Words From Women, March 13 (And Then Read The Words Of A Man, Following)

“. . . When we are reading our Bibles, we prefer to know exactly what the Holy Ghost addresses to us, instead of finding between its pages the opinion of even the most excellent uninspired man.”

“Women of God, who, loving the praise of God more than the praise of men, will hasten the Coming of the Lord by grasping His promise, and entering upon the fulfillment of His prophecy, ‘In the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh . . . your daughters shall prophesy, and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those Days of My Spirit, and THEY SHALL PROPHESY.’”

Bible, Greek, and Hebrew Scholar and medical Doctor Katharine Bushnell, (1856-1946), “God’s Word To Women: One Hundred Bible Studies On Woman’s Place In The Church And Home,” available through Christians For Biblical Equality.

And heady studies they are, far more rigorous than what passes for Bible study these days (“Who was Peter writing to?” “Is adultery always wrong? How can YOU apply this teaching to YOUR life?” “Can you ask God to help you respect your husband more?” These are the “Jell-o portion” of most women’s Bible studies — bright, simple, tasty and utterly insubstantial, but safe enough to offer to Christian women, who’ve come to understand that hermeneutics, doctrine, and expository study are considered the provenance of the menfolk — who, come to think of it, don’t wrestle with the hard stuff a whole lot, either. It gets in the way, I suppose, of talking endlessly about their struggles with lust). Bushnell tackles the Word of God from Genesis to the Revelation, translating, analyzing, comparing, and rightly dividing the Word of Truth and, in doing so, concludes that the Scriptures teach that service and leadership in the Church, if God is to be honored and obeyed, must be on the basis of Spirit-gifting and not gender. She was a remarkable woman, and if you’re intrigued and would like a copy of her magnum opus, get ahold of me and I’ll try to get one for you.

In exceedingly different ways — in tremendously and astonishingly different ways — Douglas Wilson is a remarkable man. Moscow’s most belligerent clergyman (“pastor” sticks in my throat here) and I clashed just last week over his “concubine, not slut” amendment to Rush Limbaugh’s despicable comments about the woman testifying to Congress about insured access to contraception, and, frankly, I’d have liked to not have reason to criticize him or even acknowledge him again for a long time.

But these are wickedly confusing and confusingly wicked times, and I guess he just can’t help himself. And so, as you contemplate the tremendous depth of Katharine Bushnell’s teachings on the Scripture, and as you take into account the manifold wisdom of the many women whose words I’ve shared with you — and whose lives and ministries you know personally — let’s conclude today with Wilson’s typically crude take on contemporary Bible translations.

From Blog and Mablog, March 13:

“When it comes to all those gender bender translation practices, we need more Christian leaders answering with the good, old-fashioned horse laugh. Who wants a Bible translation with hormone shots and breast implants? It may be out of fashion to speak so boldly, but I have to say it. Not me. That’s just creepy.”

Well, yes — “creepy” does come to mind, as do past examples of Wilson’s love of titty humor. But as he asserts that all of these contemporary translations are “gender-benders,” by which I assume he means “gender-bending,” he actually makes a serious accusation: Those translations, in what he calls their “planned obsolescence” really do, he says, “bend” the genders of those persons in the text they purport to represent.

Would it be asking too much to beg him for examples of where contemporary translations like the 2011 New International Version, Today’s New International Version, New Living Translation, Common English Bible, and New Revised Standard Bible actually and literally “bend” — misrepresent or falsify — the gender of even one subject in the translation? Does translating the Greek “adelphoi” not as “brothers” but as “brothers and sisters” — which most Greek New Testament scholars says is not a nod to cultural sensitivities but an actual usage allowed by the original texts and the koine’ Greek in which they were written — wrongly “bend” the genders of those in the assembly? Or would we rather insist that the First Century Christian community was oddly homo-sexual in its ecclesiastical makeup, consisting only of males despite the many places where the author notes the presence of both women and men?

Is declaring that “people,” not simply “men,” are blessed as they walk not in the counsel of the unGodly a malicious concession to feminist culture, or a more-accurate representation of who actually does benefit from wise counsel and company? Can Wilson find anywhere in these translations where advice to women AS WOMEN (wives, mothers) is muddied up by suggesting, for example, that males can fulfill “wifely” or maternal roles? Or would he argue that admonition, rebuke, and encouragement clearly intended for the entire congregation, women as well as men, really isn’t? Are these promises of God’s conditional on walking righteously and living faithfully, or on having testicles? Is there any place in any of these translations, or even in paraphrases like The Message, where Yahweh is represented, against all testimony of the Hebrew and the Greek, with female imagery? Has he read any contemporary version that changes the gender of Jesus?

And, perhaps a bit arcane but more to the point since he’s so concerned about gender accuracy, have I missed his fulminating rants against earlier translations’ usage of “Julius” or “Junias” — male names — to describe the woman, Junia, Paul calls an apostle in Romans 16? This same “Junia,” whose name is invariably in other texts of the time a female designation, is paired with a man, Andronicus, who we presume to be her husband; further, that crazy feminist harpy from the Middle Ages, John Chrysostom, points out the blessedness in which our Lord held Junia that “she” would be considered an apostle. I must have missed Wilson’s profound concern, clearly voiced, I’m sure, about the caving and craven masculinization of this person named by the feminine moniker “Junia,” and I hope he can point me to earlier words of concern for fidelity to the Biblical text.

Or, could it be that he’s not been bothered by the “making butch” of Junia? Could it be that he knows of no examples in these contemporary texts of falsifying and blending the genders of their subjects? Could it be that the translators and scholars who compile the NIV, TNIV, NLT, CBE and NRSV might actually be men and women who know more about translation than he does, and who honestly, genuinely love the Lord Jesus?

To put it into language Wilson might understand, could it be that his “breast implants” and “hormone shots” comments about the Bible are yet further examples of his consistent preference to drink with alacrity the rank, bitter, foul old wine of dudeship and puerility — while the New Man wrought by his salvation withers from thirst, unable to recognize the true wine of the Holy Spirit and wholly unable and unwilling to offer it to others?

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