A Problem Among The TULIPS

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?

11 Responses to “A Problem Among The TULIPS”

  1. mutewitness says:

    I do not think that is what Calvinists stand for. Calvinists believe that God is Sovereign and every soul saved is saved by His initiative alone.

    So your preaching does not have anything to do with saving the soul. It is irrelevant. You don’t matter in this context. When the Shepherd calls, the sheep will come.

    What you are supposed to pray for is for the Lord of the Harvest to send labourers for the Harvest. The He send some soul to you to disciple.

    Preach the Good News by all means – but do not presume to think that it is instrumental in anyone’s salvation. That glory belongs to God alone.

  2. In no way would I or any other witness to the Gospel presume that it’s our work that saves souls. Never, not at all, and not even a little bit. My point was that it seems Dontbia Nass is suggesting that saving and irresistible grace could not, or would not, be extended to men with whom I’ve shared the Gospel, because I’m female. I am not a Calvinist, but I think I understand the five points well enough to comment on them, and I absolutely hold to God’s sovereignty — a sovereignty he demonstrates through human preachers, teachers, and evangelists. I’m “irrelevant” to the predestination of the individual, but my obedience in preaching the Word, and that Word itself, is the tool God graciously condescends to use to achieve his glorious purpose. Thanks for your comment, Mute. Keely

  3. Dontbia Nass says:

    Keely’s question is irrelevant to the so-called “Five Points of Calvinism.” (It’s interesting how Reformation-era Christians allowed their opponents to define their theology; Calvinism’s “Five Points” were a response to Arminius’ Five Points. But Arminius was not objecting only to Calvin; he was also objecting to Augustine, because Calvin and Augustine were two peas in a pod in the areas that Arminius objected to. So essentially Arminius was objecting to well over a millennium of firmly established doctrine in Western Christianity.)

    If you want God to bless your ministry, do your ministry God’s way, and not what seems right in your own eyes.

    And one other thing. While obeying God in the way you go about your ministry (which you are not), you also need to accommodate the culture of your hearers. Are you doing that? Don’t ask me what I think about a woman preaching to men; ask them what they think. Mexican culture does not strike me as being on your “liberated woman” wavelength. Paul said “I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

    You are not being obedient to God, and you are not being all things to all men after the manner of Paul. You are trying to do things your way, and for your own self-satisfaction. And you have your reward.

  4. Dontbia Nass says:

    By the way, Keely, to the extent that you are able to bear fruit for God’s kingdom’s sake, I rejoice with you and with all the saints. God is easier to please than He is to satisfy. We all fall short of the righteousness of God in various ways, yet God is often gracious to us beyond what we could rationally expect in view of our shortcomings.

    Please understand that although I chastize you, I am trying to build you up, not tear you down. Remember the Bible verse I referred to that spoke of works of stubble being burned as with fire, so that the worker himself makes it into heaven, but with little more than a singed backside to show for all his trouble. I don’t want you to be like that, but rather just the opposite: I want you to bear abundant, lasting fruit. That’s why I stress the need to do things God’s way and not ours. Furthermore, as I write these words I know that I’m hardly one to talk. But the truth is the truth, and now I have to take what I just said to you and apply it to myself because it applies to me too, in my own way. Let us both heed the warning of scripture that God has given to us for our own good.

  5. Nass, I noticed a more humble and conciliatory tone to your most recent post, which I appreciate.

    I agree that we need to be “all things to all people” in our work for the Kingdom, up to the point of violating Scripture. That’s why I continue to insist that the Church’s keeping women out of leadership positions is both unbiblical and an unnecessary hindrance to the response of unbelievers to the Gospel.

    As for my ministry to Mexican women and men, my experience has been that the Mexican men with whom I worked actually showed great respect and openness to me as a teacher and preacher. While I lament that my relative affluence and education provoked much of the deference shown to me, I also know that both teachers and religious instructors occupy a place of special honor. I’ve been called “maestra” (teacher), “pastora” (pastor), and “tia” (aunt) by scores of men and women I worked with, and I can assure you that my sex neither obstructed nor encouraged my evangelistic efforts. That’s as it should be; the Gospel ought to occupy all of our concerns, not the gender of the Gospel preacher — as long as cultural accommodation doesn’t violate Scripture.

    You contend that my sharing the Gospel with men is unbiblical. I disagree. Of course, someone raised in a rigidly fundamentalist, KJV-only culture would be more likely to receive the Gospel from my husband than from me, and that’s an accommodation I would easily submit to. But I do not believe that God gives gifts, or expects their proper use, on the basis of gender, and I rejoice that I was able to evangelize as many people as I did, knowing that the grace of God equips me and the listener for the glory of his name.

    Thanks for your comments, as well as more irenic tone you’ve adopted.

  6. Dontbia Nass says:

    “You contend that my sharing the Gospel with men is unbiblical. I disagree.”

    When you put it that way, I disagree too. (Note that your choice of expression and mine differ.) Sharing the gospel per se is never unbiblical, regardless of who/whom. Things do get problematic for you when you are in the position of leading in an ecclesiastical context or teaching men about the word of God. How would these words of Scripture apply to you? — “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence . . . Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.”

  7. Ashwin says:

    If we are called to be servants. If our Lord came to serve and not to be served. If He said that whoever wishes to be counted the greatest must become the least, then all this talk about authority and leadership is moot.

    When you approach another, approach him/her as a servant would his master. Though that person be the beggar on the street and you be the product of ten generation of scholars. Even so approach him as a loyal servant would his wayward master. Always respectful and loving – but still persistent. “Please don’t do it sir.” “Not another glass of whiskey sir.” “Don’t smoke so much sir.” “Come away from this place sir.” “Please don’t hit him sir.” “Don’t be angry sir.” “Our Lord will provide sir” “Listen to God sir” and so on.
    And be ready to take abuse for it. And take it. Our Lord will make it up to us.

  8. Nass, I just wrote a long exposition on the verses in 1 Timothy that you quote. Read it, study evangelical non-patriarchalists’ interpretations, and get back to me. And I appreciate Ashwin’s comments about “all this talk about authority and leadership” — truly, all of us need to model Christ’s attitude of servanthood and worry much less about “who’s in charge.” My ministry emphasis was SERA en Cristo — Service, Empowerment, Relationship, Advocacy in Christ. While in that context I might well have been an “authority” in the English language, I’m nobody’s authority, leader, head, or boss, and not especially when teaching the Gospel that represents the only hope I have. Keely

  9. Dontbia Nass says:

    Keely, please feel free to call me Dontbia. :-)

    I’m sorry, where will I find this exposition?

    I’m particularly interested in knowing what you think that passage and the similar injunction in 1 Corinthians precludes you from doing, and the reasons for that injunction.



  10. Ashwin says:

    This is to Don’tBeAnAss.

    I don’t see why Ms Emerine-Mix may not preach the gospel to unbelievers on the street.

    If a woman may not speak in the assembly of believers (perhaps because many women do tend to quarrel) then so be it. Once the assembly is over, once the message is heard, once the bread and wine are gratefully taken, once the communal worship is done, then they may speak.

    And if a lady wishes to speak about our Lord, so much the better.

    And you need not fear about her poisoning anyone against our Lord. That is not her burden anyway. When the Shepherd calls, the sheep will come. If she is the medium of that call, then God is glorified TO her and THROUGH her. She is not instrumental, merely privileged to be present and to rejoice as one more son comes home. I don’t think we should grudge anyone that joy.

  11. About two weeks ago, D.N., I wrote a long exposition of 1 Timothy . . . it’s on the blog, titled “Paul Had The Gnostics, We Have The Sexists.”

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