Putting women in their place

Putting women in their place

The woman's place, from Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

The November 17, 2009 CBMW blog post by John Starke that we started to evaluate last post, is an amazing “piece of work” that exalts the 17th century writings of a Puritan named Richard Baxter who attempts to put women in their place.  Starke continues to summarize Baxter’s writings:

2. Discontentment. There is something about the sinful heart that is always wanting something other than the place in which God has placed him or her. When something other than God is the desire of the heart, it begins to desire more than the portion granted. The sinful cravings of the heart are deceitful and can justify sin or can explain away divine instruction. Baxter’s appeal to wives is to find your contentment and treasure in Christ and you will recognize the joy in resting in his purposes. (emphasis is mine).

Here Baxter concludes that there is a “portion granted” to women by God Himself.  As seen in the last post, this “portion” is not an equal hearing of wisdom from God, but a “portion granted” as a follower of the man who follows Christ.  Yet in the very nature of giving the woman the “place” of being the follower of a man, CBMW along with Baxter, perhaps unwittingly, identifies the husband in essence as the mediator between God and the woman as she follows God only through following under the leadership of the man.  The “sinful cravings of the heart” are identified not as the man’s fleshly need to be the boss and have the woman subjugated under his will, but the sinful cravings are identified as the nature of a woman outside of her “place”.

According to the CBMW blog article, outside of the “leadership” of a man, the wife finds a “deceitful” way of serving God directly and her actions of serving God without going through the authority of the man is said to be the “sinful cravings of the heart” of a woman who apparently cannot know divine instruction properly without her place under the authority of a mere human.  Starke’s summary rings hollow by saying “Baxter’s appeal to wives is to find your contentment and treasure in Christ…”  While this may sound right, what is really being said is for women to find their contentment and treasure under the man while giving him full access on their behalf to Christ’s wisdom and instruction.  This smacks of an OT priesthood arrangement where only a select few had access to the Holy of Holies.

In the last point, John Starke summarizes the need to “trust” in the leadership of the husband even if he is a “failure” because there is no provision by God for a woman to step outside of her “place” no matter what a husband does with his leadership:

3. Distrust in the leadership of your husband. Following the leadership your husband is not first and foremost based upon his merits, but upon the design of God’s intentions. Baxter recognizes the failures of husbands, since he was one himself, and there is no biblical expectations for women to follow their husbands in sin or submit to abuse. Yet, many may see the husband’s imperfections as an opportunity to exchange roles, as if he has lost his chance to lead. Baxter encourages wives to put away their fears of following their husbands, for it is not in him that you place your trust, but in the Lord who has given you good and perfect instruction for your joy. Rebelling against God’s instruction for the home will never bring peace or contentment. (emphasis is mine).

While CBMW’s John Starke (and Baxter) make it clear that there is no “expectation” for women to follow their husbands into sin, it is also very clear that any distrust of the husband’s “leadership” even if he is demanding her to sin, would be going against the design of God’s intentions for the woman.  The message is clear – even an imperfect rule of the man is protected by God as the husband’s right to rule is kept for him alone and the “place” that God has designed for women is under the rulership of the husband.

The hidden message is that even godly women cannot be trusted to lead in righteousness because God has decided that a husband who is acting in an ungodly manner and who is  enmeshed in sin is still entrusted to “lead” his wife.  He has not lost his “chance” to lead and women are to set aside their fears of following a sinful husband as it is still God’s way to work in her.   Apparently God still instructs her through the sinful man.  It is also clear from Starke’s conclusions that a woman who rebells against following the leadership of a sinful man is actually rebelling against God Himself and she will lack peace and contentment if she fails to be led in whatever direction the man choses to go.

Is this really what God has said?  Are women instructed to obey any “leading” of the husband even if she senses danger and her wisdom convicts her that his way is folly and a less-than-perfect lead?  Is it true that the wife is given no ability to follow God directly but must follow Him through her husband?  Let’s test this by God’s word concerning a godly woman’s rebellion against her husband’s “folly”. The husband’s name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail.

In 1 Samuel 25 the story is told of the kindness that David’s men had shown to Nabal’s shepherds by protecting them and acting as a “wall” of protection both day and night while the shepherds were looking after Nabal’s  sheep.  When David turned to Nabal to get a favor, David’s men were turned away and instead of receiving good back from Nabal, David’s men were met with insults to David. David’s anger was aroused and David decided to kill Nabal.  When Abigail, Nabel’s wife was told about what Nabal had done and the trouble that was on its way to her house because of Nabal’s insults, she made a decision to act independently of her husband.  The young man who informed Abigail had come to her for action since he knew that Nabal would not listen.  The young man said to Abigail:

1 Samuel 25:17-19  “Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.” Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys.  She said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

Notice that Nabal was being bypassed by his wife and she did not take a position of staying under his “leadership”.  Instead of trusting in a sinful man as God’s design of rulership over her, she acted in wisdom to avert disaster. Was Abigail in sin for stepping outside of the “leadership” of Nabal? The account shows that she was not in sin. Yet we should notice that she was not asked by Nabal to sin, so according to CBMW, John Starke and the Puritan Richard Baxter’s rules of marriage, she was not to “exchange roles, as if he has lost his chance to lead.” Let’s continue to follow the account to see what God has to say that may be in direct contradiction to the “wisdom” of CBMW.

Abagail boldy took the lead and went out to meet David and his men:

1 Samuel 25:20-28   It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them.

Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one male of any who belong to him.”

When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, since the LORD has restrained you from shedding blood, and from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal. Now let this gift which your maidservant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who accompany my lord. Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days.

Abigail was willing to take the blame for her husband upon herself and she spoke in faith to David telling him that she believed God would appoint him ruler over Israel and she wisely appealed to him to not to avenge himself with the blood of a fool along with the blood of others without cause. Abigail said:

1 Samuel 25:30-31 “And when the LORD does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the LORD deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”

In complete opposition to CBMW’s position, David acknowledges that Abigail’s actions (which were stepping outside of her husband’s will) was an act of the leading of God Himself:

1 Samuel 25:32-35  Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male.” So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request.”

Abigail’s discernment in acting of her own accord and in opposition to her husband’s revealed will was an act worthy of praise. Her wisdom commanded the respect of David and he acknowledges that God used her to bless David and to keep him from taking revenge into his own hand.  God blessed Abigail with further wisdom as she kept her actions as a secret from her own husband when she returned home and found out that he was drunk. According to CBMW’s outline of putting women in their place, the pattern would show that it was wrong for Abigail to have distrusted the leadership of her husband and chosen from her own will to act as a leader. How did Nabal, Abigail’s “appointed leader” act when he found out that his own wife had saved him from certain death?

1 Samuel 25:37-38  But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone.  About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died.

The fool Nabal had no leadership gift for his wife. It is folly to think that Abigail should have done anything other than the courageous actions that she took outside of her husband’s control. According to CBMW, the only right a woman has to disobey a husband’s leadership is if he is telling her to sin, but Nabal did not instruct Abigail to sin so her actions would be listed as “sinful cravings of the heart” which are “deceitful and can justify sin or can explain away divine instruction”. According to the hierarchists “role” distinctions, she was to find her “joyful place of submission” even to a sinful male because failing to keep under his leadership is “rebelling against God’s instruction for the home” and such an action “will never bring peace or contentment”.

Did Abigail have peace and contentment in acting from her own God-given wisdom? Yes, absolutely as she was given a place of honor as David’s wife.

1 Samuel 25:40-42  When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, “David has sent us to you to take you as his wife.” She arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife.

Remember that CBMW is affirming that the woman is to be under the authority of her husband even if the husband has “imperfections”.  The woman is never to take the lead even though her husband may be acting with his “imperfections”.  She is not to distrust him but must follow him in his leadership because according to CBMW the man’s leadership of his wife is not based on his merits, but upon the specific design that comes from the very intention of God.

Are we being told the Biblical truth by these hierarchists? Or is this divine leadership of the man over the woman a deception happening in the name of God? No Biblical passage says that the husband has been given a leadership role over his wife. God’s blessing comes to us when we obey God rather than men.  Jesus words ring true when He said that the tradition of men sets aside the commandments of God.

Mark 7:7-9  ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’  “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.”

As wives, we are to honor our husbands by doing good for them, but it is a tradition of men, not a command of God that says women are to be under the leadership of the husband.  We have one Lord and one Master. That one Master is the Lord Jesus and not our fleshly husband.

If you are a wife who has received godly wisdom in the face of her husband’s folly, let me encourage you from the Bible to be an Abigail.  If you serve God from godly fear and from the wisdom that He has given you, you need not fear.   God does not consider a refusal to follow your husband’s “leadership” into folly as a sin. God’s word trumps the tradition of men that may have caused you to feel false guilt and shame for stepping out in the wisdom of the Lord. You are not alone. If we may help to encourage you, we are at your service.

46 thoughts on “Putting women in their place

  1. I finally finished this response to John Starke’s article instead of commenting on the preceding posts. I hope you will forgive me. Time is at a premium right now for me. We leave tomorrow to meet with some of our US Board of Directors and in the travels I will be away from the internet for the next few days on and off. Go ahead and post away your comments and I will try to catch up as I can. 🙂

  2. I should also add that by saying to women “you are not alone”, I mean that we are here for them. I don’t mean that my husband is a fool like Nabal. In fact my husband is a godly man who I dearly love. We work well together because we have great love and respect for each other. I sure wish that I could get him to post here, but he feels that the ministry he has keeps him so busy that if he started here he would be distracted from the things that God has called him to.

  3. Cheryl: I can certainly understand your husband’s position if he places as much effort as you do within his ministry. I’m sure his beam of pride towards his wife’s work is enough for him right now. lol I’m sure he has beam of pride going in the other direction as well (you)!

  4. I truly have to wonder if these men understand how stifling their instructions sound to others.

    I’m sure those that believe all this stuff truly don’t give that a thought, but those with a open heart have to feel it. It seems to me these men want to gobble up all the Glory for God to give to him personally. I mean women are for their ‘glory’, and men are for God’s ‘glory’. How much easier do the men have it if that was so?

    Men (or humans in general) do not have a heart like God, and at times can never be satisfied with what they have. They may not even see the honor they are being handed, and those acts out of love given to them. God sees this, and yet according to their definition women need to be satisfied with what is given to them. They don’t see the women being robbed of anything.

  5. Starke wrote: “Baxter recognizes the failures of husbands, since he was one himself, and there is no biblical expectations for women to follow their husbands in sin or submit to abuse. Yet, many may see the husband’s imperfections as an opportunity to exchange roles, as if he has lost his chance to lead.”

    If “husband’s imperfections” are not sin(s) then what would they be? Lack of wisdom? Personal preferences?

    Starke wrote:”What would cause a wife to rebel against the biblical mandate to follow the leadership of the husband? Baxter gives a few reasons:
    Failure to believe God’s will is best. God’s design for the Christian family, which includes the structure of authority and submission, is best! God is wise and we, as sinners, need divine wisdom. He writes, “Who are you to assess God’s Word in a way different than his own qualifications.”

    So, we are to believe that God’s Divine Wisdom is for wives to be in “joyful” submission to “the failures of husbands” and “the husband’s imperfections” ???

    Again, what are these “failures of husbands” and “husband’s imperfections”?

  6. Starke wrote: “When something other than God is the desire of the heart, it begins to desire more than the portion granted.”

    Is it just me, or is this a nonsensical statement?

  7. “In the last point, John Starke summarizes the need to “trust” in the leadership of the husband even if he is a “failure” because there is no provision by God for a woman to step outside of her “place” no matter what a husband does with his leadership:”

    Is this what Sapphira did? :o)

  8. Ah, no. And here’s their loop hole.
    Saphira lied against the Holy Spirit. Her husband led her into sin, and she followed.
    You can bring her up and they won’t bat an eye.
    But this difficult Abigail character…
    They just try to pretend she doesn’t exist.
    Or worse, they say the blood of her husband is on her head because she commited the sin of independant thought, or something like that.

  9. “Saphira lied against the Holy Spirit. Her husband led her into sin, and she followed.”

    I thought she was to overlook his imperfections and failures. And how can she judge exactly what is sin since she only gets a portion granted from the man who professes to follow Christ? So, she is really stuck in a bad position. She is given less wisdom than her husband and has to overlook imperfections that her husband says are not outright sin because he has been granted full wisdom and knows best.

    Always take their teaching to it’s final logical outcome and it never makes sense and will end up negating the rest of the Word.

    You are right, though. Abigail must make them nuts.

  10. “When something other than God is the desire of the heart, it begins to desire more than the portion granted. The sinful cravings of the heart are deceitful and can justify sin or can explain away divine instruction.”

    Can’t hierarchical men see that they are describing themselves perfectly with these two sentences? Rather than seeking God they seek their own power and position, to be superior to and in authority over women. So the cravings of their hearts deceive them into justifying sinful domination and explaining away divine instruction.

  11. Cheryl,

    Have you invited John Starke to respond. His blog is called John Ploughman. If you email me, I can give you his email and you can invite him to respond to your posts.

  12. “And how can she judge exactly what is sin since she only gets a portion granted from the man who professes to follow Christ? So, she is really stuck in a bad position.”
    Lin,
    That really is a bad position for a Christian – since we’re told to “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please”…..or maybe Gal.5:16-17 applies to ‘men’ only? But, what a paradox that would be – without it how would the wife know when she’s desiring against the Spirit for more than her “portion?”
    ….never mind – I just recalled that comps solve that by having the ‘wise’ husband tell her…hmmmm…Can anyone say, “Circular?” Can anyone say, “Usurping the Holy Spirit?”

  13. “the old testament – “wisdom” is a female.”

    “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” 1 Cor. 1:27

  14. Kay, I agree. To follow a husband as they teach it, is to walk by the flesh and not the spirit. The husband actually takes the place of the Holy Spirit for the wife. it is grievous.

  15. But this difficult Abigail character…
    They just try to pretend she doesn’t exist.

    Or they say, “She’s the exception that proves the rule,” like that is some great wise pronouncement. People who say this don’t understand what that saying means. To “prove” a rule, in older English, means to “test” the rule, it doesn’t mean it’s proof that the rule is correct, which makes no logical sense.

  16. “Would it apply if a woman stays single?”
    Lin,
    You and I both know the answer should be “no,” but many hierarchists have recently been teaching that all women need “a spiritual covering.” So, now we have some teaching that daughters must stay under their father’s authority until they marry and transfer it to their husband’s. And the older single women are assigned “spiritual fathers” to watch over them.

  17. “But this difficult Abigail character…
    They just try to pretend she doesn’t exist.”

    Along with Deborah, Huldah, Sheerah, the Prv.31 woman, Mary Magdalene…

  18. Hey guys, thanks for the chain reaction to Kay’s comment 😉

    #12 Sue, I sent an email to John Starke to invite him here. Hopefully he will consider commenting regarding the reaction to his blog post.

  19. I’m sure exactly what you would like me to respond to. I’m not really able to respond to every problem brought up in the comments. Let me say a few things:
    1- Let me be clear, women are not to follow men into sin. There are plenty of actions that men can do that forfeit their leadership – abuse, abandonment, adultery, etc.
    2 – My presupposition is that God has given different roles to men and women for the home and church. If it is God’s design, then women need to find their joy and contentment in that design and not rebel against it.
    3 – I hope you read my post for men. It is not as if men get an easy pass. Here it is:
    http://www.cbmw.org/Blog/Posts/Baxter-on-the-Family-Duties-of-the-Christian-Husband

    Let me be straightforward. I don’t know how much time I am able to interact with these comments. I’m glad Sue offered you my contact info, in order that I may respond to some of these criticisms, but I think my views are pretty clear, as well as Baxter’s.

  20. Hi John,

    I just wanted you to know that this conversation was going on. As you know, I have not yet been able to understand what you mean by “God’s design.”

  21. John,
    Welcome to my blog! I am delighted that you came to answer to our concerns.

    1. Although it is already noted that a woman is not to follow her husband into “sin”, there is a whole lot of questionable things your article labeled as “imperfections” that if a woman would follow a man against her better judgment could cause a tremendous amounts of problems. Your article said:

    Yet, many may see the husband’s imperfections as an opportunity to exchange roles, as if he has lost his chance to lead.

    We believe that it is not the husband’s right to be the “leader” of his wife that the Bible shows, but a joint sacrificial love where neither takes authority over the other.

    But when there are disagreements, it is an opportunity not for the husband to take authority over his wife, but for the two to come together in prayer to solve the problem.

    In my own marriage, at a time when we had three small children and were barely making ends meet, my husband felt that he wanted to sell our home and give all of the proceeds to our church which had been struggling and move to an apartment with no hope of having another opportunity for having our own home since our parents had given us their savings to purchase this home. I said no. God had not spoken to my heart about uprooting the family to small quarters without a yard to give all that we had to the church. Although we were living a complementarian belief, I could not go along with something that was against my own heart and my better judgment. This is one time that my husband did not take authority over me as we had been taught. If my husband had taken authority over me I don’t know if our marriage would have survived. Teaching men that they have a right to take authority over their wives on decisions that they believe are right decisions but which the wife disagrees is a huge mistake. My husband right now is glad that I didn’t agree to sell our home.

    2. Your presupposition needs to answer a lot of questions regarding its validity to the teaching of the Bible. The first question would be why does CBMW teach that the man has authority over the will of his wife when the Scripture never says this and never once tells him to take authority over her?

    3. I read your post on men and I believe that it is very faulty. For example you said:

    For Baxter, the husband is responsible for the normal teaching and instruction in godliness.

    I too believed this when I was a comp and so I felt guilty leading devotions for the family when my husband had not grow up this way and he did not do well in this area. Then I was told that I needed to just quite teaching the Bible and leading my children into devotions and that would cause my husband to take up the slack and do the job. So what happened was that my husband did not continue the job that he felt was done very well by me and we no longer had family devotions. In hindsight, I see that I was misled and that our family would have been much better off with me leading the bible devotions then not taking the lead and having nothing happen. The teaching that the husband must be the spiritual leader hurt my family.

    For the record, my husband is now very good at participating with me in devotions and he works with me in spiritual leadership. But the sad thing is that I could have been there much more for my children when they were living at home, if I had not been a complementarian believing that God had different “roles” for the male and female.

    The other problem I have is that complementarians rarely answer the hard questions on what specific “laws” God has for women and which things a woman cannot do without being in sin. When I ask a comp which list of sins we will find a woman teaching the Bible to men as a sin and whether practicing this sin will cause a woman to go to hell, comps do not seem to have any answers.

    I would be happy if you would continue to dialog here and to give us the answers to things which comps rarely if ever address.

  22. John,

    I also like Sue’s question on the issue of God’s “design” for women. Where in the creation account will be see a “design” that places a woman created to be a follower and created to be in submission and under the authority to a man?

  23. John,

    I would also like if you would comment about my response to your article regarding Abigail’s apparent going against the “leadership” of her husband and the commendation that she received from David for taking the righteous lead. How does this Scriptural example measure up to the mandate for the wife to “joyfully” submit to her imperfect husband’s lead that is “God’s design”?

  24. John,

    Thanks so much for offering to answer questions about your view.

    If “husband’s imperfections” are not sin(s) then what would they be? Lack of wisdom? Personal preferences?

    How can a wife judge exactly what is sin if she gets only a portion of the full wisdom granted to her husband?

    I find it rather odd that apparently sometime during the wedding ceremony a woman loses a great deal of her Spiritual discernment and yet this mysterious process is nowhere referenced in Scripture.

    Or do you hold that all unmarried female believers are given less of the Holy Spirit’s guidance? And if so, where do we find this in Scripture?

    Thank you in advance for addressing these puzzling questions.

  25. John wrote: “1- Let me be clear, women are not to follow men into sin. There are plenty of actions that men can do that forfeit their leadership – abuse, abandonment, adultery, etc.”

    John,
    One more question, I hope you don’t mind. The “abuse, abandonment, adultery” are clear to all of us, but what are all those very unclear (“etc.”) etceteras?
    And where can a wife find them plainly listed in Scripture, so that with her limited portion of wisdom she can discern them?

  26. “I also like Sue’s question on the issue of God’s “design” for women. Where in the creation account will be see a “design” that places a woman created to be a follower and created to be in submission and under the authority to a man?”

    This is a big problem for them. For a long time it was taught that the fall was the “design” so to speak. Eve was blamed and that was that. Partriarchy was God’s design. As folks became more biblically astute and that would no longer fly because it was basically teaching that the sin of the fall is virtue for a women… they changed it to created order being the design. Nevermind that patriarchy is one of the sins resulting from the fall and no where do we see God saying that one flesh union is NOT really a one flesh union. But there is one flesh in that union gets a bigger portion of something in order to be the boss…portion of what we do not know. It seems to thought it has to do with simply being born male.

    But seriously, wouldn’t it be grand to be able to tell folks it is their Christian duty to overlook your imperfections so you could just go on being whatever sort of jerk you want to be? Actually, it is not grand at all but a HUGE sin trap.

  27. “One more question, I hope you don’t mind. The “abuse, abandonment, adultery” are clear to all of us, but what are all those very unclear (”etc.”) etceteras?
    And where can a wife find them plainly listed in Scripture, so that with her limited portion of wisdom she can discern them?”

    Sort of like, Honey don’t worry your pretty head about how I spend the money or do the taxes. It is your job just to go along with what I decide.

    My dad used to flip out at the widows at church who had no clue how much insurance they had or even where the policies were! And of course, back then the bank accounts were frozen for a time even against the wife! Victims of sinful patriarchal marriages.

  28. Starke: “For Baxter, the husband is responsible for the normal teaching and instruction in godliness.”

    What are we then to make of Timothy, whose father was a Greek? Paul wrote that “the geniune faith that is in you (Timothy), which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice.” Not a mention of faith being shared with Timothy’s father. In fact, during that time period it was known that grandmothers would carry out the religious instruction in the absence of Jewish fathers.

    Is abnormal teaching and instruction in godliness sin?

  29. Unfortunately it appears that John Starke will not be answering the questions we have. I have tried to engage CBMW since 2006 and silence is the only answer of preference for them. It makes me wonder why they have set themselves up as the go-to place for complementarianism (they even coined this term) when they are unwilling or unable to answer the hard questions.

    I believe that if one has the truth, that truth is open for rigorous testing by God’s word.

  30. I read his second article to men.

    It seems to me they clearly don’t have a clue what to do about the apathy he speaks about in his article, and that could be why they don’t answer the questions.

    The model they speak of will work for people if they approach it in the proper attitude, but when apathy is used instead I don’t think they have figured out the proper approach to it yet.

    When you state for women: If it is God’s design, then women need to find their joy and contentment in that design and not rebel against it.

    Then mention the apathy towards God’s design towards men, and then state: “Those husbands that despise the word of God and live in willful ignorance do not only despise their own souls, but their families also.”

    You need to have a different approach to that problem besides: it is God’s design, then women need to find their joy and contentment in that design and not rebel against it. Why? I would assume that the man’s apathy hinders their joy and contentment in the design, and they are clearly rebelling against it.

    Banging the roles and the design is all fine and good, but where is the bang towards the apathy? When you spend to much effort towards asking a person to find their joy and contentment in their role, and basically ignoring the apathy that is clearly present in the home? It basically enables it to continue, and you can’t find to much joy in a design that is clearly not present unless you use denial.

    We need to find solutions to the apathy, and I would hope that issue wouldn’t be placed squarely on feminism as well. To me at times? That is used as a scapegoat for not wanting to truly LOOK at something squarely in the eyes. Its an easy out, and blame shifting isn’t going to help one darn bit.

  31. “If it is God’s design, then women need to find their joy and contentment in that design and not rebel against it.”

    The big word in that sentence is ‘if’. Is it really God’s design, or is it the traditions of men?

    http://submissiontyranny.blogspot.com/

    Waneta Dawn is tell women that they have the right to rebel against what men want to put forth as ‘God’s design’ but is not.
    And she’s using the example of the Declaration of Independence to do it.

  32. “Unfortunately it appears that John Starke will not be answering the questions we have. I have tried to engage CBMW since 2006 and silence is the only answer of preference for them.”

    ‘Hit and run’ does seem to be their usual modus operandi. (Mark the Aussie comp. excepted)

    It doesn’t even make sense that they will not try to help us see the error of our way…unless, of course, they have no answers to back their teaching. 😉

  33. “Unfortunately it appears that John Starke will not be answering the questions we have. I have tried to engage CBMW since 2006 and silence is the only answer of preference for them.”

    That is unfortunate. It would be great to hear “from the horse’s mouth” the answers to the many questions posed here. I often wonder how well they actually know you, Cheryl? Do they know this blog and your positions well, or was John’s brief comment (really, just a position statement) rendered in ignorance of what goes on here? The “hit and run” as some put it, indicates to me that either John is being simply patronizing or he somehow believes this blog is something different than it really is. What I mena is, I don’t know if he believes he will get a fair hearing here. Anyone who researched this blog would know that the majority of what goes on here is objective and fair minded debate, but a person who maybe only drops in and reads a comment or two may be under the impression that this is some feminist hate blog and conclude that they should not waste their time here.

    John – if you ares till “lurking”, I can assure you of two things:

    You will encounter many men here as well, so you are amongst brothers as well as sisters;
    The people here are not radicals but are serious minded fellow believers who have serious and well thought out questions to ask and serious and well thought out responses to complementarian positions.

    So, John, if you were just being patronizing, shame on you (maybe that is one of those “imperfection” you reference). On the other hand, if you are simply worried you would be wasting your time in a feminist buzz saw, have no fear!

  34. Starke wrote:”Let me be straightforward. I don’t know how much time I am able to interact with these comments. I’m glad Sue offered you my contact info, in order that I may respond to some of these”

    Time and time again comps seem to be too busy for answering questions or helping wayward wandering brothers and sisters in the Faith. This just baffles me. Aren’t we supposed to be reaching out to those wandering from the fold.
    “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”

  35. gengwall,
    I have interacted with John on other blogs but he never stuck around very long on those sites. I thought it might be different on my own blog. Sigh!

    It is still my view that if you have the truth it is worth defending. If you don’t have the truth, it is worth listening to the other side so that one may have the opportunity for giving up error and submitting to the truth of God’s word.

    For some reason many comps will not defend their view or really listen to what the other side is saying. Some comps will take the opportunity to do a “hit and run” and their apologetic stand consists only of slandering the opposition calling them heretics and sinners. We had a few of these on this blog and a couple of them I have on permanent moderation because of their slanderous attacks against Christians. They no longer come here to post because they only want their foul comments to be seen publicly. Since I want this blog to be about a respectful attitude, I don’t let their unseemly comments through and since they refuse to show any kind of respect to other Christians who disagree with their comp view, they don’t care to interact. I do not believe that this kind of conduct shows any kind of “good fruit” for their side.

    I was hoping that John would be one of the more respectful ones who did care to interact and defend his views. I am not saying that he isn’t respectful. However he just isn’t into answering the hard questions. He works for CBMW so I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise. They won’t engage regarding the hard questions coming from people who request them to prove their position from the Bible.

  36. Cheryl – “I was hoping that John would be one of the more respectful ones who did care to interact and defend his views. I am not saying that he isn’t respectful. However he just isn’t into answering the hard questions. He works for CBMW so I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise. They won’t engage regarding the hard questions coming from people who request them to prove their position from the Bible.”

    Which brings me to my conclusion. Either John had no intention of interacting here, which makes his post quite disingenuous and patrinizing, or he had a notion to interact but has changed his mind. I certainly hope it is the latter, as the former would not be very “Christian” of him. But if it is the latter, I would hope we could change his mind back by showing him that a) he has nothing to fear from the participants here, and b) it would not by any means be a waste of his time, as you so clearly point out.

  37. gengwall,
    Yes, indeed I do hope he changes his mind. While the comments are passionate on this blog, I think that those who comment here have actually been grateful for comps who come by to dialog. They have been treated as brothers in Christ. This is an in-house debate, not a debate between true Christians and cultists.

  38. Kay,

    Time and time again comps seem to be too busy for answering questions or helping wayward wandering brothers and sisters in the Faith. This just baffles me. Aren’t we supposed to be reaching out to those wandering from the fold.

    I have to admit that I am baffled too. I am especially baffled because I took the time and effort to contact complementarians and invite them to interact with me regarding my research and my exegesis on the hard passages. Why they are unable to even show me my errors, yet they can still hold to the complementarian view so strongly absolutely amazes me. It doesn’t make sense to me.

  39. “I took the time and effort to contact complementarians and invite them to interact with me regarding my research and my exegesis on the hard passages”

    I will offer a humble observation. The Mike Seaver style of interaction is probably the best within this forum for a meaningful discussion. (It is indeed a shame Mike did not follow through to the end) But the regular “style” of dialog in the blog is not conducive to an effective debate. It is true that Mark held tough for a long time. But even he and the topics pursued with him have faded under the inevitable progress of a popular blog. Again, my hope is that John Starke was good willed in his brief post. If so, then I have no choice but to see his subsequent absence as reluctance to get into a stream of commentary which is both too deep and too wide for him to swim against. Unfortunately, I also sense that he and others at CBMW have no interest in the Mike Seaver style Q&A either. It may just be that WIM is just too intimidating for them regardless of the style of forum.

  40. gengwall,
    I really like the men’s insight here on this blog. It is very helpful and encouraging to me.

    I did offer to give Mike a review copy of WIM, but he did not take me up on my offer. If I could give my take on why he wasn’t interested in seeing the full argument with multi-media? I think it was because he could not afford to be persuaded and my DVDs have been said to be very persuasive. Mike is a really nice guy in a very comfortable place. If he entertained a view that was logically persuasive from the Scriptures, then he would have to remove himself from his position in a church where the comp view is not just the accepted view, but the required view for pastors. Sometimes it seems better to some to remain happy and ignorant, then to risk having the blinders taken off and having their whole world turned upside down.

    That is my take anyway.

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