august 26 podcast: patriarchy/patriocentricity two, part ten ~ Jon Zens and What’s with Paul and Women, part one

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Jon first came into contact with informal churches in 1975, and has been ministering in and encouraging small fellowships since then. He and his wife, Dotty have been involved over the years with conflict resolution in assemblies. Since 1978 Jon has been the editor of Searching Together, a quarterly that has dealt considerably with living under grace, and living gracefully with one another. From 1985 – 2000, Jon worked in two manufacturing companies in engineering support, human resources, purchasing and shipping/receiving.  Jon and Dotty have three lovely children and six wonderful grandchildren. Jon has a B.A. from Covenant College, an M.Div. from Westminster Seminary and a D.Min. from the California Graduate School of Theology.

Jon is also the author of many books, including What’s with Paul and Women ~ Unlocking the Cultural Background to 1 Timothy 2.  I am welcoming Jon to be part of my series of podcasts on patriarchy/patriocentricity to discuss the part that women played in New Testament ministry. 

Please leave a comment each week as the podcasts in this series are uploaded to have your name placed in a drawing for a copy of this wonderful book!

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  1. says

    I’m really glad he brought up the authority issue re: 1 Cor. 7. When I’ve used that passage in dialogue, I’m dismissed because ‘it’s just talking about sex.’ But I’ve come to the same conclusions the author has. I hope that next week John talks more about this.

  2. says

    Hillary, you know, I have been having so many of these kinds of experiences in the past year or so. I will study a passage of Scripture, come to some completely different conclusion after doing word studies and culture studies, and then the Lord places an article or a book in my hands that confirms what I had discovered in my studies. That was certainly the experience I had when I read this book. I was in a Bible study on 1 and 2 Timothy and everyone was quoting from commentaries left and right. And they all put the same spin on the passages, even though the word studies showed something else. It was frustrating because I didn’t want to be the fly in the ointment but there was so much there that was glossed over in the study!

    Right now I am reading two books that are really helping me understand what has happened in church history and it is sobering to say the least. As I quoted from Del Birkey in the last podcast: “A Christian patriarchy is patently oxymoronic, fostering incoherent conceptions about complex gender matters….the mental discrepancies innate in this concoction engender potential deceit that leads to dishonesty.” That is what I keep seeing….intellectual dishonesty!

  3. says

    Here is just one example:

    We often hear the patriocentrists say that they hold to the weight of church history and that they don’t believe that women are inferior to men. Some of them even say they believe that women are under the authority of their husbands and elders but not all men. BUT, both of these statements cannot be true and they aren’t.

    If you read the church fathers, they all believed that women are inherently inferior to men. In fact, here is a quote from one of the patriocentrists’ favorites, southern reformed theologian Charles Hodge: “the general good requires us to deprive the whole female sex of the rights of self-government.” Another favorite, R.L. Dabney said “Man is the ruler, the woman the ruled. Her race is a subordinate race.” All through church history, men taught that women, by their nature, were inferior. It wasn’t until more recent times and knowing how offensive those beliefs truly are, that they changed the rhetoric to include phrases like “woman’s role.”

  4. Lydia says

    Church history is a bloody mess. And includes transubstantiation, slavery, church/state magistrates and God war shield and much more heresy, bad behavior and error (especially in translation!)

    When any Bible teacher/preacher’s appeal to “church history” to defend any view my Berean radar goes off.

  5. says

    Victoria, the first is The Fall of Patriarchy by Del Birkey. Absolutely amazing book. The second is The Trinity and Subordinationism by Kevin Giles. Giles is explaining how the Trinity has been redefined by patriocentrists in order to build a case for gender subordination. Fascinating and he goes through all the contemporary arguments for what he accurately calls “hierarchial complementarism.” Highly recommend both to broaden understanding of what we are seeing today. Zens touches on these things, too, in the coming podcasts.

  6. says

    Lydia, so interesting that you include slavery in the list. A I mentioned in last week’s podcast, C. Hodge was part of the group of southern theologians who created their own doctrine of slavery that I believe is still embraced in some branches of patriocentricity. The same arguments they used for slavery are being used to prop up their views of women today. They need to get their acts together and be consistent. They are so unbelievable for those who are committed to both Scripture and an accurate, honest view of church history. If they are going to abandon the “traditional” views of slavery then they must also abandon their views of women. Its pretty simple.

  7. says


    The willingness to tinker with and redefine the Trinity for the sake of this agenda is, in my opinion, one of the single most disturbing aspects of this whole discussion. I’m considering this, from the Wikipedia entry on Trinity:

    “Since the 1980s, some evangelical theologians have come to the conclusion that the members of the Trinity may be economically unequal while remaining ontologically equal. This theory was put forward by George W. Knight III in his 1977 book The New Testament Teaching on the Role Relationship of Men and Women, states that the Son of God is eternally subordinated in authority to God the Father.[91] This conclusion was used to support the main thesis of his book: that women are permanently subordinated in authority to their husbands in the home and to male leaders in the church, despite being ontologically equal. Subscribers to this theory insist that the Father has the role of giving commands and the Son has the role of obeying them.”

  8. Lydia says

    “If they are going to abandon the “traditional” views of slavery then they must also abandon their views of women. Its pretty simple”

    Yes! Because they use the same hermeneutic.

    Which is why 1 Tim 2, where authenteo is used once in the whole of scripture, has had to be translated so badly. (In the Vulgate it is dominate which is a sin for any believer to do)

    If women are never to teach or “lead” men (whatever lead means these days) then why is there NO prohibition in all the OT against such a thing? Which means that a NEW law for women came into effect AFTER the Cross. We know that cannot be true.

    I have read both of Giles’ books. And I appreciate that Giles is clearly refuting, using scholarship, the rewriting of history done by the Patriarchists when it comes to the Trinity. It is astonishing to see how so many of our well known Christian scholars are editing statements and writings by early church writers. You have to check everything these days!

    I really enjoyed this podcast and I so appreciate the work Zens has done on not only this topic but also on the clergy/laity myth.

  9. Lydia says

    Oh, one more thing…I want to say that I consider the heresy of ESS (Eternal Subordination of the Son) to be more dangerous to Christianity than anything else right now. It is everywhere. It is in most seminaries. It is very big at SBTS and other SBC seminaries. Beware. Anything that lessen’s Jesus Christ, Lord of Hosts OUTSIDE His Incarnation and the Holy Spirit is serious business.

  10. Lydia says

    Oh dear, I loved this podcast so much I keep thinking of things Zens points out that are so important. He is so right when he makes the case that current patriarchy is a RESPONSE to culture. We usually hear the opposite. That anyone who disagrees with them is in alignment with our corrupt culture.

    In effect, the patriarchs are twisting scripture to fit their cultural premise.

    Zens makes the case in this podcast. Patriarchy was a response to the correction of women’s rights. All civic movements tend to go too far but in time tend to correct themselves.

    When Patriarchists tell me I am a feminist, I want to know which kind they are referring to. Do we go back to the feminist who lobbied for the right to vote? Or the ones who lobbied for equal pay? Or, are we talking about bra burners who are curiously in short supply these days. :o)

  11. says

    I just found his website a few weeks ago and have been reading through his articles. Very interesting stuff! I would definitely like to be in the drawing for this book.

  12. says

    Thanks for another great podcast, Karen and Jon. So many thoughts swirling around in my head I hardly know where to start…

    I’ve read many, many books on this subject and, like Karen, I’ve never heard anyone discuss mutual submission in this context or way. Very interesting.

    I also thought the earlier point about the fact that too many people simply dismiss the overwhelming number of “pro women” sections in Scripture and focus only on a select few was very accurate. This is one of the things that David and I have come back to time and time again as we’ve studied this. There are just too many examples of women functioning in significant ways to simply dismiss them as unusual or out of the norm. And Jesus giving the message of the resurrection first to a woman in an incredibly powerful statement. IIRC (and someone please do correct me if I’m remembering this incorrectly!), a woman was considered so unworthy she couldn’t even testify in a court of law. And yet Jesus made a woman the first witness of the resurrection!

    One last thought… I believe the treatment and position of women is a major stumbling block today in the sharing of the Gospel.

    Really looking forward to reading the book and the next podcast! 🙂

  13. says

    Sallie, and I know and I have walked similar paths! I can remember being in one church plant that had potlucks every Sunday after worship and then the men would gravitate toward one group and the ladies to another. The men saw this as a time to make decisions since we were in the early stages of the church but my dear husband was so aware of the need for women to be involved with this planning that, to the chagrin of some of the men, he always invited us to join them. We left when we saw that the agenda was to have a patriocentric congregation and we knew when we did what it would look like. Now it is pretty much a poster church for patriocentricity and, sadly, I have often wondered how much of a stumbling block it is for many families, especially women, to the Gospel. I have never heard what these people do with all the verses in Scripture that talk about women and their ministry. Does anyone know how they approach these or are they simply ignored? That has been my experience.

  14. says

    Lydia, these people love to hurl the word “feminist” our direction because, though they know what we truly are, they also know that that word conjures up pictures of bra burning pro-abortion rights lesbians on the steps of some capitol. And that is what they want people to think of us because we don’t agree with their reconstructed views of women. Look at all the garbage Carolyn Custis James had had to endure because she has encouraged women to become students of theology. The Bayly brothers even went so far as to say her husband “wears the skirt in the family” and called for him to “become a man.” It was awful.

  15. Lydia says


    I can take overlook of the masculinist view of gender because that is not necessarily salvic. But when they start redefining Jesus Christ, Lord of Hosts, that…I will fight. It goes to the heart of WHO Jesus Christ is eternity past and future OUTSIDE the Incarnation.

    It is serious heresy. And how prevalent is it? The Systematic Thelogy book used in most seminaries is Grudem’s and it teaches ESS. Our young seminarians are being taught this heresy as truth. Future pastors.

    What is astonishing is that those promoting this are well known and loved celebrity teachers! And it is very big in many reformed circles.

    It is time that all of us start becoming theologians. As Jon said, it takes time and it is not easy. But when we realize that we cannot always trust commentaries or well known teachers/professors, we have only one choice: Return to Christ. He told us He was sending us the BEST TEACHER. The Holy Spirit. Test everything. Paul commended the Bereans.

    If one looks at the cults, they have all tampered with the Trinity in some way. Mainly with Jesus Christ. And they will tell you they are Christians.

    The ESS heresy is confusing because they always start out saying that Jesus Christ is equal in essence within the Trinity. But then they spend the next hour teaching that He really isn’t. All false teaching mixes truth with error and can be hard to spot unless we really know Christ and are educated about His Word.

    If some are confused about this ESS heresy, I would recommend Cheryl Schatz’ DVD but I also recommend studying on your own. Cheryl recognized this ESS heresy early on because she has a ministry to the cults.

  16. Lydia says

    What do they do with this one:

    1 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him[a] from their substance. Luke 8

    Look at what is implied in this simple descriptive passage. Women following Jesus around (not serving their earthly fathers at home) supporting Jesus financially with His needs and one woman, Joanna, was NOT at home playing her “role” as wife.

    According to what many teach about women’s roles, these women were in sin. We see several instances where scriptures MODEL something that many teach as sin.

    I am really looking forward to the next podcast.

  17. says

    “I can take overlook of the masculinist view of gender because that is not necessarily salvic.”

    While you and I would agree on this, I believe many within the patriocentric paradigm would disagree. It is part of their “grand sweep of revelation” that is “presuppositional” and MUST be believed and taught.

  18. says

    The doctrine that the Son is subordinate to the Father is nothing new; it’s called Arianism and it was condemned at the Council of Nicea. However, many of our historic church Fathers—Tertullian, Origen, etc—bought into it, or an early form of it. It was a big controversy over this Greek word homoousios and suffice it to say that the Arians didn’t believe in homoousios, but rather they believed that the Son was of a different “substance” than the Father, and thus inherently not quite equal. It was heresy then, and it’s heresy now. I wonder that people don’t see this.

  19. Lydia says

    “While you and I would agree on this, I believe many within the patriocentric paradigm would disagree. It is part of their “grand sweep of revelation” that is “presuppositional” and MUST be believed and taught.

    I agree with this because the pats have elevated it to a primary salvic issue. Some comps have not…yet, but CBMW is well on it’s way to doing so. And most of the CBMW contributors teach ESS.


    The ESS folks argue that what they are teaching is NOT the Arian heresy. Thankfully Giles wrote his book to point out how it is a variation of the Arian heresy. They claim that we who do not buy into their ESS are teaching Theism. It is going to be a nasty fight.

    They claim they are not Arian because they proclaim Jesus IS of the same essence (substance) as the Father. They claim Jesus IS equal.

    Then they go on to explain how Jesus is subordinate to God for all eternity past and future. As if Jesus Christ, Lord of Hosts, does not have the same will as the Father outside Incarnation.

    (Bruce Ware claims that the Trinity does not sing in “harmony”. If you listen close, you will see much of the same teaching they use to claim specific roles for women yet they are equal to men. It really is quite clever what they are doing and millions are falling for it. They map this to the Trinity. They use the exact same arguments they use to explain where women in the Body stand in relation to men)

    I would love for them to explain John 5:18 to me. And to show me where God is continuously referred to as Father in the OT. The only way this heresy can be believed is if they leave out the OT. Just take a look at Isaiah 9 which says this about Jesus Christ:
    6(P) For to us a child is born,
    to us(Q) a son is given;
    (R) and the government shall be(S) upon[d] his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called[e]
    Wonderful(T) Counselor,(U) Mighty God,
    (V) Everlasting(W) Father, Prince of(X) Peace.

    Everlasting Father? Mighty God?

    Methinks Satan is delighted.

  20. says

    So it’s a variant of Arianism. That’s interesting. Thanks for making that distinction, I appreciate that! I can’t wait to read Giles’ book.

  21. says

    These ideas are all new to me, and I would love to be put in the drawing for this book. I must say, when I believed in the Patriarchy view of marriage, I often felt less than a child.

  22. says

    I am so thankful for people of integrity that are speaking up against the error of patriocentry and the harm it is doing to the church (universal.)

    The concept that Jesus Himself is subordinate is simply the result of letting the patrists go for so long. This error should have been corrected with the first woman that was wronged by a bunch of smug superioristic men.

  23. Lydia says

    “So it’s a variant of Arianism. That’s interesting. Thanks for making that distinction, I appreciate that! I can’t wait to read Giles’ book.

    Emily, I don’t think I would have caught this (it is so subtle) except from listening and watching Bruce Ware teach so much. He makes a point each time to declare that Jesus IS of equal essence but then spends the next 45 min talking about Jesus’ different roles in obeying the Father for eternity past and future, in effect, communicating that Jesus is LESSOR than God while claiming He is equal!

    (This is EXACTLY what they do to women!)

    This is NOT the Jesus, The Lord of Hosts, I was taught about growing up in the same SBC so I decided to study up on this. Then I found Giles’ book and then Cheryl Schatz’ DVD series on this topic that reinforced what concerned me so much about what they are doing to our Precious Savior!

    He must be glorified and magnified!

  24. says

    This was an amazing podcast. I learned so much! I am really looking forward to hearing more. 🙂

    I am also learning a ton from the comments. Thanks you guys! 🙂

    BTW, it would be awesome if I won the book in the drawing – September 3rd is my birthday. 😀

  25. says

    Thankful for the challenging message! I too can’t wait for the rest. I’ve always wondered about certain passages that are quoted way to often to make women feel sooooo inferior. We just left a church that taught exactly what was mentioned….how Christ is equal but subordinate, and then they use that for the role of women. It was so hard in this system to see the “equal” part of the equation since in practicality there is NO equality in it. When I finally got my nerve up to question certain practices and teachings, I was eventually told “We’re the elders. You just need to submit.” My husband, who holds the same beliefs that I do, also came to them, but he was dismissed as being “led astray and deceived” by me!! Well, I could add more….but just saying these teachings are so destructive….for everyone!!!

  26. David says

    Great podcast, Karen. Fascination points about I Cor 7 and the mutual submission that must occur. My thinking about these issues quite often comes to this point: “Actions speak louder than words”. Yes, we can read Paul’s words in I Cor 11, 14 and I Tim. 2, but what about the deeds and positions of others throughout scriptures. What about the way Christ treated women. Actions and positions show no condemnation of women in leadership positions throughout Scripture, and it’s truly intellectually dishonest to look at all these examples and wipe them out or explain them away because of two more direct phrases.

    And Lydia, interesting point about Joanna wife of Chuza in Luke 8. That never popped out at me before. I always focus on the fact those women were there doing things for Christ, but never that Joanna wasn’t “home” doing the “helpmeet” thing. Again, deeds, not words. If it was wrong, no one said anything about it.

  27. says

    David, the more I have studied the concept of “help meet” and the actual meaning of the Hebrew word for help which is “ezer,” I am convinced women like Joanna are fulfilling that calling quite well! The word “ezer” means far more than helper.” In almost all the verses where it is used, it is referring to God as our “helper.” Kind of puts a whole new perspective on it. Carol Custis James has a new book coming out addressing this very topic and she calls the relationship that men are to have with women the “blessed alliance.” I just love that phrase! The truth is that most good marriages between Christians who are seeking to grow in God’s grace practice this sort of relationship. The more grace-filled a believer is, the more the one anothers are practiced and husbands and wives discover that they DO have a blessed alliance. Men need women and women need men and the Lord weaves our gifts together for His glory and to advance His Gospel of grace.

    The other aspect of “ezer” that came to me as soon as I learned the richness of its meaning is that men and women are in a spiritual battled together. There is absolutely no gender distinction when it comes to spiritual warfare. To minimize a woman’s part in spiritual battle is to harm the whole body of Christ. I think this is the worst thing that is happening in this whole mess. We are disabling half the body of Christ, reducing the concept of “helpmeet” down to “the woman hands a wrench to her husband while he repairs the sink” sort of stuff. The fact is, men NEED women to work with them in spiritual battle.

    A little off topic, but not much…did any of you watch The Young Victoria? I just love the relationship between Victoria and Albert. This scene where they are playing chess in the early days of their relationship sends such a powerful message of what this blessed alliance is supposed to look like.

  28. Light says

    For anyone interested in a thorough debunking of the complementarian mantra, “Equal in being, unequal in function” – and why it really means women are not equal – I heartily recommend the book “Good News for Women” by Rebecca Merrill Groothius.

  29. Connie says

    I agree with Light–Good News for Women is a great book.

    Rebecca Merrill Groothuis wrote another fascinating and helpful book, Women Caught in the Conflict: the Culture War between Traditionalism and Feminism. When I read that book, I was startled to learn that the denomination I grew up in (Evangelical Free Church)used to ordain women back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In all my years in the EFCA, that’s a fact I’d never heard before.

  30. says

    I need to make a correction…Charles Hodge was an Easterner not a Southerner, though many of them sure quote him a lot! Sorry for the confusion.

  31. Connie says

    Karen, you’re right about Moody. That’s in the book, too. Also the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

  32. Lydia says

    “Connie, I remember reading that Moody Bible Institute used to always support and send out woman pastors during that same time.

    Yes, my grandmother attended Moody way back in the 1920’s or around that time. She was not a pastor but did teach a mixed class in the SBC back then! She taught us that the Greek grammar in 1 Tim 2 was a singular woman. Not all women for all time. Does Moody allow such things to be taught today? I have always maintained that women had more freedom to function in the Body when they had fewer civil rights!

  33. says

    Now that you guys are bringing up Moody, I have to say. I’m a junior philosophical theology major at Moody, and this has recently been a huge topic of discussion here among the student body. (Don’t tell my prof, but I’m actually sitting in my Monday night hermeneutics class right now! Lol.)

    First, if this tells you anything, I am a female theology major, which is a major that is dominated by males by a ratio of about 1:10. I have my theories for why this is, but suffice it to say that I think women are grossly under-represented in the study of theology here, and it’s not because they’re not interested in theology or are incapable of doing it.

    At any rate, it’s my personal opinion that although most of the faculty—and I say most because there are some faculty surely that do buy into the legalistic patriarchal views of women—have a very balanced and biblical view of the roles of Christian mena dn women. However, I am said to say that I cannot at all with confidence say the same thing about the student body as a whole. Again, I qualify this with the phrase “in my experience,” but I really do feel that the student body as a general rule is disturbingly biased.

    For example, this past Founders Week, there was a big controversy over the messages from Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Janet Parshall. I didn’t know about Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s questionable patriocentric connections at the time, but I’ve always found her a bit dry anyway so I confess I wasn’t paying a great deal of attention—and I certainly wasn’t paying attention enough to notice that she spoke not from a pulpit, but rather from a standard music stand. In retrospect I remember her being introduced in Moody Church as Nancy Leigh DeMoss, “under the authority of the church,” whatever that means. At any rate, later in the week Janet Parshall spoke, and though I missed her message because I had to work, I saw my Twitter feed light up with tweets from Moody students about the audacity and unbiblical actions of Janet Parshall, because SHE HAD THE NERVE TO SPEAK FROM A PULPIT and not a music stand. Students were irate because Parshall was apparently showing a lack of “submissiveness” to her given authority (in this case, I’m not sure what that authority would be) by speaking from a pulpit.

    I’m sorry to say that things have probably changed a bit here at Moody since the 1920s. In fact, I have never heard of Moody sending out female pastors until now. It’s definitely not something we talk about. This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about this issue, because I have met so many girls here, friends of mine, who believe unbiblical things about themselves and are hurting themselves and others because of it.

  34. says

    A good book that discusses the historical ebb and flow (including at Moody) is Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry by Stanley J. Grenz and Denise Muir Kjesbo. Here are a few parts from chapter two that are relevant to this discussion. The first is related to a discernible pattern in the way women exercise their gifts in the church throughout history:

    “Maria L. Boccia describes this pattern, which she claims repeats itself over and over in the history of the church:

    ‘When leadership involved the charismatic choice by God of leaders through the gifting of the Holy Spirit, women are included. As time passes, leadership is institutionalized, the secular patriarchal culture filters into the Church, and women are excluded.’

    In her 1993 address to the North American Professors of Christian Education, Roberta Hestenes articulated a similar historical thesis. She pointed out that women played crucial roles in the initial pioneering stages of religious movements, only to be replaced by men as the movements became more ‘respectable’. According to Hestenes this phenomenon usually occurs through a three-stage process.”

    (More to come, but I’m not sure how much I can cut and paste in Karen’s comments.)

    Doesn’t this sound JUST LIKE Karen’s comments about women pioneering homeschooling but men taking it over now?

  35. says

    Continuing from the book:

    “During the charismatic phase, the early days of revival movements, women serve as evangelists, church planters and teachers. The ministry spawned by Dwight L. Moody stands as a clear example. Records of the Moody Bible Institute speak about women evangelists, Bible conference speakers and Bible teachers, who even lectured to mixed audiences through the school’s extension department. Janette Hassey offers this appraisal: ‘Moody Bible Institute provides the clearest documentation of a turn-of-the-century Evangelical institution outside the Wesleyan holiness camp that actively promoted public church ministry for women.’ This support for women’s public ministry stood alongside the school’s solid commitment to Scripture as inspired and inerrant.

    In contrast to the ad hoc leadership style of the first-generation revivalists, the second and third generations of leaders desire the respectability afforded by credentials. As this occurs, the initial, charismatic phase gives way to the second, credentialing phase. This bid for respectable credentials takes many forms, but in the past it was often characterized by a push for higher education (Bible colleges or seminary training) and ordination. Consequently, the process discriminated against women, insofar as various factors made it difficult, if not impossible, for women to achieve the prerequisites necessary to gain credentials.”

  36. says

    Continuing from the book:

    “The third phase – the bid for full institutional respectability – completes the marginalization of women. As participants in the movement desire acceptance by other, respectable denominations, most of which do not sanction female leadership, women are increasingly excluded from positions of responsibility.

    In this chapter we will examine this pattern within the broad sweep of church history and within the history of evangelicalism itself. The presence of this pattern carries significant weight in the contemporary debate over women in ministry. Men have indeed dominated church structures through much of Christian history. Yet if male dominance is linked historically to institutionalization and the bid for cultural respectability, then the traditional practice of the church is not necessarily an indication of God’s will but may well be the result of sociological and cultural forces. And if female involvement emerges among renewal movements, only to be replaced by male leadership as revival gives way to institutionalization, then the contemporary call for a mutuality of men and women in ministry may be a manifestation of the Spirit’s renewing work in the church today.”

  37. says

    The rest of the chapter goes on to discuss women’s roles in church history. The previous chapter touches a bit on the different denominations that are dealing with/have dealt with the “women’s issue” although the book is from 1995 so the information is somewhat dated.

    For example, they discuss the lengthy process the CRC (Christian Reformed Church) has undergone to find an acceptable stand on the issue. They are still dealing with it as the issue continues to come up at Synod in peripheral ways now that all offices are open to women but it is decided on a classis by classi basis. (We are now members of a CRC church which is a story in and of itself since I was a life-long Baptist who finally had to walk away due primarily to the issue of women in ministry and the church.)

    Karen and Emily, I hope these quotes are helpful!

    Connie, the E V Free history is mentioned in the book as well.

  38. says

    Ok, one last thing! One book that is very readable and written by a charismatic author is “10 Lies the Church Tells Women: How the Bible has been misused to keep women in spiritual bondage” by J. Lee Grady. The ten lies are:

    God created women as inferior beings, destined to serve their husbands
    Women are not equipped to assume leadership roles in the church
    Women must not teach or preach to men in a church setting
    A woman shoukd view her husband as the “priest of the home”
    A man needs to “cover” a woman in her ministry activities
    Women who exhibit strong leadership qualities pose a serious danger to the church
    Women are more easily deceived than men
    Women can’t be fulfilled or spiritually effective without a husband and children
    Women shouldn’t work outside the home
    Women must obediently submit to their husbands in all situations

    Reads like a patriocentricity manifesto, doesn’t it?

  39. Michelle G. says

    Great podcast and great comments – thank you Karen and please include me in the drawing!

  40. says

    Sallie, this is amazing! And it certainly does echo the pattern within the history of the homeschooling movement. One woman who was very active in working with her state legislators once told me about her experience with one of the leaders within the patriocentric world. After she had worked to secure homeschooling rights in her state through building long time relationships with legislators, resulting in a HUGE win for hs rights, this leader had the nerve to lecture her that she had no business speaking to legislators because she is a woman! Can you imagine?!?!?! Now my guess is that many state groups would only allow the fathers to do this lobbying work. But what will happen in the 3rd stage of homeschooling. These guys seem to forget one important thing…..homeschooling cannot happen without women. In fact, if we could do thorough and unbiased research, I would bet that you could not find 10% of fathers actually teaching anything except perhaps Bible. And even then, I would bet that it is the moms who are actually doing the Bible instruction while the dads do devotionals. This is a woman’s movement that depends on the value placed on women. If we are told that we really can’t teach theology based on some notion that we are more easily deceived or aren’t quite as smart as men, how long will that fly? Can you spell delusional?

  41. says

    Emily, I am fascinated by the music stand vs pulpit story. Where in the world do these people get these notions? If they really believe that women aren’t to teach men why this hypocrisy? Using a music stand makes it magically acceptable? There is some sort of “power” in the piece of wood called the pulpit? You know, when we attended worship at Moody Church last summer, a woman read Scripture from behind the pulpit. And what is with the “under the authority of the church?” Isn’t the church the body of Christ? How can anyone take people seriously when they are this inconsistent? Even some of the hardcore patriocentrists are just as illogical. The Botkin girls “teaching” and “counseling” fathers comes to mind. Actually, this all smacks of ecclesiocentricty mixed in….the elder control issue with no “balance of powers” in the church.

  42. says

    Sallie, it is interesting that you would mention the CRC because when we where part of looking for a denomination for our church plant, the one guy who was really interested in working with us was Henry Reyenga who is CRC. In fact, the denomination was quite supportive. But there were men in our church who were fit to be tied over being involved with the CRC and one of them kept up this inane mantra “We’d be the homosexual/woman church.” It was this sort of rhetoric that sent us running for the hills. I would bet anything that many people who are all enamored with the patriocentric movement and who are planting FIC’s so they wouldn’t be infected by “women” have never once set aside all their commentaries and have actually opened their Bibles alongside a concordance and actually studied these things for themselves. That is what is so frustrating to me. It really isn’t all about the Scripture but about what Matthew Henry or John Piper or John Calvin or fill in the blank says about these passages. And because they have declared these things to be “presuppositional” for all “true” believers, there is no room for discussion.

  43. says

    I have a copy of Wayne Grudem’s book Evangelical Feminism ~ A New Path fo Liberalism” and am incredulous when I read what nonpatriocentrists are supposed to believe. I don’t believe any of these things he says are leading us into liberalism. But I am also not one of “them.”

    This is what I found so refreshing about Zens. Here is a conservative who obviously loves and honors the Word of God, has his soteriology correct, and also has a true love for the body of Christ and wants to promote unity and the use of spiritual gifts of ALL believers. And he is calling for intellectual integrity when we examine these things and that we all acknowledge that we all don’t have all the answers!

  44. says

    Here is what I think is a sad story. A young man has a great desire to preach and does so every so often in his church. He has no seminary or Bible college training but spends lots of time listening to various teachers, particularly patriocentric ones. It is doubtful that he has basic Bible research skills. Unfortunately, he also has no public speaking skills and also struggles with even writing coherent outlines for sermons. Knowing of his desire, it is suggested that he join a Toastmasters Club to help him gain basic skills that,if followed would change his preaching dramatically. BUT, he can’t be part of that sort of class because women are part of these clubs and a man cannot sit under the teaching or speaking of a woman” let alone be “critiqued” by a woman during the club evaluation times. I was dumbfounded. Where would this be supported in Scripture? But this is EXACTLY how 1 Timothy 2 is now being interpreted, even in some pockets of mainstream evangelicalism. Maybe if all the women at Toastmasters used a music stand it would be ok! 🙂

  45. says

    here is another variety of how this stuff is being applied in homeschooling circles:

    A few years ago Diana Warning spoke at our local convention and prayed during her session. There were some men who had a fit that a woman was allowed to pray publicly like that!

  46. says

    Sallie, I have read the 10 Lies book you mentioned and hadn’t looked at the list in homeschooling patriocentric light until reading it here. It is stunning to see those all listed that way. And how do these things apply in our homes once a young men turns 12? That is one of the new things being promoted, hence the reason, in part, that men are encouraged to have their own businesses from home.

  47. says


    Re: the pulpit vs. music stand… This is the perfect example of the inconsistency that drives me and my DH nuts. If it is sinful for a woman to teach or have authority over a man, then it is wrong NO MATTER WHERE SHE IS STANDING. The idea that a woman can say something behind a music stand and it is ok but if she said the exact same thing behind a pulpit it would be wrong… It’s craziness!

    The same thing goes with missionaries. Churches will let a woman missionary stand behind a pulpit and give a report that includes Scriptures and may or may not contain “teaching”, but they would never let her preach a sermon or teach a mixed Sunday School class. Either it is wrong or it isn’t.

    And why do men read books written by women? If they are teaching, they are teaching. So they can write a book but if they said the exact same thing behind a pulpit it would make it wrong?

  48. says

    Re: the CRC… I’m not going to lie. There are things about the CRC that make me uncomfortable. But there are things about other churches and denominations that make me uncomfortable too. You have to pick your battles and decide which “problems” you can live with.

    Re: the homosexual/women church… I think that is a scare tactic people use to shut down discussion. The women’s issue and the homosexual issue are NOT the same thing and allowing women freedom to use their gifts is not the same as opening the door to homosexuals in leadership. The assumption that if you open the doors to women exercising their gifts that you will have to do the same in the other arena is false.

    Our membership is currently in one CRC church, but we have moved to a different congregation and need to transfer our membership. Just joining the CRC was a big step for me. We had to make the decision to baptize Caroline even though she had already been dedicated in a Baptist church. But we made the jump. However, the CRC church we joined does not allow women to be deacons or elders. The church we have moved to has women functioning as deacons, but not elders (although it has been discussed and the church is apparently split pretty evenly on this). They have women who teach. A woman is the chair of the council.

    But what I love and appreciate about the congregation we are in now is that EVERY age and gender is thoroughly integrated into the services and work of the church. They have a children’s sermon. They have elderly women reading the Scripture. They have senior citizens leading worship. They have young people playing instruments. They have middle aged men and women praying. It very much is a gathering of the body of Christ and it’s very refreshing. I want Caroline to grow up seeing godly women exercising their gifts, not seeing women sit in a service where the cannot participate fully or even speak because they are deemed less, more easily deceived, dependent on a man to interceded for them, etc.

  49. emr says

    Karen, re: the pulpit v. music stand issue — which I am familiar with —

    One thing I have always found interesting is that in almost any church, a woman could stand before the congregation and present the gospel message of salvation through Jesus, even issue an invitation to accept Him, and nobody would blink an eye — as long as she was SINGING. So why can’t she SAY it?

  50. says

    Here’s a video of John Piper explaining the pulpit thing. I don’t find his reasons compelling at all, but at least you can see where he’s coming from. I just don’t get the whole pulpit obsession thing. Though I guess that explains why all the Moodys were so upset, we love John Piper here. I love John Piper too, and respect him as a very wise man of God…just not with regards to his views of “biblical” gender roles.

  51. says

    You all are spot on about these inconsistencies. And the music stand story is such a great example of this. I watched the Piper video and truly do understand what he is trying to say. His thing about the pulpit is all based on his views of hierarchy in the church, both in men/women relationships as well as clergy/laity relationships. Because he has elevated the role of pastor and the preaching by the pastor to that position and equated it with authority, he believes as he does. But I wonder why do others who agree with Piper on this point then allow for women to do the same thing behind a music stand. Is it the pulpit itself that is the authority? This makes no sense.

    Also, the missionary perspective is also true. What do John Piper and others do with women missionaries who plant churches as did Elisabeth Eliott? And what of the women missionaries in China, about half of all pastors there being women? Is that a sin?


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