03 October, 2007

Ecumenical Egalitarian Exclusionary Ethics

Yeah, my favorite part is picking the title. I figure I'm the only one who gets my joke sometimes, but when I don't see your distressed faces I can blithely assume everyone enjoys 18 syllable alliterations.

But this particular title is not a joke.

I am a subscriber to Touchstone Magazine. It's an ecumenical publication (meaning they want to bring all Christians together under one big tent) that seems to be primarily Roman Catholic in tone, financing and authorship. I read a lot in it by the different protestant denominations, and a good bit by orthodox clergy, but it still jolts my ear to hear the occasional Catholicism spoken like that good-ol' religion.

As I have read the mag, I have found about 30% of the articles are challenging and profitable (and yes, the Catholics are doing a good job, too), 10% of the articles are misguided, and the remaining 60% are the usual fluff. I mostly keep the subscription to keep my finger on several pulses at once, and it works well for me that way.

(Some day remind me to comment on a pair of articles they wrote concurrently on Anorexia Nervosa if you're interested - WOW stuff.)

There is one subject on which they regularly offend me, and I mean regularly and I mean offend. The world's ecuminicists all agree together that the only group they can bash as one are egalitarians (those who hold that women are often called by God to minister the gospel, and should be allowed to do so). People who agree to respect each other's opinions about 1) the elevation of the virgin Mary to veneration, 2) whether the Lord's Supper is the real body and blood of Christ (about which subject hundreds chose to die at the stake scant centuries ago), and 3) whether salvation can be found within each others' respective churches AT ALL have - [get this] - united in disdain for anyone who shows the slightest sympathy to the possibility that a woman might not pollute a pulpit if she spoke truth from behind it.

(I'm sorry if you had to read that sentence more than once to follow it. It takes a sentence like that for me to even begin to nibble at the edge of how truly irked I am.)

But I have said nothing until now, because I might be a little thin skinned on the subject. I happen to suspect an anti-egalitarian under every frock, so I gave them the benefit of my silence, if not my doubt.

Allow me to quote a paragraph from an actually quite nice lead editorial of the October 2007 issue (I looked for a link, but they only displayed one article. I will comment on that soon, and much more favorably.):

We draw a firm line between us and the skeptics, modernists, liberals, relativists, and others whose adherence to their own traditions is partial or corrupt, and a thin and flexible line between us and those conservative believers who accept some apparently worldly ideology opposed to the shared Christian heritage, egalitarianism being the most obvious example. Hence our ability to draw together people who disagree about whether infants can be baptized but our mutual decision to leave outside the circle (if often just outside the circle) those who declare that women can be ordained.

This paragraph is more irenic than most, but peace-loving though it may be it simply makes explicit the mutual decision of the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox editors of this ecumenical effort to exclude those who hold with firm conviction that the bible requires women to preach the good news when so called.

And that brings me to my fourth E, Ethics. (My sole, lonely two syllable E.) I should not be surprised to find ecumenicists pandering like this - they need to beat up on someone after all, or they might not feel like a religious organization at all. And beating up on girls has been a politically safe move for millenia, so why not continue it in this fine example of their "ability to draw together people who disagree about" all manner of less important matters - like how people are brought to know God.

I cast shame on Touchstone Mag for taking pride in the ethics of heaping abuse on the abused in order to fudge - I mean forge - unity.

48 comments:

Milly said...

I thought that we were moving past women being sold out. Until the other day when my minister and his wife set us back fifty or so years. Glad they failed to answer the phones I’m calmer now.
Making the woman the Eve of doom seems to be present today. (Millyism-The Eve of Doom- Man that’s a post worthy title) Keep preaching it Brother!

Lynne said...

Thank you. Myown denomination (Anglican, Sydney diocese) has announced that it is a sin for a woman to preach, and a sin for a man to let her. That hurts. my own minister asks me to preach regularly, in fact the whole congregation, even people who used to be a bit iffy about women preaching, are very supportive of me, but it still hurts to have God's calling on my life called "sin". it hurts to know that my sharing from the word of God, preaching truths that none of them would disagree with, is more offensive to them than someone preaching things which in reformation times would have been regarded as a different gospel! i have heard arguments back and forth about those 2 verses of Paul's on which the entire anti-women exegesis depends, and many of the alternative interpretations make good sense to me .. surely even the most conservative should be able to concede that there is some grey area there (just like there is, say, on baptism, or church government) These days I tell people who ask that I am bypassing the endless arguments on those disputed verses, and i simply take my mandate to preach, as a woman, from Jesus having told a woman to go and tell the male disciples that he had risen from the dead! (definitely new teaching)

But I get very tired knowing that every time I step out in obedience to God I come under the condemnation of men. I have also been known to say to friends that the only qualification I lack for ordination is one of those magic Y chromosomes. Still, i know the Lord has called me along this path for His purposes, and my job is to wait on Him and do whatever comes to hand for Him. but hey, you have no idea how much the encouragements along the way mean to me ..

PS I LOVE the Eve of Doom .. sometimes I look at some of those guys and ask myself what their so scared of .. believe me I don't want to take away their masculinity -- they're welcome to it! :)

Milly said...

Lynne,
Good for you holding true to yourself. God wouldn’t give you the ability to preach if He didn’t want you to do so. My church doesn’t allow women to preach as of yet but we are allowing women to lead more and more so things are changing.

Bake those men an apple pie sister. ;-}

Kansas Bob said...

How sad the things that people sometimes find unity in. Our church has a great flyer about women in leadership. I have heard some of the best messages preached by women ... I guess it is just a matter of how much of the scriptures you embrace.

Anonymous said...

Someone picked up on this blog and sent it to us at Touchstone, where we would say that your problem is with something a bit larger than our magazine.

Actually, we're used to this sort of thing, but must admit that you're the first to identify a large portion of it as "fluff."

--S. M. Hutchens (Senior Editor, and one of the worst of the offensive rotters)

codepoke said...

Mr. Hutchens,

Mark Twain said, It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you to the heart; the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you. I trust that holding a conviction and stating it plainly is not yet deemed slander, but obviously your friends are doing their part in the process.

I have read a number of your pieces in Touchstone, and count quite a few of them in the 30% I positively appreciated. At the same time I found a few of them, with their sidelong and wholly uncharitable digs at rock-solid egalitarian brothers and sisters, entirely uncharacteristic of an ecumenical magazine. They seemed unworthy to me, and do to this very moment.

Comments such as you left here, we would say that your problem is with something a bit larger than our magazine, insinuating rather that stating, and casting fog rather than declaring truth, are not helpful to me nor to the readers you are evidently attempting to persuade. And placing insults on my lips which I have never uttered about you or any of the other editors privately or in this space is not edifying. Mr. Mills is not a rotter, though I disagree with him stridently on this subject. And when he speaks "for the editors", I disagree with the editors without casting aspersions on their salvation and without resorting to thinking of any of you as rotters.

Touchstone is not a debate magazine, but when you engage in a consistent assault on a single position held by many of the surest orthodoxy in every other particular, you might consider giving your audience a chance to hear a real egalitarian. I'm quite sure you've debated with far more capable than me, but I still know a couple people I would heartily recommend.

What do you say?

(And, rest assured 30% is enough to keep my subscription active, if you are willing to keep me.)

codepoke said...

> Glad they failed to answer the phones I’m calmer now.

Milly! You wouldn't speak rashly would you? :-D

> Millyism-The Eve of Doom- Man that’s a post worthy title

I must agree, and I look forward to it with glee.

codepoke said...

Lynne,

> I get very tired knowing that every time I step out in obedience to God I come under the condemnation of men.

I don't know I could have said it better in a hundred years. Not all men, sister. I love the stuff you're writing. If I may, please let me plug, The Washerwoman. It's got nothing to do with egalitarianism, and wow what a message of redemption - the real kind, through tears and sweat. Thank you.

codepoke said...

KB,

I agree about your flyer - more power to you. Thanks, brother.

karen said...

Wow, this is amazing dialogue. Well handled, CP. Thank you for this. Your spiritual maturity and courtesy shine through. . .what a testimony to Him in your life!

Kansas Bob said...

Ditto what Karen said CP - you rock!

Fr. Robert Hart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr. Robert Hart said...

Blog meister:
Your profile says you are a college drop out. You need not have so identified yourself, because it shows through in your article here. You cannot distinguish between social and theological issues; you cannot distinguish between the evangelistic ministry of preaching and the traditional pastoral (or priestly) office; you cannot refute a point. I make this last criticism, because what you have written here is not a refutation of what has been written and stated, but is, instead, an emotion packed litany of accusations.

You failed to mention that we tie innocent young ladies to railroad tracks, we invented global warming, and we are doing nothing to save the whales.

I recommend reading my own writing about the difference between equality and interchangeability, to which I am indebted to C.S.Lewis. Follow the link in the second footnote, from this link, and maybe you will learn something- maybe a philosophical point that has, obviously, alluded you all along.

http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2007/10/
english-how-she-should-be-spoken.html

codepoke said...

Fr. Robert Hart,

Thank you for your visit, and for the link to your skillfully written piece on gender, sex and the church. I was amazed as I read at the coincidence of your subject and certain things I have been thinking and posting about since Friday night.

> We need to understand these things, partly to learn all over again the true human need for a ball.

I attended one of Puccini's operas Friday night, and was entranced by the ball-like atmosphere. The contrast of masculine and feminine was envigorating, and the ceremony was refreshing. I could not agree more that the differences between masculine and feminine are rich with the reflection of God. Anything that tends toward obscuring the differences between the sexes is a loss to all humanity, and to our ability to present the image of God on earth.

On the other hand, it is pret' near impossible to take your comment here as anything but derogatory to me personally. I've already addressed the rhetoric of falsely placing personal accusations in my mouth, and I won't bore you with how I failed to refute anything precisely because I was not attempting a refutation. All that aside, I'm willing to regret any offense I may have caused and open an actual discussion if you're so inclined.

The core point of your piece, English, how she should be spoken, is that it is impossible for a woman to take authority without losing her femininity, without becoming an asexual distortion of the image of God. That the "uniform" of authority is masculine is not a biblical point at all, but cultural one. That men should solely wear authority cannot be demonstrated from scripture, but only from a culturally driven reading of it. I would enjoy a civil discussion of this point, if you were interested.

Still, allow me to return to the original point of my post. Your magazine finds a remarkably small number of bones to pick with anyone who calls himself Christian. Egalitarianism is the single, reliable Christian position your magazine attacks without remorse or fair discussion. You reliably link egalitarianism to a pro-homosexual, anti-biblical, gender-mingling agenda and call to witness characters for whom every egalitarian I know would have a rebuke. This is both uncharitable and a logical fallacy (I'd have to look up the name of the fallacy, so I'll not pretend to know it offhand.)

The point of my post, and the hope for which I continue this discussion, is that egalitarianism should receive a fair hearing within the pages of your magazine.

What do you say?

Jeremy Pierce said...

It's not exactly fair to complementarianism or traditional Roman Catholic patriarchy to describe either view as holding to the view that women preaching would somehow pollute a pulpit.

It's usually a good idea to be fair to those you disagree with if you're calling on them to be fair to you and include you as an equal in the discussion. This kind of language is entirely uncalled-for among those who wish to be ecumenical about this issue.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Jereny Pierce wrote:

It's not exactly fair to complementarianism or traditional Roman Catholic patriarchy to describe either view as holding to the view that women preaching would somehow pollute a pulpit.

I assume those words are aimed at Kevin Knox, since the only one to make that statement was him. This was an example of how he has mischaracterized Touchstone.

Kevin Knox wrote:
The core point of your piece, English, how she should be spoken, is that it is impossible for a woman to take authority without losing her femininity, without becoming an asexual distortion of the image of God.

(First of all, I do apologize for making a joke at your expense; I should not have done that.) The issue is not authority in general, but the specific charismatic reality of ordination. You seem to think that women's ordination is supported by a correct reading of scripture. Therefore, you have claimed that all of those who, for almost two thousand years, found the exact opposite teaching to be the position of scripture (everyone from the Popes to the Reformers) were deceived. Well, as a reader of the original tongues, and a student of Church History to boot, all for well over three decades, I know for a fact that women's ordination is not even possible, let alone correct. And, I have seen every possible mental gymnastic employed by people who teach, not equality, but egalitarianism. The effort it takes to make the scriptures come out your way must be exhausting.

That the "uniform" of authority is masculine is not a biblical point at all, but cultural one.

The apostolic uniform is masculine, and that is not a cultural point. Culture has nothing to do with this revelation at all. It is theological and timeless, and it transcends all human cultures, and that for the reasons given by C.S. Lewis. I wonder if you really paid attention to his essay, because you would answer a little differently if you weighed the arguments he made. At least, you would have to argue differently.

You are actually attacking the Incarnation, but you cannot see how. I will give you two more links to my writings. (Unfortunately, each link has to be broken into two in order to fit this space.)

http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com
/2007/09/womens-ordination-is-christological.html

http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2007/01/
priesthood-and-church.html

codepoke said...

Mr. Pierce,

Your point regarding my bombast is welcome here. The sentence you quote was intentionally hyperbolic, and obviously offended those at whom it was directed. If you can broker an outbreak of civility, please know I will welcome your success.

Your point regarding the falsehood of my statement, however, is manifestly false. I can safely say that Fr. Hart has gone well beyond my original statement. In his post, Priesthood and the Church, he states:

At this point we must teach that the priesthood is not only the ministry of the altar. To reduce anything to its main function at the expense of its entirety is a serious mistake.

and

The ordained priesthood, however, belongs to the Bridegroom in a special way that makes it the embassy of Christ among His own people. For this reason, among the others we have cited, it is reserved to men who are called and ordained, and only to them.

Fr. Hart holds the complementarian standard, it's "tradition" as you say, to be that an ordained woman corrupts the very image of Christ as displayed in the priesthood. My statement that she might be considered to "pollute the pulpit" is, therefore, a soft-pedalling of the true offense they find in the ordination of women.

I, it goes without saying, disagree stridently and hope to do so in language all involved will find "called for." Thanks for your contribution.

codepoke said...

Fr. Hart,

First of all, I do apologize for making a joke at your expense; I should not have done that.

I'm unsure to which joke you refer, but I accept the olive branch.

Well, as a reader of the original tongues, and a student of Church History to boot, all for well over three decades, I know for a fact that women's ordination is not even possible, let alone correct.

A fairly stated appeal to authority, and one that I truly respect. Three decades ago I was a committed complementarian, and would have shouted support from the rafters. Having read several authorities on both sides of the argument, though, I was moved from your position to that of biblical egalitarianism. Other men, who can claim as much authority as you, have wrestled with the same scriptures as you and been led to different conclusions.

Two decades ago I weighed your arguments (though admittedly presented by other men) against theirs and found theirs more thoroughly researched, more honoring to Christ, and more constructive to His body. Until your arguments outweigh those of your opponents, I'll not be swayed to return to my former position.

You assert that egalitarians want to see a unisex interchangability in everything, (wittingly or not) open the door to every form of liberalism. Both of those are invalid appeals to fear and unsound arguments. If the scripture declares women must not bear the mantle of the priesthood, then let the scripture declare it. If the scripture does declare that women ought to bear ordination, then liberalism and gender-blending are boogeymen that will dissolve in the light.

My point remains that this topic deserves a fair hearing in your magazine. You trot out Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in your magazine, but never mention Gilbert Bilizekian. Yes, there are liberals in the world, and yes there are secular feminists calling themselves Christian, but you seem to smear other strong, conservative brothers and sisters together with them. To what end? Biblical, conservative egalitarians are not represented in your magazine, though every other biblical form of Christianity is.

What would it hurt to talk?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

If the scripture declares women must not bear the mantle of the priesthood, then let the scripture declare it.

The scriptures do declare it. Your position is to explain the scriptures away, to give them a meaning that is completely impossible for me to even so much as respect. It is, also, to confuse your egalitarian interchangeability with true equality. Your position destroys the real place and gifts particular to the female sex, and asserts the falsehood of the Gnostic "Gospel" of Thomas, that to inherit the kingdom of God a woman must become a man. It is your egalitarian heresy that is anti-female.

codepoke said...

Fr. Hart,

Do I need to quote how the Anglicans have said these same words to the Catholics? Or the Catholics to the Orthodox? Or the Orthodox to the Protestants who make an idol of the ineffable God? Throughout history Christian has attacked Christian with the declaration, "Your position destroys the ...., and asserts the falsehood of .... It is your ... heresy that is anti-...."

Your magazine is committed to drawing Christians together across centuries of division. You find common ground on matters over which Christians have murdered in centuries past, but on the issue of YOUR century you court the same tired errors of all history.

Don't you think we should talk instead?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Your reference to "murder" is without any actual fact, since this issue was never the cause of murder at any time. Avoid emotional excess if you want to reason.

I am speaking from an Anglican Catholic perspective, which is not the Touchstone perspective. But, from a Touchstone "Mere Christianity" perspective, I ask: Why do you think that the truth has been discovered since 1976 that was hitherto unknown to the whole Church, to all Christians everywhere? Is your little bunch of like-minded people so wise that you can dismiss everybody in the Church's history?

From my own perspective, when will Protestants stop reinventing the wheel? If you believe the scripture, then you know that the Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth." Why, then, should I reject the truth of past centuries for the presumption of a mere handful who are living today? What arrogance, and what presumption.

You embrace new ideas, and think that the same Church that discerned the word of God in the scriptures, that preserved the same scriptures, the same Church that recognized the two natures of Christ as God and man, the Trinity of the Godhead, the need for Divine Grace to save us through Christ and His redemption, was guilty of the "tired errors of history." It was the ancient Nicene Fathers who had just lived through 250 years of persecution to the death, as the Church, whose whole structure you think so arrogantly to correct. If they did not know the truth, then you cannot know it, and neither can anyone.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

codepoke's refrain: Don't you think we should talk instead?

One more thing I have forgotten to mention about this refrain, Mr.Knox, is that I have sent links to several words and thoughts that I have written (meant at the time not for apologetics, but to teach and edify my own readers. Nonetheless, they serve well as apologetics). You have made only one reference to the substance of these articles, and that was to select a pull quote which you attempted to connect to your own manipulative and emotive vulgarity about pollution. It is not, however, a fit. But, that vulgarity about "polluting a pulpit" came only from one source, your imagination. So, "don't you think we should talk instead" leads me ask, instead of what? If a conversation is not going your way, does that mean it must be rebooted?

As Ezekiel Bulver used to say, "Refutation is no necessary part of argument." Well, I was "talking." The conversation will not, however, start all over again from scratch.

codepoke said...

Thank you again, for your continued involvement, Fr. Hart.

The Internet is a difficult medium because of the many misinterpretations it seems to foster. Your words seem to say I'm not worth your time, but you continue to invest it, so I will assume I'm misinterpreting your words. Let me clarify some things your last pair of comments question.

Your comment:
> Your reference to "murder" is without any actual fact, since this issue was never the cause of murder at any time. Avoid emotional excess if you want to reason.

Refering to my comment:
> You find common ground on matters over which Christians have murdered in centuries past

I was thinking of the controversies in England in the mid-1500's in which a number of people were murdered by "Bloody Mary." There were much bloodier persecutions inflicted by Christian upon Christian elsewhere, but this one was of especial interest because your current magazine (and your denomination, as you mention) are working so hard to heal that same divide. You and your magazine are dedicated to overcoming such atrocities. My words about murder always referenced "centuries past."

Your comment:
> Is your little bunch of like-minded people so wise that you can dismiss everybody in the Church's history?

Your claim that "everybody" has been complementarian throughout history is inaccurate, though I happily grant you the majority have been. Still, at one time the majority persecuted Copernicus and Galileo. What has happened since 1976 is the computer revolution, allowing a vastly more thorough understanding of contemporary Greek. The egalitarians have a tremendous amount of reference information that I found highly persuasive.

Your comment:
> You embrace new ideas, and think that the same Church ... was guilty of the "tired errors of history."

You do not believe Catholics and Anglicans should have spent those decades burning each other at the stake. And surely you don't believe protestants, in denying transubstantiation, are participating in damnable heresy. And Touchstone certainly must stand against Catholics and Protestants railing against each other. And so, I observe there must have been something wrong with anyone burning people at the stake for his beliefs. Someone was holding his or her doctrine too dearly, and falsely.

I do not call any doctrine the "tired error", but not listening. The error is pronouncing anathemas in matters of reasonable interpretation. (And, of course, pronouncing death penalties for any belief.)

Your comment:
> If they did not know the truth, then you cannot know it, and neither can anyone.

My respect for the fathers is alive and well, but they were neither all-knowing nor infallible. The changes in church government between Paul and Athanasius were not well documented by Eusebius, and a great deal has been learned in the last 50 years. That the structure of the bishops and priests of 325 AD was vastly different from that of 70 AD is more than clear. Your blanket assertion that Nicea = Truth is not well-founded.

Athanasius did not know the earth revolved around the sun, either.

Your comment:
> I have sent links to several words and thoughts that I have written ...

And I have read each one thoroughly, and referenced it in context. The documents you referenced do not address the subject of this post, and therefore I have not strayed to address them directly. The subject of this post is whether Touchstone magazine should openly discuss egalitarianism without recourse to the association fallacy (yes, I looked it up.) Your links have uniformly shown that you find egalitarianism wrong, and even offensive. I accepted this from the beginning, and concede you have logical arguments to defend your position. None of this was at issue.

I continue my refrain, because that is, was, and will be the sole topic of this post.

Your comment:
> If a conversation is not going your way, does that mean it must be rebooted?

Nope. This conversation is going swimmingly so far as I can tell, and I have no desire to reboot it. I continue to assert that Touchstone should address egalitarianism with the same decency it addresses infant baptism and for the same reasons. I continue to defend that proposition.

Your comment:
> your own manipulative and emotive vulgarity about pollution

Google the phrase "pollute my pulpit" and you will find Frederick Douglass proclaiming, No slaveholding American shall ever my cross my door. No slaveholding or slavery-supporting minister shall ever pollute my pulpit. I grew up on the phrase, and believe I learned it from John R Rice, though I cannot prove it today. My first ministers may simply have been enamoured with it. The phrase is strong, but certainly not vulgar.

If it is the bombastic phrase of an ex-diesel mechanic keeping this issue from being discussed within the pages of Touchstone, I will retract it.

karen said...

When I read Christian bloggers, it always impresses me to see the humility in the "about me" section. . .but often I am dismayed to see boasting.

Interesting stuff. I must admit that I wasn't familiar with Touchstone magazine before this. I think I'll keep it that way.

Your grace shines through, CP.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Still, at one time the majority persecuted Copernicus and Galileo. What has happened since 1976 is the computer revolution, allowing a vastly more thorough understanding of contemporary Greek. The egalitarians have a tremendous amount of reference information that I found highly persuasive.

The issues about Copernicus and Galileo are not what most people think. Rome, with an observatory in the Vatican, was studying astronomy long before them, and these two men actually built on what was observed by the Church's scientists (a fact little known, unfortunately) .

The computer revolution cannot help you know ancient languages; they did not have computers back then. People who wrote by hand were closer to the period, and quite able to translate and copy. About the "egalitarian" uses of Greek, I have found them to be quite persuasive only to the uneducated. The most ridiculous one was the theory that κεφαλή means "source" instead of "head." This was a case of dishonesty or frank stupidity on the part of everyone who promoted it (I have not the time to put it nicely, as if they deserved such treatment). The whole lie was based on trying to redefine a word from a root used 500 years before the writing of the New Testament, and even that was uncertain speculation ("head" or "mouth" of a river). The idiocy of this was that it makes the relevant texts meaningless, and the idea is inconsistent with all the usage everywhere, including the LXX and its translation of ראש.

Your idea that we know more about Koine Greek today than was known in the past is simply absurd. It is necessary to promote these frauds to support the position they've sold you, however.

And so, I observe there must have been something wrong with anyone burning people at the stake for his beliefs. Someone was holding his or her doctrine too dearly, and falsely

Then you should know that the executions were the work of the crown, and that bringing this up as a matter for the specific doctrine you promote was a distraction. The Church of the First Millennium, in every practical way undivided with its formulative Ecumenical Councils, is the authority that, for us in Catholic Anglicanism, stands alongside of the scriptures, unless we want a free for all chaotic mess of private interpretation that cannot avoid excess, extreme and error (and no one was being burned in those centuries, except when the Romans burned Christians in the very early years). If you reject that authority, why do you hold to the Bible of that same Church? If you reject their doctrine, why should you think they were led by the Holy Spirit to recognize the true Scriptures?

The error is pronouncing anathemas in matters of reasonable interpretation.

Frankly, I don't find the "egalitarian" interpretation to be reasonable. It requires too much in the way of mental gymnastics for you to believe it either, unless you simply want to very badly.

The changes in church government between Paul and Athanasius were not well documented by Eusebius, and a great deal has been learned in the last 50 years. That the structure of the bishops and priests of 325 AD was vastly different from that of 70 AD is more than clear. Your blanket assertion that Nicea = Truth is not well-founded.

Until 500 years ago, only very weird cults (like the suicidal Albegensians) thought so. No, you are wrong. The structure of the fourth century Church is exactly that of the New Testament. If you look closely at the Pastoral Epistles you will find Apostolic Succession through the laying on of hands having been the pattern even that early. If you would allow history to inform your biblical interpretation, and free your mind of anti-Catholic prejudice, the Bible's true revelation about the Church would blow away your ideas, as they did mine before I studied (under Dr. Aristeides Papadakis in 1980.) This has been the experience of thousands of us who were led out of your kind of darkness by a true understanding, and a better grasp of scripture. To go back to the beginning of your comment, Eusebius did not document your fantasies and delusions about Church history for one reason only: because they never happened. Nothing revolutionary has been learned in the last 50 years; but a few con-artists have sold "shocking" and sensational books that are not respected in academic circles ,(e.g. the ever ridiculous Elaine Pagels- whose non-sense I hope you are not endorsing). In your view the Church was wrong about its government, and yet somehow that college of bishops confirmed the true scriptures, the truth about the Trinity, redemption and the two natures of Christ as God and Man, born of a virgin, crucified, dead and buried, and risen the third day. Not bad for a bunch of creeps who did not know how to govern a church. The idea that you and your circle know the Bible better than Athanasius should help you see how silly and misplaced your self-confidence is.

If you reject Nicea you reject Christ himself.

The subject of this post is whether Touchstone magazine should openly discuss egalitarianism without recourse to the association fallacy (yes, I looked it up.)

Then you know that you making reference to an irrelevant psychological term. Forget it Mr. Knox. Either face the intellectual merit of what has been written, or refrain from an attempt to diagnose rather than refute. No Bulverism please. This is a theological issue, not a cultural issue, and not a psychological issue. The only thing to be placed on the table is intellectual merit backed by evidence. Furthermore, evidence should be scientific in nature (I do not mean the science disciplines, but an approach that is solid and reasonable). Your concept of the history of the ancient Church tells me that you are at a serious disadvantage. You have begun with misinformation in your head, sort of the Anti-Catholic equivilent to "The Protocol of the Elders of Zion" or some other bit of outrageous hate literature (I hope you don't take "The Two Babylons" seriously; but your Church History is, frankly, just as blatantly fictitious).

I continue to assert that Touchstone should address egalitarianism with the same decency it addresses infant baptism and for the same reasons. I continue to defend that proposition.

I think you miss the point. If something was considered wrong by all Christians everywhere (weird off the wall fringe groups excepted) until about 1976, it is not "Mere Christianity." It is an obvious innovation that even a wide spectrum from various Protestant, Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox backgrounds agreed to reject. Nonetheless, give it your best shot and submit it to David Mills. Or, write a letter to the magazine and give that your best shot.

But, you did not disagree; in your words you "cast shame." For that I find fault.

...pollute my pulpit...If it is the bombastic phrase of an ex-diesel mechanic keeping this issue from being discussed within the pages of Touchstone, I will retract it.

You overestimate my position with Touchstone.

But, my objection was 1) using this phrase as attached to my article, 2) using it about women, that gives it menstrual implications (which should have occurred to you, since that kind of jargon is used on purpose by less polite "egalitarians"), 3) its inaccuracy, unless you can cite a specific article or editorial that used the actual phrase, and 4) its emotive and manipulative effect. It was, at best, a distraction and at worst misleading, implying that the phrase appeared in the magazine-which it has not. In the mouth of Frederick Douglas, one of this old Baltimoron's favorite people from American history, and as he used it, it was not vulgar.

For an ex-diesel mechanic and college drop out, you do better than expected. Unfortunately, you lack skepticism. It may sound strange for a priest, who ought to preach faith, to say you lack skepticism. But, I see in your writing a naive acceptance of ideas that are, frankly, nothing more than sophistry. The things that impress you do not impress me. The facts allude you, and dressed up fancy sensationalism has you tricked by old stunts I have long ago addressed.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Karen:
I am sorry that you have swallowed Mr. Knox's mischaracterization of a fine magazine.

By the way, my comments do not speak for Touchstone, but for myself; an Anglican-Catholic priest and theologian. Touchstone is ecumenical, and much of what I write would not be suitable for it. I am low on the totem pole.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Robert Hart,

I once posted on Touchstone and was mocked because I used the honorific "Ms." This was considered a point which disqualified me from engaging in a serious discussion of Greek. I wonder what "Fr." stands for. (I was brought up a very strict Darbyite Brethren.)

The internet does not teach you ancient languages. However, it does allow those that are already trained to interact with others.

Would you care to address the fact that the one citation that is most persuasive in establishing the meaning of authentein as "exercise authority over" does not exist.

I have researched the Philodemus fragment and found it exists only as a hand drawn facsimile of an untranslatable fragment.

Are you aware of any evidence to suggest that the word in 1 Tim. 2:12 should be translated as "use authority" rather than "dominate" as Jerome translated it in the Vulgate? I find tradition which does not serve the purpose of restricting women is not held in such high regard in some quarters.

I would be interested in seeing any proof at all regarding authentein but my interaction with many complementarian scholars by email suggests that such proof will not be forthcoming.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Robert,

This post might be more concise. Otherwise you may click on the label "authority" at the bottom and get the benefit of the entire series on authentein or αυθεντεω whichever convention you prefer.

Even Lancelot Andrewes who translated authentein as "usurp authority" and by using that term indicated that it was a criminal offense, would not discuss doctrine from an English Bible, but rather the Vulgate - which, as you well know, contains the word dominare.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Ms. McCarthy

(Fr. is the short form for Father)
I cannot help it if you may find offense at my directness in the matter; but, I do not believe that you were "mocked" by anyone at Touchstone. Sorry, but I know them better than to accept that. The editors of Touchstone don't do that sort of thing (I am a Contributing Editor myself, and would not mock anyone publicly). Perhaps you were running into disagreement about the content of something you wrote.

As for I Tim. 2:12, you are still stuck with making any sense at all from the verse, and that means tying it into the teaching office. Couple with I Cor. 11 (because I believe the word of God to be consistent as the work of the Holy Spirit), we have to conclude that there remains a kind of teaching that women are not called to exercise. If you will not allow history (I mean real history, not sensational theories that are not truly scientific), and complementary passages to inform your interpretation, you are free to make it mean anything you want. I don't have that luxury, because the evidence does not allow it.

What I should have said to Kevin Knox, and will say now, is a more thorough answer to this statement: What has happened since 1976 is the computer revolution, allowing a vastly more thorough understanding of contemporary Greek...

and to this:
...and a great deal has been learned in the last 50 years.

About Greek: At no time in its entire history has the Church been without the benefit of perfect and thorough knowledge of Koine Greek, and at no time has it been without the entire New Testament extant.
Therefore, any person who is selling a radical theory based on a new and improved ancient Greek, is pretending to something that intelligence and reason, even for those without a formal education (such as college dropouts), ought to dismiss. Otherwise, I have a bridge for sale, and you may be interested.

Also, it is truly shameful that the Codex Sinaiticus was treated as authoritative. It was older, but existed in one and only one manuscript against the many thousands of slightly newer, but standard and uniform texts. That is because, as we now know, the Codex Sinaiticus was the exclusive property of one Gnostic sect; it was older than the other NT manuscripts because no one considered it worth copying. (See the Preface to the Third Millennium Bible.) After all the damage had been done, by treating it as the "authentic" New Testament for several modern translations, we now realize that it was a very flawed text, and should never have been given any status. Here is an example of what happens when "new" and "sensational" discoveries are examined properly. So, even this departure from the traditional New Testament, considered so standard for so long, teaches us how flimsy a foundation revisionism has, when weighed against the firm foundation laid for His saints in His excellent Word.

About history, we do not have, as you allege, some new knowledge that would overthrow the Tradition of the Church. We do have a collection of sensation mongers who sell directly to the public because of two things: They make money by pretending to have discovered some amazing fact, such money as standard history does not earn by book sales and TV shows; and because they cannot gain ground in the academic world, since they are unscientific and have no real documentation. Elaine Pagels, the perfect example, took a standard seminary course in the history of gnostic heresies, and sold lots of books (made lots of money) by telling the public that she had "discovered" something hidden (and by fabricating a few wild stories as well). In the real academic world she is a laughing stock (I know this). Then we have that silly Judas Gospel and the claims of the DaVinci Code. I mention these obvious examples of professionally driven con-artistry for a reason. Claims to new and improved sensational and revolutionary "facts" of history, never stand for very long. We always end up going back to real history, such as real historians write.

And, speaking from the standpoint of my Continuing Anglicanism, the Catholic Tradition has always had real historians. Whatever facts exist are not hidden to genuine academic historians and theologians. You are not in a position to make such a radical claim about some alleged difference in the form and nature of Church government between 70 AD and 325 AD; especially since we've heard it all before, and have refuted it without any trouble.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

This was addressed to me on Mere Comments.

Suzanne McCarthy's last post in particular is flagrantly dishonest. My wife is completing her Ph.D. this semester at the U. of Pennsylvania in applied liguistics with a speciality in ESL pedagogy, and she for one can testify that the flat assertions by "Ms." McCarthy [how interesting that she claims to be a manuscript instead of a woman!] of the linguistic superiority of women are simplistic distortions that at a minimum require considerable qualification.

Actually, I was quoting a study which asserted that there are some areas of linguistic performance where females outscore men - the sort of study used all the time to prove that females perform better earlier on the verbal but not the non-verbal spectrum on the basic cognitive skills assessments which are performed daily in our schools.

I mentioned this study in the context of asking why women were no longer allowed to teach Biblical languages to men. Since my great aunt was the first woman to do so in Canada a century ago, I have to ask why the status of women has been plummeting lately.

Frankly, I don't trust anyone who does not quote directly from something proven.

Whatever you think about your own magazine and whatever you think about the interpretation of the Bible is limited by the human falliblity which is common to us all.

It is not so much the gender issue which concerns me now but the attitude some have of knowing for a fact things which they cannot ever hope to prove.

we have to conclude that there remains a kind of teaching that women are not called to exercise.

It might be assumed to be a kind of teaching associated with domination.

What verse will you quote to prove that men should teach with domination?

I personally associate authority with truth.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I retraced my comment which lead to my being mocked in the Mere Comments thread. It was,

It is, oddly, one of the least disputed of all differences between men and women, that women have a certain verbal advantage. I personally doubt this, believing as I do, that God has truly given men and women equal intellect. However, studies often support the verbal advantage of the female.

I have been in my personal interaction generous and appreciative of the contribution of men to scholarship. Where it is proven to be flawed, I take exception, as I would with the scholarship of a woman. I do not attack personalities but written documents. I wish people would accord me the same courtesy but I found it to be lacking on Mere Comments.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Weiss (2003) found that although women perform better on verbal tasks and men perform better on spatial tasks, the effect sizes are small.

In view of these results, I felt that the exclusion of women from higher level Biblical language teaching could not be proven to be a good thing.

However, my intent is not to defend the notion that women outperform men on some verbal tasks, they may not, but to suggest merely the rather controversial notion that God created woman as the equal complement of man in every aspect of spiritual endeavor, and that this demands the FULL participation of women in the mission of the church.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Suzanne McCarthy:

One by one, I would like to respond.

First of all, if you took offense at the "manuscript-Ms." line then you took offense at someone's attempt to make what was, simply sort of a pun- kind of, sort of (not a very good one). The simple fact is that ms. also means manuscript, just as the MD. for my home state of Maryland also means Medical Doctor. This was not mockery, at least as I read it (guessing who made this joke). I would have refrained from such a line, because it is too easy to misunderstand the motivation for such jokes.

Personally, I avoid subjects like studies on men and women and who is better at linguistics or math, or whatever. It only serves to put groups of people in boxes. I never cite these studies, and often wonder who has done the research, who paid for the research, and what agenda may be served. People are individuals.

It is not so much the gender issue which concerns me now but the attitude some have of knowing for a fact things which they cannot ever hope to prove.

If you take that to an extreme, there is no point in trying to know anything. Furthermore, after many years of study, we do know quite a lot of things to be fact. One thing I know, for a fact, is that sensational revolutionary discoveries lie outside of valid historical and scientific venues, and that the authors make lots of money that honest scholars never make. Also,I know for a fact a lot of Church History that disproves Mr. Knox's assertions, no matter whose computer recreates the ancient Greek of the New Testament, and no matter who invents new "facts" of history.

Re: I Tim. 2:12: It might be assumed to be a kind of teaching associated with domination. What verse will you quote to prove that men should teach with domination? I personally associate authority with truth.

Your last line is a philosophical point that cannot be refuted. But, regarding I Tim. 2:12, the burden of proof is on you. Your method of interpretation is to look for some subtle meaning by the elimination of every key word in the sentence. You have not explained αὐθεντέω, but have, rather, sought to explain it away, giving it an innocuous meaning far too general for the verse and its context. You have, in your question (What verse will you quote to prove that men should teach with domination?) eliminated the identification of "woman" and of "man" from consideration, and come up with an interpretation about not teaching with "domination." The context, however, shows that the sex of the people so identified by Paul is the subject, not the nature of teaching. The context is about the attitude God requires from holy women. Therefore, I will send your question back to you: "What verse will you quote to prove that men should teach with domination?" Your interpretation of αὐθεντέω has failed to match St. Paul's usage, because the real question should be the opposite. "What verse will you quote to prove that men should not teach with domination?"
Obviously, no one should attempt to exercise domination, but why is it that Paul singles out women, and we have no such verse about men? This was the real question facing the translators in 1611; how does the verse make sense? If it is only about teaching without "domination" it should not occur in this context, and should not identify the two sexes. But, it does. The conclusion they came to was logical, and in fact, the only conclusion that keeps us from eliminating the significance of the context and the consistent mention of the two sexes within that context. A verse, simply about domination, is not what actually faces us in this sentence from the word of God. Furthermore, history and the complementary passages from scripture do shed light on its meaning. When you must explain away content you have a problem accepting the word of God. Reducing the verse to what you have made of it is to explain away most of its content.

However, my intent is not to defend the notion that women outperform men on some verbal tasks, they may not, but to suggest merely the rather controversial notion that God created woman as the equal complement of man in every aspect of spiritual endeavor, and that this demands the FULL participation of women in the mission of the church.

I agree with that statement. Everyone must be a witness for Jesus Christ to the fallen world. However, why should any of us try to function outside of our own vocations? Why should any of us presume to take a vocation that is not designed for us, and for which we have not been given appropriate charisms by the Holy Spirit? And, if we strive to perform such an endeavor, do we not fail to live with our own true vocation? What are we losing by such an exchange, and who is the author of it?

Furthermore, unlike Touchstone, I am not unaffiliated and ecumenical; so I believe in the three Holy Orders mentioned and described in the Pastoral Epistles, which in modern English is Bishop, Priest (or Presbyter) and Deacon. Furthermore, these are the ones who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, not for themselves, but to serve others. It is not only the impossibility of women's ordination (please note the word "impossibility"), but also the limits placed as well on men (the third chapter of First Timothy), and the further limitation exclusive to those who are called and duly recognized to have this specific calling, and who are consequently ordained, who are to function within that specific priestly vocation. So,most cannot perform this kind of ministry either, because they have no such vocation and its necessary charism.

But, alongside of this, we have other passages that seem not to be speaking of these three offices in the Church, but of ministries and gifts that are distributed throughout the Body of Christ. In addition, we even see some of the same words used in a different vein that are used "officially" elsewhere. Both Eph. 4:11 and I Cor. 12:28 seem to use the word "apostle" without the same implications of authority with which Paul speaks of himself and the other Apostles. I Cor. 12 (through the lense of chapter 14) mentions women who prophesy, and only one chapter earlier (11) women are told not to speak in church. Is this a contradiction? Or, do we use sophistry to eliminate the glaring and obvious distinction in the sexes that is present, and that is essential to the text? Or, do we learn the significance of gifts and callings, the fact that every Christian is part of the Body of Christ and has gifts specific to that member?

On a philosophical level, why should men and women not have different vocations beyond what is material and apparent? Are not the reality of the sexes a physical and even psychological, manifestation and type of a greater and spiritual reality? Consistent with the Patristic understanding of these things was the essay "Priestesses in the Church" by C.S. Lewis. Consider the depth of his philosophical and theological mind as expressed in that writing.

You have erred into confusing equality with interchangeability. You all have. You don't need to morph into a man, but must be the woman God made you, if you are to fulfill your true vocation. Frankly, I believe you "Egalitarians" need to be liberated from a self-imposed prison, and rediscover human nature itself- and enjoy it. Only in that created nature will you find the specific grace for your specific calling. Only within divinely ordained limitations do we have freedom to be ourselves as members of the Body of Christ.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

So,most cannot perform this kind of ministry either, because they have no such vocation and its necessary charism.

Obviously,I meant to write "...most men..."

Only within divinely ordained limitations do we have freedom to be ourselves as members of the Body of Christ.

Yes. That goes for me too(thought I'd better say it before someone else does).

karen said...

Mr. Hart,
Although Mr. Knox and I may disagree on some things, I trust his judgment, and he has presented good evidence to avoid Touchstone.
You have merely added to that evidence.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

First of all, if you took offense at the "manuscript-Ms." line then you took offense at someone's attempt to make what was, simply sort of a pun- kind of, sort of (not a very good one).

I accepted this reference to a manuscript initially as a pun. However, it was followed by this,

Actually it is Mrs (as Suzanne is married), also there is no such thing as Ms. when related to people. It means nothing, stands for nothing and amounts to nothing.

Ms. is the standard form of address in my place of work, as Fr. seems to be in yours. Why are women not worthy of basic entry level respect?

From recent posts, I note that bitterness of tone (gall) is the usual towards women with whom one disagrees on that blog.

Obviously, no one should attempt to exercise domination

Thank you. And obviously no one should fight, neither men nor women, as per 1 Tim. 2.

Teaching is given as a gift by the spirit and by qualification, not gender. 2 Tim. 2:2, Eph. 4:7-13.

It is not without significance that a recent Bible translation, the ESV, has translated ανθρωπος as "men" in these two passages. I have to wonder if this was not to shield those who do not read Greek from knowing that God gave gifts to men and women. It is the modern masking of the Greet text that baffles me over and over.

When you must explain away content you have a problem accepting the word of God.

What do you do with verses about slavery? Do you accept them or try to explain them away? I do reasonably well by raising questions about a notoriously difficult chapter. After all, there must be liberty for women to chose celibacy over childbearing. That too must be carefully considered. I do not step out of the bounds of traditional exegesis, but rather seek to understand why the real meaning of authentein has been masked.

Please do not confuse me with any of your usual "feminist" targets. I would like to know how the shift from dominare to "exercise/use authority" came about. I believe that burden of proof falls on those who wish to change the word of God.

I would also ask you to reveal to me the significance of your mention of 1 Cor. 11 in this regard.

And why these little digs about ancient Greek on the computer? I am missing some of the humour and would dearly love a good joke in this regard.

However, why should any of us try to function outside of our own vocations?

Who is man to judge the vocation of a woman? Many women have seen blessing and conversions as a result of their preaching and teaching. Hilda taught 5 bishops.

Why should any of us presume to take a vocation that is not designed for us, and for which we have not been given appropriate charisms by the Holy Spirit?

Exactly what vocation is not designed for woman? And what charism has the Spirit not given to woman?

And, if we strive to perform such an endeavor, do we not fail to live with our own true vocation?

What do you say is the true vocation of woman? Do you insinuate that Paul has not said that it is good for a woman to remain single and think first of how to please God. Do you suggest that Jesus did not say that it is not the womb that bore him that is blessed, but the one who does the will of God.

What are we losing by such an exchange, and who is the author of it?

I have absolutely no idea what you are taking about here. What does a man lose by a woman remaining single? Ask rather what does God gain?

Both Eph. 4:11 and I Cor. 12:28 seem to use the word "apostle" without the same implications of authority with which Paul speaks of himself and the other Apostles. I Cor. 12 (through the lense of chapter 14) mentions women who prophesy, and only one chapter earlier (11) women are told not to speak in church. Is this a contradiction? Or, do we use sophistry to eliminate the glaring and obvious distinction in the sexes that is present, and that is essential to the text? Or, do we learn the significance of gifts and callings, the fact that every Christian is part of the Body of Christ and has gifts specific to that member?

An awful lot hangs on how the scriptures SEEM to you, as well as what the sexes SEEM to you.

You must also be aware that even the most conservative text critics agree that the passage in 1 Cor. 14 was written after the rest of that chpater and then incorporated into it. I do not argue about the authorship, but there are some difficulties with the fact that many have no intention of keeping woman silent, they wish only to deprive her of authority.

On a philosophical level, why should men and women not have different vocations beyond what is material and apparent? Are not the reality of the sexes a physical and even psychological, manifestation and type of a greater and spiritual reality?

I thought you didn't like putting people in boxes. But now you wish to build stereotypes of the sexes. First this then that. Or do you refer to the difference in shape between men and women? I cannot fathom your meaning.

You have erred into confusing equality with interchangeability. You all have. You don't need to morph into a man, but must be the woman God made you, if you are to fulfill your true vocation. Frankly, I believe you "Egalitarians" need to be liberated from a self-imposed prison, and rediscover human nature itself- and enjoy it. Only in that created nature will you find the specific grace for your specific calling. Only within divinely ordained limitations do we have freedom to be ourselves as members of the Body of Christ.

Is this how you address somewhat about whom you know little? What specific calling do you suggest for a woman you have not met? That she be liberated from pleasing God to pleasing man?

Your last sentence says it all. You are about the ensuring that limitations be put on half of the members of Christ's body.

Paul uses the word authority once to refer to his ministry. He says it is given to him to build up, not tear down. I would like to see a little more of that. But all you offer are limitations. Have you mentioned one positive spiritual gift that women receive to compensate for these limitations, or are women eternally destined to experience "less than" men?

codepoke said...

Suzanne,

It's great to see you weigh in here. Thank you. I only wish I had something to add to your research, but you know I love following it.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

You have quite the way with words, Codepoke. That's what counts.

The way I see it is that neither complementarianism nor egalitarianism can be proven from the usual scripture verses that are called on to do so. No torturous reinterpretation of basic scripture from me. ;-)

It is as simple as following the command to love thy neighbour as thyself.

codepoke said...

Fr. Hart,

I will consider your recommendation to write Mr. Mills.

As to your other recommendations, while I appreciate your time and found this exchange profitable, you ask too much. You spend time inveighing against my rejection of the traditions of the Catholic church as well as against my rejection of patriarchy, and your point is that I am credulous.

Many, many brilliant, spiritual men have rejected the Catholic ecclesiology, and yet you accuse me equally of credulity on both ecclesiology and egalitarianism. If your one accusation is false, then your second is suspect. I am far from credulous while standing with solid men, established in the faith, against the Catholic polity, and I'll take my part with Bilizekian, Fee, Nyland and McCarthy too. Everything I've read from them encourages me their research is objective, thorough, and spiritual.

No hard feelings. It's what happens when the glass the Lord gives us is dark.

May the Lord of Love and Truth overcome our mistakes and multiply His own glory.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Suzanne McCarthy wrote:
From recent posts, I note that bitterness of tone (gall) is the usual towards women with whom one disagrees on that blog.

In my compassion, I really hoped I was helping you.

I think you take offense at valid points if they rub you the wrong way, which is really too bad. You read an attitude into things that is, simply, not there at all. You must want to.

It is not without significance that a recent Bible translation, the ESV, has translated ανθρωπος as "men" in these two passages.

Anthropos does literally translate as "man." Since you are educated you know perfectly well that in all classical use of language, without exception, the word "man" be it Anthropos, Adam or Homo, is the inclusive word for men, women and children. It is the name of the human race (as scripture even teaches- Gen. 2:5). Here again, it seems that you like to be offended. The word "man" is the inclusive word for the whole human race, and since I am educated, I will continue to use it that way, even if I risk offending the less educated. Until I saw your objection to anthropos translated correctly according to the inclusive classic use, I assumed you were educated. Now, I think you have a serious gap in formal education, and a serious handicap with all classic literature, and just about everything ever written until the 1980s, until this, the age of higher illiteracy.

What do you do with verses about slavery?

Read Deut. 23: 15, 16, where slavery was forbidden in the Torah (modern translations use the word "slave" in the Old Testament for no reason). The New Testament passages about slavery deal with the reality of oppression in the Roman Empire. Do you suggest that the apostles should have started a bloody revolution over this pagan practice, instead of fulfilling their mission? Christians who were slaves were told how to live with this situation; but masters were taught to treat slaves as brothers. What else could Christians have done in that empire? If you are reading approval of slavery into those passages, then you misunderstand them.

I would like to know how the shift from dominare to "exercise/use authority" came about. I believe that burden of proof falls on those who wish to change the word of God.

Except for you? I have already pointed out that your only method of interpretation for I Tim. 2:12 is to eliminate key words and ignore the context. Eliminating and ignoring are not valid methods of exegesis. Since you have no answer, I have accepted your remark as a concession to my point.

I would also ask you to reveal to me the significance of your mention of 1 Cor. 11 in this regard.

And why these little digs about ancient Greek on the computer? I am missing some of the humour and would dearly love a good joke in this regard.


I Cor. 11 uses the word "speaking" and I Tim. 2:12 uses the word "teaching." You seem to imagine that there could be no consistency of thought between two epistles.

The computer line was in reply to a theory put out by Mr. Knox.

Who is man to judge the vocation of a woman?

Revelation is from God, so man is not the judge from whom we have been given these specific teachings.

Exactly what vocation is not designed for woman? And what charism has the Spirit not given to woman?

Well, obviously, no woman has the vocation of fatherhood. Of course, however, I was speaking of a vocation and charism given to very few men, and to absolutely no women. To be ordained to the holy orders is what I referred to. But, I suppose your brand of Protestantism has no proper concept of these offices anyway.

You must also be aware that even the most conservative text critics agree that the passage in 1 Cor. 14 was written after the rest of that chpater and then incorporated into it.

Now you are doing what I have long observed in your whole movement: You want to remove parts of the word of God. Have you ever observed "text critics" at work? It is not scientific, but based on taste. I do not respect them or recognize them as true academics, and certainly not as possessing the authority to dismiss the parts of the word of God that they don't like.

I thought you didn't like putting people in boxes. But now you wish to build stereotypes of the sexes.

So, the differences in the sexes has no meaning? The Church can be the husband of Christ instead of His bride? Thinking seems to be alien to "egalitarians." I suppose that will not change.

...That she be liberated from pleasing God to pleasing man?

Thank you for expressing your prejudice and putting words in my mouth. Nicely done. Now I know what kind of person you are. My meaning was not a dark saying, hard to understand; but you have managed to twist and mangle it into something horrible. I see that I have entered a place where darkness is chosen over light.

Your last sentence says it all. You are about the ensuring that limitations be put on half of the members of Christ's body.

No. The limitations put on all of us. That includes me. I know that I cannot do every ministry, and that if I try I will never fulfill mine.

But all you offer are limitations. Have you mentioned one positive spiritual gift that women receive to compensate for these limitations, or are women eternally destined to experience "less than" men?

Again, your prejudice is at work here, perhaps beyond anyone's ability to communicate. Unless women can be pastors they cannot be in ministry? Is your understanding of the Body of Christ so deficient as that? "...because I am not a hand..." I said that most men cannot be pastors. Have you read I Cor. 12 about the Body of Christ?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Mr.Knox:

I was not accusing you of being credulous because you reject Catholic ecclesiology (even though, I consider the Protestant alternatives to be error). But, you are over credulous because you actually believe that we know more about ancient Greek today, and about Church history, due to unreliable and fantastic claims. Furthermore, you make conclusions from those claims.

I am not impressed with anything I have seen here. I am not impressed with the writers who have impressed you. That is my vocational hazard; I cannot eat up non-sense.

It appears you are ending this discussion, since you have placed it in the past tense. I am tired because I see, from Suzanne McCarthy's reply, that I have no chance of getting past knee jerk reactions, and automatic responses. I have given out things to think about, and have learned that "egalitarians" want to be victims, want to be offended, and refuse to consider any opposing view. I never meant to cause offense, but honesty and a challenge to your thinking is a crime with you folks

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Mr. Hart,

I think you take offense at valid points if they rub you the wrong way, which is really too bad. You read an attitude into things that is, simply, not there at all. You must want to.

I have given out things to think about, and have learned that "egalitarians" want to be victims, want to be offended,


"but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" ;-)

Now, I think you have a serious gap in formal education, and a serious handicap with all classic literature, and just about everything ever written until the 1980s, until this, the age of higher illiteracy.

The extreme misunderstanding that you have of my education and reading habits is an ongoing demonstration of your "attitude". I have consistently used the KJV and am uncomfortable with those Bibles of the 1980's.

The Bible which I quoted, the ESV, has the policy of using the word "people" for the plural of ανθρωπος except when the translators thought that "men only" were being referred to. I was surprised to see this and I went and interviewed the editor general of the translation and he said that he thinks these verses refer to men - males. This was Dr. J. Packer, who spoke to me as one who has a similar education to himself.

I did not clearly explain the background to this issue thinking that you might be aware of the differential translation of ανθρωπος already, which has to do with the switch from "people" in some places to "men" in other places. Now I realize that you are unaware of this pattern, so I grant you could not respond appropriately. I should have presented more of the background to this problem.

Since you have no answer, I have accepted your remark as a concession to my point.

I note likewise that you have no answer for me. You have no defense for the change in translation from "dominate" to "use authority." By your logic, you concede.

Well, obviously, no woman has the vocation of fatherhood. Of course, however, I was speaking of a vocation and charism given to very few men, and to absolutely no women. To be ordained to the holy orders is what I referred to. But, I suppose your brand of Protestantism has no proper concept of these offices anyway.

You understand me well.

You want to remove parts of the word of God.

1 Cor. 14 is an interesting problem. I see you have no particular thoughts on this at the moment.

My meaning was not a dark saying, hard to understand;

On the contrary, I find you quite difficult to understand. If I have misunderstood you then you should gently correct any misapprehension just as I do for you.

You have erred into confusing equality with interchangeability. You all have. You don't need to morph into a man, but must be the woman God made you, if you are to fulfill your true vocation.

I am entirely woman, Mr. Hart, and have no desire to "morph" into a man. You greatly mistake my character.

As I explained, I come from a family where Greek was studied and taught by women for several generations. I was taught Greek by women and feel that the gift of Biblical languages and a classical education is intensely feminine. I am most certainly the woman God made me and I am grateful for that. Otherwise, I would be stuck reading the scriptures in translation.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Ms. McCarthy

Like you, I do not need translations (I prefer to pray the Psalms in Hebrew). I do not know what the EVS is, and I don't care about Packer's opinions. It appeared that you were objecting to a translation that was consistent with classical usage. A whole generation has been indoctrinated with the idea that "man" is an exclusive term, when, as we both know, it is the inclusive term and always was.

I stand by my points on I Tim. 2:12, because I refuse to divorce the verse from its context and to reduce its meaning by eliminating key words. Your method of interpretation (at least for this verse) is to do both, and so your meaning has to be insufficient.

I have not gone into detail on I Cor. 14 because these are comments, not a book. However, I do not accept the idea that any parts of it are later additions. A book I am quick to recommend on the whole subject of textual criticism is Historical Criticism of the Bible, Methodology or Ideology by Eta Linnemann. She wrote it in German, but it was translated into English in 1990 by Baker Books. She tears apart the whole system of Higher Criticism, and no one can put Humpty Dumpty together again once she is through.

When I said "You have erred into confusing equality with interchangeability," I was speaking of the general ideology of this blog. It was not meant to be taken personally, but intellectually. It is the overall fallacy of the "egalitarian" position. Two things that are not equal to the same thing are still equal to each other, because people are not mathematical units.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I am glad that we were able to clear up the misunderstanding. My concern is that recent Bibles introduce changes to favour the teaching that "men" - as in males - are the only ones given the gift of teaching. I have been wondering why this would be done and had thought that perhaps these innovations are to shore up notions that are otherwise difficult to establish with certainty.

Naturally I see now that you do not exclude women specifically, but have a certain practice according to your church tradition. You could not expect those outside that institution to have the identical viewpoint.

Regarding 1 Tim. 2:12, I see that we both agree that the meaning of the verse must be derived from context. Perhaps when we have resolved what 1 Tim. 2:15 means then it will all fall into place. In the meantime, let us act with grace towards each other.

On the matter of 1 Cor. 14, it is not higher criticicm at all but very definitely lower criticism, and well within the bounds of what evangelicals and fundamentalists (and I use this in a positive sense) are willing to discuss.

I find Linneman an interesting individual. Having embraced the traditional view of women, she now teaches theology in another country where the fact that she teaches "men" - as in male - is acceptable, because these men are not the same race as herself. This would not be an appropriate way to handle the issue in my opinion. I have equal respect for men of any race.

It was not meant to be taken personally, but intellectually.

Then you might phrase your comments in more general terms, so as to make your meaning clear.

My meaning is that I do not consider myself to be interchangeable with man, but equal to man.

Peace Brother.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

My meaning is that I do not consider myself to be interchangeable with man, but equal to man.

I would say that true equality does not have to mean that men and women have the same vocation. This is where we seem to be at odds. I have no idea what Dr. Linneman is up to these days,but I endorse the book i mentioned. Nonetheless, I cannot accept even the lower criticism that would play such a game with I Cor. 14.

As for I Tim. 2:15, being Anglo-Catholic myself, and having reverence for Mary as the mother of God (simply a statement of belief in the Incarnation), I see that line of Paul to be drawing even more from the whole context of his exegesis from the early story of the Fall in Genesis. So, it fits perfectly with the Proto-Evangelium of Gen. 3:15, coupled with the two places in the Gospel of John where Jesus identifies his mother as "the woman" whose seed bruises the serpent's head. The "child-bearing" spoken of is the virgin birth of the Son of God by the Theotokos.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I would say that true equality does not have to mean that men and women have the same vocation.

Women have the vocation that they have, not the one that man gives them.

My participation on Mere Comments was in the context of arguing that in Biblical languages and exegesis, women are gifted and trained as equals and partners to men and their contribution should be honoured and sought after.

Since I studied the classical and Biblcal languages evey day from the age of 14 to 21, my interest in languages precedes my adult womanhood.

My personal difficulty is that I see languages as the domain and vocation of women, and am continually surprised to see that men are also interested in languages, as men are indeed so different from women.

I was amazed to find that there are men who feel that they are above being taught a biblical language by a woman. However, I realize that this would not apply to you.

I share your exegesis of 1 Tim. 2:15 and wrote about it in a post almost two years ago now. In this context then Christ redeems women alongside men and they are both renewed in Christ. There is to be no fighting, no dominating, and while the woman has borne Christ, God created man first and so a woman must not puff herself up for realizing this gift is brought by woman. She must learn in submission and quietness as all true learners and disciples of Christ do.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Women have the vocation that they have, not the one that man gives them.

What I really mean to say is that women instinctively feel that men should not have the gifts that women have, rather than men deciding that women should not have the gifts that men have.

Altogether, I see that God gives the gifts to humankind, irrespective of their gender and we are to honour one another and defer to one another.

The "one another" passages of the Bible are a good teaching to keep before us.

discuss with one another
say to one another
ask one another
love one another
devoted to one another
honor one another
live in harmony with one another
accept one another
instruct one another
greet one another
agree with one another
encourage one another
serve one another
bear with one another
be kind and compassionate with one another
speak to another with psalms, etc.
submit to one another
forgive one another
admonish one another
spur one another on to love
do not slander one another
don't grumble against one another
offer hospitality to one another
clothe yourselves with humility toward one another
have fellowship with one another
lay down your lives for one another

Sincerely,

Suzanne

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I suddenly realized that I presumed your awareness of the issue for 1 Cor. 14. This is from the NET Bible. While this might fall outside your area of interest - it is not higher criticism.

Note one of the conclusions regarding these verses. Teh NEt Bible takes a strong position against women preaching but have to admit that these verses have an irregular history.

"The very location of the verses in the Western tradition argues strongly that Paul both authored vv. 34-35 and that they were originally part of the margin of the text."

"5tc Some scholars have argued that vv. 34-35 should be excised from the text (principally G. D. Fee, First Corinthians [NICNT], 697-710; P. B. Payne, “Fuldensis, Sigla for Variants in Vaticanus, and 1 Cor 14.34-5,” NTS 41 [1995]: 240-262). This is because the Western witnesses (D F G ar b vgms Ambst) have these verses after v. 40, while the rest of the tradition retains them here. There are no mss that omit the verses. Why, then, would some scholars wish to excise the verses? Because they believe that this best explains how they could end up in two different locations, that is to say, that the verses got into the text by way of a very early gloss added in the margin. Most scribes put the gloss after v. 33; others, not knowing where they should go, put them at the end of the chapter. Fee points out that “Those who wish to maintain the authenticity of these verses must at least offer an adequate answer as to how this arrangement came into existence if Paul wrote them originally as our vv. 34-35” (First Corinthians [NICNT], 700). In a footnote he adds, “The point is that if it were already in the text after v. 33, there is no reason for a copyist to make such a radical transposition.” Although it is not our intention to interact with proponents of the shorter text in any detail here, a couple of points ought to be made. (1) Since these verses occur in all witnesses to 1 Corinthians, to argue that they are not original means that they must have crept into the text at the earliest stage of transmission. How early? Earlier than when the pericope adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) made its way into the text (late 2nd, early 3rd century?), earlier than the longer ending of Mark (16:9-20) was produced (early 2nd century?), and earlier than even “in Ephesus” was added to Eph 1:1 (upon reception of the letter by the first church to which it came, the church at Ephesus) – because in these other, similar places, the earliest witnesses do not add the words. This text thus stands as remarkable, unique. Indeed, since all the witnesses have the words, the evidence points to them as having been inserted into the original document. Who would have done such a thing? And, further, why would scribes have regarded it as original since it was obviously added in the margin? This leads to our second point. (2) Following a suggestion made by E. E. Ellis (“The Silenced Wives of Corinth (I Cor. 14:34-5),” New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 213-20 [the suggestion comes at the end of the article, almost as an afterthought]), it is likely that Paul himself added the words in the margin. Since it was so much material to add, Paul could have squelched any suspicions by indicating that the words were his (e.g., by adding his name or some other means [cf. 2 Thess 3:17]). This way no scribe would think that the material was inauthentic. (Incidentally, this is unlike the textual problem at Rom 5:1, for there only one letter was at stake; hence, scribes would easily have thought that the “text” reading was original. And Paul would hardly be expected to add his signature for one letter.) (3) What then is to account for the uniform Western tradition of having the verses at the end of the chapter? Our conjecture (and that is all it is) is that the scribe of the Western Vorlage could no longer read where the verses were to be added (any marginal arrows or other directional device could have been smudged), but, recognizing that this was part of the original text, felt compelled to put it somewhere. The least offensive place would have been at the end of the material on church conduct (end of chapter 14), before the instructions about the resurrection began. Although there were no chapter divisions in the earliest period of copying, scribes could still detect thought breaks (note the usage in the earliest papyri). (4) The very location of the verses in the Western tradition argues strongly that Paul both authored vv. 34-35 and that they were originally part of the margin of the text. Otherwise, one has a difficulty explaining why no scribe seemed to have hinted that these verses might be inauthentic (the scribal sigla of codex B, as noticed by Payne, can be interpreted otherwise than as an indication of inauthenticity [cf. J. E. Miller, “Some Observations on the Text-Critical Function of the Umlauts in Vaticanus, with Special Attention to 1 Corinthians 14.34-35,” JSNT 26 [2003]: 217-36.). There are apparently no mss that have an asterisk or obelisk in the margin. Yet in other places in the NT where scribes doubted the authenticity of the clauses before them, they often noted their protest with an asterisk or obelisk. We are thus compelled to regard the words as original, and as belonging where they are in the text above."

However, I don't want to argue about this but I want to simply let you see what I was referring to .