Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Soapbox about the T4G or Together for the Gospel


Together for the Gospel or T4G recently held a conference in Louisville, KY. The main leaders of this conference are CJ Mahaney, Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, & Ligon Duncan. Now I don't mind telling you that Albert Mohler is the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who has brought it to its present demise, and who uses ghost writers. I say demise because they lost their accreditation, and he ran off all the Professors simply because he decided they were too "Liberal" and not "Bible Believing". (Enough of that rant, SBTS was my alumnae seminary, pre Mohler days)
I had not paid much attention to their live blog from the conference. But I had been reading off and on what was being written about the conference on Adrian Warnock's UK Evangelical Blog. Well today I read this comment he took from another person's blog "Musings of an English Muffin", it was a woman's comment (her name being Libbie), about T4G's, He even called it a "Lady's view of T4G, and why Egalitarianism IS a hindrance to the Gospel." Oh, Boy. After I read the whole comment this woman, Libbie, had made, and the comments, I was sick to my stomache, and mad. She at first was upset about no women being there and the article 16 which is later in this note, but then argues herself right out of her own thoughts and feelings. So here I blog my thoughts.
This was an exclusive conference for men only, sounds like Southern Baptist. Then they have come up with this statement as if they are the only ones who know anything about the Gospel and representing it, we women clergy sure don't according to them. Here is the opening sentance of that statement. " We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause – to stand together for the Gospel." You got that, women you are not united and your cause is not theirs and nor do you stand with them. This is a man's battle according to them, and only they can save the church, and only they if you believe with them and like them. Let me just throw up.

Here is another sentance in their statement: "We are also brothers united in deep concern for
the church and the Gospel."
Now women this is no concern of yours, you just go mind your own business, we'll take care of it. Right, like you all have been taking care of it all these years, and have had a concern all these years.

This thing has 16 articles, and this is the one about women: "
Article XVI
We affirm that the Scripture reveals a pattern of
complementary order between men and women, and
that this order is itself a testimony to the Gospel, even
as it is the gift of our Creator and Redeemer. We also
affirm that all Christians are called to service within
the body of Christ, and that God has given to both
men and women important and strategic roles within
the home, the church, and the society. We further
affirm that the teaching office of the church is assigned
only to those men who are called of God in fulfillment
of the biblical teachings and that men are to lead in
their homes as husbands and fathers who fear and
love God.
We deny that the distinction of roles between men
and women revealed in the Bible is evidence of mere
cultural conditioning or a manifestation of male
oppression or prejudice against women. We also deny
that this biblical distinction of roles excludes women
from meaningful ministry in ChristÂ’s kingdom. We
further deny that any church can confuse these issues
without damaging its witness to the Gospel.


Are you confused or what, threatened just a little bit? Okay we as women can minister, but at what. You can bet if this says that men are the head of the house then the man is the head of the church in their view. You as a woman can minister, by cleaning the church, cooking, teaching each other, and the children, singing in the choir, and whatever else we men don't want to do.
AARGH

All this reminds me of why I am no longer a Southern Baptist, and why so many are leaving the denomination. This also smacks of the statement they were trying to get the Professors to sign, and those that didn't were forced to leave. (Isn't church history full of leaders and denominations forcing their doctrine on others?)

Rhett Smith raises the some thoughts about t4g statement and article, also that are worth reading. The Jolly Blogger takes exception to Rhett Smith, and probably me, by saying it is not "Oppression of Women." (excuse me.) If it is not that then what is it?
This will gripe you too "On the Feminization of the Church, Why Its Music, Messages and Ministries Are Driving Men Away." Like men were going to church all along, and being active in church when men were pastors and preaching. Right. Okay so if that is your point, why is it that I as a female clergy have been able to establish a men's program that none of the other male clergy did, or why men do come to our church, why havbaptizeded men, have young men coming to our church?

In this article at Ochuk's Blog he really takes on the anti-woman mood of t4g in an article called t4g(ender hierarchy). Thanks man for challenging their mindset about women, but other matters as well.

If this thing plays out as it did at the Seminary and in the Southern Baptist Convention, we are headed for dark days when those who think they have the answer exclude those who would hold other opinions. But I am no longer Southern Baptist, and I am glad. I feel sorry for those who still are, including my mom.

I'll come down off my soap box now, just for now.


10 comments:

Libbie said...

You as a woman can minister, by cleaning the church, cooking, teaching each other, and the children, singing in the choir, and whatever else we men don't want to do.

Hi Revabi, thankyou for coming over to my blog and commenting. I appreciate the interaction - part of the fun of blogging!

This quote of yours above is what I would take issue with, primarily. I'm not sure how it is helpful to denigrate these perfectly valuable things as simply that which men 'don't want to do'. I believe that many of the things you've hyperbolically listed are set out in scripture as very special specific ministry areas.
To do them down does no service to women in the church, imo. I understand the things you've said, and as you've seen, I've thought them myself. But I don't think our thoughts and feelings can be our guide in this.

Marty said...

Abi,
This sort of narrow-mindedness sould put you on a soapbox. If you take a moment to think about it, these types of people think that the only time there is anything wonderful to celebrate in the body of Christ is in the "good old days". They fail to realize that when they look backwards and see great times that they're viewing the past through rose-colored lenses.
I romped around a bit in the T4G archives and concluded that these are devoted men who simply lack the enlightenment requisite for forward-thinking Christianity (that was a mouthful). In Article XVI it's like they're putting their hands over their ears and screaming "NO NO NO....I don't want to hear you make sense....NO NO NO....it's supposed to be like it was...NO NO NO....I'M NOT LISTENING TO YOU...NO NO NO!"
There's a personality type that "complains and blames". What does that do for finding solutions to the problems in the body of Christ? And some carry on this way so subtlely that it's hard to recognize, yet they're in positions of influence. How can such backward-thinking lead to any forward movement? I just don't get it.
While Spurgeon was great...he wasn't God. While Wesley was great...he wasn't God. Rather than try to drag the body of Christ back to the good old days when the great preachers and teachers lived, why can't we look to the future, inspired by these great orators, forgiving them their human errencies, and make this a better church? I just hope that the T4G crowd stays an inclusive little group and that their influence goes no further than to make each of them feel better about living in the past.
Marty

revabi said...

Marty,
As usual you are able to put into words what I try to but am not able to do. That was one of the things I was thinking, God does not call us backward, but forward, ever forward, reaching new generations in new ways. I doubt either Wesley or Spurgeon would have much of an audience with this generation unless they were willing to use some of the new technology. I still laugh thinking of Wesley getting rotten tomatos thrown at him. I like both these guys writings. Thanks for searching around their web site. Haven't read much from the other Methodist bloggers to know whether they have read and are commenting yet. I really want to see how all this comes out in the wash.

revabi said...

Libbie,
Thank you so much for coming over to my place and commenting. I did post out of original feelings and thoughts, probably like the first letter you write in anger to someone who has really hurt you, then you burn up that letter and write another one with less anger and more thoughtfulness mixed in. Interestingly in all my years of Ministry since 1980 as ordained and prior to that as youth minister; I have done all those things and more; "You as a woman can minister, by cleaning the church, cooking, teaching each other, and the children, singing in the choir, and whatever else we men don't want to do." I do them to the glory of God for Him and his kingdom. I really don't mind doing those things, I feel like I am loving God, and making it possible for His kingdom to keep coming forward.
I am not sure today what I would write about the article and t4g, since I am not so angry today. Let me think on it and write again. Thanks again. I do so agree with you that feelings are not our guide, that are part of the warning system, and a natural gift that God has given us. As I tell my children, and I am learning, it is what we do with them then that makes the difference. I don't get as upset as I once did, but I still do have feelings obviously. I let God be my guide if you must know.

Iris Godfrey said...

I had originally written a comment on Libbie's site, but did not hit the right button to get it published, so since I found your site, I'll make my comment here.

I am the CEO of a Bible teaching ministry which was begun by my teaching on radio, over 20 years ago. Although no longer on radio, my local TV teaching program has run over 16 years. The ministry is interdenominational and includes both men and women who have been called beside me to work together and it continues to grow.

In all of this, I have never asked to be allowed to teach anywhere. I do teach when asked in my local church, but most of my teaching is interdenominational. None of this has been me pushing or making a place for myself. The Lord, in His graciousness, continually makes a way and a place. My spirit stays in awe and in stillness in this regard.

I find that interesting in the light of many churches holding to the views expressed by T4G. It is right to be included, on some level in ministry and leadership. The old man/woman doctrinal positions have been with us forever. It is time the church at large took a look at what the Lord Himself is doing.

There is a study on 2 Timothy 2:11-15 deserving of serious consideration. It is in book form by a husband/wife team, "I Suffer Not a Woman," by Kroger and Kroger. It is worth a read regardless of what doctrinal placement we have.

When considering attending a conference, I do look to see if it is complimentary in nature. Regardless of the persons involved, if it is not a balance, then probably the truth presented will not be balanced either. Just a thought.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Revabi,

I followed your comment back here. How wonderful to hear the stories of other women. I am sure that the last thing any of us feel is disrespect for the traditional things that women do.

But I am trying to share stories of women like Iris, women who work within the evangelical community serving God and his word.

Libbie,

My intent is not to share my "feelings' but the stories I have been given - true stories.

Marty said...

I will forever refer to Paul's relationship with Lydia as an example of how other things he wrote to other churches addressed NOT the role of women in the body of Christ, but rather, addressing the problems those specific churches had with specific women.

We sell Paul short when we look at his letters as universals. They simply were not. He wrote Timothy regarding problems he was having with his appointment in his specific situation. Ignoring that is ignoring the essence of the spirit in which it was written. But in Lydia....sweet, sweet Lydia, he found support and a "meal ticket" to further the spreading of the Gospel.

Fact: Lydia's formation of the church in Corinth, and the gifts given, made it possible for Paul to spread the Gospel without having to be a tentmaker to support the mission.
Fact: The church in Corinth grew and thrived because Lydia championed the cause.

A question for those naysayers would be this: How could the church in Corinth grow without someone teaching about Christ? Now, just who would that teacher be? LYDIA...and her other female followers.

It's funny how common sense fails to prevail when somebody is thumping their bible so loudly that the voice of reason can't be heard.

Marty

revabi said...

Suzanne,
Keep sharing those stories about real women, real ministry, real lives changed for Jesus, families changed, villages changed, countries changed simply because a woman heard God's call and answered. You go girl, as my little girls would say. I think that is the best way. Arguing, scripture volleying, doctrines being held over the head is only damaging. I am like you I in no way condemn the traditional roles of a woman or a man. I support women and men and marriages and family. You can ask my members that I Pastor.

Marty, how perceptive of you,and yes, Lydia is one of the unsung heroines of the bible. Timothy was a young man trying to Pastor a church and he was having certain problems with a lot of his different members. So he wrote "Papa Paul" his mentor for advise. The letter Paul wrote was only that advise to Timothy with those people in that church at that time. To make anything more than that is to say that the little country church has the same problems as the big steeple church in the city, and that you can apply what you do at one to the other. I don't think so, it has more than not gotten Pastors in trouble.

And Iris, God bless you in the ministry, you have a beautiful ministry, I went to your website. God is apparently using in a mighty way, and opening many doors for you. And isn't that how God works. I do so appreciate your comment. I have not read the study you refered to by Kroger and Kroger, I'll have to read it. You have some good thoughts about conferences being balanced.

Lorna said...

((((RevAbi)))

is it simply they don't want to PAY women to do the jobs...

cleaning
cooking
teaching others
teaching kids
singing in the choir
heck leading the choir


are all great and necessary jobs. As valuable as that of a pastor. (male or female)

IMHO

I hate what you wrote. Not that you wrote it (or what you said) but the fact that in 2006 we are still not getting what ministry is about. It's asnwering God's call and doing it. Whatever it is. No gender racial or other barriers. Just serving God. It IS that simple

This post might have been a rant, but you have a generous spirit which shines through in teh comments Abi Don't give up!!! ok?

revabi said...

Lorna,
I knew what you meant.

I hated that this was going on now to.

I do like what you said re what ministry is about.

Thanks for your kindness and good comments.