Archive for May, 2009

Another Theological Treasure — This Time, It’s Feminism!

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Gilbert Bilezikian, a professor at Wheaton College and one of the founding pastors of Willow Creek Community Church, is widely regarded by friends and foes as one of the principal thinkers in the evangelical feminist/egalitarian movement. And yet, in nearly a decade of serious study of the issue of women’s Biblical place in Church, family, and society, I’ve never managed to read his work.

That’s been to my loss. I just got ahold of “Beyond Sex Roles,” his seminal (yes, I’m aware of the irony of “seminal,” thanks) treatise on Biblical egalitarianism, and it’s nothing short of phenomenal, probably the best single study I’ve ever read. I recommend it to those who can’t or won’t understand the true message of Scripture as it regards women, men, Church and society. Bilezikian employs a “creation, fall, redemption” hermeneutic not unlike William Webb’s “redemptive-movement” method, and his commitment to the authority of the Word and the necessity of wrestling with passages in context is evident. While I still intend that Prevailing Winds be self-generated and not a compilation of other people’s words, I will occasionally post particularly insightful observations from both Bilezikian and from the theologians featured in “Church, State, and Public Justice.” There’s just too much good stuff there to keep it out of the spotlight.

And to my critics: Why are you so upset that it might actually be true that women are Biblically able to serve alongside men, in full equality and in mutual submission, in every area of society, both secular and ecclesiastical? Not a rhetorical question at all; I really want to know.

(Gilbert Bilezikian, “Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says About a Woman’s Place in Church and Family,” Baker Academic, revised 2006)

The Church, Being Church in Community

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

“The Church cannot be the Church without seeking justice through participation in the political and social life of the world.”

“… The common good is “common” because it belongs to everyone in the whole community. (It) refers to the bonds of community that link persons together, bonds that depend on such specific goods as roads, schools, housing and health care . . . An individual cannot obtain fulfillment in isolation; inseparable from personal flourishing is the flourishing of the neighbor.”

Clarke E. Cochran, Roman Catholic theologian, in “Church, State, and Public Justice,” IVP 2007

A Fascinating Read

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I’ve begun reading a book from Inter-Varsity Press (IVP) that I think my readers would enjoy, and I’ll be quoting from it periodically. “Church, State and Public Justice — Five Views” is a compendium of essays and responses regarding Christian public engagement. Represented are the Roman Catholic Church’s classic social teaching, the traditional separatist/Baptist, the Anabaptist (think Mennonite, for example), the Reformed “Principled Pluralist,” and the “mainline” social justice views. I’ve just finished the Catholic CST view and, while I left the Catholic Church shortly after coming to Christ in 1981, I found much to commend. So far, I think the book is a valuable contribution to a theology of Christian socio-political involvement. Get ready for selected quotes on Prevailing Winds — some of which I agree with, others of which I won’t.

Sigh.

While there’s probably good reason for me to read popular fiction — ummm, I can’t think of one, but I’m sure it’s there — I just gravitate toward politics and theology. I find that IVP produces some truly valuable works; I’m just as aware that the IVP imprimatur guarantees that some will automatically ignore a book. Pity. Anything that gives five different perspectives on something important, and all from devout, high-Scripture thinkers, is inherently valuable, and I’d invite you to pick up a copy.

Now, THERE’S A Coincidence

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

While I await Timothy’s response to my comment (May 21) regarding “genocide” and “race-mixing,” I thought I’d offer up a bit of irony that Tim the Kinist might want to consider:

He shares the name of — and was perhaps even named after — the New Testament evangelist Timothy, a “son” to the Apostle Paul, a leader of the Church at Ephesus, and, by all accounts, a hero of the faith.

Timothy was the product of “race mixing,” the son of a devoutly Jewish mother and a Gentile (Greek) father. But I think we can all agree — most of us, at least — that this product of miscegenation contributed not to the “genocide” or annihilation of his or any other race, but, instead, to the salvation of many hundreds of souls who found their ultimate identity not in being Jews or Gentiles (or black or white, Asian or Latino, male or female, rich or poor, Southerner or Yankee), but in the one family of faith in Christ Jesus.

Ironic, huh? But if our neo-Confederate Kinist Timothy finds it to be too uncomfortable, he can always change his name to something quasi-Celtic that reflects his ethnic purity. “Orin” would be good. It means “white,” which sounds as simple, bland, and uncomplicated as the world Timothy wishes to create for himself, and against which the Church must continue praying.

Memorial Day

Monday, May 25th, 2009

My sincere condolences to any of my readers who’ve lost a loved one in the Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other war. Your loss is indeed tragic; may your comfort come from the One who is our Prince of Peace.

Just Call Me A Race Traitor, I Guess

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

A comment posted yesterday regarding, once again, my May 5 “Occidental Christianity” post condemning the viciously stupid Kinist theology of race separation and white supremacy in the name of Jesus:

“Perhaps the thought had crossed your mind that race mixing + time = genocide. some of us actually look ahead to consider the long term implications of multiculturalism and other marxist nonsense. (Timothy)”

My response:

Dear Timothy,

Thanks for your comment. You sound like a very frightened man. Please show me in Scripture where the Church is to concern itself with maintaining racial purity or preventing what you mistakenly call “genocide” by adhering to strict race separation. I would find it fascinating, since my understanding of Scripture is that the Gospel sets aside all barriers to full spiritual unity that are grounded in race, gender, class, or any other category favored by humans. Enlighten me, please.

Keely

Of Banshees and Wetbacks

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

In his comment to my May 5 post on “occidental Christianity,” another charming Southron, a paragon of patriarchal virtue and covenant holiness, takes me to task for being a “banshee” working with “wetbacks.”

He writes from a Kinist website called “spiritwaterblood.com,” a Gehenna of racist, sexist, Southron drivel that extols, as paleo- and neo-Confederates do, the innate valor and integrity of white Southern men who claim to follow a homeless Jew of questionable birth. I’ve invited “Confederate” to explain more about how using a phrase like “wetbacks” furthers the cause of Christ in this world. I eagerly await his response, which should be as self-serving, ignorant, and vile as his entire Kinist theology, and will comment more as he responds. In the meantime, though, I’m sickened, although not surprised, at what passes for Christian belief these days.

Should I really have to point out that “wetback” in reference to Mexican immigrants demonstrates utter contempt for the alien, stranger, and foreigner made in the image of God?

I guess so. But better he hear it from me now then at the Great White Throne later, and better the condemnation come from a “banshee” woman than not come at all.

"Oppression, Dressed Up"

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

(From Mutuality Magazine, Christians For Biblical Equality, Winter 2008, by Jon Trott)

“What sort of ‘roles’ do human beings actually need to fill, other than to love one another out of reverence for Christ? Does gender matter in the face of mortality death, and decay? What meaningless babble we utter in the face of our ever-present frailty! . . . When I look into my dear one’s eyes and know the incredible tenderness of her personhood in that glance, I cannot endure one second more of oppression dressed up as doctrinal correctness.”

A Problem Among The TULIPS

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

My recent exchange with Dontbia Nass has left me wondering if diehard, five-point Calvinists (there really isn’t any other kind; the “points” all rise and fall on one another) really understand the implications of their doctrine.

In other words, would God continue to keep closed the eyes, ears, and hearts of someone who heard the Gospel preached by a woman just because the messenger was not male? Would he hold back irresistible grace from the hearer out of displeasure with the preacher, thus consigning the hearer to hell, perhaps, should they not ever again hear the message — as well as confirming his double reprobation of a man,”for his own good pleasure,” because of his wrath directed at the woman?

In other words, is it really better that an unsaved man not hear the Gospel at all then to hear it from a woman?

Two Hundred Gusts of Prevailing Winds

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

On my 100th post, a covenant gentleman called me a lying Medusa, and the name “Prevailing Winds” has already sparked at least three fart jokes from trinitarian skylarkers and other young patriarchs. This is Post # 200, and it’s been an adventure. I’ve been cursed in the name of Jesus; told that my empty works of ministry will burn like wood, hay, and stubble; and been reminded too, too often that there’s a depressing correlation between the Biblical shakiness of some theological traditions and the malice with which they’re defended.

Someone even said my dog was ugly. Is this a fallen world, or what?

But I’ve been gratified as much by the mean stuff as by the many emails, phone calls, and in-person comments I get from people who like what I have to say and hope I keep saying it. My cousin in Little Rock, my mother’s pastor in Tucson, my old college roommate in Boulder, a science writer and novelist friend in Virginia, and a lot of other people from across the country read Prevailing Winds; so do neo-Confederates in North Carolina, fundamentalist Baptists in Texas, Reformed agitators in New England and more snarky classical Christian college students than any North Idaho town could possibly hold. I don’t know how many people are checking in, but I thank you all. I hope that the cause of the Gospel is enriched, Christ’s people are encouraged, and those who don’t know him are edified. And if you’re entertained, well . . . laugh with me or at me, but maybe the Lord will use something here to enliven your walk with him.

And while Perry the Wonder Puppy isn’t the most handsome little guy around, he’s man enough to take his knocks, too. Just like his mom.