A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

The ceiling came down, so it’s time to inspect the whole building. (ERAS Part 2)

In part 1 of this series I talked about why it is vital to consider Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem’s motivation in propounding their doctrine of ERAS (Eternal Relations of Authority and Submission in the Trinity).  I stated that I think they are motivated by a desire to hang on to their privilege. I also said I believe they are resisting having to accord the same degree of respect to women that they accord to men.

In this post, I would like to zoom out to big picture things.  I’d like to talk about what I think may be two tectonic plates that are under the surface, moving (I hope) in different directions, because they are moved by different spirits.

Trueman and Goligher pulled on a rope, and the ceiling came crashing down

All Liam Goligher and I did was pull on a rope.  The next thing we knew, the whole ceiling came crashing down around us.  If that tells you anything at all, it is surely something about how well the ceiling was constructed in the first place. (Carl Trueman, Fahreheit 381)

Yes Carl and Liam, the ceiling crashed down around you when you sounded the alarm about ERAS. And yes, that ceiling was badly constructed in the first place.

Now, if the ceiling was badly constructed, what about the rest of the building?  There might be more shoddy construction in the building, concealed under the plaster and the paint. If I say whitewash rather than paint, does that bring a biblical reference to mind?  Yep, you know what I’m talking about. The religion of the Pharisees.

Two groups within the conservative church

I think it is very likely that there are basically two groups in the conservative church (or call it the complementarian camp, if you prefer). I know it’s oversimplifying to say just ‘two’ kinds, but for the sake of my argument, I’m going to put it that way for the moment.

The first kind is people like Carl Trueman, Liam Goligher and other complementarians who are smelling a rat in the ERAS doctrine as propounded by Grudem and Ware.  The second kind is Bruce Ware, Waye Grudem, Owen Strachan and people like them.

The second kind, the second group, is resisting according full respect to women because they want to maintain male privilege and all the perks that it brings them. They have actually been pushing an agenda of male authority for selfish personal reasons, and it’s ugly. They are often tacitly or actively being witting allies of domestic abusers, child abusers, spiritual abusers. They may pretend they aren’t, but they know in their hearts what they’re doing. And it’s ugly. Some, or many, of the people in this camp are abusers themselves: wife abusers, child abusers, wolves in sheep’s clothing devouring the sheep.

And the first kind, the first group, has been blind to the evil in the camp. People like Carl Trueman, Liam Goligher and Todd Pruitt may have been dealing fairly well with individual cases of (say) domestic abuse in their own churches. But they have been blind to the corruption in the conservative church overall. They have been tacitly letting the evildoers and their allies take and maintain a LOT of control in the complementarian camp.

But, thank God, men like Trueman and Goligher have finally smelled the rat about ERAS and called it out into the open.

They were by no means the first to call it out. In 2015, Rachel Miller called it out here 1 and here 2. So did others, Fred Sanders being a stand-out here. But the Mortification of Spin team at Alliancenet get a lot of oxygen. So last week, when they published Liam Goligher’s guest posts (thanks to Aimee Byrd) and Trueman’s posts — the whistle was blown loud enough to be heard by those who have power.  Goligher and Trueman pulled on the rope and the ceiling fell down.

And now it’s time to let the rope be pulled some more, to see if any of the rest of the building falls down. Because none of us want to live in a jack-built building.

In the words of Carl Trueman, let’s see bad teaching corrected so that both this generation and future generations will be saved from some of the erroneous positions of the past. (link)

Michael F Bird is predicting a battle:

there is about to be a miniature civil war among conservative Calvinist Complementarians about Trinity and gender. The Coming War: Nicene Complementarians vs Homoian Complementarians

But I believe it’s deeper than what Michael F Bird thinks. I think the battle lines have not been fully understood yet.

Here is what I think the battle is really about:

It’s about the disrespect and injustice being handed out by evildoers and their allies in the church. It’s not about feminism. It’s not about women’s ordination. It’s not about egalitarianism and complementarianism. It’s about according full respect to victims of abuse, and throwing the abusers out of the church. And I Corinthians 5:11-13 is a key text for this battle.

I think if people grasp this, if they start paying more attention to what the Bible says about the mentality and tactics of evildoers — and how we need to be wise as serpents about evil —  then many of the deadlocks in the comp/egal debate will be able to start being resolved. But only if the church takes 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 seriously, by having the gumption to put the abusers out of the church — the phoney christians who are practising evil, the revilers, the idolaters, the greedy, the sexually immoral, etc.

I am writing to you [instructing you, commanding you] not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler [verbal abuser], drunkard, or swindler [one who takes by force] — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

That is the battle. Which side are you on?  And are you even willing to listen?

Some people appear to be blocking their ears:

I have been in communication this week with a bundle of theologians who (1) are deeply concerned about these theologians and what they are teaching the church, and (2) who know that it is an uphill battle to get the principals [Grudem, Ware, etc] to listen. (Scot McKnight,  Is it New? Yes. Is it Orthdox? No.)

Scot McKnight is right: people like Grudem and Ware are unwilling to listen. CBWM are certainly unwilling to listen. TGC and Reformation21 don’t allow comments, so they seem to be unwilling to listen.

The pastors and leaders in the conservative church who are not obsessed with male authority, who are trying to weigh the scriptures respectfully, who are not positively digging in their heels with haughtiness — are they willing to listen?

I believe there may be a tectonic-plate subgroup in the conservative church who are clinging (rightly) to the inspiration and inerrancy of scripture and the core doctrines of evangelicalism, AND who are sufficiently uncomfortable with things like ERAS (per Grudem and Ware) that they are willing to wake up. Will they give us a level playing field? Will they listen to what we have to say?

While we were sleeping, feeling secure that they were not tampering with the glory of the gospel, they were in fact tampering with the glory of the eternal Son of God! (Liam Goligher, Reinventing God)

Sleeping.  I’m very glad Liam Goligher used this word, even if he used it only as a turn of phrase. Because men like him, people like Goligher and Trueman and those who feel affinity with them: they have been SLEEPING. And it’s time to wake up. They blew the whistle; the ceiling fell down; and now it’s time to have a good look round and inspect the debris. Examine it. Consider it. And most importantly, listen to the cries of the victims of abuse who have been hidden behind all the whitewash. Pay attention. Don’t just get out the broom and put all that plaster into the trash bin and put up a new ceiling and shake hands with all your buddies who ‘helped’ you at that working bee. Listen to the victims whose sobs and moans have been exposed. Listen to us. We are part of the body of Christ. Your church — that is, if you are really Christ’s.

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. (James 2:8)

What I think is motivating Ware and Grudem, in a nutshell (a recap)

I believe they do not want to have to accord the same degree of respect to women that they accord to men. Putting this another way, I believe they do not want to give up their male privilege. I believe they are fighting to maintain their male privilege. “Fighting” is not too harsh a word for it, in my opinion.

I believe Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem are so in love with their idea of gender roles that their Roles Ideology has become the lens through which they are apprehending the relations between the Persons of the Trinity. With their complementarian lenses on, they have reasoned from the creature up to the Creator Godhead and back down again, ….with the result being a mess of pottage.

I believe they are so obsessed with their Husband Authority/Wife Submit doctrine that they are imagining they can see it in the eternal relations of the Trinity. They assert the Primacy of the Father and the Eternal Submission of the Son (father-son) … and then they map that assertion back downwards, not to father-son, but to man-woman and to husband-wife.

But it is a defective circular argument based on selective perception. Prejudiced perception. They deny that they are making a circular argument, and they deny they have a hidden agenda — but I don’t believe them. I think they know, deep in their hearts, that they are doing it. And they don’t want to admit it.

I  believe they would like to keep women and wives in the position of children. I believe they are intent on not respecting women as adults. I believe they want to de-voice women, to marginalise them and keep them out of the important conversations.

Despite their denials, they seem to be pathologically obsessed with the doctrine of male authority in the home and the church. They seem to be so focused on their doctrine of male authority that it’s become an idol, and they are striving to cable-tie their idol down to its pedestal by invoking the eternal relations of the Persons of Trinity.

I believe in their secret hearts they know what is at stake

If they respected women as much as they respect men, they would have to listen to the victims of abuse. And they would have to then admit that they have taught in such a way as to compound the suffering of victims of abuse.  They would have to be willing to humble themselves and feel shame for what they have done. They would have to be willing to ask forgiveness.

But from their perspective, it’s much easier to keep us banned from the conversation, to keep us in the dungeon where our voices are not heard… so they can go on having their conferences and publishing their books and congratulating each other for how they are ‘holding the wall against wild seas of secularism.’

But we are on their side of the wall: in the dungeons and the caves that their teaching dug out and chained us within. Want proof? See here: Real life examples of pastoral advice to victims of domestic abuse.

Connecting Trinity to gender roles is a dangerously distracting pedagogical gambit. It bundles the doctrine of God with another set of commitments. (Fred Sanders 18 Theses on the Father and the Son

We need to keep our issues with the earthly politics of gender out of our reflections upon the eternal being of God.  (Carl Trueman, Fahreheit 381)

I agree. But what these two men are saying here is, I believe, only an early skirmish in what I predict will be a very long war. A war in which God is sifting His church. The war may not be won until Christ returns and winds it all up, exposing the hypocrites, the abusers, and the cowards — and sending them to the place He has foretold.

***

Coming up in Part 3:  Documentary evidence for why I think this is Ware and Grudem’s motivation.

Link to Part 1 of this series.

24 Comments

  1. DragonLady

    “so they can go on having their conferences and publishing their books”

    I think this is just as great a source of their motivation as the control aka “male privilege.”

  2. Joy

    Very good for calling abuse out for what it is in the church and suggesting throwing abusers out. Thank you for writing this blog,it’s very much appreciated.

  3. CMP

    Wow. I have become so tired, so weary so in a fog; my health issues predominate all I can think of is day today existence, but thank you for being there. I thank you for the efforts you are making and you are so very right…there is a song…you are- ( this is ) so beautiful for me…and I’m not in a very good place as I write this: uncertain future, poverty and my anti husband hovers too near (while I yearn to be freed)

    • Dear CMP, the fog and exhaustion can be so very debilitating, can’t they?

      btw, I changed your screen name to CMP. You’d given your real name. It’s a good idea check what is in the ‘Name’ field before you hit submit.

  4. Avid Reader

    Barbara,

    Thanks for summarizing this and providing these relevant links. The link you gave to this quote by Michael Bird is priceless!

    “I find it pointless to use the Trinity to argue for subordination in marriage relationships, unless your marriage includes an older man, a younger man, and eunuch!”

  5. healinginhim

    Thank you, Barbara. These posts are so important. Would love to eventually have permission to print them as a leaflet or booklet to share with others.

    • Sure! Do what you like with them so long as you cite the source, which I know you will.

  6. “Here is what I think the battle is really about:

    It’s about the disrespect and injustice being handed out by evildoers and their allies in the church. It’s not about feminism. It’s not about women’s ordination. It’s not about egalitarianism and complementarianism. It’s about according full respect to victims of abuse, and throwing the abusers out of the church. “

    Good post, Barb. I think maybe I take it a little further. I don’t think it’s just about full respect to victims of abuse, I think it’s about full respect to WOMEN, period. They still view all women through the lens of the sins of Eve. And it is because of that, they believe men must “rule over” women.

    • Julie Anne, thanks for coming in to the debate here. Bless you!

      I agree with you on this:

      They still view all women through the lens of the sins of Eve. And it is because of that, they believe men must “rule over” women.

      And yes, they are digging in their heels against having to accord full resect to WOMEN, period.

      We have two choices.
      Alternative 1: We say to them: “Pay attention to how you are disrespecting victims of abuse!”
      Alternative 2: We say to them, “Pay attention to how you are disrespecting women!”

      If we take the second alternative, they will just shut their minds to all we are saying after they hear the word “women” becuase they will typecast us as feminist and in their mind that equals devilish, un-christian, culture demolition. It means that at the very least they can typecast as egalitarians, and that means they will continue to have justification (they think) to ignore us. They keep their mud in their ears and remain proud and haughty and think they still have the moral high ground.

      But if we take the first alternative, if we say to them: “Pay attention to the victims of abuse. Some of those victims of abuse are male, some are female. The evildoers in the church are abusing both males and females, boys and girls. So you’d better listen up and pay attention and learn what we victims can tell you… because you want to follow the Bible, right? — and the Bible deplores injustice!” If we keep saying it like that, they may take the mud out of their ears. They may start feeling pressure from others who are kind of in their camp but have less mud in their ears…..

      So, is the cause of justice more important? Is it the main thing? I say Yes, it is.
      Is the injustice being delivered more to females than males. I say Yes, it is.
      BUT I know that if we frame the battle as about justice for women, we will not be heard by the power brokers and influencers who are capable of bringing justice.

      If we can get them to pay attention to delivering justice to the abused, and expelling the abusers, then we can bring up all the secondary parts of the issue: the gender bias etc.

      And JA, I am not saying that ‘the abused’ are only the victims of domestic abuse. They are all the abused: victims of domestic abuse, spiritual abuse, child abuse, psychological (counseling) abuse.

      I believe it is a good strategy to frame the battle as about justice for the abused. But it is also BIBLICAL to frame it that way. The Bible repeatedly, incessantly reminds us to take care of the afflicted, the vulnerable, the oppressed.

      Now, the Bible itself gives this issue a degree of gender coloration: help the widows and the fatherless = Help the women and children who are bereft of real husbands to support them —— And it’s not only the physical death of a husband that makes a woman bereft: when domestic abuse is perpetrated by men, the wife and kids have an anti-husband and anti-father, instead of a real husband/ real father.

      But while the Bible does give some degree of gender-colouration when it exhorts us to pay attention to the afflicted and abused, it does not frame the call SOLELY in terms of gender. In it’s repeated calls for justice, it also speaks about the sojourners (refugees and temporary migrants who had fled or come to Israel from other countries, who are both male and female.) And it speaks about according justice to slaves and employees, both male and female.

      So yes, the gender question is a big part of it. The gender prejudice is a big part of it. But I do not believe it is the chief-most part. The real battle is: Justice for the oppressed/abused/afflicted, and expelling the perpetrators. And to do that requires recognition of EVIL and becoming wise as serpents about the mentality and tactics of evildoers.

      • I have edited my comment just above, so Julie Anne, please read it on the web; the one you will have received by email notification has been changed. Sorry. Juggling many balls in the air right now.

  7. IMPORTANT — there is a new post by Dr Liam Goligher. It came out earlier today.

    A Letter to Professors Grudem and Ware by Dr Liam Goligher.

    • Theo K

      Hi Barbara,

      I do appreciate all your hard work on behalf of the oppressed.

      At the same time, would you consider whether there is any possibility that you are following the same approach that you are accusing others of doing?
      May it be the case that you are trying to define the Trinity based on what you think will avoid the oppression of women, rather than on what the scriptures actually say?

      I read the letter of Liam Golingher, and, although I am not an “authorized” theologian (i.e. no formal training – but I believe we ALL are theologians), I take issue with some of his statements.
      He says: “There is no room for any kind of social Trinitarian model there. … There is no hierarchy; and there are not three centers of consciousness.”

      I strongly disagree with this. Of course there are three centers of consciousness. The God we worship is 3 divine persons united in love. This is the most fundamental truth about the true God. We are not modalists, are we?
      And what if there is some kind of order in the social Trinity? This doesn’t necessarily lead to oppression and misery. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they say.

      I would like to hear what you and pastor Jeff think on this approach to the Trinity:
      http://www.etsjets dot org/files/JETS-PDFs/47/47-3/47-3-pp399-421_JETS.pdf
      TOWARD A BIBLICAL MODEL OF THE SOCIAL TRINITY: AVOIDING EQUIVOCATION OF NATURE AND ORDER

      In his conclusion, the author says:
      “If Scripture affirms and is not contradictory to an eternally ordered social trinitarianism, then efforts to present an egalitarian Godhead are misguided. Surely radiant truths can be discerned from social models of the Trinity for our understanding of self and interpersonal relationships. However, philosophic arguments that true equality of nature necessitates equality of order are an equivocation of the two. To those who would furthermore project Western assumptions regarding equality and freedom to remodel God in democratic ideals, we must insist that God’s Word judges culture and not vice versa. Conversely, those who on the basis of a hierarchical model of the Trinity justify political oppression or independent masculine rulership in familial and ecclesial settings do not grasp the selfsacrificing nature of the Father as well as of the Son and the Spirit.”

      May our Lord lead us to the truth, both in doctrine and in practice.

      • Theo K,

        You said “I would like to hear what you think about this approach to the Trinity.”
        I think it is wrong. I also note that the article you asked me my opinion on was written in 2004 which is a lot earlier than when Grudem and Ware started really promoting their ERAS doctrine. So that article is not going to be referencing the current debate.

        I refer you to Michel R Barnes’s article here and

        Lewis Ayres’ article here.

        And I will not engage in hefty theological fisticuffs with you. Our mission is to awaken the church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst. The points I’m making about ERAS are to do with the motivation of the men who are pushing ERAS. You entirely failed to address those issues of motivation, and instead tried to draw me into theological debating. I’m not biting that hook.

        And I do not believe you when you say you appreciate all the hard work we do on behalf of the oppressed. That sounded like just a sweetener to me, to make us think you really have good will towards us. I don’t buy it.

        Nor do I buy you last line “May the Lord lead us to the truth, both in doctrine and practice.” If you really meant that, you would humble yourself and start respecting what we have to say and how much we can help the church respond in a more biblical way to domestic abuse. The patronising tone of your last line smacks of hypocrisy. We’ve heard that tone MANY times before from people who pretend to like what we do but who really want to fight against what we do.

        So, no, I will not engage with you.

      • Avid Reader

        Theo said,

        “And what if there is some kind of order in the social Trinity? This doesn’t necessarily lead to oppression and misery. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they say.”

        Notice how Theo used the keyword “order.”

        When you hear books or sermons start talking about “divine order” pay close attention because that’s a key word used to open you up to what’s coming next. To get you to drop your guard and open up to whatever they want you to believe, they keep emphasizing that “God’s divine order” is whatever they think it is. Then this line of reasoning continues down the pathway of putting someone between you and God. That person becomes the decision maker in your life. To disobey that person is to disobey God.

        That’s how the argument of “some order is necessary in the world to control the depraved nature of man” turns into
        “The only way people will make the right decision is if someone else makes it for them”
        which opens you up to receiving what they are actually grooming you for which is
        “God’s divine order demands that you bow to me.”

        Now watch how Theo will respond by denying this. Then he’ll try to attack my commitment to Christ by saying that my questioning of his ideas are actually questioning God Himself. But that’s putting obedience to man on the same level as God. All Christian theology has to bow its knee to the lordship of Jesus Christ who came “to destroy the works of the devil” and “set the captives free.”

      • Theo K

        Dear Avid Reader,

        I used the word ‘order’ as it was part of the argument presented in the article I referenced.

        In his conclusion, the author says:
        “If Scripture affirms and is not contradictory to an eternally ordered social trinitarianism, then efforts to present an egalitarian Godhead are misguided.”

        You can read the article for yourself and see whether the author has been faithful to the scriptures or not.

        But if you begin with the presupposition that it is impossible for any kind of order to exist in the Trinity, then nothing could ever change your mind…

        I would also add that I am not an enemy. I am just a nobody, a single guy living in Greece who loves Jesus and theology.
        I also agree with the author’s conclusion:
        “Conversely, those who on the basis of a hierarchical model of the Trinity justify political oppression or independent masculine rulership in familial and ecclesial settings do not grasp the selfsacrificing nature of the Father as well as of the Son and the Spirit.”

        I don’t think trying to find enemies everywhere is the best approach. But, then again, I haven’t been through the terrible ordeals you experienced.

        Every blessing in Christ,
        Theo

      • Theo K, we are not part of that camp of people who argue for an “egalitarian Godhead,” so I think your comment is verging off topic and you are creating a straw man here.

        … those who on the basis of a hierarchical model of the Trinity justify political oppression or independent masculine rulership in familial and ecclesial settings do not grasp the selfsacrificing nature of the Father as well as of the Son and the Spirit.”

        Im glad to hear you agree with that.

        We do not take a position on the controversy between egalitarians and complementarians. We confine ourselves to exposing and rebutting the twisted theology and faulty interpretations of scripture which render injustice to victims of abuse.

        If you continue to infer that we are egalitarians and if you try to argue against us on that basis, we will publish no more of your comments.

      • MarkQ

        A separation of wills destroys omniscience. If the wills of the three persons are different, then there is some lack of knowing, because an all-knowing and all-good God would desire the same thing, regardless of the person. That’s why the historical Christian view has been that Christ’s human nature did not have that omniscience, and his human will was perfect, but not omniscient. So he did not know the time or the hour, and he prayed “thy will be done”. If Christ’s human nature were omniscient, then those statements would have been lies. That’s why, in the article I read, that the historical position has always been that God has ONE will, and that it is only Christ’s human role as mediator that was (for a little while lower than the angels) subordinate and submissive.

        I agree with Barbara. When you say “To those who would furthermore project Western assumptions regarding equality and freedom to remodel God in democratic ideals, we must insist that God’s Word judges culture and not vice versa.” You are assuming the conclusion and portraying it as the Word of God. You are not engaging in a debate, you are trying to smack us upside the head with your version of the truth.

      • Avid Reader

        Theo,

        This is your chance to show your heart for God and for people. If you really do love Jesus—then your heart will be broken by what breaks His heart.

        Things would be completely different if you had come here to listen and had asked honest questions. But you slammed Barbara simply because she had questioned something that you believe is unquestionable.

        Now Theo has pressed us for an opinion on this article that says “insisting on egalitarian roles…..displeases…..the Son and Spirit.” Like Barbara said—this website is not about the Complementarian/Egalitarian debate. If that’s what you want—there are plenty of other websites out there.

        Theo, no one was accusing you of anything. You referenced a certain line of reasoning in the church and we were showing how that line of reasoning can damage people by leading them away from the heart of God. That’s what we do here. Each of us shares what we’ve learned walking with the Lord. Our experiences help others identify patterns of manipulation and control in the church so that others can escape from what we’ve suffered.

        For all of you reading this right now, I’m going to do a point by point analysis of Theo’s second comment so you can see the logical fallacies.

        Theo said,

        I used the word “order” as it was part of the argument presented in the article I referenced.

        My Response—
        The more you read Christian books and articles the more you begin to see certain patterns of reasoning repeat over and over. After reading a crazy number of Christian books and listening to an even crazier amount of sermons, I started to see how “God’s divine order” is a keyword that is often used to open people up to twisted theology because they can’t just come out and say what they really mean. If they say this theology is designed to control you—then everyone would run away and hide. But by starting off with talking about God’s divine order—then slowly adding in that God’s divine order is whatever they want it to be—then that keyword gets people to drop their guard and believe whatever comes next because people’s love for God makes them willing to make any sacrifice that will please God’s heart.

        Of course, I’m NOT saying that Theo or his article intended that — he’s simply quoting that type of line of reasoning and I’m showing where wolves can come in the church and use that line of reasoning to take advantage of people even if the pastors who taught it never meant it to hurt people.

        Now the article that Theo referenced is simply that theologian’s personal opinion on Scripture. While that article only discusses the Trinity, the problem that Barbara pointed out is that too many theologians are using these ideas to argue for the disenfranchisement of women. That’s why we’re questioning their motivation.

        For example, like we’ve mentioned earlier — Dr. Wayne Grudem wrote in his book Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth — that the eternal subordination of Christ was one of his ten main reasons for his opinion on women which closes many doors to women.

        For example,
        Grudem FORBIDS women from “teaching Bible or theology in a Christian college”
        but ALLOWS women be a “Bible professor on a secular university campus.” (p. 95-96) That doesn’t make any sense!

        That’s also the book where Grudem implies that ministry to women is LESS important than ministry to men!

        He literally ranks:
        “teaching a high school Sunday School class”
        ABOVE
        “teaching a college-age Sunday school class”
        which is WAY ABOVE
        “teaching a women’s Sunday school class”

        Then he ranks:
        “counseling one man”
        as ABOVE
        “counseling a couple together”
        which is ABOVE
        “counseling one woman.” (p. 88-89)

        See the subtle implications that women really don’t matter?

        The point is that this theology on the Trinity has very real implications that can lead to hurting women in the church. Theo, if you really care about women, then you would stand up for them.

        Theo says:

        You can read the article for yourself and see whether the author has been faithful to the scriptures or not.

        My response:
        Of course I read the article — the logical fallacy here is:
        Theo is saying that we are not allowed to disagree with his theology therefore the only way we could disagree is to have not read the article in the first place because if we had read the article we would automatically believe it.

        Yet the Bible warns us not to be like children “tossed like waves and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, or by clever strategies that would lead us astray.” Eph 4:14b (ISV)

        Maturing in Christ involves having our “powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:14b(ESV). Thus, instead of automatically believing every Christian sounding doctrine that we hear, we must test everything according to the Scripture.

        Theo says:

        But if you begin with the presupposition that it is impossible for any kind of order to exist in the Trinity

        Logical fallacy:
        Theo is saying that the only way we can believe that order exists in the Trinity is to believe his version of it.

        Theo says:

        Then nothing could ever change your mind.

        Logical fallacy:
        If we disagree with Theo’s theology, we must change our mind simply because he believes he’s right and we are wrong. See the pressure? Theo is implying that we are being stubborn and close-minded when in fact that’s exactly what he’s doing! Theo is the one refusing to listen! Then he tries to make us feel guilty for not doing what he wants!

        Theo says:

        I would also add that I am not an enemy. I am just a nobody, a single guy living in Greece who loves Jesus and theology.

        Logical fallacy:
        This is gaslighting where Theo tries to define our reality for us by accusing us of calling him the enemy. We never did that! No one here has accused Theo of anything—we just asked him to recognize how certain ideas in the church can lead to hurting people. Questioning someone’s ideas isn’t a personal attack.

        Theo, to love Jesus requires following His example. The more you study the life of Christ the more you see His heart for women—Jesus is the perfect example of how to correct dangerous theology without accusing or blaming women like way too many theologians do.

        Theo says:

        I also agree with the author’s conclusion:
 “Conversely, those who on the basis of a hierarchical model of the Trinity justify political oppression or independent masculine rulership in familial and ecclesial settings do not grasp the self sacrificing nature of the Father as well as of the Son and the Spirit.

        Logical Fallacy:
        Because this article has one mention of condemning oppression, therefore everything else in the article will also protect people from the abuse of power.

        Well, the problem is that this theology is already being used to disenfranchise women like we have already shown earlier and in other threads on this blog.

        Theo says:

        I don’t think trying to find enemies everywhere is the best approach. But, then again, I haven’t been through the terrible ordeals you experienced.

        Logical Fallacy: This is more gaslighting where again Theo tries to define our reality for us by accusing us of trying to “find enemies everywhere” to shut down our legitimate concerns.

        Unwarranted Inference: The only reason we are asking questions is because we’ve been through “terrible ordeals” that cloud our discernment.

        Nope. We ask questions because we are obeying God’s command to “test all things.” (1Thess 5:21) That’s not a personal attack. That’s following the example of Christ who questioned the religious leaders of His day and warned us that it’s the tradition of men that makes the Word of God have no effect. (Mark 7:13) Plus, Jesus warned us to watch out for people teaching their own rules as God’s rules. (Matthew 15:9 & Mark 7:7)

        Theo,

        I wish you all the best in your walk with God. Now that we’ve had a pretty thorough discussion on this subject it’s time for both of us to move on.

      • Thanks Avid Reader.
        And if Theo K comes back with more of what he’s given us so far, we will not publish it.

  8. MarkQ

    This is bigger than gender. This is about the heart of authority. We who are under authority are told to submit to and obey our leaders, and our authorities are told that they have some superior status that gives them permission to command and subordinate us.

    In order to elevate the authorities, they are told they are valuable. They are gifted. They have something to offer. To create the “proper” environment of submission, those under authority are told they are worthless, they lack gifts, they have nothing to offer but obedience to their authority. They are merely an extension of that authority. The good they do is only because they are submissive to wise authority, and the evil they do is their own.

    Their response, when challenged, is not to admit their error, but to double down on the flawed doctrine. They have to claim that Jesus is somehow just an extension of the Father, and yet, that somehow can’t make him less God.

  9. New post in this debate, by Ps Sam Powell:
    Unintended (?) Consequence

  10. Excellent addition to this debate — Rachel Miller reviews Owen Strachan & Gavin Peacock’s book The Grand Design

    THE GRAND DESIGN: A REVIEW

  11. GC

    I believe they would like to keep women and wives in the position of children. I believe they are intent on not respecting women as adults. I believe they want to de-voice women, to marginalize them and keep them out of the important conversations.

    I think that this is absolutely true. You see it over and over again in the actions and hear it in the words of comp pastors and “leaders.” They view women the way most adults would view 15 year-old girls – mature enough to take care of the kids but not nearly mature or valuable enough to contribute as full adults to life or ministry.

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