september 1 podcast: patriarchy/patriocentricity two, part eleven ~ Jon Zens and What’s with Paul and Women, part two

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Join me as I continue my discussion with author Jon Zens as we look at the patriocentrist theology of “creation order” and at the historical cultural context of 1 Timothy 2. Be sure to leave a comment on this entry to be entered in the drawing of book number two!

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Comments

  1. says

    Honestly, Jon Zens has not be my favorite interview. . . In part because I think much of what he says is said in a way that a lot of my QF sisters in the Lord will tune him out and disregard other things in this amazing series.

    (Posting hesitantly. . .)

  2. says

    Karen, these podcasts with Jon have been so encouraging. Look at how far our understanding has come from just a few years ago after you began your blogs! I can see how the discussions on these subjects, the thoughtful interaction and points brought out, passages of scripture shared, etc., have helped me to understand God’s heart for people and His Gospel. Jon brought up some points, such as the Artemis worship in Ephesus, that I’ve looked into as well, and wondered why the churches aren’t teaching these meaty subjects. Oh, that’s right; the High Council of CBMW has got its teachers keeping the gender “roles” the primary focus in church worship.

    I’m saddened to see bright young men, Multnomah Bible students studying Grudem’s Systematic Theology. I’ve watched these young men over the years change, and I even got the chance to challenge them on the 1 Timothy 2 passage last year, while still in attendance at their church. They’ve got Piper, MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, some SGM pastors, CJ Mahaney, and younger “leaders” influencing these younger minds to the CBMW teachings, some between the ages of 25 to 30+ years old.

  3. Michelle G. says

    Hi Karen – great podcast! I’m wondering if you will be getting into ecclesiocentricity (sp???) more in this series? What do you see, or better, what have you seen in scripture regarding authority in the church, church disclipine, etc.?? As a semi new Christian I haven’t really known what to think when I’ve heard of these types of situations. At our last FI church a family of unbelievers was asked to stop coming (after much kindness, financial help, and spiritual counsel by the eders/congregation) because they had kids together but were not married and the man was being stubborn about marrying the woman. At first I thought this was a case of the elders being diligent to protect their flock but later it kinda bothered me because those kids had been cut off from the Body and from the Word (and their parents too). There have been other situations where very personal things in someone’s marriage became an all-church affair with many meetings with deacons/pastors for the couples in question in the name of “church authority”. There is so much kindness and care at this particular church but it was always baffling to me that everyone’s problems were so public and I just chalked up my trepidation to me being unspritial or new to the faith or even rebellious. I’ve also attended churches where the pastor didn’t seem to give a rip about a husband’s alcoholism, adultery, or what-not as long as the tithes were coming in and I don’t think that is right either. I will do my homework on this issue at some point when I have time but in the meantime I wondered what your thoughts/experiences on this were and if maybe you were going to get into this more with Jon. Tired today…hope I sounded coherent 🙂 Thanks again!

  4. Cally Tyrol says

    I agree with TG. I listened to the first interview and was completely turned off by his attitude. And I’m really disappointed because it sounds like he’s got a lot of valuable things to say. I’m hoping that I can tune out the attitude and just listen.

  5. says

    Really great stuff, Karen!

    Re: Kathleen’s comment about why the background isn’t being taught… One of the frustrating things I’ve noticed is that if you try to bring the cultural setting into the discussion, people will treat you as though you are looking for an excuse or some obscure bit of information to “prove” your view as opposed to being a Truth seeker. Part of this stems from those who advocate the “plain” meaning of Scripture. Somehow their “plain” reading of the word is more accurate and reliable than understanding the culture and times in which the original letter to the original recipients was sent. This is such a faulty way of thinking, but I’ve found that many people do not want to dig into the books and be challenged in their thinking. It is “easier” to just take the “plain” meaning of the Scriptures at “face” value.

    I’m curious, TG and Carol… What kind of attitude are you hearing?

  6. David says

    I listened having read the comments first so I looked for “attitude”. I’d say you’re listening to a man who is passionate for the liberty and freedom of women (and men) in Christ, and he’s just excited about the points he’s making. Nothing more. Maybe some people aren’t use to someone being enthusiastic with a “I can’t help but think this is VERY important” attitude.

    Of course, you could have Kevin Swanson talking. Now there’s attitude.

    Excellent points made about how we need to appeal to what was created before the fall and not use God’s declaration as a prophecy. Well said. Appeal to what’s in Christ at the beginning, not to what’s the result of sin.

    And I can’t help but agree that part of a vital relationship is lost when there’s hierarchy. Yes, it’s about one-ness.

  7. says

    These podcasts with Zens are (to me) the best ones Karen has ever produced. There’s something about the simple truth of what he shares and the liberty within his message that illustrates, again for me, what it means to be excited about the good news of the gospel. ‘Eagerness’ in sharing a message that can help other become free in Christ and free in their understanding of marriage and relationships is what comes across to me.

  8. says

    They way he spoke about the early church rubbed me the wrong way. I happen to be a member of the most ancient Christian tradition and it has a very high view of women. Were all the Church Fathers as fair to women as Christ or Paul? Sadly no. But Zens spoke with such scorn about our history (and that happens to be a history which is shared by all Christians). Maybe it never occurred to him that there might be some Roman Catholics or Orthodox Christians listening to his interview. I’m not naive about some of the thinking about women in church history, but at the same time, I don’t think its fair to ignore the fact that the Church has supported female civil authorities, ordained deaconesses, and elevates women to Sainthood as often as men.

    For me (and I am probably the only person in the audience who feels this way, and that’s fine), his attitude detracted from any other point he was trying to make.

    I’m not speaking for TG, by the way. Just myself.

  9. says

    This particular podcast has been the most freeing for me. I actually teared up, first from a joyful sense of liberty (not a feeling I’m accustomed to) and then from sadness for the half (more or less) of the Church that’s being marginalized based solely upon gender.

  10. says

    I know on the other thread, people were talking about Kevin Giles’ book The Trinity and Subordinationism. *Exceptional* book! For folks who are enjoying these podcasts, if you search on iTunes for “Kevin Giles”, there’s a podcast of a lecture he did on the Bible and gender equality. Its a really good overview of the issue.

  11. Eliza says

    My take on Zens presentation was that it was more academic. He has “wrestled with scripture” from a perspective of really wondering what are all the angles to consider in these passages, and I got the message that he was encouraging others to do the same. He didn’t seem to try to fit the scripture passage he was discussing into a neat box but tried to consider the culture and context along with scripture. He struck me more as a professor who will be committed to continuing to learn about how the scripture will be applied.

    And therefore maybe he was not as engaging or emotional as the other speakers, but his thoughts appeared to be well researched and he brings new information to the table regarding specific events in history that perhaps were being addressed in these major patriarchy scripture passages. And that is where we need to dig deeper and see if this movement is being hoisted up by scripture that maybe isn’t even saying what some are telling us it says… And also he rightly turned our hearts back to christ as he reminded us that our marriage is a picture of unity, christs love for the church and that picture just brings our husbands back to being christlike.

  12. says

    Wow, I found this very interesting! I explained a little bit of what I heard on this podcast to my husband, and it’s got his wheels turning too. I would love to read this book.

  13. says

    And when he talks about the way women were treated in church history. He wasn’t just talking about Catholics. Protestents have some very ugly things that they did in history as well. There is a big debate on weather John Calvin was a murderer of those who did not agree with him.

  14. says

    What Kathleen said.

    SGM churches are as bad as any other out there with one major difference: they market themselves to upper-middle-class suburbanites so women don’t wear frumpy jumpers.

  15. says

    Kathleen, here is an interesting thing I have noticed re: seminary students and even some grads when it comes to these passages of Scripture. They are eager to share the background information on all sorts of other passages of Scripture but those verses that have been interpreted a certain way by the conservative status quo are off limits.

    Another thing I have realized through the research for these podcasts is how many true students of the Bible have never ever heard some of the CBMW interpretations and how stunned they are about the “creation order” or the “eternal subordination” issues.

  16. says

    Laurie, this is exactly how I felt when I read Jon’s book, so personally blessed and so, so sad for those who are in such bondage to man’s ways.

  17. says

    TB and Cally, thanks for being willing to share your concerns. I am always so blessed when people are willing to be honest! I didn’t have that same response and, in fact, Clay and I remarked several times how humble Jon is throughout the interview, acknowledging that these are difficult passages but ones that deserve to be handled with integrity. We, too, sensed his zeal for the Word of God and his compassion for women. We will have an opportunity to meet him in real life in a couple months and are really looking forward to it.

  18. says

    Cally, interesting that you should mention The Trinity and Subordinationism by Kevin Giles. I thought one of the strengths of this book is that Kevin does such a great ob of showing how the traditional church has viewed women as being inferior to men. He has numerous pages of quotes and everything is well footnoted, one thing that makes for a good read for me personally! 🙂 He then goes on to expose the hypocrisy in the current paradigm. The patriocentrists claim that they believe that women are equal to men and that they hold to the tradition of the church. But the tradition of the church is that women are NOT equal to men. They don’t recognize the many writers and theologians who held to terrible views of women and thus there is a dishonesty factor in their presentations. Del Birkey confirms this as well. I would encourage you to go back and look at those chapters and the point that Kevin is making.

  19. says

    Michelle, you brought up such a good point regarding hierarachy within the church structure. I had one of those light bulb popping on moments this week as I was reading a commentary on church discipline and Matthew 18. For a long time I have thought about this and even asked pastors but no one has been able to really give satisfactory answers. If someone has been sinned against, Matthew 18 gives an outline for dealing with it. First one believer goes to the other one to address it. Then if the one who sinned does not repent, the first is to return with someone else to confront the sinner. Then, if that person is still unrepentant, it is to go to the whole church.

    The way this is typically handled is that “the church” is substituted for “the elders” rather than the church body. I have always been told that “the church” means the elders. But where is that in Scripture? This has become an issue of hierarchy and control. And many times the actual “sin” is disagreeing with the elders or even questioning them. It is usually labeled as “contumacy,” which is a handy way to shut down any discussion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contumacy

  20. says

    I especially liked Jon’s use of the word “organic” in talking about relationships…one of my favorite concepts and one that is missing in so much of this movement, from husband wife relationship to parent child relationship to the body of Christ in general.

  21. says

    I have a question. Maybe I just need to go back and relisten. But as he was discussing the particular women in the particular place it was being addressed – I went to look at the scripture:

    1 Cor. 14:33b – 35 As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

    It is that “As in all the churches of the saints” that concerns me.

    I agree with Jon. But I am picturing myself giving that argument, and this is what would come back to me. Whenever I catch myself proof texting, I like to look at that verse from the other side, and read what has already been written in the commentaries from the other side. In this way, I get to have a little debate with myself, which much better prepares me for the discussion with the “real person” on the other side.

    So I guess I’m thinking that this (it was these particular women) is a weak argument, and maybe he addresses that more in his book.

    Also, it says in vs. 34 “as the Law also says.” I need to look at what that is cross referencing.

    I know of someone who didn’t even want my pastor’s wife giving missionary updates! I do not agree! I think I still need a stronger argument.

  22. says

    One thing I am glad people are addressing (and this webpage is simply amazing and so needed,) is the concept of the eternal subordination of Jesus.

    This is such heresy it actually disturbs me much more than the anti-woman attitude that i have experienced in the church.

    And one other thing, and I know conservatives will say that the heart is wicked, but I have never EVER regretted heeding the red flags in my life and have always regretted ignoring them so if some interpertation of scripture feels off to me or goes against what I know is God’s nature, I will look deeply into that verse. I will go to the original Greek or Hebrew and I will look at what type of scripture is being studied and I have *always* been satisfied in my spirit when I’ve taken the time and effort to learn these things for myself instead of being spoon-fed predigested matter from someone with his own agenda.

  23. says

    Deb, one more interesting thought about that passage: Those who hold most closely to the women not speaking in church would also forbid speaking in tongues in worship, which is forbidden further down in verse 36.

  24. says

    Thank you for the suggestion, Karen. I haven’t read Giles’ book in several years. I’ll go back and check it out… From what I remember, Giles quotes one or two ancient Christians and then builds most of his argument on the words of the Reformers. I’d be interested to look at the context of the quotes he uses from Jerome and Chrysostom. I’ve read some of the most beautiful words about women from the pen of St. John Chrysostom, so I’m even more curious now.

    For what its worth, it has been my experience as an Orthodox Christian (albeit, very limited) that women are held in very high esteem within the Church. The prototypical Christian whom we are all called to imitate is the Virgin Mary. She is venerated in the Church, not just because she bore God, but because she submitted herself to God in every way, physically, mentally, and spiritually. The Church has canonized women who have held all kinds of position in society, even civil rulers (St. Irene, St. Olga). There is no “monstrous regiment of women” in the Orthodox Church. There are women who are called “Equal-to-the-Apostles” (St. Mary Magdelene, St. Helena). There were female deaconesses who performed the same functions as male deacons (St. Olympias, St. Xenia).

    These attitudes towards women have been around since the establishment of the Church in 33AD. This is what I’ve been trying to highlight on White Washed Feminists. Since patriocentrists often appeal to history or “tradition” within the churches, I wanted to point out that the Orthodox Christian Church has a different history when it comes to women.

    It seems to be an interesting paradox. Were the Church Fathers egalitarian? Certainly (and unfortunately) not. And they were not right about everything. Nobody claims that they were. Zens might even be right in his assertion that women have been treated abominably in “traditional churches.” But I would be remiss in failing to point out the apparent contradiction between what was written by a few theologians and what was lived out in the life of the Church.

  25. says

    Cally, you’ve brought up something I’ve been pondering for a while. Over the past year I’ve been on a bit of a search to discover how the early church (1st few centuries) viewed women in Christ’s Body. It’s been a very interesting study, but it’s hard to find resources. Women truly have been diminished for their positive influence in history, but when it comes to blaming them for societies’ ills, yeah, they get labeled Jezebel or the like.

    A book I’m currently reading that was given to me by a friend who attends an Eastern Orthodox church, is “The Holy Fire: The story of the early centuries of the Christian church in the Near East” by Robert Payne. I can see it’s point of view from a priest-laity view and some mixture of doctrine I’m ambivalent about, but it’s been very educational to read this rich history. The account of the martyrdom and final words of Polycarp and the history of Athanasius, for example, have me convinced that neo-“reformed” teachers (the kind that teach from a Vision Forum and SGM p.o.v.) have only a select history they choose to read from. My faith and theology has to be built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen, promising to unite all His people in ONE in Him. That’s my motive for understanding the unity and love/forgiveness I share with believers in this life, and bringing others to know Jesus in this way, too.

    I have to get my hands on Kevin Giles’ book.

  26. says

    Thanks Karen – I’ll look forward to hearing what he has to say. Meantime, I want to find a chance in the next week to listen to both podcasts of him again. So glad you are hosting him.

  27. says

    Cally, I’m just now reading a bit of history on Perpetua (because you’ve intrigued me with her account in that link). Oh, what treasure to know the committed faith of sisters in Christ in the early church!

    If women were courageous and counted worthy of martyrdom for the sake of Christ, why, oh why, can’t they be given more acknowledgement for their equal value concerning their gender in the Body of Christ now, in the community of believers? I mean, really, not allowing a woman to announce the mission’s news in a church? Come on! Women die for their faith in countries across the globe! If they’re equal to share in the sufferings of Christ, are they not equal to share in the respect of the rest of His Body? Just my thoughts running here…

  28. says

    Cally,

    Thanks, now St. Perpetua was amazingly brave but, oh, the Patrocentrists would have their undies in a wad because she wasn’t submissive enough to her father.

  29. says

    Kathleen, I totally understand your frustration. If you are interseted in learning about more of these great women, check out White Washed Feminists. I’ve highlighted the lives of a number of them and written a few pieces about the roles of women in the early Church. I’m a recent convert to Orthodoxy, so I really don’t want to come across as any kind of authority whatsoever (and if I have done so here, please forgive me). But I do know a bit, so hopefully what I’ve written will be helpful to some.

  30. says

    Deb, you had a question about this passage:

    — 1 Cor. 14:33b – 35 As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. —

    Oh, this is a particularly favorite passage of mine to study. You’ll have to poke around the internet to get some interesting perspective on that, because it may not be what we’ve been taught all along in the Christian organized church.

    I don’t have enough expertise to elaborate, but Cheryl Schatz at strivetoenter.com (Women in Ministry) has contributed to this discussion in a very helpful way, along with the commenters there.

    The basic premise of those of us who don’t view that passage as Paul silencing women is this:

    He was quoting the letter the Corinthians had written to him, and they were referring to a “tradition” (of men) or teaching that had arisen in the church at that time about women and their silence. If you read further in the passage, Paul uses some interesting language that would indicate he is questioning this “teaching/tradition” and asks them if the word of God had come from them, or had been spoken to them only (vs. 36). Verses 33-35 seem to be Paul reciting their issue or question about women in church, and then in vs. 36 sort of challenges them about this teaching. In vs. 37 Paul seems to be bringing the conversation back to his apostolic ministry of the word of God, and for them to trust what he’s written to them.

    The reason some of us believe he’s responding to their inquiries in a letter to him in this epistle is because 1 Corinthians 7:1 has Paul mentioning the Corinthians wrote to him. It may be elsewhere in the epistle, I don’t remember. Plus, Paul has really emphasized the need for the believers to not have divisions, right from the start of the letter in chapter 1:10.

  31. says

    DB, there are soooooo many more like her- St. Catherine, St. Irene, St. Christina, St. Barbara, St. Paraskevi, St. Julitta, St. Mary of Egypt…

    St. Catherine is one of my favorites. She was a highly educated Christian woman. Her parents wanted her to marry and she said she would… IF her parents could find a husband for her who could surpass her in knowledge. They couldn’t find one. She did ever marry. When the Emperor commanded that all the people sacrifice to his pagan gods, everyone went down to the temple- even many Christians. Those Christians who did not go were burned. Catherine was part of a prominent family. She was summoned to answer for why she would not sacrifice to the gods. She preached the gospel to the emporer and then said that if she could be convinced by his priests and philosophers to deny Christ, then she would. The Emporer summoned the greatest minds to debate her. They all ended up converting to Christianity. The Emporer had them burned, but their bodies were preserved. He ended up having Catherine tortured and martyred.

    She is one of the most revered Saints in the Orthodox Christian Church. St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt. Sinai is the oldest continually operating monastery in the world. The monastery library actually has a document “signed” (or rather hand-printed) by Muhammed in which he promises peace between Christians and Muslims. Too bad neither side has abided by that treaty.

    Okay, I’m through hijacking the thread. Going back under my rock now…

  32. says

    Cally,

    I do like reading about the saints and it’s quite interesting that the word, “saint,” is genderless.

  33. says

    Loving these messages. They are definitely challenging my thinking…actually confirming that my nagging feelings about the hierarchy structure are there for a reason. I am excited to learn more and get the other side of the story, since I’ve only been taught one side to all these passages.

    I also think it’s interesting how these seminaries, teachers, etc. use limiting resources….or selective resources to give only one view…then teach it as “gospel truth”.

    Please put my name in for the drawing! Would love to read this book.

  34. Lydia says

    “1 Cor. 14:33b – 35 As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

    It is that “As in all the churches of the saints” that concerns me.

    I agree with Jon. But I am picturing myself giving that argument, and this is what would come back to me. Whenever I catch myself proof texting, I like to look at that verse from the other side, and read what has already been written in the commentaries from the other side. In this way, I get to have a little debate with myself, which much better prepares me for the discussion with the “real person” on the other side.

    So I guess I’m thinking that this (it was these particular women) is a weak argument, and maybe he addresses that more in his book.

    Also, it says in vs. 34 “as the Law also says.” I need to look at what that is cross referencing.”

    Verse 34 holds the key. Paul would NEVER teach “The Law” to the NT ekklesia. Corinthians is a letter that answers many questions they had for Paul. In some translations you see quotes around some. But in Greek there was no such punctuation. But what you read there in those few verses about women being silent is almost verbatim out of the Mishna. There were Judaizers everywhere!

    Besides, the word “silent” means exactly that. No talking, no singing, NOTHING but silence.

    And in verse 37, if you check the Greek, it is akin to Paul exclaiming, “WHAT”!?! Was the Word only given to YOU?

    Do you ever find it interesting that many pastors do not use this as a proof text instead of 1 Tim 2? There is a good reason. This one is too easy to refute…it can’t be true for a Christian believing woman in the Body of Christ!

    For grins, go back to 1 Corin 6 and search for “because of the angels”. Then go to 1 Corin 11 (another favorite proof text for the comp/pats) and check on “because of the angels”. Interesting, huh? (Remember, “symbol of” in verse 10 was added by the translators and it not in the Greek. You have authority over your own head!

  35. Lydia says

    “The way this is typically handled is that “the church” is substituted for “the elders” rather than the church body. I have always been told that “the church” means the elders. But where is that in Scripture? This has become an issue of hierarchy and control. And many times the actual “sin” is disagreeing with the elders or even questioning them. It is usually labeled as “contumacy,” which is a handy way to shut down any discussion.”

    You nailed it about how Matt 18 is usually taught. It is even coming from well respected mainstream Christian leaders. I really do think that this focus on authority has become a big sin trap for so many in paid ministry.

    A few years ago, I was watching the True Church Conference on video feed. The big go to guy, I think his name is Jay Adams?, was teaching on Matthew 18. He was outlining the process for church discipline using this passage and HE ADDED A STEP THAT IS NOT IN THE SCRIPTURE!

  36. Lydia says

    Oops, hit send too fast.

    Yes, he added a step! The step he added was “take it to the elders THEN take it to the church, if need be. But he made it clear the elders HAD to be involved before it was taken before the whole church.

    The audience of about 2000 was mainly made up of young pastors or seminary students. This is a man who is promoted by Mohler, Washer, Grudem, etc. All the biggies.

    Does anyone remember the verse about adding or taking away from scripture? This is serious business. I was not only stunned but ashamed.

    The problem is that so many are following men instead of Christ. We MUST be Bereans because the false teaching is everywhere. Anything that adds or takes away from the Word is false teaching. We can all agree that some passages are hard to interpret. But we should never add or take away.

  37. says

    Karen,

    Is there any way you could add some quick tags to your site? Sometimes when I’m reading, it is hard to tell where someone is quoting a previous comment and where their own comment begins.

  38. says

    Lydia, I am so glad that you shared the conference story and Jay Adamn’s reinterpretation from Matthew 18. It certainly explains a lot to me on a personal level. I once heard a young man who was a devotee of Adams claim that the New Testament was written to church elders not just the the church in general. This man also had an over-the-top relationship with church officers in general and I always wondered what was feeding that. I have read much Adams and have appreciated many things he has written but must have missed some of the more questionable church authority teachings along the way. Perhaps they were more subtle in what I read and perhaps the zeal of this young man colored his views. Nonetheless, a huge part of this is that church life at the writing of the New Testament looked nothing whatsoever like it does today and so it is really a stretch to call all sorts of things “biblical” or “unbiblical” based on our practices today.

  39. says

    I wanted to comment on the church discipline issue. A growing number of evangelical churches are now embracing an elder model though many who are are not Presbyterian churches. What I have seen happen is that there is often a sense of not being accountable to a congregation. Yet in most church constitutions, in fact, in probably all of them, there are provisions for elders who lord it over the congregation. When I have watched as godly men who were not elders attempted to use the provisions in the constitution to hold elders accountable, they were charged with contumacy and threatened with excommunication. So in reality, “the church” was bypassed all together and most of the time never knew what happened when suddenly families or individuals disappeared. “The church” is led to believe the former members committed some horrible sin, since we all know that excommunication is only the result of unrepentant sin, and that sin was simply not going along with tyranny. I know that of which I speak on a personal level. It is a huge sin against those removed from fellowship but even more so against the body of Christ.

  40. says

    Thank you for addressing the church discipline issue. We have gone through that very thing and the people that mistreated us are not in the process of subjugating a large portion of another related church that has suffered under overly authoritarian leadership.

    The church is the body of Christ and the Body is the people; the *people* (actually Jesus) own the church not a bunch of power hungry leaders that answer to no one (not, that is, until they find their backsides in heaven.)

  41. Lydia says

    “Perhaps they were more subtle in what I read and perhaps the zeal of this young man colored his views.”

    I think, in such instances, the message is subtly changed to fit the venue and audience. The true church conference was mainly made up of pastors, seminarians, deacons, elders, church staffers, etc.

    But I had read stuff of Adams’ too and was astonished when I was watching the video feed. So much so, I called a friend who was also watching and asked if he heard the same thing. He did.

    Which is another reason I do not like clergy/laity distinctions. There is no laity in the Body of Christ.

  42. says

    I do so love coming to this board and seeing the conversations!! On the church discipline issue, I have seen elders abuse that God given route to repentance. It’s so sad. In one particular situation the elders went straight to the church with the information without ever lovingly confronting the one in sin. The first few steps were ignored, and when the Mom in the situation questioned the elders tactics she was then considered in rebellion. She never, ever supported her daughter in the sin, but totally disagreed with how it was handled. She left the church immediately….and was essentially excommunicated….it’s been over a year and not one phone call to ask how she is doing.

    The hard thing about these types of situations is that as a congregation we are led to believe that the elders must know more than we do(about a particular situation), that they are more “spiritual”, that they are following the Bible, handling the situation with love and truth etc etc….So we tend to willingly go along with “announcements” and proclamations and such about people that have left or whatever. We have learned over the years that there are ALWAYS two sides and to never jump to automatic conclusions concerning these announcements. Also another interesting aspect is that it is rare you will see an elder or group of elders repent of their “overlording”….or even admit they were wrong.

    Also Karen, the last church we were in had a constitution of over 35 pages…with absolutely no provision for the congregation to lovingly confront elders. That gave us huge red flags. But I would have to agree with you, that even if there was a provision in the constitution it wouldn’t quite matter. We have seen the situation you’ve described in at least 4 of the churches we’ve attended!! It’s very very sad!

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