Feminism and the Church

The fifth tooth of the wolf is feminism. This post will be very politically incorrect, I realize, but it must be said. The other caveat I would issue here is that the church, in reacting against feminism, should not denigrate the gifts God has given to women, and should be actively looking for ways in which women can use their gifts in proper settings. Sometimes it seems as if the attitude towards women in conservative churches is more focused on what women cannot do, as opposed to encouraging women to do what they should do.

One other caveat should be given here, and that is that not all forms of feminism are the same. Not all feminists, for instance, would agree with every point of Sittema’s description. There is definitely a range of opinions on these matters. All these caveats aside, there is no doubt that the feminism Sittema describes is very dangerous to the church.

Here are the points that Sittema summarizes from James Dobson’s analysis of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. In other words, this appears to be fairly mainline feminism. For those of us used to kinder, gentler forms of feminism, this may come as something of a shock. But this is their agenda: 1. Marriage is the enemy for women, since men are by definition oppressors. 2. The family is to blame for violence suffered by women. 3. The sex of a baby is something imposed on them from birth, and is not biological (i.e., it is entirely a social construct, and is therefore oppressive). 4. The language of “wife, husband, son, daughter, sister, brother,” etc. must be changed to “parent, spouse, child, and sibling.” 5. The government needs to mandate that household responsibilities be divided 50/50, and so must the military also. 6. Abortion is a mandated right for all women. 7. The homosexual agenda walks hand in hand with feminism in its redefinition of traditional roles and sex. 8. All patriarchal religions must be oppressed. 9. The Bible is not authoritative when it oppresses women by forbidding teaching roles to them over men. If the Bible does not speak to modern women’s experience, then it has no authority there. 10. Traditional Christian doctrines need to be redefined, including the doctrine of man, God, sin, redemption, and Christology, to be more favorable to women.

One can quickly see, first of all, that what many of us would regard as “radical” feminism is actually more mainstream. This is what the world council on feminism has said.

Second of all, one can see that if feminism has its way, then the Bible’s authority will be completely undermined. I have seen two approaches to the Bible in feminism. The first approach is to deny the Bible’s authority. This is actually the more honest approach. The other approach (especially with passages such as 1 Timothy 2) is to “interpret” the passage to make it mean pretty much the opposite of what it actually says. This is done by the so-called “evangelical feminists,” who still want to cling to the authority of the Bible. As Ligon Duncan said, if one can make “I do not permit a women to teach or have authority over a man” to mean “I do permit a women to teach or have authority over a man,” then one can make the Bible say absolutely anything.

Sittema suggests four ways of fighting feminism in the church: 1. Teach the Biblical model of gender relationships. 2. Don’t over-react. We must remember that there are a range of views. Just because someone might say something like one of the above 10 points doesn’t mean that they believe all of them. 3. Use women and their gifts in the church. He quotes the memorable dictum “cults are the unpaid debts of the church.” If the church were to encourage women to use their gifts to the best of their ability, and in the right setting, then feminism would not have much room to make inroads into our churches. 4. Honor marriage, family, and motherhood within the church. Show the church how much the Bible praises these things, and what a high calling these are for women. I would add 5. Be sympathetic towards women who really have been abused by men. This should never be tolerated, even though our definitions of “abuse” will be different from the feminists’ definition. We would not regard keeping men as elders and deacons in the church as a form of abusing women, for instance. But verbal and physical abuse of women does happen, and we should never become soft on such abuse just because we’re reacting against feminism.



  1. July 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Great stuff, bro! I especially liked the wording in # 2: “Don’t over-react.” We have plenty of that going on. I also think # 3 is very important, because of the parable of the man with the demons who, when they left the first time, merely cleaned up his house and put it in order, but didn’t put anything in it. Much better not only to counter the false teaching and practice, but substitute for it good teaching and practice.

    Don’t some feminists regard any sexual relations between a man and a woman as rape? If so, we should also counter that false notion, and remind people that the marriage bed is honorable, which it could hardly be if it was rape.

  2. greenbaggins said,

    July 25, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Certainly true, bro. That would probably fall under the category of number 1 in Sittema’s suggestions.

  3. Craig French said,

    July 25, 2011 at 11:07 am

    “Don’t over-react.”

    Can you point to a significant (or quasi significant) segment within Christendom that is “over-reacting” to feminism? I’d like to know what it looks like.


  4. greenbaggins said,

    July 25, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Craig, I would say that the Vision Forum people over-react to feminism. I have seen instances in Federal Vision circles of this kind of over-reacting as well. Even in the run of the mill PCA church, I have often seen things that could be done by women, but which are forbidden to them because they argue a slippery slope. This problem is not small.

  5. proregno said,

    July 25, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Lane, I think you are over-reacting against Vision Forum (well, I think everyone over-reacts about everyone else they are not agreeing with, so you are in good company). We (thus including myself), think we are the ‘balanced guys’, and the rest is the unbalanced and ‘dangerous’ guys, not so sure about that anymore, because one guy’s balance is another guy’s inbalance, etc.

    There is some hegelian stripe in all of us ….

    About your summary/review of Sittema’s book, which I find very helpful: I would appreciate it very much if I can recieve the whole review in one document/article, when finished, thanks !

  6. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    July 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm


  7. Reed Here said,

    July 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Proregno: with respect, I’d second Lane’s example of Vision Forum. I do so on the basis of exegetical considerations as exemplified by the ordinary applications seen among those who follow Vision Forum’s approach. Legitimate (biblically) options for women become at least looked down upon as a result.

  8. Craig French said,

    July 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Unfortunately, I’ve only heard of Vision Forum, but have no real knowledge of them…so I’m ignorant.

    Is there something specific you can point to that shows an over-reaction to feminism? I truly would like to see what it looks like.

  9. Reed Here said,

    July 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Craig: I hesitate to answer your request, as I believe doing so may have the effect of moving Lane’s point off focus. That may be alright after a hundred or so comments; but when we’re still under 10 comments.

    There is enough information about Vision Forum (patriarch movement) on line for you to look at. You can pretty quickly assess for yourself whether or not you agree with Lane’s use of them as an example of a feminist over-reaction.

  10. Craig French said,

    July 26, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I did do a search yesterday and found second-hand criticisms…I still don’t know what people mean. In fact, the very statement re: Vision Forum resembling the ancient Roman system is the very same thing an egalitarian group leveled at Vision…no citation, of course.

    Forgive me if I don’t take most men’s opinion as fact on this issue…many issues I will, but it is at this very point men seem scared to speak bluntly of the truth without apologizing. I’ve received criticism from my own co-workers at times and friends…when these issues come up, I’m an evil wife-beater…but somehow, they forget about all of this when the issue doesn’t arise in conversation and believe me to be an all around nice guy.

    It’s like I’m two different people that have never met in my own person.

    If, and this is a big if: If there is an over-reaction to feminism it is likely the fault of men refusing to teach on biblical authority without cowering…strike that, it’s the fault of men refusing to teach on biblical authority period. So those who read Paul basing a wife’s obedience to her husband on the fact God created Adam first, then Eve (and believe what Paul wrote under inspiration of the Holy Spirit) they are left trying to find that old path that’s been overgrown by weeds men refused to attend to while merely “believing” in patriarchy.

  11. rcjr said,

    July 26, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I second the request for something specific please from Vision Forum first that is an overreaction, and more importantly, is “very close to the ancient Roman system.” As you may know, these are my friends, and so too are Lane and Reed, so I’d like to see either these accusations retracted or defended. Making the accusation then suggesting that providing evidence is a distraction from the main point isn’t the kind of cricket I am used to finding here.

  12. Zrim said,

    July 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Craig, it has been said that there is a difference between a male chauvinist and a male chauvinist pig. That distinction isn’t always easy to make. But one sign of the latter may be in romanticizing chivalry such that the sexes get pigeon-holed into rigid and legalistic stereotypes, something that seems obvious to me when I peruse anything VF. If feminism is the radical collapsing of the sexes into one big melting pot then the mirror error of patriarchalism is to bifurcate the sexes into blue guns and pink dresses.

    But I also think something like VF is very clearly a battlefront front on the so-called culture wars that, amongst other problems, tend very much to be two-dimensional where the good guys and bad guys are easily discerned. That’s true for both sides, whether they are busy telling us that marriage by definition oppresses women or real men like to shoot stuff.

  13. rcjr said,

    July 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Okay, let’s add “rigid and legalistic stereotypes” to our list of accusations. Do you see the irony here friends? That VF is guilty of this is “obvious to me.” What they are guilty of is “the good guys and bad guys are easily discerned.” So Vision Forum is clearly and obviously guilty because they are always presenting who is clearly and obviously guilty. Is anyone willing to provide some evidence for these decidedly unchivalrous accusations against my friends? If my friends at Greenbaggins could miss what seems so obvious to me, that they are behaving uncharitably to their brothers, perhaps I am blind to what you all see among my Vision Forum friends.

  14. Zrim said,

    July 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    rcjr, I understand the language is strong in terms of how I have described my own impressions of VF, but that’s really all it is, a personal impression. It is not some sort of formal accusation. My point is to suggest that there has to be a form of radical chauvinism that exists in response to the kind of radical feminism described in this post.

    I think VF more or less fits the bill. It seems you disagree. If it helps, I have friends who are more or less radical feminists, but if someone else described them that way I don’t think I’d be demanding all sorts of hard proof in order to defend them against a perceived slander. Sometimes it’s just a matter of informal perception. Someone asked for an example of over-reaction to feminism and another provided. Some disagree with that answer. So what? But maybe you have another example of over-reaction in mind? Or maybe, like Craig, you’re skeptical that there is even such a thing as an over-reaction to feminism? But if that is the case, I don’t see how it would be much different from a radical feminist being skeptical about there being such a thing as an over-reaction to patriarchalism.

  15. Frank Davies said,

    July 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Lane, I have seen this kind of over-reacting in anti-Federal Vision circles as well.

  16. todd said,

    July 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    VF’s demeaning views of women are well documented (some examples below), and ask any OPC and PCA pastor in the San Antonio area and they will tell you of the devastating effects of VF adherents who have and continue to harm their local churches.


    Click to access spring_2007.pdf

  17. rcjr said,

    July 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I’d encourage you to read through what you have written here and what our catechism says about our 9th commandment duties. You are not protecting the good names of men who have credible professions of faith. You defend this with “Well, it’s just my opinion. You are free to disagree” as well as more internet accusations from Don Veinot which are decidedly not well documented, and vague, uncheckable innuendoes. This is not honorable. Even where the links accurate, even if every OP and PCA pastor in San Antonio is right in what you say they say, this still falls well short of the original accusation from Lane, that they are “very close to the ancient Roman system.”

  18. todd said,

    July 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm


    Regardless of how the Don Veinots interpret VF’s words, the reader can see the quotes for himself and decide. Of course, if one is prone to agree with VF’s view of family, home schooling, courtship, voting, women working, etc…they will see nothing wrong with the quotes, but for many of us they are demeaning to women, among other things. But I don’t see how it is breaking the 9th commandment to state an opinion on written views many of us find unbiblical, unless you are suggesting we quote each of them them first and then critique them? That works for me if that is what you are asking. Out of curiosity, how would we know that these men have credible professions?

  19. paigebritton said,

    July 26, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Hi, RC Jr.,
    It looks like Lane made a passing comment (about the VF & the Roman system) which you find objectionable and unsupported — I’m sure when he gets a chance to tune in here he’ll elaborate for you on that, and that you are not picking up on a sudden swing towards unfair, out-of-the-blue characterizations here…I’m not registering anything on the “9th C Meter” from the other commenters either, just the initial articulations of their discomfort with VF messages (which, as Todd has suggested, those more familiar with their teaching could try to support and explain with actual quotes).

    Just wanted to ask you to withhold the ruling on GB judgmentalism till Lane has time to enter the fray again. :)
    Paige B.

  20. rcjr said,

    July 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I have no objection, apart from disagreeing, with anyone disagreeing with anyone, especially their written views. By all means feel free. I have no quarrel with disagreeing about homeschooling, courtship, voting, or woman working. That is rather far afield, however, from suggesting that these good folks are “very close to the ancient Roman system” which saw wives and children as chattel. Nothing in Vision Forum is close to that and it is, as I have been saying, uncharitable and inaccurate to say so. When we make such over-reaching comments and are asked for the evidence, all we have gotten is, “Well, they are to the right of me on these issues.” The proper response is to apologize and retract.

    As for the credibility of their professions, my own habit is to practice a judgment of charity. When people profess to believe in classic Protestant orthodoxy, even if we disagree on homeschooling, etc. I tend to try to believe them, and to treat them like believers. Maybe I’m naive that way.

  21. todd said,

    July 26, 2011 at 7:48 pm


    I’ll let Lane explain his comment, but for my question on credible profession, I meant to ask what denomination should we look to to determine their credible professions, even for a judgment of charity.

  22. rcjr said,

    July 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I certainly understand about busy schedules. I was hoping that others here might understand that a “passing comment” that suggests that a brother in Christ is “very close” to the view that wives and children are chattel is problematic. If I said in a comment on my own blog, “well, Todd Bordow’s views on race are close to David Duke’s” I suspect you all would rightly object, that you would not accept sundry forms of “Well, he told a joke once that offended all my African American friends” or, “just a passing comment” or, “Some internet discernment ministry spoke to an excommunicated member of Todd’s church who said he was visibly cool to an African American visitor” as a proper defense. This is abundantly simple. I’m not asking anyone to change their views on women, nor to accept Vision Forum’s views as good, sound and biblical. I am asking that their views not be characterized the way Lane characterized them. I’m, of course, happy to either hear the case made, or to accept a retraction. Heaven knows I’ve let my rhetoric get away from me from time to time. What concerns me is the placid acceptance of this horrible accusation.

  23. rcjr said,

    July 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I’m with you on the weaknesses of independent ecclesiology, but wouldn’t want to find myself doubting the credibility of all those in independent churches.

  24. todd said,

    July 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm


    Just two questions so I understand your concerns – (beside the Roman comment concern) I don’t even know what kind of church the VF people belong to down there, is there an ordained minister over them? Also, I guess I’m a bit confused as to why you bring up a credible profession. Christians can have demeaning views of women just like unbelievers can. And you addressed this concern to gents, meaning more than just Lane, so how does their being Christians or not matter per my oriiginal comments?


  25. rcjr said,

    July 27, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Todd, I was simply hoping to encourage us to be careful in what we accuse those who belong to the Lord of. Surely we should be even more cautious in speaking of those for whom He died, yes? And you’re right, you don’t know what kind of church the VF people belong to. I do. Some are Presbyterian, some are independent, some are CREC, some at least have been Lutheran. Some, I suspect, could trace the laying on of hands all the way back to the Apostle John, some are likely “ordained” by their local church and most are likely somewhere in between, like the rest of us. Of course you are right that Christians can have demeaning views of women. You may be right that VF falls into that trap. That said, I know they believe, as do I, that women are, to borrow a phrase, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. To affirm a difference in calling, as the Scripture plainly teaches, and which you I trust agree (unless of course you embrace ordaining women), is not demeaning. So, wrong views I’m certainly willing to consider. But demeaning, at least to my ear, suggests a denial of equality in dignity or ability, a position VF does not now nor has it ever taken. Maybe my understanding of the word is too narrow.

  26. Reed Here said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:07 am

    RCJR: I’m grateful you consider me a friend. The feeling is mutual. You know of my respect and admiration for you :-)

  27. rcjr said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Thanks Reed. Sorry it even needed to be said.

  28. todd said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:25 am


    Got it, we just strongly disagree as to what the Bible teaches about these issues, but before pursuing this, I’m wondering if disagreeing with you on-line automatically lowers my DMin grade!

  29. Reed Here said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:26 am

    All: I sought to not dig further into either Lane’s comment regarding VF or my agreement with him for two reasons: 1) I think Lane’s critique is insignificant to the broader point of this post, and 2) I’m aware of the potential for this topic to get a bit too excited.

    Yet, since I did weigh in and my two comments were not enough, I will try to offer some clarification intended to put up as it were some guard rails.

    First, the phrase “over-react” DOES NOT (friendly shouting here, just so y’all here me ;)) equal “sinning.” Lane’s original comment and my affirmation of his opinion does not accuse VF of any sinning. Instead, it is an opinion expressing criticism. Knowing Lane, I expect he intended it as constructive, even friendly criticism.

    Second, Lane can speak for himself, but since I affirmed his opinion, let me explain what I heard him saying in this criticism. I did not take Lane’s reference to VF and the Roman system to be a detailed, across the board, point for point, one for one equating, or even anything near that. Instead I think he is only saying that VF teaching and the Roman system share a similarity in appearance as to the degree of authority of the family head. He was not saying VF teaching = the Roman system. Further, he was only using the Roman system to offer an analogy. It may be a poor analogy in that it infers too much. Be that as it may, it does not warrant reading too much into it.

    Finally, I declined to discuss this further with Craig for the simple reason that we’re talking about one opinion with reference to one part of a much larger post. This sub-issue is in the minor category in terms of the posts primary points. It doesn’t deserve this much discussion, at least not here on this post.

    My comments did not level any charges of sin against VF. Nor do I believe does Lane’s original. Again, over-react does not equal sinning. Hope this helps.

  30. rcjr said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Todd, Disagreeing with me could never hurt your grade. Disagreeing with God, on the other hand, is a problem. Sadly for you, He and I agree on this issue. ; )

  31. rcjr said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Okay Reed. I guess you’re just much more gracious than me, not that that’s a hard thing. I mean, being very close to seeing your wife and children as chattel would be a sin in my book. You won’t object then, if I create a website that announces to the world that you and Lane both believe it’s not a sin to be very close to seeing your wife and children are chattel? Apparently I’ve been all catywompus on this. I thought I was the hard right guy here. It seems I’m to the left of you all.

    I sure hope when Lane shows up he’ll just say, “You know, these VF guys are to my right on this stuff. But I overstated my case. So sorry.” That would work out so much better, and simply.

  32. Craig French said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Respectfully I still ask: What does overreaction look like? That is directly relevant to the post at hand. VF is also directly relevant since it was lifted up as an example of overreaction. At most, the responses were innuendo informed by an egalitarian and Arminian source: Midwest Outreach.

    So what does overreaction look like? Perhaps treating women like chattel…but I don’t know of any Christian groups that do this. We could quibble over words like “react” and ponder: “Should we really even be ‘reacting’?” I won’t do that, let the wording stand. Christians rarely offer a corrective to feminism. At best, our reaction has been to accommodate it by either saying “you’re right” or by saying “well, the Bible teaches this and we have to follow what the Bible says but we think women are really strong and have all kinds of authority and all kinds of other words that will get your feminist head to bobble with satisfaction”.

    Some men say “The Gospel is central! Not our view of the sexes!”. But our Reformed faith holds federalism as being part and parcel to: our justification, the basis of our sanctification, and the hope of the resurrection. The Incarnation was in view from eternity past, that’s how Christ is the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. As the Father is in the Son, and the Son explains His Father to us, so the Logos has created the universe and has placed this image in the created order, and powerfully exalts the order by taking on our flesh then conquering sin and death and making us His Bride. I don’t know how it’s possible to over-react to feminism when the truths of federalism are so deep we’d drown trying to find the bottom. At best, we’re all just skimming the surface. We won’t over-react to feminism. We’ll continue under-reacting, I fear.

  33. Zrim said,

    July 27, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Craig, aside from something like VF, an over-reaction to feminism may be something like ClearNote Fellowship’s statement on “Gap Issues” where it is suggested that the doctrine of justification is secondary to the doctrine of man. Your last paragraph seems to suggest that the doctrine of justification depends on the doctrine of man, and so feminism undercuts the former. I have seen this line of reasoning before, but I think it is highly dubious and seems to be a way to theologically justify fighting for a particular side in the culture war.

    But when some start suggesting that it isn’t so much the doctrine of justification but that “the doctrine of man is central to the Christian faith” (ClearNote’s words), I think that constitutes not only an over-reaction to feminism but a dangerous move that actually threatens the purity of the church, all in the name if cultural pushback. But the Protestant Reformation was an ecclesiastical fight, not a cultural one. Does feminism pose a relative challenge to the doctrine of man? Yes. Is it such a challenge that it deserves to overshadow that article of faith upon which the church stands or falls? Let’s get a perspective here.


  34. Craig French said,

    July 27, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Steve Zrimec said: “But when some start suggesting that it isn’t so much the doctrine of justification but that ‘the doctrine of man is central to the Christian faith’ (ClearNote’s words)…”

    I searched ClearNote, I didn’t see words suggesting the doctrine of justification isn’t central.

    Those words are your own and grossly misrepresent that Church’s views. For your own spiritual sake, it is better you shut your mouth until you’re able to blush with shame.

    ClearNote prefaced that partial quote by saying:
    “God has inextricably bound our understanding of ourselves with our understanding of Him. As such, we can’t understand one without understanding the other. As John Calvin observes, “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”

    For this reason”…in bold…“for this reason” as stated above.

    That is to say, NOT for the reason Steve Zrimec has “suggested”. Would anyone like to elaborate on what “overreacting” to feminism looks like in the Church today?

    I still only see innuendo, and Steve Zrimec has supplied another example of himself sinning against the saints of ClearNote and her ordained shepherds. If I didn’t know better, I’d say many more Christians overreact to the truth while showing dulia to error.

  35. todd said,

    July 27, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Craig, I will offer some examples you are asking for below, but first it is an old trick to attempt to discredit anyone who critiques your views instead of dealing with the actual substance of the critique. So we should not give an ear to Midwest Christian Outreach’s documented critiques of FV because they are not themselves Reformed? Hmmm… And if I asked some OPC and PCA pastors to come on here and share their negative their experiences with VF members, would you dismiss them also?

    Since you asked, here are some over-reactions to feminism found in Reformed circles (in no particular order):

    1. Suggesting that Christian mothers must home-school instead of public school to be faithful to God, even when those mothers are not gifted to do such.

    2. Suggesting that federalism, which traditionally has meant the doctrine of the federal headship of Adam and Christ, includes the idea of federal headship of husbands so that husbands are seen as representing their wives before God.

    3. Suggesting that any church or denomination that sees the Scripture allowing for women deacons must be egalitarian and in rebellion against God.

    4. Suggesting Christian wives and mothers that seek any employment outside the home are unfaithful to God.

    5. Not allowing wives and communicant daughters to vote in churches.

    6. Teaching that the Bible requires fathers to administer courtship rituals for their daughters instead of allowing dating (or courtship) at their own discretion.

    7. Suggesting the Bible teaches the father is responsible to find marriage partners for their daughters.

    I could go on, but we’ll stop there.

  36. Zrim said,

    July 27, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Craig, the point of the “Gap Issues” statement seems pretty clear to me: whereas the doctrine of justification was where the action was during the time of the Reformation, the doctrine of man is where the action is today. But nothing could be more confused. How men and women are right with God has always been where the action really is. How men and women relate to one another surely is important, but of far greater significance is how both relate to God. And so to shift the emphasis on how men, women and children are right with God to how they all interact and relate to each other suggests the sort of over-reaction the church really can’t afford. I know you vehemently disagree, but I wonder if you over-react by suggesting impiety on my part?

  37. Ron said,

    July 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I have a Reformed pastor friend (OPC in fact) who often spoke against Vision Forum (VF), but every time he did so it was due to a follower of VF who had run amok. He always blamed VF for the congregant’s views and behavior. This congregant with whom he had issues, did in my estimation have issues (major issues in fact), but none of them, I thought, could be rationally linked to VF. I’m not saying that anyone here is implicating VF based upon its followers, but that sort of thing is something we all (present party included) must guard against.

  38. Craig French said,

    July 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Steve Zrimec: “I wonder if you over-react by suggesting impiety on my part?”

    Wonder on, if you like. You misrepresented ClearNote’s statement. You have a penchant for misrepresentation and anyone can compare your innuendo with CN’s actual statement.

    Todd: “So we should not give an ear to Midwest Christian Outreach’s documented critiques of FV because they are not themselves Reformed?”

    Todd, where a criticism comes from should be considered. Especially in light of the fact they have only documented their own critiques…they haven’t actually documented VF’s “error”. They merely assert, by innuendo, that VF’s view of women is like Rome’s. I have to think that such an unfounded criticism lies in the fact they are egalitarian. That they are Arminian is also telling given many who are Reformed would rather hear an in-house critic that accepts fundamental Calvinistic truths, such as TULIP. It is no accident that egalitarianism runs rampant in Arminian circles and amuck in open “theist” circles.

    Also, I meant to restate my original question. I shouldn’t have asked for ways Christian individuals “over-react” to feminism, rather: “Can you point to a significant (or quasi significant) segment within Christendom that is “over-reacting” to feminism?”

    To be honest, Todd, more often than not the examples you provided are not in necessity directly attributable to “over-reaction” to feminism. One, for example, is a reaction against the state encroaching upon the sphere of the family/Church…some of the “examples” are nebulous, too. I don’t even know what #2 really means. In a sense, I do represent my family before God as I intercede on their behalf. This truth struck me last week as I prayed over my children when they couldn’t sleep. Does my wife pray? Of course, we’re not muslims.

    I haven’t seen #3 in practice, but I wonder if you’re thinking of the rebellion within Redeemer and other like-minded PCA churches who are forbidden from having woman deacons, yet install woman deacons. Further, the veracity that #3 is “extreme” rests on the notion that having woman deacons is not rebellion, which is a convenient way to define all nay-sayers as “extreme”.

    #4 seems like a possibility…but as stated, I’m not sure I’ve seen such an “extreme” position.

    #5 isn’t particularly extreme.

    #6 is stated in an unusual way. As stated, it does sound extreme initially…but ends in a strange way:
    “at their (daughter’s) own discretion”.

    I trust my daughters will have discretion by God’s grace, but the correct way to find a mate would be through the father. Whether it is dating or courtship.

    #7 as stated, would be extreme. I don’t know of anyone holding such a view. Some hold to a view similar to #6, but to my knowledge, courtship’s aim is to allow men to seek a wife through a potential wife’s father.

    Of course, now I’ve outed myself…I’m probably “extreme”.

  39. rcjr said,

    July 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Just to add one thought on #5. If the Bible forbids women to rule in the church, something I trust we can all agree on, and if a vote from the congregation, in certain circumstances, is binding, then would one have to accept the label “extreme” if one humbly suggested that in such circumstances women shouldn’t vote with the congregation? Or to put it another way, how would one reconcile a conviction that women are not to rule in the church (presumably why we don’t have women elders) with women voting in binding circumstances?

  40. rcjr said,

    July 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    One other thought. Can you help me understand how an objection to sending covenant children to state run schools where the name of Christ cannot be named is an overreaction to feminism? I, of course, would take that view, but don’t see the connection to feminism. My wife has the same view.

  41. rcjr said,

    July 27, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Let me encourage the curious to take a read at Mr. Veinot’s “scholarship.” Very instructive indeed.

  42. todd said,

    July 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Craig and rcjr – I never used the word “extreme,” I simply said they were examples of over-reactions to feminism as you asked for.

    As to # 40 – for a husband to place upon his wife the burden of home-schooling, when the Bible leaves it a matter of Christian liberty, and when she is not gifted to do such, is an abuse of male authority in the home. It is taking male authroity in the home too far, which is the opposite of feminism in the church, which dismisses any male authority.

    Craig, if you interceding for your family means you represent them before God, wouldn’t that also be true of your wife when she intercedes on behalf of your family?

    As for women deacons, many of our Reformed fathers held to women deacons. They were not egalitarians or rebellious. We over-react to the fear of feminism when we assume those who believe in women deacons are egalitarians and rebellious. (See the Bayly’s.)

    And I still wonder why you keep arguing against the label “extreme” when I never even used the word.

    As for # 6 – it is using the Bible wrongly to establish a law where there is liberty. It is not that parents cannot require courtship, that is a parent’s discretion, it is when dating is considered unbiblical and the father assumes the Bible requires him and all Christian fathers to take on the courtship role with their daughters.

    There are examples of # 7 being taught, but it wouldn’t probably matter if I showed them to you.

    And whatever one thinks of a critiquer’s scholarship or theology, one can still look at the quotes that cause concern. The Veinots do document the VF sources for all their quotes, so one only needs to read the VF quotes and ignore the critique of them if they choose to, and decide for themselves. The quotes are enough to reveal the errors.

  43. rcjr said,

    July 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Right you are Todd. Please forgive the “extreme” references. Over-reaction would have been the proper word choice. For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure I’d escape all or most of your list. (Which is not an accusation against you- you didn’t argue I believed any of those things.) I don’t believe Christian mothers must homeschool. Don’t know anyone who holds to #2, 6 or 7. Not saying they don’t exist mind you. I just don’t know there folks. I agree with you on #3, though I suspect many who embrace that view are driven by egalitarian notions. Not sure I know anyone who holds to #4, but yes, am guilty on #5.

  44. todd said,

    July 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm


    Fair enough

  45. Zrim said,

    July 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    You misrepresented ClearNote’s statement. You have a penchant for misrepresentation and anyone can compare your innuendo with CN’s actual statement.

    Craig, like the Bayly’s, you still don’t seem to have a category for disagreement. Everything is either agree or misrepresent, submit or sin against. That’s a good way to shut down conversation with those with whom you strongly disagree, but it’s hardly a way to nurture relations. It also helps explain why you seem so skeptical that there really is such a thing as an over-reaction to feminism, because there is either patriarchy or rebellion. For you there is no such thing as overlap or complexity. This is where a good dose of 2k would help, but I know you have a serious allergy.

  46. Zrim said,

    July 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Can you help me understand how an objection to sending covenant children to state run schools where the name of Christ cannot be named is an overreaction to feminism?

    First, the question seems to assume something that has never been true per my experience in public education as a student, a teacher, a private contractor or a parent of covenant children who attend public schools and name Christ regularly and freely. Second, I might be more inclined to say that VFish objections against secular education is less an overreaction to feminism than a function of educational legalism: “Christian parents must provide their children with a thoroughly Christian education, one that teaches the Bible and a biblical view of God and the world. Christians should not send their children to public schools…”

  47. rcjr said,

    July 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks Zrim. My point wasn’t to argue the point per se, about the state’s schools. Rather my point was how my position, which you may certainly feel free to call educational legalism, is an over-reaction to feminism. I was once asked, by Frank Smith’s old paper what I thought of those who accused me of legalism on this issue. My response? If I’m wrong, I’m guilty of legalism. If I’m right, they are guilty of antinomianism. The issue then is the issue, not legalism/antinomianism.

  48. Deb said,

    July 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    RCJR: “If the Bible forbids women to rule in the church, something I trust we can all agree on, and if a vote from the congregation, in certain circumstances, is binding, then would one have to accept the label “extreme” if one humbly suggested that in such circumstances women shouldn’t vote with the congregation? Or to put it another way, how would one reconcile a conviction that women are not to rule in the church (presumably why we don’t have women elders) with women voting in binding circumstances?”

    RCJR, I recently had this same conversation with a Lutheran friend.
    If we are to consider voting in certain circumstances as binding and therefore equivalent to “ruling”, then should not all voting should be reserved only for the elders of the church? Women are to submit to the rule of their own husbands and to the elders of the church, but all women are not subjected to all men. Therefore, if we deem voting as equivalent to ruling, neither men nor women congregants generally ought vote.

    On the other hand, as is practice in the PCA, a vote may brought before the congregation through the process of the session, and subsequently subject to acceptance by the session, which rules over the congregation. In this case, voting is not seen as an exercise of authority, but rather as a duty by communing members to participate in and support the work of the church. Additional caveat: Topics brought before the congregation would never include doctrine, theological issue, or governance, but administration of funds and such similar concerns.

    My wording here is surely not precise, but I thought that the point about all men not ruling over all women was especially important, if we insist that voting =exercise of authority. When done according to the BoCO, I do not see voting as exercising authority, as the session chooses what will be voted on, as well as the acceptance of the outcome.

  49. Cris Dickason said,

    July 29, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Roman spam at that, eh Ron!

    To give a brief parallel to Deb’s point in # 48 – One could say that when communicant members of the congregation participate in congregational votes, that is an expression of the priesthood of all believers, it is a valid expression of the general office of the believer. The general office of believer does not exist simply to submit to special officers. Congregational voting is, of course, not the only expression of the priesthood of all believers.

    In discussions or disagreements about a given (special interest) group, such as the Vision Forum in this case, there’s a tendency on the part of that special interest group to begin acting or speaking as if their own concern is a 4th mark of the church.


  50. Tim Harris said,

    August 1, 2011 at 7:45 am

    The problem is the assumption that “reacting” is good, “over-reacting” bad. Men should not react. They should study, discover the truth, then act in terms of the truth.

    Perhaps you say, “the general must react to the troop movements of the enemy, but not over-react.” But here, “react” simply means “take certain facts into cognizance.” “Over-react” means “act rashly or stupidly by a too-narrow interpretation of the facts.” In short, the concept of reaction can be avoided entirely when it is not merely a shorthand for something else that is understood by all the parties to the discussion.

  51. Tim Bayly said,

    August 2, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Here’s a post responding to the above list of dangers father-rule poses in the church today: http://www.baylyblog.com/2011/08/over-on-a-conservative-reformed-blog-a-couple-men-have-been-arguing-that-the-church-today-is-being-threatened-by-some-who-ar.html

  52. David Gray said,

    August 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    The progress made by feminists can be shown in Lane’s post. He wants to make the right points but unlike almost anything else he writes he spends two paragraphs dwelling on caveats before beginning to try to make the point of the post. Men fear stating the truth in a straightforward way. It would be like if he were posting on Sola Fide but spent the first two paragraphs making sure we didn’t make any of the mistakes that Anabaptists and Revivalists make in the name of Sola Fide before actually stating the truth of Sola Fide.

  53. Fred Greco said,

    August 3, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Having come here late in the game (via Baylyblog this time), I wonder whether anyone would be willing to support the “patriarchal” idea that a father can tell which members of his family may take the Lord’s Supper, and further, whether a father should take all the elements from the elders and re-distribute them to his family.

    I ask because I have seen this first hand, I have heard it defended by Vision Forum influenced men. That seems to me a legitimately critiqued practice.

  54. rcjr said,

    August 3, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Fred, I would argue that the first is a flat out wrong intrusion of the family into the proper sphere of the elders. I would say the latter looks like a symbolic form of the former. It is certainly true that there are folks who self-identify with patriarchy who have an abysmally low ecclesiology. This you see in the whole house church movement. Many, however, who also self-identify with patriarchy would agree with me that this is abysmally low ecclesiology. Of course the whole feminist influenced broad evangelical church demonstrates the same low ecclesiology where sundry parachurch groups observe what they think is the Lord’s Supper. My eldest teen daughter had the sense to pass by when the local homeschool gym class she served as a coach thought, at their training, that it would be a good idea to eat and drink the bread and grape juice. Which brings me to another point. Which is the bigger threat- a few bizarre hyper-patriarchs who think fathers should fence the table, or the feminist harpy mindset that is more pious than God in serving grape juice at likely nine out of ten evangelical churches?

  55. greenbaggins said,

    August 3, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Guys, I have been on vacation with little to no access to the internet for the last week, so my apologies for not being here to interact, especially with RCJr’s concerns. I would say that Reed has read me pretty fairly here. I was primarily thinking of the degree of authority that the father has over his children being similar to the Roman system. Obviously, it would not be alike in all respects. I would also agree with Reed that it was offered as a criticism, not as a charge of sinning. I actually think that VF has many salutary emphases. I just think that they are too far right on the degree of authority. Fred’s comment might be one example.

  56. greenbaggins said,

    August 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    David, do you think any feminist would be happy with what I wrote here? If was afraid of speaking the truth outright, I wouldn’t have written the post at all. However, there being a range of opinions on this matter, I did not think it was appropriate to paint myself as far right as some do, since I’m not. It is necessary to state just exactly where on the continuum of opinions one is. Also, given the fact that emotions tend to take over, I did not want to be misunderstood on where I stood (this misunderstanding has happened many times in the past in my own experience: and just for the record, I usually get taken as someone much closer to VF!).

  57. Reed Here said,

    August 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    RCJR: with reference to your last question, hence the main point of the post here is about the danger of feminism in the Church. I think we’ve all been interacting on a side-track that we all agree is in some senses a symptom, and a minor one of a much more serious problem.

  58. rcjr said,

    August 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Hope it was a great vacation, though I for one am glad you are back. Would you think it might be better to say something like this, “Vision Forum’s version of patriarchy is closer than my view to the Roman view where the husband/father has all authority” rather than “Vision Forum’s version of patriarchy is very close to the Roman view”? Isn’t the former rather more gentle, and accurate, while the latter, the actual quote, rather more uncharitable and inaccurate? If so, wouldn’t it now be better to say “I’m sorry” rather than “I meant my uncharitable and inaccurate words to be understood in a more gentle and accurate way?”

  59. rcjr said,

    August 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks Reed. Good point. And it in turn helps me understand your earlier point about answering the objection being a distraction. (Though I think David Gray’s point is a good one as well.) Maybe it would do us all some good to talk about the nefarious impact of feminism on the church, which is what Lane started doing.

  60. Reed Here said,

    August 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Great! Let me throw one out and see if it gets any traction.

    I observe in the Church two extremes in terms of the demeanor of uor communication as elders. The first is the milquetoast manner of communicating. No firm convictions are given, just wishy-washy opinions. This is especially serious terms of an elder led church.

    The second, and opposite the first, is the harsh dictatorial manner of communicating. All communication is in battle mode – someone is going to win and someone is going to lose. Again, when found in elders responsible for the church, this can lead to a dictatorial scenario, even with otherwise sound men.

    Admittedly both extremes can exist apart from aberrant feminism. Yet it seems to me that both are at least promoted and encouraged by aberrant feminism in the church. The former (weak) can be a reaction to such feminism. The latter (strong) can be a reaction against such feminism.

    Elders need to develop the ability of firm gentleness, of humble doggedness. This needs to be seen in their communication. Far too often we either don’t speak for fear of antagonizing someone, or we are careless and unnecessarily hack someone off.

    Both errors will yield a leadership that is more following man than following God. When in response to aberrant feminism these will actually support and nurture the very feminism that should be rooted out.

  61. rcjr said,

    August 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Wouldn’t these same problems/categories apply wherever there is authority? Could we not replace “elder” with father, mother, blog moderator, boss, professor, mayor? Isn’t this just the challenge of servant leadership? And isn’t it the case that when we are being led we complain about not enough servant, and when we are being served we complain about not enough leadership? And when we lead we brush off complaints against our failure to be servants as a reaction against our leading? Isn’t it also the case then sometimes when the led ask for more servant in our leadership what they really want is less of our leadership and more of their own? In short, sin. Feminism as an ism is, in my judgment, consistent with our desire not to be led, but not driven by it. Rather it is driven by a rebellion against reality. Feminism doesn’t ask that wives be led in a certain way. It denies that wives should be led.

  62. rcjr said,

    August 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Nice new pic. Same great smile.

  63. greenbaggins said,

    August 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    RC, I am reminded of Winnie the Pooh at this point, where he said that something that seemed “thingish” inside his own head didn’t seem so “thingish” when brought out into the open, having other people looking at it. I guess I had a certain thing in mind in comparing VF with the Romans, and you heard something different. I know what I meant, which was less harsh than you interpreted it to be, and I certainly appreciate your sticking up for your friends. I would be happy with your way of putting the issue vis-a-vis “closer to the Roman system than I would be.” I am less certain about apology at this point, however, since I intended it as a critique and not as a sideswipe. Would this explanation not be sufficient, then, or is an apology necessary also, even if the perceived offense was not intended by the “perpetrator?”

  64. David Gray said,

    August 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    >>David, do you think any feminist would be happy with what I wrote here?

    No, which is why I phrased it as I did. But it seemed very far from your standard practice to start with all the caveats before the main article. And I have observed many times reformed pastors who will eventually say the right thing but uncharacteristically lay out all the caveats first, often to the point of nearly apologizing for saying the right thing before they say it. Speak the truth boldly and then provide caveats as required.

  65. greenbaggins said,

    August 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I hear you, David, but here was my concern: this issue is so emotional that I felt it necessary to provide the caveats first, lest people not even listen to what I felt was necessary. It was a judgment call, and you may think that I did that wrong, and that’s fine. In this particular case, if I had done what you suggest, then they might not have heard the caveats, because they might have jumped to conclusions while reading the first part.

  66. David Gray said,

    August 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    >>I hear you, David, but here was my concern: this issue is so emotional that I felt it necessary to provide the caveats first, lest people not even listen to what I felt was necessary.

    Good thing you generally avoid issues which stir the passions! :)

    And I’ll notice how, not surrpirsingly, how for some this turned into a turkey hunt for patriarchal Christianity, aka biblical Christianity (not saying you’re doing this). The Roman comparison is bizarre. I’ve never seen Vision Forum advocate that men should have the power to kill their children if they’re displeased with them.

  67. greenbaggins said,

    August 3, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Yeah, I’m great at avoiding controversial issues. It’s been a real hallmark of my blog over the years.

    I never accused VF of advocating that fathers had the power to kill their children. I said that the degree of authority that the VF folks believe fathers should have reminded me of the Roman system.

  68. Tim Harris said,

    August 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    To #25, “Some, I suspect, could trace the laying on of hands all the way back to the Apostle John, some are likely “ordained” by their local church and most are likely somewhere in between, like the rest of us.”

    There is no “in between.” There is either ordination by the laying on of hands by those who in turn have had hands laid in ordination, and so forth, back to the apostles. Or there is some mickey-mouse game that emulates this without any of the pith and substance. The latter are pretend churches, not real. So yes, it is highly relevant to ask about the church credentials of the VF people (or anyone else for that matter).

  69. rcjr said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Don’t want to beat a dead Pooh here, but couldn’t help but notice the irony of the above comments. You go to the trouble, in your original piece, to break out your bona fides so as not to offend those on your left on this issue, to avoid people getting emotional, while in turn actually side-swiping your brothers in Christ at Vision Forum. When I graciously, patiently seek an apology you hesitate to give one, as if saying, “I’m sorry” is akin to confessing to clubbing baby seals. You then suggest, albeit graciously, that it’s my ears that are the problem, not what you said, because well, you know, you meant to say something different. Brother, having had the stuffing beat out of me on the internet by those who think they know what they don’t, who carelessly exaggerate what they do know, having everyone snicker and snort, yes I am a touch sensitive, quite apart from the fact that these are my friends. Adding to my sensitivity is my conviction that this is one place on the internet where we don’t do this, that this is one place where we are sufficiently gospel minded that when we fail we repent, forgive and move on. What is so stinking hard about saying, since you have already in principle admitted it, “I overstepped in what I said against my friends at Vision Forum. I’m sorry.”? The only trap waiting to be sprung is the post I have in my head that reads, “Hey, happy to forgive. Could have happened to anyone, and does too often happen to me. Glad, on the other hand, this is actually so uncharacteristic of you.”

  70. David Gray said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:27 am

    >>Yeah, I’m great at avoiding controversial issues. It’s been a real hallmark of my blog over the years.

    The emoticon was supposed to indicate the comment was meant to be ironic.

    >>I never accused VF of advocating that fathers had the power to kill their children. I said that the degree of authority that the VF folks believe fathers should have reminded me of the Roman system.

    But that is what the Roman system permitted.

  71. greenbaggins said,

    August 4, 2011 at 9:52 am

    David, I was agreeing with you, irony and all! I was equalling your sarcasm, and was trying to be funny. I guess it was what my family would call “an unsuccessful attempt at humor.” I also know that the Roman system permitted their fathers had the power to kill their children. Surely there are more points of comparison than just that!

    RC, let’s reverse the position for a moment. Say that you said something, and you know what you meant by it. Someone else got something different out of it. They think you’ve sinned by overstating your case. You don’t think you’ve sinned. You explain what you mean. The other person still thinks you’ve sinned, and presses you for a further apology. Talk about an awkward position! Then when you gently point out that the reader has a responsibility to read the comment in the way you intended (especially after an explanation of what you intended!), the other person still thinks you need to apologize! RC, I honestly don’t know what to do here. I’ll admit to an overstatement, and I will apologize if someone is offended, but I still don’t see the sin here. Perceived sin is not the same thing as actual sin. Is there any responsibility on the reader’s part to accept the explanation given, and then move on?

  72. Craig French said,

    August 4, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Lane said: “I said that the degree of authority that the VF folks believe fathers should have reminded me of the Roman system.”

    Lane said in comment 3: “Their version of patriarchy is very close to the ancient Roman system. I have seen instances in Federal Vision circles of this kind of over-reacting as well.”

    As a reader, I’m having trouble arriving at the conclusion you provided through the explanation when I compare it to what you *actually said* previously. In fact, I would say you have changed horses. Your initial statement said VF’s version of patriarchy *is* very close to the ancient Roman system. In fact, that you have seen instances of that kind of over-reaction. This indicates a very specific knowledge.

    Now you say VF’s patriarchy “reminds” you of the ancient Roman system. You went from implying very specific points of contact between VF and the ancient Roman system to a loosey-goosey reminiscence.

    The interesting thing to note here is that Tim Bayly and Fred Greco provided actual examples of “overreacting” (a man telling his wife not to go to women’s bible studies and taking communion as a representative of his household) where no one else had.

    Isn’t it ironic that men who may risk the epithet of “over-reacting to feminism” were the only ones who could provide a tangible warning? As David Gray has pointed out, I think you pulled your punch…big time. Not only that, you managed to make a claim you couldn’t substantiate, nor could Reed, nor several others.

    So my suspicion is confirmed (in my mind at least) that Reformed men overreact to the truth while “underreacting” to feminism. Stating a fair amount of truth while caveating it to death isn’t the antidote. It immobilizes men. “Look over there! Feminism is wrong…don’t go there! On the other hand…don’t go too far with patriarchy…yeah, stay right about where you are”.

    Ready? Set! Stand still.

    Lane said: “I hear you, David, but here was my concern: this issue is so emotional that I felt it necessary to provide the caveats first, lest people not even listen to what I felt was necessary.”

    I’m also not sure who you thought you might offend given your readership is largely Reformed. It would seem you implicitly understand Reformed men are more egalitarian and reflect the surrounding culture on these notions more than we’d like to admit.

  73. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 11:28 am

    GreenBaggins: “I’ll admit to an overstatement, and I will apologize if someone is offended, but I still don’t see the sin here. Perceived sin is not the same thing as actual sin. Is there any responsibility on the reader’s part to accept the explanation given, and then move on?”

    If that’s your explanation, then please allow others the same latitude that you’re insisting upon for yourself. No double standard please.

    Furthermore, there’s a difference between “I will apologize” versus “I apologize”.

  74. rcjr said,

    August 4, 2011 at 12:32 pm


    My concern isn’t what you meant. My concern isn’t what I heard. My concern is what you said. My concern isn’t my being offended, but that you falsely accused your brothers. No, not in a courtroom. You just did it flippantly. You have lit a fire with your tongue and walked away saying “I was only joking.” Flopping into postmodern reader response theory isn’t the solution.
    Obviously, despite my attempts to correct you gently, somehow I have gotten your back up and you are unable to see the point. That’s disappointing, but not the end of the world. The fire will die down and God will see to the reputation of your brothers, and Jesus died for both your uncharitable words and your difficulty in simply repenting. So I hope to be done with this discussion, and hope to be more guarded in my own language, and more wide-eyed in looking to my own sins. Golly, when did we become so afraid to simply say “I’m sorry.”?

  75. David Gray said,

    August 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    >>I’m also not sure who you thought you might offend given your readership is largely Reformed.

    I think it is pretty clear that his fears were not unwarranted given the reaction from R2K activists, Todd Bordow and “Zrim”.

  76. David Gray said,

    August 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    >David, I was agreeing with you, irony and all! I was equalling your sarcasm, and was trying to be funny.

    Whew!! :)

  77. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    RC Jr: “My concern isn’t my being offended, but that you falsely accused your brothers.”

    It’s important to set the framing right. It is good that you did so.

    “Golly, when did we become so afraid to simply say “I’m sorry.”?”

    Is it fear or is it pride?

  78. Zrim said,

    August 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    David Gray, why the scare quotes for a name? But “activist”? I would think by now my agnosticsm for activism would prevent such a label. I thought the marginalizing term was “quietist,” which I’ll take over the over wrought and uncharitable “unfaithful” for refraining from activating against one of the most unfortunate results of feminism.

    But I do think feminism is a smaller function of a larger egalitarianism which I actually think is the bigger problem, and so I think a better taxonomy than feminism/patriarchialism is egalitarianism/elitism. Egalitarianism doesn’t just end up with things like female ordination (where the problem isn’t ability but authorization); it also is behind unbiblical worship, which on the scale of errors ranks much higher than female ordination. And the allergy for elitism is also what keeps most from recognizing the naïveté of cultural transformationalism (see JD Hunter’s “Top Change the World”).

  79. rcjr said,

    August 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    You’re right brother, hard to imagine any amil, let alone an r2k guy, as any kind of activist. On the other hand, I like to think of myself as a peaceful, patient (even non-theonomic) post-millenialist, who plays well with others. Here’s to breaking stereotypes!

  80. Reed Here said,

    August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    rcjr: if I might, you do break the stereotypes ;-) And it is refreshing. :-)

    Zrim: your taxonomy at first glance does have some appeal.

  81. greenbaggins said,

    August 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Craig French:
    BOQ So my suspicion is confirmed (in my mind at least) that Reformed men overreact to the truth while “underreacting” to feminism. Stating a fair amount of truth while caveating it to death isn’t the antidote. EOQ

    BOQ If that’s your explanation, then please allow others the same latitude that you’re insisting upon for yourself. No double standard please…Is it fear or is it pride? EOQ

    BOQ Flopping into postmodern reader response theory isn’t the solution. EOQ

    Wow, I think I need to change the name of my blog to “Black Baggins.” Obviously, I’m a hypocritical, prideful, postmodern, under-reactor to feminism. Gentlemen, these four comments are highly, highly offensive to me. Anyone else want to take a pot-shot at me while they’re at it? How many more things can we accuse Lane of doing?

    Craig, get a hold of a garden-variety feminist of your acquaintance, have her read my post, and then ask her if I am under-reacting to feminism.

    TUAD: broad-brush accusations of hypocrisy (as in “double-standard”) cannot simply be allowed to stand. If someone wants to explain their intentions, that is completely allowable in principle on this blog. Did you have a specific instance in mind, or did you intend to blackball my entire blog for its entire existence? Furthermore, do you have access to my heart to determine whether or not it is pride? You can read my motives, can you?

    RC: my jaw dropped at this comment: how in the world can you accuse me of using post-modernist reader-response methodology in my answers to you? First of all, I was seeking to define my authorial intent, which is something pomo reader-response theory completely and utterly denies even exists. Secondly, I was gently trying to suggest that you may have misread me. Pomo reader-response theory posits that there is no such thing as “mis-reading.” So please explain to me how in the world I am using pomo reader-response theory. I am curious, because my impression of myself was that I was as militant an anti-pomo person as it is possible to get.

  82. todd said,

    August 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Answering questions on a blog makes one an activist? If I am an activist I sure stink at it.

  83. rcjr said,

    August 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    wow. never mind Lane. Sure enough you have nothing to repent of. It is wicked people like me that heard you saying that Vision Forum is guilty of something like Roman understanding of the family. What people like me should have done is heard what you meant rather than what you said. That we missed our calling here is proof positive that you wouldn’t come in the neighborhood of postmodern understandings of how to read a text. The fact that I’m not getting it is proof that you are right. Brother, I didn’t in the least misread you. I read you right. You, in seeking to escape the guilt before you, have suggested that the problem is in my reading, rather than your writing. That is where you have embraced slippery postmodernism. A nice modernist reading of “They affirm something like the Roman view of the family” is what? For Pete’s sake man, repent that you have slandered your brother. Lane, you have slandered your brothers, and your brother, me, has been seeking to lead you into repentance. Repent and eschew your pride. What the hell (literally) are you trying to protect?

  84. greenbaggins said,

    August 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    No, RC. The problem here is that I have explained myself, but that doesn’t appear to be good enough. I have to admit I’m a bit sensitive right now. Getting attacked four times in as many posts can do that to a person. Let me say it right out: I take back my statement concerning comparing VF to the Roman system. I take it back utterly. I repent. Satisfied, everyone, or do you want to keep on taking pot shots at me?

  85. greenbaggins said,

    August 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Oh, and lest anyone think my repentance wasn’t sincere, let me just add that I repent of defending myself, I repent of prevarication earlier in the thread, and I repent of my demon-deceived method of carrying on with everyone else. In fact, I repent of the whole stinking thread. Now, can people please start apologizing to me for the offensive things they’ve said?

  86. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm


    If one of your children apologized to you in the same manner as you just did in #84 and #85 would you accept it as sincere and genuine? Is that how apologies are done in the GreenBaggins’ household?

    And would you then apologize for the offensive things that they said that you said?

  87. greenbaggins said,

    August 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I would most certainly accept it as genuine if the fruit of it is evident, as in, I deleted the earlier reference to VF and Rome. Furthermore, there are no caveats on my apology, no strings attached. My apology stands regardless of whether anyone apologizes to me or not. But there is more than my sin going on here. True reconciliation cannot happen if the other side commits sin and refuses to see it. You have sinned against me, and you refuse to see it. And my sin does in no way justify anyone else’s.

  88. greenbaggins said,

    August 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    You know, if I can’t make anyone believe what I say, then maybe it’s better to shut the whole blog down. I am so incredibly hurt, angry, and offended by this thread that I am seriously tempted to do just that.

  89. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    GreenBaggins, I did not sin against you.

    Let’s take a re-look at what I wrote:

    o “If that’s your explanation (in #71), then please allow others the same latitude that you’re insisting upon for yourself. No double standard please.”

    I’m merely saying that in the future, should anyone want to employ your kind of justification and defense that you used in #71, then you need to allow it and accept it because you’ve set the precedent yourself.

    o RC Jr: “Golly, when did we become so afraid to simply say “I’m sorry.”?”

    Me: Is it fear or is it pride?

    #1. I was addressing RC Jr.

    #2. I was thinking in terms of a global, universal reason why some folks refuse to simply say “I’m sorry.”


    Genuinely, when you pout and demand that others apologize to you after you have apologized, it makes you look immature and thin-skinned and overly-emotional. It doesn’t look good on you, Lane.

  90. greenbaggins said,

    August 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    TUAD, are you saying that in your first comment to which I objected, there wasn’t even the faintest hint that I had used such a double standard in the past? It seemed to me that you were more than hinting at it. I wonder why it is so hard for people to say “I’m sorry,” when they are lambasting someone else to repent.

    Are you saying that in the second comment on pride, that you weren’t in the least hinting that I was being prideful in refusing to repent? Again, you seemed to me to be more than hinting. No one on this thread seems capable of putting themselves in my shoes. So, instead of trying to come alongside me, they keep on heaping on the love by telling me that I’m thin-skinned and overly-emotional and immature. Just keep it coming, guys. I’m loving it. One more comment like that, TUAD, and you are banned for eternity.

  91. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    GreenBaggins: “You know, if I can’t make anyone believe what I say, then maybe it’s better to shut the whole blog down. I am so incredibly hurt, angry, and offended by this thread that I am seriously tempted to do just that.”

    All in all, despite the occasional hiccup or serious mis-step, this blog is a good blog.

    I sincerely hope you don’t shut the whole blog down because you’re “incredibly hurt, angry, and offended by this thread.”

    Pax in Christ Alone.

  92. greenbaggins said,

    August 4, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    That’s all you have to say, TUAD? Could you at least answer my questions regarding your statements? I’m trying to find out what you meant. I have told you how I interpreted it. You could help insure that shutting the blog down does not happen by explaining yourself.

  93. Reed Here said,

    August 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    All: I know some will simply write this off as boot licking, but so be it.

    rcjr: with sincere respect I think you’re making a mountain out of molehill. Lane’s first comment was rather unclear to some degree, implying something stronger than he intended. He’s offered to apologize for that mis-speaking. I understand apologizing as a form of confessing fleshly weakness, i.e., sin without evil intention attached. Why does that not suffice?

    As to slandering VF, I beg to differ. He clarified that he meant nothing more than a general comparison without any degree of specificity. If you think he is wrong then maybe we leave it at that.

    TUAD: hmm, well, what can I say? You haven’t engaged much in conversation in some while, and then you jump in to wag your finger at Lane. I for one can appreciate his frustration with you.

    You accuse him of a double standard. That is something better discussed offline, as on line all Lane can tell you to do is put up, retract or shut up. Not very good for conversation.

    Craig: so if his first statement was too tight, and his second statement (agreeing with my reading) was too loose, why won’t you accept his, “I’ll apologize for over-stating” as a Goldilocks statement that fits just right?

  94. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    What I wrote is what I meant. (When I’m not obviously joking) I write what I mean. And I mean what I write. Especially in #89.

    If you want to make more of it than that, then I simply refer you back to your own words in #71:

    “Is there any responsibility on the reader’s part to accept the explanation given, and then move on?”

  95. Reed Here said,

    August 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Ok TUAD, I can roll that way. You're wrong. A double standard would mean Lane does not allow others to use the same kind of mea culpa he is using (I overspoke). Anyone who has read here for any time knows that is not true. You and I both have had opportunity to make such mea culpas in the past. No double standard.

  96. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    #89: “I’m merely saying that in the future, should anyone want to employ your kind of justification and defense that you used in #71, then you need to allow it and accept it because you’ve set the precedent yourself.

    What part of “in the future” is hard to understand?

  97. Reed Here said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    TUAD: nothing at all. In the future, you expect Lane to maintain the same standard for others. That by itself might raise a question as to why you wanted to stress that. However, your slam about a “double standard” pretty much answers that question.

    What is so hard about admitting you accused Lane of a double standard? Seriously, this would be a good time for you to employ the justification/defense you want to make sure is available in the future. Lane will be more than gracious to hear you simply say, “sorry I misspoke.”

    The future now, y’know, already not yet and all that …

  98. rcjr said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm


    I can’t imagine what more I could have said to communicate to you that I was on your side, that I am your friend, that I appreciate your blog. I don’t know if your frustration is directed to me or to others who shared my concerns. I do want you to know that if you believe I have wronged you I stand ready to repent. Just let me know how I have failed you and I will repent. Lord knows I am given to failing my brothers. As I noted, I am more than happy to believe what you say you meant. More still I have no objection in principle to what you meant. I’m sorry that I haven’t made that clear. My concern, as I had hoped to make clear, was with what you said. That said, I do not apologize for reading what you said, and objecting to what you said. What you said was slanderous, easily and happily forgivable but slanderous. My concern shifted from what you said to your failure to see that what you said was slanderous. The molehill I was happy to recognize as such, as long as we were willing to repent for speaking uncharitably about our brothers. To the degree it became a mountain to me it did so because every kind of explanation was given, save an apology. I honestly can’t fathom how what I said should trouble you- please apologize for failing to protect the reputation of your brothers. Am happy to forgive. I can say this- this whole exercise is further evidence that we all have trouble seeing our own sins. So please brother, let me know how I have sinned against you, and I am more than ready to repent. Please, go back and look at the thread, and as honestly as any of us might be able, ask this question- has anybody accused me, on this thread, of anything more grievous than having a view of the family that is “very close” to the Roman view. If I have I am sorry. I would want to know where and how specifically I have done so only so I can specifically repent.
    I don’t know what you have been going through these past several days. Given your response, I suspect it is something decidedly more challenging than having a brother who is for you encourage you to see where you have erred. Whatever that may be, I pray our Lord might give you relief.

  99. Craig French said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Lane and Reed,
    I never asked for an apology. I merely asked multiple times for tangible examples where significant segments of Christianity “over-react” to feminism. To see the weight of the warning, I expected there would have been an example of a pitfall.

    To clarify, my most recent comment wasn’t to underscore that Lane should apologize. It was that he began one way listing VF as an example of overreaction and he has seen other such examples in the FV…reasonably, I believed this meant he had specifics. I’m sure the way VF men tie their shoes doesn’t remind Lane of ancient Rome, so I had expected something a bit beefier than what he has said recently namely, that VF is reminiscent of ancient Rome.

    The former implies evidence of something external to Lane, the latter is a subjective mood Lane experiences…I’m not sure how weighty a warning can be when the warning amounts to not giving someone the impression you believe something that cannot be defined. It can only serve to undermine the import of the truth being caveated.

  100. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Reed Here: “What is so hard about admitting you accused Lane of a double standard?”

    I did not accuse him of a double standard.

  101. Reed Here said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    TUAD: Umm, this is what you said,

    “If that’s your explanation, then please allow others the same latitude that you’re insisting upon for yourself. No double standard please.”

    Are you saying that you did not mean that Lane has not exercised a double standard in the past, and that you are doing is warning him off from doing so in the future?

    That does strike at credulity. Still, if that is what you meant, then it is even easier to say, “sorry, I misspoke.” Not trying to pick on your hear TUAD, but if you think Lane is somehow wrong then make it clear, defend your words (as per Lane’s request). Otherwise, this should not be that big deal for you to own.

  102. Reed Here said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    rcjr, maybe this will help:

    Are you saying it is slanderous to compare VF patriarchalism to Roman patriarhalism, OR

    Are you saying it is slanderous to compare VF p to Roman p without qualifications?

  103. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Slightly edited: “Are you saying that you did not mean that Lane has exercised a double standard in the past, and that what you are doing is warning him off from doing so in the future with regards to the particular rationale that he himself employed in #71?”


    Lane, #71: “Perceived sin is not the same thing as actual sin. Is there any responsibility on the reader’s part to accept the explanation given, and then move on?”

  104. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:50 pm


    With biblical honesty, your recent comments appear quarrelsome.

    I’m sorry to have to say that. If my perceptions are mistaken, please accept my apologies in advance.

    I’ll take my leave from this thread.

    Pax in Christ Alone.

  105. rcjr said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    On the pomo comment, you are absolutely right that you are arguing for authorial intent, a decidedly un-pomo perspective. What I was seeking to get at, however, is that you were denying any objective meaning to what you actually said. The problem, from your perspective, was in my reading, rather than in your writing. I failed to see what you meant, not you failed to say what you meant. I was insufficiently clear on this point, and unfairly tarred you with a perspective you do not take. For that I apologize and hope you will forgive me. When I am done with this more private correspondence I will make a more public apology. I certainly did not intend to hurt you. All along I was hoping to show you how you had been unfair and unkind to your brothers. How foolish of me to seek to make that case while being unfair and unkind to you. If there are other comments I made that you believe were unfair or unkind, please let me know. I did not and do not wish you hurt you. My hope is always to encourage you as I believe you to be a fine, godly pastor, father, husband and blogger. Will you please forgive me?

  106. Reed Here said,

    August 4, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    No TUAD, not quarrelsome, I’m just troubled that you’d think that such a warning need be issued to Lane, given his track record on his blog of fair play. Lane’s not perfect, but he’s been more even-handed than many of us on this blog.

    In particular I think Lane has both championed and defended others on the basis of no. 71. I have made that mistake from time to time, jumping the gun when asking a few more questions would have cleared up misunderstanding. Lane has called me for this error in the past. I know others can testify the same here.

    I appreciate you saying your perceptions are mistaken. No desire to quarrel. I just don’t see the need for your comment in the first place.

  107. David Gray said,

    August 4, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Reed, are you suggesting there is an orthodox Christianity that is not patriarchal?

  108. Reed Here said,

    August 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    No David; not suggesting anything. Just trying to help Lane and rcjr. Seems like they’re doing o.k. without me though.

  109. TurretinFan said,

    August 5, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I am assuming that Lane is not the only one who thinks that VF overreacts to feminism. He’s been getting shot at more than enough, so I’ll direct these questions to anyone except my brother, Lane:

    1) Is the over-reaction a constellation of various things that is only an overreaction because all the things are present, or is the overreaction a matter of some specific identifiable positions that VF has adopted, positions that constitute an over-reaction?

    2) Do you think that the VF is advocating anything that the Reformers didn’t advocate (whether or not the VF is advocating it for the same reasons or different reasons)?

    – TurretinFan

  110. Tim Harris said,

    August 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    RC, David Duke, whom you obliquely insult in #22, also claims to be a Christian. Have you treated his name with the same forebearance? Please apologize or explain why dragging his name through the mud like that is permitted.

  111. rcjr said,

    August 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Nice try Tim. Nope, all I said was someone might object if their views were understood to be close to David Duke’s views. I said nothing about what his views are, and one thing we can be assured of, whatever they are, David Duke doesn’t object to them. No mud, no dragging, nothing at all specific about what Dr. Duke believes. For those who are interested in what he thinks, however, feel free to visit Dr. Duke’s website. Let me know if any of you would like to be described as having views close to his.

  112. Ron said,

    August 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I know a man who has a four point policy in his household regarding apologies that I’d like to share here. If these are of use, then wonderful. If not, I wouldn’t be offended in the least.

    1. On the heels of an apology one may not make an excuse.

    2. On the heels of an apology one may not seek an apology. It may be sought later, but not immediately after acknowledging one’s own guilt for if one is truly sorry, he will be focused on the hurt he or she has caused. Delay also allows time for the first person’s humbled state to lead the other person to the same state of contrition. Also, requesting the apology on the heels of asking forgiveness can be occasion for hardening the other person who has not yet owned his or her need to apologize and has not yet internalized the apology that was just given only moments ago.

    3. Household members should strive to appreciate that to reject an apology is serious business, for all our apologies to the Lord are meager given who He is, and we are to be mindful that in the Lord’s Prayer we are asking to be forgiven in the manner in which we forgive. Accordingly, it should be with fear and trembling that one rejects an apology.

    4. There may be no if-then apologies: “If I sinned, then I’m sorry.” Such an apology actually implies that one doesn’t believe he sinned, and that he or she is not sorry. For had the person thought he sinned, then the apology wouldn’t be conditional. And given that if-then in this case really means “if and only if I sinned, then I’m sorry,” then it stands to reason that the person is not sorry at all.

    Those points are directed at no one. I just thought them to fit this discussion on some level.

  113. todd said,

    August 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm


    As to VF and the Reformers, I don’t see where the Reformers would look too kindly on a man with no formal theological training serving as a minister, but beside the questionable ecclesiology, someone would need to show where the Reformers taught the following: (VF supporters – feel free to challenge these quotes if you believe they do not reflect what VF teaches)

    “Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection. Fathers release sons from their jurisdiction to undertake a vocation, prepare a home, and take a wife. Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection.”

    The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy, authors and date unlisted, Vision Forum website accessed June 7, 2010)

    “How does a woman blaspheme the Word of God? This isn’t something we can just brush aside or take lightly as a “cultural thing.” . . . A woman cannot both “keep at home” (or “guard the house”) and “keep” in a separate workplace. She cannot both “obey her own husband” and obey another boss (even if it is one for whom her husband has asked her to work).”

    Jennie Chancey Responds to Titus 2 Cynics, Jennie Chaney, Dec. 10, 2003, Vision Forum website (accessed June 7, 2010).

    “To raise a daughter without thought to marriage, to instill in them a spirit of independence from the family, or to focus their training on a career outside the home, is actually to disqualify them for graduation and the next step in life. In contrast, a woman who meets the biblical requirements for graduation is one who is comfortable being under the jurisdiction of her father and seeks to make him successful in every way.”

    Christian Graduations and Young Ladies, Doug Phillips, June 16, 2003, Vision Forum website (accessed June 7, 2010).

    “Fathers should oversee the process of a son or daughter seeking a spouse. While a father may find a wife for his son, sons are free to take initiative to seek and “take a wife.” A wise son will desire his parents’ involvement, counsel, and blessing in that process. Since daughters are “given in marriage” by their fathers, an obedient daughter will desire her father to guide the process of finding a husband, although the final approval of a husband belongs to her. Upon a Marriage taking place, a new household with new jurisdiction is established, separate from that of the father. (Gen. 24:1ff.; 25:20; 28:2; Ex. 2:21; Josh. 15:17; Jdg. 12:9; 1 Sam. 18:27; Jer. 29:6; 1 Cor. 7:38; Gen. 24:58)”

    The Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy, authors and date unlisted, Vision Forum website (accessed June 7, 2010)

    “And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother?”

    “God does not allow women to vote” (cf. 1 Tim. 2:11 ff).

    Originally seen in Biblical Patriarchy and the Doctrine of Federal Representation as of Sept. 20, 2007, since removed.

  114. Zrim said,

    August 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Reed (re #80), it seems to me that the feminism/patriarchalism taxonomy reduces matters to sex. And the conversation typically becomes one between those who want men to know the world is flat and those who want women to know their place. The advantage of egalitarianism/elitism is that it includes questions of sex but also questions involving both ability and authorization. F/P tends to suggest that men are qualified for everything simply by virtue of their sex; and one upshot seems to be something like every member ministry where unqualified men either take it upon themselves or are given access to do work that is reserved for those authorized to do, usually because they and/or someone else think that their mere abilities are sufficient (which, curiously, is the sort of argument I have found in the CRC for why women should be ordained, i.e., why would a woman have abilities if God didn’t want her to be ordained? It’s as if ability outpaces authorization, which seems like saying someone who has a natural talent for nursing health should be allowed to practice medicine without authorization). I think this is one of the tributaries that tends to run through contemporary worship where highly credentialed but unordained individuals lead worship, as well as other capacities like teaching, preaching and evangelism.

    But E/E provides a way to not only avoid steering things in the direction of mere sex and fall into what seems like a cultural fight, but also a way to engender what seems to be a more biblical concern about authorization (1 Cor 12). It also helps an institutional ecclesiology that prioritizes ordination to ability and seems ever up against a democratic ecclesiology that prioritizes ability to ordination. Consider how revivalism depends upon an eschewing of churchly ordination and esteeming of apparent ability. Maybe if we were more elitist than complementarian we’d not only take care of the feminist problems, but also the abiding revivalism. And maybe if we had a more elitist instinct that naturally sees gradations we’d recognize that revivalism is more a problem than feminism.

  115. David Gray said,

    August 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    All egalitarianism is wrong and that includes sexual egalitarianism. But the pursuit of a desirable construct shouldn’t blind us to the overt patriarchal understanding which Christianity requires.

  116. Zrim said,

    August 8, 2011 at 9:58 am

    But, David, my point is that if we are really being more elitist than egalitarian then we have to rank errors and not treat them all as equal threats. And some who would a patriarchal structure might gain more confidence with my elitist sympathies if they wouldn’t also tend to make things safe for doxological egalitarianism. I find it a little dubious that those who rank sexual identity and gender relations fairly high on the list of woes that are afflicting the United States and the church tend also to be the ones with praise and worship teams and expertologists. If we’re ranking errors, I’m saying that if Calvin can prioritize the proper worship of God to even justification then it certainly comes before gender relations.

  117. David Gray said,

    August 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

    >>I find it a little dubious that those who rank sexual identity and gender relations fairly high on the list of woes that are afflicting the United States and the church tend also to be the ones with praise and worship teams and expertologists.

    I haven’t found that to be a pattern.

  118. Joel said,

    August 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Meanwhile, while Green Baggins argues against the radical feminism outlined in the opening post which no one belonging to any kind of gospel-believing church holds to anyway (yet), and while the commenters bicker back and forth about the boogeyman of “overreaction,” feminism in the church moves right along, largely uncriticized .


    One wonders how Michele Bachmann is a “cooperative” helpmate at home. I guess that means that she and her husband share the household chores equally? And how on God’s green earth is she a Christian wife and mother “above all” when she has all of these other responsibilities outside of the home? “Professional” success? Since when are women commanded to have both a “professional” life and a “domestic” life? And HOW is her will in submission to “Jesus and her husband” when she blatantly acts outside of the commands of the Bible?

  119. Ron said,

    August 9, 2011 at 9:47 am


    The problem is when people make hard fast rules out of principles. My wife is a stay at home mom and my three girls by God’s grace will follow in her footsteps, which makes me a fair spokesperson for a view that is contrary to yours as stated. There are circumstances that a woman even should work outside the home; single motherhood is just one example, and one example is sufficient to undermine the rule as stated, that one cannot be a Christian mother ‘above all’ while having responsibilities outside the home. Now of course that must be walled in as well. Liberty is not license to turn one’s focus away from what is more needful, but it does demonstrate that if your view is correct, then a mother who must work cannot be focused upon her children “above all.” Even mothers who make bad decisions before the Lord and choose to work when they ought not (I am not prepared to give a litmus test) can still have as their primary focus “above all” the family. That focus might be compromised, but it still can be primary.

    At the very least, statements such as yours need to be considerably refined, if for no other reason you will lose those you hope to persuade.

  120. Joel said,

    August 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm


    I am not talking about special cases here. What I am getting at and what I am speaking against, is this hero-worship of the so-called “evangelical feminist,” where women like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are seen as the norm, what EVERY women should aspire to be, rather than the exception to the rule. Since the advent of Palinism especially, this kind of ‘women should have it all’ mentality has swept through both the church and the conservative political movement to which–for good or ill–it is linked. I don’t think the results of this are good, and they will only get worse.

    I’m not looking for converts. If they come, they come, but I’m not going to “soften” my message to assuage what I see as feminist sentimentality. That kind of thing has been going on for too long. Yesterday, “feminism” was rightly seen as a dirty word in Christian circles. Today, the full-time mom, full-time wife, full-time careerist “evangelical feminism” is the ideal. Who knows, exactly, what tomorrow may bring.

    If you think I’m being too harsh, too strict, unbliblical, etc., fine. I think we can have an honest dialogue over this. But at some point we’re going to have to figure this thing out, end the cheap talk, and draw a line in the sand. Or the next fashionable thing in “evangelical feminism” may very well look like something similar to the 10 points of radical, consistent feminism outline by Green Baggins in the OP.

  121. Ron said,

    August 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I think Palin’s priorities are a mess and that her husband’s family has reaped what they both have sown. I don’t know many evangelical women who aspire to be like Palin though, but maybe my eyes are closed or we run in entirely different circles. In any case, my point has to do with sweeping, imprecise statements that need to be refined. For instance: “Since when are women commanded to have both a ‘professional’ life and a “domestic” life?” Joel, since when is doing something that we’re not commanded to do sin? You need to base your position on more than an argument from silence. To do something that is not commanded need not be sin.

  122. Don said,

    August 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Regarding Joel’s questions in #118, although Ron has already answered better than I, could I respectfully ask him if he’s ever read Proberbs 31?

  123. rcjr said,

    August 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I don’t think one can respectfully ask that question. One can respectfully ask how one reconciles ones position with that text or any other. One can respectfully make the case that someone else’s position is inconsistent with that text, or any other. But one can only snarkily ask if they have read Proverbs 31 I suspect. Of course when we type to each other we miss all the important nuances, so perhaps I misheard you.

  124. Don said,

    August 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Well, I’m sure I could be more respectful, in general and here in particular. But I thought it better to suggest a Biblical response to Joel’s question (“Since when are women commanded to have both a “professional” life and a “domestic” life?”) than go “Nyah nyah you’re wrong and God likes me better.”
    Prov 31 doesn’t answer his exact question, of course, as it is wisdom literature and not a command. But it is a passage I wish he’d considered before the string of (rhetorical?) questions.

  125. rcjr said,

    August 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm


    Yeah, don’t at all mind the question, and your ultimate point certainly needs to be answered. I wouldn’t even be troubled by such mild snarkiness, The hard thing was seeing it preceded by “respectfully.” Plus the fact that you asked if you could ask that question respectfully just created the temptation to actually answer your own rhetorical question.

  126. todd said,

    August 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I think Don’s point was that the Proverbs 31 woman works outside the home (31:24). But I don’t think Proverns 31 can be used to support or argue against Christian women working outside the home. I don’t usually recommend James Jordan, but to be fair I think James Jordan does show very well how to understand the “wife” of Prov 31 here:


  127. jedpaschall said,

    August 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I am just going to throw this one out there. We do expect Scriptural mandates to be normed by Christians; however to we demand that cultural norms in Scripture be mandated?

    By this I mean, in the ANE, and in Israel most families with agricultural crops worked together as a unit. There wouldn’t have even been an opportunity for the wife to leave the home to go to work unless it was with her husband and children, and possibly some hired help or indentured servants if they had some wealth. We would expect our cultures to look differently, so I am not sure that the discussion so far has accounted for this. Where does the Scripture norm such activities? Please build a case beyond Gen. 3, because while it might support the case for some here, it is by no means a slam dunk.

    Curious for some response here.

  128. Ron said,

    August 11, 2011 at 6:48 am


    When I read Don’s remark, I didn’t take him as trying to be anything but respectful. At the very least, I found his his question and how you would have preferred to haven seen it revised as virtually equivalent. I took “have you read Proverbs 31?” as equivalent to “can you reconcile Proverbs 31 with your position?” The reason I still find them equivalent is because I truly take the “respectfully” part as sincere. I do see your point though, but I wouldn’t have seen it had you not made it. :)

  129. Reed Here said,

    August 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Jed: are you asking us to “contextualize” our application of OT norms here; i.e., appropriate correlate cultural differences so that universal norms (general equity)are identified?

  130. jedpaschall said,

    August 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm


    I wasn’t aiming there, but why not? I think that exercise would be worthwhile. I just think some of the bluster of “women in the home” is an accretion to a sound notion of biblical patriarchal norms. It is also anachronistic with respect to history – traditionally in agrarian societies, which dominated the globe until the industrial revolution (IR), the woman did work outside her home, albiet often alongside the family. In the early IR, men women and children worked away from the home if they had the misfortune of being peasants, were they sinning by virtue of abandoning the home? Maybe by the time of Victorian England, some of these norms change, but they are gradual, and often times the lower classes were working families.

    I am not arguing against patriarchy, but the fact is, I think some of the modern expressions aren’t adequately dealing with what this looks like historically, and how socio-economics play into the whole equation.

  131. David Gray said,

    August 11, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    >the woman did work outside her home

    You might gain by distinguishing between working outside the home and being employed outside the home.

  132. jedpaschall said,

    August 11, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    During the IR this often wasn’t the case, women had more ‘domestic’ type responsibilities (textiles, laundry, etc.). Men had harder labor jobs, mining, smithing, etc.

    The distinction doesn’t mean as much as you make it out to be. The women were just as much breadwinners as men. Only with the rise of the middle class do we have a more established class of ‘stay at home moms’.

  133. David Gray said,

    August 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    >>Only with the rise of the middle class do we have a more established class of ‘stay at home moms’.

    And with the industrial revolution we have the increasingly common practice of mothers being employed outside the home.

  134. jedpaschall said,

    August 12, 2011 at 1:39 am


    It’s incumbent on you to demonstrate that “mom stays at home” is a norm mandated by Scripture. I have no problem saying this is a wise or desirable practice, but you seem to eliminate possibilities that demand different circumstances. What I see in this movement is the crystallization of wisdom. Wisdom isn’t Law, and what you end up doing taking such a staunchly conservative position here is that you are taking a cultural norm (the stay at home mom) that has existed from time to time when cultures prospered enough to afford such luxuries, and cannonized it.

    The fact is, there isn’t any instance in Scripture that directly addresses the matter. So what you end up doing is taking a good practice, and making it Law, no longer allowing conscience and economic circumstances dictate what a family, seeking God for wisdom and provision, decides to do in good conscience. There are instances where the woman works, where it cannot be avoided, yet she can faithfully discharge her duties as a godly wife and mother. Yet, these concepts are too often disregarded in some circles, where anything wise becomes Law. There’s a difference in Scripture, and there’s a difference today. I realize that the ambiguity of wisdom is difficult for some to accept, but the fact there can be options that are right for some and wrong for others.

    Don’t take this as an perpetuating the false idol of today that if both parents work they can secure a better life for their children or have better career fulfillment, even when they don’t need all of the income, or aren’t creative enough with their budgets to make this happen. I don’t generally see both parents in the workplace as a good thing, but there are times when there isn’t choices. And in those cases, the families don’t need to struggle with undue guilt that they are violating a Law that doesn’t exist simply to feed their families.

  135. David Gray said,

    August 12, 2011 at 6:40 am

    >It’s incumbent on you to demonstrate that “mom stays at home” is a norm mandated by Scripture.

    I would think it would be incumbent on me, at least theoretically, to defend the position I was asserting.

    What Scriptural evidence is there that women should normatively be employed?

  136. jedpaschall said,

    August 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm


    That’s a nice way to duck the issues raised. There isn’t normative evidence either way. What there is, is a host of background cultural information that women worked during biblical times, all the way down to the modern day, with no specific approval or condemnation of either. I did assert a position, which I am still waiting for you to interact with.

  137. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    August 13, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Joel, as long as we’re discussing Rep. Michelle Bachmann here, let’s not forget that as a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, she was not allowed to serve as a deacon or even vote in congregational meetings. Other than a few very small Reformed denominations, that makes Bachmann’s ecclesiastical background more conservative on women’s roles in the church than virtually all of us Calvinists.

    Obviously she has no problem being in civil government or working outside the home.

    God’s rules for the spheres of the home, church, and state are not identical, and are not identically detailed. The rules for governing the state are, by far, the least detailed of the three spheres, and the rules for the family come somewhere in the middle. While it’s true that Reformed men such as Herman Hoeksema once believed women were banned from voting in civil elections, I think we’ve better be very careful not to confuse the spheres and apply rules to all spheres merely because they are applicable in one sphere of God’s authority exercised through human servants.

    Bachmann is a Lutheran and she won’t agree on this point. But for those of us who hold to the Reformed doctrines of the regulative principle and of Christian freedom, just as we need to be very careful that we do not do things in the church sphere which God has not explicitly commanded, we need to be very careful that we do not lay burdens on the conscience of Christians in other spheres of Christian endeavor which are not explicitly commanded by the Word.

  138. Richard said,

    August 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Hi, not to interupt your conversation but I how can we say that male headship only applies to the church and the home, on what grounds does this principle not apply to employment and political office? I am not saying it should, just wondering why you don’t. :)

  139. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    August 15, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Responding to Richard: Scripture gives detailed directions for how the church is to worship and how it is to be governed. As Reformed Christians, we believe that the regulative principle forbids us from adding to or taking away anything in the worship of God beyond what is specifically prescribed in His Word.

    We have nowhere close to that level of specificity regarding family life, and still less about how the state is to be governed. Apart from the Amish and Old Order Mennonites, who among us would even think of saying that because God’s Word does not discuss use of cars by precept or example in Scripture, that Christian fathers are not allowed to drive to work and Christian civil magistrates ought not to allow cars on the roadways? That’s the sort of logic that applying the regulative principle to the family and the state would generate, and it’s obvious nonsense. Even the Amish don’t really hold to that type of logic; they think modern technology is harmful to Christian family life, not that technology is inherently sinful, and they oppose technology more for reasons of pragmatism than principle.

    While God gives us general principles in the spheres of the family and the state — including that husbands are to head their homes — much is left to the realm of individual discretion. In fact, the Reformed doctrine of Christian freedom applies almost the exact opposite principle to other areas of Christian life that is applied to worship. If God has not given specific commands in his Word, the church may not make rules that bind the conscience of individual Christians.

    The Bible nowhere prohibits women from working outside the home or serving as civil magistrates. Therefore the church may not make rules forbidding women from doing so.

    We may think it’s a good or bad idea for women to vote in civil elections, to work outside the home, or to serve as civil magistrates — John Knox and Herman Hoeksema had some very definite views, for example — but the church has no more right to make rules on those issues than it does to make rules barring alcohol consumption. I happen to think drinking is a really bad idea and strongly oppose any use of alcohol (chlorinated water solves the health issues which were present for unmixed water in New Testament times) but I have no biblical right to tell someone else not to drink alcohol, though the church has every right to excommunicate those who persist in drunkenness.

  140. jedpaschall said,

    August 15, 2011 at 11:39 pm


    I am not sure you and I have agreed much in our exchanges, but I have got to hand it to you here, you have stated your case quite well. I’d be interested to see how some arguing for what the Vision Forum’s concept of gender relations in and out of the home. In short, thanks for the lucid response.

  141. rcjr said,

    August 16, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Me too. Not sure which if any of your conclusions I would disagree with Darrell, but that is one well reasoned and gracious post. I’d almost forgotten what those look like. Thanks.

  142. August 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you, RCJr…. much appreciated.

    BTW, I think you and I met many years ago when I was a reporter covering the “Cambridge Declaration” response to “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” back in the late 1990s.

    There is a certain spirit in the conservative seceder denominations, especially the smaller ones, but also even elements of the PCA, which sometimes acts as if calm and reasoned discourse is a sign of ungodly compromise with liberalism.

    I think I understand the frustration that gives birth to that spirit — the simple fact of the matter is that there are many people who profess to be conservative but in fact want peace rather than purity of the church, even though we are commanded by God to seek both, not one or the other. Bad experiences with professedly conservative men who are willing to compromise the foundations of the faith can cause real conservatives to become angry.

    Make no mistake — if forced to chose, I will support a man who has an intemperate spirit but loves the Word rather than a calm gentleman whose commitments are questionable. However, I have never believed that high volume levels and lack of attention to detail were numbered among the marks of the true church. Nobody really believes that in Reformed circles — at least I hope none do — but there are people who sometimes act as if the most radical position is the one most likely to be right.

    We need to remember that it is possible to be more conservative than the Bible. Where God speaks, we must speak… but we are also not to go beyond what is written.

  143. August 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks also to jedpaschall… didn’t mean to omit you from my note of thanks to RCJr. I hit “enter” too quickly and meant to say a few words to you as well.

    There is a difference between disagreeing on issues and being a disagreeable person. I hope I have succeeded in my efforts, when disagreeing with you, to do the former without becoming the latter.

    There is a time for anger, for fire, and for the language of anathemas. False prophets devouring the sheep within the sheepfold must be fought, just as wolves trying to break in from the outside must be fought. However, when a person claims to love the Lord and believe his Word, especially when that person claims to be confessionally Reformed, we should have a great deal of common ground on which we can discuss issues.

    Speaking in the language of charity to brothers in Christ is — or at least should be — the goal. I know sometimes that can’t be done, but strong language is called for much less commonly than some think.

  144. David Gray said,

    August 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    >>What there is, is a host of background cultural information that women worked during biblical times, all the way down to the modern day,

    You still seem to confuse working with being employed. As long as that is true we aren’t likely to make progress.

  145. Reed Here said,

    August 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    So help him out David. Explain the difference and why you think it is relevant.

  146. jedpaschall said,

    August 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm


    What you are proposing is a difference without distinction. The fact is women were contributors to the family’s economic output in biblical cultures OT and NT. Nowhere in scripture is there a imperative for what a woman can or cannot do with regard to work. She does seem to have unique responsibilities with respect to child bearing and raising children (Gen. 3, 1 Tim 2), however nothing is spelled out as to how a woman might apply these passages. I understand this as giving a good deal of lattitude for families to decide before the Lord what this looks like. DTM’s reply (139) makes an excellent case for this.

    Like I said earlier, what I sense from some of the replies here is that some individuals are conserving conepmporary cultural norms and repackaging these as biblical mandates. I don’t see much good coming from this. Like I said before, women in the home is a good thing, and I honor that ideal, however, I can’t see a mandate for it. So long as she is doing her part in honoring her husband and helping to raise covenant children in the Lord, she has freedom

  147. jedpaschall said,

    August 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm


    I have no problem with friendly debate, and I don’t think our disagreements have ever been anything less than charitable. But, when possible, I prefer to find areas of agreement like we have here.

    One thing I appreciate most among the Reformed community is that those in it love the truth so much they are willing to contend for it. While this might be off-putting for those outside the Reformed world, I take great comfort in it. Our own Western church history has been marred by a couple of centuries of acquiescence, and it has gutted too many historic communions. At least in the Reformed world any idea that emerges has to pass through the fire of scrutiny, and that’s a good thing indeed.

  148. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    August 16, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Brethren, I have no desire to speak for David. I am, however, somewhat familiar with the distinction I think he’s making between a wife working outside the home but under her husband’s or father’s authority, perhaps in a family business, and going to work for another man not her husband or father.

    The problem with that distinction is it proves too much.

    Are we going to argue that adult women should not go to college? Are we to argue that younger girls must be homeschooled by their own fathers and no one else, not even male relatives?

    I don’t think most of us want to argue that male headship requires such positions. A few of us may, and they’re consistent, and they will find some support in Reformed church history. I’d argue such positions are both consistent and wrong.

    Most of us won’t want to even come close to such positions.

  149. Richard said,

    August 17, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Hi Darrell,

    Thank you very much for your post #139; if I may follow up upon some aspects of it, I agree that the scriptures do not specify a biblical form of civil government and they nowhere forbid a women from working. But if we take Gen. 1-3 as setting out the creational order which includes the principle of male headship then could one not argue that this principle logically applies to all speheres of life? This is where I struggle with the viewpoint that forbids women from holding ecclesiastical office, i.e. in my eyes (and I am open to be corrected on this) it seems that those who forbid women from holding ecclesiastical office (Pastor, Vicar, Bishop or whatever your denomination calls them) upon the basis of males headship which is grounded in the creational order seem to then fail to apply that same principle to all the other ‘creational ordinances’ such as work. That is, if we accept male headship as creational, then whilst the scriptures do not specify a biblical form of civil government and they nowhere forbid a women from working it could be argued that the principle does prevent women from holding political office and any secular employment position that would cause them to have authority over a man. Here in the UK we have a Queen who is Head of State (and long may she reign!) and I have had female bosses, now in my mind the choice is either a.that is wrong (and I don’t believe it is but is implied by the creational aspect of male headship) or b.it is fine, in which case why can’t we have women in the ordained ministry? I hope this is clear!

  150. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    August 17, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Richard, I think the issue here may be that we need to apply general biblical principles in light of specific biblical texts which clarify those principles and give either precepts or examples showing how they are to be applied.

    Yes, male headship is a biblical principle. Nobody who most of us on this site would consider to be a legitimate conservative Calvinist denies that. However, we can’t take that principle out of its context.

    God forbids women from teaching or having authority over men and requires them to be silent. Where are they to be silent with no authority? In the home, so she cannot teach or rebuke her own fifteen-year-old son? Outside the home, so she cannot attack a male rapist trying to force himself on her daughter? Obviously not. The passage applies to the teaching and authority of the institutional church, not other spheres of Christian endeavor.

    God bars women from the pastorate and eldership because those roles necessarily involve both teaching and ruling in the institutional church. If deacons have authority over men, as they do in some ecclesiastical contexts such as the Dutch Reformed where elders and deacons meet together in an authoritative church council, women may not be deacons. (Yes, I realize there are other arguments against women deacons as well as arguments for deaconesses, but that’s not my main point; if deacons have authority, women clearly cannot be deacons.)

    There are other biblical principles addressing the respective roles of wives and husbands in the sphere of the home, but it’s important to note that mothers can and do teach their children in their homes.Is that not obvious? Would we not rebuke a mother who refuses to teach her children?

    However, with respect to the sphere of the state, one will be very hard-pressed to show any clear precepts of Scripture forbidding women from ruling or exercising civil authority. When moving from precepts to examples, there are actually specific instances in Scripture of female civil rulers or women exercising civil authority, of whom Deborah is merely the best known.

    Your civil sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, is not the first woman to hold high civil office, and I believe her namesake, Queen Elizabeth I, was quite right to be furious with John Knox for his book against the “monstrous regiment of women.” That ill-timed work by Knox did much to set back the Reformation in the British Isles.

    Modern Calvinists would do well to learn from the damage done by Knox’s book and seek to avoid repeating it.

  151. dougsowers said,

    August 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Nice work DTM! Very helpful indeed :)

  152. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    August 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks, Doug…

    I’ve put in my time fighting aggressive and destructive feminism in the Christian Reformed Church. I have a long track record dealing with its damage and seeing its bitter fruits up close.

    I find it both understandable and unfortunate that some conservatives, in reaction against feminism, adopt ideas which have an appearance of conservatism but simply cannot be supported by Scriptural exegesis.

    We’re not Muslims, pagan Romans, or adherents of some other misogynist religion. We’re Christians. Historically speaking, Christianity was a tremendous liberator of women in many cultures of the previously non-Christian world. There are reasons for that — Christianity, unlike a number of other world religions, teaches that women are created in the image of God and apart from a relatively small number of functional differences, are spiritually equal to men rather than being the property of husbands or fathers.

    Modern Western society has obviously run amuck with egalitarianism in many ways, not limited to feminism. Disrespect for the authority of fathers and husbands is cut from the same cloth as disrespect for the elderly, for parents, for church leaders, and for civil authority; it’s really a rejection of God’s authority, not merely the human authorities God has appointed as undershepherds in the family, the church and the state.

    However, the solution is not to react so strongly against egalitarianism that we recreate attitudes toward women inside the church which Christianity had to fight in dealing with earlier centuries of Christian missions in non-Christian cultures, where women too often were treated as something considerably less than partners of their husbands.

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