Tony Miano’s Wise Words for Women on Speaking and Blogging

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Manly man and open-air evangelist Tony Miano, shares words of wisdom to women on blogging, speaking, preaching, and teaching.

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Open-air street evangelist, Tony Miano, has been the recipient of correspondence from Christian women after his book, Should She Preach, was published.  In a recent blog post, he stated that some women asked in a “sincere and thoughtful way,” while others asked with “venom in their words, ready for a fight.”

He then conceded that sometimes Christians can behave as badly as unbelievers in their online communications and readily admits that he has been guilty as charged, too.

Umm, yea:

Screen Shot 2013-11-09 at 5.26.01 PM

Tony’s response to me after I informed him that his friend, Chuck O’Neal, was in church discipline.

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He seems to be very concerned about women and how they conduct themselves verbally and otherwise.  (I’ve split up the excerpt for easier reading.)

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As a result of my book, I’ve found myself on the receiving end of some very nasty comments by Christian women on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and via email. In each instance, the professing Christian woman acts and talks as if she were asking me to “step outside.”

In each instance, the woman acted and talked like an angry man–asserting authority she does not have, boisterously making demands and proclamations and, with no sense of biblical propriety and in mixed online company, throwing her weight around as a teacher–weight the Lord has not given her.

And just so there is not mistake; just so there is no ambiguity seen in my position; I believe such behavior among Christian women is masculine, unbiblical, sinful, and embarrassing. Such behavior is untoward, unattractive, unflattering, and ungodly.

Such behavior violates God’s created order and design for women, violates a woman’s role in the Body of Christ, and flies in the face of the gentle and quiet spirit God has intended for all women–certainly His redeemed, born-again, adopted daughters.

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Miano then shared that he had received an e-mail from a college student who “ascribes to what the Bible teaches regarding the limitations placed upon women in the areas of preaching/teaching and exercising authority over men.”  The gist of the e-mail is the young lady wanted to have a clearer understanding of what was biblically acceptable for her to say on her blog with regard to conversations with men who had commented.

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A few times, men have commented on the journals (usually atheists) and I have gotten into long debates with them on the subjects. I don’t seek out these conversations, they simply post on the journal and I reply.

My question is, do these journal postings and/or subsequent one-on-one conversations qualify as teaching/preaching? If so, should I delete my previous journals, or should I simply stop making them? Finally, if this is preaching/teaching, do you know of any other ways I can evangelize online while staying in the will of God?

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Here is part of Miano’s reply:

Thank you for contacting me. I hope your studies are going well.

You ask a very good question. And I’m very glad to hear you hold to a biblical understanding of a woman’s role in the Body of Christ regarding teaching and the exercise of authority over men.

I do not believe that writing a public journal, in which you express your Christian beliefs and your theological thoughts about the same rises to the level of teaching and/or exercising authority over men.

Now, with that said, writing about the truths of Scripture certainly is teaching Scripture. There’s no way around that. When we communicate biblical truth, we are teaching biblical truth. However, the onus for the teaching, in the case of written material, is upon the recipient and not the writer. What I mean by that is it is the responsibility of men to avoid sitting under your teaching. It is the responsibility of Christian men not to put themselves under the authority of your teaching.

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Hey now – – –  wait just one cotton-pickin’ minute.  Do you remember this:  Question for Tony Miano: Did Joni Preach?  It sure looks like he didn’t heed his own words when he heard Joni Eareckson Tada “teach” scripture at the Strange Fire conference.  He even wrote a whole post trying to convince everyone she wasn’t preaching/teaching:

Did I listen to Joni speak? Yes, I drank in every word as if they were sips from a cool glass of water. I am blessed every time I listen to Joni speak. She is a wonderful example of biblical womanhood and a true encouragement. I listened to Joni speak during the Strange Fire conference without so much as a twinge of discomfort, apprehension, compromise, or hypocrisy. (Source)

Whatever, Tony, we see how it works.  If whatever she is teaching lines up with your beliefs, then you’ll listen to a woman teaching, but if it’s someone like Joyce Meyer, then look at the insulting words he uses:

“She carries herself like a man, sounds like a man, and preaches like a man.”

Going back to Miano’s correspondence with the young lady:

While it is not unbiblical for you to engage men in evangelistic conversations, you will have to decide if, in doing so, you are sacrificing any of your femininity in the process. In other words, you will have to determine if you are sounding like a man in your correspondence. One of the three reasons women should not open-air preach, teach men, or exercise authority over men, which I explain in my book, is that a woman cannot help but to sound and act like a man in the process, thus sacrificing some of her beautiful, God-given femininity.

This is the best part.  Miano then gives words of advice to Christian women bloggers:

It might be wise for Christian women bloggers to give some written indication on their blog that their primary audience, if their blog is directed toward the Christian community, is Christian women. This might help fend off unwanted, unbelieving men from posting comments, and it might help in rightly discouraging Christian men from placing themselves under the teaching of a Christian woman.

Uh-oh, I have not done this.  I hope I have not caused any of my men readers to stumble.

Just so there is no confusion or misinterpretation of my words, I will close with this. I am not suggesting all Christian women should abandon their blogs. I am not suggesting all Christian women should flee from social media. Christian women, like Christian men, have much to say. And I’m all for Christian women saying it–so long as they communicate in a biblical manner. So, to my blogging sisters in Christ, keep blogging. Keep blogging, so long as you do so while maintaining God’s intended order, your role in the Bride of Christ, and your God-designed, God-intended, beautiful femininity. (Source)

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243 comments on “Tony Miano’s Wise Words for Women on Speaking and Blogging

  1. BTDT, Right! I don’t think he sees himself. I guess self-awareness isn’t necessary when you have the authority. Just keep the income flowing in, ya’ll wimmins.

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  2. Question–did Miano himself tweet that? Or did one of his associates do it? I don’t see a TM after the tweet. It’s confusing to know which ones technically originate from him.

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  3. Exactly BTDT and A Mom. Definitely we are in the wrong business.

    What a great life he has chiseled…I mean God has chiseled out for him. God must really love him bunches to send him all over the world. His wife…not so much, imo. She must stay home and bring home the manly bacon that the patriarchs are supposed to be bringing home. I imagine she does it femininely enough, though. (sarcasm)

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  4. wow this guy is amazing. I am sorry i missed this post Julie, where do you find these guys? speak 2 ur husband/pastor 2receive some clarity hahahahaa I think I snorted when I got to that tweet. 😀

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  5. @A Mom:

    “Sounds like the Doug Wilson chant. He: penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. Others: receives, surrenders, accepts.”

    This message isn’t just for women. It’s for anyone who disagrees.

    Wasn’t homosexual gang rape (“making a woman out of him” in prison parlance) a common way to put a defeated enemy in his place?
    Public Rape: An ANIMAL’s forced-dominance display.
    PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT!
    PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT!
    PENETRATE! COLONIZE! CONQUER! PLANT!

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  6. I don’t agree with Tony’s overall stance and I don’t care for some of his responses to JA, but I know this about Tony… He truly loves the Lord so much. He truly loves others. He is speaking out of genuine, personal conviction, and finally, he’d jump in front of bullet in a heartbeat for every single person on this thread – no matter what they’ve written. We may not agree with him on everything, but he’s a good man and more importantly, he’s our blood bought brother in Christ.

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  7. I know, I saw the posts, hence, “I don’t care for some of his responses to JA…” and I am right there with you on your position regarding the topic at hand. Still, we all need grace. In spite of some ungracious words, he really is that man who would take the hit for us. I am beyond over some of the male egotism I see in the reformed church, but I also know none of us have it all down pat. None of us are fit for heaven yet. 🙂

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  8. I would challenge you on him being a man who would take the hit when he refuses to have a cordial conversation with a strangers who may question him or have a differing opinion. I’ve seen it countless times on Twitter and even in the videos he has published on YouTube. That behavior is wrong.

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  9. Maybe he’s really changed in the past few years. I hope not, but from what you are saying, its certainly possible. I’m so disappointed when I see Christian men online being rude or sarcastic, but I honestly see a good deal of it with Christian women too.

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  10. “Still, we all need grace. In spite of some ungracious words, he really is that man who would take the hit for us. I am beyond over some of the male egotism I see in the reformed church, but I also know none of us have it all down pat. None of us are fit for heaven yet. ”

    Arclight, You have made some declarative statements here that need to be analyzed because they seem to be quite vague and really communicate nothing to back up your declarations.

    We all need “grace”. How does this fit with what Tony has made his “spiritual focus”? Evidently, In his God construct, gender roles are salvic. Can you elaborate on what you mean by “grace”? Does it mean we do not analyze errant teaching or a public teachers behavior? Or how ungraceful these men have been toward JA? Tony is partnering with the reprobate “pastor” who sued her. How ungraceful can you get?

    How do you know Tony would take a “hit” for any of us if there is no proof? His consistent behavior demeaning others communicates something different. Yet, I am to believe you?

    Arclight, your comments are what really scare me the most about what is passing for Christendom out there. You like Tony, so you are willing to overlook his public consistent teaching and behavior to defend what you think you know about him. This is non thinking and I beg you to stop it.

    As to “none of us are fit for heaven yet”……this is the most confusing drivel I have ever heard. If we are “not fit” we will not spend eternity with our Savior. If you think this life is NOT a preparation for living with our Savior, then you don’t have a clue. His will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven. If you believe in the determinist god then you won’t get this and I pray that will change. There are saints “fit for heaven” who die every day. We must grow in Holiness. Your declarative statement does nothing but excuse deception and evil for believers here and now. It is not a good thing.

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  11. Lydia, I don’t have the time I had last night to respond, but you have said some things about me personally now and I hope you can reread them and see the very assumptions ad ungraciousness that Tony has apparently shown in recent years. The very things you don’t like. We all need grace. We are all being sanctified. All of our worthiness depends on Christ alone and no merit of our own. I am not defending the things Tony has said recently. I’m very disappointed in what I have read. I simply added another side to it. How we as women present ourselves online is just as relevant as how the men present themselves. You don’t know my story, nor my theology or the innumerable ways I have personally been hurt by some of these men – but I’m not going to fuel their fire against women bloggers by using sarcasm and venting my anger in an unhealthy way for all to see. I look at these things objectively. I can see why they say some of the things they say about women. That doesn’t mean that I agree with them or that I don’t think they also need to look at the whole picture, but here is an example – you have basically implied that my faith is false by saying it is what passes for Christendom. You have also used the term “drivel” to describe what I wrote. Isn’t this the very thing you don’t like? That’s rhetorical – but please consider it. We all need grace – I’m a sinner. You are. Tony is. But I would guess you also have very good qualities and wouldn’t discount those things for anything. After all – even though you were unkind, as has been Tony, you are sincerely trying to earnestly contend for the faith as you see it – as is Tony. I can see that. We need balance. We need to extend a little grace – we received a great deal. No, that doesn’t mean we say something is okay that’s not okay… But should any of us throw the baby out with the bathwater? Jesus didn’t.

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  12. I posted this over at TWW and wanted to post it here, too. It’s related to the thread topic here.
    ——————–
    Regarding the link Deb and Dee placed on the top of the home page,

    So, things were hunky dory at Act Like Men? Here is a different take. (link)

    Someone left this post on the page, which I thought was very astute:

    boatrocker on October 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm said:

    Why are there no “Act Like Christians” conferences? “In Christ there is no male and female”, so “acting like men” has to come from the world, not the scriptures. Let’s ditch the gender-based conferences and just “act like Jesus”.

    It is strange and, IMO, anti- biblical, that some Christians obsessively focus on the whole “biblical manhood and womanhood” thing.

    You have this guy Julie Anne debates with at her blog [or on Twitter], who has written books where he constantly wrings his hands in worry that Christian women are “not being feminine” or, are in ‘danger of giving away their femininity.’

    This guy has said that while he once supported women in “open air preaching,” he is now against it, or he’s against women “authoritatively” answering men in blogs, lest they ‘lose their femininity’ in the process.

    How does one ‘lose her femininity’? Even if you, a woman, answer a guy “authoritatively” (I’m not sure what that even really means), you still retain your female gender-ness; you do not turn into a man physically.

    I think these sorts of guys define “femininity” not by the Bible alone, but based upon their viewing of secular pop culture, 1950s TV sit com, American nuclear family, Brady Bunch / Leave It To Beaver scenario, where the woman is married, she wore pearls while mopping the floor, stayed at home all day, dad went to his 9 to 5 office job, and she had cookies waiting on the counter for her kids when they got home from school.

    Why is this guy bickering with Julie Anne (and those like him) so fixated on what I, or other women, do or do not do?

    What’s it to him if I blog, open air preach, practice karate, go kayaking, watch TV, collect stamps, or play tiddly winks or do whatever?

    Why does this guy think he, or any other man, gets to draw the line at what is or is not “feminine,” or if something I do or think is not “feminine enough.”

    Shouldn’t a woman be allowed to dictate what the parameters of what femininity are, (if there should be any)? Why do men get to define womanhood for women?

    Would these men enjoy women defining what constitutes manhood for Christian men, and also telling them not to step outside of those lines?

    How about if I state that it is not biblical manhood for a man to correct a woman on a blog or to debate her, ever, for any reason?

    Off the top of my head, about the only verse these types of guys can draw from is the one about women learning in meekness and quietness and having a gentle spirit, but what do they do with all the verses and stories of women in the Bible who were vocal, who were not gentle all the time, who stood up to men with God’s approval, who led men, who taught men?

    The Bible does not present a one dimensional, flat, portrayal of one, and only one, acceptable way of being a woman, so I’m more than tired of some religious guys trying to tell us, “it is wrong for a woman to do X, but she may do Z.”

    And they can’t even always agree on the rules.

    Some of the gender complementarians say,
    “I think it’s wrong for a woman to do ‘X,’ unless in situations 1, 2, 3,”
    while another guy will say,
    “No, it’s always wrong for women to do X,”
    while yet another male gender complementarian will say,
    “It’s okay for women to do X, but only under conditions a, c, and sometimes q, or q is okay if her husband permits her.”(*)
    *(single women need not apply)

    Anyway, there is something wrong with Christians (and it’s usually males, it seems) who are forever fixated on gender roles.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I like Romans 16. That chapter says a lot regardless of how I have heard it discounted by some men. These women were not just changing diapers in the nursery. But why these men say some of the things they do is obvious. They truly believe they are contending for the faith regarding this secondary issue – just like we do.

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  14. @ Gary who said,

    It seems to me that people who vomit these misogynistic views are walking in the shoes of the deep-south racists of the pre-civil rights era. It’s just that their insecurities and hatreds are focused on women instead of people with dark skin color. I am surprised they don’t just come out and say that women are the new (insert plural form of prohibited word beginning with “N”).

    Yes, this really bothers me.

    These Christian men think they are defending the Bible or the faith against secular feminism, but they are really upholding sexism and are being sexist.

    How they treat and view women is in marked difference from how Jesus Christ treated women, but they don’t seem to notice or care about that, or they try to define their sexism as being for a woman’s own good.

    Some of these groups, especially the patriarchy endorsers, really think women are less than males… some of them teach that because women are only “indirectly” created from males (Eve was made from Adam’s rib) that women are therefore not as fully human, or something.

    But the Bible does not make that qualification or distinction, as it simply says (paraphrasing), “both male and female did He create them.”

    Genesis does not say, “Because Eve was made from Adam’s rib, and not fully from the dust of the ground as was he, she is therefore lesser than Adam in some way.”

    It’s also ironic that this gesture, which I think was meant by God to show that males and females need each other, that they are inter-dependent, and are equally created in God’s image (God made them both, whether by dirt or by rib), that the gender comps perversely twist this all around to make it the opposite of what it is: to say females are not as human, or not as much as much in God’s image, as are males.

    It is so perverse how they twist Scripture to support their sexism.

    I think these guys are more concerned with holding on to privilege and perks, in what holding women down can bring to them, than anything. There’s more power and benefits for them if they keep all the goodies for themselves and they therefore make up Bible twisting rationalizations to keep women out of positions of authority or influence.

    What’s even sadder is that most women are not interested in power pe se – these guys will say women who debate them are trying to “usurp male authority,” when most do not care about that all all; they are asking for an equal place at the table, but even that is perceived or depicted as “women trying to steal man’s authority.”

    Well, why are these guys so obsessed with holding on to their (supposed) God given authority?

    Jesus Christ told His followers, “the Gentiles lord authority over one another, that shall not be the case with you,” and, “whoever wants to be the greatest must be the servant of all.” If you are trying to protect what you feel is your God given authority, or arguing that the wimmin folk are trying to steal it, you have already disobeyed the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Anyhow, yes, I think these guys are sexist. I’d say most of them are probably not racist against black people (which is good, of course), but they are fine with discriminating against people based on gender.

    Even more disorienting for me is that there is a black gentlemen, I think he’s Reformed? (Thabiti Anyabwile), who points out racism of white (usually Reformed/ or Vision Forum) guys on his blog when he sees it, but, he defends limiting women based on gender complementarian views.

    He’s against discrimination based on skin color but will defend it if it’s based on gender. Most remarkable and sadly ironic.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh. P.S. based on my post above, where I said,
    Shouldn’t a woman be allowed to dictate what the parameters of what femininity are, (if there should be any)? Why do men get to define womanhood for women?

    BTW, is Miano not in error for instructing a young woman about anything? The Bible says something like “let older women instruct younger women.”

    Is Miano a man or an older woman?

    He’s not an older woman, so he should not be advising young women. He is in violation of the Bible. ha ha.

    Titus 2:

    3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

    According to Titus 2, instructing younger women is a duty for older women, not for men. Miano is not qualified to be telling a female university student if, when, or how she may blog.

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  16. Julie Anne asked,

    Julie Anne
    NOVEMBER 10, 2013 @ 7:47 AM
    Ok, we really need to think things through here. Tony is father of 3 adult daughters and subscribes to “courtship.” I wonder if he would appreciate some man usurping his spiritual head of the home role and teaching his daughters spiritual matters?

    Furthermore, did Miano get permission from her father to talk to him?

    Most excellent point.

    I also wonder, given the New Testament comments about older women urging or leading younger women, why a man thinks it’s his place to tell a younger woman what to do or how to act?

    But your point is very good too, and points out the hypocrisy and other double standards these guys hold.

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  17. Diane said,

    Thanks for bringing that up. I wanted to, and I hope this is not considered off topic and if so I apologize in advance. She works FT from what I have read. He also has three adult daughters living at home. The eldest also works as a teacher, but I do not know if it is FT. I do not know about the other two daughters and how they occupy their days. So– there’s lots of ‘feminine’ (lol) income coming in to support Miano.

    I used to have a friend, mostly on the internet, though we did phone each other so often (he committed suicide years ago), who was a gender complementarian.

    He pretty much despised Christian gender egalitarianism, or strongly disliked it, and when he saw I was drifting that way more and more, he would go on about how it’s wrong for a woman to be in charge, or be feminist, etc.

    He assumed any person who rejects the gender comp view was influenced by secular feminism.

    He also seemed a little against women who did not care to live out the 1950s “Leave It To Beaver” type of model. He seemed to feel it’s a woman place to be a wife and mother, and to have a husband who has a job and supports everyone.

    I asked him how he could reconcile his views, considering he lived with and off his grandmother into his late twenties!

    When he got married in his late 20s, his wife’s job paid their rent and other bills (he did not get a job until a year or so into their marriage, and even then, I think his wife was the primary bread winner, as his little part time job was minimum wage). Even after they married, I think his wife, in addition to holding a job, also cooked all their dinners at home.

    I think his grandma used to do his meals and laundry for him, too, before he married and was living with her.

    Here he was living off and depending on women, but then criticizing women for not being dependent on men.

    The guy had mental health issues, which was evident in the years before he killed himself, and I think those problems prevented him from holding down a full time job.

    I’m not against the fact he had problems or relied on his grandma and wife as a result (I’m sympathetic about his mental problems), but the double standard he had in the midst of that about gender roles grated on my nerves like you would not believe.

    How could he dictate that women be nothing but stay at home mothers, rely on a spouse, not lead or teach men in church, etc. – but here he was, living off the women in his life? 🙄

    He was not practicing what he preached to me. He, a man, was first supported by his grandma and later, by his wife.

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  18. Diane quoting Miano,

    On way you can support us is through the donation of Walmart gift cards. Simply go to your local Walmart, purchase a gift card of any amount, and mail it to:

    Holy cow, dude has no shame.

    Would he turn down gift cards supplied by females who earned them from their jobs?

    You notice there are no stipulations, or I did not see any. He does NOT state, “By the way, if you are a woman, please do not send me a gift card.”

    So I am assuming he is fine with taking money/gift cards from women. So he can shut his pie hole about what he thinks women can or cannot do concerning preaching, bloggging, whatever else, or what is or is not feminine.

    Even though I’ve grown more egalitarian in my views as I’ve gotten older, I have a hard time with the notion of men taking money off women (not that I am against a situation where a husband gets laid off, so the couple HAS to rely on the wife’s income, I understand that). I was brought up in a traditional family where my father supported us all.

    I’ve seen boyfriends and husbands financially exploit my sister and other female relatives (including some men who would not get jobs and help pay bills at all, some would take their tiny incomes and instead of helping pay bills, would buy “toys” for themselves, etc.)

    My ex fiance exploited me financially.

    So, this might be one of the few issues I am a bit of a hypocrite on, but I had it deeply ingrained in me by my family that one aspect of a guy being a “real man,” a man being respectable, is supporting his family or wife, and not to leech or beg money off women.

    It’s funny this guy dictates what he thinks women may or may not do in life, but I guess he does not have a problem taking money from them, women he does not even know or is not related to.

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  19. “Women are not required to submit to men in general, just their husbands ( which they should get to pick out themselves ! )”

    And remember, I’m in my 40s, a woman, and I’ve never married. Some women choose not to marry, or due to circumstances, just never marry.

    Ephesians says all believers are to submit to each other. That verse is always ignored. I don’t share the interpretation of “wife submitting to husband” to mean that the husband is the “boss” of the wife, but it’s often portrayed that way by gender comps.

    There is no verse in the Bible, outside of the general “everyone submit to each other” ones, saying un-married women such as me are to submit or be under any man in authority, but the gender comps pervert their gender role views to try to extend the rules to even single women.

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  20. Someone said,

    And just what about the dangers of online relationships with women? You know, it’s not uncommon for casual, “innocent” social media contact to end up in full blown affairs. Imagine seeing some dude online as being more spiritually capable than your own husband.

    That is true, but I feel the need when I see these sorts of comments to mention that people do have self control.

    It’s not true that males and females cannot be friends, that friendship always leads to sex, etc.

    One stereotype of men among Christians (and even Non Christians) is that they cannot “help themselves.” That is a cop out. Yes, males can control themselves. They don’t have to have affairs or rape women.

    Single women are depicted (even in Christian preaching and literature) as being man stealing, over sexed hussies.

    I am over 40 and still a virgin because I was waiting for marriage to have sex, so in all honesty, what chance do you really think there is that I would bed a married guy at this point in life?

    My sexual ethics are pretty strict and higher than even a lot of married Christians, but still, it’s assumed by some Christians that all single women are harlots with men, we cannot be trusted.

    I’ve had married men who I was having platonic, nice chit chats with on Christian forums cut me off after awhile because they “didn’t want anything to happen,” or they claimed they “were afraid what the wife must think.” All of which I found insulting.

    First off, I did not find these men physically attractive (for the ones who did post photos in their forum avatars) and would not reproduce with them if we were the last two people on the planet (or if they were single), and secondly, they just assume I am so loose I would fall into bed with them, or would not be able to help myself.

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  21. I agree with 99% of your comment except the part where we don’t need men to act like men. We most certainly do. Jesus is THE MODEL of a TRUE man- so every professing Christian man should strive to become the ‘man’ he was.

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  22. john said,

    “Of course Tony Miano (and other members of the 2 inch club) insist that the same Holy Spirit that you appeal to for a prevailing authority is the same one who calls them to a specific authority.
    Who then is right?”

    Christians believe that God instructs them via the Bible. Many Christians are sola scriptura.

    In the pages of the Bible itself, is the idea that God is the ultimate or final authority on all things, and to learn about him and what he thinks, Christians are to utilize the Scriptures, which become another sort of authority in spiritual matters.

    I’m not sure I buy into this idea you seem to be putting forth that because some Christians disagree on some topic or another that this automatically should invalidate an ‘appeal to authority,’ or the use of the Bible as an authority, or the Holy Spirit.

    (I hope you are not trying to stealth argue that because Baptists and Protestants cannot always agree on everything that we should all convert to Roman Catholicism and adhere to Roman Catholic authority, ie, Papal decrees (ex cathedra) or Magisterium biblical intepretations?)

    The Bible itself says that humanity’s reasoning, will, and/or intellect has been tainted by sin.

    There are many Bible verses which touch upon that, as well as some of the other topics you raised, such as…

    Romans 12:2
    Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

    1 Cor 2:14
    The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

    Jesus Christ, in debates with Satan and Pharisees, appealed to the written word as authoritative, e.g.,
    Luke 4:8
    Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”

    Matthew 19:4 (referring to Genesis when talking to religious leaders)
    And he [Jesus] answered and said, Have ye not read, that he who made [them] from the beginning made them male and female…

    Matthew 24:35
    Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    Revelation 22:19
    And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

    2 Cor 4.4
    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    Romans 1
    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

    2 Cor 11
    For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

    2 Timothy 3:16
    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

    2 Corinthians 3:14
    But their [Jews who rejected Jesus] minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.

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  23. Allie said,

    I agree with 99% of your comment except the part where we don’t need men to act like men. We most certainly do. Jesus is THE MODEL of a TRUE man- so every professing Christian man should strive to become the ‘man’ he was.

    But the Bible says all Christians, females too, are to emulate Jesus, not just “men.”

    There is not a Pink Jesus for girls and a Blue Jesus for boys. Both genders are called to emulate Jesus, and that means all of Jesus’ qualities, and Jesus was a mix of toughness and tenderness.

    Like

  24. BeenThereDoneThat –
    I was brought up Baptist, but there are Pentecostals and some Methodists in the family tree.

    I don’t mean to put down all Methodists everywhere, or anything, but I have seen some of the most intense hostility against Baptists by Methodists.

    I had a friend who converted from Baptist to Methodist who likes to put down Baptists, even though she knows that is the flavor of Christian I am.

    And that despite the fact I have never insulted Methodists with her or anyone.

    I had a friend who was a Methodist who HATED Baptists, and in his e-mails over the years, would never cease to remind me of how awful Baptists were.

    I stayed silent for about a year, but I could no longer take the anti Baptist bashing he kept doing in his e mails to me (which I did nothing to provoke or start) and asked him in an e mail,
    “Have you forgotten that myself and your other pal Frank, who I am dating, who you introduced me to, are Baptists??????”

    So this friend writes back and was all like,
    “Yeah, I know you and Frank are Baptists. I don’t mean you two specifically. You guys are okay. But Baptists are jerks, blankety blanks, judgment idiots, and mean to Roman Catholics, and my mom is a catholic, and baptists are the scum of the earth, I cannot stand Baptists!! Baptists are uneducated, stupid, mean, rude….” (etc etc etc)

    I sat there with my mouth open. He was a Methodist. (I think he later changed denoms to something else and flipped back to Methodist.) But I had to take regular Baptist slamming attitudes from this guy for a few years, and I was a Baptist (and I never once criticized Methodists, even to him, and not even in reply to his Baptist hating).

    Like

  25. Argo said,

    “For I submit that neither can precede man…yes, that means Jesus exists BECAUSE man exists FIRST.”

    Er, maybe that is frou frou intellectualizing and the point is sailing right over my head, or in a round about way you are saying Jesus had to become incarnate to save sinful man, but the cults teach that Jesus was created and not the eternal Son of God.

    The Bible paints a picture that there was God in eternity, who then created angels, who then rebelled, and then God created mankind. (Jesus came first, not humanity.)

    John 1,
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

    John 8:

    57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him [Jesus], “and you have seen Abraham!”

    58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
    59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

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  26. “For I submit that neither can precede man…yes, that means Jesus exists BECAUSE man exists FIRST.”

    Daisy references Scripture from which I suppose it is safe to say that the Word is eternal. Jn 1:14 goes on to say that “the Word became flesh.” Psalm 2:27 and Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5 speak of the Son having been begotten. It may have been from these verses that Miguel Servetus argued to the effect that Jesus as the Word is eternal, while His sonship is not. Rather, Jesus became Son at a point in time, specifically at His conception as the son of Mary. Certainly Scripture does not refer to the eternal Son.

    Trouble is, Servetus was burned at the stake, ostensibly (though not actually) for his heresy.

    Frou frou intellectualizing? Maybe. However, if one is willing to entertain a distinction between the eternal Word and the begotten-in-time Son, it makes it much easier accept the Shema at face value, without resort to a fair modicum intellectual gymnastics: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4, ESV)

    O.K. That was off topic, except maybe by way of making the point that, while I endeavor to take Scripture at face value, I do not take anything said by the likes of Tony Miano, or any other man, as authoritative and beyond dispute. I have come to realize that even the great creeds are subject to the injunction to test everything. 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

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  27. “You like Tony, so you are willing to overlook his public consistent teaching and behavior to defend what you think you know about him. This is non thinking and I beg you to stop it.”

    This is such a dangerous trap. This is what has happened with people who turn a blind eye to CON, CJ Mahaney, and I also mentioned this on the Doug Phillips thread. We must be careful about not letting our “like” blinding us from the reality of the evident fruit.

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  28. Daisy,
    Please don’t take my reference to Methodists as endorsement. Abuse exists in every denomination. I am simply stumped at this point in time for any institutional church to attend. Currently, the individuals we know who have displayed mercy, long suffering, and kindness happen to be Methodist. So, I simply pay attention when I read something regarding the Methodist church. Truth is I may never again attend another church. I’m simply burned out. I will probably always consider myself a believer, and enjoy the fellowship, albeit virtually, with other believers of any denomination.

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  29. JA, You quoted Lydia’s comment to me, but it was an assumption on her part. She also assumed my faith is that which simply passes for Christendom. She assumes a lot about me using one comment I have made – THAT is the trap. We also must not let the opposite of what you wrote be true. Because we don’t like something, should we be blinded to absolutely anything that may be good? We don’t like what he has written – we can all agree on that. He has made some ugly comments, etc in the past few years – most unfortunate, but our being sarcastic, judgmental, snarky because we don’t like someone who is being sarcastic, etc. makes no sense at all. I am not referring to you specifically – but about many of the comments on this thread. It cuts both ways. I’m not talking about turning a blind eye, but our enemy is not flesh and blood.

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  30. A note from Spurgeon:

    “The Lord is slow to anger,” because He is GREAT IN POWER. He is truly great in power who hath power over himself. When God’s power doth restrain Himself, then it is power indeed: the power that binds omnipotence is omnipotence surpassed. A man who has a strong mind can bear to be insulted long, and only resents the wrong when a sense of right demands his action. The weak mind is irritated at a little: the strong mind bears it like a rock which moveth not, though a thousand breakers dash upon it, and cast their pitiful malice in spray upon its summit. God marketh His enemies, and yet He bestirs not Himself, but holdeth in His anger.

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  31. Lydia . . . unfortunately a lot of comments have passed since you made the observation that Arclight’s comments needed to be evaluated, so my thoughts might be a little late to the party. But you are correct . . . they do … comments that absolve the philosophical assumptions that Tony Miano is offering to the world as divine inspiration must be address thoroughly refuted for the disaster they represent.

    Arclight said: “I don’t agree with Tony’s overall stance and I don’t care for some of his responses to JA, but I know this about Tony… He truly loves the Lord so much. He truly loves others.”

    Analysis: The need to distance herself from Tony’s intellectual conclusions revealing but I want to draw your attention to an implicit conflict in Tony’s two loves: “Love of the Lord” and “Love” of other people.

    Let me preface by saying this. Love is merely an expression of values. A person loves what he values, and what he values is determined by context and is therefore hierarchical. For example you might LOVE peanut butter on a jelly sandwich, but you don’t value peanut butter over say your ten year old, because presumably the ten year old has a higher value than the peanut butter. This is but one example of the basic principle that value is contextual, and by the nature of context determines the relationship to higher values.

    So it is a problem to speak of “love” generally because it is impossible to VALUE generally. It is impossible to say you love the lord, love people and love peanut butter generally.

    So then Arclight’s comment begs the question how does Tony “value” the lord? Well, such values must be expressed in context to something. So the only way to do that is to take on the “lords” values.

    Where do those values come from?

    That is a great question that might yield many different answers. But here is what we do know. Tony Miano has decided that the “lord” has declared authority as a value. More specifically that Maleness is a predicate to authority and female subordination as a primary value. Since he “loves the Lord” it follows that Tony values authority in service to his love of the “lord.” Therefore, since Tony believes that the “Lord” told him—however that happens in his mind—that women should shut up and sit down he demonstrates his “Love” by telling women what the “lord” said.

    And herein is the implicit conflict. In as much as Tony’s Love of the lord is the highest value he will subordinate his love for people accordingly, which is of course why he can, without a blush of embarrassment demand female subordination.

    Well, if you are a woman, his love for you is entirely subordinated to his quest for authority. So in context women are second to authority. This means that whatever his “love” for people, he subordinates them on the value hierarchy scale below his “love of the lord.”

    Then the question that must be asked then is what else will Tony Miano subordinate to is “Love of the Lord?”

    Arclight said: “He is speaking out of genuine, personal conviction, and finally, he’d jump in front of bullet in a heartbeat for every single person on this thread – no matter what they’ve written. “

    Analysis: The first part of this sentence presumes is that “personal conviction” is the defining measure of truth. And this really makes the nature of truth subjective. As long as you have “genuine personal conviction” it doesn’t really matter how factual, reasonable or logical a doctrine is.

    So what Arclight really said is this: Because Tony Miano “genuinely” believes what he is saying, he can’t be criticized for his rational errors.

    That should fill everyone with shivers and shakes.

    The second part of the sentence ascribes to Tony the highest ethical action e.g. he is the greatest altruist. He would die for people “No matter what they have written,” which means he would die even for people who were mean to him.

    This is of course the full disaster of altruist thinking on parade. Altruism says that man’s highest ethical action is sacrifice for other men. And so by extension because Tony Miano would “take a bullet” he is of the highest moral stature. This is of course all rubbish. Man gains no moral virtue by merely wishing. And you can’t confer moral status on another human being with a magic wand. Ethical action is just that . . . Action. And it is a specific kind of action: Action tied to values.

    And the action we have seen Tony take is contained in his response to Julie Ann. His stated ethical standard is not his willingness to take a bullet, but rather the demand for female subordination. I said this before the appeal to authority is the appeal to government, and the appeal to government is really the appeal to force. It is the expectation that government has the power to compel subordination and compelling subordination is really tantamount to advocating slavery. And some people already keyed in to the similarities between doctrinal racism and doctrinal sexism. They are exactly right. Tony is openly advocates gender slavery. There is no morally redeeming quality in this.

    Arclight said: “We may not agree with him on everything, but he’s a good man and more importantly, he’s our blood bought brother in Christ.”

    Analysis: “We don’t have to agree on everything.” Of course we don’t have to agree on “EVERYTHING” most people would concede that truism. This post is not about “everything”. This post is a specific evaluation of Tony Miano’s doctrine regarding women and biblical authority and how that DOCTRINE impacts how he treated another human being.

    And this directly impacts the definition of being a GOOD man. The question is by what standard is Tony Good? What is the ethical criteria we are using to measure that good? If the definition of good is merely how passionate he is about his doctrine then maybe he is “good”. IF the definition of good is demanding the intellectual subordination of women is Good, then maybe he is good. But if the definition of good is rational equality, and individual liberty then Tony Miano’s doctrine is an unrelenting evil which means he is NOT good.

    Arclight sad: “Still, we all need grace. In spite of some ungracious words, he really is that man who would take the hit for us. I am beyond over some of the male egotism I see in the reformed church, but I also know none of us have it all down pat. None of us are fit for heaven yet. :)”

    Analysis: This is what Arclight is really saying. We are all evil, the nature of our evil means we believe wrong things and since none of us can claim moral value we should grant Tony a pass.

    Beyond the truly disastrous soteriology (. . . None of us are fit for heaven yet. :)) beware if the appeal to moral equivalency: we are all just sinners so no one judge anyone of anything.

    It is comments like this that convince me that the doctrine of pervasive depravity is merely the flip side of the antinomian coin. The antinomian say there is no moral standard. The pervasive depravity people say man can’t keep a moral standard. The end of both perspectives is the same: ethics is meaningless.

    When someone says that we are all just sinners therefore no one is qualified to judge know that they are really advocating the wreckage of all moral action. It is a demand that we all abandon critical thinking in the name of virtue.

    This is disaster. Man cannot live without critical thinking, he can’t live without judgment, and he most certainly can’t live without moral action. So Arclight’s appeal to moral equivalency—is really an appeal to our collective death.

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  32. Hey Miss Daisy flower…

    Not sure what there is to “buy into” and I’m not sure where the stealth is . . . . I’ve been making these same observations on my blog for the better part of 8 years.

    In context to this issue, I’m merely pointing out that if “authority” is the plumb line of truth then the only real discussion is WHO has authority …. Reason, facts, logic are irrelevant to the discussion. And if this is true then there is no such thing as rational equality. Meaning, I don’t care how many scriptures you THINK you understand if you are not the authority your conclusions are disqualified.

    And the moment we start disqualifying rational equality in the name of “Biblical authority” then whey isn’t Tony Miano is correct in his assertion? It isn’t like he has to make up his doctrine. He can proof text female intellectual subordination just like you did in your comment. So whose proof texts are the right ones? Who has the authority to decide?

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  33. Arclight,

    You quote Spurgeon as saying ““The Lord is slow to anger,” because He is GREAT IN POWER.” Aside from the fact that it is surely love, not power, that drives God’s slowness to anger, I’m not sure I am following your point. Are you saying that those of us who are angered by Miano’s views on and treatment of women are un-Godly because we are not slow to anger?

    Also, if you are up to it, what is your response to johnimmel’s brilliant observations at 8:13 PM? I suspect you will agree with a large part of what he says, but I also rather expect you could counter him on a number of points.

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  34. Hi Gary,

    Well, one would certainly really need to be “up to it” to respond to John’s “brilliance” but I am a single mom and I don’t have the kind of time he seems to have. 😉

    I have said a number of times that I disagreed with Tony’s position on this but John has extrapolated the meanings of some pretty simple statements to the point that it is clear he must know me better than I know myself. Maybe better than God does. Hence, the problem on both sides – ratcheting stuff out about the entirety of a person based on theological differences – (and I DO realize that Tony has been unkind in his words as of the past year or so in some cases and believe me, that kills me – but I find it more important to pray for him now that I have learned that than to attack him). Its very interesting to be “analyzed” by someone like John who has never met me and hasn’t ask me to clarify a single thing, so I will repeat – I disagree with Tony’s stance on this. And I agree with those who genuinely want to defend women in this regard. Nonetheless – I have no respect for online ranting, spewing, sarcasm, and such no matter what the topic is or who it is about. I will guess that maybe no one actually writing here has ever met Tony in person or seen him outside of this context. I have spent time with him, but it was when he allowed women to street preach, so obviously a lot has changed. I am grieved at what I have learned about him here, but that doesn’t mean I will attack him, slander him, or anything like that. Even he he DOES do that to others, should we do the same? If people say this behavior is what they hate about him, why on earth would they turn around and do what they say they hate? I DO see the pride, I DO see the arrogance, but I see it on ALL sides. So about the anger – Jesus was reviled and did not revile in return. Its HIS approval that I want and not man’s. So, no… I am not saying that anyone is ungodly because they are angry with Miano’s views. I am simply saying that he’s not an evil villain and we can disagree with him and do so strongly without bringing reproach on the name of Christ in the process. Again, we know that our enemy is not flesh and blood. Don’t we? Tony is not the problem. The book is merely a symptom of a much, much larger problem. I loathe and despise the boys’ club mentality in the reformed church more than I can say and have been personally very hurt by some in that crowd, BUT to spew online? Not only would that be a quick check to see that something would be very wrong with me spiritually speaking, its just seriously lacking in judgment.

    Now Gary, all that said – (Dear John, try not to read so much into all this ;)) I do like the polite manner in which you inquired of me. Unless you were being sarcastic (I choose to believe the best – call me crazy), you came across as genuine and sincere and I really appreciate that.

    I’m not going to be able to devote much more time to this thread.

    Blessings.

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  35. Arclight,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and well considered response. While I do not enjoy having it suggested that I have participated in “online ranting, spewing, sarcasm, and such,” I think there is some truth in the suggestion. My hope is that any online ranting, spewing, sarcasm, etc. on my part have been directed at actions and false teaching rather than at the people Jesus Himself referred to as wolves, pigs, vipers, whitewashed tombs and hypocrites. To tell you the truth, I deem those who make themselves enemies of women to be enemies of the One who died for women as well as men. We are commanded to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I submit that I can do these things while at the same time calling out their error. I may in the process appear to be mocking the wolves and not just their ideas. But then again, maybe some felt they were being mocked by Jesus Himself when he admonished people to take the log out of their own eye before attempting to remove a mote out of the eye of another.

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  36. Again, we know that our enemy is not flesh and blood. Don’t we? Tony is not the problem.

    I’m not understanding this, Arclight. It sounds like you are saying that Tony is a victim. Are you saying Tony is not choosing his own words when he engages people?

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  37. Hi Gary,

    I was not referring to you regarding the sarcasm, etc., but regarding some of the other comments I had read. I’d love to say I was never sarcastic, etc. but that would be far from true. That said, I do recognize it as a sinful response and at least while taking the time to write online, I can slow down a bit and really think through my choice of words and their impact. I have to ask God’s forgiveness a great deal, so I hope I am not coming off as judgmental, but simply as one who is urging caution for us all. Something to consider is that this blog and others like it attract the spiritually abused. Courteous, respectful, polite and solution oriented online conversations make it a much “safer” place for these people to find fellowship and engage in a way that honors Christ.

    Hi Julie Anne,

    I’m not implying Tony is a victim, but that we need to look beyond the personalities to see the reality of what is behind all this in order to engage effectively. When we do that, we can engage in real solutions beginning with prayer and recognizing our own need for humility.

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  38. I agree with you in part, but in reality, how does one engage effectively if he has virtually shut down conversation by blasting me with words that I need to repent, etc.

    My initial correspondence was a sincere attempt to warn him that having ties with my former pastor could be dangerous to his ministry – – – and to ask if he want to be connected to a man who sued people, had his license revoked.

    Since that time, any dialogue we have exchanged has been met with the same hostility.

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  39. Arclight,

    I can see that courteous, respectful, polite and solution oriented online conversation make sense for those who have not themselves been abused. But what about those who have been abused? What about those who deeply identify with those who have been abused? To heap an expectation of such congeniality on them comes across as just one more attempt to enforce an insidious and all too commonly imposed do-not-talk rule. Whether or not abuse is intended (and you certainly do not intend it), to be told, in effect, to stifle the expression of trauma-induced pain will be experienced as just one more instance of trauma-inducing abuse.

    It has been said that we repress to express. I contend that anger must be expressed. If it is not, it will eventually, at an unexpected time, come out sideways, thereby doing great damage to all concerned.

    Doubtless there are both healthy and unhealthy ways of expressing anger, but not just anybody is qualified to counsel victims of spiritual abuse on the matter. For one thing, not everybody can be heard. Only those who have themselves been victimized can be heard. Maybe non-victims who have taken the time to listen and listen deeply can contribute, but they will never have the credibility of actual victims who have walked through trauma to healing and wholeness.

    None of this is intended to criticize you, but maybe it will help you to understand why you are getting some pushback.

    So, here’s my suggestion: Hang around. Contribute. Show us by example how you would communicate. Bite your tongue when others are less congenial than you yourself choose to be. Do not lecture or admonish. At least do not do so until you have become a recognized part of the SSB community. It will then be much easier for others to receive what you have to say, although even then I would encourage caution. Sometimes suggestions are best put in the form of cautious questions, questions that leave room for the possibility that the questioner may not possess all the answers.

    Hope this helps.

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  40. Oh, I meant engage here with each other in order to encourage each other despite teachings like his. The book is not going to disappear, but we can encourage other women who are confused, etc. about it. As far as engaging with anyone who is being hostile, my experience tells me to disengage. Once you have laid out the concern, like with your former pastor, and the warning goes unheeded, you have done what you can and the burden is on the other person. Staying engaged when its not going well, however well intentioned, tends to minimize the real problem and take away from the need for the other person to really think things through. I don’t see this doctrine regarding women going away any time soon so I think we need to stay spiritually healthy and not get sucked into debates that go nowhere. That way we can focus on the ones that God does bring onto our path and help and encourage them as much as possible. So, for clarity, I am not saying we should not engage in a healthy debate – but if it gets unhealthy, we move on. If that doesn’t make sense – allow me one more cup of coffee. 🙂

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  41. ” Once you have laid out the concern, like with your former pastor, and the warning goes unheeded, you have done what you can and the burden is on the other person. Staying engaged when its not going well, however well intentioned, tends to minimize the real problem and take away from the need for the other person to really think things through.”

    I don’t know. Maybe this makes sense if the issue is private, affecting only the parties to the conversation. I contend that Julie Anne, and others, are well advised to carry on — not by way of attempting the impossible task of turning wolves into sheep (only Jesus can accomplish that), but by way of warning, encouraging, and even arming others. I see it as a prophetic role (although I am not necessarily claiming that Julie Anne is a prophet — she certainly is not one in the Old Testament sense of the term).

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  42. Hi Gary –

    I began by saying there was another side to Tony – that was not mentioned to lecture or admonish. If this is a place to vent and be sarcastic as a part of “healing” then so be it. If the people on this thread are venting as a result of spiritual abuse, and this blog was created for that, I apologize – that was unclear as there seems to be a place JA has established specifically for that on her site and is private. However, I thought I had made clear that I was also a victim of spiritual abuse. If it is unacceptable to encourage other Christians to handle things in a way that honor Christ – I am certainly in the wrong place (maybe I am mistaken – this IS a Christian blog, right?). What you nicely call “pushback” was actually very sarcastic and mean spirited criticism and I tried to be as gracious as I know how in spite of it.

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  43. Gary, I like your sensitive, sensible comments at 7:18. I confess to being one of the responders who has been less than congenial at times – I’m working on this (I have many on-line mentors). I tend to be as subtle as a sledgehammer at times – I recognize this. But, to respond to Arclight’s contention as to ‘this doctrine regarding women (not) going away anytime soon – I think perhaps this statement is why we use strong language.

    This doctrine MUST go away, and the sooner, the better. Perhaps this is why Julie Anne tries works so diligently to give a voice to all women in this circumstance – indeed, it’s the ONLY way it is going to go away.

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  44. “not by way of attempting the impossible task of turning wolves into sheep (only Jesus can accomplish that), but by way of warning, encouraging, and even arming others”

    Right. Agreed. This is why its important to disengage with someone who is being hostile. Its wasting precious time that can be better spent.

    For the record, I have agonized in prayer, beat tear stained pillows, and gone through the gamut of responses to severe spiritual abuse having worked in ministry for ten years and having lived through hell under an impossible board of elders – all this as a single mom with little to no support. In spite of all the pain and heartache, I still contend that to handle things in a God honoring way is the strongest path to freedom.

    Off to a soccer game to support the sweetest kid on earth 🙂

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  45. Carmen, Quickly, I don’t disagree – but for me I need to be careful about when and where and how to pick my battles – and then to be wise about how I fight them. Ok, running off!

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  46. Arclight,

    Thank you for informing us that you “have agonized in prayer, beat tear stained pillows, and gone through the gamut of responses to severe spiritual abuse . . . . I actually was wondering if something like this might be the case. Again, do please hang around. You have much to contribute. There may be limits as to what you are willing to share, but I suggest that we could all profit if you were to share a bit of what you have been through, how you walked (and are walking) through it, and what has and has not worked for you. Then, we can all decide for ourselves what wisdom your experience contributes to our own individual situations.

    As to the soccer game: Go team! Win!!

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  47. Arclight,

    Not to worry. I haven’t felt that you were thinking me mean spirited. Having said that, do please feel free to admonish me with regard to both the content and manner of my communication. It would give me an opportunity to experience what it is like to be on the receiving end of my own recommended procedure, which is to contest bad actions and bad ideas, though without entering into contemptuous condemnation of the author of those bad actions and ideas.

    Carmen,

    Yes, I am with you. I, too, confess to being one of the responders who has been less than congenial at times. Probably Arclight is being overly kind towards me in this regard. Maybe she will be troubled inasmuch as I see no problem being “subtle as a sledgehammer” when addressing bad acts and destructive ideas. Jesus himself was not particularly subtle when dealing with the religious leaders of his time. The problem, I suppose, is that it can be difficult for those who are watching to separate the actor from his bad acts and destructive ideas. Though I shouldn’t be, I tend to be surprised when people assume that attacks on ideas and actions are one and the same as attacks on the bad actor.

    Then again, again, I perceive that there are those (not Arclight) who intentionally mischaracterize attacks on actions and ideas as being attacks on the person. That way they can marginalize truth speakers as being unloving, albeit they are being cynically dishonest when they indulge such polemical deceits.

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  48. Hey Arclight . . .

    We are all busy and we spend time on the things that are important. It didn’t take me that long to write what I did. But it is all good. Offer up what you can when you can.

    Of course I was trying to be polite, (no reason not to be) and thank you for noticing. Though I must confess I found no end of irony in this ….

    “I have said a number of times that I disagreed with Tony’s position on this but John has extrapolated the meanings of some pretty simple statements to the point that it is clear he must know me better than I know myself. Maybe better than God does.”

    I mean I like it when people think I’m omniscient but I’ve never put that on my business card. LOL

    Considering your declared sensitivity to sarcasm I was enjoying the irony. Not that it matters to me … I’m the king of snark.

    )snicker(

    Anyway, on a more serious note . . . I understand that most people hold their ideas in a loose approximation. Kinda of like a big basket full of bumper stickers of things they’ve accumulated over a lifetime. They don’t really dig into the cause and effect of those ideas, and rarely do they make an effort to understand the roots of those ideas. In day to day life, this ideological looseness doesn’t really affect the progress of their life . . . too much. But when the pressure is on, and they are pushed to defend something they value . . . that is when the bumper stickers suddenly show themselves to be woefully incomplete.

    And so you came to this post to defend Tony Miano specifically. You reject his doctrine but hold some fidelity to him based on personal interaction. So you reached into your basket of counter arguments for the tools to defend a friend.

    I get that.

    I get that in your mind you were offering a narrow rebuttal to what you saw as an erroneous charge against someone you admire. Or maybe better said, you were trying to offer a bigger perspective, trying to encourage Tony Miano’s critics to insert some humanity into their criticisms.

    But here is the thing . . . the arguments you chose to use actually do have much, much deeper roots. Like all bumper stickers, the short pithy statements are really emblematic of much broader intellectual statements. Trace those roots far enough back and I guarantee you will find them rooted in a very specific philosophy.

    You offer “Tony would take a bullet” and mean to say he’s a really really good guy so maybe we should just chill a minute on our judgments.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that the bumper sticker defense is really rooted in the utterly destructive philosophy called Altrusim.

    You offer “None of us are fit for heaven yet,” and mean to say, we are all imperfect so give Tony a break for being wrong in this teensy weensy issue.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that the bumper sticker defense is really rooted in the doctrine of Pervasive Depravity . . . a doctrine specifically designed to wreck man’s epistemology, so that he is morally disqualified to challenge political tyranny.

    My goal was to illustrate how the bumper stickers are in fact rooted in those philosophies. Christians have been so inundated with these kinds of saying that we almost never challenge what they mean. We talk in this kind of short hand all the time only vaguely aware of the formal doctrine underneath. So we accept truisms like “He would take a bullet,” as moral qualification never once realizing that we are being ethically manipulated by the destructive force of Altruism.

    So Arclight, while I did understand where you were coming from, it was my interest to show the bigger picture.

    And now for a really bad segue:

    Speaking about manipulation let me shift gear slightly. Let’s talk about “Tone” since it has come up through sundry comments.

    While I understand that shaping WHAT you say for your audience may help with its acceptance, “Tone” has nothing to do with validating TRUTH. With regularity “Tone” is being held up as a necessary qualification for TRUTH. In other words, merely because someone objects to “Tone,” WHAT was said can be rejected with impunity. If the “Tone” was harsh, or sarcastic, or merely ruffled someone’s spiritual Fung Shui then WHAT was said is disqualified.

    Here is what this means: One person is setting up their delicate sensibilities as THE yardstick of truth. This is a profound conceit that gets hidden merely by a smile. As long as we say things “nicely” we can say some truly disastrous things. As long as the “Tone” is acceptable monsters are free to do what they wish.

    This is why Christians get sucked into some truly disastrous theology. As long as the preachers “Tone” passes the arbitrary standard of acceptable, WHAT he is saying must be ok. Or even more insidious is when people who object to the disastrous theology must first vet their “Tone” before the preacher is willing to hear the objection. And no preacher ever does that. The easiest Get-out-of-Doctrinal Insanity- free card is to argue that the failure of “Tone” obviously means the person speaking does not have “Gods” authority because if he did he wouldn’t talk like that.

    Alakazam poof! The preacher’s doctrine can NEVER be challenged.

    I trust that people can see that the “Tone” as Truth bumper sticker has some truly disastrous implications.

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  49. Dear John, You assume so very much and seem to need to believe that you get where I am coming from without asking me to clarify or knowing me in any capacity. There are so many wrong assumptions on your part, John, that I honestly think its better to leave this alone. God bless.

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  50. Mmmm …. There really wasn’t a need to make assumptions. Nor a need to ask you for further clarification. You have offered a number of comments describing where you are coming from. That clarification tended to follow the same line of thought and the same basic defense of Tony Miano . . . so if what you have written isn’t really indicative of what you were “trying to do” Then you are probably right … it is just better to leave it alone.

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  51. Gary W,

    This might get a little tedious, so forgive me. I appreciate your comment with respect to my assertion that Jesus cannot precede man; but man must exist FIRST, before the existence of the Savior.

    I understand that at first glance my statement appears to contradict the infinity of God’s existence. And, if you approach the definition of infinity as a function of God’s limitless temporal existence juxtaposed with man’s finite temporal existence, then, yes, it seems absurd to say that Jesus, who is God, proceeds man. Of course, in order to define infinity this way you must concede the material (actual) existence of time, which I deny. More on that in a bit.

    Here is what I mean. First, it is important to ask ourselves this simple question: How can the Savior of Man exist prior to Man’s existence? I mean, if man isn’t around to be saved then there cannot be any rational nor definable need for a Savior. How do you even quantify salvation if the object of that salvation is, well, nothing (not actually existing). So, before there is a Savior there needs to be someTHING to save. This is part A.

    Part B: I do not subscribe to the duality of Jesus as “both” God AND man. Jesus was a man who happens to be God. Jesus IS is the fundamental premise, just like it is for everything we observe. From this observation of the actual we ascribe conceptual abstractions in order to organize what we observe. “Man” and “God” are, strictly speaking, conceptual abstractions which, beyond the context of an object observed are infinite and absolute. Absent a material context, “man” and “God” cannot be reconciled because they are unobservable, which means they cannot be defined…and an undefined value practically applied must be zero.

    But as for Jesus, who was a physical, material being, it is not contradictory to declare him thus: a man who is God. Jesus, there, THAT man, is God. Thus God, in Jesus, becomes one who can be observed, and thus, can be valued according to the conceptual abstraction of time, and as such, it can logically be declared that Jesus the Savior exists AFTER man exists…Jesus is a function of “time” like man is. And because it is JESUS who is the object which gives value to time, we can declare this without having to concede some kind of existentially positional distinction (the “temporal” God versus the “infinite” God). In other words, “Jesus IS”, is the precisely the same truth as “God IS” which is precisely the same truth as “man IS”. Man and Jesus and God are all existentially equal, and therefore, the concepts of time (as well as other concepts) are used in service to rationally organizing our environment. Therefore, the statement: Jesus exists after man exists MUST be true in accordance with the rational organization of our world via the concepts we use to organize it. To declare that Jesus exists before man exists becomes a contradiction in conceptual terms, and thus, cannot be true…it wrecks man’s ability to declare his concepts as proper tools to apprehend his own existence and reality. .

    Part C: And this is tangential…I deny the actuality of time and space. Time and space are conceptual abstractions, which means they do not materially exist. They only have value insofar as they are applied to the context of material objects which can be observed by man. Therefore, when I say “man must come before Jesus”, I am not necessarily conceding the reality of time. I am making an argument of rational consistency; “Cause and effect” according to ideas which progress along a “timeline” of consistent ideas, rather than a timeline of, well…time.

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  52. Argo,

    If you are saying that, in the sequence of events we experience as that which we call time, Adam was created and sinned, and his descendants likewise sinned, before Jesus became our savior, I follow you. That is just the chronology of historical events. Jesus can say “before Abraham [and presumably also Adam] was I Am,” without contradicting the assertion that He did not become Savior until sometime after the material manifestation of flesh and blood people. Otherwise, you (and johnimmel) are leaving me in something of a thick fog. I will attribute the fog to the limitations of my intellectual capacity.

    Still, it might aid my understanding if you could explain what, if anything, your observations are countering. Are you addressing some habitual and generally unexamined, but mistaken, way of thinking in which we are apt to indulge?

    Also, do your observations somehow fit in with observations that are being made concerning the distinction between Platonic and Aristotelian thought?

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  53. Arclight,

    You say, “Dear John, You assume so very much and seem to need to believe that you get where I am coming from. . . .” Probably I should be careful not to put words into John’s mouth and thoughts into his mind, but it seems that one thing John is saying to all of us, including you, is that we ourselves do not recognize where we are coming from. I have not at all digested everything John has said here, but he challenges me to recognize and examine those supposedly incontestable “truths” we tend to indulge, but without recognizing that they are nothing more than the unexamined teachings of men. My opinion is that these unexamined but dogmatically held ideas and presuppositions are among the strongholds spoken of here:

    “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, . . .) (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, ESV)

    Trouble is, John may well object to my appeal to the authority of Scripture. The notion of the authority of Scripture is so deeply engrained in our habitual and unexamined ways of thinking that to question the authority of Scripture seems tantamount to blasphemy. Personally, I am not ready to reject Scripture as a source of true truth, but if Scripture is authoritative, it is as a practical matter impotent to establish what is and is not true. Even before reading and attempting to understand what John has written here, this had occurred to me. The reality is that Scripture can be used as a bludgeon in an effort to impose any number of diametrically opposed ideas.

    So, what is my point in all of this? I am speaking to myself as much as to you or anybody else, but I suggest that we all will profit if we seek to identify where we have embraced ideas, presuppositions and habitual ways of thinking without even recognizing it. Many of these ideas are simply wrong headed. The challenge I would put to you is to seek to identify those ideas and presuppositions you may have embraced without examination, and test them.

    “[B]ut test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, ESV)

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  54. Gary W,

    This is probably confusing, and I apologize. My point is this: Jesus is infinite and Jesus is God and Jesus can interact and co-exist with man, thus this implies an existential equality between man and God. Man IS in the same existential sense as God IS. Which means that man as a material object must also be infinite. Meaning that the source of all absolute truth is not found in conceptual abstractions man uses to define his environment, but in the root SELF of all he observes, including himself. When we can thus make a proper distinction between concepts and objects, we can have a TRUE relationship with God and other men. The problem I see is that we are so quick to concede that concepts which are not actual (because they cannot be observed) are causal. Thus, God seems to be able to nullify what are to us, absolute truths which we cannot defy. This means that the concepts we use to define TRUTH are not really truth at all, so we think. We think that God can be both “before” and “now” at the same time, where we cannot. This wrecks mans ability to ever ACTUALLY know truth, because God can seemingly defy man’s rational organization of his world on a whim. But if we understand that when we speak of “before” and “now” (and other concepts) we are merely ascribing some abstract value to a specific object in a specific context, we understand that it is not that God can violate the “truth” of man, but that man is himself, like God, TRUTH. The concepts are not actual, thus, they can be contextually redefined in service to what IS actual TRUTH: man, what he observes, and God.

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  55. Dear John, You assume so very much and seem to need to believe that you get where I am coming from without asking me to clarify or knowing me in any capacity. There are so many wrong assumptions on your part, John, that I honestly think its better to leave this alone. God bless.”

    Sorry I missed out on the illuminating exchange. I hope you are not offended Arclight. It is just that ones sees so much of this sort of cheap grace exhortation and combined with the declarations, one cannot help but respond to it.

    I also assumed you would understand that we can only take your words on a blog as what you believe/think. Evidently, that is not so according to you. There seems to be some larger explanation that will change the meaning of your original comments but now you are not interested in sharing the “real meaning” behind your original words.

    It is always easy to repeat things we hear such as “lacking in grace” or “none of us is fit for heaven” or that you somehow know for a fact, “Tony would take a bullet” for John or I without ever thinking them through and where those sorts of root assumptions come from. They are easy to say. Not so easy to defend unless those you are talking to go along with the root assumptions.

    Of course, I was thinking of how Tony has treated JA and his partnering with CON, the thug pastor and his ridiculous false teaching about women and should be throw in hypocrisy. Oh well.

    In addition, you never gave us specific examples of what was written here that would be lacking in “grace”. Be specific next time. Vague rebukes never help anyone.

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  56. Lydia, Please reread the comment I posted after you referred to my faith as that which passes for Christendom (implying I am not a believer) and calling my words “drivel.” In the interest of time let’s please let it go.

    Gary, John had absolutely no problem into putting words, and intentions into my heart and mouth. It was all a simple issue of semantics and another simple issue of humility – not assuming I can judge the entirety of a person based on my personal issues with them. People tend to judge what others say as filtered through their own personal background (referring to this thread). I understand that. But if you say I am wrong in expressing that there is more than one aspect to a person’s character because I didn’t articulate it perfectly, then I give up. I’d rather be a foolish, pathetic but redeemed soul, than articulate and proud. I’d love to be able to erase each and every comment I’ve made on this thread for my own sake and I would love to get that time back as I don’t see that its actually been helpful to anyone who is trying to recover from spiritual abuse. If I were to quote the first portion of 1 Corinthians 13 here, I’m afraid it would be picked apart. Please move on without me.

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  57. @ johnimmel,
    Just because Christians do not agree on interpretations on the Bible on every point all the time does not mean Christians should chuck the Bible out the window as a source of spiritual authority.

    BTW, I am somewhat agnostic these days; I am no longer fully a Christian, but I find your views on this topic idiotic.

    Of course Christians should appeal to the Bible as a source of authority, since it is how they learn about their founder, Jesus Christ.

    Saying Christians should not appeal to the Bible as an authority is just as ignorant and weird as saying Muslims should not regard the Hadiths or the Koran as an authority, or the Mormons should disregard the Book of Mormon.

    I do not agree with the Koran, Hadith, or Book of Mormon, but I recognize that those respective groups base their views and such on those writings.

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  58. Argo said,
    We think that God can be both “before” and “now” at the same time, where we cannot. This wrecks mans ability to ever ACTUALLY know truth, because God can seemingly defy man’s rational organization of his world on a whim.

    I do not agree with that conclusion.

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  59. So I’ve been thinking about this for a bit, obviously, since this thread has mostly ended. But I wanted to do some due diligence and consider how the conversation with Arclight hand gone and if I thought it valuable to make a point.

    One challenge was to figure out how to walk a line between making my point and not make this about me and Arclight. I don’t want to come off as a big meaner. No one wants to be seen as picking on a single mom who doesn’t have a lot of time, misunderstanding her words, and failing to understand that she was just trying to inspire Tony Miano’s critics to have a little humility.

    She wants to leave it alone, right? What is the big deal? We just agree to disagree. As the great philosopher Rodney King said, “Can’t we just all get along?”

    Or is there something important to illustrate?

    Of course, since I am continuing to comment, you know the answer to the second question: There is something very valuable to learn here.

    I will walk you through a synopsis of my reasoning.

    1. The real issue?

    (And it is not Arclight and I.)

    The focus of this post is Tony Miano’s treatment of Julie Anne, and the fuel for that treatment is his specific doctrine that female should be subordinate to the “authority” of men.

    Arclight chose to defend Tony Miano based on some foundation of personal fidelity and theoretical virtue. She then challenged the moral substance of Tony’s critics by asserting their general theoretical guilt. She entered this public forum on her own free will. (All any reader could be expected to do is accept her words for what they represent.)

    2. The scope.

    (It is MUCH bigger than this blog.)

    There is a massive resurgence of historically oppressive submission and authority doctrines sweeping through American Christianity. These doctrines have a long history of being at the root of political oppression. Tony Miano is advocating one of those doctrines: female subordination to male authority. This doctrine has an ugly history, playing a central role in the Salem Witch Trials, a historic Catholic pogroms against women, and the condemnation of women to second class citizens. (And that assumed they were citizens at all. This doctrine was at the root of treating women like chattel for centuries throughout European jurisprudence and culture.)

    So potent is this indoctrinated chauvinism that even in 21st century America, women are being socially coerced to bear a quiver full of babies, expected to abandon higher education to “serve” as sexual outlets for their husbands, and being denied the freedom to pick their own mates because they must submit to a father’s “authority” as he appoints a “suitable” marriage partner. And all of this is advocated and enforced without any real civil authority.

    I will let you, dear reader, apply your imagination to what this could look like if modern preachers actually got ahold of the reins of government.

    My point: The Tony Miano-Julie Anne exchange is merely anecdotal for a root fight that is far more than just some vague theological parsing. And unless people begin to understand the means by which these doctrines gain ascendancy in a church and are thereby advanced into broader cultural acceptance, I submit that you will not need imagination to understand what religious tyranny looks like. If you can’t successfully rebut a guy standing behind a lectern when he is preaching his authority to make you agree with his conclusion, how will you challenge him when he is standing behind guns and badges?

    3. The arena of ideas

    It is always awkward to have a pointed conversation with someone who positions themselves as an upholder of moral value, particularly when you are challenging the root definition of “moral value.” The challenge is only magnified when it is revealed that the conflict is with a “single mom who doesn’t have a lot of time,” who insists she is just being misunderstood, assumed, and presumed upon. No one wants to be accused of piling on the single mom.

    But then I realized that the brief exchange between myself and Arclight is in fact very much on point with this post. The root issue is the rational equality of women. If they are not rationally equal and are in fact forbidden to teach men, then Arclight had no business engaging me at all. Whether she has kids or the time is irrelevant.

    You ladies find that doctrinal position offensive … and you should. It is a vile epistemological assumption. But then catering to single mom-hood on any level is merely enforcing the stereotype of female inferiority. Being a single mom has no bearing on rational responsibility or logical consistency. Everyone is busy with choosing their own values and acting accordingly. And that includes men. So a public conversation is just that . . . public and someone might actually challenge what has been said.

    This is the flip side of rational equality.
    Thinking is time consuming.
    There are right and wrong answers. (More on this in a minute)
    If one is inclined to think an argument is in error,
    it should be countered with a better argument.
    Indignation is not a rebuttal, and generalizations are not substance.
    John Gray was wrong. We are all from Earth, and words mean things. If words can’t be taken at face value and there is a mystery about what you are “trying to do,” then the mystery is self-imposed.

    Demanding that a critic be omniscient as a qualification for knowing truth is absurd. (More on this in a minute too.) Truth is never subordinate to emotions.

    4. Moral manipulation.

    For all of Arclight’s protestation that she was misunderstood, the nature of her defense of Tony Miano remained strikingly consistent. Set aside her personal loyalty and merely look at her method and you will see a theme revisited over and over.

    In my first analysis, I briefly discussed the appeal to altruism and its function in granting Tony Miano a theoretical virtue and then the use of the doctrine of pervasive depravity to ascribe to his critics a theoretical moral guilt.

    And this is the theme that I want you to notice. From the outset, Arclight’s focus was to shift the moral burden from Tony Miano’s doctrine-induced conduct to our temerity to criticize. I need to point out this is EXACTLY what Tony Miano did with Julie Anne. Notice what he said in the tweet: “I’m not intimidated by UNREPENTANT women who assert themselves like men. Repent.”

    Calling someone unrepentant is tantamount to calling them immoral. Instead of acknowledging the truth of Julie Anne’s comment that Chuck O’Neal was in church discipline, he shifted the moral burden. He made the issue about HER state of theoretical moral failing as if that took precedence of the factual nature of Julie Anne’s observation.

    Do you see the pattern?

    I first ran into this argumentative technique during my time in Sovereign Grace Ministries. CJ Mahaney, et al. were masters at this method and are very obviously still employing the same methodology to keep CJ in ministry even though he is a walking church leadership disaster. When challenged on the substance of their doctrine and/or their behavior, they immediately shift the moral burden to their critic. Their catch phrase rebuttals were/are “You are unteachable” or “You are arrogant” or “You are presumptuous” or “You lack humility” among a few others.

    It took years to understand how profoundly I was being manipulated. It wasn’t until I challenged the root assumption—the moral manipulation—that I was able to successfully rebut the madness coming out of that ministry.

    Here is a brief test for those of you who found yourself at odds with your church and subsequently suffered when you challenged their doctrine-motivated action. Think back through your interaction and I suspect you will find this patter in bold letters. You offered a factual challenge to something and they immediately shifted the moral burden to you. And then the more you tried to vindicate your actions and show that you were not guilty of a SPECIFIC moral failing, they continued to heap upon your head theoretical guilt. And I will bet money that their argumentative trump card was some variation of Arclight’s assertion: “None of us are fit for heaven,” which is the same as saying “We are all just sinners,” which is rooted in the doctrine of Pervasive Depravity.

    This is all an attempt to shift the moral burden to the critic, either by declaring the critic guilty of moral depravity or declaring all conduct morally equivalent.

    5. Humility.

    As I said above, it is awkward to have a pointed conversation with someone who positions themselves as an upholder of moral value, particularly when you are challenging the root definition of “moral value.” And now I am going to do just that. I am going to challenge the implications of the moral Holy Grail called Humility.

    Of course, one of the biggest problems in discussing humility is defining what humility actually looks like. We’ve all met that sixteen-year-old pinhead who thought they knew everything and couldn’t be told anything. Maybe we’ve even been that sixteen-year-old. And we look back on those days and wonder how we survived, wonder how our lives would have been different if we only had a little “humility.”

    Or we have encountered the quasi-intellectual who is always holding forth on every topic and can’t be told anything contrary to his aggressive disposition. And we walk away from such an interaction and say to ourselves, “If he only had a little humility.” It seems like “humility” would be a good thing. If they had “humility” they would see the error of their ways and then someone could actually teach them something. We conclude that the solution to adolescent pinheadedness and quasi-intellectual boorishness is social subordination.

    But I will point out that social subordination is not a cause … it is an effect. It isn’t something you have it is something done too you. It is disgrace, and shame, and degradation. To be degraded is to have some part of ability eroded, or harmed, or destroyed. Being consistent with the definition of Humiliation this is no solution for pinheadedness or quasi-intellectual boorishness. It is a sub human state of existence.

    I submit that the real problem with the pinhead or the quasi-intellect is that they fail to correctly identify their place in reality. The sixteen-year-old’s problem is his failure to make a correct evaluation of his context to reality. His reality testers are flawed, so he can’t make good decisions, or take good council. He can’t tell what GOOD looks like.

    The quasi-intellectual’s problem is the same. He mistakes his overbearing personality for superior argumentation. This is a failure to grasp reality. The inability to successfully judge reality is called insanity. The more consistently someone acts contrary to reality the more disastrous the outcome. Defy reality long enough and reality eventually imposes itself on the delusional mind and does not offer any grace. Reality imposes the real definition of humiliation.

    And if we were honest with ourselves, this is what we really hope happens to the pinheads of the world. We yearn for their comeuppance. We yearn for them to be forced into subordination. We want their humiliation.

    Herein is the problem. This is not an ethical state of existence. True humility (i.e. humiliation) has NOTHING to do with moral action because it is the (enforced) abandonment of action, and the (enforced) abandonment of reason, which means humility is really the abandonment of all values.

    To our great disaster though, “humiliation” has been turned into an ethical ideal. And as an ethical ideal, the ethical ideal demands the subordination of all men to the lowest common denominator: the abandonment of all values. This means that you are commanded to embrace someone else’s conclusions even if there are facts in your favor. This creates a moral equivalence between the quasi-intellectual and Einstein. They both speak forcibly about their ideas, but the “forcefulness” becomes the defining measure of their “moral” conduct. It doesn’t matter that Einstein’s power in the conversation is his expertise, and his expertise is directly tied to the virtue of his reason. Einstein can make no claim to his reason or his expertise and remain moral.

    Now notice what the appeal to “humility” really does. It creates what I will call the Perfection Fallacy. The fallacy goes like this: Because you don’t know EVERYTHING, you can’t be right about this SPECIFIC thing. Because you don’t KNOW me like God knows me, you can’t criticize me. Because you are not PERFECT, you can’t possibly judge. Because you are not OMNIPOTENT, you must concede that you are weak.

    This fallacy folds neatly into our doctrine of Pervasive Depravity and Original Sin, so we barely pause to question the implication. And when pushed into a corner for the error of our ideas, we pluck out the perfection fallacy out of our argument bucket and brandish it like it is a cross and garlic. Never once do we notice that the perfection fallacy eradicates the concept of right and wrong ideas. It destroys rational judgment at the root by presuming that no one can ever be sure of anything because “no one is perfect” … “no one is fit for heaven yet” “no one knows EVERYTHING.”

    Alakazam poof! There are no more right and wrong answers.

    Of course there are right and wrong answers. It is GOOD to be right and it is BAD to be wrong . . . . unless you are in church. And then only the guys in charge are right because they have “authority.” Everyone else is expected to treat all ideas as if they have equal merit. Failure to do so is seen as a failure of “humility.” Leadership can be flamingly ignorant on pretty much any subject but no expert in any field can say so because that would be a failure to “submit to authority.” Speaking up would show forth “your immaturity” because the truly mature Christian waits patiently for God to exalt them. The humble show “mercy” while God deals with the leadership in “his own time.”

    This whole dynamic is a full-on absurdity. Not everyone has the right answer, and not everyone’s ideas are worthy of merit. “Ignorant leadership” should be an oxymoron but it is almost a church leadership institution. Some people’s ideas/doctrines SHOULD be condemned because they are wrong.

    (Case in point: Tony Miano’s ideas of rational subordination based on a chromosome and a multitude of estrogen.)

    And this is all rooted in the disastrous notion that Humiliation is the foundation of morality.

    6. Humility’s function.

    Humility is Christian kryptonite. It is designed to reduce the strong, the able, the rationally effective, and the virtuous . . . to impotence.

    This is of course why the word gets tossed around in Christian conversations. It is designed to level the playing field and enforce group cohesion. If you believe that your strengths are really the root of your weakness—and this requires that you “Humiliate” yourself to be moral—then you have NO moral claim to the content of your own mind. The only moral action you can demonstrate is to LAY DOWN YOUR MIND.

    I have a number of articles on this specific subject on my blog, so I won’t rehash them here.

    But know this: The appeal to “humility” is designed to destroy rational certainty. It is intended to inspire equivocation by implying moral failing for being sure. This is why humility is ALWAYS positioned as equivocation and weakness, and pride is ALWAYS positioned as a synonym for rationality and capability. Once you lay down your mind those men “In authority” rush in to fill the vacuum. Once your mind is gone they can lead you around by the nose. This is what “Humility” really means.

    And this is why it is such a powerful means of moral manipulation.

    Even though self-abasement is held up as the pinnacle of moral action, it is the antithesis of morality. Notice that a man who regrets his corrupt conduct and seeks to atone for his actions is not practicing humiliation. His regret shows forth the correct emotional response for failing to live up to his values. He cannot regret abandoning something he doesn’t love. So when he chooses renew his commitment to act towards those values he is seeking to regain his SELF-esteem.

    By contrast a man who totally abandons moral conviction is purposely degrading his ethical existence. He does not love morality he hates it. So true humility is not an acknowledgment of one’s failings, but is rather a specific abandonment of moral action. It is an abandonment of moral action because it is an abandonment of ALL volition in deference to the edicts of collective judgment. This kind of “humility” could only take one form: chronic anxiety and total self-doubt.

    Of course, no one reading here actually believes this of themselves, because such an existence is impossible. No living creature could act on the most basic means of sustaining its own life if plagued by such self-imposed neurosis. “Should I eat today? How can I know? I can have no assurance. I am humble so I can take no action that chooses any virtue. Is it better that I starve today, or is it better that I live? How can I know for sure?”

    Many people like to say “I’m the greatest sinner,” but they don’t really mean it. Beyond the fact, such a statement presupposes that all evil is the same. Hitler is on the same moral par as the ten-year-old stealing a pack of gum. If they actually did mean I’m the greatest sinner, they MUST mean to say that they NEVER intend to be any better.

    So the statement is either a vile, despicable abandonment of all virtue or it is fraud….

    7. Full circle

    I would ask you, dear readers, to go back through Arclight comments and see the pattern of argument.

    From the beginning she set out to shift the moral burden from Tony Miano to his critics. For all of her insistence that she was misunderstood, she was strikingly consistent with the form of her argument.

    She starts with shifting the moral virtue TO Tony Miano with altruism and the moral error to his critics via a shorthand version of the doctrine of Pervasive Depravity. Then notice that she says that I know her better than even God does. This is merely sarcastic form of the perfection fallacy I noted above. And then notice her general appeal to humility. She used the appeal to “Humility” just like I detailed above for the very reason I detailed above: to create moral equivalency and rational equivocation. I will summarize her root argument: “How can you be so sure? Don’t you understand you’re a sinner just like everyone else? Maybe you should have some humility and just know that no one has all the right answers yet.”

    Arclight insists that she isn’t making these arguments deliberately. She doesn’t like the analysis I’ve made because she sees my comments as reading way too much into her intent.

    And . . . I believe her.

    She isn’t deliberately thinking about the formal doctrinal statements or the argumentative implications. But that is why my analysis is important. If she is UNINTENTIONALLY using longstanding, manipulative doctrines, that means she is so familiar with the techniques that it doesn’t ever occur to her where she got them or that there is anything wrong with them. That means she has heard some variation of these arguments over and over and over, which means exactly what I said above.

    “. . .unless people begin to understand the means by which these doctrines gain ascendancy in a church, and are thereby advanced into broader cultural acceptance I submit that you will not need imagination to understand what religious tyranny looks like.”

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  60. Arclight: You have been shown to have been fully inculcated into and to have adopted a pattern of thinking and interaction that is common among abusers, particularly those who have assumed the “authority” that properly belongs to the Holy Spirit and to the priesthood of all believers. That is Miano’s sin and it is yours by adoption. REPENT!

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  61. Arclight ,

    You can do better than a dismissive response. By making such a response you have actually fallen into a trap. You have provided one more illustration of the corrupt methods of attempted-manipulation-masquerading-as-argumentation John so capably exposes.

    I really do mean it when I say you can do better, and I don’t mean it as a putdown. Rather, I mean it as a cheering-you-on encouragement to to engage the substance of John’s arguments. Really, it is for your own benefit. Unless and until you are able to distinguish between manipulative thought stopping criticism and an actual substantive response, you are at great risk of the very kind of spiritual abuse that has brought so many to this blog. I wish better for you.

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  62. John,

    Thank you for giving us your time and for being willing to share your insights. Those who will expend the effort to read and understand what you say will be much benefited. For one thing, those who choose to remain in institutional Christian fellowships will be much better equipped to discern between abusive and non-abusive organizations. Those of us who see no hope for true Christian fellowship within the context of authority-based (as opposed to love-based) organizations will be strengthened in our resolve to avoid further participation in church-as-organization “Christianity.” Or so I see it as applied to my own life experience.

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  63. “I will let you, dear reader, apply your imagination to what this could look like if modern preachers actually got ahold of the reins of government”

    Stopping reading your comment to reflect on this. People often get this backwards.. They think it means changing the constitution or something. Not so. It is social engineering through tax code, entitlements, etc. You can engineer the sort of society you want when you control how much money people get or keep through entitlements, tax incentives, etc. And you do it incrementally.

    There is NO fundamental difference between Tony Miano and Obama when it comes to the foundational premise of authority/submission. An example would be that both will micromanage but Tony might say you cannot use birth control where Obama might demand you do.

    ok, back to reading. (It is just that in many ways the religious left has ahold of the reigns already and micromanaging us.

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  64. “Think back through your interaction and I suspect you will find this patter in bold letters. You offered a factual challenge to something and they immediately shifted the moral burden to you. And then the more you tried to vindicate your actions and show that you were not guilty of a SPECIFIC moral failing, they continued to heap upon your head theoretical guilt. And I will bet money that their argumentative trump card was some variation of Arclight’s assertion: “None of us are fit for heaven,” which is the same as saying “We are all just sinners,” which is rooted in the doctrine of Pervasive Depravity.

    This is all an attempt to shift the moral burden to the critic, either by declaring the critic guilty of moral depravity or declaring all conduct morally equivalent.”

    Sometimes it can be very benign. I have had some folks try this one a lot which is really the same thing only sounds nicer:

    You are looking for a perfect church and when you find one it will no longer be perfect because you are there.

    Or simply:

    You will never find a perfect church. (this one is used in seeker mega circles all the time)

    So the problem is I expect sinless perfection of others (esp the leaders) but I am also a depraved worm or a “sinner while saved by grace who keeps on sinning all the time like the rest of us”.

    See the technique?
    They have set up a false dichotomy without realizing it. Some of the parroting of pithy Christianese cliches is going to have to be challenged before anything can change. The idea is to set up a no negative truth zone because none of us is “perfect” so we cannot say anything.

    Ok. Then raise your kids like that.

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  65. “John, Please. One hopes your “dear readers” have moved on by now. Coming across a little obsessive, brother.”

    Count me in! I am obsessive about truth, thinking patterns, how God made us as rational beings, etc, how I think we read scripture totally upside down and have made it into the 4th person of the Trinity yet ignoring the Holy Spirit while we do so. (We do not read it against it’s pagan backdrop within it’s context to it’s original audience. Too many have been taught it is a magic book for all ages) GASP

    I want to encourage you Arclight to start on a path of thinking things through. Becoming a responsible follower of Christ that stops excusing ourselves through some thinking weakness so many claim cannot be helped where some “authority” has to do your thinking for you.

    a great passage in 1 John tells us we were ALL given anointing and do not need a teacher. We have the Holy Spirit. But we have all erred in following man instead of our precious Savior who wants us to DO. Be the KINGDOM NOW.

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  66. John,

    In my experience, there are two kinds of psychological identities which arise from the philosophical/theological construct you describe: the identity of fear and suffering due to the denial of any ability to be moral (utter abandonment of SELF, and therefore self-worth); and the identity of sociopathic narcissism/sadism due to the denial of any ability to be moral (utter abandonment of SELF, and therefore self-RESTRAINT).

    The former will tend to make up the laity, the latter the leadership. Of course personalities may comprise various quantities of both, but generally neo reformed church psychology as I have observed trend one way or the other. The common thread is a denial of self worth leading to the utter abandonment of moral values. If your IDENTITY is fear, you will never act out of love. If your IDENTITY is sadism/narcissism you abandon all hope of ever finding morality in yourself or your fellow human being, and thus you will never act out of love.

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  67. They called Dietrich Bonhoeffer obsessive and he turned out to be right. Besides that I can think of worse obsessions. And I expect that those who grasp the implications of my observations will never want to move on when it comes to the roots of religious tyranny.

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  68. Gary W

    Thank you. I do appreciate your kind words. your observation is correct. The authority based model of Christianity has historically never provided hope. It has always followed a path towards tyranny. Unless and until people grasp the root doctrines and their specific function to pacify the masses, and seek to refute them, Christianity will continue to be a force of despotism in the earth.

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  69. Hey Lydia,

    I’m working my way through some of the subsequent comments since I have a 5 hour layover in Denver. LOL.

    Anyway… I got to comment and wanted to second your point. I’m sure you have heard me say it before, but it bears repeating. Any argument that concedes the premise is merely an argument over how much. Tony Miano and Barack Obama hold the same fundamental premise: The state (read government) owns man. The only thing to argue over is exactly what the state owns. The tax code, tax incentives, public handouts et al are merely the public policy used to achieve what the state has decided it owns.

    And in as much as the Church is the state . . . well, you already know how to finish that sentence.

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  70. Argo… so what you are observing is the altruistic/pervasive depravity construct only offers man two moral choices: Masochism or Sadism?

    I think that is very insightful.

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  71. Yes, the cancer that is Calvinism. It reeks! And I cringed when I saw a video in which this macho man’s man tried to present his calvinist gospel and no one understood a word…maybe they were not the elected. What an arrogant, rude, loveless man.

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  72. And the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about one woman – a specific woman – called “the woman” was to stop teaching a man [might be her husband in the Greek] error. The issue wasn’t her being a woman, the issue wasn’t him being a man. The issue that Paul was dealing with was error. Paul didn’t want to humiliate this woman. He wanted her to learn correctly first. The same would be true for a man.

    Manipulative Bible translators changed the text to something Paul NEVER wrote “a woman”. He never made a statement about all Christian women, for all time, NOT being able to teach.

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