Tuesday, May 03, 2005

CBMW DVD and CJ Mahaney

Today I recieved in the mail a gift to myself. Back a few months ago, I purchased a DVD of the conference I attended hosted by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood where Wayne Grudem and CJ Mahaney spoke. I had forgotten I purchased the DVD, as it had been a few months. I love getting things in the mail. Especially things like this. Ok, so I hate getting bills in the mail, but everything else I like getting.

The DVD is a recording of both presentations. Outstanding, and inspiring. As I find to watch it and pour over it, I'll dump little tid bits and thoughts into this blog. The first one is below.


After expositing a bit on 1 Timothy 2:8-15, CJ Mahaney states (my paraphrase): We as pastors don't have the option of ignoring this issue(the issue of Biblical views of manhood and womanhood). That's not an option. We don't have the option of avoiding this issue to avoid offending the culture, or in hopes of expanding evangelism. To the extent that the church understands and applies Biblical manhood and womanhood, I believe the church will be strengthened in her role as a pillar and support of the truth of the Gospel. And to the extent that we ignore this teaching, the church's Gospel proclaiming and Gospel protecting function will be weakened, and potentially or eventually, the Gospel itself will be placed in peril. Therefore it is our role and responsiblity as pastors to claify, cultivate, and celebrate biblical masculinity and femininity.


I believe this issue is a key issue facing the church today. It goes to a root level of worldview and hermeneutics. The message given by Mahaney was quite counter cultural. At least in the USA, the past 40 years of culture has been driven by a humanist view of sexuality. I'm not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water and say all the result of this is negative, but much of what has occurred because of this "sexual revolution" has been a negative on society in my opinion. Abortion, no fault divorce, radical feminism, acceptance of pornography, the homosexual agenda, single mothers, and the confusion between gender roles all are greatly influenced by this humanist view of sexuality that pervades our culture. And many churches are unwilling to stand against it, especially mainstream protestant churches in the USA. For too many years the tail has been wagging the dog, the church has been pushed around by the culture. I think we as pastors, and church members need to insist that we as the church need to be the transforming agent for our culture, and not the other way around. There is some room for discussion on our methodology (See DLW's blog The Anti-Manicheist for a take different than mine on methodology), but no room for the church to be soft on the issue/need for us to be cultural change agents. I believe our views on manhood and womanhood to be secondary issues of primary importance for the modern church.


DLW said...

I agree that modernday feminism has done little prescious little good for females and probably a good deal of harm. I agree with Randall Balmer that the reason they may have gone off the deepend is because white US evangelicals stopped being involved with the feminist movement.

I also agree that the homosexual agenda has been very revisionist trying to fit their movement into the civil rights mold when there are some very serious differences. For me, my personal interactions with my gay-rigts activist friends in the past, have made it so that my two main issues with their agenda have been with their often advocacy of biological determinism(my genes make me do it) and their sexual libertinism(it shouldn´t be wrong to "love" someone).

As for 1 Tim, I am sitting in on a class on the pastoral epistles heer in Sweden. There is no consensus on whether or not Paul's statement that he does not permit women to teach was meant to be a command for all Christian churches at all times. In fact a lot of critical literature doubt that Paul even was the author of the text or that the letters were amalgamated later on from a series of other letters. The pastoral epistles did emerge relatively late as letters of Paul and do employ a very different vocabulary than the rest of the pauline letters. That seems to suggest that they were perhaps not initially meant for as wide circulation as his other letters?

I can't remember all the stuff brought up in class and don't have time to go through it all, but it seems a shame we spend so much time on the women passages and not enough on the getting rich passages.
I also like 1 Tim 3:10 where it speaks of the need for deacons to be tested. I am willing to break bread with fellow believers(like those here in Sweden) that ordain females into church teaching positions so long as the females are still tested to see if they have lived godly lives and bear fruit in their ministries.

For me, I don´t see that as a capitulation to the prevalent culture, but rather a continuation of Jesus's ministry of redemption. For while males and females are different, some of our understandings of our differences are due to nurture not nature and a result of the fall. I´m thinking here of like how when my kid sister who is 18 years younger than me was two and a half years old and she told me that boys are doctors, girls are nurses.

Chris Meirose said...

I don't know if I would disagree with anything you are saying DLW. I do think there are people who spend too much time on the "women" passages at the price of other scripture. 2 Tim 3:16 "All Scripture is God-breathed..."

My concern is that men have abandoned their duty(s). I don't specifically blame women for this, they have filled the vacuum created by generations of men who have become passive or unwilling to lead. Within some contexts a large portion of men have disqualified themselves from leadership, worsening the leadership hole (I'm thinking of inner-city predominately black churches). It is a tragedy on all accounts.

Without a doubt culture plays a large role in our ideas on gender roles. I am far from anti-women, and I think there are things our culture needs to purge to level the playing field for women. There are things we systematically do that hold women back, or at least keep most women from reaching their full potential.

As for the authorship of the letters to Timothy, whether it was Paul or not doesn't really affect me. My basis is that the Bible is the Word of God, and I trust that whatever might have been munged in translation etc. will still not lead us down the wrong path. Check out F.F. Bruce's "The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable?" if you haven't.


DLW said...

that's cool.

I think a lot of the heat over headship arises from misunderstandings in the way that the terms are defined.

yeah, I think men have abdicated a lot of their responsibilities. I think the decline in the number of semi-skilled jobs have contributed some in this regard. I think racism also had some unintended consequences for African-Americans. I have read, "Man-child in the promised Land" about how an entire generation was almost destroyed by heroin use in Harlem. It includes examples of how there was also a decline in the African-American churches in the northern cities in part because of opportunism by preachers. The African-Americans needed to have better intitutions, like the ones provided for Swedish-Americans by Bethel Seminary, to ordain and guarantee that pastors will be reliable. However, economic discrimination made it harder to set up these sorts of institutions. As such, they did not provide as adequately the sorts of community leadership needed. For the drug industry seriously undermined the willingness of people to work within the system. It provided quick scores and highs, unlike the delayed gratification needed for people to stay in school and so on...

I'm not saying there's no room for calls for personal responsibility and when I attended an african-american church for my last year in college, they spoke of that quite often. But economics still makes a difference and, as such, the rules of the games for our economic relations still affect us in our social relations and our personal responsibilities to our families and communities.