Calvin’s Corner

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172 Responses

  1. Cash says:

    Pete Rose, all-time hits leader in Major League Baseball. Of course he belongs in the HOF. Sure his character leaves a lot to be desired but so do a lot of players who are in the HOF. Heck, put an asterisk next to his name but you can’t wipe out the numbers. They are what they are. Think of all the players in the “steroid age” who will be in the Hall of Fame. Pete did it without ‘roids and no one has been equal to him since. The Hall of Fame should be about a player’s performance in the game. Period. That’s my take.

  2. Michael says:

    Phil agrees with you. 🙂

  3. Nonnie says:

    Some good stuff here!!

  4. Michael says:

    Thank you, Nonnie!

  5. Kevin H says:

    Thanks for the compliments guys. And Phil, how on earth did you get the pronunciation of my last name correct? Just about everyone who’s never heard me pronounce it thinks I’m related to Attila the Hun.

  6. Hey!

    I thought it sounded like Kuhn so I took a shot……I’m glad I got it right!

    Thanks for listening everyone!!

  7. Ps40 says:

    Excellent points Michael. Thank you. I’m convinced that the Kingdom of God is hindered by our lack of recognition for our hermeneutical lenses applied toward this issue. Once we recognize the gymnastics we have performed to cling to our pet doctrines–the whole landscape looks different. I cannot see patriarchal preferences and Kingdom power going hand in hand in this age. Ask my daughters and their 30 something friends. It is deeply offensive to many devoted women of faith. It’s even more offensive to young women considering putting their faith in Christ. I think Christ’s redemptive and restorative intention was to reverse the curse to pre-fall conditions. There was no patriarchal order pre-fall…so why cling to that particular aspect of the curse?

  8. That’s a fantastic narrative you’ve created…..no root it in Scripture 🙂

  9. that should read “now root it in Scripture”.

  10. Ps40 says:

    I would agree that it is not rooted in your approach to Scripture. But could you concede that it may be rooted in my approach to Scripture? My hermeneutical lens? Church history teaches us that there are many lenses, (approaches) and yes, this has impacted my approach to and relationship with Scripture. I no longer bet the bank that my group is the only one that has it right. There most likely will be Greek Orthodox, Catholic and even post-modern people of faith in heaven, and none of them share an identical “approach” to Scripture. So this phrase . “rooted in Scripture” is becoming increasingly difficult for me to claim. But I get where you are coming from. And I’m sure that God is at work there too. I get the literalist narrative as well. I used to hang my hat there. But it is becoming increasingly more difficult to embrace, the more I dig into Biblical Studies. To me is smacks of the same business the Pharisees were into. And is our salvation rooted in our approach to Scripture, or our faith in Christ? This is probably not the place to get into the details of how I arrived here—-a non-literalist–who believes the Scriptures are authoritative, inspired and illuminated by the Holy Spirit–and loves the Bible to a ridiculous degree. But there are my two cents anyway.

  11. Michael says:

    Phil,

    Do you demand that women cover their heads and remain silent in church?

    If not, you need to ground that narrative in Scripture… 🙂

  12. Michael says:

    Ps40,

    You and I are close to the same page here.
    One of the reasons I want people to read this for themselves is that what we’re really talking about is a sub hermeneutic that works under a liberal grammatical historical one.

    It’s not an easy leap for an old Calvinist, but it rings true of the Spirit…

  13. Xenia says:

    There was no patriarchal order pre-fall<<<<

    Are you sure about that?

  14. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Stackhouse makes a good exegetical case that there was not.

    He may be wrong, but it’s worth consideration for those of us in Protestantism who rely on exegesis to make doctrine.

  15. Ps40 says:

    Michael. It is a difficult thing to approach our faith with integrity. We tend to put the shortcoming on our “faith”–“our God”, or “the Bible”, rather than looking at ourselves and saying, “There is nothing wrong with our God, our faith, our Scriptures: Perhaps the fault is in me! My approach!”
    People have said to me, “You are diminishing the Bible! Is any of it true?”” And I respond, “I’m not attacking the Bible…just my old approach to it. And I believe its true in ways we might never fully comprehend!”
    Truer than true as we can conceive it.
    It’s exhausting trying to apologize for the tensions left (i’m guessing intentionally) in the Bible. For the human imprints, and stories of Its characters fleshiness. For Its inconsistencies and contradictions.For its cultured and time stamped landscapes.
    I’ve decided to let it be the way it is. The way God allowed it to come to us. What I am reconsidering is not my faith: It’s my approach to it. The fault is most likely with me.
    I’m curious as to what you mean by “the sub hermeneutic that works under a liberal grammatical one.” ?? Please elaborate? I’m not sure I’m getting what you are trying to say.

  16. Michael says:

    Ps40,

    First, I amen what you are saying here.
    My sentence was supposed to read “literal”, not “liberal” hermeneutic.

    In other words, it works with, and in addition to, any of the traditional hermeneutics used to process doctrine.
    You don’t have to give one up to embrace the other.

  17. Ps40,
    I will try not to leap to any unfounded assumptions – but when you speak of an ‘open’ hermeneutical lens, can you give a reason why we should then not also give the right hand of fellowship to our brothers in Christ who call themselves Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses etc?

    The only difference they have is they do see things differently through their own hermeneutical lens.

  18. Ps40 says:

    MLD
    I do think there is an irreducible core to our faith.
    I cling pretty tight to the dogma of what the Creeds encapsulate. Scripture is a necessary discussion, dialogue and narrative that gives context to the “God with us” story of God’s love for us. God Spirit speaks through them.
    But even that explanation falls short; because , I believe the Creeds are pointing to something that only God can really judge correctly: human salvation–and the Gospel. For example, I do not think that the Coptic followers of Christ who were beheaded on that beach recently had to get the doctrine of Trinity absolutely correct to be a person who puts their faith in God. The God Whose Spirit (i believe) visits the spirit of men and women at some point in their lives can be the only faithful witness to that work. At that point of visitation, I can only conclude that only God knows if they rejected or embraced the Spirits work in their lives.
    So I do not consider those sects (Mormon etc) “Christian” by definition, but I cannot presume that God has not reached some who are in those sects to the point of salvation. I just cannot go that far. I have confidence in the work of the Spirit in the lives of humans. I have boundaries: the Apostles Creed, the Rule of Faith, and in a looser sense –the Scriptures. But I’m not sure God yields to my definitions so that I can feel secure about Him.

  19. Ps40 says:

    Xenia,
    I’m guessing based upon the consequence of the curse upon male female relations. The whole “he shall rule over you” thing in Genesis. I think many of my doctrinal conclusions came from extra-textual sources (although I did not realize this). So all I can say is I’m guessing and comparing and praying through such topics.
    I appreciate your question though.

  20. Ps40 says:

    Michael
    20 pages! I will need a moment.
    Thank you

  21. Michael says:

    Ps40,

    At your leisure. 🙂
    It’s a good article on the hermeneutic I’m talking about.

  22. So just having a different hermeneutical lens is not enough … and that is what you based your original argument.
    So we can’t box God in where we think he has boxed himself in – but you can (in regard to the Mormons or any non creedal person) when it disagrees on a point of yours.

    I want to be clear. If asked “could a woman perform the function of pastor?” I would say absolutely. If asked “are they called to the office?” I would say absolutely not.

    But then I don’t have an open hermeneutical lens.:-)

  23. Ps40 says:

    But am I , as a woman, called to be pastoral in nature and deed? The office is not what I am aiming for, It’s the recognition that we have a valid place to “be” who God designed us to be. I use Phil. 2 as a guideline here. Jesus did not “grasp at” what was absolutely His. He deferred, submitted to His Father’s agenda and will. And Peter says he “entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (His Father) Paul submitted to love of the Body–rather than “take” his position of authority in 1 Cor. I think women in the kingdom should do the same. But that does not mean Jesus stopped being God at the point of His submission, or that Paul lost his authoritative apostleship. But their submission was volitional, was it not? I don’t remember it being demanded of them, or coerced. Its a volitional laying down of one’s life–for love’s sake. And women can learn a lot from these examples.
    I think categorizing lenses as “open or closed” does not really do the topic justice. Life and faith in God is way more nuanced than that. But I suppose you caught me with my lens way open 😉
    It will change, and change again.

  24. Xenia says:

    In Orthodoxy, women cannot be priests, end of story.

    However, the number one Christian of all time was a woman, the Virgin Mary. We call her our champion leader, the human leader of all us Christians. (Christ, of course, is the head of the Church.)

  25. Xenia says:

    Ps40, I was thinking of how Eve was called Adam’s “help meet.”

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    P40,
    I am just trying to understand your reasoning. You seem to be using the fact that That some people take offense as a reason for the formation of new doctrine.

    As to what women can do – I have stated that prior to my term as the congregation president my predecessor was a woman… and in my church the president is the boss of the pastor.

  27. Ps40 says:

    Help meet is a strong descriptive. If you peruse its usage in other parts of Scripture you will find it is not exactly, “Hey honey can you get me a beer?” Kind of material. The word is ezer. It’s worth doing an exhaustive study on the way that word was employed throughout the OT.
    (not that I’m thinking you saw “help meet” that way Xenia. But I have known too many who do )
    That descriptive speaks to her function; as does her name, “Eve”. But it does not speak to her level of function or worth in any way. It may be more of a perichoretic relationship, like the one we see in the Trinity? But I’m still working on extracting what I’ve been taught so that I can look at the text to see what it does and does not say. I’m not doing a very good job of it in this discussion. Old habits die hard I suppose.
    As for Mary…it’s a tragic thing that I don’t think that much about her. I could learn so much from your faith tradition (which is among the oldest ones if not “the” oldest one) . I hope to do that!!

  28. Xenia says:

    It’s been my observation that with a good Greek dictionary and enough determination the Scriptures can be made endorse whatever needs endorsing.

  29. Ps40 says:

    MLD
    As for “taking offense”…..that is not my foundation—it is merely an observation and its value can be categorized in that respect.
    No. I’m genuinely taking my questions about patriarchy from (albiet) perceived inconsistencies in the Scriptures themselves. It’s difficult because the revelations were given and eventually written down in a time when the prevailing culture was unquestioningly patriarchal! And yet, Jesus did the most bizarre things in relation to women. He allowed Mary to sit at His feet and be taught (like a disciple). He did not separate Himself from them (woman at the well), as the law seemed to require. He entrusted the Gospel to them (same woman at the well and Mary Magdalene at the news of His resurrection). So these and many more narratives leave me with questions about my own cultures’ view of how God views women. Perhaps we haven’t got the whole unclouded picture?
    God didn’t require the humans he inspired to write the Scriptures to become at that same moment perfect in every way. So I fully expect to discover evidence of their limited humanity in the Scriptures. That does not make the Bible any less authoritative. It makes It more so in my estimation. But I cannot ignore the evidence of the human imprint when it comes to this topic.

  30. Ps40 says:

    Xenia,
    #29 is the understatement of the evening. And why I have learned to hold my views lightly, and hold onto my Lord’s love for me—His Person– with a death grip–and as much humility as I can realize!

  31. Xenia says:

    Church life (that is, the Christian life, which is to say, our lives in Christ) should be completely different from the life of today’s degraded culture.

  32. Ps40 says:

    I agree. And yet, we cannot stop Her from moving through the ages none-the-less. Her surroundings are not going to remain the same. And She is affected by that in ways we should not attempt to deny. Michael’s original discussion about slavery and Her attitude toward it, for example. Toward science and discoveries etc. etc. We should be distinct , for sure, and one of those distinctions (I would hope) is humility.

  33. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    P40 – everything you say about Jesus’ relationship with the women can be said about my relationship with my wife. She can be more spiritual than me, she can be entrusted with more of the gospel than me. She can even participate in greater church functions than me.

    But she cannot be called to the office of pastor.

  34. Ps40 says:

    MLD,
    Im digesting that.

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t understand why this is even an issue. If a woman wants to be a Pastor there are thousands of churches that hire women pastors. But the sinners we are, we don’t want the position, we want to break the system.

  36. Ps40 says:

    I do not think that our sinful nature was what finally “broke” slavery very recently? I think it was the Spirits gradual leading. I think that whole topic is still in process. But wanting equality is a far cry from sinful. I think its more akin to righteousness.

  37. filbertz says:

    MLD is correct. In many denominations, women are welcome to fill all roles, offices, and positions. Instead of attempting to change those whose mold is set, one may freely minister in another whose mold is set differently. On the other hand, many of those denominations harbor other theological sticky points that complicate a simple shift of location. There is an endless range of theological conclusions…isn’t that the point–which ones are ‘correct?’ Can that conclusively be settled? Apparently not. Is it scripture that is the issue or those interpreting it? I, too, conclude it is in the interpretation–but also in what we expect of ourselves and scripture itself.

    clearasmudfil

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Fil, we discussed this a couple of weeks ago. Those little sticky theological points are what facilitate the rise of women pastors.

  39. filbertz says:

    MLD,
    do we expect too much of ourselves in our ability to interpret scripture? Can regenerate humans, indwelt by the Spirit, correctly conclude and proclaim what scripture is truly saying? Where do we go off the tracks, in your opinion?

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Fil, is anyone ever wrong or are all interpretations correct? I know you don’t that. If some comes to the conclusion the are the contrary one, go join the likeminded. That is how I joined the Lutes..

  41. Michael says:

    Depending on what the system is, I’m either content in leaving it be or desire to blow it to hell.

    I’m theologically conservative…which means that I believe Scripture is the ultimate authority.

    Having decided that, the next job is to correctly interpret what the authoritative Scriptures are saying.

    The very same hermeneutic that we used to defend the abolition of slavery can be used to support women serving in any “office” of church leadership.

    To remain in submission to the authority of Scripture alone I must be willing to at least study the matter with an open heart and the leading of the Spirit, no matter what any beloved tradition might declare.

    I wish only to be faithful to that authority and to that Spirit…and I’m pretty sure that’s where Ps 40 would agree with me.

  42. Michael says:

    I’ll be more honest than I should be.
    I almost didn’t bring this up online.
    I don’t need another headache.

    I’m also from the Reformed tribe and a lot of my famous friends read here and my flesh loves that.
    They will think I’ve fallen on my head.
    They will now look upon me with less than approval.

    That will sting.

    However…I think the journey toward truth never ends and the Holy Spirit is leading me down this path.
    I see the damage that patriarchy has wrought in church and in society…and I think the kingdom will correct that.
    Jesus doesn’t condemn us for thinking…He has the church to do that… 🙂

  43. Ps40 says:

    Filbert you are indeed clear as mud. I’m glad not to be alone in it 😉 And you are correct Michael! I agree. But it’s way stickier than most of us want to admit. That is where the integrity comes in. That is also where the vitality of our relationship to God helps tremendously. One learns differently in relationship than one learns by chapter and verse. It’s difficult because we never really know what we do not know until the revelation comes. This means we must trust Him to keep us, teach us, and complete His work in us and illuminate His unfathomable truths.
    It’s a whole lot of trusting!

  44. Ps40 says:

    Michael,
    We (my kind) are half the church. Perhaps the numbers might actually be to your benefit. (Although I’m sure that is never your motive). But what a thought?

  45. Ps40 says:

    Fil,
    I so agree with #40!

  46. filbertz says:

    Michael,
    how can we be all over the ball park if scripture is the final authority? Again, do we have errant expectations of scripture? Does it address all the things people claim it states? The problem lies with us, in my view, even with the Spirit within.

    clearasconcretefil

  47. Michael says:

    Ps40,

    I seem to alienate half my readers at least once a year. 🙂
    At the end of the day it’s about my personal integrity in front of a holy God.
    Certainty is comfortable…but I have it only at the foundations.
    The rest of the building is in never ending process…

  48. Michael says:

    fil,

    It’s complicated. 🙂

    I believe it is “authoritative” and no, it doesn’t address a lot of stuff people think it does.

    There is is sense in which all the orthodox traditions are correct…in that I believe that those within each tradition are carrying out an aspect of God that He has chosen to reveal through them.

    My job is not to convince them of a better way.

    Then there are the outliers like us who have been called to follow the wind…and sometimes we find the truth and sometimes we get blown onto the rocks.

    Doctrine and theology have developed over the ages…it’s never been static, though some choose one point to get off the train and stay…

    I might need a drink…

  49. Ps40 says:

    Cheers!

  50. filbertz says:

    pour two, one neat. 😉

  51. filbertz says:

    …or three.

  52. filbertz says:

    “Then there are the outliers like us who have been called to follow the wind…and sometimes we find the truth and sometimes we get blown onto the rocks.”

    that was big.

  53. Fil,
    Back @38 after you said “MLD is correct” 🙂 you said “On the other hand, many of those denominations harbor other theological sticky points that complicate a simple shift of location.”

    I thought about it over night and wanted to put a little meat on what those “theological sticky points” are.

    The lack of both moral and doctrinal absolutes.

  54. j2theperson says:

    The question of whether women can or cannot be pastors according to scriptures is moot for me. I don’t care if it is unbiblical for them to hold that position. I decided for myself that I cannot in good conscience continue to contribute to my own marginalization by attending a church that does not allow women to hold every office. Now I go to a church where women can be pastors and deacons and where half the people on the vestry of my church are women. You could give me all the scriptural evidence in the world that women can’t be pastors but I won’t go back to that system because my experience was that it was harmful to the women in the church. If my experience was not that complementarian churches routinely demeaned, ignored, and marginalized women it would be a different matter, but I straight up don’t think a system (I’m not talking about individuals here) can be set up to marginalize women in one way and not end up marginalizing them in multiple ways.

  55. dswoager says:

    If my experience was not that churches routinely demeaned, ignored, and marginalized people it would be a different matter, but I straight up don’t think a system (I’m not talking about individuals here) can be set up to marginalize people in one way and not end up marginalizing them in multiple ways.

    j2theperson, I borrowed your words to paraphrase the reason why this is largely a non issue for me now as well.

  56. I don’t mine folks putting their own perspective or personal experience ahead of scripture (and I do not deny that your personal experience is real) – but let’s cut to the chase. Are churches who do not allow women to hold the office of pastor in sin? Are they in fact not really the church of God at all?

    Because some abuse the truth – does that make the truth invalid?

  57. Em says:

    Have you considered that perhaps, God made/makes the basic Faith unto salvation crystal clear (as has been noted, this we can and must defend), but the rest of His mind we see through that darkened glass BECAUSE it requires us, to focus on the Faith and perhaps it helps us to develop grace and patience toward the rest of His children?

  58. Em says:

    sorry about the duplication – erase the less clear of the two? 🙂

  59. Cash says:

    P40-There is a great humility that comes through when you talk about your views on Scripture. It is the humility of knowing that you cannot know–except what has been revealed–and there is much that has not been revealed.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em, no I do not think God speaks with marbles in his mouth. 🙂
    Do you think it is clear that practicing homosexuals should no occupy the office of pastor? Why is that clear and not shrouded in darkness?

  61. Michael says:

    MLD,

    The homosexual issue is still separate and homosexual practice is clearly defined as sinful all the way through the Scriptures.

    Having women in leadership is not…indeed there is a redemptive arc heading straight to kingdom values.

  62. Xenia says:

    True story:

    Last night I had a dream. In this dream there appeared before my eyes the image of the PhxP blog with the header in the forefront. The subtitle “An Online Community of Faith” began to blur and eventually faded away. In its place a different subject title appeared but try as I might, I could not read the new phrase, the new motto for the PhxP.

  63. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I’m not changing the motto.
    The sad thing here is that the book I’m referencing will not be read by most here.
    Thus you will not know that the man who wrote it is a conservative, Reformed, Christian who brings a lifetime of scholarship and thought to this issue.
    You will not know that he gives as much room to opposing viewpoints as his own and he speaks with great humility in how he came to his viewpoint.
    The entire dialectic discussion will be missed and he (and I) will be written off as liberals adrift on a sea of cultural compromise.
    Nothing could be further from the truth, but it’s a lot easier to write people off than to engage them.

  64. Michael @62 – you miss the point – I was not comparing homosexuality to women pastors – I was replying to Em’s claim that God speaks clearly only on salvation issues and the rest is kind of cloudy and we have to guess. I just wanted to know why banning homosexuals from the pulpit is so clear and not a confused debatable issue.

    Look, P40 said if we had a more open ended hermeneutical lens we would see these things. J2 said that she does not depend on scripture but on her perspective and experience and then em with the we see through a glass comment.

    I am just swatting away their form of bible study. Here is what I say – if you hold your bible upside down and read it from back to front, you will gain a whole new perspective. Give it a try. 😉

  65. Kevin H says:

    I don’t agree with the conclusion that Michael has come to. I also am not nearly studied enough on the subject, nor have I read Stackhouse’s book, to be able to capably engage the debate. What I can appreciate, however, is Michael’s commitment to the authority of Scripture and knowing that his conclusions are coming from within that framework. I can’t appreciate those who decide that the Bible isn’t all true and it is up to humanity to decide which parts are true and which ones are not. I don’t believe that is happening here with anyone who has spoken in favor of allowing women in the pastorate.

    I just heard it said in another venue addressing the exact same topic that those churches who allow women pastors are only doing so to appease the culture and are only concerned about numbers in their church. While this certainly may be the case for *some* churches who have or allow for women pastors, to broadbrush everyone in this manner I believe is divisive and disingenuous. Even though there are times at the Phoenix Preacher where things can get heated and people attack with unfair broadbrushing, I like this place because there are also a good amount of times when people can have respectful and reasonable conversations on topics where there is disagreement.

  66. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    Thank you.
    I’m not interested in appeasing anybody or anything…I want to be a person who is rightly dividing the Scriptures.

    I understand the Scriptural argument for the other side…I taught it for decades.
    It may be correct.

    I have a responsibility to engage with those who hold to a high view of Scripture and disagree with me on any issue…and that’s what I’m doing now.

  67. Em says:

    “Em’s claim that God speaks clearly only on salvation issues and the rest is kind of cloudy and we have to guess.”
    MLD, have you ever questioned your reading comprehension? aren’t you concerned that you may embarrass yourself with some of your responses?
    or do you take pride in your ability to twist what others post?
    all questions, not meant to be leading – just concern…

  68. Have you considered that perhaps, God made/makes the basic Faith unto salvation crystal clear (as has been noted, this we can and must defend), but the rest of His mind we see through that darkened glass

  69. Michael says:

    For MLD, The Book of Concord settles everything.
    For Xenia, it’s the authority of the church.
    For my Reformed brethren, its the Westminster Confession.

    I don’t think Calvin was the last word on truth, nor do I believe that God has finished the revelation of Himself and His purposes in Scripture.

    The motto of the Reformation was “always Reforming”…and I believe we are to be doing just that.

  70. How many years until this continuing reformation dumps the Nicene Creed for something more time worthy?

    If things were true back during the reformation, they are still true today … otherwise they were not true then.

    “The motto of the Reformation was “always Reforming” – not the Lutheran Reformation which was more strategic and surgical than the Reformed side of the reformation which was more meat cleaver and radical.
    (it’s why you hear the Reformed say “Luther didn’t go far enough.”)

    As I say, your form of “always reforming” is a reality – as I always point to the ELCA

  71. Michael says:

    The Lutheran reformation dumped a vast amount of Roman Catholic doctrine and dogma.

    My guess is that the R.C’s were wondering when that crazy German would dump Nicea…

  72. j2theperson says:

    ***I am just swatting away their form of bible study.***

    It’s not a form of bible study. Unless and until complementarians can stop marginalizing and in some situations straight up abusing women, I will not join or regularly attend a complementarian church. The reality that I don’t want to be in an environment where it is acceptable to abuse, ignore, and demean women and that I don’t want my daughter in that sort of environment outweighs any sort of exegetical points the complementarian view may or may not have. If I have to choose between being not being abused or mistreated in a very fundamental way by fellow christians or being biblically correct/orthodox, I will choose to avoid the abuse even if that makes me a bad christian. And there’s straight up no way i will feel guilty or ashamed about that choice either.

  73. “The Lutheran reformation dumped a vast amount of Roman Catholic doctrine and dogma.”

    Yes, they dumped all that was essentially wrong with the RCC and the Pope’s usage of power. Then the Reformed dumped the non essentials like banning and destroying icons, stained glass, altars etc as hindrances to doctrines … as if stained glass affects doctrine.

    The Lutherans at least stopped when the job was done. I guess the Reformed haven’t quite reached completion yet. The Lutheran Reformation hit a nerve as Trent became the official response to the Lutheran side of the reformation.

  74. Michael says:

    MLD,

    The issue here isn’t whether the Lutherans or Calvinists got it all right.

    The issue is that the Holy Spirit inspired the church to change…and that Holy Spirit is still alive and active in the church.

  75. Michael, we may differ a bit but I think we are close … and I refuse to miss a chance to tweek ya.. I think the Holy Spirit inspired the church to go back to where it came from – to it’s roots – go back to it’s original teaching. Not to change for change sake.

    I don’t see the Holy Spirit coming along and saying “it’s a new day – let’s try this. And that is what I see with the ordination of women – culture is now ready to handle women in the pulpit so let’s do it…. saith the Lord.

  76. Michael says:

    “I don’t see the Holy Spirit coming along and saying “it’s a new day – let’s try this. And that is what I see with the ordination of women – culture is now ready to handle women in the pulpit so let’s do it…. saith the Lord.”

    “That’s exactly what the Lord did in regard to slavery…using exactly the same hermeneutic I’m using for equality.

    It’s the same way Jesus addressed divorce…He allowed what He didn’t desire because of their “hardness of heart”.

    They were obviously seminal Lutherans… 🙂

  77. “That’s exactly what the Lord did in regard to slavery…”

    This is absolutely false and is just a game the pro women pastor faction use. God never set up slavery as the biblical thing to do – so he therefore never came along and said “I have changed my mind.”
    This is something that God’s people (the OT & NT Church) had to live with and deal with. The ending of slavery took place by force and legislative action,

    Are you suggesting the same methods to put the ladies in the pulpit – force and legislative action.

  78. Michael says:

    MLD,

    God set up rules to regulate slavery…there is nothing in the Scriptures to forbid it.
    The church used a hermeneutic of the kingdom to to make a biblical case for abolition of slavery…while some great theologians also defended it.

    We would agree today that slavery is a sinful and immoral thing…how did we come to that conclusion?

    Scott McKnight on Stackhouse;
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2015/10/27/a-proposed-model-for-egalitarians/

  79. dave says:

    1 Tim.1:9-10 makes it pretty clear that slave trading is on the same level as murder and perversion, those who kill parents, etc. There is no way that anyone can say the Bible commends slavery or even that it doesn’t forbid it. That is not to say that men have not perverted the Bible to try and make their case for slavery; they were just wrong.

  80. Josh the Baptist says:

    The whole of scripture is pretty agnostic towards the morality of slavery.

  81. filbertz says:

    MLD,
    my reference to ‘theological sticky points’ in #38 was in regard to the fact that sometimes, a denomination that ordains women hold to other positions that a person seeking egalitarianism doesn’t hold to. For example, Assemblies of God will ordain women, but if a person is a cessationist they wouldn’t naturally feel comfortable going there. The trade-off complicates things. My observation had nothing to do with a ‘lack of moral and absolute values.’

  82. Michael says:

    dave,

    Can you show me one Scripture that forbids slavery?
    You cited a passage that dealt with slave traders, but not the institution.
    Are not slaves called to submit to their masters?

  83. Em says:

    Yet isn’t the Biblical approach to slavery – in the world – one of morality of conduct, i.e., if you are a slave or if you are a master, conduct yourself as is pleasing to God? i say that fully aware that slavery was and is mostly conducted in a fashion that God abhors and will judge fiercely… like so many things that make unBelievers question God’s love and power

  84. Michael – no slave traders, no slave market, no slavery. It is pretty clear that God is speaking against slavery. The fact that he gives order to those caught up in certain stations in life, actually shows his love for the slave.

    So now that we see that slavery was spoken against as serious sin in the written scripture where it belongs, and that it’s abolition was not from some special Holy Spirit revelation in the 18th century – I guess that wipes out the Holy Spirit revelation that women can now occupy the pulpit.

  85. Xenia says:

    MLD’s 74

    I read Luther’s 95 Theses a few years ago and there’s not much, if anything, that conflicts with Eastern Orthodoxy. It seemed to me that Luther was bringing the church back to Orthodoxy, back to the Church’s ancient roots. Even the next generation of Lutherans corresponded with the Patriarch of…. Jerusalem, was it? But by then, enough time had passed that the 2nd generation of Lutherans had developed their own ideas which were different from Eastern Christianity.

  86. Xenia says:

    …. and of course, Luther himself had beliefs that are not on the same theology page as Orthodoxy.

  87. Xenia says:

    The Bible reports on the fact that there was slavery in Bible times. Ergo, women pastors must be ok.

  88. Michael says:

    The word wrongly interpreted as “slave traders” in some Bibles actually refers to those who stole slaves from others or attempted to make free men slaves.

    This is not hard to look up…

  89. Xenia, actually, the 95 theses are not a Lutheran document. They were actually just a 16th century protest document.
    Luther didn’t want to change anything, he didn’t want to start his own church. He wanted to start a discussion over papal abuses. (the abuses came out of poor doctrine.)

  90. Xenia says:

    MLD, ah, that’s true. Not Lutherans yet.

  91. Michael says:

    “The Bible reports on the fact that there was slavery in Bible times. Ergo, women pastors must be ok.”

    Show me somewhere…anywhere…I’ve said such a ridiculous thing.

    Why must we always demean and twist what others say?

  92. Xenia says:

    It’s possible, Michael, that I was not referring to anything you specifically said but was commenting on the overall discussion.

  93. Michael – that is not what the ESV note says.
    Enslavers = “That is those who take someone captive in order to see him into slavery”

  94. Xenia says:

    Although, Michael, I think your #79 nibbles around the edges.

  95. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    No one making the case I am has said anything so ridiculous either.

    The overall discussion builds down to this.

    Your church (which is your authority) says no.
    The matter is settled.

    MLD has the Book of Concord.
    It says no.
    The matter is settled.

    Neither of you wrestle with anything, all is settled.

    Some of us are wrestling with what the Scriptures say.
    It’s not settled.

    I have not insulted your way of deciding what is truth, not the Lutherans.
    The rest of us bear the insults.

  96. Xenia says:

    Time to go help the ladies clean the church. Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve.

  97. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m glad that one verse says something bad about slavery. There are many others that don’t appear to pass judgement on the institution itself, but rather telling slaves and masters how to live in the world they find themselves in. That world endorsed slavery.

  98. Michael says:

    Men-stealers (ἀνδραποδισταις [andrapodistais]). Old word from ἀνδραποδιζω [andrapodizō] (from ἀνηρ [anēr], man, πους [pous], foot, to catch by the foot), to enslave. So enslavers, whether kidnappers (men-stealers) of free men or stealers of the slaves of other men.

    Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (1 Ti 1:10). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

  99. Michael – “Neither of you wrestle with anything, all is settled.” is dismissive = shut up and go away.

    We struggle over many things – just not those that are settled. Do you struggle over settled issues?

    My JW friends may just be ‘struggling’ over that trinity stuff while you have declared it settled to them..

  100. Michael says:

    405 ἀνδραποδιστής [andrapodistes /an·drap·od·is·tace/] n m. From a derivative of a compound of 435 and 4228; GK 435; AV translates as “manstealer” once. 1 a slave-dealer, kidnapper, man-stealer. 1A of one who unjustly reduces free men to slavery. 1B of one who steals the slaves of others and sells them.

    Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

    It’s an ancient word that speaks of an illegal practice even in places where slavery was legal.

    We’ve cleaned it up in our Bible because we now believe slavery in itself is a sin.

  101. Michael says:

    MLD,

    If you compare me to a cult again I’m driving to California and popping you right in the mouth you receive communion in.

    I have already clearly stated that there is a foundation of Christian orthodoxy that is beyond debate.

    All your questions were answered in the 16th century.

    Mine weren’t.

  102. LOL – How did I compare you to a cult? You seem to be the definer of what is settled and what is not settled.

  103. Michael says:

    I’m done.
    According to Xenia’s dreams I’m fading from the faith and according to MLD I’m in dialogue with JW’s and Mormons.

    To hell with trying to have a reasonable discussion.

  104. How is you #99 AT Robertson quote not talking about and condemning slavery? Unless it is a different kind of slavery and was more voluntary – which I have argued in the past. That it is a completely different system of slavery from what we abolished in the antebellum south which was being fed from European slave markets.

  105. Michael – unclinch, you have your panties in a wad. You were the dismissive one saying we don’t struggle.

  106. Michael says:

    Go do some research.

    There were men who stole other peoples slaves and those who would kidnap legally free men in the culture and resell them.

    It was a black market that exists underneath the legal institution.

  107. dave says:

    Michael, you know there is no such verse. The Bible dealt with the world as it was. Not as we wish it was. The instructions were for all in the place they found themselves in–how to live as a Christian (most of them new believers) in the environment they lived in. The Book of Philemon was one such book. Paul advocated strongly against slave-owner and runaway slave. His instructions were for both. In the 1st century, slavery (not at all a back and white issue) was a fact of life. Slaves outnumbered free men 3-1. Many enslaved themselves to pay debts, others were enslaved by those debts. Some were born into slavery, others sold. It was the world in that day. We all need to stop trying to impart 21st century western morals/ideals into the ancient world. You often advocate understanding historical context; why not with this issue? As you said, this is not hard to understand.

  108. Michael says:

    dave,

    Would you consider slavery to be sinful today?
    On what biblical basis?
    You have to construct a larger hermeneutic to do so and we have no issue with doing so because slavery is obviously an abomination.
    We can apply that same hermeneutic to other issues…or the hermeneutic is totally invalid, even when it applies to something as odious as slavery.

  109. Michael – might I suggest;
    http://www.cph.org/p-692-philemon-concordia-commentary.aspx

    The first 200 pages are about slavery at the time

  110. Michael says:

    MLD,

    What do you struggle with.
    Lifting up the Book of Concord?

  111. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’m aware…we Reformed types have commentaries too.

    It doesn’t change the fact that there is no prohibition of slavery anywhere in the Bible.

    We believe it evil today.

    Why?

  112. that same hermeneutic is being applied to Christians who smoke. Smoking is becoming more and more considered sinful and immoral. (both inside and outside the church)

    Is it a biblical sin and immorality?

  113. Michael says:

    MLD,

    By what biblical hermeneutic do you arrive at the conclusion that slavery is sinful?

  114. I struggle with how reformed theology hasn’t died off yet. 🙂

    (remember, I answered in the spirit of you question at 111)

  115. “By what biblical hermeneutic do you arrive at the conclusion that slavery is sinful?”

    Why do you assume I have?

  116. EricL says:

    I have yet to finish the book, but I find Stackhouse’s arguments thought-provoking. With over 100 comments, I see this has provoked a lot of talk too.

    Thanks for keeping things heated up, Michael. 🙂

  117. Michael – I assume if you are using a BIBLICAL hermeneutic to determine that slavery is sinful – then you must be finding it in the Bible – (otherwise it is not biblical) and therefore the bible has state slavery sinful.

    But you are arguing for an extra biblical hermeneutic – or a non biblical “outside the Bible” hermeneutic. I cannot identify with whatever you have up your sleeve.

  118. Michael says:

    EricL,

    Thank you for reading the book.
    You may well come to a different conclusion, but if thought has been provoked, I’m satisfied.

  119. Josh the Baptist says:

    I won’t be reading the Stackhouse book, at least for quite a while. Sounds like he goes down the same path I’ve seen a couple of times. I’ve got no problem with that argument. In fact, I pretty much agree with it.

    The question becomes, what are you gonna do with that info. In my case, not much. My denom does not allow women pastors, and I’m OK with that. Kinda like slaves and masters could live holy lives in a world of slavery, men and women can live holy lives in a denomination that doesn’t ordain women.

    I am thankful, for the women who give their lives to share the gospel all around the world, everyday. They know the title doesn’t matter.

  120. Cash says:

    Are we really going to argue whether slavery is inherently evil? Really?

  121. Bob2 says:

    Cash,

    It does seem really stupid. (The New Year seems to have brought the reactionary loons here.)

    Yet it was only about 150 years ago in our country that the morality and legality of slavery were hotly debated. Though both sides claimed that their Bible was authoritative.

    I read part of this book but couldn’t finish it — too depressing.

    I agree with Michael — the church is semper reformanda.

    http://www.amazon.com/Theological-Crisis-Steven-Janice-Lectures/dp/1469621819/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1452036267&sr=8-3&keywords=mark+noll

  122. Xenia says:

    Michael, I didn’t say YOU were fading from the faith. Not everything I write is about you personally.

  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So using the slavery issue as the jumping off point for women pastors, and the use of a biblical hermeneutic and the Holy Spirit’s revelation – will churches who practice male only pastors be deemed as sinful and immoral?

  124. Eric says:

    On women in ministry, there some who argue “God has given them gifts; they should use them”. However in the evanglican tradition I am part of, the discussion is largely about what the bible says. This site, written by a bishop I know, makes a biblical rather than pragmatic case for women in ministry. (for those who find a few blog posts easier than a book – I’m sure Stackhouse follows some of the same lines and more)
    http://newanglicanism.tumblr.com/

    Many of his colleagues would not agree. 1 Tim 2 as in usually appears in English seems a fairly clear prohibition. But then go to 1 Cor 14 and we’re talking about women prophesying. And then a lot of the evanglicans get uncomfortable, because if prophecy means preaching, then we have women preaching, but if prophecy means something else, then it’s something we’re not doing.

    On slavery, a possible answer is that some form of slavery might be OK, but that the way it has been practised is sinful and harmful, and we were better off outlawing it entirely than trying to regulate it.

  125. Cash says:

    Bob, I’m not saying it’s necessarily stupid, I just think it’s a strange argument to make. But I must say I am not a theological heavyweight, and most of my thoughts come from my feelings about things . That is not always necessarily a good thing.

  126. Michael says:

    This isn’t about telling other groups what is sinful or not in their ecclesiology .
    It’s about an apologetic that moves women in leadership into orthodoxy .

  127. Bob2 says:

    Part of the problem is distinguishing whether a biblical issue is primary or it’s secondary (adiaphora). There have always been disagreements about this and probably will be until the Lord’s return.

    Example: some on here seem to equate not ordainig women with being orthodox in doctrine.

    Wrong.

    My evidence: the Christian Reformed Church. They’re quite conservative theologically, but believe it or not, they ordain women,

  128. Em says:

    do we all mean the same thing when we use the term, pastor? minister? reverend? is a “minister of the gospel” the same person as “pastor”?” can a church have more than one pastor or, one pastor and the others minister this or that function? and just what is a “reverend” anyway? 🙂

  129. We have women ministers in our church – this is not a big deal. They are called by the church just like the pastors are, they are ministers, rostered with the synod and even get housing allowances –

    They are called to work in our school. (note, not all of our teachers are such called ministers – perhaps 30%)

    But I will bet that is not good enough for the radicals of the faith? 😉

  130. Nonnie says:

    I’m with Michael on the women pastors issue. When I read 1 Cor. 11, I wonder why it isn’t a “shame” that women don’t cover their hair in (most) churches nowadays and why it is now OK for men to have long hair in church. I’ve even seen some long hair pastors in my day.

    I won’t be adamant on the subject, but I wonder about the times and the culture of when the Bible was written about some of these subjects. (slavery, treatment of women)

    Please don’t think me flippant on this subject. I want to know and do God’s will, so I’m reading, I’m praying. For me personally, it doesn’t matter. But I certainly wonder about this issue.

    I’m not one for revolting or insisting on churches changing. I’ll let God be God. There are plenty of churches for women to “pastor” if they believe God has called them to do so.

    I have stood behind the pulpit in CC churches and “shared.” Had it been an all women’s service, it would have been called “teaching.” I just chuckle and really don’t care. I consider it a joy and a privilege to be able to share the love and grace of Jesus anywhere. I don’t need or want a title, but I know women who God has called and their church has seen fit to place them in positions of leadership.

  131. Michael says:

    Nonnie,

    Well said.
    My primary interest in the matter was to engage with the arguments for and against to determine if I as a biblical conservative could affirm women in pastoral positions.

    I believe that the current model for doing church in American evangelicalism is in it’s own end times.

    There will come a new revival and new paradigms, and I believe gender equality will be part of that move.

    I probably won’t live to see that day, but I’ll welcome it from home…

  132. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’m not interested in changing the LCMS or any other tradition.
    My guess would be that they are doing what God called them to do.

    I’m glad that the LCMS affirms women in some form of leadership.

    Independent evangelicalism doesn’t…and in too many cases seems to echo the prayer of a 1st century Jewish man.
    “Thank God that I am not a Samaritan, a dog, or a woman.”

  133. Josh the Baptist says:

    I agree with Nonnie 100%. Strange reflection coming:

    6-8 years ago I was on staff at a larger, more happenin’ SBC church. It was run by the founding pastor, not congregational. At the height of it all, he started straying off the rails a bit. Seemed to get bored with conventional Christianity, and was getting very experimental. This made me, and a lot of us, very uncomfortable, but we did our best to keep things going, and to not believe the worst. The weirdness didn’t really affect attendance because I was doing the music, and it was good. Ha, just kidding. I was only a small part of it at that time. A man in his early 20’s named Steven Furtick was leading the music, with my help. AS long as Furtick was there, so were the crowds. He was equally uncomfortable with the strange direction our church was heading in, so he left and started Elevation. This left me as the sole worship leader. Over the next year, the pastor got weirder, I got more conflicted, and the pastor brought in more and more friends that met at places like Morningstar, etc. Then he left. The direction of the church was in the hands of his whacky buddies who had brought in and given positions, but the congregation – still 800 strong or so – saw me as the default leader. I had been there on stage for years. They didn’t even know who these “elders” were. I was tormented for about another year, as I felt a responsibility to the people of the church, but could not stand for the gold dust and oil-dripping hands that were filling the sanctuary. Finally, one week a local college student had his New Testament professor come speak at our church. She was nearing retirement age, had multiple Phd’s, and had taught the bible in a local Baptist college for more than 30 years. When she spoke that morning I heard something I hadn’t heard in years. A brilliant servant of the Lord opened His word and told us what she read. I was in tears. It was hope. I drop of water on the tongue of a man who had been crawling through the desert for years.
    I wanted her to be called as our new pastor. I tried my best, but the only ones with the power to hire a new pastor was this elder board, and one of them had aspirations of his own. Finally, I quit. And came here to recover.

  134. Michael says:

    Josh,

    That is an amazing story…amazing.

    You seem to have recovered well.

    I’d love it if you ever would choose to write more about that experience and how you recovered.

  135. Nonnie says:

    Wow, Josh. Great testimony.

  136. Steve Wright says:

    Slavery in the Roman Empire in the 1st century is not even remotely close to how slavery existed in this nation. How one became a slave, the work of slaves, the possibility for freedom. There is hardly a comparison other than the word, slavery.

    Likewise, attitudes towards slavery as an institution, (largely because of this huge difference) were totally different in the Roman Empire than in the first 100 years of this nation. America was divided over slavery (and that includes Christians) from the very beginning in this country and the Constitution almost was not ratified as a result. There is not one single secular, philosophic or government voice in Biblical times arguing against slavery as an institution – again, because slavery was the result of saving and preserving lives that otherwise would be dead – not ripping people from their homelands in another continent and selling them for trade.

    It reminds me of “Thou shall not kill” and then people speak of God’s so-called built-in contradiction when it comes to both capital punishment and war – both condoned by the Lord under Mosaic Law. No, two totally different ideas are at play.

    How there can be any connection to God evolving on women pastors is beyond me.

  137. Josh the Baptist says:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that God is evolving on women pastors, only that our understanding of what God was saying may have been flawed, as it was in the case of slavery.

  138. Michael says:

    Steve,

    You’re late.
    I expected you to show up and blast me long ago.

    I defy you to show me anywhere that I said that God ‘evolves” on anything.
    You can’t because I didn’t.

    We do have a clear principle in Scripture wherein God accommodates less than He desires because a culture has “hardness of heart”.

    I believe it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that patriarchy was so ingrained into those cultures that He accommodated something that wasn’t His best for the sake of furthering the Gospel.

    You undoubtedly will disagree…and that’s fine.

    Just don’t twist my words or intentions.

  139. Steve Wright says:

    Maybe the issue is equating pastoring solely with teaching? I have had a couple occasions where I have had to deal with men who were treating women improperly in the fellowship and stand up to these bullies in a way I would imagine a woman, no matter how capable she might be, would not be able to do and be heard.

    They didn’t hear me too well either, but they sure did not dismiss me because of my gender.

    Our American evangelical conservative church has a woman on our Board of Directors, a different woman who ushers, distributes communion etc. Multiple women in other places of leadership that for some reason when this topic comes up are quickly dismissed (i.e. womens ministry, childrens ministry, music/worship team, prayer leaders)

  140. Steve Wright says:

    You’re late.
    I expected you to show up and blast me long ago.

    I defy you to show me anywhere that I said that God ‘evolves” on anything.
    You can’t because I didn’t.
    ——————————————————————————
    Sorry you have gotten so sensitive I can’t even post here anymore. I wrote that post largely because “slavery” was being tossed around in a historically inaccurate comparison – pretty much by you. There is no comparison between slavery in the Roman Empire and in America other than the word.

    I wrote because this inaccuracy was somehow being used to make a point throughout the thread concerning women in pastoral ministry.

    Now that MY intention is clarified that I was not coming on to “blast you” or twist words and intentions….I will take back the word “evolve” and move on.

  141. Josh the Baptist says:

    I wish you guys could get along. I like you both.

  142. Nonnie says:

    “Our American evangelical conservative church has a woman on our Board of Directors, a different woman who ushers, distributes communion etc. Multiple women in other places of leadership that for some reason when this topic comes up are quickly dismissed (i.e. womens ministry, childrens ministry, music/worship team, prayer leaders)”

    Steve, I sincerely commend you for blessing both men and women to use their gifts in the church you pastor. 30 or 40 years ago, this was not the case. In the churches I was familiar with, women did not usher, women did not distribute communion, women were not on the church boards. (this is still the case in many churches) It seemed women were suited for children’s ministry, women’s ministry and singing or playing (not leading) the worship team.
    So already, many things have changed in the last 30 + years .

  143. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, “I defy you to show me anywhere that I said that God ‘evolves” on anything.
    You can’t because I didn’t.”

    Actually, when we discussed this a couple of weeks ago, when you first picked up the book, you did strongly suggest that the passages were written the way they were because of the culture – that people were not ready to accept women as pastor – just as people were not ready to listen about a non slavery environment. But as time progressed, the Holy Spirit brought a new light to those same passages so they would be taken to end slavery and now women pastors.

    No, you didn’t state that God evolves – but you were saying the thing right next to it.

  144. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Not even close.

  145. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    OK, then you were saying Stackhouse was making that suggestion.

  146. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’ll say this again, but more slowly.

    God accommodated cultural norms that were not His ideal.
    God didn’t evolve…but He brought His people to a place where they evolved enough to here Him.

    “You have heard it said, but I say”….

  147. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    ““You have heard it said, but I say”….”

    Right, I see that right in the scripture, there is no doubt what Jesus said – but where do we hear that very word today in the 21st century? “You have heard it said that only men are to occupy the office of pastor … but I say ‘today women will also be pastors’.”

    Where?

  148. Steve Wright says:

    Nonnie, I think we agree there is freedom where the Bible has not directly spoken. I see no prohibitions about women in any area of ministry other than “having authority” over men, connected to the pastor/teacher office – and I gave an example of why that might be.

    Josh, not sure what to say. I stay away for a couple weeks and then make a contribution that I would have made if anyone else was leading the charge about slavery – it was something we had to study in depth and write about in seminary, and I am sure you will get a chance to do so too.

    MLD, I read the thread as you did.

  149. Michael says:

    MLD,

    It’s not there…and nobody here is saying otherwise.

    We are applying a principle that we see in Scripture to this issue…because there are other verses alongside the prohibition that create a tension worth noticing.

    You are free to reject the whole notion and stand firm in your tradition.

    As I’ve said multiple times…I could be wrong.

  150. Josh the Baptist says:

    “it was something we had to study in depth and write about in seminary”

    I know, I have one of your papers on the subject 🙂

  151. Michael says:

    As to slavery… some of the best theological minds this country ever produced wrote impassioned defenses of slavery from the Scriptures.

    This wasn’t difficult as there is no prohibition against it in the Bible.

    They weren’t defending a ‘softer” form of slavery, they were defending what this country was doing.

    When abolitionists challenged them my guess would be that they responded as MLD…show me this in Scripture.

    That’s a great principle…but sometimes we need a broader hermeneutic to find real truth.

  152. Nonnie says:

    Steve, I appreciate and respect your approach to ministry. Here’s a question I have about women in leadership roles: what about a woman worship leader it head usher Would she have authority over the men ushers or musicians/singers ? Or a women who was head of Children’s ministry . Would she have authority over any of the men serving on they ministry ? Sincere question.

  153. Steve Wright says:

    One of the primary ways one became a Roman slave was to be rescued as a baby left to die. Child exposure was a very common, arguably the most common, form of infanticide. If someone chose to invest the time, money and effort in saving such a child, the law allowed that child, which would otherwise be dead, to be a slave of that family, legally. The law allowed them to set them free later as well. This did NOT necessitate or ordain that the child would be beaten or otherwise live a terrible existence – and society DID have much to say about the morality of how one treated a legal slave, as does the Bible – where the larger message is you serve Christ by loving and serving others – no matter your legal rights and privileges of your citizenship.

    (So too with prisoners of war that otherwise would have been executed. This principal of life for death, as to slavery, had nothing to do with skin color – in fact slaves worked the same jobs, side by side, as freemen in many circumstances.)

    To speak of the immorality of slavery in the Roman Empire would equate in that societal mind to promoting death over life. Something pretty inconsistent with God’s will. Instead God made clear the love of slave and equality as a brother. It would also pretty much guarantee a whole lot of babies would be left to die too.

    The Bible nowhere commands Christians to search the countryside and look for abandoned infants, anymore than it commands Christians who oppose abortion (our modern preferred means of infanticide) to adopt. The fact that many Christians in the 1st century did just that, as do many Christians adopt today is the love of God in action. However, raising children is a huge commitment and God does not make people responsible for fixing the sins of others – rather God deals with each man’s sin. The Bible is pretty clear on that too. The argument by some abortion supporters is that nobody can take a position against abortion unless they have adopted a child. It is a stupid argument

    So in America, where Christians were divided over slavery from the very beginning, any Christians who looked to the Bible’s passages on slavery as an endorsement of the practice then taking place where black people were ripped from their homelands is a misuse of the Scripture. And of course it IGNORES the many passages that were in the Bible about proper treatment and the equality of the slave. Nobody who supported slavery (and for that matter many also who opposed it) thought of blacks as equal to whites. THAT is the root of America’s horrible sin. THAT is picking and choosing Scripture. And THAT extended far beyond slavery in America’s laws for decades further.

    So I do not see the relevance with a cultural issue with what is entirely an in-house church issue of women pastors. Some of us see a clear Biblical prohibition against women pastors – if that is not what God’s word means then apparently the connection to slavery is we are doing with God’s word what the slaveowners did 150-200+ years ago.

    Now, that is my simple summary contribution coupled with some personal opinions of what could be a multi-page report on the subject – and it is not a personal attack on anyone here, including the host, but hopefully might inform a couple readers who were not forced in school to do such research.

  154. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    “When abolitionists challenged them my guess would be that they responded as MLD…show me this in Scripture.”

    I never said that – I argued from the point Steve brought up and I am sure I did so 4 or 5 time – slavery in the Bible was nothing like the slavery seen in the Antebellum South.
    I even pointed out that what was happening in America was fueled by the European slave trade and that is what Wilberforce fought against. Although religious people were involved and attended to a successful out come – it was still handled as a government issue and not a church issue – here and in Europe.

  155. Steve Wright says:

    Nonnie, as to your question, a woman has authority in that sphere of ministry, yes. A woman on the Board is voting and exercising authority over the whole church in that sphere (not as a teacher or interpreter of the word though). Our present childrens ministry leader is a woman and she has total authority in that sphere of ministry and we have many men who serve in childrens ministry too.

  156. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, if the movie Wilberforce is accurate of how history played out – it is noted that many non-Christians joined the believers in the fight for change and all of them, believers and nonbelievers alike, used some trickery and legislative loop holes and such to force the change in the laws. At least that is how the movie played….

  157. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael – now you did ask several times if I thought slavery was sinful and immoral. I say yes to American slavery, sex trade slavery etc.
    However, the Bible NEVER calls that type slavery sin or immoral … as long as the rules were followed. Paul sent Onesimus back into slavery to Philemon.

  158. Steve Wright says:

    This is mainly for Nonnie as a followup to my 140.

    I know it is fashionable by some (no reference to Nonnie) to view pastoral ministry as cushy, calling all the shots sort of work. However, the stuff one has to deal with can be just devastating in true pastoral ministry (not just glorified public speaking). I share many things about my work with my wife, and what I do not share with her is because I don’t want her to experience the same burdens and/or devastation that I might have experienced.

    I was thinking today about women in the armed services, on the frontlines. How the argument often centers on whether they CAN do the job rather than SHOULD, and so people take sides talking about equality of either skills/courage sort of abilities versus inequality in some strength abilities – with others throwing in junk about emotional makeup and so forth.

    To me though, it seems like in the past the chief argument was the idea that women should be spared the horrors of war beyond what they are forced to endure already as mothers and wives (not to mention nurses and others helping the effort). In addition to the horrors of women being captured, tortured by the enemy and becoming a POW. Am I wrong on this?

    It is the same mindset to me that still lives by a “women and children first” mentality in times of disaster and survival. I imagine a whole lot of women out there could hold up under fire better than certain men, but there is an honor attached that I think is Christian that says no men are leaving this place until all the women and children are safe.

    If a bunk of punks are cussing and acting like jerks in public around small children with a mom, I am going to go after the punks (and have many times). If they do the same thing around a dad who just sits there I am going to go after the punks AND the dad for not doing something first.

    So maybe I am old fashioned and maybe I am reading way more into something than I should but given the difficulties of the task, and given history’s record of the persecution first of the leaders and that often Christian laypeople are spared when leaders are executed….maybe that is where I come from on this still in the year 2016…

    As Em might say dunno… 🙂 But it has been sticking with me all afternoon so I thought I would share it.

  159. Xenia says:

    If, God forbid, the draft should return, shall young women, possibly young married women with small children, even nursing babies, be drafted and sent to combat duty in the front lines? If this idea horrifies you, then you are realizing on a visceral level that men and women have different roles in life.

  160. Michael says:

    The job of the pastor is to care for souls and teach the Scriptures, not be the neighborhood bouncer.

    I think a woman can handle the actual job description.

  161. Xenia says:

    Really? They can be the husband of one wife?

  162. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I agree with Steve on this point – however, I am always described as a knuckle dragger.
    I think it is terrible that we have come to the point where we send our women to fight our wars.

    One of the big arguments for lady pastors has been the case of Deborah in the OT – how she was such a great leader. But this was only by default as the men in the town would not go to battle. So they sent their women.

    Never God’s plan

  163. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Bruce Jenner can be the wife of one wife. 🙂

  164. Em says:

    Xenia’s 161 should be given some serious thot IMHO – although, nursing mothers might be the extreme – still, reinstituting the draft will include your daughters now … and as the world is going, the day will soon come

  165. Steve Wright says:

    Caring for souls involves sin in the lives of others. Even evangelical pastors hear confessions (some of us) as people struggle with sin…sins you might not expect from people you definitely would not expect them from. In addition, while I believe serious counseling belongs to trained experts, there is certainly a role for counseling in the pastoral office and sometimes the issues in that counseling are likewise pretty rough.

    It is weary.

    Protecting the flock from wolves is also a requirement of the job, and is more than just keeping false teachers at bay.

    Now, considering the importance of in-house accountability, if anyone thinks a pastor never has to confront someone (call it a bouncer if you wish) they would be mistaken.

    I have had a heap of crap tossed on me by a small handful of people with little respect for anyone but themselves – and I am a big boy and can take it. I personally would like to spare any woman from getting random emails and cell phone calls from such people ripping into them in the name of Jesus.

    But that’s just me…what do I know.

  166. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Women are capable of doing whatever a man can do. About 5 yrs ago I went to 2 funerals and the service at each was lead by women who were the senior pastor. One was Episcopalian and the other Presbyterian. Both ladies conducted fine memorials and both to my surprise preached the gospel

    Hence, they can do what men do. However, neither was a pastor as women are not called to be pastors.

  167. Steve Wright says:

    I would add that each Wednesday, including tonight, I, as the pastor, am first to arrive and open the doors of the church for our service tonight.

    On occasion, I encounter one of the homeless community loaded, sometimes passed out, there on the property, and I have to move them along. Most are friendly, occasionally there are troublemakers. It used to be that this neighborhood was so dangerous that a rule existed that would not let the secretary come to work unless one of the men was already on the property. Things aren’t that rough during the day anymore, but at night they are sketchy sometimes.

    Now, is this a requirement of the pastoral office according to the Bible. I guess not – unless being a servant of all is quoted. However, it is a reality for being the pastor at not just ours but a whole bunch of churches out there – where the pastor is the first to arrive and set-up. The moment one says, “Well, one of the men from the church ought to get there first and serve the (woman) pastor in this one facet of ministry” – there is at least the recognition of the differences between men and women and my intended point of chivalry.

  168. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, when we excommunicated the wife abuser from our church, it involved a Board meeting, including our female board member. It was evident as we discussed among ourselves upon his dismissal, that there was a huge difference in the interaction with this guy and the one female member, versus the rest of us men – even though we all had the same goal, namely to have this man see his sins, repent, and be restored.

    it was just a totally different dynamic, as was evident to all of us in the room.

  169. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, my pastor doesn’t open up. He slides in 10 min before the service – parks next to the vestry door, vests up and it’s showtime. 🙂

  170. Steve Wright says:

    LOL MLD

    A couple weeks ago we had a mentally ill person start screaming at me when I was in the closing prayer then make a beeline towards me to set me straight on something though I still know not what. It wasn’t me, it was the office. Whoever was there would have been the target, male or female. Though I would not be shocked if women might attract more or different problems too. At least nobody says anything sexist against me.

    But that was better than the person who spit on me earlier in the year.

    I honestly do not know the answer to this, but Xenia’s comments above about military sparked the questions. I’ve been away for a hospital visit for as long as 7 or more hours on a few occasions. How does a nursing mother do that? Is that God-given privilege something God would want given up in order to pastor?

    We want pastors accessible, who visit us, give us their cell phone numbers. Don’t most women not want to give their numbers to strangers?

    Aren’t women often a little nervous when dealing with a male stranger?

    I think I am a knuckle dragger with you MLD. If I see a man berating a woman in public, I step in. I don’t if a woman is berating a man.

    I guess the bottom line on this for me is that I think most pastors know that a woman certainly CAN do the responsibilities of the office..no question.

    For me is I just would not want them to experience the bad stuff out there today. I still think the Bible supports my view and realize my view is not directly connected to Scripture but in the name of “equality” I think there are still some things that do not apply.

    Like I said above, I’m not an “Open your own door” or “Find your own lifejacket this one’s mine” kind of guy…no equality for me there.

    Off to preach. Starting 1 Kings tonight

  171. Steve Wright says:

    and realize my view is not directly connected to Scripture
    ———————————————
    rephrase, my view IS directly connected to Scripture but the additional stuff written about above is not really connected except in the broadest of ways that speak to a respect for the fairer sex.

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