The culture war

Omar Mateen, the Islamic terrorist who murdered 49 people in Orlando, Florida, may or may not have wanted to preserve his Islamic culture and bring down our Western style culture. But he would not be the only one who wants to do so.

Sunday morning in church, I bowed my head in silent prayer for the victims of the massacre. Monday morning I knew nothing had changed. It came in an envelope from a large congregation of Church of Christ just down the street from us. It was an invitation to hear how Liberty University and their legal team at Liberty Counsel plan to take back America by rousing pastors and congregations into civil action. Their Three Pillars Ministry are: Religious Freedom, Sanctity of Human Life, and The Family.

Their goal is to restore the culture. And you can be sure that culture they want to restore is one that fits with their perceived “right” way. I am reminded of the Amish and the Mennonites. They chose to live in the culture and not move away from it, even though everything around them was changing.

Most Amish communities that were established in North America did not ultimately retain their Amish identity. The original major split that resulted in the loss of identity occurred in the 1860s. During that decade ministerial conferences were held in Wayne County, Ohio, concerning how the Amish should deal with the pressures of modern society. (Amish-Wikipedia)

Liberty Counsel’s first pillar, Religious Freedom, has no real meaning except to the person espousing it. To Liberty University and Liberty Counsel, it means:

Liberty Counsel advances these liberties on behalf of students, teachers, parents, pastors, churches and individuals in their homes, at work and in public spaces. Liberty Counsel advocates for students who want to pray and thank God in their schools and help Christians gain equal access to host events in public facilities. We protect the right of ministers to speak the truth without fear of government censors, and fight for those who are at risk of losing their religious freedom.  

But Religious Freedom will not be what Liberty University wants it to be. For true religious freedom, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Christian Science and any invented religion, will also have those same rights. Muslims can put down prayer mats in hallways and issue calls to prayer in schools. It is doubtful that is what Liberty University wants. Goal: Pray in schools.

Their second pillar, Sanctity of Human Life means no abortions. Abortions are horrible and should never be taken lightly. But to say absolutely ‘no’ to abortions opens up illegal back-room abortions and girls and women will die because of botched abortion attempts. Let’s face it. Birth control is legal, available, and cheap – but women and girls still get pregnant. Many of those women will choose to abort their baby. You can’t change that. You cannot legislate morality. There always have been abortions and there always will be. Goal: Repeal Roe vs Wade

Their third Pillar, The Family. They say “Marriage as the union of one man and one woman predates every form of government and transcends politics.” But that is wrong. One man and multiple wives was the norm in biblical times and is still the norm in Muslim cultures. Look back to pillar Religious Freedom. Since Islamic men can have four wives, are we to allow them four wives in America? Goal: Repeal same-sex marriage.

Whenever anyone wants to change or preserve culture, look at how they treat women. Liberty University is a male headship university and teaches that women must be in complete submission to their husbands and males in leadership. Islam teaches the same.

Our Western culture is not perfect by any means, but we are making a governmental step toward equality for women. Religion has not done so. Most religions seek to deny women full equality.

It is 2016. What culture do you choose?

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They already know the outcome

The Southern Baptist Convention and the Vatican have decided to study women’s roles of ‘leadership.’ They can save their money and their time. They both know what conclusion they have to come to.

“I hope when women are excluded or passed over for leadership, it is on the basis of the biblical gender parameters (such as being a pastor or elder) or that she is simply not qualified for the position, rather than on a general suspicion of women trying to control men,” Susie Hawkins, SBC author and speaker, says.

There it is: ‘biblical gender parameters’ which – in their opinion – biblically denies women the role of pastoral and elder leadership. And that is what seals the deal against women.

This Advisory Council is made up of 18 women. Three are wives of Southern Baptist seminaries: Mrs. Al Mohler, Mrs. Chuck Kelley, Mrs. Jeff Iorg. These women’s preference is to be known as ‘the wife of’ before any secular accomplishments. There is no way these women will come to any conclusion that their husbands do not agree with. In fact, that is what male headship means: he makes the rules and she cannot decide against him. Like I said, they can save their money and their time.

Now to the Catholics. Same situation. In 2010, Pope Benedict said pedophilia crime is on the same level as having a woman as a preacher. When asked about women’s ordination, Pope Francis said, “That door is closed.”

Catholics, too, can save their time and their money.

It ain’t gonna happen, folks. It cannot happen because those doing the studies have already been told what the result must be.

What they have not been told – and what they have no control over – is how you will react.

It is 2016. Is your mind closed to fully understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his calling to women in service to Him?

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But what if nobody did?

This Memorial Day weekend, I have been thinking about the 11th commandment.

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

That was hard to do. Most of us have no idea what it is like to be discriminated against because we are of a certain race or religion, even though women know that very well. So, perhaps I should qualify that, and say that women have always felt discrimination, and so have blacks, and other ethnic groups. This discrimination is often by Christians, both men and women, who claim that they love everybody.

I am reading a series of novels about World War 11, as told by Jewish families who were persecuted, and also by those fighting this horrific war. What would I have done? It is easy to sit in my armchair with my Kindle and think I would have risked my and my family’s lives to help someone else, but it is much harder when actually faced with such a decision.

It is easy to judge the country doing the persecuting and ask how these people who claimed to be Christians could do such horrendous things to others. It is also easy to forget that Jesus said these words to the Jews who lived each day with persecution from the Romans.

This is a blog about women’s equality, so let’s look at that. Just as I am offended when I read of the injustices and abuses and horrific acts against Jews during WWII, I admit that I don’t know what I would have actually done to help those who were suffering. I like comfort. I like safety. I am not brave and would be terrified to disobey the law even if I were helping someone who the law was persecuting.

I believe that many who read this blog and other egalitarian blog posts, feel the same way. It is hard to stand up in your church and speak out against injustice against the women in your church. It is hard for pastors to speak out in their denomination about this misuse and abuse of denying women equal opportunity to worship and serve their Lord.

But what if nobody did?

This brings us to today – Memorial Day weekend. I suppose we can justify Jesus’ words by thinking that Jesus meant for them to love each other “who dress like we do, who eat the same foods we do, who worships in the same place we do, who observes the same rules we do and who speaks the same language as we do.” But somehow, I don’t think that is what Jesus meant. This weekend we observe Memorial Day – a day of honoring those who lost their lives serving in wars brought on by not loving the neighbors.

It is 2016. Does loving your neighbor mean standing up and speaking up whenever you see women denied equal opportunity in your church?

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Choosing the next SBC president

“What do you see as the key moral issues of our day, and how can the SBC president represent Southern Baptists as America increasingly moves away from Judeo-Christian values?” That was the question Mark Woods of Christian Today asked the three nominees for president of the SBC.

Good politicians know how to answer the question without answering the question, and these preachers know that too, as you can see in their responses.

Steve Gaines, “The three key moral issues in our day are abortion, sexual immorality.” (note that he listed only 2 moral issues).

Steve Crosby, “The greatest moral issue is our flagging love for the lost and dying around us.” 

JD Greear, “I am less concerned with the moral drift of the culture than I am with the moral drift of people who call themselves Christians. If we do not look like Jesus in our behavior, we will certainly not sound like Jesus nor represent Him faithfully in our world.”

Woods goes on to say, “All of these men are, by UK standards, highly conservative theologically – you don’t even get nominated for the SBC presidency if there’s any doubt of your orthodoxy. This means, for instance, no women in ministry, (probably) young-earth creationism, biblical inerrancy and absolutely no tolerance of homosexuality or acceptance of transgender behaviour. In strictly theological terms, there’s probably no difference between them on social issues.”

To me, that sums up what is wrong with the largest Protestant denomination in the US today. No matter what these 3 candidates for president of the SBC say, there is a moral failing of Christians today that has little to do with abortion, gay rights, or evangelism.

#1 moral failure – No women in ministry. Until all of God’s children can serve equally without regard to their gender, love is withheld. And without love, we cannot be Christ-like, for how can we show our love to the lost and dying when we do not show our love to the females in the denomination?

#2 moral failure – elevating husbands to be representatives of Christ on earth. This redefines God and it is a moral failing when we seek to make a human man like God.

#3 moral failure – homosexual bashing on public forums and in pulpits. You have the right to not agree with homosexuality, but it is a moral failing when we seek to hurt others through our strongly held religious beliefs.

#4 moral failure – Biblical inerrancy which leads to limiting God as to how he created the earth (young-earth creation) and teaching our children to discount scientific knowledge about creation – knowledge that God has revealed to us in through discoveries in the earth and in the universe.

If I were answering the question of what the key moral issues today, it would be far different from these pastors’ answers. Key moral issues are:

1) drugs

2) sex (sex trafficking which demeans girls and women by selling them, and demeans men by purchasing their favors; pornography.)

3) Pastors’ addictions and pastors’ sexual abuse of children

It is 2016. What do you see as key moral issues today?

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Pentecost: Who is your Advocate?

Two tweets after Mother’s Day caught my attention:

Visited church today where men & boys stood and gave women the Mother’s Day “gift of covering” as they pledged to be priests of home.

“Guys, it’s our calling 2 lead our wives N2 holiness..someday we can present her B4 Christ as this radiant bride.”

There is no indication in the Old Testament from the Prophets, or in the Gospels, that the Messiah would share his Lordship with human males on earth. There was no time of foretelling that husbands would share lordship with Christ.

Jesus makes no mention of bequeathing a husband the privilege of representing him on earth, nor does Jesus make any mention that a woman would be presented to Christ by her husband, nor does he indicate that males can give “covering” to females, nor does Jesus indicate that husbands or males can lead anybody into holiness. Jesus promised that he would leave an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, on earth to lead us. With the Holy Spirit within us, women need no further representation, or role play actor, or leader, and certainly not a male head. For how can a male head provide leadership that the Holy Spirit cannot?

 “All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” John 14:26-27.

These words were spoken specifically to Jesus’ disciples, but all Christians have believed these words apply to those of us who are Christians, men and women alike. We believe Holy Spirit was made known equally to both men and women at Pentecost (Acts 2:17-24).

Before Jesus began his ministry on earth, John the Baptist was to prepare the way. Luke tells us that the angel of the Lord told Zechariah that his son, whom we know as John the Baptist, would be like the prophet Elijah, “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord,” (Luke 1:17). Jesus says of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:14, “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.” Jesus was referring to Malachi 4:5-6, “See I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”

There was no Elijah moment when husbands were commissioned for service, or were charged with the protection of their wives, and no Elijah moment when husbands were given the ability for sanctification of their wives to create a covenant relationship with God (1 Kings 19:16-19). More importantly, there was no Pentecost moment when husbands became the heads of Christian women.

Yet, that is what it has come to in many religious circles, particularly in seminaries, and among pastors and others who believe that women are to be submissive to their husbands (some even believe that husbands will account for their wives in heaven). These complementarians believe and teach that husbands represent Christ and that wives represent the church. Therefore, to complementarians, husbands become the provider, the protector and the sanctifier to lead their wives into a covenant relationship with God. Yet there was no herald of that news.

Jacob Creath, a great Baptist preacher of the 19th century, said, “where the scriptures speak, we speak; where the scriptures are silent, we are silent.” It appears that 21st century Baptists and other evangelicals have decided to speak where the scriptures are silent.

It is 2016. Who is your Advocate?

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Engaging in a Black Market of egalitarian books

LifeWay Resources won’t carry egalitarian books and neither will local Christian bookstores. But, like times of old, there is a way around and I have found it. I proudly proclaim I am engaged in black market activity when it comes to my egalitarian books.

Today I visited my local library to see if my books had sold in their Friends of the Library book sale. I had donated four brand-new Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition and four brand-new Women Equal – No Buts: Powered by the same Source books. All eight books were sold yesterday. My sister told a similar story of my books about her library book sale last month. My books are also placed for check-out in my local library.

A black market, underground economy, or shadow economy is a market characterized by some form of noncompliant behavior with an institutional set of rules. (Such as a freeze-out by Christian bookstores and publishers.)

Not only do I put my books in local libraries, I give my books away. As the street evangelist, I give my books to ordinary people I come into contact with. Only two people have ever refused my book, one was the complementarian woman at my local Christian bookstore, and the other was the Xerox man who came to repair my copier.

This past week, I personally put four copies in the hands of local people. This is how I did it.

Report from the street evangelist. Another day at work. Got out of my car and locked it, and then unlocked it to get another copy of Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition out of the trunk to put on my bookcase because I gave the last one to the UPS guy yesterday. There is construction of new apartments next door and the construction manager came to the door and said his men were going to clean up our Getheseme Garden because of all the mud from their site that filled it up last week. We talked a bit about the storm and I asked him how he himself had fared. He said a close relative was in the hospital and this was the 2nd time her house has been flooded and he had helped clean her house. I said, “I have a book I would like to give you” and stepped inside and picked up Outside the pastor’s door: Reflections of a church secretary, and told him “This is to remember us here when you go on to your next job.” The work foreman who I had talked with before (he attends a First Baptist Church nearby) joined us. I told him I had a book for him and went in and got Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition (glad I had put it in my office this morning). The construction manager said his wife would read the book I gave him, but I do not ever miss an opportunity and said, “I have a book for her” and ran inside and got my last book Women Equal – No Buts: Powered by the same Source. He said they go to a Baptist church and she is in handbells and does all kinds of volunteer work for them. Said he wished she got paid for all the work she does. I smiled and thanked God for my job where I can be the street evangelist for women’s equality to so many people. Give it a try! The UPS guy was delighted to get my book. Maybe the people who stop at your door need to hear that women are equal – no buts.

Other egalitarian authors are following my lead. Read what one such Christian author wrote me:

My husband is also a street evangelist for women’s equality, and he’s been passing out my books at work. Last week, one of the men he knows told him that he and his wife had read my book. (My husband didn’t give the book to him. Someone that he gave the book to must have shared it with him.) Anyway, he said that his wife was an avid reader and she really liked the book. So, they wanted to have one of their own. My husband offered to give him one free, but his friend said that they wanted to buy it, and he did! Isn’t it so neat how God will open opportunities for us. I think that I’ll follow your example and post this on Facebook too. We need to be constantly encouraging one another! He and I are leaving tomorrow for one of his business trips, and I’m packing…….. books! (D.A. Combs, author of Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation)

You can read my stories of the street evangelist on my website.

Please note that I never actually get into why women are equal and do not ever quote scripture to those to whom I give my books. My books say it all much better than I can on the street. I move on to the next opportunity and, like the evangelists of old, never follow up with what happens.

Its 2016. Will you engage in the egalitarian books Black Market?

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How Quiverfull Speech Can Crash Airplanes

This past week I read what young women were saying on facebook about submitting to their husbands. Then I heard a very close family say that the husband is the head of the house. This disturbs me greatly. I am glad these young women are attending church, but I am deeply saddened that the pastors of these churches foster this dangerous teaching.

They all want megachurches, but a church can have mega people and still be egalitarian. Why couldn’t it be?

Read the blog below to see how dangerous it is in real life for those yoked together when one must submit to the other because of his rank (such as husbands’ rank over their wives.)

Taylor Joy Recovers

planecrash

The Quiverfull/Patriarchy culture produces plenty of “how-to” books, such as Fascinating Womanhood, and Created to Be His Help Meet, to show women how to be the most “godly” wives and mothers they can be. Since I practically absorbed a ton of these types of books through my skin for the first eight years of our marriage, I noticed one thing they all had in common: they tell us how how to talk to our husbands with “respect,” “honor,” and “deference to his authority.” We learned how to use encouragement, childlike phrases, praise, focusing on the positives, and carefully worded requests to communicate within our marriages.

For example, in the book Fascinating Womanhood , a man is about to make a disastrous financial decision, where he could lose everything. The author encourages the wife to say, “It sounds like a good idea, and I can see why you’re excited…

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