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Only on Tony's blog can we read these four sentences in sequence and not be surprised: "I very much take Jesus’ prayer for unity in the Fourth Gospel seriously.""We need to divorce.""The time for dialogue and debate has passed. The Spirit has spoken, and we have listened. ""For shit's sake, this should be behind us."This from the guy who once said there is no such thing as orthodoxy, said "we're all relativists" and compared doctrine to a variable strike zone where the ump "calls 'em as he sees 'em". I guess Tony believes in absolutes after all.In Tony's world everyone who simply believes that women and men are not interchangeable and that the "Fatherhood" of God and the maleness of Christ have implications are automatically "misogyinists" who practice the "subjugation of women", "unfaithful to the Bible" and "anti-Christian". Ironic that on the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis' death, in appears Tony would classify Lewis himself as an archaic being who practiced retrograde beliefs that do violence to women. I guess the majority of Christians for 2000 years were really just anti-Christian bigots. Glad Tony is around to make sure we all know what the Spirit is saying and what Paul actually meant and what the Bible really says. No doubt he has a right to his opinion, but why all the incendiary rhetoric?Maybe the agenda isn't really advancing women in ministry, because Tony makes it clear he grew up in a church that ordained women, allowed women preachers and that he never even meets complementarians in real life. Doesn't sound like the world is teeming with aggreissive theological cave-men to me. And really, aren't there plenty of places to go? Isn't there already a schism on this issue? How do you start a schism when there are a zillion options already?So what is the point? Only one thing makes sense. The point is to use name-calling, character assassination, intimidation and false witness to try to force more conservative folks to change their mind. Since folks can already find lots of egalitarian churches, the call apparently is to raise an unholy ruckus in conservative churches, to split those churches, to divide and conquer. "Agree with the progressive vision or we will tear your churches to shreds."Since there are already many, many egalitarian option, this seems the only reasonable motive. All in the name of Christian unity.
Way over the line. Sad to say I'm not surprised.
It is indeed very interesting that this is where our host draws a hard line, and not on any of the stuff in the Apostles or Nicene creeds.
Since folks can already find lots of egalitarian churches, the call apparently is to raise an unholy ruckus in conservative churches, to split those churches, to divide and conquer.
Well, the problem is that most progressive churches just plain suck so bad that not even someone like Rachel Held Evans wants to attend them. To be fair, conservative Evangelical churches in the First World aren't exactly setting the world on fire either, but there is at least some life left in them, so progressives want to take over. Meh.
When your extremist theology, aggressive agenda, and Scripture-twisting has killed YOUR church, the only thing left to do is take those things to another church and try to kill it too.
It's the Leftist way. They can't sustain churches on their own (just look at the mainline Protestant denominations which have embraced "Progressivism" and have subsequently had huge declines in membership), so they have to keep consuming other churches just to propagate their views.
True. And what is terribly sad is that there are hurting people, with lives devastated by sin, that are hearing angry feminism and environmentalism, rather than the Gospel of grace, and the love of our Savior.
The church I'm part of is neck-deep in ministering to recovering drug addicts, alcoholics, and other truly broken people. Women who, for the first time in their difficult marriages, are thrilled to see their husbands actively pursuing their walk with God. Men who, for the first time in their lives, realize that Church isn't about angry women waving fingers at them, but about grace & strength. What's truly amazing about it is that nobody seems to have time for this kind of nonsense.
Then we have these nonsensical "egalitarians" who seems to have nothing better to do than sit and rant about how life is unfair. No wonder people aren't listening to them.
It's just a symptom of living in a decadent society in decline. If we were in a society that wasn't so fat with wealth and leisure, our focus would be elsewhere. Suffice it to say, my parents' church in East Africa doesn't have such issues.
You are spot-on right. This is the whiny nonsense of spoiled rich white people who have no real crises in their lives, so they invent things to wring their hands over. They'll fly half-way across the world on 8-day vacations - oooops - MISSION TRIPS, but they don't go to the homeless shelter and simply spend time with the mentally imbalanced war vet who smells of vodka & vomit, or give of their financial resources to buy meals at the Open Door Mission. And forget about female genital mutilation in sub-Saharan Africa, they have gender issues to rant about on the internet!
"that are hearing angry feminism and environmentalism, rather than the Gospel of grace, and the love of our Savior."
Have you ever even met someone who goes to a mainline church?
I've met hundreds who USED to! ;-)
I somehow don't believe you.
I was raised in the Disciples of Christ. We had pastors who denied the resurrection physically happened. After reading "If Christ be not raised from the dead, we are men most to be pitied," I left. So I am one of the ones Morton is talking about.
Cool. Everyone is at a different place on their spiritual journey, and everyone needs to find the church home that's right for them. I'm glad that you found a church home which is right for you.
That's fine, you don't have to believe me. You don't have to believe that the earth is round, either.
Let me share the example of two families that are currently in the same church I am. One family came from the Disciples of Christ denomination, the other from a Presbyterian denomination. Both families were drawn by the friendliness of our church, and were dumbfounded by the fact that our pastor actually physically picks up his Bible and reads from it during sermons. Then contextually explains what was just read. Then bases the entire sermon on it.
They both came from churches that had women pastors, and said that their previous pastors "clearly were pastors to prove that women can be pastors too, rather than because God had called them to be pastors." They also talk pretty honestly about how their previous pastors were angry and unreasonable, and how their teaching was based on personal agenda, rather than on Scripture.
Of course, I could also use the example of another family who came from a Methodist church. She (the mom/grandmother) was drawn to our church's youth program quite a few years ago. When they were confronted with the fact that in the New Testament era, believers were immersed into Christ in baptism, she went and ask her Methodist pastor if that was true. His response to her was that, of course it IS true, and that he himself was an immersed believer. She then asked why he didn't teach that truth to the congregation, and his reason was simple: It's not what their denomination teaches. She never again set foot in a Methodist church.
Would you like me to go on?
No, that's OK. It's pretty easy to spot Baptist urban myths. I mean, you seriously expect me to believe that a person who was happy in a Methodist church decided to leave over immersion?
First of all, I'm not Baptist.
Second, she left over the hypocrisy of the Methodist pastor - a man who knew that immersion baptism is Biblical, so he did it himself, but wouldn't teach the Bible to the people in his church. I suspect he had a pretty solid pension plan to worry about.
So why else wouldn't a Methodist pastor simply preach what is in the Bible?
Second, she left over the hypocrisy of the Methodist pastor
That's not hypocrisy. It would be hypocritical if the Pastor preached that you shouldn't get a full-immersion baptism, and then while preaching that, went out and got a full immersion baptism.
Now, I don't know what this woman's pastor preached, because you're asking me to defend a second hand story from someone you may or may not have met once upon a time. With that being said, the official position of the United Methodist Church is that sprinkling, pouring, and immersion are all equally valid methods of baptism, and that the choice of the method used is up to the person who wishes to be baptized. The UMC believes that it's likely that all three methods were used in the Early Church and that there's no clear biblical teaching on which method is preferable. You can read more here:
With that said, your claim was that you had met "hundreds" of former mainline church goers who'd left the church due to "angry feminism and environmentalism". When called on it, you presented three stories with zero corroborating detail, none of which had anything to do with feminism or environmentalism.
Perhaps more significantly, though, you have never actually attended a mainline church yourself, to see what they're all about. You've condemned an entire sector of Christianty -- hundreds of millions of people -- to a non-Christian existence based off precisely zero personal experience. I attend a UMC church (which is quite mainline) and I have a very liberal pastor, and I've literally never heard a message that has anything to do with feminism or the environment, and it is far and away the least angry church environment I've ever been a part of.
Making up lies about people you've never met is pretty much the definition of anti-Christian.
So now I'm a liar?
I gave you several EXAMPLES of friends of mine who left mainline churches. How many DOZENS more examples would you like me to give? But what does it matter? You're just going to say they are "uncorroborated" anyway.
But here's my question to you: Are you going to actually try to deny the FACT that the UMC, DOC, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans and other mainline denominations are in a free-fall? Are you going to try to deny the FACT that if you don't return to the Gospel, your denomination is going to become extinct?
By the way, have you EVER so much as set foot in a church that's actually alive and growing?
It would appear you are.
How many DOZENS more examples would you like me to give?
You said you personally knew hundreds of people who'd left mainline churches. 17 dozen examples of people would suffice.
You're just going to say they are "uncorroborated" anyway.
Well, yes. That's the problem with making things up on the internet. Sometimes, people aren't going to believe you. Especially when you make up things that are obviously false.
But here's my question to you: Are you going to actually try to deny the FACT that the UMC, DOC, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans and other mainline denominations are in a free-fall?
Yes. Mainline churches are currently experiencing declining membership. As are evangelical churches and Catholic Churches. If growing membership is really your barometer for a solid religious experience, you should convert to Islam because they're growing like gangbusters.
Are you going to try to deny the FACT that if you don't return to the Gospel
Nothing like poisoning the well. I believe that my church has a solid grasp on the Gospel, thanks. In fact Gospel (Greek for "Good News") is the same as Jesus shared: we want you just the way you are. This message is repeated at least once in every service.
your denomination is going to become extinct?
Yes. This is ridiculous. Church memberships have declined at large and small levels literally since there has been a Church, yet Christianity is still alive and kicking. I have no true investment in a denomination living or dying. Wherever there are people living for Christ and for the People He loves, I'll be there. Who cares what the name over the door is.
Of course. My current church is both alive and growing. It's the most alive, growing church that I've ever been a part of. It's also the most Christian church I've ever been a part of. It's also United Methodist and Mainline protestant.
And none of these things you have just said are true. That makes you a liar.
See how easy that is?
By the way, the 3 examples I gave you each involved families of 7-13 people. Perhaps you should do your math homework.
And perhaps I could tell you about an entire Presbyterian congregation (100+ members) in Minnesota who bailed on the Presbytery for the specific reasons I mentioned? It's a group of people who actually read their Bibles, and came to the conclusion that they could no longer abide the heresy & gender-bending that was being forced on them by the Presbytery. They gladly lost their manse, considering it a small price to pay for being able to simply be Christians. They have an annual celebration, the first Sunday of every October, to celebrate their being rid of the Presbytery.
That makes over 200 people I'm talking about. Would you like for me to continue?
Mehh, never mind. Your mind is closed. I am a liar, and all these people are a figment of my imagination. After all, you've said so - and you'll continue to say so long after your denomination no longer exists.
And perhaps I could tell you about an entire Presbyterian congregation (100+ members) in Minnesota who bailed on the Presbytery for the specific reasons I mentioned?
You know them all? Personally? Because that was your original claim -- that you'd personally met hundreds of people who'd left mainline churches due to environmentalism and angry feminism. Also, that's a pretty big deal -- I'd imagine there was a newspaper story somewhere that you'd like to share? I mean, it shouldn't be that hard, right?
You seem to be awfully committed to something that was clearly untrue and could've been walked back with a simple "I was exaggerating". Moreover, you could do yourself a short metric ton of good by taking a month and visiting a few local mainline churches so that you can stop spewing your hate and actually understand even a little what they're like.
Yes, I actually DO know them all - and was actually part of that congregation until we moved to a different state.
Right now I have neighbors that left a nearby DOC church (and started coming to the church I attend) because the LESBIAN PASTOR preached that the Bible is not actually true. That's another family.
Now... CLEARLY you are wrong. Dead wrong. But you're also pretty thick-headed, so any facts you don't like are simply dismissed out of hand.
Wait, now your story's changed. First, you had never set foot in a mainline church, now you were a member of a Presbyterian congregation when it left the Presbyterian conference over...something that you still haven't really specified?
This is my problem with what you're posting. Everything is anecdotal, short on details, completely unverifiable and shifting from post to post. What's more, you're logically inconsistent: you're holding up your former-Presbyterian congregation and people who've left mainline churches as great folks, who followed their conscience and listened to God and found the truth, but you're condemning anyone who's leaving your particular version of the church as leaving for gender bending and angry feminism and environmentalism and poisoning the Bible.
You've come to the conclusion that the only way someone can interact with God is the way that you personally interact with God. That's the main problem that I have with people like you. You've come to God in a way that works for you, and that's awesome. But instead of saying "This is how I interact with God", you're saying "This is how you must also interact with God". And in so doing, you do harm to people who don't have the same experiences or viewpoints that you do. That's where the damage comes from, and that's why I'm so critical of your attitude towards the church. Because you're hurting people.
Where did I say I've never set foot in a mainline church?
And why are you putting words in my mouth and telling me that I've said what I've never said?
Truthfulness is not your long-suit, is it?
I asked if you'd ever met a person who attends a mainline church. You said you'd met "hundreds who used to". Using that answer when you yourself personally attended a mainline church for [unknown amount of time] is...disingenuous. I've reiterated the point that maybe you should go to a mainline church to see what they're all about three different times now, and at no point have you objected to that, which could have been easily done if you'd simply pointed out that you used to attend a mainline church. I asked for a quick newspaper link to corroborate your story about the Presbyterian church leaving their denomination over...again, something you haven't specified.
This is my problem. You're talking in deliberate half-truths, misleading people to believe that what you're talking about is in fact the Gospel Truth when in reality it's simply a manifestation of your twisted point of view. When asked to provide any evidence of your point of view that could be verified by an outside party, you've failed five different times, now.
But hey, you know. Keep Lying For Jesus. It doesn't matter if it's true, half-true, kind of true or totally made up as long as it reinforces your tribalistic urges.
Hahahaha - this is hilarious! In a completely twisted, stupid and dishonest way, but hilarious none the less.
I'm done. You're free to return to your own delusional little world, where you make up reality as you go. Tootles!
I'm glad you stuck with "most" progressive churches... I happen to go to one that is pretty well the opposite of "suckie".
Only one thing makes sense. The point is to use name-calling, character assassination, intimidation and false witness to try to force more conservative folks to change their mind.
This is really, really funny coming from a guy who wrote several paragraphs attacking Tony, but barely scratching the surface of his arguments.
Tony didn't really make any arguments in the above post. He simply declared that complementarians are misogynists and that it was time for a schism. It was he who used phrases like "violence", "subjugation", "anti-Christian". It was he who mischaracterized the position of millions of Christians.
I've made the case in many posts, dating back to 2004. Welcome to this blog.
And I've read your blog for a few years. I do not object to your right to hold the egalitarian views you have espoused for quite some time. I object to what you wrote here in this post, specifically slandering all who disagree with you as anti-Christian, as haters of women, advocating subjugation and violence. False, unfair, slanderous.
Dan, speaking as a woman who grew up in a church that split from the Southern Baptists because the SBC was too liberal for them, I actually *do* believe that those who don't see me as their equals are haters of women, advocating subjugation and violence, and there's very little more unChristlike than that.
Congratulations, you believe in something that isn't supported by scripture. Good luck with that.
Shannon, your position is unscriptural, unChristlike, and unsustainable. You can believe it if you want to, but that doesn't make it true. We will be very happy when you and all the other false Christians who don't read their Bibles are gone. So best wishes and don't let the door hit you on the way out.
On the contrary, Dan quoted alot of what he said, and yes, the past 2000 years, I guess the church was anti-christian... Hey... come to think of it... So was Saint Paul...
I feel kind of sorry for this Tony guy. It must suck to believe in a religion whose basis is a book he considers wrong. Got to smack some cognitive dissonance into the ol' noggin.
And here we see the conundrum of extremist liberal theology. "I'm basing my eternity on something I'm determined to prove is not true!"
It is a rather peculiar behavior.
Seems to me that you are already in a communion separate from those of us who continue to adhere to the ancient constitution of the clergy. Your schism, and countless others, are already accomplished.
If all you're doing is saying, "My church is right and yours is wrong," then what's the big deal? We all think that--that's why we belong to different churches--and occasionally we are tactless enough to say it. I think you've separated yourself from the one holy catholic and apostolic church over clerical details and ought to come back--but it sounds a little tasteless just to say so outright, doesn't it?
I can't be a priest in my own church because I'm married (can't get divorced, either). For some reason that doesn't offend my sense of dignity. In Jesus' day Jesus couldn't be a priest because he wasn't a male of the tribe of Levi. I don't remember him expressing any problem with that. It's not that I think a clergy is unnecessary. We have to have one. But seems to me its composition has very little to do with what being a Christian is about.
So, I understand that the issue of female clergy is very important to you, and you think I should come out of Babylon. What any further "breaking of fellowship" with me means, though, I wish you would clarify. Am I no longer to be considered a Christian? Should Catholic masses be shunned as unholy? Ought I to say "adios" to my very occasional posting here? Other than saying that you feel very, very strongly about women in the clergy, and others should agree with you, what actual effect does your withdrawal of fellowship have?
Actually, you just made Tony's point. Jesus couldn't be a priest - but he was Prophet, Priest and King. He was making all things new. To the extent that we continue traditions that don't look like Jesus (no matter how long we may have been doing them), we look more like the Pharisees than Jesus. And that IS a problem.
You don't think this article sounds more legalistic than the comment?
Jesus was nephew of Zacharias, priest, and Elizabeth, recorded as a daughter of Aaron. Given the family lines, Jesus was very likely Judah on one side and Levi on another. There is one abounding theory that the conflicting genealogies of Matthew and Luke are due to a Levirate marriage. As a fulfillment of the Law and indeed a completion of the shadows of the priesthood, I'm not comfortable saying Jesus wasn't a Levite, merely that he wasn't a priest.
How has this long been settled and by whom? How is being a complementarian anti-Christian? As an example in honor of the anniversary of his departure into the church triumphant, Is C.S. Lewis anathema for creating a fundamentally complementarian world in his allegory in the book Perelandra? Is the majority of Christianity, apart from North American and western European culture, where a majority of this kind theological opinion is held, anti-Christian? Has the church catholic been anti-Christian until the last 100 years or so of Western culture and philosophy? Were the church fathers anti-Christian for not having a female priesthood? Was the Apostle Paul Anti-Christian when instructing Timothy? Was Jesus being duplicitous when he talks about the relationship between himself and the church as husband care for his wife, when we know that the relationship was built on His sacrifice as husband and our submission as wife being the church? Is that view on marriage Paul talks about, continuing to build on what Christ taught all of the sudden invalid? Were the instructions by Yahweh in the Law and the Prophets concerning priesthood wrong when He commanded a male priesthood? Was the distinction of male and female by God in the Garden something that God got wrong and has now progressively been fixing until we have ideas like this today?
One could use the exact same argument for slavery, rape and baby killing. Didn't Jesus challenge, indeed despise, the "old traditions" of the common church in his day? I do believe he caused a pretty big schism himself.
"One could use the exact same argument for slavery, rape and baby killing."
No you can't, and it is a weak mind that thinks you can. Jesus never advocated any of those things but was quite specific on this issue.
I am in favor of the schism being discussed, because: " Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."
Russel, you seem to be missing the point that for a long time, the same arguments being used to silence women in the church were used to support things like Slavery (in fact, those arguments and the schism they caused over slavery were the reason that modern evangelical theologies like "biblical inerrancy" were invented).
If you're going to cling to a White Male Theology, that was invented for and advocates for the privileges of White Males, you must own that tradition.
I think you are missing the point. Slavery is not the trump card you think it is. Paul describes himself as a slave to Christ. Jesus said the greatest in the Kingdom would be the servant of all. That was in response to an argument among the disciples about who was to be the greatest. Philemon was told go back into slavery because something greater than his rights was at stake. It is better to be a saved slave than a lost emperor.
My point is that in the Kingdom of God you have no rights. Before God you have nothing. Until you have the life of God in your spirit, you cannot see these things. Arguing a lot about who is the greatest is a sure sign you don't get it.
Slavery is not the trump card you think it is.
Slavery is exactly the trump card that I think it is. Slavery is the single greatest tragedy in history. Tens of millions of people were rounded up simply because of the color of their skin and shipped far away from their families and homes where they were treated brutally, tortured, forced to work without ceasing and provided only the barest possible essentials for the entire rest of their lives before suffering a terrible, brutal death. It didn't just happen in America, it happened worldwide.
Now, human beings either matter, or they don't. If you believe that human beings do matter, then there is no excuse for slavery -- not one. If you believe that human beings don't matter enough to keep them from slavery, then I cannot fathom how you could be raised in a Christianity that so horribly denies Christ. And if that's the case, there's no point in continuing this conversation, because quite frankly, you're a monster and I have no desire to know you.
But if you do believe that human beings matter, and if you do believe that slavery is wrong, then you have to accept the history of the theological tradition you're clinging to. If you believe that slavery is wrong, you must necessarily believe that in the United States in the mid 1800s, groups of White Evangelical Men perverted the Bible to protect the worst thing human beings have ever done to one another. They were wrong. They read their own presuppositions into the Bible and came away with something that was so horrible it could not have been from God. If you recognize that, you must also recognize that their theological heirs, who are still White Evangelical Men, are using the exact same arguments to continue to protect their privileges over women. It's possible that after a century and a half of those arguments being wrong and then men who make them being monsters that this time, they've finally gotten it right. But it's not likely.
My point is that in the Kingdom of God you have no rights.
Man, that's a screwed up view of Christianity. It's also very easy for the person who's on top of the pile to argue that nobody has any rights, so all those other people who don't have the same rights you do should just stop complaining about it.
Arguing a lot about who is the greatest is a sure sign you don't get it.
That's the exact opposite of what I'm doing. I'm pointing out that those who are currently on top of the heap either can't hear or won't listen to the cries of pain that they're causing by those they're actively keeping down.
I guess I forgot to put the disclaimer for the carnally minded: This post is about spiritual matters: of course in matters of political governance and human rights I oppose slavery in all its forms. Dense people should not be worried that slavery is being supported or excused.
Now, having that out of the way, I will try to restate what I was trying (and apparently failing) to clearly state.
1. Calvinism aside, being a Christian is a voluntary act. No one is forcing you to be a Christian. If you feel oppressed, leave. Or go join a church that is more in agreement with your philosophy.
2. The worst thing to befall anyone is to be lost. A slave who knows Christ is better off than an emperor who doesn't. God calls on slaves to be the best slave they can be to try and win their masters. Because it is more gain for a slave to save his master than to personally be free.
3. The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom. There is a King and you are not Him. The King decides these things for His own pleasure. He appoints the parts of the body as He sees fit. The desire to sit on His throne is what made Satan fall. When the King gives an order, our only rational response is obedience. If God decrees that only men are to be pastors I just accept that.
4. I do not know why God made the order in the church the way He did. Not my department. But I would far rather be chastised for treating the word of the King with too much reverence than too little.
Now, these are spiritual statements that can only be understood spiritually. Out Lord was crucified by the civil authorities so we should have no desire to reign over civil affairs. Nonbelievers are of course not bound by church doctrine and as believers we should be used to that. But this post declared schism. I say ok, good riddance to bad rubbish.
If my desire (however imperfect) to follow God's will no matter the cost makes me a monster in your eyes, then I wear it as a badge of honor.
This post is about spiritual matters: of course in matters of political governance and human rights I oppose slavery in all its forms.
Good, I'm glad. What you seem to be missing is that a hundred and fifty years ago, the same people you're following now were using the same arguments you're using now to justify the continued existence of slavery as a method of governance.
If you feel oppressed, leave. Or go join a church that is more in agreement with your philosophy.
I don't feel oppressed, and I am a member of a church which shares my beliefs (and has for more than a century). But injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, so I oppose injustice among evangelical Christians. I also oppose sexism among atheists, muslims, buddhists, hindus and any other religion you'd like bring up.
If God decrees that only men are to be pastors I just accept that.
Once upon a time, God decreed that we should keep black people as slaves. Then God decreed that Black people were inferior and needed to sit in the back of the bus. Then He decreed that they couldn't marry white people. He decreed that we should forcibly expel all Jews from Europe, and then that we should kill them. He decreed that a woman having an orgasm was a sin. He decreed that we must forcibly relocate all of the Native Americans away from their homes so that we could take the land He had given to us.
Except God didn't say that. Horrible, twisted men and women who wanted to do terrible things in the world said that God said those things. And normal people, like you and me, "just accepted that". The Bible is full of righteous men questioning everything about God. Any time someone tells us God says we should do something, we should compare that command to what we know about God.
We know that God is not unjust. We know that God is not unkind. We know that God is not untruthful. Yet, the arguments against ordaining women are unjust, unkind, and filled with lies. What then should we conclude about those arguments? What then should we conclude about the people who are making them?