My principled wife

Jane is clearly setting higher standards than I am. She is starting to play with facebook and had a request from someone to be their friend (found through me). She has decided to reject that request as she does not want to be friends with someone who does not believe she is equal to them.

As she said, "if I were the minister and you were the spouse this person would not want to be our friend". I pointed out that the competition to have more facebook friends than anyone else drives morals out of the window – she was not impressed.

Looks like I will have to clean up my act a bit. That is a little sad as at the moment I have 42 friends which is nicely symbolic with this blog. So next time (if ever) I get a new friend I will start pruning those that do not accept my wife as my equal and their superior ;-)

So friends be warned – the egalitarian police are out to get you.

42 thoughts on “My principled wife

  1. Peter Kirk

    Dave, maybe you don’t mean to take this seriously, but if you start down this road aren’t you going to end up denying communion, baptism etc to complementarians and thereby becoming as exclusive as Lig Duncan? Of course you might say that your Facebook friends are your private life to be kept separate from your Christian ministry, but in practice you don’t seem to be making this kind of distinction.
    As I write this Mike Pilavachi has become my Facebook friend – one of no less than 3610 for him! Mike, for those who don’t know, is the leader of Soul Survivor and two days ago publicly invited 11,000 mostly young people to become his friend, so no surprise here. I guess someone else is doing the accepting for him. Well, he is clearly not separating Facebook friendship from ministry. And I guess you are not going to be able to compete with him for number of friends!

  2. Tim

    You’re taking the high road, Dave – preferring the words of the imaginary Jesus in the movie ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, when he is intending to go for a dinner at Levi’s house, and Peter says, “You would go to the house of a sinner?” and Jesus replies, “I would go to any house where I am welcome”.

  3. Suzanne

    This is a real life dilemma for me. Recently I was informed about a Christian technology conference that I would very much like to go to. Thanks, Peter.
    But, if I did go, I would have to interact with men who did not believe I am their equal. So I can’t go. The sad thing is that in non-Christian forums, men do treat me as an equal. Since Christian tech conferences are not likely to be only for those who think women are equal, I pretty much can’t participate in anything that is Christian and techy. The funny thing is that at first, I actually got an invite to drop in on one of the techy firms. This was when I had a blog that was only techy and not Christian. So as a techy, they were interested in me, but as a Christian – not so much.
    I decided, like Jane, that I would not go. However, I was glad to read this post because it confirmed my decision and made me feel like I am not crazy.
    PS. I think my most recent post on World Vision at my bookshelf blog is a strong one. I wonder if you would be interested.

  4. Peter Kirk

    Suzanne, I take your point. But I think you should realise that for most complementarian Christians women are second class only in ministry and leadership, and perhaps in marriage, but not in technical matters. There are not many around who really think women should not drive buses! I am sure that in a conference like this most will treat you as an equal. Of course you may find some diehard patriarchalists who do not, but they are not only professing Christians so you can meet them anywhere. So if you refuse to interact with anyone who might treat you as less than an equal, you need to stay at home, lock the door and not use the Internet at all. Or you can get out and respond to people who look down on you not by letting them pull you down, but by looking down on them, in Christian love.

  5. Suzanne

    I disagree with you on this, Peter. I don’t have this trouble at work or just around and about, but at church, I got to know from a handshake which men believed in the authority of the male. They were always sickly sweet and patronizing.
    Our pastor did not make his views on women known publicly for several years, but I knew from the first conversation I had with him. I just asked him outright what his basis was for not believing women could be ordained. That was from a five minute conversation with him on the weather. He was a bit surprised but did not deny his position.
    Women sense these things. It is no use.
    The truth is that this kind of man will behave like a normal person with a non-Christian women or with a women lawyer. But as soon as he knows that I know Greek that’s it. He has to establish that he has authority because he is the man.

  6. Peter Kirk

    Fair enough, Suzanne. But as soon as a pastor knows that I know Greek I get the same kind of reaction, and all the more when the pastor knows I am better educated theologically than he is. So it is not necessarily a gender thing, more that pastors feel threatened by having people like you and me around.
    Just in case my pastor reads this, I have a great relationship with him, but I sense a cautiousness towards me.

  7. Suzanne

    I see your point, but double that up with the gender thing and its not much fun. Besides how can I shake hands with a man who believes that women shall experience redemption by remaining in the domestic sphere. Or take Dan Wallace’s “gynecology” paper. I could not be in the same room as a man who spoke about women like that. I would have to carry around one of those bags they provide on the airplane.

  8. Adrian Warnock

    Cmon guys. Whatever happened to tolerance and respect for those of a different opinion to you? As one of those on the other side of the fence I say again as I repeatedly do that I do NOT think of women as inferior to me. Do we believe Jesus to be inferior to God the Father because he takes a different role of submission to His will? I think not! Can we not be friend with each other even when we have genuine theological differences? I would happily befriend Dave’s Wife even if she was a professional minister.

  9. Suzanne

    I am not saying that I should feel this way. I am saying that I do feel this way. I feel threatened and patronized and belittled and worried. It is very stressful for me – no kidding. It is not that I don’t like people who have this sense of male authority, but it is threatening.
    I feel that it doesn’t really matter what the Bible says, it only really matters what a man thinks the Bible says. That makes dialogue impossible. I don’t feel as if the conversation is on par.

  10. Suzanne

    Okay, let me use a few facts.
    Wayne Grudem, in his book, Ef. Fem & Bib. Truth, quotes Wolters three times saying this about the Kroegers book,
    “Their scholarly documentation is riddled with elementary linguistic blunders” page 286
    But when I use that expression back to Wayne about his book, he then says,
    “This is intemperate, polemical language”
    But what are Grudem’s errors. Let us look at the ones he has admitted.
    1. He admits that he didn’t look up αδελφος until after drafting the gender guidelines.
    2. He admits that Wolters had to explain to him the meaning of κεφαλη in a variety of Greek lexicons – once again, after he had published his paper.
    3. He admits to me on the CBMW site that he did not see that ανηρ has a gender neutral use in classical Greek. He has now linked to my paper on this because he can’t deny it.
    4. He says that every Bible known to him up until the 1980′s has “Man” in Gen. 5:2, but the first time this happened was in 1952 in the RSV. Previous to that it had predominantly been Adam, as in the KJV.
    5. He refers to Baldwin’s study on αυθεντειν without correcting its errors. There is no lexical evidence that this word means “have authority” contemporary with the NT. Kostenberger admits this.
    6. He refers to one manuscript which says Junia is a man, Junias, and doesn’t say in the main text that this one author also presents Prisca as a man. Nobody thinks this is scholarly evidence.
    7. He quotes Wallace & Burer’s article without admitting that the whole thing had already been deconstructed by Epp, Bauckham and Belleville.
    These errors are fundamental. They are not peripheral minor points. They are THE points.
    So, how come Grudem can quote Wolters happily using intemperate language, but when I echo Wolters, he disapproves of me. Do you think it might be because I am a woman? Think about it. Read Grudem’s book and see what language he uses.
    Think about the infamy of the statement of concern against the TNIV.
    They dish out the rhetoric, and but they criticize other people for justly pointing out basic, very basic errors in their work.
    I am not saying that you do this, but that is the company you keep and I don’t feel safe in that atmosphere because I don’t feel that authority rests on the word and in truth, it seems to rest in maleness alone.

  11. PamBG

    Having grown up in a male-headship church (yes, I know this is not the same as complimentarianism, although I think it’s near enough), I understand how this attitude hurts and damages women, especially younger women as they grow and develop a sense of who they are before God.
    That said, I do think that those of us who are egalitarians as a group, at least, do need to engage with complimentarians in a friendly way.
    Knowing the pain and hurt this causes to individual women, however, I don’t think that this can be demanded of any individual woman. From my own experience, what one does in this situation is put oneself forward to be devalued and hurt. Only certain individuals have that gift, and probably only for a limited amount of time.
    If A believes he has God-given authority over B, then it’s problematic for A to demand that B not be hurt and not be devalued. It’s rather like saying ‘Come on out to play, so I can hurt you. You should be stronger, the problem is with your attitude, not with mine.’
    So yes, egalitarian women ‘should be’ willing to put themselves forward to the complimentarian community. I don’t see how I could personally demand this of anyone nor do I see how I could blame them for choosing not to do so.

  12. Tim

    As an Anglican priest, every time I go to an ecumenical clergy gathering that involves Roman Catholics, I’m entering into friendly conversation with people who believe my ordination is invalid.
    As a paedobaptist Anglican who loves Anabaptists, every time I engage in friendly conversation with Anabaptists, I’m talking with people who believe that I am still unbaptised.
    Why do I do it? Well, I happen to believe that there is no escape from the command to love. Sorry, but even if they’re enemies, I have to love them. Even if they’re nailing me to a cross, I have to love them. The boss said it, not me.
    Is it tough? Yes. Do I do it perfectly all the time? Far from it. But the Lord deliver me from thinking so much of my own dignity that I refuse to let someone with whom I disagree be my friend on Facebook! Adrian, for the record, as an Anabaptist Anglican I think that lots of the stuff on your blog is way out to lunch, but if you want to be my Facebook friend, you’re welcome any time!

  13. PamBG

    As a female Methodist minister every time I go to an ecumenical clergy gathering that involves Roman Catholics, I’m entering into friendly conversation with people who believe my ordination is invalid.
    As a paedobaptist Methodist Pacifist who loves Mennonites, every time I engage in friendly conversation with them, I’m talking with people who believe that I am still unbaptised and with a good friend who tells me that I practice ‘child abuse’ when I baptise babies.
    As a woman raised as a girl in male-headship, the above two things are NOT the same. They are NOT anywhere near the same.
    I am not proud of saying the following; I’m not ‘recommending’ this as a correct attitude, but I do hope that there is some kind of Purgatory in the New Creation. I hope that men who have told women that they are subordinate get a taste of subordination in the next life. I hope that mothers who have told their small sons that boys are crap and men are bad get a taste of feeling bad and unworthy in the next life. I hope that white people who have told people of colour that God created them to be slaves get a taste of slavery in the next life.
    Not an eternity, just a taste. I fully realise that I have to include myself in this process as I too have sinned against others.
    I grew up when both society at large along with the church taught women and girls that we were not quite fully human: not quite fully intelligent, not quite fully responsible, not quite fully capable of making decisions.
    Being told that God demands you subordinate your God-given gifts is NOT the same as being a Protestant minister amongst Catholic priests and it’s NOT the same as being a peodbaptist amongst anabaptists.
    I’ve had ‘practice’ being ignored, smirked at, and generally made to feel invaluable. I can do it periodically for a short amount of time. I would NOT demand of any individual woman that she must do it even if I think that, in the best possible scenario, it would be a good thing to do.
    What is a ‘friendship’ worth on Facebook? Adrian’s willing to ‘even’ be friends on Facebook with a professional woman minister, is he? OK. He’s consistently ignored everything I’ve ever written. I challenge him to be my friend on Facebook if he wants to be.

  14. Tim

    Pam, I respect you as a Christian and as a theological thinker. I’d be very happy to have you explain to me how the refusal to allow someone with whom you have a theological disagreement to be your friend on Facebook is consistent with the Lord’ command to love your enemies.

  15. PamBG

    I’m not saying ‘the refusal to befriend someone with whom one has a theological disagreement is consistent with the Lord’s command to love your enemies.’
    Indeed, I think I’ve said that I believe that what is consistent with ‘loving one’s enemies’ is to befriend them.
    However, I’m also saying that because of the wider issues and emotions involved, I do not personally feel that I can get on this blog and say ‘Jane and Suzanne must befriend Adrian.’
    I think it’s quite possible that you are asking them to do something that is more difficult for them to do than it is for you (or me) to walk into a room of Roman Catholic priests. (And I do feel I want to say for the record that most of the RC priests I’ve worked with in this area have behaved in a very affirming way.)

  16. Tim

    Pam, thanks for the clarification. I understand that it’s a difficult issue pastorally, and I understand that for some people their personal history might mean that obedience to the command to love enemies is something they have to work towards, not something they can do right now.
    I just think this is a different thing from saying, ‘As a matter of principle, I will not allow you to be my friend’.

  17. Suzanne

    I don’t think that the difference between an enemy who admits thinks you are equal in being an enemy who doesn’t is made clear here.
    I have no trouble with someone of a different persuasion than myself over other issues. But the core problem here is that these men do not accept women as functional equals. They think of a woman as functionally subordinate by her nature as a woman.
    That is quite a different thing. It is like being black in the last century. How would a black man like being told he is equal in essence but can’t do the things that a white man can do. He can’t have a position of authority over a white man no matter how educated he is or if the white man is a high school drop out, because it is outside his role.
    This is what it is like. A woman is told that she is not a functional equal in her essence.
    It is not like how you become a priest or how you get baptized. A man can always change those things. But a woman cannot. It is her nature that dictates her functional subordination and nothing she can do will ever change that. It is a permanent designation attached to her being, that she is subordinate and if she is ordained then she is going against the permanent nature that God has given her. She can never do anything to make herself appropriate for ordination.
    There is absolutely no comparison between the two.
    I am very surprised that this is not understood.
    If a woman befriends a “male headship” man, she is showing an extraordinary grace. She is like a black man befriending a white man who thinks of him as a permanent inferior in function and does not, in spite of the actions of grace shown to him, change the way he treats the black man.
    Some women have not experienced this in any of their close relationships and are largely unhurt by it. Other women internalize the functionally inferior position and live with it, without developing an awareness of what they are deprived of. It is often not until later in life, looking back, that a woman will see how her life has been shaped by men rather than by God.
    This is a deep tragedy. Of course, for myself, it is worse because of my experiences, but I share them with many other women.
    However, I asked other women what they thought of the “biblical gynecology” expression and they were all revolted. I think it is telling that few woman who think of themselves as equal want to take the risks that I do in the bibliosphere.
    I am concerned that this sense of male entitlement is a key factor in the physical abuse of women around the globe and their lesser economic and physical health. Equality for women is a core need, not just a “nice to have.”

  18. PamBG

    I think it is telling that few woman who think of themselves as equal want to take the risks that I do in the bibliosphere.
    From my perspective, Suzanne, you have an extraordinary knowledge of the bible for a man or a woman.
    I could not argue from the bible and from the original languages in the way that you do. I’m sorry if that makes you feel abandoned.
    I also do have to say that my egalitarian position is read from quite a different hermeneutic than the one used by complimentarians (‘If any biblical author ever disapproved of any action in any context, that was God’s infallible blanket prohibition for all time.’)
    I’ve given up arguing hermeneutics. I don’t think it’s possible to convince biblical fundamentalists of a different hermenuetic.

  19. Tim

    I’ve given up arguing hermeneutics. I don’t think it’s possible to convince biblical fundamentalists of a different hermenuetic.
    Pam, I keep trying to persuade myself to give up arguing, period!
    Before I started blogging, I was gradually coming to the conclusion that argument was an almost completely ineffectual tool for changing someone’s mind on something. People cling to their worldviews with resolute tenacity. They cannot be persuaded to re-examine them in a hostile climate – and most people experience argument as a hostile climate.
    It’s only in the context of a genuine incarnational friendship that people can be brave enough to ask fundamental questions of themselves. And what I keep forgetting is that it’s not possible to have an incarnational friendship on the blogosphere. An incarnational friendship needs hugs, and shared meals, and a face to put with the words, and unhurried time together.
    I think this is one of the major reasons why the blogosphere produces so much heat and so little light.
    Please note: I am preaching to myself!!!

  20. PamBG

    Tim, I think you are absolutely right about incarnational friendships. I can think of one ‘real life’ relationship where I’ve had some very serious theological conversations and where we have agreed to disagree profoundly.
    I’m as certain as certain can be that if this person and I had never met face to face that we would be arguing hammer and tongs on the internet.

  21. Suzanne

    If people had not “argued” to have the laws changed then women would be a lot worse off than they are today. Catherine Booth argued extensively for her right to speak to Parliament on the age of consent. Men wanted the right to have sex with 14 year olds. She didn’t shut up.
    It’s nice that people did not step down so easily from the abolition of slavery.
    This is all that is at stake.

  22. Adrian

    Pam, I don’t know your full name or else I would invite you as a friend on facebook in light of your challenge. Feel free to invite me – I blog under my real name. I dont think I have come across your blog before, but had a look around today.
    Look I don’t know how many times I have to say this but I don’t think of women as inferior!
    It seems a bit odd to me that some people on this list seem unable to tolerate those of us who hold a different perspective. Whatever happened to respecting others opinions?
    Also, I resent the implication that we are somehow oppressing women. I would challenge anyone on this discussion list to visit our church or one of many others where men and women are coexisting happily and without the vitriol and wishing punishment on each other I have seen on this comment thread.
    Cant we all just get along? Cant we all just agree to disagree? I am not asking us to work together or anything, just accept that people like me are not all evil oppressors deliberately trying to deceive the church.
    I am praying for you right now as I finish this post.

  23. adrian

    O, and by the way. I fully respect people’s right to choose whether to have a broad definition of “friend” on their facebook account or limit their friend list to those they know well – so no one should feel under any obligation to “friend” me.

  24. Tim

    Suzanne, if I have offended you then I apologise without reservation. You are of course correct that in the political arena huge changes have been achieved because people were willing to make their case and be persistent about it. The examples you point out are ample evidence of this.
    As I said, I was preaching to myself. In the context in which I was speaking (personal relationships, the blogosphere, the internet) I have yet to come across an argument on a comment thread in which someone’s mind has been changed – and I have, sadly, seen hundreds of examples (on Christian blogs) where the level of vitriol has gotten higher with every response.
    This is the context in which I was speaking. I’d be glad to be proved wrong, if someone could give me some evidence.

  25. Suzanne

    I think a few things need to be addressed honestly.
    First, submission, or compliance, on the part of a wife increases domestic violence. Preaching submission gives the abuser justification because no one can ever be submissive enough. If the wife is so deluded as to submit she rewards the abuse and reinforces it. The abuse intensifies. If the abuser gets his way then he ups the anti. But the abuser can never be satisfied because one word or intonation or flicker of an eyelash can be called lack of submission. I know about this.
    Women are beaten for these things. I was silent for 30 years. Stats show abuse continues, it is with us. Stats show male entitlement feeds abuse. When my minister, a mild mannered man, preached submission I was hit. If I submitted I was hit more frequently. I stopped submitting and it leveled off but never went away.
    I personally believe that preaching unilateral submission should be against the law. No minister can ensure the safety of the women in his congregation, but he/she can tell a woman she has the right to make her own decisions.
    Preaching unilateral submision is oppression, it does not cause violence but it gives tacit permission. And, no, no amount of preaching against violence will combat this. Women have to be told that they have the right to make their own decisions or some will die for this.
    Here, where I am, where you are, in Africa, India and anywhere else, women will suffer for this. This is not a joke.
    Even if there wasn’t abuse, the idea that a man with half an education functions higher than a woman with a full education is disrespectful in the extreme and belittles God. It sends the message that it is not important to get the facts right. How else could the Colorado Springs Language Guidelines have been written. The authors did not check the KJV, nor Tyndale, nor Luther. They did not check the lexicons, on three words out of about 8, at least this is what they have admitted openly. I doubt they ever used a lexicon or did any research at all. They don’t care. They say that they are in the Tyndale KJV tradition but they have no idea what that tradition is.
    You have not offended me, as long as you don’t delete me. As long as I am allowed to say, “I have been there.” Apparently most people think that if you have a bad experience you should just shut up and not embarrass anyone.
    Not only was there physical abuse, but I was kept from having any career goals of my own. I was supposed to be a subordinate “helper”. I was not supposed to use my training for anything except to provide tech. support. Women are good for that.
    Why should other women have to live with that. “Just be quiet when your husband is selfish and reinforce his bad behaviour because if you pray the Spirit will step in and rescue you, or if you are injured then you will be rewarded in heaven. You have no right to want a job within your training. You are not allowed to meet the demands of your employer if he wants you to stay 5 minutes late, because that is against your husbands permission. You have no right to want to do anything at all.”
    Well, the truth is very awkward and most people are ashamed to talk like this because people like Adrian will feel sorry for them and ignore them and delete them. Who wants to know the truth?
    In spite of all this, curiously 4 men in the blogosphere let me know that they have shifted their position on this issue because of my story. Its not much but it is better than doing nothing.
    If you don’t protest the unilateral submission of women, then you are giving tacit support to the oppression of women.

  26. Suzanne

    There have been a few interesting events in the media lately.
    First, CNN interviewed a guy from Focus on the Family about the homemaking course at Southwestern.When he was asked if the course taught submission he said he didn’t know, which could hardly be true. But he didn’t want to advocate submission of women on public TV. This was wise in light of this.
    World Vision has published their agenda to increase the decision-making power of women, see here and here.
    Can we consider this? One who does not treat women as they would like to be treated themselves, breaks the Lord’s command. You may think of women as equals, but you do not “treat” them as equals, because you deny them equal function. You believe that women, although not inferior, are to function permanently beneath men (inferior to men) because of the way God made them.
    And you have not tolerated me. We have never deleted you from our blog.
    I don’t wish punishment on you, I wish enlightenment on you.

  27. Suzanne

    Wayne Grudem writes,
    “In every case the person who gives the name has authority over the person who receives the name.”
    But the Bible says,
    She (Hagar) gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen [c] the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [d] ; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. Gen.16:13
    When are people going to wake up and read the Bible instead of men?

  28. PamBG

    If people had not “argued” to have the laws changed then women would be a lot worse off than they are today.
    OK, Suzanne. It seems that you’ve decided that my personal vocation is to fight against complimentarianism. I don’t believe it is, so obviously, I’m not going to ‘satisfy’ you. Just because I have XX Chromosomes and a vagina doesn’t mean that’s my vocation any more than Adrian’s view of my vocation. I admire you and want to encourage you, but you’ll have to accept that encouragement before that can happen.
    Also, I resent the implication that we are somehow oppressing women. I would challenge anyone on this discussion list to visit our church or one of many others where men and women are coexisting happily and without the vitriol and wishing punishment on each other I have seen on this comment thread.
    Adrian, I grew up in male-headship and yes, I do believe it’s the same thing as complimentarianism. It took me until my mid 30s to believe that I had the worth and mind of an adult human being. I was damaged. Women who genuinely have a call to full-time motherhood can be affirmed in this situation. Those of us who were given other spiritual gifts are damaged.
    ‘Functional not ontological subordination’ is a co-op. Would you tell your son ‘You a functionally a bad boy but not ontologically a bad boy’? In both cases you are equating an ontological state (being a boy) with ‘being bad’. One can only be ontologically bad or ontologically inferior. There is no such thing as ‘functional’ inferiority.
    Penultimate gripe: complimentarians have distorted the orthodox doctrine of the trinity and the idea of the functional subordination of the Second Person of the Trinity is heresy.
    Final gripe: I agree with everything that Suzanne has said about preaching subordination and domestic abuse. Books have been written on this subject by a number of Christians. It opens the door for preaching to women that they must stay in abusive relationships; this is evil. Whether or not any given congregation encourages women to stay with abusing husbands, the theology sows the seeds and gives men justification for doing so.
    I’m AFK for three days now.

  29. Suzanne

    If you get back to this thread, I think that just by being who you are that you fight against the stereotyping of complementarianism. That satisfies me.
    I am chiefly concerned that those who do feel that they should speak out not be silenced. That’s about it.

  30. Dave Warnock

    Wow 32 comments while I am away at Greenbelt. A record for me. I am going to respond using a post rather than a comment so that I can link back to each comment. But later, got to unpack first.

  31. Adrian Warnock

    One thing I would like to add to this discussion is this: no one should be allowed to teach submission without also teaching that a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and to daily make sacrifices for her. (see Eph 5)
    Suzanne I am truly sorry for what happened to you and would in no way condone such behaviour

  32. Suzanne

    No amount of preaching is going to change what people do in their own homes – ever. Don’t fool yourself.
    So, unless you want to condemn 10% of women to violence, and the rest to having their own gifts and interests subsumed to a man, you will preach that women have the right to equal decision-making power. That is the bottom line.
    As I said, the submission of a woman reinforces male violence. This is a fact.
    A woman does not win over her husband to the faith or a more temperate behaviour by submission, she rewards it and reinforces it.
    It really doesn’t matter if it is physical abuse or emotional. Why should I function my entire life as a secretary and never use my own gifts.
    It would have been a lot harder to leave if there had not been violence, but I have wanted to retire from my position as “secretary” for some time.
    Working as a secretary when you are trained for something else is also oppression and a form of emotional abuse.
    When the Bible says women are to be a “help” it does not mean that they are to be subordinate to whatever career goals the man has. They are equal companions in the mission God has given to humanity.
    And why on earth am I to be deleted when I represent a fair portion of the demographic? I was never harder on Grudem that he is on everyone else, not nearly, and I can say that anyone whose books reflecgt as limited a knowledge of the scriptures and languages as he has should be prepared for a little flack.
    What excuse do you make for him that he is not aware of the KJV translation for many verses, not even the fact that Hagar named God, nor the lexicon meanings for words. What excuse do you make for him, and yet you recommend these books to women. Why do you want this kind of substandard exegesis for women? Are they worth nothing more?
    I interpret the blindness that I see in this matter as an indication that people want to believe the Biblical manhood and womanhood agenda in spite of the fact that it has only a remote and tenuous connection to scripture.
    So what I see is that men want to believe this stuff and are willing to accept that it isn’t scholarly, it just meets their needs.
    And you can’t quote the Scriptures in your favourite English Bible version to me, that simply doesn’t cut it. Greek and Hebrew or else.
    I interpret the household rules as they are – something to contend with. I don’t advocate slavery for others nor subordination for myself. This, and this alone, has saved my life.

  33. Suzanne

    And here’s a quote from C. S. Lewis, in an essay on “Equality,” written in 1943:
    I am a democrat [believer in democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. . . . I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. . . . The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters. (“Equality,” in C. S. Lewis: Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces, ed. by Lesley Walmsley [London: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000,] p. 666). Cited by John Piper.
    And I say all men should be egalitarians if they believe in the Fall of Man.

  34. Peter Kirk

    And I say all humans should be egalitarians if they believe in the Fall of Humanity.
    I guess that is what you meant, Suzanne, but it grates on me to have an egalitarian like you using this gendered language.

  35. Suzanne

    Good point, Peter, I was addressing Adrian and let myself be influenced by his dialect. Its a bad habit I have of picking up and imitating other dialects.
    Once I was talking to a British friend and I realized that subconsciously I was mimicking his accent. It wasn’t on purpose and I didn’t mean to make fun. It is both a good habit and a bad one. That is how I speak French, I listen to the other person and imitate them. It made me a particularly lousy high school French teacher, I can tell you that! ;-)

  36. Tim

    Bit risky to quote Lewis to support you on this, though, Suzanne, as in several other passages he made clear that he believed in the traditional view of the headship of the husband (see, eg. chapter 6 of ‘Christian Behaviour’).

  37. Suzanne

    I am aware of Lewis’ views on women. However, the principle still applies, even if C.S. Lewis didn’t grasp that at the time he wrote that passage. In fact, it is quite clear that Lewis’ position shifted after he married – somewhat late in life according to Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen.
    Was C.S. Lewis a misogynist? The answer depends on which point in his life you choose to examine. Until fairly late in life, Lewis’ view of gender relations was more influenced by his attraction to classical Greek philosophy, pagan myth and Jungian psychology than by ‘mere’ Christianity. However, with his late acquaintance and marriage to the gifted American writer Joy Davidman, this began to change, as can be seen in his last (but least-read) works, The Discarded Image, Till We Have Faces, and A Grief Observed. Van Leeuwen
    This is my sense too after reading Letters to an America Woman. I find his Narnia series not only somewhat sexist but also racist. Does that prevent me from enjoying them? No.
    In what I quoted I think one can find a principle of justice and reality that is applicable to gender relations, unless one really cares less about women than any other members of the human race.
    I don’t hold up Lewis as a person or his entire work as an authority, but his way of expressing clarity on a certain issue. We are a fallen race, and to indenture any members of the race to other members of this race, for life is an injustice, even if it feels warm and fussy for a bit.
    As to Lewis’ views on “priestesses”, I think, Adrian and I, as anyone from a good Brethren background, know how to read that. Authority rests on the word, not on the person.


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