Mike Cope's blog

Saturday, July 03, 2004

I really only meant to address the issue at Highland. Really. But then I was asked to at the Zoe Conference. Then those messages got put on the internet. Then tapes went out. . . . Anyway, my views on the role of women are pretty well known by now. I look forward to the day when we will, in our assemblies, hear young women reading scripture, listen to grandmas leading prayers, and see moms (along with dads) baptizing their children. This isn't because I've sold out to our culture. It's a case of where culture is bringing us kicking and screaming to a more biblical place--much as it did with racism. Scripture, written in a very patriarchal world, is still seeking to lead us to the upside down world of the kingdom -- a place where there is "neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus." I'm tempted to hammer out a long blog about why I believe scripture is leading us here, what I think the meaning of restrictive passages (1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim. 2) is, what the theological underpinnings are, etc. But that's not for a blog, is it? Let me just say that in the baby steps we've taken at Highland, our church is being blessed. Others may say we don't care about scripture or that we've decided to be the Abilene circus (new members have been told both of these recently by members of other churches in town). But what we've experienced is a fresh allegiance to scripture, a fresh commitment to missional living, and a fresh awareness of the way God's Holy Spirit has gifted our church. It's not been an easy move since Highland is so visible, but it's been a God-blessed one. Tomorrow, again I'll be blessed to serve communion side-by-side with my wife as people from the "south congregation" come forward for communion. I'll again have tears in my eyes as I hear her tell people, "This is the blood of Jesus given for you." I'll be blessed to hear a sister in Christ share in the scripture reading. It now seems obscene as we look back to days when worship and worship leading were restricted by color of skin. (Those who led the charge to preserve the racist system had their own texts to quote, of course. Be very careful of text-quoting exclusionists.) Someday it will be equally obscene that we let church be a boys' club for so long.


  • Mike, it's refreshing to read your words and see that Highland is growing towards freedom and unity. It's been such a blessing to be a part of the work at the Stamford church here in CT. Dale Pauls sends his greetings.

    All the best, Teresa

    By Blogger TKP, at 7/03/2004 07:26:00 AM  

  • Amen and Amen! Our church, as well, has seen some real blessings in this area. The thoughts and feelings expressed in prayers, communion devotionals, and testimonies by our sisters have moved us, inspired us, and convicted us. The atmosphere of inclusion has made several of our women and their families become more involved, and not just in the assembly.

    Sometimes visitors walk out when a women gets up to lead a prayer, read a scripture, or pass a tray. I'm not concerned for them; they've got their convictions from how they read the Word, and they feel strongly enough to at least move their feet. If they ask us, we give them directions to the more traditional CofC a few miles away, where some of our former members and lots of other loving, godly people attend.

    We don't get many seekers, but when we do, they don't seem to think that equality is offensive. I wonder why that is?

    By Blogger Tim Castle, at 7/03/2004 07:31:00 AM  

  • I agree Mike. We've made a transition out the "Sunday morning boy's club" (it took a few years) and frankly I can't believe how wonderful it has been. God has been honored so many times through active public participation by our ladies. So many gifts now being used, so much wisdom shared, such freedom. Racism is a good comparison. We also made the transition from acappella to instrumental and in that area too - for the sake of the Kingdom - it was crazy that it took us so long. Each of us has been given our place in history and I see these kinds of changes as essential to being faithful to our generation.

    By Blogger Steve McMillan, at 7/03/2004 08:13:00 AM  

  • Now you did it, Mike! As I read your comment this morning I found myself in tears of blessings - blessings of gratitutde, love, praise and worship of our LORD. I've prayed for years that our brothers would realize that the church does not belong to them - that women have a God-given right to more than just a "role" that the men allow.
    I firmly believe the Galatians 3 scripture. When we are able to accept that we are ALL "sons of God" - that through that sonship we are all co-heirs with Jesus in the eternal rewards - we in the Body of Christ are ONE, not splintered into racial, economical nor gender groups - we are ONE - how much richer will be our worship and how much more effective will be our outreach to the lost, in my opinion, at least.
    I look forward even more than usual to communion tomorrow. Bless you and may our Gracious God continue to bless Highland.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 7/03/2004 08:16:00 AM  

  • HMMMMMMM. In so many ways, I consider myself so much more open to things than I have been in the past. 5 generations of my family have been in the Church as I know it; and I've raised my godly daughters to follow that tradition. I've still got lots of thinking to do on this issue, though. I'm just not ready to make that move. I'm still not even sure of what I think of congregations that are opening this up, but I DO believe
    each body has to have that freedom. May God bless us all in our efforts to worship and serve Him. Amy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/03/2004 09:33:00 AM  

  • In ways I echo Amy's HMMMMM
    Maybe it's because as a woman, it really hasn't bothered me that women were silent in the church. In a way, I like the responsibility of leading worship to be carried by the men. Is it cultural, scriptural or just comfortable? I'm not sure. Sometimes I just don't want anyone to be uncomfortable worshiping... but I know other women who have been uncomfortable their whole lives.
    I think it is great that Highland has gone the distance and lived by the bodies convictions on this one! I applaud you all! In the mean time I think I need some time to spiritually mull this one over. For better or worse, I think I will have lots of time. Chances are my home congregation will not be ready to face this issue until long after I am!

    By Blogger SG, at 7/03/2004 10:14:00 AM  

  • There are some exciting things going on in RM rooted churches in regard to music, leadership (ministers/preachers are actually considered to be a part of the leadership team), women, etc. IMO, it would be a blessing if Church of Christ(non-instrumental)oriented schools such as ACU would embrace these churches. It is incredible the growth (spiritual and then numerical) that can happen when a church doesn't compromise the truth (imo), yet eliminates cultural barriers.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 7/03/2004 10:30:00 AM  

  • Awesome, Mike. You know I agree. I was reminded of this Wednesday night as Sheryl and I were one of the prayer teams. Ministering like that together was incredible. Afterwards, I called her up and she sang Be Still And Know to the entire congregation. It seemed stupid for me to take the microphone at that point and lead everyone so I asked her to just continue and lead the congregation. It was powerful.

    I cringe at the thought of what we have done to women. The way we discuss these things even makes my skin crawl at times. I am just grateful for those women among us who have ministered deeply and freely in spite of the regulations we sometimes place on them.

    Thank you for using my mom at Highland so much. She has grown into pastoral gifts she might never have known were there without your encouragment and love. She's always had them, but to see them be put to use corporately to bless the body has just been amazing. There are no words to describe my gratitude for that.

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 7/03/2004 11:53:00 AM  

  • I rejoice with the movement that Highland has made! I am weeping as I type this...partly from joy and partly from remembering the pain that it took for all these baby steps to occur. Many people, men and women, have put themselves out there in order for those to happen. Mike, you have been courageous and allowed the Spirit to guide your words...God be praised!

    By Blogger julie, at 7/03/2004 12:07:00 PM  

  • I believe that those of us women who can adapt to whatever environment we find ourselves in -- traditional or otherwise--are the ones who are truly free. I have never felt disenfrachised because of the customs of our more consevative brethren. What I have found is that, regardless of the rules, I could generally find a way through them or around them to be God's light and and further his kingdom. And I have never thought for a moment that I was second-best because there was a rule that kept me from preaching to a mixed audience, even though I inherited my dad's plexiglass podium when he died and can picture myself behind it.

    While I am interested to see where this emphasis of women's role will lead us, I am saddened by those who have left Highland, those who will leave Highland and those of us who have family members from out of town who will no longer worship with us at Highland when they come to visit because of matters of conscience. I am also concerned with a lopsided emphasis that says that those who stand up front and direct our services are more important than those who do not.

    Simply telling people that they can go down the street if they want a more conservative c of C may silence our exposure to elements of the oposition within our midst, but there are places where there are not churches of any kind on every street corner. In the mission field, where I spent much of my life, we did not have the luxury of division or simply going down the street. Instead, we found ways to bring Christ to our location with as few "issues" as possible. And it is really interesting to me how the field produces strong men and women who learn to work within social custom and who enjoy active ministries.

    A few random thoughts:

    I find it interesting that it was the Church in its infancy that took the gospel to the entire world. That was the church to which Paul gave the rules we are now arguing. If this is truly where the Spirit is leading us, then what will our harvest look like?

    I am concerned about the spirit of division that seems to be cropping up with women over this issue. When I have asked what I felt like were legitimate questions, I have been shot down by some rather hostile female voices. When that happens, I begin to wonder: Is this really about serving God and giving everyone an equal voice or are people simply finding ways to enforce their power over others?

    Even when woman participate fully in every aspect of worship, there will still be some women who will be considered more equal than others, just as there are men who fit into that category now.

    One thing I do believe is that our elders do care that every member be equipped and supported in his or her God- given ministry. I felt that long before the women's role was ever studied. I also know that my husband has found a group of men who have supported him in his spiritual growth. So I know that the community of believers who meet at Highland are about more than an issue, and I pray that it will continue to be this way.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/03/2004 02:53:00 PM  

  • Wish we could be there, Mike. It seems like every time Highland does communion like that, we happen to be out of town. We're starting to suspect a conspiracy. Maybe we'll just have to stay in Abilene more often!

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 7/03/2004 02:56:00 PM  

  • Serena, you and I are friends and have many connections and this is not meant to contradict what you have said...only to help everyone see both sides. I know that there were times when I reacted with anger at some statements and I know that at times it would've been better to answer more rationally but many times it was a knee-jerk response. The hostility doesn't just come from women who are asking for equality...it comes for our more conservative voices also...many feel shot at on both sides of the issue and both sides feel very strongly about their positions. Everyone knows where I stand on all of this but I was just trying to show that the hostility is not one-sided. I don't know the answers to this problem...only have seen the reality of it.
    grace to all of you, Julie

    By Blogger julie, at 7/03/2004 06:33:00 PM  

  • I am one of the 'senior citizen' membership group, at Highland, therefore I must be a tradionalist. But, in my house this very day I would not dare make any kind of comparison between racism and women's leadership activities, whether it's church related or not. If that's the best you can do, leave the comparison out, and do it because it's the right thing to do.

    I am far more concerned about our attitude toward each other as we go forward. Some of the changes we are anxious to see happen cause more problems than they should, because we really don't know how to make them happen. We are still locked into such a structured way of doing things, any and all changes have to fit the structure.

    Example: The communion service, such as I think is planned tomorrow, where couples serve and all members go to the front to be served. Great idea, lots of love to be shared. But because it has to be in the auditorium, during the worship service, before the closing prayer, etc.,etc., we force it to fit into walkways hardly wide enought for two people (without children) to move. To some and especially visitors it looks like they have been invited to Luby's.

    We want women to participate in a leadership role in the worship service, but we don't offer them any opportunities to do anything other that what the MEN have been doing years. Do use suppose that if given the opportunity, women might just show us ways to express God's love, beyond announcements, prayer, singing, and the other manly activities.

    I'm not a traditionalist. But let's keep the cart and horse in order.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/03/2004 07:03:00 PM  

  • Yes, Julie, I know where you stand on this issue. I knew where you stood before I embraced you again as my friend.

    I am still seeking answers. And I still want you to like me, even though we may not be at the same point.

    When I started asking questions, I was honestly wanting to know the feelings and the hearts of these women. Julie, your feelings are important to me and I want to know more about your journey, for you to feel safe with me and I want to feel safe with you.

    I really hesitated and prayed very hard before posting my comment and even considered posting it anonymously, but I took the risk of coming out of the closet and thought that if I have to hide who I am before I can be welcomed, then I have not been accepted after all.

    When Mike and Diane join other couples tomorrow in serving the emblems, it is not in the traditional way that communion is done in many churches, so I am not offended by the new practice that has been developed. I find it very personal and even Spirit led. Last Sunday when scripture was read in a chorus that had one female voice and 2 male, it flowed beautifully. It felt okay, though perhaps I am being slowly boiled at this point.

    If it helps you at all, Jim is 100% for women participating in every aspect of worship, at least last time I checked, and my sister-in-law is an ordained minister. Neither of us has rejected the other based on our stand on women's issues. The point is that I need to love those that disagree with me enough to hear what they have to say and hopefully, they will return the favor. Unity is not always about being on the same page, but remembering that we are all in the same book -- the Book of Life, that is.

    I do love you, Julie, and I am glad we connected again after all these years.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/03/2004 07:33:00 PM  

  • Serena, I, too, want to stay connected. We are different places on this issue and that is okay. I don't feel any animosity towards you because of your comments. I am glad that you were forthright and bold enough to share with all of us. That has been my biggest complaint through all the changes that the church has been undergoing in the last ten years...not enough honest communication. If we can hear each other and love each other through all of this...we can go places...lead by the Spirit to amazing heights. I applaud you for sharing. We will continue our renewed friendship...I know it.
    Jim, I do hear where you are coming from you. I also believe that we can't just plug women into the same old slots that men have been filling for so long. I do want to hear women's voices read scripture and pray and preside over the communion table but if they do it just as men have done it...then we aren't truly complete. I like the idea of your different communion service. I like the personalness(is that a word?) of it. I love the idea of giving communion to each other and looking into each others' eyes and saying...this is the body of Christ given for you. Go into these new experiences with open eyes and open hearts and see what God has to offer in those experiences. I know that He is moving in the Highland church...just keep talking and keep being honest with each other.
    grace to all of you, Julie

    By Blogger julie, at 7/03/2004 10:00:00 PM  

  • I'm not trying to start a debate or further the schism on this issue. This is just a hard issue for me. I'm going to beg preemptive forgiveness for what will inevitably be a longwinded ramble...

    It always hurts me when this discussion comes up because it causes so much division about what a change in the "roles" of women in the church will mean to the body of Christ -- though for the life of me I can't really see anything "manly" about announcements or singing and I don't know what it is about the speech of a woman that destroys the word of God. I understand that the discussion makes people uncomfortable -- as have (and as do) a great many things in our movement's history and ongoing development. This is still a very young church.

    From the time I was very, very young, I wanted to preach. Not having been reared in this tradition, I didn't know it was "off limits," and it seems my parents didn't either. It wasn't their first choice for my future, they preferring I pursue law or medicine or business, something "sensible," but they encouraged me anyway because it's the only thing I've ever cared about. Converting, I knew I'd have to give it up -- much like playing my flute in the assembly or hearing my surrogate "aunt" lead prayer or singing. I thought instead I'd become a professor and teach the things I'm forbidden to preach. It wasn't until later that I realized that door is fairly well sealed (at least at any "brotherhood" school) as well. I've realized that while I may some day be really "good" in my field, I could even be the best and it wouldn't be good enough to cancel the fact that I'm female; my gender negates any perceived gift.

    It may be true that one who can feel comfortable in either setting feels also more free. But I don't like the idea of having to sneak, to find a way around or through "rules" in order to serve.

    In general, I'm a rules person. Board games, sports, programming, you name it. But our God really isn't a "rules" God. That's not to say that things don't matter to him; they do. One only has to look at the history of his people to see it. But it's not the rules that matter -- it's his people and the responses of their hearts. The pharisees kept the "rules" -- impeccably. But they weren't above reproach.

    It bothers me that I could write a book and men could read it and perhaps learn from it -- and few in the brotherhood would complain. I could "preach" in my blog or even here in the comments section of another (sorry for that, by the way) and men may read it taking from it whatever they want. Words I write can be (and have been) used in sermons in worship services or mixed adult Bible classes-- but a man has to present them. I couldn't even recite directly things I'd written, the same things that are quoted because our "rules" say that a man must say them.

    I can "present" a Saturday Bible "seminar" to the same adult Christian men and women with whom I will be in church the following morning -- but would never be allowed to teach a mixed adult Sunday school class ... because it's against the "rules." It bothers me a lot because it's a game of semantics. Either it's allowed or it's not; drawing false boundaries around things we've largely invented (Sunday school, Bible class, "leading" prayer, "leading" singing, etc.) is an inconsistency that turns my stomach.

    Despite that, I'm still studying this stuff. But I've hit questions I can't answer. If I'm not allowed to teach these things, then isn't studying them a selfish and frivolous -- and at the grad level, expensive -- pursuit? Because gaining knowledge simply in order to have it for oneself is of questionable value. Knowledge is meant to be disseminated or it never grows. And while my life would be much easier if I could let go of the desire to teach, preach and share or the compulsion to study theology, the Bible, God, I can't do it. I've tried. I've even prayed that God would take it away because apparently, being female, I'm all wrong for it and I'm tired of fighting. So is this a temptation I've just got to learn to deal with? To be "tempted" to teach or preach, to spread knowledge of God in the only ways I know how, in the ways I'm best capable?

    I hope not. Because it'd take a lot of rocks to shout the things I've got to say.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/03/2004 10:51:00 PM  

  • I should probably also have mentioned that the time of this (my previous comment's) writing is long past my reasonable bedtime and therefore it may reflect my somewhere addlebrained state.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/03/2004 10:54:00 PM  

  • MANLY ACTIVITIES? Prayer is a manly activity? Singing is manly activity? Making announcements is a manly activity?

    No wonder churches have a hard time talking about this.

    And when you go forward to take communion at your church it's like waiting in line at Luby's? From what I understand from Mike's post, you're going forward to be blessed and to receive the body and blood of Jesus, surrounded by your Christian family. That feels like Luby's?

    You've had better experiences at Luby's than I have.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/04/2004 04:48:00 AM  

  • Quiara,

    And even in your addlebrained state, you are still quite eloquent.

    I for one will continue to read what you write, Q.

    Thanks, Julie, for your affirmation of friendship.

    Love to all,

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/04/2004 05:00:00 AM  

  • I'm sure I'll respond to more than a few of these (having been at a CofC that was gender inclusive), but I'll start with the idea of people being uncomfortable in worship. I'm not sure that making people comfortable in worship should be our ultimate goal. I don't think we should make people uncomfortable every chance we get for no reason at all, but I also believe that our faith and beliefs center around being a people of sacrifice. That means none of us always get our way. That means all of us are uncomfortable sometime. I'm uncomfortable when I hear truths that shake up my status quo life, but I'm better for having heard them. I think the moves that are being made in regards to women have those truths behind them. Yes, we need to be sensitive (as I believe the leadership at Highland has been and continues to be), but not to the point that we never risk making people uncomfortable.

    By Blogger chrismith, at 7/04/2004 05:54:00 AM  

  • Four books I'd like to recommend for your reading pleasure:

    WOMEN IN THE CHURCH by Stanley Grenz

    PAUL, WOMEN, & WIVES by Craig Keener


    WOMEN IN THE CHURCH by Carroll Osburn

    Carroll was one of my major professors during my 90 hour program at Harding Graduate School of Religion. Here is a taste of his work:

    "In conclusion, my quest for a responsible biblical view of women has led me to abandon the hierarchal stance with which I began this study, and to accept egalitarian ideals concerning women in the church while avoiding the radical feminism behind much of today's ferment in society and consternation in the churches.

    "This means that the search for biblical truth is vital, that God is Father and Christ is Lord, that traditional Christian values remain supreme, that man and woman are equal in the sight of God, that the family is still central to God's plan, that there is no such thing as an 'order of creation,' that mutual submission is basic to male/female relationships and that women should have the same opportunities to develop as do men. . . .

    "This means that certain paternalist restrictions have no biblical basis. For instance, those who hold that females cannot teach young boys who are past the age of 12, or they cannot pray aloud with men in the room, or that they cannot speak in a worship assembly, etc., have absolutely no basis for such peculiar restrictions.

    "This means that women should be able to do anything of which they are capable and in which they are trained, such as, conduct personal evangelism, give greetings, make announcements, lead singing, read Scripture and write. It is imperative that women do these things, as all men should, in a spirit of helpfulness, genuineness, gentleness--in the spirit of Christ. hierarchal complementarians are correct in removing many burdensome and unnecessary patriarchal restrictions and opening these wider areas of service and opportunity to women. However, maintaining retrictions in the areas of church and home has no biblical basis.

    "This means that whatever women did in NT times, women should be able to do today. For instance, women served as deacons. Women led prayer and taught in the public worship. These do not seem right to hierarchal complementarians, but as they are plainly approved in the biblical text they should be options for women in churches today. The NT nowhere restricts the conduct of baptism or the Lord's Supper to males. Egalitarians are correct to have women serve on committees and speak publicly.

    "The NT does not speak regarding women in leadership or preaching capacities. All named evangelists in the NT are male, as are all elders. However, as there is no validity to the 'order of creation' argument, this situation should not be viewed as a 'pattern' mandatory for all times and places, but merely as reflecting the culture in which the NT events were played out. Scripture does not teach that it is sinful for a woman to preach or serve in a leadership capacity. . . . Restrictions against women in leadership or public ministry roles then, as now, are dictated by culture and custom rather than biblical necessity. In fact, there will probably be an increasing number of Christ-like women who will undertake appropriate training for various ministries, thus recovering an early nineteenth century practice.

    "Finally, though many are bothered by questions about the 'role' of women in the church, we must remember that reservations about the 'role' of women in worship and leadership are not really the main issue. Instead, the principal concern should be the recovery of the egalitarian view of women that God had in mind in the creation. This means that the recovery of the biblical ideal of women should evidence itself in all areas of life."

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/04/2004 06:19:00 AM  

  • I'd also like to recommend the book "What Paul Really Said About Women" by John Temple Bristow. It's another book that reveals how the things Paul said really elevated women above the level assumed in the culture of the day.

    By Blogger Tim Castle, at 7/04/2004 10:04:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    In reference to the last paragraph of your comment, if you said what I think you said, I wholeheartedly agree. Perhaps, when we focus on that, all of these other things will fall into place.

    But, you know, as difficult as it is to bring about a revolutionary change as great as women's roles in worship, it is even much more difficult to do as you suggested. For when you make the latter the criteria, you will find that you will not be able to check it off so easily on your "to do" list, nor will you always be able to have "measurable goals". And, it may help, as one brother suggested in his own blog, for you to speak "estrogen" or at least be able to fake it. : )

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/04/2004 03:27:00 PM  

  • I don't think I've read Grentz's book, but I've read the other and many more besides from all 4 major shades of interpretation. And the more I read, the more questions I have -- but that's pretty much my response to anything; no surprises there. Recently I've learned that I've got to put the books down sometimes and just do what I'm made to do: to serve God in whatever ways he opens to me.

    It does frustrate me. And there are things that bother me even about the movement toward a more inclusive hermeneutic. It bothers me that the 'serious' books on the subject are always the books written by men, that a book by a woman is presumed to be biased from the outset. It bothers me that ultimately, it will still be the decision of men whether women will be allowed to serve in ways previously restricted. It does bother me if I focus on that instead of what I'm supposed to be about.

    I don't hide what I believe about these things, but I try not to make them the core of my talk, person or faith. I'm supposed to bring people to God, not to my way of thinking about worship assemblies. It is an extremely important discussion and one that the larger body of the church can't ignore for much longer; it needs our attention, but it can't become our focus -- else we've just introduced an argument to fill the place of the discussion of instrumental music.

    I'm just going to continue to trust that God is in control and keep spreading that truth in whatever ways he makes possible.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/04/2004 06:02:00 PM  

  • I am an ex-member of a church of christ but I respect Highland CoC's desire to grow in relation to women's role in the church. The absolute most biblically based resource on biblical manhood and womenhood is FREE online http://www.cbmw.org/rbmw/index.php . John Piper and Wayne Grudem have done a great service to the body of Christ with this. Check it out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/04/2004 07:34:00 PM  

  • Doesn't Paul's statement that "There is . . . neither male nor female . . . for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28) take away gender as a basis for distinction of roles in the church?

    No. Most evangelicals still agree that this text is not a warrant for homosexuality. In other words, most of us do not force Paul's "neither male nor female" beyond what we know from other passages he would approve. For example, we know from Romans 1:24-32 that Paul does not mean for the created order of different male and female roles to be overthrown by Galatians 3:28.

    The context of Galatians 3:28 makes abundantly clear the sense in which men and women are equal in Christ: they are equally justified by faith (v. 24), equally free from the bondage of legalism (v. 25), equally children of God (v. 26), equally clothed with Christ (v. 27), equally possessed by Christ (v. 29), and equally heirs of the promises to Abraham (v. 29).

    This last blessing is especially significant, namely, the equality of being a fellow-heir with men of the promises. In 1 Peter 3:1-7, the blessing of being joint heirs "of the gracious gift of life" is connected with the exhortation for women to submit to their husbands (v. 1) and for their husbands to treat their wives "with respect as the weaker partner." In other words, Peter saw no conflict between the neither-male-nor-female principle regarding our inheritance and the headship-submission principle regarding our roles. Galatians 3:28 does not abolish gender-based roles established by God and redeemed by Christ. -John Piper/Wayne Grudem

    For 49 other Q&A like this see: http://www.cbmw.org/questions

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/04/2004 07:51:00 PM  

  • Anonymous,

    I agree whole-heartedly on 'Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism'. The best most biblical balanced resource. The questions section is great (http://www.cbmw.org/questions)

    By Blogger wes, at 7/04/2004 07:59:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/04/2004 08:07:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/04/2004 08:13:00 PM  

  • Arghh. These anonymous comments are wearing me out. I love for people to be able to say what they believe -- it seems to me that we're creating an environment where it's all right to disagree -- but I sure wish people could let us know who they are. Please know, dear readers, that I think the Piper/Grudem resource is going a way that is theologically shallow and biblically inept. While warning about being culturally-conditioned, it is extremely culturally conditioned (by patriarchalism). However . . . I'm all for offering people the resources and asking them to study for themselves. This is a disagreement I have with these brothers about this issue. It doesn't mean I question their allegiance to Christ or the depth of their discipleship. In this issue, we would seek to experience unity in diversity!

    So, what do you think? Change my settings to where only registered users are allowed to comment?

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/04/2004 09:29:00 PM  

  • By the way, Mike -- should you ever decide to hammer out that long post re: your view on the restrictive passages, whether for blogging or not, I'd be more than interested to read it. Sometimes the "sides" of the discussion seem to be talking at one another rather than attempting to engage in any sort of meaningful dialogue.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/04/2004 10:17:00 PM  

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    By Blogger SG, at 7/04/2004 10:17:00 PM  

  • ARGGG those trash cans!
    I vote...are you taking a vote?..yes change to only registered comments. I like to know who I'm talking to. Actually you are the one I always quote as saying, " I love anonymous letters, the writer didn't feel they had to sign it, and I don't feel as if I have to read it."
    BUT I also don't like preaching to the chior, so to speak. I think you will get more real questions from people who would not approach you any other way. But it's your blog...
    Overstating the odvious has always been a talent of mine!

    By Blogger SG, at 7/04/2004 10:21:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    I have appreciated the fact that you have facilitated a forum where we can share with each other without fear. The anonymous posts don't bother me if they are sharing information, but I do regard them as cheap shots when they resort to berating someone else's view point. But it is your blog and your call.

    If you require "I D" would that ensure your knowing the identity of that person, or would you be stuck with psuedonyms and phoney initials?

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/04/2004 10:51:00 PM  

  • Mike, I highly recommend changing your comment settings to "registered users only". It's simple to register -- even if you don't care to start a blog -- and it encourages integrity, I think.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 7/05/2004 05:14:00 AM  

  • Mike, I agree with Matt re. "registered users" only. Even though one may decide to use a non-identifiable nic, one's style soon gives "knowing who you're talking to" status even with usernames rather than real life names.

    AND, btw - the corporate worship yesterday was so Spirit-led. I do pray that as more often we place the LORD's Table as the center of our worship time together, some of the hurtful misinformation will be erased, such as, "you cannot partake if you haven't confessed your sins" - that the communion has to do with YOUR status in the LORD rather than His place of honor in our lives - that it is a time of focus on the unbelievable sacrifice of God, the Son on a cross, who died to wipe out ALL my sins, that He has demonstrated, given the perfect model of how we are to obey His "new commandement" - how to love one another.

    One more thought, as I sorta hijack your theme here, there was a special blessing for me personally yesterday. Our beloved Ryan, who will be leaving us shortly, came to me just before we began with a cryptic word "I'm so glad you're seated here. You'll see why later." Where I was seated meant Ryan would be the one to give me the "This is the Blood of Christ" blessing, accompanied by such loving hugs. What a sweet, gentle hearted young man! Thank you LORD, for him and his love for all of us!!

    My interparenthesis is closed now. LOL - back to women's full participation in worship of our LORD. :)

    By Blogger Kathy, at 7/05/2004 06:21:00 AM  

  • So, Matt, I'm surprised to hear you say that. Are you really ready to invest another month of your time holding my hand and walking a 47 year old through the process of making a change this drastic? Think, brother, think! How many times did you have to explain to me how to even get comments turned on in the first place? Someday maybe I'll try to set up my own website. Then you'll have to quit your job and devote fulltime to explaining to me how to do it. . . . Thanks. And SG, I loved your memory of my love for anonymous letters. People get something off their chest, and it doesn't bother me (since I don't read them). Serena and Julie -- you have modeled in these comments how people can disagree on this volatile issue while still walking hand-in-hand as friends (though if you sat down for a couple hours over a tall mocha, you would likely be closer than it may sound to some readers). Serena, you'll have to help me on how to add more estrogen to my language. I'm estrogen-challenged. (I look back at this little post and wonder if "get something off their chest" is a guy phrase.)

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/05/2004 06:59:00 AM  

  • WOW! What a completely rushing, inspiring place I have found to really hear and speak about such issues that impact our c of C nation! As a child who grew up in a "conservative" church, and who likes to push boundaries, I have often found it so difficult to sit and listen and (feel as if I'm) not be able to question the why's, where's, and how's of women's roles in worship, studying, prayer and ministry.
    For instance, last night we had a song service where only 3 men participated in leading (there were probably 75 people in attedance). Two of the men were elders and one was a deacon. After a couple of rotations, they asked if anyone (not any man) would like to come up to lead more songs. I wondered what kind of reaction I would have gotten if I had stood and started. One of the elders wives (who has a wonderful alto voice) "helped" him keep temp and on key while he lead songs. She even jumped to a soprano voice in a few difficult keys. What would the difference have been if she had simply stood beside him and lead as a team, or alone? I think it would have been beautiful!
    Antoher thing that blew my mind was the singing of "On Bended Knee I Come". Not one person moved, took a knee or raised holy hands. My question is, if your going to sing that, feel it and feel moved to worship, why do we all just sit and follow along w/ the tempo? I was moved and felt the Spirit of God and His presence, I just wish that the context was one where I could openly share in that moment, and any other.
    This particular chuch is "conservative in nature and progressive in reaching others". That's taken straight from the web site. AKA ~ we have a screen w/ pictures and songs, power point sermon notes and announcements on Sunday mornings, we also have a softball team (w/ 12 men as the players). And there is a female sumer intern.
    I'm not dogging the church where I am a member. All I'm doing is pointing out places where, as a woman, I can see to encourage other women to minister. I understand that it's an envelope push, maybe a double or triple stamp envelope. But it is SO comforting to know that other people can empathize with me and even offer suggestions.
    Please, empathize and offer!
    Thank you Mr. Cope ~ truly inspiring!!!!

    By Blogger Mae, at 7/05/2004 09:53:00 AM  

  • Brother Cope,

    I have been following this blog (even though a newbie to blogs, just see mine....don't laugh) for the last few days and would like more on your comment of John Piper's resource being 'theologically shallow and biblical inept'. I tried to rebuttal this resource but failed, hermeneutically speaking.

    Also, acording to other blogs that I have read you seem to know George Eldon Ladd's, 'The Presence of the Future', in your 'Already but/NOT YET'quote, for Ladd came up with it this idea of already but not yet. However, I see you reject the 'patriarchalism' of Pipers resource and of the Bible, I guess? So, do evangelical feminist. Is the 'Kingdom' of God a democracy? Is the man the 'head' of his wife or are they both 'heads'? Is Christ the 'head' of his church? One cannot escape the Bible (OT and NT) and its use of kingdom terminology however we (American-baby boomer, authority hating, peace-relationally focused)would love to escape it. I count myself in that mix. A christian should not try to conform the Bible to his way of thinking but let the Bible conform his thinking, right? Jesus never condemns the desire to be great/authority in the Bible. He condems the wrong sinful means to this greatness/authority. Phillpians 2 shows how Jesus did this. The way to authority is through humility and death. Therefore, Jesus, the most humble and meek man there ever was, deserves the highest authority and He is given the name 'above' every name.

    In my opinion, the illegitmate child of evangelical feminism was not created from the 'world'. Feminism was created by christian men who through sinful means, sought authority/greatness and headship by ruling with iron instead of blood. And an idol was created.

    A failure has occurred in forgetting what masculine piety even looks like. When it occasionally appears among us, we are entirely flumoxed by it. But God gave the pattern of feminine piety to complement, not to rule. Headship has been given to men. When such headship is challenged, everything is out of joint, and nothing but repentance can put things right.

    For Christs fame,


    By Blogger wes, at 7/06/2004 08:42:00 AM  

  • Wes,

    Dr. Osburn's book actually does a pretty good job of refuting several things in the Piper/Grudem text. I agree wholeheartedly with Mike's assessment.

    I'm afraid too many see "evangelical feminism" (I'm not fond of that label) through the lens of works like that of Catherine Clark Kroeger, which as far as I can tell is a hermeneutical disaster.

    I realize that perhaps the slavery parallel has been somewhat overdone. However, responding to your comment claiming that evangelical feminism erupted out of situations in which men were abusing their God-given authority over women, in the same way abolition erupted out of situations in which masters were abusing their positions of authority (which many felt to be God-given authority) over their slaves. But I do no know many who would today argue that the end of slavery -- while never mentioned in the Bible, contrary to the practice in the days of the Bible, and relatively foreign to the world of the Bible -- is a bad thing.

    Maybe it's just my unchaning dislike of mental dissonance, but it seems like the church's current stance on equality is entirely too like Orwell's assertion in Animal Farm: All animals are equal; some are just more equal than others.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/06/2004 10:49:00 AM  

  • Q,

    Slavery/Feminism are alike in that they are both the children of sin. What specific sin, who knows. Repentance is the answer. Jesus provides the forgiveness.

    Back to the women/men in the church issue. Women minister, no one disagrees with that (My mother, a woman helped bring me into faith in Jesus). Why all this 'concern' about women in ministry? Where are the men, full of the masculine virtues of courage, initiative, responsibility, and strength? In all denominations the ratio of men to women is constantly dropping (see 'The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity' Podles)Why is this? Are women more spiritual?

    No its more like a 'girls club' with a couple male-mangagers.

    In my opinion, Dr. Osburn still did not satisfy the Piper/Grudem commentary on I Timothy 2:11-15 "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety" . But here is the catch: the words are plain only to those who are willing for them to be plain. For those reckoned among the unwilling, the passage is full of mysteries. Why does Paul bring up Adam and Eve in this passage? Adam was formed first.....huh? Why refer this to authority?

    Because woman is the glory of man, a wife should go to the local congregation with a covering of hair, a humble woman's glory. And why is this? "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man" (1 Cor. 11:8-9). It may fill all us moderns with regret, but such teaching cannot in any way be reconciled with evangelical feminism of any kind. But for those in the Church who want to conduct some kind of dialogue with feminism, the words present an exegetical obstacle course. How can we keep this wording, and thus remain evangelical, and at the same time get around what it says, and thus be theologically trendy ?

    I see no problem with these passages, today, in light of Jesus' command to die for one another (especially men). In the past I did have a problem with these passages, mostly due to the bitterness and anger I felt toward so called 'christian men' abusing there wives.

    Thanks, for your comments, Q.


    By Blogger wes, at 7/06/2004 02:23:00 PM  

  • I appreciate, too, your comments, Wes. But if 1 Timothy 2 is entirely plain, I have to wonder why v. 15 is still so widely debated -- even in 'conservative' circles.

    I also have to wonder where you (and Podles, for that matter; I'm not unfamiliar with the book) get the idea that the virtues of courage, initiative, responsibility and strength are "masculine". This seems to me as patently absurd as deciding that potatoes are masculine and therefore food for men while carrots are feminine and therefore proper for women -- as well as more than a little insulting. Not to mention that that concept is ethnocentric, being a culturally determined designation and far from universal.

    Beyond that, I'm sorry but I can't usefully discuss this further with you at this point; it seems we disagree irreconcilably on what either "good" scholarship or "good" exegesis is. I'm unwilling for this to become a further point of division and hope that we can agree to disagree. Perhaps in our continued study we'll both arrive at a better future concord. Either way, I hope we'll both continue to seek the will of God and to rightly divide his word.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/06/2004 03:28:00 PM  

  • Wow!! Wait til my mom reads this stuff!! Great discussions!

    As for allowing only registered users, I post anonymously simply because it is too much trouble to register, and when I have tried that, i get taken to pop-ups that don't take me anywhere else. I get frustrated with my low-tech capabilities, and just post the easiest way. I'm not trying to hide, though I know some posters could very easily be doing that.

    As for the women's roles, lots of good food for thought here. My own congregation (Downtown in Searcy) is taking "baby steps", and the walls haven't fallen. I like the post earlier regarding worship not being about our own comfort, and I have been stretched on other issues, so I like thinking about this one, as well.

    I sense it here on this blog, but want all to realize that disagreements on this issue are mostly out of a real desire on everyone's part to do the right thing. I don't think people who are uncomfortable with this are doing it for power or prestige preservation, but out of a real concern for what they perceive to be the instruction of scripture.

    don eudaly

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/07/2004 07:46:00 AM  

  • Hello, friends. Sorry I haven't responded to questions out there. I'm on "study break" by day and am still coaching all-stars every evening. (We played Friday, Sunday, Monday, and last night. We also play this evening--and basically keep playing every evening until we lose.)

    I have nothing new to add that isn't covered in the on-line messages I already linked or in the four books I mentioned. The best analysis I know of 1 Tim. 2 has been done by Gordon Fee.

    One could hardly call Fee an "evangelical feminist." I hardly see how this is about feminism. It's one of those labels that just scares people. This is about trying to be faithful to Jesus Christ. I don't think we're necessarily being faithful to Christ by refusing to help a 59-year-old widow even though 1 Tim 5 explicity says: "Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old . . . ." Fee helps us understand why Paul, given the situation he was addressing, might put that restriction on for that time in that place.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/07/2004 08:30:00 AM  

  • One more thing before I jump back into my studies -- I again want to commend everyone for healthy disagreements. Our country is plagued by uncivil discourse right now from the right and the left. It is the "Rush Factor" or the "Michael Moore factor" or the "Howard Stern Factor," etc.

    None of us are coming to the text without bias. That's the "fair and balanced" illusion. But we are, I trust, coming as Christ-hungry seekers. It isn't about who's liberal and who's conservative.

    I didn't come to my positions easily. I came kicking and screaming. My understanding of scripture forced me there.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/07/2004 08:33:00 AM  

  • I absolutely love this! But then again I prefer tension to stillness.

    The elephant in the corner in this discussion - not just the one on this blog but universally - is the general distrust each side often feels toward the other. Those who favor gender equality typically think those on the other side are products of centuries of chauvinism and misogyny; those who believe in male authority tend to think the other side is merely caving to societal pressure.

    The fun really begins when each side points to passages each thinks is irrefutable.

    Male chauvinist infidels: "It's right here in black and white - 'I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man!'"

    Radical feminist heretics: "I'm sorry. Can you show me again. I was blinded by the glare from your wife's gold earrings."

    We might advance this discussion more constructively if we stop assuming the other side has a hidden agenda and remember our opponent in this debate is our teammate in Christ.

    This disagreement further proves how brilliant God's mandate for unity among his people really is. It is completely antithetical to human nature and can't happen in Christ's church unless each of us sublimates self.

    Did I mention how much I love this?

    By Blogger Grant, at 7/07/2004 08:50:00 AM  

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    By Blogger wes, at 7/07/2004 09:39:00 AM  

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    By Blogger wes, at 7/07/2004 10:14:00 AM  

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    By Blogger wes, at 7/07/2004 10:25:00 AM  

  • Wes,

    I really do appreciate your position on this matter. And you seem to assume I stand far left to where I actually do. It just seemed to me that our beginning very different points hermeneutically might impede useful conversation. I'm still convinced of this, but I'll attempt to respond if you like.

    First, I think Grant was being ironic. You're likely no more a chauvinist than I am a feminist heretic. But I did want to address the fact that your previous post had an unequal pairing. In the discussion of slavery, oppression, abolition and 'feminism,' you paired slavery with feminism. The correct pairing would have been slavery/oppression, abolition/feminism - the former being the sins, the latter being the response to those sins.

    I'm going to rearrange your comments into groups so that I can address like topics together, so this may not be a straight ABCD answer. First, yes I am aware of Podles book, though I don't remember having said he was c of C. However your list of "manly virtues" is very in line with the tenets he presents. I saw no reason not to lump them together -- as did you yourself. As far as looking beyond the c's of C, I'm pretty familiar with other families of faith -- having been reared in a primarily Baptist tradtion with a fairly ecclectic exposure to the different denominations and having studied them prior to conversion. One cannot simply lump all non-c of C'ers into some big category and call them "denominations." They are entirely too diverse having both more lax and stricter views on the 'role' of women than do the churches of Christ, even if only limiting the discussion to the 'evangelicals.'I think that relegating this discussion to the tired old example of the slippery slope, however, is a cop out.

    I'm glad you will never expect the women of your family to fight. It seems that as sentient human beings this is a decision they should be able to make for themselves. As our government has no law against it and the Bible does not prohibit it, I see no reason why they shouldn't should they feel the responsibility to do so. Personally, I'm grateful for all the men and women who've fought for our country thus far. But I'm not entirely sure what military duty has to do with our style and practice of worship in the church.

    As to men loving their wives via self-sacrifice -- great. Yes, that's what Ephesians teaches us and that husband and wife submit to one another out of love for Christ and for each other. Still not entirely sure what you're disagreeing with here as I've got not qualms about that. I don't know that 'loving your wife as Christ loved the church' really has anything to do with who may or may not sign up for military duty. Seems to mean instead rather exactly what it says: love her deeply, more than your own life.

    The assumption (and it is an assumption) that Paul's mention of "creation order" (another assumption) in order to show authority is a premise few bother to question. Kind of like slogans, y'know? People keep repeating them and have no idea how they developed or why or even what they mean anymore -- and no one bothers to question them either. I find our hermeneutic somewhat like that at times, actually; ironic in that we claim to be 'back-to-the-Bible' people rather than those 'denominationalists' who perpetuate tradition. First, one would have to convince me that there is indeed a creation order rather than the backward interpolation on the text that many assume. I haven't yet found it convincing. Secondly, it requires we read into Paul's statement more than he said.

    And yes, as you say, 1 Timothy 2:15 is debated and will continue to be debated -- as will the verses immediately preceding it and several passages that follow. I don't understand why 1 Timothy 2:15 gets special status if the passage is so plain. If it's reasonable that we don't quite understand v. 15, isn't it also reasonable to think we may not understand the verses which form part of the coherent thought of the passage? Obviously we are missing something somewhere.

    And yes, I've managed to develop my own views and opinions over the years. Since I am 24, I think I'm required to believe that I know everything, aren't I? No, I rarely "settle" for holding any views someone simply hands me. If I did, I would still be a part of the church of my parents which they handed to me in a nice, pre-wrapped package.

    I don't have a clue what you intend to imply by "the demand to let pretty women lead us" and I think that saying the men who lead today are "pretty men" -- which you use derogatorily, it seems - is an insult. I know a great many men of the faith who I would hardly call "effeminate." The idea that the church is "a 'girls club' with a couple male-mangagers" (sic) is ironic, particularly in a tradition which relies heavily on male leadership. Perhaps there are not many men because men are preferring culture to God. The self-sacrifice to which they are called and the command to be at peace with all men -- well, that's not very "manly," now is it? Aren't the men supposed to fight and to be right, duking it out with any who differ? Or am I making broad, unsubstantiated statements regarding gender?

    I think, too, that your comments go well beyond satire and into the realm of sarcasm -- which, you may know, litterally means to rend the flesh. I don't know if you intended for your comment to be provoking and/or bombastic, but that's certainly how I read parts. Maybe it was estrogen interference; the world may never know. The potatoes/carrot analogy was never aimed at you; it was rather a response to what I felt to was a faulty line of logic. I try not to resort to ad hominem attacks.

    I wish you all the best and hope you will continue to study as will I. If you would like to continue discussing this, feel free to e-mail me. I feel badly about taking up so much space in the comments.

    Also, logging in should allow you to erase the repeat posting of your previous points.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 10:55:00 AM  

  • Mike, if you figure out how to erase his first comment (as he requested), could you also kindly erase the second one? Geeez. Egalitarianism the first step toward liberalism? (Oh yes -- like other well-known liberals: Gordon Fee, Bill Hybels, John Ortberg, etc.) Isn't liberalism an unwillingness to take seriously the authority of the Bible? Isn't this about trying to exegete texts? Aren't both sides, in that sense, "conservative"? And the stuff about pretty men in the pulpits? You may be speaking for your own church--but don't project on others.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/07/2004 10:58:00 AM  

  • I'm not certain my response posted, but since the system seems to be quirky lately and the response happens to be long, I'm going to wait and see.

    Aside from that, though, I do appreciate the ability to share diverse points of view on even a potentially explosive issue in what has become a sort of 'safe place.'

    I've become pretty fond of the commenters who've flocked to these comments. It's interesting getting to 'know' everyone.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 11:16:00 AM  

  • Anonoymous,

    Like I said, when the gun is aimed in your direction all sorts of interesting things come out....avoiding is much easier is'nt (anonoymous)?

    Sorry if my satire is too Juvenalian/hard...unchristian. I'm still learning not to call people vipers or white sepulchers or 'you who strain minnows out of your coffee while missing the hippo', like Jesus did.

    By Blogger wes, at 7/07/2004 11:24:00 AM  

  • Wes,

    Jesus had hard words, but he said them from the standpoint of perfection and an intimate knowledge of the hearts of those whom he addressed. I'm not sure I'll ever be in position to respond with his words -- so often they're completely applicable to me.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 11:34:00 AM  

  • I do my best, Wes. I am also not qualified to die for the sins of another.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 11:41:00 AM  

  • Q,


    If you can't say 'hard' things because Jesus was perfect . What makes one able to 'love' like Jesus. Because Jesus' love was perfect? Right?


    By Blogger wes, at 7/07/2004 11:44:00 AM  

  • And too, the commandment (and it is a commandment) for me to love as did Christ has to do with my heart. It doesn't require any discernment of the character or heart of another for me to love them. But I try to be careful when I judge to be sure it is a 'right judgment' because I'll be judged by the same standard.

    I wasn't commanded to call people vipers.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 11:48:00 AM  

  • Wonderful spirit, Q.

    I concur, Wes, that if you are speaking in kindness and with full Christian acceptance, you need to be clearer about it. I have known too many people who always try to bow out by claiming "satire."

    For example, when you speak of the "pretty men"--what are you implying? The effiminate nature of ministers (or at least the ones you're familiar with)? And when you apologize and then say you just haven't learned to ignore Jesus' habit of calling people vipers and tombs, are you saying that you really think you should? If so, then be sure you have Jesus' kind of insight. And be sure that it's directed toward someone who (like those address in Mt 23) are Pharisees--who don't practice what they preach--rather than those who are serious Christ-followers but who may disagree with you on this issue.

    Now . . . on to the bigger topic. I'm concerned about the pride and arrogance of fundamentalism. My way is right! The way I vote is right--and all true Christians vote that way! The way we do family is right--and all true Christians do it that way! The way I interpret passages is right--and all faithful believers do it that way!

    There is pride in being the "only true church of Christ." Pride in being "free in worship" or "alive with praise and worship." Pride in being "open to the Spirit" or in being "a praying church" or "the friendliest church in town." Pride in being intolerant. (When I hear churches that take pride in their Christian intolerance--even if disguised with some cute slogan--and when they wear it as kind of a badge of being part of the faithful remnant for God, I want to scream RUN, FORREST, RUN!)

    Fundamentalists don't have this corner marketed, by the way. That's just the topic I'm addressing.

    Thanks, Grant, for your clarifying words about how we can better discuss this ticklish issue.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/07/2004 11:51:00 AM  

  • Personally, I'm thinking of having a t-shirt made that says "Radical Feminist Heretic." It should probably be pink camo.

    I'm glad the labels we try to force on ourselves and others refuse to fit.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 12:59:00 PM  

  • As long as it's not expensive (I Tim. 2:9)...

    By Blogger Grant, at 7/07/2004 01:49:00 PM  

  • So I'll have to get the long-sleeved version instead of the tank top and leave off the pearl edging? Dangit.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 02:00:00 PM  

  • Tell you what - if the shirt is long-sleeved, you can keep the pearl edging. You are, after all, a "part-time heretic"...

    By Blogger Grant, at 7/07/2004 02:22:00 PM  

  • Sheesh. Out me right here in front of God an everybody, why don't you? (I've got to remember to take that link off my blog or people will find out I just recycle stuff from here to there...)

    Part-time heretic is a self-appellation and a sort of compromise with an elder at my first home church. He first dubbed me heretic two years ago. He meant it with love, of course. Still, I refused to jump full-time into heresy and took it up part-time on a trial basis.

    Either that or I just wanted the e-mail address. ^_~

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 02:33:00 PM  

  • (Well, Cox Cable ACUs IP went down or I would of posted this sooner. 2:50PM)

    My target, Mr. Cope is ‘modern evangelicalism’ not you the others. I realize this is a big idol across many denominations. An idol nonetheless needs one thing…. to be smashed and this is not done but loving it out of them. Demons needs to be cast out. Sorry to offend you with the “pretty men” modern evangelicalism (analogy-‘satire’). Should we call people dogs or vipers who we believe to be preaching a false truth? Was this satire? Guess not, to many here. Look at church history, did others? In Galatians 1:8,9 calls the false teachers/angels to be damned to hell. I merely am against non-initiative, non-confronting, men becoming more like women, lets-get-along-attitudes in men, when their hearts are full of corruption. Again, I include me. If you knew me beyond blogdom you would know. See ‘Wild At Heart’ by John Eldredge.

    You, I am assuming from your last post non-directy, accuse me of being, a fundamentalist, prideful, arrogant, exclusive , escaping with ‘satire-talk’ and Grant said also non-directy that I was a male- chauvinist.. Who is judgmental, lol? I do not disagree ….my enemy tells me this, too. Did Jesus defend himself though not-guilty? I am not Jesus and I am mixed with guilt. However, my judge is my advocate.

    The truth of the cross is not futile. The cross bids a man to come and die. Jesus then gives new life. Every time and everyday. What a joy! And the older I get the more I cherish running to that old rugged cross. Jesus gets more glory in my being satisfied only in Him, again and again. See, ‘Desiring God’ by John Piper and the Bible.

    A wise friend just emailed me after reading this blog:

    "W ,I don’t think you go to far at all. It is just that it can be extremely difficult to communicate your heart in a few posts with people that have no clue who you are. Usually in a post-system like a blog people interact with words and logic and sentence structure. Despite everybody’s cordial comments about not wanting to offend and everybody’s hope to “agree to disagree”, the entire interaction is usually not with real people. It is interaction with ideas and words. This can be good; just not complete. Your heart wasn’t meant to be boiled down to a few words (I don’t think). Your heart was meant to be a wellspring of life for Jesus’ glory. So in a blog system, your heart (and soul and mind and strength) only gets partial expression and it is only partially understood. Therefore, there is never really any true understanding."

    Wow! And this from a 22 yr old. Raise up more wisemen (women are included).

    May Scripture always be a sweet and authoritative revelation of Jesus to us. May we always be drawn by hunger more than intellect.

    Enjoy Jesus –

    Farewell…email if you want.

    By Blogger wes, at 7/07/2004 02:38:00 PM  

  • "Who is judgmental? lol."

    Get rid of the martyr complex. Grant wasn't speaking to you -- he doesn't know you. Just knows your age and where you go to church (which you posted). He was just talking about how an issue like this usually gets positioned: the "left" assumes the right are women-haters and the "right" assumes the left no longer cares about Jesus and scripture. And I wasn't speaking to you -- just my larger concern with a creeping pride in intolerance that makes civil (or Christian) discussion possible.

    Is there a time when men (and women) have to be "tough"? Absolutely! But that's very different from this odius pride in intolerance that makes us feel like we're saving the faith from all the infidels and liberals (a label we apply even to people who using any reasonable historal definition are actually quite conservative). When this happens, churches talk about the need for unity while really whittling down the "faithful" to fewer and fewer. Something less than the gospel becomes the rallying point.

    People who disagree on how to exegete and interpret passages like 1 Cor 11, Gal 3, 1 Cor 14, and 1 Tim 2 can fully embrace one another in Christ. They'll probably drive each other nuts at times, but they'll learn to trust the faith of the other.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/07/2004 03:30:00 PM  

  • And that, my friends, was my last post on this original blog comment. :)

    Now back to the more significant things I deal with like guacamole and baseball.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/07/2004 03:35:00 PM  

  • With all Christian love and only out of my concern for you as a brother in Christ, I still hope to rid you of this heretical fondness for guacamole.

    Plus, the stuff just LOOKS gross.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 04:10:00 PM  

  • Wes, I didn't say - directly or indirectly - you were a male chauvinist. I said you were a male chauvinist INFIDEL. Just kidding, lol!!!

    Seriously, what your friend e-mailed you merits repeating. This medium can't convey accurately emotion and things like facial expressions (except for the sideways smile :)) The second parenthesis there makes it look like the guy has a double chin. I hope our heavy-set brethren and sistren aren't offended. May you continue to live large for the Lord!!!

    Stop interrupting me. The point is, this conversation began cordially and got surly somewhere. Probably because we don't like people disagreeing with us, no matter how much we think we enjoy "honest dialogue."

    I, for one, would like to think I put more effort into sharing Christ with someone who doesn't know Him than into what I'm going to say next on this blog. This is one way we as the body of Christ get distracted from our ultimate mission - the saved squabbling instead of serving our neighbors.

    By Blogger Grant, at 7/07/2004 04:59:00 PM  

  • Go to the Zoo for the afternoon and look what you miss!
    Grant- you truly have a gift. I lol everytime I read a comment from you!
    Q- true to your gifts as well. Your wisdom just amazes me. Are you sure you aren't a 60 year old preacher posting on belalf of your grand daughter?
    Wes- I think your friend was right. This is a hard issue for our "little tribe" as Mike calls it. It's hard to get the full scale of one's beliefs in these posts, BUT WHAT BETTER WAY and place to discuss this!? If I get flustered I cry and can't talk but I can type. AND HERE we can always use those little trash cans to take something back...wish we had those in the real world.
    I would love to meet this group at Starbucks someday, or maybe B&N.
    Mike...I thought you were resting and non-blogging! Go rest man! Rest and study. We don't want a prickley preacher!
    I really do love this blog thing. Thanks to all of you for stretching my mind!

    By Blogger SG, at 7/07/2004 05:58:00 PM  

  • SG -- I'm just really old for my age. ^_~ CLL is most often found in men over 50 so who knows? Maybe I really am a 60 year old preacher inside. Far from wise, though, and soundly entrenched in the land of the wise guy -- where I intend to kick up a radical feminist heretic revolt. Grant and I disagree on the t-shirt thing, though, so I think I'm going to have to opt for a do-rag. That's a head covering, right? ^_~

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 06:23:00 PM  

  • SG,

    I agree. It would be fun to get this group together. But would any establishment survive us?

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/07/2004 06:28:00 PM  

  • I nominate Memphis as the congregational spot of meeting. It's a sort of midpoint between Georgia and Texas. It has nothing to do with the fact that I already live here, either. It has more to do with the fact that I don't, in fact, think that any establishment could survive this group live and in person and because of that I think Graceland is the perfect place to meet.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/07/2004 06:38:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Grant, at 7/07/2004 07:38:00 PM  

  • I just wanted to make the 74th comment.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 7/07/2004 08:16:00 PM  

  • And the 75th.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 7/07/2004 08:16:00 PM  

  • Q,

    Graceland? Maybe someone could dress up as Elvis. : )

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/07/2004 08:26:00 PM  

  • OK< now I'm really calling my shot. THIS blog entry will have more comments than all the others.

    Am I good or what?

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 7/07/2004 09:15:00 PM  

  • Joel,

    Ha, you win! But, then you have to agree that women are much more interesting than some dead guy who lived in the 1800s.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/07/2004 09:20:00 PM  

  • "I really only meant to address the issue at Highland. Really. But then I was asked to at the Zoe Conference. Then those messages got put on the internet. Then tapes went out. . . .. "

    Whether the internet posting was voluntary or involuntary, and realizing that you may (may have already been) now be bombarded with it’s ramifications, I want to say thanks. Not primarily because I agree with your views but because actual and honest discussion that has and is happening. Discussion I have enjoyed among grad school peers and professors, but that I have not experienced outside of scholasticism. Thank you for open dialogue both within the Highland community and now on the internet.

    As I read the letter to the elders you cited I read words that echo my heart and experience. Things that Q, Trav, and I have blogged elsewhere. Things tied deeply to strong emotions. Things that keep one up at night questioning the incompatibilities with my identity (such as the gifts I have been given) and the ability (or lack of) to use them in various communities of faith where one is invested.

    Thank you for the risk you take by exposure on the internet for the generations that are currently wondering such as the woman in the letter, - “I've often wondered if I will someday be held accountable for not seeking out opportunities to use my gifts even if it means becoming part of another religious body.”

    Thanks for discussion . A spirit which has been embodied by the interactions between commenters here, that discussions – even when we disagree can 1) occur and 2) happen in civil manner.

    By Blogger Jen, at 7/07/2004 11:35:00 PM  

  • Just had to go to 80.
    Q - you assumed I meant a 60 year old MALE preacher! ;>

    By Blogger SG, at 7/08/2004 07:44:00 AM  

  • SG--

    Well, I am c of C. (Heresies notwithstanding.) ^_~

    By Blogger Q, at 7/08/2004 07:49:00 AM  

  • How sad is it that I dreamed that this got to 96 comments? Just want to help it along. :)

    By Blogger Mae, at 7/08/2004 07:59:00 AM  

  • Can I have authority over a dead guy who lived in the 1800s?

    Just curious. Don't want to start any fights.

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 7/08/2004 11:31:00 AM  

  • Mae, why 96? Anyway, here is my contribution to your dream coming true.

    And Jon, I am just a couple of hours from you as I just flew in to SC today to see my grandbaby. Don't think I will make Atlanta this trip, but I thought of you.

    Q, I think I sat next to your double on the plane today. It was a pleasant trip with great conversation, so I thought of you, too! She was also 24! But she was from San Diego.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/08/2004 09:23:00 PM  

  • Well, Hi Joel! My advice would be to let the dead bury the dead.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/08/2004 09:28:00 PM  

  • Serena,
    I have no idea why it was 96. I was with several other ladies (who may be commentors on here, who knows?) and we were all chatting in a lounge (like they have in Dillard's bathrooms). Then some people walked in, we all looked at them and started talking about Mike's blog and how we were all so excited that it had gotten 96 comments.
    If I knew King David, I would get him to interpret, b/c it beats the heck out of me!

    By Blogger Mae, at 7/08/2004 10:01:00 PM  

  • Serena,

    She may have been my long-lost twin (who, to my knowledge, doesn't exist).


    But I was born in Santa Clara. ^_~ Southern by transplant only -- the grafting hasn't taken. (Maybe that's why I can't stand Elivis?)

    And Joel, I can't answer you about the 1800's dead guy but since you're male, you can have authority over his 1800's also-dead wife, I think. Retroactively. Though I think she's got the 'remain silent' thing down at this point...

    By Blogger Q, at 7/09/2004 06:52:00 AM  

  • Q - by way of assisting your dream being realized, here's my donation to the cause. :>)

    I chuckled out loud with your comment, "..Though I think she's got the 'remain silent' thing down at this point..."

    What a relief to hear I'm not the only person in the world that isn't a diehard fan of Elvis. Maybe it's MY So. California roots causing this heresy. Hmmmm? :)

    By Blogger Kathy, at 7/09/2004 08:08:00 AM  

  • Kathy --

    Wasn't my dream, but I'm certain Mae appreciates your support. My dreams are rarely about blogging... monkeys and blue people, yes. But not blogging.

    But thanks for the ratification of the Anti-Elvine sentiment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/09/2004 08:22:00 AM  

  • And I dunno why I just posted that anonymously....

    I promise I wasn't playing my own devil's advocate earlier. ^_~

    By Blogger Q, at 7/09/2004 08:27:00 AM  

  • WOW, go to California for one week and look at what I missed out on!! :) As always, I have really enjoyed reading all the comments. There is a LOT of wisdom being shared in this place, and it is a blessing to me to have my feet washed by it. Thanks to ALL of you for your insight, and more importantly your priority of speaking the truth in love. Thanks Mike for generating this wonderful study and discussion.

    Good luck with the baseball team!

    By Blogger David U, at 7/09/2004 09:56:00 AM  

  • Peter's teaching that men should live considerately with their wives as with a "weaker vessel" (1 Pet. 3:7) has contributed to more than one lively discussion between men and women. What, exactly, did he mean by that ?

    We should begin by noting that whatever Peter intended is received by Christians as the Word of God, and with no back chat. However, this is not the same thing as having to submit to interpretive distortions or misunderstandings of the passage. And there are such misunderstandings.

    The most obvious distortion to reject is that of feminist egalitarianism within the church, which wants to escape the plain force of the words. But Peter's words really leave no room for maneuvering. Husbands are told to honor their wives, and to live considerately with them, treating them as a weaker vessel. Fortunately, most believers understand that feminism and Christianity are incompatible, and have little difficulty resisting any distortion of Peter's teaching in this direction.

    But a second distortion is quite another matter, and presents a forceful temptation to conservative believers. This is the distortion that we can call masculinist egalitarianism. This view holds that men are in one category and women are in another, and that any given member of one category bears the same relationship to any given member of the other. In other words, it assumes that men are the leaders of women, and that women are weaker than men. The resultant view of society is that "men are in charge." This is true enough, but in charge of what? Men as men are in charge of nothing, and women as women are in submission to nothing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/09/2004 10:45:00 AM  

  • It strikes me as odd singling out 1 Peter 3 like that. It's part of a larger thought block on submission -- and most of it is a call to submit to things that are, from the context, less than ideal. First, he calls upon all Christians to submit to human authorities, to emperors, governors and the like (1 Pet. 2:13-16). I'm sure Peter would have been the first to admit that the Roman government was far from a godly establishment -- but in order to be above reproach, submit to it as you would if it were operating on the Lord's authority, as though it were sent by him. And in so doing, silence the ones who would speak against the Christians and the God of the Christians. It's followed with a command to love and to honor everyone in the family of believers, to honor the emperor and to fear God.

    Then he addresses slaves as part of the same unit of thought. He charges slaves to submit, whether to good masters or to bad. He spends a lot of time on the bad masters bit, so it seems like in general he's addressing people in less than perfect situations: Christians in the Roman Empire, slaves with rotten masters...

    Chapter 3 continues the same thought: "In the same way, wives..." In the same way as what? Slaves with rotten masters is the closest antecedent... And he starts out talking about wives in rotten situations -- with husbands who don't 'obey the word.'

    There's no indication Peter thought or intended these situations to last forever. Probably never crossed his mind one way or the other. He's addressing the situation he was presented with, what he has to work with now. Yes, the word of God, but to whom? It's principles are to us: in a rotten situation? Behave like Christ, don't bring shame to the family of God. But the literal application? I can't submit to an emperor I don't have. The Roman empire has ended. Slavery has (at least here) been abolished. As far as wives submitting "in the same way," we seem to be the force behind the perpetuation of that one. But Peter was addressing people in the context of their culture. We can only apply his words insofar as they address the world we find ourselves in today.

    So I'll submit to my government -- because doing otherwise would bring shame on the house of God. As to the rest... I'm afraid I need a better reason than the one(s?) you've presented.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/09/2004 12:56:00 PM  

  • Dear Mr. By Anonymous, at 7/9/2004 12:45:44 PM,

    Did your mother really name you that?

    First off let me give some props to our "weaker vessel sisters" who have enough intestinal fortitude to put their name by their views.

    Secondly, you better hope that you are in fact older than Mike (I suspect you are because of your "anonymous" nature - "anonymous" is "synonomous" with either technilogically challenged or insecure.) because of Peter's following comments:

    "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older." (1 Pet. 5.5)

    So if you are in fact younger...accept that with no back chat.

    However if you are older than Mike... then I have a suggestion: Unless YOU are greeting everyone (1 Pet. 5:14) with a kiss of love you can drop the "back chat" smack.

    Say hi to all your friends in Bithynia for me.

    PEACE be to all of you who are in Christ. (1 Pet. 5:14)

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 7/09/2004 01:24:00 PM  

  • Weakness (and 'submission' according to Q) is a curse word. I sense some passion against it. :)) Not to Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. God enjoys submission and He does it regularly. Weakness and submission in the Bible are beautiful. No suprise, submission in our modern egalitarian world is always seen as a form of losing or of being inferior in some way. But we fall into error because we no longer think in a trinitatian fashion.

    A man who has his wife under his thumb is an Arian-the heresy which subordinates Christ to the Father by declaring Him to be a created being. A man who abdicates his functional authority over his wife-one who capitulates to egalitatian feminism-is a Sabellian. This is the heresy which sees no real distinctions between the persons of the Godhead, only different names.

    A man's head is Christ, and a woman's head is a man. BUT, this headship does NOT necessiate inferiority.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/09/2004 02:37:00 PM  

  • Joel, How do you suppose I am not submissive in this blog?(Certain words really get people distracted, huh?)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/09/2004 03:03:00 PM  

  • Aah, my dream came partly true... now if we were just all in a Dillard's lounge talking about this stuff, then I would REALLY freak out!
    Mr. By Anonymous, bless your heart honey. If you don't know how to sign in and use your real name (unless of course, Joel was right and your momma named you that...poor thing) I'll tell you how. Simply post as a different user, put in all the witty comment about yourself and voila! You're not Mr. By Anonymous anymore! Simple as that. :)

    By Blogger Mae, at 7/09/2004 03:41:00 PM  

  • Mr? Ms? Anonymous:

    I merely placed your citation in its larger context.

    Submission/weakness the way it is understood by many IS a curse word (as well as a curse). I don't know many who'd deny it. My contention in the larger discussion is simply that we have in a lot of ways misunderstood and misapplied many things.

    Obviously even our restorationist roots recognized that, didn't they? They apparently thought something was wonky with the status quo. Or do the questions of centuries dead men have more validity than the questions of currently living women?

    I think the thing I dislike most about this discussion is one which Joel has already pointed out: asking the questions I do makes me obviously a leftist, feminist heretic about 30 seconds away from joining up with NOW and the ACLU for a mass Bible burning.

    I understand you hold the views you do because you have a high view of scripture. Of course, I don't know you, but that's the assumption from which I try to work. If you didn't, it's likely this topic (and this blog, for that matter) wouldn't matter much to you.

    I ask the questions I do for the same reason. I care about what it says -- and about what it doesn't say. I care about the integrity of the hermeneutic applied to the text. I care about what we proclaim as the word of God -- enough that I want to be certain we're actually proclaiming his word.

    I'm tired of receiving pre-packaged answers to real questions.

    Just a side note: linguistically, as far as English goes, submit does refer to something's inferiority. It's a voluntary and reflexive placing of oneself under -- at least in this context. Inferior is a directional term meaning "under" relative to something else -- something "superior," or placed above. It's kind of impossible for something in a state of submission to remain absent of an notion of inferiority.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/09/2004 09:52:00 PM  

  • I want a book on this topic co-authored by Mike and Q!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/10/2004 01:28:00 PM  

  • Here's my comment: congratulations on having 100 comments! I haven't ever seen that in a blog.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/11/2004 02:43:00 PM  

  • I find it hard to believe that as you say you "only meant to address the issue at Highland." How could you not foresee the can of worms you were opening? It' not exactly a new idea. That's where all the denominations came from. Everyone wanting to do it their way instead of thus sayeth the Lord.
    I agree that racism is an obscenity but then we weren't told in the scriptures that any other race should be silent. But it does say that about women. Oh but then I guess I'm being a text quoting exclusionist. Unfortunately there will be exclusion on the Day of Judgment. And people,male and female, will be judged for teaching error. In reading your blog and some of the comments I see where this decision has made so many women & men happy. Hopefully there are many Christians more interested in pleasing the Lord rather than self. I for one am very happy with my role in our services. I don't have to be the one leading the prayer in public. God hears me just fine. It's so sad that you refer to the "other churches in town". I thought we were the church, a group of congregations all serving the same purpose, serving and worshipping the Lord. What you are doing is causing division in the church. And that, Sir, is an obscenity. I can not believe that you were so totally clueless of the disruption you would cause. For the record I'm a Christian, a woman and a part of God's family. Not a Boy's club as you describe it.
    And after reading some of the comments I am saddened to realize how lightly some people take our salvation.

    By Blogger denys, at 7/15/2005 09:33:00 AM  

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