The PCA Report: deaconesses aren’t really the issue

This is my hot-take on the idea floating around that this report is fine since men like Piper, Dever, Spurgeon and others are for deaconesses:

The “Women Serving In The Ministry Of The Church” committee’s report, frankly, has little to do with the ancient and intermittent practice of having deaconesses. Such a role (usually without the confusing title) is already allowed for in biblically organized churches as women are asked to assist the deacons in the care of women and children who are sick or in need.

The big issue I take with the report is not deaconesses, per se, but the feminist notion that women do not “have a voice” if they are not directly included in leadership. This is false. The elders are the voice for men, women, and children. And husbands are the heads of their wives and children.

Additionally, the multiplication of unbiblical roles within the church like “officially appointed women” who “lead ministries” and “advise the elders” and such is unbiblical and followed consistently would lead to pure crazy-making. All members ought to be considered in the decisions of the church, not a select group of women. Why not children? Men? People with one leg or eye? The poor? The rich? Racial groups? People who are awkward? Fat people? Dumb people? Who will be their official voice?

In a biblically organized church the answer in easy: elders.

This committee’s existence is itself an attack on the authority of Scripture: the presence of women on this committee is a rank violation of Scripture and ought to have been vigorously opposed as such. “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” –God’s Word.

It was a sin to ever appoint the committee.

Thus, the committee encourages preferring women for non-ordained staff positions, such as director of children’s ministry, director of women’s ministry, director of adult education/discipleship, treasurer/accountant, administrator, or director of assimilation. This could be desirable for these reasons: it gives qualified women an outlet for their gifts; it encourages PCA women to pursue theological education, knowing that there will be employment options for them to serve; it gives visibility to women who can model mature female leadership; it demonstrates before the watching world that the church is a body that practices biblical inclusion and women are co-heirs of grace.

And so, the proper realm of ministry for women in the church will continue to be pushed aside and further demeaned as women are encouraged to get MDiv degrees and PCA churches “preferentially hire” them to achieve gender balance in church employment. Godly motherhood, the most fruitful root of the church’s future will continue to decay, and in its place, women will usurp authority and responsibilities that are not theirs. And fathers who are called to nurture the churches, as elders, and the family as husbands will descend into greater laziness, ungodliness, and passivity.

For these reasons I vigorously oppose the report and recommendations on women in ministry that have just been passed by the PCA General Assembly. I pray that godly sessions will do all they can to rebuke this assembly and call the church to repentance.pcalogo


Women Beating Each Other Up For Money And Fun?

There’s quite a brouhaha on the Reformed and evangelical interwebs these days. The aptly described “Thin Complementarians” are not quite sure what to do about women punching each other in the face for money and fun. But, I have to ask, what are the Thin Complementarians sure of? If you’re confused, I’ve come up with the following infographic to help you understand this new perspective being promoted in Reformed and evangelical circles:

Understanding Thin Complementarianism

Here are some of the better contributions to the current discussion:

First, there’s Alastair Roberts who had the nerve to question whether Christians ought to support women bloodying each other for fun. Hand-wringing concern (“Where’s our voice!?!?!”) came hard and fast from the self-appointed, establishment-promoted, female-issue experts and twitter storms ensued. For Alastair’s excellent post look here:
“How Should We Think About Watching Women Fight Women?” by Alastair Roberts

Next up, we have Tim Bayley suggesting that women mostly undressing and then bloodying each others faces as they flex their male-like muscles is, well, less than God’s ideal for womanhood. The guardians of the evangelical establishment ignore Tim on these issues, because, well, he’s right. And it’s convenient for him to also be to their Right on these issues because then they can look all nuanced and winsome as they support women punching each other in the face for fun, and Pastor Tim is a big ole meanie patriarchalist. Here’s his first contribution:
“Amanda Nunes beats the shit out of Ronda Rousey” by Tim Bayly

But whoops! Pastor Bailey wrote the word “shit” in his post, so now suddenly reduced to tears all the boys are real, real upset. Maybe their mother’s can go beat Tim up, you know, since they’ve been all practicing MMA. Nevertheless, we get this clearheaded truth from him in response:

The reason the picture (and fight itself) were obscene is that woman is made by God to be the life-giver and man is made by God to protect her in that work. Man is responsible to protect the mother of the living and the little ones who are the fruit of her womb. If Adam had done his job, there would be no fights. There would be no Pill, no abortion, and no Plan B. If Adam had done his work protecting Eve, women today would not be ogled by men as they run around naked, punching and kicking each other.

For more, see his second post on the topic: “Amanda Nunes beats the excrement out of Ronda Rousey” by Tim Bayley

On Twitter, Mark Jones weighed in with what most of us think, at least those of us who are still:

A. sane,
B. biblically minded,
C. protective of our daughters and wives, and
D. have a spine.


“Proud” To Be “Intimidating”?

This headline from Christianity Today’s puff-podcast promoting its editor’s new book speaks volumes about what is now celebrated among evangelicals:

Katelyn Beaty: Despite the Cost, I’m Proud to Be an ‘Intimidating’ Woman.
I hope the church can be proud of me, too.

Compare this with the Apostle Peter’s words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

…let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1Peter 3:4)


Christian sister, which words are you “proud” to have define you?

Gentle, quiet, and precious?


The PCA Is Elderly

The Pew Research Center has released an analysis showing that the conservative Reformed denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has some of the most elderly adherents. This may come as a shock to members of other Reformed denominations who are often pressured to imitate the PCA, with its reputation for being younger, hipper, and more evangelistic. Apparently, this is more marketing than reality, with denominations as diverse as the Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics having much younger adherents. Presbyterians were once known for orderly churches, firm doctrine and worship, large families, and an emphasis on catechizing covenant children.  Now conservative Presbyterians are best known for large parachurch organizations (Ligonier), big conferences (The Gospel Coalition), innovative leaders (Keller), and a plethora of competing seminaries.

This year’s PCA General Assembly (the highest court of the church) appeared oblivious to this growing crisis, rather doubling down on the same concerns that dominate the aging and dying mainline churches: embracing faddish worship styles, fixating on race relations, and expanding the roles of women in ministry.

One might suggest forming a study committee to encourage obedience to the first commandment God gave us, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.”


The SCOTUS War on Women

From “Today’s Betrayal of Women by the Female Bloc on SCOTUS” posted June 27, 2016 by Gerard M. Nadal:

Since the passage of the law, half of Texas’ 41 abortion clinics closed, unable to meet the demands of maintaining a safe facility including having physicians with admitting privileges at local hospitals.

“Undue Burden” is the catch-phrase of the day.

If permitted to stand, the fear was that the law would force the closure of ten more clinics, leaving an area of Texas the size of California without abortion services. Allow that to sink in for a moment.

If abortion clinics in Texas were required to have physicians competent enough to have admitting privileges, and run surgical clinics held to the same standards as all other ambulatory surgical centers, a land mass the size of California would have no abortion providers. If that doesn’t define “back-alley,” then what does?

Today, all three women on the court said, in effect, that the back alley is better than nothing at all.

Today, all three women on the court passed the opportunity to fight for the vision of “reproductive freedom” espoused in 1973.

Today, all three women on the court demonstrated that the lust for killing babies outweighs the safety of the women driven to such acts of desperation.

Today, not one of the three women on the court said that we can do better, that women deserve better.

It was another blow against women today, an act of betrayal by the women on the highest court in the land, who more than anyone else ought to be using their perch to demand real justice, real care, and authentic dignity for women.

As chemical abortions take deeper root, and as hospitals increasingly absorb the lucrative business from the closing of local clinics, the issue of the Texas law will shrink in importance; but the abandonment of women by all three women on the highest court in the land will live and grow in infamy. It will be seen by future generations for what it truly is.

The real War on Women

Read the whole story here:

“Whose Daughters You Are” by Peter Jones

Few subjects are so fraught with danger as the teaching that wives should submit to their husbands.  There are numerous reasons for this. First, the church has played the whore with the world on this particular subject. Thus Christian women have been taught that Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18, and I Peter 3:1- 6  are irrelevant to their lives as Christians. Second, too many Christian men treat their wives like dirt in the name of submission. Third, too many Christian wives really don’t want to submit, though they want desperately to look like they are. Thus hypocrisy reigns. Therefore Ephesians 5:22-33 and passages like it are often torn to shreds or ignored. What our Christian fathers took as obvious, has become the subject of scholarly debate, which often means the plain teaching of Scripture is obscured by various academic studies showing that the text does not really mean what it says.  Scholars, and eventually pastors, throw just enough mud in the water so we cannot see what is plainly there. That way we can continue compromising with a clean conscience.

Here are some exhortations on submission I gave to my congregation in a sermon several years ago.

Read Pastor Jones’ exhortations here: Whose Daughters You Are

Compatibility & Complementarity: No Need To Reconcile Friends

In Jennifer Wilkin’s post “Are Compatibility and Complementarity at Odds?“, she tackles a common error among conservative Christians: emphasizing the differences between Christians rather than the things that make us the same. When it comes to gender issues this is particularly dangerous. Just think about how an emphasis on gender difference plays out around the world in false religions and the cultures taught by them: women are oppressed, abused, disregarded, devalued… In the Bible, Adam’s joy was not just in the glorious differences between men and women, it was a joy in their sameness: “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.”

Was there order? Yes, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (1 Timothy 2:13)

Was there difference? Yes, “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” (1 Corinthians 11:8-9)

Do these differences have widespread implications in life? Yes, but so does our basic unity as being God’s image in creation and redemption: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ… there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Let’s not treat friends like enemies to be reconciled! Our gender differences don’t erase our common humanity, and our common humanity doesn’t destroy our differences.  In this way the multifaceted glory of God in creation and grace of God in redemption is manifest.
Read Jennifer Wilkin’s post here: Are Compatibility and Complementarity at Odds?