So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Something a little different than normal...

Some ponderings and quotations from one of my favorite poets:


A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.


Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony which is in the universal being; truth the perfect comprehension of the universal mind. We individuals approach it through our own mistakes and blunders, through our accumulated experience, through our illumined consciousness - how, otherwise, can we know truth?


Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.


Children are living beings - more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love.


Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.


Facts are many, but the truth is one.


He who wants to do good knocks at the gate; he who loves finds the gate open.


I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung.


I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.


Love is not a mere impulse, it must contain truth, which is law.


Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.


Man goes into the noisy crowd to drown his own clamour of silence.


Men are cruel, but Man is kind.


Music fills the infinite between two souls. This has been muffled by the mist of our daily habits.


Praise shames me, for I secretly beg for it.


That I exist is a perpetual surprise which is life.


The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.


The child learns so easily because he has a natural gift, but adults, because they are tyrants, ignore natural gifts and say that children must learn through the same process that they learned by. We insist upon forced mental feeding and our lessons become a form of torture. This is one of man's most cruel and wasteful mistakes.


The fish in the water is silent, the animals on the earth is noisy, the bird in the air is singing. But man has in him the silence of the sea, the noise of the earth and the music of the air.


The newer people, of this modern age, are more eager to amass than to realize.


The question why there is evil in existence is the same as why there is imperfection... But this is the real question we ought to ask: Is this imperfection the final truth, is evil absolute and ultimate?


The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence.


Time is a wealth of change, but the clock in its parody makes it mere change and no wealth.


To be outspoken is easy when you do not wait to speak the complete truth.


Truth cannot afford to be tolerant where it faces positive evil.


We gain freedom when we have paid the full price for our right to live.


Whatever we treasure for ourselves separates us from others; our possessions are our limitations.


In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost. Only in love are unity and duality not at variance.


Nationality is respectable only when it is on the defence, when it is waging wars of liberation it is sacred; when those of domination it is accursed.


While God waits for his kingdom to be built with love, men bring stones.


Some random and insightful thoughts brought to you by an insightful man from long ago. Free lunch for the first person who figures out who it is! Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reviewing "The Biblical Case for Equality"...

Now the whole "women in ministry" issue is nothing new in the Mennonite Brethren Conference. This whole issue has been on the table for well over a decade, with so much stuff being said that it's almost impossible to keep track of everything. That being said, things are moving a little slower at my home church. Church council is meeting in 5 days to discuss the issue regarding the ordination of women and I completely suspect that the Egalitarian case will triumph where as the Complimentarian case will essentially be given two cents and kicked out the door...but I'm not here to whine. I'm here to review the book that was recommended in my church bulletin as a "further reading" on the Egalitarian position.

Before I go on, I'll define my terms (In as much as attempts to define always lead to a hundred objections to the definition...argh!). The "Egalitarian" position holds to complete, unrestricted gender equality in both person and function in the church. They claim that the bible teaches that women can be in all positions of ministry, including the senior pastorate. The "Complimentarian" position holds that men and women, though equally saved, have different roles and responsibilities in the church; they claim that the bible teaches that women can not be in all positions of ministry, which essentially rules them out from the senior pastorate (and possibly other positions where they would be required to authoritatively teach men in a church setting).

I'm not going to expand on this whole issue though. I'm goint to review "The Biblical Case for Equality" by Arden Thiessen. Here we go!

Now, right off the bat, I will say that much of what Thiessen finds disturbing in the church is also disturbing to me. I have a contempt for chauvanism and the abuse of women, and I definitely agree that history has seen a literal tsunami of power abuses of men over women in the church. In as much as the church should be characterized by love, especially between husbands and wives, it has not. My own mother was driven to serious despair by a horrible chauvanist in my home church who was on the board of elders and had a very unbiblical view of women. I do have a serious passion for the restoration of women to a more prominent role, and the accompanying honor, in the North American Church. Women have been lied to by our culture of eroticism and chauvanism and many in the church have bought into the secular, anti-christian worldview of women. I would definitely join with Thiessen in tearing down some of the altars to chauvanism and sexism that we find in the church. That being said, I take some serious issues with how Thiessen goes about doing that... I'll put this in point form to make it a little easier to follow:

1. Thiessen seems to be lumping Complimentarianism in the same boat with chauvanism and pornography. Unless I am horribly mistaken, he sees this whole debate as being an "Complete Gender Equality versus Male Supremacy/Female Inferiority" debate. I don't know who the heck he has read when it comes to Complimentarianism, but when I read his book it sounds like he's more angry at Larry Flint and Hugh Hefner than Wayne Grudem and John Piper. I don't know any Complimentarians who argue for "Male Supremacy", and Thiessen seems to use that phrase every other page. If I were to guess, I'd suspect that the whole book is a reaction to personal hurts and negative experiences with a few churches that he's been around. He doesn't quote any Complimentarians in his book and doesn't even address the arguments of the Complimentarian position at all. He spends 161 pages fighting a straw man and I'd be surprised if he's even read Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which is the definitive Complimentarian treatment on the subject of "women in ministry" (available for free from you cheap mennos have NO excuse now! It's FREE!). In his book, almost everything that Thiessen slams I'd slam too. None the less, I also have some specific points regarding which I would take him to task.

2. The biggest problem with Thiessens' work is that is systemically flawed. His entire work is a flaming violation of the third rule of Hillel (an ancient Jewish scholar who established some foundational rules of exegesis that have been around for a few thousand years). The third rule of Hillel is "Binyan ab mikathub echad (Building of the father from one text)". The third rule essentially means "The clear text interprets the unclear" and it essentially means "the clear text is where you start". Thiessen spends 10 chapters establishing, from biblical principles, observations of Jesus and the Apostles, and several secondary texts indirectly related to women in ministry (Romans 16:30, Gal. 3:28, etc.) his "doctrine of equality". Then, in his 11th chapter he tosses out 1 Corinthians 11:3, 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 on the basis of apparent unclarity in those texts and a desire to uphold the "doctrine of equality". I'm guessing that he knew that people would catch his "reverse exegesis" because on page 135 he says "My conviction now is that the doctrine of equality, as developed here, must be allowed to stand on its own feet. It is not good hermeneutics to start with these “exceptions” and then interpret the rest of the Scriptures to fit them." That, my friends, is completely backwards. Establishing a "doctrine" without incorporating the three key clarifying texts related to that doctrine is bad hermeneutics. That's like trying to build a pyramid from the top down. He starts with his conclusion and then attempts to dismiss the clear texts that stand against him. That kind of exegetical trickery, especially coming from a theology professor, is inexcusable. The fact that he attempts to excuse himself only seems to point to me that he knows that there's a strong change he'll get caught with his hands in the cookie jar.

3. There is also some serious poor arguments that Thiessen argues against or uses himself:

-On page 10 he attempts to show division in the Complimentarian camp. He comments that though the Southern Baptists don't allow women into the pastorate, Jimmy Carter (who's a Southern Baptist) disagrees with them. I mean, is Jimmy Carter regarded by any Southern Baptist as a theologian? Who cares what Jimmy Carter thinks!

-On page 24 he claims that Complimentarians equate gender equality with homosexuality. What in the world? I've never heard any Complimentarian suggest that, and I'd never suggest such idiocy.

-On page 27 he parallels Complimentarians with Friedrich Nietzsche, though he admits that it would be difficult to establish evidence of influence. I'd agree.

-On page 41 he suggests that Complimentarians logically deduce that because women were created second, they should be silent in churches (based on logical deduction, not scriptural precedent). I've also never heard that line of logic. I've heard the whole "Paul teaches that in 1 Corinthians 11:3 and 14:34, and because the BIBLE says so I better obey", but I've never heard the line of reasoning that Thiessen uses.

-On page 46 he uses one of my favorite arguments: "The word 'pastor' doesn't even appear in 1 Corinthians 11:3, 14:34, or 1 Timothy 2:11-15". Really? If we use that reasoning, we have to reject plenty of Protestant doctrines, like, uh, say, the doctrine of the Trinity! The word "trinity" doesn't appear in the bible anywhere...anyone up for becoming modalists? Or maybe Mormons? No? What's worse, the phrase "doctrine of equality" and "male supremacy" don't even appear in the bible either. It's interesting how Thiessen's entire reasoning for his argument is based upon the building of a theological construct and yet he mocks his opponents theological construct simply because it's a theological construct.

-On page 56 Thiessen tries to suggest that though Adam was made from dirt and Eve was made from Adam, they both have the same origin (though Eve's was a 2 step process.). I have never read anyone who suggested that they were both made from dirt, though Eve's was a 2 step process. New idea, and promptly dismissed by the apostle Paul when he comments on the creation order in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy.

-On page 60-61 Thiessen tries to suggest that the curse in Genesis 3 was against the earth, but not Adam and Eve. Excuse me? Talk about being literalistic as opposed to literal...

-On page 75-76, he allows the Old Testament 'exceptions' of Miriam, Deborah and Huldah to establish his "doctrine of equality" and show that female equality was already existent in the Old Testament. Strange that he tosses out the New Testament 'excpetions' on the basis of the same "doctrine of equality". That sounds like some seriously arbitrary application of a doctrine.

-On page 92, Thiessen suggest that in Luke 7, the annointing of the sinful woman was shocking because she was a woman, not because she was a prostitute. Again, an idea that I've never encountered. Does anyone other than Thiessen think that femininity was more offensive to the Pharisees than prostitution?

-On page 108, Thiessen tries to argue that the New Testament teaches the abolition of slavery. I couldn't understand this one. If one thing is clear in the New Testament, it's that sin, not slavery, is wrong. 1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 6, Colossians 3&4, Titus 2, 1 Peter 2, and the entire book of Philemon seem to indicate that the New Testament doesn't have a problem with slavery. The problem was with sin...and although the two historically have gone hand in hand, the New Testament definitely makes allowances for slavery. If a master is righteous and treats his slaves with love, he commits no sin (unless, of course, the country he lives in outlaws almost every country today...). That's a hard one for us to swallow these days, but it's true. (I'm sure that one will offend people enough that I may need to do a post on that alone...doh!)

-On page 132-133, Thiessen uses another one of my favorite arguments: "If women have giftings for ministry, who are we to tell them not to use their gifts?". I'd simply answer his question with another question: "If God gives us clear instruction in scripture as to how we are and are not allowed to use the gifts that he's given us, who are we to demand disobedience to God?" Not to brag, but I'm a decent speaker and I have pretty good conversational and people skills. God has blessed me with a relatively quick witt and a bronze (arguably silver) tongue. Does this mean that I can use my skills to manipulate people in my sales job? Not at all, though I know I could. Or can a Christian woman who's really good at organizing things become the next Heidi Fleiss? No! Though God may have gifted her with administration abilities, there are certain rules for the proper use of those gifts. God gives gifts, but God also gives regulations on how to use those gifts.

4. Worst of all, Thiessen's book contains an obvious lie. Now I know that's an aggressive statement, but I will entertain the possibility that Thiessen is unaware of this. This lie is alluded to on Pages 125 and explicitly spelled out on page 140, where he talks about Christ's subordination to the Father. Due to the serious nature of my accusation, I'll give an extensive block quote. He's speaking on 1 Corinthians 11:3 when he says:

"The text we are studying here implies that there is a parallel between the husband being the head of the wife and God being the head of Christ. Rather than clarifying anything, this mystifies the issue. This takes us into the unfathomable mystery of the Trinity. Since the fourth century, the Church has generally agreed that Christ is not in any way less than fully God. The doctrine of subordination, which says that Christ is subortinate to the Father, has been seen as a false teaching. This judgement was established in response to the Arian threat. The aim of Arianism was to diminish the role of Christ, to make him a lesser god, and to simplify the doctrine of God by establishing a divine hierarchy."

Now Thiessen must be blissfully unaware of what actually occured at the Council of Nicea, and what the heresy of Arius actually was. He speaks as if his version of "subordinationism" was the topic at hand with Arius and the Council of Nicea. "Subordinationism", the way he describes it, was in fact embraced by the Council of Nicea. Really? So what gives?

Well, as any professional theologian would tell you, there were two types of subordination. Arius suggested an ontological subordination of the Son to the Father. The Father was God but the Son was not God. Arius suggested that Jesus was a lesser being than the father, being created sometime in history. The Council of Nicea rejected Arius' ideas as heresy, but church history records a different concept of "subordinationism" being embraced by the Council of Nicea... Functional Subordination is the Biblical position that although the Father is God and the Son is God, they don't have the same roles; the Son submits to the Father's will and serves him. Philippians 2:5-11 lays this out and is the pivotal passage for the biblical, historical position of functional subordination. So, in 1 Corinthians 11:3, the argument for female subordination to men rests on Christs' subordination to the Father. The council of Nicea recognized that the Father and the Son are of the same essence (homouseia), but not substance; the Son is not the Father and the Father is not the Son. There is a difference in role; in function.

Any half-baked Complimentarian could illustrate that Philippians 2 and 1 Corinthians 11 both work together to give an example of the equality with functional differences between men and women being rooted in the Trinity itself. Jesus is no less of God than the Father, just like women are not 'lesser' than men. None the less, as it was Christ's role and joy to serve the Father, so women have God's ascribed role in which they should seek their joy. In fact, this is the most compelling argument for Complimentarianism. Complimentarianism is based on the scripture, and the scriptural arguments are based on the creation order and the very relationships between the persons of the Trinity.

Thiessen is a professional theologian...he is adjunct faculty at Providence College and Seminary and also Steinbach Bible College. He's also been a pastor and a bible teacher for decades. He should know better. It's unthinkable that he would propagate such an obvious lie knowingly, but the alternative (unknowing propagation of an obvious lie) suggest lazy scholarship. I'm beginning to think Thiessen doesn't take truth, let alone Complimentarians, as seriously as he claims. All it would have taken is 10 seconds with the internet.

Other than that, great book.

I've gotta a massive cold and I'm stinking tired, so I'd better head to bed before I start saying things tongue-in-cheek. Good thing I stopped before I started. I'm off to bed now. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

My open letter to my church council...

Here's the open letter on the issue of "women in ministry" that today I sent to my church council representatives (I single spaced it for saving space):

To the council of Elders in Christ at (Church Name),

As I have spent the last few weeks reading and re-reading the M.B. Conference articles and Arden Thiessen’s book on the present issue of "Women in Ministry", I find myself in agreement with Doug Heidebrecht's statement in Continuing the conversation: Mennonite Brethren and women in church leadership: “Over the years MB teachers, pastors and conference leaders have consistently pointed out that at the heart of the debate is hermeneutics – how one interprets the Bible.” It is encouraging to see that the root of the issue has not escaped noticed by people on both sides of the debate. Hermeneutics, (the science and art of Biblical interpretation), is the root issue which will determine the outcome of the current dialogue.

Both Egalitarians (those who would like to see men's and women's roles as fully interchangeable and synonymous) and Complimentarians (those who believe the value of each gender is enhanced and the satisfaction of each fulfilled, with the glory of God served, in the two complimenting one another with different, but equally important roles), have a hermeneutic, though their hermeneutics are anything but identical.

I hope to share with you my convictions, I believe given me by the Holy Spirit, of why I believe hermeneutics is the most critical and important issue we can address as a church, as we face this issue together.

I believe that by (1) defining the hermeneutics of both sides of the discussion, (2) showing a couple of examples of how the role biased interpretation attempts to distort the relevant Biblical texts, and finally (3) recommending we embrace the clarity and authority of the scripture, held by the complementarian theologians and derived from traditional hermeneutics, over and above human thinking on this issue, that you will be convinced to prayerfully consider Biblical complimentary roles are the best solution to the discussion.

First Hermeneutics

The debate will not be solved by applying a simple ‘magic argument’ or ‘perfect proof-text’. I agree wholeheartedly with Doug that the community of believers should work together in humility, gentleness, patience and longsuffering to sort through whatever issues arise from our seeking to understand and obey the scripture.

But how can we obey the Scripture if we do not understand it? I would suggest a word of caution to those council members at (church name) who will be making decisions on this pivotal issue. As a conference we profess that:

We believe God has made Himself known to all people. Beginning with creation and culminating in Jesus Christ, God has revealed Himself in the Old and New Testaments. All Scripture is inspired by God, and is the authoritative guide for faith and practice. We interpret the Scripture in the church community as guided by the Holy Spirit.

All Scripture is "profitable for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Ti. 3:16,17). According to James all believers are either hearers only, or hearers and doers of the word (James 1:23-25). That is to say, all who read it are morally responsible for their response to it. Scripture, according to the Psalmist, is "Perfect, converting the soul", "Sure making wise the simple", "right", "clear, enlightening the eyes", "True" and "righteous altogether" (Psalm 19:7-11).

God has revealed himself to all men. His Word "makes wise the simple", it is "clear" and "enlightens" us on the issues it addresses. This is why evangelical hermeneutics have been characterized by a belief in the clarity of Scripture. Called by theologians the Perspicuity of Scripture, this doctrine derived from such Scriptures as above (among dozens more), teaches that every believer has access to the word of God on every essential issue of the faith. The term perspicuity means “Plain to the understanding, having clarity and precision of presentation”. Scripture is not a book of hidden secrets and coded utterances that only person with a PhD can unravel. This is the hermeneutic of the complimentarians and historic orthodoxy. The plain meaning of the Scripture, we believe, is the Scripture.

In the last several years, I believe that there has been a paradigm shift in hermeneutics, throughout the evangelical community. It has the effect of taking the simple truths of Scripture away from the average believer, placing Scripture's meaning in the hands of a select few with enough academic credentials to interpret it “properly”. I believe this shift has led to much of the intense struggle that has marked this ongoing debate.

The change, that we are seeing the fruits of today, is this: traditional historical/grammatical hermeneutics (reading Scripture in its plain sense, just like any other piece of literature), has been replaced by various post-modern substitutes.

We Mennonites, along with many others are in danger of abandoning the system of biblical interpretation that has characterized the Protestants and Anabaptist Churches since the Reformation Era (and actually long before that amongst true believers cf. John Chrysostom's expository sermons on many books of the Bible during the 6th century, or Augustine's On Christian Doctrine, a 5th century treatise on Biblical interpretation that sees this system of hermeneutics spelled out 1600 years ago).

Examples of Bias in Interpretation

This shift is eroding not only the clarity of Scripture, but its value or authority in any given spiritual or theological decision. An example of this can be seen explicitly in a disappointing comment by Arden Thiessen on page 135 of his book when, commenting on the difficulty of fitting 1 Corinthians 11:3, 14:33-34 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 with his position on the issue, he says: “My conviction now is that the doctrine of equality, as developed here, must be allowed to stand on its own feet. It is not good hermeneutics to start with these “exceptions” and then interpret the rest of the Scriptures to fit them”.

Without meaning disrespect to Thiessen, who has possibly never thought through the meaning of his statement, it appears that he is confused. It is a foundational rule of hermeneutics that “the unclear text is understood in the light of the clear text” (this is otherwise known as the 3rd rule of Hillel). It is important when addressing any issue to use texts that directly address the issue at hand, and then from those clear texts, work out into the less clear texts, general instructions and principles of Scripture.

This foundational hermeneutical rule also effectively shuts down attempts to use theological frameworks (like a “doctrine of equality”) to silence clear texts that otherwise would challenge such frameworks. It is a popular argument of egalitarians to state that Christ is the ‘divine example’ and then, from various observations from his life, to build up a theological framework with which to ‘filter’ challenging biblical texts. If a person seeks to systematize a biblical concept and runs into a group of texts that either challenges or overthrows the desired system, the system needs to be either changed or abandoned.

Doctrine and theology are built from individual biblical texts, not in spite of them. Any attempt to impose a theological understanding upon a clear text, which in its own context directly addresses any given issue, with a general principle from Scripture, is contrary to sound hermeneutics. It is an attack on the authority of the scripture itself and destructive to the faith of the trusting and unlearned layperson.

Beyond the selective alteration or abandoning of hermeneutical rules, the ‘new’ hermeneutics seem to have also abandoned the practical applications of the perspicuity of scripture. In theology, the perspicuity of scripture is spoken of to point to the essential concept that the Bible is clear and straightforward in nature, not inherently cryptic or allegorical. Many of the exegetical arguments given in an effort to give support to the ‘egalitarian’ case are specious and verbose, involving non-normative definitions and the relying on elaborate argumentation to circumvent the seemingly clear meaning of a text.

A classical example of this is the case of a common half truth, presented as a whole truth, which in reality is an untruth. One sees this in a common argument of the egalitarians regarding headship. Thiessen, following many other egalitarians, announces that the Greek noun kephale usually translated "Head" in 1 Corinthians 11:3 can, and most likely does, mean “source” (Thiessen says “origin”, but the meaning is the same). Though he gives several paragraphs of support for his argument, his argument shows a very biased and selective representation of the biblical and historical evidence.

In the first appendix of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Wayne Grudem, a highly respected scholar and theologian, reprints a 45 page treatment on the definition of kephale. In that article he clarifies:

All the articles and commentaries depend on only two examples of kephale¯ in

ancient literature: Herodotus 4.91 and Orphic Fragments 21a, both of which come from

more than four hundred years before the time of the New Testament, and both of which

fail to be convincing examples: Herodotus 4.91 simply shows that kephale¯ can refer to

the “end points” of a river—in this case, the sources of a river, but elsewhere, the mouth

of a river—and since “end point” is a commonly recognized and well-attested sense of

kephale¯, we do not have convincing evidence that “source” is the required sense here.

The other text, Orphic Fragments 21a, calls Zeus the “head” of all things but in a context

where it is impossible to tell whether it means “first one, beginning” (an acknowledged

meaning for kephale¯) or “source” (a meaning not otherwise attested).

He also goes on to note that of the 2,336 known usages of kephale from Greek literature in the whole of the Classical and Koine periods, these are the only two usages on record that suggest kephale may be translated as meaning “source”. All other known usages have a meaning along the lines of “a physical head” or “authority over”. Often it is used of military generals or Imperial authority over soldiers. Thiessen, and other of the egalitarian position, mysteriously do not point this out. Instead in his book, Theissen presents his position as if it were a widely accepted, scholarly defensible position. At the end of the day, when kephale appears in the Bible it always means “authority” or “physical head”, not “source/origin”. The scripture is neither inherently cryptic nor allegorical; it means what a straightforward reading suggests it to mean.

Beyond these two examples of some of the hermeneutical changes, I won’t attempt to offer a full series of critiques. A 482 page defense of complimentarianism has already been done. John Piper and Wayne Grudem edited a monumental work with eighteen men (all respected scholars) and three women, all of whom are evangelical leaders: Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is available in its entirety and at no charge at:

Recommending Complimentarian Hermeneutics

For the sake of the gospel, for the faith of every believer, for the glory of God and so that the "word of God may not be blasphemed" (Ti. 2:5), I want to recommend a complimentarian solution to the current study on Women in Leadership. Women should be a valuable part of the service of the church, through the unique and honorable position assigned to them by God, in many ministries and through various positions. Men should take full responsibility for the leadership God has entrusted to them, even when it is difficult to do so.

I would like to put forth Piper and Grudem's compendium as a resource and a challenge to all who seek to have a serious, biblical position on the issue of Women in Leadership. If one has taken a position and has not read Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, one has most likely only encountered a caricature of the complimentarian position.

Secondly, I would like to make myself available as a resource; if any person has questions about complimentarianism or would like to know more about any part of this entire debate, I would like to submit an open invitation to any and all council members for dialogue.

If we lose the Biblical role of women in the home and in the Church it will not, in my opinion, liberate anyone for service nor be to the benefit of the church, but rather lead to its destruction. Women in their Biblical role are absolutely vital to the health of the body of Christ and we cannot do without them. Should we abandon complimentarianism, through the hermeneutics of the egalitarian theologians; the Church will find itself in serious trouble, having no firm scriptural ground to stand upon and, abandoning our source of spiritual truth for spiritual maturation, be “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” (Eph 4:14)

I hope you have been able to see that the complimentarian position is based on the hermeneutics well established throughout evangelicalism, and the Biblical Church over many centuries. It is held by many evangelical leaders, who are convinced that it is the only position in accordance with obedience to the Scripture. I have sought to give two examples (among many) that the hermeneutics of the egalitarians are often misleading and detrimental to the understanding and the authority of the Scriptural text. I pray that you will carefully consider what hermeneutic you will embrace as you look at the many Scriptures and resources which inform us on this important issue.

Through this all, my prayer is that “the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4:13) May we continually seek the truth of scripture for the purpose of the joy of obedience;

The Armchair Theologian


We'll see what comes of this, if anything. This is more for the two people who were interested in seeing my comments on this issue. I'm also going to post a more extensive critique of Arden Thiessens book A Biblical Case for Equality. We'll just say that I'm not impressed. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

Monday, April 10, 2006

Something interesting about April 9th...

...yeah. Yesterday was Hugh Hefner's birthday. I've had the TV on at work this morning and CNN, CTV and CNBC all had a story about Hef's infamous 80th birthday. What a crock. He's a "humanitarian", a "philanthropist" and a bunch of other things...he's an upstanding individual and a visionary? Check out this article:

That's a little more like it. How twisted have we become when we celebrate the life and achievments of a person who's made a career of 'glorifying' the wicked? Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Primado and Karma Mazapine...

I have recently spent several hours reading dozens of pages of articles regarding the whole ordination of women debate from the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Conference. I basically read all the articles linked on the Canadian MB page and several other articles on other sites from some of the authors. After doing all my reading, I have come to a conclusion:

Somehow, under the guise of pleading hermeneutical humility, we've come to make allowances for poor scholarship and sloppy exegesis. We wear incompetence like a badge of honor.

I just had to get that off my chest. I'm very tired of the typical Mennonite 'postmodern exegetical humility' card that selectively trumps one text at the expense of another or attempts to bind the hands of any exegete from attempting to derive a single intended meaning from the scripture. Anyway, I've got other things to do right now and a rant right now, on this topic, would most certainly get me in trouble. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian