Friday, September 09, 2011

The Calling of Believing Women

I want to address the doctrine called complementarinism which, put simply, is the Biblical doctrine which teaches that men should have the offices of elder and pastor, and the women should be in submission to their own husbands as well as the church leadership. Many of the blogs which claim an orthodox theology including rejecting women elders and pastors, both support and print articles from unordained women as they rebuke and correct ordained pastors and elders regardless of their doctrinal compromises. It is unseemly and a gigantic Biblical compromise as well as an open hypocrisy. To forcefully proclaim a Biblical orthodoxy, and to forcefully expose and reject the many females who claim to be pastors and elders, but to then allow your own women within your own camp to step forward and rebuke ordained men cannot be anything but Biblical compromise and personal hypocrisy.

I cannot imagine such discerners and watchman who are bellicose in their correction of false doctrine including giving demeaning nicknames to woman pastors, but then allow women to usurp the authority of ordained men simply because they agree with you doctrinally. It is the “same enemy” principle that ignores the clear teaching in the New Testament simply based upon your good friend’s doctrinal stance. Is the Word of God a smorgasbord that can be parsed when it suits your purpose? And when I have confronted such compromise they reply that these women are not rebuking their own pastors and elders but strangers who they have not spoken to. And they are not doing it within the walls of a building designed for worship. What a Biblical hypocrisy!

Ti.2:3 - 5 - The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

But when it suits your purpose the clear teachings of the Scriptures become less then clear, and you are allowed to dilute them in the image of emergent compromise. How the evil One has deceived even the most “orthodox” among us because their words support our views! You cannot claim to be “orthodox” and allow and support women who correct and even castigate elders around the globe. These women are wrong, but the blame must fall more significantly upon their husbands, their pastors, and the blogs that are dedicated to exposing false doctrine while trafficking in false doctrine themselves. But if you correct such women, you run the risk of losing support for your own “ministries”.

And when someone like me speaks like this I run the risk of being a “woman hater” and causing division within the orthodox community. Do you see what happens here? The orthodox community has its ducks already in a row and refuses to look deeply into the mirror of God’s Word and receive correction. And since their doctrinal stands are perfect, they reject any and all correction and stand firmly upon Gods Word, or more accurately, their interpretation of God’s Word.

I Cor. 14: 34 - Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak;

Ok, what is cultural and what is absolute? I suggest that this verse may definitely have a cultural context, but those who culturalize such verses stand firmly upon these verses:

I Tim.2:11-12 - Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

But in the original Greek it says “unless your women become bloggers“! There again, the very same bloggers that rebuke those who ordain women and compromise the Scriptures in so doing, support an open compromise to those same Scriptures. Oh I know, these women bloggers are exempt from Scriptural parameters because God’s Word has no authority in the internet! I personally believe women can teach Sunday School to other women and children, but that is light years from supporting women who openly and publicly castigate and correct ordained men from all over the world. Sunday School is not even a New Testament office, so I may be compromising there as it pertains to women. And let me say that some of the most Christlike followers of Jesus I know are women, so I do not “hate” women.

And many of these women, card carrying five pointers who hold the Word of God is “high esteem”, recoil at any inference that they operate outside the Scriptural teachings concerning gender roles and callings. And many husbands of these women speak nary a word but would still claim to be the spiritual leader in their homes. Very curious.

But the culture has infiltrated the church. So let me give you a homework assignment. For the next two weeks, peruse the internet and see how many blogs who uncover and rebuke false teachings support and allow women to openly take authority over ordained men. You may be surprised as well as depressed. How can a doctrinal sleuth use unscriptural methods? It’s like a pacifist searching for war mongers and using guns to find them. When we cultivate such hatred or disdain for others we silently cultivate an overblown assessment for ourselves, and we are willing to compromise in order to achieve what we deem to be a divine purpose.

“It is never right to do wrong to achieve a right”.

How many discernment bloggers often refer to dead theologians in support of a biblical theology, but would be roundly criticized by those same theologians, if blogging existed back then, for the way in which these male bloggers encourage women to step into ecclesiastical male roles? It’s called a doctrinal buffet, eat what you want and leave the rest. I guess the devil created blogging in order to find doctrinal loopholes which would compromise the church and provide shelter for all sorts of ecclesiastical mischief. Who holds bloggers accountable, including me? No one.

And the local pastor of blogging men and women stands idly by and says nothing, especially if the blogger is a faithful, giving member of the church where he pastors. The entire blogging spectacle has become a complete mess where all of us can write whatever we desire with no correction, even if we say things that are patently untrue or correct ordained men from “Who Knows Where, USA” about their personal conduct based solely upon second hand reports. And in a stunning, absolutely stunning, revelation of compromise, women are allowed to teach doctrine, castigate pastors, and in some cases spew the most virulent rhetoric concerning ordained men from all corners of the world.

And many times these discerning women not only manage their own blogs, but are contributors to other blogs whose male administrators claim a sure and solid orthodoxy. Can we speak clearly the oracles of God through people who God has lovingly given other assignments and has forbidden them to stand in the place they now stand? Many women have wonderful blogs that minister devotional material and even link to men who have discernment blogs. That is pleasing to our Lord. But to support women who practice public disobedience to the Scriptures is wrong and misrepresents the divine order. If I was God I would allow certain godly women to be pastors and teachers and elders, but I am not God and he gave us others directions.

I openly ask these women to repent, even if what they say is true. We cannot label ourselves obedient to the Scriptures in most areas, while we operate openly in rebellion to another area. But even more strongly I ask the ordained men who facilitate these women to repent, even if it means they will be persecuted for such. Little by little the church has compromised in ways that would have caused a tumult only fifty years ago. Is it not time for us to seek God’s face and circumcise those things that displease God and are very clear in the Scriptures?


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rick, for addressing this.
This is a teaching most don't even recognize.

I repent of ever trying to teach men of the church anything.
For 3 years I had a column in the bulletin of the UMC I attended called "Hymn History". When it was just about history...maybe it was alright, but eventually it became less history and more teaching.

My husband and I weren't really sure if it was right - though we were leaning toward realizing it wasn't. My pastor showed me in scripture where Paul referred to women who were supposed to be teachers...

In the end, I was teaching. I wasn't silent. Even though what I was teaching was mostly was wrong to do it. I repent of that.

My husband could see the apostasy in that organization right away - but I didn't see it. I wish I had followed his lead to leave much sooner than I did. I repent of that, too.

Thank you for speaking biblically even when people don't like to hear it.

Bless you, Lisa

Rick Frueh said...

Thank you, Lisa. Would to God there were more women like you in Christ's church. Many people misinterpret my teaching and feel offended, when in reality I am attempt to glorify the high calling of women. They hold a unique glory both in the family as well as the church.

But their roles have been smeared by the infiltration of this fallen culture that encourages women not to be submissive, and in fact the result many times leads women to be abrasive and act like men (usually carnal men).

The biblical exhortation about teaching is probably in the context of having authority over men, and the inference is in the context of teaching doctrine. God has created minds that work differentl in men and women, and it seems evident that a man's mind is more suited analytically. Regardless though, we must bow to the scriptures.

But let me be clear, there are many godly women within the church whose testimony for Christ is far brighter than many pastors and elders. I myself often was convicted of the Spirit when He showed me how much more glowing some woman was in following Christ when compared to me. Before God this is true.

But no one can Biblically defend some of the caustic and virulent verbiage that many women use around the blogosphere. And much of it is used to openly attack ordained men who Biblically should be corrected by other elders if the need arises. The divine direction for gender roles has been obliterated. And when our children see how the church now supports such things, they embrace that error and each generation takes it further into error.

Thank you again, Lisa.

Anonymous said...

Ah, if you could come and sit of an afternoon and you and my husband and I could just talk...with a pc. of apple/elderberry pie to help the conversation along. smile.

Someone once said that it's not that women aren't capable. God's word doesn't teach that. It's just that He's given us certain roles. He's given us certain rank. God, Jesus, man, wife, children. It's not that women are less important, less able, less - anything! But like you said, He has given women a high calling. How can we fulfill that high calling when we're so busy trying to do the calling of men, too?

So...perhaps those teachings weren't necessarily wrong? Of course you'd have to read them to know if they were biblically wrong. But perhaps it wasn't wrong for me to write those? I wasn't in authority over any men. I'm a little confused about that point - would you clarify for me?

I'm more than willing to repent of having done something to offend the Lord. He always, always knows what's best and is the Author of what's right.

Sometimes it's a bit confusing - and sometimes we just want to think it's confusing so we can continue to do what we want!

Thank you for the kind words - but all glory to God! I'm only who I am because of Him! I'm naturally a very selfish and "take charge" kind of girl. Those natural inclinations...well, they're not good.

Take care, Lisa

Rick Frueh said...

"It's not that women are less important, less able, less - anything!"

Exactly. God's glory can only be revealed in us when we are submitted to His will for us. Remember, we all came from the Creator, so God has all male and female qualities within Himself, but of course He reveals Himself in the masculine.

But my point is that men and women come equally from God but with divine purposes that are different. And when all believers live within the very throneroom of the Risen Christ, there will be only redeemed souls whose identity is no longer tethered to their gender, but eternally tethered to their Redeemer!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, yes.

Radiance said...

* I am a conservative, Reformed-minded Christian--but just as I am acknowledging of how the LORD cannot be totally pidgeonholed into any manmade soteriological theology (aka Calvinism vs. Arminianism) -- I have prayerfully concluded the same with regard to the debates surrounding gender.

Few reasons:

1) I have realized white-male status anxiety drives much of the patriarchy movement in American Evangelicalism moreso than any real love for Christ, his church, and his Word.

So therefore, the fallen impulses of men feeling entitled to power and position simply by virtue of their gender and white privilege are equally sinful to the same impulses which drive pro-choice women to justify abortion.

I also found that many Evangelical women find comfort in the patriarchy movement's aims. Many are insecure about the choices they made in life in the name of satisfying social constructs and remain judgmental and envious of career women, or those who pursued advanced degrees.

Some women resent the fact that not all working women fall neatly into some "psycho-feminist" stereotype and in fact are happily married, theologically astute, and mothers to believing children.

* It is also unfortunate that the contributions of unconventional missionary women to the kingdom often go without recognition. Many such women never marry, and have lived lives of service which involved activities such as preaching, teaching, and evangelizing to both lost MEN and women in the mission field.

Some Evangelical women have been taught to be subject to the standards set by the "American Dream" by the 1950s zeitgeist and June Cleaver. They project these cultural presumptions into the Bible--into verses like Titus 2. (Titus 2 and select verses from Proverbs 31 being the only verses many women's ministries think apply to them at the expense of the rest of the Bible and at the expense of the rest of their responsibilities as Christians.)

These ideals as they interpret can often only be lived out by white women in middle-class circumstances. (Single, believing mothers in impoverished communities cannot neatly live out the "homemaker on Maple Street" ideal for example.)

2) I had to stop thinking Bible-versely about the subject of gender and start thinking Biblically. And Biblically speaking, there are too many examples of women and verses which apply to both sexes that challenge the framework by which complementarians box our LORD in.

I also realized just how much our pagan originated macho-male culture (the kind Mark Driscoll likes to promote) is so antithetical to the example of Christ, and yet so much time at the pulpit is spent condemning women who pursue law degrees rather than addressing husbands and fathers who fail to act Christ-like.

Radiance said...


3) In that line, not enough attention is given by the American church to the greatest humanitarian crises occurring in the world: all involving the abuse and denigration of WOMEN, many times being justified by a religion that has twisted the word "submission" ("Islam" is translated as submission.) --> Praise GOD though for the MEN *and* WOMEN the LORD has called to work on behalf of victims of sexual trafficking and the like.

** Domestic abuse is a widespread problem, most rapes go unreported--not just in the culture at the large, BUT IN THE CHURCH --> yet victims of these crimes, mostly women, are SILENCED and made to feel ashamed or even responsible. Instead, much time is spent condemning gays and women who have abortions. Where's the outcry against abusive, wife-beating men and church leaders?! People are very wrong if they think sexual abuse and deviancy is only a problem within the Catholic priesthood!

Not to mention how pornography-addiction is OFTEN portrayed as some sort of justifiable sin -- and women get blamed for not being "sexually available" enough!

People act as if historical feminism--both Christian and secular, had no legitimate grounding or real dire grievances to address--but it had and continues to have plenty even though it has been taken to unbiblical extremes.

4) I have concluded that neither egalitarians and complementarians have it totally "down" with regard to interpreting and applying the Biblical implications of gender and authority. We need to be weary upon casting judgment upon the ways the LORD has called and used believing men and women in "out of the norm" ways in every age (including in Bible times) for His grand purposes.

In other words, my message to strict complementarians would be: recognize Biblical nuance and do not fear the Spirit's work in driving exceptional women to grand tasks nor be judgmental of the various ways different loving, married couples operate. (Example: it's not sinful if a man prefers to do the cooking for his family.)

5) I also think qualified, unmarried and celibate men are unfairly discriminated against within Evangelical culture as a result of the complementarian framework. Some are unofficially banned from leadership positions because they don't fit the "Mr. Cleaver" ideal. Apparently the apostle Paul, JESUS, or even the late John Stott are not precedent enough.

6) The best ministry work takes place when men and women making full use of their God-given gifts and talents, partner together in the name of Christ without regard for ego-feeding official titles -- and humbly serve and submit to one another with love and respect. CHRIST is the exemplar of living for both men AND women.

For in Christ, there is neither male nor female.

Radiance said...

"We live in a Christian subculture that can intimidate women from stepping out in faithful risk-taking for God..." ~ Dr. Rick Love

Anonymous said...

This is such a complex topic. I think we are so entrenched in the culture that we forget about the man being the priest of the home. My husband and I have discussed this before and I think he would give me permission, the go-ahead to share my thoughts here. LOL

We belonged once to a very legalistic church, where pastors preached holiness which was especially harder for women. I was never a person to want competition, ambition, career. So it was easy for us. However, I understand that a lot of women have become the bearers of much more responsibility today (in the West) than before. And their husbands allow it to be so. And women who have to work to keep the bills paid are stressed, tired and don't feel appreciated. And pastors say nothing. Holiness pastors do not preach against a woman working outside the home because it doesn't pay church bills.

TV advertisements try to make men look stupid, hollow, incompetent. Women are made to look super-wonderful, brilliant, beautiful, confident, in charge, and run circles around their man. But that's not reality. However, women seem to be buying it. All my peers today spend exhorbitant amounts of money to have their teeth straightened, whitened, earn more money than men, have had cosmetic surgery, spend lots of money on nails, hair, clothes, gym equipment, pets. Every person that passes by our house has at least two dogs on a leash.

Women pay other women to clean their homes, care for their young children. I've been told I must be crazy because I stayed home with my kids.

Women are being told they can do it all. And the church lets them. And men, well, the men want to live in a prosperous nation; they want good-paying jobs, a good way of life, opportunities afforded in this society that they couldn't get in a third-world country. So they compromise. We all compromise. If christian husbands want to stay in this society with material possessions, they put themselves,their wife and family in a world of temptation.

I don't have any answers, but we are stuck in mud. If believing husbands want to take the scripture about men/women seriously, I'm afraid it would result in too much compromise and they wouldn't be able to make a change, because it's too comfortable to have all the nice things. I think the apostles during the early church time didn't have the additional burdens of trying to break free from the temptations of prosperity, materialism, at every turn. Coming into their homes through media, television. It's almost as if we would have to return to a commune-like way of life, live like the Amish. The western culture has tightly bound and blinded us to what a biblical role of men/women is. And, our parents' generation never taught us about gender roles. Some of our mothers ruled the roost. So it goes back many generations and young people today don't have any examples to follow.

Thank you Mr. Frueh for giving something to ponder on.

Rick Frueh said...

Radiance - You have made several good and valid points. However the core of my post is this: Even if you believe a woman can teach both men and women in the church without actually being in authority, my post was primarily to reject women rebuking ordained men, correcting their theology, and many times doing it with caustic and condescending verbiabe.

Your point about missionary women wearing many hats is well taken and can surelt be seen through the eyes of grace. I personally honor those women and know quite a few.

Rick Frueh said...

By the way, to all commenters on this post, I want to add that the male leadership in the western church falls embarrasingly short of fulfilling their calling. In fact, much of the shortcomings in women in the church can be laid at the feet of the men!