Christian Parenting: Training Your Child’s Gender Identity

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Twenty-four years ago, when I was pregnant with our second baby, we found out we were having a boy.  When my mom heard the news, she found a doll to purchase for our first child, Hannah. She thought it would be good for Hannah to have her own “baby” when we came home from the hospital so she wouldn’t get jealous of the new addition. Hannah named this new doll, Baby John.

When No. 2 Boy Child was born, Hannah’s eyes were constantly on me.  When I changed No. 2 Boy Child’s diaper, she changed  Baby John’s diaper. When I put No. 2 Boy Child in my front pack to wear around the house while I worked, she put her Baby John in her front pack. When I nursed Boy Child, she “nursed” her doll baby.  It was cute.  She was already practicing to be a mommy. After a while, she tired of Baby John and he was put aside in the toy box.

Source

Photo Credit (Someone’s cute kids, but not mine)

No. 2 Boy Child loved his big sister.  He followed in Hannah’s footsteps.  If Hannah read, he read.  If Hannah was in a tree, he was in the same tree.  They spent many hours playing Legos together, even on the floor in the delivery room at the hospital as our third child was born, a girl.

When I came home from the hospital with our new daughter, No. 2 Boy Child glued his eyes to me and his new baby sister.  He was enthralled.  There were 4-1/2 years between the two.  He loved to prepare her diaper bag when we’d go to church.  I never asked him to do this, he did it on his own.  He was fascinated that I could lift up my top and put my baby to the breast and she would nurse and be satisfied. Nursing was very normal and ordinary to him – no big deal.

This was life at the Smith house.  There were no instruction manuals that came with each kid. I allowed them to play and enjoyed watching their creativity and development.  I marveled at how different each child was.  I didn’t worry that Hannah was a tomboy, climbed trees, played Legos and hated to brush her hair.  I didn’t worry that Boy  Child #2 imitated his older sister. These things never entered my mind.

I read an article called, Training Heart Identities in Boys and Girls posted at the Desiring God website which got me curious.  The article is written by Luma Simms, wife and mother of 5 children (ages 2-19).   I started wondering what kind of identity she was talking about. Identities in Christ?  I quickly found out she was talking about gender identities.  Oh.  Wow.  I missed that memo.  I’ve got 7 kids, 3 of whom are adults, my Caboose child is 7 years old.   I had no clue I was supposed to actively train their gender identities.  Did you all get that memo?  Where have I been?  Mom fail.

Ok, let’s break down the article with some excerpts and editorial comments:

Boys are different than girls. It’s plain in the Bible and plain in our everyday experience as parents.

Yup, that’s true.  All of my boys learned how to make car engine noises sometimes years before they spoke with real words.  My girls spoke early.

Simms discusses what our goals should be as we parent:

Cultivating Identity

The aim is to deliberately parent our children in such a way that reinforces their gender and gives them contentment in how God created them.

Now it does not mean we make shallow, meaningless rules like girls can’t climb trees or boys can’t play house. We are living every day in the thick of parenting girls and boys. Reinforcing their girlhood and boyhood is a heart issue. It is not necessarily what they are playing; it is what identity they are cultivating in the play.

So, I guess she’s saying that we need to be intentionally watching them as they play to ensure they don’t mix up their gender.  Ok.  I’m following along.  I don’t necessarily agree, but I’m tracking with it.

Our kids’ play has proven to be a great opportunity to reinforce the beauty of God’s good gift of gender.

and

When my husband gets on the floor and pretends to be a dragon, he asks our oldest son to protect his sister. This is a way to train the boys to protect and guard.

You know, I do like that.  I’m sure most of us have heard about play therapy  – this seems to be kind of like that.  Simms continues:

But he also turns it around so that sister can have a chance to defend herself and come to the rescue of her brother.

Uh-oh, I smell trouble in Gender Identityland here.  A sister rescuing her brother?  Doug Phillips of  Vision Forum would have a cow with this idea. I’m pretty sure that Phillips would say that a girl must never rescue a boy. That is the job of a boy/man, as we see from this Vision Forum Ministries quote (Phillips references the sinking Titanic and how real men saved women and children first):

How do we reconcile “women and children first” with the spirit of feminism? We do not. Today, many are confused. They have a quaint appreciation for “women and children first” while misunderstanding the application to the duties of manhood and the distinctions between the sexes.  Source

I will let Phillips and Simms’ husband duke that issue out (because surely Phillips would not engage a woman). Going back to Simms’ article, she continues discussing the difference in the boy/girl roles:

You may wonder what the difference is. It’s subtle and inward. The difference is in the heart role we encourage them to take: When a sister is saving the brother and helping to kill the “dragon” (their daddy), she is doing it from the intrinsic identity of helper. She is helping her brother by coming to his rescue, and she is exercising dominion over the “wicked dragon” by slaying him.

Ok, I think it’s cool that the author is saying it’s fine for a girl to come to her brother’s aid and kill  a dragon. However, I am pretty sure that this quote, along with the previous, is clouding the gender identity boundaries for Patriarchs like Phillips by having a girl take a lead role like that, but whatever.  Along the topic of rescuing someone in harm’s way, I personally think that if anyone sees someone in need, they have a moral responsibility to do something about it.  I do not believe this to be a gender issue, but a moral responsibility – dragons and all, for goodness sake.  (Are you seeing what I’m seeing?   Just as the complementarian/egalitarian/patriarchy issues are so confusing, this one is as well.  We will not find clear boundaries.)

However, when a brother is coming to the rescue to save his sister, he is doing so from the intrinsic identity of protector.

Again, I don’t see this as a gender-specific issue.  I teach my children to respond to abuse/violence the same way:  if you see it, report it or stop it if you can.

She continues to discuss training the heart of our children to embrace their God-given gender:

Such heart training should not be heavy-handed. Our little boy doesn’t get scolded immediately for putting on his older sister’s high-heeled shoes. We aim to parent with grace and reasonableness. We gently guide that little toddler toward an appropriate pair of big shoes he can play with and take that opportunity to remind him that the other ones belong to his older sister.

. . . . . Especially, in our age of gender confusion, we want to give special vigilance to our boys and girls [sic] understanding who God made them to be.

Uh-oh. If this is a parenting test, I have failed. Totally failed. I have a confession to make. I forgot to mention something about No. 2 Boy Child.  Remember how I told you that Hannah imitated everything I did with my baby using her Baby John doll?  Guess what happened with No. 2 Boy Child?  He found the abandoned Baby John doll in the toy box around the time I had our third baby.  One day, I walked in the room and found him “nursing” Baby John.  Heavens to Murgatroyd, we have gone far beyond the clouded gender identity boundary lines into full-fledge DANGER ZONE!

Yes, my nearly 5-year old son pretended to nurse his baby boy doll by lifting up his shirt and putting Baby John to his little boy chest with his make-believe milk.  No. 2 Boy Child had a lengthy nursing relationship with me, weaning at just over 20 months.  Could he have been remembering his nursing experience when he nursed his baby doll?  The nursing relationship between mother and child is a precious one.  Of course nursing provides nourishment, but there is a unique emotional bonding going on.

While nursing, I frequently sang to my babies, talked to them, snuggled with them, connected with their eyes, played with their noses, tickled them. It wasn’t just a time for feeding, it was a time for relationship where they get mama to themselves. When I saw No. 2 Boy Child “nursing” his baby doll, I also heard him talking to Baby John.  He was mimicking me.  He wasn’t just nursing his baby doll, he was nurturing his baby doll.

No. 2 Boy Child is now 23 years.  I’ve never seen any young man his age have the kind of connection he is able to make with babies and young children.  He adores them.

Nursing a baby is obviously an activity dedicated strictly to women.  But was it a sin for me to allow my son to “nurse” his baby doll?  Did I contribute to gender confusion?  Imagine if I took Baby John away from him and told him that only girls get to nurse and boys shouldn’t behave like that.   What message would that have sent to him at his very young age?  Boys shouldn’t be playing with babies?  For shame.

I’m glad I didn’t have either of these articles to read when I was raising my sweet boy.  The issue really wasn’t about “nursing,” but about nurturing.  I’m sure that No. 2 Boy Child will be a great father. And I’m pretty sure he won’t be nursing his babies.

As I was cutting and pasting excerpts for this article, my eye caught a glance of  an image on the sidebar of Mrs. Simms’ blog:

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Screen shot 2013-07-16 at 11.19.58 PM
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Hmm, interesting.  This author, Luma Simms, also contributes articles to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).  This is not surprising since Piper is one of the founders and her article was posted at Piper’s Desiring God website.  But check this out:

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Screen shot 2013-07-16 at 11.10.51 PM

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Do you see the category and tag?  Why would she label this article as “Complementarian Issues?”

I know this article is getting long.  Hang on, though, we’re almost done.  All of a sudden, it reminded me of another article that came out earlier in the year by Owen Strachan, the president of CBMW:  The Gospel is for Baby Bear:  On Sesame Street and Gender Confusion.  In this article, he publicly airs his disappointment at Sesame Street for causing gender confusion based on a scene in the show in which a boy plays with a doll.

Here is a screen shot of the Sesame Street dialogue from Strachan’s blog:

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Screen shot 2013-07-17 at 10.53.19 AM
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Strachan explains his beef in a couple of excerpts:

This episode, “Baby Bear’s Baby Doll,” is subtly but directly overturning long-held conceptions of manhood and boyhood. Boys can play with dolls; there’s no reason they can’t do exactly what girls do.

and

What does all this mean in regards to Sesame Street? Well, it means that we should laugh at this episode, with its open denial of sex roles and gender distinctions. Boys can play with all kinds of toys, but it is right and good to train them in masculine, not feminine, ways. It’s wrong to train them in such a way as to blur the sexual boundaries God himself created.

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Those of you who have hung here for a while know that I’m big on patterns.  I’ve quoted two articles dedicated to making sure that Christian Parents take an active part in training our children to have proper gender identities.  They try to convince us it’s the biblical way.   What a bunch of hooey!
And why is this gender identity in young children issue so important?  It’s NOT!  This is child’s play.   My son did absolutely fine without my directing him into more masculine roles during his childhood playtimes.  He has absolutely no gender confusion after nursing his baby doll.  In fact, he can’t wait to be a dad.  Perhaps if I had squelched him and removed the doll rom him, he would have gender confusion.  Give me a break.
Oh, and by the way, I talked to my 23-yr old son about this story and asked if he minded if I share it with you all.  He was man enough to say, YES!  And he reaffirmed what I already know – that he has no gender identity issues.  So  . . .  there ya go.
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283 comments on “Christian Parenting: Training Your Child’s Gender Identity

  1. My 23-yr old son No.2 Boy Child loves the color pink. It’s his favorite color. I found this out last spring. He wouldn’t call it salmon. He’d love a pink shirt and when I find one, I’ll get it for him.

    I understand 100 years ago, Pink was considered a VERY masculine color. Worthy of Driscollian Real Manly Men.

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  2. Dear Janna,

    Thanks for your reply, and your story. However, I should probably clear something up: I’m not in the military. In fact, I’m not even an American. I chose my online name to reflect that I see myself serving God here. And not as a missionary either (yet), but as a simple English teacher. I doubt I’d have what it takes to be a soldier — in fact, the job I have now is more than I can handle, hence the aforementioned “upheaval”.

    Just so you know, you’re not the first to assume I was in the military. Someone else on the Wartburg Watch did the same a while back. It’s a reminder that I may need to choose a new nickname, just to avoid that kind of misunderstanding. I’ll think on it. 😉

    Sorry for the mix-up, folks.

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  3. This is the first group of ‘professing’ Christians that I have ever come across that flatly denied that God ordained roles, responsibilities, etc. At least there was an admission that God did indeed speak to Adam and Eve very clearly about consequences of the Fall and responsibilities were given to each that in fact meant that Adam had authority (and responsibility before God implied) over Eve. It just cannot be denied.

    However to say that the husband/wife relationship God put in place then only applied to the first couple cannot be supported Biblically unless everyone born after them was somehow in the same state before God as Adam and Eve BEFORE the Fall – a position which must be assumed to make the claim that we don’t need structure with roles and responsibilities. A study of the nature of “Fallen’ humanity screams otherwise. Such a study changed a lot of my ‘theology’.

    That’s all I have to offer. I could again offer a boat load of scripture to support that, but it would probably be called man made doctrine. Instead I would encourage an in-depth study of the Bible concerning the state of man after the Fall, nothing more.

    So that’s about it, friends. I have offered scripture concerning issues discussed in this post – even the original languages in which some things were written. It has been rebuffed. I am certain that when we are in fact genuine Christians God works in us to desire and do what pleases Him. (Phil 2:13) Therefore I choose to think that Christians who have been in here will be eager to test everything by scripture, as did the Bereans.

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  4. ” A study of the nature of “Fallen’ humanity screams otherwise. Such a study changed a lot of my ‘theology’.”

    Misanthropes come off with a very different interpretation of “fallen” humanity than normal people do.

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  5. At 5:27 CongenitallyPredisposed2Conflict states, “This is the first group of ‘professing’ Christians that I have ever come across that flatly denied that God ordained roles, responsibilities, etc.” He is careful to put the word professing in quotes, thereby communicating his accusation that those of us who disagree with him are not really Christians. As I recall, B4B has made a big point of not judging others hearts. There is a Biblical word, spoken by Jesus Himself, for people who preach one thing while doing just the opposite. Because B4B may need a hint, the word I’m thinking of begins with the letter H.

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  6. Serving in Japan – I love your nickname. I met my wife in Japan, was married there, and served there in the military. Met many Japanese, missionary, military, and civilian Christians – both serving with the military and with civilian companies – some teaching English. We even both left the same abusive church there (not the one we were married in). :/ We miss Japan tons! My wife’s parents are from Texas and Minnesota; we both traveled to the orient to find each other. 🙂

    Maybe to continue your vision in your nickname, you could just add, “Civ”, as in Civ Serving in Japan? Everyone associated with the gov’t whether civilian or military should, get it, mostly that you are not military. Just a thought.

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  7. Re: CongenitallyPredisposed2Conflict at 5:27: At least there was an admission that God did indeed speak to Adam and Eve very clearly about consequences of the Fall and responsibilities were given to each that in fact meant that Adam had authority (and responsibility before God implied) over Eve. It just cannot be denied.”
    B4B’s writing can be rather opaque, but I assume he is referring to Gen. 3:16b, where God says to Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” B4B, surely you have stumbled onto truth when you say God was speaking about consequences of the Fall, but you go quite beyond what is written when you add the part about responsibilities being given to each, meaning that Adam had authority over Eve. No such thing can be derived from this text. If you have Scripture that actually uses the word “authority,” and that Adam was granted “authority” over Eve, please tell us what it is. I am convinced you cannot do it.

    Eric Fry observes that “Misanthropes come off with a very different interpretation of “fallen” humanity than normal people do.” I do not know you well enough to say that it applies to your actions or character, but insofar as what you appear to believe and teach is concerned, Eric could as easily have said “MISOGYNISTS come off with a very different interpretation of “fallen” humanity than normal people do.”

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  8. I could have used “misogynists” but that isn’t a completely accurate descriptor. Misanthropy covers it completely because it’s a pervasive spite for any person that doesn’t accept the uber-Calvinist concept of the nature of the depravity of post-Edenic man. The common tactic to deflect from this deep-seated anger towards others is to try and deflect from it with claims of loving God and His truth (as interpreted by the uber-Calvs.) more than people or their rights to have differing opinions and independent thought.

    Richard Beck hit the nail squarely on the head when he wrote, “When you hear a person say that they love God more than people they are preparing to hurt someone.” The uber-Calv fundamentalist argument posits God as the only object worth loving as the low view of people hinders the ability to love one’s neighbor in a healthy manner.

    Of course, when we take a psychological look at the implications of “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”, self-hate at any level damages one’s ability to love unconditionally and have relationships based on equality and mutuality.

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  9. “Most men like you are forced to marry someone who is not real sharp and has to be a doormat for them to feel important” — why is B4B’s bride being attacked – is that warranted? WOW. – calling his wife, “not real sharp.” ugh. I’m having a hard time with that. ”

    Ric, I am putting down my sippy cup (smile) to respond to this because I wrote it. I have a ton of experience with B4B types as I was in the comp world for ever it seems putting on conferences and hosting the big names. Now, I can tell you they go out on stage and present the stuff the B4B drinks in and thinks is the correct interpretation. (Nevermind all those one anothers in there)

    Here is what I learned after 20 years on the comp front line:

    1. There is the comp celebrity wife who is Patton backstage. Everyone close to the power knows she IS the power but everyone pretends it is not true. They go out on stage and talk “roles” but don’t practice them in the comp business. The people close to them think this cognitive dissonance is normal.

    2. There is the comp celebrity couple who function as egals but preach comp as if it is salvic. (Comp at one time was a huge money maker in conferences, books, etc) Yet they live out a marriage of mutuality. But there is no money in mutuality and they would get no speaking gigs or book deals.

    3, There is the comp couple where the wife is an author, has a PhD, travels the world speaking to women on how to be a comp wife urging them to stay home and be a homemaker. No one in the audience sees a problem with her words vs her situation. (wink)

    The funniest thing in the world is to listen to a pastor pontificate about the roles and rules of compdom then try to convince everyone his wife is brilliant, strong, , etc because he “allows” her to be those things.

    My guess is B4B is like most men who pontificate on the rules and roles in marriage….they talk a good game but it is not how it really is at home.

    Besides, one of the people who coined “complementarian” was Piper and we all know how “manly” he is about protecting children first with his support for Mahaney. The more they talk the more it becomes obvious it is about elevating men because they are insecure about themselves. Otherwise, there would be no need to make this issue one nor teach it as salvic.

    These guys are all talk. All hat and no cattle as John Wayne would say. :o)

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  10. However to say that the husband/wife relationship God put in place then only applied to the first couple cannot be supported Biblically unless everyone born after them was somehow in the same state before God as Adam and Eve BEFORE the Fall – a position which must be assumed to make the claim that we don’t need structure with roles and responsibilities.”

    Just a note on this that is interesting. One of the problems the Danvers Statement people had was the man/woman relationship BEFORE the fall. Therefore their had to be interpretations and teaching showing an authority given Adam over Eve BEFORE the fall. So many different variations have come from this as there are too many to get into. However, It was not long before they started messing with the Trinity to try and map a pecking order in the Trinity teaching ESS. Grudem tried very hard to teach that “God submits to us when He helps us” in one of his books…..they had a real problem with “one flesh union”, you know.

    But this was all cultural relativism. The Danvers Statement was a reaction to culture when women were getting too many financial rights and getting uppity. Long before that, no one had a problem with the relationship before the fall because it had no bearing on life here. Even up to the 1960’s a newly widowed woman had to have clear legal rights to get money out of her “husbands” bank account before “his” will was probated.

    Danvers has caused some very real problems that will be with us for a long time. It is not good theological scholarship but that is because it was written as a backlash to the culture. For those of you who think it is good scholarship biblically, I highly recommend RK MacGregor Wrights response written back in late 80’s. If you can find it. He is Reformed, btw.

    What Danvers and most of comp teaching really does is teach the sin of the fall as virtue. Your wife is also your sister in Christ, believe it or not.

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  11. Lyidasellerofpurple – – anytime you want to write a guest post on this comp topic, let me know. Wow. You are blowing me away with this crazy stuff.

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  12. This gets a little convoluted, but at http://tinyurl.com/lkvptrn Denny Burk favorably reviews Stephen Wellum’s review, which review discredits Millard J. Erickson’s book, which is apparently critical of the newly formed doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS) within the so-called Godhead. It seems the complementarians have had to revise generally accepted understandings of the Godhead in order to credibly argue for their version of the headship of husbands. I’m fairly certain B4B is guilty of having referenced this newly invented doctrine, although maybe it was somebody other than B4B. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

    My main point is that Denny Burk seems to lean towards an acceptance of the idea of the Eternal Subordination of the Son. Therefore, I am suspicious. I had best let lydiasellerofpurple tell us what ESS actually is.

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  13. You’re right in your basic assessment of ESS, Gary W. From the first link I posted by Curtis Freeman (which was originally on Wade Burleson’s blog) : “Beyond the question of the orthodoxy of ESS, which is still very much in question, I am suspicious of the not so subtle political agenda of ESS which is attracted to Trinitarian theology, not as an account of the life in which we live and move and have our being, but as an argument that underwrites complementarian views. I am just as suspicious of those who use Trinitarian doctrine to support the complementarian social agenda as those who engage in social Trinitarian speculations to underwrite feminist convictions. Miroslav Volf, one of our best Free Church theologians on the Trinity, has called for caution in the use of such speculative Trinitarian theology which can easily be co-opted by ideologies of the right and the left. His cautionary word seems wise regarding ESS. I am suspicious that the real energy behind this new ESS doctrine is really a thinly veiled attempt to elevate complementarianism to de fide orthodoxy, so that complementarian gender relations are set forth as the only acceptable model for Christians and that egalitarianism is heresy equivalent to denying the Trinity. This utilitarian use of Trinitarian doctrine is (in my opinion) based on dubious scholarship and bad theology.

    I share the goal of helping our wider Baptist family retrieve the wisdom of the vast storehouse of orthodoxy. As bad as functional Unitarianism is, however, the possible embrace of a semi-Arianism masquerading as orthodoxy used for political ends may be even worse.”

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  14. Eric Fry,

    Thanks for the good information. What I know about ESS has been learned in the last 2 hours, with the bulk of what I have learned having come from you. This from Curtis Freeman is really scary: “I am suspicious that the real energy behind this new ESS doctrine is really a thinly veiled attempt to elevate complementarianism to de fide orthodoxy, so that complementarian gender relations are set forth as the only acceptable model for Christians and that egalitarianism is heresy equivalent to denying the Trinity.”

    Never mind that, before they can accuse others of heresy, they must first change the doctrine of the Trinity, thereby making themselves the real heretics.

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  15. Good resources guys. People should try and read some so they won’t fall for the “Lesser Jesus in Eternity past and future”.

    Another great resource on this doctrine can be found here:

    http://www.mmoutreach.org/trinity.htm

    One reason why Cheryl Schatz did this video is because she has a ministry to the Mormon/JW cults. She recognized it right away when guys like Bruce Ware and Denny Burk teaching it (without calling it ESS) and since she has done yeoman’s work on the Trinity for her cult ministry she was able to really spell it out. She uses audio clips from many of these guys and shows how they re interpret scripture to make it fit.

    Another resource is Kevin Giles. .
    http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Father-Evangelicals-Reinvent-Doctrine/dp/0310266645/ref=sr_1_4/177-0172409-4286450?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374384293&sr=1-4

    One of the things that blew my mind in his book is he shows Bruce Ware taking a quote from Athanasius and editing it to make it fit the ESS doctrine! Bruce Ware is a PhD scholar/professor at SBTS! I mean you really have to do your homework to listen to these guys as they have no shame at all.

    One thing they do is completely mangle Phil 2. Another foundational verse they use is 1 Corin 11. I kid you not. A passage on head coverings proves Jesus is subordinate in Eternity past and future. (BTW: They never tell you where the Holy Spirit is in the pecking order)

    This ESS had a big run for a while but they have backed off a bit. If you stick around long enough it is always something to prop up human authority over others in the Body/marriage. CBMW is reinventing themselves and took a lot of this stuff off the website. They had to. Too many people were seeing how Mormonistic much of it was as they got so legalistic about gender roles. They even had an article at one time musing about gender roles and a wife’s submission in eternity! That is pure Mormonism. Not to mention Piper’s articles on women giving driving directions. (She should always do it so it does not appear she is “teaching” the man)

    One of the things that has really hurt comp doctrine is the rise of the internet. People can now find great scholars with differing interpretations like Gordon Fee, NT Wright, etc. And we have access to Greek, interlinears, etc. Times are a changing! And some of the sisters are finding out they are FULL co heirs of Christ. That they, too, can share the truth of Christ to anyone anytime anywhere. Praise God!!!

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  16. Guys, ESS is hard to articulate because most of us would agree that Jesus gave up His glory to come to earth and was submitting to the Father during his incarnation. The problem is they take this to apply to eternity past and future. Making Jesus a “lesser” God. Their arguments are basically trying to make anything but ESS as heresy.

    Here is a debate that includes Grudem/Ware against Tom McCall/Keith Yandell

    http://www.henrycenter.org/media/?id=154&type=video

    The reason this made such a big splash is because false teaching always has SOME truth in it. ESS falls apart unless one leans toward determinism which teaches that God planned everything including the fall before He created man. ESS was really most popular in the Reformed world.

    Just a note: Another reason why this was believed by so many is that they do not understand that in 1st Century Jewish context, a “Father” sending a son to do business was considered exactly like doing business with the Father. You can see the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus in John 5 because calling himself the “Son” meant he was equating Himself with God.

    ESS makes a mockery of the sacrifice on the Cross for us. If Jesus was not fully God in the Flesh, this is a problem. It was not voluntary. And all of this mangling of the Trinity to prop up human authority in the Body and marriage. It really is insidious. I fear for them.

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  17. oops, I have another comment in moderation because of all the links. I messed up one link and the whole book shows up!

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  18. Oh, I almost forgot…the ESS guys teach that Jesus (eternity past and future) is ontologically equal but not equal in “role”.

    Sound familiar?

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  19. good guy Eric Fry,

    Wow. Your 7:49 comment, You hit a homerun and I learned something new. Misanthropy! Pocketing the Richard Beck quote.

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  20. I need to go to bed and read this whole thread with a clear head. Good grief, I didn’t know I’d have to learn new doctrine. I cannot believe all the stuff I’ve learned in one year here and blogs. I never knew that Christianity had to be so complicated. Whatever happened to child-like faith? Can’t we just stop there?

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  21. Julie Anne,

    These CBMW and other fundamentalist types are no doubt O.K. with child-like faith. It’s just that they they expect us to have child-like faith in them and their theological opinions rather than child-like faith in Jesus.

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  22. Gary,

    Maybe I placed in quotes because if it was me who ‘professed’ but denied what is plainly in Scripture that I would doubt my own profession. That I might doubt some in here might be true, but I really don’t know, I am confused about it because I have never any who professed Christ to deny these things.

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  23. Julie Anne wrote: ” I never knew that Christianity had to be so complicated. Whatever happened to child-like faith? Can’t we just stop there?

    You’d think that it would be that way, but the sad news is that the grown-ups always have to spoil things for the kids. Not content to just let the kids run around and throw a ball, the grown-ups have to make sure everyone plays by the rules. Offsides, illegal motion, illegal formation, etc., the ‘grown-ups’ have to make sure the kids are under control and following the ‘rules.’

    If theologians simply debated these things among themselves, and kept the simplicity of the Gospel as the basis for congregational life and practice, we probably wouldn’t be having discussions on spiritual abuse within churches. But church has become about power and exclusivity, and has been for a very long time, so we have all these people claiming that these points of doctrine are of primary importance in determining ‘true faith’.

    This ‘true faith’ has to be kept pure, and anytime we use a purity metaphor, it comes from the psychology of disgust. We innately find contaminants in our food disgusting, and when we extend the concept of purity/contamination to other areas of life, we find ourselves being disgusted at people, not contaminants. Here’s where we get a serious conflict with Christ’s example of hospitality and welcome when we begin taking a view of people and their ideas as things to be excluded to prevent the contamination of our doctrinal purity.

    In Mt. 9:13, Jesus told the Pharisees, “Go and learn what this means, “I DESIRE MERCY, NOT SACRIFICE.”” Yet we willingly sacrifice people on the altar of our correct doctrine daily, and the body of Christ becomes more and more fractured. We force people to sacrifice their consciences to assent to doctrines in order to be accepted and included. We preach incessantly about grace, yet we refuse to practice it at the most basic level when we do these things. Francis of Assisi is credited with saying to “wear the world as a loose garment.” Perhaps we should also apply this to our churches, especially in light of seeing the worldly desires of power and control manifested in those who claim to be servants of God.

    Mercy, not sacrifice. A lens of grace rather than a lens of sin with which to view our brethren. When people try to twist long-held doctrines to further an agenda of control and power, how can we reconcile the sacrificial lens that casts people as sinners for simple disagreement with the lens of grace that lets us embrace each other in mercy and sing together, “Just As I am”?

    Richard Beck uses Mt. 9:13 as a motif in his book Unclean. In the few years since I’ve first read it, I’ve tried to use this verse as a guide when I examine myself and my doctrines. It’s probably the deepest and longest lesson in the Bible, and I’m convinced it’s the one that matters the most.

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  24. B4B has indeed bought into the ESS heresy. On 7/20 at 5:14 AM he states, “Anyone who would laugh at ‘heirarchical relationships’ (different roles/responsibilities), as some have, just might be laughing at God, given the nature of the Trinity.” Funny thing is, back when I called him on confusing what is “Biblical” with what is only theological, his rejoinder had something to do with the doctrine of the Trinity being Biblical. So, on the one hand, he claims to subscribe to the doctrine of the Trinity, while on the other hand he has bought into a heresy that proclaims Jesus to be, not just submitted to, but subordinate to the Father–much like the Arian heresy that was discredited some 1600 years ago.

    Well, if the wife is subordinate to the husband, as Jesus is subordinate to the Father, I wonder what these complementarians do with the fact that Jesus informs us that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18b, ESV). I guess all complementarian men who wish to exhibit their true Godliness are called upon to humbly cede their supposed authority to their wives.

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  25. Lydia, Love this discussion on ESS. Gary W and good guy Eric Fry, you too (hope you’re okay with that knickname). ESS topic – Very enlightening. And scary. When you put the whole picture, pieces together, it is sinister. Man, this blog is a powerhouse of information.

    Julie Anne, You are an awesome moderator, BTW. My respect for you just grows. And you are interested in how doctrine/belief contributes to wrong actions. The lawsuit helped with that? Is dear Hannah also partially to thank for your perspective?

    good guy Eric Fry said,
    “we willingly sacrifice people on the altar of our correct doctrine daily, and the body of Christ becomes more and more fractured. We force people to sacrifice their consciences to assent to doctrines in order to be accepted and included. We preach incessantly about grace, yet we refuse to practice it at the most basic level when we do these things.”

    Your words bring healing to many. The hurting need words of healing from true Christians.

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  26. ‘Mercy, not sacrifice. A lens of grace rather than a lens of sin with which to view our brethren. When people try to twist long-held doctrines to further an agenda of control and power, how can we reconcile the sacrificial lens that casts people as sinners for simple disagreement with the lens of grace that lets us embrace each other in mercy and sing together, “Just As I am”?”‘

    Eric, this whole comment was quite good and beautiful. You have great insight. I think I’ve read through it 3 times now.

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  27. Gary W. said:

    Well, if the wife is subordinate to the husband, as Jesus is subordinate to the Father, I wonder what these complementarians do with the fact that Jesus informs us that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18b, ESV). I guess all complementarian men who wish to exhibit their true Godliness are called upon to humbly cede their supposed authority to their wives.”

    HA – good point in your last sentence. That’s a great verse to call into question the validity of that newfangled doctrine. Thanks!

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  28. B4B, I understand your confusion. I was in your place last year when I first found The Wartburg Watch. All of these things I was learning about the scholars that my church had almost idolized, these concepts that sound great on paper and can almost be justified through the Bible – Dee and Deb brought to light that these concepts and leaders are proving to have disastrous consequences in real life. I got to the point where I didn’t know which way was up. There are a couple of key differences though. I did not publicly doubt anybody’s faith or insult them for choosing to believe differently. I did my own research. For every post I read on TWW, I found another 5-10 articles to both back it up and to disagree with it. That is my training as a historian. Somewhere in all of that research there is a middle ground. Except that we are dealing with human lives, beautiful wonderful humans who are suffering because of the application of these doctrines. I cannot and will not ignore the suffering of any person and I will always choose to take them seriously. I know where you are coming from because I was there too just a year ago. Please listen to these stories with an open heart, dig beyond the words that assault your beliefs and show compassion for those who have suffered in ways you can never begin to imagine. Tell them that their stories matter, that when doctrine hurts people it is not okay. Tell them that while you may disagree with them, you will not add to their pain. I can personally attest to the fact that when someone is deep in the valley of despair, all they want to know is that they are loved and that they are heard.

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  29. Gary, Eric, A Mom, Lydia, and Julie Anne, I am learning so much from all of you. This conversation is why I love coming here. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

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  30. A Mom said:

    Man, this blog is a powerhouse of information.

    I know, right??”” (as my kids say) Any ideas on how to preserve these great comments would be great. I hate to see such great stuff lost in the comments. One idea is to post them in a new post so that it is searchable in the title search so that others can benefit when trying to find information.

    A while back, there was a great comment written by the ex-wife of a pedophile. She had so much good information and advice and encouragement, I copied her words into a new post, used a good searchable title and I’ve seen quite a few hits on that post because of searching key words in the title.

    Anyway, I could easily do that. I’m open to ideas.

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  31. Gary W., A Mom, Julie Anne, you’re all too kind. I’m just a pretty ordinary guy trying to do the best I can when I can muster up the strength to do so. But making those mistakes, and learning some wisdom from them, is all just part of being perfectly human (see what I did there? 😀 ), so I try to not beat myself up too much most of the time.

    A Mom’s comment @ 6:01a made me think of Psalm 51. How many sermons and lessons have we all heard (and even a song, for the old Church of Christers) on vss. 10-12 ? 10Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

    11Do not cast me away from Your presence
    And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

    12Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
    And sustain me with a willing spirit.

    Why would anyone that has all the right doctrinal answers and practices want or need to ask that of God? For someone that’s got it all going on, it seems a bit like asking for more icing on your cake.

    But when David was begging God to do these things, he was feeling the full weight of these words: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” – Ps. 51:17

    The Hebrew word translated as ‘contrite’ here actually means crushed and bruised. Perhaps it is only by this pain, and keeping the memory of this pain that we can truly this gifts we ask in vss. 10-12. Perhaps remembering this pain, and being grateful for our healing is what helps give us the wisdom to practice mercy, not sacrifice.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we all, including our celebrity preachers, could constantly keep in mind that the broken and crushed hearts that we are to sacrifice to God is our own hearts, and not the hearts of the victims and others…

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  32. “Anyway, I could easily do that. I’m open to ideas.”

    They could be cross-posted to a message board thread. Comments that bring out topics that are related but different from the original blog post (I’m thinking about ESS) could have their own topic threads started.

    On the blog, splitting off a comment or two into its own post and discussion would work well.

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  33. A Mom said: “Julie Anne, You are an awesome moderator, BTW. My respect for you just grows. And you are interested in how doctrine/belief contributes to wrong actions. The lawsuit helped with that? Is dear Hannah also partially to thank for your perspective?”

    Thank you. Yes, Hannah is very much a part of this process. Keep in mind we were entrenched in the Homeschool Movement and so when Hannah decided to move out on her own, that was not in our plans. I’m sure you know that the Homeschool Movement model is young adult daughters remain in their parents’ home until they are matched up in courtship and then, eventually marriage. So, they go from parents’ homes into their husband’s home – ya know – always having that umbrella of “protection” over them. I’m shuddering as I’m typing this – that umbrella of protection really could be changed to umbrella of control. But that’s a different subject.

    Anyway, this was the plan for many years. Hannah “spoiled” that plan by moving out and then we were convinced that it was caused by her rebelliousness (our pastor contributed to that thought). We were likely supposed to shun her (in fact my husband did for 6 months). I couldn’t. I called her within that first week even though it was so painful. We cried a lot, we got angry, even hung up on each other, but we plowed through very intense pain to get to what we have today which is absolutely beautiful. But it tore me up. I was a mess of confusion at that church. I thought about the daughter who was missing from the pew that our family filled. I cried each and every week, sometimes sobbing at church. Good grief, just thinking about it brings me to tears.

    It was after we left and I started thinking about the impact of that church/pastor beyond my family. I visualized each family (easy to do – it was a small church) and took a good look at the young adults and their lives. I had never seen such confusion and bad fruit coming from one church.

    Being in the military, we were exposed to a lot of churches and kept up with a lot of people, so the bad stats I was seeing from BGBC were alarming. It caused me to question, “what was going on at this church that caused so much rebelliousness and confusion for young people?” The so-called rebelliousness was really them acting out in anger due to spiritual abuse and the super controlling environment they had to live under.

    That alarm and anger and immense sadness and loss of these young people was what originally caused me to write my first negative Google review.

    So yes, Hannah’s leaving has caused me to do a lot of soul searching. The chain of events has been fascinating. However, the hard part is the story is not over. The residual is unbelievably painful.

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  34. “Tell them that while you may disagree with them, you will not add to their pain. I can personally attest to the fact that when someone is deep in the valley of despair, all they want to know is that they are loved and that they are heard.Tell them that while you may disagree with them, you will not add to their pain. I can personally attest to the fact that when someone is deep in the valley of despair, all they want to know is that they are loved and that they are heard.”

    Bravo, Mandy!!! Beautiful!

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  35. “Gary, Eric, A Mom, Lydia, and Julie Anne, I am learning so much from all of you. This conversation is why I love coming here. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.”

    Mandy, I feel like I’m in the spectator seat except for the fact that I have the keys to this place. I am learning along with you. I’m shaking my head at how much stuff I’m learning. I don’t know if my brain has the capacity to stuff more in there – lol.

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  36. “Perhaps it is only by this pain, and keeping the memory of this pain that we can truly this gifts we ask in vss. 10-12. Perhaps remembering this pain, and being grateful for our healing is what helps give us the wisdom to practice mercy, not sacrifice.”

    Yes, yes!! Love it.

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  37. Oh, thanks, Monique. I should have figured Cindy would have something at her blog, Under Much Grace. You can get lost on her blog. She has so much info posted there. Cindy really understands abuse systems and the doctrines/ideologies that create environments of abuse. What a gift she has given us by her research.

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  38. Mandy, I am learning so much, too.
    Like ESS. Eternal Subordination of the Son, the title itself told me it was wrong. I know Jesus is not below or subordinate. He is fully God, manifest in the flesh. God is not subordinate to anything. Then commenters discussed it’s history, reason behind the subordination, the background, etc. It is very manipulative & sinister. Basically, it seems an individual’s belief was applied to the Bible. And then individuals taught it came from the Bible, that it is “Biblical”. Twisting scripture. That is evil. This topic & it’s implications would make an awesome post.

    And Pat vs. Comp. Was very muddled on the differences, but I knew both were bad. But then I was prompted to look into differences. Learned a little. Then Lydia, Barb O, and many others provided information from the Bible about marriage, going back to the original words to determine meaning. Such good stuff.

    I have been paying attention to word meanings and to the words themselves a lot more. The leaders have become master manipulators with words. They are selling and drilling words like Biblical, ESS, Comp into our heads. When the words & whatever is attached to them take up residence in our minds, they eventually get the farm. Church often functions like a business, IMO.

    The reason, it seems, for leaders to create these “doctrines” is to establish and maintain a dictatorship of power and control. If the majority follow and somewhat agree, they have accomplished their goal. And there will be casualties. Jesus is the authority. He declared us free. He is our authority and master. None other.

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  39. Julie Anne, here is an idea on how you (or anybody) can preserve comments in a form that is fully searchable, although not within WordPress itself. Start by subscribing to the free version of Evernote at evernote.com. Create a file folder, what Evernote calls a Notebook into which you will copy blog articles, complete with comments. Also download Evernote’s free Web Clipper extension. While I suppose the procedure may differ from browser to browser, in Firefox I am able to use the Web Clipper button to upload a blog article and comments into Evernote’s cloud service. I can either upload the entire web page or else just a highlighted/defined portion of the text. Whatever is uploaded is fully searchable.

    Now for the really interesting part. The Evernote folder/notebook into which the blog article-with-comments is uploaded can be shared with the world (or with only specific individuals). You simply designate the appropriate folder/notebook as publicly shared, and you make it’s link available. Anybody and everybody with the link (which could be posted on your blog) can view your uploaded articles/comments, and they can also do word searches that cover both the articles and the comments. Viewers who also have Evernote accounts can elect to download the searchable articles/comments into their own Evernote databases for offline access. You can give viewers editing privileges if you wish, although I don’t expect this would be advisable.

    Now the scary part. Anybody with an Evernote account can do this with or without your permission. I have done all of this with a few of your posts just this morning (except that I’m not making my folder/notebook public).

    There would be some maintenance. Comments posted after an article has been clipped to Evernote will not appear Evernote. The article with newer comments would need to be uploaded again, and the prior version would need to be deleted. This glitch is somewhat ameliorated by the fact that the links in the live article/comments make the trip into Evernote, including the number-of-comments-balloon link, so it is easy enough to do a search from within Evernote, then access the blog itself to check for new comments.

    I have done a bit of research, and I believe that, with the exception of being able to grant editing privileges, all of this will work with a free Evernote account. I have the paid version ($5/mo or $45/yr), so you wouldn’t know for sure until you actually experiment with a free account.

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  40. Maybe I placed in quotes because if it was me who ‘professed’ but denied what is plainly in Scripture that I would doubt my own profession. That I might doubt some in here might be true, but I really don’t know, I am confused about it because I have never any who professed Christ to deny these things.”

    Do you mean we “deny your interpretations”?

    What I am hearing from your comments is a system of religion. Christianity is a relationship. A relationship is much harder. It is a lot harder to abide in Christ than it is to follow a systematic religion of rules and roles. That is why Islam has become so popular of late. People gravitate to rules, roles and lists of what to believe or what to do. These bring some security and thinking one is pious.

    Scripture says God IS Love. That is profound. Not that He is loving or He loves. HE IS LOVE. Knowing Christ eventually changes our hearts and causes us to love others. Not present them with rules and roles to follow. Lack of love in the heart causes murder, strife, hate, controlling others, etc.

    (This does not mean God is not also Justice, Mercy and Wrath but we have to take responsibility for the Wrath which are consequences for denying Him)

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  41. “Gary, Eric, A Mom, Lydia, and Julie Anne, I am learning so much from all of you. This conversation is why I love coming here. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.”

    Thanks Mandy. It is only because I was in the evangelical circus ring for a long long time. I finally decided at one point it was time for me to personally know Jesus and not what some guru told me. I wanted to cut out all the white noise al around me with this guru this and this guru that. What a life changer! I highly recommend it. Ironically, Most Churches are not a good place to learn about Him or know Him personally. However, I do go to church now but I have some criterion so I don’t have to check my brains at the door to attend!

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  42. “I have been paying attention to word meanings and to the words themselves a lot more. The leaders have become master manipulators with words.”

    Good word! This is key. Word meanings are redefined without you being told so you think you are listening to the traditional accepted definition when you are not.

    Some words that have been redefined and you must get clarification on:

    Gospel (How can you have a “Gospel marriage”? The definition of the Good News?
    Sovereignty of God (controls every molecule all the time. Foreordains all actions?)
    Grace (unlimited or limited?)
    Biblical (Are they literalists who take metaphors literally?/ Redemptive Historical, Grammatical Historical? Do they read it with the Augustinian/Calvin filter of the determinist God?)
    Free Will (Calvinist claim free will but mean only free will to sin)

    There are more but my mind went blank.

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  43. Wow! This conversation has gone far since last evening. I’ve learned and read at many of the above suggested sites over the past two years. I did some reading on ESS. I didn’t think much of it when I first became aware of it in a conference where Bruce Ware was teaching on it but, after some study, I find it a pill I will not swallow.

    B4B has a way of disappearing from the conversation after he leaves one last dismissive comment. Is this his usual pattern?

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  44. B4B,

    Thank you for the comment you addressed to me at 5:03 AM. You are clearly and sincerely surprised that some of us, including myself, do not see what you take to be the plain meaning of much Scripture. You clearly have a high view of Scripture. It may surprise you to hear that I too have a high view of Scripture. By way of full disclosure, you might think me wobbly in that I perceive a need to take into account that there is some uncertainty regarding the extent to which error has crept into the text as it has been handed down over the centuries. Also, I have relatively low faith in any of the English translations. Just by way of explaining, my dissatisfaction with the English translations began a few years ago when I went to look up the Greek for “office,” only to discover that there is no such Greek word. My concern has only increased as I observe all the ways in which the translators’ theological presuppositions seem to get written into their translations, which then begin to look more and more to me like mere interpretative commentary. I’m not expecting you to buy into any of my concerns. I’m only trying to explain where my thought processes lie.

    Still, even with texts where I have no basis for suspecting textual or interpretative corruption, one reading often appears to you to be the only plain and unambiguous sense, while some of us simply cannot see what your are seeing; and we maybe sometimes even see the very opposite of what you see. Well, about a decade ago I likely would have been seeing much the same things in Scripture as what you are seeing, and I would likely have been as convinced as you now are of the rightness of my understanding.

    Here is what happened: Toward the end of June of probably 2002, somebody prayed over me to the effect that I would be able to take Scripture at face value, without addition or subtraction, without any theological or other interpretive lens. I received this prayer and have been getting in trouble, especially with pastors, ever since. Inasmuch as Holy Spirit has been the prime mover in the process, it is difficult to articulate, or even know, what all has taken place. However, one of the first things that seems to have happened is that, when I would read the Bible, I quit trying to think how a particular passage fit into or supported what I had been taught. This wreaked real havoc on much of what I previously took as dogma, including, just by way of example, the notion of a pretribulation rapture.

    Now when I read Scripture, it is as though I have a piece of paper on which I draw a line down the middle from top to bottom. On the left hand side (and I continue writing figuratively) I write down what Scripture says, and nothing more. On the right hand side, I write down the inferences I think are appropriate, or the things other people say the passage means, or anything else that is supposedly indicated by the passage but which is not explicitly stated. Subject to such caution as may be indicated by possible textual or translation problems, the only thing I fully accept is what is written down on the left hand side of the sheet of paper. All else is and remains subject to testing. All else must fit in with all other Scripture in a manner so that the pieces of the Scriptural puzzle fit together in a manner that is comprehensive, consistent and coherent.

    This is now way overlong. However, if you are interested, I could attempt to show you how this all works with a specific example. I would suggest that you select a passage where it appears you and I are deriving opposite, or at least irreconcilable, conclusions from the same verse or verses. The weekend is almost over, and I would like to get out for a bit, so it might take me some time to get back.

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  45. Gary! We have followed a similar path except I prayed fervently my man made filters would be removed so the Holy Spirit could illuminate truth. Often that took me on a journey to dig deep.

    What blows my mind about your comment is one of my first digs was on the word ‘office’! I was stunned it was not in the Greek. (Found quite a few things added by translators like “Symbol of” in 1 Corin 11 and submit in Eph 5 22, etc) That took me on another journey where I learned we have gifts and functions in the Body. Not offices and positions. But what do we expect from Kings/Rulers who owned the translation? I also did quite a long study and research on Hebrews 13:17 in context because so many authoritarian pastors were using it as a club and let’s face it, it does not fit what is taught in most of the NT. Now that was interesting. What a horrible translation!

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  46. What are the bishops(overseers), elders, and deacons in the NT church? There are qualifications give for each and responsibilities given for them. They fit the definition of an ‘office’ as defined in any good dictionary. What are they if not ‘offices’, by definition?

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  47. They are functions to be carried out by those who meet the character qualifications, are gifted in the function, and who have a desire to serve the body of believers.

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  48. What are bishops/overseers/presbyters, elders, and deacons in the NT church if they are not officers, by definition? Easy. They are simply overseers, elders, and deacons. If you must apply a label, even in the absence of one in the Greek text, call them ministers or servants. Paul called himself a slave. So call them all, apostles included, slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ. Surely that is all any of us ought to claim to be.

    But to elaborate, since when do we say that a mechanic has the office of mechanic, or a truck driver the office of truck driver, or a waiter the office of waiter, etc.? Even with all their supposed authority, I haven’t ever heard it said that husbands ought to be said to hold the office of husband. But maybe I’ll rue the day I ever suggested such a thing?

    B4B, if there is a Greek word having the sense we communicate by the English word office, it really does not show up in the Greek New Testament. The Translators simply stuck it in with no textual basis–and they really oughtn’t to have written their theological presuppositions into what was supposed to be a translation.

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  49. “What are the bishops(overseers), elders, and deacons in the NT church? There are qualifications give for each and responsibilities given for them. They fit the definition of an ‘office’ as defined in any good dictionary. What are they if not ‘offices’, by definition?”

    The first thing we need to understand is context. We do not see elders in every letter. Most letters were addressed to the entire church and to elders and deacons to “carry out” the contents. We do not see elders recommended in every situation which is interesting because some of the churches had been around for a while. Have you ever wondered why Paul would have to give Timothy instructions on elders in Ephesians since Timothy had traveled around with him for quite a while to churches before then? How come he did not know this? One would think it would have been obvious because this was something that happened in every church.

    The fact is there is no formal polity and if we take Paul’s counsel to the church in Corinth as a model it is downright opposite of what we are doing. Where do we see the tradition of one guy week after week preaching to an audience? (That came from Greek tradition and the pagan temples with their orators)

    Word meanings change or are redefined over time. We all know this instinctively because there was a time being gay was happy. Translating the function to the word “office” was redefining it. As was using “desire” in Gen 3 instead of “turning”. Overtime it changed the meaning. In the happenstance of “Kephale” which is ‘Head” the meaning is totally different in our Western Eyes than it was in 1st Century Eastern Eyes.

    Example would be overseer as be someone spiritually mature. That would be someone refined by fire of sanctification. They would most likely look like losers to the Evangelical circus we see today. They most certainly would not be pontificating about women submitting to them. In most churches I have been in the “true” elders do not hold any position and are not recognized as such but they are the folks people go to instinctively. Might be the guy who is a janitor or even a housewife (tis means anyone). They are the spiritually mature in that setting. People KNOW this instinctively after a while. We have made elder into a board of directors for the non profit corporation.

    If you have walked along side a new believer encouraging , teaching and guiding them you are a “pastor”, too.

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  50. “Most letters were addressed to the entire church and to elders and deacons to “carry out” the contents”

    Oops! it should read….”and NOT to….

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  51. But to elaborate, since when do we say that a mechanic has the office of mechanic, or a truck driver the office of truck driver, or a waiter the office of waiter, etc.? Even with all their supposed authority, I haven’t ever heard it said that husbands ought to be said to hold the office of husband. But maybe I’ll rue the day I ever suggested such a thing?”

    Excellent analogy. I am stealing it! :o)

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  52. And in Hebrews, we are ALL called priests. And Paul said that our mission was reconciliation, making peace, in contrast to the modern thinking about confrontation as a means of evangelizing. Paul, in the Greek forum, did not battle, but sought to persuade.

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  53. lydiasellerofpurple,

    Help me out here. Within just the last hour or two it occurred to me to wonder if head/kephale might connote something entirely different now than it did to the ancients. But I haven’t a clue what the difference might be.

    Context tells me that headship has a good deal more to do with serving than commanding, but what would Paul’s audience have understood by his use of the term head, and what are your sources?

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  54. “Context tells me that headship has a good deal more to do with serving than commanding, but what would Paul’s audience have understood by his use of the term head, and what are your sources?”

    Well there can be no “headship”. That would be like saying bodyship or armship. (sorry one of my pet peeves)

    From my research into other Koine Greek documents it is a hard for us to wrap our heads around it. (no pun intended) But in that context of arranged marriages and women pretty much living with the children in another part of the house she was totally dependent on her husband. In the Jewish context she was not even worshiping/sitting with her husband. So keep that context in mind. Because Paul writing about him being her “head” was a step up for her because it involved love.

    Head is more like a metaphor using the literal head on your shoulders. The 1st Century folk believed that our heads were the source for our body as in eating, seeing, hearing, smelling etc. It provided what was needed for the body to operate. We see head/ body metaphors all the time and one reason people get it wrong in Ephesians is they attach authority to it when it was explaining the metaphor using Christ as an example as the source for the body (church). It is a big mistake to map the husband to Christ. Totally misrepresenting the metaphor. It is also a total misrepresentation to interpret it as authority.

    There are references to a group of kings who are equal but one being the “head”. A source of something for the other kings sort of thing.

    A confusion in this is also that in the 1st Century it was believed that all decision making/thinking took place in the heart. (think about that every time you read a passage with “heart” in it) It was not until about 100 years after Paul that a Physician, Galen, discovered it was the head (brain) that operated limbs from his experiments on animals. So in 1st Century thinking we have the “head” providing sustenance for the body and the “heart” making decisions/thinking.

    The “head” was the provider (source) for the body’s needs. Makes sense for the husband to be the head of the wife in 1st Century environment because she, unless a wealthy Roman, was totally dependent in an arranged marriage.

    Reading the household codes of Roman/Greek families is very interesting. In fact, it would keep a Christian man from ever using submit as a club. The submit in Eph 5 was a step up for women in that culture. Pater Familias was seen as the “owner” of the family. His chattel. Wife, children and even servants. He owned them. He could even have his baby thrown off a bridge if he did not want .a girl.

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  55. All,

    I tried to catch up on responses to my question concerning overseers/elders/deacons. It was said that they were just overseers/elders/deacons like mechanics and waiters are just mechanics and waiters. Guess what? Unless the mechanic or waiter is a one man show, he is part of a larger organization with guess what? Leadership and authority levels of some sort.

    I’ve had a good lesson on how to study the Bible that I wholeheartedly agree with. What it says in words on the page is more important than what we think it might say. I think I even said that at least once in these dialogues. Guess what? In merely reading the Bible once, never the many times i have read it, there’s organization all over the place, starting in the Godhead! I can’t read it and come away with the thought that there’s no need for any of the things that most in here seem to be against (roles/responsibilities, authority). It cannot be done from the text of scripture.

    It’s BECAUSE we are sinners we need those things. The early church became organized as it grew because there was a need to become organized. (Acts 6) Christ gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

    What I hear as the main thrust this discussion is that there should be no organization of the church where one person has any authority over another. There are all these arguments for just that. Even some that, while unable to deny that the concept IS in the Bible, would give reasons why it was needed thin but not now. Why then and not now? Are we still sinful people prone to the same sorts of sinning against others?

    I’m also not denying that there are those in here who have been involved in abusive situations and I fully understand the desire to just drop out of the local church. That’s not the model we are given in the early church. The church exercised church discipline as outlined in the Bible, a process that requires authority, roles and responsibilities.

    It does mean that we need some purification in the church. We are given qualifications and requirements for those who are in leadership positions that help us in that.

    You just can’t throw it out the window. That’s all I am saying.

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  56. lydiasellerofpurple,

    Thank you for your previous. It is very helpful. I’m trying to think of examples of the head-as-source point of view. All that is coming to mind is where Jesus speaks of the eye being the lamp of the body. Can you suggest other examples, whether from Scripture or otherwise? Can you refer me to any books or other sources on all of this?

    From what you are saying, it appears that even an appropriately literal translation of 1 Cor 11:3, for example, invites anachronistic thinking. I have a dim view of so-called dynamic or sense translations, but it appears that what 1 Cor 11:3 is really saying is something along the lines of, “But I want you to understand that the source of every man is Christ, the source of a wife is her husband, and the source of Christ is God.”

    But this brings me to my next question. In 1 Cor 11:3-16 Paul is making a connection between all these head/source relationships and his admonitions regarding veils and hair length. I don’t get the connection. Can you help?

    Now, I’m being a bit mischievous here, but where Paul makes the point that the husband is the head of the wife, and where the words “symbol of” don’t actually appear in the Greek, the literal translation of 1 Cor 11:10 would be “Because of this, the woman ought to have authority (or power) over her head (i.e. her husband) because of the angels.” Yet, maybe there is truth in what I feel to be a bit of mischievousness. If the husband is the source of his wife, and if the wife, at least in Paul’s time, was utterly dependent on the her husband, does not the law of love (imposed on husbands at Eph 5:25) demand that the wife has certain claims on her husband?

    Not to push any buttons, but it appears that the appropriate synonym for “headship” would be “servanthood,” though probably not “servitude.” I suppose it would be better yet to simply avoid using words that aren’t actually in the original-language texts.

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  57. Gary,
    Some of the confusion we get these days is that we forget that medical understanding in the days of Christ was vastly different than today. The eyes being the lamp of the body idea come from the ancient notion that vision was not understood as a series of images coming into the eye and hitting the retina, etc., but as a power going out from the eyes grasping the images. The same occurs in the understanding of the function of hair. Here’s two great articles by Richard Beck that explain the head covering in 1 Cor:

    http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2012/09/head-coverings-in-worship-why-female.html

    http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2013/07/head-coverings-in-worship-part-2-why.html

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  58. I’m here! Tons of driving yesterday. Dropped kids off at a camp being led by people from the good church we attended after BGBC, so I got to hug a lot of people and catch up a bit. Also got to see my volleyball kid whom I haven’t seen since our trip to Dallas. She will remain at this camp for one week and then come home for one week and then off to college, so my time is very short with her. I’m grabbing all the hugs I can get. I’ve never had a kid go away to college and it’s getting to me.

    And then last night I drove to Hannah’s, had a most amazing dinner and spent the night.

    So now I’m playing catch up. Looks like there was some great conversation going on which requires brain engagement. 🙂 Cool!

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  59. Eric said: “Oh, well, I guess JA can just clean it up later! ”

    I think you must have posted the links just as I released the one held in moderation!

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  60. B4B,

    If by roles you mean there are those who serve as overseers, deacons, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, obviously I am O.K. with that. It’s all in the Bible, and to the best of my knowledge the translators have not made these words up, as they have with the word office. It is also obvious that these areas of service (and others) have responsibilities. No disagreement there.

    Where we differ is that you are assuming that relationships between even Christians must be based on authority. I am contending for the proposition that relationships between Christians are to be based on love. Love replaces authority. We are commanded to love. Husbands are commanded to love their wives. The various commandments to love are specific, requiring no application of logical inference to Scripture. Although I recall there is one instance in which Paul claimed apostolic authority, he declined to use it. In all other instances, the assumption that all these ministers (I refuse to call them officers) have some sort of compulsory authority requires the application of human reason, and sometimes just presupposition, to Scripture.

    I contend that we are specifically commanded NOT to exercise authority over one another: “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your SLAVE, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ ” (Matthew 20:25-28, ESV, emphasis added)

    The idea that love replaces authority in Christian relationships is apparently as revolutionary today as it was in Jesus’ day. Nevertheless, I believe I have been shown that I am not to enable any authority-based so-called church with my time, gifts, talents, training, experience or money. We can choose the path of expedience, as in enabling un-Scriptural exercises of authority, or we can choose obedience–obedience to the law of love.

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  61. Besides all of the issues about Greek use of the word translated “head”, referring to source (as in the head of a river) rather than “leader” or “boss”, there is another phenomenon in Paul’s writings. First, we do not know exactly what Paul had received from the church to which he was writing. Second, Paul used a form of writing that is common to legal documents and to argumentation in that era. That form was to put forth the argument or example from the other side, then to provide an argument that overcame the argument of the other side.
    I think it is foolishness to assume that Paul’s writing about the covering on one’s head being important, given that he argued that circumcision was not important!!! I think Paul is pointing out the petty foolishness of an issue that was causing division in the church, having to do with hair and having a covering over one’s head or not when praying. We see the remains of that even today in much of the world. The God who sees our spirit and hears our thoughts will also accept our prayers whether we have our heads covered or uncovered.
    And the idea that this covering refers to a male presence “over” a speaking or praying female is strictly a culturally created misinterpretation of the nature of God, humanity and the scripture.

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  62. Gary,
    You said:

    “Where we differ is that you are assuming that relationships between even Christians must be based on authority. I am contending for the proposition that relationships between Christians are to be based on love. Love replaces authority.”

    I never said that relationships between believers must be ‘based’ on authority. Not once. that is what some are assuming. However, I don’t think that love ‘replaces’ authority, it ought to result in authority properly applied rather than misappropriated. Not all relationships need to have an organizational structure to operate smoothly and biblically, however some do, and the principle of love must be paramount. When it is, we have true servant/leaders in the church and home.

    I believe that Matthew passage tells God’s people (Jews) that they shouldn’t exercise authority as the “Gentiles” do, with airs of superiority, but humbly (servant/leaders). Since organization and leadership are needed even among believers at times (church and home specifically),It should not be exercised with an “I’m the boss of you” attitude.

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  63. A loving “ad hocracy” (coined term, but meaning should be clear) has worked very well in many marriages. And a radical democracy has worked well in churches as well. And, while organization is necessary in a church larger than one family, that does not imply the necessity of an authority structure. All Christians are priests, with a direct relationship with God. Therefore, God is the authority and we need not have one among the human beings in the church.

    Our addiction to authority is the result of the ancient power relationships which created acceptance of authority by power to kill those who did not accept. We need not implement something derived from such evil.

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  64. Yes he was Bridget. And they were all called as Apostles and members of God’s chosen people, the Jews. The lesson about not ruling over each other as the ‘Gentiles’ still applies and even more specifically to those in equal positions in the church. Thanks for the reminder. It means then that pastors, teachers, and other persons serving in identical positions in the church are to have NO authority over each other (pastor over pastor/teacher over teacher. We cannot make it mean that there should be NO authority structure among believers who fulfill different functions/roles.

    Although I missed the specific context of authority where there are leaders filling the same position in the church, the principle of exercising authority where it is necessary still stands. We are to be servant leaders, not “I’m the boss leaders”.

    Thanks for the catch. I was responding to a comment that applied the ‘no authority’ over one another that apparently also missed the specificity in the passages. I had in fact consulted a very good commentary that specified authority in the passages was about between those occupying equal positions in the church AND talked about not being like the ‘Gentiles’.

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  65. http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.ca/2013/07/power-and-gender-among-us-it-shall-be.html

    “Among us it shall be different.” No, He wasn’t contrasting Jews to Gentiles, He was contrasting His Disciples to the rest of the entire world.

    The problem, as I see it, is less about what men and woman can or can’t do than with a group of men in the church exerting power over another group–women. In short, men are “lording over” women in the church, exercising top-down power via a hierarchy. More, this group of men is prohibiting another group (women) from having access and input into the very power structure that is being used against them and excluding them. That’s lording over. And gender aside, that sort of lording over is prohibited by Jesus. “But among you it shall be different.”

    For example, what rankles in my own local church context is that women have to ask men for permission. Women have to be allowed to do things. And it is this concentration, use and gatekeeping of power that is sinful.

    The issue isn’t really, fundamentally, about what “roles” men are equipped for versus women. The whole debate about “gender roles” is often beside the point and, I think, often a manipulation to keep our eye off the ball. Because the only role in the church is the role Jesus took upon himself. The only role in the church is being a servant.

    So when you see a group in the church using and then excluding others from power–rather than eschewing power the way Jesus did–you move about as far away from Jesus as you can get. This is importing into the Kingdom satanic, worldly manifestations of power, bringing sin into the very heart and life of the church.

    Dear brothers, repent. Repent and believe the gospel. The Kingdom of God is at hand.

    Among us it shall be different.

    Except when idolatry of power becomes more important than taking up one’s cross and following Christ.

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  66. believe that Matthew passage tells God’s people (Jews) that they shouldn’t exercise authority as the “Gentiles” do, with airs of superiority, but humbly (servant/leaders). Since organization and leadership are needed even among believers at times (church and home specifically),It should not be exercised with an “I’m the boss of you” attitude.”

    This is where understanding the Roman “Chain of Being” would be helpful. EVen reading the household codes would be beneficial. It was not about an “air of superiority” (but that was the result) of the inherent what we would call a military chain of command structure for society as a whole. From The Pater Familias of the family to Caesar to the Military. Authoritarianism, chain of command was built into their very system all the way down to the father of the family.

    That is what “exercise authority as the Gentiles do”, means. You simply have to understand the culture that was written in to understand the message. Else you are teaching the sin as a virtue.

    My question for you is: Where is the Holy Spirit in all of it? Why would you need to exercise authority over other adults in the Body or an adult wife? The church as a whole can agree to kick someone out (1 Corin 5) but I am not seeing those sitatuoins handed to one person or even a few people who have authority over others to decide.

    Yours descriptions are sounding like the church of Diotrephes. :o)

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  67. @ Lydia 6:43

    “EVen reading the household codes would be beneficial. It was not about an “air of superiority” (but that was the result) of the inherent what we would call a military chain of command structure for society as a whole.”

    Is this along the lines of what you mean in your comment?

    “In Matthew 20:25, Mark 10:42, and in I Peter 5:3 we find the word, KATAKURIEUO, which W.E. Vine says is “a strengthened form of KURIEUO.” Under the word, “dominion,” Mr. Vine defines KATAKURIEUO, “…to exercise, or gain, dominion over, to lord it over, is used of (a) the lordship of Gentile rulers, Matt. 20:25, A.V., ‘exercise dominion,’ R.V., ‘lord it;’ Mark 10:42, A.V., ‘exercise lordship,’ R.V., ‘lord it;’…(c) of the evil of elders in lording it over the saints under their spiritual care, I Peter 5:3” (Vol. 1, p. 332).

    Arndt and Gingrich define KATAKURIEUP very similarly to KURIEUO, “…become master, gain dominion over, subdue…be master, lord it (over), rule” (p. 413). Other authorities give similar definitions.

    Again, the point is quite clear. The word KATAKURIEUO does not indicate an abusiveness of power. The only way that one can tell that a “lord” is being abusive is by the context. Now, let us apply the meaning of KATAKURIEUO to I Peter 5:3 and ask, “What did Peter mean when he said concerning an elder, ‘neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you’?” Peter is not saying, “Elders can rule with the authority of ‘lords’ as long as they do not become abusive.” He is saying that elders are not to act as if they ARE lords (the King James Version correctly translates this “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage”), but rather they are to make themselves “examples to the flock.” Remember, Jesus had taught Peter that in the spiritual kingdom of God “it would not be so,” that is, no one would be in a position of rank and authority LIKE A LORD, benevolent or tyrannical!”

    http://www.theexaminer.org/volume1/number3/v1n3a5.htm

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  68. I don’t think we need to have Roman household codes of extensive knowledge of Roman culture. God’s people are to be leaders who are also servants while the ‘Gentiles’ lead with airs of superiority. It all seems to be in the text.

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  69. “Can you suggest other examples, whether from Scripture or otherwise? Can you refer me to any books or other sources on all of this?”

    Oh dear, much of it is from such disparate sources I don’t even remember. It was like a piece here and there….but one of the best sources is Katherine Bushnell’s God’s Word to Women. She was a medical missionary to China who taught herself Greek and Hebrew and then set about trying to understand all the commands against women serving in the body. She sent her research out to scholars around the world to test. She has many lessons in the book and footnotes the scholars responses. I am not sure I agree withy every jot and tittle but the research is deep. Very deep. And it was written about 90 years ago. But that is ONE resource.

    “From what you are saying, it appears that even an appropriately literal translation of 1 Cor 11:3, for example, invites anachronistic thinking. I have a dim view of so-called dynamic or sense translations, but it appears that what 1 Cor 11:3 is really saying is something along the lines of, “But I want you to understand that the source of every man is Christ, the source of a wife is her husband, and the source of Christ is God.”

    But this brings me to my next question. In 1 Cor 11:3-16 Paul is making a connection between all these head/source relationships and his admonitions regarding veils and hair length. I don’t get the connection. Can you help?”

    Yes, It is one of the most confusing passages in scripture. Right up there with 1 Tim and authenteo!

    First we know it is not an authority chain because God is last. But we do know that Christ was at Creation. (source of man) And that man is the source of woman (Eve from Adam) and that Christ is from God….(begotten Son) The summation is this verse:

    11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

    Think of verses 2-9 stating the situation/thinking in 1st Century Corinth. You have Jews and Gentiles together in the Body. Why would head coverings become an issue? (Never mind so many IGNORE the fact Paul is admitting that women prophesy in the Body and this brings us to a problem with chapter 14 and it’s interpretation)

    For the most part only prostitutes uncovered in society in the 1st Century. However, Jewish men always covered when reading Torah as tradition to cover their shame before God. So you can see the dilemma that might come about. No more shame because of Christ…but for men only?— yet women could be considered whores (immodest) if they don’t cover. But wait, Paul says a woman is a glory to man not a shame! (It is a compliment not an authority thing) Paul is saying later her hair can be a covering for her. (The whole hair thing is really interpreted badly. If long hair is a sin for men then most men back then had a problem including Paul who took a Nazarite vow in Acts. I won’t get into the hair translation problems)

    Paul is really saying it does not matter if she covers or not. She has authority over her own head (after all she will judge the angels too). He sums it up by saying here:
    16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

    He is saying believers have no such traditions and not to be contentious about it.

    Translators did a mangle job like crazy on this entire chapter.

    ” If the husband is the source of his wife, and if the wife, at least in Paul’s time, was utterly dependent on the her husband, does not the law of love (imposed on husbands at Eph 5:25) demand that the wife has certain claims on her husband?”

    Ha. Yep, the one anothers applied to him, too. She is now his sister in Christ as well as his wife. The whole thing was quite radical for that time. Which is ironic in the 1st Century is that Pauls words “submit” was a huge leap up for women. And even more radical he is telling folks who believe in the Pater Familias to submit to one another. No matter who it is. Slave, free, wife, husband, etc. Radical stuff.

    “I suppose it would be better yet to simply avoid using words that aren’t actually in the original-language texts.”

    I totally agree.

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  70. Diane, thank you for that resource. Good stuff! Yes, that spells it out.

    A few years back I read an fantastic analysis of Hebrews 13 at the Examiner. I have not been able to find it since. But they did a comprehensive word study on verse 17 using the context of the entire book of Hebrews that was very eye opening.

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  71. “I don’t think we need to have Roman household codes of extensive knowledge of Roman culture. God’s people are to be leaders who are also servants while the ‘Gentiles’ lead with airs of superiority. It all seems to be in the text.”

    Then you feel it is foolish to use historical grammatical hermeneutics?

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  72. “God’s people are to be leaders who are also servants while the ‘Gentiles’ lead with airs of superiority. It all seems to be in the text.’

    BfourB–where exactly is it in the verse? The leading with airs of superiority part?

    You also wrote:

    “I believe that Matthew passage tells God’s people (Jews) that they shouldn’t exercise authority as the “Gentiles” do, with airs of superiority, but humbly (servant/leaders).”

    Where does it say that the Gentiles were exercising authority with “airs of superiority?”

    If exercising authority is chain of command, a hierarchy, how can that same person who is in command be a servant?

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  73. lydiasellerofpurple,

    Concerning your 7:10 comment, thank you very much for your detailed answers to the questions I had put. Much to consider. Good stuff!

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  74. Diane, That is it! A few years back it kept telling me the page was not available and I gave up and here it is! I am going to copy it for my private word file. I remember it being very good. I am going to reread it.

    Thanks so very much. What a delight to see it again.

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  75. Born4Battle on July 22, 2013 at 3:53 PM
    “Yes he was Bridget. And they were all called as Apostles and members of God’s chosen people, the Jews. The lesson about not ruling over each other as the ‘Gentiles’ still applies and even more specifically to those in equal positions in the church. Thanks for the reminder. It means then that pastors, teachers, and other persons serving in identical positions in the church are to have NO authority over each other (pastor over pastor/teacher over teacher. We cannot make it mean that there should be NO authority structure among believers who fulfill different functions/roles.” B4B [bold is mine]

    I never heard this interpretation of this scripture in the over 30 years I’ve been a believer.

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  76. “I never heard this interpretation of this scripture in the over 30 years I’ve been a believer.”

    Grudem

    The same guy that said Ephesians 5:21 does not apply to husbands who are believers with believing wives.

    These guys have serious Napoleon Complexes

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  77. For lydiasellerofpurple , July 22, 2013 @ 7:53 PM
    What I believe about historical grammatical hermeneutics is not the issue, and to infer I might think it’s foolish is….well, foolish. All three hermeneutics (historical, grammatical, critical) aid us in interpreting scripture. All I am saying is that digging into the culture of the time is not always absolutely necessary to derive the plain meaning of a text. I also believe in the perspicuity of scripture, that in most cases we can derive the main point of a biblical teaching by merely reading using the three most important elements of interpretation, context, context, context. I also think that when one is trying to ‘prove’ the plain meaning derived from just reading in context is not really NOT what it means, digging into the history/culture aspects an be quite useful..

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  78. Julie Anne,

    Who knows why Grudem is following you? It almost certainly has nothing to do with being under conviction for having embraced his friend (CJ Mahaney), who stands accused of having done nothing to protect young children from sexual predators in Sovereign Grace Ministries. It likely has nothing to do for having, through his assistant, blamed these same alleged victims of having made unjust accusations.

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  79. “All I am saying is that digging into the culture of the time is not always absolutely necessary to derive the plain meaning of a text. I also believe in the perspicuity of scripture, that in most cases we can derive the main point of a biblical teaching by merely reading using the three most important elements of interpretation, context, context, context. I also think that when one is trying to ‘prove’ the plain meaning derived from just reading in context is not really NOT what it means, digging into the history/culture aspects an be quite useful..”

    I totally agree about context and context within history. Knowing the concerns surrounding head coverings for both men (when reading Torah to cover shame) and women brings a richness to 1 Corin 11 and helps to keep us veering off into ridiculous directions using it as a foundation for ESS and other heresies.

    . Understanding the backdrop of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (considered a wonder of the world at the time) in 1st Timothy helps quite a bit. Otherwise, some are teaching that women are saved in childbirth. Then others try to read into it something akin to roles. Once we know what the Temple of Artemis fertility cult believed/taught and we do an indepth analysis on the uses of authenteo (only used once in the NT) during that time, it starts to make sense. Otherwise the way it is interpreted by many in the Patriarcha/comp camp is actually a works salvation.

    .

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  80. “I got a notification from Twitter today that Grudem is following me”

    Is that biblical for him to follow a woman? :o)

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  81. B4B,

    Again: “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your SLAVE, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ ” (Matthew 20:25-28, ESV, emphasis added)

    Obviously the referent of “It shall not be so among you” is “the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.” The disciples were not to seek to be great ones lording it over those UNDER them, nor were they even to exercise authority over them. It is a prohibition AGAINST the exercise of AUTHORITY. That’s all the “perspicuity of scripture” you need. I find it interesting that you had to go to some unidentified commentary to find any other interpretation.

    Now, I know we all can have a tendency to see what we expect to see in Scripture, and I cast no aspersions on you for having done so. However, I really do think you may have fallen into the trap of call good evil and evil good.

    I can’t speak for others, but my life experience confirms the validity of Lord Acton’s observation that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is bad enough that we give so called pastors authority over other peoples lives. It is absolutely unconscionable that we tend to allow them to exercise this prohibited-by-Jesus authority without accountability. Scripture indicates that that there were to be overseers, plural, and not a single overseer, at a given congregation. If we adopt your no-authority-over-same-level-ministers view of Mt. 20:25-28, overseers aren’t accountable to even other overseers. This is not acceptable. It certainly is not acceptable that we have single unaccountable “pastors” acting as overseers.

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  82. For lydiasellerofpurple’s July 23, 2013 @ 6:31 AM
    None of the people I know/know of in the “c” camp believe is salvation by ANY kind of work, whether there is a passage that has a clear statement that can be misinterpreted and twisted into a works based salvation. Definitely NONE who are on the growing list of evangelicals on JA’s ‘bad boys’ list.

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  83. “None of the people I know/know of in the “c” camp believe is salvation by ANY kind of work, whether there is a passage that has a clear statement that can be misinterpreted and twisted into a works based salvation. Definitely NONE who are on the growing list of evangelicals on JA’s ‘bad boys’ list.”

    That is quite a definitive and declarative statement. There are many ways to spin it to say one does not believe it is a works salvation but then that is the logical result of their interpretations. Unless of course, they agree with their interpretation. I have often felt so bad for devout barren women who have listened to those comp sermons claiming Paul was talking about “staying in their role” using that passage.

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  84. For lydiasellerofpurple’s July 23, 2013 @ 7:25 AM
    Yes, it is both declarative and definitive. While I know some evangelicals who unknowingly promote a form of faith plus works salvation, although they preach salvation by faith, I am quite familiar with nearly all of the ‘bad boys’ soteriology and that that they are probably, to the man, Biblical complimentarians. They would NOT be in the group of ‘comp’ types prone to misinterpret the Timothy passage. They would probably say that ‘saved’ there means something along the order of ‘completely fulfilled as a woman’. Do you have any names and/or data to back your allegation about ‘many’ complimentarians’, or are you on one a crusade to ‘disprove’ something that might be very biblical and you just don’t like it?

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  85. B4B indicts Julie Anne with, “You hunt ’em down and hang ’em?” Who made his appearance on a blog that is supposed to be a safe place for spiritual abuse victims, only to level accusation after accusation at the victims. hmmm?

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  86. I was asked a question, Gary, I answered with a question? No accusation there, just a question. On the other hand, you STATING that I have indicted JA, IS an accusation? Just about any literate person who would read these posts would see a ton of negative stuff about Evangelicals of a Reformed ‘bent’with only an occasional positive thing said about any of them. Definitely how theApostle did such things when there was actual error in the church, or the approach seen in the monologues to the churches in Revelation.

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  87. You tend to take things that are said OUT OF context to ‘prove’ whatever you are against at any given time. You accuse them of a lot of things that fit under the definition of ‘hang ’em. I could have said ‘lynch’ and I think it would be accurate. I’m trying to be nice.

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  88. B4B said: “And when you don’t ping someone by name, someone else will and you seem to just agree.”

    If you brought your buddy from your blog over here, you’d be doing the same, right?

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  89. “For Diane’s July 22, 2013 @ 7:58 PM
    Think CONtext.”

    @ bfourb:

    I asked you to please explain it to me. Where in the verse does it state air of superiority? Please explain it to me –thinking context.

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  90. bfoub wrote-

    “I also think that when one is trying to ‘prove’ the plain meaning derived from just reading in context is not really NOT what it means, digging into the history/culture aspects an be quite useful.”

    And that surely goes both ways, does it not?
    For those who wish a certain text to have a certain meaning, NOT digging into the history/culture aspects can be quite useful.

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  91. Also bfourb:

    Will you please answer the question I posed to you in my July 22 7:58 PM comment?

    If exercising authority is chain of command, a hierarchy, how can that same person who is in command be a servant?

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  92. B4B,

    I’m not intending to offend, and maybe there would be better ways of pushing back when it appears you are being inconsistent (as well as at other times). It’s just that I figure you can take a bit of what you dish out.

    If you don’t mind, what commentary were you referring to on 7/22 @ 3:53 PM when you said “I had in fact consulted a very good commentary . . . “?

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  93. If you don’t mind, what commentary were you referring to on 7/22 @ 3:53 PM when you said “I had in fact consulted a very good commentary . . . “?

    The Commentary personally written by B4B?

    B4B is back and swinging.
    Does this guy cruise the Web looking for fights he can start?

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  94. JA, Those are serious observations that I noticed when I first dropped in and hammering all things SGM seemed to be the tone. (I’m not saying there isn’t a problem). I missed the ‘grace seasoning’, I guess (Col 4:6). I’m still not seeing it. You want me to be more gracious, I get that. I have yet to see you ask any of the others in here who are far more ungracious than you think I am. What’s up with that? You don’t have to answer. I think I know. I really do think that dwelling on the negative (even real abuse) feeds the sinful nature and ends up with such bitterness that it kills the thought life we as believers are encouraged by Paul in Philippians. It’s happened to me. Been there, done that.

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  95. B4B –

    I don’t know whose commentary you used, but this scripture says nothing about “those occupying equal positions in the church.”

    “I had in fact consulted a very good commentary that specified authority in the passages was about between those occupying equal positions in the church AND talked about not being like the ‘Gentiles.” (B4B)

    “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the RULERS OF THE GENTILES LORD IT OVER THEM, AND THEIR GREAT ONES EXERCISE AUTHORITY OVER THEM. IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ ” (Matthew 20:25-28, ESV, emphasis added)

    If we simply repeat what we read in commentaries, are we really searching the scriptures as the Bereans, or are we just regurgitating what others believe?

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  96. B4B,

    Yes, you are right. One must protect against unforgiveness as well as bitterness, but there are reasons it has been difficult for some to hear this message coming from you. Let me try to illustrate this from a different context. I personally am having difficulty understanding the reaction to the George Zimmerman acquittal. Or at least I was until I read an appeal by Pastor Loren Sandford of New Song Church, Denver, part of which is as follows:

    “Try to understand the lens through which many African American people see the Zimmerman verdict. Their feelings about the verdict will be filtered through a long history of injustice. For you to rejoice openly in the verdict will only sound racist and will serve to inflame passions by causing irritation to old wounds. The history is real. The wounds are real. Don’t argue the case. Instead, listen compassionately to the hurt delivered by the lingering taint of racism with which our nation still struggles. Nothing can be done now about the verdict, but we can certainly work to bring reconciliation in the wake of it. In fact, this is our commission from Jesus who is Lord of ALL, the Jew, the Greek, the white, the black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American. We must be ministers of reconciliation together, especially now.

    “White Americans may find themselves wanting to tell their brothers and sisters of color to simply forgive and move on. This too will be perceived as racist. No one who is not black can understand what this people group has been forced to endure for what is now hundreds of years and how much yet lingers in our own time. You cannot begin to understand until you have taken the time to listen deeply, compassionately and non-defensively to their stories. The black experience in this nation is not the white experience and it is wrong and even cruel to try to impose a white perspective on a people who have lived in a very different America than do those in the white majority. If someone is to tell African American brothers and sisters to forgive and move on, it will have to be another African American. For the rest of us, the first act of love and the first move toward real reconciliation is the act of listening compassionately.”

    Few have suffered the level of victimization as as has been the case for black Americans. Nevertheless, I am suggesting that much could be gained if people would apply Pastor Sandford’s admonitions in their dealings with victims of any kind of abuse whatsoever. Don’t argue the case. Listen compassionately. Work to bring reconciliation. Don’t simply admonish to forgive and move on. It will be perceived as insensitive. You cannot begin to understand until you have taken the time to listen deeply, compassionately and non-defensively.

    The full text of Pastor Sandford’s admonition can be found at http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/483893/a15c1eedf6/1604001848/3c74e4642d/

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  97. “They would NOT be in the group of ‘comp’ types prone to misinterpret the Timothy passage. They would probably say that ‘saved’ there means something along the order of ‘completely fulfilled as a woman’.”

    Yes, I have heard that one, too. But sozo is sozo, right? Rescued? Saved? Delivered?

    Paul is making a play on words here and it fits right in with what the fertility cult temple was teaching. Because so many women died in childbirth during those times, the fertility cult played on this fear (I think this is part why the word authenteo was used which is a sort of reference to “murder by falsehood”. We know it cannot mean “authority over” for several reasons and an interesting one is John Chrysostom in his Homily 10 (?) says a man should not authenteo his wife. So we know it is a bad thing for both of them to do. This word is hard to find even in secular koine Greek. But it is used as a “sinister” sort of compelling.)

    Anywho, The reference to “saved in childbirth” is a reference to the birth of Messiah. .She will be saved because of that childbearing….IF she remains in faith, etc, etc. Paul is talking the language of that day and making a metaphorical reference. Something Paul does quite a bit.

    (By the way, the Temple cult also taught that Eve was created first which fits right in. We have a ton of clues that fit the context and meaning which do not make it a work of salvation or having to redefine word meanings to force it to fit a paradigm of authoritarianism between believers)

    “Do you have any names and/or data to back your allegation about ‘many’ complimentarians’, or are you on one a crusade to ‘disprove’ something that might be very biblical and you just don’t like it?”

    I could probably have given you a list 10 years ago with references, quotes by the big comp dogs, etc, etc. I did this for quite a while and did the whole blog back and forth demanding references quotes, etc, etc. I am just not into it anymore. I won’t change your mind and those who are interested will dig in themselves. There is a ton of stuff out there to read, study and pray over. God loves his daughters and wants them to know there is no mediator between them and Christ.

    The only thing I want to do is encourage folks who are questioning to dig deeper. I am a big believer in the concepts of soul competency and the priesthood of believer. You know, there is no such thing as “laity” in the NT. I think that is so cool.

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  98. “Just about any literate person who would read these posts would see a ton of negative stuff about Evangelicals of a Reformed ‘bent’with only an occasional positive thing said about any of them. Definitely how theApostle did such things when there was actual error in the church, or the approach seen in the monologues to the churches in Revelation.”

    Are you modeling the right way for us?

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  99. B4B said:

    JA, Those are serious observations that I noticed when I first dropped in and hammering all things SGM seemed to be the tone. (I’m not saying there isn’t a problem). I missed the ‘grace seasoning’, I guess (Col 4:6). I’m still not seeing it. “

    (again, I’m late in responding to this, sorry) I cannot apologize for not extending grace to people – church leaders – who are supposed to tend God’s precious flock – who overlook blatant sex abuse of children. Nope. Can’t do it. Who was it who spoke about a millstone? Was that grace?

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  100. B4B:
    I’d like you to answer Diane’s question more completely as well rather then your think CONtext reply.

    “For Diane’s July 22, 2013 @ 7:58 PM
    Think CONtext.”

    Also Gary W’s question re: commentary you used:

    “If you don’t mind, what commentary were you referring to on 7/22 @ 3:53 PM when you said “I had in fact consulted a very good commentary . . . “?”

    Like

  101. Julie Anne, the bad guys always trot out grace when they themselves did not extend it to little children when they had been horribly molested. That is their Jesus. The blood was cheap. It is an upside down kingdom.

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  102. lydiasellerofpurple said: “I have often felt so bad for devout barren women who have listened to those comp sermons claiming Paul was talking about “staying in their role” using that passage.”

    I think you may have just been drawing a sketch for your point, but thought I’d ask anyway, what did you mean by “devout barren women”? This, to me, seems hurtful, I’m probably misunderstanding though.

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  103. “I think you may have just been drawing a sketch for your point, but thought I’d ask anyway, what did you mean by “devout barren women”? This, to me, seems hurtful, I’m probably misunderstanding though.”

    While I can’t speak for her, I would venture to guess she was just simply referring to women who happen to be dedicated followers of Christ that are medically unable to bear children, for whatever reason.

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  104. *cries* Julie Anne, A Mom, Barb and anyone else I forgot – thank you so much for the kind words. I was kind of heading for a breakdown when I was here and did not have the wherewithal to stick around in a potentially contentious discussion, so I did not see any of your replies – now I wish I had stayed just a little longer. Thank you, truly, it means a lot.

    I did have a bit of a nervous breakdown finally, mostly health related but some of these emotional issues contributing too, and my dad finally apologised to me for a number of things – a real apology, without making excuses or getting defensive or blaming me for half of it. I honestly didn’t think he knew how, or was capable of that. He’s a Piper fan and as far as I can tell, really believes all this stuff, and I just don’t fit any of the boxes, I’ve spent my entire life believing that he wishes I was someone else, particularly someone who didn’t end up being gay, feminist/egalitarian and mostly politically liberal.

    But I’ve managed to hang on to a sliver of faith for all of that, and I’m slowly working out my issues between God and myself, and I think at my age (30) those things are entirely between him and me. I have to be able to make my own choices, even if they are wrong, and find the truth for myself, instead of relying on a ‘male authority’ to tell me what I should think and believe. So far I’ve decided that the two Great Commandments according to Jesus, the Golden Rule, and Micah 6:8 are the bedrock, and anything that does not measure up to the law of love, mercy, justice and walked out in humility cannot be truth.

    From there on, I’m still figuring things out, and I’m not convinced yet that he really accepts me for who I am, now, or that I deserve the freedom of finding my own way, but at least he admits that he was wrong and he did some damage. I’ll take what I can get, at this point.

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  105. Oh wow, Kagi, your comment brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful gift to have your father apologize, and seemingly a heart-felt one. That is wonderful. I’m so glad you came and read the other comments and especially glad to read the update. yea! 🙂

    And I’m with you on that love and mercy thing. It seems to be so lacking in churchianity.

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  106. Great article… I might be one of those moms that want to brush it off and let them have fun… But when I hear my 5yr old girl call herself a superhero boy… Act like a boy… Say that being a boy is cooler… What do you say to that? I don’t want to bring unneeded attention to a matter that might not be there… But I also don’t want to encourage her SAYING she is a boy… Which might go further than just acting it out. What do you say to that? :/

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  107. 3equals1, it sounds like your daughter has gotten the idea that boys get to have more fun. That can be true in some Christian cultures like Vision Forum. I would let her know that it is just as much fun to be a girl. Introduce her to Wonder Woman! Ask her what she thinks she can’t do as a girl that she wants to do and let her do it. My daughter wanted to play softball and I signed her up for Little League. She is in her 30s now, happily married, working as a software developer with one child and another on the way. I would describe her and her husband as very well rounded people.

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  108. I think it is interesting how this article, “CHRISTIAN Parenting: Training Your Child’s Gender Identity”, has no references to the Bible; not a single verse. So where does the author get her authority. From prayer and communion with God? From an this single experience? From her own thoughts on how to raise children? I would prefer the authority of the infallible Bible before I would trust the thoughts of a fallible human who basis parenting techniques on her single set of observations.

    Deuteronomy 22:5 – “A woman MUST NOT wear men’s clothing, NOR a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.” This command is not not really about clothing as much as it is about guarding the sanctity of what it means to be a man or a woman. I am not trying to say a man cannot be a nurse or care for a child or that a woman has to do the cooking and cleaning. Rather, we should reinforce the image in which God created us which is separate yet complimentary genders with specific traits.

    Remember, just because someone is born with murderous tendencies, it doesn’t make it right. Just because someone is born with homosexual tendencies, it does not make it right. Just because someone is born with gender identity (effeminate for men/masculine for women) issues, it doesn’t make it right. Men are to be the head and caretakers of the family (Ephesians 5:23) and should be serving them. The women are to be nurturers of the family and support for the husband (Ephesians 5:22-24). You may not like gender stereotypes, but that is the way God designed His creation. If you disagree, then you need to tell me why the Bible, the breathed Word of God, is wrong.

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  109. @Joshua

    Deuteronomy 22:5 – “A woman MUST NOT wear men’s clothing, NOR a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.”

    Do you also “Make tassels on the four corners of the cloak you wear” per Deuteronomy 22:12? If not, why do you believe this law shouldn’t be followed?

    Like

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