The scariest scriptures, Ephesians 5:22-24

Ephesians 5:22-24 is often quoted by those who teach that women must submit to their husbands.

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Those who quote Ephesians 5:22-24 do not adhere to it. The Danvers Statement Concern #8 is “The increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical Texts,” but even their writers back away from the plain meaning of this text.

The plain meaning of Ephesians 5:22-24 is:

  • Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. The plain meaning would put husbands on equal footing with God.
  • The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. The plain meaning gives husbands salvation rights, judgment rights, forgiveness ability, healing ability, miracles, obedience authority, to accept worship, to answer prayers, and the right to receive tithes.
  • The husband is the savior of the wife just like Christ is the Savior of the church. The plain meaning makes husbands saviors of their wives. Why would the great I AM, share His salvation right with an earthly man?
  • The church submits to Christ. The plain meaning makes husbands worthy of having wives submit to them.
  • Wives should submit to their husbands in everything. The plain meaning makes man divine and infallible.

Does any Christian believe that men can save their wives, and that wives should submit to their husbands in absolutely everything? Ask your pastor about this and he will begin to qualify this statement. It is qualified when they say that women should not follow their husbands into sin. It is qualified when they say a wife should not endure physical abuse. It is qualified when they make old age or infirmity of a husband an exception to allow wives to make decisions for their aged or infirm husbands.

Anyone who reads Ephesians 5:23 and insists that this scripture means that the husband literally has spiritual or physical charge over his wife, has made a golden idol and named it husband. To read this scripture that way gives man divinity and nullifies the whole Bible that proclaims only “One” God.

The plain meaning of this scripture is scary, yet it is quoted so casually that we have accepted the part we want to hear “that wives should submit to their husbands,” and have ignored the significance of the remaining part of that sentence.


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Part 5. Demand for an apology from the CBMW

Ten Years ago on July 24, 2010

At a time in our church history that the main focus should be on winning lost souls and spreading the gospel to a hurting world, we fear for the future because the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood has placed a greater priority on women’s submissive role rather than on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is with that thought in mind that we make these statements.

  1. We are concerned that men are being taught that they are god-like in their relationship to women within the church and home. As the mothers, wives, and daughters of these men, it is our concern that this doctrine is setting them up for failure as Christian fathers, husbands and sons;
  2. we are concerned about the sin that evangelical church leaders commit when they deny the love of Christ fully to women simply because they were born female;
  3. we are concerned about the damage this causes to families when husbands and fathers are told that they have Headship over their wives and daughters;
  4. we are concerned about wife abuse, girlfriend abuse, and abuse to female children that takes place in many homes where evangelical men are taught that they have earthly and spiritual authority over women;
  5. we are concerned that the children who attend churches that subscribe to the principles of The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood will grow up not knowing the full redemptive power of the blood of Jesus for both men and women;
  6. we are concerned for the mental and emotional development of girls and boys who attend churches that teach males have superiority over females;
  7. we are concerned that men who are taught that they have Male Headship over a home and church do not feel that they are accountable for abusive attitudes and actions towards women;
  8. we are concerned about the mistranslation of the scriptures by complementarian translation committees and by the false teachings propagated by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood;
  9. we are concerned that pastors who teach and preach male domination/female subordination cannot relate in a loving, Christ-like manner to female members of their congregations because they have already judged them and found them lacking;
  10. we are concerned that the issue of wifely submission, promoted so heavily by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, is more about power and control than about love or obeying the Word of God.

It is because of these concerns that:

  1. We demand that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood acknowledge the harm that has been done to the church body by The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, confess it as sin, and denounce it;
  2. we demand that denominational leaders and all churches and seminaries which have adopted The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood do the same;
  3. we demand a public apology from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, and from all heads of seminaries and Bible colleges that have adopted The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, for the inestimable damage this statement has done to all Christians whose lives have been influenced by it;
  4. we demand that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood begin to promote the Biblical design of functional equality for all Christians, both men and women;
  5. we demand that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood begin to speak out against pastors who continue to demean women and oppress Christians by the use of The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood;
  6. we demand that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood chastise pastors who claim that abuse of women is acceptable and justified because the wife is not submitting to the husband;
  7. we demand that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood make known to every boy and every girl who attend an evangelical church, that God is their head, and that authority over another human being can come only from God;
  8. we demand that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood teach men that they share equally in the burden of society’s ills, and that all that is wrong with society today cannot be blamed on women;
  9. we demand that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood do everything in their power to teach seminarians to show the love of Christ to both men and women;
  10. we demand that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood teach pastors to be loving towards those Christian men and women who disagree with The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood;
  11. and, finally, for the sake of all Christians, men and women, we demand that the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, make a public apology for the misuse of Holy Scripture as it relates to women, and cease to publish or promote The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood.

Shirley Taylor, bWe Baptist Women for Equality presented at the

Seneca Falls 2 Evangelical Women’s Rights Convention July 24, 2010 in Orlando, Florida

Waneta Dawn, Jocelyn Andersen, Shirley Taylor and Cynthia Kunsman

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Part 4. Demand for an apology from CBMW

The Danvers Statement is the first thing you see when you open the website of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. This is their defining statement and everything hinges on this statement. There are 10 Rationales and 10 Affirmations and ALL 10 of them place the blame squarely on women for the situation the church and home finds itself.

So, let’s look at it. And we have got to laugh just a little bit. Their Statement is numbered. My response is in bold. Now, this is long, but you are going to love every one of my responses.

1.) The widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity.

   What they are really saying is that the equality for women movement is gaining ground and they must stop it. What they are not saying is that there would have been no women’s movement to begin with if men had been fair and equal in their treatment of women in both the secular and spiritual realms.

2.) The tragic effects of this confusion in unraveling the fabric of marriage woven by God out of the beautiful and diverse strands of manhood and womanhood.

   What they are really saying is that women are now taking jobs that used to belong to men. Women are forgetting that their place is in the home. Women should not be supervisors over men or have any position that gives them authority over men. What they are really worried about is that women who have supervised men in the workplace during the day may not be content to be submissive wives when they come home at night.

3.) The increasing promotion given to feminist egalitarianism with accompanying distortions or neglect of the glad harmony portrayed in Scripture between the loving, humble, leadership of redeemed husbands and the intelligent, willing, support of that leadership by redeemed wives.

Back when they wrote this, they threw in the word feminist in order to demonize egalitarians. Among complementarians, the word carried a negative association. It still does. But what they were really saying is that women were tired of hearing about submission and were beginning to speak up.  They have effectively put a stop to that in the churches that accepted The Danvers Statement and, with the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Women and pastors have shut their mouths about women’s equality. Twenty-five years after The Danvers Statement was written and adopted by seminaries and churches, we have seen how it has affected marriages, and the picture is not pretty. This is the perfect description of a one-way marriage—his way.  Everything she does is to support him. He has no responsibility except to be nice about telling her what to do.

4.) The widespread ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood, vocational homemaking, and the many ministries historically performed by women.

   What they are really saying is that woman’s place is in the home and not in the workplace or in church leadership. What they do not say is that women who work outside the home are also vocational homemakers. What they do not say is how churches would run without the female staff of secretaries and treasurers and what responsibility they take upon themselves when they hire women to work outside the home.

5.) The growing claims of legitimacy for sexual relationships which have Biblically and historically been considered illicit or perverse and the increase in pornographic portrayal of human sexuality.

   What they are really saying is that equality for women is responsible for the increase in pornography and homosexuality, and if women’s equality is not stopped, these will increase even more. The Apostle Paul did not link women with homosexuality or pornography, but CBMW does.

6.) The upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family.

   What they are really saying is that women are being abused because they are not graciously submitting (see their Affirmation #4). What they are not saying is that there is no justification for abuse (see Ephesians 5:28).

7.) The emergence of roles for men and women in church leadership that do not conform to Biblical teaching but backfire in the crippling of Biblically faithful witness.

   What they are really saying is that women cannot have authority over men in church. The rest of the sentence does not make sense, but women are to blame anyway.

8.) The increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical Texts.

   What they are really saying is that they have already interpreted those scriptures to give men headship and authority over women (you can be assured that they are not concerned about any other scriptures), and they do not want anybody upsetting their apple cart.

9.) The consequent threat to Biblical authority as the clarity of Scripture is jeopardized and the accessibility of its meaning to ordinary people is withdrawn into the restricted realm of technical ingenuity.

   What they are really saying is that egalitarians are a threat to CBMW’s authority because they themselves are guilty of what they say others have done. They have used technical ingenuity which restricts the meaning and interpretation of scripture concerning women. They have resorted to the tactic of “accuse others” before they accuse you.

10.) And behind all this the apparent accommodation of some within the church to the spirit of the age at the expense of winsome, radical Biblical authenticity which in the power of the Holy Spirit may reform rather than reflect our ailing culture.

   Say what? I doubt that even the council knows what they meant with this convoluted sentence.

Affirmations (CBMW)

Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following:

1.) Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18).

   What they do not tell us is why they feel male bodies are superior to female bodies, because if women and men are equal as persons, that means they are saying that it is the physical male body that is distinctly superior. Make no mistake about it. They find the maleness of humanity superior.

2.) Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order and should find an echo in every human heart (Genesis 2:18, 21-24; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9; 1 Timothy 2:12-14).

   Thump, thump. The only echo here is when they tell us that men were created superior and women inferior. They have repeated it too many times. There is no justification for teaching that men are called to have authority over women. The created order has nothing to do with it and is a red herring to make it sound good.

3.) Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall and was not a result of sin (Genesis 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9).

   God created Adam first. Ok. That is understood. Women get that. What women do not get is why being created first gives the right to rule over the one created second. What cannot be found anywhere in the Bible is the scripture that explains why women need to be ruled over, either before or after the Fall.

4.) The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Genesis 3:1-7, 12, 16). In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility. In the Church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitation on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.

   They call men ‘sissies’ and blame it on the Fall.  That is school-yard bullying. And they hope no one will notice that they are the ones who give men all the power, thus feeding men’s inclination to rule over women, even though it is common knowledge that power corrupts. They say that the relationship between men and women in the Church is distorted because sin makes men love power or neglect their spiritual responsibility. That is ridiculous! Adam never once showed any spiritual responsibility! He did not have to because the scriptures do not say that Adam was given any spiritual responsibility over Eve. Go back and read the scriptures they give. They could not find a single scripture that backed up what they teach, but they used those scriptures anyway thinking no one would notice.

   God said “Adam, where are you?” Silence from Adam as he and Eve hunker down beneath a fig tree. Finally Adam says, “I heard you but I was afraid and I was naked. The woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Try to find where Adam, from the time he was formed, demonstrated any spiritual responsibility. Eve did, though. She admitted to God, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” Repentance. She did not blame Adam for not showing spiritual responsibility. She did not say that his loving, humble headship did not rise to the occasion.

   Because Eve was a strong woman, one who shouldered the responsibility and repented of the sin, the Church has used this against her ever since. Eve took charge. That is the distortion they are talking about. Men are to model themselves after Adam who ratted out his wife, hid with her, and acted like she was something that God had foisted upon him.

   They want us to believe that Eve’s sin inclines women to resist being limited in their “roles.” They are worried that women might want to use their spiritual gifts of leadership in preaching and pastoring. This attitude is a bunch of hogwash that diminishes both men and women. This teaching diminishes men by not holding them accountable for their actions (like Adam’s), and diminishes women by telling them that they cannot stand up and give spiritual leadership (like Eve did).

5.) The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:1; Galatians 3:28). Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community (Genesis 2:18; Ephesians 5:21- 33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1Timothy 2:11-15).

   Well, of course that is one big distortion of all those texts, starting with Genesis and ending with Timothy. Adam was created first, and that is the only thing he had going for him. Is that enough? He demonstrated no loving, humble leadership, no bravery, no protection or support of Eve.  Nothing—only that he got here first. There is not one example of headship in any of those verses they quote.

   Colossians 3:18-25; 4:1 is a reminder for families to live in peace with one another: wives, husbands, children, slaves and masters (3:15). The oft quoted Ephesians passage finds Paul having to tell the men to love their wives. Women have been told for centuries that they are the ones who must be pure and without stain (sexual sin) or wrinkle or any other blemish (Eph 5:27). These men had to be commanded to simply love their wives, as they would their own bodies, which meant they should not mistreat their wives.

   There is nothing about roles in those scriptures. Role is a word meaning to act a part in a particular situation. Roles can and do change. God did not assign roles. Man assigns roles depending upon what outcome is desired at the time.

   According to the complementarian interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-12, men are not required to have any leadership qualifications whatsoever, except male genitalia. That is not very flattering, and not what Christianity should be centered around.

6.) Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.

That is a made-up, distorted, theology. Redemption in Christ has nothing to do with male and female relationships. Redemption is about healing both men’s and women’s relationships with God.

In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership (Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18-19; Titus 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

   A better statement by the Council would have simply read: “Husbands and wives should respect and love each other and raise their children to love the Lord, as they themselves do.” However, they did not do that. That would have endorsed female equality and would have negated the entire Danvers Statement.  So let’s continue with what they did say.

   The simple reading of these scriptures instructs wives to submit to their husbands. The Council apparently realized there was a problem with this and decided to pretty it up. Leadership is not mentioned in the scriptures they give. And, even though men are told to love their wives and not harm them, in actuality, a husband can be in love with his wife and still physically and emotionally harm her.  Another problem is that these scriptures do not instruct women in how to accept the authority of her husband, which is not surprising since these scriptures do not give a husband authority. It says only for wives to submit.

   For centuries men have allowed no exceptions to these scriptures, and if these scriptures are followed as written, it means wives are to submit to their husbands in any and all situations, and to any and all men who are husbands, redeemed or not, and harsh or not.

   Men and governments have used these scriptures against women and have allowed wives to be abused, both physically and mentally. Many husbands abuse their wives based on these scriptures. There are instances of pastors telling women that they must submit to certain levels of abuse, including physical abuse, because women are to submit to their husbands.

   Wives do not need to be under the authority of a husband-leader.  What man wants a wife-child as a companion? The woman Adam was given in the Garden was a companion fully grown and fully responsible. It is our children who need leaders—the leadership of both mothers and fathers.

In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Galatians 3:28:28; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; 1 Timothy 2:11-15).

   They do not deny that women can receive salvation; it is just that women’s salvation comes with restrictions. According to Bruce Ware, who helped write this, a woman’s salvation comes first by accepting the “role” he says God gave her, and then by accepting God.2 This is where they tell women that they cannot do this and cannot do that in church. Of course each church decides exactly what this and that means. One rule of thumb is to see what the church considers “important” work, and that is for men; the rest can be done by either women or men.

7.) In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission—domestic, religious, or civil—ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin (Daniel 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20; 5:27-29; 1 Peter 3:1-2).

   According to the CBMW, the woman is supposed to determine if her god-husband is asking her to sin. This puts no accountability on the husband. It all becomes her problem. This same woman, who has to be led, now has to be able to recognize and determine if what she is being led to do is a sin.

8.) In both men and women, a heartfelt sense of call to the ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Timothy 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.

   If a woman is called to preach or serve in some other leadership capacity, she must deny that call because, according to the Council, God cannot call a woman to preach. Now they are telling God what He cannot do.

9.) With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world (1 Corinthians 12:7-21).

   Look at the hypocrisy and condescending attitude here. They are willing to allow women to go out into the gutters of the streets where the homeless, drug addicts, and criminals are, but will not allow them to serve behind the safety of a pulpit.

   They will send women to foreign mission fields where the people are darker and do not speak the same language. A woman said after the SBC missionary commissioning service of her granddaughter, “How can they send girls out to these dangerous places?” Yet they do. But they will keep the white, English-speaking churches for males. Jesus saw the whole world as a field to harvest and called for laborers. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37). Would Jesus send the women out into the dangerous parts of the field while the men get to choose safe places to serve?

10.) We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large.

   What this really says is that it all hinges on the women. All women must submit to males. The male headship man does not bear any responsibility, or accountability. Everything is about women submitting. You see, when a woman submits, it automatically gives a man “Male Headship”—without him doing a thing to earn it or deserve it. And it does not hold him accountable if he decides to sin against his wife.

So says The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood as written by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. While they quote many scriptures, none back up Male Headship or a husband’s authority over his wife.

Jesus is not quoted in any of the scriptures given by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

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Part 3. Demand for an apology from the CBMW

Churches have clung stubbornly to their complementarian teaching, to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 which was written by some of the same people who penned the Danver’s Statement in 1987.

Stubbornly? Surely I must mean Biblically. But look at this: Churches now allow divorced men to be deacons which is not “biblical,” but few allow a woman to be a deacon. The SBC apologized for their stance on slavery, a stance that was previously thought to be “biblical.” We drink grape juice for communion when the Bible clearly says “wine” is the Body of Christ, and is not “biblical.” From this we see that we make accommodation to the Scriptures when we choose to do so.

In Matthew 23 Jesus lays out the case against the Pharisees. Their interpretation of the law had become more important to them than the people. They sought to kill Jesus because they were afraid of what he was teaching and what it would do to their established beliefs about God. We Christians are in danger of doing the very same thing with the new Law that we have created against women. How do you kill Jesus today? You ignore Jesus’ liberation of women.

Men have left churches by the droves and recently women have followed. The world doesn’t reside in churches. We see a larger world and body of people that is calling for equality for women, whereas the church is not.

Church Attendance Gender Gap Shrinks, But It’s Not All Good News. Aaron Earls – September 25, 2017

For decades, women have been more likely to attend church than men. In recent years the gap has been shrinking—but it’s not necessarily good news. In the mid-1980s, 38 percent of women and 25 percent of men attended church at least once a week in America—a 13-point gender gap, according to Pew Research analysis of General Social Survey data.

By 2012, that gap had shrunk by more than half, to 6 points. The change, however, did not come primarily from an increase in men attending church services. The gap shrank because women’s church attendance dropped. While men experienced a 3-point drop in weekly church attendance, from 25 to 22 percent, women’s regular attendance fell by 10 points—down to 28 percent.

Now digest this. “There are no countries where Christian men are significantly more likely than Christian women to attend services weekly,” according to Pew.

How did the Church go so terribly wrong?

When I wrote the following for my book Dethroning Male Headship (2013), this was the situation and was also the situation when I demanded an apology from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) on July 24, 2010.

Look to the seminaries for the answer to where the Church went wrong. Especially look to those seminaries of the founding members or later members of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, who devised the Danvers Statement, and composed the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.  Only a few of the members have been mentioned in this book:

    • Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
    • Dorothy Patterson, Adjunct Faculty, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (wife of Paige Patterson)
    • Wayne Grudem, Professor of Bible and Theology, Phoenix Seminary
    • Mary Kassian, Professor of Women’s Studies, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
    • George W Knight, Adjunct Professor, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
    • Bruce Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Not mentioned elsewhere in this book is Chuck Kelley, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, who helped write the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and is also the brother of Dorothy Patterson. Kelley’s wife, Rhonda Kelley, is the Director of Women’s Academic Programs at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is Professor of Women’s Ministry at NOBTS’s Leavell College, which is the college for their undergraduate program.

Complementarianism and the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 is all in the family. Of the 55 SBC seminaries and their satellite campuses, the Patterson and Kelley families preside over 26 of those. Their complementarian influence is far-reaching. And do not think for a minute it is just Baptists that are affected. Many other denominations secure pastors and youth ministers from these seminaries. That is one reason complementarianism and the BF&M 2000 has successfully transcended denominational lines.

UPDATE: Dr. Paige Patterson and his wife Dorothy were fired in 2018 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for Paige’s handling of rape investigations. Chuck Kelley has retired.

These people owe us an apology. Demand it. I did.

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Part 2. Demand for an apology from the CBMW

How the demand originated

Listening to Dr. Pam Durso preach at South Main Baptist Church in Houston to a large group of women and a few men, tears came into my eyes. Then anger arose as I looked around me at all those women who desired to serve God as they were called, but who were flatly denied that calling by certain religious leaders who held the SBC in their hands and under their thumbs.

Somebody owes us an apology!

That thought sprang into my mind and would not leave. When Jocelyn Anderson contacted me a short time later about a conference she was planning, it was the perfect opportunity to demand for that apology. So we did. More about that later.

I was new to the game of fighting for women’s equality and was not real familiar with all the other players. I didn’t know who was at bat and I didn’t know the coaches. I thought it was just Dr. Paige Patterson himself but learned that it was the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) that culminated the whole mess in 1987 in response to their fear of women wanting to preach. Dr. Paige Patterson and his wife Dorothy and Wayne Grudem and John Piper and others were all in this together and formed the CBMW.

Below is a paragraph from the book, The Fundamentalist Takeover in the Southern Baptist Convention. A Brief History, by Rob James and Gary Leaser with James Shoopman, produced by Mainstream Missouri Baptists in 1999. They did not know the rest of the story. What fundamentalists have sown, we have reaped.

The Café Du Monde in New Orleans was the site of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. Their plan was written on a paper napkin. Paige Patterson, now president of the largest SBC affiliated seminary, and Paul Pressler were the architects of the plan, and they used their unique knowledge of the inner workings of the SBC to systematically put their people in key positions. This stacked the dominoes in a certain way, and when they started to fall, they continued in the orderly fashion set forth on a table in a café. What began in 1967 was finalized in 1990. his eleventh election (of a fundamentalist president of the SBC) seals the fundamentalist victory, and they celebrate at Café Du Monde in the French Quarter, where Judge Pressler and Paige Patterson had first conceived the whole plan for the takeover, many years prior.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 with its inclusion of gender equality really got to these fundamental religious leaders. They stewed for 20 years while the dominoes in the Southern Baptist Convention fell into place making the governance of the SBC right for a takeover. They issued the Danver’s Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. They determined they would put women in their place and keep them there.

They have. In evangelical circles, and churches, and seminars and books, and seminaries, women are told they are part of God’s grand design which meant they could sit at the table, but could not lead the table in prayer or preaching or anything else these religious decided was not fit for women.

Churches have clung stubbornly to their complementarian teaching, to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 which was written by some of the same people who penned the Danver’s Statement in 1987, and to their Grand Design for male headship to rule the church and the home

Next Part 3. Demand for an apology from the CBMW


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Part 1. Demand for an apology from the CBMW

Ten years ago, I demanded an apology from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and overnighted it to the president of that organization.  It is now 10 years and we are still waiting for the apology.

The CBMW is a religious organization that exists solely for the purpose of keeping women under male submission in the church and home. Their influence spreads across evangelical denominations, and it was also the foundation for the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 that the majority of Baptist churches subscribe to.

The Christian community is divided over the issue of women’s equality. This is a unique time in modern history. The church is the last holdout to giving women equality, when it should have been the first to recognize women as equals. Certain religious leaders work to keep women in what they have determined is “women’s place.” The result is that women across all denominations are being restricted even more to certain roles, with female submission becoming the dominant theme in marriages and in the church.

Since I spoke in Orlando, Florida, at the conference and issued this demand, my life has been devoted to working for women’s equality in the church and home and religious organizations.

On August 8, 2008, as I sat in church at Elkins Lake Baptist Church in Huntsville, Texas, I heard within my soul “Your ministry here is through.” I was startled and looked around and thought, “I am not doing anything here.” But I felt the call to get up and go and I got up and went. I had no idea where this would lead.

  • It led me to writing six books, three on women’s equality. (
  • I demanded an apology from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood at the Seneca Falls 2 Conference in Orlando, Florida, on July 24, 2010. I Fedexed it to the president of the CBMW. We have posted videos online of our conference.
  • In 2010, I began blogging for women’s equality.
  • CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality) contacted me about helping host a CBE Houston Conference. I was instrumental in forming the Houston Chapter of CBE and helped host the CBE Houston Conference at Heights Church of Christ in Houston in 2012.
  • I began calling myself “the Street Evangelist for Women’s Equality.” I gave away hundreds of my book Women Equal – No Buts: Powered by the same Source to those I met and talked with.
  • I attended CBE conferences in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Helsinki, Finland, and Houston.
  • In November 2018, I was interviewed and filmed for a documentary about those of us who are working for equality. It is called “Baptizing Feminism” and I am only one of many men and women who were interviewed. The husband/wife team spent from 8:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. with me. Hopefully it will be shown before the end of this year. Film company is Big Voice Pictures.

This is a 5 part series. Next post will be what led up to the Demand for an Apology, The actual Apology Demand is in Part 5.

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Let’s talk about the church and racism

The Third Leg of the Pandemic

By June 2020, it became apparent that America was inside a storm from three different directions, possibly all three caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Certainly, it played a huge factor. The three legs of this storm were 1) the pandemic, 2) the shutdown of churches and businesses causing economic losses, lifestyle living restrictions, and homebound isolation, and 3) the protests for civil liberty for Blacks. The church is comprised of people who live in the community, and who themselves were affected, or they have children who were affected. We are not an island. Like businesses and houses of worship all across the globe, churches were affected by these events.

By April 9, 2020, a pattern had begun to emerge. CDC Released Demographic Data that showed that Black Americans, older people and men are among the hardest hit by this pandemic. This information may have played a significant part in what was yet to come. Experts began to say that the large numbers of Blacks who suffered the worst from this virus may be caused by civil problems that led Blacks to less health care and lifestyle. Blacks are now learning that they are dying at a higher rate than whites are, possibly because of an injustice imposed upon them by the white majority.

Loving your neighbor is not political and should not be seen as such in this post. This is a hard blog to write because of the intense emotions that arise, and as Christians, there may still be within us a lack of complete surrender to loving our neighbor.

If we say that we are a pro-reconciliation, anti-racism church, we must choose every day to be who we say we are. That means not only standing up, but speaking up and acting in solidarity without fear.”—Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The Chalice Press (the publishing arm of the Disciples of Christ) says: “As disciples of Christ and Disciples of Christ, we share a common goal – creating an anti-racist, pro-reconciling church. We also know there are as many ways to reach that goal as there are Disciples congregations.”

Disciples were actually late to the game, like the majority of churches. They did not start the pro-reconciliation, anti-racism church. Jesus did. Christians of all varieties fall short of what Jesus taught. But, like the General Minister and President says, we are involved in making that a reality for all peoples. It is necessary that we look at our nation. It is particularly so, since this part is the third leg of the pandemic.

Love your neighbor. Who is my neighbor?

 “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13:34 (NRSV)

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:29-37 (NRSV)

When Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan, it sounds so simple. Hearing the story as children and even as adults, we often miss the intensity Jews felt against their Israelite cousins. Jews would not even go through Samaria if they could help it. For a Jew to deliberately go through Samaria was unusual, such was the hatred. They had found a way, even though it was inconvenient and added miles to their journey, to avoid Samaria. They thought they were better than these poor cousins, the Samaritans. Any Samaritan among them was instantly recognized as being out of place. Knowing how the Jews felt against them – for how could he not? – the Samaritan bent down and helped the Jewish man.

This was a complete reversal of roles. It took them by surprise. You would expect Jesus to tell the story of how the Jewish man came upon a Samaritan lying in the road and the Jew, out of the goodness of his heart, helped the Samaritan. But it didn’t happen that way. His countrymen left him lying there, dying perhaps.

To finish this racial story, we must look at the account of the Samaritan woman at the well.

This story of the woman at the well is found in John 4:4-42 and begins by saying, “Now he had to go through Samaria.” It is best translated that “he purposed in his mind” to go through Samaria. There was something in Samaria that Jesus needed to do in order to complete his earthly work.

Jesus made a personal appearance to tell the Samaritans that the Messiah had come. It was a Samaritan woman who received the news that he was the Messiah, whom the Samaritans were also expecting, since they claimed theirs was the true religion of the ancient Israelites. This is critical news to them, and it was delivered personally by the Messiah himself.

Who is my neighbor? Jesus answered it by saying, “The one you think less of.”


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Part 5. The Garden

Chaos. Everybody was running here and there. It is no wonder the stories got mixed up. Some thought they saw Peter and John go into the tomb, some thought they had not arrived yet. Some saw angels, or something that looked like angels. Some saw the guards lying facedown and scrambling up with worried looks and making hasty decisions of what to tell the authorities.

“Where is he?” You can hear the determination in her voice as Mary Magdalene confronts someone she thinks is the gardener. “Just tell me where he is and I WILL GO GET HIM!” This is not some weak woman speaking. She has come to the tomb prepared to roll away a heavy stone, but now all she sees is a gaping hole and the body of Jesus is gone. She is crying, yes, but these are tears of frustration and determination. She was going to make this right. Weak people say “help me” while strong people say “I will do it.”

“Tell me where he is! I will go get him!”

Chaos. So many different accounts of this one event. But there was one thing they all were clear on. It was a woman who Jesus first revealed himself to.

There were men around – the guards who were scared half to death – and possibly Peter and John. But they didn’t get the news. It was a woman. Like all of Jesus’ proclamations, male headship played no part in this resurrection story.

So we have finally arrived in the garden and the world has been turned upside down. Where do we go from here? Do we leave Mary and the other women beside an empty grave? Yes, we do. Not as Jesus did, but as pastors and preachers and other women have determined we should do. Mary Magdalene is mentioned 12 times in relation to Jesus’ death and resurrection. After that she is no longer mentioned. Why not? This woman to whom Jesus made a personal appearance – bypassing all the others around the tomb – is left there.

I was sitting in a doctor’s office while both men and women sat around me, using their iPhones or devices. Tears came into my eyes and I wanted to shout to all there “This is the 21st century for both men and women! Why does the church work so hard to keep women in the 1st Century?” Because the Bible says so? Where?

Where does Jesus say that women must submit to their husbands? Where does Jesus say that women cannot be in authority over a man? It is not there, my friends. We are called Christians because we follow Christ and not some 1st century societal customs that empowered men over women.

We have come to the garden by way of Mary of Bethany who was a Jewish woman welcomed to sit and learn from the Master himself. We have come to the garden by way of the Gentile woman who learned that Jesus was the Messiah for gentiles which included her. We have come to the garden by way of the Samaritan woman who believed that hers was the true religion, and here was the Messiah just as they expected. We have come to the garden by way of Mary Magdalene who declared she would go herself and find Jesus until he said her name and she knew he was the resurrected Christ.

We are at the garden. Who is going to stop you from going and telling?

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Part 4. Destination, the garden

If the first thing you think of when you remember the woman at the well is “the man you are living with now is not your husband,” then you have missed the whole point of Jesus’ visit to this Samaritan woman.

The Danvers Statement Affirmation #9 says: “With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world.”

No matter what shape the world is in, the writers of The Danvers Statement would never have chosen the woman at the well to be the instrument God used to win lost people to Christ.

But Jesus did.

Everyone knows her story. In fact, hers is one of the longest detailed stories of an event in the New Testament. It was her story. She told it to everyone who would listen. This man she had just met at the well knew that she had had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband.

Jesus was not judging her for that. He was offering her something that no man could offer a woman. He was offering her living water—from a well that would never run dry. And he told her that he was the source of this living water.

This was a woman experienced in the ways of men, and she knew this conversation was different from any she had ever had. She was certainly not the one who would be expected to announce the news that prophecy had been fulfilled and that the long-awaited Messiah had finally arrived. No one would even listen to a woman proclaiming this momentous event, would they? But for some reason, Jesus chose her to reveal his true identity.

She took that message and ran with it.

It was Jesus who brought up the subject of living water. He told her that if she drank from the water he gave, she would never be thirsty again.

She wanted that. She said she did not want to keep coming to the well to draw water. She was probably teasing him at that point as she had no idea what he was talking about. Then Jesus did something surprising. He told her to go call her husband, and then to come back.

Aha! Finally Jesus brings male headship into the conversation! “Go, call your husband and come back,” Jesus said.

The woman answered, “I have no husband.”

Was Jesus was surprised at this? Did he ask her to go call her husband just to embarrass her?  No, its significance is greater than her confession that she was not married to the man with whom she was living. She was worthy in her own right, as a woman, to be told directly by him that he was the Messiah. They engaged in a theological discussion. This woman was not learning in silence. And Jesus did not rebuke her for it. She talked back and told him that she could see that he was a prophet. She declared “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

And he did explain—right then and there—to the woman at the well, a woman who did not have a husband to tell her if what she was hearing was right or wrong. She heard, she accepted, she told.

This story of the woman at the well is found in John 4:4-42 and begins by saying, “Now he had to go through Samaria.” It is best translated that “he purposed in his mind” to go through Samaria, because the Jews had found a way, even though it was inconvenient, to avoid Samaria. They thought they were better than these poor cousins, the Samaritans, and for a Jew to deliberately go through Samaria was unusual.

There was something in Samaria that Jesus needed to do in order to complete his earthly work.

With this story of the Woman at the Well, we see how the picture of Jesus is coming together.

  • The Jewish woman, Mary of Bethany, who Jesus permitted to sit at his feet right beside the men, and learn at a time when learning scripture was forbidden to women
  • The Gentile woman to whom Jesus revealed that he was not sent only to Israel, but to all people, which included her
  • The Samaritan woman to whom Jesus revealed that he was the Messiah, who the Samaritans were also expecting, since they claimed theirs was the true religion of the ancient Israelites.

These are pivotal stories because they show that Jesus gives the voice of the gospel to women just as he gives the voice of the gospel to men. These stories also set the stage for the empty tomb where it was women who first encountered the resurrected Jesus and where the full gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus would unfold. So, yes, Jesus purposed in his mind to go through Samaria, because he had something to complete in Samaria.

The completion of this mission was so satisfying to him that he told his disciples, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” The conversation he had with this woman had an effect on Jesus that was profoundly different from his other encounters with men or women. This is the only scripture passage in the Bible where Jesus said that what had just happened was so meaningful to him that he felt that he had been fed. In other words, mission accomplished.

Verse 42 says “…we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” These men first heard the words of Jesus from a woman, and then they heard the same message from Jesus himself.

Jesus is headed to the garden tomb and the final meeting with a woman who steps into the Christian era with the news “He is risen!”

It is 2019. What will you do? 

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Part 3. Destination, the Garden

There are four women to whom Jesus tells that he is the Messiah, the Canaanite woman being one of them. Most often we hear of her great faith, but when we concentrate on the faith of this woman, we diminish the message Jesus gave her. She was given the news from Jesus himself that he not only came for the Jews, but for the Gentiles also – and that meant her. Her story is found in both Matthew and Mark.

She asked Jesus to heal her daughter, but for some reason, he was not going to do it.  Jesus told her “I’ve been sent only to the lost sheep, the people of Israel.” She was a Gentile, and Jesus was telling her that he was sent to save the Jews only. But if that was the case, I wouldn’t be here writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it. So we see that while Jesus said that, it did not tell the whole story. And then by healing her daughter, he is showing her that he is also the Messiah of the Gentiles. That is Big News! We must never forget that this extraordinary news was told to a woman who had no husband nearby, or possibly not at all.

But right now, this woman did not need some idealistic prophecy of what was to happen in the future. Her daughter lay in bed very ill and she needed help now. So she argued with this man Jesus in whom she had placed her hope. ‘Help my daughter! Surely you have enough power within you to give a small portion to us Gentiles.’

 But she knelt before him and said, “Lord, help me.”  He replied, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and toss it to dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord. But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall off their masters’ table.” Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith. It will be just as you wish.” And right then her daughter was healed. (Common English Bible)

This story is very similar to the story of the first miracle when Jesus turned the water into wine. His mother (remember she had first argued with the angel Gabriel when told she was going to have a baby who would be the Messiah?) In the Wedding story Jesus says almost the same thing to his mother as he says to the Canaanite woman.

When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They don’t have any wine.” Jesus replied, “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My time hasn’t come yet.” His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  Nearby were six stone water jars used for the Jewish cleansing ritual, each able to hold about twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water,” and they filled them to the brim.  Then he told them, “Now draw some from them and take it to the headwaiter,” and they did.  The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine. He didn’t know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. (Common English Bible)

Just as his mother had asked for a special favor “even though the time was not right,” Jesus did as she asked. He does the same with this Gentile woman, showing that his right time had no beginning or ending.

Jesus told women his Good News, and he did not tell any one of those women to go home and ask her husband, brother, or father what he meant. He did not tell any one of these women not to tell the Good News of the Messiah. If he had, we would have never heard these stories. The Gentile woman went home and found her daughter healed. The disciples didn’t see that ending. She told it to whoever would listen.

It is 2019. What stories are you telling about your relationship with Jesus?

This and other stories can be found in my book “Raising the Hood: A Christian Look at Manhood and Womanhood.”

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