Playing Twister with the Scriptures

It was suggested that I post some of the letters I have received from pastors.  This is a letter I received from a pastor and which can also be found on my website. He is setting me straight on 1 Timothy 3:15.

Paul teaches here that although a woman precipitated the Fall and women bear that responsibility, yet they may be preserved from that stigma through childbearing. The rescue, the delivery, the freeing of women from that stigma of having led the race into sin happens when they bring up righteous children. Women are far from being second class citizens because they have the primary responsibility for rearing godly children.

Mothers spend far more time with their children than do their fathers, and thus have the greater influence. Paul’s point here is that while a woman may have led the race into sin, women have the privilege of leading that race out of sin into godliness.

That does not mean God wants all women to bear children; some He doesn’t even want married (1st Cor. 7:25-40). Paul speaks in general terms. The pain associated with childbirth was the punishment for the woman’s sin, but the joy and privilege of child rearing delivers women from the stigma of that sin. 

In this passage we can see how God has perfectly balanced the roles of the sexes. Men are to be the leaders in the church and the family. Women are kept from any accusation of inferiority through the godly influence they have in the lives of their children. For the church to depart from this divine order is to perpetuate the disaster of the Fall.

My response:

Ah, Pastor, untwist yourself.  You have played Twister with those scriptures.

What about the blood of Jesus delivering us from all sin, even the stigma of the Fall.  You are telling me that Jesus  does not have the power of Himself to free me, a woman, from that.  How on earth could having a baby free us?  Pastor, that doesn’t make one bit of sense.  It gives men far more power than God or Paul ever intended. 

 Because you see, that makes our whole salvation dependent upon an earthly male to make us whole.  And it also depends upon our ability to raise righteous children.  My salvation cannot be based upon whether or not my children are Christians, just as their salvation is not based upon whether or not this poor mother was a Christian.

Do you know how you sound with that “joy and privilege of childrearing delivers women from the stigma of that sin?  Southern Baptists have not erased that stigma from me and I have given birth to two sons.  Once I have a child, then from your reasoning, I should be free of the stigma.  Does the fact that I had pain killers during childbirth change that?  Do I get a certificate from the SBC saying that I am now “preserved” from that stigma?

Pastor, one day you will realize just how ridiculous your explanation is.

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Do Baptists Really Believe That?, Equality for women in Southern Baptist churches, Scriptures explained and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Playing Twister with the Scriptures

  1. Mara says:

    Oh, I’m reading.
    I just don’t always have something to say.
    You are doing a good job sis.
    You (and your wonderful husband) bring new insight to the table.
    I was on a different blog and the men there have a particular hatred of ‘feminists’. To clarify, they really do mean third wave (pro-choice, no need for dads) feminist. And the host likes it when women argue with him and bring up good points. He doesn’t silence them or even use the typical verses the men (like the pastors who write to you) use to try to shut me down. He disagrees with much of what I say, but he is at least respectful about it.
    But he is stuck on men being the head, the Danver’s statement, and Wayne Grudem is his hero. And he thinks egals are in league with third wavers because they helped to bring Obama in power.

    Note: When I said that third wave feminists are not the biggest enemy of the church a gal asked me what I thought was. After thinking about it for a while I told her I’d have to write a series on it on my blog because the answer is to extensive for a limited comment on another person’s blog.
    On that blog, I find that if I don’t go out of my way to make sure they understand things, they have a tendency to misunderstand because of assumptions they have made about me, being and egal in league with third wave feminists. And my comments often get very long.
    Anyway, I told you back some time ago that my blog is inactive but I’ll let you know, if you want, when I start my series and you can comment on mine if you find something interesting.


    • Please le me know when your blog has become active again! Thanks so much for your support. I also need your prayers right now because I am working on something for our local newspaper which I hope they will print, and afraid if they do.


  2. territippins says:

    God has perfectly balanced the role of the sexes? Men lead but the balance for women is that if they have children they are kept from accusations of inferiority. I dont think he knows himself exactly what he is saying. And I ask, where is the balance? A woman’s salvation (as they teach) is a process of works. Sure women can be single, not have children, Paul is cool with that. But, if you as a woman really really want to please God, find a man to marry, that you can worship and have babies with.

    Women do not bear the responsibilty for the fall. The Bible never blames the woman but instead blames Adam. The statement about “they shall be preserved from that stigma through childbearing” sounds just like a statment made by John Macarthur. Heck, he was probably copying that from one of his teachings.

    “For the church to depart from this divine order is to perpetuate the disaster of the Fall.” Sister, he has not proved a thing. He just made a flowery speech trying to impress you. The way fundamentalist men treat women in the church and then teach others to do the same, IS the perpetuation of the fall NOT some divine order initiated by God.

    Sister, having three children has not elevated me in the church either.


    • I just wonder if the people in the congregation actually know what their pastor believes? When I started this journey for equality in SBC churches, I was completely ignorant. These pastors opened my eyes.

      I think the congregation has to be ignorant of this, too, or else why would they go along with it.


      • territippins says:

        It is really tough to disect exactly what each leader believes. Most often the very controversial and conservative viewpoints are held in reserve as ammunition for the unsuspecting woman who happens to ask bold questions. They know that to ‘throw all thier junk’ on the table at one time would send some people running for the door. So, most of the more restrictive beliefs only come into the conversation as they are challenged to prove what they believe with scripture. Dorothy Sayers once commented, concerning the great discussion about what it means to be human, that women were not welcome at the table. Although she was speaking about the academic environment before women were allowed a college education (which means it’s not a universally fair assessment today), I think she raises an important point. Women’s general absence from these types of discussion throughout history has shaped the way we (esp. women) think as individuals and as a culture about what it means to be male and female, and human, made in the image of God. Women have been left out of tradition, interpretation, the forming of doctrine, etc. so we have to live and abide in structure that we had nothing to do in creating. That is why it is the height of hypocrisy for male leaders to quote Phillipians 2:6-8, to women and then walk away feeling justified in thier prooftexting.
        “Sure you gals want equality, even Jesus did not grasp after that, your not acting like Jesus.” We have got to realize that much of what passes for biblical teaching (about women) is the result of creative imagination of male theologians, preachers, etc. through the ages. Women have definatley internalized what they have been taught over the years by patriarchal men. We have been taught to define ourselves as wives, mothers, whores, mistresses, virgins, but never, disciples, leaders, teachers, pastors, etc. That is why when the topic is brought up it is important to speak up and speak out for the equality of women…….”Silent women don’t make history.”


      • You are absolutely right! That was true with the Assembly of God man who I have known for 18 years who suddenly out of nowhere told me I had the Spirit of Jezebel. I had been talking with his wife for over a year and telling her about my ministry and she was very supportive. I had no reason to think he would not be. She was trying to get him to shut up, and he would not listen to her, he had to continue on. That is what you are saying is that many pastors think this way but do not bring it up in conversation.

        You know, I got a chance to talk with these pastors like their congregations never do. When anyone gets a few precious minutes to talk with a pastor, they tell the pastor about their sick, and about their misbehaving kids, or other important family matter. They never bring up the issue of women’s equality in those precious few minutes with their pastor.


  3. Kristen says:

    Men are the leaders of the family, but women bear the primary responsibility for the children?

    Apparently responsibility and leadership don’t go together anymore. The woman is to be responsible for that which she has no leadership authority to execute. The man is to be the leader, but it’s not his fault if something goes wrong with the children– it’s her responsibility.

    Yes, I have seen this teaching in action. The result is stress and more stress upon the poor woman, as she gets blamed whenever the child-rearing decision he says she must make, has bad results.

    Jesus said if you saw bad fruit, that meant the tree was bad. This ugly teaching bears nothing but bad fruit.


    • Mara says:

      And they are so blind to it Kristen. When I point out the bad fruit their come back it, “Well, they are doing it wrong. If they did it right, it would work.”

      Complimentarians, Kings and peasant princesses of Denial.


    • territippins says:

      Complimentarian men want all the authority over the wife and children but, no responsiblity when things go wrong. They are playing “Adam”, he was the first man to throw his wife under a bus and he definatly has not been the last. That same garden scenerio plays itself out in our homes and in our churches. In the big scheme of things men seem to bear no ill affects from the so-called God ordained roles in the fall. Instead they seem to actually derive thier self-esteem and self-worth ( from being the leader and from the sweat of thier brow, working a job.) Women on the other hand, have a ‘stigma’ of inferiority (thousands of years later) that can only be taken away by bearing children? Who has real life experience here? (oh, me me!) I have had three children neither the first, middle or third child took away this ‘stigma’ of second-class citizenship in the church. And bet your bottom dollar I was the one changing diapers, bottle feeding, sitting on the stoop listening to a whiny child, disciplining etc. and I did all this and missed many preached sermons. To keep it real, I did bear the day to day responsiblity, just did not get much credit for it (like being called the ‘leader’ or the one who has ‘authority’.) I think complimentarians have played with womens minds long enough, can’t be silent anymore.


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