Thinking Out Loud

October 29, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Orange Curriculum Parody Poster

Our graphic image theme this week is parody. The upper one is a supplement to the Orange Curriculum, a weekend service Christian education experience for children. You can click on the image and then surf the rest of the web page to learn more.

A bumper harvest this week; get coffee first.

The rest of the week Paul Wilkinson offers you a daily choice between trick at Thinking Out Loud, or treat at Christianity 201.

What a Mug I Have of Coffee

May 10, 2012

Is Not the Whole More Than the Sum of the Parts?

I was thinking about the Andy Stanley sermon controversy when my weekly blog trip took me past a January item that appeared at Kevin deYoung’s blog concerning Jeff Bethke’s mega-popular spoken word video, Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus.  (I’m actually expected to say, “at The Gospel Coalition” instead of “…deYoung’s blog,” as this is a very elite company, but I’ve never been big on formalities here.) 

deYoung is part of the young angry restless Reformed group, though he approached his exegesis of Bethke’s text in a gentle and balanced way that resulted in a couple of pleasant email exchanges between the two. 

It turns out Bethke was/is still fairly young in his faith, and wrote the piece never expecting it get the 21,000,000 views it has now received.  deYoung may have allowed for that possibility but as Frank Turk pointed out in the piece that directed me to KdY’s at TGC, with all those views comes a certain responsibility.

Kevin deYoung’s blogroll — all the usual suspects

Basically, anybody can say anything in obscure quarters of the internet, but once your efforts become a blip on the wider radar, you are subject to closer scrutiny.  deYoung justifies this: “I know the internet is a big place, but a lot of people are connected to a lot of other people.”

At that point it becomes, ‘I know your intention was to say X, Y, and Z; but in the process of doing so, you must not omit including A, B, and C.”

Now, I arrived late to the party — the article was posted January 13th — but I think Kevin deYoung and many of his band of followers are analyzing the words spoken but missing the heart of the speaker.

And that’s exactly what many — Albert Mohler, Jr. being the most notable — are doing with Andy Stanley’s sermon illustration. While it’s a badge of honor to jump on the bandwagon that Stanley’s story is approving of gay marriage, I personally consider it a badge of honor to have watched the sermon live and been able to read the heart of what Stanley was saying, while at the same time thinking, ‘Some people are going to be uncomfortable with this particular narrative to make this particular point.’

The question we have to ask ourselves at times like this, is: ‘Are we looking for problems?’ But sometimes, the problem isn’t what a major church pastor doesn’t say, but what his congregation thinks he’s saying.

Which leaves me wondering what to do with John Piper’s recent encyclical featured at Christian Post.

…I dealt with a couple one time. They were sitting in front of me, and she said, “He learned from you that I have to get permission from him for everything I do.” I said, “Really? Like what?” And she said, “To go to the bathroom! He won’t let me leave the room without his permission. If I get up and walk out of the room, he says, ‘Hey, you’re supposed to ask me first.'”

The key line being, “He learned from you…”

Which, a few paragraphs later, brings us to:

So the answer would be, clearly, Yes, there are people who would draw lines in places that they shouldn’t be drawn.

That any of this needed to be said at all attracted the intention of the keepers of The Wartburg Watch.

I contend that complementarianism has been made a primary issue by the Calvinista crowd. Times have changed. Years ago, it did not overly concern me that there were people who believed in a young earth. I subscribed to the CS Lewis philosophy (paraphrased) that people who believe that God has a long white beard will still be able to go to heaven. It was only when I was made a target by a bunch of rabid young earthers who actually believed that a salvation issue might be involved I reconsidered my stance. Then I got interested, real interested.

The same applies to the subject of complementarianism. I knew some folks who believed in strict complementarianism but it was one of those agree to disagree things. That is, until I started to realize that this issue was going in the same direction as the “young earth or be damned” group. For several years, Deb and I have  predicted that more and more would need to be written in order to justify a rabid defense of such a doctrine. Unfortunately, we have been proven right.

First came the Eternal Subordination of the Son, which has been used to justify a belief  that women will submit to men in all eternity. I do not know if these men understand that I would consider it hell if I were forced to submit to the likes of Driscoll, et al. for eternity. 

Then John Piper and Tim Challies came out with a new mandate that women are not allowed to read the Bible out loud in church services. Challies, in a post I like to call “Hubris Rising,”  also “instructs” the great unwashed males in proper breathing and diction techniques, appearing to indicate that stutterers and those with COPD need not apply.Link

Finally, there was the startling Russell Moore pronouncement that he strongly dislikes the term “complementarians” and prefers the word “patriarchy…” Link

…Piper then discusses that we should be sensitive in how we apply “biblical clarity” in such situations. However, he adds no “clarity” to this situation except to say that women do not have to ask their husbands permission to go to the bathroom. Why does he not “clarify” his belief structure in this matter? Could it be that it might be a bit awkward for him?

Is he aware that some of his buddies have encouraged some distinctly odd and even abusive behaviors, on occasion? Piper says,“And we’re going to probably make different judgments about that.” He is discussing Biblical clarity and then says we are going to see things differently? So much for “clarity.”  There’s the rub. Here are “examples” of “clarity” and “differing judgements” that have been reported by those who claim to have attended churches that are pastored by good buddies of Piper.

  • Women must ask their husband’s permission to attend Bible study.
  • Women must drop what they are doing and bring coffee to their husbands at work as soon as they are commanded. (A game a few pastors played to “show” the obedience of their wives.”
  • Women should sit in the back of the church.
  • Women should not go to college.
  • Daughters should stay at home with daddy until they are married and should tend to daddy’s needs.
  • Women should not teach baptized boys.

Before leaving this, I do want to post what was the first of about 200 comments the piece at TWW has received:

Sad as it sounds, I’ve heard women who killed their husbands and went to prison say they prefer prison to their life with their husband. When asked why, their response was that “at least they could go to the bathroom without asking.”

And this one:

When I was in the patriarchy “camp” for awhile there was this wild thing going about communion. Husbands would serve their wives and daughters communion at family-integrated church. If for some reason Papa wasn’t available to do so, then the oldest son or next oldest son would do it. Mama & daughters could not/should not go get their own communion.

And this:

John Piper is going to discover that he will be unable to dial back his acolytes after this many decades.

…In the Andy Stanley case or Jeff Bethke case we’re dealing with assumptions based on silence or omissions; a sermon illustration raises some parallel issues and instead of accepting the analogy we get lost in the periphery of the story.

In the case of John Piper, the directive is taken too far, the assumptions are based on what was said, but the effects are disastrous and detrimental.

I’m convinced the common link is people hearing and not hearing what they want or don’t want to hear.

Image: David Kreklau’s blog

December 7, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Hark how the links, sweet silver links, all seem to say, “Throw cares away!”

  • Gonna do something I’ve done here before and make the first link one from this very blog.  I’m getting a ton of hits for a piece I wrote here last year dealing with the burning question, Should Audiences Still Stand for the Hallelujah Chorus?  But with only eleven comments, there’s still room for yours, and it will get viewed many times over the next few days.
  • Just when think you’ve seen all the weird churches in the world, you discover this one, which has major parking problems, not to mention severe access issues.  Check out this mini photo essay from our old friend Abraham Piper at 22 Words.
  • It’s rare in the Christian blogosphere that you see someone give a Christian book a really bad review. Perhaps that’s what makes this review at the blog Supermoms Are Fake, in some ways, so refreshing.
  • Some of you remember Hermant Mehta at the blog, The Friendly Atheist, from his book I Sold My Soul on E-Bay.  Sometimes I check back to see how he’s doing, whereupon I found this one: Why Are This Many Atheist Scientists Taking Their Children To Church?
  • Leaders are readers. So begins a concise, 7-point piece by Dave Kraft at Leadership from the Heart, I Would Love to Read More, But…
  • Music video department: Enjoy a free taste of fourteen updated hymns at Indelible Grace III – For All The Saints.
  • …which got me poking around YouTube where I ended up listening to this updated version of Jesus I Come (which I know as Out of My Bondage) by the Shelly Moore Band.
  • Christianity Today music guy Mark Moring talks to Chris Tomlin aka the “worship song machine.” Tomlin just doesn’t see himself writing any other kind of music. Which I suppose suits us just fine.
  • Philanthropy meets good business sense as a Toronto group puts together winter survival kits for the homeless.
  • Canadian Charismatic Evangelist Todd Bentley is in the UK, but a Member of Parliament is telling Brits to beware the tattoo preacher.   The Sunday Express reports. (HT: Rick and Bene.)
  • The newest blog at Alltop Christian is called Slow Running Honey, another blog which seems to exist for the purpose of promoting a book. That’s fine, I guess, but the Christian blogosphere didn’t start out that way. (Though it got there quickly.)
  • Newest blog at Alltop Church is Nate Fietzer‘s which is a KidMin blog, meaning children’s ministry and leadership.  It’s him we also thank for the Life graphic below. Did you design that, Nate?

  • I think Justin and Tricia attend Pete Wilson’s church; I know Justin filled in for Pete once during the summer. Here’s an article that could revolutionize your marriage, and the concept is so simple, it revolves around one little three-letter word.
  • After a few days in Sick Bay, Rev. Billy Graham is now back home.
  • Okay, so you go to a church where women don’t teach, but they do scripture readings. But isn’t the public reading of scripture a type of teaching ministry? Or is it? What about soloists? Jesse Johnson wades into a thorny topic.
  • Sounds of the season: Drummer Sean Quigley is the latest to offer a fresh take on a classic, in this case The Little Drummer Boy.
  • Lots of videos this week, but you don’t want to miss this one: Bethlehemian Rhapsody, which was actually posted in 2009, but is still being discovered. (The sheep steal their scenes each time!)
  • Like all good link lists, we have another t-shirt for you. This is from Amanda at Faith in The Journey a tumblr blog packed with great graphic ideas. The shirt is from zazzle.com

March 12, 2011

The Lie That Women Shouldn’t Teach Men

Several years ago I had a conversation with someone who told me about the monthly editorials by J. Lee Grady in Charisma Magazine.  I immediately became a fan.  In an environment often characterized by excesses, Grady is a balanced Pentecostal.  As such, he has my highest respect.

I should say now that this isn’t a book review, but rather a chapter review from his latest, 10 Lies Men Believe: The Truth About Women, Power, Sex and God, and Why It Matters; the final chapter, which is titled “#10 – A Man Should Never Receive Spiritual Ministry from a Woman.”

Grady begins with the story of the famed Southern Baptist event where guest speaker Anne Graham Lotz was met with the commotion of many men turning their chairs in protest so that their backs were to her as she spoke.  Class act, huh?   He then goes on to present a rather convincing case that this viewpoint, that a woman should never teach the Bible where men are present, not only has no support in scripture, but that the Bible shows the very opposite to be true.

“While they praise mothers in the natural, they leave no room for spiritual mothers.” (p. 171)

Grady is convinced — and convincing — that the admonition against women in the New Testament is an isolated case.

“While Paul once clamped down on a group of women in Ephesus and forbid them to teach; if we look at the women who served with Paul in gospel ministry, it is obvious that he empowered men and women and invited them to be part of his team.” (p. 172)

Then he provides a list of some standout examples:

  • Priscilla (Acts – note she is always mentioned before her husband)
  • Phoebe (deaconess of Romans 16:2; word is prostatus, which means presiding officer)
  • Nympha (Col. 4:15; no other leader mentioned)
  • Junia (Romans 16:9; not Junias, the male form, as some translations tried to change it to fit their theology)
  • Euodia and Syntyche (who Paul describes as ‘fellow workmen’ in Phil 2:3)

He then refers to Old Testament examples such as Sarah, Deborah, Hannah and Huldah; and then jumping to modern day examples notes that both Bill Bright and Billy Graham cite Henrietta Mears among their greatest spiritual influences.

At the end of the chapter, he concludes that I Tim 2:12, the verse that says,

NIV I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

  • conflicts with the Old Testament
  • conflicts with Paul’s own practices
  • conflicts with his writing in other places which encourages women to participate

# # #

Because some of you are no doubt curious, here is the list of the ten lies covered throughout the book:

  1. God made men superior to women
  2. A man cannot be close to his son
  3. A real man is defined by material success
  4. A man is the ultimate boss of his family
  5. Sex is primarily for the man’s enjoyment
  6. It’s OK for a man to hit or abuse a woman
  7. Real men don’t need close male friends
  8. A man should never admit his weaknesses
  9. Real men don’t cry
  10. A man should never receive spiritual ministry from a woman

10 Lies Men Believe is available in paperback from Charisma House, at 14.99 U.S. and went on sale last month.  To learn more about J. Lee Grady’s Mordecai Project, a ministry to empower women around the world, click on the book image above.

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