Byrd's "Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood"

mvdm

Puritan Board Junior

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
And I know CBMW types don't like to hear this, but until they formally condemn and disavow all forms of ESS, I don't truck with them.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I don't like Byrd when she writes on gender....BUT....has CBMW ever repented of their Trinitarian errors?

Byrd was spot-on regarding this issue...it is a shame she then switched over to gender stuff and did so poorly in many cases.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Only halfway. They still get touchy when you ask them about this. They say it isn't definitional to who they are. Okay, that's great. Now condemn it. They won't do that.
Hmmm..... that is troubling.

Sometimes there are no pure heroes or villains. A champion comes to defend the Trinity and does extremely well at it, only to then go on foolish side-quests to prove men and women can be friends or that soft-feminism should be allowed in the churches (which is already there anyway...most evangelical churches are bastions of enshrined effeminacy). Which makes me wonder...is her main concern over the Trinity at all, or was this CBMW error merely a wedge-issue to push her true social agenda.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Which makes me wonder...is her main concern over the Trinity at all, or was this CBMW error merely a wedge-issue to push her true social agenda.
It's generally futile to speculate on motives, otherwise I can (somewhat fairly) accuse CBMW of "changing the Trinity so they can keep their womens in line."

Part of her book, which I haven't yet read, is a pushback against errant views that do treat women as second-class. You see this in Aristotle and those who follow him.

Who's the bad guy in this debate? It's never an all-or-nothing. I do think semi-Arianism is much worse than feminism. And what is a feminist, anyway? Is it a Karen on the View? Or it is anyone who isn't a Patriarchalist?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Any sympathy I might have had is gone (I'm one that was turned off seriously by Phillips type Patriarchalists and I have not followed the Byrd saga and such like). The author argues for women reading scripture in public worship; just how different is that from the progs in the PCA? But otoh if you let non ordained men do it on principle this is what you get. Both are exceptions to WLC 156 (intent in the proof text and the sister standard, the assembly's DfPW). It is a duty of the ministry.
 

Jo_Was

Puritan Board Freshman
Here's the Mortification of Spin responding to some controversies. They are lighthearted, which I can't imagine being, personally, knowing some of the really degrading (un-Christian) things being said about Aimee as far as questioning her faith. But from the mouth of her and colleagues on her aims with this book: https://www.reformation21.org/blog/recovering-from-biblical-manhood-and-womanhood-the-trial

I think it's also helpful to note that, yes, her book title is sensational, but sometimes that is often pushed in publishing, and, yes, even in Christian publishing. You get the sense from the above discussionthat it was pushed to be more sensational than Byrd initially intended. But she does a decent job of explaining how her book does address the elephant in the room.

I see often that Aimee Byrd and Rosaria Butterfield get caught in similar crossfires, sometimes at the same time, and it comes in waves. They're also some of the most prominent women speaking out in the Reformed world. They both have a literary-bent (one being an actual trained English professor), so I think sometimes people can get lost in how they write or talk with a particular style or voice. It's also odd when people critique based on them citing a wide variety of sources, when that's par-for-the-course in any serious academic work of merit, especially theological. But reading their works has never made me question their Reformed status, much less their status as Conservative Christian women.

For the OPs review in particular, it sounds like much of the rebuttle of the author is "but complementarians don't believe/do what she says they believe/do" so her points are "straw men" which I feel is trying to over-assert the whole as if there *is* a settled, over-arching set of applications that all complementarians agree on, or that because one does not experience it in their particular congregation, that it is not a wide-spread issue.

I'm not really responding to anything in particular, but just noting some things: One thing to keep in mind is that Byrd is not just speaking "for women" and only trying to navigate the damage that can be had in the biblical womanhood movement, but also the same undertones of her narrative, while focused on women, can lead to the reader noticing the loss of a voice for men in the church as well. There's a good part of the Mortification of Spin episode where they bring up the peculiarly American, alpha-centric flavor that biblical manhood has taken up. One of the dangers of biblical manhood/womanhood movement in some of its manifestations, is not just that it can relegate women, but relegate whole populations of men by sending them the message that they are not "manly" or Biblical men (often these can be strung together that to be "manly" *is* to be "biblical") based on certain applications wrought by some of the movement (which can sometimes have that American flair). I think that discussion is worth touching on, for perspective, when people rail on Byrd for only being concerned about "feminist" ideals. Some of the very same points she makes in regards to the female voice and perspective, can also be applied to many men in the church worldwide: some men have lost a voice in the church worldwide because they do not fit into a certain manifestation/mold of the "Biblical manhood" model.

It's helpful, again, to be reminded that the effects are not universal. Complementarianism does not take the same manifestation/application in all places, though I think it's sort of one of those things that "you know it when you see it" and I have found some Christian marriages in my life that I regard as being such examples of it, and try to model in my life. Byrd intended her book to have a wider reach, not just to complementarians, presbyterians, reformed-folk, but to a broader evangelicalism as well. While the ails of biblical manhood/womanhood can be seen in the Reformed world, I see that it can take a more exacerbated effect in broad evangelicalism where there is often less self-awareness, or discussion, of these ideas, but certain aspects still take root and have strange, and even damaging, applications.
 

Kinghezy

Puritan Board Sophomore
Byrd’s response at ACE is telling - very unimpressive.

Thoughts on this? (I am finding it difficult to differentiate this distinction. To me, it sounds like a distinction without a difference.)

"Then, it’s thrown in there that I use an early feminist image of the “yellow wallpaper” that I say needs to be “broken through.” The yellow wallpaper is not a “feminist image,” it is a metaphor in a book. A feminist wrote the book."
 

EcclesiaDiscens.

Puritan Board Freshman
Let’s be honest here,

If your work is being cited as a “bridge” into egalitarianism by egalitarians, and egalitarians that were once “complementerians” (a softer word for patriarchy) that’s a problem. This is being said by egalitarians themselves of Aimee Byrd’s (and others) work.

If your work is being cited as a “bridge” into Trinitarian heresy by those who deny the Trinity in any form, that’s a problem.

To use a better more recent example, if being associated with/citing Federal Visionists yadda yadda....(you get the idea) then that’s a problem.

I see the pushing of soft feminism as Perg says above as a great example of Burgess’ work on sins effect on the mind and the slide into heresy and sin. It never starts out with grievous sin/full blown heresy. But small steps by degree and self-deception until one is there.

Am I saying Aimee Byrd is on this path? I don’t know. But her history of posts on Ref21 about bikinis and modesty, followed by approving of “intimate friendships” between men and women, don’t lean towards a good look. For that reason I am suspect of this book.

Not that I am a fan of CBMW by any means either.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
Sounds like her good points of modern exaggerations of what it means to be a dominant man and submissive women are blown to smithereens by a pressing against biblical standards.

Too many unqualified people writing too many quasi-authoritative books?

I don’t know her credentials but I know a blog and some followers does not translate to biblical scholarship.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
She is a member of the OPC, correct? This may be an ignorant question, but does an OPC pastor review this type of book before it’s published?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
She is a member of the OPC, correct? This may be an ignorant question, but does an OPC pastor review this type of book before it’s published?
Depends on whether the publisher gives him a copy. Or maybe she can send him a pdf. I think I recall she mentioned her session was cool with it.
 

Potter

Puritan Board Freshman
She is a member of the OPC, correct? This may be an ignorant question, but does an OPC pastor review this type of book before it’s published?
Her pastor fully supports her it seems:

 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Apparently this has unfolded with a controversy at the OPC church the author is a member of; she complained to her session about a ruling elder who was a member of the FB group in question that Mark Jones had been a member of, which makes him persona non grata to reply to his review (though he left the group in 2018 I think I read), for not telling her all the bad things folks in the group were saying about here (to put it simply). The session came to question the RE's competence for office and something transpired against which the elder has filed a formal complaint against the session. The session put out a letter to their congregation containing an accounting of the controversy but in the process has shared screen shots of other's online comments without their permission or respect for their privacy; and that letter is now apparently free floating since I was given a link to it. This mess is just going to keep getting messier.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
Here's the Mortification of Spin responding to some controversies. They are lighthearted, which I can't imagine being, personally, knowing some of the really degrading (un-Christian) things being said about Aimee as far as questioning her faith. But from the mouth of her and colleagues on her aims with this book: https://www.reformation21.org/blog/recovering-from-biblical-manhood-and-womanhood-the-trial

I think it's also helpful to note that, yes, her book title is sensational, but sometimes that is often pushed in publishing, and, yes, even in Christian publishing. You get the sense from the above discussionthat it was pushed to be more sensational than Byrd initially intended. But she does a decent job of explaining how her book does address the elephant in the room.

I see often that Aimee Byrd and Rosaria Butterfield get caught in similar crossfires, sometimes at the same time, and it comes in waves. They're also some of the most prominent women speaking out in the Reformed world. They both have a literary-bent (one being an actual trained English professor), so I think sometimes people can get lost in how they write or talk with a particular style or voice. It's also odd when people critique based on them citing a wide variety of sources, when that's par-for-the-course in any serious academic work of merit, especially theological. But reading their works has never made me question their Reformed status, much less their status as Conservative Christian women.

For the OPs review in particular, it sounds like much of the rebuttle of the author is "but complementarians don't believe/do what she says they believe/do" so her points are "straw men" which I feel is trying to over-assert the whole as if there *is* a settled, over-arching set of applications that all complementarians agree on, or that because one does not experience it in their particular congregation, that it is not a wide-spread issue.

I'm not really responding to anything in particular, but just noting some things: One thing to keep in mind is that Byrd is not just speaking "for women" and only trying to navigate the damage that can be had in the biblical womanhood movement, but also the same undertones of her narrative, while focused on women, can lead to the reader noticing the loss of a voice for men in the church as well. There's a good part of the Mortification of Spin episode where they bring up the peculiarly American, alpha-centric flavor that biblical manhood has taken up. One of the dangers of biblical manhood/womanhood movement in some of its manifestations, is not just that it can relegate women, but relegate whole populations of men by sending them the message that they are not "manly" or Biblical men (often these can be strung together that to be "manly" *is* to be "biblical") based on certain applications wrought by some of the movement (which can sometimes have that American flair). I think that discussion is worth touching on, for perspective, when people rail on Byrd for only being concerned about "feminist" ideals. Some of the very same points she makes in regards to the female voice and perspective, can also be applied to many men in the church worldwide: some men have lost a voice in the church worldwide because they do not fit into a certain manifestation/mold of the "Biblical manhood" model.

It's helpful, again, to be reminded that the effects are not universal. Complementarianism does not take the same manifestation/application in all places, though I think it's sort of one of those things that "you know it when you see it" and I have found some Christian marriages in my life that I regard as being such examples of it, and try to model in my life. Byrd intended her book to have a wider reach, not just to complementarians, presbyterians, reformed-folk, but to a broader evangelicalism as well. While the ails of biblical manhood/womanhood can be seen in the Reformed world, I see that it can take a more exacerbated effect in broad evangelicalism where there is often less self-awareness, or discussion, of these ideas, but certain aspects still take root and have strange, and even damaging, applications.
Thanks for this.
Probably my first and last post on this thread. Its well trodden ground here.

I have been sympathetic with Mrs. And Byrd's ideas for some time; I haven't read her book but, I intend to. Once the ESS heresy was brought to light, other things soon followed. Piper's views more than really rubbed me the wrong way. Everything was interpreted in terms of a power struggle and was extrapolated to every sphere of life.
Similarly, I have been disgusted by many things I have come across as well advocating some sort of manhood that has more in common with worldly notions of being a 'bad boy ' than the fruit of the Spirit. In many circles, it seems that manhood and womanhood tend to be 'higher life' Christianity. The fruit of the Spirit? That's basic and a bit effeminate, but, lets learn how to be a real man!
More research on my part, left me wondering, how are men and women different? One commentator said that people are living in same sex marriages. His rationale? The husband and wife both have jobs. Others have said similar things. Again, the ideas of subordination (which are always in the context of marriage or the church) are extrapolated to all spheres of life so that way you can tell who is a man or woman easier. "Oh, shes a manager? How masculine!" Sounds weird when you say it out loud.
Many complementarians in general, but especially CBMW, seem to believe that if one doesn't inhabit a role, then that person's gender, sex, gender expression switches. This is the logic of transgenderism. I doubt they have thought it through. What strange bed fellows! Wouldn't surprise me if many converts to LGBT crap, used this argumentation to swim across that river.
Why not say men and women are different by virtue of biology? Its affects many things (hormones, phenotypes, etc) and you can tell who is who usually without trying to pigeon hole the two sexes. I understand the social contagion of transgenderism and that needs to be fought though, I believe largely through grounding it in biology, not stereotypes of what men and women supposedly are or used to be.
 

Jo_Was

Puritan Board Freshman
She is a member of the OPC, correct? This may be an ignorant question, but does an OPC pastor review this type of book before it’s published?
She frequently has her elder(s) read her works. Many of her past manuscripts are read/helped by her elder. She has never intended to write in a vacuum and has stated many times the process by which she writes, in accord with her session and leadership in her church. For me, this is in accordance with what her books represent (many around similar topics of women's roles in the church). If I may be so bold to say, despite fear-mongering, that it really doesn't scream outside of the complementarianism one would find in the OPC or like-minded denominations. Reference the Mortification of Spin podcast episode I posted, and Pruitt and Truman also agree that what she says is fairly familiar stuff if one is in the Reformed world, though perhaps some applications may be different. Her theology isn't heretical or un-Reformed or even egalitarian. But, there is certainly room for discussion on points of application: Again, she has explicitly said that she expects there to be differences of application points because that is precisely the role the church must take in these conversations about identity and roles. I feel like a kill joy to say that it's not as sensational as people want it to be. I've read No Little Women which touches on a lot of the same stuff, and her talks and past books are all stuff she's been saying for a long time now. This new book is in some ways just recycled/compiled material she's said/written elsewhere. So to be up-in-arms at this point is to have missed the point. It's meant to be a conversation starter. The church, then, must do the heavy lifting to figure out how to apply our theology. We can have as much correct, orthodox views on complementarianism as we like, but putting right theology into right practice is the hard work of the church, and I think where Byrd would suggest we have the most disconnect--not in that complementarianism as an ideal is to be discarded, but that we aren't always complementarian when we think we are (and that critique can apply to the egalitarian or the patriarchalist alike).
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
She is a member of the OPC, correct? This may be an ignorant question, but does an OPC pastor review this type of book before it’s published?
I doubt Zondervan would require an author to run a book past her church authorities. The author herself could choose to do that, though. And for more academic publications, I understand it's fairly standard practice to get some peer review as a part of the editorial process.

For popular-level books, I have only once had an author tell me, "I want to run these edits by my pastor before we publish this." I respected that author for that commitment. I hope others are at least seeking general approval from their elders for their book projects and the views they espouse. I would think a good Presbyterian ought to be aware of the benefits of this.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think Paul Washer has some good things to say about biblical manhood. Obviously, we feel our need via his instruction. Seems like he would have a different emphasis and personal perspective. I wonder how far apart Washer and Byrd may be and how much biblical room there is for each perspective. Would they line up?
 

Jo_Was

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for this.
Probably my first and last post on this thread. Its well trodden ground here.

I have been sympathetic with Mrs. And Byrd's ideas for some time; I haven't read her book but, I intend to. Once the ESS heresy was brought to light, other things soon followed. Piper's views more than really rubbed me the wrong way. Everything was interpreted in terms of a power struggle and was extrapolated to every sphere of life.
Similarly, I have been disgusted by many things I have come across as well advocating some sort of manhood that has more in common with worldly notions of being a 'bad boy ' than the fruit of the Spirit. In many circles, it seems that manhood and womanhood tend to be 'higher life' Christianity. The fruit of the Spirit? That's basic and a bit effeminate, but, lets learn how to be a real man!
More research on my part, left me wondering, how are men and women different? One commentator said that people are living in same sex marriages. His rationale? The husband and wife both have jobs. Others have said similar things. Again, the ideas of subordination (which are always in the context of marriage or the church) are extrapolated to all spheres of life so that way you can tell who is a man or woman easier. "Oh, shes a manager? How masculine!" Sounds weird when you say it out loud.
Many complementarians in general, but especially CBMW, seem to believe that if one doesn't inhabit a role, then that person's gender, sex, gender expression switches. This is the logic of transgenderism. I doubt they have thought it through. What strange bed fellows! Wouldn't surprise me if many converts to LGBT crap, used this argumentation to swim across that river.
Why not say men and women are different by virtue of biology? Its affects many things (hormones, phenotypes, etc) and you can tell who is who usually without trying to pigeon hole the two sexes. I understand the social contagion of transgenderism and that needs to be fought though, I believe largely through grounding it in biology, not stereotypes of what men and women supposedly are or used to be.
I am sympathetic to your final thoughts, as I studied and now teach biology. I worry that some Christians, in battling LGB, accidentally fall into the same definitions of identifying a "man" or a "woman" that the transgender movement uses. I don't think Christians realize just how different the "T" is from the "LGB" part. It is not surprising that many LGB folk are adamantly against T because they have such vastly different philosophical underpinnings. The unfortunate irony of transgenderism that meets fundamentalist patriarchal ideas: that certain superficial, cultural conceptions of what a woman/man does or likes is evidence of their status as a woman/man and any cultural conception that tips the other way is used as evidence to suggest (in patriarchal) that one is NOT acting like they ought or (in transgenderism) that would should BECOME the one they ought. But that may be for another thread to discuss.

To connect to this thread more pointedly, I do think some of those worrisome things you mentioned are exactly the manifestations of the biblical manhood/womanhood movement that Byrd is trying to point out. She combats the notion of catering the Gospel, the Scriptures, to men or women (Just look at a Bible section in any store!), and tries to show how women and men are both integrated into the Scripture narrative. One area she stresses this is in theological education. I do think that sometimes women, especially young women, are relegated to feel-good studies that beget feel-good studies about life as a woman, and often do not get as rigorous a "big T" theology education/mentoring in the same church as boy counterparts. Similarly, as you note, we can paint a picture of the Christian man as more about what he "does" than what, or rather who, he believes and can also make young men a works-based-salvation implicit in their walk; where doing and acting is valued above some of those more subdued traits of peace, patience, compassion, nurture that must also be cultivated within the Christian walk. In the episode Iisted above, I think it is Truman or Pruitt who stumble on the irony that we often bring in Marxist categorization into the church, by purporting the faith into categories of identity. The Gospel is not a Gospel "for women" or "for men" or "for people of color" or "for white people" or "for the oppressed" or whatever other category one wants to make it and market it--precisely because it is Good News, it is Good News for all, regardless of human categories. Byrd's emphasis on the women-centered interruptions, like stories of Ruth and Naomi, within the Scriptures, is her way of showing how the Scriptures have always been revealing a Gospel for men and women, slave and free, Jew and Gentile. And I can think of so many other stories from Scripture that highlight people coming into the covenant that don't fit the mold of the covenant (like Ruth), but were foreshadows of Christ bringing together all peoples to himself, as the Church, his bride.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
I also think we can overcomplicate these things. I like how Washer breaks it down here:
Maybe if we graduated from the school of Washer there would be no need for an education in Byrdonomics.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I also think we can overcomplicate these things. I like how Washer breaks it down here:
Maybe if we graduated from the school of Washer there would be no need for an education in Byrdonomics.
Except on the covenant, sacraments, church government, and assurance.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Apparently this has unfolded with a controversy at the OPC church the author is a member of; she complained to her session about a ruling elder who was a member of the FB group in question that Mark Jones had been a member of, which makes him persona non grata to reply to his review (though he left the group in 2018 I think I read), for not telling her all the bad things folks in the group were saying about here (to put it simply). The session came to question the RE's competence for office and something transpired against which the elder has filed a formal complaint against the session. The session put out a letter to their congregation containing an accounting of the controversy but in the process has shared screen shots of other's online comments without their permission or respect for their privacy; and that letter is now apparently free floating since I was given a link to it. This mess is just going to keep getting messier.
That group, Geneva Commons, is a militant FV group. If you think Doug Wilson is arrogant, check that group out. I got kicked out of it for questioning Wilson.
 
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