Women not into theology?

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
One irony that I have witnessed among some circles:

-People will stress time and time again that woman ought not to speak in church or teach a man,

and then,

--Some of the same people willl complain that women just are not theologically astute.


Is this a common problem in your churches too?
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
I agree that most women's studies are fluffy, boring, or simply not applicable to everyone that may be looking for a study group. There have been times where Men and Women studies were going on at same time and, truth be told, I would have rather been studying what the men were studying. There have been some studies where I just felt like I just didn't fit.

Yes, I would have to agree with this as well....sometimes I do find women's books to be dumbed down. I rarely read any of them anymore, because I don't find myself growing. Probably one of the few women's study books that I find profitable are by Nancy Leigh DeMoss....

I agree, J.C and Yvonne! But then again, the same can be said about a lot of Christian books, period. Less and less of anything other than stuff written by the Puritans or very rare as hens' teeth Old School modern stuff interests me. I'd rather peruse a Barnes and Noble or Borders than the typical Christian bookstore any day. There's a huge Christian bookstore in our area which everyone raves about, and the only thing I'd buy in there is an AV (King James) Bible. They couldn't give me the majority of their merchandise.

No, I can't relate to not being into theology.

And yes, a lot of women aren't "into" it, but then again, I think we should use caution when we say that, because in my opinion, if you love the Lord Jesus Christ and study Him and grow in the knowledge of Him as he's revealed in scripture, you're indeed a theologian.
 
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Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
Okay, the only ladies I have known that like to discuss theology, I found online (and several have become friends in real life). At most churches, not all, try to lead into any theological or Christian living issue and they either shut down, evaded it with a perky comment, or looked at you like "we're women, we're not supposed to be discussing this.

I agree that most women's studies are fluffy, boring, or simply not applicable to everyone that may be looking for a study group. There have been times where Men and Women studies were going on at same time and, truth be told, I would have rather been studying what the men were studying. There have been some studies where I just felt like I just didn't fit.

Yes, it's a gap that should be worried about. Because guess who is stepping in and trying to fill that gap...yep, you guessed it...Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur. Elizabeth George and Nancy Leigh DeMoss are probably the exceptions, but they still focus on "women things" as they ARE women.

My husband and I have discussed theology for years. It's probably been a good portion of our conversations.


I think I'll just happily read what is on my shelves, discuss with my PB, hang out here at the PB and with a few other women online that actually enjoy life beyond manicures.

I wouldn't lump Kay Arthur in with Beth Moore and certainly not Joyce Meyer. Kay Arthur has done some very good Bible studies and an elder told me that she is a member of a reformed church.

Her studies drove me batty. So much focus on memorizing the "symbolic markings" we were supposed to be doing and not enough time taken in actually understanding what was being said. I see a verse or a paragraph and I can actually see a picture in my head. Spend 40min dissecting a single word and I forget where it even fit in with the passage.

All three are annoying to me.

-----Added 5/28/2009 at 09:45:19 EST-----

I think you have a valid point..... I certainly know of many women that are very disinterested with theology. Prior to the Pb, there were only a few women that I knew of that were interested in discussions such as myself. But that is not always the case!

In some cases......I think it is far more difficult for married women to care for their husbands, their children, their homes....and still have time and energy to devote to deep theological study. There are far too many responsibilities today, and it is much easier to read something light. A woman's job in the home never seems to end! So on some level, I think it is much more difficult for women to get involved than men.

I also know many Christians that believe theology is not an appropriate subject for women at all. And it is something that they heavily frown upon. I've had people tell me that I shouldn't be wasting so much time reading the reformers or the puritans....and I think many people assume that women are incapable of that kind of learning! I do agree that the husband should be further along, and he ought to be the one to teach and lead....but I'm not sure that theology is a subject that is completely inappropriate for women to study.

Another reason.....I think many of us are uncertain of how much discussion is permissible. At what point are we correcting and teaching men? Many of us dare not cross that line, so we would much rather avoid deep discussions that would lead us to exercising authority over a man. There are many discussions here on the board ,for example, that I've been very interested in, but I would much rather bow out of....lest I teach a man. So I'll give my input here and there...but I am careful not to enter certain discussions with men. I think that can very well be a concern of many women today!

Thank you. This is just the sort of response I was hoping to elicit. Several others have been helpful too. Lady Flynt (and others), do you think that the Christian sub-culture views women as un-theological? To clarify, I believe that women are just as intelligent and capable as men, yet it seems that any book written specifically for women is intentionally dumbed down. When Christian products are marketed toward women, it never seems to be aimed at the "thinking woman." My experience in both the church and the Christian school movement is that women are expected to concentrate only on those areas which pertain most obviously to daily living, plus memorizing Prov. 31. Do you think that some Christian sub-cultures have actually made it difficult or undesirable to be a theologically inclined woman?

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Edit: By the way, one impetus for this thread was the recent thread about the man changing churches due to doctrine, but it was painful for his wife because she had good relations there and didn't really get the doctrinal issues. Several other men on that thread expressed similar ideas. I recently went through the same process, but my wife understood completely what was going on.

I would say that marketing is marketing. You find "women's stuff" (and you have to admit, women have a lot of "stuff") marketed towards women. Areas like Theology, are for both men and women, so there is not going to be any specific marketing towards women.

Maybe we should suggest it. Can you picture Calvin's Institutes pink floral bound with a snazzy title like, "The Woman's Guide to..." or "Tea With Calvin" or "A Reformed Breakfast Devotional" :p

You don't find a lot of stuff marketed as "just for men" (except hair colour ;) and a few daddy manuals). Women are the cash machines, men just work for it. (well, as far as marketing is concerned, Reformed gents know how to drop a pretty penny on a library)

J.C. - I soooooo agree with you about Kay Arthur's crayola bible studies! :banghead:
 

CNJ

Puritan Board Senior
On Shallow Women's Material

Re: the shallowness of women's bible study materials, I have to wonder if there's a simple explanation: do the Reformed traditionally emphasize segregated teaching material, or rather men and women learning together? If this is not a Reformed emphasis, it's little wonder we don't find more "biblically strong" women's Bible Study resources out there.

At my church, we have a lady's study that meets one Saturday a month. At our own pace we are studying Memorable Women of the Puritan Times, Volume One, by James Anderson. I think our pastor looked high and low to find us this book. It is very deep--not an easy read. The thought was that an elder (man) should be there if we were studying Scripture. We also enjoy praying together and seeing the Lord's answer to prayer.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I didn't read all the answers so I might be saying what everyone else has already said. I find that outside of the reformed church most women do not do theology. However, the women inside the reformed church can really give many people a run for their money. I have a woman friend who reads Owen and understands him well. :D Can't say that I would be that smart...never read him. However, I am looking to enter tnars as soon as my pastor (who has promised me!) sends me my letter of reference.

On a another note, if a woman knows more than her husband/husband-to-be, then that is a good gauge for the man to quicken his step in his biblical learnings! We should all be challenging each other to dig deeper. I think it would be inappropriate (not that anyone is saying this) for the woman to take a halt to her learnings just so her husband could catch up. He should put forth more effort into learning more.
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
On a another note, if a woman knows more than her husband/husband-to-be, then that is a good gauge for the man to quicken his step in his biblical learnings! We should all be challenging each other to dig deeper. I think it would be inappropriate (not that anyone is saying this) for the woman to take a halt to her learnings just so her husband could catch up. He should put forth more effort into learning more.

I agree.
 

janimar

Puritan Board Freshman
I am a single Reformed woman in her 50's. I am very interested in theology and have always been since I became a Christian. I now teach an Omnibus 11th grade class where philosophy, theology, comes in and I am glad for my background. In college I was influenced by several guys who later became pastors and I grew in Reformed thinking. In my hometown there was a Logos bookstore that had all the Schaeffer books and other Reformed thinkers that I ate up. Later I got books from Great Christian Books, a non defunct Reformed book company.

My sisters are also Reformed and we are always discussing these things. In some Reformed circles there are those woman who are not interested but I have tended to go to churches where there are women who want to discuss those issues.

As a single woman I have good relationships with several men, a few pastors, and their wives and we can have those discussions. For instance, when the Federal Vision stuff first started we read and discussed.

Sometimes it is frustrating for me when some Christian woman only want to read fluff. But I realize that is true throughout Christianity even in Reformed circles. It is easier to read some Christian bookseller than delve into a Puritan.
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
I didn't read all the answers so I might be saying what everyone else has already said. I find that outside of the reformed church most women do not do theology. However, the women inside the reformed church can really give many people a run for their money. I have a woman friend who reads Owen and understands him well. :D Can't say that I would be that smart...never read him. However, I am looking to enter tnars as soon as my pastor (who has promised me!) sends me my letter of reference.

On a another note, if a woman knows more than her husband/husband-to-be, then that is a good gauge for the man to quicken his step in his biblical learnings! We should all be challenging each other to dig deeper. I think it would be inappropriate (not that anyone is saying this) for the woman to take a halt to her learnings just so her husband could catch up. He should put forth more effort into learning more.

Good comments and glad to hear you are looking into tnars. I hope that goes well. I would love to do something like that!

I don't think learning theology is optional, for either the man or the woman, personally. I also agree that just because my husband is a younger Christian that I stop studying...for me to stop studying is like to stop breathing..honestly! I long for knowledge and understanding.
 

ubermadchen

Puritanboard <strong>Outlaw</strong>
A lot of the younger women at my church frown upon me for my desire to study theology. They say it's not practical. I should study about things of the home (which I do, in addition to studying theology). One is so bold to say that I'm using theology to gain the attention of men. I don't think that's the case and neither do my elders or pastor who love to give me more books to read (even without my asking). However, that stigma remains on me and limits the amount of young friends I have. It seems it's a popular belief among women from the several churches I've attended.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
A lot of the younger women at my church frown upon me for my desire to study theology. They say it's not practical. I should study about things of the home (which I do, in addition to studying theology). One is so bold to say that I'm using theology to gain the attention of men. I don't think that's the case and neither do my elders or pastor who love to give me more books to read (even without my asking). However, that stigma remains on me and limits the amount of young friends I have. It seems it's a popular belief among women from the several churches I've attended.

Sounds like insecurity to me.
 

ubermadchen

Puritanboard <strong>Outlaw</strong>
Regardless whether it's insecurity or not, I love those women. I admire their devotion to their families. But, I believe God has given His people different measures of the desire to learn of Him. Perhaps that's why some women don't desire to study theology.
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
A lot of the younger women at my church frown upon me for my desire to study theology. They say it's not practical. I should study about things of the home (which I do, in addition to studying theology). One is so bold to say that I'm using theology to gain the attention of men. I don't think that's the case and neither do my elders or pastor who love to give me more books to read (even without my asking). However, that stigma remains on me and limits the amount of young friends I have. It seems it's a popular belief among women from the several churches I've attended.

Well, I know I speak for a lot of the women here when I say you have a friend in us! Keep studying. Learn and apply. And enjoy! :)
 

A.Hudson

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't think learning theology is optional, for either the man or the woman, personally.

:ditto:

I really appreciated "In His Grip", "Lady Flynt" and "CMJ'S" and all the wonderful Responses of the women of GOD, and sisters in Christ..thank you for those! lol it's an encouragement, really. I have a question for all though, if your wife or courtmate isn't as into theology as you are, what can you do to maybe spruce up her interest? I mean I know we're NOT in control, it def has to be a work of GOD...but can u guys share an wisdom in this area of what to do or maybe what u did pertaining to this??? I would love to hear from both the men and women on this one..
 

Jesus is my friend

Puritan Board Junior
Well I heard a sermon today with Paul Washer where he said something to the effect of
"Young lady if you are sitting here today, engaged to be married with a man that does not know more scripture than you, you need to brake up and not go through with the wedding"

And not to be labled the shovanist, the Theological responsibility like all other responsibility in the family lies with the man, so I think he should know more theology.

That being said I do not think that woman should know nothing, and men everything, but I think that in the homes where the woman knows the most theology, there is a man that needs to look at his responsabilities.

Can you tell me the title of this sermon and where to find it,I would be thankful?:think:
 

christiana

Puritan Board Senior
There are multitudinous reasons and circumstances for women not knowing theology.

There are situations where men intimidate women with their vast theological awareness.

There are many women who are married that trust their DH to both know and to direct the necessary knowledge in the home.

There are single women who for reasons regarding time and availablilty and understanding just find it quite complex to tackle on their own.

I admit that my knowledge and hunger both were shallow until time to retire. Then I promised myself that for the rest of my days my time would be spent knowing God, His word and His great doctrines! This has been the most ultimate and rewarding learning I've ever experienced but mostly what I've learned is how very little I've learned! The vast deeps that are there in the Word are both frightening, enticing, and comforting at the same time! Knowledge brings responsibility and as we learn and grow we are accountable to share this and to encourage others to study those marvelous deep doctrines of grace and cause our soul to soar with Him! Soli deo gloria!
 

A.Hudson

Puritan Board Freshman
There are multitudinous reasons and circumstances for women not knowing theology.

There are situations where men intimidate women with their vast theological awareness.

There are many women who are married that trust their DH to both know and to direct the necessary knowledge in the home.

There are single women who for reasons regarding time and availablilty and understanding just find it quite complex to tackle on their own.

I admit that my knowledge and hunger both were shallow until time to retire. Then I promised myself that for the rest of my days my time would be spent knowing God, His word and His great doctrines! This has been the most ultimate and rewarding learning I've ever experienced but mostly what I've learned is how very little I've learned! The vast deeps that are there in the Word are both frightening, enticing, and comforting at the same time! Knowledge brings responsibility and as we learn and grow we are accountable to share this and to encourage others to study those marvelous deep doctrines of grace and cause our soul to soar with Him! Soli deo gloria!

Praise God! And yea I think the first reason is the situation with the wonderful women I'm courting, she's told me at times she has felt intimidated...even around the brothers I fellowship with, she says she feels sometimes that she kinda has to be where were at, and because she feels she's not, it can intimidate her...even to the point where she doesn't feel comfortable going to some Bible studys I attend, and I think its because she might be affraid someone may ask her a question she doesn't know or talk to her about something that she may not know about when they expect her to. I'm open for any shared wisdom? Sry for the typos,/ grammar its kind of tough for me to type fluently right now
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks to everyone on this this thread. The responses, especially the personal observations, have been very enlightening. Sorry for not keeping up better. I was away this weekend for a 1-year anniversary vacation (theology was discussed only occasionally).

So far, I've come to conclude that there is indeed a theology gap, and that it is a problem. Its causes are complex. Some people just aren't into theology; they are intellectually lazy (this is true for men too). Some are being discouraged from pursuing theology by cultural or sub-cultural pressures. Some are extremely busy with different responsibilities and don't know how to schedule in more time.

I am deeply concerned about this issue because the alternative to an educated faith is an implicit faith, which is no faith at all. Without some level of doctrinal knowledge, a woman cannot even appropriately evaluate the "practical" side of life. How does she know if she labors toward a right end? Additionally, those who are given to her as guides (husband, pastor) become gods. "Whatever you say, I believe and obey."

I believe that one of the first steps toward change will be churches clarifying the level of knowledge that should be (for lack of a better term) required of every church member and instituting educational programs toward that end. Not everyone will want to participate in church education, but those who do ought to come away with real education, not just thoughts on a random passage or topic.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
There are many women who are married that trust their DH to both know and to direct the necessary knowledge in the home.

This one stands out:

1) it's an excuse for mental and spiritual laziness.

2) yes, they may trust their husbands in it, but their husbands should be seeing to it that the wife UNDERSTANDS and OWNS it, not just agreeing to it "because he says it's so".

You can't imagine the number of willingly ignorant women that are out there (particularly within various so-called "conservative" or "fundamental" groups) that cannot give testamony (beyond warm fuzzies), can't answer a question (they are all "too difficult"), and don't know WHY in things regarding their faith. Why? "Because we're women, we're supposed to be more concerned about our home and not 'read too much', and because I trust my husband and pastor and they say this is true and that is false". Oh my, how many women are wallowing in a false Christ and a false gospel because of this willful ignorance. It isn't their faith, it's their husband's sayso. They haven't owned it.
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
There are many women who are married that trust their DH to both know and to direct the necessary knowledge in the home.

This one stands out:

1) it's an excuse for mental and spiritual laziness.

2) yes, they may trust their husbands in it, but their husbands should be seeing to it that the wife UNDERSTANDS and OWNS it, not just agreeing to it "because he says it's so".

You can't imagine the number of willingly ignorant women that are out there (particularly within various so-called "conservative" or "fundamental" groups) that cannot give testamony (beyond warm fuzzies), can't answer a question (they are all "too difficult"), and don't know WHY in things regarding their faith. Why? "Because we're women, we're supposed to be more concerned about our home and not 'read too much', and because I trust my husband and pastor and they say this is true and that is false". Oh my, how many women are wallowing in a false Christ and a false gospel because of this willful ignorance. It isn't their faith, it's their husband's sayso. They haven't owned it.

OOT - :agree: completely.
 

christiana

Puritan Board Senior
The solution, as I see it, is our great efforts to create both an interest and hunger for the Word itself! Many women read about the bible but shy away from actual bible studies as it is truly hard work! Yes, that is theological laziness!
I have a friend that seems to just think in scripture and has a scriptural reply on the tip of her tongue for most any circumstance! I so hunger to get to that place! The memory work is hard, as is the understanding at times but like heaven itself the 'violent will take it by storm' and be repaid for eternity in the blessedness of being with the Savior and learning at His feet!
My mission in conversation is to do my best to create a desire to read His word daily and come to truly know Him through it!
A little booklet I give out often is 'How Readest Thou', by J.C. Ryle and encourages people to read the Word!
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
The solution, as I see it, is our great efforts to create both an interest and hunger for the Word itself! Many women read about the bible but shy away from actual bible studies as it is truly hard work! Yes, that is theological laziness!
I have a friend that seems to just think in scripture and has a scriptural reply on the tip of her tongue for most any circumstance! I so hunger to get to that place! The memory work is hard, as is the understanding at times but like heaven itself the 'violent will take it by storm' and be repaid for eternity in the blessedness of being with the Savior and learning at His feet!
My mission in conversation is to do my best to create a desire to read His word daily and come to truly know Him through it!
A little booklet I give out often is 'How Readest Thou', by J.C. Ryle and encourages people to read the Word!

Not quite what I was getting at, but close ;)
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
2) yes, they may trust their husbands in it, but their husbands should be seeing to it that the wife UNDERSTANDS and OWNS it, not just agreeing to it "because he says it's so".

I think I understand this statement. But the fact is that nobody can make anybody understand anything, not to mention making them own it even if they do understand. This implies that the faithfulness of the wife lays on the shoulders of the husband.

I know men who have attempted to train their wives in theology. I've tried to train my own wife. Due to many issues, including rampant migraines and the fact that she's on pain meds all the time, she struggles with any complex thoughts. When I start getting systematic with her I see that deer in the headlights look. And if I press she develops a headache. I've given her things to read. I've assigned her devotions. I read with her and discuss Scripture daily, usually twice a day. Yet she often cannot tie complementary ideas together. I'm sure this happens with men too. But we must be careful not to put responsibility where it doesn't belong. A man is charged with loving, living with understanding, nurturing, cherishing and leading his wife. He's not held responsible if she disobeys or rebels against his efforts.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
2) yes, they may trust their husbands in it, but their husbands should be seeing to it that the wife UNDERSTANDS and OWNS it, not just agreeing to it "because he says it's so".

I think I understand this statement. But the fact is that nobody can make anybody understand anything, not to mention making them own it even if they do understand. This implies that the faithfulness of the wife lays on the shoulders of the husband.

I know men who have attempted to train their wives in theology. I've tried to train my own wife. Due to many issues, including rampant migraines and the fact that she's on pain meds all the time, she struggles with any complex thoughts. When I start getting systematic with her I see that deer in the headlights look. And if I press she develops a headache. I've given her things to read. I've assigned her devotions. I read with her and discuss Scripture daily, usually twice a day. Yet she often cannot tie complementary ideas together. I'm sure this happens with men too. But we must be careful not to put responsibility where it doesn't belong. A man is charged with loving, living with understanding, nurturing, cherishing and leading his wife. He's not held responsible if she disobeys or rebels against his efforts.

My apologies. What I mean is that it should be discussed, she should be encouraged to study, read, and understand for herself. I have heard to many times from a woman answering, "I don't know, but my husband/pastor says it's this way, so it must be the truth". Absolutely no attempt at being able to answer SIMPLE questions.

Then add that I've seen women who do own their faith accused of such things as: unsubmissiveness (uhm, no, hubby and I are on the same page with this), she "reads too much" (even though the house is perfectly clean and children seen to), she thinks too much (and then suggests they should be put on meds to "help her conform"), or simply they are intimidated by her and thus shun her (yep, been in this boat also).
 
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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
This is a broad observation and I do not mean for it to sound stereotypical. I think we can talk about broad characteristics of the sexes without offending.

I took a Church History class a few months ago with Dominic Aquila and he made an observation about the poles of philsophical thought that I believe are sound. The history of philosophy and theology tends to bounce between the poles of idealism (Plato) and empericism (Aristotle). It can broadly be divided into a head/heart dichotomy. Only Christianity holds the two together because knowledge is not merely emperically observed nor does it consist of timeless truths that exist in the ideal. Rather, knowledge is relational. We don't know the things in themselves but we are created by a Creator that knows all. Knowledge of God and the things around us depends upon His revelation both in nature and in the Scriptures.

I don't really want to have to defend any imprecise philosophical language above. My main point is that theological thought tends to bounce between the poles of "I know Him because He lives in my heart" and "everything I know about God can be describe in a set of propositions".

I think the question presumes the latter idea. Most people, when they think "theology" think about a set of facts. It's not that women are not into theology as much as men. In fact, more women attend Church than men so, properly speaking, there are more women that are into theology than men but the type of theology most women (and more that matter, most men) are into is the "I know because He lives in my heart..." kind of theology.

That said, I also think that one of the reasons more women (and men) find Reformed theology to be unappealing is because many who discover theology are coming out of the "I know because He lives in my heart" and they go to the extreme of treating theology as simply a collection of bare facts. They tend to sterilize theology and the passion and devotion that you find in Biblical theology is stripped away to only reveal the propositions. Generally speaking, men are going to be more interested in facts for facts sake where this will be disinteresting to those that want to have theology arouse their passions.

It's not bad, per se, that women (and men) desire a theology that arouses passions but it needs to be good theology. I still remember this PCA Chaplain that was at our forward base in Kuwait in 2003. I was excited that there was a PCA Minister there until I heard him preach twice. It was like listening to a seminary lecture. It wasn't unorthodox but it was as if he had squeezed all the life out of doctrine and left only the husk of plain facts.

In summary, I don't believe in teaching theology in a way that panders to people's emotions but theology should reflect our constituent nature which includes not only our reason but how reason impassions us. We need to avoid the poles because neither is ultimately God-honouring and, if we do, I believe both women and men will be attracted to it.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
I think the question presumes the latter idea. Most people, when they think "theology" think about a set of facts. It's not that women are not into theology as much as men. In fact, more women attend Church than men so, properly speaking, there are more women that are into theology than men but the type of theology most women (and more that matter, most men) are into is the "I know because He lives in my heart..." kind of theology.

The question does not assume any dichotomies. You would be correct, though, in noting that the question is primarily concerned with the intellectual sphere. That does not amount to a denial of other aspects of Christian living. They just aren't so much in view in this discussion. I am using "theology" to mean "the study of God (and related concepts)." I'm not sure it's appropriate to speak of non-propositional theology, though surely the Christian life goes far beyond propositional elements.

We are discussing barriers and discouragements to women studying theology, as well as possible helps and solutions. It might be a good time to set some kind of expectations. Here are some things I think a Christian woman (or man) who has been saved for a while should know or be able to articulate:

1. Explain the concept of the Trinity. As long as he or she avoids ancient historical heresies, I would pass.

2. Explain the person of Christ. As long as he or she clearly indicates Jesus was fully God and fully man, I would pass. A Kenotic understanding (Jesus emptied himself of some aspects of his divine nature) would get a fail.

3. Explain the storyline of the Bible in 5 minutes or less. I would expect some sort of creation-fall-restoration-consummation idea, even if those words aren't used. Also, the idea that Jesus' life, death, and resurrection is the central event of history. Details about the role of previous ages to prepare for Christ's coming are bonus.

4. Explain the gospel in about 5 minutes. This will require a few things- a decent understanding of God's holiness, man's condemnation for sin, the person and work of Christ for the sinner, the call of repentance and faith, and the necessity of justification by faith alone on the grounds of Christ's imputed righteousness.

5. (At some point), explain in 5 minutes what makes Reformed churches unique. The 5 solas would be sufficient, along with some awareness of historical confessions.

Also, each person should have read through the entire Bible at least once and be faithfully studying the word.

So, to clear up any confusion, I'm not saying that every man or woman needs to be super-theologian. I'm only saying that each Christian should personally understand their faith well enough to articulate it intelligently, particularly to unbelievers and to their own children.



By the way, I don't think your generalization is historically accurate, even if it did come from a professor. Rationalism/empiricism have nothing to do with intellectualism/mysticism. Both rationalists and empiricists take an intellectual approach to knowledge, using propositions to describe both their methods and conclusions. Plato and Aristotle had no disagreement of that sort. In fact, Aristotle (your "empiricist") is one of the most boring, dry reads you can find, whereas Plato (your "rationalist") is often extremely passionate and interesting.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
As I noted, the dichotomy was incomplete but was true as far as it goes. I never said that Rationalists and Empericists could not both be boring. Idealism has historically manifest itself in Gnostic heresies because Platonic thought devalues the physical.

The point of the post was that knowledge (to include theology) is not a "one or the other" and I think it is erroneous to merely talk about theology in terms of a list of Jeopardy questions. The Notitia of faith is critical to faith but to speak of theology as if to talk about anything more than the intellect is the "practical side" is erroneous. To properly understand theology and communicate theology is much more than the bare facts of the matter. It is not less but it is much more.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I am one of those women who would much rather be in Bible study learning the Scriptures with a group of men, than women, because the men's studies tend to be deeper.

In my own church, I think the desire to study the Word is about the same between men and women, and there is a depth and desire for study that exceeds anywhere else I've been. In general, in my church experience, that is not case. Usually there are only a handful of women who really want to dig in to the depth of Scriptures. The rest of the women seem to love to study the Scriptures, but it seems they are either unwilling or have no desire to study sound doctrine, they are more easily led astray when they do study Scripture.

I think this is in part due to the fact that men want to know how something works, while women just what it to work, and they don't care how all the parts fit together. The problem with this thinking, and the reason why all women should take the trouble to study theology and sound doctrine is that if something is not put together correctly, it may work for awhile, but eventually it will fall apart.

The example I think of is a car. If a car is put together properly it will run, and if it is not, it won't run, but what is worse is when the car is put together properly, but not all the nuts and bolts are tight enough. In some cases, it will run for awhile, but eventually it will fall apart.

When talking about theology, I recently heard a woman say, "I don't think it matters that much if the theology is arminian or not, it's all the Scriptures. And anyway, presbyterians don't have the corner on good theology." This thinking is typical in women's circles. They just want something to believe in that will get them through the next day, and they don't always care if down the road that wrong thinking might cause them a problem. My response to that is, we must be like the Bereans who studied the Scriptures to see if those things were so. That means we have to dig in deep.

One other thought that comes out of that. I was drawn to theology, not so much because I wanted to know how it all fit together, but because I wanted to know Christ better. That burning desire to know truth of God's Word would lead me Christ drove me in deeper, and now I've discovered that the more I dig, the more I know about Him and the more I have to draw on for my life. I've also seen after years of walking with the Lord the importance of right theology that accompanies my desire to know Christ. That to me is the beauty of men and women, and why I think there should be some mixed Bible study. Men help women with right doctrine, and women help men with the practical application.

-----Added 6/2/2009 at 12:32:16 EST-----

We are discussing barriers and discouragements to women studying theology, as well as possible helps and solutions. It might be a good time to set some kind of expectations. Here are some things I think a Christian woman (or man) who has been saved for a while should know or be able to articulate:

1. Explain the concept of the Trinity. As long as he or she avoids ancient historical heresies, I would pass.

2. Explain the person of Christ. As long as he or she clearly indicates Jesus was fully God and fully man, I would pass. A Kenotic understanding (Jesus emptied himself of some aspects of his divine nature) would get a fail.

3. Explain the storyline of the Bible in 5 minutes or less. I would expect some sort of creation-fall-restoration-consummation idea, even if those words aren't used. Also, the idea that Jesus' life, death, and resurrection is the central event of history. Details about the role of previous ages to prepare for Christ's coming are bonus.

4. Explain the gospel in about 5 minutes. This will require a few things- a decent understanding of God's holiness, man's condemnation for sin, the person and work of Christ for the sinner, the call of repentance and faith, and the necessity of justification by faith alone on the grounds of Christ's imputed righteousness.

5. (At some point), explain in 5 minutes what makes Reformed churches unique. The 5 solas would be sufficient, along with some awareness of historical confessions.

Also, each person should have read through the entire Bible at least once and be faithfully studying the word.

So, to clear up any confusion, I'm not saying that every man or woman needs to be super-theologian. I'm only saying that each Christian should personally understand their faith well enough to articulate it intelligently, particularly to unbelievers and to their own children.

You were posting this about the same time as I was writing. I do agree with this assessment. Our first adult Sunday school class at church (a mixed class for teens through adults) was to study the Westminster Confession of faith one chapter at a time. It pretty much covers doctrinally what we believe. I do believe, however, that this is the nitty-gritty, and women should be encouraged to dig deeper.

As far as the Bible studies go, I believe strongly that women's Bible studies should be approved by the elders, and that the women who teach them should be "theologians". Whether we realize it or not, an entire church can be led off track by a bunch of women tauting silly doctrines they picked up in a women's Bible study group.
 
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