Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Aimee Byrd)

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Reformed Covenanter, Jan 16, 2020.

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  1. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, I agree. That’s my hope too. But in God’s interesting providence her chosen title of the book accuses her, perhaps unfairly.

    That Ms. Byrd’s can’t even succeed at getting that right, what hope is there for the clarity of the content of the book? Just a matter of time.
  2. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    Do we known she chose the title? Doesn’t the publisher reserve that right?
  3. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    Fair question. Believe it or not, I almost preempted it. I don’t know the answer but let’s assume the publisher. Still, what does that say of the author? To put it plainly, what sort of orthodox person approves of a title of a book that is self-accusatory? Mark my words, if they haven’t already, her cronies will soon be distancing themselves from her.
  4. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    One thing that I think would be helpful from these critics, Byrd or whomever, to come at the issue from the opposite way. Build a better mousetrap of ‘Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’ instead of nitpicking complementarians or patriarchalists. Rather explain why they are not egalitarians. There are Christians, such as Doug Groothuis, who are full blown egalitarians including the support of women’s ordination. Groothuis isn’t controversial otherwise. He’s a solid philosopher and apologist. Byrd could differentiate herself from those like him on this issue making it much easier to see where she’s coming from.
  5. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    Let’s start here. Why should anyone believe that Byrd has any new insights to offer the church? If she’s not rediscovering some lost Christian doctrine or practice, then she’s breaking new ground. Obviously she’s not rediscovering anything old. So, at best she’s breaking new ground. Really?! In such case, let us not call her “Housewife Theologian” but let us label her a prophetess. This too will pass, sooner than it should.
  6. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    In any event the burden of proof is on her. I’m just trying to make it easier.
  7. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    The Greek word can mean wife or woman... depending on context and how it is being used. When those things are taken into consideration, however, it becomes clear, the word should be translated as woman. Translating this word as wife in 1 Corinthians 11 involves one in some rather absurd conclusions. Which is why the ESV (which is almost entirely alone in its translation choice) oddly translates the same word differently in vv. 7-9, and vv. 11&12. What is the reason for this?

    Is it not strange that the Apostle would, for no clear reason, change the meaning of the word back and forth multiple times within the space of a few verses? Indeed it is. Which is why it is much more logical to understand Paul as having a single meaning for "man" and "woman" throughout the text and to see his doctrine as having a more general application to the sexes than merely to husbands and wives. And, No—That in no way necessitates affirming the silly notion that all women must submit to all men.

    So, the gentleman's citation of 1 Corinthians 11 as being germane to the question of the differences between the sexes was in no way dubious or doubtful, but overwhelmingly supported by the principles of sound exegesis together with the historical interpretation of that text.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If she WERE a "Housewife Theologian" wouldn't she be writing more about how to be a better housewife?
  9. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    I find it very impossible to believe that Todd Pruitt and Carl Trueman would support something so unbiblical and so far from orthodoxy as some are perhaps surmising.

    Rev Sheffield... As someone who has worn a head covering for 35 years or so, read quite a bit, and has a husband who has been in multiple discussions and was asked to write a paper on it that involved much study inc the Greek, let me just say that the specific references to head coverings are for wives under the authority of husband. It is not a sign to the angels that a woman is under the authority of church elders. But I don't think it is worth arguing that specific point. The other things he brought up, like the bible being unashamedly Patriarchal, are worthwhile points.

    Personally I think the problem in churches is a lack of vision for intercession. When one grasps the value and necessity of prayer, and how our theological depth can be taken into private prayer, and one devotes themselves to prayer, it removes that drive to "have a ministry" and "be used" in the public sphere. I think this applies to both men and women, as men can get just as pushy as women. I haven't read Aimee's book, but I have been in churches for decades, and the lack of private devotions and private prayer that I've heard women admit to is appalling, and I include pastor's wives in that. (not my current one, thank God). I try to encourage women in the value of their prayers, I think that is the main answer to the problem.
  10. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    That is because, in my experience, what most folks today mean when they say they want to have a "discussion" is that they want to pontificate their personal dogmas without the other party offering a critical response, or even a "but." When someone today says they want to have a "discussion," what they really want is to be agreed with and/or submitted to. Unless you agree with and/or submit to them, to them it's not a "discussion."
  11. EcclesiaDiscens.

    EcclesiaDiscens. Puritan Board Freshman

    I would say this is true, even in the NAPARC church context unfortunately. A prominent example is the row about the serious error promulgated by the recently published “Beyond Authority and Submission” and raved about, and even blurbed by certain well known folks in NAPARC.

    A lot of public pushback was simply explained away with the explanation of “starting a conversation.”

    Perg, you’re nailing it here. I think the question needs to be asked, is the admonition of Titus being viewed with a hermeneutic of suspicion, and if so, why and under what influence?
  12. Susan777

    Susan777 Puritan Board Freshman

    I sure hope you’re right Lynnie, but I do worry. I know some say that there is no such thing as a slippery slope but then why bother to examine history? “Starting a conversation “ is the way change is effected and my radar goes on alert when I hear that. The same holds when a denomination decides to establish a committee to allegedly investigate some issue. Why do we need to have a committee to discuss homosexuality or feminism? I think it is just an accommodation to the spirit of this world. I know I struggle against cynicism (life-long besetting sin) but I wouldn’t count on Todd Pruitt or Carl Trueman publicly resisting her influence. We can hope though.
  13. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Lynnie, in studying I came to see that Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 11 is indeed rooted in the creation order. He is dealing there with men and women in public worship together. Woman covers her head to show her submission to and recognition of the truth, and its ramifications in the church, that God created man first; that the head of woman is man, the head of man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. A wife submits particularly, for sure, to her husband; in ways unlike her general submission, as a church member, to the elders of a church.

    I really do appreciate your comments on the glorious opportunity women have for prayer, and hopefully prayer that is informed by our right knowledge of God and his ways, i.e., by good theology. Our theology is meant to make us more like our Savior; not meant to make us restless and dissatisfied with how much engagement we get to have in discussions about it. (There are also plenty of men who don’t have much opportunity for discussion with others.)

    As women our good theology guides us in those things God has specifically enjoined on women in the Epistles. It turns out that good theology is meant to make us those who love more, pray more, do more, forgive more, are content more. To care about the younger women, including wives and mothers, of the church and seek to be of help to them. Just to name a few things. Who would have thought all this.
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  14. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Thank you, Jeri. This was part of what I tried to cite when I spoke about how isolated theologically minded women often feel. How it can help us learn to love one another across our differences (Christlikeness). (What I actually said there was quite misrepresented and that part totally ignored.)

    Lynnie I think women have different gifts as men do and all the gifts come from Christ and bring glory to Him, the head of the body; but your point about how all of us can pray is wonderful.
  15. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    And again, theologically minded men often feel lonely in this way, as well.

    I'm not sure theology can be discussed in a class that includes women, as it can be in a class or group consisting of men. Men get to points and speak to each other in ways that women usually can't or don't. Women often go off on rabbit trails... etc. Don't shoot me. :) Then, if women have their "own" theology classes with a woman leading, well that's problematic too. Are women given this kind of teaching ministry in the church?

    I think it's nice when churches have ongoing classes for the whole church that teach robustly through our confessions and catechisms. Everything gets covered and discussed.
  16. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    I don't think I'd have a problem attending a class for women taught by a woman. And I think mens and womens groups can be a really healthy thing: yes men need their 'men only' spaces just like women do. (And they have their isolating factors as well, including feeling isolated in their love of theology. It's just more typical for there to be theological fellowship of some sort on offer for mens groups but not womens than vice versa, simply in the nature of the case.)

    Our church does a book club which both men and women are welcome to attend -- currently reading Mark Jones' Knowing Christ. And our Sunday School class is a pretty robust teaching on historic doctrines with both men and women present.
  17. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't know... friendships make us do strange things.

    For instance - Grudem taught "ESS" for decades... published it in the early 90s in what became *the* dominant evangelical systematic theology text....... not a peep (as far as I can find) from Pruitt or Trueman... then around 2016 (!) Ms. Byrd discovers what she believes to be the chink in the theological armor of the loathsome complementarians (by finding and posting some otherwise forgettable posts on her own site and blog) and then all of a sudden her two co-hosts go on a crusade about the "dangerous heresy" of ESS. Gimme a break. I'm too cynical not to take notice of the timing and the relationships and the (thankfully) short-lived efforts that went into manufacturing theological outrage.

    (Note: I'm not speaking to whether ESS is a legitimate way of understand intra-trinitarian relations... I'm just saying the outcry of the threat level, coming when it did, from whom it did, all seems kind of fishy.... which is to say: friendships make us say and do things we might not normally say and do.)
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  18. Susan777

    Susan777 Puritan Board Freshman

    Jeri, I’m not speaking for Lynnie but I never got the impression that she was questioning the creation order. It seems that she agrees with it entirely. But I’m speaking for myself now: I am not “restless and dissatisfied” about my lack of engagement on theological issues. It is simply a fact, one shared by believers who circumstantially do not find those opportunities. When I called it my lament, I was speaking more or less tongue in cheek but perhaps you took that to mean I was actually wailing about it. Anyway, restless and dissatisfied is not very complementary. I am neither. Please don’t believe that I have any sympathy for such as Aimee Byrd. I don’t, but neither am I ashamed of my love for the Reformed Faith and my continuing desire to learn. Blessings to you my sister.
  19. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    So many are suspicious of the lady's motives. Then, atop that many are layering on a dose of historic "here we go again" themes.

    On the one hand, I would be surprised if there was not someone out there fully intent on hijacking any effort (be it well- or mis- directed) at reform. That's what sneaky Petes do. They play a second-level game, where they use the public striving of often well-meaning, earnest seekers of justice to mask a more radical agenda.

    That's (sadly) the norm, yet most of us proceed on our way oblivious. People don't like change; comfortable is safe even if it has problems (better the devil you know, than the one you don't). Change is inevitable, but the slow pace of ordinary change allows people the complacent observation that "our good life has been undisturbed for generations."

    We value the Reformation, forgetting that those who lived through that age (where there were a host of rapid changes) had to surrender their peace to achieve it. Before the Reformation, there was already considerable turmoil in society as the feudal past was abandoned. The Church (Rome) was allegedly a beacon of stability in a storm of change. Then, the Reformers came in and set their charges (which we applaud as necessary), and blew that up too.

    So, here's the thing. We're living now in one of those stressful eras, when turmoil has become the order of the day. Some of that turmoil is caused by past refusal to deal properly with problems and scandals, those trying to get them dealt with being harshly treated for "making waves."

    Sometimes, traditions that have helpfully functioned for a long time have garnered more respect than is due them. They've often been sanctioned by religious appeal, so as to make them untouchable. They did not begin that way, however. They were not instituted as founded on religious maxim; but later religion was used beyond appeal for respect of elders and general tranquility, to stifle allowable dissent.

    And guess what? Eventually, that same tactic gets used in the opposite direction, and we're seeing it today. Now, we're getting people on the side of "progress" who are using religion to teach that the Bible demands the changes they want, and condemns those who used it previously--again, to retroactively privilege mere tradition as more than tradition, but as law.

    But not every effort at reform is "progressive," just as not every appeal to "tradition" is reactionary. And I think that some of the negative reaction to Mrs.Byrd is running afoul of the danger that conservatives are susceptible to.

    Motivational ascription is a very easy rut to get in, and hard to get out of. But it is especially pernicious in the early going. You can't help but have it, however you must work at damping its influence on your work of studying the actual words and acts.

    Then there's the question of whether someone (in this case, AB) is making a legitimate, sincere effort at genuine reform--regardless of whether someone else could try to piggyback on those efforts in order to instigate unhelpful changes.

    The reactionary response is similar to the Pharisees'. Their traditions were inviolable, having been granted the force of law (supposedly Moses' own sanction) but retroactively. The tradition's intent was to protect the actual Law, so any subversion of them was regarded by the Pharisees as an attack on the Law itself. Their traditions were defended as inevitable outgrowth of the Law, "You can't challenge that!"

    Rather than dismissing AB's concerns, the church should weigh the issues raised on the merits. But some then allege that "WOMEN shouldn't be raising the issues she's raising!" Well, even if that claim was demonstrably so; even the Bible itself shows approved examples of women legitimately raising issues which some man or men couldn't or wouldn't, but perhaps should've.

    So, when a woman raises an issue, it seems the question of whether she has the standing to raise it is actually secondary to the issue itself. First deal with the issue, fairly, to determine whether it is actually a matter of concern; because if it IS, then the fact that no one but her raised it doesn't speak ill of her, but of those who neglected the issue.

    For my part, I take a very strong stand on the matter of church governance and leadership in its business of worship and superintendence of God's people. But then I stop, because I have grave concerns about pressing norms for church-conduct into non-ecclesiastical arenas.

    Some are saying AB is no "theologian." Isn't every Christian a theologian? Should AB stick to theologizing about "housewifery?" If my male S.S. teacher, who is a plumber, calls himself "Plumber Theologian," should he stick to theologizing about pipes and fittings, and confine his services offered and rendered to his "area of expertise?" It all sounds like mockery to me.

    Because we have people who don't think AB should publish a book by a Christian publishing house, unless it is in a "women's studies" department. Some resent her video, perhaps because in agreeing with its content they bristle at having been "taught" by a woman. Oh, my, the thin edge of the wedge.

    If reforms of our traditions (not the express teaching of Scripture, which is prior to traditions) are beyond consideration, then when comes the breaking rather than loosening of tensions the damage will not be contained.

    In my judgment, this current crop of female authors and speakers in our orbit are interested not in revolution, but in helping our churches face the coming crisis with a new defense, which is really just the old and good defenses pared back, retrenched, and stoutly preserved.

    While what is abandoned is simply the previous expansion, the once-safe extension of the perimeter dating from the days of plenty. I've been a soldier; a weaker force trying to man the outworks that were once filled with defenders, besides those in the keep, will lose the outworks and the keep.

    Please, Lord, give me men and women within the walls of my small keep, who are filled with wisdom and unswerving dedication to the authority of the Word--even if it runs against the day's current, or their own natural bent. All of them theologians, and none of them timid to speak up out of a sense of inferiority or that she might be mocked or silenced by arrogance. Which arrogance itself opens wide the angle of attack.
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  20. RWD

    RWD Puritan Board Freshman

    I’m currently teaching through the WCF. Without fail, the best contributions I get are from women, both in their probing questions and their keen observations. It’s a joy to teach and facilitate this class. It’s the women who make it the great class it is.
  21. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Susan, I promise I was not thinking of you or anyone else on the thread when I used that phrase (restless and dissatisfied). I did have in mind Aimee Byrd's (apparent?) state of mind and complaint, as I understand it. Which I really ought to understand better before commenting much on it. I didn't envision you or anyone else here at all such a way. I did understand the fact that you're not sympathetic to M. Byrd's endeavors.
  22. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If a man is a plumber he might not want to try to teach astronomy.

    Here are the subjects older women are prescribed to teach as per Titus 2:

    "That they may teach the young women to (1) be sober, (2) to love their husbands, (3) to love their children,

    (4) To be discreet, (5) chaste, (6) keepers at home, (7) good, (8) obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

    Eight vital subjects very rarely taught by women theologians of today.
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  23. CathH

    CathH Puritan Board Freshman

    This does seem fair. Speaking as a Scot, I've thought for a long time that this movement would be more accurately named "American Manhood and Womanhood" instead of Biblical. Bits of it overlap with biblical teaching, but plenty more of it is culture specific.

    This is also only fair.
  24. CathH

    CathH Puritan Board Freshman

    What was the serious error?
  25. Susan777

    Susan777 Puritan Board Freshman

    This is interesting. Could you elaborate on what you see as the cultural specifics? Another perspective would be helpful.
  26. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    Yes, please elaborate. If "plenty" of what was taught by the Biblical M&W movement is just "cultural" it should be easy to provide some specific examples. Would you provide some for the sake of this discussion?
  27. CathH

    CathH Puritan Board Freshman

    The variety of feminism which complementarianism is reacting against is a local, American variety. It seems that feminism is a more polarising force in the States than it is elsewhere, and the gender wars there are more fierce and toxic than elsewhere. So then the vision of wholesome marriage and masculinity/femininity which complementarianism holds out owes more to the traditional version which that local feminism despises. In the churches it strikes me that the whole debate is much more fraught in the US. Christian men speak dismissively and disrespectfully about Christian women in a way that I don't think I've encountered in Scotland or England, and that seems to be okay because the only important thing is not to be a feminist.
  28. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I said the plumber was teaching S.S. (not astronomy); but on the same rubric used to stifle some lady, perhaps he should stick to his knitting? Mocking the "housewife theologian" is a tactic that backfires.

    Is the list of "older women's" teaching topics exhaustive? Is that Paul's intent? Of course not; yet these ought to be taught, and no sidestepping them to get into other topics is proper. But supposing they are being faithfully taught, can anything else be covered? Why not? Women's Bible studies cover books of the Bible, doctrine, all sorts of topics.

    Does not the pastor (Titus) have the duty to cover these topics himself, if there are no suitable "older women" to teach them? Definitely, and he must also teach the rest of the whole counsel of God according to his station. This is only a fraction of his "list." These "Eight vital subjects" are of special concern for the wise, older women to teach the impressionable younger women who look up to them. But they are by no means the last word on spiritual instruction, woman-to-woman.

    And frankly, I'm going to be listening to the older woman teaching the younger, in order to be taught how to do my job better, when there aren't women of that kind around. Who better to learn from?
  29. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    I honestly don't know, and I am generally on the cynical side myself. But to openly question the motives of her co hosts without proof is something that makes me cringe. My personal guess is that Trueman was a pastor, husband, on staff at WTS, and writer (his blog, First Things, etc) and never bothered to read Grudem's ST. Why would he read that ST, with all the other books he has to read? I am not sure anybody caught the problem for a long time.

    And rather than calling it finding a chink in the armor of loathsome complementarians, let's call it what it was- finding a serious erroneous/heretical repudiation of the classic creeds and confessions about the trinity with regard to power, authority, rule. I had no idea Aimee was the one to catch it and blow that open, in which case I say thank God for her astute and perceptive insight in bringing it out into the open. I can see why she might struggle with some cynicism herself about men, if all the Reformed Big Dogs missed it and she was the first one to catch it. Interesting, and speaks well of her mind and thinking. But again, I don't know anything about all the inner workings of the people involved; you could be correct. I saw initially with Pete Enns how his dearest friends at WTS defended him, until it was obvious he had gone off the rails.
  30. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Fascinating statement, and I'd like to hear more.
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