This is a great essay in the most recent issue of the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
Filed under Bible and Theology, Cultural Engagement
Sorry, I can’t read that article. It’s by a woman.
Read the editorial at the beginning of the journal : )
I think it’s interesting how complementarians have found a way around the issue Kyle brings up (even though he was just playing). I’ll be honest, when I read the editorial and the other incarnations of this particular view point that have come out recently, I can’t help but feel like complementarians saw a inconsistency in their beliefs and could no longer admit that they don’t learn from women in various ways (especially scholarly works). So somebody came up with a loophole that would enable comps to learn from women “indirectly” through books or other means as long as it wasn’t in the ultra personal and authoritative relationship of Senior Pastor, thus not disobeying their interpretation of 1 Tim (which seems to get looser and looser as time goes by). Honestly, reading the editorial felt like I was reading the words of a clever lawyer.
It seems even in the complementarian position there is still a certain going along with the culture just as egalitarians are often accused of (even the term complementarian seems to be an attempt at sounding more culturally acceptable than patriarchalist). The complementarians of today are still more lenient and egalitarian than the patriarchalist of the past; the editorial being a good example of this. And it seems just going along with this trend, that complementarians in the future will give women even more freedoms and come up with other rationale to allow women more room in the church (and in the Seminaries as well) in terms of ministry and teaching.
So I wonder then, is the point of complementarianism to always to be a bit more culturally conservative than the rest of Western society but still slowly and grudgingly going along with the changes? I mean is it worth it for the complementarians to spend so much effort to fighting this fight when 20 to 30 years down the road the main proponents of this movement will look more like the egalitarians of today?
Blessings and thanks for always being such a gracious conversation partner.
Brian, I don’t agree with Piper’s view, but I think his view is perfectly consistent. The principles Schemm draws from that Piper introduction strike me as applying to this case in exactly the way Schemm applies them. Given that, the first paragraph of your comment comes across to me as a kind of anti-intellectual laziness and an unwillingness to draw careful distinctions or to follow nuanced views to their logical conclusion. It strikes me as preferring to put together straw man views and then to try to fit everyone into them, rather than admitting that people can engage in hard work to make their views more plausible without abandoning the general principles they want to retain. I consider your attitude a great insult to the entire discipline of philosophy, which by its very nature seeks to do exactly the sort of thing you’re dismissing as clever, lawyer-like behavior.
Your dismissiveness of the possibility of having reasons for beliefs (which is the thrust of the other two paragraphs) is equally insulting. People have reasons for their views, and contemporary complementarians have reasons why they reject (and explicitly reject) some of the views of past patriarchalists.
Jeremy if you don’t agree with Piper or Schemm then why are you even responding? You think his view is consistent with what? What is your view consistent with if you disagree with him. What do you believe? Do you think they’re wrong? Do you think men can’t learn from women through books? Why do you think they even felt the need to come up with this argument being that past patriarchalist didn’t? What recent cultural developments caused them to feel the need to address this issue? You spent more time writing about why you don’t like what I said then actually talking about what I said (which you didn’t do at all).
Also, You don’t need to insult me to make your point.
Jeremy if you don’t agree with Piper or Schemm then why are you even responding? You think his view is consistent with what?
His view is internally consistent. You said:
I can’t help but feel like complementarians saw a inconsistency in their beliefs and could no longer admit that they don’t learn from women in various ways (especially scholarly works).
I said no. Piper’s view is consistent, and Schemm was drawing out exactly how the view Piper defends affects this case. What he says follows exactly from Piper’s view. Your desire to portray it as an innovation is simply that, your desire. Do you see any earlier statements of Piper against women authoring scholarly papers? I don’t know of any. But judging by what he clearly does say, the implications of his view include that it’s not wrong for a woman to do that. That undermines your whole point.
As for my own view, I have no idea why you care, since I’m not defending my view or talking about what it’s consistent with. I hold to a more standard complementarian view than Piper, without the more extreme view he adds about gender roles in society. I stick with the two places the Bible itself explicitly deals with this, and that’s in overseeing the local church, particularly in its regular teaching, and in marriage. Piper’s view seems to me to go beyond scripture, but I don’t see the inconsistency that you see, and I don’t see why Schemm’s argument amounts to a modification of Piper’s view to avoid an inconsistency.
Jeremy I think I would say that what many egalitarians see as inconsistent is comps saying a woman can’t teach a man based on 1 Tim and then finding ways that men can still learn from women (biblical related things as I wasn’t speaking about learning in general) through various ways like scholarly books or like the example shown in the article that Suzanne pointed out. I’m sorry if you didn’t notice, but real people were having difficulty wondering whether reading a book or article or listening to an audio sermon by a woman was violating their complimentarian beliefs? They saw the inconsistency in their views. You may not see it because you only interpret 1 Tim (or the Biblical data in general) to be talking about regular teaching in the church. Other comps see it as broader than that and that’s why they don’t allow women to teach men in some seminaries or even to enroll in D min programs or to teach men one on one outside of the normal church service church. So maybe it’s not inconsistent with your brand of complimentarian beliefs, but it is with others.
Jeremy what I’m “poo pooing” is the implausible argument in the editorial. You admit that Piper appears to be going beyond the Bible. He does appear to be going beyond the Bible to me and it seems to be stretching the data really really thin. Seriously when I read it I think ‘that’s interesting and all but where did you get that from ’cause you sure couldn’t have pulled that out of the Bible and there’s no evidence that Paul had those criteria in mind when writing the things he did’? I’m all for making good arguments for your views and adjusting them in the face of objection. I just thought that was a weak argument and looked like someone looking for a loop hole instead. And I don’t think it adequately dealt with the inconsistency that many egals see in the practices of many comps.
This doesn’t really have anything to do with philosophy Jeremy (especially since neither Piper nor Schemm are philosophers). It has to do with people disagreeing with about the practical implications of a particular interpretation of the Biblical data on an issue. If you think this is directly insulting to philosophers then you might as well get insulted at every disagreement about the Bible.
Honestly Jeremy I really don’t feel like debating this (especially since we both know given your philosophy background that I would be heavily outmatched in the debating skills dept. Heck I could barely understand some of your sentences the way you worded them!). I was just giving my observation and opinion (which resonated with some others) and asking some questions. If you don’t agree then fine. I don’t expect you too. Have a good day : )
I’ve responded to the points in the above comment in the comment thread here, which until now was not exactly paralleling the discussion here but now is.
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