A Biblical Examination of the Original Doctrinal Statement of the “Christians for Biblical Equality”
It is time to pass on to the part of the manifesto called “Application”. Having (as they imagine) proved their doctrine from the Bible, they now pass on to concentrate on its practical implications.
The manifesto ends with this section, called “Application” in five statements: the first two dealing with Community issues, and the final 3 with the Family.
Before I respond to the manifesto itself, It is of vital importance to consider how things stand. The reader, if he has patiently followed me through my critique, will be aware that I have not been timid about stating conclusions based on the Scriptures themselves as I progressed in my critique. That is because this is not an investigation; it is a refutation. I have made no pretense that the manifesto might be right after all, and the traditional view wrong. All that is necessary is for anyone to open the Scriptures and read them, in the fear of God, to know who is right. The point of this critique was not to find out where the truth lies.
I wrote this to show, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the manifesto is wrong; and that it is also revolutionary, and dangerous. I wrote it for the benefit of those who might be influenced in favor of the manifesto through ignorance of the Scriptures or through lack of skill in applying the principles of logic and right reason to the questions it raises. I wrote it to show the true character of those people who want to overthrow the Divine order, so that my reader will be better able to recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing the next time he meets with it.
The first application is to the community, by which is meant the church. I can only speculate about why it is so titled.
Point 1. “In the church, spiritual gifts of women and men are to be recognized, developed and used in serving and teaching ministries at all levels of involvement: as small group leaders, counselors, facilitators, administrators, ushers, communion servers, and board members, and in pastoral care, teaching, preaching, and worship.
In so doing, the church will honor God as the source of spiritual gifts. The church will also fulfill God’s mandate of stewardship without the appalling loss to God’s kingdom that results when half of the church’s members are excluded from positions of responsibility.”
I have called the authors of this document “Feminists”. If you doubt it, then please explain to me why they have deliberately chosen the phrase, “women and men”, where most of us would naturally say “men and women”? After all, they call themselves “Christian Feminists”: I did not invent the label. Whether they are Christians is not mine to judge; but the message of their manifesto is not only unchristian, but unnatural and immoral. Feminism and other forms of egalitarianism are never Christian; for the Bible does not teach egalitarianism.
Egalitarian doctrine has been responsible for the shedding of more blood than any other dogma. Communism and fascism are both professedly egalitarian. It is no accident that they are also atheistic. Tens of millions were murdered and countless numbers tortured or maimed during the last century in the name of the equality of all people, and, by the way, the equality of men and women.
Egalitarianism is revolutionary. It calls for the restructuring of the entire social order. Some Feminists insist that the number of women must be equal to the number of men in every vocation; and any discrepancy in those numbers is an injustice. This is nothing less than a complete rejection of God’s sovereignty.
God has distributed His gifts to human beings unequally, according to His sovereign will. One is born poor; another rich. The one has little liberty, being bound by his circumstances to spend most of his time providing the basic necessities of life; the other has enough, and is able to do what he wants with his time. Children are not equal to adults. Ignorant people are not the equal of educated persons. God has ordained all these conditions, as it has pleased Him. It is well if someone can improve himself and gain more liberty to serve God; but in general, God has called us to be content in our present callings. It is no shame to the laborer to be under a superintendent. It is no shame to be poor. In God’s eyes, the faithful poor man is better than a rich man who does not believe.
To say that women are inferior in status to men is simply to acknowledge that God has ordained a natural order in human society and the human family which must be respected. It is not about ability, per se. There have been women better able to rule over a nation than most men. Some wives are more competent, wiser, more godly than their husbands. It is unfortunate for such women; but it cannot be lawfully remedied. God’s order must be respected. She must obey her husband in all things. That fact in itself precludes women from divorcing their husbands, which is the ultimate act of disobedience.
There is likewise a general subordination of women to men as a class. This is expressed in the exclusion of women from the offices of the church, the biblical custom of the covering of the head on the part of women and in the silence of women in the church. These things should be encouraged by ministers of the gospel; not discouraged and undermined, as they are in this manifesto, which says:
“The… spiritual gifts of women and men are to be recognized, developed and used in serving and teaching ministries at all levels of involvement: as small group leaders, counselors, facilitators, administrators, ushers, communion servers, and board members, and in pastoral care, teaching, preaching, and worship.”
Let’s strip away the non-essentials and get down to the core of the matter.
“The…spiritual gifts of women… are to be… used in… teaching ministries at all levels of involvement: as small group leaders, counselors, facilitators, administrators, ushers, communion servers, and board members, and in pastoral care, teaching, preaching, and worship.”
This I emphatically deny. But, buried in the excess verbiage, is an honest statement of what the Feminists intend to achieve; a statement consistent with the doctrines that they advocate, which are refuted in the earlier parts of this series.
The manifesto assumes, without proof, that women are given the gifts of government, prophesying (preaching) and other gifts which qualify them for the offices that are currently dominated by men. Many men make the same mistake, sometimes mistaking natural gifts for spiritual gifts, and aspiring to offices for which they are not fitted. I deny that God gifts and calls women to those offices from which He has chosen to exclude them, categorically and perpetually.
“In so doing, the church will honor God as the source of spiritual gifts. The church will also fulfill God’s mandate of stewardship without the appal-ling loss to God’s kingdom that results when half of the church’s members are excluded from positions of responsibility.”
The church honors God as the source of spiritual gifts when she recognizes and honors those who use them biblically. But according to these people, the church has never recognized in women the same spiritual gifts that they recognize in men. If this were true, it would indeed be a tragedy! The promise of the Holy Spirit to lead the church into all truth will have failed! In that case, it would inevitably follow that women would have been abominably treated by even the best Christians we can name until now! Does anybody really believe this stuff?
“… the appalling loss to God’s kingdom…”! Please, ladies! Less drama and more reasonable discussion!
It is absurd to make these preposterous claims! First of all, how are we to know that women receive the gifts that belong to the ruling offices of the church? By whose authority are these claims to be substantiated? It is a very tenuous basis that you demand we acknowledge – your own opinions of yourselves, and the opinions of other like-minded persons. Well, I for one am not impressed. For me, and many others, the final authority in matters of religion is the holy Scriptures.
You Feminists claim that by the traditional view of women in the church “half of the church’s members are excluded from positions of responsibility.” Do you hear this, all you women who are content to be wives, mothers and homemakers? This is the opinion that your Feminist sisters have of you. Is your vocation not a responsible one? I have a feeling that you would not only not agree with that evaluation, but that you would resent it. You are responsible to be supportive to your husband in his calling; to make his home a place of refuge from the world, and to rear his children with such a thorough training in sound morals and fundamental knowledge that they will be capable of living responsibly and changing the world for good.
The Feminists flee from this “lowly” calling as unworthy of them; but in fact, they are unworthy of it. They are deserters, having abandoned their biblical role for one that is forbidden to them. They think that they could never be happy as house wives; and this is probably true. If they attempted marriage, it would probably not last two years. What man could live with such a woman, who is constantly contradicting him, doing things behind his back, neglecting the house, spending all his money, and refusing the duty that belongs to her sex unless she can get something for it! There are some men who have so little self respect; but (I hope) not many.
This is the real tragedy, the “appalling loss to the kingdom of God”! The destruction of the family, the sowing of the seeds of conflict between man and woman! There will be a bitter harvest in ruined lives and institutions as the Feminist vision is increasingly realized. When all the women are judges and congressmen and bishops and CEOs, who will mind the children? Who will meet their husbands’ needs? Who will keep the house? Other women, probably hired women, who will not care about some other woman’s children; though they may be willing to take care of another woman’s husband.
And when women usurp authority over men, no good can come of it; but only a deep resentment in the hearts of the men so disgraced as to be placed under their authority. When women are advanced over men preferentially, either because of some quota, or because the big boss wants a sex kitten in the office, the strength of the institution cannot but suffer. She may not be the best qualified person for the job; but she is there, taking up space, nonetheless.
The next statement goes further:
Point 2. “In the church, public recognition is to be given to both women and men who exercise ministries of service and leadership. In so doing, the church will model the unity and harmony that should characterize the community of believers. In a world fractured by discrimination and segregation, the church will dissociate itself from worldly or pagan devices designed to make women feel inferior for being female. It will help prevent their departure from the church or their rejection of the Christian faith.
I have said enough about the subject of the first two sentences. I want to concentrate on the last two, which read:
“In a world fractured by discrimination and segregation, the church will dissociate itself from worldly or pagan devices designed to make women feel inferior for being female. It will help prevent their departure from the church or their rejection of the Christian faith.”
According to this manifesto, “the church” needs to “dissociate itself from worldly or pagan devices designed to make women feel inferior for being female.”
This seems reasonable enough to most people, I suppose. Who wants to make women feel inferior for being female? Who wants to drive women from the church or to reject the Christian faith? The only problem is, the “worldly or pagan devices designed to make women feel inferior” are those things taught in Scripture which they are attacking throughout the manifesto; and which I have been defending: the subordination of women, their exclusion from the ministry and the practice of covering the head.
In other words, it is worldly and pagan to expect my wife to obey me. It is worldly and pagan to prevent women from preaching. The biblical custom of covering the head is worldly and pagan. And what else? Dressing like a woman, with long hair, and with modesty? That’s probably worldly and pagan too; since Feminists have generally and visibly rejected that as well.
Anything that reminds a woman of her inferior status and subservient role is a worldly and pagan device designed to oppress women! Did you catch that? “Designed”, it says. Apparently, worldly and pagan men designed these things to conquer women and rob them of their dignity. But these institutions have, for the substance of them, existed from the foundation of the world! How is it that no prophet of God ever inveighed against these worldly and pagan practices? Will you dare to say that it is because the prophets were mostly men? Men they were; but they spoke under inspiration against all kinds of errors and abuses. Why not these? Abuses that destroyed and ruined women like this – is it reasonable to think that God can have passed over them for thousands of years without comment?
And how did they become incorporated into the congregation of the Lord? How could the Apostles of Jesus Christ have defended these “worldly and pagan” differences based on sex?
The answer is that these things are neither worldly nor pagan, nor are they designed to rob women of their self-respect. They are God-ordained and holy, and designed for the blessing of men, women and children. Men must be free to make their own decisions and their own mistakes without running into opposition from their wives. They need her feminine contributions to their lives – beauty and erotic love, cleanliness and order in the home, and devotion to their children. This is what a wife is for, and it is a high calling that will take all that she can give! A woman that can accomplish all of these things will find a contentment and fulfillment that nothing else can ever give her. And happy is the child who is born to parents who live together in love and harmony, according to God’s holy word!