The ox is in the ditch

I love the Apostle Paul. His words are so encouraging to struggling Christians. I love his humanity, I hurt with him through his anguish, and I rejoice with him in his love for Jesus and his love for the church that is emerging.

But as I much as I love Paul, I have a hard time believing his words can supercede Jesus. Jesus gave the most important news to women who had no husbands and that could not have been an accident. We know of these stories because the women told what happened. Jesus never placed any limitations on what women can do.

There is an incident told in Matthew where one Saturday, Jesus and his disciples were going through a grain field and they were so hungry that they started picking the grain and eating it. They were working on the Sabbath! That sounds so innocent, but to the religious leaders it was a major thing. Every week of their life, they adhered to this law. And here Jesus was telling them it was not important, that people were more important than their laws.

Called to task, Jesus reminded them that David had allowed his men to eat consecrated bread on the Sabbath which was also unlawful. Jesus reprimanded them “If only you had known the meaning of ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Another time Jesus challenged them about their love of the law. Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child, or an ox, that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?”

Every week of their life the religious Jews still adhere to that law! Crockpots help them get around the law. Hiring a gentile to turn the lights on and off on the Sabbath help them get around that law. Having elevators stop at every floor helps them get around that law. Jesus told them it was not important way back 2000 years ago.

Jesus told us the laws were not important 2000 years ago: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

There are 7 billion people in the world, most needing the Savior, and there are many women, called and ready to preach the gospel. The law has become more important than the people and the children will starve if they are not rescued from the well. Suppose it is the ox that falls into the well and dies, then their family may starve.

I plead for your help to empower this generation of women to full Christian service as deacons and pastors.  We, too, have been with Jesus. Saved by the blood of the lamb and a witness to what he has done through his Word, and to how he has spoken to us.

It’s the Sabbath. The ox is in the ditch. The people need to be fed.

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Advent Love. Its Personal

Franklin Graham has it wrong. God did not intervene in the selection of this president. Jesus was not concerned about  governments, either Jewish or Roman. Jesus was concerned about the heart of the people. As we know from history, the heart of the people can be very hard and unforgiving, lacking justice and mercy. It is doubtful that God would have given this as a Christmas present to us.

We are one week before we celebrate the birth of Jesus. At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would bring the kingdom of God to earth.

The great hope of Israel centered in the kingdom of God which would change the course of history by inaugurating the period of justice, peace and prosperity announced by the prophets, the more strenuously since the bitter experience of the deportation to Babylon. (The Jewish world at the time of Christ)

They wanted justice, peace and properity. Who doesn’t want that? The problem with wanting justice and peace is twofold: 1) we want to determine what justice is; 2) we want to determine what peace is.

When I think of justice, I immediately think of women’s equality and how women have been mistreated, marginalized, abused, and discounted by government and by religion, and how that continues today. I think of homosexuals who have also suffered greatly and still do. So it is with trepidation that I look at our newly evangelically-voted for government. The people chosen to represent the nation have a history of misogyny against women and hatred against homosexuals. Justice?  I see no way to justice.

When I think of peace, I think of living peacefully in our own country. My children were born during the great Civil Rights demonstrations and conflict. I was fearful for my children being born in such an unsettling time. As a mother, I desire peace. Sure, there are times I would like to get even, strike back, and win above all. But as a mother whose son has gone into a battleground in Iraq, I don’t want to see other mothers suffer during wars. So, yes, I desire peace.

Jesus did not come to change Jewish government or Roman government. He came to change the hearts of people. Through love. He said it himself “Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Love – it’s personal.

(Posted in 2016. Still relevant today..) 2016 is coming to an end. What did you do this year to promote love towards people? Did your heart change in thinking about women’s equality or gay rights? The two are tied together, you know. Because when we feel we can hate one group because the Bible says so, then we can restrict the other group because “the Bible says so.”

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Advent Joy – Hunger for God

We are in the third week of Advent, which is Joy. Sunday a pink candle will be lit for preparation of the birth of the little boy who would become the Christ. It is fitting that we read the Magnificat. Elizabeth had just told Mary that the baby she carried in her own womb leaped for joy when Mary came into her home, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1:46-55 NIV)

The Jews yearned for a Savior, and I imagine each had his or her own expectations of what that Savior would look like. I have heard that at each wedding, they expressed wishes that the new couple would bring forth that baby boy. We should not be surprised then, when we learn that a couple who had not yet consummated their marriage would be the bearer of that baby.

But let’s go back to Mary’s words. “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” Before Jesus is even showing in the womb, Mary told us what he would do.

This is not about money at all.  It is about their spiritual condition.

So exactly what did Mary say?

She said that those who hunger for God will be filled, but those who think they are already rich in the knowledge of God will be turned upside down and the money they hold in their pockets (what they think they know about God) will fall out on the floor.

Or, as Jesus said in Matthew 23: 23, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

God, I pray that those who are filled with their own sense of righteous riches and who claim to know that you favor males for your kingdom work, will have their eyes opened to Justice, mercy, and faithfulness to you.

(reposted from December 2013).

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Advent Hope – Groundhog Day all over again

bWe Baptist Women for Equality's Blog

Each year the liturgical calendar gets reset and we begin again with where it began. We know what is going to happen to Jesus at Easter, but each November we begin by retelling the story from the beginning, all over again.  We get a new chance like Phil the weatherman did in the movie Groundhog Day. We hope this year we get it right.

Phil (Bill Murray), a weatherman, is out to cover the annual emergence of the groundhog from its hole. He gets caught in a blizzard that he didn’t predict and finds himself trapped in a time warp. He is doomed to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right. After indulging in hedonism and committing suicide numerous times, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities.

Like Phil, Christianity has been through its periods of hedonism and suicidal tendencies. In its…

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Advent Peace. What did the angels know?

Every year at Christmas we look at the world situation and wonder if the angels knew what they were proclaiming when they said “Peace on earth, goodwill among men.” We are not sure exactly what the angels did say as it is interpreted in many ways. The NIV version says, “Peace to those on whom his favor rests.” That sounds Calvinistic, but in the name of goodwill, today we will let that pass.

Since that is so, and because I am not a scholar, but an ordinary person reading the scriptures, I choose to read this meaning into those old familiar verses: The angels came to earth announcing the birth of a savior who is Christ the Lord. In proclaiming his birth, they were saying that God is Peace and has come willingly to the earth to be among men, and that he brings with him goodwill (that is to say, he does not bring harm to them.)

We usually take those scriptures to mean that there would be no more wars and strife and all would be joy now that Christ was born. The angels did not say that all would be rosy now. They called him Peace, and because of the great joy they have with the Father, they knew Who was arriving and they expected us to have the same great joy (Luke 2:10-11).

I think the angels may have given us more credit than we are due.

2020 is drawing to a close. But as we celebrate Advent again this year, we see a new beginning, a new year to get it right. A new year for peace in the church where both men and women are equal children of God.

(originally published 2016)

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Pastors, this is your moment

Pastors, this is your moment. This is your moment to stand up and to speak up for justice. Justice is not political. It is biblical. It is the basis for Christianity.

Justice is the reason you gave your life to Christ and answered the call to ministry. Justice is your motivation, your aspiration, and the reason for your surrender to Christ and to the people of your church.

You didn’t know that, did you? You didn’t hear it preached in your home church. Your pastor never alluded to justice. And you are following in those same footsteps. But justice is what God demands and that is the call you answered.

It is time, Pastors, to look inside your soul and in light of the scriptures, to come to terms with justice.

Jesus demands it. Read Matthew 23, and put your own name in there.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the lawand the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:1-12 (NIV)

There will not be God-honored justice until you, Pastors of Christian churches, come to terms with what you are preaching and teaching and the heavy, cumbersome loads that you put upon people’s shoulders.

You love Jesus. I have no doubt of that. But you have not followed Jesus. You have followed religious leaders who have made their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long.

  • You have bound wives to husbands in spite of the fact that there is no scripture in the bible where Jesus tells wives they must submit to their husbands.
  • You have bound wives to husbands and given husbands authority and spiritual leadership over those wives in spite of the fact that there is no scripture in the bible where Jesus tells husbands that they have authority and spiritual leadership over their wives.
  • You have denied women their place in spreading the gospel and bringing souls to Jesus, and you have denied them their full calling for service to the Lord in spite of the fact that everything Jesus did and said was to give women a voice.
  • You have denied racial justice to all races and you have not stood up to racial injustice when your congregation spews forth racial hatred.
  • You have denied equality to those who love someone of their own sex. You, Pastors, have passed judgment on those who have been born with a desire for the same-sex and you have called it a sin. You, Pastors, have led your people to promote the most awful hateful words against them.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ (Someday, Pastors, your descendents will wonder why you so forcefully denied women the right to be a pastor and to preach the gospel). So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:13-39 NIV).

Pastors, this is your moment. Stand up and be a Christian! Stand up for justice.

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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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