Why is my bookstore so complementarian?

Why are our bookstores so complementarian? They will not carry egalitarian books, so I have found a way to get my books into the hands of the community. I call myself the street evangelist for women’s equality and I give one of my books to each person I speak to. Read my recent experience with our local Christian bookstore.

Report from the street evangelist. Got off work early and went shopping, but still had an hour to kill before my hair appointment. Decided to go to the Christian Book Store with a new tactic. Been there before, of course, but they ‘don’t have space’ for my book. Reread the “Glory of Sex” reference to Timothy Keller that it is on page 130 of my newest book, Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition. Stuck the book inside my purse.

Going on a mission. Bet I don’t have to look long before I find Timothy Keller’s book and his glory of sex reference. Sure enough, there were 2 of them in the marriage section. Found what I wanted on page 237 and put the book back. Went to the counter and told the young woman there that I wanted to give her my book that she could put on the shelf. No charge, just don’t throw it in the trash can (I wanted her to know it was valuable!). She took it behind the wall to the manager.

While she disappeared, I stepped back and got the Real Marriage book referenced before and stood waiting for her at the counter. She returned with my book and said they would have to review it. I asked her “Do you think that when a husband and wife have sex and climax that they are emulating the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” I opened Keller’s book and showed her where he says that. Of course she was shocked. I said, “This book has already passed review, but look what it says!” Then I opened my book and showed her what I said about what he said in his book. I took out my street evangelist card and stuck it in on page 130 of my book, and said “I call myself the street evangelist for women’s equality.” Read more reports from the street evangelist.

Read what this Christian blogger has to say about Christian bookstores. I ask you, what will you do about it?

Biblical Personhood

Christian book store Trinkets at the front, Bibles at the back: This American Christian book store is larger than most I have seen, but also has other things in front and books at the back. It is also known to be complementarian, as the chain once famously took a magazine with woman pastors from the shelves. (Photo taken from the Internet.)

“Great news”, my serious Christian friend said. “Gospel Direct will take over the Lux Verbi store in Welkom.” Lux Verbi was the Christian bookstore in Welkom. Gospel Direct is a company that sells religious CDs, DVDs, and books. (And trinkets like pencils and mugs with religious messages.)

He was happy, because Gospel Direct has a marketing strategy, and capacity to buy in bulk, that enables them to sell gospel CDs more cheaply. In the time since – and of course Gospel Direct cannot take sole responsibility – books became few and superficial…

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Until all women are equal in church, none are

Whenever Christians speak about women’s equality, the first thing you hear is “I don’t want any women preachers.”  Then comes the connection that is fostered upon people, and is not found anywhere in the Bible, linking those women who feel a call to preach, as having homosexual tendencies.

But the main focus on women’s equality is not women preachers, it is not even women deacons.  When I began my ministry, all I wanted was for churches to allow women to be deacons. A deacon!  That’s all.  I have come to realize that equal means equal, and there is no limit to what women can do in service to God and in her church.

How often do you tell your daughter that she is inferior to your son?  You tell her that every time you take her to church where she cannot be a deacon.  Or to a church where she can’t answer her call to pastor – but you will gladly ship her off overseas to some foreign land where she can be a ‘missionary.’

Is ‘missionary’ less than being a deacon in the church?  Who decided that being a deacon is the second highest calling, next to pastor, that a church can have?

We depend upon our missionaries to spread the gospel. Southern Baptists have Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). Baptists allow young women to go to the mission field for two year stints, and even allow them to go for longer periods of time. Unmarried women are allowed to go to the mission field which may be a dangerous place for women to be.

Who decided that the mission field can have women who are not ‘qualified’ to be deacons (the second highest office in Baptist churches) but who can be ‘qualified’ to be a missionary?

We swallow camels and strain gnats.  Our bellies are full of camels.

Until every girl and every woman sitting in a church pew can serve as God calls her, or even as churches call deacons, then no woman is equal in your church.

When you walk into the church door, you are telling your girls and your wife, that all men, any man, is superior in God’s and the church’s eyes, to her.

Is that what you want for your family?

As Molly Brown said in “Titanic” movie as the women in the lifeboats refused to go looking or survivors: “These are your men out there! Don’t you want to go back and save them?” Men, these are your wives, your daughters, your sisters out there, trying to survive in the cold waters of their church.  Don’t you want to help them?

Its 2016 – If you are ready to see your wife, your daughter, your sister be all that she can be in her church, tell your pastor that it is time.

(reprint from April 2012)

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

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It’s 2016 – Risk it!

The New Year’s Eve tweet said “Our mission is to empower a generation to change the world for Christ.” It came from a LifeWay Resources connection and I tweeted back “We’re trying to change the world for Christ, but we women are bound by male headship. Help us.”

Needless to say, I was spitting in the wind.

This young pastor wants to change the world for Christ. It is easy to say “change the world for Christ” but unless we are willing to make the necessary changes in our own denomination – in his case, the Southern Baptist Convention – then we are just doing lipservice.

In The Message we find the story about investment. If you have not read it from The Message, you are missing something very important. Read Matthew 25:24-30:

“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. The he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on, be my partner.”

The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on, be my partner!”

The servant given one thousand said, “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no alliances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.”

The master was furious. “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do no less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

“Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “Play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.” (The Message – Eugene H Peterson Navpress).

“But,” you say, “Paul said that women must remain silent.” I say that there are 7,000,000,000 people in the world who need the gospel—Risk it!

“But,” you say, “Paul said that women are not to have authority over men.” I say that there are 7,000,000,000 people in the world who need the gospel and one-half of them are men—Risk it!

“But,” you say, “Paul said that women are to submit to their husbands.” I say that elevating all men to god – like status is wrong, and you must claim your equality—Risk it!

Are you ready to quit playing it safe? Are you ready to go out on a limb? Over one-half of the Master’s children have been buried in the sand. We have misjudged the Master. In the quest to be “exactly” right regarding what a woman can do and what a woman cannot do, we have put her in the sand and covered her up according to our own particular beliefs.

Some have dug the hole deep. Some have dug a hole not so deep. But no matter what depth the hole, they have kept watch over it and not allowed women to come out.

God forgive us! What awful things have been done to your female children.

It is 2016. What are you doing for God’s female children?

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Advent Love – birth of the human rights activist

Love is plastered all over many church’s websites. But for most, it is like looking for love in all the wrong places.  Jesus came into the world that was having a problem with love, and we still have not fully understood what love means.

In particular, Christian women are still held to a rigid law of submission to all males. December 6, 2015, Southern Baptist pastor Dr. Ashley Ray preached a particularly offensive sermon in which he blamed all of society’s ills on women whose only desire is to live out the equality we were given by God our Creator. He called it ‘feminist rebellion.’  In this sermon he quoted the party line, the same old diatribe that women are far too familiar with.

Where was love in this belittling and hateful sermon? This pastor did not quote Jesus because Jesus did not speak of – nor did Jesus indicate – male supremacy such as this pastor preached. There was no love in this sermon. He has closed his mind to the pro-feminist actions of Christ. Feminists do not want to harm or deny men any position, but male headship leaders choose to hammer women.

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 has led many pastors astray with this theology of male headship, and in doing so, they have forgotten the Jesus who was born into a world of rules and laws. They have forgotten that Jesus came to call humans to a better way of life – to love God and to love others. Not only in word, but in how we treat each other.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-34)

Bob Edwards, author of Let My People Go, reminds us that Jesus is concerned with human rights, which includes the human rights of women, and we must be, too.

“I don’t discuss prejudice against women in the church as “one of those theological issues we just have to agree to disagree on.” I would not have “agreed to disagree on slavery.” I do not agree to disagree on racism. I will not politely agree to disagree on the devaluation and subjugation of all women by men in the name of God. It’s an injustice that grieves the Holy Spirit and must be addressed as such. The Bible is full of excellent examples of men and women who love people AND tell them to repent of unjust practices. Jesus, for example, confronted the religious leaders of his day for confusing the will of God with the traditions of men. I think we should do likewise.” – Bob Edwards

Jesus came to free us from the rigmarole that man had bound God with. Jesus told us to love God with all our heart, and to love our fellow-man. When love is the motivator, our worship of God, and helping our fellow-man, will take on a different meaning. We will feed the hungry, help the poor, heal the sick, treat others as we want to be treated, and give the Good News to everyone.

However, instead of being like Jesus, we still desire to enforce laws for Christians, especially laws about what women can and cannot do, and I wonder if Jesus would have turned his eyes upon us.

The true meaning of Christmas is the freedom that Jesus gave us. Yet Christian leaders today want to withhold that freedom for women. They have forgotten that Christianity is about human rights.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”(John 15:12)

This Christmas, will you remember the birth of the greatest human rights activist? Will you open your heart to loving women as equals, and not as someone who was created to submit to all males?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

I dare you!

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Advent Joy – Return to the cradle

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

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

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

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

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

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

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advent – Christmas Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Advent – the coming Christ, or ‘becoming’ Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excerpt from my book Dethroning Male Headship: Second Edition.

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