Advent Joy – Return to the cradle

With Christianity on the decline, and false teachings flourishing, we must return to the cradle and look again into the face of the newborn babe.

Sometimes you just have to start all over. We see that in the birth of Jesus. A new start. God was still there, He still loved His people, but they had taken a path that was far from the core message. Read Matthew 23 and see the condemnation Jesus gave the religious leaders.

What would Jesus say to us today? We have messed up his message! We have taken the love that God has for all his people and have distorted that love into a message of rules and laws – just as they had. We have forgotten the greatest commandments.

And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 22:37-39)

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Now, I want you to imagine this. A black Christian family moves next door to you and you invite them to church. They arrive after you get there. You greet them and tell them how glad you are to see them, take their money in the offering plate, and introduce them around. Then you hand them a list of restrictions and things they cannot volunteer for because certain volunteer jobs are held for White and Asian and Hispanic people only – everybody but blacks.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

How do you think the black family feels? We all know that is wrong. Christians used to do that in churches (actually they would not even let the black family inside the door). But we can’t do that anymore. We have changed in our thinking and our understanding of human rights.

So, while we can’t do that – and it was government laws that required the change, not Christians – we can still bar women from doing any volunteer or professional job in the church. Just because we want to – claiming a biblical reason for doing so. Just as we used a biblical reason for barring blacks.

It is time we returned to the cradle and saw a new baby.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.… “ (Luke 2:10-11)

It is time that we remember that the angel said, “Do not be afraid.” This baby was going to upset everything and turn the world upside down. And he did. But we continually swaddle the babe because we have ignored his greatest commandment “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Will you revisit the manger and allow your heart to accept women as your neighbor?

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Advent – Christmas Hope

At this time of year, we think of babies, particularly the baby Jesus. The shooting in San Bernardino reminds us that we bring babies into the world where evil happens. I am thinking of the baby girl left behind by her parents who left us all hurt and fearful of the future. She was a baby born and almost immediately rejected by her parents.

My sons were born in the 60s which was during a time of great civil unrest because of racial discrimination. I remember clearly the news stories each night of Americans fighting in the streets. As a young mother, I feared for my babies and wondered what kind of world I was bringing them into. I looked for hope for my children.

We remember Mary, the young woman about to give birth. In a short time she would give birth and then she and Joseph would be forced to flee into Egypt for safety from an evil ruler who sought to kill the baby. This young mother hoped her son could be spared to fulfill the promise made to her by the angel Gabriel.

Babies have always been born into a world with its human evils, with discriminations, and with rejections.

It will always be so. But it is up to each of us to live in hope, to give hope to others, and to be blessed by the birth of the baby who we celebrate this Advent season, the Hope of Christ.

Will you do your part? There are some things we can’t change, and we are not responsible for. But there are things we can do and things we can change.  We can change how Christians deny women full equality. We can do that. We can make it a better world for girls, mothers and daughters. 

Will you give hope to women who daily face the discrimination that is birthed in churches, denying them full honor and responsibility of serving Christ as pastors and deacons, and from full equality in their own homes.

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Advent – the coming Christ, or ‘becoming’ Christ

Southern Baptists and other evangelicals are teaching a false doctrine of husband superiority over their wives. “Our pastor said that we are not to lord it over our wives,” Ben, a man from a church in Oklahoma, told me as we were standing on the deck of a cruise ship in the Bahamas. That meant that husbands are Lords over their wives, but are to constrain themselves in some kind of false modesty.

The Roman Catholic Church claims the Pope is Christ’s representative on earth, with all the power and authority Christ had (with earthly physical limitations), and uses that as leverage over all Roman Catholics. Because of this teaching about Matthew 16:18-19, Catholics believe their Church has dominion over their souls.

In addition, Catholics give money to get their loved ones out of purgatory and for prayers to be answered because they are convinced the prayers of priests have power to change things in heaven. They are also convinced they can never attain salvation if they do not meet conditions decided upon by their Pontiff, the Pope, who is said to speak for Christ Himself.

The word Pontiff comes from a Latin word meaning “bridge builder.” The Pope is their bridge (pontiff) to heaven.

This false doctrine taught by complementarians says that Christ submits to God in heaven, while the husband (Christ’s representative) submits to Christ, and the wife (representing the church) submits to her husband. The husband becomes her ‘pontiff.’ In other words, they designate the husband as having become part of the divinity, with the right of rulership, so he can command obedience from his wife.

The complementarian wife is powerless to choose her own direction, or to hear from God for herself, unless it agrees with what her so-called spiritual leader, her husband, says. Her divine husband becomes her mediator, taking the place of Jesus as leader in her life.

They can teach this because they have decided that the husband plays the part of Jesus in a marriage, and they see no contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:5 which says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men (humankind), the man Christ Jesus.” She must submit to her husband and obey him in everything. In this manner, it is not the church, which is made up of both men and women, that is the body of Christ, it is wives who become the body of Christ, and husbands who replace Christ’s leadership.

In this way, they teach that Husbands have ‘become’ Christ.

If a husband could be given authority over his wife, it would change her personal relationship with Christ. Upon marriage, her relationship with Christ would become corporate, with her husband as the go-between between her and Christ. Her husband’s personal relationship with Christ would remain the same, but with the added responsibility of mediating for his wife. This is in opposition to what the apostle Paul says about Christ in 1 Timothy 2:5.  Paul says there is “one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ.”

Protestants believe that Catholic priests cannot mediate between God and man, but they are willing to give husbands this divine power. If such a thing were possible, that would make him a god/mediator and his wife a lesser being than himself.

Yet complementarian men are falling for the temptation to “be like God” when they insist on becoming mediators between their wives and God. Remember that the serpent tempted Eve by saying “You will be like God…”

Beware of men who would ‘become’ Christ in your marriage. If your pastor is teaching this, stand up to this false doctrine. Complementarianism is taught in all 6 Southern Baptist Seminaries with their 55 locations.

Excerpt from my book Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition.

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The church no longer answers as Peter did

The sermon was from Luke 9:20 and as the members of First Baptist Church filed out, I am sure most were in complete agreement with Peter’s answer. At least they thought they were.

But I had a different understanding during the sermon. I, too, have heard this sermon many times, but this time it struck a different note with me. I realized that the answer Peter gave is what most think they would say, but most people sitting in that church have let the church tell them something else entirely different about who Jesus is.

The people were confident in their belief that they would answer as Peter did. But this church, like most SBC churches, is known by its by-laws, its organization, and its mission in the exclusion of women from pastoring, preaching, or even being a servant deacon, and they cannot answer like Peter did. In fact, most Southern Baptist churches and members cannot answer this question like Peter did, because they have redefined what “Christ of God” means.

  1. Southern Baptist churches have accepted the current sexual definition of Jesus as being represented by the husband in families. Mary Kassian, an influential Southern Baptist speaker, said “I will long to unite with my husband physically (have sex) to symbolically honor my spiritual longing for Christ.”
  2. Southern Baptist churches have demoted Christ to the point that He shares headship with husbands. Baptist Faith and Message 2000: Article XVIII of the BF&M states, A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”
  3. Southern Baptist churches have allowed husbands and pastors to supersede the gospel. If the words in 1 Timothy are absolute that women cannot teach men, then husbands cannot change that prohibition simply by their presence or agreement that their wife can teach males. As reported in Baptist Press News: “While some believe 1 Timothy 2:12 and related passages prohibit women from teaching the Bible to any coed adult group in the church, others say “a woman can teach a mixed audience as long as she does so under the ‘headship’ and authority of the pastor/elders and her husband.”

Let’s look back at Luke 9:20. Jesus had just asked his disciples “Who do people say that I am?” They had answered with ‘Elijah, John the Baptist, or one of the other prophets.’ But the people had it wrong. Jesus was none of these.

Then Jesus asked the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?”

  • Is Jesus the ‘husband having sex’ as Mary Kassian claims?
  • is Jesus the ‘co-head of women’ as the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 says?
  • is Jesus willing to let men ‘change the rules by their presence and word’ as many complementarians believe?

If husbands are in the ruling line of authority, this would make Jesus a wife’s Father-in-law.

 What about you? Who do you say Jesus is? Is Jesus the Christ in God, or is he your Father-in-law?

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Where are the Christian suffragettes?

I just saw Suffragette at the movie theater. The same language used 100 years ago to keep women from voting is the language used today to keep women from equality in church.

It is not just by preaching where women should be equal in church. Last Sunday I was at First Baptist Church and I was greeted by a man who handed me the church bulletin.  The music director was male. Believe it or not, the orchestra had men on one side and women on the other, playing the same kind of instruments. The offering was taken by men. The welcoming was by a young associate pastor, male of course. All the prayers were by men. Needless to say, the sermon was by a man. And if there had been the Lord’s Supper, that would have had an all-male crew of deacons. In fairness to say, there were two women pianists.

As I watched the movie Suffragette, I wondered why churches feel it is necessary to gather up a bunch of women to go see a film by Provident Films (War Room) but will not take them to see a movie that shows them how far women have come, and how far we still have to go. Churches are made up of people, and it is people in those churches who made the laws against women and it is the people in those churches today who still enforce religious laws against women.

I don’t want to go to prison for my work in women’s equality, and running out in front of racing horses doesn’t appeal to me. When the movie ended, everyone was sitting in silence as the credits ran. I could not let that young suffragette’s life be in vain. I call myself a street evangelist for women’s equality. So, standing up and looking at those still sitting, I said in a loud voice to those in the theater, “Women still are not equal in most churches on Sunday mornings.”

Will you stand up in the movie theater with me and say “Women still are not equal in most churches on Sunday mornings?”

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Open Letter to Dr. Ronnie Floyd: wives are witches?

Dear Dr. Floyd,

This is most difficult letter to write. You are not going to believe this until you see it in writing. Bluntly, Baptists teach that women are consorting with the devil when they do not submit to their husbands. For over 300 years, thousands of women died when they were accused of being witches, and today, thousands of women suffer by that same accusation by Christian leaders.

Southern Baptist pastors teach that weakness and susceptibility of women allows the devil to influence them. A pastor of a Southern Baptist church in Texas, who I do not want to embarrass by calling his name, confirms this: “The many roles of the woman, including wife and mother, can be very taxing. This is why Satan focuses his attack on the family and more importantly on the wife and mother. He knows that by destroying the family unit, he destroys part of God’s plan for man.”

Heavily influenced by Southern Baptist leaders, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood equates women to witches on their website (Missions and Vision).

“If families do not structure their homes properly, in disobedience to the teachings of Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, and Colossians 3, (submissive wives) then they will not have the proper foundation from which to withstand the temptations of the devil and the various onslaughts of the world. This hinders the sanctification of married couples and also introduces confusion about basic parenting issues such as raising masculine sons and feminine daughters.” (CBMW.org)

Shockingly, this is the same language found in the Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hunter’s Bible). Wikipedia quotes Michael Bailey (Battling Demons, 2003, University Press):

“The text argues that women are more susceptible to demonic temptations through the manifold weaknesses of their gender. It was believed that they were weaker in faith and more carnal than men. Michael Bailey claims that most of the women accused as witches had strong personalities and were known to defy convention by overstepping the lines of proper female decorum.” (see ‘feminine daughters’ from CBMW referenced above.)

Women consorting with the devil was a strong belief in the Middle Ages, and is still a factor according to the pastor, and the statement by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. If a woman becomes too strong, usurping the authority of the husband, she is guilty of inviting the devil into the home. Baptists and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood believe that when wives submit themselves to their husbands, this enables families to withstand the devil’s temptations and the onslaughts of the world. If you believe that is the gospel, then you need to find yourself a real Bible.

Dr. Floyd, I know that you believe that women are to be submissive to males, to their husbands of course, but also to all men in leadership. You could never have obtained the position you have if you did not. However, it will take men such as yourself to open your heart to the fact that many cherished beliefs may not honor Christ. I have presented reasons for you to reexamine those beliefs in light of God’s word, in light of your own prayers for a breakthrough, and in light of how we can be a Great Commission people.

Signed: Shirley Taylor, Street evangelist for women’s equality

(Shirley’s Note: – Dr. Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention.)

Do you think that wives who do not submit to their husbands are witches? What does this say about modern day religion? What does this say about modern day Christian pastors and leaders?

Wives, if you do not want to be called a witch, then it is time to tell these religious leaders that it is they who are listening to the devil, and it is time THEY sent the devil packing.

Men, you might think it fun to be married to a witch like Darrin was in the tv show ‘Bewitched.’ But fun and games is not what these Christian leaders are talking about. They are accusing your wife of consorting with the devil, which is exactly the definition of a witch.

Their teaching is evil. What are you going to do about it?

My new book “Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition” is available on Amazon and Kindle. All my books can be found on www.shirleytaylor.net

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Open letter to Dr. Ronnie Floyd: A malicious edict

Dear Dr. Floyd,

It is doubtful that those who authored the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and the Danvers Statement of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood would see the comparison of their actions to the story we find in the Book of Esther 3. But you might, when told this way:

There was a man who sought to lord it over those under him. When one man, a Jew, would not bow down to him, he became outraged and decided to take vengeance over all Jews. He went to the King and told him:

“There is an odd set of people scattered through the provinces of your kingdom who don’t fit in. Their customs and ways are different from those of everybody else. Worse, they disregard the king’s laws. They’re an affront; the king shouldn’t put up with them. If it please the king, let orders be given that they be destroyed. I’ll pay for it myself.”

The King issued the edict.

 “Bulletins were sent out by couriers to all the king’s provinces with orders to massacre, kill, and eliminate all the Jews—youngsters and old men, women and babies— and to plunder their goods. Copies of the bulletin were to be posted in each province, publicly available to all peoples, to get them ready for that day.”

Now, Dr. Floyd, compare that to the Danvers Statement and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000:

“By force of argument, by use of facts, by careful exegesis, by the power of the clear word of God, by the truth, I expected the entire church would be persuaded, the battle for the purity of the church would be won, and egalitarian advocates would be marginalized and have no significant influence.

But it has not completely happened yet! I still believe it will happen. Jesus Christ is building and purifying his church that he might present it to himself without spot or wrinkle. But on this issue Christ’s purification process is taking much longer than I expected!”                                          –Wayne Grudem, CBMW Journal April 2012

(purifying His church by eliminating women? My God! Who will help us?)

Signed: Shirley Taylor, Street Evangelist for women’s equality

(Shirley’s note: The Danvers Statement was sent out all across the land, and was the forerunner of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 – written by some of the same people. Dr. Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In Grudem’s own words, “In 1998 we rejoiced to see that the Southern Baptist Convention added to the “Baptist Faith and Message” (the doctrinal statement of the denomination) and included some strong new statements on marriage and the church that affirm the complementarian position. This is wonderfully helpful because it sets the denomination on the right course on this issue for a generation or more to come.”

But there is a solution and a wise King found the solution (Esther 8):

After the man was found untrustworthy, the King was in a bind. He had given his royal edict and that edict could never be changed. But like most things, there was a way around it. This King was wise and found the way to save the people he sought to destroy.

So, the King had another edict posted all across the land. This new one authorized those who were about to be destroyed in every city to arm and defend themselves to the death, killing anyone who threatened them or their women and children, and confiscating for themselves anything owned by their enemies. The order was posted in public places so everyone could read it, authorizing the Jews to be prepared on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.

The city of Susa exploded with joy. For Jews it was all sunshine and laughter: they celebrated, they were honored. It was that way all over the country, in every province, every city when the king’s bulletin was posted: the Jews took to the streets in celebration, cheering, and feasting. Not only that, but many non-Jews became Jews—now it was dangerous not to be a Jew!

Lord, we don’t need another Esther! Raise up among us a new wise King! A King who will issue a new edict that will save your people.)

Will you be that King?

 

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