will commit to at least consider the possibility that you have learned wrongly what the Bible says about women, and do further investigation starting with Jon Zens' bible teachings in this area. I believe this is so very, very important. I believe this wrong teaching that has infected our churches for so long is why we are reading about so much sexual abuse and cover-ups in our churches as Christa Brown has chronicled for years. I also firmly believe that the absence of women from any serious positions of leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention or in our churches is why there is no movement at all toward reaching out at a denominational level to victims of pastoral abuse or establishing a database of credibly accused ministers to keep predator pastors from freely moving from church to church. Many of the problems we see in the SBC, I believe, are related to having women on the outside of the leadership circle.

So Happy Mother's Day...and please, men....as a gift to the women in your life, be open to what God might speak to you in this important area.

23 comments:

A. Amos Love said...

Thank you for honoring our sisters. And exposing “the Abusive Religious System.”

Where I live in “The body of Christ” - NOT “the Corrupt Religious System” - this gender issue - “Comp. or Egal”- does NOT exist. Roles do not exist. A “Disciples of Christ” does NOT exercise, or assune authority over another “Disciple of Christ.”(Mark 10:42) In Christ we are “ONE.” “The Church” is “the body” of Christ. NOT a building, an organization, an institution or a corporation. Keeping to “The Traditions of men” is not the point.

Where I live in “The body of Christ” it’s about - Who knows Jesus? Who is Hearing “His Voice?” Who has a living Christ within? Who has the Spirit of God dwelling in them? Who has been taught by God? Who has a revelation from God? Who is exhibiting “the Fruit of the Spirit?” Who is moving in the “Gifts of the Spirit?” Male or Female.

This is what’s important. ALL can “hear from God.” ALL can, and are expected to, participate.

1Cor 14:26
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, **every one of you**
hath a psalm, **hath a doctrine,** hath a tongue, **hath a revelation,** hath an interpretation.
Let all things be done unto edifying.

It’s NOT about “Who” does the teaching, But, “Who” has a revelation from God, male or female.

It’s about recognizing and decearning the Spirit that dwells within the person.
The Spirit of God? Or, the Spirit of the world? Or, ....

1Cor 2:12
Now we have received, not **the spirit of the world,** but the spirit which is of God;
that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

1Cor 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

When it’s the same “Spirit of God” dwelling in male and female - does gender matter?

In, Jesus, He is the head of the body, (the ekklesia, the called out ones) “the Church.”

We are all ”ONE” body. We are all “ONE” in Christ.

Gal 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek,
there is neither bond nor free,
there is neither male nor female:
for ye are all “ONE” in Christ Jesus.

Does this verse say, Male and Female are equal?
Or, Does this verse say, - In Christ **Male and Female do not exist?**

for ye are all “ONE” in Christ Jesus.
there is neither Complementarinism nor Egalitarianism,
there is neither Calvinism nor Arminianism,
there is neither Catholic nor Protestant,
there is neither leaders nor followers,
there is neither clergy nor laity,
there is neither shepherds nor sheep,
and the list goes on... This stuff does NOT exist.

Jesus said, “All” are taught by God.

John 6:45
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be “ALL” taught of God.

I’m Blest... Because I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul... Jesus...

Anonymous said...

Women preachers do some good, but the harm they do far outweighs the good. The Bible plainly teaches for women to keep silent in the Church. 1st Timothy 2:12, “But I suffer [allow] not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” The best way to win souls is to obey God, and to do things God's way.

Women are Scripturally forbidden to be pastors, preachers or leaders over men in any capacity. The average woman today is a feminist in her philosophies. This is tragic and a curse upon America. This is why the sin of abortion is commonplace. This is why the sin of divorce is so prevalent. One sin begets another. Women preachers and feminism are synonymous.

Bible states... "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1st Timothy 2:12).

Women are not to "usurp authority" over men in any capacity, at any time or in any place. Also, the word "church" is not mentioned in 1st Timothy chapter two. Thus, 1st Timothy 2:11-12 applies in the home, and in society in general. Women are to take a back seat and let the men drive. Meddling feminists are destroying churches, marriages and homes all across America. Say what you will, feminism is rebellion of the Devil, and it has infested many of our churches and homes today. Feminism is more deadly than arsenic, the AIDS virus and the Bubonic Plague all combined. The same fool that will laugh at what I just said is likely also a supporter of abortion rights. Abortion has killed far more people than arsenic, the AIDS virus and the Bubonic Plague ever have. It is estimated worldwide that 400,000,000 children have been murdered by abortion!!! Woe unto the wicked!

Bennett Willis said...

Sounds like an evolution of your ideas has occurred--or a flip-flop as the Republicans say.

Victorious said...

Thank you for your beautiful tribute to mothers/women!

I have known this truth for nearly 40 yrs. and have found the viper that Burleson speaks of is hissing louder as the years go by. The brood of vipers Jesus addressed is speaking that which is in their heart and that is disdain for their sisters in Christ. But like the viper that Paul shook off without harm, the time will come for this one to be destroyed as well thanks to many like yourself who are exposing the poison.

Blessings to you, brother!

Victorious said...

Thank you for your beautiful tribute to mothers/women!

I have known this truth for nearly 40 yrs. and have found the viper that Burleson speaks of is hissing louder as the years go by. The brood of vipers Jesus addressed is speaking that which is in their heart and that is disdain for their sisters in Christ. But like the viper that Paul shook off without harm, the time will come for this one to be destroyed as well thanks to many like yourself who are exposing the poison.

Blessings to you, brother!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Bennett - no flip flopping...just coming to an understanding that I had been duped. :)

Victorious said...

Can you hear the hissing even on this blog?

Anonymous said...

The apostle Paul is increasingly despised among Christian feminists and their male supporters.
I'm not surprised.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wow, that is very twisted. To suggest that people who disagree with you on this issue "despise" the Apostle Paul. No, I despise the teaching of those who have absolutely misused the words written by the Apostle Paul to keep 1/2 of the church in subjection to male authority.

Don't blame your views on the Apostle Paul.

Victorious said...

The apostle Paul is increasingly despised among Christian feminists and their male supporters.
I'm not surprised.


On the contrary, Anonymous! It was Paul who radically "leveled the playing field" so to speak by admonishing husbands to give themselves up for their wives. It was Paul who admonished Philemon to change his relationship to Onesemus from one of slave/master to that of brother/brother. It was Paul who reminded wives that they had authority over their husbands body in the marital relationship. It was Paul who reminded the Galations that the distinctions that separated them were no longer to be recognized.

Let us forever put to rest who is greater (and more equal) in the Kingdom of God. May we eliminate the privilege afforded to some and denied others by virtue of gender or ethnicity.

James "Jimmy" Brown said...

Harsh Reality: Biology is destiny and in this world testosterone will rule.
Until the Lord brings to an ends this era; men will rule.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Jimmy - thank you for representing your view so well.

Actually, I know quite a few people who have your view. Many of these people are Christians and they were attracted to the SBC because of their view of the superiority of manhood, that women can't lead or be deacons or hold any significant position of leadership. It is the culture shaping the church, and not the other way around...and they all blame Paul for it.

James "Jimmy" Brown said...

You weren't paying attention Tom. I didn't mention Christianity, I didn't mention the church, I certainly didn't mention the Apostle Paul. I did NOT even make a moral judgment. I just stated the very inconvenient truth; testosterone will rule on this earth.

Victorious said...

Until the Lord brings to an ends this era; men will rule.

Sorry to disappoint you, Jimmy, but the Lord is coming back for a bride without spot or wrinkle. I wouldn't hold my breath as long as these stains are on the body.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

"Testosterone will rule on this earth." James "Jimmy" Brown.

I was paying attention, and I heard you loud and clear. I just can't believe someone who tries to write things that make sense and is educated, and who says he is a Christian, would say something so stupid.

Testosterone doesn't rule anywhere.

James "Jimmy" Brown said...

Tom said, "Testosterone doesn't rule anywhere."

I beg to differ Tom. Testosterone rules everywhere. 6,000 years of human history point EXACTLY to that fact.

NOTE: I certainly don't see men's lives as happier than women's.

NOTE2: I think the U.S.A. will have a female president one day - if the Lord tarries.

NOTE3: I believe their are now more female MDs than male MDs, at least in med schools.

No One Special said...

I have found that the best teachers of Gods word and works are typically women. Not all, but by far a clear majority.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:08

Scary. Sad. Twisted. Wrong.

Anonymous said...

In the beginning God created man in His image. Note Eve came from Adam. Adam named her Eve not God. Her name was Adam first. What disturbs me is that most young boys were taught the Bible from their mother's knee rather than the father's knee. The reason the men like to hold their meetings outside of the women is because a lot of women are more spiritual and pick up on con men.

Some women can see right before them within seconds what type of men they really see, whereas men believe other men more readily and oftentimes to their own detriment. They are promised one thing and get something else. Jesus said where two or more are gathered in my name there am I in their midst. The idea that a building is needed is a lot of poppycot especially in our present economic climate. I challenge you to come out from among them just for 90 days. If you do you will stay home and read and study the Bible yourself. You do not need a teacher to tell you whats in your Bible.

A friend said...

In Genesis, Eve is called Adam's Helpmeet. In Psalms, God is called the Psalmists Helpmeet (same word in Hebrew). So God is to the Psalmist as Eve is the Adam. The Patriarchists have the relationship upside down. Eve is humankind model, Adam was the Beta test version.

Anonymous said...

The problem with a lot of men is that they do not understand what one flesh means. Its all about them especially mega speakers.

MikeH. said...

Part One: It is sad that the Abrahamic Faiths teach misogyny - yes, misogyny by any definition, not just male dominion.

It is also sad that a country founded on religious freedom uses religion to stifle freedom.

All of us, Christian, Jew and Muslim cherry-pick from our respective scripture what we want to justify our belief system. Even those that swear the "Bible" (as a Jew, this word has a different meaning to me than it does for most of you) doesn't contradict itself, we certainly love contradicting one another with our endless interpretation of it.

Creating new denominations within Christianity, or new movements within Judaism allows us to step over the hurdle of being bound by words, however God-Inspired you may find them, that were written by ancient peoples to deal with the issues of the day.

As a Jew who admires Jesus greatly - and before you start, is firmly grounded enough in my own faith that I could never accept him as God, or equal to God, I note that in his own words and actions, I don't think he and Paul would have seen "eye to eye". Jesus had 12 male apostles because he was wise enough to know that he had to follow at least some traditional convention. He also treated women like Human Beings - something lost on most men in his era. Its certainly lost in modern times on the Haredi of Northern Jerusalem who like to physically assault women on buses and lob water bottles at woman walking through "their" neighborhoods who dress, act, walk, talk, and generally "exist" in a manner in which they disapprove.

MikeH. said...

Part Two: I am not an Orthodox Jew - I am a member of the Reform movement. I liken Orthodox Judaism, Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christianity and most (but not all) of the various Islamic sects, in the sane manner as George Will said of his fellow Republicans: Its about what you are "against" as opposed to what you are "for".

Jesus was not the first Pharisee (yeah - he really was a Pharisee, a very Liberal Jewish movement in Judea of which his predecessor Hillel was an adherent) to tell his fellow Jews that if weighing down your brother with rules until their burden is to heavy to carry is the only way you know how to express your love of, and obedience to, God, there's probably something you've missed.

As a Jew, I realize that our Hebrew Bible was written by people from the early to late Iron Age, usually describing much later events that had long passed, and contains all the morals, bloodlust and violence one would expect from...well, people of the early to late Iron Age.

To the person above who said rather succinctly, that "The Bible says..." woman should not preach in church and a lot of other "should nots" and did so with such rigid authority, think about what else we have used our respective religions to justify in the past few thousand years: The Age of "Christian" Kings, serfdom and all the misery and starvation that went along with it, the Crusades, which also marked the beginning of the molestation of Jews in Western Europe not to mention (oh joy) more killing in the name of God; the trial and execution of "witches", the subjugation and near total loss of rights of women, slavery...the list goes on.

In America alone, what have we railed against? Jazz, Rock and Roll, clothing, hair styles, the Bikini, interracial sex, interracial marriage, civil rights, women's rights, contraception, abortion, gay sex, gay marriage, not to mention other Christians, other Jews and anybody else who didn't believe precisely what we believed. Have I missed anything?

Where has it gotten us? That's the bright side: It has gotten us to new levels of maturity and humility, albeit painfully and in new quantities.

This guy has allowed me to feel "jaded" again and feel good about it: Rabbirami.blogspot.com. He's an upscaled version of Lewis Black and he's given me a lot of comfort. I would also suggest Moses Maimonides, "Guide for the Perplexed" and Martin Buber.

But if you're into "interfaith dialogue", don't expect too much from it. That's the downside. Professor Stephen Hawking was once asked what he thought extra-terrestrial lifeforms might actually be. He gave the best, and possibly most "true" answer: We would likely be incredibly toxic biologically to one another, best left for occasional dialogue remotely, and best not to be in the same room together.

That's pretty much how I feel about Interfaith dialogue. Just reading the opposing opinions on this blog by people who, looking in from the "outside" one would think would all be on the same page, is a demonstration of that. That's ok - we have the same dialogues within the various Jewish movements.

Does God want your dissent? Go read Job again and get back to me. Or read about Rami Shapiro's experience in trying to teach mostly Evangelical students about the God-Paradox in Job at Middle Tennessee State University here:

http://rabbirami.blogspot.com/2012/05/i-have-failed-part-one.html

I apologize for the shameless plug, but this guy is too good to miss. I also plug the FBC Jax Watchdogs blog shamelessly too - a lot!

Peace - Mike