Grid Blog for International Women’s Day: Hammer-Time


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This is not a complicated post. It is not eloquent or finely nuanced. It is simple, straightforward, and hopefully very clear. You do not need to try to read between the lines. I’m telling it to you straight. This is a call to action—a request for people who find themselves in my story to become vocal.

[Look here for a list of other participants in this grid blog.]

I live in Seattle. I am an ordained, seminary-trained minister. I will tell you up front that I have a generous theology and a generous life. I have an unapologetically postmodern hermeneutic, firmly established egalitarian views, and a very open house. I am unashamedly Jesus-y. I love the guy, body and soul. I’m also desperately in love my parish and its people. I care about how the church-at-large treats the people I live near and with. Combine these two loves—a love of Jesus and a love of place—and it naturally follows that things done here in Jesus’ name, they matter to me—not only an ideological level, but on a personal level. Living and ministering here is deeply personal to me, and it is out of that personal space that I write today.

Let me tell you a story.

The Rabble Rousing Woman
A few years ago a woman came to me for advice. She had been attending Mars Hill, a local mega church with a hip style and a gifted preacher—Mark Driscoll. After becoming a regular member there, she had decided to leave. She was looking for a new place to land. Word had gone around that I was a good person to turn to if you were looking for a new church. I was ready and willing to hear what a person was looking for, and to help that person find a match—even if it wasn’t with my own community. I asked her why she was looking for something new and she told me a story. She had a run in with Mark Driscoll; while she and her husband where trying to work it out with him, Mark told her husband, in no uncertain terms, that he’d better shut his wife up or he (Mark) would shut her up for him. The woman’s offense? In the course of a discussion with other church members she had mentioned that she wanted to work part-time when she and her husband had children.

How about another story?

MAN and wife
My alma mater is Seattle Pacific University and sometimes one of my former SPU bosses calls on me to host a table at a career night, or mentor a group of students, or be a guest lecturer in a class on vocational theology. During one of my temporary teaching stints I got to know a handful of female students and became a mentor to one of them. This young woman found herself without a church home. Why? She had been attending the popular and trendy Mars Hill when a sermon came down the pipe that she just couldn’t hang with. Mark Driscoll had decided to stop calling marriage “marriage.” It would now be referred to as “taking a wife.”

And still another tale….

A Student’s Confusion
Students at SPU continued to attend Mars Hill, and continued to struggle with the way roles for men and women were being portrayed. One student at SPU came to me with a concern. Mark had preached that women who wanted to have children should not take out student loans because they would then burden their husbands with their debt load when they stopped working to stay home with the kids. Wasn’t there another role? Wasn’t there another way? Couldn’t this young woman pursue the education she craved, fulfill a work role she would thrive at, and become a mother? Did the Bible require her to make a choice between higher education/work and motherhood?

And another…

Audience Denied
After several women in a row contacted me trying to find a church that was both culturally current and allowed for equity for both men and women, I decided to contact Mark. I emailed him suggesting that we get together. No one church is the right fit for every person—perhaps we could join efforts to help women who found they didn’t “fit” at Mars Hill find a place where they could worship and deepen their relationship with God? “Don’t bother,” a former Mars Hill woman told me, “He won’t respond.” She was right. He never did.

………………..

Up until now, I was going to keep all these stories to myself. My mentor and the man who ordained me, Pastor Ed Cook, always told me “your brother is never your enemy.” So I stayed silent. My female colleagues stayed silent. My male colleagues stayed silent. Mark’s former buddies at Emergent stayed silent. We let sleeping dogs lie. Then this happened….

We find a hammer
A local colleague and I were in mourning. We were telling each other stories of the wounded women who had left Mars Hill and found shelter in our church communities. We were sad, and stymied, and afraid for the other young men and women who were being taught such falsehoods about their very being. We were wondering, what, if anything we could or should do to thwart this man’s influence over our community, especially among young twenty-something men and women. My colleague—a wise and experienced woman—said to me, “I recently heard someone quote Billy Graham. He said that one of the ways he had succeeded in ministry over the years was to never publicly criticize another brother’s ministry.” There was silence for awhile as we took that in. Billy. Graham. I mean, if you’re going to listen to anybody, Billy Graham’s a pretty qualified choice. We parted with a sigh and a feeling of disempowerment.

Then, we got a cartoon in the mail.

First I laughed. Then, I got convicted. I called my colleague. “We have a hammer. Are we going to use it?” I issued a call for a grid blog on gender equality for International Women’s Day. Men could write. Women could write. Any topic about gender equality was game. But if they were interested, could women in Seattle write about what it is like to live in a city under the influence of Mark?….

The thing is, this isn’t a difference over worship style, or a debate about the appropriate size for a church. Those are style differences. This isn’t even a peripheral theological debate, such as a disagreement over whether or not you should baptize infants. This, this “women’s” issue—women’s freedoms, women’s roles, women’s voice—this is a justice issue, a gospel issue.

When a woman is told she has to limit her potential so a man can realize his—that’s injustice.

When God-given gifts of leadership are denied because of someone’s gender—that’s injustice.

When men are told they must carry all the authority and all the responsibility for family and organizational decisions—that’s injustice.

When women are threatened verbally and treated as inferior—that’s injustice.

And God wants justice—oceans of it. Fairness—rivers of it.

I’ll admit, I’ve been afraid. I’ve been afraid to say anything contrary about Mark Driscoll and his institution. I’ve been afraid of his column in the Seattle Times, his titles, his affluence, the power of his charisma and his money and the shear numbers of followers. I been afraid of the kind of vitriolic and inflammatory response he’s fired at my friend. And I’ve been afraid of the endless comments in my blog and email from the numerous and vocal Driscoll defenders. I’ve been afraid of the time and intense energy drain that comes with responding to those defenders. I’ve been afraid of the costs that come with fighting for equality and working for justice. But looming larger, above all these fears, was the fact that I didn’t want to treat my brother like an enemy.

Then I realized two things. First, you can disagree and not be an enemy. (To claim otherwise is a tool for silencing contrary ideals.) Second, justice costs. Once again, my favorite prophet Bono was my inspiration when he said in his address to the national prayer breakfast on Africa, “This is not about charity in the end, it is about justice, the good news yet to come. … It’s annoying; justice and equality are mates… And equality is a pain in the ass.”

Equality is a pain in the ass. “neither male nor female…” this gospel reality, it will cost us. It costs. So does justice. So does kingdom. So does speaking out, this telling of stories. But it’s required, and for me, it’s obedience.

Mark Driscoll is a very powerful man in Seattle. He was listed as one of the 25 most influential people in Seattle magazine. In an era where religion reporting is rare, he has the powerful position of being a religion columnist for the Seattle Times. He heads up one of the largest, most financially affluent churches in the city. He trains hundreds of young men to follow in his footsteps through his male-only church planting institution, Acts 29. And he uses that power to oppress women and to actively teach discrimination to anyone who will listen to his powerful, charismatic voice.

I live in his city. I live with his fall-out. This is part of my story. And I own my story. It is mine to tell. But, when someone is firmly convinced of the subjugated role of women, women have no hearing with that person, their voice is removed. I cannot access Mark, and if I could, I doubt he could or would hear me. But I do have a voice, and there are those who can hear it.

So I take my hammer, the only hammer I have—my voice—and I begin the dismantling by building something new. I build a memorial. I tell my story. I tell the story of my sisters. You add your stories, and together we build an ebenezer.

Will you change? Will you leave? Will you stay and speak out? Will you pray for restoration? For healing? For justice? For shalom?

You have a hammer. Dismantle the dysfunction. Build something new. Let justice roll.

151 Responses to “Grid Blog for International Women’s Day: Hammer-Time”

  1. serentious Says:
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    You courage in speaking out, and the careful and considered way you have trod a precarious path, has given me courage to say what has to be said in my city. I thank God for women such as yourself who in telling the truth of their lives give me the courage tell the truth of my own and remind me of my own hammer :-)

  2. Lori Says:
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    Thank you, Rachelle, for having the courage to tell the truth. And that’s all you did, really–you opened the window and let the light in. Abuse thrives only in the dark. It withers, dies, and crawls away when exposed to the light. When we keep quiet, abetting the darkness, we are co-conspirators in oppression, in abuse, in injustice. Telling the truth is the light.

    I have the strongest image of you, standing outside the fortress wall, with a single candle. You have been joined by a few friends, also carrying their candles, and you feel a little bit alone. What you do not know is that there are masses of us, throngs of us, making pilgrimage to the fortress, and we all have candles, too. It may take us a while to make the journey, but we are on our way. One of these days, there will be too many candles surrounding the fortress for it to remain in the dark any longer.

    Let there be light.

  3. tonya Says:
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    i have a friend who is attending Mars Hill and recently his wife left him. he was deeply broken by this and turned to his church for comfort and counsel. one of the Mars Hill counseling pastors basically berated him for allowing his wife to work outside the home and blamed him for the fact that his wife had abandoned him. he left more broken and shamed than he had come…
    yet he still attends there. what gives?

  4. shannon Says:
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    There is a mega-church in Monroe, WA preaching the same gospel, threatening relationships.
    I had no place because I was a working mother.
    The men’s group prayed for me, sure I was filled with demonic spirits when I dared to question the time and spiritual commitments they required of my husband…and suggested he take control of me.
    We left, and my faith was cold, nearly dead.
    This culture in our churches continues because we stay silent.

  5. tony jones Says:
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    Rachelle:

    Excellent and courageous use of the hammer.

    Tony

  6. Cindy Spencer Says:
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    Thank you. I, too, come from SPU, and received my M.Div. from an evangelical seminary, at which I was regularly accused by male students of disobeying God because of following my call. It eventually was one of the major factors in my family’s decision to become Episcopalian 12 years ago (okay, we kind of like liturgy, too!). It’s important to speak up, and to let others know that God has better things in mind for gender relations, and women in society.

    In seminary, one of the older women students who mentored me, told of her own struggle with feeling called in the evangelical church, after being married and having a family. She discussed it with an elderly female saint in her congregation, who said, “Well, if you were the devil, what would you say to shut half the world (the women) up?” When I still occasionally struggle, (and as a mother and partner in this busy world I still do) I’m reminded that God uses all of us and needs all of us to spread the gospel and invite others into relationship with Christ.

  7. Henry Judy Says:
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    Rachelle,

    First of this is a great post. I just started reading your blog and find it exhilirating.

    Second, you are not the first in the pastoral community to have these concerns. I call it one wheel on, one wheel off theology.

    Mark is not totally incorrect in his theology just his interpreation in his theology. I believe that first and foremost, scripture must interpret scripture. Contextualization of passages as it realtes to cultural issues is a slippery slope. Marks problem is not with just the role of women but specifically the role of women and ministry. In his world view, the Bible speaks against women in ministry as well as women in any position of authority.

    Mark’s philosophy is not even a Proverbs 31 woman. Even under the old covenant which spells out the woman of virtue in Proverbs 31, the woman worked and was a viable product of her family both financially, spiritually, and emotionally.

    Now enter the new covenant and Paul speaks to the role of women in the cultural setting applicable for his specific letters to the churches. Relevancy is still pertinant however Pauls letter to the Galatians spells it out even better: There is no male nor female in Jesus’s eyes.

    There in lies the wheel on wheel off theology. A literal intepretation of the New Covenant role for women is paramount in some churches and denominations. Thats okay. It is when that interpretation is taken to the far right of conservatism that creates the problems you are describing.

    Now if God has called you and I believe He has, He has given you a voice. Use it. Be proud of it, and unashamedly stand on scripture. Your voice is one of authority.

    Stand proud.

    Great post

    Blessings
    Henry

  8. Aaron, a Concerned Mars Hill Man Says:
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    Rachelle,

    I am very sorry you feel so deeply hurt by what has been passed off as the teachings of Mars Hill. The only thing I can say is that I think there has been some misunderstanding and miscommunication.

    Mark will be the first to tell you that he shoots his mouth off and it gets him in trouble. We don’t know what happened with the couple and Mark. What he is reported to have said does not jive with any of the teachings I have recieved from him.

    Somtimes people miss Mark’s sarcasm in his sermons. I remember the sermon where he said that marriage should be changed to “taking a wife”, and as I recall he was trying to show the level of commitment that a marriage should be, and thus renaming it.

    As for the student, I remember that sermon also. Mark was not saying that women should stay home and he was not saying that women should not go to college. What he was preaching about was staying out of debt, and he was making the point that the people that are the most in debt are young women. Combined with the glass cealing this becomes a problem. Credit problems are hard on marriages. He was stateing that women should be careful about their borrowing and that most women (not necessarily those in Seattle) in the nation do not continue in the work force after children and marriage. So why build up that debt and come into a marriage with an extra stressor? Thats what Mark was saying. At least how I interpreted it. Mark is not against women working of going to college, he is against debt.

    There are numerous ways to pay for college without taking a loan. In fact, there is no reason that you can’t make money going to college. (when I realised this I kicked myself for a week!)

    As for reaching the man: Guess what happens when I send him an email? He does not reply to me either. Trust me, its not personal. Mark rarely replies to emails because he recieves over 200 a day. Some are cheerleading pats on the back, others are angry challenges to theology, others are just darned weird, a few are threatening and some are people emailing him on how to run Mars Hill. I suspect that if he ever actually got the email, he interpreted it as a bad idea. Probably because it encourages people to leave when they are challenged in their thinking. Its not that we have a problem with people leaving, but rather we have a problem with people leaving when they have goten the wrong idea about us and our pastor. Furthermore Mark has very little say in how Mars Hill operates. It is up to the elders and they out vote plenty of times.

    Mark is a man that has a high view of scripture and a high view of Jesus. But he is simply a man. Like Paul, and even Jesus himself, he will be misunderstood. He is human, and that means that he doesn’t always say the right thing at the right time. But by and large I think you have misjudged him out of hearsay. He agrees with you that the status and condition of women in the world is deplorable.

    We live in a society that does not love women. Empowered and autonomous, women are hurt and defiled, yet when they are not they are abused by their would be protectors, their husbands and fathers. How do we stop this? Equality in and of itself will solve nothing. Equals harm each other equally. Understanding the equality in the fully human and divine Jesus, the son in the Trinity, is the only answer. Until men love women as they would themselves, as Christ loves the universal church, it will continue.

    You both are united in Christ. But you have differing methods and interpretations.

    What he says in his sermons can be misunderstood. If someone says he said somthing in a sermon they have a hard time with, I would suggest listening to the sermon before you provide a teaching. You do have a pastoral issue in your first case. You have taken on the leading of someone that has a problem with somthing he said or did. We are not sure of what that is, and contacting him for his side of the story is warrented.

    Reaching Mark IS difficult, especially for someone that does not recieve teaching and worship at Mars Hill. There are other ways to reach him. I recall that he does attend cross denominational pastor meetings, and there you could talk to him in person.

    At Mars Hill we believe that God has given us all gifts and that those gifts are to be used for the betterment of Gods kingdom. We by no means believe that women should be silent, uneducated, or out of the workforce. We do however think that for both father and mother responsibility family comes before career. How we implement that is dependant on each of us. Many women are not opposed to staying home. Some like to work. Each family is different, but each family should not give up the responsibility of family for the sake of career. To do so is to be selfish, male or female.

    Yeah, I know, get my own blog…

    God’s Peace.

  9. david Says:
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    thanks for your courage. this is an issue i have a high degree of disagreement with mark on. i love the fact that my wife is talented and gifted and can be a vessel of Christ’s mercy through her occupation. that means i get the privelege of being more involved in my children’s life than the traditional father, and i get the benefit of joining my wife in taking care of our home. mark’s views do not take into consideration the unique gifting of the Spirit that makes partnership and unity possible.

    having said that, i hope we can all affirm that in other areas mark has done good work for the kingdom. he is clearly a gifted preacher and has been used to bring many people into relationships with Jesus.

    i hope that a profitable dialogue can come of this, that a horrible wrong toward our wives and sisters can be righted, and that a brother can grow through the loving admonition of the church.

  10. Ken Says:
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    It saddens me to no end that we as Christians treat eachother in this way (Mark’s treatment of women). To say that women are not to be a part of the leadership is to cut in half our effectiveness and knowledge. How many examples are there in the New Testament of Paul praising the faith, love, and witnessing of WOMEN? Paul doesn’t say that women shouldn’t teach, he says that they should go and be educated!! Women were not allowed in his day to be educated so they weren’t in a position to be leaders. Paul was suggesting a change to the whole system. Let them be educated…implying that once they were, they would be welcome in leadership. We as men go and are educated and so should women before they take on those roles so that we (men and women) will know what we are doing and preaching of, lest we mislead with our ignorance.

    The genderization of religion is driven by fear and egotism. Some of the smartest people I know (religious and otherwise) are women. My wife was told at our last church that she couldn’t do the lessons at our jr/sr high youth group because there were “young men” and women are not supposed to preach to men. Although it was ok for her to do the lesson if I (her husband) openned and closed in prayer.

    As a man, I apologize for the rude, arrogant, and hurtful way you and others are/have been treated due to your gender…all in the name of religion (I would say in the name of God, but I don’t believe that God supports this concept. Religion is man-made.)

    Stay strong.

  11. Heather Says:
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    Thanks for posting this, Rachelle. Thank you for your bravery. For way too long, we’ve hidden our hammer because it just didn’t seem Christian to brandish it. I left an evangelical church years ago because my leadership gifts were not fully validated there. Thank God I found a place where they were, or I would probably never have darkened the door of a church again.

    As for Aaron - the above commenter - I appreciate your attempt to tell the other side of the story, but I don’t think you can fully appreciate what those words, coming out of the mouth of a powerful man, can mean to a woman. Yes, the intent behind them may not be malicious, but if they’re interpreted through the lens of so many years of oppression, they become yet another straw on a camel’s back.

    If, for example, there is a problem with too many young women entering marriage with debtloads, then perhaps we should look more closely at the systemic problems (the glass ceiling, the lack of funding and emotional support for women seeking education, etc.) rather than blaming the woman. I was one of those young women once, and I thank God I have a husband who supported me fully and didn’t resent the debt-load I brought with me into the marriage. Now, 13 years later, I am the primary income-earner and he is the stay-at-home parent and we’ve found a balance that works for us - that wouldn’t have happened if he’d been of the attitude that he was “taking a wife”.

    Rachelle - before I found your grid blog, I posted my own reflections on being a woman leader in a Christian environment - you can find it here… http://fumblingforwords.blogspot.com/2006/03/ive-come-long-way-baby.html

  12. jo(e) Says:
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    “I recently heard someone quote Billy Graham. He said that one of the ways he had succeeded in ministry over the years was to never publicly criticize another brother’s ministry.”

    One of the first things children learn in a dysfunctional family is intense loyalty to the family; they learn to keep the family secrets.

    But the only way change and healing and transformation can happen is if someone in the family dares to break those rules and speak up.

  13. Mike Says:
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    Right on, Rachelle. Keep swinging that hammer.

  14. Christian Says:
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    Rachelle,

    I think it is very difficult to speak very acuratley from your distance on these stories. Maybe not speaking out is good advice and doesn’t really form the hammer you think you have.

    That said, I am sure Mars Hill does offend a culture feminized to death and does turn large numbers off with their view, . But their position and many other positions about women’s role in redemption is often grossly misinterpreted through the lense of current cultural bias.

    I remember talking to one protestor outside a promise keepers rally who was surprised the learn that my wife worked and that she could speak freely since she interpreted PK’s stance on women offensive mostly because she did not understand it. I don’t do promise keepers anymore but not for that reason.

    If you were totally accurate in your interpretation of the second hand stories you have encountered then I believe it would be an proper to see abuse and injustice. But you seem to think the complimentarian view is the injustice. Gender role in redemption seems to be as much an area for personal and corporate conviction as infant baptism does. Churches should be free to teach their convictions - though not abuse if that is occuring.

    I believe that in our essence and creation we are equal but in many ways women and men are asked to play different roles by the creator-none inferior to the other just different. This seems inherent in the very real differences. Now if I get oppressive with my view in my church or family - that’s sin - and should be corrected. But to teach my conviction with respect and conviction seems only the same path you follow in believing God allows women in the role of Elder. I can understand your response to abuses but not to a meaningful and fairly reasonable Gospel interpretation.

    Blessings

  15. Aaron, a Concerned Mars Hill Man Says:
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    Numbers: At Mars Hill we have 35 people as elders and deacons. 15 of those are elders, 20 of those are decons. 9 of those deacons are women. 4 of them are in administration/operations with 4 pastors in the same. These 8 probably have more say on how the church operates day to day than Mark does.

    Also, Mark has preached form the pulpit that he believes that women can be CEOs, CFOs, Managers, Owners, Real Estate Tycoons, Construction Workers, Veternarians, Presidents, Professors, brick layers and everything else. (its in the sermons on Genesis) I think I am even correct that he is ok with women teaching men somtimes (gasp!). He and the elders of the church just feel that the position of Elder/Pastor should be reserved for men.

    With respects to power, on a practical day to day level, the women of Mars Hill hold just as much power as the men. When church leadership is kept local and has only two ranks, it really does not matter so much operationally. Yeah ultimately 15 guys make the big decisions at Mars Hill. But it doesn’t go without our awesome deacon women!

    The church that many posting here think Mars Hill is does not really exist. I invite anyone who has not visted us and talked to a pastor after the service to do so. Its not about Mark or what Mark thinks. Its about Jesus. Paul, James, Mike, and Bubba are always around on Sundays. If you are concerned about somthing you have heard from someone else, come on down and see if its for real. We will be glad to see ya, even if you think you’re mad at us!

  16. Aaron, a Concerned Mars Hill Man Says:
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    Heather,

    I am pretty sure that finding the systemic problems is the solution. In no way do I (or anyone at Mars Hill in general) think blaming the woman is the way to go. And I think that was the core of what Mark was trying to say. That we need to teach men to be strong and caring so that they don’t get resentful when they discover that their new wife brought with her new unexpected debt. The prototypical Mars Hill man would lovingly help to pay it off. AND, teach the young single women about managing money and how to establish good spending habits, how to get into school in such a way that it does not cause debt, and to generally be their own woman who is not trying to GET a husband out of desperation or dependance. We also want to get young women away from the consumerism that they are assaulted with that tells them that they are not beutiful if they do not have product or item X.

    Personally, if you still find your man masculine, responsible, attractive; and he does what is needed to keep his family strong, he doesn’t just sit at home all day playing XBox, can discipline his children and teach them in the ways of the Lord we have no problem with how your family works. Do you think he will jump in front of danger and take the bullet for you? Yes? Great. We welcome that. It is just that our gifted pastor sometimes says stuff the wrong way for some.

    We simply think men need to be, and feel, masculine in a godly way as opposed to the ungodly way that is prevalent, even in some christian churches and denominations. We want men to be like Jesus in their relationships.

    Aaron.

  17. Aaron, a Concerned Mars Hill Man Says:
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    Just as a clarifier, Mars Hill as a church, not the prototypical Mars Hill man, would teach the younger women. I hate compound sentences that I turn into two somtimes.

  18. Jennifer Says:
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    Christian,

    You said that it’s very difficult to speak accurately on these issues from a distance, and in a sense, I suppose you are right. But let’s not pretend that we live in a world where pastors never say things like “shut your wife up or I will shut her up for you”. That happens to real women, and it has real consequences in their real lives.

  19. LutheranChik Says:
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    Reading all these posts reminds me of why I belong to a congregation and a denomination that affirm the equal partnershp of women and men in the Reign of God and in society.

    This Sunday I will be leading worship at my ELCA church. As I do, I will be conscious of bringing with me, in spirit, all women who are called to leadership within the Christian community, as laypeople or as ordained servants of the Word, whose God-given gifts of preaching, of teaching, of pastoral care, of administration, are devalued or denied by men in their church.

    And, frankly, I find the apologist for Mars Hill’s patronizing comments insulting to all women, including and especially the ones unfortunate enough to attend his church.

  20. Heather Says:
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    I’m sorry Aaron, but your comments just don’t satisfy me. You’re making assumptions about woman’s “consumerism” and “lack of ability to deal with her own debt”. I’m sure you don’t mean to, but it just comes off as arrogance. It seems to me that if you’re assuming every woman can have access to an education without going into debt, than you have never been nor tried to understand the plight of a woman who’s grown up poor, longed desparately for an education, had to move away from her rural family, worked 2 jobs to pay the rent and put herself through school, and STILL needed to rely on student loans to make tuition. Once you’ve walked in those shoes, THEN you can tell me I shouldn’t have brought debt into my marriage. And REALLY why do you focus on women who bring debt into the marriage? I’m sure there are just as many men who do the same. And if it’s not debt, then it’s other baggage, and why is debt so much worse?

    And if you don’t think that allowing women to ONLY serve as deacons is NOT a glass ceiling, than you don’t understand what it’s like to be denied the right to live out what you feel is your calling. If I hadn’t found a church that allowed me to fully realize my giftedness (which led to me becoming an elder) I’m sure I would have rejected the church for good.

    Oh, and by the way, I’m sure I’d jump in front of a bullet for my husband just as quickly as he would for me.

  21. Dan Says:
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    Rachelle,

    It is a woman’s issue. It is an issue of justice. It is my sincere hope though, that you had the support of these women involved in your story to express these vignettes. Otherwise, bringing private stories shared in confidence with a friend or pastor, without such support, could be abusive too.

  22. Lindsey Says:
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    Rachelle…
    I’ve been moved to tears by things you have written recently and in the past. Currently I live in an intentional Christian community and work for a para-church organization in Minneapolis. As a woman in ministry myself, your passion fuels me to be the person God created me to be. I put a piece you wrote in a zine I made this summer and I wanted to send you a copy. Is there an address I could send it to?
    Thanks Sister! Keep Speaking for All of Us!
    Lindsey

  23. Margaret Says:
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    How wonderful!!!! It has been my exact experience to meet an influential unapproachable pastor or two….also highly successful ministries, mega church and mega bucks…Our Almighty…has those He would have to speak to people stewarding His churches and He will always make a way for the ones He wants to use for Mark or whomever….that’s God! So we truly can enter the rest of God and seek Him in order to flow with what He has us to do….isn’t this our essential quest to know what He is wanting us to do and the enabling grace for it?…Ofcourse while we are “glorying” When His spirit rests upon us….no matter the situation, we ARE victorious. Still we have community responsibilities, yet let’s step with Him….this is important…then its His works and not our own…and is truly an end of all strife.

    I am thankful for this blog, it is refreshingly truthful and intellectually satisfying as well as being a learning tool of connectivities.

    I think of Jesus’ immediate followers, the 12, and how that could apply to me and my ministry. No doubt I get pusued every now and then…I’ve received a death threat or two…..and so did the 12, along with Jesus….is this my justification? not necessarily. however I believe there are those the Lord will bring together for His purposes and those will be willing in that day…or not…until then, I’m thankful and still very encouraged about what He said He would do….He is true and faithful, and I will with all His grace do what He has shown me and…. causes to be. He is able, but we need be obedient….tis true tis true…..

    While getting my BA a combined Religion/Sociology minor/major, I wrote my 40 page graduating “thesis” on the abuse of women in the church, because I was enduring the same, and couldn’t get help from the mega or the small churches I sought. I was astounded at the literature I found on the topic. When I graduated I moved to Seattle and by the good marriages I saw, I regained my faith in the institution of marriage. Marriage is a committment yet not to abuse. I dont’ believe any one should divorce unless released by God Himself, then, healing of the wounded spirit and heart flows and the person’s person grows. Everything is a lesson, we comfort wherein we have been comforted ourselves…that is that we’ve recieved from God, Jesus and Holy Spirit.
    I pray this blog community would pray for Mark, not that God would bop him, but that God’s plan concerning him would be. Some people change. The mega church I mentioned would not allow a woman to be in ministry unless it was side by side with and extended from her husband, after 7 yrs or so, that has changed. God has the power and wisdom. If a person truly wants to change they can…..hence, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me….this is very true. There is a couple I respect highly who went to minister in Africa, they live in upstate New York. Their jeep broke down in the midst of a tribal ravage, they were approached and my friends husband was shot at from about a foot away. To this day they do not know where the bullet went…only that it did not touch him!!!! Now this isn’t always the case, yet my point being…if you are in the place God wants you, in His timing…stepping with the Lamb, we truly need not fear. This is the importance of being with Him and knowing what He wants us to do….there He gives the increase in every aspect of the word. Our wonderful God…… oh how I love Jesus…….too :-)
    Regarding justice some obtain and some others don’t, I have a song from the Lord, I call it the Isaiah 11 song…when we willnot judge with the seeing of our eyes or the hearing of our ears, but by the spirit of the Lord, not to throw sommon sense to the wind, yet this has a tremendous application especailly to social injustices or any injustice.

    Father Son Holy Spirit

    Power Love Sound Mind

    Faith Hope Love

    Grace Mercy Peace

  24. Margaret Says:
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    Rachelle,

    Yes thankyou…your writing is good and a blessing and
    Yes I will pray and do all He so enables me to do
    He will be faithful to continue to lead in our lives.

  25. Paul (the dutiful husband) Says:
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    If one’s view of women is of ’submission’ and ‘complementarity’, one views the world through that lens. Yes, Mark and company like to point out that there’s that mutual submission stuff, but honestly, what difference does that make? The man is willing to take a bullet for his wife and she has to cook, clean, and service him regularly? Which is harder? Which requires more sacrifice? It is easy and cheap to say “I would die for you” because few of us face such a dilemma on a regular basis. It is hard to forsake obvious gifting and be a fundamentalist’s housewife.

    And ‘complementarity’? Let’s try a little SAT analogy. Man is to Woman as: Master is to Slave? As European is to African? As adult is to child? As Ruler is to Serf? That is the meaning of ‘complementarity.’

    The gospel demands there is neither slave nor free, Jew or Greek, male or female, but that all are equal heirs.

    The fundamentalist red herring is that ‘equality’ means ’sameness’. It doesn’t. Equality means something like: I respect you and all of your talents in and of themselves and in the same manner that I respect myself and my talents and that I make space for you to use them. Bono’s point (that Rachele quoted) was that if we in the afluent western world truly thought Africans were our equals and not poor ignorant savages who are used to daily death, we would take action. But we don’t. Because we view them as less than ourselves, as complementary, we can excuse our inaction.

    Mark’s view (and others like him) of women as less, as subject to men, colors everything about how they see women. They are the weaker sex (yeah, you push a grapefruit-sized head out of an opening that is not naturally much bigger in diameter than your penis!). They obviously need to be financially educated by the Wise Man. Sure they may have gifts, but don’t dare exercise them if it means having ’spiritual authority’ over a man. Don’t dare exercise them if it means the wife has the high-paying job and the husband stays home with the kids. Don’t dare exercise them if it makes the husband ‘feel’ like he isn’t ‘masculine.’

    The result is a superiority complex and arrogance. And with arrogance comes the delusion of invincibility. And the result of that is something like Mark’s obscene tirade against Brian McClaren (http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2006/01/brian_mclaren_o_2.html). And when you are arrogant and think you are invincible, it is easy to fall into abuse.

    Aaron, you write “With respect to power, on a practical day to day level, the women of Mars Hill hold just as much power as the men.”

    Really? Are you sure?

    If women *really* had as much power, your church would look different. The leadership would look different. The sermons would be different.

    Compare the description of the Women’s Training day versus the Men’s Training Camp (http://www.sporg.com/registration?org_id=927). If women had as much power, the classes at the church wouldn’t have titles like “Practical Theology for Women” and descriptions that read “Since most theology discussions are given by men and aimed at a largely male audience, this discussion seeks to fight the unspoken mentality that theology is for men and parenting, sewing, or dieting classes are for women. Truly, there is nothing like a good grasp of true knowledge of God to enable women to meet the many practical demands of being a daughter, mother, wife, sister, or friend.”

    That mentality is perpetuated by YOUR OWN CHURCH! Wake up and smell the misogny! *Women* don’t need a class on Practical Theology, everyone does!

    Fundamentalists like Mark don’t see that their view of women, their treatment of women, is truly, fully anti-gospel. And the gospel is a pain in the ass.

  26. Discerning Discipleship Says:
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    Questioning women in Christian culture

    Some interesting thoughts on the role of women, (not just in the church, but also in the Christian home) on bob.blog.  Bob reflects on an Acts 29 bootcamp he attended a few years ago:bob.blog: Whoa… Hammer time.
    Towards the end of our time there,

  27. renee Says:
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    thank you

  28. anj Says:
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    Rachelle, thank you for this post, and this blog grid. Reading the blogs, reading your post, reading the comments on your post, raises so many emotions in me. Gratefullness for those who are wanting to live free of cultural norms and patriarchy, sadness for those who cannot seperate Jesus from the culture in which we all were raised, anger and grief for those, both men and women, who are allowing themselves to be unjustly used to further a system that is injust, pain on remembering my own stories of wounding in a church that decided to hire a man ministry pastor to co-ordinate the four ministries that I had started, because I was not qualified for the position as a woman, my own wandering for a home after finally leaving this same church that decided, mid-stream, that women could not be elders or leaders. And finally, much gratitude for finding a spiritual home where we all wrestle with the concept and reality of equality and how that plays out in our lifes and in our faith community. I love your voice, and I love your faith, and I love how you love Jesus. And I love how you inspire us to use the hammer that we are given.

  29. bob Says:
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    The one thing I would hope we keep in mind here is that sermon on the mount attitude Jesus asked us to have. In the midst of aking and even fighting for change MUST be the attitude of blessing those we feel are cursing us. Otherwise, we are less than truly Jesus followers.

    I wonder how we’ll respond when God convicts Mark, not necessarily to change his doctrine, but at least his tone. Will we forgive? Are we praying for Mark, or just hammering him?

    “First, you can disagree and not be an enemy.” Thanks Rachelle for those words…

  30. Anthony Martin Says:
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    > And ‘complementarity’? Let’s try a little SAT
    > analogy. Man is to Woman as: Master is to
    > Slave? As European is to African? As adult
    > is to child? As Ruler is to Serf? That is the
    > meaning of ‘complementarity.’

    More like, “As God the Father is to God the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is a helper to the Father, but nobody’s up in arms to force the Father to give the Holy Spirit “equal rights.” Seems like a double standard to me.

    It’s a matter of creation.

  31. Aaron, a Concerned Mars Hill Man Says:
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    Heather,

    I am not going to fight with you. At this point you will try to find me wrong when I am trying to show that I agree with you, and everything I type will be interpreted through your lens as someone that wants to trick you. Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll are not what you think they are. Below I will attempt to clarify even more, but you have made your decision to attack brothers and sisters in Christ and I can’t fight it anymore.

    Paul, I was raised a feminist in a feminist home by a woman who is a professor of english at a women’s university (in texas). I grew up in the Episcopal Church, I know misogyny when I see it, and it is not at Mars Hill. I thought as you did. I told everyone not to go there. Then I listened, I investigated very deeply what Mars Hill represents, and I found I was wrong. I think you are wrong. I think you are looking through the same lens of hate that most fundumentalists look through. I may very well be wrong. But I trust that Jesus will guide me right. The Bible is the best argument I have found agianst misogyny.

    POINTS FOR HEATHER:
    I think that you misunderstand. It largely comes out of statistics. The average 22 year old woman has $10,000 in credit card debt. I am not assuming that every woman has access to a debt free education. I grew up on the campus of a women’s university the son of a woman who was an english professor. As it stands right now there are more scolarship and non-debt financial aid opportunities for women than there are for men. THIS IS A GOOD THING. We focus on both men and women bringing debt into marriage, I was simply illuminateing the side of the women to show that we are not a bunch of mysogynistic pigs over at Mars Hill. Never said debt was worse than anything else, and it is not the presence of debt that is the problem its the man or woman finding out about it after the fact just like any other problem.

    Here is the teaching:
    All baggage and debt should be out on the table before commiting to marry. A christian should work as hard as they can to stay out of debt. Thats it.

    WRT glass ceilings-
    Power and title do not always go hand in hand. Especially in a combat zone.

    LuthernChk, I don’t mean to patronise, I only mean to say that while Mars Hill is a big target, it is not the right target.

    LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
    It is attacks like these that make people turn away from all churches. I love all you guys, and I know you want to do right and breaks my heart when people attack a place that loves Jesus and a man that does the same. How would you all feel if there was a gridpost against your churches saying that you wanted to raise up a matriarchy and that you were the worse thing to happen to christianity since the inquisition?

  32. Aaron, a Mars Hill man Says:
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    I like what this guy has to say. Esp the third paragraph.
    http://purplepastor.com/2006/02/24/sleepless-in-seattle-part-4/

    Also paul,

    after rereading your post, I think your egalitarian = MH complimentarian. At this point its semantical.
    Re: SAT Game. I would have to choose E, none of the above. The correct answer is: as brother is to sister, as image bearer is to image bearer, as Christ is to Church.

    Also, Practical theology for women is a class taught by women for women so that guys with their screwed up perspectives can’t disrupt the learning process. Get it? There are numerous sociological studies that show that men tend to intimidate women in a mixed classroom environment. The class is so women don’t have to worry about Mark machismo when they are learning. So how is shuting up men so that women can talk and learn about God from one another misogyny?

  33. Jennifer Says:
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    Aaron,

    If a woman in a church (not MH, but any random church) expresses her opinion on an issue, and the pastor decides to disagree by publicly telling her husband to “shut your wife up or I will shut her up for you”, and the members of the church cheer him on, would you say that is a healthy church or a church that is drowning in misogyny? It really doesn’t matter what the point of difference was….I’m trying to see if you think that is a misogynist response coming out of a whole church culture that is misogynistic….or do you consider that proper pastoral care?

  34. LutheranChik Says:
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    Aaron: As they say in 12 Step Programs, admitting that you have a problem is the first step toward recovery. A church that teaches gender inequity, denies women access to all areas of leadership and expects husbands to discipline wives is misogynistic that it boggles the mind.

    If you don’t want your church to be a “big target,” then your church should confess the sin of sexism, correct the unjust way that it treats women and affirm in both word and deed the equal partnership of women and men in the Reign of God. Until you do, all we hear is a “clanging cymbal.”

    In the meantime, I hope and pray that the women and men your church inevitably hurts with its bigotry do not become so disillusioned with Christianity that they drop out of the faith altogether.

  35. Josh Adams Says:
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    “A church that teaches gender inequity, denies women access to all areas of leadership and expects husbands to discipline wives is misogynistic that it boggles the mind.”

    I’d agree with you. The fact is that none of these are things that happen at Mars Hill. It is explicitly taught that men and women are both equal image bearers of God with different roles to fill. The only leadership position that women don’t occupy at MH is that of elder. As to the accusation made in this blog, I dealt with that over on Bob’s blog more extensively, but I highly doubt anything like what is described went down anything like Rachel described.

  36. Rachelle Says:
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    Josh (and others who’ve written in a similar vein):

    First of all, what I am telling here is my story of what it feels like to be with women who have experienced hurt via thier realtionship with an influencial man/institution in my parish. That part– the sadness of watching God’s children suffer from erroneous teaching and vehement speech– my story, and I’ve got it first hand. :-) PLEASE DO NOT INVALIDATE THE STORIES OF THESE ANONYMOUS WOMEN and the doubtless numerous other women who share similar experiences. Denying thier truth and thier experience only causes more pain to them. Please spare your sisters. You can easily discuss the issues at hand without accusing people of lying.

    Secondly, I’d like the readers out there to know –especially the male readers who may not be aware of this — that this very thing often happens to women who speak up against patriarchy and injustice. Men (and sometimes women) hear these stories and then say something like, “Oh, well you must be mistaken.” or “Oh, you just misunderstood what was happening.” Trust me, we’re not stupid. While anyone can “take something the wrong way,” in general, women recognize when they are being treated in dismissive and demeaning manner. The person being dismissive and demeaning may not understand what the woman they are speaking to is experiencing — but the woman feels it in her very bones. I think too that the number of stories that have intersected with my story not only add merit to one another, but provide testimony to a pattern of behavoir that should be attended to.

    Third, denying gifted women from serving as elders and pastors does IN FACT deny women access to ALL areas of leadership and is incredibly damaging both to men and women.

    Finally, I read Bob’s blog yesterday but haven’t read comments today. As you can see by the number of people posting on the gridblog and the number of comments it is generating, being well involved in all or even some of these conversations is nigh onto impossible (especially when you’re someone like me, who is dealing with chronic daily pain, which limits my ability to read on line and to write.) So, that’ why I’m not responding to your final line re:Bob’s blog. Just FYI.

    Rachelle

    p.s. my name is Rachelle, not Rachel. Again, just FYI :-)

  37. Jennifer Says:
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    Rachelle,

    I really appreciate what you’ve written above. I made the mistake of looking at another blog discussion linked here, and saw people saying things like “these annoymous women are exagerating or sepaking from feelings instead of what really happened.” That’s a real problem because it denies the reality that things like this could possibly happen.

  38. theopraxis Says:
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    The Boy’s Club

    Rachelle has a challenging, troubling post here about her experiences as a woman attempting to minister in Seattle in the shadow of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. I’m not going to attempt to summarize it - go and read it….

  39. Josh Adams Says:
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    First off, Rachelle, I apologize for spelling your name wrong.

    I’m sorry if you think that I am hurting these women bringing their stories into question. The fact is that we should not take every accusation at face value. If that were true I could start a blog tomorrow and say that I know people who you have abused in your ministry and claim the same defense. I’m not necessarily implying that you are trying to mislead people, but as Christians I think we both should be able to agree that the church of Christ is made up of redeemed sinners who have a very real and living enemy whose goal is to cause destruction anywhere he can. The fact is that this post is a compilation of extremely brief stories whose sole goal is to destroy a brother in Christ’s ministry or at least his part in the ministry.

    Frankly I’m saddened and rebuked by the fact that people are reading this article and believing the a brother in Christ is a person who uses his position as pastor to abuse women. I say rebuked because I will admit that I have been inclined to believe things about people whose theology I disagreed with no more evidence than you have presented.

    Alright, I know that most of the people who commented above are quite offended that I would bring into question the evidence supplied in the original post. The problem is that we’re not even dealing with a story Rachelle has about an interaction with Mark. If the blogosphere were a jury in a US court room and Rachelle was a witness in some sort of case against Mark we would not be allowed to consider a word of her testimony above. It would be almost surely be considered hearsay and therefore inadmissible.

    The fact is that we both can agree on one point I think. We both believe that we cannot let injustice, which is how I see this accusation, go unanswered.

    PS: I pray that you’re new method of treating your migraines is succesful. I can barely stand the pain of stubbing my toe so I cannot even begin to comprehend what you’re going through.

  40. Jennifer Says:
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    Josh,

    Simply because Rachelle is repeating stories she heard does not mean they are not true. By sweeping them aside you are not sweeping away the reality of them. We live in a world where real pastors say things like this to real women. Dont be too quick to sweep that aside. Take a moment and try to listen to the reality your some of your Christians sisters live in without assuming it cant be true.

  41. Aaron, a Mars Hill man Says:
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    Rachelle,

    I don’t deny your story, and I am sure that the pain these women feel is real. Your story is that you have heard from people that they were hurt by an influencial figure. I see that. But I don’t think your story is over. I think there is the next chapter where you go and listen, and find out for yourself. Because now you have two people who will tell you it is not like that, and I can think of three women, a college professor, a stanford evolutionary anthropology student, and a PM at microsoft that will tell you that you are mistaken. So now your story has changed. You have been presented with separate contradictory second hand evidence.

    We never said you were stupid and we don’t think you are. But neither are the 2000+ women that attend Mars Hill. Seattleites are smart people, they don’t stick around when they are abused. We are not being dismissive in the way you say we are. We are legitimately trying to say that our experience, our story, which is just as valid as the others says somthing different. If you think there is a pattern of behevior that should be attended to bring your greivances with us to one of our pastors. I would recommend Pastor James or Pastor Paul. Come visit us. Listen to some sermons, all of them are on line since 2000.

    Your third point is one of those differences that we just disagree on. And there are some nuances of that discussion that you and I would agree on. Who is right? Only Jesus knows. Our position on eldership is from our interpretation of the Bible through prayer. It is not meant to be domineering but Biblical. We simply ask that you give the same respect as we give to your interpretation that allows women to be elders. We disagree, but we respect your positon in your congregation.

    Any and all, but especially Rachelle, we have nothing but love for you here at Mars Hill and you are welcome to visit anytime you want. If this were not true we would not be posting so adamantly. We would love to answer your questions and will address any problem you might have with us. Peace.

    I too will pray for relief from your migraines.

    With Gods love, Aaron.

  42. Jennifer Says:
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    Aaron,

    Im confused. You first say that you dont deny Rachelle’s story, and then you say that there are respectable people at MH that would tell her she is mistaken. Which is it, it cant be both.

  43. Aaron, a Mars Hill man Says:
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    Josh, Jennifer, I agree with you both in some ways. In other ways you are both dead wrong. If the women that talked to Rachelle were to come forward (I am not saying they should, no no, anonymous is good) their statements would be admisable.

  44. Jennifer Says:
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    Aaron,

    There may be very good reasons for them not to do so.

  45. Aaron, a Mars Hill man Says:
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    Jennifer,

    First I believe she is mistaken about what Mark and Mars Hill teach. Secondly and separately I believe the pain of these women is real and legitimate. People get hurt by words understood or misunderstood every day. I hope that answers your question and clears up the paradox.

  46. Jennifer Says:
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    Aaron,

    It really doesn’t. The experiences Rachelle is sharing do not fit with the kind of respect that you say MH has for women. You cant have a church with respect for women led by a pastor who tells husbands, “shut your wife up or I will shut her up for you”.

  47. Aaron, a Mars Hill man Says:
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    Jennifer,

    If I and many other brothers were to ever find out that a man at Mars Hill threatened a woman in any way he would run a good chance of getting hurt and for sure would be asked to leave the church.

    We do not threaten women at Mars Hill. EVER.

    (I know you think Mark did this, but that is a situation that comes to us both second hand.)

    Women are our sisters and we care for them and love them. In fact I can’t think of a better and faster way for a guy to get his ass kicked. Please, pardon the language.

    If you personally know any man that has seriously threatend a woman at Mars Hill and attends, please let me know and I will tell you how to send me his name. That is somthing we do not tolerate.

  48. Jennifer Says:
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    Aaron,

    Let me say right up front that I think you probably have a great heart. I can see that you are seeking to respect women as sisters in the Lord.

    For right now, I just want you to take a step back and understand that some of your Christian sisters live in a world where pastors say things like that - and not only that, but the church members cheer him on. Really let that sink in. Forget MH, and forget Mark for a moment….just understand that some women really do live with this stuff. And then, I want you to go back to your church with your eyes wide open, knowing that no church is perfect and sin like that could even happen in the church that you love.

  49. Aaron, a Mars Hill man Says:
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    Jennifer,

    The only thing I can say is that you come visit and ask another pastor about it. That is not how Mark teaches men to behave and the account is contrary to my limited experience with the man. If it is true it needs to come before the congregation and Mark needs to be disciplined under what he has taught our own men. But right now it is a situation that neither you nor I know anything about, and thusly it is up to the people involved to handle the situation. Mark is not monolithic and he certainly is not the heart and soul of Mars Hill. That is Jesus. Mark is a guy that has gift for talking. If he gets fired we can find another. We already have several great preachers.

  50. Aaron, a Mars Hill man Says:
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    Jennifer,

    I understand what you say. Our church is less than perfect and so is our preacher. The only thing in our church that is perfect is Jesus. I go in with my eyes wide open every day. “The greatest threat to our church is not from the outside, its from the inside. It may even be me.” - Mark Driscoll.

  51. todd Says:
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    Here is my question:

    You say this is a justice issue. This requires a deffinition of what injustice is. Where do you get your ideas of what constitutes injustice and where do you get the motivation to oppose injustice.

    I assume (at least hope) you get your motivation to fight injustice from a belief that God is against injustice. If that is your view, you must also view God as just. This leads to the other question, how do you define justice?

    It seems there are two main ways that we as Christians can define injustice: something that goes against God’s design and intents, something we feel to be opressive to people. The problem that is encountered here is when the idea of complementarianism is, as a default, placed in the bag of injustice. The reason that this is such a problem is that very honest readings of scriptures lead people to that view. There is debate, but, apart from appeals to experience, there has yet to be any real difinitive conclusions. Basically, an honest, humble reading of the bible can lead people to egalitarianism, an equally honest, humble reading can lead people to complementarianism. If we are to say that God is just, then the LORD’s pronouncements must also be just. Many people see complementarianism as an edict set by God. For them, to be egalitarian would be to go against that which is most just, to go against the very One that has the right to define what justice is.

    So, the idea that it is a justice issue in such a cut and dry way is lacking both generosity and grace towards those that disagree with you. Yes, as Mr. Mee-Chapman said, the gospel is a pain, in fact the whole bible is. However, it is the thing we all must come to terms with so please be careful when you decide to attack ideas and dismiss a whole group of people as misogynistic oppressors because they come to different terms than yours. Your answers may be right, the answers you disagree with may be the right ones. Either way, it the perogative of God alone to dfine justice and any true understanding of it must submit to God’s will.

    blessings
    Todd

  52. Jim Watters Says:
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    So good, so very good. Thank you for being such a clear voice in the face of such a daunting issue. I appreciate all that you are doing there in Seattle. Peace and Blessings to You - Jim

  53. Rachelle Says:
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    i would like EVERYONE to keep in mind that the women who hold these stories with me–the women for whom these stories are indeed FIRST HAND,– these women (some of them) are reading this blog. they are hearing people say “this couldn’t possibly happen” and then calling me, hurt and damaged AGAIN and saying “But it did happen!” I beg–I literally BEG of you to STOP DENYING THE REALITY OF THIER EXPERIENCE! regardless of your experience at Mars Hill these women were told these things and treated in this manner. you may have a positive expereince there, other women may have a postive experiencer there, but these women did not. can you not see that??

    i’m sincerely regretting making this post, not because of the debate it’s creating around idealology, but because of the people who are denying the truth of these women’s already painful experiences. i expected fall out — but not of this manner, and i apologize for the orginators of this story who are now bearing the pain of having thier truths denied. i’m really sorry you are enduring this additiona beratement.

    all my love to the brave women formerly-of-mars-hill.

    rachelle

  54. mizliz Says:
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    One of the saddest realizations that comes out of these conversations is that you can change the names of the persons, denominations, ecclesiastical structures, etc. involved and the thousands of stories are multiplies beyond imagination. As dreadful as MH may be/is, there are good liberal denominations that clean their misogyny up but are just as guilty but with pc stickers on their foreheads. Sad but is what fuels the search for justice and full participation. One more light standing with you in the darkness.

  55. Lisa Says:
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    I want to comment on a couple of discrete elements here.

    First: fake apologies. If you want to apologize for something you’ve said, give a real apology: I am sorry I hurt you. NOT I’m sorry if you think I am hurting you. To give a fake apology is to continue the ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ debate. If you don’t want to apologize, don’t, but fake people out. That is a power and control tactic.

    Second: discussion by banging people over the head. “if only you’d come and experience it yourself” - again, this is a power and control tactic. There are a number of women who have had direct experiences, as expressed by Rachelle. Having heard from one of these women directly myself, I accept what they say on face value. When people, and in this specific case, men, tell others to come experience MH directly, what you are conveying is that these women’s stories are untrue and any idiot will figure that out by just attending MH once. Listen to your sisters stories. You are not being asked to adopted them as your own, but simply to listen and acknowledge their pain.

    Thirdly, just something I’ve noticed: no MH women have commented on this post. All the defending is coming from men. Hmmmm….. But PLEASE hear me clearly- that is not a challenge to gather up MH women to start a defence fight on Rachelle’s blog.

    Shalom to all.

  56. Lisa Says:
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    The last line in the first paragraph should have read “but DON’T fake people out”

  57. Louise Says:
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    I am a female member at Mars Hill. Your characterization of their treatment of women is false. In particular, I take issue with the portrayal of a complementarian view of women as some type of injustice. The call to submit, help and respect is not injustice. To call it so is to claim that the Holy Spirit is dealt injustice in the Trinity because He is called the Comforter/Counselor/Helper. OR that Jesus is dealt injustice by God when He emptied Himself of His rights and took on the form of a servant, humbling Himself even to death (Phil. 2). If you’re offended by the concept of submission, then you’re offended by the very nature of Christ’s role in the Trinity.

    Someone else likened a women’s submission to her husband as a slave/master relationship. That’s ridiculous. You need to let Scripture interpret Scripture, and the analogy the Bible gives us is Christ and the church. If you are offended by or don’t trust Christ’s authority over the church, then I can understand why you are distrustful of God’s commands to wives to submit to their husbands.

    Louise
    Mars Hill Member

  58. Aaron, a Mars Hill man Says:
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    I in no way intended to make it sound like I was denying their experience. I apologise if I did so.

  59. Phyllis Says:
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    To Rachelle and the women whose stories you have told,
    For the record, I believe you.
    Like Rachelle, I am also in a position to minister to women with stories like these, and worse, believe me. None of these stories shock me, or cause me one second of suspicion. I’ve heard the same from women in other places. Like the victims of sexual violence, telling the story can bring a huge backlash. Just know that your story is not lost, and what happened to you was not OK. Just because people don’t believe, doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t see.
    To those who hold the complementarian view I can only say this. I am a woman who has pastored a local church, who has sat as an elder on a governing board at an evangelical church of 6000, and who is currently an elder in the body of Christ at large. I didn’t particularly want to be these things, and I surely didn’t strive to be. He just made me this, even when I believed, like you, that I must be mistaken. Like you, I believed that pastoral leadership and ecclesiastical eldership is for men only.
    So now, if I attended your church, and asked for pastoral advice about my gift and calling, what would you do?
    My hunch is that you’d carefully, lovingly, and precisely inform me why I am either sinful, mistaken, or deluded in my thinking. Then perhaps you would speak to my husband and ask him why he let me get so far out of hand. In so doing you would inadvertantly undermine my ability to hear God, quench the spirit inside me, and rob yourselves of the gifts of one called by Jesus himself.
    I understand your dilemma, I really do. It just goes against the reality of what God is doing in his church today. Perhaps your theology regarding women in ministry is actually contrary to the work of the Spirit. This is a serious issue, one I ask you to carefully reconsider.

  60. april Says:
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    I’m just thinking as I’m reading the comments from the Mars Hill men- if Mark is teaching something so drastically different than what these women have experienced, you may want to reconsider if he is really such a great communicator/speaker after all!

    Clearly that warm, fuzzy, complementarian view isn’t really getting across to everyone!

  61. Rachelle Says:
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    I’m reading through all the comments now…I’m at number 20.

    Heather, rock on!!! Perfection.

    All I have to say is, “Yeah, what she said.”

    Okay got to go do something else for while. Will pick up reading again later.

    Rachelle

  62. kristi Says:
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    Dear Mr. Aaron,

    Thank you so much for clearing up a misconception that i have carried for so long. Until you wrote that “Seattleites are smart people, they don’t stick around when they are abused,” i had not realized that only stupid people are abused.

    if you have the time, could you please contact these authors to let them know this? I don’t think they had that information when they wrote their books:
    Diane Langberg, On the Threshold of Hope: Opening the Door to Hope and Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse; Elaine Weiss, Surviving Domestic Violence: Voices of Women Who Broke Free .

    Another thing i want to thank you for is the info that Seattle screens its people based on intelligence. i’m curious as to how the government does this. do they subject everyone to IQ tests? What do they do with the rejects? is there a special “immigration” task force that roves the city in search of the stupid?

    lastly, i’m thankful that no one in Seattle is abused. While i haven’t seen those same stats in the press, i’m glad that you have let us readers, here, in on that. If we can eradicate abuse from an entire metropolitan area, then, wow. there is hope for the world.

    thank you, again.
    ———————
    *takes off her sarcastic hat*

    let me be very clear as to what this comment is about.

    This comment is not about your church (MH).
    This comment is not about your pastor (MD).

    This comment is about the nature of abuse, and how it occurs. That one statement you made degrades men and women all over the world.

    If I could look you in the eye, i would do so, and tell you point blank that your sentence, “Seattleites are smart people, they don’t stick around when they are abused,” devalues me as a person and a woman. It devalues every single man or woman who has ever made the difficult decision to wake up in the morning, knowing that an abuser lives in their house. It devalues every person who has, rightly or wrongly, tried to choose forgiveness and grace in the face of a sinner. Lastly, it backs up the lies of the Enemy when an abuser tells his/her victim that s/he is “Stupid”.

    i doubt that you meant that sentence to carry that much weight. At least i hope you didn’t. In the name of grace and love, I just ask that you would be careful in the future.

    Please.

    Fists and baseball bats aren’t the only things that crush people.

  63. Jennifer Says:
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    Louise,

    I think its totally acceptable to say that *your* experience at Mars Hill is not characterized this way…but it’s unfair, and untrue, to say that everyone has had the same experience.

  64. Jennifer Says:
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    Aaron,

    I would really like to understand how your words could be taken as not denying these experiences? I just don’t see how they can. You said that MH doesn’t threaten women ever - but here you have a perfect example of a woman being threatened there.

    You know…you love your church. You respect your pastor. I can understand that. I know what it’s like to love a church, and to respect pastors. Can you imagine what it would be like if these stories were actually true? Can you imagine loving a church and committing yourself to it, only to have this happen? Think about what it would be like for a woman - not a woman on the margins of the church who has some angry point to prove - but a woman who trusts herself to the church, who is a faithful member to go through this. And imagine what it would be like for other believers to discount her experience with comments like “we don’t treat women that way” or “come and see for yourself and you’ll find out it’s not true”. How can we even have a profitable conversation about the issues behind the stories if the stories themselves are denied?

  65. Heather Says:
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    Thanks for your kind words, Rachelle. I sincerely hope that the story-sharers can feel validated and not just doubted by reading the comments on this blog. There are so many of us who share their stories - whether at MH or other churches. I was told so many times that I couldn’t do things in church because I was a woman that I quit going entirely. Now I’ve finally found a place where I feel safe and validated, so I have returned.

    For those who fly the “complementarian” flag, try to put yourselves in our place for awhile. Imagine that you are a child in a playground. All you’ve EVER wanted to do in that playground is swing as high as you can on the swingset. However, you’re told again and again that the rule book for that playground says that only people with brown eyes can swing on that swing. Your eyes are blue. They keep telling you that you still have as much value as the brown-eyed children - you just can’t play on the swings. They point to the slide and say “look, you’re very welcome over THERE.” You try to play on the slide, but again and again you feel drawn to the swings. You try REALLY hard to forget about the swings, but you can’t. It consumes you. You were MEANT for the swing set.

    Now tell me if you wouldn’t open up the rule book and try to understand whether it was simply being interpreted by the brown-eyed children and PERHAPS you can find your way to the swings.

    That little child was me, growing up and being told I couldn’t read the Bible in church. I couldn’t become president of my class in Bible College. I shouldn’t plan on getting an education. I should plan to stay home with my children. I should try to find my value in those things and forget about the swing set that kept calling me.

    Finally, I decided that if I couldn’t have the swing set, I couldn’t play in that playground. But when I left, I missed the playground and thought there must be a better way. I came back, determined to try once again. Finally, when I accepted my calling to be an elder and a leader and found a place where I could do it, I felt peace and contentment and a new depth in my relationship with God.

    Go ahead and try to tell me I was wrong. In MY playground, blue-eyed children get to swing!

    (I don’t blame the brown-eyed children - I know they’re just trying to figure it out as they go along too - I just ask them to try to understand.)

  66. Louise Says:
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    Rachelle,

    You only have 1 story that voices legitimate concern. I don’t deny the story of the first lady. However, there are 2 things I know to be true about that story.

    1) You have not given your readers both sides of the facts. In truth, you yourself have said you were unable to get the other side of the story when you tried to contact Driscoll. So you yourself do not know all of the facts either.

    2) While the head pastor of a church of 4000 is not generally able to have one-on-one conversations with everyone who takes issue with what he has said, there are multiple ways to get a legitimate concern heard and addressed at Mars Hill. I repeat, there are MANY ACCESSIBLE ways to have concerns addressed at Mars Hill. So even in the worst case scenario in which a pastor said to her exactly what was repeated to you, there are means for bringing those words before an appropriate authority so that the pastor in question is held accountable.

    I repeat my first point. What you have recounted here as some sytematic problem inherent in the complementarian view is actually 1 isolated incident in which we do not know all of the facts. We will never know all of the facts because, correctly so, no Mars Hill elder is going to tell YOU whatever other problems they perceived in this lady’s life.

    My final concern is that you are linking the first lady’s perceived injustice to sexual and physical abuse of women. We actually have a large ministry to sexually and physically abused women at Mars Hill, and I can tell you that linking the first lady’s perceived ill with sexual abuse really minimizes and denies the seriousness of that offense.

    Louise

  67. Jennifer Says:
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    Louise,

    Thank you for not denying the facts of the story of the first lady. But, you deny its importance by insinuating that she had “other problems” that would justify her pastor treating her that way. There is no justification for that. Ever. I think, in the end, even Mark would say that.

    As far as abuse goes, I don’t remember Rachelle ever linking it to sexual or physical abuse…but not all abuse is sexual or physical. Spiritual abuse can be just as harmful.

  68. renee Says:
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    it’s funny, as I read this, I find myself just as tired as I was/am when I finally posted about this.

  69. Josh Says:
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    I hope this thread isn’t over with, because after reading a good amount of the comments, I feel the need to put forth a little tidbit or two of my view.

    Anytime you speak from a position of authority, no matter what you say, it will be taken derogatorily. People pick up on this very quickly. Women, pick up on this instantly. Why? Because they have suffered for a long time under one authority or another that they have not wanted, or needed. They have been dealt that bad hand far too many times. And damn, they sure are fed up with it. I am too. It’s the shit end of the stick, and nobody should get that because of the gender they were born into.

    When you tell someone that their story is invalid, you speak under the assumption that you have the authority to say what is true and what is not. How could you possibly know what is truth for someone else? Is it because you don’t want to believe that someone could be hurt like that in your church? It happens. All the time. To almost everyone I have EVER met.

    When you say things like “we treat the women in this church very well”. That is a position of power. It’s a subtle one, but if you think about it you can begin to understand why it is. Claiming that you “treat women well” implies that you have the authority to treat them worse but choose not to out of the goodness of your heart. It implies that the female half has to be taken care of. It removes women’s voices from being heard. It implies they don’t have the ability to control their own lives.

    When you say that you “allow” women to become board members or whatever your church deems satisfactory from a woman. That is a heinous position of power.

    When you say that women can not be elders or pastors, that is a sexist statement.

    When you give someone the authority over you, they have the right to a statement like “I will allow you to…”, because you have submitted to their authority. Walking into a church is not giving someone else authority over you. Being a woman is not a sign of submission. Having a penis is not a sign of authority.

    I do not claim to know everything about this, because after all, I am a white male who has enjoyed a life without much racial, gender, ethnic, or religious diversity. I fancy myself a fairly egalitarian kind of guy and my wife still loves me.

    But I do know this… When you start speaking from a position of power or authority that you aren’t entitled to, then you better get ready for a shower because you are going to get all sorts of shit dumped on you.

  70. Paul (the dutiful husband) Says:
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    Okay, here’s that little SAT analogy again:

    Men are to Women as Master is to Slave.

    Let’s take a quick gander through the bible: there are slaves all over the place. Loads of rules about them in the OT. Some discussion of them in the NT. Things like: Masters, treat your slaves with respect. Slaves, obey your masters. Let’s look at Eph 6: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. … Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men…. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way….”

    This construction is *highly* similar to the Husbands & Wives construct in Eph 5 of mutual submission.

    So, now complementarianism: Masters & Slaves are complementary. Are we to view Husband-to-Wife as Master-to-Slave?

    The problem here is that complementarianism takes *mutual* submission and bashes women over the head with it by denying God-given spiritual and non-spiritual gifts.

    NO WHERE does the bible say women are to be housewives only. Or men are to be the breadwinners. These are social constructs of our society.

    Mark says that women can have any position of power and authority over men, except in the home and in the church. There, the top dog must be a man. This is duplicitous. It falls into spiritual dualism of secular-vs-sacred.

    If men & women are to be complementary, that they have different God-ordained roles, and if we are an eschatological people, then the only conclusion is that we should seek to live heavenly here on earth. I.E., that in heaven these complementary roles will continue. This means denying women any role that does not fit into that complementary compartment.

    Unfortunately for the health of the discussion, complementarians are ducking the direct theological/philosophical implications of their position. To be *truly* “biblically: complementarian demands a position that women should *never* be in a position of authority over a man.

    However, if, say, Mark Driscoll, or John Piper, or any other complementarian were to say “Women should not be doctors or lawyers or managers or CEOs or judges or police or politicians or anything else in which they may have authority over a man” they would immediately lose the respect of 95% of their followers. Thus, they don’t say that, even though their theology really does demand it.

    We in the U.S. have gone through a painful process of learning that our African American brothers and sisters aren’t complementary to us, that they aren’t 3/5ths human, that they aren’t our chattell. And we are still paying the price of our white arrogance, and continue to need to ask forgiveness and be re-educated.

    Unfortunately, to the fundamentalist churches such as Mars Hill, women are 3/5ths of a man.

    Despite that Jesus lived with the marginalized. Despite that Paul said there is neither male nor female. Despite the women apostles and prophets.

    It is interesting to note that pretty much the *only* people Jesus took out his hammer on were the pharisees and saduccees. He didn’t call the Samaritans “broods of vipers”. Nor the tax collectors. Or prostitutes. Nope, he reserved his anger for the religious leaders who oppressed the people of God.

    Today, there are religious leaders who still oppress. Right here in Seattle.

  71. Julie C. Says:
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    It’s really depressing to to be slapped in the face with one’s naivity. To exist in a world where one’s voice is usually heard, when I can serve God in whatever way I am called, where I can use my mind, where my husband loves and respects me, where I expect other believers to actually follow Christ - and then read this dumping of hate and oppression… its sad and overwhelming. I’m stupid. I’m naive. And yes - that is my personal reaction, my personal experience reading this.

  72. Louise Says:
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    We will reach no resolution on this topic because we have very different presuppositions from which we operate (presuppositions that have nothing to do with women). The primary difference in our presuppositions is the authority we assign to Scripture. My conviction is that Scripture is reliable and relevant for today. I am convicted that while I must studiously study Scripture to understand it, I am not allowed to pick and choose which commands I will obey based on how they make me feel about myself. So when God says He created woman as a helper suitable to the man, I take note. When God says that wives should submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ, I take note. To pawn this off as some twisted teaching MD is propagating of his own is to ignore Scripture itself.

  73. Jennifer Says:
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    Louise,

    A lot of believers who respect scripture every bit as much as you do, and who take it as seriously as you do, would still disagree with you. It’s not a matter of being flippant with scripture. It would be helpful if you could assume that we all love the Lord and we all take the scripture seriously and are willing to do as it leads.

    I don’t think anyone is trying to “pawn this off as some twisted teaching MD is propagating”, its a common view and a lot of Christians feel that way - I used to too. I do think that the fruit of this teaching in his life is problematic. If this view leads to saying things like he did about women, then something is off. Do you think the style of leading women that have been exposed here are what Jesus had in mind when he asked Peter to feed his sheep?

  74. Julie C. Says:
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    Louise
    I used to think as you do. It wasn’t until I took a higher view of scripture ad actually started studing it that I started to accept the concept that women can be in miistry. I do not throw away anything, instead I stopped ignoring/throwing away the passages that show women doing God’s work. I just wish all christians would show the scriptures the respect they deserve.

  75. ScottB Says:
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    Louise, when my son was born three months ago, my wife and I decided to have him circumcised. Have I denied the gospel? According to Paul in Galatians, I have. Am I picking and choosing? Or am I engaging in an interpretive act that we all do when we attempt to enact scripture in our own context?

  76. Louise Says:
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    Scott, you don’t need me to answer. You know from Scripture that circumcision is not the issue. I assume you’re trying to draw a similar analogy that Paul’s comments on women weren’t the issue either. However, the teaching on women is not specific to Paul. It starts in Genesis 2 and procedes throughout the various cultures addressed in Scripture.

    One final thought I’ll address and then I must be done with this discussion. Many statements made here are spoken from a mob mentality that is completely unaware of the actual position Mars Hill takes on women in leadership. If you would like a fully informed understanding of the issue, you can find it explained on the Mars Hill website (under downloads, misc. audio, debates).

    If you want to debate Scripture, I’m all for it. I did not make this an attack on a person. The author of this thread did that. However, I think the link on the www.marshillchurch.org website does a fairly concise job of articulating the Scriptural position the church (and I) hold. If after listening to it, you want to tear it apart piece by piece using a reasonable hermeneutic, feel free. My objection now is to the uninformed ad hominem attacks that repeatedly speak false information on Mars Hill’s position.

    Blessings,
    Louise

  77. shannon Says:
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    There are commandments and statements issued regarding poverty thousands of times throughout scripture…is the church dedicating its mission to the poor?
    Over and over, Christ demonstrates the idea of the great reversal–how the last shall become first. He was NOT interested in social order, but in people loving God first and their neighbor second. Neighbor being gender-neutral.
    The role of gender is mentioned very little in the gospels, whereas God’s love for all people–particularly the marginalized– is mentioned over and over again. Paul is the one who speaks most on marriage, and although his texts are important, he’s not Jesus. Didn’t even know him directly. Above all, I follow the example of Jesus, his life, his teachings, his character. I am a Christ-ian.

    To deny the reality of these womens’ experiences, and minimize their importance is cruel. It’s akin to the response to a domestic violence victim–”You’re over-reacting–He didn’t really mean it-You must have done something–”. It allows the cycle to continue, because it forces people to remain silent. Why get hurt again?

    You can see from the reaction on this thread why it would be pointless to try and pursue any individual action at the church–it would just create more pain for the victims.

  78. Jeff Says:
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    Louise,

    You speak of taking scripture seriously, yet I ask this in light of scripture, Do you wear makeup, have you braided you hair, wear jewelry and do your cover your head when you worship?

    Just asking,

    Jeff

  79. kristidusekatyahoodotcom Says:
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    Dear Louise,

    Thank you so much for writing this:
    “The primary difference in our presuppositions is the authority we assign to Scripture. My conviction is that Scripture is reliable and relevant for today. I am convicted that while I must studiously study Scripture to understand it, I am not allowed to pick and choose which commands I will obey based on how they make me feel about myself.”

    I am SOOO excited to find a church like you describe Mars Hill to be. So few churches or even “Christians” really treat Scripture with the authority it deserves and demands. I’m doubly excited to learn that y’all have found a way to bypass all those “cultural lenses” through which so many are forced to interpret Scripture today!**

    I’m so excited that I have bunches of questions!!! :) But first, let me share a concern with you. I was checking out your website like you provided, and I was a little troubled by what I saw in that Q13 Fox News clip. The women portrayed as “church members” look a little rebellious and defiant. I’ve been studying 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 in one of my classes, and what I read in verse 5 makes me nervous when I see all those women in MH’s congregation without head coverings (some even, brace yourself, had short hair), especially when you consider 1 Thessalonians 5:17, to pray continually! I was relieved to see that none of the men had hats or other head coverings on. Oh, wait, there was that guy with the motorcycle helmet. I take that back then. And that guy with the Mohawk, who was labeled a “church member”. I actually have no problem with Mohawks, it just that his particular Mohawk seemed a little “long.” In light of verse 14, that makes me still more nervous. If they weren’t labeled “church members” then I could have at least written them off as unbelievers. But I’m sure you will address all of that. Those people have probably been corrected by now, right?

    So, how do you live out 1 Corinthians 11:5? This is where all my exciting questions come! :) I have so much to learn!

    Do you prefer bonnets or hats or large “kerchiefs”? (don’t you hate it when it comes off? A friend once had to wait until a man scotch-taped a paper plate onto her head before she even opened her mouth in public (true story). She was humiliated, but I think you and I (and others in the know) would agree that the man was just being resourceful and caring, right?)
    Do you prefer to braid your hair? Or the ponytail? Or the bun? Or just let it go loose?
    Do you crawl under a blanket to brush your hair so that you can have your head covered while praying continually?
    When men become believers, do y’all have barbers up front for the altar call? (do y’all even do altar calls?) How long is too long? Who decides that?
    When women get cancer and undergo Chemo, and her hair falls out in patches, and she shaves her head so that it doesn’t look like mange, how long does her hair have to be before she can pray again? Or, oooooohhh, do y’all have a resident wig-maker? This is a whole world I’ve been dying to explore! :) Figuring out the practicalities of straight-up, un-interpreted Scripture can be so intricate, that it’s like a clever little game! So fun!

    it’s so silly that people refuse to treat Scripture authoritativly, ESPECIALLY, given paul’s warning in v 16: “If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.”

    I am eagerly awaiting your reply comment, or email!

    In Christ,
    kristi

    **(I know that you probably can’t talk about it in an open forum like this, but I would be really interested in getting in touch with the pastor/director of y’all’s Time Travel Ministry. Since I’m sure y’all also offer courses in Early Aramaic, (to prepare for “the trip” and all) how often do those start? Quarterly? Semesterly? And how much do they cost? I gotta start saving! :) )

  80. Larry Says:
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    There are several things going on here that are confusing the issue.

    1. The original blog entry took several anecdotal stories (one-sided) and built a whole argument about a scriptural teaching out of them. That is not a good way to do theology. Theology is not built off of experience, but off of revelation. If Driscoll or someone at Mars Hill did treat women with disrespect, that does not change the Bible’s teaching. Telling heart wrenching, one sided anecdotes hardly serves a worthy purpose, unless your purpose is to pull on heart strings without the cords of Scripture.

    2. Several comments have been made about women fulfilling their God-given calls and passions for ministry. Complementarians never deny a woman the opportunity to fulfill her God-given call. What complementarians believe is that God does not call a woman to do something he has commanded her not to do. That is the highest form of spiritual abuse. Someone who loves God and his Word would never call someone to live in disobedience, or allow them to continue in disobedience without loving and gracious confrontation and call to repentance.

    3. On equality in the church, complementarians have no issues with that. Complementarians take very serious that there is no more male or female. They also read the rest of hte verse and put it in context. The context there is not leadership function, but spiritual equality. Complementarians believe that women are equal in spirituality before God. They are equal in personhood before God. In fact, biblical Christianity is the one place in human history that has honored women when no other places have.

    4. Too many people are confusing equality of personhood with equality of roles. God has defined gender roles, and it is not up to anyone to redefine them.

    In all this passage about women and ministry, there has been a lot of opinion but very little discussion of revelation. That shows a serious disregard for God’s word. How can we talk about the church and men and women and not center the discussion on Scripture? What drove this conversation to get to 77 comments with so little of God’s comments on the matter? We have talked about a lot culture, a lot about feelings, a lot about stories of how people were treated, and very little about what God’s says.

    1 Tim 2 is explicit on this matter. Women are not forbidden from learning. In fact, they are commanded to learn. Women are not forbidden from teaching. In fact, they are commanded to teach (Titus 2:4). What they are not to do in the church is have authority or to teach men.

    Many of you will claim (as someone already did) that this was a first century problem because women weren’t educated in the first century and therefore couldn’t teach properly. That is simply not true, in Scripture. Scripture tells us that women were educated in the things of God. They were knowledgeable about Scripture.

    But more importantly, look at the text itself. God gives us the reasons why women are not to teach or have authority, and it has nothing to do with the first century, with ignoring their God-given call to ministry, with being less of a person, or any such thing. God roots his teaching in creation, that men were created first, and women were deceived.

    Those two reasons are not first century reasons. Paul was not addressing a first century problem in the church at Ephesus. He was giving a universal reason for all time. As soon as those two things change, then we can bind God’s teaching only to the first century.

    As Louise said, this is about authority. Someone responded that people who love God and the Bible as much as Louise differ from her (and I, by extension). That simply isn’t true. When you love God and his Word, you don’t deny it, or change it.

    This is a settled matter. Why it continues to be a point of tension in modern Christianity shows only how far modern Christianity is from loving Christ and his Word.

    We need to leave the anecdotes and return to Scripture. If Driscoll or someone at Mars Hill mistreated women, then deal with it. But don’t change Scripture. Two wrongs don’t make it right.

  81. Julie C. Says:
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    Funny, every encounter I have with Mars Hillians online seems to follow a similar pattern. They’re always in the position of having to make excuses for some highly offensive comments made by their pastor. It’s not just this blog or this issue. I’ve had this experience on several occasions with different Mars Hillians on various topics. It’s always the same, Mark says something offensive, and all of his followers are left to explain why he didn’t really mean what he said.

    What I don’t understand is why they don’t see this as a problem. Why are you still following a man who is constantly tearing apart and tearing down the body of Christ with his careless words?

  82. Mike Clawson Says:
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    Oops! Just for the record, that last post was by me, Mike C., Julie’s husband. Not by Julie herself, though I don’t doubt she’d say the same thing. She’s had the same kind of run-ins online with Mark Driscoll’s disciples.

  83. ScottB Says:
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    Louise wrote:

    You know from Scripture that circumcision is not the issue.

    This is an interesting - and telling - comment, because scripture never says that circumcision isn’t the issue. We interpret scripture in that way, but it’s not explicit - it’s implicit. I am, by the way, assuming that we’re talking about the discussion in Galatians - it sounds as though you understood that, but just for clarification’s sake I thought I’d note it.

    Your assumption is correct about what my comment was driving at - I am absolutely trying to make the connection between Paul’s comments on circumcision and his comments on the place of women in the body of Christ. But I’m not sure if it’s the connection that you think I’m trying to make. You see, I believe that when we read scripture, we’re reading over the shoulders of the first century church. I believe that there are cultural elements in play that complicate the matter of interpretation. There are missing pieces for us, so to speak, and we miss a part of the meaning as a result. For example, in the question of circumcision in Galatians, we know that Paul opposes it. We also know that he, elsewhere, condones it. So the question is - what gives? Why oppose, or why condone? What did it mean for the Galatian church that it didn’t mean for Timothy in Acts, for example? That’s the missing piece, and we’re frankly not given it.

    However, we are given the missing piece in many places for Paul’s instructions about the relationship between women and men, and the most frequent reason given has to do with the proclamation of the gospel. The instructions are so that And here, again, we find Paul doing two things. Sometimes he condones women in all kinds of important roles, including teacher, deaconess, apostle, and prophetess. Other times, he draws lines. So the question that we need to ask is what is the missing piece? Why the varying approach? Until we start to ask that question - what did Paul’s instructions have to do with proclaming the gospel in a first century context - we have no basis on which to grapple with this issue.

    As to the Genesis passage, I’d simply point out two things: first, Genesis 2 uses language of women that is most commonly used in the OT of God as our help. It reflects not on the position of the woman in relation to the man, but rather on the need of the man for help. Second, hierarchy and striving for position don’t come until Genesis 3 - it’s a result of the curse in the Genesis narrative, not a part of creational intent. You can’t start with Paul in understanding Genesis here - you have to start with Genesis first. You’re absolutely right that we need to start in Genesis. I just think it says something far different than what you seem to be saying.

  84. Cindy Spencer Says:
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    Louise,

    I wrestled with these issues for many years, even to the point of trying to use them to ignore the ministry to which God had called and equipped me. I would strongly urge you to consider that it might be helpful to begin your reading of gender roles with Genesis 1, and not with the fall in Genesis 3. If the goal of Christ’s death and resurrection is to restore us to God and each other, surely we are looking for a Genesis 1 type of restoration. If male dominance appears as a result of sin, restoration cannot be about continuing in this sin!

    Also, the Hebrew word used in Genesis 2 (’ezer), translated as “helper” (as in “I will make him a ‘helper’”) is the same word used other places in the OT refering to God as our helper. It is never used to for a helper in a subordinate position. Some scholars have suggested that a proper translation of Genesis 2:18 would be “I will make a power (or strength) equal to him.”

    Anyway, I don’t want to muddle the argument any more than it already is, but I do want to point out that accepting the story of the fall as one of your legs to support a complementary or traditionalist viewpoint of gender relations is not as easy as it seems. Actually, most of the “hard passages” in Paul are not that easy either - they’re actually called “hard passages,” not because we don’t like what they’re saying, but because their meaning in Greek is quite ambiguous (something you won’t find in most English translations)>

  85. Larry Says:
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    Cindy,

    Though you wrote to Louise, I want to respond becasue two things caught my attention.

    First you say you tried to ignore what God has called and equipped you to do, presumably meaning that he called you to a position of authority over men and you tried to ignore it. As kindly and directly as I can say it, that reveals a fundamental disregard for what God says. He never calls someone to disobey him. He is the one who made the standard.

    Secondly, you say that male dominance appeared as the result of sin. That is incorrect. Male leadership was the way God created it. The curse, in Gen 3:16 was that woman would want to rule over man, but her husband would still rule over her. That is a simple, explicit statement about gender roles.

    The beauty of biblical teaching is that women are protected from things God never intended them to be exposed to. Men can lead with confidence and security in Christ, and women can follow. If someone bases their personal worth on whether or not they can pastor a church and be a leader over their husband, then they have a very false sense of self-worth. God has a much higher standard than man has.

    You citation of Gen 2:18 is certainly correct. It was a helper suitable, or a complement. A completer. It was someone who completes man, not who takes over his role.

    And again, I must note that no one here is yet willing to take God on in 1 Tim 2. It is not a hard passage. It is not ambiguous. In fact, in all of Paul’s writings about gender roles in God’s creation and order, there is very little that is ambiguous. It is rejected because some people don’t want to accept God’s authority.

    And FTR, I am from out east. I am not a “marshillian” as someone called it.

  86. ScottB Says:
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    Larry - the fundamental issue with your exegesis of Genesis is that nowhere in the narrative is the man portrayed as having authority over the woman until Genesis 3. Nowhere. It’s simply not there. You’re trying to read Paul back into Genesis, and it simply doesn’t work. Cindy is right on here.

  87. Cindy Spencer Says:
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    Larry,

    I am concerned that your image of Biblical leadership involves someone “ruling over” another person. That is the opposite of the type of leadership that God calls us to, and nowhere close to the type of leadership modeled by Jesus (in fact he rebukes the disciples for viewing leadership in this matter.) So if you understood my post to say that I desired to “rule over” any man or woman, I apologize. I want no part of that type of leadership, particularly in the church or in a marriage. My husband and I seek to lead together - not always simple, but always worthwhile.

    As to the I Tim. 2 comment, I again ask, are you exegeting from the Greek? With proper attention to immediate context (surrounding verses), larger context (the book of I Tim.), even larger context (the pastoral letters), and so on (writings of Paul, writings of the NT, other contemporary writings?) I’d be happy to talk to you further if that’s the case. Contemporary English translations make Paul’s statements look simple and straight forward, and even the first level of this kind of exegesis posits many problems with these translations.

  88. Larry Says:
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    Cindy,

    Thanks for your response. You used the term “dominance” with respect to man. I intentionally did not use that term. But let’s face it. Gen does talk about man ruling over his wife, and Eph puts that in the context of Christ ruling over the church. Is Christ’s relationship to the chruch one of mutual submission? Even in Eph 5:22 where we are to “submit to one another,” that term is never used of mutual submission but of a submission of rank.

    Furthermore, the Bible describes church leadership has having rule, or overseeing (1 Tim 3:5; 1 Thess 5:14; Heb 13:17; etc.). One of the titles of the pastor is “overseer.” So yes, biblically speaking (if we are going to talk exegesis), church leadership does have the aspect of rule. It is not “lording over” (cf. 1 Peter 5:1-2), but it is leading.

    With respect to 1 Tim 2, I have exegeted from the Greek. I have translated it many times, exegeted it many times using many sources … so if you want to talk at that level I will be glad to. Interestingly enough, that is my text for next Sunday morning.

    The truth is that the passage is not confusing, either in Greek or English. In fact, it is so not confusing that the church has had a broad consensus for centuries that changed only with the advent of modern feminism. In the Greek, in hte context of 1 Timothy and the church at Ephesus, and in the first century culture, Paul’s statements are simple and straightforward, just as the English usually makes it appear. It is only confusing when we go outside the Bible to try to substantiate something.

    But I will be glad to have that discussion with you.

  89. Larry Says:
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    Scott,

    If you read Genesis 1-2, you see that man did have the leadership over his wife. You are trying to create a fight between Paul and We simply don’t believe that God Moses, and ultimately between God and God. That is what won’t work. Paul, under the inspiratio of God, commented on God’s intent in Genesis. So we are not trying to force Paul on Genesis.

    You can’t introduce contradictions into God’s revelation because modern feminism doesn’t like what God says. Modern feminism’s disrespect of women should be appalling to everyone, and the fact that it is so widely accepted shows just how far we are removed from God’s way of living. I believe women should be shown great respect, much more than modern feminism is willing to show.

    Prior to the curse, the husband’s leadership wasn’t challenged. That was what the fall brought. When you read the narrative of Genesis 2-3 you see that the curse brought a change that made life bad. What was the change? Women would try to rule over her husband. That was a change from what God intended … that the husband be the leader of the wife.

    I think your view, Scott, reveals a fundamental problem with a view of Scripture. I am not willing to create the contradictions you seem to be willing to create. I think women should pursue what God has called them to do. I think should have a higher place of honor and respect, not a lower one. I think it is sin to ask women to do something God has forbidden them from doing. That directly attacks the dignity and honor that God gave women.

  90. kristidusekatyahoodotcom Says:
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    Larry, dear,

    can you help me out? i think someone came and cut chunks out of my Bible when i wasn’t looking. can you point out those verses in Gen1-2 which say that man had the leadership over his wife? or maybe direct me to your translation? i read Gen 1-2 in the following translations: NIV, NASB, NKJV, Amplified, Message, NLT, ESV, CEV, KJ21, ASV, Young’s literal, Darby, NLV, Holman Christian, NIRV, NIVUK, and the KJV.

    i’m sure that when i get those missing pieces, i’ll be able to understand the rest of your argument.

    thanks!

  91. Julie C. Says:
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    Larry-
    Can you please lay off the confused and circular arguements? To think that someone is basing an arguement on anecdotal stories is a bit absurd. The theology is there and is sound - the stories are ways in which women have been hurt and a call to do something about that. Your whole “God doesn’t call women because God doesn’t call women argument” seems lacking. And as it has been said here over and over - stop denying the experiences women have. Women know they have been called. your responses reminds me way too much of the people who say miracles don’t happen because mircles don’t happen. Circular arguements get nowhere. As for the 1 Tim passage - please do more research. The whole “authority over man” is a weird translation that makes little sense within the context of the text itself.

  92. ScottB Says:
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    I think your view, Scott, reveals a fundamental problem with a view of Scripture. I am not willing to create the contradictions you seem to be willing to create.

    Ditto, my friend, ditto. The bottom line is that what you’re saying about Genesis simply isn’t true. Read Kristi’s comments above - she’s exactly right.

    What happens with your approach is that you’re unable to ask the real question about what Paul is doing in the NT. The “contradictions” are there already, in the same way that there’s a “contradiction” between Paul’s teaching on circumcision to the Galatians and his actions with Timothy in Acts. Or, perhaps they’re not contradictions at all - but local reflections of what was needed in a particular place at a particular time to further the cause of the gospel, as Paul discusses in 1 Corinthians 10-11.

    I think it is sin to ask women to do something God has forbidden them from doing.

    See, I think it is sin to forbid women to do something God has asked them to do.

  93. Larry Says:
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    Thanks for your responses. I would like to keep this a civil discussion in charity and grace, rather than resort to sarcasm and attacks. I will do my best to do my part and talk about issues and not people.

    Larry, dear, can you help me out? i think someone came and cut chunks out of my Bible when i wasn’t looking. can you point out those verses in Gen1-2 which say that man had the leadership over his wife?Sarcasm is never a good resort in civil dialogue. I don’t intend to carry on a conversation in that spirit. The reality is that there are no missing piece. Paul, under the inspiration of God, tells us that the fact that man was created first (Gen 2) means that man was ordained to be the leader of his wife and the leader of women in the church. It is right there in Genesis 2 and 1 Tim 2.

    Can you please lay off the confused and circular arguements? To think that someone is basing an arguement on anecdotal stories is a bit absurd. I have made no circular or confused argument. The original post referred to three stories about how women were allegedly treated as Mars Hill. I have no dog in this fight, so for all I know, the stories are true. It is irrelevant to the theology issue, which is my concern. The fact that some men and some churches have treated women badly is sinful. But not all have.

    Your whole “God doesn’t call women because God doesn’t call women argument” seems lacking.Where did I ever make this argument? What I said is that God doesn’t call women to a position of teaching or authority over a man in the church because he has called only men to that position. That is the clear unambiguous statement of God on the topic.

    stop denying the experiences women have. Women know they have been called.So you believe God calls people to disobey what he has said in Scripture. What if some man comes up to you and says that God called him to commit adultery with his secretary? Are you going to deny his experience? How can you, given your basis of determining God’s will?

    I believe that God never calls anyone to do something that he has commanded them not to do.

    As for the 1 Tim passage - please do more research. The whole “authority over man” is a weird translation that makes little sense within the context of the text itself.I have read every major commentary and article on the passage. If you have some additional information, please pass it along. I would love to see it.

    What happens with your approach is that you’re unable to ask the real question about what Paul is doing in the NT. … local reflections of what was needed in a particular place at a particular time to further the cause of the gospelSo if Paul was giving local reflections about what was needed at Ephesus in that particular time, why doesn’t he say that? Why does he reach back thousands of years to creation to make his point? If the problem was uneducated first century women, why didn’t Paul say that? If the problem was local to Ephesus, why didn’t he say that? As you well know, you can read the entire book of 1 Timothy and the book of Ephesians and see no reference to this supposed local problem. When you add on the fact that Paul goes back to creation and fall principles to make his point, we have no legitimate conclusion but to conclude that Paul was giving a universal standard for the church.

    You bring up 1 Corinthians 10-11. That is such a great passage, because it confirms exactly what I am saying, and does so in a clear way. Paul uses what is clearly a ancient custom (head coverings, which is completely absent in 1 Tim 2), and he uses creation (which is present in 1 Tim 2) to argue the point that I am making … that men are called to be the leaders in marriage and in church. So what are the differences between 1 Cor and 1 Tim? Both give the eternal principle, rooted in creation, that men are called to be leaders in marriage and church.

    This is an area where you guys are denying the biblical text in favor of the abuse of women. I simply cannot fathom that. Why would you allow a woman to sin against God? Should we not in love deal with such issues biblically?

    And in all this, we still don’t have much discussion of the actual biblical text. Why? I have brought it up, and the only thing I have gotten in “Gen 1-2 don’t say that,” and “authority makes no sense in 1 Tim 2.” Those are very weak arguments that would not last in any legitimate Bible college or seminary. If Gen 1-2 do not teach that man has leadership in marriage and church, then why does Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, say that it does?

    Why not forget the peripherals about experience and call for the moment, and deal with that question. If Gen 1-2 do not teach that man has leadership in marriage and church, then why does Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, say that it does?

  94. Julie C. Says:
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    this book is a decent resourse supported by people in “legitimate” bible colleges and seminaries. but you really don’t seem open to thinking about this, so I’m going to stop wasting my time…

  95. Cindy Spencer Says:
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    It seems to me that we’re missing a huge piece here that is relevant to Rachelle’s original post - namely, what does leadership mean from a Biblical perspective? I have a difficult time even wanting to respond to some of your statements, Larry, because our understanding of what it means to be a leader in a Christian community (or in the world at large, but from a Christian mindset) is completely different. If we can’t agree on what this type of leadership is, is it any wonder we can’t even honestly talk about who these leaders are? And isn’t one of the main issues of Rachelle’s original post really about a leader abusing his authority to shut down women’s viewpoints? Just a thought.

  96. ScottB Says:
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    That is such a great passage, because it confirms exactly what I am saying, and does so in a clear way. Paul uses what is clearly a ancient custom (head coverings, which is completely absent in 1 Tim 2), and he uses creation (which is present in 1 Tim 2) to argue the point that I am making … that men are called to be the leaders in marriage and in church. So what are the differences between 1 Cor and 1 Tim? Both give the eternal principle, rooted in creation, that men are called to be leaders in marriage and church.

    So, in your church, the women cover their heads, right? Because Paul explicitly links it to creation, and because there’s nothing in the passage (according to your view) that says that it’s local and situational? And if you can’t answer that question in the affirmative, then I really struggle to find the point in your comments, because they’re self-contradictory.

  97. Larry Says:
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    Cindy,

    How do you think our definitions of leadership differ? I am not sure what you are basing that off of.

    If a leader is abusive, he is in sin. I already said that. So I am not defending Driscoll, or Mars Hill. Quite frankly, I have no idea whether these things are true or not. That is not my point.

    A leader should not use his authority to shut down a woman’s viewpoint.

    And aren’t you the one who wanted to discuss 1 tim 2?

  98. ScottB Says:
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    Oh, and one more thing: let’s examine the biblical narrative and see how often being first born or first created was indicative of God’s favor. List of significant firstborns in scripture:
    1. Cain
    2. Ishmael
    3. Esau
    4. Reuben
    5. Eliab (David’s brother)
    6. Amnon (David’s son)

    Hmmm…. something wrong with your exegesis here. Could it be that Paul is employing typology (something that he does often) instead of exegeting Genesis in the way that we would do so?

  99. Larry Says:
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    I just type a response that didn’t get posted for some reason. So if this comes through twice, please forgive me. This will be slightly different since I don’t remember exactly what I said.

    First, I note that no one has yet been willing to address the question. Why? If Gen 1-2 do not teach that man has leadership in marriage and church, then why does Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, say that it does?

    First, with respect to 1 Cor 11 and headcoverings. If you read 1 Cor 11 and read my comments, please note what is being discussed. The issue in 1 Cor 11 is not headcoverings per se. It is authority. That is the local cultural issue. Authority is the universal issue. Headcoverings is how a proper relationship to authority was shown. God is teaching that when you come to worship, you should demonstrate outwardly in the appropriate cultural manner that you are living inwardly under the timeless principle of authority. Paul links to creation not because of headcoverings, but because of authority, the same as he does in 1 Tim.

    Second, with respect 1 Tim 2, let’s address it specifically.

    Can we agree that v. 12 says a woman is not to teach (didaskein) or exercise authority (authentein) over a man? I think that is self-evident isn’t it? Authentein in a hapax, so its meaning is more difficult; didaskein is a common word that means “teach.”

    Can we agree that v. 13 begins with an explanatory gar, where Paul will give the reasons for his teaching? Again, that should be self-evident.

    Now look at the reasons:
    1. Adam was created first, then Eve.
    2. Women was deceived.

    Which of those two reasons is no longer true? That would be the key defining factor in whether or not this teaching is still binding. If the reasons are not longer true, then the teaching is no longer binding. If the reasons are still true, then the teaching is still binding. So which reason isn’t true?
    Lastly, Scott, you talk of examining the biblical narrative for other examples of first born or first created. Here’s the problem with your exegesis: Paul did not use any of those examples. First, they aren’t about creation. They are about birth. Secondly, the Holy Spirit did not inspire Paul to use them since they were irrelevant to the point, apparently. Is Paul employing typology? It doesn’t seem so from the text. Here is a case where you are trying to explain away the text by using things Paul did not say. I can’t see how that is good exegesis. Why not simply take what Paul does say and address that?

  100. Larry Says:
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    Sorry, friends … I messed up my numbering in the last post. I really can count.

  101. odessah Says:
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    Let’s just for a minute imagine that God, in his wisdom, realized that eventually people would start to question whether stuff in the Bible was tainted by the experience of the human writers, culture, our depraved minds, whatever. And God knew that there were some things he wanted to be very, very clear about regarding how people should treat each other. Solution? Write it down himself! Voila! Ten commandments, written by the hand of God on stone tablets. Simple, clear, concise, and the clearest, most direct explanation we have of what God wants.

    So, we have a very, very clear commandment FROM GOD HIMSELF: “Thou shalt not kill.”

    Yet would you consider shooting an intruder in order to protect your family?

    Or support an assassination attempt against someone like, oh, Hitler, or Osama Bin Laden, in order to protect people?

    Or even allow some slack for the times in the Old Testament when God had the Isrealites kill as they took over the land God had given them (even though this command totally contradicted the command they were carrying around that says, IN WRITING from God, that this is definitely *NOT COOL*)?

    Larry, could you please explain how your belief that “I believe that God never calls anyone to do something that he has commanded them not to do” applies to this principle?

    My hope is that if you are committed to taking the Bible explicitly at what it says without any interpretation, that at least you are applying that principle consistently.

  102. ScottB Says:
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    Larry - was Adam deceived, or not? It’s hard to arge that he wasn’t, from the Genesis acct. That’s part of what raises the question about whether Paul is using typology here. If not, he is most certainly contradicting Genesis.

  103. Larry Says:
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    Scott,

    The Bible answers that question for us.

    1 Timothy 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

    So, according to God, Adam was not deceived. He knew what he was doing.

    In fact, in the Genesis account, one of the problems is what Adam did not take his role of headship seriously enough to step in when Eve was being tempted. He did not stand up for her dignity and honor in the face of temptation. That may be one reason why the curse injected hostility into the husband/wife relationship. Adam did not stand up for his wife, so as a result, his wife would desire to rule over him.

    Can you answer either of the questions I asked above?

    If Gen 1-2 do not teach that man has leadership in marriage and church, then why does Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, say that it does?

    Given the reasons for God’s teaching on women teaching and having authority over men…

    1. Adam was created first, then Eve.
    2. Women was deceived.

    … Which of those two reasons is no longer true?

  104. odessah Says:
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    Larry,

    Your question is “If Gen 1-2 do not teach that a man has leadership in marriage and church, then why does Paul, under the inspiration fo the Spirit, say that it does?”

    Short answer is, Paul was referring to Genesis 3. :-)

    You say that Adam did not take his role of headship seriously enough, but can you point to where that was actually assigned to him? The only assignment of authority we know about so far is in Genesis 1:28, where God gave both man & woman dominion over all things on the earth. If man’s authority over woman was that important, don’t you think THIS might have been a nice place to mention it?

    If Genesis teaches that Adam was the leader, that’s cool. But I don’t see that in Genesis. Paul is using some specific examples for Genesis to tell why women should be silent. (Many reputable scholars believe that he picked out these two examples from Genesis to counter false teachings that Timothy might have been having to deal with.)

    Genesis 1:27 has God creating them in one fell swoop with no regard to order, and in Genesis 1:28 BOTH are given dominion over all the things on the earth. (Actually, if order is a reason for leadership, then we can look to the creation order in Genesis 1 and all start submitting to fish!)

    So, indeed, I am curious why Paul chose to site these particular reasons for he doesn’t let women teach. (And you will note that he says “*I* suffer not a woman to teach”, not “God does not allow women to teach”.) Furthermore, he only says that he does not allow a woman to usurp authority over the man…I can’t find where Paul explicily says that men exclusively have leadership in marriage and church. But I’m open to look at whatever you find.

    Now, just for kicks, can we look at the entire sentence that the “deceived” statement is found in?

    1Ti 2:11-15:
    Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
    But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
    Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

    If you’re taking this at face value, this puts a whole new, really squicky twist on missions, doesn’t it? :-)

    I guess my real question for everyone is, what great sin do you think God will punish you for if you err on the side of grace and allow women to give “leadership” a go?

  105. Dana Ames Says:
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    Larry,
    I hope you can recognize how heavy many women’s hearts get over this question, even if you continue to disagree with the egalitariain position, as I think you probably will. However, since you asked a question, reasonably and seemingly sincerely, and Rachelle has released us all to talk in her “living room”, so to speak, I will try to converse with you.

    I don’t think anyone would deny that Adam was created first, or that Eve was deceived. The problem is not with those facts, but with regard to the interpretation of those facts that is consistent and makes sense with other things we find truthful.

    Part of that interpretation, as someone else above said, has to do with the idea of what leadership is. We have all grown up in a society where “leadership” is a top-down thing. What if that is not the nature of “leadership” in the Bible? What if “leadership” is something that is collaborative, done in plurality, in relationship? (Kind of like the Trinity?) What if Paul isn’t talking about “leadership” at all, with regard to men and women?

    Adam’s being created first only connotes “leadership” only if one believes “leadership” is a top-down, ladder-shaped sort of thing. I think one reason Adam was created first was that God was differentiating His creation story from the stories of the cultures around Israel, which were female-centered and soaked in violence and division. God’s story is peaceful, loving, and calls man and woman to unity, thus God formed Adam, and Eve was taken out of man. There is no hint in Gen 1-2 that this is in any way a subordinate position. “Helper suitable” in Hebrew means one who looks at you face to face. Again, no hint of subordination.

    Because of this, Paul cannot be arguing for male “leadership” in marriage and church in 1Tim or anywhere else. He must be arguing for something else. The usual Greek word for “create” is ktizo, but that is not the word used in 1Tim- the word there is plasso, which connotes “formation”, as in “spiritual formation”, a sort of molding (where we get our word plastic) that happens as one is taught. The problem in 1Tim is that Paul views Eve being deceived because somehow she hadn’t learned enough, not because it was something inherent in her nature as female. Perhaps you are right about Adam not stepping in- it seems to me that strengthens my argument :) The solution to the problem for Paul, what he is arguing for, is “Let a woman learn” so that she won’t be deceived.

    As for autheintin, this is the only place it appears in the Bible, and I understand it’s rare in the rest of Greek literature. There has been lots of ink spilled over this. The interpretation that makes the best sense to me, based on a linguistic argument, is something like “I do not permit women to hold the idea that they are better than men or behave in a domineering manner toward them,” which is reasonable given the prevalence of fertility religions. This article is helpful for exploring the scholarly research behind autheintin and kephale: http://godswordtowomen.org/healing/abusearticles/scholer.htm
    The sense of this passage, in the context of public worship beginning with v.8, then becomes something like: Let a woman learn with the right attitude. I am not permitting a woman to teach that women are better than men or to act in a domineering manner toward them; she is to be calm (hesychia). For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and because Adam was formed but Eve was not, she was deceived and sinned. Yet redemption will come to her as a woman (or perhaps, Eve’s redemption will be in being the ancestor of the Savior), provided they continue in faith, love, holiness and modesty.

    I think your question, “Why would God call someone to do something that would disobey him?” comes from the way you interpret Scripture. You believe that God could not possibly do that. But what if Scripture does not support that interpretation? What about Priscilla, who “worked” with Paul, a word he uses of those who helped him spread the Gospel, implying preaching and teaching? What about Phoebe, a “prostatis”, someone who is “out in front”? To me this connotes more than cooking and cleaning. What about the Magnificat?- the fact that it was included in Scripture indicates that it was given the weight of teaching (2Tim3:16).

    I would also commend to you Paul’s list of “one anothers”- I’m sure you can compile that quite quickly. Those are qualities that characterize how we _all_ are to be toward one another, without regard to sex. You might note that “submit to one another” is a part of that list. Paul does not differentiated between the church and the home. He just says we are all to do these things as characteristic of our life in Jesus.

    I’m afraid as I write- afraid that argument will produce nothing but stalemate. I’m afraid that you will write me and others off as “not holding a high view of Scripture” and therefore not worthy of being heard. I used to believe the complementarian line because “the Bible says so” and I am committed to understanding the Bible as clearly as is humanly possible because I value it as God’s revelation. It is because of my high view of Scripture that I came to the other position. And- it takes the hard work of linguistic and cultural anthropologic study to figure out “what the Bible says” about some things because it was written in another language 2000 years ago. I’m not saying that everyone’s interpretation is ok. I do believe that one interpretation is closer to what God wants for humanity than the other. I am willing to entrust myself to God on this one, because I belong to Jesus and I know what kind of God the God of the Bible is. I believe the “correct” interpretation is that Paul is not restrictive of women and never meant to be. If you don’t agree with this, that’s ok, but please don’t pound me over the head with argument. I see some “complementarian” married couples who actually live in a way that is very much in the spirit of the one-another’s, and that’s good. I hope you are one of those.

    Dana Ames

  106. Lord of War Says:
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    Often, the most barbaric atrocities occur when both combatants proclaim themselves freedom-fighters. :)

  107. Larry Says:
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    I debated how to do this. I decided to respond to your comments individually even though it is cumbersome.

    Short answer is, Paul was referring to Genesis 3. Incorrect. When he says “Adam was formed first, and then Eve,” he is referring to Genesis 1-2. When he says Eve was deceived, he is referring to Genesis 3.

    You say that Adam did not take his role of headship seriously enough, but can you point to where that was actually assigned to him?

    Why not accept what 1 Tim 2 says? Doesn’t that answer the question for us? God says that is what the creation order was about. In addition, we see in Romans 5 that we are all imputed with the sin of Adam, not Eve. That too shows very clearly that the man was the leader.

    Many reputable scholars believe that he picked out these two examples from Genesis to counter false teachings that Timothy might have been having to deal with.

    And every single one of those scholars lack evidence for that. I have read them. I know. But think with me for a moment. You accept (apparently) that Paul was addressing a local problem even though the Bible doesn’t say that. And your big complaint to me about the Genesis issue is that the Bible doesn’t say it explicitly (even though 1 Tim 2 is still there). In other words, it seems like you have a convenient theology. You accept things that aren’t said when they affirm your position, and reject things that aren’t said when they don’t.

    That is problematic.

    Genesis 1:27 has God creating them in one fell swoop with no regard to order,

    Nope, Gen 2 gives the order. And 1:27 still says, “male and female he created them.” Notice the order. Accidental?

    Actually, if order is a reason for leadership, then we can look to the creation order in Genesis 1 and all start submitting to fish!

    Come on, think about that. The Bible addresses the leadership issue with respect to the image of God in man, those image bearers, not with respect to animals. This reduction ad absurdum doesn’t work.

    And you will note that he says “*I* suffer not a woman to teach”, not “God does not allow women to teach”

    All Scripture is God-breathed. That means when Paul says “I suffer not,” God is saying it. That is why this is a discussion that centers on biblical authority.

    If you’re taking this at face value, this puts a whole new, really squicky twist on missions, doesn’t it?

    How so?

    I guess my real question for everyone is, what great sin do you think God will punish you for if you err on the side of grace and allow women to give “leadership” a go?

    For abandoning his plan for church leadership. We are not to judge obedience by pragmatic issues. We have to judge by truth. What God says it what he says. It is not up to us to pick and choose based on what punishment we think we will receive.

  108. kristi Says:
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    Larry,

    Still waiting for those verses from Gen 1-2, and i’m not being sarcastic.

    You wrote, “If you read Genesis 1-2, you see that man did have the leadership over his wife. ” Simply put, i’m still waiting.

    In a later post, you wrote, “The reality is that there are no missing piece [sic]. Paul, under the inspiration of God, tells us that the fact that man was created first (Gen 2) means that man was ordained to be the leader of his wife and the leader of women in the church. It is right there in Genesis 2 and 1 Tim 2.”

    well, that wasn’t your original statement to ScottB, which was my issue. but even aside from that, i’ve read 1 Tim 2 several times now, as well, and i just don’t see it said “that man was ordained to be the leader of his wife and the leader of women in the church.” I mean, to use your words, “Here is a case where you are trying to explain away the text by using things Paul did not say. I can’t see how that is good exegesis. Why not simply take what Paul does say and address that?”

    it just isn’t there. I can see how you are inferring it to be there. But i call that “arguing from what Paul does not say.”

    Again, i’m not being sarcastic.

    On another note, regarding the whole Adam not being deceived portion. You write, “So, according to God, Adam was not deceived. He knew what he was doing. ” And that helps to justify the case for male headship? Niiiice. :) So “high-handed sin” (as my sem. prof calls it), or sin in which you knowingly and purposely commit it, is as much a pre-requisite for male headship as first deception is for female submission? (BTW, that “Niiiice” was sarcastic. it was hard to resist. forgive me.)

  109. odessah Says:
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    Larry, I appreciate how much study you’ve put into this. But the Bible also contains multiple examples of God using women as leaders in the church (both old and new testaments) and who at times even lead their husbands (and it doesn’t end in catastrophe)…what of them? Are these examples/passages not also authoritative? Or perhaps even more so, since the purpose of instruction is to show us how to live out God’s way in day-to-day life, and these are practical examples of what God’s way looks like?

    In addition, there are “big picture” principles that seem to show God being more lenient toward women than 1 Tim 2 implies should be allowed. Specifically, God giving dominion in creation to both men and women; Paul’s world-changing statement “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”; or Jesus himself on more than one occasion encouraging women to share the gospel (see Mary at the resurrection, the woman at the well, and others).

    It is not up to us to pick and choose, that is true. And what God says is what he says, that is also true. I concede that I don’t have all the answers.

    I’m still interested to hear your thoughts on my previous comment regarding “thou shalt not kill”. I think how you answer that one will help us to understand (and I mean this in a good way) about how you read and follow the Bible.

  110. AllenReloaded Says:
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    “In fact, in the Genesis account, one of the problems is what Adam did not take his role of headship seriously enough to step in when Eve was being tempted. He did not stand up for her dignity and honor in the face of temptation. That may be one reason why the curse injected hostility into the husband/wife relationship. Adam did not stand up for his wife, so as a result, his wife would desire to rule over him.”

    It’s called Rescue the Beauty in some circles. The man is there to rescue his wife. Rescue her from the consequences of her own actions (e.g. eating the apple). I personally cannot reconcile the concept of “helper (Gen 2:18)” with being a parent to my spouse, and having seen first hand the destruction in marriages Rescue the Beauty brings about, I cannot recommend it. She chose to eat the apple (pardon the continued use of an innaccurate fruit), and so did he. They both sinned. They both knew it was verboten. They are both (as I believe are we all) responsible for their own actions, and accountable to God for the same, save for the all encompassing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Complementarian, egalitarian, antidisestablishmentarian, it doesn’t matter if we don’t accept the fundamental truth of all - we are all sinners, we all choose to do it, and most importantly, all creation has a promise of heaven through Jesus.

  111. Larry Says:
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    Again, thanks for the interaction. Let me start with Kristi.

    With respect to male leadership in Gen 1-2, the Bible declares in Gen 1-2 that God created man first and woman second. God later tells us that that means that man has the role of leadership. That is explicit in the text of Scripture. We need to read nothing in to find that. Furthermore, the curse of 3:16 shows that male leadership was the pattern ordained by God that woman would rebel against. Again, that is explicit in the text. We need to reading nothing into it to find that.

    With respect to 1 Tim 2, the whole book of 1 Timothy is about church and church order. Chapter 1 discusses fighting for the gospel and all its related doctrines. Chapter 2 discusses praying and preaching for evangelism, and the resultant necessity that men pray with holy hands, and that women be modest and not exercise authority over man. Chapter 3 discusses elders which are in context of men only (vv. 1-7), deacons which may be both men and women or may be men with wives depending on how you take v. 11 (vv. 8-13). Vv. 14-16 lay out that Paul’s writing is about how people should behave in church. Chapters 4-6 continue on the same theme. In light of 3:14-16, we can unequivocally say that 1 Timothy is about church order and how we should act in church. In that light, Paul declares that men are to lead and women are not to teach men or have authority over men. You say I am reading that in, but read vv. 9-15. It is explicit that women are not to teach or exercise authority over a man. Paul, inspired by God, says exactly that.

    With respect to Adam not being deceived and that helping the case for male leadership … Hey, I didn’t say. I am just repeating what God said. BTW, high handed sin is not sin which you knowingly and purposely commit. It is defiant sin, not simply intentional sin. To be honest, I am not sure why that is a point in favor of male leadership, but again, I didn’t make it up. I am just saying what God already said.

    Now to Odessah, these multiple examples of female leadership have always fallen short of actual proof. I have heard them all, I imagine, and have yet to see any actual firm example of a woman teaching or having authority over men in the church. If you want to throw a few examples out, we can certainly look at the text.

    With respect to “big picture” principles, again, I am not aware of any that require women teaching or having authority over men in the church. Male leadership does not mean that women do nothing or are less than men in the eyes of Christ. Gal 3:26 is talking about spiritual standing before God, not about leadership roles in the church. Male leadership doesn’t mean that women are forbidden from sharing the gospel and ministering to others. Those are red herrings.

    I didn’t see your earlier comment about “Thou shalt not kill.” First, let me say that no one reads and understand the Bible apart from interpretation. Second, the command is against murder. The Law informs our understanding by allowances for self-defense, war, etc. So that is really a pretty easy one. There are harder ones you could have asked me about, but since you didn’t, I won’t bring them up. ;)

    I don’t have all the answers either to be sure, but I think this one is pretty cut and dried. If Paul had used first century reasons for his prohibition, then I would see more flexibility. But he uses reasons that have never changed. Man was still created first and the woman is still the one who was deceived. When that changes, you have a case for your position.

  112. kristi Says:
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    uh thanks, larry.

    it’s still pretty cut and dried to me. You cannot provide the verses i have repeatedly asked you for from Gen 1-2. In case you are unclear as to what i am asking for when i ask for you to show me the verses, this is what i mean: the way you provide a verse is to say/write something like “Gen 1:1 says, ‘in the beginning…’”. Instead, you have written, “God later tells us that that means that man has the role of leadership,” or a variation thereof. Not very helpful

  113. odessah Says:
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    Larry.

    Fun debating with you. Really it is. You’re a smart guy and you’ve obviously done your homework. You’ve read all the arguments on both sides, and based on your understanding, the role of woman is to be subject to men, silent, and not teaching.

    When the Bible says something that doesn’t jive with the way we saw God lived out in Jesus, we have to be open to thinking that maybe, just maybe, it isn’t a universal mandate. I see Jesus treating women like human beings and never putting them “in their place”. In fact, he lifts them out of society’s roles and puts them on a path of spiritual equality.

    I know why I choose to read the text the way I do…because, as was wonderfully illustrated in Rachelle’s original post, saying that women aren’t on a spiritual par with men is hurtful, to individuals, to families, and to the body of Christ; because denying them full expression of their gifts IS saying that God thinks they’re capable of less.

    In Matthew 12, we read about when Jesus and company were “caught” by the Pharisees pucking grain on the Sabbath, which was forbidden in the law. Jesus’s response was basically that doing right by people is WAY more important than following the letter of the law.

    That filter, the one that puts people above the law, makes much more sense to me.

  114. Larry Says:
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    Kristi,

    Let me not beat around the bush while not trying to be offensive: Do you deny that God says that the order of creation means that man was created for leadership in marriage and the church?

    That is so cut and dried from 1 Tim 2 and clearly understood from Gen 1-2 and 3. I gave the verses. You simply don’t like the position, it seems, so you write off the verses.

    You are trying to say that explicit language from Gen 1-2 is more important than explicit language from 1 Tim 2. That is fundamentally a Bible issue, the doctrine of bibliology. The Bible does not allow this “canon within a canon” routine you are trying to force on it. In short, it doesn’t matter whether God says it in Gen 1 or Rev 22. If God says it, it counts.

    Odessah,

    First, let me clarify that my position is about “teaching and exercising authority over men,” and deals with home and church. I am commenting on nothing beyond that, since the Bible doesn’t comment on anything beyond that.

    Second, I reject the premise that the Bible says something different than what we see lived out in Jesus’ life. Where did Jesus ever put a women in authority over a man in the home or church? I can’t recall a place.

    Third, if Rachelle is saying that women are on equal par with men, I have long ago gone on record as agreeing. That is what Gal 3:26 is about. It is clearly demonstrated in creation that both male and female are in the image of God. I absolutely refuse to deny women the full expression of their gifts. That is not the issue. That is a red herring. The issue is teaching men and exercising authority over men in the home and church. (In reality, this is not even really about whether a woman is the primary breadwinner.)

    Fourth, Matthew 12 is a great example I think that will further strengthen my point. The plucking grain isssue was a Law issue. We in the church are not under the Law. That was for Israel. Paul, in 1 Timothy 2, does not appeal to the Law. He appeals to creation. And I think this point keeps getting overlooked. Again, I appeal to you to look at the two reasons God gives in 1 Tim 2:12-13 (1. Man was created first; 2. Woman was deceived), and tell us which of those two is no longer true.

    The fact is that the reasons God gives are true reasons today. They have not changed, and therefore, the command has not changed.

    I think doing right by people is what God wants. The question is, What is “right by women”? Is it right to allow a woman to disobey God by having her teach men in church or exercise authority over men? No one here would encourage a woman to go out and commit adultery although some in modern society would. (At least I hope no one here would.) We would all agree that God has forbidden that. Why aren’t we arguing that that is a cultural issue? Why is women teaching men or having authority over men in teh church any different? I say when God says something, we are to follow it, even when it is inconvenient or flies in the face of modern accepted cultural issues.

    Consider Jesus with the woman caught in adultery (John 8) . He rebuked those who were hypocritical and forgave them woman, all the while telling her to go and sin no more. He did not condone her lifestyle of disobedience. He acted with great grace to forgive and a greater grace to move her past that to a point of obedience.

    In the end, we have probably beat this up pretty good. We are probably mostly repeating ourselves by now and so I will try to wind down my comments, unless there is a direct question to me, or someething absolutely irresistable. (I am still working on that self-control bit.)

    Thanks folks …

  115. Marie Says:
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    I was raised a fundamentalist Christian, very complementarian, and viewed the Bible as inerrant. I can remember a roomate of mine who complained how she was discrimated against when she attended pastoral classes at a Christian university. I used to refer to her as a “femi-nazi,” and wondered why she felt she could pastor a church. Who wants to listen to a woman? Every male in my immediate family is a pastor (4 including my spouse), and I love them all very much. I went to college to be a missionary (bachelors degree), even took a sememster off b/c I felt it was more important to be “on the mission field” rather than just “talking about missions” in school.

    I am now agnostic. Everyday I feel myself pulling further & further away from my former Christian beliefs and the possibility of ever returning to that faith. And it is beliefs such as Larry’s & Aaron’s that confirm it for me. Even the beliefs of my family, who don’t know how I really feel. I know that my family, Larry, & Aaron, believe they are correct and living a holy lifestyle. They probably believe that if you are a strong/convicted Christian, the world will despise you. But god will love you even more for your obedience. But this “holier than thou” attitude and discrimination against others based on gender, sexual preference , and race (still), makes me tired. Especially when “God” & the “Bible” are thrown around to justify it. I believe people are so enmeshed physically, mentally, environmentally, & spiritually in these ideas, they may never see it another way. It’s just like the movie “Crash.” The characters have such deep prejudice, they can’t even recognize it for what it is. They have trained themselves in rationalization.

    Equality does not mean gender specific roles that complement each other in their unique ways. It means despite my gender, race, sexual preference, height, weight, hair color, culture, religion, etc, I can have the same opportunities as anyone else in society. It does not stand that as a female I am not permitted to be a pastor, yet am told we are equal.

    When I was a Christian, I felt it necessary to apologize to others who may have been burnt by ideals held by my Christian predecessors. Such as missionary schools for Native Americans, use of the Bible to condone slavery, missionaries westernizing oversees people groups, and asking smokers or transients to leave church services. I forsee furture generations of Christians apologizing for how their great grandparents treated women and homosexuals in the name & “love” of christ.

    Fundamentalists can worry about how I, and sinners like me, will spend eternity. But I am concerned about the many outcasts and hurt people living life now, who have been condemned by the church.

  116. kristi Says:
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    hey larry,

    to be honest, i do deny that “God says that the order of creation means that man was created for leadership [over women] in marriage and the church”. i think you say that. Gen 1-2 doesn’t say it. Gen 3 proclaims that as part of the curse, which tells me that male leadership over women is not God’s preference, but necessary b/c of the curse. But now that Jesus has come, why do we continue to demand that we live subject to the curse?

    You also write, “You are trying to say that explicit language from Gen 1-2 is more important than explicit language from 1 Tim 2.” I never said that. i did say that i didn’t see it explicitly stated in 1 Tim 2 in the first place. i actually prefer to treat the Bible as a whole, rather than little bits and pieces that i can defend out of my little corner.

    That is why, when i look at the Bible as a whole, i see themes of God’s grace and love (sometimes tough love, yes) that make me reinterpret verses that i once thought were cut and dried.

    So i agree, “If God says it, it counts.” but if He doesn’t, then i’m more than hesitant to put all my eggs into that basket.

  117. Larry Says:
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    Marie,

    Interesting story you have. I would simply say that if you think I am for discrimiination or gender inequality, you have grossly misread my comments. I know for a fact that I am against gender discrimination and inequality. I have publicly stated so here, and practice such in my ministry. So please don’t tar me with something I don’t believe.

    But the fact is that we recognize gender roles everyday in life. We intuitively recognize that men cannot bear children, and no one runs around claiming gender inequality. We understand that the role is different. This issue is no different here.

    I am sorry that you were hurt by the church, but even more saddened that you have rejected Christ who is the only hope. Some in the church are inexcusable in their rudeness and sinfulness. But those in the church are sinners just like those outside the church. The only perfect person is God and he has spoken through his word. The rest of us are fallen and we all lived in a sin cursed world. I pray that you will come to recognize the truth about Christ and his lordship.

    Kristi,

    If you deny that God says the order of creation means male leadership then we are at an impasse. This goes directly to the authority of Scripture. And if you deny the authority of Scripture (as you have), then you are denying the very basis of revealed truth.

    God says explicitly that the order of creation is a statement about headship. To deny that is, well, to call God a liar, it seems to me. I don’t know how you escape that. I don’t think you intend to call God a liar; I just don’t know how you avoid it.

    We live subject to the curse because we are sinners. The curse was not done away with when Christ died. The curse will not be done away with until sin is done away with when Christ returns.

    You talk about treating the Bible as a whole, but then you want to segregate off the explicit statements of Gen 1-2 without considering them in teh context of the whole of Scripture. When I read the Bible as a whole, I see God’s great love and mercy and his truth. But that has nothing to do with this issue. Women in positions of teaching or authority over men in teh church is not really connected with that, except in that God will grant his grace of forgiveness to those who disobey his word in this matter.

    Again, this comes down to the authority of Scripture. Do we live by it? Or Do we not? I think we should, and I don’t think we get to change it because modern society has changed. God has said that a women is not to teach or have authority over men in the church. Therefore, we must put all our eggs in that basket.

  118. Larry Says:
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    BTW, Marie, when you say Fundamentalists can worry about how I, and sinners like me, will spend eternity. But I am concerned about the many outcasts and hurt people living life now, who have been condemned by the church I share your concern. I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive. We must be concerned first about people’s eternal souls because the sin problem is largely why we are where we are in our lives. And we need to fix that through the blood of Jesus who died for us.

    That will change our outlook on the world around us and cause us to respond in grace and love towards the “outcasts” (whatever exactly that means).

  119. Cheryl Says:
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    For those of us who value scripture and want to live by it, there have been those tough scriptures that seem to restrict women in ministry from teaching men. We have just released a new DVD that deals with all these tough passages of scripture in a manner that allows them to be understood in context and without contradiction with the rest of scripture. The DVD is called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” and you can read about it at http://mmoutreach.org We also have a page dedicated to reviews that we have received on this multi-media DVD series. You can access the reviews at http://mmoutreach.org/wim.htm I think you will find this 4 DVD set very helpful on the subject of women in ministry and the equality that God gives all of us in the body of Christ.

    Cheryl

  120. Teri Says:
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    wow….

    when I began reading the comments, there were 105. when I finished there were 118. And I’m sure that’s only the beginning.

    I have only three things to say (in good Presbyterian fashion):

    1. I wish people wouldn’t say “in Genesis 1-2″ as though it were one continuous narrative and not two different accounts of the same event. While we do interpret Scripture in light of Scripture, we don’t claim that the four gospels are a continuous account and neither should we claim that about Genesis 1-2.

    2. I am outraged at the way these women have been hurt. It doesn’t help that I just finished a novel about a male pastor whose ambition blinds him to the way his words hurt women in his life–including his wife and members of his congregation and community. But to hear, AGAIN, even more stories of women being emotionally and spiritually abused just hurts me deep inside. And then to hear people saying “but that’s not the way it is here!” as though that makes it all better. Sometimes you need an “outsider” to hold up a mirror. This should be regarded as an opportunity for growth, not a time to build the defensive walls. This analogy is in some ways shallow but in others important: it’s like a church I went to (during seminary, and yes I’m a woman) that continuously describes itself as “welcoming and friendly”–and couldn’t believe it when I told them (after joining the staff) that I was in my sixth week IN A ROW worshipping with them before anyone spoke to me during fellowship hour or after worship. “But we’re so friendly!” they said. Well, not to me–their lone visitor–they weren’t. Sometimes you need some non-insider perspective.

    3. There is so much hate and judgment under the surface of some of these comments, so much unwillingness to be open to the Spirit, so much self-righteousness (what are you boasting about exactly?) that I had to force myself to keep reading. But I will not force myself to answer any further. Nor will I force myself to come back. But I will be praying for all of you, and for all of us in the Body of Christ, that we can find a way to live together without the violence I have seen here. A violence, I might add, particularly grievous as a response to the stories of violence in the original post. Who said two wrongs don’t make a right? Take your own advice.

    That’s all, and I’m gone….peace be with you.

  121. Marie Says:
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    Larry-

    I see that you stand firm in your statements & will not bend. I expected that & it’s fine. I’m glad that you were willing to listen. In the case that you have a discussion like this w/ someone in your congregation someday, please imagine (seriously) for a moment that you were born a female. And then picture yourself so very excited about your dream o f planting a church and being a pastor. However, someone tells you it is impossible b/c god commands it’s a role only for men. There is nothing you can do to change it, your hands are tied. You were born a female, it’s difficult to understand why someone would not allow you to do something not b/c you were physically/mentally incapable, but for circumstances completely out of your control. (Except for the loophole of a surgical gender change, which I hope someone wouldn’t resort to be a pastor)

    I give you this scenario just so you will have increased empathy/understanding of why people may leave your church over this issue. I am glad to hear you say this “Women in positions of teaching or authority over men in teh church is not really connected with that, except in that God will grant his grace of forgiveness to those who disobey his word in this matter.” Then I encourage women to exercise god’s grace & forgiveness, if that is the case. If the blood of jesus is strong, then I’m sure it can more than compensate for female pastors.

    outcasts=murderers, homosexuals, addicts, rapists, fornicators, greedy, prostitutes, mentally ill, feminists, buddhists, thieves, hindus, cults, mormons, drug dealers, adulterers, sloths, materialists, muslims, pedophiles, famous actors/actresses, famous secular musicians, media, Bill Clinton, me.

  122. Marie Says:
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    Side Note: I haven’t been hurt by “the church.” I have been hurt by Aaron, Larry, David, Jonathan, Kathy, Missy, Melanie, all individuals who are Christians in the church. Take ownership. Recognize that when you stand by your religious convictions and by your god, you will hurt others. It is just a part of humans co-existing. I have hurt others & will continue to hurt others today & tomorrow. Christians are not excluded from that. The statement, “I’m sorry you have been hurt by the church,” is a boilerplate that needs to be ousted.

  123. Amanda Says:
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    Thank you for your post. It was well written and insightful. I have attended Mars Hill for four years and can tell you that the theology taught there is meant to empower women. I am grateful for the Bibilical insight. I am grateful that I have been taught things that are counter-cultural. I am grateful that I have been taught scripture. And I am a woman. Let us not define what things should be based on our American perceptions of “justice” and “equality.” Let what we say those things are be defined by the Bible. Can you use the Bible to support what you said? Can you show me in the scripture? If you can convince me with scripture, I’ll change, but otherwise, I believe many women who go to that church share the convictions and the honors of being a Biblical woman. It takes balance, that’s for sure. It takes wisdom- a gift that God gives women. And I have a bachelors, I work full time, I’m engaged to be married to a wonderful, Godly man. We’re moving to Canada so I can complete my Masters in Theology, because I’ve come to understand (through the teaching of Mars Hill and the dedication to scripture) that in order to be a good wife and mother, I better have a good handle on my understanding of God. I have not been discouraged to do so, but I have been encouraged to use wisdom. My fiance’ has been encouraged to use wisdom. I don’t plan on becoming a pastor, but I do plan on helping women- through education (I’m already a high school teacher) in the church. I don’t think there needs to be a conflict here. Look at scripture. Ask for wisdom. And don’t beat a drum based on culturally relavent terms when God should be our definer of reality, not our own self-righteousness.

  124. Amanda Says:
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    I’m sorry, one more question. I hear a lot of people using the word, Gospel. What does that MEAN? What does the word Gospel mean to you?

  125. Larry Says:
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    Thanks again …

    Marie says I see that you stand firm in your statements & will not bend. This is the distinction I have been trying to make all along. These are not my statements that I am standing on. These are the statements of God in Scripture. As I said a while ago, this is an issue about authority, and will we surrender our own ideas to the revelation of God. The Bible says what it does, and its arguments should close the deal. If we read these passages without the baggage of modern feminism, we would never come to the conclusion offered by some here. How do we know? Because church history never came to this conclusion.

    If someone came to me and wanted to plant a church, we would sit down with the Book and see what it says about church and her leaders and structures. That is the final word on church planting.

    As for Gen 1-2, they are the same story. Gen 2 enlarges on the point of 1:25ff about day 6 of creation. It is not a different story. In fact, if you try to separate them, you have a worse position because you lose the point that women are created in teh image of God, just like man is. And that is a crucial part of my theology. Women are equal before God in personhood and spiritual standing. The insinuation by some that I believe differently is unfortunate.

    Marie, to say that women should go ahead and pastor churches because Jesus’ blood is strong enough to forgive them flies in the face of Romans 6 where it says What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin continue to live in it? To encourage disobedience simply because there is forgiveness is the worst kind of spiritual abuse. I can’t see any responsible way before God to encourage such an act.

    I am distressed by the disregard for women that some are showing here. I think this society and the church needs a greatly increased view of women in society and the church, not a lesser view. I hope that God will restore the leaders of his church to a place of submission and holiness.

    Hey, I have enjoyed the conversation. I now get to preach on this Sunday since my trek in 1 Timothy has arrived at 2:9-15 this week. Should be exciting … Or not …

    Take care, folks.

  126. Quinault Says:
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    I have been a member of MH for many years. I am a christian, woman, wife and mother. I had the wonderful honor of being able to get to know Pastor Mark and his family a bit when the church was smaller.

    You can have your opinions all you like. But I can attest to the fact that he is a wonderful, loving Pastor. He loves his congregation deeply.

    Most things within a church are unseen. When something happens most of what occured is beneath the surface much as an iceberg is for the mostpart underwater. So it is difficult to see the big picture in its entirety.

    He is also a wonderful husband and father. He has a beautiful family. He has a wonderful wife. And precious children. His wife is far from spineless and ist one of the best wives and mothers I know. I have the utmost respect for her. To have such a wonderful wife he is doing something right. Plus he is just truly blessed.

  127. some mysterious character Says:
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    Before I begin, I would like to make clear that I do not speak on behalf of Mars Hill, although I do attend Mars Hill.

    Now, many people here seem to be concerned their own benefit, their own “rights”. The whole idea of “rights” is absurd and stems from Satan’s lie that we have anything to be prideful for outside of Jesus Christ.

    We deserve no “rights”. The only thing we deserve is hell and eternal separation from God for our rebellion and sin. We should only concern ourself with “roles”. We have a duty, given to us by Christ, to do His work. Not our work. HIS work. Not defending outselves, but defending Christ. Not parading around and shouting about how we have been wronged and dealt with unjustly, but preaching Christ crucified and how He was murdered unjustly and died willingly on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the very people who nailed him to it. Jesus Christ has picked some of us up out of the mud, forgiven our sin, transformed us, filled us up with Himself, and given us the honorable task of living our lives in a manner glorifying to Him, chosen by Him, and accomplished by His strength. And He has done it all by grace, not because we are so wise and good that we have deserved it. I do pray that we are all in agreeance thus far

    Regarding those tasks he has given us, here’s my analogy for the roles of men and women:

    You’re on a baseball team, and the coach calls a huddle, or whatever they call it in baseball, to discuss strategy. Now this coach is world-renowned for being absolutely brilliant and his plays are always perfect winning plays. “Tim, you go over there. Mitch, you take outfield. Jeff, take the bench for now. Alright go for it!”

    But what does the team do? “Now, now hold on coach. I can play outfield just fine. Why can’t I do outfield?” “Yeah coach, let him do outfield and I’ll take his place. I don’t wanna be on the bench!” “yeah coach, why why why??”

    Please, for goodness sakes, you have been given a job to do, and it is coming from the most trustworthy source imaginable. Why do we bicker and squabble and question the roles? Because we’re so pride-filled that we find it overwhelmingly necessary to prove to everyone that we can do everything; even the things that God hasn’t called us to do. We are putting our pride before our duty to Christ.

    There are roles because it’s a game plan. God made a game plan. Why? Because that’s how to win the game. It works best this way, so do it this way. That’s what God is telling us. The man needs the woman to do her part in order for him to do his part. The woman needs the man to do his part in order for the woman to do her part. This is teamwork. This is cooperation. This is God’s plan, and people need to stop questioning Him and get to work.

    If anyone doubts Pastor Mark’s teachings or intentions, they need to download (or even better, attend) some services before proclaming to know him inside and out. That is, unless, we are not really concerned with finding out the truth and we are more concerned with getting a few pats on the back for our blog post.

    For more information on the biblical roles of men and women, (because we should be concerned with God’s opinion, not our own), then I highly recommend a book called Restoring Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, by John Piper. He gives an argument based on scripture, which is the only relevant source material.

    It is not shameful to have been given a specific role by God. It is an undeserved honor and a blessing. Our focus should not be on ourselves. It should be on Christ

  128. Quinault Says:
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    I didn’t realize that one of the affiliated churches for this site also goes by MH for Matthews House. By MH I meant Mars Hill.

  129. Jennifer Says:
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    Quinault,

    “Wonderful loving” pastors dont treat women the way that has been reported here. You can love your pastor and still be realistic about weaknesses.

  130. Quinault Says:
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    Ah, I am quite realistic about his weaknesses. As I am realisitc about my own. To judge a man on reports third and even fourth hand is quite in err. I am actually quite aware of one of the instances stated above. I remember it quite clearly. And I know that the woman only stated the facts which supported her view not all the facts pertinent to the event.

    Simply because you disagree with me does not make me blind. Either way I am not slinging mud at anyone.

    If you don’t agree with the theology don’t attend the church. There is no need to launch personal attacks on a sister congregation in Christ or a brother in Christ.

  131. Jennifer Says:
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    Quinault,

    I *can not* imagine any facts in the situation that would make his actions appropriate. Pastors aren’t supposed to beat the sheep.

  132. Quinault Says:
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    A good shepard should correct his sheep. And while it may feel like a beating it is in the sheeps best interest. Interestingly throughout the Bible God saves his worst ire for those that are his.

    Just as I expect more of my children in behavior than I would someone elses child in my charge. My children are my sheep and they know my voice.

    Anyone that becomes a member of Mars Hill is well aware of our stance on women in leadership and how we view it. If you desire to become a member you must attend two classes on what we believe and have a interview where you can ask any question you like one on one before you can fully become a member. Much like within the Catholic church you go thru the catacumin (spelled incorrectly I know) . So anyone that goes thru the member process blindly has no one to blame but themselves.

  133. Paul (the ever-dutiful husband) Says:
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    Okay everyone, altogether now:

    Search & replace “woman” in the discussion above with “African American” and “patriarchy” with “racism”.

    Do “whites” have their God-ordained role and “blacks” theirs?

    A broad swath of the church in the U.S. certainly thought so. Some still do. They even justified it with self-evidently true scriptures. And obviously correct theology. And a high view of inerrancy.

    I ask you: was the scriptures made for humanity or humanity for scriptures?

    Unfortunately for the pharisaical position, the Gospel is (and I’m sorry if I have to be tautilogical here) GOOD NEWS.

    Oppression is not good news. What does the scripture say: there is no Jew or Greek, male nor female, slave nor free. All are heirs. All. Hmm. ALL. In Adam all sinned, but in Christ all live. There is no distinction given in lists of salvation, spiritual gifts, and the like. All.

    To be an eschatological people means we need to live here and now in the grace and freedom of the yet-to-come.

    So why do like to say that certain classes of people are excluded from leadership? Why do we claim that socially constructed gender roles are “God’s Revelation”? Because that makes us feel good, because it makes us feel in control, because we like power, because we love the law, because we’re pharisees, because grace scares us.

    Now, if some of you like bondage, well, more power to you. Some people like that sort of thing. But please keep it in the privacy of your own house. Please don’t use scripture as a club to bludgeon women into oppression.

  134. Charles Haddon Spurgeon Says:
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    Some people can do nothing they are allowed to do, but waste their energies in lamenting that they are not called on to do other people’s work.

  135. Christy Says:
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    I have to say how extraordinary it is that you are willing to take the figurative hammer to the leadership of a church that appears to be having success in reaching the city of Seattle with the “gospel of Jesus Christ”. You know that the more important issue is that all people have a shot at leadership. If women can’t be elders, even if Jesus is being preached, then obviously a church isn’t functioning right and deserves the hammer. The “gospel of Jesus Christ” is secondary to this injustice, we need to stand up for a woman’s right to exercise authority; the true gospel of equality. If a church like Mars Hill is discriminative when it comes to their leadership, then it’s our job to say something. You wield that hammer!

  136. kristi Says:
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    hey larry,

    i completely rely on the Scriptures as authoritative. i just see your take on them as that: your take, your interpretation.

    i would never deny the authority of Scripture. In fact, when the Scriptures seem contradictory, that’s when i know that my reading is wrong. when i take the Bible as a whole, that’s how i know that your interpretation of 1 Tim 2 is incomplete and inaccurate.

    Deut 23:3 No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, even down to the tenth generation.

    Poor King David. His great-grandmother was Ruth, a Moabite. According to Scripture, David was never allowed into the assembly of the LORD. Or was he? That is “to call God a liar, it seems to me. I don’t know how you escape that. I don’t think you intend to call God a liar; I just don’t know how you avoid it.”

    So when is a Moabite not a Moabite?

  137. Former Moabite Says:
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    Uh, when a moabite is also an israelite? In history the Hebrews were one of the few people groups you could actually join. Also, while David was of Moabite descent he was ALSO a descendant of Israel. So he qualified. The point God is making is that anyone can come to him, but to do so they must leave their old ways behind.

  138. Addict of an Endless Debate Says:
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    Hi Pual,

    I think the root of error here is the definition of patriarchy. In the simplist terms it means “rule by fathers.” Just like the rich, you can have righteous patriarchy and unrightous patriarchy. Every little girl loves her daddy and looks to him for protection. Ussually more so than Mommy. That gets replayed, magnified and projected into our society and might very well be genetic. Furthermore, to ask men to not protect their daughters, I hope you would agree, is madness. So how do you dismantle somthing that exists at the genetic, familial and tribal levels? Do we ask the heads of families of bushmen in the calahari to stand down? Or are they lesser than us, uncivilised savages who can’t understand our enlightend view? What you are really against more specifically is the patriarchy that would be synonymous with misogynarchy. I think everyone in this debate agrees with you and is against that.

    Peace.

    Addict

  139. Kevin Says:
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    http://brutal-honesty.blogspot.com/

    This is all I could really say to this whole thing.

  140. Bible thumpin' Chris Says:
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    Urban Abyss and the Monkfish Abbey cult,

    Let’s just face it. When truth is subjective, based on perspectives, opinions, and feelings; you end up believing whatever the hell you feel like believing.

    As for me, I’ll take the Bible ‘Sola Scriptura’ as the one source of objective moral truth there is. Even though it may at times seem “hard, contradictory, and full of confusing stuff”.

    And, as for me, I won’t be “Jesus-y”, I’ll actually hold to his teaching, believing his promise that “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). Notice he didn’t say “you will know the truths, and the truths will set you free”. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There is only way, one truth, one life, and one way to God the Father and that is Jesus Christ.

    If you can’t commit to Jesus as God, please, stop diluting His teachings and pick someone else like the buddha who doesn’t mind you saying there are other gods and other ways and other truths than only one.

    I understand you don’t want your feelings hurt and you may think everyone’s out to do just that. Well, I do care more that you are right (i.e. made righteous) than that you only feel good about yourself. So maybe you should let down your mask of feelings and focus on truth; what is true, meaning what is factual.

    If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, then he is the only way for you to be right. And if he is not, then there must be some other way(s) for you to be right, or you could just decide to believe whatever you feel; which you appear to have already done.

    One question in direct relation to this thread, do you expect Monkfish Abbey to gain a strong male following with your explicit misandry and use of ‘patriarchy’ as an obscenity?

  141. todd Says:
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    Paul,

    Your slavery analogy is tired and overused. As someone mentioned earlier, the bible makes the analogy of Christ and the church. If you also equate that to slave and master then I guess that’s your thing, but if not, you should be a bit more honest with the material. Also, don’t conflate slavery of the Roman world to slavery of the New World, they were different.

    What I really want to respond to is your recurring theme of being an eschatological people. I think it’s a quite interesting point. In fact, to go with it I think all married people should get divorced. Jesus said that at the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage. So to be eschatological people we should be leaving our spoused and making Earth more like heaven. Also this whole deal of teaching must go. As the Bible also says, “they shall know me, from the greatest to the least of them”. So, all those women that want to have the chance of being pastors (or men for that matter) are deffinitely not trying to live in an eschatological reality. I hope you will also council them to leave those desires behind in favor of a more heavenly approach.

    What’s that you say? That’s abusing the idea of being eschatological people? Oh, I guess I must have gotten it wrong somewhere. At least two reasons I got it wrong. One, we are not at the eschaton. When the eschaton comes, we will know fully as we are fully known. We will be perfected. I believe a lot of the eschatological language is predicated on the fact that we will have been perfected; shy of that perfection some of the language just can’t be applied. The other reason it falls flat is that these things won’t necessarily not exist, but will likely exist in a grander form. We marry and our marriage is supposed to reflect the marriage between Christ and the church. We see in that how many things now are ideas that point to the eschatological reality that has yet to be fulfilled. Godly marriage points people to God. The same with teaching. In Heaven, Godly teaching will be replaced by teaching straight from God’s mouth. The teaching won’t be of a lesser sort, it will be of a greater sort.

    Now, to get back to the male/female relationship in home and church. The bible says that men are to be the head of women as Christ is to be the head of the church. It is quite possible that wives submitting to their husbands is something that points to the eschatological reality of all being the bride of Christ and submitting to Him. So, in that way, not only is it something related to the fall, but it is something pointing to the reality when perfection comes. I could go much deeper into this argument, but this post is already long.

    Blessings,
    Todd

  142. Rachelle Says:
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    A note to readers and commentors:

    In an attempt to offer pastoral care to women I love and know to be trustworthy, any posts acusing these women of LYING will be deleted. You don’t get to deny the reality of these womens’ experiences. Find another way to talk about the issue and you’ll get the green light.

    Also, anonymous posts will not be approved.

    My house. My call.

    Rachelle

  143. Paul (the dutiful husband) Says:
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    Some more items:

    Those of you who claim to have an unvarnished, simple read of scripture in a plain form not corrupted by your current context are a bit dishonest. *Everyone* reads scripture through their socio-econo-theological-cultural context.

    So, “Bible thumpin’ Chris”: your ‘Sola Scriptura’ is a fiction, a self-delusion. This has *NOTHING* to do with the importance of Scripture, the truth of Scripture, or even the inerrancy of Scripture. It has everything to do with the reality of epistomology. Also, there is no misandry here. We welcome everyone to be whom God has called them to be & not whom we would like them to be.

    To “Addict of an Endless Debate”: um, yeah. That’s all ‘patriarchy’ means. And ‘communism’ just means a belief in community.

    To Todd: Yes, everyone should be divorced. I’m a huge proponent of basing theology & action on confusing answers to trick questions.

    Well, we like to tell ourselves that our slavery is different from slavery during biblical times. But that is just our manner of reconciling the text with our experience, now isn’t it? We wouldn’t dare (at least most of us wouldn’t), going and enslaving whole categories of people. We wouldn’t dare lambast African Americans for agitating to eliminate the Jim Crow laws rather than respecting their government. Why? I’d like to think it is because we’ve matured into a people more representative of the Kingdom of God and realized the errors of our ways. But maybe it is because we are just scared crazy about the riots that would ensue in our streets if we did. So sorry, you don’t get a free pass on that one. The qualitative differences between slavery in the Bible and slavery in the American experience are insignificant. In both cases many slaves were forced, often through war. In both cases it could be a hereditary state. In both cases some purchased freedom. You can’t write off the gospel through rose-colored historical glasses.

    But at the end of it all, who did Jesus castigate on a regular basis? Pharisees. Who were the Pharisees? Those who held to a view of scripture that enslaved, that oppressed, the people of God.

    What are y’all afraid of? I am prepared to stand before God and say “Sorry, I misread scripture and encouraged people who appeared to have great spiritual gifts to exercise them.”

    Are you prepared to stand before God and say “Sorry, I a priori ruled out the spiritual giftings of half your people based upon my reading of scripture”?

    I tell you, I would rather plead mercy on the basis that I had too HIGH a view of the implications of the gospel than plead mercy on the basis that I had too LOW a view. I would rather take the risk of the reward, than force women to bury their talents in the ground out of fear.

  144. doug Says:
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    Hey Paul

    Your quote here is a little disturbing:

    “*Everyone* reads scripture through their socio-econo-theological-cultural context. ”

    Maybe I’m taking you too literally, but what you’re saying here is that NO ONE reads scripture the way God intended. If this is true, scripture is meaningless and God has failed in the delivery. I do not believe this to be true. Some truths in scripture are plain and simple. Others are arrived at by a wholistic knowledge and “if this and this therefore this” kinda thing. Women in leadership positions in the church is ok according to scripture. Women in the lead-pastor position is not biblical. As I said in a post earlier, God made a game plan and told some of us to do one thing and others to do another thing. It is not a disgrace for us, as God’s children, to be obedient to Him. It is a blessing. If we spend time quarreling about what we were not called to do, we are wasting time we could have used serving Him.

    But all we have to say is meaningless unless we can quote scripture. In context, of course. (because it is MEANING that we are concerned with). Someone on this blog has listed many (not all) of the scriptures that explain leadership structure in the church. It’s in a seperate blog because it’s very long, but it’s very informative if anyone wants proof that this is actually in the bible.

    Now the issue becomes, are we concerned with what God has to say? Or are we only concerned with scripture when His word alligns with our pre-conceived ideas?

    Are we willing to allow Jesus Christ to transform our minds and show us that our own “knowledge” is rooted in pride and ultimately leads to destruction?

    We are all sinners and deserve hell and eternal separation from God for our rebellion and pride and sinful nature. We can do nothing ourselves, and our “wisdom” is nothing at all. It is only by complete submission to Christ that we are saved and transformed, and by our realization that He is the only way and His payment for our sin is our only ticket to salvation. At this time, a transformation begins. It is this transformation that reveals our old ways to be folly and our only truth to be in the death and ressurection of Jesus Christ.

    Those who are not saved will look at biblical truth and say “this is foolish.” That is also biblical, and it is expected. It is not until we are transformed by Christ that we begin to understand that His plans are infinitely superior to our own. His definition of right and wrong is the only definition that counts, as God is the creator of right and wrong. God has defined justice. Christ dying on the cross for our sins is justice. Why do we rebel against God and demand “rights”? Why do we demand that God explain why he has given us one job and the opposite sex another job? The answer is pride. We are prideful and sinful, and we are deluded into thinking we have any grounds to demand anything for ourselves

  145. Kevin Says:
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    Translation: “I reserve the right to edit out anything which might not jibe with my own view of the universe.”

    We aren’t going to tell these women that they had non-factual experiences, Rachelle. But someone MIGHT tell these women that while they may have FELT maligned, what someone feels isn’t always indicative of the truth. THE truth. There is only ONE.

    I can go to a seminar, and the lecturer can say something which I feel is a personal attack on me. The reality is, it probably isn’t. This doesn’t invalidate my feelings, but it doesn’t impose upon the speaker any responsibility towards me either.

    For those ladies who feel, because they attended a series of sermons where it was plainly indicated that women couldn’t be pastors, and that they should, in their marriage, submit to their husbands, that they were somehow “verbally abused”, this isn’t the truth. They may have FELT they were abused, but it doesn’t change the reality that they weren’t, and the speaker in question, no matter who it might be (Driscoll or anyone else), bears no responsibility towards these women because of their own erroneous conclusions.

    “I am not responsible for the erroneous conclusions others may draw regarding my motivations.” This is a saying of mine, and I hold it to be true. If someone wants to know the truth of a matter, they can contact the person(s) in question, even if they have to “go through channels”, and find out, or they can run off at the mouth half-cocked like your initial post did, and cause this hoo-ha to begin with.

    Exercise some responsibility in your postings, and exercise some modicum of responsibility for what has been wrought because of your postings. You have not only misrepresented and blatantly attacked a brother in Christ, you have maligned the very Word of God in your creative reinterpretations of it on the basis of your pre-existing notions regarding egalitarianism. It’s plain-spoken. You can either accept it and be blessed by it, or you can not accept it and attempt to redefine it.

    And you might even get away with it.

    In this life, at least.

  146. Jennifer Says:
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    Kevin,

    Im sorry, but you are still denying the realtiy that these thigns could have been said directly to women. Why cant you understand that this kind of thing happens?

  147. Kevin Says:
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    Jennifer, I’m not denying that these things *could* have been said to women. Were they said directly to women in Mars Hill Church? If they were, it was said in such a context as to not demean the women or their worth in the Lord, but to indicate to them that, quite simply, they cannot be pastors. Read the blog I wrote as a response to this, which can be accessed by simply clicking on my name above my posts, or is accessed via direct URL in an earlier post a few above this one.

    No pastor at Mars Hill Church is above the repurcussions for anything they speak in an official capacity as a leader of that church. The Bible indicates that no accusations against a pastor/elder should be entertained unless brought by the testimony of two or three witnesses; the concept applied here is, “It doesn’t get entertained when only one person is saying it; it has to come from multiple sources, and it has to line up.”

    Mark’s sermons are taped, and available via MP3 on the website; they’re *all* there, as far back as this thing has been done (some 6 years or so). You’re going to find plenty of instances where he’s said, and had the Scripture to back it up, that women can’t be pastors. Any woman who claims the pastorate, and then proceeds to act as though she can speak with Godly authority under that mandate, is living in outright rebellion against the very Word of God, and attempting to use God’s name and authority to legitimize that rebellion!

    I understand that “this kind of thing happens”. But let’s make no mistake here: Rachelle may indicate that she wants to provide a space for women to speak out so they can reach a place of healing, but as it stands, this has turned into a discussion of spiritual egalitarianism in modern Christianity, and whether or not it can be justified as applicable to the pastorate.

    Are there women who feel they’ve been “verbally abused” at Mars Hill Church? I’m sure there are some who feel that way. Were they abused by the leadership within the church? They may feel they were, but as I already noted, just because someone “feels” a certain way doesn’t mean it was *actually* that way. To be fair here, in other instances, it also doesn’t mean that it *wasn’t* actualy that way. But insofar as Mars Hill Church goes, I feel pretty safe in stating unequivocally that it *isn’t* that way. If they feel that way, I would instead tend to think it *might* be a defense mechanism to cover the hurt that we *all* feel when we’re told we can’t have something we want, are further told the reason why, and can’t come up with a logical refutation of that reason.

  148. Jennifer Says:
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    Kevin,

    When a pastor says “shut your wife up, or I will shut her up for you” he has no scripture to back him up on that. There is no excuse fot that. MH members have already posted here and subtly admited that they knew this happened as fact. When someone hears that from a pastor they are not simply *feeling* like they were verbally abused, they actually were verbally abused.

  149. Kevin Says:
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    Again, it’s a case of things being colored outside of the actual truth. Mark didn’t say “Shut your wife up or I will shut her up for you.” What he DID say, however, was that the individual involved needed to lead and pastor his wife better, because she was advocating a non-Scriptural perspective, and that if her husband didn’t teach her better, that Mark would.

    As in all things, it’s always nice to have the facts. And in this situation, he most CERTAINLY had Scripture behind him. What ALSO doesn’t get talked about is the fact that the couple in question talked with Mark privately, and the issue was satisfactorily resolved at the time. If the lady is bringing something up now, it’s after the fact, and it’s after she and her husband talked to Mark and smoothed things over. If this is the case, well… she’s definitely engaging in what might be called “slander”. That isn’t “I was verbally abused”, that enters into the realm of “I was corrected and I didn’t like it, so now I’m going to lash out.” That’s bull, and has no place in Christian discourse.

    Wow, just *amazing* what REAL truth can manage to accomplish in the face of falsehoods…

  150. Rachelle Says:
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    Kevin & the rest of the Mars Hill crew –

    How do you *know* that the issue was handled satisfactorily in private? Unless the conversation was not private, you can’t know what the outcome of the conversation was. You (and all the other MarsHillians here) assume that the abusive statement “Shut your wife up or I will shut her up for you” happened in a public forum. What if it didn’t?

    How dare you heap abuse upon abuse upon abuse upon abuse? You arrogant, ARROGANT man. And that is what is wrong with patriarchy. That is why it needs to be smashed. So, thank you for providing such an outstanding textbook example.

    This is the exact problem with patriarchy: it breeds arrogance in men. It makes us feel free to take our view of the truth and beat the shit out of people. It leads to the fetishization of “right” belief at the expense of loving action. We feel we have a blank check to interpret scripture as we see fit and then use our interpretation to abuse people.

    It leads to blaiming victims of abuse for “misinterpreting” the abuse. It leads to domestic violence: “I love her, but she needs to understand the consequences of her actions.” It leads to date rape: “I intended it to be consentual; she’s misconstruing things.” It leads to shoving women in burkas in order to prevent them from inciting lust in us. It leads to pedophilia by priests.

    It leads to our beating up the victim again and again because the victim reminds us of our abuse.

    It leads to a pastor–your pastor–telling a man “Shut your wife up or I will shut her up for you”. It leads to a pastor making horrific sexual innuendos about other pastors in on the Leadership Journal website.

    What if we’re wrong? What if our “plain interpretation of scripture” is incorrect? What if “THE truth” might not be?

    What if you don’t have the full story? What if you’re wrong? I’m willing to face Jesus and beg forgiveness for taking the gospel too far. Are you willing to face Jesus and beg forgiveness for abusing women?

    And with that, thank you all for participating.

    Shalom.

    -Paul [the pastor’s husband]

  151. Rachelle Says:
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    Okay, I’m shutting down the comments. I simply will not allow people to continue hurting my friends by denying the truth of their personal experiences. It’s causing too much pain.

    A blog is like someone’s virtual living room, and I reserve the right to kick people out who are treating my loved ones with disrespect and vehemence. So this particular looping, repetitive conversation is coming to and end here. We aren’t moving forward, we’re just turning in vicious circles.

    Thank you to all who kept a civil and thought provoking conversation rolling for so long. May God’s grace and truth continue to rise in all of our lives.

    Shalom,

    Rachelle