Monthly Archives: October 2008

Squiffy warning

I have put in a temporary fix for the missing comments problem (see  42: No conspiracy here), it has made the site look a little squiffy (that is a technical term). So it is not (just) because you have been drinking too much.

More work on it later when I feel motivated to dive into typepad advanced templates again.

Say It Ain’t So, Sarah

I said I would probably not comment any more on the US VP Candidate. But after watching the VP debate last night I found this by Renita worth noting:  Something Within » Say It Ain’t So, Sarah (whole post worth reading):

Finally, I guess we had it coming folks. The risk we took in fighting for the rights of women and blacks is that we were apt to get a Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court and a Sarah Palin on a Vice Presidential ticket.

It makes you wonder as a black woman whether it was worth it all.

Of course, it was. But it makes you shake your head and say, Dang, Dang, Dang.

Scriptural Principles and gender issues

The last two comments on 42: New Frontiers and Women (from Blue, with a hint of amber & Chris E) deserve a response and I have just realised two and a half months on that I don’t seem to have responded. Sorry guys.

The central argument of the two comments seems to be related. Bwahoa wrote:

No-one doubts the tremendous
injustices of chauvinism upon society and upon the Church. Chauvinism
is just as incompatible with scriptural headship as it is with an
equalitarian view of leadership/roles.

If we ditched every scriptural principle (as we understand it)
because of the failure of the church / people / believers / leaders to
fulfill it properly then we would not be left with much to believe in.

We would never pray for healing, never teach about giving and
international mission would be banned – such is the injustices, false
teaching, and injury done in the name of all three.

I think we have to take how we understand scripture, and live it out the best we can, by the grace of God.

Chris E wrote:

The logical extension of your
argument would be that Scripture would never command or commend any
relationship unless it can always be achieved perfectly. That this is
not true can be readily seen in the various sections in support of
parenthood, government, marriage etc.

On the question of analogy, you’d have to argue that "Husbands love
your wives as Christ loved the Church" cannot be scriptural, as
"Husbands aren’t Christ".

So do I believe in ditching every scriptural principle? Actually no and I really don’t think my post or comments indicate that I do. So lets look in more detail. first a definition:

chauvinism – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

an attitude of superiority toward members of the opposite sex ; also : behavior expressive of such an attitude

Bwahoa argues that "Chauvinism is just as incompatible with scriptural headship as it is with an equalitarian view of leadership/roles." We are dancing around different understandings here. Bwahoa is referring to "Scriptural Headship" whereas I was referring to "Male Headship". I see Jesus as our Scriptural Head and of course in him there is no chauvism. But I do believe that "male headship" is quite different from "scriptural headship", in rejecting the latter I am in no way rejecting the former.

If we ditched every scriptural
principle (as we understand it) because of the failure of the church /
people / believers / leaders to fulfill it properly then we would not
be left with much to believe in.

Absolutely true, but that was not my argument. There are conflicting understandings of scripture. Competing scriptural principles if you like. One one side we have a belief that scripture requires different roles for men and women so that (for example) women cannot be Church Elders. On the other hand we have a belief that scripture defines men and women as equal, that in Christ gender (and other) distinctions are broken down, that scripture reveals God as being passionate about justice and we see women in a variety of leadership roles in Scripture that are incompatible with an understanding of male headship.

My point is that both sides can (and do) claim to be holding true to scriptural principles. It is therefore wrong to claim that one side is ditching scriptural principles and therefore will not pray for healing etc.

My original argument was that when choosing between two seemingly conflicting scriptural requirements (male headship vs gender equality) then it is entirely appropriate, valid and valuable to look at wider factors to help decide which is the over-riding concern.

When choosing whether is it more important to follow Biblically based rules for gender roles or to follow biblical principals of equality and justice. I believe it is right to bring in other factors such as:

  • The teaching and life of Jesus. Which did he require more. Following rules or justice and love?
  • Which passages are focused more on particular contexts and which appear to be more general

Plus the ones that got me into trouble here.

  • Which Biblical principle has the most potential for harming God’s people
  • Which Biblical principle makes our communities look more like the God we worship

For me there is little doubt. Systems that lock power away from certain members of society have a history of causing abuse and harm (eg apartheid, slavery, racism). For me with my experiences there is no doubt that male headship falls into this category. It does not mean all men who claim male headship are abusers, but it does have more potential for that to happen.

Chris wrote:

The logical extension of your
argument would be that Scripture would never command or commend any
relationship unless it can always be achieved perfectly. That this is
not true can be readily seen in the various sections in support of
parenthood, government, marriage etc.

Actually I think Jesus does demand perfection from us. His moral and ethical standards are sky high. eg be holy as God is holy, no divorce, looking with lust is wrong, sell all we have to feed the poor, … However, his response to those who fail is always to show mercy, offer fogiveness and to accept and include (eg tax collectors & zealots as disciples, restoration of Peter after betraying Jesus, …).

So Jesus does call us to perfect relationships and yet forgives and accepts us when we fail.

How is this relevant to gender relations. I am not entirely sure, but I repeat my belief that Jesus does not demand that women submit to men but to him. He will never abuse or cause harm whereas men have a long history of doing so.

Bwahoa, goes on to make some valid points that it may be unreasonable for me to suggest New Frontiers show there is room for other views on this subject. Personally I do think it is appropriate for a Chrurch to say this is what we believe but humbly recognise that not all others agree and that they will have fellowship with, work with and lovingly accept those who disagree. In fact I think all Churches should do this.

What is interesting is that what
Mark Driscoll actually said is that this would be a key area of
criticism. Looks like that is one thing he got right!

Yes but we should not fall into the trap of thinking this makes him right.

No conspiracy here

Just to reassure everyone that there is no conspiracy here.

Yesterday Gil left a comment on the post 42: New Frontiers and Women. It shows up in the list of recent comments, it shows up in the comment feed, I got a copy by email and it is in the management interface as a visible comment. However, it does not appear to be displayed on the actual post itself. I have no idea why, other more recent comments on other posts are displaying fine.

Anyway the comment was:

Hi Dave, what has happened to a whole load of other posts made on this subject. They seem to has gone ?

    * Commenter name: gil

My response is that I have not deleted any posts, I have looked through the lists of posts and don’t think there are any missing. Google shows quite a few related posts from me: New Frontiers Women – Google Search. Anyone else think something has got lost?

While looking at this I realised that I had not responded to the last couple of comments on the post from
Blue, with a hint of amber and Chris E. So I am writing a post to address their concerns with "scriptural principles"