Through Thick or Thin?

Sharing Options
Show Outline with Links

Introduction

One of the complicating factors in the recent dust-up over Trinitarian theology and complementarianism has been the fact that more is going on than trying to justify complementarianism in two different ways. Rather, there is the additional issue of people seeking to justify two different kinds of complementarianism — thick or thin.

Thin and Thick Defined

Thin complementarianism wants to acknowledge the force of certain explicit scriptural injunctions, while trying to carefully limit the intent of such requirements to the pulpit and decisions in the home. In short, women must not be ordained, and the husband is the head of his wife in all familial matters. Outside these two biblical limitations, the sky is the limit. Women can fly fighter jets and they can be the CEOs of tech companies, and there is nothing whatever the Bible has to say about it. This would be thin complementarianism.

Thick complementarians are called this because of that characteristic Neanderthal brow. Heh — just kidding. Trying to relieve the building tension here. Thick complementarians usually don’t like the word complementarian, for starters, but they hold that men are men in every aspect of life, and in the same way that women are called to be women in every aspect of life. This manifests itself differently in different spheres, obviously, but there is never a sphere where manhood and womanhood can be considered irrelevant.

There are no spheres where we just have “people.” It is not the case, when we are outside the appointed task of the pastoral search committee, or outside the big decision facing a husband and wife, that the corporation is populated by generic bi-pedal carbon units. We always have men and women, and so we must always navigate role relationships. The creation design is ubiquitous, and it is not because of prejudice that far more women than men are nurses and far more men than women are doctors.

Now thin complementarianism is largely a modern development. It comes about as a result of Christians trying hang on to certain obvious texts of Scripture, while at the same time accommodating the full court egalitarian press that we are all experiencing these days.

But exegesis under pressure sometimes gets us skewed results. For example, Liam Goligher, one of the participants in the recent fracas over the Trinity, said this:

“I am an unashamed biblical complementarian. The original use of that word took its cue from the biblical teaching about the differences yet complementarity of human beings made in the image of God while not running away from the challenges of applying biblical exhortations for wives to submit to their own husbands in the Lord or the prohibition on ordination for women in the church. With only those two caveats, as Calvin told John Knox, women may be princes in the state, but not pastors in the church. But this new teaching is not limiting itself to that agenda” (emphasis mine).

The occasion was Calvin responding in a letter to the fact that John Knox had published a pamphlet against “the monstrous regiment of women,” and Queen Elizabeth, a Protestant ruler, had taken offense at it. Calvin was trying to smooth ruffled feathers. On another occasion, I described the problem this way.

“In a little known episode from the Old Testament, one time John Knox wrote a small missive aimed at a tyrannical woman, Bloody Mary. That pamphlet was entitled The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women. Unfortunately, after the rock left Knox’s hand, Mary died and was replaced by Elizabeth, a Protestant. She was a Protestant, unlike Mary, but she was also a woman, like Mary, and when the rock bounced off her forehead, she was displeased, which is something Elizabeth knew how to be. Knox labored to explain and beg pardon, but it was a tough audience. There are times when ‘that’s not what I meant’ is a difficult sell. Oh, well. Church history staggered on regardless.”

Calvin was upset at what Knox had done, but his problems were tactical, and not theological. In short, Calvin agreed with Knox on the doctrine. He did not agree with Goligher, as the full letter cited by Goligher makes evident and plain. C.S. Lewis described the situation this way.

“nearly everyone (except regnant queens) agreed with Knox. Everyone knew that it was contrary to natural and divine law that women should rule men . . . Calvin knew as well as Knox… Bullinger thought the same . . .” (English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, pp. 199-200).

So Who Cares?

The statement above was published at Mortification of Spin, Carl Trueman’s site. One of Trueman’s valuable and repeated contributions to the melee that is our ecclesiastical time is his point that Big Men in Evangelical Leadership should not be above criticism, and that we should function like men, and not like celebrities. Trueman is also a Calvin scholar.

But it is simply not the case that Calvin bought into the truncated and limited application of male/female roles that has been argued by modern thin complementarians. It is not true. That’s not what he thought. That’s not what he said. The fact that he objected to picking a fight with Elizabeth was, as noted earlier, a matter of Calvin choosing battles carefully, and not an example of his proto-thin-complementarianism.

Now the question is this. Why won’t Goligher correct the mistake?

Couple this with the fact that this side point (and yes, I know it is a side point) arose in the context of a discussion where other Big Men were being challenged for teaching the “eternal subordination” of the Son, and were being called on the carpet.

Back to the Trinity

One last comment, this one on the Trinity issue. Thick complementarians who agree with Mark Jones’ critique of Bruce Ware (and yes, there are some) want to ask why natural law and the fifth chapter of Ephesians are insufficient to make the role relationships case. It is a fair question. Why must the point be grounded in the Trinity?

First, you don’t ground anything in the Trinity because you think it might be “useful.” You should only do it if you think it is true — as I do believe and as I have explained elsewhere. At the same time, certain practical aspects of the discussion can and should be noticed.

I think the egalitarian atmosphere of our time has blurred the actual question. If the sole question were whether or not we could demonstrate the natural order of male responsibility and leadership, we could easily do it from history, from nature, and from Scripture. But that is not what I want to fight for. I want to fight for a hierarchical understanding of role relationships between men and women, and also the full equality of women.

The current egalitarian mania is not the normal frame of fallen mankind. The equality thing is just a scam, a ruse that is being run on gullible women, just as countless scams have been run on them before. You doubt what I say? Unregenerate men always demand to be at the center, and they will always dominate women in order to do it. Men turn anything into a competition. Again, you doubt what I say? Men can do anything better than women. They are even better at being women than women are. Just ask Bruce Jenner, woman of the year. Touchdown dance. Just ask the men sans surgery who are going to be competing in the women’s Olympics this year. The fastest women in the world turn out to be men. You girls don’t know how to do this thing at all.

So the need to fight for feminine equality is as great now as it has ever been. Greater, in fact. But it must be biblical equality. Feminism is simply the name we give to the views held by female patsies and dupes.

So to my thick complementarian friends, the thing you have to show from nature, and from Scripture, is not the natural order. You do not have to work hard to prove that women are subordinate to men. What you have to show is that they are equal. And I know of no better way of demonstrating this than to point to the ultimate authority — the Father of Jesus Christ, and to His Son, who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He emptied Himself, and took the form of a servant. That decision to “empty” was ad intra. The decision to take the form of a servant was prior to taking the form of a servant.

I grant and acknowledge everything that has been argued about the unity of the divine will. I believe this to be important. I also believe that certain hierarchical statements in Scripture involving the Godhead are in fact ad extra, that they have the Incarnation in view (e.g. 1 Cor. 11:3). But the Father is eternally a Father. The Son is eternally a Son. Authority and equality are no contradiction.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
249 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Andy Kaiyala
Andy Kaiyala
5 years ago

Now that is controversial. Authority doesn’t mean superior? Weird. You mean Jesus submitting in the garden of Gesthemane through drops of blood is not an expression of subordination, but of common will and purpose toward one glorious end? Might be on to something….

jigawatt
jigawatt
5 years ago

Men can do anything better than women.

Once again, he’s just asking for it.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
5 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

I love it. He just walks up to the beast and pokes it in the eye.

jigawatt
jigawatt
5 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

Not too long ago I would have said “C’mon Doug, I’m all for cutting it straight, but at least make an attempt at disclaiming the out-of-context readings you’re going to get.”

Nowadays, I’ve seen enough disclaimed after disclaimed after disclaimed statements STILL misunderstood. I’m convinced that it’s sometimes done deliberately – just to rally their fellow detractors. Haters gonna hate, and it doesn’t matter how much you try to preemptively put out the fire; they’re gonna burn it anyway.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
5 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

When your opponent deliberately misconstrues your words and pretends to be stupid, you’ve won. It can be hard to tell pretended stupidity from the real thing though.

jigawatt
jigawatt
5 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

When your opponent deliberately misconstrues your words and pretends to be stupid, you’ve won.

^^Bingo!

My personal favorite is when some progressive media personality (I won’t call them journalists or reporters) is interviewing a Christian pastor who is behaving and talking like a Christian pastor should.

“Ugh, so are you actually saying that you believe the Bible? That ancient book with that hateful, vengeful, LGBTQ-bashing god? That’s gross!”

“We’ll be right back with our special program ‘Peacefully Coexisting with Respectful Conversation’ after these messages.”

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

Makes perfect sense to me. Smart women have always been aware of men’s competitive nature. That is how we came up with, “Awesome, you paint the fence and mow the yard and feel free to display your vast superiority.” I call it Tom Sawyering. Works every time.

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
5 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

“Men can do anything better than women.”

Except possibly give birth. (As noted by monty python)

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago

And walk a colicky baby for five hours without ever once thinking of putting some gin in its feed.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Gin?

Never!

Whiskey, maybe!????

gfkdzdds
gfkdzdds
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

Or hopping in the car until baby falls asleep.

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad
"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago

Hmmmm. Sounds like whiskey could be the cause of, and solution to colick!

Or as Homer said,”the cause of, and solution to all the worlds’ problems!????

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago

“Authority and equality are no contradiction.”

Yet some grasp at both, absent the humility needed to be both. ????????

Stephen Anderson
5 years ago

To make inferences about the nature of the Trinity from the relationship of man and woman or vice versa, is to walk on thin ice. The Scriptures have made some plain statements and the Scriptures are sufficient for those who know and love God.

Consistorian
5 years ago

Paul makes an explicit connection, not an inference. There is a legitimate question about what Paul meant, but not about whether there is a connection. “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3 ESV) There is actually much grace (and glory) for women in this passage. It’s not just that women must submit to their husbands “because” … Women are to submit because even our Savior submits. There is a legitimate question about whether this is… Read more »

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago

Last year the gender division between medical school graduates was 8,907 women and 9,798 men. So it looks like the traditional female nurse/male doctor pattern is disappearing.

I understand the argument that we live and act as women (or men) in every aspect of our lives, including at work. But I don’t understand why gender itself can determine whether an occupation is fitting based on tradition.

John
John
5 years ago

I was disappointed that you quoted Calvin instead of Scripture. What verses do you feel best support the case that men are to be in authority in all parts of life?

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

I guess I just don’t understand why a false appeal to Calvin even matters. If you feel that the scripture is clear, then Calvin’s personal opinion is fairly irrelevant, whether one way or the other.

Thank you for the clarification.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Because it shows that the person he is responding to is mishandling his material.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

Wouldn’t the fact of whether he’s mishandling scripture be the incredibly more meaningful question? Let’s assume that Doug is 100% right and this other guy was totally wrong about Calvin… so what? Is he right about scripture? That’s the only question I care about when discussing correct doctrine and theology.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  John

If he’s sloppy in the way he uses any text, he is more likely to be sloppy in using all of them. It’s highly unlikely he’s an outstandingly incisive handler of scripture if he can’t get Lewis right.

Not all of us are competent to evaluate all arguments, especially those pertaining to languages we don’t know, but knowing that someone is not a good exegete, whether of Lewis or scripture, is informative as we try to grapple with things.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

How about all the honest people who make similar scriptural arguments? If his position were only held by the dishonest, then I might be with you, but I highly doubt that’s the case.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  John

The question is whether we should pay him any heed when he goes to scripture. Like it or not, none of us go to scripture cold; we are all influenced by those who engage in teaching it. Knowing which teachers are reliable and skillful in their work is of value.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

Let’s just assume that the answer is no, we should never look at Liam or his group’s scriptural arguments on the basis that they are not going into it with good faith. OK. Good. We’ve dealt with them.
But that does literally nothing to people who hold very similar arguments to them, but don’t participate in dishonesty like Liam and CO. Their arguments still need to be addressed.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

John seems to be extrapolating all sorts of arguments that Wilson didn’t make.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
5 years ago
Reply to  John

The point of the article is not to prove that men are to be in authority in all parts of life. It’s to distinguish two thicknesses of complementarianism and to mess with feminists.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  Rob Steele

Doug focused on that misconstruing of Calvin as an example of “exegesis under pressure,” as an example of how these people are wrong, but all it ends up doing is showing that they’re wrong about one thing Calvin said. It says literally nothing about whether they’re wrong in their Scriptural basis.

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Doug has spent countless blog pieces effectively illustrating where he stands on this issue. Everybody knows where he stands and there is little point in rehashing stuff he’s said before.

If that’s what you expect from this post, then you will be sorely disappointed. Which it appears you are.

John
John
5 years ago

Would you be so kind to link some of them? His unorthodox titles make it extremely hard to find articles with specific content. I am truly interested in his Biblical arguments.

With that said, spending time showing how a specific person misused Calvin seems pointless to the topic at hand beyond attempting to make some generalized attack on the person who made the mistake. It does nothing to further the actual discussion.

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Agreed that his titles make it difficult to find specific topics at times. Make use of the “sex and culture” tag in the tag cloud to the right as a starting point. And the misuse of Calvin is relevant in that it provides a look into the motives of Goligher (and by direct association, Trueman) in their failure to retract their use of Calvin in the way that they did. A couple folks have highlighted the misuse of the Calvin quote in Liam’s piece (hosted on Trueman’s site) and pointed out that truth and honesty would require a retraction of… Read more »

John
John
5 years ago

So the conclusion Doug is arguing for is that Liam and co. are dishonest and have wrong motives?

Maybe I’m just confused because of the structure of Doug’s post. He talks about different forms of complimentarianism, and then addresses Liam’s point as if it’s a representative exegetical argument from that side. He even refers to it as “exegesis under pressure.”

It seems that, instead, his correction of Liam has nothing to do with the complimentarianism debate and everything to do with an accusation about Liam, specifically, being dishonest.

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago
Reply to  John

I can’t speak for Doug, but I do think he is (gently, at the moment) highlighting this glaring inconsistency and unwillingness of the other party to retract an obvious dishonest use of one held in high esteem by all. The implications are that a commitment to their position on gender roles has placed pressure on them to fudge a bit in their arguments (exegesis under pressure). And if they are fudging a bit on this point, who is to say they aren’t fudging a bit elsewhere?

John
John
5 years ago

This is where my issue comes back. If they’re fudging on their actual scriptural exegesis, then by all means, focus on that! It seems like an extremely round-a-bout and needlessly vague argument to point out one inconsistency in quoting Calvin in order to show that they may also be wrong about their Biblical arguments. If the point is simply to discredit Liam, then it makes sense. Doug has successfully shown that Liam probably isn’t being totally honest. (although I would really need to look at both sides before deciding thoroughly. At this point, I’ll assume Doug is correct, though.) If… Read more »

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago
Reply to  John

This post is, I believe, seeking to illustrate how the complementarian discussion is connected to the current Trinitarian discussion. So it’s a little of both/and going on. And it’s not just Liam. It’s Carl as well. And by extension anybody else in that camp. All have the opportunity to speak up and say “Yes, that use of Calvin was incorrect and we retract it.” As far as I am aware, that has not been forthcoming. At all. Now maybe they disagree in their understanding of Calvin’s view. That’s fine. But they should probably offer a rejoinder as to why that… Read more »

John
John
5 years ago

Alright, I feel like I understand the issue, although, I do still think that there’s a little too much focus on people as opposed to arguments.

Now to find Doug’s posts on his actual Biblical arguments… no luck so far. There are 32 pages under the ‘sex and culture’ tag and nothing about it under the search terms ‘complimentarian,’ ‘complimentary,’ etc.

Nathan Tuggy
Nathan Tuggy
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Try complementarian, with an E.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  Nathan Tuggy

Ha, thank you! I can’t believe I didn’t notice that.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Uh oh! A typo!

Now you kant bee trussted with anything! ; – )

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Yes, but if you want a great recipe for a real marriage, just go with the complimentary one. That’s what the so called simple people do who don’t need an entire theological argument trying to prove who is subordinate within the God head. In fact, I’d suggest avoiding marrying any one like that. Wayyyy too obsessive….

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

I prefer to get my beliefs from the Bible, but thanks.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Oh. Well, if you want to get technical about it, the bible never actually mentions the word complementary.

Jacob Schroeder
Jacob Schroeder
5 years ago

I agree, Liam owes Calvin a retraction. But let’s be careful in talking about camps, sides, and parties. There is not a neat dividing line in this debate that allows us to impute all of the faults of one to the many. There are at least two controversial topics in play (trinitarian theology and complementarianism), and many who agree on trinitarian matters disagree on complementarianism matters. So what Liam says regarding complementarianism may have nothing to do with what others on his side of the trinitarian debate are saying. Trueman seems to have given his blessing to everything Liam says,… Read more »

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago

Liam and Carl’s camp is “thin” complementarians who are also speaking out against the perceived heresy of Ware and Grudem regarding the Trinity. One such as Mark Jones (who I think is “thick”?) therefore does not necessarily belong to said camp. Although, it would be an honest thing to go “uh, yeah, that was a misapplication of Calvin”. Doesn’t take much and it would, IMO, do nothing save adorn the example of Christ that we are to be.

And speaking of Mark Jones, what was your impression/reaction to his “tone policing” post?

Jacob Schroeder
Jacob Schroeder
5 years ago

Note sure which post you’re referring to. Do you have a link?

Jacob Schroeder
Jacob Schroeder
5 years ago

I thought it was very helpful and needed to be said (and that before this debate ever began). Always tough to address those issues in the middle of a controversy, but it seems to me that the principle is sound.

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago

Interesting. I felt like I had been transported from a discussion supposedly between mature godly men to a discussion on Facebook between first year seminary students. It was the inclusion of White specifically that really made me go “eh?”. All I heard from White was “hey, let’s tone things down a bit and go about this in a mature fashion.” Granted, since it wasn’t aimed at me I was able to perceive it as charitable. To me (a mere layman who has tried to stay up-to-date on this discussion) it was readily apparent to whom White was referring, so for… Read more »

Jacob Schroeder
Jacob Schroeder
5 years ago

So who do you think White was addressing? Just Trueman and Golligher, or “his side” (presumably all non-ESSers)?

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago

While I believe it was explicitly stated with Trueman and Golligher in view (from what I have read, they are the ones who kicked this off in such a loaded fashion), it no doubt served as a caution to all those on the non-ESS side (White’s side) to not embrace such strong rhetoric. (Maybe you perceived him differently? Were you able to catch the Dividing Line where he first addressed this?) It may be that such claims will need to be made at the conclusion of this discussion, but such rhetoric up front tends to stifle discussion. And White (rightly… Read more »

Jacob Schroeder
Jacob Schroeder
5 years ago

Sorry, I haven’t gotten to it yet, but that certainly sounds reasonable.

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago

So Jake, completely unrelated to all of this, I was wondering if you have a local individual with whom to engage in any and all theological discussions? The reason I ask is because there is an ex-brethren guy that Jordan and I visit annually who absolutely loves discussing all things Scripture related. He would be delighted to have somebody to regularly discuss things with. He attends (from time to time) one of the Presbyterian churches there in Walla-Walla, but I’m not sure which one (I think there’s more than one, correct?), so you may have already met him at some… Read more »

Jacob Schroeder
Jacob Schroeder
5 years ago

I don’t think I have met Brent. There are a couple ECO churches (formerly PCUSA) in town, but we attend a PCA church. I’d be happy to meet up some time. Not sure how regularly I could do it, but it would be good to meet him.

Brandon Klassen
Brandon Klassen
5 years ago

I asked Jordan and he said that Brent’s sister’s son-in-law is a pastor at a PCUSA church. He said that the church as been working to remove itself from PCUSA affiliation, not sure if that is complete yet. Anyway, if it’s anything you’re interested in, you can e-mail your preferred contact information and I can get you Brent’s. If not, no biggie. Life is happening and one may not always have time to blow an evening away chatting.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Wilson is often rebuked for not saying everything at once, in every article he posts on his blog.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

I’m not rebuking him for not saying everything at once. I’m questioning the purpose of attacking a specific person/group in order to throw doubt on their scriptural arguments.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

John wrote: I’m not rebuking him for not saying everything at once. Then why did John complain that Wilson quoted Calvin instead of Scripture? John wrote: I’m questioning the purpose of attacking a specific person/group in order to throw doubt on their scriptural arguments. Attacking a person/group? Oh my. Wilson observed that “exegesis under pressure sometimes gets us skewed results”. Wilson then gave an example of their misapplication of Calvin, and their ironic refusal to retract, given their caution against celebrity leadership status. Does such behavior cast doubt on their scriptural arguments too? Does Wilson make such a connection, or… Read more »

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

I see no purpose in exposing the dishonesty of a specific person in the midst of a debate unless you’re trying to hurt their argument while doing so. It’s implicit that he’s throwing doubt on their scriptural arguments by showing dishonesty in their Calvin based arguments.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

I think John just acknowledged that he is the one who actually supplied the argument that he is now criticizing Wilson for.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Implicit arguments are still arguments because they based on the logical conclusions of the explicit arguments being given.
Can you provide some other reason for focusing on his misuse of Calvin? (To be clear, we know it’s more than simply clearing up what Calvin really said. If that were the case, then Doug would equally be correcting all misuses of Calvin, not just those made by people who contribute to an ongoing discussion.)

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

John wrote: Can you provide some other reason for focusing on his misuse of Calvin? Sure. Wilson was pretty clear. Wilson wrote: One of Trueman’s valuable and repeated contributions … is his point that Big Men in Evangelical Leadership should not be above criticism, and that we should function like men, and not like celebrities. Wilson was focusing on the refusal of these Big Men in Evangelical Leadership to accept criticism in their misrepresentation of Calvin. In other words, Wilson was pointing out a bit of hypocrisy, which is a valid thing to do, independent of the exegetical arguments. Jesus… Read more »

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t feel like a public blog post is the appropriate place to discuss hypocrisy of others unless you’re willing to totally disbar them from the church.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Wilson isn’t trying to make a federal case out of it, but it was worth pointing out the irony, in passing; which is all Wilson did.

Curiously though, John does seem to think that a public blog is the appropriate place to accuse a pastor of attacking a specific person/group.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

I said that I was disappointed in his focus on Calvin instead of on the Scripture. I did not accuse him of sin.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

John wrote:

I said that I was disappointed in his focus on Calvin instead of on the Scripture. I did not accuse him of sin.

It’s been awhile since I’ve come across someone so unaware of their own actions. John wrote:

I’m questioning the purpose of attacking a specific person/group in order to throw doubt on their scriptural arguments.

John clearly labeled Wilson as an attacker. Perhaps John doesn’t regard attack as a sin?

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

You might want to track the discussion from the beginning. That entire line of reasoning was under the assumption that his entire purpose was to point out the hypocrisy of Liam and co. I did not assert that assumption. I was responding under that assumption.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Leaving all assumptions aside, John has still, from the rooftop, publicly declared that Wilson was “attacking a specific person/group”. John can deny it, or make excuses, but that’s what happened. We all saw it. So if John doesn’t think that is appropriate behavior, then he should demonstrate it by apologizing to Wilson.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

My point was that IF Doug’s purposes were not to further the actual discussion, THEN he would have just been attacking a specific person/group, and that would have been wrong. It was more of a critique of the poster who made that assertion than of Doug, himself.
Personally, I think Doug and other some other reformed theologians tend to put more emphasis on the reformers than they probably should, and hence the misrepresentation of Calvin was incredibly important to Doug.

I don’t appreciate that you jumped into the middle of a discussion without actually following along with the discussion.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

IF John’s purposes are not to further the actual discussion, THEN he seems to be just sniping at Wilson, and that would be wrong.

If John is not interested in accurately representing Reformers, fine, but that is not a valid criticism of Wilson, and it certainly does not further the actual discussion.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

I’m done. You jumped in the middle of a conversation without all the information, diverted the topic that was being discussed, and constantly have tried to accuse me of things out of your own ignorance.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

John wrote:

I’m done. You jumped in the middle of a conversation without all the information, diverted the topic that was being discussed, and constantly have tried to accuse me of things out of your own ignorance.

This is an ironic rebuke, considering that John jumped into the middle of the conversation without all the information, diverted the topic that was being discussed, and constantly tried to accuse Wilson of things out of his own ignorance.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  John

Here is a good purpose:

1 Thessalonians 5
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

That says to warn those who are disruptive, not yell about their disruptiveness from the rooftop.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  John

J’, better check in with Jesus on this idea! Luke 12 12 Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be[a] on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the… Read more »

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

Firstly, that’s in the context of the end times when God reveals all sin. The very next couple verses talk about how you shouldn’t fear the one who can cast you into Hell.

Secondly, the Bible lays out a clear vision for church discipline. If this post is nothing more than provided church discipline, then we should probably follow that clear method.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  John

End times?

No, the context is yeasty pharisees! ; – )

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

Yes, it’s about how all sin will be declared in the end, nothing will stay hidden in death.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  John

I see where Jesus mentions hypocrite Pharisees in the passage. “End times ” are not mentioned, are they?
Finally the Spirit convicts sin in real time, right now. Some of it gets proclaimed from “the roofs”, like lying about emails for instance, or being a lounge lizard!????

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

The next few passages talk about how we should fear God who can throw us into Hell as well as destroy our body. The logical connection is that we can’t hide our sin from God who will shout it from the rooftops. The Pharisees were all about appearances, but they were full of sin and hatred for God in their hearts. This passage affirms that appearances may matter now, but when we come before God for judgment, we should fear him because he will reveal it all out into the open.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  John

J’, seems like you have more “induction” going on here that you care to admit.
Strangely enough, this post was about some “inductions” about Calvin, that did not follow from his plain meaning. See you next post!

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

If you call using context ‘induction,’ then so be it.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  John

“End times” is not in the text, and it is not in the context. Hence, you did not use context to induce “end times ” into your position.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  "A" dad

John has already declared “from the rooftop” that Wilson was “attacking a specific person/group”, so it is difficult to believe that he really has anything against such behavior. If he is serious about it, perhaps John could demonstrate it by apologizing to Wilson for the public accusation.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John

John has already declared, “from the rooftop”, that Wilson was “attacking a specific person/group”, so it is difficult to believe that he really has anything against such behavior. If he is serious about it, perhaps John could demonstrate it by apologizing to Wilson for the public accusation.

Toni Payne
Toni Payne
5 years ago

It’s interesting that you quote Lewis…thinking about Narnia and the rule/ reign of Lucy and Susan and his general high view of heroic women (along with Tolkien). That quote surprised me!?

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  Toni Payne

Why? Wilson has a general high view of heroic women. And Lucy and Susan were queens under the rule of the High King, Peter.

Toni Payne
Toni Payne
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

Yes, but even under authority they would have had to rule over men.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  Toni Payne

Yes, but in context, the Lewis and the people he was referring to also understood that women had male servants and duchesses outranked peasants. The difference is that ultimately, women are not ruling, men are.

Toni Payne
Toni Payne
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

I wouldn’t have thought he would have called her Queen Lucy if he was just referring to her rank as sister of the High King…wouldn’t that be more like a princess? I always imagined there was a rule and authority implied.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Toni Payne

“The difference is that ultimately, women are not ruling, men are.”

Men were not ruling in Narnia, Aslan was ruling in Narnia. That is why we get so confused in the world today, we insist on knowing who rules, men or women, when in fact it is God that should be ruling, regardless of who has the designated authority. Queen Lucy was crowned by Aslan. She who is under authority, has authority.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  Toni Payne

I’m not saying it was just her rank as sister; I’m saying that even as she ruled over men, she was not ultimately ruling over all of them; Peter was ruling over her and she was subject to him. Her rule was subject to his.

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
5 years ago
Reply to  Toni Payne

The quote surprised you because it is a deceptively edited version of the original (probably not by our host here but rather by some earlier editor). Here is the quote in context: In the same year, though it was probably written earlier, appeared the most embarassing of all of [Knox’s] works, the First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women. It was embarrassing because in a certain sense nearly everyone (except regnant queens) agreed with Knox. Everyone knew that it was contrary to natural and divine law that women should rule men. But then a great many… Read more »

ashv
ashv
5 years ago

We were doing just fine until you drug “equality” into the conversation. Why even bother with such a tendentious word?

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  ashv

Well, equal has two different meanings. One is to be the same, the other is having the ability or resources to meet the challenge, as in how someone could be equal to the task at hand. So, apples and oranges can be very different and yet they both have worth and value as fruit.

Kids are not equal to adults in authority and yet most of us would perceive them as being precious, priceless, having great worth and value. Not equal in the context of sameness, but equal in terms of having worth and value.

ashv
ashv
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

The fact that these kinds of definitional debates come up is why I object, since the topic can be covered quite well without using the word at all.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  ashv

I don’t believe so. Far too many men see “weaker vessels” and think weaker means inferior. Far too many think dominance means destruction and authority means the power you get to lord over others. So one cannot even have a responsible discussion like this without mentioning that women do have equal worth and value.

ashv
ashv
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

It’s folly to speak of anyone having “equal worth and value”. I certainly don’t treat anyone else as having equal worth and value to my wife, for example.

John
John
5 years ago
Reply to  ashv

Luckily, a person’s worth and value don’t find their basis in the way you treat people.

Farinata degli Uberti
Farinata degli Uberti
5 years ago
Reply to  ashv

Sure, and I don’t think that tomatoes are apples. But six tomatoes is equal to six apples in quantity. Why can’t the word just apply in a sensible way in context without tripping over a reductio?

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  ashv

ashv wrote:

Why even bother with such a tendentious word?

Why regard a good word as tendentious on the say-so of a cynic?

ashv
ashv
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

I see you’ve decided to stick with name-calling instead of actual disagreement.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  ashv

If ashv would abandon good words because of the way other tendentious people use them, then he is cutting off his own nose to spite his face. Ashv can surrender his vocabulary and empower others over him in that way, if he wishes, but I’d rather take words back.

ME
ME
5 years ago

Ahh, this was just lovely. Well said.

I do have to object to the word “thick” however, a more unfeminine word could not be found if we tried. 90% of us would reject “thick complementarians” on the basis of that word alone. Most women have no desire to be “thick” nor to have to deal with thick headed men. Bad optics, all the way around :)

Victoria West
Victoria West
5 years ago

The best rulers of Britain in the last 1000 years have all been women: Elizabeth I and II and Victoria.

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  Victoria West

What was Winston?

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago
Reply to  Victoria West

Not to split hairs, but Victoria and Elizabeth II have reigned but not ruled. After Elizabeth I, I think the next actual woman ruler of Britain would have to be Margaret Thatcher.

Victoria West
Victoria West
5 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

I’ve never heard a prime minister called a ruler. MIriam dictionary “a person (such as a king or queen) who rules a country, area, group, etc.”

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago
Reply to  Victoria West

I should have explained better. The expression the Brits use for their constitutional monarch is that he or she reigns but does not rule. She is head of state, but not the decision maker for the state; her powers are limited to encouraging, counseling, warning, advising, and so on. She can summon Parliament, and she can technically refuse her assent to parliamentary bills (but this hasn’t happened for around 300 years). In Canada, the Queen is the official head of state, but all power resides in the House of Commons and the Senate, under the leadership of the Prime Minister.… Read more »

"A" dad
"A" dad
5 years ago
Reply to  Victoria West

As perhaps a better example:

“Jilly rules!” ; – )

Conserbatives_conserve_little
Conserbatives_conserve_little
5 years ago

There is a huge variable in this whole discussion. The industrial revolution and post industrialism. Before these happened., everything was physical. In other words, upper body strength was the main variable. Women realistically calls had no choice because of the economics of life. You don’t have to be able to pull 150lbs anymore to make a living. Condoms mean that a woman doesn’t have to get pregnant , etc. technology has enabled opportunities for good and bad that didn’t exist before. Men used to be dismissive of women because of the strength issue. That too is a variable in the… Read more »

John
John
5 years ago

How would one who holds that men should always have the ultimate earthly authority describe Deborah, God’s chosen judge over the people of Israel?

After finding a post where Doug mentions Deborah, it seems that Doug doesn’t believe that it’s a sin for a woman to run for political office or for a person to vote for a woman president.

bethyada
5 years ago

I was reading this thin complementarian piece Being a wife is a role; being a husband is a role; being a servant is a role; being a citizen is a role. Being male and female are not roles. While our biological sex necessarily shapes the roles we hold (in marriage, a woman will be a wife and not a husband), submission does not stem directly from gender but from a role that exists in the context of relationship. A wife submits to her husband not because he is a “man” but because he is her husband and has committed himself… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Well said again.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Sorry, but I think her argument is quite good. She says, “submission does not stem directly from gender but from a role that exists in the context of relationship.” Yes precisely. She is also quite correct about how they are trying to project the gender wars onto the trinity debate and it is somewhat appalling to bear witness too. It is a mistake to declare that to obey is feminine, to lead is masculine. Submission is actually not a feminine quality at all, hence “wives submit,” because it is unnatural, it is counter intuitive. Paul is not addressing qualities that… Read more »

bethyada
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

Firstly, women are to submit, that is clear from creation before the Fall. As Paul says, God made Adam first and that fact has implications. Even so, pre-Fall this would have not caused any problems just as Christ willingly submitted to the Father while on Earth (and was sinless). So if submission is unnatural, it is unnatural in this fallen world. Submission flows naturally when one isn’t fallen, but we rebel against it because we are. So while we agree about the outcome (male leaders and submissive wives) the argument is also important.

bethyada
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

As to the trinitarian debate, I don’t have have a strong position. Most agree that Christ submits to the Father incarnated (Phil 2:7) and Christ submits to the Father in eternity future (1Co 15:28). The disagreement is about eternity past. I am not certain this is a big deal for 2 reasons. 1. If Christ submits in eternity future then the argument about 2 wills in the Godhead and simplicity of God is moot. 2. What do people really mean about eternity past. Eternity proper is outside of time. God created time when he created the world. People really can’t… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

bethyada makes good distinctions here. A central issue is the submission of the Son, specifically in eternity past. bethyada wrote: 1. If Christ submits in eternity future then the argument about 2 wills in the Godhead and simplicity of God is moot. The philosophical debates about divine simplicity and will(s) of God seem overly complex to me, but I do believe it is important to consider whether submission (perhaps as a function of honoring and glorifying) is something inherent to who God is, or is something that just popped up later in the story, being non-essential to who God is.… Read more »

bethyada
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

The question is not so much does submission stem from gender (female) as opposed to stemming from a role (wife). The question is more why do wives submit and not husbands (generally)? What is it about the roles and why do men and women fit those roles? Is it arbitrary? Or are there qualities that aid and inhibit leadership and submission? Does protection go with leadership? Does putting one’s life at risk go with leadership? Does provision go with leadership? Does nurturing go with submission? Does respectfulness go with submission? Etc. Those qualities in themselves are masculine and feminine. Cannot… Read more »

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

“The authors are arguing for the submission stemming from the roles and not the gender without asking why the genders are assigned the roles.” The genders are not really assigned the roles. “The roles” are more of a cultural invention, based on rigid gender stereotypes that have never really existed. Men submit to God, this is not a feminine thing to do at all. Deborah is at battle. Jael is driving a tent peg through someones head. These are not masculine things. Women are women, men are men, we do not suddenly change our gender depending on the jobs,roles, or… Read more »

bethyada
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

ME, I agree with most of this. But roles of husband and wife are not cultural, they were instigated by God at creation.

I don’t have a problem with being feminine in reference to God.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

“I don’t have a problem with being feminine in reference to God.” LOL! Well I have a problem with you being feminine in reference to God. Men are not called to feminize themselves before God. We are not all called to submit one to another, to feminize ourselves one to another. So it is kind of important that submission does not get equated with femininity. I think Paul is affirming this in 1 Cor. 11:3. When women submit, we are looking to men, we are looking to Christ, we are looking to the Father. If submission were a feminized trait,… Read more »

bethyada
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

I am not making myself more feminine, I am talking about a comparison.

I am an idiot in comparison to God. But that doesn’t mean I am making myself retarded.

(Yes, I realise that is an invitation to wisecracks)

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

This comparison was in ‘That Hideous Streangth’ by C.S. Lewis.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

We’re all morons compared God. The problem being, fancying yourself an idiot, lesser than, submissive,and calling that state of being “feminine,” displays a perception of womanhood as significantly inferior. The differences between people and God are huge, the differences between men and woman, not so much. How we all relate to God is not the same as how women relate to men. The trinity debate is attempting to project men’s somewhat poor opinion of women onto the God-head, as justification for the concept that women are allegedly in eternal subordination to men. The entire theory is flawed because it is… Read more »

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

“LOL! Well I have a problem with you being feminine in reference to God.”

What about being part of the bride of christ?

Lance Roberts
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

It’s not foolish because the Bible says clearly that one of the major sins is being effeminate. To be feminine is not just an insult to men, it’s an accusation of sin. It’s one of the reasons why earrings for men is wrong.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Lance Roberts

It may well be a sin for a man to be effeminate, but when you say “to be feminine is not just an insult to men, it’s an accusation of sin,” you are only a hair away from simply equating “feminine” with sin. That is how we arrive at this idea that women are just innately sinful, evil, the epitome of sin, therefore less moral than men, therefore not worthy of being treated well.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

No. It is a sin FOR A MAN to be feminine. It is a sin FOR A WOMAN to be masculine. That does not entail that either femininity or masculinity are related to sin.

It’s similar to the way that it’s a sin for some people to have sex, but not others.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

I know that, but as I said, “you are only a hair away from simply equating “feminine” with sin.” That is what many religionists actually do. And the feminist backlash simply reverses it, declaring all men are evil. Also, femininity and masculinity are somewhat subjective, so I believe it is a mistake to run about declaring, “one of the major sins is being effeminate.” It depends on a lot of other factors. I’m not in the business of dooming men to hell because they’re wearing an ear ring. Also, if you believe that is a “major sin,” you do not… Read more »

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

So then would you agree that if you say fornication is bad, you are only a hair away from saying that sex is sinful?

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

Yes, I would. False teachings about the sinfulness of all sex have done a great deal of harm to marriages. We have wives so emotionally shut down, they believe marital sex is probably sinful. If you spend the first 20 years of your life hearing about the evils of fornication and the sinfulness of sex, it can be easy to take those atittudes right into marriage with you. And men too learn to equate women with sexual sin, with the root of all evil.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

So let me get this straight:

you think people shouldn’t say fornication is a sin?

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

Perhaps people should say it is a deliciously wicked sin. Then women about to be married wouldn’t pick up negative attitudes!

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

I think no one in the history if humankind has ever been saved by being told fornication was a sin. We are saved because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is the grace He shows us that draws us away from sin,that leads us to want to walk in His ways.

Farinata degli Uberti
Farinata degli Uberti
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

That’s an odd standard. I don’t suppose anyone has ever been saved by being told something is a sin. But conviction of sin is still important.

ME
ME
5 years ago

That’s not odd at all. What is odd is to be surrounded by a bunch of alleged Christians who seems to forget that only Jesus Christ saves people, that our salvation is entirely dependent upon Him and not our own ability to resist sin. And only the Holy Spirit can convict people. We don’t convict others ourselves. It is not our job to constantly point out the sins of others as if we can somehow earn our own salvation that way. What an odd bunch of religioisity I see being practiced in this neck of the woods. It isn’t right,it… Read more »

jigawatt
jigawatt
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

ME said:

And only the Holy Spirit can convict people. We don’t convict others ourselves. It is not our job to constantly point out the sins of others as if we can somehow earn our own salvation that way.

What an odd bunch of religioisity I see being practiced in this neck of the woods. It isn’t right,it isn’t healthy,and it isn’t scriptural.

You’re not saying it’s … sinful, are you? Legalist! Don’t you know that only the Holy Spirit can convict people! Why are you trying to earn your salvation?

Farinata degli Uberti
Farinata degli Uberti
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

How do you think the Holy Spirit works? Does he not use, among other things, wise counsel and the text of Scripture?

ME
ME
5 years ago

When you are trying to speak to people about the potential problems in trying to genderdize the trinity and all people can do is mutter nonsense about fornication being a sin, we have done left the realm of wise counsel.

Farinata degli Uberti
Farinata degli Uberti
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

Whether anyone is muttering or not is more than I know. But, well, it is a sin. That’s literally what the word “fornication” means, in English. So I don’t know why you’d call that nonsense.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

Let’s say someone wishes to be sanctified and avoid sin. That person is pursuing the Christian life through the power of the Spirit and desires to honor God; this is not a question of a self-righteous attempt at scoring points.

Should they not be told fornication is a sin, lest they get the wrong idea about the holiness of marital sex?

If someone says, “What is God’s view on sex,” the fact that it is sinful outside of marriage should form no part of the answer?

jigawatt
jigawatt
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

Dunsworth said:

So let me get this straight:

you think people shouldn’t say fornication is a sin?

ME replied:

I think no one in the history if humankind has ever been saved by being told fornication was a sin.

Has anyone in the history of humankind ever been saved by being told racism was a sin?

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  jigawatt

“Has anyone in the history of humankind ever been saved by being told racism was a sin?”

No. The real bigots don’t care. I think perhaps you can actually help to create a racist, just like you can help to create a feminist. We should stop doing that.

家族と青春
家族と青春
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

This is a had thing to consider; I admit part of the difficulty for me is I come from the Catholic approach, which is very different from the Protestant approach here. I do think our work needs to be done in love, but we should endeavor to let people know they are committing sin, IMHO.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

Non responsive. “Don’t play with matches” has probably never resulted in anyone’s salvation, either.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

If someone is in the process of sanctification and wants to live a Christian life,than we should trust the Holy Spirit and scripture to lead them. Other wise we are acting as if God can’t handle it, as if He is not quite good enough and so needs us to run about whacking people upside the head about the evils of fornication.

OKRickety
OKRickety
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

I am puzzled about this often-stated argument that women have the wrong understanding of sex after they are married, because the church teaches that sex is wrong before (and outside of) marriage. How does this happen? Possibilities: 1. The church does not clearly teach that sex is a good thing, not just okay, when one is married. — If true, that church is failing to teach God’s truth about sex. 2. The church teaches young, single people only that sex is sin outside of marriage. — If true, that church is failing to teach the entirety of God’s truth about… Read more »

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

I think women have equated sexual sin with men for millennia. When I was growing up, I had a vague notion that the nice, gentlemanly men I knew suddenly turned into ravening wolves when the lights went off. Men were so enflamed with lust that the merest trifle–patent leather shoes, long hair that was loose rather than tightly braided–would set them off. But this was 50+ years ago, and looking around, I don’t see much evidence of that bygone day. And a good thing, too. Catholic girls of my day were taught that it was deeply sinful to have sexual… Read more »

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Actually, I think within evangelicalism, there is still a lot of that kind of thing, especially in some more conservative strains. Otherwise decent young men lose control over an exposed shoulder or Bermuda shorts. Friendly interactions between married adults of the opposite sex who are not married to one another are to be treated not with discretion, but more akin to a wasp’s nest — something you don’t even go near. Young men who are acceptable escorts for our young adult daughters are nonetheless to be distrusted out of our sight and threatened into abject fear. Etc.

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

“That’s ridiculous. I hope you did not really mean that.” Those are not my words, they are someone elses, fished out among all the references to women as being nothing more than sluts, fornicators, and jezebels who allegedly entice men down the wrong path. So, yes there is huge historical precedent for perceiving both women and sexual sin as the root of all evil. That’s not my opinion, but a cultural perception frequently echoed about. “Would it not also be true that women would learn to equate men with sexual sin?” No, actually women usually learn to equate sexual sin… Read more »

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

Wouldn’t teaching healthy sexuality necessarily involve teaching which aspects of sexuality are sinful? How do you teach someone to use something in a healthy way without warning them about the unhealthy aspects?

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

Well, let’s look at what began this discussion, the short trip between relating all things feminine to being submissive, inferior, and sinful. A big part of teaching healthy sexuality is about removing those false labels and cultural stereotypes. That can never happen if we don’t get over our desire to constantly point fingers at alleged sluts and fornicators.

OKRickety
OKRickety
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

“No, actually women usually learn to equate sexual sin with ourselves and to internalize all of the moral and emotional responsibility.” All of us are entirely responsible for our own sins, including sexual sins. Therefore, it is logical that we would associate our sexual sin with ourselves. If another person is involved in your sexual sin, then it is logical that we would also associate it with them and their group. Although we may have tempted them to sin, we are not responsible for their choice to sin. I perceive the church’s failure to regularly teach well about godly sexuality… Read more »

ME
ME
5 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

“I perceive the church’s failure to regularly teach well about godly sexuality to be a root cause for many of the problems experienced today.” Well shoot, we are in complete agreement there! I don’t know how we get the church to teach healthy sexuality. It’s aggravating because I also believe our failures there are the root of much of what ails us today. It’s tough where I live because we now have two gay pastors who left behind wives with young children and my former church is flying the rainbow flag above the cross. I probably don’t need to mention… Read more »

jillybean
jillybean
5 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

I think this is why it is so essential that our ideas of femininity and masculinity not be determined primarily by history and culture. To take a trivial example: if I decided to supplement my income by knitting for money, people would think this an eminently suitable occupation for me. Feminine, fluffy, and Jane Marple-ish. Yet, six hundred years ago, a woman broke the law by knitting professionally. The guilds dominated the field, and the guilds allowed only men to be initiated into their mysteries. Gaelic sailors and the men of the Royal Navy knitted in their spare time. Now… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

jillybean wrote: What does it mean for a woman to sin by being masculine? That she wears a buzz cut and men’s shoes? That she is brash and argumentative? That she likes football and drinks beer? And what does she do if she is not by nature a girly-girl? These are deep waters, Watson. Our culture indoctrinates us that we were “born this way”, and gives us permission to “be who we really are”, because “nature”. We are invited to fall headlong into whatever personality and character traits we happen to find ourselves with. In other words, there is no… Read more »

Lance Roberts
5 years ago
Reply to  ME

No, I’m not even close. It’s only a sin for a man. Dunsworth has it right.

katie
katie
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

This is biblical, in that the Church is feminine, the Bride, to the Lord’s masculine Bridegroom.

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

I’m not sure it’s wise to generalise to “submission is a feminine quality”. Men submit all the time: to governments, to masters, to local leaders. Sons submit to fathers, and not just until they reach their majority. And all of these are broadly commended and even commanded in Scripture. And when Christians are instructed to “submit to one another”, there’s nothing to suggest that Paul only has women and children in mind. Men submit. And women also submit. Now, I’m quite happy to grant that there is “masculine” and “feminine” submission, and that there are many contexts where they look… Read more »

bethyada
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

You may be correct Andrew. But if we look at attributes that are clearly feminine, can men perform them, and vice versa? I would say that provision and protection are what a man should do for his wife and family. I would see these as predominantly a man’s role. As such they are masculine. So can a women do these things at times? Sure. If so, are they being masculine? Or at least exhibiting a masculine attribute? What are wives to do that are predominantly feminine? Support, nurture? If so a man doing this is exhibiting a feminine attribute. Now… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

I hear you. But my complaint is that you’re generalising from “It is feminine to X in Y” to “It is feminine to X”. A feminine wife will submit, as is good. A masculine husband will provide and protect, as is good. In contrast, a man will submit himself to his tribe or band, or for that matter to his ruler or country, in a way that few women manage. Does this then mean that submission is now masculine rather than feminine? Tying “submission” to “feminine” is indicative of our deep social problems. Humans are built for submission; it should… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

“And when a man obeys his boss he is exhibiting feminine qualities.”

Tell it to the Marines. :)

bethyada
5 years ago

So I think (like the thin complementarians) that wives are to be submissive to their husbands not to men in general. And I would say to complementarians that they need to realise that the egalitarian argument for the high status of women needs to be noted. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  bethyada

Well said. I think it is the more common temptation of men to abdicate their own roles, rather than to be tempted to usurp womens’ roles. Men are not often tempted to be domestic, for example. On the other hand, I think it is the more common temptation of women to get into men’s roles, and to aspire to them. Feminism inflames this desire, but I believe it goes all the way back to the curse (Genesis 3:16). The temptations are not symmetrical in that sense. So when it comes to aspiration and desire, it’s not a manifestation of obedience… Read more »

Steve Perry
Steve Perry
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

So generally speaking, man is the head of a woman, not just a wife? Church-Family-State.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

No, I agree with bethyada that a wife submits to her own husband as a protection from having to submit to just any man. However, there are other headship and leadership roles outside of the context of marriage and outside of the context of the home. Men relate to, and are called to, those external headship roles differently than women. Women are called to relate to those external headship roles in a feminine way, which normally means through her own husband. So the ways in which a man might be head of women (not his wife) are generally the ways… Read more »

Steve Perry
Steve Perry
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Again you are expressing very eloquently simply what the scriptures originally taught in 1 Cor 11:3 Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. Directly and or indirectly, men have been given headship responsibilities in each of those sovereign spheres, father, pastor or magistrate. It is normative for men to lead in those positions. Adam was first a priest, then magistrate, and finally a husband. In Christ, all women, daughters or wives, should and can appeal independently outside their family sphere to either the church… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
5 years ago

“Why won’t Goligher correct the mistake?”

Because it was not exactly a mistake.

Unfortunately, Goligher botched his twitter reference to Calvin’s letter. The text of the letter can be found here.

In that letter, Calvin throws Knox under the bus repeatedly. The recipiant of Calvin’s letter, Willian Cecil, interpreted it in the same way as Goligher: that “women may be princes in the state”.

Both Calvin and Cecil may have been acting with political rather than theological motives in view, but Goligher’s statement is supported by the text.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Apparently John Callaghan didn’t actually read the link that Wilson referenced above, which directly deals with Calvin’s letter to William Cecil, and with Goligher’s unsupported claims about Calvin. Here is the summary: Let us point out a few obvious facts about this letter, which the reader may confirm: 1. The letter is to Cecil, not Knox. 2. The letter says nothing about two caveats, or anything at all about contrasting the position of women in the state with the position of women in the home and church. 3. The letter does not say that women can be princes in the… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Because of Goligher’s misleading tweet, Wilson’s link analysed the wrong letter: the first letter from Calvin to Cecil instead of the second.

1. The second letter discusses a conversation between Calvin and Knox.

2. The purpose of that second letter was to reassure William Cecil, Elizabeth’s chief minister and spy-master, that Calvin did not oppose her reign.

3. That letter forcifully condemns Knox’s condemnation of women as heads of state (i.e., princes).

The link’s author, Dr. Talcott, could could clear this up by withdrawing (or, at the very least, modifying) his call for a correction from Dr. Goligher.

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Tim Bayly analyzed the letter that Goligher cited as his source, as well as the other letter from Calvin to Cecil, in which Calvin says: Two years ago, John Knox in a private conversation, asked my opinion respecting female government. I frankly answered that because it was a deviation from the primitive and established order of nature, it ought to be held as a judgment on man for his dereliction of his rights just like slavery—that nevertheless certain women had sometimes been so gifted that the singular blessing of God was conspicuous in them, and made it manifest that they… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Continuing on directly from the quote you give above, Calvin writes: “I added to the same effect that God promised by the mouth of Isaiah that queens should be the nursing mothers of the church, which clearly distinguished such persons from private women. Finally, I added in conclusion that since by custom, common consent, and long established usage, it has been admitted that kingdoms and principalities might be by hereditary right transmitted to women, it did not seem proper to me that this question should be mooted, not only because the thing was odious in itself, but because in my… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Apparently Callaghan’s reputation for being obstinate is fully earned. He doesn’t bother to address the fact that Calvin offers neither of the caveats that Goligher attributes to him, nor does Calvin give any sort of endorsement to female governance at all. Instead Calvin does give his judgment that female governance is a tolerable deviation from nature, as a judgment upon derelict men, comparable to the estate of slavery. Callaghan just blows right past that to repeat himself. Callaghan wrote: In other words William Cecil, the man who received Calvin’s letter 457 years ago, chose to interpret it in the same… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Cecil’s reply to Calvin might be difficult to parse. Here it is again with some additional formatting: “In what concerns you, I know most certainly that, for many reasons, all writings of this kind [i.e., Knox’s book against female rulers] are displeasing to you. And if some of our countrymen afflicted with this mania [i.e., Knox’s ideas about queens] have affirmed that you [Calvin] had answered, ‘though in the ordinary course of things, as we say, and in virtue of the Divine word the right of governing is forbidden to a woman, nevertheless there are extraordinary occasions in which it… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

Callaghan’s careful parsing is noted, but it doesn’t help his case. Cecil wrote to Calvin: “this distinction, I venture to affirm, you by no means approve of.” Cecil was fishing for an unqualified endorsement from Calvin because he saw heavy caveats and mere toleration in Calvin’s letter. Cecil “ventured to affirm”, but can Goligher or Callaghan provide Calvin’s unqualified affirmation? Let us see Calvin’s reply to Cecil’s venture if they can produce it. Callaghan wrote: The root problem here is that Calvin’s letter was written to allow both your interpretation and also Cecil’s rejection of that interpretation. Hardly. Calvin was… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

C.S. Lewis explains Calvin’s dilemma well. Calvin was trapped between Knox and Elizabeth, between principle and practice. When pressed, Calvin did affirm the principle in private, but he also strongly condemned Knox for stating it publically. The full text around the conveniently chopped-up C.S. Lewis quote that Wilson gives above lays it out better than I ever could: In the same year, though it was probably written earlier, appeared the most embarrassing of all [Knox’s] works, the First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women. It was embarrassing because in a certain sense nearly everyone (except regnant… Read more »

katecho
katecho
5 years ago
Reply to  John Callaghan

For at least the third time now, Callaghan conspicuously ignores that Calvin called female governance a deviation and a judgment on the dereliction of men. The failure to address this plain language is why Callaghan and Goligher can’t be trusted when they tell us that Calvin endorsed as normative, rather than merely tolerated, female governance. Callaghan’s larger quotation from Lewis only buttresses the accuracy of the representative quote that Wilson already provided. Lewis is more honest in handling Calvin than either Callaghan or Goligher. Here is a choice bit: Calvin knew as well as Knox that the rule of women… Read more »

John Callaghan
John Callaghan
5 years ago
Reply to  katecho

C.S. Lewis quotes Calvin in between your two excerpts: ‘by custom, public consent and long practice certain principalities do descend to women by inheritance’ As the man to whom the letter was written understood, this happens in the ‘ordinary’ course of events. Calvin goes on to write that, regardless of the underlying principles, publically objecting when this happens is “unnecessary”, “odious” and “an evil” perpetrated by a “conceited man” who “would not think what he was doing”. There is no evidence that Calvin objected to Cecil’s characterization of his letter; qui tacet consentit. Therefore, Goligher’s characterization of Calvin’s thoughts, while… Read more »

Apple
Apple
5 years ago

You guys are so funny! Instead of focusing on serving each other (as Jesus said and gave the example for in the upper room), you focus on who is in charge. Well, it is kind of a win-win for women. Even if we are treated badly Jesus says the last will be first in heaven. So those who insist on being superior may just be under women in heaven!

JohnM
JohnM
5 years ago
Reply to  Apple

But they won’t be western women.