Monday, December 26, 2011

Thoughts on Biblical Femininity - Pt. 2

(Just so you know, I'm not posting Leighton paintings as a model for how all women should dress. :-)

Continuing my thoughts from my first post (which covered points 1-4 below) in this, a multi-part letter to my sisters in Christ. If you haven't read the first one, please do. It's foundational.

Before I begin, I want to mention something that a commenter reminded me of. These things are really thoughts I'm putting out there- discussion points. Different Christians will be more or less prone to different areas. So this isn't like a "checklist"- it's a list of discussion points and things to think about. Ultimately, if Scripture says it, it's true. If I say it- check it with Scripture.

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with...
  1. Is about her Father's business and her father's business. And she isn't waiting for me. I will explain.
  2. Is very intelligent- and not just in a sharp, high-IQ, witty way, but especially in a studious and wise way.
  3. Is prepared to learn, to change, to repent, to forgive, and to submit to my leadership.
  4. Is striving to be like Christ. Not because it makes guys like me pay attention, but because it's right.
  5. Presents a unified front to our children and others.
  6. Is honoring to the men in her life.
  7. Is interested in theology and philosophy. Like, really interested. Like, I can discuss eschatology and utilitarianism with her. And she loves it.
  8. Loves kids and knows how to handle/raise/teach them.
Point 5

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with presents a unified front to our children and others.

Part of her submission to me is her support for me. This means that it's not her and the kids against me or me and the kids against her. We two need to become one flesh. As one goes, so goes the other. So if Johnny tries to play Mom against Dad or Dad against Mom he's gonna get spanked. Twice.

We're unified.

This also means that if neighbor Jane wants the kids to come over for a sleepover and I say "no," she's not going to get a different answer by asking my wife.

In front of our children and in front of the world around us, we're together. She's not only submitting to me, but she's supporting and reinforcing me. She backs me up rather then undermining me.

We're partners on the same mission. We have each other's back. Every time. It's just the way we roll.

*cue spy music*

Point 6

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with is honoring to the men in her life.

Because, after all, I'm going to be the man in her life.

And because, more importantly, it's Biblical.

"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones." - Pr. 12:4

This point follows right along with the two previous. Are you, my sisters in Christ, treating your fathers and brothers in the Biblical ways discussed above? Are you supportive and submissive?

(and no, I'm not advocating wife-like submission to your father or brothers...)

How are you treating your father? Is Dad the buffoon that can't do anything right? Do you try to "straighten him out", but he's just too... silly? Do you roll your eyes at his jokes and act like Mom is the only one who ever gets anything done? Are you convinced that men are stupid (after all, that's what the movies say)? How about your brother- he's always on the computer. He never cleans his room. (I say this to my shame. But back to my point...) Or maybe he's younger and he never cleans his face. He is the subject of many an embarrassing story or sharp joke, and he is a real pain when he interrupts your talks with the girls. In fact, if he would just-

What does that say about you? Are you being the "crown" of your father? Your brothers? Or are you being rottenness in their bones?

Trust me, I notice.

But more importantly- "The eyes of The LORD are in every place."

Do you think God smiles on a girl who makes a fool of her father? Who derides men in general and her men in particular?

And how much more beautiful to see a girl who praises her father, who commends her brothers, who magnifies their skills and achievements while hiding their faults (another good commenter point-out- I'm not talking about deceitfully hiding faults or lying to make them look good.)?

Again, I'm not equating your relationship to your father or your brothers to your relationship with your husband.

But I am comparing them.

And it would be foolish for me to expect a woman who was rottenness in the bones of her father or brothers to suddenly become my crown.

Please remember that by building them up, I don't mean being silly. "He's so awesome he's just perfect he's amazing he's wonderful." That just makes you look foolish and embarrasses him.

You as a daughter or sister have the power to bless and honor and inspire and crown the men in your life- or to shame them and cut them in half.

Right now I'm talking about family relationships. This applies to a different degree to your brothers in Christ, but that's not my focus here. It also applies most strongly to the relationship between a husband and wife- but then, that's what we're really talking about, isn't it?

I say this very sincerely- the power of a woman is great.

Please use it wisely.

Point 7

A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with is interested in theology and philosophy. Like, really interested. Like, I can discuss eschatology and utilitarianism with her. And she loves it.

This connects with point 2, but is a bit different. I want a wife who is my soul-mate- who shares my deepest thoughts and ponderings. She's not a theological cream-puff. If I'm away and a Jehovah's Witness comes to the door, she not only knows how to wield our Glock (just in case) but she knows how to wield The Sword.

And I can wrestle through hefty theology and always have a loving, compassionate, concerned sounding-board to turn to from which to receive Biblically-grounded feedback.

She's my soul-mate. A huge part of my soul- indeed, by God's Grace, the consuming desire of my soul- is God! I want her to be able to share in my passion for Him.

I want her to love it as I do my best to wash her in the water of The Word. And I want her to sharpen me too.
Thanks, commenters, for pointing out the important distinction that needs to be made here: all Christians are called to "study to show thyself approved." Not all Christians are called to be thrilled by dissecting postmillennialism.  If discussing how to save money gets you more excited than discussing the differences between a four and a five-point Calvinist, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Point 8

A godly woman with whom I would want to spend my life with loves kids and knows how to handle/raise/teach them.

That little chocolate-bearded, runny-nosed brother. A nuisance? Wish you could just stick him outside and get back to your Austen novel? (OK, that was just mean.)

Or when you look into the teary eyes of the dirty little kid who scraped her knee, do you see the soul of one more citizen for The Kingdom of Heaven? Do you see a legacy of thousands and tens of thousands of human souls coming from this one child who will be affected by the way you respond, right now, to this needy little person?

Are you too soft to wield the rod? Are you too hard to cry with them when the puppy dies?

Can you raise them in the nurture and admonition of The LORD- from having enough of a spine to rule the house instead of being ruled by the house to having enough of a heart to let them tell you the rambling and apparently endless story about the bug they chased around the backyard, not because you care at all about the dragonfly but because you care about them?

Are you patient enough to teach math and energetic enough to carry the baby on the family hike? (Which only assumes that I'm carrying the heavier backpack, or I'd be glad to carry him for you. :-)

Do you love- LOVE kids? Do you see them for the treasure that they are- a soul waiting to be shaped? A treasure that will be stolen by the world if not seized by The Kingdom!

Do you look at a kid pulling off a first-class "puppy dog face" and say "how could I say no to that?" Or do you look at him and say with a smile "I love you too much to say yes."

Can you change a diaper and a worldview at the same time?

Check back next Monday for the third and final installment in this thrilling series. :-D



Grace Pennington said...

Good, thought provoking stuff, Gabriel.

One thing I'd like to clarify -- some of the things you're mentioning, like Christian character and submission and love of children are obviously important for everyone. But would you say that the studious and theological requirement should be true of every wife, or are those things that you, specifically, need but that might be different for other men?

Thanks again for the good thoughts! :)

Corey P. said...

Good thoughts, Gabriel, especially this part:

"And it would be foolish for me to expect a woman who was rottenness in the bones of her father or brothers to suddenly become my crown."

That. Was. Awesomely. Said. :D

Aubrey Hansen said...

I was expecting more of a James Bond kind of picture after Point 5. *grin* That is an excellent point. It's not something that comes up often, but it's very essential.

On Point 6 I agree entirely, though I'm wondering if "hiding his faults" is slippery wording. "Hiding," to me, means lying or elsewise covering it, often in a deceitful manner. Instead, I think the wife should accept her husband's faults and work with them rather than picking them out, while still encouraging him to change those things that should be changed because they are unbiblical or detrimental. (And I don't mean his annoying habits... I mean true faults like shyness.) I might be splitting hairs there with your wording, but I wanted to point that out.

Fully agree on Point 7. Being able to do this with family is an incredible blessing and, I believe, essential, particularly for a man and wife since they must act as one on many issues. To do so they must be agreed in theology, which means talking about it, and so on and so forth.

Also agreeing heartily to point 8. (Not that there's much purpose in my saying that, except to let you know that I did read the whole article.) :)

Wonderful writing, as always, and godly points. I'm looking forward to the next installment and am curious how many there are total...

God bless!

Racheal said...

I'll comment over on CF...but this is good stuff.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey y'all! :-)

Grace, I think that all Christians must "study to show [them]self approved."


The degree to which that applies to each Christian is different- some will be more "into" theology, and some less.

You bring up a very good point- and thanks for bringing that up, because I need to make that distinction.

Aubrey, a worthy hair-split. Totally agree. By "hiding faults" I'm talking about not airing out his dirty laundry while instead praising him for the admirable traits. I by no means mean to encourage lying. And you know this, but for the benefit of anyone else who might read...

As to how many parts. I have no clue. :-)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I might, though, post on something else... after all, I am a guy. :-b

Mademoiselle Renadae said...

Wonderful post (as usual) my dear!

What does Glock mean?

I agree whole heartily, and you are such the Gentleman!


M. Renata Hudelson

Gabriel Hudelson said...

It's a very famous gun company. :-)

Renadae said...

Ah…… so I see.

Thank you for enlightening such an ignorant creature as myself! : - )

And thank you for following the blog! That was berry, berry sweeeet of you.

M. Renata Hudelson

Would you say, that perhaps your wife was home alone, and a J.W. came to the door, would you prefer her to just say "no thank you" or discuss with him?

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Good question! I think if it was a guy I'd rather her say "no thank you" but if it was a woman then I'd leave that to her to follow The LORD's lead. :-)

(And you aren't ignorant...)

Reanadae said...

Thank you! :)

~ M. Renata Hudelson

Aubrey Hansen said...

That's what I figured you meant, Gabriel, but it was worth clarifying. :) Thanks!

I take it you haven't finished your list yet? ;)

Gabriel Hudelson said...


Christie Elkins said...

"Can you change a diaper and a worldview at the same time?"

LOVED that statement. And let your sisters know that if they need training with the Glock, send them my way! ;)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Thanks, Mrs. Elkins. :-)

BTW, Aubrey, I did a little more work on the next part and Part 3 will be the last one. :-)

Rob said...

Excellent post, with some priceless quotables. The clarification about how much theology she must hunger for was good too. Bargain shopping might get her gizzard going like textual criticism does for you. However, she is teaching the theological foundations of the next generation... i'm just sayin'

amy said...

So, I enjoyed reading your post here, and the previous one on the topic. I do have a couple questions.

Currently, you’ve presented us with 8 points on the character/attitude of the woman you would desire to marry. Thinking through each point, I see Scriptural grounds towards these (to greater or lesser degrees, depending on which point we’re discussing).

However, my question, first, would be: is this list you’re presenting more of a personal I’m-looking-for-this sort of list, or these-are-absolute-requirements-for-the-godly-woman sort of list?
At first reading, it sounds to me like a list of “requirements”. (I realize what you said about this not being a checklist. I use the word “requirements” simply to refer back to my question.) On 7 of your 8 points, I’d call it a basic list of pretty essential “requirements”. However, if this is the case, I just get hung up on #2 --“Is very intelligent- and not just in a sharp, high-IQ, witty way, but especially in a studious and wise way.”

Of course, I see the need for wisdom in a godly woman (“She opens her mouth in wisdom”). I strongly agree on the need for women to be prepared to raise the future generation and equip them to go forth and advance Christ’s kingdom. But, the way you explain this point seems to go far beyond this. If you’re simply saying this is what you’re looking for, then we’re good. If you think it’s a requirement—well, maybe we’re not :)

Anyways, before I make this comment any longer, I’ll close here and await your answer to that question. Depending on your answer, perhaps we’ll discuss this point further. And either way, I have a second question to ask and several other things to say :)

Looking forward to hearing from you.

amy said...

Ah, I didn't mean to be that lengthy! My apologies! Still working on the art of concise writing over here :)

Bush Maid said...

Excellent post once again, Gabriel. I love how much these posts make me think. Your points are Biblical and are put across in a way that I can evaluate if they are true in some areas of my life, and that I can endeavour to improve in other areas. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts, once again. :)

Lisa said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

I just got on your blog this afternoon and read your two posts on Biblical Femininity, and I was so encouraged. I have read books and articles on this topic from many wonderful girls and women, but it was wonderful to hear it from the perspective of a young man. When I read your quote from the Botkin sisters about guys wanting a "Godly young woman," I had to smile because I have thought the same exact thing. "Okay...I'm trying to be "Godly" just as hard as I can...could you give a little more detail?" :)

I think it is super important for young girls to focus on the fact that we need to be working incredibly hard on fulfilling our role as part of the Bride of Christ. As we grow closer to Him, the other things will fall into place. As we learn to submit to Him, we will learn to submit to our fathers and (future) husbands. As we learn to love His saints, we will learn to love and appreciate children. The process is beautiful! Our strengthened and intimate relationship with Him will make it easier and more natural to live these things out at a heart level.

As a side note, for those girls who are wanting to become more theologically astute, I would highly, highly recommend Cornerstone Curriculum's "Worldviews of the Western World." Yes, you have to read books that are "200 pages long and weigh more than your little brother," but it is SO worth it. It has made me think harder than I have in my whole life - which is a good thing! It challenges you to take everything you read, everything you see, and go deeper than the surface to find out what the author's fundamental presuppositions are. Wonderful, wonderful study. There are some very dry reads, and some very, um, interesting ones (such as Homer's Iliad & Odyssey and Plato's Republic!), but the end result is awesome.

Thank you so much, Gabe, for these posts. You are an example of "stirring one another up to love and good works." I have been challenged and convicted. Keep it coming, brother!!!!!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Amen, Dad!

Amy, a great question. I apologize for not being more clear- and honestly I hadn't given too much thought to this except as applying to a specific point.

Short answer to your question-

It's both.

I think all the things that I have listed so far are rooted in Biblical principle and as such should apply to all women to varying degrees. Like my Dad said, a particular woman might be more fired up about finding deals than grasping theological paradoxes. But she still needs to be a theologian to some extent.

To specifically address point 2- what is it about that point which bothers you, specifically?

Yes, I think wisdom and knowledge and etc. are requirements... to varying degrees.

Please don't apologize for your lengthiness! You didn't say a bunch of meaningless nothings, and I'm enjoying discussing this with you. Plus, my response probably dwarfs your post. :-b

Looking forward to discussing further (and to hearing the mysterious 2nd question)!

And Aussie, praise The LORD- glad you enjoyed it. :-)

Lisa said...

BTW....LOVED the question "Can you change a diaper and a worldview at the same time?" We do that all the time at our house...only, sadly, we don't have any diapers to change. We clean horse stalls and change worldviews :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Lisa, great to hear from you. I'm glad that my thoughts so far have been edifying.

"Our strengthened and intimate relationship with Him will make it easier and more natural to live these things out at a heart level."

Loved this.

It sounds like The LORD is showing you wonderful things! I'm excited for you! May He continue to grow you in His grace and knowledge.

Kayla T said...

Interesting thoughts.
I think girls should be able to talk about guy things with boys and boys should be able to talk about girl things with gals. :D If it works one way it should work the other too.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Kayla, I... think... I agree.

I will probably gravitate to the men's table when the girls start discussing their favorite crochet needle size.

And I think that's a good thing.

But really, guys and girls should be able to discuss God things with each other. If they can do that, then I think the rest will follow. :-)

Kayla T said...

Amen. :) I agree.

amy said...

Thanks for your reply, Gabriel, and for taking the time to discuss this further.

You ask what specifically bothers me about point #2. “A godly woman whom I would want to spend my life with is very intelligent- and not just in a sharp, high-IQ, witty way, but especially in a studious and wise way.” I take this to mean, most importantly, women need to be intelligent in a studious, wise way. Looking up the meanings of your choice of words, I agree with this and find it Scripturally grounded.

I also take this point to mean that, secondarily, a woman needs to be intelligent in a sharp, high-IQ, witty way. To the degree that you mean this as something you want in your future wife, nothing whatsoever bothers me, as I said yesterday. To the degree you call this a ‘requirement’ for godly women, I disagree. There is, obviously, an importance for being discerning and thoughtful , actively engaging our minds in all we do and say, and striving to know practical things; but I see a difference between this and being “intelligent in a sharp, high-IQ, witty way.” How exactly would you back up that point by Scripture?

Perhaps I’m splitting hairs here, and we’re saying the same thing. In that case, I apologize. I honestly, however, can’t help but get hung up on your wording.
So, that’s half of what bothers me about your point. Here’s the other half.

You said: “But I also want a girl who has wisely invested her youth and who has a wealth of knowledge to pass on to our kids- and to me!” Very fine. I assume most girls, myself included, have the same desire for their husbands. It was good, also, to see practical ways this plays out in your mind. I struggle when people leave vague, overarching statements without explanation of their practical outworking. Thank you for not doing that!

I don’t think, however, that your list is completely practical (once again, as far as it becomes a ‘requirement’). Point #1—a firm knowledge of Scripture and the ability to apply it? Absolutely! Very essential.

Points 2-4? To a degree. The sound very fine, but are they entirely essential in the perfectly well-rounded way you put them forth? I think young women should strive for this, but to lay it forth as an essential aspect of their character? I don’t know any godly girls who believe that being a keeper at home means “being fat and dumb, washing dishes, wiping noses, and sitting around snacking in front of the TV with an occasional shout at a kid or two.” We desire strongly to strive for the list you put forth, but I think to a degree some of these things will be learned through marriage. Not every young lady has the opportunity to learn about raising children before marriage (referring strongly here to point 8 of your list). While it’s such a blessing if we are able to have learned this before marriage, to a degree, I think raising children is an issue that husband and wife will have to work through together.

This leads nicely into the mysterious second question ;)

How perfect does your future wife need to be before you’ll marry her?

Hmm, I hope that does not come across as sounding very mean! It’s not my intention at all. (Of course, you already did that to us, so haha ;)

In all seriousness, aren’t these areas you pointed out things that a young lady will be growing in, not necessarily something she will have attained in order to be marriage ready?

Well, I told you this would be long. Thanks for putting up with my length :) I look forward to hearing your answers and engaging with you in more profitable discussion ;)

amy said...

"But really, guys and girls should be able to discuss God things with each other."

I wish that happened more...because honestly, I'd prefer to be in the men's discussion of theology over the girls' on crochet hooks ;)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

aHA. Yes, I can see how you got that. My apologies, no, I don't mean that all women should have high IQs or be witty (though I do think that an increase in knowledge and wisdom will also encourage an increase in these things).

2-4 were me giving practical examples. They'll apply to varying degrees to different people. I do think are rooted in Scriptural principle, and should be handled as such.

To Point 8, sure. What if she's an only child? And, even if she isn't, we certainly will have to work through many parenting things together. But if you as a woman are aspiring to be a wife and mother, you need to know how to do just that. You may not have as much hands-on experience as the girl with 12 little siblings, but you can still know what Scripture says about parenting, have learned from your parents how to raise kids, read a book on potty training, etc.

Does that make sense?

Ah, very good question 2.

She needs to be as perfect as God wants her to be.

You are absolutely right. I think my third post next Monday will make this even more clear, but yes. These are areas of growth, examples, exhortations. It's not as if any of these points can ever be mastered or perfected. But, insofar as God calls each believer to them, they can be striven toward.

Maybe your post was long, but they were very good questions. Enjoying the discussion!

amy said...

That helps clear things up *a lot*. Knowing that you were are not advocating high IQ’s and sharp wit as a Scriptural requirement helps me take this point more seriously, if you see what I mean. I do agree that an increase in knowledge and wisdom will encourage an increase in these areas. But even if it doesn’t, perhaps, I don’t believe that lowers a woman at all—not assuming that you think it does, just pointing that out.

I’d love to see points 2-4 backed with some actual Scripture references, if you wouldn’t mind :)

Yes, your comments on point 8 make sense and I’d say we’re in agreement there. What you said is very true--“But if you as a woman are aspiring to be a wife and mother, you need to know how to do just that.” We should be giving time to the learning of these things, but I believe there will still be a lot of learning involved for a girl once she is married. Reading book on potty training just isn’t the same as actually potty training your little sibling. So we strive to learn these things as well as we can in our God given circumstance; and in the marriage, understanding must be granted from both husband and wife. The wife isn’t going to have it all down—the husband must understand that. And regardless of how learned the wife is, the husband will have some ideas on how such-and-so should be carried out—the wife must be supportive of this. In the end, more learning will have to occur has husband and wife learn together—‘together’ will add an entirely new dynamic to work on learning :)

Ha—now wasn’t that a smart way to answer the second question? Give the good irrefutable answer that no one can discourse on because it’s too true =) Actually, though, good answer and explanation. I think I’ll look forward to your post on Monday, since you said that would make this clearer.

Moving past the differences/questions I had with what you wrote, I would like to give my very sincere thanks to you for these posts. At college I attend (not sure what your views are on that—whole new topic in itself!) many of the guys are infatuated with video games and girlfriends. It’s very refreshing to see young men who instead are consumed with standing for the truth, and are willing to take the time to encourage their sisters in Christ. These posts did encourage me very much, and whether or not we agree completely on everything, I love when Christians can discuss issues in an un-argumentative, loving way. Thank you for that.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"I’d love to see points 2-4 backed with some actual Scripture references, if you wouldn’t mind :)"

Oooh, holding my feet to the fire. It's a good thing.

I don't have prooftexts for these- they're more general-flow-of-Scripture things.

For point 2, about having stories and words of wisdom to pass on, I'd direct specifically to Deuteronomy and all the emphasis placed on remembering the journeys of our forefathers.

Practical knowledge and a knowledge of the basic things that our kids will need to learn (point 3 and 4) can both be seen in Pr. 31, though point 4 is based more on the assumption that if one is going to teach children then one must know what one is going to teach them.

So the Scriptural principles that I'm referring to?

She teaches with wisdom. (Pr. 31:26)

We should remember our forefathers and God's Providence in their lives. (Deuteronomy)

A word fitly spoken is priceless. (Pr. 25:11)

So again, these are applications, not doctrines. These are things I'd like to see based on principles that must be dealt with one way or another- not "Thou shalt have 50 stories from your parents to pass on to your kids."

Make sense?

"So we strive to learn these things as well as we can in our God given circumstance... ‘together’ will add an entirely new dynamic to work on learning :)"

Very well said.

And thank you for the discussion. I appreciate it. May God lead us into His Truth!

amy said...

ah...Great! Thanks for explaining the Scripture behind your points. I'll be eagerly awaiting your third post on Monday!

Also, I've added your blog to the 'Great Sites' page on my blog. You may find it here:

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Well, I'm honored. Thanks. :-)

Lisa said...

Hey, Gabe...I have a question that is somewhat off topic from what you and Amy have been going back and forth on.

What is your definition of a "tomboy"?

Because of the life we lead (living on a farm, moving hay, building things, killing things, etc.), people have called us "tomboys" before, but that has a feministic sound to it. I am also not the kind of girl who likes to sit around discussing crochet needle size and the intricacies of sewing. I would much, much rather be running around playing capture the flag or talking with the it about theology or how to butcher a chicken :)

This does not IN ANY way mean that I am discontent with being a girl. I am so glad that God made me the way I am. (Ps 139:14).

But, I would love to hear your thoughts on this....

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Lisa, that's a great question.

"Tomboyishness" is a hard thing to define. There's the tomboy who's firmly a girl but who likes to climb trees and blow stuff up, and then there's the tomboy who wants to be a guy.

And I, too, just downright dislike the term, myself.

I love what the Botkins said about emotional purity and am going to transfer it to this topic.

Things get a lot easier when we apply Biblical terms to our questions.

God's Word, I believe, exhorts you as a girl to be feminine and modest. It gives guidelines within which are plenty of room for Christian liberty and variety.

Perhaps it could be said like this:

To the degree to which a woman's "tomboyishness" detracts from her ability to serve God wholeheartedly and obediently *as a woman*- to that degree, her "tomboyishness" is a problem.

Does that make sense?

Lisa said...

It makes perfect sense! Thank you so much....and I completely agree. I have thought through the same thing with pants vs. dresses, and I believe that it all comes down to a heart issue. You can figure out a lot by asking: "Why are you doing what you are doing? And, can you back it up with Scripture?"

Thanks again! I love hearing other people's opinions. Biblical opinions. :)

amy said...

Sorry, totally changing the topic here--what church are you a part of, Gabriel? Funny story, but we're going to AZ to visit my grandparents and heard that you live right in the area we're headed. So I was just wondering :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Legacy Baptist. My Dad's the pastor, actually.

It's an awesome church, and we'd love it if you could come. I love meeting people in real life that I knew from the internet.

amy said...

Okay, thanks! Our trip was rather a quick change in plans, so I have no idea at this point what all my dad's plans are, or specifically what he's thinking about Sunday...but our 20 hour car ride should provide some opportunity to find out =)

Anyway, we'll see. It would be great to meet you & your family. I think you'd enjoy meeting my older brother, too.

Bush Maid said...

Lisa, thankyou so much for asking that question! Much like you, I'm a girl who also lives on a farm and who is very close to her two brothers and enjoys doing a variety of things with them. I have often asked myself that same question. :)

"There's the tomboy who's firmly a girl but who likes to climb trees and blow stuff up, and then there's the tomboy who wants to be a guy."

Loved this, Gabriel. (Especially the blow stuff up part... *cough*)

Your answer was awesome, and very encouraging.

"To the degree to which a woman's "tomboyishness" detracts from her ability to serve God wholeheartedly and obediently *as a woman*- to that degree, her "tomboyishness" is a problem."

I should print this, frame it, and stick it on my wall. Absolutely true, and very well said! Thankyou, Gabriel! :D

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I think I would too, Amy!

Aussie- praise The LORD. Glad it was edifying. :-)

Lisa said...

BushMaid - it's fun to find other girls who have similar likes, isn't' it? Do you have a blog?

Bush Maid said...

Lisa - I do. :D Do you? :)

Lisa said...

Ha ha...I should have guessed :)

Yes, mine is

amy said...

One other thing?

My grandma died early this morning, as we were on our way to come visit her. This is hard. Thankfully, our Father knows all. Would you pray for our family?

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Aww, I'm sorry to hear that. I shall indeed pray!

Jennifer said...

A diaper and a worldview. Wow! All a day's work of the Christian woman :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

That's for sure, Jennifer!

Anonymous said...

I just stopped for a second.

This world is filled with many opinions and hopes and dreams....perhaps I shall do well to state that mine are only summed up in one Thing - one Person - my Jesus.

For the sake of the young ladies reading this, and commenting, and discussing, I wanted to make a small comment.

This, my friend, that you have laid out here is the perfect formula to a very unhappy, unstable, and disastrous marriage.

It is unlikely that any man who thinks this way will have a successful or happy marriage - or even marry at all unless they present themselves falsely to their mate.

Young ladies, I speak from experience, not from mere opinion. I have, in person, for more than fifteen years witnessed such a marriage, been closely involved, and very intimate with both parties. And it has been nothing, nothing but ruin and sorrow.

Yes, there have been very happy times, but one party feels very used while the other feels unwanted.

This is not a godly design for marriage.

And there are no rules whatever for godly women, or godly men for that matter.

There is one rule for all - and that is to be in complete submission to Jesus Christ; to be lost entirely in Him, and to be dead to self and alive only by the Life of Christ within.

Only when both parties come to this point of knowledge of Jesus can hope of happiness in a marriage ever be attained.

Theology will get one no where, my friend, and neither will much learning or education.

It is simply a personal relationship with your Father that will bring understanding and Life.

I do not mean to be short or cross, or to hurt anyone's feelings. I am simply burdened to speak up and pray that someone may be blessed through it.

amy said...

@Anon: I just read your comment and wanted to jump in with a quick observation. I have a lot going on right now and am not replying to your entire comment; but quickly, one comment on what you said.

I quote you—
"There is one rule for all - and that is to be in complete submission to Jesus Christ; to be lost entirely in Him, and to be dead to self and alive only by the Life of Christ within."

Very true. However, I think what Gabriel is getting at in this series on Biblical femininity is answering the question--what does the practical outworking of a person’s subjection to Christ’s lordship look like? In other words, God calls us to live in submission to Christ. But what does that mean? God answers this question by giving us clear instruction in His word about how to obey and live in submission to Christ. What Gabriel is doing in these posts is simply pointing out and expounding upon different principles that God calls us to obey.

“And there are no rules whatever for godly women, or godly men for that matter.”

Respectfully, I must disagree with you fully on this point. What about this?

1Ti 2:9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,

1Ti 3:11 Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

Tit 2:3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good.

There are, most assuredly, ‘rules’ for how godly women (and godly men) are called to live. This does not mean that we are not called to live in subjection to Christ. Rather, this is the way we live in subjection to Him—by obeying the instructions and rules He has laid before us. And we live this way, as you said, only by the life of Christ and God’s power in our lives.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Anon., thanks for stopping by! I agree wholeheartedly that a relationship with God through Christ is absolutely necessary- is, indeed, the only source of spiritual life that may be found.

I firmly disagree, however, that there "are no rules."

Really, though, I think that Amy wrote an amply sufficient response, so I shall look for your reply to her arguments instead of making my own.

Oh, and happy new year! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hello again.

I wasn't going to carry this discussion on because I don't think that arguments are healthy or blessed by the Lord.

But since you two are expecting my response - and others press me to - I'm here again.

To Amy.

I see the reasoning behind your explaining the reason for Gabriel's post and I respect his and your statements.

But I have to admit that I do not believe men should discuss women's attributes with women. This sort of topic should be discussed and sought before the Lord between women - not between men and women unless those parties are particularly acquainted (family or friends seeking a deeper relationship.)

What I meant was that it seems silly to me for someone to have to put out these 'rules' for a 'godly' woman. Should not a woman who loves God, knows God, serves God, know how to be so-called 'godly'? I don't think mortal man should take the place of our Lord in trying to explain (expound, clarify, whatever you want to call it) the meaning of God's nature. If you're a Christian you have the Life of Christ within you and I think the Life of Christ knows how to be Godly.

Particularly about the rules....its the same sort of thing. I didn't mean the Bible doesn't give us very clear instructions on how to live. What I meant is that as a Christian there are no 'rules' if you live under 'rules' you are trying to make a Christ-like-life which doesn't work. Christ has to live within you - His Life then will make those things written in the Word living to you and it will be Life Living; not Christ-like or 'Godly' but Jesus actually living out His Life within you.

I hope I'm making sense.

amy said...

Thanks for your response to my comment, Anon! I’d like to mention first, that I do not consider this to be an argument. Certainly, there are times when discussions can be useless, if people are simply pressing their points without caring for the other person involved. However, we are told in Proverbs to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron, and in that way, discussion about the Lord and His word can be very profitable to seek and discover the truth and spur one another on to love and good deeds. If you don’t mind, I’d like to reply further to several of the things that you said.

First of all, may I ask why you do not believe that men and women should discuss something of this sort with one another? Do you find something in Scripture which makes you feel this way? I certainly believe that men and women should show discretion in their relationships one another, but as brother and sisters in Christ, I think we may encourage and discuss Biblical issues with one another in all purity.

You also brought up that “it seems silly to me for someone to have to put out these 'rules' for a 'godly' woman. Should not a woman who loves God, knows God, serves God, know how to be so-called 'godly'?” Yes, God teaches His people how to live in a way that is pleasing to Him. He gives us His Spirit and regenerates our hearts so that we are able to do so. But He does use means to accomplish His purpose. His gives us His word so that we can know what He wants us to be striving for. He gives us the church—a body of believers, pastors, etc.—to encourage one another to press on with the Lord. On this point, Hebrews 3:13 says to “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Cannot God keep His people from being hardened by sin?
Absolutely, He can, and most certainly, He will! (“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” –Phil. 1:6) And yet, firmly assured of God’s final saving work, we are called to encourage one another so that we are not turned away by sin.

Regarding rules, obviously, living a Christ-like life is not about conforming outwardly to a set of rules. God does lay before His poeple 'rules' (or instruction, commands, etc.) that we are called to obey, but not in some legalistic, force-yourself-to-do-something-you-can't-do sort of way, if that makes any sense. I think I can safely say, however, that Gabriel is not advocating that through these posts. These posts, I think, are about encouraging one another to press on toward more fully knowing Christ and living for Christ by obeying the instructions God has placed before His people.

Do you get what I’m saying here?

Also, Gabriel, I don’t mean to take over this discussion here, as it was originally directed toward you. I hope it did not come across as if I was. It would be great to hear your take on all this, anyway. And, sorry we were not able to come to Legacy this morning! It would have been great to be there and I wish I could have met you all.

Anonymous said...

"He gives us His Spirit and regenerates our hearts so that we are able to do so. But He does use means to accomplish His purpose. His gives us His word so that we can know what He wants us to be striving for."

This is the exact thought that I take issue with when it comes to rules.

The Lord Jesus does not regenerate our hearts so that we are able to live pleasingly for Him. And He does not give us His Word so we know what He wants us striving for.

This whole statement is built on one's own abilities and capacities. And that is what I find wrong with rules - and particularly with these posts setting out the attributes of a godly woman.

It builds on our own strivings to be godly, do right, live properly. And that's not what a Christian is supposed to do. That's why I said in the first place that there are no rules.

Being a Christian means resigning our life, accepting our place of uselessness to God and therefore our death on the cross with Jesus, and thereby becoming a vessel for Christ to live His Life again through us.

And I didn't mean to imply we are to live a Christ-like-life. I meant to say that that is a fallacy. We are to let Christ live through us. You can't be more Christ-like than Christ Himself!

About the discussion being improper. I've tried writing this paragraph several times! :( I don't know how to say it without being offensive - its just that when I came across this post and read the discussions all I saw was boys and girls flirting. I wouldn't stand in a fellowship and discuss this with a group of guys - I don't think a man should discuss it with a group of girls on his blog either.

I'm glad you don't see this as arguing, though. :)

Also, though I know this might just carry this discussion on further, I think its a bit contradictory to say that a wife must obey her husband when he wants to go against her convictions and yet when it comes down to robbing a bank or murdering obedience isn't a question. robbing a bank or murdering any worse than disobeying your personal convictions that the Lord Jesus has given you?

I have a friend who used to wear a head covering. Her Pa told her and her mother his Bible view on the subject had changed and asked them to take it off.
It turned my stomach to hear that story.

Is it just possible that God loves and speaks to women as well as men? That there is no male or female no bond nor free in Christ but that we are all one? And perhaps God sees beyond what we looked like when we were born?

Sorry if I sound sharp, I just don't have other words to share my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

The fact is, we please Him when we obey His laws, just like the planets and trees...
No rules?! Really, my friend, you couldn't live like that, nor would you, if you knew all that it implied.
If He gave us His word for some other reason, please identify them. Also, please identify your ideas on progressive sanctification.
If you think we are to lay flat on the ground and then expect God to pour magical powers through us, then please consider that man has responsibility, and God gives good guidelines for how to do so.
Now I do agree that we have different capacities and abilities. But they should be rays pointing in a direction - the glory of God. What matters is that we give all of our energies to glorify Him. And Gabriel has given several good guidelines on how to do this (a great thing for a man of his age). For example: there will be some of us who are more brilliant than others. While we can't all be Arthur Pink, we can certainly attempt to understand the scriptures so that we can exhort one another to love and good deeds.
I don't think this discussion has been improper. What is your opinion on how brothers and sisters in Christ should treat one another? Further, how do you expect young men and women to learn about each other enough to marry one another? It must be done somehow (no I don't believe in dating). I believe that young men and young women, in the proper bounds, can be friends. And frankly, I didn't see any flirting. It would be helpful if you defined "flirting" as well. We are one, a church. And yes, I want to know about my wife before I marry her.
Perhaps "subjective interpretations" would be better than "convictions". I agree to that improvement.
I don't want to sound harsh in any way, either. If I have misrepresented you, please let me know. But I do think you have somewhat misrepresented Gabriel.
Finally, I must say that Gabriel has handled this conversation very well. Thanks very much for stimulating this conversation.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

OK, all, me handling this well might just be because I haven't responded yet. :-D

(But thanks, Pinecone.)

Amy, no, you haven't been domineering at all- I agree with your stance and have enjoyed your responses!


" robbing a bank or murdering any worse than disobeying your personal convictions that the Lord Jesus has given you?"

Very much so.


Please show me some Scripture for the errors that you believe that I have made. I don't wish to be sharp either, but in the interest of cutting to the chase- please give me some Scriptural basis for your statements. Thanks!

(Beyond that, I now think that Pinecone has brought up some good points which bear addressing...)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Oh, and Anon. Something else that struck me. If you don't believe that we should talk about rules- why are you laying down the rule that I don't speak about rules?

Anonymous said...

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

It is impossible for flesh to walk after the Spirit - for a mortal being to present a picture of godliness. Do you begin to imply that human beings can even try to be like God?

It is only through death to ourselves that we can become living vessels for Christ to work His life through.

"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead."
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God Who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

Why then do we lay down rules to live by, making a law of righteousness to ourselves, when Christ waits in loving kindness to take over our useless battles to 'live right' and work His Life out through us?

"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them."

The law is not just the old covenant either - it is the law we make in ourselves to 'do good' and live 'righteously'. We make a law for ourselves by our rules (even standards we feel we need to live up to in our own minds) and thereby we fall from true Salvation - that Salvation being that Christ comes in and takes over our earthen vessels to live His Righteousness out through us.

"As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.....howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol: and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not are we the worse. But take heed by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak."
"If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake; for the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof: conscience, I say, not thine own but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which i give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

There is no rule not to eat meat sacrificed to false gods - and how much more blasphemous and insulting to our Father could it be than for us to eat food that someone has offered up to false gods?

Yet, knowing that all things are God's and the fulness of the whole earth, we know that idols are nothing. In full liberty we can eat anything we please - offered or not offered to false gods.

See what I am trying to get at?

Anonymous said...

I am not setting a rule that you are not to set rules. :) that's a silly statement.

Also I won't comment on what I think flirting is - that in my opinion isn't a question to ask.

About laying on the ground and waiting for God to fill us with magical powers. I don't believe in magic or fantasy - at all. Please read the verses I quoted again.

Why I think this is inappropriate - because, like I stated before, young men and young women shouldn't discuss this topic all together like this; the only reason I got in on it is because it so clearly mirrored the unhappy marriages I have been involved with and I thought I should speak up for the girls' sakes that are reading this.
I didn't mean to misrepresent anyone, but "He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue."

So robbing mortal man or killing mortal man is worse than disobeying immortal God. I think such sins carry equal weight and I wouldn't want a woman to be any quicker to disregard the lessons Jesus has taught her than I would want her to rob a bank.

I would never want a woman to respect a mortal man more than she respects God Himself - and I think its sickening that anyone else does.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"I would never want a woman to respect a mortal man more than she respects God Himself - and I think its sickening that anyone else does."

Me too. :-)

I think we have some foundational disagreements here, so for now I'm not going to continue with this discussion- because I need to be wise with my time.

Thanks for stopping by, Anon!

Anonymous said...

I find it curious, Anon., that though you say no righteousness can be found in us, you attempt to show what true righteousness is in your comments. Furthermore, you even attempt to show how we can be righteous through not discussing things like the above. Perhaps we are the meat-eaters?

I believe that man is depraved without God's intervention. I also believe man can do good, when Christ is in him. Now you could inevitably respond that "our righteousness is as filthy rags". However, if you take this to the extreme, then why would Micah 6:8 state this:
"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (KJV)

Apparently, we have a duty, and we are to search out the Scriptures to find out how best to do that duty. Here are some instructions on how:

"That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor" Thessalonians 4:4.

"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."
James 1:21

"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto ilfe and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience; godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:3-8.

"But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."
2 Peter 1:9

"For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idoltries: wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."
1 Peter 4:3-5

Furthermore, read Ephesians 4:22-32, Colossians 3:5-11, and Galatians 5:14-26.

I conclude that God has indeed given us the duty of putting on the new man, ruled by His Spirit, and the putting off of the old man, which was dead to God and alive to sin.
If these conversations help us to know how better to do that (and I think they do), then we should continue to do so.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Anon., here is my latest post which discusses why I believe that violence can be Biblical.

Andrea Grace said...

I want to say first that I agree with almost everything Anonymous says (except the part about arguments not being healthy; I love arguments. They make us more knowledgeable, which is always a good thing), and actually he says it so much better than I could that the length of my comment is probably going to be halved!
Gabriel, I know exactly where you're coming from. I've been there myself. I used to believe all this too. I used to think that my highest calling-- indeed, my only calling!-- as a woman was to be a wife and mother. A submissive, dependent wife and mother. A wife and mother who is exactly as you describe her here.
But now I can see that this is just not the case. I don't believe this "biblical womanhood" thing has any actual biblical support in the first place (which I will elaborate on if you ask me to, but this comment is probably going to end up being too long as it is).
Again, Anonymous already stated my viewpoint beautifully, so I just want to share with you a little of who I am.
I am, obviously, a Christian woman. I love God with all that I am. And my character is pretty much the opposite of what is laid out in your list. I have nothing to do with my dad's work. Theology is definitely not my thing at all. I don't plan to "submit to my husband's leadership," because I am led by Christ alone. I love and respect the men in my life, but not because "it's the right thing to do." It's because they deserve it. I guess I do love kids, though (I've been called Mary Poppins by almost everyone I know). But I suppose none of that matters anyway, because I'm pretty sure I'm not cut out to be married at all.
Do you know what I feel called to do?
Be a police officer.
The more I study this career (and I've studied it pretty deeply already), the more I feel called to it.
And do you know something else? I know that God loves me and is pleased with me. I know it; I feel it. I love Him, too. I love that He created me as a woman. I love that He made me the way I am, with all my thoughts and desires and loves.
Anyway, I just think that the character traits you laid out are all right in their place; that is, if a girl is naturally this way anyway, good for her. But these are not requirements for a godly woman. The only requirement for that is love of God. And a woman can have that in spades without ever having picked up a broom or a child in her life. God created us all differently, including women.
Haha, this comment is actually way shorter than I had anticipated!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Andrea. :-)

I'd love to hear you elaborate, and would be willing to respond to your points if you're wanting a little friendly banter. I am, however, very time-crunched right now, so I might not get back to you for a while.

Andrea Grace said...

Thanks for your response, Gabriel! I'm going to assume that your invitation to elaborate was referring to my statement that I do not believe the whole "biblical femininity" thing has any actual biblical support.
The short version is this: In Christ there is no male or female. We are equal in His eyes, in every way including authority. The verses that address women specifically are a) I believe taken out of context [especially culturally], and b) very, very few. The Bible was written to men and women. Every passage applies to us equally; the parts about being strong warriors, and the parts about thinking for ourselves. And also the parts about the law no longer being our master. There are, as Anonymous pointed out, no "rules" for being "good Christians." Serving God is going to look different from one person to the next.
Also, I am definitely up for some friendly banter/ debate. What else is the Internet for? :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Cue epic battle music as the banter begins.

"The verses that address women specifically are a) I believe taken out of context [especially culturally], and b) very, very few."

OK, let's start with this one. 1 Cor. 11:2-16. I'm not going to paste it all here- it's the man-is-the-head-of-the-woman/long hair passage.

Can you 'splain to me how that is taken out of context when I take it to mean that men and women are different and have different roles?

Andrea Grace said...

Certainly, certainly.
I think the cultural context of that particular book of the Bible is that it was written to an aggressively matriarchal society; that is, there was a lot written to the women that reminded them to submit to men because there was virtually none of that going on.
It could easily have been reversed had Paul been writing to a patriarchal society in which women had no say in anything.
Also, the word "head" can also be taken to mean "source," which, according to the no-male-or-female-in-Christ context of the entire Bible makes more sense than "leader." So that also could be reversed and still hold true, which it is in verse 11. Basically, it was a reminder that women need men just as much as men need women.

Andrea Grace said...

Also, I should warn you of something you have probably already gathered for yourself: I am a terrible, terrible procrastinator. So if I don't leave a comment for a few days, that's why.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I'll get to the verses in a moment, but I have a quick question that I'd like to start off with.

Do you believe that there is, inherently, any difference between men and women beyond their physical makeup?

Do you believe that there is in any way a distinction between what they should do?

I'm curious. :-)

"Basically, it was a reminder that women need men just as much as men need women."

My problem is that that isn't what he said.


(While your statement is quite true in its own right, I don't see Paul saying that.)

1 Tim. 2:12+13, a similar passage: "But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve."

Here Paul appeals to creation order. Something which transcends cultural context.

He also, in each of these passages, makes his statements very firmly. If he meant to say "ladies, cool off. You're not worth more than guys." then why would he say "submit, don't teach," etc?

Andrea Grace said...

Your question is two-pronged (“Are there differences between men and women,” and “Should there be”), and the prongs are not necessarily related. I do agree that, in a general sense, the thoughts and behaviors of men and women are dissimilar in many ways. But
a) Only in a general sense. There will be people who buck the trend. (Remember that you’re talking to the woman who is working to become a police officer! ;)) And they are of a surprisingly large number.
b) Those general differences do not suit men to be leaders and women to be followers.
c) Those differences in behavior are not required. That is, women, though generally accepted to be sweet and nurturing, do not have to be that way in order to be good people. And men, by the same reasoning, do not have to be tough and dominant. We are individuals. God likes it that way, otherwise He wouldn’t have created it.

So that brings us to the second point.
“My problem is that that isn't what he said.”
If the Bible straight-up said what it meant 100% of the time (indeed, if it did that even 95% of the time) we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Everything is subject to interpretation; understanding of the cultural context, of the writer, and also of the translator. And I think the verse you brought up (But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man) highlights this very well. I think Paul made a special point in saying that he did not allow that. Paul, the man at that particular point in time and in that particular place, does not allow that. We don’t know why he doesn’t, but he made a special point of citing himself as the source of this command. Or course, he also uses the phrase “saved by childbearing,” and unless that’s some obscure metaphor for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I think we can safely say that something has been lost in translation. Also, the word “quiet” there is the same word used earlier, in a verse exhorting all people to live quiet and holy lives. Paul did tell everyone to be willing to learn, but he had to reiterate this for the women at that particular point in time, and the actual scriptures themselves reinforce that.

Also, if we’re going to use the creation order to determine who should be in authority, then actually it makes more sense for women to rule! The Genesis account states that animals were created first, then man. And God, in His own voice, specifically stated that man was to have dominion over the animals. So, according to God’s own words, the later creation gets dominion! And then along comes the woman….

I jest, of course. The Genesis account also made a special point of saying that man and woman were created at the same time. Eve was inside Adam, not nonexistent. Therefore creation order itself supports equality.

Also, have I mentioned that this discussion is great? I mean that in the sincerest possible way. I’ve dealt with a lot of people who disagree with me on this issue, but too many times they just completely shut me down. I appreciate your taking the time and energy to debate this. I really do.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"Those differences in behavior are not required."

OK, so there are no over-arching moral "should-be"s when it comes to gender roles.


"Therefore creation order itself supports equality."

It also supports difference in roles, doesn't it?

"It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Gen. 2:18

"Eve was inside Adam, not nonexistent."

Not sure about that one, but not sure that it's crucial here... :-D

To the discussion of Paul's writings, I think you're treading on dangerous ground. I'm taking the text at its face. I'm all for bearing in mind cultural context, etc. But when he says something as definitively as he did and then backs it up by referring to the way we were made, I think it's pretty dangerous to overturn all that with "subjective interpretation."

(Those are quotes because I'm using your words, not because I'm mocking your words. All this is said with a smile. :-)

Otherwise, what can't we overturn with like reasoning? Homosexuality? Adultery? Murder?

And this boils down to the root issue, I think- once we start interpreting Scripture to fit us, we're left with humanism. So we'll keep the "Thou shalt not murder" commandment, but Numbers 30 goes out the window, for example.

Problem is, the only reason we have for doing this is our opinion.

And I'm glad you're enjoying the discussion! I am too.

Anonymous said...

Andrea Grace:

If you want to hear the argument - counter-arguments that have already been in action on this and other related subjects, look at the comments after "Why I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger" and "You're not going to college?!?"

You might find a good part of your feeling already mentioned (that way you won't have to re-run through them), and you might find some good reasons why Gabriel believes what he does.

Andrea Grace said...

I realize that this is an absurdly late time to be leaving a comment, but in my defense I was horribly ill for several weeks, and then I completely forgot about this whole thing until just now. But better late than never, right? ... Right?

All right, so you said that creation order supports difference in roles because Adam and Eve were created as different, complimentary people. And of course I don't disagree that they were. The problem is that we have absolutely no idea what that is. We like to think that Adam was the dominant one, but there is actually zero biblical evidence for that at all. It could very well have been Eve. Maybe Adam was a helpless gardener who needed Eve to look out for him. "Helper" does not mean "subordinate." But I think the more likely scenario is that neither one was the leader of the other. The bible never mentions any hierarchy established at creation; that's just a tradition we've heard so many times that we just assume it's in there somewhere.

And I think that holds true for the rest of the bible. If you will allow me to lapse into a point that will seem like it has no relation whatsoever to the subject at hand, are you a fan of Star Wars? Being (as I assume you are) an American, you at least know what Ewoks are, right? Those teddy bear-like creatures that are featured in Episode 6? Ewoks are one of those iconic images that almost everybody remembers. The weird part about all of this is that nobody in episode 6 even mentioned that word. We all assume that the whole "Ewok" thing is part of the official Star Wars canon, but it's nowhere to be found! It's an unidentified tradition that the entire nation picked up without knowing why. We call them Ewoks, not because Star Wars did, but because we heard it somewhere and subconsciously picked it up.

We do it all the time, especially with the bible. A large percentage of what we think is in there is actually just tradition passed down by people who had an agenda. And we can't just order ourselves to forget it. The bible is a surprisingly ambiguous document. So we've got the text itself to consider, along with all the traditions we've been trained in since childhood, the style of the writer, the cultural context of the audience, and (most of us forget this one) the translators' personal agenda! And my point is not that the bible cannot be trusted (or "subjectively interpreted," a phrase I did not actually use). I believe it. I just think that we need to reconsider so much of what we think we know about it. It's not that it's not true. It's that most of our preconceptions about it were passed down to us by people who had an interest in making us believe what they did.

Also, I feel like another apology for the lateness of this is in order. :(

Gabriel Hudelson said...

No apology necessary! Threads that I've been on have been neglected too... I'm busy.

I don't understand how you can say that Scripture doesn't present a structure of authority. Here's just one verse from 1 Corinthians 11:

"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."

It can't be argued that this devalues women- otherwise, we would also have to argue that Christ is a less important Person of The Trinity!

It's simply God's created order.

Andrea Grace said...

We do know that Christ is not a less valuable member of the Trinity.

But reducing women to second-class citizens, treating them as inferior (which this system does, by the way. I'll explain.), does devalue them. So it could be argued, and indeed I am arguing it now, that because being the submissive one is a devaluation and Christ is not a less valuable person of the Trinity, "Head" does not mean "leader."

Again, this could be flipped. And it is.

And again, "head" is more accurately translated "source."

Now, about my comment about patriarchy devaluing women...
I know that there is no way you agree with that! I know you are not purposefully trying to turn us into your little domestic pets or whatever, so this is not an accusation against you! Trust me, I am way too happy that you're actually publishing these comments to offend you! (You would not believe how many people shut me down after they've had their say.)

But this comes from the perspective of a woman who fully understands the viewpoint and spent years trying to live it. I am devalued by this.

Not saying that being a wife and mother is a lowly calling or anything-- I respect it more than I can say--, but because my talents do not lie in that area, being a pretty little homemaker would be a waste for me. I am intelligent. I'm young and strong, and I have passions beyond the home. I won't squander those things.(And again, I am absolutely not saying that stay-at-home moms are stupid or dull or passionless! I have had way too much experience in childcare to make that mistake!) Trying to force me to become less than I am, stripping me of the things that make me me is inherently a devaluation of the person I am. It means that I am not good enough and never will be.

Another point (and this is probably the one I was originally intending to make, but I got distracted): saying that women can never be in leadership ever is also a devaluation. Leaders are chosen because they are superior. Not in every way, just in their general area of expertise. They are better at what they do than their subordinates. Saying, therefore, that men are to be leaders over women in every area of life means that they are superior in every area of life. And male superiority equals female inferiority. Which, as you have no doubt gathered, is a devaluation of womankind.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"Trying to force me to become less than I am, stripping me of the things that make me me is inherently a devaluation of the person I am."

Ah, but this doctrine simply tries to force you to be come who you were created to be. I know you don't agree with that, but if what I'm arguing for is true (and I happen to believe that it is ;-), then this is the case.

"Leaders are chosen because they are superior."

Usually, this is absolutely the case.

Not so in the home or in worship, as per 1 Cor. 11, Ephesians 5, or 1 Timothy 2:12.

Perhaps it would be profitable to say it like this.

I believe that Scripture calls men to lead their homes and churches, calls women to submit to their husbands, forbids women from teaching in the assembly, calls men to protect women (and children), and upholds distinctions between the sexes both in appearance and in role.

I believe that Scripture does this while teaching a total equality of value between the sexes.

However, if you assume that leadership = superiority, then I would caution you- you will either force the text of Scripture into your presuppositions, or you will reach the conclusion that Christianity devalues women!

(Which it totally doesn't. It's Christianity that leads to doctrines like "Women and Children First.")

And I'm sorry to hear that others would just shut you down! I am glad that you are interacting with me, for my part. May God give us wisdom!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Oh, Andrea, I ran across something in my devotions today. If "head" means "source," then wouldn't this verse:

"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God."

Mean that Christ was created, and therefore be an anti-Trinitarian Scripture?

Andrea Grace said...

Not necessarily. If it could be flipped from "man is the head of the woman," then I think it could also be flipped from, "God is the head of Christ." It's not creation. It's more mutual support.

I think a major point of difference between us is that I believe that you are already who you created to be. I don't believe that we were meant to fit into a mold; rather, individuality is a giant blessing that should never be downplayed! Rather than shape ourselves to fit the same calling as every other person of our gender, I think we should use the strengths we already have and find the calling made for us. Does that make sense?

I think the person you should be and the person you already are are one and the same. Obviously we all have flaws and problems we need to work through, but fundamentally, at the core of our being we are already who we were created to be. We all have value, not for our potential to perfection, but for who we are now.

By the way, the whole "women and children first" thing doesn't necessarily come from this belief system. It's basically common human decency of helping people who need it when you are able to. Women and children are, in general, physically inferior to men, so it could also be, "women, children, the elderly, and the crippled first." I've given up my seat to older gentlemen before.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"Rather than shape ourselves to fit the same calling as every other person of our gender, I think we should use the strengths we already have and find the calling made for us. Does that make sense?"

Yes ma'am, it makes perfect sense, and I totally agree- except that I wouldn't take that to mean that there are no universal principles that should apply to every person of a certain gender. You have totally different strengths, gifts, weaknesses, talents, so on, from the next girl- but you are both women, and as such are called to abide by the Biblical principles of womanhood.

I believe so, at least. :-)

Andrea Grace said...

I think you're underestimating the role that personality plays in this whole "biblical womanhood" thing. Submission and homemaking are not something that just anybody can do. You have to have a certain personality type in order to avoid a mental or emotional breakdown. My mom has been a stay-at-home mom for nineteen years, and she's good at it. But me? I get cabin fever staying in for three days at a time. Don't get me wrong, I love kids, but I need to have an adult conversation once in a while.

And I would absolutely go crazy if I had to do what I was told every day of my life, especially if it went against my own instincts or intellect (which is kind of the point, I guess). And to use another example from my mom's life: she's the leader type. But for a long time, she believed in this system and attempted to replace her real personality with a "godly," submissive one. And do you know something? It was a disaster. I don't mean she wasn't able to submit. I mean she submitted too well, and everybody hated it. My dad even did. He's not the follower type, but he's not really a leader either. But now that they're on equal footing, everybody is way happier.

This "biblical womanhood" concept does not allow for radically different personalities, which women do have. Real individuality is kind of buried. Women like me, women who want to be police officers or lawyers, are required to give up huge chunks of their identities.

I guess where we really differ is that I believe that the human intellect and emotions are to be trusted more than we generally think (we were made in God's image, after all). And you... well, I won't put words in your mouth! But I'm pretty sure you would disagree. :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"I guess where we really differ is that I believe that the human intellect and emotions are to be trusted more than we generally think (we were made in God's image, after all). And you... well, I won't put words in your mouth! But I'm pretty sure you would disagree. :) "

Yeah, I believe that God's Word is to be trusted more than human intellect and emotions.


Andrea Grace said...

Haha, I know you believe that! Trust me, I used to believe it too.

But it usually annoys me when people say that because there is some point where you have to trust the mind God gave you. The bible doesn't cover everything (I know we like to think it does, but that is... well, it's impossible.). In addition to which, there are literally infinite ways to interpret the text, plus the practical application of it all. Reading is not a passive activity. You can't just absorb and understand without engaging the mind.

It's just that almost all the people I've heard say, "The bible is a more reliable source than logic and common sense" basically mean, "The pastor's (or, whatever, insert your trusted authority here. Daddy's, maybe) interpretation of the bible is to be trusted more than what I think." It's not an informed or intelligent mentality. Those are usually the people who have not been taught to think for themselves. Logic doesn't mean anything to them. I have met one too many of this type.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Well Andrea, in reading your response I see the dangerous end of this philosophy that you are espousing being this: that we cannot know what Scripture truly means, therefore, in effect, there are simply no rules given to us by God to go by.

Please consider this, sister, because though it's not what you mean I do think it's the logical outplay of what you're saying. :-)

We have to agree on the authority of Scripture before we can get anywhere in any kind of theological debate.

Andrea Grace said...

I don't think we cannot know what Scripture means, and I never said that. I think we're not careful enough in choosing who we listen to. Too many "authorities" in the church are simply invested in pushing their own agendas, and we go along with it because they look way smarter than we are. And the first thing they tell you is that disagreement is always wrong. Open-mindedness is so important in the life of a Christian, and that's something I lost completely when I was immersed in patriarchy.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Well, my friend, I believe what I believe because I believe that God says it- not that any teacher says it. God has blessed me with many great teachers, but unless these truths can be disproved using Scripture, "here I stand."

Hannah said...

From Point 7:
"And I can wrestle through hefty theology and always have a loving, compassionate, concerned sounding-board to turn to from which to receive Biblically-grounded feedback.

She's my soul-mate. A huge part of my soul- indeed, by God's Grace, the consuming desire of my soul- is God! I want her to be able to share in my passion for Him."

It bothers me slightly that you equate love for theology with love for God. It is possible to be passionate about God without being passionate about hefty theology (such as election, regeneration, etc.). I know the word means "study of God" but generally what it applies to are doctrines and teachings that are not God Himself.

Does that make sense? What I'm trying to say is that two people can be equally passionate about God and talking about Him and praying to Him, while one is interested in the "deep things of theology" and one is not.

Melody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melody said...

Gabriel, I appreciate your comment of wanting a girl who is godly because she wants to please God, not just to get a guy, one who is preparing, not waiting; a girl who is a blessing to her family. 

There is great peace in God's Sovereignty.

You may appreciate Dr. Joe Morecraft's Advice To Young Adults Desiring Marriage:

Accept your single state as a wise loving arrangement from your Heavenly Father. You are not single by accident.
Exploit your present state of singleness. When you are married your time, energy and resources will be directed to your spouse. Use your time, energy and resources for the glory of God right now. Learn how to be faithful where God places you, diligent in the things God gives you to do and when God fulfills the desire of your heart He will cause you to be faithful in many things.
While you're single, work on your undesirables and uglies. Go to those whose counsel you trust (your parents, close friends, mentors/elders) and ask them where you need improvement. Go to them and say, "Do you think there's something in me that needs to be changed and that's the reason I'm not married?" When they say, "Probably." Accept it with humility. "What are some of those things I need to change/improve?" Humility is an important part of singleness. 
Pray continually for God's preparation of you and His provision for you. You're not married because you're not ready. You are not adequately prepared. Ask God: "Whatever it takes to prepare me for the man/woman you have for me, please prepare me and while you're at it prepare him/her for me. While you're preparing me, provide him/her for me." 
Establish Christian relationships with God's people. Put yourself in the way of legitimate contacts and acquaintances. Don't go places where you don't expect Christians to be. Go where you will meet God-fearing, like-minded people. Don't be invisible.

Melody said...

As Geoff Botkin put it, "Theology is a life and death issue." What we believe dictates what we do. Ideas have consequences, whether good or ill.

If we do not have a Trinitarian Eternal God, all forms of governmental systems would be askew. We would either have Pantheism leading to anarchy or we would have a top-down centralized government (with a false god like Allah). Trinitarian covenantal Christianity creates forms of government that have limited powers.

In the family we don't view marriage or family as an end in and of itself, but as means to build and advance Christ's kingdom. For instance we don't idolize the patriarch, but his position is given and limited by God. God's law regulates marriage. In the trinity the Father begat the Son and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, eternally. In the family the father, mother and children are equal in value, but have differing roles and responsibilities. With trinitarian thinking we have the one and the many, order and diversity, brought together by God's Word.

Theology is vital.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hannah, yes, very very good point. Thank you for pointing that out. I, myself, like to be able to discuss deep theology, but you are absolutely right that that doesn't turn everyone on, and I need to bear that in mind. In fact, my mom is a great example; she's not the kind of person who would read Rushdoony's "Institutes of Biblical Law" in her free time. But she's still very much walking with God.

Melody, great stuff! Thanks for sharing. I'd love to hear you unpack what you said about the importance of the Trinity for government; I know it's true, but I don't understand it exactly. Could you flesh out some of the "why"?

Jennifer said...

Thank you Andrea for your awesome words. My greatest concerns are with doctrine that goes beyond even complimentarianism into ideas that basically fit the term patriocentricity. Like, for example, Geoff Botkin's and the old Vision Forum's. Thank God that group is no more.