Review of RGM’s BA&S

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
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.
If they are from the OPC they probably have some authority if they are not then I think she should get their backing. Did you read RMG’s quote I posted? What do you think of it?


Isn’t this a bait and switch....?
“These beliefs about the nature of men and women play out in practical ways, as evidenced in the comments from the Genevan Commons group. I wrote Beyond Authority and Submission because of my concerns about what is being taught about the nature of men and women and because of how women are being treated:

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.”

She is saying women are weak and vulnerable. But if an ordained minister would say this ....

I agree with her sentiment about protecting the vulnerable, but both sides are perfecting the art of bait and switch. I think GC should be shut down and Amiee (who is writing another book) and RMG should take a break.
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If they are from the OPC they probably have some authority if they are not then I think she should get their backing. Did you read RMG’s quote I posted? What do you think of it?
I've probably read RMG's quote, though I can't remember specifics in this hthread (unless you just immediately posted it). If they are saying they should exercise teaching authority within the church as a specific office, then I disagree with them. If they are saying that there exists situations where a woman may teach a man, then I have no problem with it. I reject the idea that woman qua woman submits to man qua man. Not even Wilson holds to that.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
By what authority?
By what authority what, exactly? Your statement implied they weren't mentally competent to judge these issues. My point was that didn't logically follow.
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?
We are moving the goal posts. If all you are saying is that you must be a man to exercise a teaching office within the church, fine. But you don't have to be a man to judge theology issues, otherwise we are just telling women to turn their brains off.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
By what authority what, exactly? Your statement implied they weren't mentally competent to judge these issues. My point was that didn't logically follow.


We are moving the goal posts. If all you are saying is that you must be a man to exercise a teaching office within the church, fine. But you don't have to be a man to judge theology issues, otherwise we are just telling women to turn their brains off.
No, I would not go that far. I would say issues such as these that are pretty complex (mostly due to the sins of men) in certain ways require ordained men with the appropriate level of education and study of scriptures, maturity and sobriety. Are there women in the OPC that meet such qualifications in training and practice? It’s not just because they are women or that they are intellectually inferior. It’s because God has not ordained they would follow such a course. Unless I’m mistaken. I’m open to correction.

I support both of these women, but now Aimee is doubling down and writing a book on sexuality. I think we all agree that women are not second class citizens and shouldn’t be treated as such. But most Reviews from within opc circles have been lukewarm. I think these are worthy topics that require at the least a qualified co-writer for the sake of clarity and focus.

I want to say I’m super impressed with the level of maturity, charity and knowledge of any and every opc minister I’ve come across, both live and around here. If these men were to co-author or provide a full stamp of approval I would be receptive to such an offering but I would also anticipate a little more care with the overall material and content.
 
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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
This quote seems to push the envelope. I’m wondering what her targets are exactly. It could be needful or needlessly disruptive, or maybe somewhere in between.

We are ripe for a positive kind of sexual revolution in the church and recovering a good theological anthropology will have a lot to do with it. I am convinced that it will take a cooperation of academics, pastors, and informed/thoughtful laypeople (men and women) to do it. We desperately need to peel away the Aristotelian mindset of men and woman that still pervades much of the teaching on sexuality in the church today.” - The True Sexual Revolution, Aimee Byrd, Inside the word. Outside the box.
https://aimeebyrd.com/2020/06/30/the-true-sexual-revolution/

1. If women are leading the way on this, does it disrupt Biblical authority? I’d like to see what the plan looks like.....
2. Who are these informed academics she has in mind I wonder? detective.gif

My further questions would be,
3. Where is this being taught?
4. Is it clearly being taught the way she claims it to be?
5. Is this the most proper way to lead a movement against false teachings?

If this is truly an issue that needs widespread addressing within the greater Reformed community, it appears she’s attempting to go about it a right way. But I do predict similar resistance in some circles where she may be painted as threatening, including potential speaking engagements scrutinized (probably outside of her denomination where this may hit closer to home).

Im not seeing much good or productive come out of this if recent history is any indication, but if she has the right support it may clarify some things that truly need and deserve clarification. It seems like AB and RMG are tying these matters to abuse, potentially proposing a more direct correlation which could go either way. They just need to be as precise as can be.

Again, I do think the matter of correct teaching authority is at stake (a vital side issue) and that ordained men will ultimately need to take a lead on this if it is deemed a legitimate concern worth addressing on a grand scale.
 
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G

Puritan Board Senior
I hope all parties take a breather. Personally it does not come across as very meek to continue to blog on and announce another new book on gender roles right after being asked to step down from a couple trustworthy platforms, regardless of proposed “wrongs”. I hope Mrs. Byrd can slow down and unplug for a season. I think that would serve her very well as she tries to move forward. I hope her Husband and Session can take the reins and be granted wisdom and discernment on how to help Mrs. Byrd navigate this situation. I also hope that some of the harshness (Deserved or Not) does not cause her to leave the reformed church.
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Personally it does not come across as very meek to continue to blog on and announce another new book on gender roles right after being asked to step down from a couple trustworthy platforms, regardless of proposed “wrongs”.
Unless her session asked her to step down, then she is free to write. MOS and the Alliance do not have judicial authority.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Unless her session asked her to step down, then she is free to write. MOS and the Alliance do not have judicial authority.
Never said they did. But those should be sobering outcomes for any confessional minded Christian. If a friend comes to me and ask me to ”take a break from xyz” and then my very next move is to go out on my own and do “xyz”, I would just expect and least a period of a break. Maybe my expectations are unrealistic. Obviously this has taken a certain segment of the church by storm, so why in meekness and with wounds fresh would the answer be “keep cranking out blogs and books on similar subject matter”? I’m not saying she should “shut up and go home”. I saying that I think it would be wise to have an off season as things work out before deciding to keep the petal to the floor.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If a friend told me to do x, but I knew I was right, I would thank him for his advice but continue to use my gifts. If my session told me to do x, then I would obey. Simple as that.

This is a tempest in a teapot. Reformed Christians in America are probably 1% of 1%. The article in CT is probably forgotten by now.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
That's precisely the point. If she is in contract with a publisher, as she probably is, and if some parachurch ministry told her to do something else, she is free to ignore them.
Again, I’m not arguing contrary.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
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?
In regards to public theologians (e.g. Calvin), yes it is. I think it was Shane Anderson who pointed out that there are no great female theologians in the history of the church. That is not a coincidence. That is not to say that there aren't many, many Christian women with a great grasp of theology and that there aren't those Christian women whose personal diaries/memoirs, for example, haven't been of immense spiritual benefit to the church. But the role of Theologian, of teaching the church (whether that be in the pulpit or at large) is reserved to men.
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Shane Anderson who pointed out that there are no great female theologians in the history of the church. That is not a coincidence.
Shane is hardly qualified to speak on this (or any other subject). For much of church history, theology was done by monks and bishops. Not only did that rule women out, but most men as well.

As to Shane's comment, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesaria would disagree, since they both considered themselves inferior in theology to Sister Macrina.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If all Shane is saying, and he unfriended me (not the first time one of Doug Wilson disciples has done that for disagreeing with them), so I might be wrong, that there is a reason there haven't been any official female doctors of the church, that's fine. But if he is saying that women shouldn't engage in theological abstraction, then he is wrong.

If we are saying that women shouldn't engage in theological abstraction, then we shouldn't ever exhort them to be Bereans.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
For those that don't have a scorecard, who is Shane Anderson?
Shane is hardly qualified to speak on this (or any other subject). For much of church history, theology was done by monks and bishops. Not only did that rule women out, but most men as well.

As to Shane's comment, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesaria would disagree, since they both considered themselves inferior in theology to Sister Macrina.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Is he a minister or elder?
OPC elder, or was. I think he is a teaching elder. He's switched denoms several times so it is hard to say.

He is the reason why Aimee Byrd had some semblance of legitimacy in her complaint. If it were simply some random people making these comments, she should have ignored them. Since it was an OPC elder, maybe even a teaching elder, then it is a different situation.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
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.
This is but one of the results of women taking up roles which do not belong to them. On the one hand they want to be treated as equals and on the other they cry foul when they are treated "harshly". Luther and Calvin were treated pretty harshly. Did they cower and cry and whine as Byrd and Miller have done? Did they cry "we are vulnerable you must coddle us"? Social media certainly brings out the worst in people and has wrecked public discourse but it's also not true that theological debate and discussion has until now only been a realm of genteel and affable conversation. It has always had its contentious and combative side and that is why it is a realm reserved to men.

Byrd's and Miller's appeal to the "vulnerable" is a very cynical tactic. They wish to weaponise the (proper) respect and chivalry shown to women in order to deflect criticism of their work and as cover for refusing to answer questions put to them. Yes women are due a great deal of respect and curtesy because they are the weaker vessel. They are not meant to involve themselves in the teaching of the church or public discourse in this manner. They must choose: behave like women or be treated like men.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Shane is hardly qualified to speak on this (or any other subject). For much of church history, theology was done by monks and bishops. Not only did that rule women out, but most men as well.

As to Shane's comment, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesaria would disagree, since they both considered themselves inferior in theology to Sister Macrina.
Sister who? lol.

Yes most men were also ruled out. That is irrelevant, however. The point is that teachers are men. Men who are qualified, not (as Byrd and Miller would have it in their subtle way) qualified men. Being a man is the foundational qualification for being a teacher in the church.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Sister who? lol.
The two greatest theologians on the Trinity talked about her this way. You might want to read up on the Cappadocian Fathers. Nicene Creed type stuff.


If Gregory of Nyssa is to be believed, much of what we talk about the soul and aspects of Trinitarian ontology were sharpened by their conversations with Macrina.
 
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A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
I keep going back to Nancy Pearcey. I read two of her books quite some time ago, but she always came across as somebody who properly towed the line.
I dont know enough about her background (denomination, full views, etc.) so I may be contradicting myself. But I dont believe women need to turn off their brain.

We need women to stand with us. They need to be encouraged and supported. They need to know the full counsel of God. They need to know the snares that abound. They need to use their gifts in lawful ways. They must not be diminished nor taken for granted. They must desire the honor, worship and glory of their Lord and King along with their male counterparts.

Satan will try to drive a wedge and seduce women away with promises of greater opportunity and autonomy. Men, children and even God's ordained order can be seen as weights around the necks of women. Nobody wants that.

Aimee should proceed with caution, take her time, and collaborate through appropriate channels for her own protection and to ensure God is properly honored and approved. Reputations and denominations must be restored and (when a blind spot may arise) reformed within the bounds of God's created order, purpose and design, without losing any Biblical and theological distinctiveness.
 
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Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesaria would disagree, since they both considered themselves inferior in theology to Sister Macrina
Interesting. I've seen where they extolled her piety as exceeding theirs', but can you share where they applied this to theology generally?
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Interesting. I've seen where they extolled her piety as exceeding theirs', but can you share where they applied this to theology generally?
Women have often been held up as exemplars of piety. That is proper for women and it is not the same thing as being great teachers/theologians.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Interesting. I've seen where they extolled her piety as exceeding theirs', but can you share where they applied this to theology generally?
For them theology and piety weren't separable. It's been probably a decade since I read through Nyssa's works. I know for a fact it's in his treatise on the soul. It might be in On the Making of Man.

In any case, they saw her as their superior in intellect.

On a similar note, read Gregory of Nazianzus's account of his own mother and her, for what we can only today call 'antics' in the church, and how he praised her acumen.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Aimee should proceed with caution, take her time, and collaborate through appropriate channels for her own protection and to ensure God is properly honored and approved.
She would say she is doing all of that, since she has the approval of the only channel that really matters--her church. Parachurch organizations can go pound sand for the most part. At best they can only marginally help the church.
 
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