One year ago, July 24, 2010, at the Seneca Falls 2 Convention, I demanded an apology from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood and listed concerns and demands.
A month ago, I received an email from a minister who had just come across it and in the course of the next few weeks we carried on an email correspondence. I think you will enjoy this conversation and I will continue it for several days.
Not sure of what his intent was and wondering why he was challenging me on this, I tentatively entered into this conversation with him.
I did not ask permission to use his exact words so I will summarize a very small portion of what he said and the questions he asked. He asked for permission to use our conversation on his blog, but so far I have not seen an advance copy of it. I still expect to.
In the middle of our conversation, he said this: “I don’t know that I’ve ever come across anyone who has expressed the egalitarian view in the same terms that you have been using in our correspondence, and your input is providing me with helpful insights.” I am not sure that was a compliment.
I will refer to him as R.H. and will break down our conversation into manageable posts.
R.H. Did you have any contact with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood (CBMW) before you sent the apology?
R .H. Have they responded?
Shirley: No. They have not responded. We are but a flea on a big dog.
I was at a Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) meeting in Houston in 2009 when I realized that Paige Patterson owed women everywhere an apology. Many of those women felt the call to pastoral ministry, some were ordained. Few had pastoral positions in a church.
The Danvers Statement came out of the first CBMW meeting in 1987. Paige and Dorothy Patterson were original board members of the CBMW. Dorothy Patterson was part of the original committee that came up with the Baptist Faith and Message 1998, and then Paige Patterson appointed his brother-in-law to help compose the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 borrows from the language of the Danvers Statement. In October 2009, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, with Paige Patterson as President, adopted the Danvers Statement as one of their statements of faith.
So, the Drs Patterson influenced the CBMW and the Danvers Statement and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, as it all came from the same minds. Others have carried on the work, hence the demand from the CBMW, and not Paige Patterson. Dorothy Patterson is still listed as a Board Member (the last time I looked).
The demand for an apology is still there. They owe women an apology for their teaching. It is my hope that women will see this and realize that they can demand an apology. It is my hope that men and pastors will look at the concerns and demands and see how damaging these are to families. This damage to families is propagated by the very same people who inserted the “Family Section” in the BF&M 2000. You would think that a love and concern for families would be the topic of the Family Section, instead of an autocratic rule by the husbands.
R.H.: Do you think it is proper to demand an apology from someone for their sincere beliefs.
Shirley: Yes, I believe that we have already apologized for slavery which was certainly a long-held belief and conviction – in fact, the Southern Baptist Convention was formed when it split from the Baptist Convention over those beliefs and convictions. It took the Baptists quite a bit longer to do this than it took others. While Martin Luther may not have asked Roman Catholics to apologize, he certainly pointed out the error of their beliefs.
R.H. How can you seriously demand that people apologize for what they sincerely believe?
Shirley: There are several points that I want to make.
· For a non-essential belief, subordination of women appears to have become the essential belief.
· The Danvers Statement was born in what is the old Salem Village in Massachusetts, which now gives them the distinction of birthing two of the most egregious things to harm more women than any other place in the United States – the Salem Witch Trials and the Danvers Statement. (I have been accused of witchcraft by some Baptist pastors)
· Why are Christian men today promoting this new jihad (Holy War) against women?
· Saul had a jihad against men and women when he was met by the living Christ on the road to Damascus. Remember that the farthest thing from Saul’s mind as he traveled down that dirty road that day, was that he might be wrong.
· Paul became the greatest promoter of women in the early church, but we have taken those scriptures and given them an interpretation that promotes this subordination of women. If Paul could see how his words have been misused against Christ, who he loved so much, his heart would be broken.
Are you a Saul – or have you become a Paul?
R.H. Are you going to withold your answers to my questions until I tell you where I stand on the complementarian versus egalitarian debate? (at this point in our conversation, I changed tactics and moved away from defending why I sent the apology instead of asking for a tête-à-tête with CBMW).
Shirley: No. I know already what your position is, but you misunderstood my question. Are you a Saul who will continue down the dirty road to persecute us?
Wednesday we have more of the conversation. Will you join me in the quest for equality for Christian women?
I have been accused of being too aggressive. In fact, R. H. told me that it makes me look bad to demand an apology in the way that I did. Perhaps so. I have heard that it is easier to catch flies with honey instead of vinegar. That might be true if it is flies you want to catch. However, equality is harder to catch, and we have tried the honey.