Fragmented Fisks: Gender Stuff

When reading through the defended thinking in a debate, such as that on gender issues in the Church, you get to see the flaws in the reasoning. Or sometimes, the admirable case that is made for the view taken. Why not fisk a few of those, here?

Some Denny Burk comments:

God gifts us in ways that are specific to our gender. Christian women, for instance, are peculiarly gifted to minister to and to disciple other women. There are some things that a woman can do that a man can’t (like starting an effective discipleship ministry among junior high girls).

tiro3 answers well:

Could you please show where Scripture says that the Holy Spirit’s gifts are gender specific. There are some other problems with this statement also.
1. a gift of teaching is always simply a spiritual gift of the ability to teach. It is never an ability to only teach certain groups of people.
2. The HS gifts are not given according to what a person can or cannot do, but according to what God can and chooses to do through that person. It is God’s abilities that count.
3. It is unfortunate that some leaders are choosing to add things to Scriptural lists of spiritual gifts that are sometimes not even spiritual in nature.

I just don’t think the case is made, or can be made, about certain tasks or talents being gender specific. At best, it is relegated to more to characteristics individuals have rather than those of a certain gender, unless of course we are talking about biological reproduction. There are things that strength can do better than weakness, or patience better than hastiness, and aggressiveness better than passivity, but you would find examples of each in either gender. This is on the practical level aside from tiro3’s excellent points.

There are other points to consider as well. Such as, is it inappropriate for teen to be in discipleship classes with a male teacher? These same girls, if attending public schools, are often in this very environment. Are secular teachers more trustworthy than Christian male leaders? I don’t think there are many things that a woman can do that a man can’t. There are “matters of delicacy” that men prefer not to address, but I have heard some mentioned from the pulpit on occasion; it isn’t that they can’t. It is more a matter of appropriateness.

God bless all complementarians, all faithful, biblical patriarchalists who stand in the gap against radical feminism and the perversion of linguistic revisionism through exegetical fallacies.

Well, how about the logical fallacies? Maybe we should stand against those, too, like the black and white one made here. Not everyone who sees broadness within God’s Word is either a radical feminist or perverted. And before asking God’s blessings, perhaps we should investigate what those persons are actually saying and whether it indeed lines up with God’s expression before lambasting honest inquiry into the scriptures. Presumption is not such a good thing, using the cover of a loud blessing notwithstanding.

Trajectory hermeneutics is a dangerous way to read the bible because it undermines the authority of scripture. Paul doesn’t think of his command as a “cultural accomodation.” On the contrary, his instruction in 1 Timothy 2:12 is rooted in the pre-fall order of creation (1 Tim 2:13). That makes this one transcultural.


Perhaps the author of 1 Tim. did not allow women to teach. But the context was clearly because some women, or one woman was dominating. We don’t know the details. But it was dependent on a certain situation.

Has the exclusion of women from the pulpit in the SBC caused growth or decline in the church?

OK, both these comments take us into dangerous, dangerous waters. Big words aside, these comments contain multiple doctrinal statements within a few short sentences. You always have to carefully think about just what is being said in such instances. I tend to agree that what St. Paul addresses is transcultural, just on the basis that as a teacher he knew that he was transferring important concepts within his letters and would not waste large amounts of precious letter space to matters of only passing importance. At the same time I don’t’ see why it wouldn’t also be addressing specific circumstances, ones that churches over time were likely to experience.

When arguing for the truth of a doctrine, or of an interpretation of scripture, I think it is less than useless to argue how popular something is. That, in itself, is a logical fallacy. The case concerning “exclusion of women from pulpits of churches” will have to find some other form of measurement for the right or wrong of it, rather than whether there is a loss of warm bodies to fill the pews. When we search the scriptures what we are looking for is substantive reasons to allow or disallow a ministry of women to teach or preach.

But getting back to the idea “instruction in 1 Timothy 2:12 is rooted in the pre-fall order of creation” and warnings of “undermines the authority of scripture”: these two views have been taken to extremes in the complementarian camp. There is a weird “lesser” way of looking at women through some of their ideas that somehow the creation of Eve was some different creation, not (really, just sort of, maybe…you get the idea) reflecting the image of God. If you don’t agree with their interpretation of gender roles, etc, there is an undermining of faith in God’s authority, somehow. You’ve gone over to “the other side” and aligned with the feminist, liberal, deconstructed, ungodly culture.

There is also a very problematical reading back into the doctrine on the Trinity that these teachings employ that is very dangerous, far more than any imagined approval of contemporary culture. Nothing a good strong course in the history of Athanasius couldn’t put to rights. A helpful book by Kevin Giles, The Trinity & Subordinationism, is a place to start; I have a review of it, here.

So in a couple of sentences we are supposed to gloss over all of this and side ourselves with one or the other argument, neither of which is making a strong case. They are just dancing; and asking us to join in.

trajectory= chosen course or path

hermeneutics=The theory and methodology of interpretation, especially of scriptural text -American Heritage Dictionary

However, nowhere in the NT does it say for church leaders to “have authority over other Christians.” To submit, is an action urged on ALL Christians “submit to your leaders” Heb. 13:17. So when Dr. Ware implies that men and women are in the image of God, in that men have authority and women submission, he counters the express word of God, that all submit, that Christians submit to leaders and to each other. It does not say that women submit to men.

The women in the scriptures act without a husband, and are not in submission to men, but in the normal way of all Christians submit to leaders, and are leaders.

Sue and I have had some long talks about authority over @ Intellectuelle, and I feel we are just scratching the surface, of what we both believe, let alone the wide scope of the subject matter. It is not going to be a short conversation when we have such large topics as authority and freedom. I agree that not all men have authority over all women- the Bible does not say what many have purported it to say on that. But there is authority and there is order in how that works out, and there are gender related roles and protocols within the Church in this present time on the earth…. those are things that cannot be edited out or glossed over.

I just think we need to discover and articulate those better than we have….traditionally.

==from other places:

“I believe Danny is really good at being a man, husband, father and leader. That is the way God planned it. I also believe I am really good at being a woman, wife, mother and helper. This is also the way God planned it, and when we follow his plan the family works well.” -Charlotte Akin (in Part 1, linked above) part 2

I have to tell you that this whole line of thinking really disturbs me. For one thing it depends upon ones works as giving a good outcome, no mention or thought of God’s grace is involved here. ” I do the righteous God-planned thing and voila, my life is perfection”. And yes, that is what is being said in this type of argument. It is as old as Job’s friends trying to tell him if he just properly followed God’s way and plan, he, too, would find correlating blessing in his life circumstances. So, if you are really good at being a woman…. whatever that means…. where does that leave others “not so good”? Are they doomed? Outside of God’s plan? What the heck are you saying here??? Sure sounds like the pride of man all dressed up in frilly feminine finery to me.

So let’s talk in tones of helpful humility when we are discussing roles and functions of gender and how those relate in honoring God and fulfilling His plan.

2 thoughts on “Fragmented Fisks: Gender Stuff”

  1. Don’t have time for a long comment but just wanted to quickly say that I appreciate being able to benefit from all the heavy lifting you’ve been doing on this subject. Keep up the good work!

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