Review of RGM’s BA&S

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CathH

Puritan Board Freshman
Do you mean in general, or in Scripture?
Both/and.

But I would also add, I don't think Byrd is being fully consistent with the philosophical position she's staked out on this either. That's what I meant earlier when I implied her conclusions are conservative, but her foundation is not.
Can you explain this a bit more - you don't think there is such a thing as a distinct men's voice and women's voice?
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
@BottleOfTears Doxxing is making public, with malicious intent, information that was meant to be private. That is what happened here. Why was the information published on a public website and why did Byrd draw attention to it? The only reason is to harass and intimidate those mentioned. If the intent was to report wrongdoing then the information should have been taken directly to the relevant bodies. It should not have been plastered over the Internet. Isn't that what you defenders of Byrd keep saying about those who criticise her? Of course the difference is that those who criticise her teachings do so in public because her teachings have been disseminated to the church at large. However if there have been specific alleged offences and people think disciplinary procedures should be initiated then there is no need to involve the world. Unless, of course, there is more to the agenda.

As to Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt I believe them to be moderately Reformed at best. They do not adhere to the RPW. They celebrate Christmas and think Halloween is fine. They're libertarian on culture. These are not in line with the historic Reformed position.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
@Contra_Mundum

It was clear from what I said that I was using the terms of the Catechism. I never once claimed that in that question the Catechism explicitly taught what I was arguing. I don't need to because Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, does. He teaches a clear hierarchy of God, man, woman:

"For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man." 1 Corinthians 11:7-9

I was not referring to husband and wife. That is a separate point. My point is about the hierarchy clearly taught by Paul as relates to men and women. This is not about salvation but station. Yes, in the home and the church but also in society. You limit all such verses relating to the natural relations between men and women to marriage with no justification. You reference Gal. 3:28 but that verse is specifically about salvation. And you reference Eph. 5:22 which addresses the manner of a wife's submission but says nothing about the reason for her submission (if it it does it suggests the husband is the representative of God in the home, which would only reinforce the man's superiority in the hierarchy).

@BottleOfTears asks about what should be done, under such a view, with female politicians. That is more complicated because a) the Bible does not address that and similar issues (female cop, for example) explicitly the way it does relations in the home and the church and b) our churches have been so conditioned by modernity that such a thing is unthinkable today.
 
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alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Wouldn’t an understanding that removes such an ontological understanding also negate any idea of sins particular to men and sins particular to women?
If I'm following you correctly you are arguing that we should have an understanding of human nature that allows for sins particular to men and women? If so I would agree. The obvious cases would be men being derelict in their responsibilities and duties as men and women usurping authority which does not belong to them. I think this understanding relates to office and station. Beyond that men and women are capable of committing the same sins, though there are certainly sins to which men are more prone on the one hand and women more prone on the other.

Is that what you were meaning?
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Freshman
Can you explain this a bit more - you don't think there is such a thing as a distinct men's voice and women's voice?
Maybe I could put it this way: I don't find it a concept particularly more useful than a "women's face."

To be sure, women have faces. And they tend to have characteristics that make them distinguishable from men's faces (thankfully). Whether that warrants the construction of a conceptual "women's face," and deep deliberation on what the "women's face" brings to the table seems a bit much.

Do we talk of a "women's strokes" in painting, or a "women's calculating" in math?

Or going further, is there an Asian voice, or a Black voice? How about a Southern voice? They have distinct experiences as well.

I'm guess mostly I'm just suspicious of a concept that I'm not quite sure what it means; and dipping for clarification comes up empty, except for vague references to diverse experience and domesticities.

It might be there's not much there.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Aimee would say the same thing about being confessional and on the OPC side, which you took exception to when she said it. And are all the people who are supporting her "pro-women in church leadership"? That just isn't true at all. Is everyone who objects to Aimee misogynistic just because some in GC are? Collapsing everyone's views together based on their reaction to one topic is just pointless. There are almost certainly those who were in GC at one point who hold the exact same views on men and women as the elders who wrote the OPC letter against it, but it would be silly to say one "side" is a bunch of misogynistic bullies and the other a bunch of liberal feminist infiltrators.

You say you don't believe Aimee is feminist and say you seek clarification, but would you actually listen to her if she did? She has repeated time and time again that she believes only men should be ordained and yet you said this:

I have no issue with you saying you are on the OPC side, but why do you deny that Aimee can say that and accuse her of "liberal trickery" when she does?
People are questioning her because of her output, those she is associating with, those she favourably references in her books to substantiate her arguments. Are you seriously suggesting that merely claiming to be in line with one's denominational standards is sufficient evidence against all accusations? I find this astonishing. Church and denominational history give us every reason against such a naive view. Every downgrade which has ever happened within a church was instigated by those "in good standing" and who claimed to adhere to the church's standards.

It must also be borne in mind that Byrd does not hold office: she is a layman. In the OPC what is required for someone to become a member? Do they formally and solemnly promise to uphold the standards of the opc, the way an officer does? I don't know. In my denomination only those ordained to an office are required to explicitly subscribe to specific documents. If members in the opc are not required to do so then she has not made such promises. That is important.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Right... but I'm disagreeing that there is such a thing as a distinct men's voice or women's voice.
Personally I don't see a problem with talking about a man's voice and a woman's voice. My question would be: granting that there is such a thing as a woman's voice, why is it necessary that we hear it? In Scripture we certainly hear from individual women (rarely but we do) and Scripture holds up many examples of godly women. But none of the books are written by women. Any female voice we hear is thus mediated by a male writer. None of the Apostles were women. I'm not talking about the fellowship of believers: obviously there is much to be gained from speaking with godly Christians of either sex. But Byrd's and others' thesis seems to be that there is a necessity to hear the woman's voice in the practice of the church and in theology. That these "female interruptions" (which of course are no such thing but anyway) are in themselves good and valuable. Why?
 

EcclesiaDiscens.

Puritan Board Freshman
If I'm following you correctly you are arguing that we should have an understanding of human nature that allows for sins particular to men and women? If so I would agree. The obvious cases would be men being derelict in their responsibilities and duties as men and women usurping authority which does not belong to them. I think this understanding relates to office and station. Beyond that men and women are capable of committing the same sins, though there are certainly sins to which men are more prone on the one hand and women more prone on the other.

Is that what you were meaning?
Exactly my meaning brother.
 

BottleOfTears

Puritan Board Freshman
People are questioning her because of her output, those she is associating with, those she favourably references in her books to substantiate her arguments. Are you seriously suggesting that merely claiming to be in line with one's denominational standards is sufficient evidence against all accusations? I find this astonishing. Church and denominational history give us every reason against such a naive view. Every downgrade which has ever happened within a church was instigated by those "in good standing" and who claimed to adhere to the church's standards.

It must also be borne in mind that Byrd does not hold office: she is a layman. In the OPC what is required for someone to become a member? Do they formally and solemnly promise to uphold the standards of the opc, the way an officer does? I don't know. In my denomination only those ordained to an office are required to explicitly subscribe to specific documents. If members in the opc are not required to do so then she has not made such promises. That is important.
As I said, I don't have a problem with anyone disagreeing with a whole denominations take on things. I was specifically replying to someone who said that they were in line with their denomination, but didn't allow Mrs Byrd to say that and called her an egalitarian. That seemed rather unfair to me. Then someone else pointed out that many in NAPARC were out of line on this subject. I never once gave the "naive view" that this was irrelevant. I only asked the person in question to actually provide an argument along with such a serious charge.

Pergy nails it in this thread. I think there are those uncomfortable with what the Divines had to say on this topic.
traditional view of the Curse of Ham as well
What is this traditional view exactly? Are you talking about the one used to justify the view that black people are inferior to white people? That isn't even the "traditional" position. I find it very interesting that this interpretation became increasingly common around the time when the culture wanted to justify slavery. It sounds a lot like that was a capitulation to culture, doesn't it? This is exactly what I was talking about. Anyone even questioning doubtful claims about "natural law" gets labelled a feminist, but all of sudden slavery is okay? What?

I'm really struggling to see how people using the Bible to justify slavery and explotation of fellow image-bearers shouldn't make us uncomfortable.
The idea of Natural Law is a huge one since Paul grounds his prohibition of women as elders in it. Women should not be soldiers for reasons of natural law. Women should not be pastors for reasons of natural law. Selective enforcement of this in one area gives rise to charges of hypocrisy and inconsistency.
Okay but can you actually provide me with an argument? All I'm hearing is "because Natural Law" and "people are denying Natural Law", what does that even mean? Does that require us to say women are ontologically inferior to men?
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
As I said, I don't have a problem with anyone disagreeing with a whole denominations take on things. I was specifically replying to someone who said that they were in line with their denomination, but didn't allow Mrs Byrd to say that and called her an egalitarian. That seemed rather unfair to me. Then someone else pointed out that many in NAPARC were out of line on this subject. I never once gave the "naive view" that this was irrelevant. I only asked the person in question to actually provide an argument along with such a serious charge.
Apologies then I misunderstood you. I would say, however, that those whom I have seen question her fidelity have given reasons why they do so. And I'm sure those doing so would not object to being asked why they believe they are in line with said standards as well as explaining why they believe she is not. It's not so much a matter of "not allowing" her to say this but of demonstrating why they believe she is not (in accord).

Byrd and Miller have used the fact they are members in good standing as evidence in itself that what they are saying is orthodox and have also used it as a weapon to silence those who are criticising them. That should not be allowed to stand. If people raise objections with evidence then they should answer those objections and should not use their ecclesiastical standing as a means of shutting down the conversation.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
If there is no basis in nature for the roles of authority in the home or the church but instead such positions are arbitrarily assigned by a purely positive command, then it is unnatural to exclude women from positions of authority in those settings. This is not to say that a son must rule his mother (should the father die) because he is male or that all men must be qualified for church office or to be husbands: all the ways in which one stands in relation to inferiors and superiors must be taken into account when determining authority. However, it is to say that there is something naturally fitting that--having taken into consideration all other factors and supposing all other factors being equal--a man be in positions of authority in those areas and woman subordinate to that authority.

Positive commands are often built upon nature: Presbyterian government is of Divine Right and also built upon nature. A whole day set aside for worship each week is both by positive command and built upon natural law that some time must be devoted to the public worship of God. All our duties with superiors and inferiors are grounded in nature too: the older are supposed to be more wise, parents have given us life and we owe them, civil magistrates have great responsibilities for our welfare and are (theoretically) chosen to be wise, the gifted (including the stronger) or more knowledgeable have things that the less gifted or more ignorant lack, God is the Supreme Being, Creator, Governor, and Sustainer of the world to whom we owe everything.

It is true though that texts need to be interpreted in their proper context. The passage about the "weaker vessel" has to do with duties in a marriage relationship. Not all men should treat all women with the same honor towards the "weaker vessel" that a husband is to show his wife: a man has a duty to treat his wife with special honor that he does not have towards all women by the mere fact that they are women. However, it is still possible for these texts to say or presuppose something about the nature of men and women that can be carried into other contexts or allow us to see why positions in the home and church are fitting for men to have and other positions fitting for women. If one looks at older commentators, they will give reasons in nature for the command to give honor as unto the weaker vessel or for women to submit themselves to their husbands. Sometimes, they go to speculative extremes, but they still find the positive commands to be rooted in nature.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
Are men, in general, designed to reflect and represent an image of God more conducive to the tasks of household head, leadership in the church, etc? Could we say that due to the order of creation those attributes are implied as the woman was made from and for the man. Im not trying to establish a model of superiority that scripture does not support nor do I believe man is superior(unique,distinct) in a carnal sense.

Are you saying that men are chosen for these tasks solely by decree and not by design? May the opposite argument still be made, not in place of, but as a secondary argument? Even if scriptures are more implicit on this point.

Also, what about the female makes her the weaker vessel in the marriage union? Is this simply because the Bible explicitly says this or is there a tangible aspect as well. We are living evidence of Creation by design obviously.

Im asking these questions as a defense against a type of egalitarian view which I think Amiee was slightly flirting with. I think somebody like Ms.Byrd and Ms. Miller are sound on the explicit but drift if given a little wiggle room. How much wiggle room is acceptable?

When I mentioned my concerns to her, she was diplomatic. ...

“I do not depart from established OPC practice. If you read the OPC statement on women in the church, there is freedom for lay women to function in general office as teachers in mixed groups. I do not answer the question of women reading Scriptures in church and do say that it is the practice of my denomination to only have elders read. I have honored that, but my book is not only written for OPC. I bring it up as something to think about, not taking a position there.”

What does she refer to here specifically?
“there is freedom for lay women to function in general office as teachers in mixed groups.”



What's the argument? How does anyone get from what's in the text, to a "predisposition" belonging to a party mentioned in the text? It seems apparent to me that the predisposition is located in the mind of the interpreter.
The transition from Gen.2 to Gen.3? Two historic moments, covering about 25-30 verses consecutive. Paul simply gives the reader two rationales, born out of the beginning of the world. It would be possible to simply leave it there, as individual if proximate testimonies. But perhaps we can do more.

The first is the order of creation. Adam was appointed to minister. Eve, who came after him, was not; but, as suited her vocation, was ministered unto. It suits that original distinction, which was exhibited in the sex-difference, that Adam's role and then Christ's role be filled by persons bearing the same original distinction. Psychologically as well as physiologically, not only do we know next to nothing of our first parent's visual presentations, their personalities, or their proclivities, given the mixing of their profiles in all their offspring, we have no clue whether a random male or female is phenotypically more similar to the prototype father or prototype mother. We are shut up to the most basic, and obvious distinction, the irreducible binary of human biological sex. Moreover, it is not an order with which evolutionary theory (bottom up) agrees. How could there be a male, prior to its own gestational body?

The second is the order of their sins. To Eve's shame, she was deceived. Should she have refused the exchange of one word with the serpent? She offered him a correction of his alleged religious premise. Did she have the truth accurately from Adam, or was the mischaracterization her own invention? Who is responsible for the original verbal corruption of God's decree, as it was relayed to the tempter? We know this inaccuracy was a costly failure of being a minister of the divine word. When she was put on the defensive, she did not then call her husband.

She put herself in a position to (attempt to) weigh the relative reliability of the two contradictory words which she now possessed, one from God, through Adam, and restated precisely, with confrontational force by the serpent; and the serpent's alternative, with its barbed lure. She was already dangerously compromised; because God's word is not subject to review or evaluation. He, and it, ought to be obeyed immediately because he is God and the creature owes it to him. The creature is in no position to judge the word of God. Eve had already softened the word, or she had received it softened, which softening is a judgmental act. Now, she gave the weight of her approval ("seeing that the tree was good...," Gen.3:6) to the denial of God's word. The lie had done its work, and the falsehood was taken for truth.

Eve completed her sinful act by ministering the forbidden fruit to her husband (having taken, and eaten, she gave...). This inverted and perverted the ministerial order of creation from start to finish. Prophet (word), king (judgment), priest (service). The problem is not that Eve didn't have the "correct" vessel; the problem is not that she had an "inadequate" mind for the work. Unprepared, she was made the point of attack, and the man assigned to tend and keep her (as much as the garden) did not fulfill his task.

Eve's sins were an altogether empirical failure, she experimented with herself. Adam's sin was more of the rational variety, she was his guinea pig. Whether the original verbal deviation was his or hers, he did not correct his wife's errant representation of the divine decree (close enough, he reasons). He left her to judge what she was in no position to judge; and he regarded her (erroneously) to be successful in escaping death by (forbidden) fruit (she didn't surely die, so it's safe for me to eat, he reasons). He accepted her new role as minister/servant on his behalf (she's bringing me closer to god(like), he reasons). Adam abdicates his responsibility entirely, and in the judgment he blameshifts on Eve, and on God.

Adam is required to resume his original ministerial assignment, but under a new promissory covenant. The patriarch must fill the role of mediator for his family. Eve must relinquish the usurped ministry she assumed and overturned. That she was deceived is only a slight mitigating factor for her guilt, her penalty is tinged with mercy; her responsibility, however, is not diminished. Adam enjoys no mitigating factor, and is penalized without a word of mercy for his guilt. When interpreters make Eve's experience of being deceived an effect of her innately "weak" constitution, it diminishes her responsibility (of course).

I don't think her responsibility is diminished. And I think her daughters have had to help her bear that responsibility. I think they do this abundantly when they reverently and humbly accept what Paul says in 1Tim.2:11-15.
 
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Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Since you quoted me, I guess you are asking me these questions. "One more try...," to get more or better from me? Could be it's not your fault, it's mine.

"Are men designed by God in a way that makes them more effective ministers and leaders at large"[?] More than... who? Women? Isn't it obvious that some men, at least, are less effective than 1) other men (to the point of incompetence), and 2) less effective leaders at large than, at least, some women?

Next, if you try to flesh-out what the word, "effective," means, you are bound to start quantifying various things. How well can some person exegete the text? How well can someone organize material and teach/preach it? How well does some person know the Bible, know what it says down to details, and how to get to a passage that will "hit home?" How well can some person see a situation for what it is, or see a person for who they are? Is this person a "spiritual" person? Is this person intelligent enough for the assignment? Empathetic enough? Christian ministry demands varying levels of physical and mental and emotional strength and endurance. In many cases, the toll of ministry could conceivably be borne by an average, if dedicated, person.

The thing is, one can find individual women who are capable of doing the kinds of things ministers generally are called to at a very high level, both as discrete skills, and as the package of capability that a competent minister is supposed to have. Already, among men alone the pool of qualified candidates is far smaller than the general availability of males. So, one may expect the number of women similarly gifted or skilled is also limited; but that they exist is indubitable.

But this dispersion of raw, quantifiable or otherwise estimable skills between the sexes (in which no two people are likely to have the same balance) doesn't prevent the common belief that there must be an innate, identifiable superiority of some quintessence that is naturally the MAN's, which he has that the woman does not. And this special something is what gives the male sex the ministry, and not the female. Unfortunately for this theory, despite the DNA-driven differences that give an average advantage in physical strength to the male, aside from the alternative plumbing there doesn't seem to be a completely unique gift belonging to males.

On the other hand, the bearing of children and their natural attachment to her ongoing in childhood say something both unique and telic about women (in general). I'm of the mind to say, "Women are designed by God in a way that makes them the proper recipients of the labors of effective ministers, most aptly presented in the male sex." As Adam was bound to minister to his wife in the order of creation, so even Christ's ministers are bound in imitation of their Lord, to serve the bride of Christ.

It's the fact that there's no unique telos in the man's design, compared to the unique telos of the woman's design; it's the fact that nature alone doesn't tell us that men should be Christ's ministers, and not women; it's the fact that there could be some women (by an endowment package of gifting) who could otherwise make a minister; confirms to us that it is specially the positive command of God, it is a matter of divine revelation and human submission to it, that we admit only men to the ministry. It has nothing to do with him being physically more imposing (on average), or smarter (as if), or less distractable, or you name it. Those could be reasons why, in nature the strong get to the top of the heap. But the Christian ministry is not about ambition or being "king of the hill." Not even a package of gifts, or one magnificent skill, makes a call; but the Spirit calls and adequately supplies the man summoned.

I may come back and say more, but I have other duties right this minute.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
what about the female makes her the weaker vessel in the marriage union?
The average woman has less physical strength than the average man; the superior woman athlete does not compete well with the superior male athlete--hence, women's sports. What a horrid class of men (and their toady enablers), who think they make better women than actual women, and so demolish women's sports.

However, physical prowess isn't the only, but maybe just the first "strength" in a marriage; and marriage at its best is for mutual aid, each sex compensating for weakness in the other. Sometimes, the man just is not physically what the woman is. I previously explained, that I think "the weaker vessel" refers primarily--and always it is true, not just sometimes or most of the time--to the vulnerability of childbearing. Even the weakest dude has to step up his game, to "be there" for his lady when she's pregnant.

I don't think these women, AB & RGM, are "flirting with egalitarianism." You are entitled to your opinion, but that which has been offered as evidence has not convinced me.

She told you she reserves her thoughts in private, on the Q of women reading Scripture in a worship service. That means you don't know what she thinks, even if you think you do know. She says she wrote what she wrote for a wide variety of Christians. She says she's content with what her denomination does and limits. For all we know, she has thoughts today that contemplate the good in such female engagement; and tomorrow she'll abandon them to be more than content with the OPC's practice. While you may think she's off the reservation; you don't know where she is, or where she's headed. All you and everyone else can do is wait and see.

Meanwhile, she has invited criticism of her published positions, if in fact she has transgressed her denomination's published positions. She claims she's kept inside those bounds, as to what she clearly advocates. If she has strayed, state where, and "show your work" (as they used to say in algebra).

“there is freedom for lay women to function in general office as teachers in mixed groups.”
What does she mean? She thinks a woman may teach a class comprised of both men and women, if the teaching referred to is not the biblically specified teaching role of the church's special office. We know only the ordained office, limited to men, is appointed for Christian worship. As far as what other venues are suitable to co-ed religious instruction under a competent female instructor, that is for sessions to struggle with. It might even be OK for there to be differences of opinion, one congregation to the next.

Maybe she has been alienated by the GC treatment. I don't think it's anyone's job to "draw her back," other than her session; and a general outpouring of kind regard, such as the "open letter" approach gave out. I've known her pastor for about 13yrs, with much more interaction in the early years than lately. I have a lot of respect for him, as a man with intelligence, pastoral experience, and biblical wisdom. He's able to help what you or I are in no position to. But you and I can pray for grace to cover the whole situation.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ok, thank you for your time. I respect and am challenged by your knowledge and insights.
The average woman has less physical strength than the average man; the superior woman athlete does not compete well with the superior male athlete--hence, women's sports. What a horrid class of men (and their toady enablers), who think they make better women than actual women, and so demolish women's sports.

However, physical prowess isn't the only, but maybe just the first "strength" in a marriage; and marriage at its best is for mutual aid, each sex compensating for weakness in the other. Sometimes, the man just is not physically what the woman is. I previously explained, that I think "the weaker vessel" refers primarily--and always it is true, not just sometimes or most of the time--to the vulnerability of childbearing. Even the weakest dude has to step up his game, to "be there" for his lady when she's pregnant.

I don't think these women, AB & RGM, are "flirting with egalitarianism." You are entitled to your opinion, but that which has been offered as evidence has not convinced me.

She told you she reserves her thoughts in private, on the Q of women reading Scripture in a worship service. That means you don't know what she thinks, even if you think you do know. She says she wrote what she wrote for a wide variety of Christians. She says she's content with what her denomination does and limits. For all we know, she has thoughts today that contemplate the good in such female engagement; and tomorrow she'll abandon them to be more than content with the OPC's practice. While you may think she's off the reservation; you don't know where she is, or where she's headed. All you and everyone else can do is wait and see.

Meanwhile, she has invited criticism of her published positions, if in fact she has transgressed her denomination's published positions. She claims she's kept inside those bounds, as to what she clearly advocates. If she has strayed, state where, and "show your work" (as they used to say in algebra).


What does she mean? She thinks a woman may teach a class comprised of both men and women, if the teaching referred to is not the biblically specified teaching role of the church's special office. We know only the ordained office, limited to men, is appointed for Christian worship. As far as what other venues are suitable to co-ed religious instruction under a competent female instructor, that is for sessions to struggle with. It might even be OK for there to be differences of opinion, one congregation to the next.

Maybe she has been alienated by the GC treatment. I don't think it's anyone's job to "draw her back," other than her session; and a general outpouring of kind regard, such as the "open letter" approach gave out. I've known her pastor for about 13yrs, with much more interaction in the early years than lately. I have a lot of respect for him, as a man with intelligence, pastoral experience, and biblical wisdom. He's able to help what you or I are in no position to. But you and I can pray for grace to cover the whole situation.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
This is a new review by Rev. Bryan Peters of the PRC (not sure if he is active on the PuritanBoard anymore, but he used to be). The review warns about the dangers of Byrd's book (and fairly gives credit to her when she is right) without resorting to some of the intemperate remarks found in social media. This is Part 1. Part 2 is evidently yet to come.

 
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lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
This is a new review by Rev. Bryan Peters of the PRC (not sure if he is active on the PuritanBoard anymore, but he used to be). The review warns about the dangers of Byrd's book (and fairly gives credit to her when she is right) without resorting to some of the intemperate remarks found in social media. This is Part 1. Part 2 is evidently yet to come.

Thank you for this. It is well written and he faithfully presents the way the whole ESS subject created such a mess originally with CBMW and Byrd/Goligher/Trueman, etc. He seems to have depth and a broad perspective.

I have one general question that has come up earlier in the thread for me and this article reminded me of it. I forget who it was that expressed this view. That is, do people here believe that all women submit to all men? I don't, nor does my husband......the Greek word in I Cor 11 can be used for wife or woman, and we believe in context it refers to married wives. Not women in general.

I wear a headcovering, as a sign to the angels of my submission to my husband, and especially that I was created for him (wired for him, designed for him, the right personality and giftings and even flaws for him). But, I do not for one split second accept that I submit to all men. I've had a few occasions over the years where some guy who would not get along with Byrd AT ALL was trying to run my life in some way, and it was like "dude, I submit to my husband not to you". There are men (ordained and non ordained) out there in Reformed circles as well as Calvinist non confessional churches who do ooze the attitude that just because they are a guy all women should submit.

Given that the Greek can be interpreted either way, shouldn't this be a non essential? I didn't read Byrd's book and I haven't read all the posts and links on PB. But is this a big issue for you PB pastors? Do you think and teach all adult women should submit to (at a minimum) all adult Christian men? Because if that is the case it helps me understand Aimee better, and with sympathy.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
I have one general question that has come up earlier in the thread for me and this article reminded me of it. I forget who it was that expressed this view. That is, do people here believe that all women submit to all men? I don't, nor does my husband......the Greek word in I Cor 11 can be used for wife or woman, and we believe in context it refers to married wives. Not women in general.
No. And 1 Cor 11 refering to women does not imply all women must submit to all men either.

Here is Spangler's attempt at clarification (from a public post on his FB page) when asked whether he believed all women should submit to all men.

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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think this is where the concern of the moving target comes into play. If the issue is men in the church twisting and adding to scripture to create an abusive and oppressive climate, well that is plain inexcusable and indefensible. Are the men on the defense part of such an establishment or do they believe they are protecting a sliding descent into liberalism? Probably a little of both, maybe? I can’t say?
I’m not sure who they(RMG/AB) have if mind exactly and if this is something that is being taught....? Maybe this is more of a political/conservative mindset they are addressing. I do wish RGM and AB wrote their books in collaboration with a minister from the denomination just for the sake of clarity and focus. Who would argue with these concerns as stated below? She’s obviously fixed on actual instances of abuse, related to hard criticisms (bordering on slander) against Ms. Byrd. Are some of the GC men proving their point?

On a related note, is it preferable or allowable for women to be seen as authoritative or theologians? Is the whole concept of female theologian an oxymoron?

Is Amiee Byrd weak and vulnerable or an academic/authoritative peer susceptible to hard critique?

This debate is getting confusing.....
Is there a hard line to be found in this debate ?

”The world is watching how the church treats women, how it responds
to abuse, and how it protects the vulnerable—or fails them. When women are belittled, when men in authority dismiss abuse charges and circle the wagons, when churches and institutions fail to protect the weak and vulnerable, the world sees this and judges. And it’s not only the individuals and particular churches that are judged. The gospel, Christianity, the universal church, and Christ Himself are judged by our response to abuse.
As Paul warned, the gospel is in danger of being reviled because of our actions.
- Rachel Green Miller, Beyond Authority and Submission, 241.
Because I want to be faithful to Scripture, and I want to uphold our Reformed confessions, I will continue to work to address areas such as these where extrabiblical and unbiblical ideas and beliefs are influencing what’s taught in our churches. What’s going on at the root of these discussions is too important to ignore.” -RGM
 
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CathH

Puritan Board Freshman
I think this is where the concern of the moving target comes into play. If the issue is men in the church twisting and adding to scripture to create an abusive and oppressive climate, well that is plain inexcusable and indefensible. Are the men on the defense part of such an establishment or do they believe they are protecting a sliding descent into liberalism? Probably a little of both, maybe? I can’t say?
I’m not sure who they(RMG/AB) have if mind exactly and if this is something that is being taught....? Maybe this is more of a political/conservative mindset they are addressing.
If I understand you here, you're referring to Rachel Green Miller's blog post you've linked below? It's entirely clear there who she has in mind because she gives specific quotes from specific named individuals with links. So maybe (if I'm following you here), your question is how widespread these views are? or how representative these voices are of complementarianism as a whole?

If that's your question, I'd also like to know the answer! Do the self-identified complementarians here recognise these views as what complementarianism really distils down to in its most succinct form? Or are these views an aberrant form of complementarianism?

I do wish RGM and AB wrote their books in collaboration with a minister from the denomination just for the sake of clarity and focus.
Mm, I've read some books by some ministers and they aren't all models of clarity and focus.

On a related note, is it preferable or allowable for women to be seen as authoritative or theologians? Is the whole concept of female theologian an oxymoron?
Why would the concept of female theologian be an oxymoron? I learned the Shorter Catechism off by heart as a child, and as a teenager heard my pastor say that anyone with the Catechism at their fingertips was a theologian already. I don't feel like an oxymoron, somehow. Would it be preferable if girls and women weren't theologians? Is it allowable for any church member not to be a theologian?
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
Could you speak to the quote I posted. Who is weak and vulnerable? Women? Is that what she’s conveying?
If I understand you here, you're referring to Rachel Green Miller's blog post you've linked below? It's entirely clear there who she has in mind because she gives specific quotes from specific named individuals with links. So maybe (if I'm following you here), your question is how widespread these views are? or how representative these voices are of complementarianism as a whole?

If that's your question, I'd also like to know the answer! Do the self-identified complementarians here recognise these views as what complementarianism really distils down to in its most succinct form? Or are these views an aberrant form of complementarianism?



Mm, I've read some books by some ministers and they aren't all models of clarity and focus.



Why would the concept of female theologian be an oxymoron? I learned the Shorter Catechism off by heart as a child, and as a teenager heard my pastor say that anyone with the Catechism at their fingertips was a theologian already. I don't feel like an oxymoron, somehow. Would it be preferable if girls and women weren't theologians? Is it allowable for any church member not to be a theologian?
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
Are you asking me? I'm not an egalitarian.
I just wasn’t sure. To preface a question with something like "any self-identified complementarians here"—as if there might be some here who are not—on a forum like Puritan Board I found to be a little odd. Just asking.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
Mm, I've read some books by some ministers and they aren't all models of clarity and focus. Why would the concept of female theologian be an oxymoron? I learned the Shorter Catechism off by heart as a child, and as a teenager heard my pastor say that anyone with the Catechism at their fingertips was a theologian already. I don't feel like an oxymoron, somehow. Would it be preferable if girls and women weren't theologians? Is it allowable for any church member not to be a theologian?
Expert in theology? That’s a high standard.

i find Green and Byrd sloppy and erratic in their handling of scripture, theology and doctrine in theory and application. They need help. Their shots at certain individuals and schools of thought is fine but not sure they are qualified to wage this war. Choose your target and stay on topic and get some help from qualified men who can sharpen your thesis. That’s my plea. Because they are women they probably are not qualified for this debate. Is that really controversial of me to say?
 
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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
Why do I get the feeling these GC guys are just as brutal with men. These debate-oriented polemic sites tend to be pretty brutal. The blogosphere and social media brings out the worst elements. They should probably go away, but Amy and Rachel are not above critique cause they are women. Can these women speak with authority on these matters? It’s a simple question and if they can we may have to rethink how we do church order.

If someone can explain how Ms Byrd and Ms Green can be considered authoritative on biblical matters that require clarification from biblical authority I’d be interested ....

I think it’s a slight on the men in authority in the opc, that Byrd and Green feel they have to set the record straight on these matters. I don’t say that to stir the pot, I’m saying that because it seems like a natural consequence...
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Can these women speak with authority on these matters?
The key issue seems to be whether a woman is forbidden to speak with authority in the church, or just at all.

That raises another point: if the woman is forbidden to speak with authority outside the church, albeit to Christian men, then she is in some sense, so it seems, subject to those men on that point. Yet even Wilson in all of his extremity never went that far.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
i find Green and Byrd sloppy and erratic in their handling of scripture, theology and doctrine in theory and application. They need help. Their shots at certain individuals and schools of thought is fine but not sure they are qualified to wage this war. Choose your target and stay on topic and get some help from qualified men who can sharpen your thesis. That’s my plea.
That might be true, but I can just as easily apply that to most theology arguments by lay Reformed men.
Because they are women they probably are not qualified for this debate.
That does not even remotely logically follow. In fact, it has a number latent fallacies in it: ad hominem, etc
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
That might be true, but I can just as easily apply that to most theology arguments by lay Reformed men.


That does not even remotely logically follow. In fact, it has a number latent fallacies in it: ad hominem, etc
By what authority? A minimum requirement is the individual must be a man. That is God’s ordinance. The shortcomings of men do not negate that does it? This is why I don’t see Beth Moore as authoritative from the onset. Ms Byrd was an important part of the discussion but if Trueman and Pruitt weren’t present I would not listen to MoS. This sounds harsh, but is it Biblical? I think a woman could be a good complimentary voice with the ordained man present. If an orator of scripture is required, I think a qualified man (pastor/elder) should be present or in lawful instances approve the female leader.
 
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