Monday, January 9, 2012

Why I Won't Hesitate to Pull the Trigger


Thoughts on Christians and violence.

I've recently been involved in multiple discussions about what Scripture has to say about Christians and violence. It is a touchy and very important topic.

I'm going to break this into two parts. First, I'm going to talk about why total pacifism is (I believe) an untenable position. Then, I'm going to discuss the Scriptural definition and basis for Christian violence.

Turn on your battle music, ladies and gentlemen.

Shouldn't We Just Love Everybody?

The argument that we should be non-confrontational can have much appeal, and appear to be Scriptural on its face.

First problem: if played out consistently, it's absurd.

Prepare yourself for some violent satire. *innocent smile*

(While I am being satirical here, it is all in good humor- please don't take offense. It's spoken with a smile. :-)

If Christians should be pacifistic, then no Christian should be a police officer, and all legal systems should be abolished. Turning the other cheek, you know.

The bad guys should never be resisted. Mugger? Thief? Murderer? Rapist? Just make sure you pick a Christian for your target, because if they aren't a Christian they might resist you.

Hey, at least I can fling a gospel tract at the guy who busted down my door before he shoots me.

Make that gently hand the gospel tract to him- flinging it might hurt his feelings.

If I was target shooting at the range, and, walking home, saw a psychotic villain massacring a schoolyard full of children, I should set my favorite pistol down and pull out my cellphone. After all, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Then, I should perhaps run into the schoolyard and try to reason with the fellow. Maybe I could do some kind of martial art on him which wouldn't actually hurt him- though the fact that he has a gun makes that idea slightly less attractive.

How horrifying does the example have to get before we admit, "OK, I guess I'd have to do something then?"

Buy a Sword

Now I'm going to use The Sword to see whether we should use the sword.

I have six points to this part of my article:
  1. Assumption
  2. Model
  3. Command
  4. New Covenant
  5. A Pragmatic Presupposition
  6. On Martyrdom and Self-Defense
Assumption

In Proverb 6:16, The LORD states that He hates hands that shed innocent blood. Interestingly, He didn't say that He hates hands that shed blood, as such.

Scripture assumes the use of violence (if necessary) to protect the innocent from evil.

"If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft." (Ex. 22:2+3)

"When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her." (Deut. 22:27)

Scripture doesn't specify when exactly we should pull out the Glock or bust out a 3-punch-combo. But does It really have to?

In all honesty, what kind of man would I be if I saw someone being attacked and I didn't rush to their aid?

I'm not talking about two drunks getting into a fight into which I throw myself and "[grab] a dog by the ears."

I'm talking about a woman being mugged or a black guy getting mistreated by a couple of white guys in the men's room or an old man being accosted by a robber.

God made me a man. He gave me strength and a love for things of war. Not things of death- things of victory and justice. Rescuing the damsel in distress. Slaying the dragon- or the gangster- to save the innocent.

I'm not defending a sick fascination with violence- a love of pain and misery- a desire to hurt and kill.

I am defending a love of justice, and a commitment to protect the innocent. I see it modeled and assumed in Scripture- and I see it written on the heart of every little boy who loves to play soldier.

I'm also not saying that lethal force should be the first resort. Absolutely not.

I am saying that the innocent should be defended using whatever force necessary. Perhaps it can be simple psychological warfare. Maybe a swift chop to the temple will stun the assailant without permanent damage. Or maybe his death is necessary. Really, though, it's not about me wanting to harm him. It's about me wanting to protect her (whoever the innocent person is). So long as he insists on harming her, he'll have to go through me, and he's in danger. The moment he stops trying to do evil, he stops being in danger. It's his choice. I'm just defending.

Model

Throughout Scripture appropriate use of violence is not only portrayed but is commended. The example of Phinehas, who slew two people who were defiling God's tabernacle, comes to mind. What did God have to say about Phinehas' taking of two human lives?

"Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel." (Num. 25:13)

Command

"When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: 'Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.'" (Neh. 4:14)

Not only is violence in defense of the innocent, specifically in defense of the family, assumed throughout the Old Testament, it is also commanded.

We see that also reinforced in the New Testament in that Christ gave up His life for His bride!

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her..." (Eph. 5:25)

New Covenant

Now comes the real issue. Oftentimes today the New Testament is not looked at in context of the Old Testament- as the fulfillment thereof. Rather it is seen as something vastly different which frees us from the bondage of the Old Testament.

And indeed we are free from the Old Covenant, praise God! However, those who wrote the New Testament were thoroughly saturated in the Old. That set their worldview. They also reaffirmed the value of the Old Testament. (2 Tim. 3:16)

Yes, we are indeed free from the Old Covenant. The sacrificial and ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Christ. We aren't Jews, and don't need to be- Christ is our High Priest. Praise God!

If we take that (precious!) truth and use it to nullify all of the Old Testament, we not only cause ourselves much pain and confusion but we specifically disobey both the models and the commands that we are given in the New Testament.

To say that anything stated in the Old Testament must be re-stated in the New Testament or it is invalid is simply unScriptural.

That said, if Christ overturns something in the New Testament, He has every right to do so, and it is incumbent upon us to submit to that.

So what does Jesus say about violence? I'm going to look at some Scriptures that might be brought up specifically for this discussion, and then talk about how I interpret that. If you question my interpretation, please feel free to tell me so in the comments! However, please remember the Old Testament context in which Christ spoke, and interpret these passages in light of the whole context of Scripture.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matt. 5:9)
I can be a peacemaker and still stop the guy who comes in to attack my family. Actually, I'm probably more of a peacemaker by doing so. (Gotta say, I think the Colt "Peacemaker" has the best name for a gun that I've ever heard.)

"You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." (Matt. 5:38-42)
Take insults like a man. I firmly believe that the culture of dueling to the death over insults violates this principle. If somebody slaps you or makes a snide remark, take it with grace and love him back. It's not something to kill over. Be generous of your stuff and your time- if the guy is holding you up for the $20 in your wallet, dig out the loose change for him too. "Do not take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God."
"...love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Matt. 5:44)
Pretty self-explanatory, but please, let's let God define love, instead of the soupy, mushy, "tolerant" culture of today.
"Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.'" (Matt. 26:52)
I love the argument that my good friend Casey made over at his blog for this passage. Basically, if you make a lifestyle of swordsmanship, you're going to wind up dying by the sword, most likely.

There's a world of context that we must see these statements through. Jesus is set on fulfilling what His Father has commanded. He's not here to resist- He knows not only that the soldiers are here to take Him, but that His Father wants Him to go with them.
"When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?" They said, "No, nothing." And He said to them, "But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:35+36)
Here Jesus tells the disciples to buy a sword. We see the juxtaposition of his previous miraculous care for his disciples with a transition into a more natural method of provision and survival- take some money and a sword.

So one has to ask- if Jesus meant to say never use violence, why in the world would He tell His disciples to sell their cloaks and buy a sword?

You may say "Jesus never used violence." (He did, actually, in the Temple.)

But Jesus didn't have a place to lay His head, either.

We can't forget that when Christ walked the earth a whole lot was happening. Many things throughout that period in Church history were not normative.

A Pragmatic Presupposition

The argument has been made that I know where I'm going when I die. I know where my wife is going, and my kids (by God's Grace). Odds are, this poor criminal is going to go to hell if I shoot him!

This is a thoroughly pragmatic and humanistic argument based on a wildly unScriptural thought process.

It is for us to do what God has called us to do. It is for God to worry about the consequences.

If I get to witness to this man- to wage psychological warfare- praise God! So be it. I'm not looking for a fight, and I'd rather see this man come to repentance.

But I have a feeling that if he kicks down my door and pulls a gun he isn't stopping by for a friendly chat over a cup of eggnog.

God calls me to love my wife- to love my children- and to love my neighbor. What kind of sick logic turns these commands into a call to give my family over to the criminal to be abused and slaughtered? Who am I called to love more- my wife, my child, or this murderer?

And am I really loving my neighbor(s) if I allow this person to get away with this evil deed?

The effects on society are obvious. When the good guys have the guns, the bad guys are scared to commit crime. When the good guys are disarmed, the bad guys have nothing to fear. If I let this wicked man work his will and leave, how many other homes and families is he now able to destroy?

It is because I love that I will use force on this criminal. Because I love my wife, my kids, my God, my country, I will not allow this evil man to pillage and plunder freely.

It's not a lack of love that makes me pull the trigger. It's the presence of love.

We talk a lot about how we should love the perpetrator- whatever happened to loving the victim?

On Martyrdom and Self-Defense

Martyrdom is a glorious thing. Many early Christians were brutally murdered for their faith, and Scripture repeatedly paints for us a glorious picture of what an honor it is to endure hardship and even death for the cause of Christ.
"...others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection..." (Heb. 11:35)

"...they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name." (Acts 5:41)
There is, however, a vast difference between being martyred and being mugged.

If I am to suffer for the cause of Christ, praise God! May He strengthen me that I may suffer and die well.

But if a man attacks me in an alley, I will defend myself, just as I would defend my home- Ex. 22:2, again.

(EDIT - as a commenter pointed out, I don't mean to say somehow martyrdom isn't to be resisted. I believe that the same Biblical principles apply. This section on martyrdom was simply to say that I do believe that if resistance is no longer an option there is much glory to be found in the choice, by God's Grace, to die well and without a struggle. What a testimony.)

By doing so, I protect myself from death, my family from the loss of a brother and son, and the next person that would have been attacked from death as well.

If I'm married, I'm then protecting my family from the loss of their protector and provider.

Do you see how Biblical use of violence is protective? It's not about taking lives- it's about saving them.

It is worth stating again that lethal force isn't the first resort. It has been rightly said that we should "shoot to stop, not to kill." Sometimes death may result in the process of stopping them- sometimes not. But because of what I love, because of what I value, I will use force in defense of the innocent.

And if it comes to it, I won't hesitate to pull the trigger.

166 comments:

Bailey said...

Good for you! I get so frustrated with the argument that because God is a God of love, He wouldn't exact violence on anyone...and therefore we shouldn't either.

God's justice is a form of love. It's love to discipline (unto repentance, hopefully) the criminals; it's love to protect the victims.

Anything short of that is hatred all around.

amy said...

I love the heroic manliness of this post, Gabriel! Thanks for sharing this, but most importantly, for upholding Biblical principles of justice and love.

everlastingscribe said...

One of my favorite quotes is by Edmund Burke. He said (roughly) 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' Another favorite comes from G. K. Chesterton. He said (roughly) 'The best soldier fights not because what he hates is before him, but because what he loves is behind him.'

I believe this is true. I believe that heroes are the ones that risk life for life. They are the men (and women) who fight to protect their country, their home, and their families. So, I agree in large part with you. Can you feel the 'however' coming? yeah, it's coming.


However, the best way a Christian man can defend his hearth, wife, and children, is to live the kind of life by Christs' strength every day, that changes the culture around him.

It's harder than pulling a trigger. It requires more sacrifice. It requires you taking up your cross and allowing Christ to slay the flesh on a daily basis.

Now, I'm not saying that you don't have a right to defend those that you love. You do. You have a right, a God given right and duty to do so.

But if all that you do is play 'defense' the number of those willing to inflict violence on yourself, your family, and your neighborhood will increase.

You aren't the knight on the battlefield then, you're the knight in the tower.

You're waiting for trouble to come to your very doorstep.

The man who said the best defense is a good offence is right. Change the culture, invest in other young men's live, be a servant-leader. Really. It will take you years to do this. It will take you a life time, to do this. But you will, with Christs' help, change the culture around you. Keep your gun, I salute you for your willingness to defend those you love. But I challenge you too. Enlarge the cluster of those that you love.

Come down out of the tower, and onto the battle field.

This is where Christ is. This is where the battle rages. It's bloody, muddy, messy, and hard. And we could certainly use your passion, your strength, and your help. ;)

Pinecone said...

1. Assuming pacifism:
15 Christians and 2 atheists are shipwrecked on an ocean island, with no method of escape. The 15 Christians must automatically obey the atheists? To join the ruling class, all you have to do is join the atheists. Strange, isn't it?

2. We can extrapolate down, but not up; you can't go from a mean person slapping you to a mean person knifing your daughter - and doing nothing to stop it.

3. Jeremiah 22:1-5, 22:15-17. Comment: the people that entered the gates were commanded to be just, too.
Comment: Kings don't continue to reign just because they enclose themselves in cedar, or build big armies, or become experienced diplomats. They must carry out God's directions if they wish to rule without judgment.

4. Psalm 125.
5. Psalm 82:3-4.
6. Romans 13:4.
7. 1 Peter 2:14.
8. Proverbs 31:8-9.

9. Great stuff, Gabriel, keep it up!

Gods Country Boy said...

Ah, at last. Some clear, concise reasons to pack that pistol and carry that spare mag. :)
One of my takes on this, which I believe you touched on, is that if I am responsible for the lives (spiritual and physical) of my family, I will be held responsible for how I provided from them. If I stand back and let a mugger shoot me, my wife and my kids, I will be responsible for the murder of my family. So, you are faced with the taking of the life of one aggressor, or the murder of your family. Take your pick.
Amen on loving your family enough to protect them. Enough of this pacifistic cowardice.
Although Gabe, I must rebuke you on one major area. You do NOT use a Glock. Use a Springfield - NOT Glock.

Pinecone said...

Bonus comment #10: Hebrews 11:35: "Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection".

A) Some make it seem as if they could leave if they wanted to, but decided to undergo torture so as to obtain a better heavenly reward. I would ask this then: have you ever seen a man tortured who could simply run away?
A better interpretation might be that they would not reject their Lord, regardless of the pain involved. A good many passages in Acts and elsewhere mention disciples and apostles fleeing from persecution. I wouldn't call that cowardly from an armchair position.

Racheal said...

You did an great job here, Gabriel. I'd like to add something that cleared things up for me some...I always understood that self-defense was good, but the reasoning behind it was not always so clear.

Westminster Shorter Catechsim:
Q. 67. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.

Q. 68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

Q. 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor, unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.

From this we find that we must protect life--and sometimes that requires taking life.

(By the way, great pictures...that first one is very attention grabbing.)

Corey P. said...

Internet high-five, Gabriel. Excellent, excellent post. I especially love how you dissected the "my family is going to heaven, the attacker is not" logic (or rather, illogic) used by so many today.

This post = reason #3,497 that I follow your blog . :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Thanks, all, for the excellent comments, additions, clarifications, reasons, and general edification!

Everlastingscribe- amen and amen! I totally agree.

David, we actually have a Springfield, but Glock is a pretty universally recognized equivalent for "powerful handgun," so I went with that.

And, personally, I wouldn't whine if I had either one. :-D

Racheal, excellent point. I've heard some about that... the whole inverse-of-the-sixth-commandment thing... but I've never really thought about it much or been convinced on it.

However, I agree with that more and more. Thanks for posting those Catechism quotes.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Oh, and Pinecone- I never thought about that, but that's a very valid interpretation of that Hebrews verse. Good point!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Also loved your Psalm 82 reference. Thanks for that.

Lisa said...

Thanks for posting this, Gabe! Lots of good, concise arguments. Thanks for being willing to take some guff and post on controversial issues like this one.

I especially liked your comment about loving the victim, instead of always harping on loving the aggressor.

My best friend's mom is a pacifist and always backs her arguments up with the fact that Jesus never resisted in the NT. You had a good point by saying that He wasn't here to resist. He was here on a specific mission from His Father.

Overall, I agree with you. One question about this statement....
"We see that also reinforced in the New Testament in that Christ gave up His life for His bride!"
To me, this seems like a passive act. He could have zapped all those guys into the next century, but He chose to give His life for ours. This, obviously, was God's plan, and the whole reason Jesus came was to die, but I don't see how this works into an argument for "violence," or self-defense.

Maybe I'm just really missing the boat here, but could you explain?

Lisa said...

Oh, and David...I KNEW you would pick on the Glock!!!! You are too funny!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"This, obviously, was God's plan, and the whole reason Jesus came was to die, but I don't see how this works into an argument for "violence," or self-defense."

Simply as that Jesus laid His life down for His bride, so husbands today should lay their lives down (in defense of, I would argue) their families.

Penn said...

I'm new here, but I just had to say, I love your humor!
And I have also been blessed by the serious things you have to say and even more by the way you handle them. You don't come across as stuffy or snobby. (definitely a good thing, imho)
Thanks so much!
I've been reading, bit by bit, your back posts... eventually I'll read them all. Such good stuff! I'm glad I found your blog.

Keep it up!

Gods Country Boy said...

That is another good point that I have heard thrown back at the whole self defense argument, is that Christ never defended himself. He wasn't supposed to! He was here on a specific mission to die and to not defend himself!
Another excellent point is that people say we are to love the aggressor, but completely forget that we are to love our family more. I am responsible before God for loving my family, not for the mugger with a shotgun in my bedroom. Granted, I am to love all men, but my family comes first, and that mugger dies first.
It stinks so bad about how people think that loving people is never doing them an harm or ever saying anything that could cause hurt.
In fact, I would make the statement that you are showing the love of Christ to that mugger by showing him you have a responsibility before God to defend your family, and if he is in the way, he is out. THAT is doing whats right, no matter the cost.
@ Gabe, I know you have a Springfield, but I still had to raz you about using a Glock. :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Penn! Thanks a lot. Praise God for all these new readers... hope it's edifying for you!

David- :-D

And amen. God's way is always the most loving way, even when "the expectation of the wicked perishes."

Racheal said...

Can I jump in on the Glock subject? When I think of a great pistol, you know what pops to mind--it isn't a Glock or a Springfield. It's a Colt 1911. That .45 is the best handgun in many old veteran's book. I think with my minuscule expirence that I agree with them--even though when I shoot it, I nearly end up on the ground. Beautiful weapon :)

Not that it really matters which weapon you use to protect your family, so long as it is functional and you know how to use it. I hope I never have to use a gun on an intruder, but I pray that if I do, I won't hesitate and I shoot straight (and that it's my rifle).

One aspect of this discussion that I think tends to fall by the way side in our ardor is te great responsibility it is to take another person's life into your hands. To kill someone face to face must be the most tramatic thing anyone can do. This is why I like to remind certain friends of mine that owning guns is a 'big deal' and we must not joke about using them on intruders. Shoot them if you have too, but don't joke about the possibility.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

It is indeed a very weighty matter, Racheal- not to be taken lightly. Thanks for the reminder.

Corey P. said...

Reminds me of a quote from Gran Torino (2009). The main character, Walt Kowalski, is a veteran of the Vietnam war. At one point in the film, a youngster flippantly asks, "What was it like to kill someone?" Walt's response? "You don't want to know."

Katherine Sophia said...

Thank you for this thoughtful and thought-provoking post! Very nice job supporting your position... I wish I could have read this a couple years ago, when I was really struggling with the whole issue. :P I did eventually figure it out (wrote an entire novel while doing so), but it is sad how many Christians cannot defend self-defense.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hello and welcome, Katherine! "Defending self-defense"- sounds like it could be it's own blog. :-D

Gods Country Boy said...

"To take the life of someone else into your hands..."
Good point. Another good point is that you already have your whole family's life in your hands.
Which one are you going to drop?
I WON'T hesitate to pull a trigger in any scenario where my family is in the slightest danger, but it isn't a lighthearted decision. The BIG thing is, is when we get there, you CAN NOT hesitate to do it. I have heard countless stories of people who couldn't bear to shoot that crook staring them in the eye.
@Racheal- 1911's are absolutely gnarly looking - I love them. BUT they don't hold very many rounds, and they are a little harder to maintain than a XDm or the like.
@ Gabe. I was going to mention in my first comment, but a Colt Peacemaker is my absolute favorite pistol!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Any pistol with a name that awesome has got to be worth something. :-D

Shad Eash said...

Great post, Gabriel! It's interesting. A couple weeks ago, while shooting some interviews, we had this discussion with a young man from a Mennonite family. His biggest questions with the subject went along the lines of, "How could it be loving to pull the trigger?" You answered it very well.

Last month the teaching elder at our church preached an excellent sermon on the 6th commandment. He made the point that the command "Thou Shalt Not Murder" also commands the "protection of life." http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=12611165300

And if anyone questions where I stand, coming from a Mennonite heritage, check out this short film, http://believeinguns.shadeash.com/ (Gabriel did a fantastic job with the music!)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Shad! Thanks for the plug and for the comment. You're always welcome. :-D

Grace Pennington said...

Thank you for this, Gabriel. :D It's so wonderful to see strong men of courage who are willing to defend the innocent. :D And your arguments were well-thought-out. :) Great job.

Kayla T said...

So Gabe, what are your reasons for using satire?

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Kayla- that's a huge discussion right there.

Short answer: I see it in Scripture- "Maybe your god is sleeping! Shout louder!"- and it is very potent.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

(And it's fun. :-)

Corey P. said...

From an essay by Robert Harris...

"... the best definitions of satire should be formulated from a combination of its corrective intent and its literary method of execution. A reasonable definition of satire, then, is a literary manner which blends a critical attitude with humor and wit to the end that human institutions or humanity may be improved. The true satirist is conscious of the frailty of institutions of man's devising and attempts through laughter not so much to tear them down as to inspire a remodeling.

"The best satire does not seek to do harm or damage by its ridicule, unless we speak of damage to the structure of vice, but rather it seeks to create a shock of recognition and to make vice repulsive so that the vice will be expunged from the person or society under attack or from the person or society intended to benefit by the attack (regardless of who is the immediate object of attack); whenever possible this shock of recognition is to be conveyed through laughter or wit: the formula for satire is one of honey and medicine. Far from being simply destructive, satire is implicitly constructive, and the satirists themselves, whom I trust concerning such matters, often depict themselves as such constructive critics."

Gabriel Hudelson said...

AWESOME quote, Corey! Thanks for sharing!

Kayla T said...

@Gabe,
Yes your right, that would be a long discussion.
Thanks for answering. :)

Jennifer said...

You don't have to convince me, young brother; for years I've had an image of, a LONGING, to fight evil and bring justice. But I also have a very strong merciful side. When it comes to protecting loved ones, I would not pause either to pull the trigger. I long for the physical strength men have to fight.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Jennifer- God made you a woman. That's a beautiful thing. Let the men do the physical combat. We like it that way. :-D

Jennifer said...

No, women are made for battle too. And it doesn't always take physical strength.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I guess it depends on what you mean by that.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

(I knew this would start a discussion, somehow. :-D)

Jennifer said...

I mean, sometimes women have to fight in various (non-verbal) ways. Not so good as infantry soldiers, but they can be good fighter pilots, or old-fashioned homestead pistol-holders when the household is threatened. They've been good spies, too, though that's not my thing.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I'm all for homestead pistol-holders, but I'm all against women in the military.

So I guess we differ. :-D

Jennifer said...

Yes, we do; I see nothing wrong with aggressive female pilots, as they don't require male strength and are out of ground-level danger. It's not risky to their feminity either; few males, who see women in regular everyday dresses and functions, can appreciate how deep and fiery our natural aggression can be. Look at the lioness: half the male's size (and the male is very aggressive and alpha when he needs to be), yet she does most of the hunting, and I've seen lionesses be more aggressive towards approaching humans than their mates nearby with the cubs.

Now, movies like the recent musketeer film, with a woman spinning like a dervish in midair holding a sword and doing similar karate movies, is nothing short of STUPID. No patience or mercy have I for such tripe. On the other hand, Gabriel, you simply must watch the film "The Debt". A female spy and a kickbutt one at that, without a trace of karate kicks, superwoman crud or anything else.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I see it as contradictory to the Biblical model. (Neh. 4:14)

And I can tell that you're fiery. ;-)

Jennifer said...

You're a discerning man :)

ACR said...

Jennifer, the reason we believe that men are to engage in physical warfare and women are not is because we believe it's the biblical model. We believe in the complete sufficiency of Scripture to decide these matters (not the sufficiency of nature, whatever we might say about lionesses and their sluggish male counterparts). We see no biblical precedent of women engaging in physical warfare. Some people point to Deborah, but there's actually no evidence that she took part in combat. The scripture always reflects the principle that men protect women, period, and never encourages women to go into physical combat. For a better understanding of our position, I would encourage you to read this article, written by Mrs. Jennie Chancey: http://www.visionforumministries.org/issues/women_in_the_military/when_mamma_wears_combat_boots.aspx

We take a stand on this issue because we are disgusted with our culture's degrading war on feminine beauty and masculine character. When gender roles are blended, both men and women are disgraced. We want to draw the lines as clearly and expressly as possible.

Buaidh no Bas,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Gabriel,

My response is way late because I've been off the blogosphere for a few days.

Altogether, very well said indeed. I definitely agree with your position, and I think you've stated it very clearly. The reference to Deu. 22:27 is very good defense in particular. It was a long time that I ran right past that passage without even recognizing what its necessary implication is. I did a personal study on this subject about seven or eight months ago to get a more solid understanding of it, and boy was that passage an eye-opener!

Of course, there are a good many people who will blow off references to the OT law because they have no consistent understanding of the relationship between the Old and New Covenants or of how the OT law is to be interpreted. When this happens, I think it is time to deal with more fundamental theological issues.


I have a couple of thoughts I want you to consider. I understand a good bit of what I am saying here you already know and agree with, but there are a few things that I say in the context of these explanations that might help sharpen your beliefs a little.

1. By my study of the passages referring to Jesus' betrayal in the garden and Peter's resistance, I don't think there's reason to see Jesus as saying anything other than this, essentially: "Peter, it's not time for you to die, and it is time for me to die. If you disciples draw your few sword against this mob, I and my angels are not going to fight for you, and you are going to all be killed." Jesus's statement that "all who take the sword shall perish by the sword" is not a recognition of some wonderful transcendent principle. As such it would be utterly ridiculous in the light of the rest of scripture, considering how many great heroes of the faith fought much with swords and did not die by them. Jesus is not giving a sermon here. He's just making an assessment of the immediate situation, on whether it is really appropriate that Peter use self-defense in this case. This is particularly evidenced by the fact that, as John Weaver points out, Jesus does not say to Peter, "Peter, where'd you get that thing! That sword is evil. I don't ever want to see you touch one of those things again." He actually tells Peter to put the sword back in its place, presumably for future use?

2. I'm not so sure that there is a tremendous difference between muggery and martyrdom, because 1. the mugger ultimately operates off of the same motivation (self-worship) as the murderer who commits martyrdom; 2. muggery is just as much the product of antithesis between God and his enemies, between righteousness and unrighteousness, as martyrdom; and 3. For a mugger to kill somebody is just as much murder as for an inquisitor to kill somebody. As far as I can see, there aren't delineations between the kinds of murder that we may or may not resist in the Scripture. Murder is murder is murder, whether somebody murders me because they want my money or because I'm a Christian. The reason is not taken into account in God's law. It also doesn't matter, in the light of God's law, if the incident of attempted murder occurs unexpectedly on a side street, by an army fighting for an unjust cause on a battlefield, or on a scaffold by a hangman operating under the purview of some God-hating governmental regime. As I see it, murder is murder, and it's defined by God's law, not man's, and Christian men are to fight it.

Buaidh no Bas,

Andrew R.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Andrew! To point 1: amen and amen. Good thoughts. I hadn't thought about it like that, but it is certainly a valid interpretation to consider.

To point 2- by martyrdom I mean the-federal-government-is-executing-Christians-and-I'm-in-prison-and-they-tell-me-to-renounce-Christ-with-a-gun-to-my-head.

I totally agree with what you're saying- I don't mean to say "Oh, you want to kill my for my faith? Let me put my gun away and I'll be right out."

:-D

So really, though, you're right in that it's a moot point. If they are going to murder, I'm going to resist, unless resistance is futile, whether they're a mugger or an inquisitor.

Bush Maid said...

Just wanted to let you know I found this very enlightening, Gabriel. My family and I have discussed this topic many times before and you threw the light on it very clearly.

I also wanted to tell you I gave it to my Dad to read, and he really liked it as well. :) Thankyou for sharing your thoughts with such frankness and honesty, Gabriel. :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

My pleasure! I'm glad it was helpful.

Pinecone said...

Let me hasten to add that I want my wife to know shooting and maybe some Krav Maga as a last resort to defend my family when I'm away. However, if I am there, I will be shooting the first bullets and throwing the first punches. It is not that women don't fight period -- rather, that is the man's job first and foremost. As for wartime, the women can help excellently by filling the medical requirement.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

*concur*

Jennifer said...

Well ACR, there is the matter of Jael. I don't care about direct combat, nor did I call the great lions of the plains "sluggish"; they are magnificent when they hunt and fight. But there is nothing unBiblical about a woman operating a jet, including aggressively. You can try to argue that it's masculine, but that's simply a matter of opinion. Jenny Chancey and I agree on very little.

As for the OT, many have taken several of its temporary laws and tried to apply them for all time. As we can see by the Mosaic laws, this should be regarded as a ludicrous practice.

M Alderson said...

Yet another excellent piece! This is definitely the most complete Biblically backed post/article on the subject I have ever read.

I am from Arizona, but temporarily working on the east coast, and I have found that self defense is even less excepted by Christians here than in the west. A local minister I shared this post with was less that convinced.

Thank you for continually extorting the next generation (myself included) of God fearing men and women with these posts.

P.S. I would add to the handgun argument that, Ruger should be the firearm of choice, being made in Arizona and all.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Jennifer, Jael is a great example of a woman playing the role of a woman and using violence in a gender-appropriate way. That's a far cry from being a fighter pilot. :-)

Mr. M- thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

Jennifer said...

How is driving a peg through someone's head more feminine than flying a jet??

Gods Country Boy said...

@ Jenifer
It doesn't come down to what is feminine, it comes down to the God-given roles that God has laid out in scripture. God has planned it where the Men are supposed to provide and protect, and the Women are to be the helpers of their husbands. Think about it. Adam was created for work, THEN EVE was created, to be his HELP MEET. Not equal in roles, but equal in value and importance.
As for the issue with Jael, it doesn't matter whether it is more feminine to poke a sick through someones head or poke a missile through someones base, it is not their role in life.
As for girls being fiery, maybe they are, but you haven't seen a boy when he's got his blood up. It gets NASTY. :) God mad it that way for a purpose.
Granted, girls defending their homes in place of their husbands when they are gone, is completely legit, but Girls donning a flight suit and riddling a enemy base with scud rockets doesn't qualify as defending her children in her husbands absence.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am never saying that Girls are inferior in bravery and courage than boys. I am just saying (along with Gabe) that it is not their God-given role in life. Jael is an exception to the rule, not the rule.
In fact, being a mother and wife calls for a lot more bravery than you might at first think!
@ Alderson,
Rugers are good guns, they sure make a great revolver. As for semi-autos, I would take a Springfield or a good Colt, maybe even a Kimber or a Sig. I have heard some kinda negative reports on Ruger's semi-autos.

Gods Country Boy said...

"Poke a sick"
I meant poke a stick, I guess if you can poke a sick through someone's head you are pretty talented. :)
Sorry folks...

amy said...

I might add that Jael seems to come much closer to defending one's home in the absence of her husband than joining the military and fighting for one's country.

My thought, anyways....

Jennifer said...

She acted in aggression and somewhat defense, Amy, but she killed him because he was the enemy, not because he was a definite threat to her home; he probably would have left her alone. God predicted from the beginning that the enemy would fall to a woman.

Country Boy, it's very inaccurate to say that all women have one role in life, because they don't. Nowhere does it say women may not fight, or are only supporters. What of single women, or childless ones? Singles have no "husband to support", and our role is not purely reactionary either. We have acted as leaders, teachers, and initiators; millions of women were meant to be doctors, teachers, counselors, nurses, dancers, artists, missionaries, managers. This calls for more than "supporting" someone else. So no, there is no "one other" role that every woman is meant for.

When Adam and Eve were first created, there was no separateness in roles whatsoever. They oversaw the animals and only after sin did Adam have to work, and Eve to stay behind. Now with technology, we're not so limited. You needn't tell me what bravery motherhood takes; I say none of this out of some discontent with my sex.

"but you haven't seen a boy when he's got his blood up"

I have. Have you seen a girl, or woman like that? Do you really know their passion? There were female spies in WWII, even in the midst of tradition. I read that Julia Child was a spy, before she fulfilled the perfectly feminine role of wife and famous warm cook. She didn't defy her womanhood, but used it to the fullest.

amy said...

Jennifer--you're right. God did say that the enemy would fall into the hand of a woman. However, this was because Barak was not willing to take the lead as a man when going into battle with Sisera. The fact that a woman was to take the act of violence, was definitely not the the honor of Barak, but rather to his shame (Jud. 5:9). I think it's pretty implied through the passage that this was probably something that would most generally be a man's responsibility, not a
woman's.

But, hey, I'm at the library doing math. I found myself a Bible off the shelves to write this comment, but I've got to get back to work now. So, I'm going to end this comment here :)

Lisa said...

@ Jennifer -

"When Adam and Eve were first created, there was no separateness in roles whatsoever."
I would have to disagree based on Genesis 2. When God formed Eve, (before sin and the fall) He created her as "a helpmeet for him (Adam)." From the very beginning, before the fall, the woman was created to be a helper, supporter, and companion of the man.

Even the mere order in which they were created shows that the woman is to be the submissive supporter. (1 Tim. 2:13)

After the fall, as part of the curse, God told the woman that her "desire would be for her husband" - as in, her husband's role. Women naturally, in their flesh, want to assume a man's role....it's part of the curse.

@ Amy...that's interesting. I never thought of Jael as defending her home. Good point.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Good discussion, y'all! Jennifer, it's way different. If Jael had stuck her tent peg into her belt and dashed out the door, sprinted to the battlefield, tackled Sisera, and then drove then nail through is head, I think your comparison would have been more appropriate.

:-)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

*his* head, that is.

Corey P. said...

If Jael had stuck her tent peg into her belt and dashed out the door, sprinted to the battlefield, tackled Sisera, and then drove the nail through his head...

Bwahahaha! If Hollywood ever turned that story into a motion picture, "events" would probably play out just like that! :)

Jennifer said...

"However, this was because Barak was not willing to take the lead as a man when going into battle with Sisera"

Yes, he did take the lead; he simply wanted Deborah with him. The idea that woman's victory is man's shame is a typically offensive patricentric idea. Deborah knew from the beginning the victory would go to a woman, because she was a prophetess. I read the story myself, and was awed at God's plan and the honor Barak and Deborah got together.

"Even the mere order in which they were created shows that the woman is to be the submissive supporter."

That has no logical grounds whatsoever, because otherwise we'd say that the animals had authority over Adam! Eve was to help Adam LEAD; nowhere is she described as subordinate. God called Himself a helper to Israel.

"After the fall, as part of the curse, God told the woman that her "desire would be for her husband" - as in, her husband's role"

Mm, no. He said the desire would be for her husband, and he would rule her; the indication is obvious, that she would perversely desire him to a point of idolatry and would in turn be ruled, as women often are in their desperation for man's affection. And of course, we've seen the subordination throughout history, including on the level of domination and even awful cruelty. And women calling their husbands things like prophets and priests are another strong sign of it.

"If Jael had stuck her tent peg into her belt and dashed out the door, sprinted to the battlefield, tackled Sisera, and then drove then nail through is head, I think your comparison would have been more appropriate"

Joan of Arc did just that. Jael could have run out and gotten a man to do the deed; she didn't.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"That has no logical grounds whatsoever, because otherwise we'd say that the animals had authority over Adam!"

You didn't respond to the meat of her post, though... which I don't know how you can argue with.

Joan of Arc- I'd need Scriptural backing to justify what she did too.

Jael could have done that, but that would have warned Sisera that something was up. Bad idea.

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

I don't intend to sound aggressive; I think everyone here has creative and devoted hearts. But I've always disagreed about women's roles being singular or narrow. I meant while Sisera was asleep, Gabriel; Jael killed him while he was sleeping. And I find it very hard personally to contradict Joan's story; she predicted her victory, the king's crowning, and was said to appear like she wasn't feeling much if any pain during the burning. As it was, she was not sadistic. She often leaped off her horse and prayed with dying soldiers, even the enemies. As for the other post, I responded to every point, definitely the meat. There was no division of roles pre-Fall, and I gave my reasons for disagreement about why being created second denotes subordination.

Lisa said...

"That has no logical grounds whatsoever, because otherwise we'd say that the animals had authority over Adam!"

But it has Biblical grounds! In 1 Tim. 2, Paul, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, when speaking of why women should learn in submission and silence says "For Adam was first formed, and then Eve." If God thinks it's logical, I'm not gonna argue :)

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

To clarify, I believe Paul said that because some women were lying about the creation order, and he wished those women to learn the truth in silence and submission (it's a fact that there were some wayward women in that church; how many, we don't know, it may even have been one). Nothing whatsoever to do with "women were created second, so they're second in everything and must be quiet."

Gabriel Hudelson said...

So... when God says that Adam needs a helper suitable for him, you don't think that denotes a division of roles?

Jennifer said...

I'm sure they did different things at different times, Gabriel; he may have dealt with the horses while she spent time with the birds of the sky. Division of labor is necessary, but what I don't think is that woman's labor is subordinate. Or that her work is ALWAYS separate from man's; they may both work in the workplace and at home.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

That be not what I asketh.

Jennifer said...

If you're asking about a woman's role being subordinate, whether I think it is or not, or always reactive to the man's, then the answer beith no.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

So you don't think that she was created to be a helper to the man?

Lisa said...

Jennifer,

Before we go any farther, do you believe that the Bible is totally true? The whole Bible? Do you believe that it is the Word of God and that it carries the blueprint for how we should live our lives?

Jennifer said...

Yes I do, and that's what I think is powerful. Helping someone isn't being placed behind them. Man and woman were made to do the same thing: subdue the earth. Often they do this in separate ways, esp. husbands and wives, and that does usually mean they have separate roles. But the goal, and job, of man and woman is the same. Perhaps this is more complicated to discuss than I thought! The main difference between me and traditionalists is that I don't believe women are subordinate, and I don't believe they always do something separate than what men do. Usually, husbands and wives do indeed do separate things: the wife usually stays home, and the husband usually works (at least if if there are children), and the wife has a uniquely nurturing spirit in the home, while the husband has a more unique provider role (they can both provide for the family in many ways, but men are usually more driven to work, and when it comes to protection and hard physical work, who is the more suited? The man, obviously. While women are automatically more nurturing). If OTOH they are childless, they may both be doctors, for ex, or work in the same office. But when there is a division of labor, the differences typically work themselves out as one being the caretaker of home and the other working outside. Many differences can't be denied, and are inborn. All I'm saying is, all women don't just have one role alloted to them.

Jennifer said...

My last post was addressed to Gabriel only.

Yes Lisa, but there are many contexts to the Bible, and some passages that seem very narrow are better explained by what was happening in the world at that time. For ex: the Mosaic laws. Some now are actually trying to say that grown children are under the absolute command of their fathers, because the Hebrew tribes practiced this for safety reasons during their migration. If you were to pull a Numbers law out of the Bible, like one saying that a rapist has to marry his victim if she's already unmarried, what would that seem to say?? That we have to marry rapists if they hurt us! But these passages require context; the churches Paul helped begin experienced many problems of their times, like women being influenced by pagans. Here is another example: the passage that a camel can more easily go through the eye of a needle than a rich man can go to heaven. If this were taken literally, it would mean no rich person has ever gone to heaven! But no; instead, the eye of the needle was actually a great hole in a wall, in Israel I imagine. A camel could in fact climb through, but only if it dropped its load and crawled through on its knees. See the meaning? A rich man must give up everything to God, and enter heaven on his knees, like all of us. I don't wish to argue far on Paul's meaning, but these are my reasons for believing what I do.

Lisa said...

What is your definition of "subordinate?" According to Webster's 1828, the word means:

SUBOR'DINATE,
1. Inferior in order,in nature, in dignity, in power, importance, etc.; as subordinate officers.
It was subordinate, not enslaved, to the understanding.
2. Descending in a regular series.
The several kinds and subordinate species of each, are easily distinguished.
SUBOR'DINATE, v.t. To place in order or rank below something else; to make or consider as of less value or importance; as, to subordinate one creature to another; to subordinate temporal to spiritual things.
1. To make subject; as, to subordinate the passions to reason.

This is not what women are in relation to men. I am probably one of those people that you label "traditionalists," and I go to a church full of "traditionalists," and no one would say that women are inferior to or of less worth than men. That is not what I'm trying to say.

In fact, men have a very hard Biblical role to fulfill as a husband. They have to be willing to die for their wife. You would not die for something that is of lesser value, would you? Biblically, men and women have the same value and worth in God's eyes.

Where they differ is in their functions. When you said, "But the goal, and job, of man and woman is the same," I agree that their goal is the same - glorify God, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. However, God gave them different jobs. Women are supposed to be "busy at home," and a "helpmeet." Men are supposed to be the providers and defenders.

One role you attribute to women that I disagree with Biblically is “soldiering.” If you’re going to discuss this point, don’t pull lions into the mix. We’re not animals...we’re created in the image of God. The animal kingdom is designed differently, and you can’t equate them with people.

Duet. 22:5 says “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” The word “pertaineth” is translated from the Hebrew word keliy which is often translated in the Old Testament as weapon, armor, or instrument. The word man is the Hebrew word geber meaning “man, strong man, or warrior,” emphasizing strength or ability to fight. This seems to make it very clear that women who take on the role of a soldier are an abomination to the Lord.

I don’t think this rules out a woman shooting a gun. Defense of self and property is a Biblical concept, but this does not include the military.

Being a woman and fulfilling the Biblical command to be “busy at home” is extremely fulfilling and rewarding. I am so grateful that God created me a woman so that I can stay at home (currently under my dad’s authority) and pursue my school and my hobbies. It gives me so much freedom...but obeying the Bible’s commands normally does! Staying at home doesn’t mean just cooking and changing diapers all day. The woman in Proverbs 31 is an entrepreneur. She buys and sells fields, plants vineyards, and makes profit to help support the family income. This is part of “doing him (be it husband or father) good and not evil” all his days. I love being at home. I am able to excel in the things that I love. For me that’s photography, music, horses, and web design. Any or all of these could easily be a way that I could help support a family income. Believe me, I am *busy* at home. It’s not an empty life of subordination...it’s extremely fulfilling and leaves me very contented.

Jennifer said...

I don't see why on earth everyone's so offended at my brief comparison to lionesses; in many ways we're more like the animals than we think. Didn't Deuteronomy also say that a woman must do something extreme to be "pure" after her period, like killing a dove or something? I don't know if those were laws of the time or not.

I agree with most of what you say. But the Bible does not say a woman's only place or role is at home, or that she cannot work. Women are meant to be guards of the home; this doesn't mean it's our only place. You are fulfilled doing your work at home; many are not, especially not if they don't have kids that need them at home all the time. I think I'm older than you, Lisa; I WANT a job outside my house, desperately. I want my own money, I want to make the transition most every woman has to, however hard it is. I did not make the huge jump to a college or apartment outside home right after school like many, and will be making my transition to having a job in smaller steps, but it's past time that I did. I'm an adult and I'm meant to be prepared for another nest, my own nest. Nor do I believe in adult daughters having to obey their fathers as a law; what if your father wanted you to work a job you didn't want, or marry a man you didn't like, or do something else you were called to? It would be a tricky situation then. It's good he's your protector, but I don't believe in making a father a law unto his grown children. As for traditionalists, it depends. Here is what some think: women are weaker, more easily deceived, and woman caused sin to first come into the world, so because of this all women must now be subordinate and relatively silent, lest they go astray or cause someone else to again. Some say, they must also always have a male over them. That is the picture of inferiority I see some, not all, traditionalists make; they say woman's pressured silence is for their "protection", because even our souls are weaker than men's. I don't believe that.

amy said...

Hey, again! Don’t have much time to comment (sorry to keep using that line…but it is true :-)—However, Jennifer, let me mention a further comment regarding your comment (of my comment, of your comment, of my comment, of your comment…or something like that :-).

“Yes, he did take the lead; he simply wanted Deborah with him.”

Through looking over the story of Deborah, Barak, and Jael once again, I’m afraid I don’t see how you’re saying Barak was fully taking the lead. Jud. 9:8—Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”

“The idea that woman's victory is man's shame is a typically offensive patricentric idea.”

Not familiar with the term ‘patricentric’ (though, I have an idea what that might mean), so no comment on that. However, regarding the idea that woman’s victory is man’s shame…

Deborah agrees to go. However, she says, “Nevertheless, *the honor shall not be yours* on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of woman.” (emphasis mine) All I can say is the outcome of this story wasn’t to Barak’s honor. The text states this.

That said, I’m personally not supporting anything along the lines of “Woman’s victory is man’s shame.” As Christians, men and women are brothers and sisters in Christ--equal in Christ, I will add. Not, men are superior to women. Not women are superior to men. Not we-need-to-prove-our-superiority. We need to seek the Lord regarding our God-given roles and follow by those. Those roles are different and complimenting, not the same and clashing.

Well, that’s enough for this comment :-) Thank you, Jennifer and all, for this discussion. I love the Bible and am thankful for opportunities to have serious discussions over it. May we in love seek for the truth!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"But the Bible does not say a woman's only place or role is at home, or that she cannot work."

*smacks forehead*

That's all I have time to say for right now.

:-)

Jennifer said...

Well, it doesn't say that, Gabriel.

Hi Amy! Perhaps Barak did fail to be as assertive as he needed to be, but I still do not believe the honor was taken from him because of this; he won a victory against the rest of the enemy and songs were sung in his and Deborah's honor. I am glad to read your views of men and women's worth :)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I agree! But I would argue that the Bible *does* say that a woman's *primary* place- which includes place of work!- is the home.

And I'm more worried about what the Bible does say than what it doesn't.

As to patriarchy, I agree that there comes a time where it moves from "obey your parents" to "honor your father and mother." Where that time is, I'm not sure exactly. But I think any person who doesn't make a major life decision with their parents' blessing is treading very dangerous ground.

I also believe that male headship is a Biblical principle. Numbers 30.

Also that the ceremonial and sacrificial laws are abolished in Christ but that that doesn't nullify the binding nature of the rest of the OT. 2 Timothy 3:16.

TTFN!

amy said...

*subscribing to comments*

Corey P. said...

I love following discussions/arguments/debates like this one. Even when I don't participate myself, I find them most interesting. :)

Jennifer said...

We more or less agree there, Gabriel.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Whoa. Now I'm worried.

>.>

;-)

Gods Country Boy said...

I concur with Gabe. Its not what the Bible is against, its what the Bible is for. One way the Bible is merely a crusty rule book of "don'ts", The other way it is our guide to righteous life here on earth.
Keep up the good comments, both sides!

Jennifer said...

Thanks, Country. Oh boy, we have an audience..*ducks head* But it's gratifying.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

Thanks very much taking the time to respond. I'm sorry I'm late in answering. With one high-speed internet connection and several people in the family who use it frequently, some days it's hard to get on the internet.

I honestly didn't know if you'd ever heard of Mrs. Chancey, and I didn't know if you'd agree with what she had to say. I merely recommended Mrs. Chancey's article because I didn't want you to think that we really are bigots who only take the word of a man as any good and who suppress our wives and sisters and daughters from doing anything meaningful for God's kingdom because we think they're not good enough. We're really just about upholding the standards of nobility that we see in the scripture for men and women. There are a good many things that it is fine and wonderful for a woman to do that it is weird or downright wrong (or even impossible) for me to do, and the reverse is true. It's about expressing masculine and feminine identity. I thought that quoting a woman on this subject might be helpful in pointing that out.

Jennifer, I do believe that there are scripture passages that come down pretty clearly on this issue. In Deuteronomy 22:5, women are specifically forbidden from wearing the armor of a warrior. (Look up the meaning of the Hebrew words in a Strong's concordance. It's as plain as day what's being said.) Moreover, Jeremiah 51:30 assumes an antithesis between going out into battle and being a woman. The scripture holds femininity to be a wonderful and honorable thing; but when men are spoken of as being "like women" because they won't go out into battle, the point is that it's a man's job to fight, and it's degrading to him to act like a woman and not fight when he should. I hope you see the underlying assumption, that it is not normal for women to go out into battle.

But I think the clearest and most definitive argument is this: In Nehemiah 4:14, the men are told by Nehemiah to "remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." Why are the wives not told to defend their husbands and children and houses? If the wives had fought that would have just about doubled the fighting force. It seems very impractical to have them not fighting, doesn't it...unless Nehemiah figured that something worth dying to preserve would have been destroyed if the women had joined the fight, which I understand to be the feminine dignity of wives and daughters and sisters, and also the biblical principle that says that the stronger should sacrifice themselves for the weaker. This is precisely the point I am making-the reason we don't believe in having women in combat, even though it could double a fighting force, is that something noble and beautiful and good, something worth dying to preserve, is immediately lost when women step out on the battlefield or hop into the fighter jet.

God has called men to be men, and we rejoice in our calling. He has called women to be women, and we hope that you rejoice in your calling, because when you do, you, or sisters in Christ, have love and joy and peace, the body of Christ is built up, and Christian society begins to reflect God's glory. But when we start blending things and mixing things up, the model of human society that was created to bring glory to God begins to fall apart at the seams.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

P. S. To all: The article which started all of this was about self-defense. So in that vein, let me say that while I'm not married and don't have daughters yet, if I did, I'd have only one thing to give up to a man who came to draft my daughters into the military: red-hot lead. Somebody say Amen?

ACR said...

Jennifer, a few thoughts:

Jesus was not talking about a hole in the wall in the "eye of a needle analogy." There's a lot of faulty interpretation that goes on in making a statement like that-actually, our Pastor hit it in last Sunday's sermon because he's currently preaching through that part of the gospel of Mark.

Anyway, if Jesus was talking about a hole in the wall, how does that concur with the context, which makes it evident that Jesus was trying to create a vivid analogy to express the concept of impossibility?

In regards to your opinion of Old Testament law, I want to know if you think that God made mistakes when He wrote it. I sure hope God's law is valid, because if it's not we have nothing but the subjective words of man to stand on for civil justice, which means that I can do whatever I jolly well want. To put this very bluntly, if animals can kill and eat each other, I can do the same to people. That's where we're going if we stand on natural law.

The sacrifices were symbols to remind Israel of their need for a savior. They were not making any kind of equivocation between animals and men.

I forgot to put this in my last comment, so let me say that I wouldn't mind my wife putting a forty-four round in the head of one of God's militant enemies if she was able to get him to beacefully fall asleep in my backyard. Actually, I'd kinda appreciate it. But really, is sneaking up on a sleeping man and swiftly killing him an equivalent to jumping into a fighter jet? No. It's a really painful stretch.

When Adam and Eve were created, there very certainly was a separateness in roles. Paul uses this to draw an argument for why women should be silent in churches in 1 Tim. 2:13-that Adam was created first, and then Eve. The sin of Eve is not the only reason for separateness in roles. Yes, it changed some things, but the basic order has been there from the beginning. I know there's already been some discussion on this point, and it sounds awful redundant of me. But, look, whenever we wind up interpreting away the plain meaning of a scripture passage, we're fighting something that we shouldn't be fighting. The scripture doesn't say that because woman was created second she has to be second in everything. The scripture says that because woman was created second she can't speak in church, because man is the head. The husband is the head of the wife. The wife is not the head of the husband.

As for what Joan of Arc did, I'm not too thrilled about it. Everything falls under the purview of the sufficiency of Scripture, and that includes the actions of Joan of Arc.
Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

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

"is that something noble and beautiful and good, something worth dying to preserve, is immediately lost when women step out on the battlefield or hop into the fighter jet"

Here is the crux of what offends me so strongly: womanhood is not a tissue, with fragile build and a simple pattern that can be crumpled with little pressure. If it was, there would be no point in women bothering to even defend their homes if it came to that. Furthermore, womanhood is not more precious than manhood, some delicate gem that men must prove their mettle by dying for in order to preserve it. That passage in Numbers spoke of DISGUISING oneself as a man, in order to get into the army. It wasn't the custom for the woman to fight, so one could only get in by deception and disguise, which God did not approve of. Now, we have superior technology that allows women to help defend their countries in ways more suited to themselves than direct combat: i.e., once again, flying is a great example.

I like Jennie Chancey very much, and her book "Passionate Housewives" is a blessing, but I have studied the matter and others with far more teachers than just her, some of which are more experienced.

"if Jesus was talking about a hole in the wall, how does that concur with the context, which makes it evident that Jesus was trying to create a vivid analogy to express the concept of impossibility?"

Did you not see the clear analogy I gave when describing a camel climbing through on its knees with no possessions? The concept was of hardship, not impossibility, or do you believe that rich men cannot enter heaven? That would leave out the Mr.'s Botkin, Baucham, and Phillips, wouldn't it?

"In regards to your opinion of Old Testament law, I want to know if you think that God made mistakes when He wrote it"

Many are man-made, and others temporary. Do you suppose unmarried women should still marry their rapists? That a woman must kill a dove after her period? Christ fulfilled the law, yet I see some people still describing bride prices, of all things.

I already explained Paul's reason for referring to Genesis.

"The scripture doesn't say that because woman was created second she has to be second in everything. The scripture says that because woman was created second she can't speak in church, because man is the head".

So they can't speak at all? This is where many traditionalists differ, actually: some say women literally can't speak in church, or even sing. Some say they should have their little sons speak for them. And some say this only means women can't lead sermons. Why then does Paul exhort women praying and prophesying in church? Why on earth would women, of the sex so precious you'd die for it, not even speak in their Father's House? Is that logical? Healthy, even? What's so harmful about our sweet, feminine voices that they can't be heard in front of GOD?

You can deny Joan of Arc's Divine help if you want, but I wonder how else you think she succeeded, in predictions and everything else. Did Satan advise her? Was she insane? A liar? That seems unlikely

Daniel R. said...

God has given men, not women, the responsibility of being the first (and ideally the only) sufferers. (cf. 2 Samuel 10:12, Ephesians 5:25, Nehemiah 4:14, Deuteronomy 20, etc.)

As the first sufferer:

1. I do everything I can to prevent my family from being targeted by the enemy, and I take all reasonable steps to prevent them from being vulnerable to harm.

2. If somebody has to expose themselves to protect the others, I am the one who does it. It's not because I want to get wounded or killed; it's because God has given me the position of being the first sufferer.

3. If somebody has to engage the enemy in order to restore peace, I am the one who does it.

4. If somebody has to bear pain or discomfort in order that the rest may be free from it, I am the one who does it.

5. I take the necessary steps to equip my family with the tools and knowledge they need to protect themselves if they are threatened when I can't be there to defend them.

I do all these things, as much as in my power, because I am called as a man to lay down my life for my family, should God give me one someday.

Letting my wife or daughter fly a fighter jet in combat? Let's put it to the test.

First, as a combatant, any fighter pilot in combat becomes a target the moment they enter the area of operations. The fact of the matter is that if I let my wife or daughter become a combatant, I am exposing them, at least potentially, to the tender mercies of the enemy. Firstly, there is the threat of being shot down by enemy aircraft, anti-aircraft fire and/or surface-to-air missiles. Supposing she were to survive being shot down (and ejecting at 500+ mph), there is the matter of coming down in enemy territory and potentially having to deal with solitary survival and evasion, hostile inhabitants, wild animals, starvation, enemy patrols with attack dogs, capture & imprisonment, interrogation, torture and other abuse, and possibly execution. If somebody has to go through that (as many men did in WWII and Vietnam), I say it had better be the men, not the women. If I deliberately subject my wife or daughters to such hazards, even potentially, I have failed in my responsibility as the first sufferer, and may God have mercy on me.

This doesn't just apply to fighter pilots. I need to do everything I can to prevent those under my care from becoming targets, period. Since every combatant in a conflict is, by virtue of the nature of warfare, a potential target, it is irresponsible for me to approve or encourage women to become combatants when it can be avoided. That's why I wouldn't allow my wife or daughters to pilot a drone from 6,000 miles away as long as there is a man (or a computer) to do it. I'll do everything I can to decrease their target status (and if I can't do that I'll at least do everything I can to protect them.)

If a criminal should break into my house when I'm away and threatens my wife and children, I would expect my wife (provided my son(s) aren't old enough to do the job) to be the one to use the gun and protect the family (and I'll have worked with her on shooting so that she is able to). But that's a lot different than allowing my wife or daughters becoming targets when it can be avoided. If I'm at home when a criminal threatens my family, I'm the one who will bare his chest (at least figuratively if not literally) and confront him. I WILL NOT send my wife or daughter to deal with it. That would be the epitome of abdication.

It's not because I think women are incapable of suffering nobly, when necessary, for the sake of what is right. But as a man--and thereby a first sufferer--it's both my duty and privilege to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening to those God has commanded me to protect.

Thanks for the post, Gabriel. I really appreciate your blog and your willingness to tackle controversial issues from the Scriptures.

Fight the good fight!
Daniel R.

Daniel R. said...

As a digression, I'd like to make a comment regarding the passage in Matthew 19 about the camel going through the eye of a needle. I believe Jesus really is talking about a real eye of a sewing needle, otherwise why would the disciples be "greatly astonished" and why would Jesus respond with "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible"? I believe Jesus means that it is impossible for one who is rich in spirit (i.e. his security is in himself or his posessions) to enter the kingdom of heaven, without God doing a work of grace in him to bring him to poverty of spirit. This would seem to agree with "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:3. There are men in the Bible like Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, and Joseph of Arimathea who were rich in earthly possessions, yet were followers of God; this seems to confirm that Jesus is speaking of something other than mere material wealth. Plus, how rich is rich, materially speaking?

Daniel R.

Daniel R. said...

Comment on Lisa's first comment. (That was a long time ago!)

"'We see that also reinforced in the New Testament in that Christ gave up His life for His bride!'
To me, this seems like a passive act... I don't see how this works into an argument for "violence," or self-defense."

It might be helpful to remember that Jesus wasn't saving His Bride from the Sanhedrin or the Roman soldiers. Although He may have looked pretty passive to the eyes of the world, Jesus was actively delivering His people by crushing the Serpent's head (cf. Genesis 3:15, Hebrews 2:14-15).

There you go.
Just thought that would be helpful/encouraging.

Daniel R.

Jennifer said...

"Letting my wife or daughter fly a fighter jet in combat?"

It's not your job to "let" them one way or another; spouses are accountable to each other, but your adult daughter is not beholden to you. For the last time: there are also single women.

"I say it had better be the men, not the women"


It's true, women are weaker in body. But they are not more precious than men, and not too precious to fight when they're called to it. Since men are stronger, it makes sense that they are called to fight more; I would never argue that women should be seen the same as men in battle potential. But this doesn't mean that no women are ever called, especially in non-direct physical combat.

"Otherwise why would the disciples be "greatly astonished" and why would Jesus respond with "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible"?"

A number of reasons, among them the fact that they weren't used to the rich being criticized.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

Thanks again for responding.

I have a lot to say, so I had to divide this into a few comments. Please understand that I want to say all of this simply because I want to edify you and the people who are reading this discussion.

First, by my understanding, the passage in Deuteronomy about women not wearing men's armor really says nothing about disguise; it is, in fact, a very thorough blanket statement. The way I see it, what God said in Deu 22:5 He means, explicitly, and we don't get to reduce the scope of its application by inferring motives. We as sons and daughters of the King are subject to the very words, as they were written.

It is erroneous to say that there are many contexts to the Bible; there is one, the Bible itself, because the Scripture is the only context that the Scripture ever uses to interpret itself. The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture holds that all Scripture is sufficient independent from non-scriptural context. It is not proper interpretation to pull context from whatever else was happening in the world at the time of the writing of Scripture, as if Scripture was inspired partially by man and not only by God, or that man's minds somehow influenced what God set up as His standard of righteousness. If scripture is at all corrupted by man, Jennifer, how can we know which parts are pure and which are not? And can we really be secure in believing?

Do you really think that God would put his wisdom beneath the wisdom of man and give man laws that were anything less than the product of His perfect wisdom? It isn't ever better to reinterpret the Scripture through our understanding of historical context. If we admit that it is, then without realizing, we have honestly just given ourselves permission to change whatever we jolly well want to in the Scripture. You need to be aware that those who claim the name of Christ and support such things as, say, homosexuality, do so on precisely the same interpretive grounds-that narrow passages can be reinterpreted by historical context. And if we can interpret like this, who's to say that they are wrong?

If interpretation through historical context is valid, can't we essentially create our own Bible? We are using man's choices and man's societal paradigms to determine what God's intentions were. If ever we don't like something the scripture says (say, thou shalt not murder), we can invent a new societal paradigm that says killing people over the age of seventy is fine, and then say that our understanding of the sixth commandment has to be seen in light of the fact that overly strict social paradigms that were present at the time that the scripture was written, therefore euthanasia is OK...We can mold the Scripture to however we want our society to be. Whether we are talking about something as serious as murdering the elderly, or something as seemingly unimportant as, say, head coverings, the Scripture is sufficient, and we have to stand on the Scripture alone, because it's the only unshakeable standard.

The reasons for whatever laws we may have questions regarding are in the scripture. It doesn't matter how obvious the reasons may seem to us; we have to pull our understanding of the reasons for certain biblical laws from the scripture only, not from our own "enlightened" brains, which are actually darkened without the word of God. Let men plead that they will only use this self-appropriated power of reinterpretation judiciously; nevertheless, if it is in our power to reinterpret the scripture like this, then the commands and the gospel of God become our plaything-hardly providing the security that you and I need to be assured of safe standing in Christ. It is never "judicious" to assert authority that is not our own. We are much better off receiving the word of our Father with humility, however hard to accept it may seem to us.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

Being what some people call "radical" or "extreme" in biblical interpretation is actually completely normal, unless the scripture gives us other statements which moderate whatever passage we're interpreting. For example, when Christ says that there is no other way to the Father but Himself, we take that for what it says, in a very extreme way. We don't recognize Buddhism or pagan religions, or even perversions of Christianity such as Mormonism to be legitimate ways to God. My point is that there's nothing wrong with being extreme if you are extremely right.

After all, if the Scripture is sufficient, then our standard of what is narrow, extreme, etc is the Scripture. If the Scripture says it, it's not extreme. If the Scripture seems overly narrow, the problem is with us, not God's word.

Jennifer, I can't accept your understanding of the OT law. These laws were not man-made; Read the scripture carefully. God actually spoke all of them. And we can't know why God spoke them apart from studying the scripture. We certainly can't discard them as irrelevant, in light of 2 Ti. 3:16-17, unless we want to say that they aren't Scripture. Yes, some OT statutes we have to see as fulfilled in Christ. But even then, understanding the symbols that God put in place for his old covenant people of a redeemer can give us insights into the redemption that Christ purchased for us.

It seems that you're confused about the nature of the law and its fulfillment in Christ. The laws regarding sacrifices, purifications, and food distinctions were not imposed for any other reason than to be symbolic of Christ and of His covenant people's separation from the rest of the world. When the things symbolized appeared in full glory, there was no more need for a symbol to help God's people understand. That's why I eat hot dogs and ham and pork, (delicious stuff, by the way), and why I don't go down to the temple and make sacrifices and do purifications and whatnot. However, laws about, say, how we should deal with the ramifications of the crime of rape, are in a different category altogether; they are actually dealing with matters of civil justice. A good study of the book of Hebrews, particularly the latter half, might help in understanding how to know which commands are which.

In regards to the particular statute you refer to about marrying a rapist, I think that if you study the Hebrew it's not really a good interpretation to say that the scripture says that a woman who is abused in this way has to marry the criminal. I know that the NIV reads that way, but I've got technical problems with the interpretation. Look up the passage in John Gill's commentary-he has some very clarifying things to say about it, about the words used and what they express. I could give the full explanation here, but it's a rabbit trail. Nonetheless, just search for the verse address and add "John Gill's commentary" to it in your search window. I hope this helps.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

-I recognize that you did explain your understanding Paul's reason for referring to Genesis; however, by my understanding, you actually made up context, which, as I have explained, is not a valid interpretive practice. We can't definitely know why Paul said what Paul said apart from the Scripture itself.

Now, I have made an argument against women in combat from several scripture passages. Your response, if I read it correctly, was on the most part not a refutation from Scripture, but a lack of willingness to accept if not an outright refusal, on the grounds of mere dislike. But, again, as sons and daughters of the King, we don't have the freedom to do reject a biblical statement because we don't like it. We have to submit our minds and hearts to every letter of the Scripture that our Father has given us.

I want you to know that my understanding of womanly character is not some Victorian thing at all, something that is supposed to break at a touch. I merely believe that the woman is the weaker vessel. I'm speaking comparatively here, not absolutely. Childbearing, is, I understand, a very strenuous experience, and I thank God for the mother who endured it to give me life.

In Proverbs 31:17 the use of the strength that God has given women is encouraged to be improved upon and employed in the home. Women are not told to be flimsy I certainly don't want a flimsy girl for a wife. Flimsiness is not feminine. Then again, neither is pulling 8.5 G's in an F-16...

Your statement, "womanhood is not more precious than manhood, some delicate gem that men must prove their mettle by dying for in order to preserve it" only a half accurately characterizes my understanding.

I actually agree with the former part of this statement. No, womanhood is not more precious than manhood. But men lay down their lives for women as Christ laid down His life for the church. The question, when it comes to men and women's relationships in society, is, again, not one of value or importance, but of role. Observe this from 1 Corinthians 11:3: "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."

Now notice the progression: Christ is the head of every man. The man is the head of the woman. God [the Father] is the head of Christ.

If Paul is saying that woman is inferior to man, then he must also be simultaneously inferring that Christ is inferior to God (the Father). The scriptures do teach that Jesus is in a position of submission to the Father. (See John 8:28, John 5:19, 26-27, 30.) Yet Jesus says that all men are to honor the Son just as they honor the Father (John 5:22-23).

The children of God are "joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17) (Unworthy we are!), yet Christ is the head of the Church (Col. 1:18) and the Church is "subject unto Christ" (Eph 5:24)

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Again, you stated that "womanhood is not...some delicate gem that men must prove their mettle by dying for in order to preserve it." I honestly disagree with that statement completely-I assure you that certainly wouldn't think a man's mettle worth two bits who wouldn't die to preserve womanhood. Often the challenge to us as men comes as living a life of day-by-day self-sacrifice for our wives and sisters. Not every man will have a Birkenhead or a Titanic (Although I think those two incidents are great illustrations of Christlike conduct. I actually have a blog post coming up on the subject of the HMS Birkenhead. I was going to save it for the anniversary of the sinking of Birkenhead in late February, but I could be induced to release it early.), but every man has a daily cross to bear in laying down his life for his wife (and his children), just as every woman has a daily cross to bear in serving her husband and her children. Yes, we bear those crosses in different ways, because there are different roles (I'll get into the issue of roles later). But when it comes to a battlefield, that's a man's cross to bear. Yes, I wholeheartedly believe that biblical womanhood is indeed a delicate and precious thing which no man worth the name of man wouldn't die to uphold. That's exactly the point I'm making from Nehemiah 4:14, and I do believe it's a watertight point. Tell me. Why didn't Nehemiah have the women fight? Because he was a chauvinist? That would mean that Nehemiah, being a leader of God's covenant people, was so irresponsible as to risk the fate of all Israel on something very petty.

However, please understand: it's not really that women somehow deserve to be shown love in this way by their Christian brothers, or must earn it; this is just the way God has called men to selflessly love their wives and their sisters in Christ. We don't love people because people deserve it; we love people because it reflects the character of Christ, who loved us even though we certainly didn't deserve it. That's what this is all about-being like Christ.


-In regards to the subject of women speaking in church, don't worry, there's nothing offensive or harmful about your sweet feminine voices at all. The point is to honor God's created order. I'm sorry; I blew over this point in a very hasty way. I should have been clearer.

The context 2 Tim 2:11-15 shows that the command to women to not speak in church is in regards to teaching and responding to teaching in the church, evidenced by phrases such as "Let the woman learn in silence," "But I suffer not a woman to teach." It's not becoming for a woman to lead by doing things like teaching and leading the church in scripture reading, even informally. It's not talking about matters such as participation in congregational singing. That's my understanding from the scripture.

As a side note, a church building is not specifically the Father's house. It's a place where the saints gather to corporately worship God, and in that assembly the men are called to lead. The Father is everywhere, and the whole earth belongs to Him. (Ps. 24:7)

I'm not sure that we should go any further on this issue of when women can and cannot speak in church; it's a great topic to hash out, but it's also a rabbit trail.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

On a different note, I think it is obvious from the design of human bodies that God had different roles for men and women from the very beginning. Man and wife were made to be incomplete without each other and complete with each other, and they were made to complete each other by doing different things for each other that the other was less capable of doing, to take different roles in the "one-flesh" relationship as well as in the bearing of children, and to participate in taking dominion and building God's kingdom by complementing each other with different strengths and weaknesses. If the point of having two people in the beginning instead of one was merely for division of labor, rather than different and harmonic or complementary roles, what's wrong with polygamy-or homosexuality-or any perversion of marriage, really? Why is sexual perversion evil-unless man and woman were created to live in different roles which, when fulfilled in harmony to each other, reflect something of God's person and glory?

God created man and woman differently for different roles because He wanted to equip us for the different ways in which we are to serve each other. That's because He's a good designer.

Now I reckon I don't know exactly what you take "subordinate" to mean. But the scriptures definitely teaches that some kind of submission in incumbent upon women to men, whether it matches our understanding or not. We can also disagree on what it means to be "subject...in every thing" (Eph 5:24), but that doesn't mean we can discard the concept of submission altogether. I'm not going to get into my particular beliefs on that immediately; I just want to make the point that we have to have some understanding of what the scripture passage means.

-The idea of women working outside the home, independent from male family authority, whether single or married, as a pattern for how Godly women ought to behave, is nowhere approved in Scripture, and there is substantial material contrary to such a model, which (as I learned to say in my ultimately brief introduction into speech and debate), is available upon request.

Fulfillment happens when we do what God created us for. If we aren't fulfilled in what God has had us do on earth, there's something wrong with us, not with God's word. I feel it is superfluous to state this, considering how Lisa already explained it so well, but I thought that to clearly state the underlying principle might be helpful.

And think about it: why should a woman have to bear both a woman's curse and a man's curse? (See Genesis 3) Women were cursed with having trouble in childbearing. Men were cursed with difficult toil in their work. Working for God is a great thing, just like childbearing, but God put a curse upon these things because of man's sin. Now, from this it's obvious that a man's primary work is providing and a woman's is bearing and raising children. We're not even capable of bearing children. We wouldn't want to put both curses on you, and we shouldn't. It wouldn't be the just, fair and loving thing to do. If you actually want our curse, I'm sorry, but it's God's to give, not ours.

Stand Fast,

ACR

ACR said...

Gabriel,

Sorry-don't mean to take over your blog ;), there's just so much to be said on topics like this...I hope you don't mind.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Jennifer said...

"It is erroneous to say that there are many contexts to the Bible"

Actually, it's poison to say otherwise. Do you not think that the culture at the time had a huge influence on the Mosaic laws, including how the Jews were behaving? In Paul's letters, he addressed many separate issues occurring in the church, and the historical context I gave is not in the least "made up". If women in general teaching men and speaking was so disgusting, why would God make so many numerous exceptions throughout the Bible? On the other hand, homosexuality and polyandry are given no such exceptions.

"Do you really think that God would put his wisdom beneath the wisdom of man and give man laws that were anything less than the product of His perfect wisdom?"

Did He, or did He not, make some laws for temporary use? Doing the latter says nothing negative of His wisdom. All your words of context being wrong, of all things, and man making their own Bibles has nothing to do with this issue. Unless you believe fornicators should be stoned, or that doves should die for God's natural design of menstruation.

"However, laws about, say, how we should deal with the ramifications of the crime of rape, are in a different category altogether; they are actually dealing with matters of civil justice"

So are they still valid, or not?

"I think that if you study the Hebrew it's not really a good interpretation to say that the scripture says that a woman who is abused in this way has to marry the criminal. I know that the NIV reads that way, but I've got technical problems with the interpretation. Look up the passage in John Gill's commentary-he has some very clarifying things to say about it, about the words used and what they express"

That is greatly helpful, thank you. But do you realize then that you, like me, are not in fact taking the passages thus at face value? No, you're looking more into them, because the interpretations you saw seem to contradict common sense and decency, don't they? That's what I've done. The Greek and historical context add some pretty telling things. I do think some translators have altered certain terms, whether deliberately or not, but this doesn't mean we need to fear the entire Bible. I only look twice at a passage if it seems, in a limited way, to contradict other principles in the Bible, and the effort proves fruitful. Like forbidding women to speak in church, or assigning them to criminals.

"The scriptures do teach that Jesus is in a position of submission to the Father"

No, they most certainly do not. Don't you know that the whole "Christ is subordinate" doctrine is actually relatively new? It's always, always been used against women in authority to teach them that, "See, Christ is subordinate and yet equal, why can't you live that way?" A common and contradictory theology: women are equal, yet somehow always second in rank. Once again, there is more than meets the eye in that passage about "heads"; if you take it to mean nothing more than the most simplistic interpretation, does that mean that Christ is not the head of woman too, just of man? Or that every man is the head of every woman? Nor do I believe that the term "head" simply means "authority of". I may offer links to more comprehensive study on this, because it strings out quite widely. I would ask, though, if you believe that women's strengths only belong in the home.

Jennifer said...

As for the passage on women in the army, I'll simply paste these words from a teacher I consulted and then be done with it; I think the prolonged wrangling has gotten silly: "I think it is ridiculous to say Deut 22:5 has anything to do with women serving in armies. It is addressing "the wearing of male clothing"..I don't think this applies to our wearing of jeans as women. I think it applies to the attempt to become known as being a man through your clothing. OT law is a difficult topic of study. We have the law of God, we have "case law" written by Moses, we have purity laws (keeping ceremonial clean), and we have law which dealt with culture (and brought Israel above the norm of the days culture.)"

"It's not becoming for a woman to lead by doing things like teaching and leading the church in scripture reading, even informally"

And yet we have various Christian women teaching all manner of Scripture in other ways, don't we? No one criticizes Elisabeth Elliot, Beth Moore, or Martha Peace, because somehow it's only harmful to teach and lead God's children in His Word if it occurs within His House.

"I'm not sure that we should go any further on this issue of when women can and cannot speak in church"

Probably not. But the fact remains, if you take it to mean women can't speak, and you take it literally, then the door is open for anyone to take it to mean that it forbids women from just about anything vocal in the church.

Jennifer said...

"The idea of women working outside the home, independent from male family authority, whether single or married, as a pattern for how Godly women ought to behave is nowhere approved in Scripture"

Where is it commanded that women must live and work under males all the time? The Proverbs woman was quite active, as was Deborah, and Rachel spent a good deal of her time tending sheep by herself. Nancy Demoss is working by herself, and the wives of the missionaries killed by the Auca tribe went to the tribe totally on their own, no men included. Mother Theresa had no male authority dictating her work. One of the most conservative and traditional men I know, Michael Pearl, who heavily believes in wifely obedience, speaks against treating grown children, male or female, like they're still beholden to their parents. When describing the valid need for parents to take control of their children's lives again in our nasty culture, with homeschooling and other practices, he mentions the added task some people have erroneously taken of trying to still "raise" their adult children as well: "There was a vacuum, a need for leaders to arise and define what had become a movement, to clarify our journey and give us direction through uncharted waters (i.e, the secular culture). First, curriculum was written, then seminars. Sub-movements arose to flesh out the new culture, specialists addressing every conceivable issue—head coverings, dress, doctrine, spanking, scheduled nursing, Kosher foods and Jewish practices, and the list goes on. Books were written, some good, some not so good. Then someone pulled from ancient Chaldean and Sumerian culture, also practiced by Jews of that day as reflected in Scripture, a system of Patriarchal rule. It was the way nomadic clans were held together, a necessity of the times, but never taught by Moses, the prophets, or Christ as God’s divine plan..To teach a student to drive or fly a plane and then always make him be in the company of his parents is degrading. You teach them so they can become independent of you. Whose need is being met when a Father treats a 22-year-old girl like a child, dictating the parameters of her choices?..The father who believes that God designed the family unit to exist as a clan, a pyramid ruled by the eldest male, with grown children expected to remain under their father’s umbrella of authority long after they have reached natural maturity, produces what we call the dysfunctional patriarchal family..The arguments for patriarchal authority extending beyond the onset of adulthood are not based on nature or any command found in Scripture. They rest only on the basis of “apparent” examples in the Old Testament of patriarchal authority in a tribal and clan society that extends well beyond the commencement of adulthood, even until the end of their natural lives."

"And think about it: why should a woman have to bear both a woman's curse and a man's curse?"

Work is not always a curse; it can be a greatly fulfilling and rewarding task. The curse was in the HARDSHIP that it sometimes includes, or we'd be calling childbirth ITSELF a curse too, wouldn't we? When in fact it's beautiful, like providing for the family; the curse is pain, not birth itself. Tricky thing here: childbirth is nothing but biological. WORK isn't. Don't you think women in offices today, with air conditioning and computers, have it much easier than home-women in the past who had to work in dirt and on aching knees and backs? If women can handle that, they can handle computer work, and which do you think was more of a toil and difficulty? Or "curse".

You are very kind, ACF, but the system of Christianity you believe in is narrowed and, in fact, very newly resurfaced and patched on to our faith. Few in the past had a spiritual problem with a woman working some small job to earn money if it helped the family.

Daniel R. said...

Jennifer, as long as a daughter is in her father's house, she's under his authority. (Numbers 30) And if I ever have a daughter, I'm not giving her away to a man who will allow her to go into combat when it can be avoided. (Fathers have the right to disapprove potential suitors, even in extreme cases. See Exodus 22:17.) (I hope you won't recoil at the references to the law. Paul said that "the law is good, if one use it lawfully." (I Timothy 1:8). Moses declared to Israel, "And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?" (Deut. 4:8).) That being said, nowhere in Scripture do we have an approved example of a daughter growing up, leaving her home and becoming independent. If you know of one, let me know.

I hope you at least realize that being a fighter pilot does not put one "out of ground-level danger." as you said earlier.

I didn't say women never have to fight. I said that since God has called me as a man to be the primary protector/first sufferer, I'm the one to engages the enemy first, takes the hit if I have to, and does everything I can to ensure that the fight doesn't reach my family. That's my job as a protector, following the example of Christ. (Eph 5:24, Neh. 4:14) Jesus was gave himself up for His Bride, and men are called to reflect that. This isn't just because men are generally physically stronger. I think that's part of it but I don't believe that is the primary reason.

We don't see any approved examples in Scripture of women going out to fight. So I don't know exactly how you justify women "being called to it." (Although I can guess. ;))

In regards to the passage in Matthew 19, Jesus still said that with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. That said, there's no reason why Jesus shouldn't be describing a real impossibility. Of course if you don't believe in sovereign grace, you will have difficulty accepting this.

Grace be with you,
Daniel

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Oh my.

O.O

Did I miss anything?

"Here is the crux of what offends me so strongly: womanhood is not a tissue, with fragile build and a simple pattern that can be crumpled with little pressure."

Agreed.

"Furthermore, womanhood is not more precious than manhood,"

Agreed. But is it different? Inherently, by-nature different?

Daniel R. said...

Jennifer, you on the one hand imply that certain elements of the law (like patriarchy) were simply Hebrew cultural elements that can be discarded if people so choose, rather than normative principles. But you at the same time strongly suggest that your ideas for replacement cultural elements (like grown women being independent) are objectively better and that things like patriarchy are hateful if not sinful. According to your way of thinking, if these Hebrew fathers were really being tyrannical to their children, don't you think God would have reproved them for it as He reproved divorce and polygamy? (See Malachi 2) Where does the Bible say that patriarchy is tyrannical? If it's merely neutral culture, how can you imply that your cultural ideas are necessarily better?

Note: I'm not saying anybody here necessarily advocates everything that may be described as "patriarchy".

How would you rather err? To mistake an approved cultural element for a command or normative principle or to dismiss a command or principle as a neutral cultural element?

I know which one I would rather be guilty of. The first one, if done in the spirit of humility, is simply the result of being too careful, but there's no heart issue. If we are seeking to honor the Lord in all things, what have we really lost if we mistake a neutral cultural element for a binding principle? A heart that seeks to honor the Lord is very concerned about what honors God, considering that to be of infinitely greater importance than what fulfills self.

There seems to be a common line of thought nowadays that if something is not expressly forbidden in Scripture then it is necessarily allowed. I believe this to be a very hazardous position to hold.

Let me employ an illustration. At my workplace, I build sophisticated equipment by following blueprints created by engineers. It is very important that I follow the instructions to the letter. This ensures a correctly operating quality product. It would be rank foolishness of me to think that just because the instructions don't say I shouldn't do something, therefore I am free to do it if I want to. Such an approach could potentially cost my company thousands of dollars (It would also in all likelihood cost me my job). Even if I know enough to know that something could be done better or differently, I still need to have it approved by an engineer.

Life is a lot more complex than building a piece of networking infrastructure. And there's no way we can come close to knowing as much as God knows. (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9, 1 Cor. 1:25, etc.) It seems to me to be much wiser to surrender my personal desires/thoughts, give everything to God, and let Him define how I live my life. That way I know I'm seeking His will and not my own. My life is not my own (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Where He speaks, I affirm and conform. Where He doesn't speak, there I don't dare set a foot.

To avoid confusion, I'll describe how this applies to general commands/authorizations. In Colossians and Ephesians, we are told to sing "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." We don't have to drive ourselves crazy because God didn't tell us exactly which ones to sing. We know from reading Scripture the sorts of elements that are involved in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, so we can sing and write songs that fit those patterns.

God gave us the right to choose our food (Gen. 9:3). I don't have to worry that God didn't say exactly what I should eat at any particular time. On the one hand I want to eat healthy foods to take care of my temple, but I don't starve out of fear I'll eat something God hasn't approved.
I could give more examples but I hope you grasp the concept.

I'm not saying anything specifically about patriarchy right now. It appears to me that there are deeper issues in play, and so I'm trying to lay some groundwork.

Grace in Christ,
Daniel

Daniel R. said...

Men are called specifically to emulate the example of Christ who gave himself up for His bride. God thought his people to be worth the sacrifice of His Son. I'm going to embrace my responsibility and let God handle the inferences about value. (Eph 5:33) I don't honor my parents because they deserve it, I do it because I love them and I love God. (John 14:15, 1 John 5:3) Husbands are called to love their wives as their own bodies. If I yield my life to protect and honor my wife (it's a lifestyle, not just a one time thing) then I'll be doing what Jesus called me to.

This is supposed to be a reflection of Christ and the Church. (See Ephesians 5:22-33) Christ gave Himself up for us, and we give ourselves up to Christ. In the same way, the husband gives himself up for his wife, and the wife gives herself up to her husband in submission (Ephesians 5:24-25). I Corinthians 11:3 gives a beautiful demonstration of how this works: "The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
Christ submitted to God (Phil 2:7-8) and gave himself up for His Church. We submit to Christ, and men are to give themselves up for their wives, who in turn are to submit to their husbands (Eph 5:24). That's how God wants it to work, and He's made it clear. I believe God has comprehensively designed the marriage relationship as well as male/female qualities/tendencies to reflect the relationship of Christ and the Church.

I hope this is helpful. This is quite an edifying discussion.

Daniel

Jennifer said...

"Jennifer, as long as a daughter is in her father's house, she's under his authority"

Other than house rules, she needs to live as an adult, not a teenager. And if she's not, I'd recommend she leave his house like most young women do before marriage. He has no lawful authority to refuse a suitor when she is of age, and once again you miss the point of the time and place of the laws in Numbers.

"So I don't know exactly how you justify women "being called to it." (Although I can guess. ;))"

Look at real life examples, wink. Including Serah in the Bible.

"If it's merely neutral culture, how can you imply that your cultural ideas are necessarily better?"

My "cultural" ideas are based on not only reality in how our world now works, but on many women of the Bible who acted entirely on God's instructions. Do you think it's sensible to try and apply laws of traveling clans and tribes in ancient times, before Christ, to today? Is that fair? You think it makes sense to rule grown daughters? Should we still have young men hold tournaments in which they prove their mettle by trying to kill each other?

"How would you rather err? To mistake an approved cultural element for a command or normative principle or to dismiss a command or principle as a neutral cultural element?"

Well that depends, doesn't it? I'd hate to confuse the command of stoning fornicators and Wiccans to be for all time! But that was approved, wasn't it? You are not applying common sense here. Which would you rather do? Raise your children to be adults, as they must, and guide them in their adult decisions, or teach them that their role before marriage is to help you fulfill YOUR role, your dreams, and your ministry? Who loses out there if you're wrong and they were meant to be elsewhere? Keeping single daughters at home when they could be exploring their surroundings and possibly finding a husband? You don't realize the implications of this at all.

"If we are seeking to honor the Lord in all things, what have we really lost if we mistake a neutral cultural element for a binding principle?"

You might not lose anything, while your daughters could lose many opportunities. I guess this depends: if you "mistake" this neutral cultural thing for an all-time principle, will you push your kids to do the same if they disagree? Or will you let them go, realizing that this law gives you no holding authority and that our God has called beings far more unusual than women to serve Him?

"A heart that seeks to honor the Lord is very concerned about what honors God, considering that to be of infinitely greater importance than what fulfills self"

In other words, what? Women who leave home to become teachers, missionaries, doctors or what have you
are interested in fulfilling themselves? Once again, whose need is being served when a 22-year-old adult's choices are limited?

"Life is a lot more complex than building a piece of networking infrastructure."

Then why do you and others tell me that all women are destined to live at home as adults, never work, and then be married and live at home? Not complex at all.

Taking a record of an ancient law out of Scripture, as it was given to an ANCIENT people, and forcing it on different people today is also VERY HAZARDOUS. It makes no sense to tell me, "Well, if the Bible doesn't specifically say we should train our daughters to be adults and live like them, I guess we shouldn't take that risk."

"God gave us the right to choose our food"

Really? I thought pork and oysters were off limits.

Jennifer said...

"Agreed. But is it different? Inherently, by-nature different?"

Very much so.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

""Agreed. But is it different? Inherently, by-nature different?"

Very much so."

OK- how?

ACR said...

Jennifer,

Very important doctrinal note: God is eternal and immutable. He doesn't change. His standard of righteousness doesn't change.

Why should His moral law? The word of God is inspired by God, who are is in His divine nature unchangeable. That's just good Trinitarian doctrine. Therefore, God's standards of righteous conduct are not going to differ from age to age. Sacrifices and purifications are not standards of righteous conduct; they are symbols of things like atonement and sanctification.

No, I don't think that the culture at the time had influence on the Mosaic laws; they came directly from the mouth of God, independently of the culture. In fact, they more defined the culture at the time than anything else.

Yes, the civil and moral law still stands and applies, and should be the standard for the laws of nations. It is, in fact, the basis of all legitimate civil law; without them we have no objective law at all.

BTW, Fornicators (those unmarried persons guilty of sexual immorality) were not to be stoned; the penalty was monetary, and they were required to marry. (Ex. 22:16-17) The death penalty was required for crimes such as adultery, murder, sodomy, etc. For more information on the Biblical use of the death penalty, I would encourage you to read this free e-booklet, by Dr. Philip Kayser: www.biblicalblueprints.org/pamphlets/is-the-death-penalty-just/

So why do you think that God required a dove sacrifice every time that a woman had her period?

You can't say it's just cultural. What culture would have influenced God to write this law? That of pagan idol worshippers? Of course not, when whatever Mosaic laws that dealt with Israelite culture were intended to illustrate separateness and distinctiveness from pagan culture.

No, I don't believe God made laws for temporary use, at least temporary according to your definition. The reason, quite simply, is that they didn't come with an expiration date. They were not made to be discarded; they were made to be fulfilled in Christ, at least the ones dealing with purifications and sacrifices. (Hebrews 9:10) The Civil laws (and the ten commandments in particular) were made to be a standard of righteous conduct and are anything but temporary. If you disagree with them, may I ask, by what standard?

Your evaluation of God's laws as out-of-date, narrow, irrelevant, and/or flawed doesn't say great things at all about God's wisdom.

It seems that you reading into these scripture passages not because they really seem to contradict the expressed word of the Bible, but because they seem to contradict cultural 21st century American Christianity. If the scripture grates against our minds because of the times we live in, wake up, something's wrong with the times!

Historical context can give us insight into, say, why something Jesus said might have had such an impact upon its hearers. But there's a difference between looking into historical context to, say, examine Pharisaical false teachings that we might understand why Jesus confronted a particular teaching, and going to historical context to try to prove that "God said this because he was pandering to cultural weaknesses, therefore we don't have to observe it, because we have a different culture." Our observation of historical cultural context doesn't change a whit of what the Scripture says. The fact is that if God made a statement in regarding to culture, we'd better obey it, no matter which culture He said it to, because the scripture never takes a position of subjection to culture, but always stands in authority over culture. We can't interpret the Bible as though it were subject to the culture of the day in which it was written. As I've already explained, if we put societal norms in authority over scriptural interpretation, we're on a slippery slope, and we've made the unchangeable Word of God the toy of human society.

Stand Fast,

ACR

Jennifer said...

How are they different? LOL In many ways, Gabriel. You don't need men and women working in parallel roles 24/7 to tell that they're different.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

Yes, you are correct in saying that Paul addressed many separate issues occuring in the church, but all with direct authority from God because his words were divinely inspired. Also, the epistles were all written ultimately to the church of Jesus Christ universal and apply universally. The truth of the gospel and how we are to live it out is no different here than in Taiwan.

No, I did not know that the "Christ is subordinate but equal" doctrine is relatively new, because it's not. See John 5:19-20, 5:30, Php. 2:8, Matt. 26:39.

What does it mean that the head of Christ is God, anyway? If you think that concept of headship has nothing to do with submission, I must wonder what kind of surgery must you do to Ephesians 5:22-24 to uphold such a position? Wives are told to submit (v.22) because the husband is the head (v.23).

The Scripture teaches that authority is not based upon value. What kind of equality are you talking about anyway-equality in value or equality in role? The former, equality in value, is gospel truth. The latter, equality in role, is, in my mind, of the most monstrous breed of nonsense, contradicting even good human biology.

I don't have problems with Elisabeth Elliot, Beth Moore and Martha Peace teaching other women. I do think that modern Christendom has gotten very careless on this issue of women teachers and in what settings they can and cannot teach. Are the aforementioned women godly women? As far as I know, yes. Would I read their books in a position of subjection (as opposed to, say, scanning them to know what my daughters are reading) or download their messages and listen to them? No. That would be putting them in the wrong place. But would I have any problems with other women reading their books or listening to their messages? No.

I already addressed my position on women speaking in church, and why I hold it; and why, by biblical context, it is thoroughly appropriate to make such an interpretation.

Okay. Now I'm not going to get into my opinions about Nancy Demoss, Mother Theresa, and the wives of those missionaries. They're actually quite varied, some positive, some not so much. But whatever we think of them, what Nancy Demoss or Mother Theresa or Elizabeth Elliot does is not equivalent to Scriptural authority any more than what I do is equivalent to Scriptural authority.

As far as Deborah goes, I don't know if I already mentioned this, but Judges 4 never actually says that she went into battle, and from the rest of the Scripture I think it highly unlikely that she did so. She sent Barak down into battle, but it's never indicated that she went down into the fight. Moreover, even if she did, the fact that Deborah did something doesn't make it right-we have to evaluate it in the light of God's written commands. David had many wives, and committed murder and adultery; Abraham slept with his wife's maid Hagar; Sarah had Abraham sleep with Hagar and then mistreated her; Noah got drunk; Isaac lied and said that his wife was really his sister to save his own skin; Jacob told some horrible lies and also committed polygamy; Moses disobeyed God by delaying the circumcision of his son, and later also disobeyed God by striking the rock, and because of it was kept from going into the promised land; Gideon had goodness knows how many wives, etc.

I'm not putting Deborah's actions on a level with the actions of those others; I'm merely saying that the fact that she did something and good came of it doesn't mean that it's right.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

Yes, I do believe that a woman's strengths belong in the home. What is God's blessing upon women anyway? See Psalm 113:9: "He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children." And the whole covenant people of God say "Praise ye the LORD."

Now, let me clarify that I'm not calling work a curse; I'm saying that Man was cursed in his work because working for provision is his job. Woman was cursed in her childbearing because that's a major part of her work on earth. Women weren't cursed by having to do physically and/or mentally strenuous labor for the same reason that men weren't cursed by having to endure pain in childbearing.

Work is, actually, every bit as biological as childbearing: it is done by living things. If you think about it, you're really making an irrelevant distinction. But ultimately, the question is not whether women can handle backbreaking work; whether they can or not, the question is whether they should be in the workforce outside the home, and whether it's right and fair for the men of a society to allow them to take such a position!

The question in regards to women working outside the home is this: Do you really want God's blessing? Nowhere in the scripture is a woman working outside the home seen as a blessed thing, but as I have pointed out, the scripture considers being a fruitful keeper at home a very blessed thing. You're going to have to decide: Do you want the blessing that God gives, or in a desperate fight for independence will you one day find out that the only thing you've liberated yourself from is the blessing of God? If you choose the latter, you will one day be left with nothing but the bitter realization that your place in the workforce is not fulfilling to your womanhood, and that you are trapped by your own unwise choise in world for which you were not made, once your frontier, and now your prison. I'm afraid you'll be tempted to refuse this advice out of downright stubbornness. If you do, it will cost you very painfully-I know from God's word that you were not made to be fulfilled in the workforce. Please don't try to be. You will learn that what I've said here is very true indeed.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Jennifer said...

"Sacrifices and purifications are not standards of righteous conduct; they are symbols of things like atonement and sanctification"

So are the laws advising house codes in Numbers.

"The reason, quite simply, is that they didn't come with an expiration date"

Excuse me, but that is nonsense. You say that the civil law still stands; would not that mean that we still kill adulterers and male gays? Explain that to me, please; you are being as selective with laws as you say that I am. The Ten Commandments was a permanent code of conduct; the laws of Numbers were laws, and penalties for breaking them, specifically given to the clans of the time. Have you read Michael Pearl's words and considered them?

"So why do you think that God required a dove sacrifice every time that a woman had her period?"

I don't really care why He wrote it, but whether you think it's still necessary and if not, why you think you get to pick which laws to follow, but don't think I do. It was a law for a standard of purity, Andrew, just as telling grown daughters to stay with their fathers in a migrating tribe was.

Jennifer said...

"Women weren't cursed by having to do physically and/or mentally strenuous labor"

Actually, they were. See again my example of women working their knees off in fields and farms, particularly before the Industrial Revolution.

"No, I did not know that the "Christ is subordinate but equal" doctrine is relatively new, because it's not."

Yes it is. The Church did not teach it for many, many years. The term "head" is suggested to mean a far more miraculous thing than "boss", like a wellspring and source of life for the wife. Certainly her head came before her, so I agree on the subject of protection. Paul's letters were indeed addressing SPECIFIC issues of the time, including occasionally how to discipline an individual man or woman. Some were general guidelines, some from him or God, others were his own views ("Marriage is a lot of pain, and I wish to spare you from this!") I love that man.

"Would I read their books in a position of subjection (as opposed to, say, scanning them to know what my daughters are reading) or download their messages and listen to them? No"

Millions of men do.

"But whatever we think of them, what Nancy Demoss or Mother Theresa or Elizabeth Elliot does is not equivalent to Scriptural authority any more than what I do is equivalent to Scriptural authority"

None of them are, or were, under men's authority, Andrew. That was my point. Elliot has also written a brilliant and beautiful book about a female missionary. Has she, or has she not, been blessed? What a shame, to think men should be robbed of her teaching because they are men.

"whether it's right and fair for the men of a society to allow them to take such a position!"

It was never fair or right for that to be the men's choice.

"Work is, actually, every bit as biological as childbearing"

Noo, not the same; childbearing is done by the body alone, not even requiring any intellectual or emotional work IF it came to that. Working a computer, treating patients, writing a book, and fixing a car are all the opposite.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amy said...

""Would I read their books in a position of subjection (as opposed to, say, scanning them to know what my daughters are reading) or download their messages and listen to them? No"

Millions of men do."

Just because millons of people do something doesn't make it right. Come to think of it, if millons of people are doing something, I'd have even more reason to wonder if the thing in question was right to be doing.

Basically, we need to base all of our actions upon the Word of God not the actions of others around us :-) Easier said than done, obviously; but nonetheless, what we ought to be striving for.

Jennifer said...

You think it's sinful for men to read Christian books written by women, Amy? Because something in the female mind and way of thinking might harm them? Millions of Christian men have done so, and been blessed for it.

amy said...

"You think it's sinful for men to read Christian books written by women, Amy?"

Actually, Jennifer, I didn't say one way or the other whether I think it's right for men to read/listen to Christian teaching by women. The reason of my comment was to point out that simply because others do something does not make it right. The Word of God must be the basis of everything we do.

Jennifer said...

Sorry to do this after your reply, Amy, but I'm re-posting my last post for editing purposes:

"Nowhere in the scripture is a woman working outside the home seen as a blessed thing"

Deborah worked outside the home; so did Lydia, the Proverbs 31 woman, and Rachel. Are you really taking God's blessing on wives to mean anything else is disobeying Him? Billions of women now have indeed been blessed in their jobs as teachers, doctors, nurses, midwives, missionaries, dancers, artists, managers, principals, lawyers, judges, magistrates, mayors, and the list goes on. Do you know how many Christian female writers work? Do you honestly think God only blesses the women who only work within the vicinity of their homes? Not even Stacy Mcdonald says this.

"I'm afraid you'll be tempted to refuse this advice out of downright stubbornness. If you do, it will cost you very painfully-I know from God's word that you were not made to be fulfilled in the workforce"

I never said I intend to work even after I have children. Some pple fear that if women work at all, they'll become so comsumed with careers that they'll block off marriage and children, but this is too presumptious. I am not afraid of your prediction; Andrew, you are a sweet and dedicated person, but you are a young man relatively new to the faith and you are telling a woman, more than ten years your senior how to fulfill her own womanhood. You do not know my calling or what I'm meant to be. But I'll tell you this: I have already lived for years without a job, and I am NOT happy right now. I don't know what I'll do in the years shortly after now, but I know that right now I need to work. My family needs the extra support, and I need something to occupy me and help prepare me for when I live alone. I would have loved to be married by now, or published, but while I'm at home, I need to work; that's where I'm needed. I found myself missing grade school and college terribly, and realized I loved the busy-ness, so I may work while married too, before children come. I am not fulfilled by staying in a stagnant place, instead of moving forward with the next steps of my life.

Jennifer said...

That's true, Amy. My point in turn was that millions of men have done so, and been blessed by it; I should have clarified.

amy said...

Thanks for clarifying :-) I would still maintain that even if men have been blessed by it, that does not yet give us grounds to say it is the right course of action.

But, I don't see any reason that you and I need to continue going back and forth over this same point...I think you get what I'm saying, and I likewise your point =)

ACR said...

Jennifer,

I'm actually not being inconsistent with my position on the OT laws; I make distinctions on which laws apply and which don't based upon the scripture. You probably just aren't that familiar with covenant theology, so you're not completely following my trains of thought or understanding the distinctions I am making. It doesn't really help for me to keep wrangling on this issue. If you really want to understand what I am saying, I'd encourage you to do some study on covenant theology and theonomy. You might not agree with it, but whatever the case I think it'd be good for you to understand the theology.

I'd answer your protest against the death penalty for the crimes you mentioned, but I think if Gabriel's going to risk getting kicked off of the blogosphere for "hate" against people of different "sexual orientation," that's going to have to be for his own words. I'm not going to force it on him. For my part, I wouldn't hesitate. But I don't know Gabriel real well, and I'm not going to impose my standard of conversation upon him. Again, read the pamphlet by Dr. Kayser on the death penalty from biblicalblueprints.org. It's very illuminating.

I did thoughtfully consider Michael Pearl's words. My problem is that there are biblical principles about the age of adulthood, and we have to determine when adulthood is and isn't based upon the Scripture, not what the government says. It's a sub-point, and probably a distraction for me to even bring it up.

The Church did teach that headship had nothing to do with authority for a few decades after the rise of egalitarian feminism in the previous century. But, by my study, for almost two thousand years before then it was the established teaching of all Christendom that headship involved authority.

Yes, millions of men voluntarily subject themselves to the teaching of women. I don't, not because I think Christian women are less intelligent and spiritually mature than men, but because as a son of the King I want to obey my Father, and His word says that it's not honoring to His social order for me to do so. If Mrs. Elliot is writing her autobiography, that seems fine. I'm actually not familiar with much of her stuff, although I've heard a lot of good about her. Suffice it to say, if she's writing teaching, it's not OK, even if she is teaching the best doctrine you've ever heard. The Scripture says that she shouldn't be formally teaching men. I'm sorry, Jennifer; I didn't make that up.

I still think Eph. 5:22-24 is as plain as day on what headship means. I'm not going to press the point though, because even if I was able to intellectually convince you, you wouldn't want to believe what I'm telling you until you understand what Christian headship is all about.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Christian headship is about leadership in love. Bossiness has no place in it. Insensitivity has no place in it. Selfishness has no place in it. Ephesians 5:25-29 makes this very clear. Christ is the model-Christ, who said that the greatest in God's kingdom is the servant of all, Christ, who descended from heaven to save wretched men, Christ, who bore the wrath of God to be the propitiation for the sins of His bride. Many a mortal man would rather fling the sins of his wife right back in her face. Christ took the guilt of the sin of His bride upon himself and interposed Himself between her and the righteous wrath of God. And oh what patience Christ shows in dealing with the continued sins of His church in the process of sanctification! And how much "insubordination," general sinfulness and unfaithfulness does Christ deal with on our part! If we are indeed in Christ, there is only grace, and in the headship of Christian men there should be only grace. I would temper this statement by saying that grace doesn't ignore sin; grace deals with sin. But I would also point out that Ephesians 5:26 refers to "washing of water by the word," as a word picture. That says a lot, doesn't it?



So if men took Christ as their pattern, how would they live with their wives? Men don't get to separate the authority bit from their duty of self-sacrifice, but oh how many jerks there are who would love to.

I can keep trying to prove a scriptural rule if I want to on the point of women not working outside the home, but I'm realizing that's not what's going to convince you; it's going to take something more, a realization of the immense value of the calling that I believe God gives to women. If you saw it for what it was, you wouldn't want anything else. I've seen it for what it is, and I wouldn't want anything else for you. The reason I'm so passionate about my position is not because somebody hammered me into submission with sixty-two scriptural arguments for it, but because God opened my eyes to the beauty of Christian family life, which was ultimately the particular way that God brought me to putting true faith in Christ, because I saw that the marriage relationship and the father-son relationship were ultimately pictures of the heart of God. Until I came to that understanding I had a very warm and confident brain and a very cold and unbelieving heart. As Mr. R.C. Sproul Jr. has said, "It is beauty that changes us."

God has given me a sharp mind, and so I try to intellectually defend what I believe to be the truth of God's word. But if somehow you had been intellectually convinced by all that I have said up to this point, yet still missed the heart of the whole issue, which is the beauty of God's social order, the distinct glory of Christian manhood and the distinct beauty of Christian womanhood, then what I have said would be worthless in my eyes. I don't want people to recognize the truth of God's word so that they can obey it like zombies. I've been down that road, and I'm very grateful that God pulled me out of it by His grace.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer, I may be your junior by ten years, and it is without reservation that I affirm that I am quite young in the faith indeed. Right now I'm just thankful to be in the faith at all, by God's grace alone. But I'm not asking you to take the words of a sixteen-year-old young man at all. I'm asking you as a friend and a brother to see the word of God as completely sufficient to answer these questions. Perhaps I'm wrong on some points, perhaps on other points I haven't been as gracious as I should have been, and perhaps my sometimes grievously inflated head has made serious oversights. I fear these things, because I am a sinful man who is often blinded to his sinfulness by nothing but pride. I'll pray that God would show me if I have spoken ungraciously or made simple oversights. But I know that if you commit your heart to obey the word of God alone and to bring all things in your life in subjection to it, your way will prosper because the word of God is perfect, and ultimately as a brother in Christ that's all I want for you.

God knows your calling, particularly in regards to individual specifics like how you are to take part in the building up of the body of Christ-that's one of the major areas where God can use our specific giftings. But in regards to the general calling of all women, I think the scripture is clear on that point.

Jennifer, there are Biblical principles to apply to your situation; however, I do not want to force my thoughts upon you, as it wouldn't be the proper thing for me to do. Nonetheless, my caution still stands, and I hope and pray that you will consider it seriously. I am very concerned for you; I know that far too many women in your place have lost their way, and the result has been that they have found themselves in precisely the awful position I articulated to you earlier. I'd simply encourage you to stand back and evaluate what you are doing in the light of the scripture. If you think what you are doing is scriptural, then don't go trying to prove it to me; prove it to yourself from the scripture. If my arguments have made you unsure of your position, then please examine the ground that you stand on and make sure of it in your heart. And please know that, despite our disagreement, as a brother in Christ I wish you all of the love and joy and peace that comes from living in the Spirit and following the Word.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Jennifer said...

"My problem is that there are biblical principles about the age of adulthood, and we have to determine when adulthood is and isn't based upon the Scripture"

Indeed we do, and we get clear guidelines. Here are Debi Pearl's wise words on the matter, and how young adults need to both be autonomous and eager to hear counsel (but not dictation) from older people:

"Exodus 30:14, “Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.” The twenty-year-old was no longer covered by his family’s sacrifice.In Numbers chapters 1–3, God says many times, “number the names of every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war:”

It is most significant that when a man reached the age of twenty, he was counted as an independent family separate from his father. Number 1:18 says, “And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty-years-old and upward by their polls.”

You will note all these Old Testament passages refer to a man’s age, not a female’s. Some will argue that females have no independent standing before God, that they must relate to God and society in subjection to a man—either their father or a husband. In the New Testament we find no such rigid cultural standards. God clarified this point through his dealings with Mary. The Holy Ghost approached Mary about becoming the mother of Jesus without going through either her parents or her betrothed husband. And she made her decision on her own.

Furthermore, overly protective parents are handicapping their adult children spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Young adults need to be tested so they can gain wisdom. A parent’s instruction concerning life is not sufficient; there comes a time when we must stand alone before God in regard to the choices we make if we are to grow to maturity before God. Some will fail; some will be wounded; but that is life. It is God’s testing ground to prove who and what we are. When our adult children leave home and grow into wise sons and daughters of the living God, sacrificing their life for righteousness, it brings great glory to God. A cloistered adult kid is a glory only to a needy parent. You as a single woman, far past the age of twenty, will stand before God for your own decisions. (Of course, everyone living in the house should follow house rules.)How can you safeguard yourself against making unwise decisions? We all think we are wise, but it is so easy to be deceived. A wise daughter should continue to seek her parents’ counsel as well as the counsel of any and all wise people in her life, especially concerning the most important decision of your life. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Then Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” But know that the final decisions are yours to live with."

"The Scripture says that she shouldn't be formally teaching men. I'm sorry, Jennifer; I didn't make that up"

No, the church through time has grossly twisted it. God has women teaching several times in the Bible. Once again, careful study of Paul's words shows that many times he addressed some individuals, not always men and women as a whole. It makes far more sense to see that he was addressing one or two pagan women of the time, rather than barring women from doing things that God had already allowed them to do. All women may not teach or speak in church, but they may pray and prophesy. Uh-huh.

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

"But, by my study, for almost two thousand years before then it was the established teaching of all Christendom that headship involved authority"

It was also only recently that people began describing Jesus as being inferior in power to His Father, yet you believe this wholly. I do the reverse, based on my own study, and would be happy to give you a link on this topic of Christ. I have also studied headship, for years, and seen the conclusions of both sides on the meaning.

You've been very gracious, Andrew, I just don't believe you understand the different things women can do even if it's just before children.

"it's going to take something more, a realization of the immense value of the calling that I believe God gives to women. If you saw it for what it was, you wouldn't want anything else"

What amuses me is that you think, once again, that I'm not choosing motherhood and traditional wifehood. Did I not just tell you I am? That I will be working BEFORE I have children? I already know the immense value, but I can't just magically make myself a wife and mother, can I? That will be a good while from now, and in the mean time, I am not going to be idly waiting for it; I am going to work. I feared a job at first and put it off for seven years, and enough is enough. I'm sorry you don't approve of this. Nor do you understand the range of tasks women can have as individuals.

"But in regards to the general calling of all women, I think the scripture is clear on that point"

Most women become wives and mothers; this is what I've wanted since I was a child. But most women do something else before then, between the time they're with their families and the time they're married. There's nothing on earth wrong with that.

"it's going to take something more, a realization of the immense value of the calling that I believe God gives to women. If you saw it for what it was, you wouldn't want anything else"

I've seen it. Have you seen women delivering babies, or bringing others to Christ as missionaries? Have you seen teachers change lives, women change laws, nurses comfort and reassure a patient? Have you even seen, dear brother, the incredible and unique feminine grace of a ballerina, or a figure skater, or a gymnast? Please, look at her for a moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYC8wSZrFPw&feature=related

If we took the no-jobs-for-women doctrine far enough, it would mean no women in artistic expression, like skating or dancing, or even acting! LOL Films like "Fireproof" and even "Passion of the Christ" could not be made without women, could they? Do we really wish to go back to the days of "art" where men were making out with each other on stage? Kirk Cameron with a male opposite in "Fireproof"; I don't think that would inspire people much. This sounds ridiculous, and it is, but this is what would occur if we took that kind of thinking to its enth degree and logical conclusions. I've seen people like Lady Lydia pull a muscle with the truth of that too, claiming that she's certain some female slaves in the fields stayed in the cabins all day cooking instead of toiling outside, and answering women who ask whether women should work if their husbands need them to by telling them that we shouldn't use "what if" arguments. These aren't arguments; they're pure and simple life, with all its complexities and different roles for different people.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"How are they different? LOL In many ways, Gabriel. You don't need men and women working in parallel roles 24/7 to tell that they're different."

No, how are they different? I'm not talking physical construction- what is it about manhood and womanhood that is distinct? Is there a difference in roles?

I missed a ton here. Not going to read through it all now, but I'll address a few things.

Andrew, I think I see where you were going with the whole law thing, and I think we're in agreement.

"I just don't believe you understand the different things women can do even if it's just before children."

Women can do tons of things, Jennifer. But that's beside the point. They might be better soldiers- better fighter pilots- better boxers- better pastors- better leaders, elders, heads of households, presidents, men.

It doesn't matter.

Before we argue about what women should and shouldn't do, perhaps we should argue over whether there is a distinction in roles at all. So, to be direct:

Jennifer, is there a difference, inherently, in the roles that God has given to men and women?

Jennifer said...

You don't think it matters. Well I call that rubbish, because it certainly DOES matter; it does matter what we "can" do, because more often than not, we're designed that way for a reason. I'm not even going to start another long debate about what I or you think women are not allowed to do, Gabriel, and I'm fully aware you weren't asking what the physical difference was between the sexes. Of course there's a difference between being a father or mother, for one, between just being a man or a woman. But have you realized that the word "role" is rarely used in relation to the sexes in the Bible? If a woman becomes a doctor and never marries, because she wasn't meant to, than she is fulfilling the role GOD gave her, not a "man's" role. And she is still different from a man! We all have different roles.

Daniel said...

Jennifer,

I'm not positive that 4,096 character posts are the most careful and effective way of handling this. I think I might be trying to say too much at once. So I'm going to break it down.

In my last post I wasn't really trying to make a case for what I understand as *Biblical* patriarchy; I was attempting to lay some basic principles. I know you strongly disagree about patriarchy, and it doesn't really help for us to argue that unless we agree on basic principles of approaching & understanding how God wants us to do life.

Christians must not ultimately/primarily look to feelings, to autonomous human wisdom, to implications, or to human culture for understanding. (Proverbs 1:7)

We can know what we need to in order to become complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work by studying the Scripture alone.(2 Timothy 3:16-17)Not only can we, but to look somewhere other than Scripture for understanding in these areas primarily/ultimately is dangerous. Everything else is prone to error because it isn't necessarily presenting God's mind on the subject. (cf. Proverbs 1:7, Isaiah 55:8-9) (It's more important to me that Christians approach all of life this way than it is that they share the same ideas I do about patriarchy.)

Does it make sense that Christians as the Blood-bought servant-children of the infinite God (see John 15, Psalm 147:5) would hold anyone's viewpoint higher than God's or look to anything else first for wisdom?

I know that our culture "works" (or malfunctions(!) :\ ) in a particular way. I'm not concerned with being conformed to the world. I'm concerned with changing it to be how God wants it to be (in light of how it *really* works :D). The God we serve is sovereign and omnipotent. His love is better than life! (Psalm 63:3) The fact that most of the people in the world think and live a certain way is no warrant for Christians to automatically conform. We serve God, not men. Whose will are we trying to fulfill on earth?

I am not here arguing against your position, but the way you seem to have gotten there. If you agree with the principles I've posited in this post, great! If you don't we have more a fundamental disagreement than patriarchy on the table.

Grace in Christ,
Daniel

Daniel said...

Gabriel, I got distracted by the current discussion and so I forgot to say I absolutely love this blog post! This is comprehensively solid. ;) There's too many good lines for me to pick out my favorite parts.

"When the good guys have the guns, the bad guys are scared to commit crime. When the good guys are disarmed, the bad guys have nothing to fear."

I've heard it said this way:
Outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns. Criminals appreciate it when their victims don't have guns. It makes their jobs safer.

I love Nehemiah 4:14 and 2 Samuel 10:12. Great stuff!

Daniel

Daniel said...

"It has been rightly said that we should "shoot to stop, not to kill."

I like to refer to this principle as "using sufficient defensive force." I only use as much force as I believe I need to in order to prevent the intruder from accomplishing his evil designs. That said, while I obviously don't want to kill an assailant if I don't have to, I'm not going to worry about cutting it too close.

Daniel R.

Jennifer said...

Of course I agree with putting the Bible first, and being VERY careful in what I tell people they're called for, or bound to eternally. And we see by God's example women doing many different things.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

My analysis of Debi Pearl's words is this: I think Mrs. Pearl has the right spirit here, but she's ultimately relying upon human wisdom in her analysis of whether unmarried daughters should be independent of their parents. Her point about Mary isn't valid because we don't even know if Mary had living parents-the Scripture never mentions them.

Where do you think that God has women teaching in the Bible with expressed approval?

John MacArthur, in his commentary from the MacArthur Study Bible, deals with the "praying and prophesying" point very well. Although I don't agree with the modern interpretation of the head covering thing (I know that's going to freak a lot of people out, which is why I've avoided 1 Corinthians 11 up to this point), and although he's not my usual source of grain for the mill due to differences on the theology of the relationship between the old and new Testaments, I think his comment on 1 Corintians 11:5 is very good: "Paul makes clear directives that women are not to speak or lead in the church (cf. 14:34;, 1 Ti 2:12), but they may pray and proclaim the truth to unbelievers, as well as teaching children and other women (cf. 1Ti 5:16, Tit. 2:3-4)...Wherever and whenever women do pray and proclaim the Word appropriately, they must do so maintaining a proper distinction from men."

The way you deal with 1 Tim. 2 involves making up context by very vain supposition on no solid grounds whatsoever. Jennifer, you just can't interpret scripture that way. If you can, I can say that the biblical command to abstain from fornication is maybe just speaking to some pagan men who went over the top a little bit. It's the same logic.

No, I don't believe that Jesus is inferior in power to the Father. I merely said that Jesus was in a place of submission to the Father's will. That does not mean that He is inferior in power to the Father. If you want to understand how the difference between Jesus' divine and human natures plays out in this, please read the Athanasian creed, which is the traditional creed of Trinitarian faith. Every Christian ought to know the Athanasian creed. (Note: the reference to a Catholic faith in the Athanasian creed does not refer to Roman Catholicism; the original meaning of the word catholic was simply universal, and had nothing to do with that very idatrous form of religion which in times past was opprobriously referred to as Popery.)

You did mention your future plans, Jennifer, and it made me very glad indeed to hear of them; The reason I said what I did is that a lot of women get caught in the in-between of leaving their families and becoming wives and mothers, and decide that the monotony of the workplace is better than making themselves vulnerable by entering a relationship, and they get stuck. It's just a caution.

I have seen the feminine grace of a ballerina, a figure skater, and a gymnast before, and I have always quickly turned my eyes elsewhere. They are generally very indiscreetly unclothed. I pity their poor husbands who have to share their physical charms with the ogling eyes of a hundred thousand other men. Believe me, I understand this matter, because I know the way men think-I am one. It's not that ballerinas and figure skaters and gymnasts aren't beautiful, it's just that people are sinful. The natural sin of men is to lust after women. The natural sin of women is to want to be lusted after. That's why such public exhibition of unclothed human anatomy is, in my mind, completely immodest; men and women are sinful. There is no biblical principle legitimizing the public display of the human body as an art form. I think it would be good to note here that when a woman clothes herself modestly, it's not just to prevent men from desiring her in a sinful way. It's also to restrain her desire to be desired.

For these reasons, in matter of dress standards, I must confess myself a thoroughly shameless antiquarian ;).

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

I don't think you're really getting my perspective on women working outside the home. Let me articulate it a little better: Whether she has children or not, a woman should not be engaged in work outside the home that's pulling her away from her duties at home. The home was meant to be a center of productivity and spiritual fruit; if a woman can make music or write books or express her other talents from a home-centered life, great! Does that mean that she can't ever be engaged in any kind of productive labor outside the home? No, obviously not, because that would rule out serving in the body of Christ, which women are supposed to be engaged in. My point is that a woman is not supposed to be engaging in a man's role of regular work outside the home for the sake of provision. Not because she'll get zapped with a lightning bolt if she does, but because she will not be fulfilling her role in God's kingdom which ultimately leads to the building of the kingdom, and she will ultimately wind up unhappy and unfulfilled despite whatever subjectively great accomplishments she may have made.

If a woman is engaged in some kind of productive endeavor outside the home, not for income, but for ministry, be it formally or informally, and all done properly in the context of a woman's role and under the right authority structures, I think that's a very good thing. But exceptions to a rule does not mean that the rule is completely void; if it does, why would the rule have been stated in the first place? I think it should also be noted that ministering to one's family always comes before ministering to the body of Christ. A man's first ministry is to his wife and children. A woman's first ministry is to her husband and children.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

I know of midwifery, and I think that it's a fantastic ministry to the body of Christ when kept in the right context. As far as teachers changing lives goes, mothers and fathers do a better job of that than schoolteachers. Home education is the biblical model. Public or private collectivization of education is not. The only biblically approved educational institution for minors is the family. Does that mean that a teacher can't ever have a positive impact on a child's life, or that every female teacher out there can't have done any valuable work for God's kingdom? No. God is omnipotent and not limited by the faultiness of our man-made systems. But I don't agree with an institutionalized model of educating children outside the home because it conflicts with scriptural teaching on education and training of children; the scripture doesn't separate education and training in righteousness, and puts the duty for both on the parents. Yes, that position puts me at variance with many respectable Christian teachers. It even puts me at variance with Reformers like John Knox and John Calvin and Martin Luther, heroes of the faith whom I very, very greatly respect. I am of the opinion, however, that institutionalized public education of minors was the downfall of the Protestant Reformation movement. At first most bought in to public education as a quick solution to illiteracy, thinking that the schools would be phased out after one or two generations, but the successive generations got lazy and gave the duty of personally educating their children up to the school system, and so the thing continued its existence when really it should have been phased out quickly. Humanistic philosophies later became introduced into the schools, partially because the schools themselves were founded on Greco-Roman thinking, and the broken and godless mess of Western Civilization that we have on our hands five hundred years later is largely due to the fact that humanistic influences weakened the faith of the children in the schools, and generation by gerenation, turned them away from following faithfully in the ways God as their parents did. There's a lot more to be said about this issue of public education, where it came from, and its impact on formerly Christian societies.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

As far as nurses go, the medical institution is too lengthy of a discussion to get into right now. Ministering to the sick is a very good ministry. I've got problems with some of the aspects of medical institutions these days, but I'm not going down that road right now. In regards to women in the political sphere, I don't see that as biblically appropriate-unless we want to go embracing judgment (Isaiah 3:12). (Yes, that means I wouldn't have voted for Mrs. Bachmann). Doubtless you recoil at my saying this, because you think that I am keeping women from doing all of the "important things." You think this probably because 1. you fail to understand the central importance of motherhood and being a godly wife to the functionality of church and society and to the advancement of the kingdom of God. Or maybe you do, but you just haven't put two and two together. 2. You may be evaluating greatness in the kingdom of Heaven not completely by Christ's standard of servanthood, but also partially by man's standards of authority and wealth and admiration. If this is the case, I want you to know that the mother who lays down her life to raise a few children to be faithful followers of Christ, that they might teach their children's children to do the same, has done more, in God's eyes, than the possessors of power and wealth and talent who bask in the glorifying gaze of nations. When it's all said and done, the only thing that matters is that we served God in the calling He gave us, loved Him and loved others. In this alone can we find fulfillment.

Some would say, but don't men have a number of different potential callings? I would answer: Men don't find fulfillment ultimately in the specific calling that God has given them; some men will remain single, but most men find fulfillment in being Godly husbands and fathers. A lot of men don't get this, and so they never live a fulfilled life, and moreover their children and wives are starved of the love that they should be provided-because men in our generation value the things of this world above the things of God.


I almost envy your calling as a woman because, if you follow it, you are free from the temptation to pursue the approval of men through seeking earthly things of little value for which many a man has sold his soul. If you serve God in the home, you are able to do very impactful work for God's kingdom, living a happy and fulfilled life, serving others, free of the temptation to seek after worldly standing or wealth or power that has carried away the hearts of so many men in this world.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

As a final note, When we live by grace in Christ, the standards that God puts down in the scripture are not restrictive penal statutes, but rather are the commans of a loving Father intended to keep us walking in the way of life and light wherein we experience the good fruits of the Spirit. Will we follow the biblical model, or will we ignore it on the basis of carefully crafted exceptions? God's word is good and His ways are wise. Let's take Him at His word; He knows us better than we do, because He is our creator.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

P. S.
You might like to know that I actually have no problem with "what if" arguments-they are actually valid arguments as long as the logical conclusions follow. And “arguments” are perfectly fine things. The Bible is full of them. I don't agree with most of your particular arguments, but I have no problem with arguments on principle-in the right sense, of course!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Well, y'all, I'm glad you're having such a discussion! I'm out of this one. :-D

And welcome, Daniel! Thanks for stopping by.

Daniel R. said...

Thanks, Gabriel. It's wonderful to find other young men who serve the Lord and try to apply His Word to all of life.

Keep up the great blogging (and composing; your music is superb :D)!

Daniel

Jennifer said...
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Jennifer said...
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Jennifer said...

"The way you deal with 1 Tim. 2 involves making up context by very vain supposition on no solid grounds whatsoever. Jennifer, you just can't interpret scripture that way"

Yes I can, because I most certainly have solid grounds, from teachers who researched the history of those times. Your comparison of that to pagans and fornication offends me logically, theologically and personally.

"I think Mrs. Pearl has the right spirit here, but she's ultimately relying upon human wisdom in her analysis of whether unmarried daughters should be independent of their parents"

Wrong, she is relying on the Bible's own definition of adulthood. Deborah counseled men and Priscilla as well as others were known as teachers.

I know MacArthur well for his leaps of logic and stitching together of separate Scriptures to make a point. "Paul makes clear directives that women are not to speak or lead in the church (cf. 14:34;, 1 Ti 2:12), but they may pray and proclaim the truth to unbelievers"

Ah, so it's only believing men that women may harm, or what have you, by teaching them from God's Word. Unbelievers are just fine.

"I have seen the feminine grace of a ballerina, a figure skater, and a gymnast before, and I have always quickly turned my eyes elsewhere. They are generally very indiscreetly unclothed. I pity their poor husbands who have to share their physical charms with the ogling eyes of a hundred thousand other men"

I don't even know what to say to that. Now women should not be in these sports because, once again, some men may be bothered. Share their physical "charms"? You make them sound like they're comparable with strippers. All I can say is that I've seen the naked human form and if you think there's a real comparison between that and all such sports wear, you're very mistaken. Furthermore, there are plenty of perfectly decent and reasonable outfits for such people, especially figure skaters.

"Let me articulate it a little better: Whether she has children or not, a woman should not be engaged in work outside the home that's pulling her away from her duties at home"

How about if her children are grown, or she doesn't HAVE any and her husband is gone all day? What is she distracted from, cleaning? With all our modern appliances, it's unlikely the house duties would be neglected.

"My point is that a woman is not supposed to be engaging in a man's role of regular work outside the home for the sake of provision. Not because she'll get zapped with a lightning bolt if she does, but because she will not be fulfilling her role in God's kingdom which ultimately leads to the building of the kingdom"

Nowhere does it say that a woman is not "supposed" to do this. What it says is that she is the keeper of the home, and you and many others have decided that in order to be a proper one, she must not have any outside activities for profit. That's your own conclusion, which I find incorrect, NOT a Biblical law.

Jennifer said...
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Jennifer said...

"exceptions to a rule does not mean that the rule is completely void; if it does, why would the rule have been stated in the first place?"

Once again, there's no rule that she must reside only in the home unless she's under a man and working for NO money. It's amazing that the most severe people of such beliefs call the husband prophet, priest and king, yet believe that HE can work outside of home all day without neglecting his duties.

"I know of midwifery, and I think that it's a fantastic ministry to the body of Christ when kept in the right context"

I don't know of midwives who give annual exams unrelated to pregnancy.

"In regards to women in the political sphere, I don't see that as biblically appropriate-unless we want to go embracing judgment (Isaiah 3:12)."

That's one of the most amusingly misapplied passages there is in the Bible. God spoke of bossy women and unruly children, NOT women in civil leadership positions. He wasn't describing female civil leaders anymore than child civil leaders! Bad domestic lives were obviously the topic at hand.

"Doubtless you recoil at my saying this, because you think that I am keeping women from doing all of the "important things.""

You still speak to me as though I'm a child of feminism who only sees jobs as important; you still suggest that I don't see motherhood as vital and that, of all things, I care for earthly greatness instead of Christian servanthood. What more do I need to say to set your mind straight on this?

"I almost envy your calling as a woman because, if you follow it, you are free from the temptation to pursue the approval of men through seeking earthly things of little value for which many a man has sold his soul"

As a young man in, say, the method of malehood that the Botkins and Phillips follow, a boy grows up taught to be respected by all, and with his older sisters deferring to him. Upon adulthood he can leave home, travel around, own his own ministry, run a church, a city, a country if he likes, and then be a parent on top of everything else. A girl, on the other hand, grows up serving her father, deferring to her brothers, then upon adulthood remains doing so, spinning her thoughts and dreams around her current male Life Purpose's dreams. Until father gives her to a new male Life Purpose, for whom she will become another dream-fulfiller. And she can't even choose this new male force in her life, if father says no, because she believes he has the authority to sever legal and holy vows she makes without his permission. Her entire life is ordered by someone else by base of his sex, and her existence is reactive to his, not proactive. There is nothing remotely you need to envy about this kind of life, and certainly nothing I envy about it. The spectrum of womanhood is much wider.

Daniel said...

Jennifer, I believe sons are to be under their father's headship (i.e. authority/protection/guidance/oversight) until their fathers approve them as self-sufficient and release them, based on maturity. I believe daughters are to be under their fathers' headship until their fathers transfer headship to their husbands at marriage.

"Whose need is being served when a 22-year-old adult's choices are limited?"
No one's, necessarily. It depends on the types and extents of the limits. Even if we're autonomous, being subordinate to God limits our choices in some ways.

I am not saying that a father can put any limit or requirement on his children he wants to without Biblical warrant and call it God's design. I would aver that Biblical patriarchy as I understand it is not a self-serving exercise in arbitrarily or tyrannically limiting/manipulating children and preventing them from doing what God wants them to. Considering what the Scriptures recommend/illustrate on the matter, I'd say that's hardly an accurate characterization.

I am in no way advocating a distant, austere dictator as the model for Biblical fatherhood. (I would have added "micromanaging," but in all likelihood we would disagree on what that would mean in this context.) I think I can safely say no one else in this discussion is either. That's not because there's only a few of us left ;).

I intend to work closely with my children. I don't think God gives fathers the right to map out their children's entire lives (although we are called to provide vision for them in a number of areas, this isn't to be done arbitrarily or to serve our personal interests.). If by the grace of God I can train my children to love and serve God, preparing them to do His will, His way, and help them answer their calling, that's what God asks.

Daniel

Daniel said...

"they could be exploring their surroundings and possibly finding a husband"

Everything I see in Scripture is opposed to this. And an approach not unlike that led to some very undesirable results with Dinah in Genesis 34. Not the kind of precedent I want to follow or encourage others to. That said, I don't believe single daughters can't ever take a step outside their father's houses. Rachel, for instance, did not leave her father's headship ("house") until she married Jacob, but she tended herds of sheep in the fields. (When I speak of a father's "house", headship is generally what I refer to, not a literal building, particularly. When the Scriptures speak of a daughter being "in her father's house", like in Lev. 22:13 and Num. 30:3, this is often what is meant. )

I'm not sure whose law you appeal to when you say that a father "has no *lawful* authority to refuse a suitor when she is of age," but no one except God has universal authority (no, not even patriarchs ;)), and God Himself *strongly* suggests that fathers have the right to refuse suitors. (Exodus 22:16-17). Even if God was simply referencing the Hebrew culture (and I don't think that can be honestly said), if such action by fathers is tyrannical in God's sight, why didn't He simply say so? You can't get there from here. In case you think I'm missing the point, I don't see any fundamental distinction in the Bible of a "teenage" and an "adult" daughter, regarding the father/daughter relationship. I believe the distinction is "married" or "unmarried."

I believe God has given fathers the right and duty to approve or screen suitors and protect their daughters from evil and immature men using their best judgment, and assist their daughters in finding Godly husbands. I don't believe that fathers have the authority to independently choose husbands for their daughters or force their daughters to marry against their will (cf. Daniel 11:17; instead there should be close cooperation between parents and child, especially the father and the daughter.

It's a Biblical principle that daughters are given in marriage. Not only is it repeatedly referenced throughout the OT, Paul spoke of it as normal (1 Cor. 7:38), and Jesus was also familiar with it and spoke of it as normal (See Luke 20:34-35, Matthew 22:30 for instance), not as repulsive patriarchal tyranny.

Daniel

Jennifer said...
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Jennifer said...
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Jennifer said...
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Jennifer said...
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Jennifer said...
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Jennifer said...

"I believe sons are to be under their father's headship (i.e. authority/protection/guidance/oversight) until their fathers approve them as self-sufficient and release them, based on maturity"

Sorry, that's not their job, and directly contradicted in fact, even in Numbers. And of course your view of daughters fits my description of a limited life for women perfectly.

"Even if we're autonomous, being subordinate to God limits our choices in some ways"

Ask a daughter living under perpetual rule her whole life if there's a difference between living under God and living under a man.

"Everything I see in Scripture is opposed to this"

Everything you see is through quite a different lens, that of historical practice and law.

"Considering what the Scriptures recommend/illustrate on the matter, I'd say that's hardly an accurate characterization"

Considering what I've read and heard by people who share your beliefs, it's a pefectly accurate "characterization".

"I am not saying that a father can put any limit or requirement on his children he wants to without Biblical warrant and call it God's design"

According to you, that's exactly what they may do, and by my observation, they've done it already. By your own words, the definition of adulthood in Numbers may be ignored if father thinks his son isn't ready yet.

"And an approach not unlike that led to some very undesirable results with Dinah in Genesis 34"

That's a typical faulty interpretation. Nowhere does it say that Dinah went without her father's permission; we should rely more on God's Word than the interpretations of faulty scholars like Matthew Henry.

"It's a Biblical principle that daughters are given in marriage"

That depends on how you look at it. A father looking out for his daughter is totally different from controlling her choices and severing a marriage she made.

"I don't see any fundamental distinction in the Bible of a "teenage" and an "adult" daughter, regarding the father/daughter relationship. I believe the distinction is "married" or "unmarried.""

Of course it was, because 14-year-old girls were married back then. Should we do that now?

Jennifer said...

The laws in Numbers were a necessary product of their time, but a product none the less. The Israelites were often out of control and had to be kept on a tight tether, thus the severe discipline this entailed. The Bible repeatedly presents the people and times in it as evolving things working towards greater being; one Mosaic law sentences adulterers to death, yet Christ showed one mercy. To go by rigid laws of the brutal exodus is to bind ourselves by old rules never given a seal of permanence, and recklessly limit our own callings. Women were severely restricted in worship, autonomy and work, so naturally her only support came from male relatives and it made sense to pass her from one money supporter to another. Now things are different, and meant to be such. This doesn't mean parents are inconsenquential; it DOES mean we're meant to live as adults when the time comes.

"No one's, necessarily"

lol No one's indeed. It doesn't matter whether the parent thinks they're wise or not; they can advise and warn all they want, but they can no longer restrain.

Sorry for all the deletions and repostings, but I can't stand grammatical and spelling errors.

Daniel said...

Jennifer,

Sorry for taking so much time to respond.

"Sorry for all the deletions and repostings, but I can't stand grammatical and spelling errors."

Don't apologize. I share the same mind and I appreciate it, so thanks. :)

"The Israelites were often out of control"

How were they out of control? Were they doing things that displeased God and therefore merited punishment?

Are you saying modern western civilization isn't out of control?

"old rules never given a seal of permanence"

See Matthew 5:17-19, Deut. 4:9, Deut. 5:29.

"Nowhere does it say that Dinah went without her father's permission"

That is not the point. Even if her father let her go, it still wasn't a good idea. *That’s* the point I’m trying to make.

"I am not saying that a father can put any limit or requirement on his children he wants to without Biblical warrant and call it God's design"

"According to you, that's exactly what they may do"

Nope. I believe that fathers have the right to do what *I believe* the Bible warrants them to do. I agree with my own position, naturally ;). Of course, there are things classified as "patriarchy" that the Bible doesn't uphold, and those could be called tyrannical.

I said nothing about women never working. I don't have a problem with a woman assisting her family in economy (e.g. Acts 18:2-3), provided it facilitates her primary calling as a keeper at home (Titus 2:4-5, 1 Tim 5:14, etc.). I think this is what is being advocated by those verses in Proverbs 31.

I fail to see a host of Godly women or principles in the Scriptures providing you with precedents for the model you're advocating. I don't think it could be fairly said that God despises my understanding of Biblical patriarchy. If God doesn't think it's evil (if not designing or at least approving it), why should we?

I don't think we'd get anywhere I tried to respond to each of your objections. For one thing, we seem to still be stumbling over word/phrase connotations. Also, I'm convinced that until we agree on how we apply Scripture to society, our discussion of patriarchy isn't going to be very fruitful.

I don't have a problem with eating pork or oysters (dry laugh.) This is because of passages like Genesis 9:3, Matthew 15:11, 18-20, Mark 7, Acts 10:9-16, and 1 Timothy 4:3-5.

As best as I understand it, it appears that these statutes were created to demonstrate the principle of Israel's separation from the Gentiles in the covenant with God, and were removed to demonstrate that the division was no longer in place.

If it could be proved from Scripture that eating pork is still an offense to God, I'll never touch it again. There are healthier foods, so I don't pig out (pun intended ;)) on it anyway.

This has been a interesting discussion. Please forgive me if I’ve come across as inflammatory, inconsiderate or ungracious. I don’t intend to be.

Grace in Christ,
Daniel

Jared Reighard said...

Hey there's a bullet in there!

If a person gets the drop on with a knife at the jellybean store, and you pull a gun; and if he says, "I don't believe in guns!" What will you do?
Put the gun down and give him your wallet, or shoot him?
I'll tell ya what I'd do: pull the trigger and make a believer out of him.

What If you don't have a gun?
Well, my friend, I suggest you learn some self-defense close combat tactics.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Heehee, love it, Jared. Except that I'd say if you don't have a gun, sell your cloak and buy one. ;-)

Jennifer said...

Boy am I late.

"Were they doing things that displeased God and therefore merited punishment?"

I'm sure you're aware of the golden calf incident, not to mention the horribly restrictive laws the Jews made themselves to clumsily try to avoid sin?

"Nope. I believe that fathers have the right to do what *I believe* the Bible warrants them to do."

You believe they have the right to govern grown children until they decide it's not necessary anymore; this is not advocated anywhere in Scripture.

"If God doesn't think it's evil (if not designing or at least approving it), why should we?"

Bottom line: I don't believe God did design the form of patriarchy you describe.

You have not been ungracious, thank you.

Patrick Lauser said...

By righteous people using guns crime is not only discouraged, but being a criminal is discouraged. The more criminals are discouraged the more they will turn to God.

Deuteronomy 13
10 And thou shalt stone him with stones...
11 And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.

Capital punishment is like mandatory evangelism.

"if the guy is holding you up for the $20 in your wallet, dig out the loose change for him too."

That would depend on how he was holding me up. If he was threatening me with a gun I would shoot him for that alone, if he was threatening to punch me I would take him down and punch him.

If he simply grabbed my wallet and ran I would let him have it. If I saw him grab some one else's wallet I would make him give it back, and make him give back more than just what he took.

"Take insults like a man. I firmly believe that the culture of dueling to the death over insults violates this principle."

Yes! Of course, if some one challenged you to a duel it might be good in some cases to have him assassinated, but since dueling is sometimes sanctioned by the government I think it would usually be better to leave the country.

By the way, that was a funny video.

Matthew 5
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

If some one insults you, take it patiently, even laughingly. What does it matter?

40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloak also.

If takes my coat it is what I deserve for whatever he is suing me for. I should give him my coat to show I really am sorry for what I did, and want to be his friend.

41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

As far as I know, this is a similar principal to this:
Matthew 17
27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

If you are a conquered people, keep on the good side of your conquerers in a good way.

52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Jesus was talking to Peter.
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

He was very clear: I can fight for myself, but I am not going to because this is God's will. If you fight it you will be killed.

"shoot to stop, not to kill."

Why? If a person is trying to kill some one, that would be the reason you are killing him.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Great thoughts, Patrick!

"That would depend on how he was holding me up." Very true, but I think it would be better to give the guy your $20 than to kill him over a few bucks. We need to be careful to not revolt so strongly against pacifism that we become vigilantes.

"it might be good in some cases to have him assassinated"

O.o

Scripture please.

:-)

"If takes my coat it is what I deserve for whatever he is suing me for. I should give him my coat to show I really am sorry for what I did, and want to be his friend."

GREAT point. I'd never thought about it like that.

"Why? If a person is trying to kill some one, that would be the reason you are killing him."

Because the goal is the defense of the innocent, not the punishment of the wicked. Once the innocent has been successfully defended (whether or not it required lethal force), my job is done, and it becomes now the state's responsibility and jurisdiction to provide justice.