From Ashwin: Where’s Jesus In All This?

Here are some comments from Ashwin, edited for space, and mine that follow. And while I always appreciate hearing from him, I’m gobsmacked that he doesn’t seem to grasp that my entire argument is replete with references to the Holy Spirit of God, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus, and the very Word of God from which I quote. “Mother Nature” hasn’t a thing to do with this or any other argument of mine.

Anyway . . .

“The major problem I have with your arguments is that Christ is superfluous to them.
The complete exclusion of all reference to God and Christ and the Spirit would not change the force of your statements. What you are saying is essentially that some Providence (of the reader’s choice, it could just as well be Mother Nature) has conferred upon womankind the same sort of abilities that have been conferred on men. Consequently, it does not do to discriminate against women.

So now when one sees what are ultimately leftwing demands for temporal authority being presented in the name of the Living Lord, one begins to wonder whether the Lord is not being reduced to a wrapping. A sugar coat that masks something entirely else. What if Paul really meant what he said in Corinthians? What if man really is the head of woman as Christ is the head of man?

When you quote from the Bible as though from a law-book, do you take into account the fact that the Holy Spirit is more than able to have His will done? Do you think that the grace which allowed so many to go joyfully to horrible tortures, deprivations and deaths would be unable to smash gender hierarchies? And lastly is it not better to serve than to be served. Is not the lower place, willingly chosen, better that the high seat aggressively wrested? Is it not better to serve in Heaven than to reign in Hell?” (Comment to Prevailing Winds, July 30, 2010)

My response:

Ashwin — Again, I’m a bit confused that you don’t see any reference to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in my arguments for gender equality. They, and the Bible, are the only reason I care enough to make the arguments in the first place.

You seem, Ashwin, to think that by “leadership” I mean “preeminence, prominence, top-of-the-hierarchy,” which is a worldy form of so-called leadership, regardless of how distressingly frequent its appearance in the Church. I mean those positions that involve preaching, teaching, and pastoring to all who would hear the glorious Gospel of Christ; that’s a position of humility and servitude, risk and the reward only of seeing souls saved. It’s about being allowed to serve, and serve fully and freely, for one reason and one reason only: So people dying without a Savior can hear and learn the Good News, for the Glory of God and by His strength, alone. I think I’ve been pretty clear that, as you put it in an earlier post, we biblical feminists aren’t at all concerned with simply “getting to” wear robes and swing incense. We want to serve God with all we have and with all he’s given us, without others using bad theology, tradition, culture, and prejudice to restrict our service. A lost and dying world needs all of us. In fact, where you find a true, Godly passion for evangelizing those without Christ, you are much more likely to find gender equality. It’s in those churches and institutions for whom evangelism is a low priority that gender hierarchies remain comfortably maintained.

And yes, that includes Doug Wilson’s Christ Church. Wilson has decried revivalism, altar calls, and the “get saved” culture of evangelicalism. You really ought to check out that part of his theology, which has become somewhat muted as he’s rocketed into the lower stratosphere of media celebrity. I think you’ll find it eye-opening.

Finally, by the way, I believe Paul really did mean what he said in Corinthians about man being the “head” of the woman as God is the “head” of Christ — the Greek, kephale, is far more often used in secular koine Greek, and interpreted by most fair-minded translators, as “source,” in the way that God “begat” Jesus and thus was his “source,” and Eve was taken from Adam’s own flesh, making him her “source.” Surely to God — and I mean this as a prayer — you’re not suggesting that “head” is a “boss/subordinate” position, which would be horrendous theology and worse practice, insofar as women would then need to obey the men in power over them. I can’t think of a worse, more perverse, picture of the Trinity, nor a worse, more vicious, model for human relationships.

I wonder if perhaps you read what you want into my writing, rather than read what I actually write. Nonetheless, be assured that when I write “Spirit-given gifts,” I mean just that: Gifts given women and men by the only Spirit who can truly empower us for a lifetime of loving, humble, steadfast, courageous service in the name of and for the glory of Almighty God.

Finally, let me ask you a question. I just heard from my dear friend and sister, Lupita, who has been asked to pastor a small church in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, upon the retirement of Pastor Trinidad, a man who served for 53 years. Lupita is a former Bible college administrator and professor who has served on the mission field in Mexico and in Spain and who has helped plant numerous churches in Mexico. She is a conservative, evangelical Wesleyan minister, a gifted musician, and one of the strongest Bible teachers I’ve ever met. She is single, never-married, and filled with the Holy Spirit, whose gifts in her life are abundant. Her character is impeccable, her witness steadfast, and her courage remarkable. Where Lupita goes, lives are changed for Christ Jesus.

I’d like you to tell me why she shouldn’t be doing what she does, and how the Kingdom (I mean here the Kingdom of God) benefits if she doesn’t.

One Response to “From Ashwin: Where’s Jesus In All This?”

  1. Ashwin says:

    To point out a subtlety: My first point was not that you did not reference the Bible, but that those references are NOT CENTRAL to your argument. You could have substituted ANY Providence and reached the same conclusion. What I wish to point out is that you made up your mind BEFORE you went to the Bible to seek corroboration for your point of view. And, as expected, what you found in the Bible is completely in line with your cultural upbringing.

    And again when referring to Mr. Wilson please quote him verbatim. There have been times (e.g. in the SPLC affair) when I found his response entirely justified – even admirable – while you made it seem as though he were printing obscenities.

    Your definition of “fair-minded” may need elaboration. From the way you have represented Mr. Wilson, Mr. Piper, Mr. Driscoll and even at one time C.S. Lewis, I must conclude that we are NOT consulting the same dictionary.

    I don’t know why women are supposed to be submissive to men. But the Bible states this explicitly and repeatedly. The argument that it goes contrary to the thrust of the rest of the Bible is not all that convincing. Every woman depicted in the Bible in a positive light is in a submissive role – perhaps except Deborah, but even that was a stop-gap solution for when the men dropped the ball.

    The most powerful woman in the Bible is of course Jezebel. No good came of that.

    While it is quite right for a woman to actively withstand abusive men, I am quite sure it is also right for a woman to submit to a God-fearing man. This is quite consistent with the Bible.

    What it is NOT consistent with is modern liberality and feminism – the product of the Enlightenment.

    While it is good to try to not give offence to the culture one finds oneself in, it should not be done at the expense of the clear teaching of Scripture.

    Your friend in Juarez should probably decline the pastorship – in favour of continuing the one-on-one ministry she is currently in. The church should find a suitable man to deliver the weekly sermon.

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