Earlier this year we shared a guest post titled “Why I’m at a Church That Doesn’t Support Gender Equality”. The post led to a robust discussion of the pros and cons of staying versus leaving. Today a seasoned leader shares a consequence of staying in a complementarian church that did not come up in earlier…
by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©
[Note: My ex-church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley is fond of ‘camping out’ on a few Scripture verses, even words, to prohibit Christian women from using the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given them in serving the church, including in teaching, preaching and leading. GBFSV pastors/elders’ claim this is ‘Biblical’. In point of fact, it’s not. Baptist women have been leaders, teachers, and missionaries for hundreds of years. I remembered that my Presbyterian grandmother’s (she died at 102 years old) medical missionary friends — women doctors — who practiced medicine, taught The Gospel in villages around the world, and they improved lives wherever God put them. I saw the slides as a child.
Given the Baptists descent into hyper-NeoCalvinism since the 1990’s and Complementarianism (women ‘obey’ and ‘submit’), not even traditional Baptist women heros of the faith such as Lottie Moon would be permitted to serve under today’s new hyper-restrictions. Concerned Christians have invented some new words to describe the NeoCalvinists’ Dark Ages thinking about women. “Chrislam” for having restrictions on women that are like radical Islam’s. It’s also been called “Shehad” (She+had, sounds like “jihad”), a term invented by blogger/Christian/researcher Brad Sargent/FuturistGuy https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/ to describe the NeoCalvinists’ “war on women”. I reject these NeoCalvinist teachings, which are *un-Biblical*.]
*This article is reblogged from Wade Burleson, Istoria Ministries, website with permission:
The’ Woman of Error in I Timothy 2:12 Shouldn’t Teach
The Bible is replete with examples of men and women gifted by God to teach and to lead. No Bible-believing Christian seems to have a problem with men leading or teaching, but women fulfilling those roles, as gifted by the Holy Spirit, seems to cause consternation in the lives of some who are more familiar with tradition than truth. We have dozens of illustrations in the New Testament of women teaching men (Priscilla, Anna, Philip’sfour unmarried daughters, and many, many more). There are also dozens of additional illustrations in the Bible of women leading men.
I Timothy 2:11-15 Is the Text Used by Men to Restrict Gifted Women
Following is the text that is used to stifle women. I have placed only four words in (bold) that more accurately translate what Paul is saying, words that are a direct translation of the Greek. The reasons for the four words I supply will be explained below:
“Let a (the) woman learn in quietness and full submission. “12I do not permit a (the) woman to teach or to assume authority over a (the) man; she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women (lit. “she“) will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
The verses above seem to say, at least on the surface and without the four words I’ve supplied, that no woman should ever teach any man; that no woman should ever assume any ‘authority’ over any man; and that all women must always be quiet in the presence of men. Of course, most evangelical conservative men would say that the Apostle Paul was only addressing women “in the church” and “in the home” so that women in the political world, corporate world, and secular world, are not under these restrictions. I find it humorous that conservatives complain of “potential malignancy” in one’s gospel orthodoxy if one can find a way to make this I Timothy 2 text say that it is okay for women to teach men or have authority over men “in the church.” Why is that humorous to me? Because those same conservative men have already found a way (rightly so) to explain how a woman can have leadership over a man and teach a man in every other realm of life (politics, business, etc…). Do we remember when Condi Rice, Secretary of State, spoke to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006? She taught us Southern Baptist men a great deal about war and the bombing of terrorists, and we applauded her leadership as Secretary of State. So much for the gospel malignancy theory.
But back to the I Timothy 2 text above. For those of you “in the church” who get stuck on this text, and as a result, refuse to have women read the Bible in public at church, or teach a discipleship class with men in it, or refuse to have women serve as trustees, or elders, or committee chairpersons “in the church: lest they ‘assume authority’ over men, let me help you see how you are totally ignoring the clear teaching of the New Testament in favor of a poor and false interpretation of these I Timothy 2 verses. For all you out there in cyberland, and for a few of you in local churches who want to make women in leadership an issue of gospel orthodoxy, I will provide below a very clear interpretation of I Timothy 2:12-15 that is consistent with the rest of the New Testament’s teaching on empowering women in their giftedness. There are five basic principles that must be understood in order to rightly comprehend what Paul is saying:
(1). Paul is addressing a problem Timothy had with a specific woman teaching heresy to a specific man in the church at Ephesus.
How do we know this? There are at least four grammatical reasons:
(a). Paul gives instructions to “women” (plural) in the beginning of chapter two (i.e. how to dress modestly, live of life of good works, etc…), but beginning with verse 11, Paul switches from the plural noun (women) to the singular noun (woman). The definitive article “the” is in the original Greek (i.e. “the woman”), not the unfortunate translation “a” woman (NIV; NASB). Paul moves from instructions to women in general (vs. 9-10) to a very direct instruction for a specific woman in verse 11. You can verify this quite easily with any online interlinear.
(b). The “she” in verse 15 is third person singular (again, the NIV and NASB unfortunately mistranslates the third person singular Greek pronoun in v. 15 with the plural English noun “women”). The “she” of verse 15 is the same woman in verse 11 and verse 12. She is the woman who needs correcting.
(c). “…if they continue” (v.15). The word “they” is the accurate translation of the third person plural used by Paul. This plural pronoun identifies not only the woman doing the teaching, but also the man whom she is deceiving (“the woman” and “the man” of v. 12).
(d). The verb “continue” is in the aorist active subjunctive. This verb’s tense confirms that the instructions Paul gives in vs. 11-15 are designed for the woman and the man in question (v. 12), to two people who are alive at the time Paul is writing and not to those who are either dead or not yet born (i.e. Eveor women in general).
(2). The woman in question was teaching error out of her ignorance and should be shown mercy.
Mercy and love toward false teachers is one of the themes of letter we call I Timothy, particularly because the assembly at Ephesus was a church filled with people from pagan backgrounds: “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (I Timothy 1:3-5).
Paul has already spoken of the ignorance he was in before he was taught the truth: “(I) was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent; but I received mercy, because being ignorant I did it in unbelief“ (I Timothy 1:13).
Paul mentions how Eve sinned in ignorance: “…it was the woman (Eve) who was deceived and became a sinner” (I Timothy 2:13). The entire first two chapters of I Timothy are leading up to Paul expressing sympathy toward, and encouraging Timothy to display love to, that woman teaching error. We know that Paul wrote this letter in response to problems Timothy was facing in Ephesus, and those problems were known by Paul (I Timothy 3:14-15). This is a personal letter, not a general epistle, and proper interpretation requires the reader to delve into why Paul wrote the letter in the first place.
(3). Paul expressed hope that this woman will be saved by Christ, even though she is in error.
Verse 15 “she will be saved through (the) childbearing” is a reference to the the woman’s salvation through the Incarnation of Christ (the childbearing). The word teknogonia is used just once in Scripture and the word is NOT a verb (childbearing)–it is a noun (THE childbearing). This is a reference to the Messiah, who was born from a woman despite the deception of Eve. The Messiah came to destroy the destroyer, to crush the head of the Serpent who deceives, and the deceived woman of I Timothy 2 will be saved through “the childbearing” if stops teaching heresy, learns of Christ in complete submissiveness (v. 11), and continues in“faith, love, and holiness in propriety.”
(4). Scripture only expresses a prohibition on women teaching error, never on women teaching men.
A similar passage to I Timothy 2:11-15 is Revelation 2:20: “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
The problem with Jezebel was not that she “teaches and leads.” The problem with Jezebel was that she taught and led others “astray.” The only solution for a woman who teaches and leads astray is for her to first learn the truth. This is precisely the solution Paul proposes to Timothy for the woman of I Timothy 2. She must first learn “in quietness and full submission” (v.11). By the way, this is also a good practice for any man who is teaching error. He should be confronted and told to FIRST learn in quietness and submission before he attempts to teach.
(5). The people who misinterpret Paul and attempt to prohibit women from teaching or leading men are ignoring the entire tenor and teaching of the New Testament.
God empowers His people through giftings and anoints His people to fulfill their calling through the Holy Spirit. The giftings of God are never distributed according to gender. The calling of God is never limited according to physiology. When the daughters of Philip prophecied, it was by the giftings of God and the anointing of the Spirit. When Anna taught the men in the Temple it was in fulfillment of the calling of God on her life and through the giftings and anointing of the Spirit. From Priscilla, to Lydia, to Junia, to Phoebe, and to all the rest of the New Testament women God used to expand His kingdom through prophesying, teaching and leading other men and women, God has gifted and anointed as many women as He has men.
Let’s not traditions trump truth.
Artcle by Velour/MtnShepherdess ©
Over on The Wartburg Watch blog http://www.wartburgwatch.com/some commenters/Christians know the history of the abusive heavy-Shepherding Movement. It’s un-Biblical teachings are now spread via Mark Dever’s 9 Marks organization in Washington, D.C. and other authoritarian groups like Acts 29. The most “important mark” of a “healthy church” as Wartburg Watch commenters noted is “Love” in the Bible, which NEVER made it to Mark Dever’s 9 Marks of a “Healthy Church”, which is just abusive Shepherding all over again.
Resource/book: The Shepherding Movement: Controversy and Charismatic Ecclesiolgy by S. David Moore.
“Brad/FuturistGuy posted this on May 23, 2016:
After doing some background research, the book I picked as probably the best one for overall history and analysis is *The Shepherding Movement: Controversy and Charismatic Ecclesiology* by S. David Moore.
It would be really helpful to have a summary of key activities and indicators that demonstrate the presence of an underlying pro-Shepherding/authoritarian discipleship paradigm, and what contemporary groups function from that paradigm, and the history of the who and how that system got into those groups. I don’t yet know of any books that cover those details. Maybe a group can take that on sometime …” ]
Posted by BL on May 27, 2016, Part 1:
What would you say were the 9 (or whatever number) marks of the shepherding movement? Is there a way to sum it up? I can’t seem to get my head around it. I don’t know if there is a CliffNotes version, or not.
I’ll give a shot at an overview of what I know & experienced.
Late 60s – early 70s and the Charismatic Movement swept through the US – impacting all ages (though the largest percentage were highschool & college age) AND all denominations.
People who were not believers as well as people who had been believers and church members for years. These people encountered God, and it changed them. They had tasted and seen that the Lord was good.
I know heroin addicts who stopped overnight and never went back.
I know church members that had been content with feeding on their Sunday sermons, that began voraciously reading Scripture.
I know highschool students who gathered together in groups of 3 or 4 to worship and praise God, to pray to Him and to seek His face.
People continued going to their denominational church, and would meet with other charismatics at other times. Young people who had not been church members, would go wherever they could find a church – to a Southern Baptist church on Sunday mornings, a Methodist church Sunday evening, an Assembly of God on Wednesday night.
And when there wasn’t an official church meeting somewhere, they would get together (again across all denominational lines) in homes, or offices, or the back of a motorcycle shop to worship, to share what they learned that week, to pray for each other, etc.
I say all this to point out that no man was in charge. No organization was determining who did what when.
And in response, several men already in various ministries decided that something needed to be done. There was concern that people were not being held accountable, they might not be maturing.
These were already nationally known speakers and authors, and had established relationships among themselves (that sounds familiar).
It is within the above that the Shepherding/Discipleship movement was launched.
I’ll continue in a following post on what came next.
Posted by BL on May 27, 2016, Part 2:
What would you say were the 9 (or whatever number) marks of the shepherding movement? Is there a way to sum it up? I can’t seem to get my head around it. I don’t know if there is a CliffNotes version, or not.
The discipleship leaders were initially involved with a ministry in Florida whose leader committed sexual sins. In response to this ministry’s failure, they sought protection from such failure by committing to each other for accountability.
So, we had a large number of on-fire Christians going from one meeting to another, one denomination to another, caravaning to other cities for some traveling evangelist, spending hours reading books or listening to teaching tapes, as well as talking to and teaching each other.
The men, Mumford, Simpson, Prince & Simpson (Baxter joined later) thought that the burgeoning charismatic movement needed to be accountable to someone and that someone needed to oversee it in order for the people to grow and mature.
They named themselves Christian Growth Ministries.
And in no particular order – they emphasized the importance of:
Restoring biblical church government.
The local church.
Spiritual authority, spiritual covering, delegated authority.
Spiritual covering (everyone had to have a personal shepherd).
Unquestioned obedience to your shepherd.
Wives’ submission & obedience to husbands.
Honoring & serving leadership.
Not gossiping, no negative speech, no spreading strife.
This church – Elitism (we’re the ones who are doing it right).
Not making any decisions without your shepherd’s approval.
Unity (with no place for dissent or disagreement.)
Small shepherding groups.
Obeying your shepherd even if he is wrong & trust God will fix it.
Leaving this church and your are leaving God.
Shunning anyone who has left.
I’m sure I’ve overlooked some aspects.
Conservative Christian Gram3 is a smart woman, wife/mother/and grandmother who has been “keyed out” [excommunicated from a church] for asking hard questions. She knows a great deal of history and is a logical thinker who posts comments on The Wartburg Watch. She has been an enormous help to me in helping me deprogram from the bizarre teachings that I was subjected to at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley.
Gram3 knows a great deal about church history, including the roots of the Complementarian/Patriarchy movement that we’re seeing in U.S. churches, and the spread of NeoCalvinism. Gram3 and her husband Gramp3 were “keyed out” as she says, excommunicated from their church for asking hard questions.
Gram3’s post on 5/24/16 http://thewartburgwatch.com/interesting/books-movies-tv-etc/#comment-254543 about the roots of Patriarchy that we are seeing in Christian churches, NeoCalvinism:
I would add to BradFuturist https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/ that Rousas Rushdoony was the fount of Reconstructionism (the Reformed version of Dominionism) which led to Federal Vision which plagues many PCA churches to this day. Federal Vision is Doug Wilson’s theology, though it is taught by Peter Leithart who is still inexplicably tolerated by the PCA.[Presbyterian Church]
Dominionism was also promoted heavily in charismatic circles via TBN and other outlets. The connection between the charismatic form of Dominionism and the Reconstructionist version was Gary North who is Rushdoony’s son-in-law.
Reconstructionism is a perversion of standard Covenant Theology. Some consider it merely an extreme form of Covenant Theology, but I disagree. As Brad said, they wish to establish a theocratic state modeled on the OT theocracy. They take that as a pattern for how we should do government and church and family. This includes the idea of Patriarchy.
Federal Vision shifted the focus from establishing a theocracy to establishing a church that is the center of everything. There is much talk of priests, fathers as priests of their family, etc. Rather than a focus on individual conversion, the FV focuses on baptism and communion. One becomes a Christian by being baptized and one is baptized because one is born into a family headed by a Christian man.
The word “covenant” is plastered all over a lot of different things, and I think it is important to keep those things separate lest we blame people who hold to standard Covenant Theology for the weirdness.
I think a lot of Reconstructionist baggage got ported over to the YRR by guys reading Greg Bahnsen who was an affiliate of Rushdoony. He was a brilliant guy who was highly respected as an apologist in the Van Til school as was Rushdoony.
Gothard is another thing entirely, as far as I know. Wheaton in the 60’s was not a Reformed stronghold. I believe that Gothard’s views were primarily shaped by a fundamentalist mindset in reaction to a liberalizing culture. The answer was more laws and rules rather than an emphasis on regeneration and the internal work of sanctification in the individual believer. He began his work helping parents who were frustrated with their teenagers’ rebellion. Any of us who have raised teenagers can identify with their desperation for answers, and Gothard offered a System for that just like our current Female Subordinationists offer a System which supposedly produces happy marriages and families.
I think there was a lot of cross-pollination among these various streams of thought back in the 60’s and 70’s to get us where we are today. The Christian homeschooling movement is another place where ideas crossed over. Rushdoony decreed that homeschooling is the only Biblical way.
The bottom line is that people will use whatever means works if what they desire is to rule over others. We have all been useful idiots, but typically in the present it is much easier to see when other people are being useful idiots. Retrospectively, some of us have been able to realize that we were useful idiots.
That’s enough for a comment box. If you Google these names and movements, you will find a wealth of information.
Note: Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Enid church in Enid, Oklahoma, a Baptist church. Wade has succinctly explained why Christians should say ‘no’ to signing Membership Covenants.
Five Reasons to Say “No” to a Church Covenantby Wade Burleson ©
simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
“…Karen filed for an immediate annulment of her marriage to Jordan apart from the counsel of the church… (by) signing the Membership Covenant, a member agrees … to receive our care…”
Karen had respectfully requested withdrawal of membership from Village Church, but the elders wouldn’t allow it because she had not sought their counsel. She refused to come “under their care,” so they put Karen under discipline. No Village Church member under discipline, wrote Village church authorities, can “withdraw” from membership. Therefore, Village pastors/elders “refused to accept” Karen’s request to withdraw from Village membership.
This is an ugly situation all the way around. Village Church leaders–regardless of the vocal criticism they receive–believe they are men of integrity. They are, in their minds, fulfilling their pastoral role and abiding by the church covenant they demanded everyone sign before they became members. Some who are not members of Village are blaming Karen for signing a church covenant. Nobody should blame Karen. She, like other evangelicals, probably had no idea of the ultimate consequences of signing church covenants. The guilt lies with church authorities who demanded signatures from prospective members that turned their spiritual formation and maturation over to mere men instead of the Holy Spirit.
Read Village’s Church Covenant. It’s chilling when it comes to the authority of elders and church leaders. Here are some of the phrases that the prospective member must read and then sign, vowing their allegiance to obey:
- I understand the importance of submission to church leadership
- I will submit to the elders and other appointed leaders of the church
- I will agree to walk through the steps of marriage reconciliation at The Village Church before pursuing divorce from my spouse
I’ve written several articles stating that the major problem in modern evangelical Christianity is theauthoritarianism of evangelical leaders. I have sought to explain how pastors/elders “twist the Scriptures” and demand “obedience and submission” to this alleged authority. Jesus tells us that that true ‘spiritual leaders’ are only servants, never masters. Yet, evangelical leaders seem not to be listening to Jesus.
With this in mind, I would like to give you five reasons why I would never sign a church membership covenant in order to become a member.
(1). A church covenant makes the Holy Spirit irrelevant in my life.
Used with permission.
A wonderful book that I bought and would recommend. – Velour
“Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that a Christian leader, because of title or position, has moral authority over another Christian. Pagans will seek offices that grant them power and authority in order to exert their leadership (lordship) over others. Jesus said that His people were not to seek to rule over others, but to serve others selflessly and love others unconditionally. When a church or home gives in to Fraudulent Authority, the people of Christ become more pagan in practice than Christian. Fraudulent Authority teaches you how to recognize this dangerous practice of Christians seeking to exert power and authority over people in evangelical churches and homes and what you can do about it.”
From the Author
From Amazon: “Biography
As the pressure mounts on the Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders, instigated no less by all of their wrong decisions, bad decisions, and ultimately bad theology, they haven’t humbled themselves. They’ve dug in deeper. They’ve claimed in emails to church members that they are now ‘being persecuted’ and need ‘prayers’ for protection for the GBF Body.
Is it Biblical or just one of the manipulative antics of an abusive church? Read The Wartburg Watch article on the “9 Marks of An Abusive Church.”
“Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.“ CS Lewis-Screwtape Letters”
How can you spot an abusive church? Do you know the “red flags”? Dr. Ronald Enroth, is a leading scholar on cults and cultism, and his special perspectives have proven beneficial to both the secular and the religious society. Dr. Enroth is a professor of Sociology at Westmont College (Santa Barbara, California) where he has taught since 1965, beginning as a sociology instructor. In 1992 Enroth wrote Churches That Abuse, and it continues to be an important resource nearly two decades later.
Margaret Thaler Singer, a clinical psychologist and emeritus professor of the University of California, Berkeley, provided her hearty recommendation on the book’s jacket. Here is an excerpt:
Churches That Abuse answers these and other important questions about abusive churches and groups that operate in this country – organizations and churches that are not necessarily characterized by doctrinal deviation but have particular traits that make them behavioral and sociological outsiders. It also helps readers identify and beware of abusive tendencies in more “normal” Christian churches.”
In his classic book Dr. Enroth identifies distinctive traits of abusive churches which should serve as “red flags”. Pat Zukeran, a research associate with Probe Ministries, has written an excellent review of Churches That Abuse, and we will be sharing excerpts from his article “Abusive Churches”, along with quotes from the book, to explain some of these identifying traits or “MARKS”.
To explain this identifying mark, Zukeran writes: “Because abusive churches see themselves as elite, they expect persecution in the world and even feed on it. Criticism and exposure by the media are seen as proof that they are the true church being persecuted by Satan. However, the persecution received by abusive churches is different from the persecution received by Jesus and the Apostles.