And now, the gender-free pre-school

In Sweden, a government-run pre-school is refusing all gender categories in their dealings with children, to the point of avoiding personal pronouns:

On the surface, the school in Sodermalm – a well-to-do district of the Swedish capital – seems like any other. But listen carefully and you’ll notice a big difference.

The teachers avoid using the pronouns “him” and “her” when talking to the children.

Instead they refer to them as “friends”, by their first names, or as “hen” – a genderless pronoun borrowed from Finnish.

It is not just the language that is different here, though.

The books have been carefully selected to avoid traditional presentations of gender and parenting roles.

So, out with the likes of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, and in with, for example, a book about two giraffes who find an abandoned baby crocodile and adopt it.

Most of the usual toys and games that you would find in any nursery are there – dolls, tractors, sand pits, and so on – but they are placed deliberately side-by-side to encourage a child to play with whatever he or she chooses.

At Egalia boys are free to dress up and to play with dolls, if that is what they want to do.

For the director of the pre-school, Lotta Rajalin, it is all about giving children a wider choice, and not limiting them to social expectations based on gender.

“We want to give the whole spectrum of life, not just half – that’s why we are doing this. We want the children to get to know all the things in life, not to just see half of it,” she told BBC World Service.

via BBC News – Sweden’s ‘gender-neutral’ pre-school.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    The mathematics in the last quote is simply stunning:

    “Peter has one apple. By cutting the apple in half and throwing both of the pieces away, he is left with more apples than he had in the beginning.”

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    The mathematics in the last quote is simply stunning:

    “Peter has one apple. By cutting the apple in half and throwing both of the pieces away, he is left with more apples than he had in the beginning.”

  • SKPeterson

    I wonder what will happen when “boys will be boys” and begin to take the trucks and run over all the dolls, or “blow them up”. Most of my childhood was spent relatively “gender free,” yet somehow the boys and the girls often self-sorted. We knew there were differences between us. Often we played together – hide and seek is remarkably gender neutral – and often played apart – riding our bikes to the park and catching tadpoles was something the boys did, if the girls came along, great, but we weren’t waiting around for them, either.

    I understand this is a testament to the nature-nurture divide, but nurture shapes how the natural relates to society; the general rules and norms of peaceable social interaction are not automatically downloaded into us at age 5. They need to be learned, and our society, along with almost every other society on earth, has developed with recognition of male-female physical difference. We can argue over outcomes, and I understand that some have qualms about how current social norms are encouraging anti-homosexual feelings, or failing to create “zones of acceptance,” but reverse social engineering is probably not the best answer. Our success as a society has rested upon the existing balance between nature and nurture. Tipping the scales or seeking to redefine balance, erodes the very foundations of civil society that even allow genderless preschools to come into being.

  • SKPeterson

    I wonder what will happen when “boys will be boys” and begin to take the trucks and run over all the dolls, or “blow them up”. Most of my childhood was spent relatively “gender free,” yet somehow the boys and the girls often self-sorted. We knew there were differences between us. Often we played together – hide and seek is remarkably gender neutral – and often played apart – riding our bikes to the park and catching tadpoles was something the boys did, if the girls came along, great, but we weren’t waiting around for them, either.

    I understand this is a testament to the nature-nurture divide, but nurture shapes how the natural relates to society; the general rules and norms of peaceable social interaction are not automatically downloaded into us at age 5. They need to be learned, and our society, along with almost every other society on earth, has developed with recognition of male-female physical difference. We can argue over outcomes, and I understand that some have qualms about how current social norms are encouraging anti-homosexual feelings, or failing to create “zones of acceptance,” but reverse social engineering is probably not the best answer. Our success as a society has rested upon the existing balance between nature and nurture. Tipping the scales or seeking to redefine balance, erodes the very foundations of civil society that even allow genderless preschools to come into being.

  • Dan Kempin

    “We want to give the whole spectrum of life, not just half – that’s why we are doing this. We want the children to get to know all the things in life, not to just see half of it,” she told BBC World Service.

    Isn’t that about how things worked with the tree in the middle of the garden? They already knew good, but wanted the “whole spectrum” of good and evil. Then they would be like God. Yeah.

  • Dan Kempin

    “We want to give the whole spectrum of life, not just half – that’s why we are doing this. We want the children to get to know all the things in life, not to just see half of it,” she told BBC World Service.

    Isn’t that about how things worked with the tree in the middle of the garden? They already knew good, but wanted the “whole spectrum” of good and evil. Then they would be like God. Yeah.

  • Jeremy

    “I wonder what will happen when “boys will be boys” and begin to take the trucks and run over all the dolls, or “blow them up”.”

    I agree with SKPeterson here. This experiment is not going to go well.

    But I have to say a lot of times society enforces gender stereotypes to its determent. We shouldn’t assume that every boy should be tough and that maybe the marine corps might do him good. I knew boys who were sent to military schools because their parents thought they weren’t tough enough, and were absolutely miserable. On women, we shouldn’t assume that her highest goal is to pursue children. It’s to our detriment if we force people into pre-defined roles we have for them.

  • Jeremy

    “I wonder what will happen when “boys will be boys” and begin to take the trucks and run over all the dolls, or “blow them up”.”

    I agree with SKPeterson here. This experiment is not going to go well.

    But I have to say a lot of times society enforces gender stereotypes to its determent. We shouldn’t assume that every boy should be tough and that maybe the marine corps might do him good. I knew boys who were sent to military schools because their parents thought they weren’t tough enough, and were absolutely miserable. On women, we shouldn’t assume that her highest goal is to pursue children. It’s to our detriment if we force people into pre-defined roles we have for them.

  • Lou

    Whatever you do, don’t share this with my state DoE leaders!!! In my liberal state they try every half-baked model that comes down the pike. Yikes.

  • Lou

    Whatever you do, don’t share this with my state DoE leaders!!! In my liberal state they try every half-baked model that comes down the pike. Yikes.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Bear with me for I am about to sin boldly. Hopefully, these three points will suffice for my argument:

    1. “For the director of the pre-school, Lotta Rajalin, it is all about giving children a wider choice, and not limiting them to social expectations based on gender.”

    2. “All the girls know they are girls, and all the boys know that they are boys. We are not working with biological gender – we are working with the social thing.”

    3. Gender Definition: A grammatical category indicating the sex, or lack of sex, of nouns and pronouns. The three genders are masculine, feminine, and neuter. He is a masculine pronoun; She is a feminine pronoun; it is a neuter pronoun. Nouns are classified by gender according to the gender of the pronoun that can substitute for them. In English, gender is directly indicated only by pronouns.
    (The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.)

    Since M(s) Rajalin concedes the boys know they’re boys and the girls know they’re girls (point 2. reversed), I suggest the following compromise solution to this dilemna. The AHNDCL (see attribute, point 3) defines neuter pronoun as “it”; ergo we shall make that our base reference point.

    If we are dealing with a boy, he shall be referenced as a “H-it”; if dealing with a girl, she shall be referenced as a “S-it”; in the case of any Canadian couples enrolling their children where maximum obscurity is desired, the child shall be referenced as “S-H-XX” (please don’t make me spell out the obvious the Canadians and the Swedes can not seem to grasp!)
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Bear with me for I am about to sin boldly. Hopefully, these three points will suffice for my argument:

    1. “For the director of the pre-school, Lotta Rajalin, it is all about giving children a wider choice, and not limiting them to social expectations based on gender.”

    2. “All the girls know they are girls, and all the boys know that they are boys. We are not working with biological gender – we are working with the social thing.”

    3. Gender Definition: A grammatical category indicating the sex, or lack of sex, of nouns and pronouns. The three genders are masculine, feminine, and neuter. He is a masculine pronoun; She is a feminine pronoun; it is a neuter pronoun. Nouns are classified by gender according to the gender of the pronoun that can substitute for them. In English, gender is directly indicated only by pronouns.
    (The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.)

    Since M(s) Rajalin concedes the boys know they’re boys and the girls know they’re girls (point 2. reversed), I suggest the following compromise solution to this dilemna. The AHNDCL (see attribute, point 3) defines neuter pronoun as “it”; ergo we shall make that our base reference point.

    If we are dealing with a boy, he shall be referenced as a “H-it”; if dealing with a girl, she shall be referenced as a “S-it”; in the case of any Canadian couples enrolling their children where maximum obscurity is desired, the child shall be referenced as “S-H-XX” (please don’t make me spell out the obvious the Canadians and the Swedes can not seem to grasp!)
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “On women, we shouldn’t assume that her highest goal is to pursue children.”

    Right now, no teen girl would dare state such a sentiment to anyone, ever, not teachers, not peers, not parents, probably not even most pastors. Girls these days get the message early and often that women must go out and butt heads with the men in the workplace, else they are losers.

    “It’s to our detriment if we force people into pre-defined roles we have for them.”

    It is already to our detriment to push women to work. Right now educated women have the least kids. So, the smart fraction will decline in the next generation.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Oh, well we’ll just blame the teachers who won’t be able to get them to achieve more.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “On women, we shouldn’t assume that her highest goal is to pursue children.”

    Right now, no teen girl would dare state such a sentiment to anyone, ever, not teachers, not peers, not parents, probably not even most pastors. Girls these days get the message early and often that women must go out and butt heads with the men in the workplace, else they are losers.

    “It’s to our detriment if we force people into pre-defined roles we have for them.”

    It is already to our detriment to push women to work. Right now educated women have the least kids. So, the smart fraction will decline in the next generation.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Oh, well we’ll just blame the teachers who won’t be able to get them to achieve more.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Gender free is just code for anti woman.

    Gender free as in sex free as in non-reproductive.

    Gender free as in sterile.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Gender free is just code for anti woman.

    Gender free as in sex free as in non-reproductive.

    Gender free as in sterile.

  • Jon

    Let’s thrown stones at Sweden after we rid our churches of demeaning gender stereotypes. In the US, there are many churches in which women have no right to vote, much less serve in a governing capacity, such as on the council. Women, for example, cannot vote on whether to use church funds to remodel the church bathrooms. Women, however, can clean the bathrooms.

  • Jon

    Let’s thrown stones at Sweden after we rid our churches of demeaning gender stereotypes. In the US, there are many churches in which women have no right to vote, much less serve in a governing capacity, such as on the council. Women, for example, cannot vote on whether to use church funds to remodel the church bathrooms. Women, however, can clean the bathrooms.

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon (#9),

    “In the US, there are many churches in which women have no right to vote, much less serve in a governing capacity, such as on the council. Women, for example, cannot vote on whether to use church funds to remodel the church bathrooms. Women, however, can clean the bathrooms.”

    Just to be provocative, Jon, why is that wrong? What is “demeaning” in that?

    The women could not enter the old testament priesthood, nor could they enter as far as the men into the tabernacle/temple. Is God, then, a chauvinist who desires to demean women? He is the one who set those rules, after all.

    Besides, I have cleaned in the bathroom many times without ever feeling demeaned. And if I had the choice between attending the church meeting where funding for a bathroom remodel was to be decided, and cleaning the bathroom, I would frankly reach for the mop. So I guess I’m not making the connection to “demeaning gender stereotypes.”

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon (#9),

    “In the US, there are many churches in which women have no right to vote, much less serve in a governing capacity, such as on the council. Women, for example, cannot vote on whether to use church funds to remodel the church bathrooms. Women, however, can clean the bathrooms.”

    Just to be provocative, Jon, why is that wrong? What is “demeaning” in that?

    The women could not enter the old testament priesthood, nor could they enter as far as the men into the tabernacle/temple. Is God, then, a chauvinist who desires to demean women? He is the one who set those rules, after all.

    Besides, I have cleaned in the bathroom many times without ever feeling demeaned. And if I had the choice between attending the church meeting where funding for a bathroom remodel was to be decided, and cleaning the bathroom, I would frankly reach for the mop. So I guess I’m not making the connection to “demeaning gender stereotypes.”

  • Jon

    @10, “And if I had the choice between attending … and cleaning …”

    That’s the point, Dan. You have the choice.

    Are you really using extinct OT prohibitions to justify preventing women from participating in the decision to remodel a toilet?

  • Jon

    @10, “And if I had the choice between attending … and cleaning …”

    That’s the point, Dan. You have the choice.

    Are you really using extinct OT prohibitions to justify preventing women from participating in the decision to remodel a toilet?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Let’s thrown stones at Sweden after we rid our churches of demeaning gender stereotypes.”

    Goofy. Probably plenty of Swedes are laughing at this goofy preschool as well. Anyway, there are no demeaning gender stereotypes in our churches. So, no problem there.

    “In the US, there are many churches in which women have no right to vote, much less serve in a governing capacity, such as on the council.”

    Thank goodness. That way the responsible women don’t have to take time out of their schedules to go vote against the activist chicks seeking to undermine the mission of the church.

    “Women, for example, cannot vote on whether to use church funds to remodel the church bathrooms. Women, however, can clean the bathrooms.”

    So what? A church is a voluntary association. They don’t have to go if they don’t like it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Let’s thrown stones at Sweden after we rid our churches of demeaning gender stereotypes.”

    Goofy. Probably plenty of Swedes are laughing at this goofy preschool as well. Anyway, there are no demeaning gender stereotypes in our churches. So, no problem there.

    “In the US, there are many churches in which women have no right to vote, much less serve in a governing capacity, such as on the council.”

    Thank goodness. That way the responsible women don’t have to take time out of their schedules to go vote against the activist chicks seeking to undermine the mission of the church.

    “Women, for example, cannot vote on whether to use church funds to remodel the church bathrooms. Women, however, can clean the bathrooms.”

    So what? A church is a voluntary association. They don’t have to go if they don’t like it.

  • DonS

    Jon, in Christianity, service to others is the highest calling. I often find our pastor moving tables and chairs, sweeping the floors, and cleaning the bathrooms.

    The larger issue here is thinking that cleaning the bathrooms is demeaning.

  • DonS

    Jon, in Christianity, service to others is the highest calling. I often find our pastor moving tables and chairs, sweeping the floors, and cleaning the bathrooms.

    The larger issue here is thinking that cleaning the bathrooms is demeaning.

  • DonS

    sg @ 7: You nailed it! I work in the world of patents. Every patent I file will expire within twenty years. Every one. It’s just wallpaper after that. Those who raise and nurture children are molding eternal souls.

    So, who’s doing the “demeaning” work, as Jon @ 9 puts it?

  • DonS

    sg @ 7: You nailed it! I work in the world of patents. Every patent I file will expire within twenty years. Every one. It’s just wallpaper after that. Those who raise and nurture children are molding eternal souls.

    So, who’s doing the “demeaning” work, as Jon @ 9 puts it?

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    Just wondering when limiting a child’s choices became a bad thing? Isn’t that the essence of parenting?

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    Just wondering when limiting a child’s choices became a bad thing? Isn’t that the essence of parenting?

  • Jon

    @13, He swings, he misses.
    The larger issue is in thinking that prohibiting women from voting on any aspect of church business (bathrooms being but one example) does not perpetuate a demeaning gender stereotype.

  • Jon

    @13, He swings, he misses.
    The larger issue is in thinking that prohibiting women from voting on any aspect of church business (bathrooms being but one example) does not perpetuate a demeaning gender stereotype.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Just more war against all things male/masculine.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Just more war against all things male/masculine.

  • Stephanie

    I see nothing wrong with girls playing with trucks or boys playing with dolls. But this sort of forced equality just seems silly whether it is related to gender or something else. Has Harrison Bergeron not been translated into Swedish?

  • Stephanie

    I see nothing wrong with girls playing with trucks or boys playing with dolls. But this sort of forced equality just seems silly whether it is related to gender or something else. Has Harrison Bergeron not been translated into Swedish?

  • Jon

    @17 Your comment reminded me of the Monty Python’s song about Lumberjacks … and what they wear. Now that’s an assault on manhood. :)

  • Jon

    @17 Your comment reminded me of the Monty Python’s song about Lumberjacks … and what they wear. Now that’s an assault on manhood. :)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The larger issue is in thinking that prohibiting women from voting on any aspect of church business (bathrooms being but one example) does not perpetuate a demeaning gender stereotype.”

    It does not demean us.

    If we assume women and men are so equal and interchangeable, we can assume women will vote like the men do. If we assume women are not exactly equal, then they will either vote better or worse than the men. I think it demeans men to imply that they will not vote in the best interest of everyone. And it just burdens women with even more responsibility. Not only do we have all of our stuff to do, we would have to waste our time listening to details and making decisions when our husbands are perfectly capable of shouldering that responsibility without wasting our time on it. I didn’t marry an idiot. I didn’t join of congregation of idiots either. They managed to build and run the place without women voting until now. They can continue to do that till kingdom come. Woman suffrage is vanity as well as a waste of my time.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The larger issue is in thinking that prohibiting women from voting on any aspect of church business (bathrooms being but one example) does not perpetuate a demeaning gender stereotype.”

    It does not demean us.

    If we assume women and men are so equal and interchangeable, we can assume women will vote like the men do. If we assume women are not exactly equal, then they will either vote better or worse than the men. I think it demeans men to imply that they will not vote in the best interest of everyone. And it just burdens women with even more responsibility. Not only do we have all of our stuff to do, we would have to waste our time listening to details and making decisions when our husbands are perfectly capable of shouldering that responsibility without wasting our time on it. I didn’t marry an idiot. I didn’t join of congregation of idiots either. They managed to build and run the place without women voting until now. They can continue to do that till kingdom come. Woman suffrage is vanity as well as a waste of my time.

  • DonS

    Again, sg @ 20, perfectly said. Genesis 5:2 says “male and female created He them” (that’s probably KJV, in which I did much of my memorization as a kid). God created two sexes for a reason, to complement one another. He also created roles for them, i.e. responsibilities. One set of responsibilities is not demeaning with respect to another set, they are just different. We cross the lines a lot today, and that’s OK for the most part. I don’t really care if women have input into a bathroom remodel at church, for example. In fact, it will probably look and function better if they do. But most women I know don’t want to sit on a church board and make mundane financial and physical plant decisions. They want to serve the church in more people-oriented, hands-on ways.

    Those churches that ignore gender, with respect to pastoral and elder ministry are not just ignoring some “extinct OT prohibitions”, as Jon puts it @ 11. They are also ignoring very clear NT teachings by Paul, on the basis of their own limited human cultural concerns, and because they have somehow decided that the gifts God has given women are “demeaning”.

  • DonS

    Again, sg @ 20, perfectly said. Genesis 5:2 says “male and female created He them” (that’s probably KJV, in which I did much of my memorization as a kid). God created two sexes for a reason, to complement one another. He also created roles for them, i.e. responsibilities. One set of responsibilities is not demeaning with respect to another set, they are just different. We cross the lines a lot today, and that’s OK for the most part. I don’t really care if women have input into a bathroom remodel at church, for example. In fact, it will probably look and function better if they do. But most women I know don’t want to sit on a church board and make mundane financial and physical plant decisions. They want to serve the church in more people-oriented, hands-on ways.

    Those churches that ignore gender, with respect to pastoral and elder ministry are not just ignoring some “extinct OT prohibitions”, as Jon puts it @ 11. They are also ignoring very clear NT teachings by Paul, on the basis of their own limited human cultural concerns, and because they have somehow decided that the gifts God has given women are “demeaning”.

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon, #11,

    “@10, “And if I had the choice between attending … and cleaning …”

    That’s the point, Dan. You have the choice.

    Are you really using extinct OT prohibitions to justify preventing women from participating in the decision to remodel a toilet?”

    No, I don’t, really. I have to go to the meeting–if I want to fulfill the role that I accepted.

    And as for “extinct OT prohibitions,” I happen to believe that all scripture is God breathed and that God does not change. If he differentiated the male/female roles in the Old Testament, then I consider that to be constuctive for any subsequent discussion.

    And placing the argument into my mouth that women should not have the right to vote for bathroom funding–come on, Jon, that was your example, not mine.

    Still, you haven’t answered my original question. If a congregation did not have female voters, why exactly would that be wrong? As SG points out (#12), it is a voluntary association. No one is being repressed. (There, I even threw in another Monty Python reference for you.)

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon, #11,

    “@10, “And if I had the choice between attending … and cleaning …”

    That’s the point, Dan. You have the choice.

    Are you really using extinct OT prohibitions to justify preventing women from participating in the decision to remodel a toilet?”

    No, I don’t, really. I have to go to the meeting–if I want to fulfill the role that I accepted.

    And as for “extinct OT prohibitions,” I happen to believe that all scripture is God breathed and that God does not change. If he differentiated the male/female roles in the Old Testament, then I consider that to be constuctive for any subsequent discussion.

    And placing the argument into my mouth that women should not have the right to vote for bathroom funding–come on, Jon, that was your example, not mine.

    Still, you haven’t answered my original question. If a congregation did not have female voters, why exactly would that be wrong? As SG points out (#12), it is a voluntary association. No one is being repressed. (There, I even threw in another Monty Python reference for you.)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I think we all remember the parable about not going to the head of the table because you will be embarrassed when you are asked to move.

    Also, there is that other story about the disciples jockeying for the best seats in heaven. That backfired.

    We have been told where to sit, and we embarrass ourselves when we try move to a more coveted spot. It is unseemly.

    Men were given certain responsibilities. If women are pressured to do the men’s jobs as well as their own, it is an unreasonable burden on us. I wonder if those who want women to do their work for them are just too lazy to show up for those boring committee meetings and do all the work etc., etc.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I think we all remember the parable about not going to the head of the table because you will be embarrassed when you are asked to move.

    Also, there is that other story about the disciples jockeying for the best seats in heaven. That backfired.

    We have been told where to sit, and we embarrass ourselves when we try move to a more coveted spot. It is unseemly.

    Men were given certain responsibilities. If women are pressured to do the men’s jobs as well as their own, it is an unreasonable burden on us. I wonder if those who want women to do their work for them are just too lazy to show up for those boring committee meetings and do all the work etc., etc.

  • Dan Kempin

    sg, #23,

    “Men were given certain responsibilities. If women are pressured to do the men’s jobs as well as their own, it is an unreasonable burden on us. I wonder if those who want women to do their work for them are just too lazy to show up for those boring committee meetings and do all the work etc., etc.”

    Wow. But well said.

  • Dan Kempin

    sg, #23,

    “Men were given certain responsibilities. If women are pressured to do the men’s jobs as well as their own, it is an unreasonable burden on us. I wonder if those who want women to do their work for them are just too lazy to show up for those boring committee meetings and do all the work etc., etc.”

    Wow. But well said.

  • DonS

    sg @ 23: ditto what Dan said.

  • DonS

    sg @ 23: ditto what Dan said.

  • helen

    SK @ 2
    Ha! Not having any boys in the neighborhood to “wait around for me” (or not), I biked down to the creek and caught tadpoles and minnows by myself. I populated the stock tank with the minnows, to eat the mosquito larvae there. ;)

  • helen

    SK @ 2
    Ha! Not having any boys in the neighborhood to “wait around for me” (or not), I biked down to the creek and caught tadpoles and minnows by myself. I populated the stock tank with the minnows, to eat the mosquito larvae there. ;)

  • Jon

    @22, “If a congregation did not have female voters, why exactly would that be wrong?” It’s a rule that demeans women by treating as no more competent than children. Why is it right to deny them a vote?

  • Jon

    @22, “If a congregation did not have female voters, why exactly would that be wrong?” It’s a rule that demeans women by treating as no more competent than children. Why is it right to deny them a vote?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “It’s a rule that demeans women by treating as no more competent than children. Why is it right to deny them a vote?”

    We are not demeaned. We are relieved. We don’t want to vote. The chicks who do want to vote are the kind who don’t want to submit to God’s authority anyway. These women who want guy’s role, inconvenience the rest of us because we have to then drag ourselves to these meetings so that these women don’t skew everything towards an unfaithful witness. Voting is a burden. The guys are perfectly capable. We don’t need one more thing to have to do.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “It’s a rule that demeans women by treating as no more competent than children. Why is it right to deny them a vote?”

    We are not demeaned. We are relieved. We don’t want to vote. The chicks who do want to vote are the kind who don’t want to submit to God’s authority anyway. These women who want guy’s role, inconvenience the rest of us because we have to then drag ourselves to these meetings so that these women don’t skew everything towards an unfaithful witness. Voting is a burden. The guys are perfectly capable. We don’t need one more thing to have to do.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@9), you keep mentioning “demeaning gender stereotypes”, but then you go on to talk about gender-specific roles. You don’t seem to understand that these are not the same, on several levels.

    For instance, what “stereotype”, exactly, is propagated by not allowing women to vote in a church meeting? And, since you are almost certainly aware of what Bible verse forms the basis of this doctrine, do you think that the Bible itself — which is to say, God — perpetuates “demeaning gender stereotypes”? Spell it out for us. We are, after all, reactionary troglodytes here.

    And, to butt in on your dialogue with Dan,

    That’s the point, Dan. You have the choice.

    So “choice” is the paramount concern here, not whatever the Bible may have to say on the matter? Do I have that right?

    Are you really using extinct OT prohibitions to justify preventing women from participating in the decision to remodel a toilet?

    Jon, I think you’re pretty well aware of the appropriate NT passages on this topic. Dan’s point, I believe, was not to outline the basis for a Christian church prohibiting women from voting, but rather to pick a rather obvious example from the Bible in which God himself limited duties to certain genders, and then to ask if your “stereotype” language still applies.

    But all this talk of toilets is a bit precious, isn’t it? Let’s talk about something more to the point. Should the women in a congregation be able to vote on the membership status of (and thereby exercise authority over) a man in the congregation?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@9), you keep mentioning “demeaning gender stereotypes”, but then you go on to talk about gender-specific roles. You don’t seem to understand that these are not the same, on several levels.

    For instance, what “stereotype”, exactly, is propagated by not allowing women to vote in a church meeting? And, since you are almost certainly aware of what Bible verse forms the basis of this doctrine, do you think that the Bible itself — which is to say, God — perpetuates “demeaning gender stereotypes”? Spell it out for us. We are, after all, reactionary troglodytes here.

    And, to butt in on your dialogue with Dan,

    That’s the point, Dan. You have the choice.

    So “choice” is the paramount concern here, not whatever the Bible may have to say on the matter? Do I have that right?

    Are you really using extinct OT prohibitions to justify preventing women from participating in the decision to remodel a toilet?

    Jon, I think you’re pretty well aware of the appropriate NT passages on this topic. Dan’s point, I believe, was not to outline the basis for a Christian church prohibiting women from voting, but rather to pick a rather obvious example from the Bible in which God himself limited duties to certain genders, and then to ask if your “stereotype” language still applies.

    But all this talk of toilets is a bit precious, isn’t it? Let’s talk about something more to the point. Should the women in a congregation be able to vote on the membership status of (and thereby exercise authority over) a man in the congregation?

  • helen

    I go to Voters’ ; they make it easy by having it after second service.
    (The high schoolers provide the labor for lunch as a fund raiser. They go to Higher Things, so it’s a good cause AWA a good lunch.)

    I have so far left the committee work to those who are interested.

    “All male” voters’ groups are not a guarantee of sensible (or Lutheran) decisions. The only one I lived under was actually run (behind the scenes) by the pastor’s wife. ["He's the head; I'm the neck that turns it."] :(

  • helen

    I go to Voters’ ; they make it easy by having it after second service.
    (The high schoolers provide the labor for lunch as a fund raiser. They go to Higher Things, so it’s a good cause AWA a good lunch.)

    I have so far left the committee work to those who are interested.

    “All male” voters’ groups are not a guarantee of sensible (or Lutheran) decisions. The only one I lived under was actually run (behind the scenes) by the pastor’s wife. ["He's the head; I'm the neck that turns it."] :(

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon, #27,

    Question: (And it is a serious question, so do not take it facetiously.) Did God demean Eve by creating Adam first and giving him headship?

    Separate question: Did God demean the women of the temple period by precluding them from serving as priests?

    I think I am understanding how we see this differently, but I would like to hear your response to the previous questions. to help me understand your thinking.

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon, #27,

    Question: (And it is a serious question, so do not take it facetiously.) Did God demean Eve by creating Adam first and giving him headship?

    Separate question: Did God demean the women of the temple period by precluding them from serving as priests?

    I think I am understanding how we see this differently, but I would like to hear your response to the previous questions. to help me understand your thinking.

  • helen

    Adam & Eve was a husband/wife relationship, and so are most other male/female relationships discussed in the Bible.

    Not being an LCMS DCE, [interesting exception!] my religion major and teaching degree do not qualify me to teach catechism to a 14 year old boy, according to some hard heads. If you think I am going to take advice from that boy, because he wears trousers, think again.
    (Because he knows something I need to learn would be a reason to listen, applicable to a girl also.)

    But no, we don’t need women in the chancel, even as readers. [FTM, we have enough trained and ordained men waiting for calls so we don't need "licensed laymen" there either.] :(

  • helen

    Adam & Eve was a husband/wife relationship, and so are most other male/female relationships discussed in the Bible.

    Not being an LCMS DCE, [interesting exception!] my religion major and teaching degree do not qualify me to teach catechism to a 14 year old boy, according to some hard heads. If you think I am going to take advice from that boy, because he wears trousers, think again.
    (Because he knows something I need to learn would be a reason to listen, applicable to a girl also.)

    But no, we don’t need women in the chancel, even as readers. [FTM, we have enough trained and ordained men waiting for calls so we don't need "licensed laymen" there either.] :(

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Clearly, you’ve never danced, Jon. I used to take swing-dancing lessons, back when swing had its little pop-culture revival. It was a good way to meet women. You’d be surprised how many liberal, 20-something, West-Coast urban ladies enjoyed dancing, in spite of its demeaning nature that treated them as incompetent. I mean, there I was, leading them around the dance floor, but they always seemed to be enjoying themselves, with nary a word about how oppressive I was and couldn’t we just both lead. Every swing concert was basically a breeding ground for reactionary conservatism. If only everyone there knew.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Clearly, you’ve never danced, Jon. I used to take swing-dancing lessons, back when swing had its little pop-culture revival. It was a good way to meet women. You’d be surprised how many liberal, 20-something, West-Coast urban ladies enjoyed dancing, in spite of its demeaning nature that treated them as incompetent. I mean, there I was, leading them around the dance floor, but they always seemed to be enjoying themselves, with nary a word about how oppressive I was and couldn’t we just both lead. Every swing concert was basically a breeding ground for reactionary conservatism. If only everyone there knew.

  • Jon

    @31 If I answer yes, you’ll say that I disagree with God. If I answer no, then you’ll say that denying women the vote is no different from the examples you cited.

    I see no connection between your examples and the policy (allegedly grounded in Scripture, not custom) that denies women qua women the right to vote on any congregational matter.

  • Jon

    @31 If I answer yes, you’ll say that I disagree with God. If I answer no, then you’ll say that denying women the vote is no different from the examples you cited.

    I see no connection between your examples and the policy (allegedly grounded in Scripture, not custom) that denies women qua women the right to vote on any congregational matter.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@34), plus a few points for trying to stay a step ahead of Dan, but minus a whole lot more for completely dodging the question because you don’t like either of the potential responses you’ve outlined. Is explicitly disagreeing with God something you find to be undesirable?

    As to “the policy (allegedly grounded in Scripture, not custom)”, come on. Do you really not know what Scripture passage this is based on? I’m having a hard time believing that. I understand that you disagree with the policy, but are you truly ignorant of where it comes from?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@34), plus a few points for trying to stay a step ahead of Dan, but minus a whole lot more for completely dodging the question because you don’t like either of the potential responses you’ve outlined. Is explicitly disagreeing with God something you find to be undesirable?

    As to “the policy (allegedly grounded in Scripture, not custom)”, come on. Do you really not know what Scripture passage this is based on? I’m having a hard time believing that. I understand that you disagree with the policy, but are you truly ignorant of where it comes from?

  • Lou

    Jon, I found your comments about women not being allowed to vote about anything in the church curious. I belong to a conservative denomination (PCA), and while women do not participate in session meetings and voting (those are run by the elders of the church who are always men only), all communing members of the church have a vote in matters of church polity as presented in regular congregational meetings. This would include the funding of facilities and the like. Most often, the women do vote just as their husbands vote, but it is not a requirement. I’m surprised that there would be denominations that do not allow a similar form of government that includes full membership participation.

  • Lou

    Jon, I found your comments about women not being allowed to vote about anything in the church curious. I belong to a conservative denomination (PCA), and while women do not participate in session meetings and voting (those are run by the elders of the church who are always men only), all communing members of the church have a vote in matters of church polity as presented in regular congregational meetings. This would include the funding of facilities and the like. Most often, the women do vote just as their husbands vote, but it is not a requirement. I’m surprised that there would be denominations that do not allow a similar form of government that includes full membership participation.

  • Jon

    @35,I’m dense, sorry. I don’t see the connection between the creation account, women not serving as OT priests, and the policy of prohibiting women from voting on church business. If women can’t vote based on such verses, why not have women sit separately from men during the service?

    Do I believe that God demeans women? No. But I think the policy that prohibits women from voting on even the most mundane of church business, does.

  • Jon

    @35,I’m dense, sorry. I don’t see the connection between the creation account, women not serving as OT priests, and the policy of prohibiting women from voting on church business. If women can’t vote based on such verses, why not have women sit separately from men during the service?

    Do I believe that God demeans women? No. But I think the policy that prohibits women from voting on even the most mundane of church business, does.

  • Jon

    Lou @36,I’m speaking only of voting in regular congregational meetings. The policy is followed, to my knowledge, by some conservative Lutheran synods and by some groups of Plymouth Brethren. I think the practice was more widespread before women gained the right to vote civilly.

  • Jon

    Lou @36,I’m speaking only of voting in regular congregational meetings. The policy is followed, to my knowledge, by some conservative Lutheran synods and by some groups of Plymouth Brethren. I think the practice was more widespread before women gained the right to vote civilly.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@37), read 1 Timothy 2 and get back to me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@37), read 1 Timothy 2 and get back to me.

  • Lou

    Jon, Thanks for clarifying for me. In the PCA, Book 25 of the BOCO states that all communing members participate in voting at congregational meetings, so I’d agree with you there. The matters voted upon at congregational meetings are only those things which have been selected and announced by the session of the church, so the headship is still in place. The spending of and investing of church funds are very common topics.

  • Lou

    Jon, Thanks for clarifying for me. In the PCA, Book 25 of the BOCO states that all communing members participate in voting at congregational meetings, so I’d agree with you there. The matters voted upon at congregational meetings are only those things which have been selected and announced by the session of the church, so the headship is still in place. The spending of and investing of church funds are very common topics.

  • Lou

    Oops. I meant Chapter 25 of the BoCO.

  • Lou

    Oops. I meant Chapter 25 of the BoCO.

  • Jon

    Lou@40, Thanks.
    You, apparently, don’t believe that 1 Tim 2 prohibits women from voting on the “spending of and investing of church funds.” Neither do I.

    What I’ve tried to address is the blanket prohibition on women voting on any issue; hence my use of bathroom remodeling, simply to show how extensive the prohibition can be.

  • Jon

    Lou@40, Thanks.
    You, apparently, don’t believe that 1 Tim 2 prohibits women from voting on the “spending of and investing of church funds.” Neither do I.

    What I’ve tried to address is the blanket prohibition on women voting on any issue; hence my use of bathroom remodeling, simply to show how extensive the prohibition can be.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@42), saying that you don’t believe 1 Tim. 2 “prohibits women from voting on the ‘spending of and investing of church funds’” doesn’t really tell us anything.

    What does 1 Tim. 2 teach us? Does it prescribe gender roles? Does it apply in any way today? Why did God inspire it to be written? What does it mean to “have authority”? And so on.

    Until you lay those issues out, spending time focusing on the bathroom will be little more than navel-gazing.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon (@42), saying that you don’t believe 1 Tim. 2 “prohibits women from voting on the ‘spending of and investing of church funds’” doesn’t really tell us anything.

    What does 1 Tim. 2 teach us? Does it prescribe gender roles? Does it apply in any way today? Why did God inspire it to be written? What does it mean to “have authority”? And so on.

    Until you lay those issues out, spending time focusing on the bathroom will be little more than navel-gazing.

  • Lou

    tODD: Greater men than us have interpreted it as Jon does. Women are to learn quietly and are not to teach or exercise authority over men in the church. So how exactly does this prohibit them from voting in congregational meetings on matters that have been brought before the church by the session of elders for the members of the church to decide upon?
    The PCA has always allowed for it, as I had stated above, in the Book of Church Order, Ch. 25. I really don’t see how 1 Tim 2 prohibits voting. Does it prohibit women from teaching men, or exercising authority over them? Absolutely. Voting? Not seeing it.

  • Lou

    tODD: Greater men than us have interpreted it as Jon does. Women are to learn quietly and are not to teach or exercise authority over men in the church. So how exactly does this prohibit them from voting in congregational meetings on matters that have been brought before the church by the session of elders for the members of the church to decide upon?
    The PCA has always allowed for it, as I had stated above, in the Book of Church Order, Ch. 25. I really don’t see how 1 Tim 2 prohibits voting. Does it prohibit women from teaching men, or exercising authority over them? Absolutely. Voting? Not seeing it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Lou said (@44),

    Greater men than us have interpreted it as Jon does.

    Hello, appeal to authority! (Follow the link to see what I think about that line of thinking.)

    Also, by way of parallel rebuttal, greater men than us have interpreted it as I do. So that gets us nowhere!

    Again, if you’re going to take up this discussion, you also should answer the questions I asked Jon (@43). Particularly, what does it mean to “exercise authority”? Once you’ve spelled that out, we can how it applies to voting in the church.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Lou said (@44),

    Greater men than us have interpreted it as Jon does.

    Hello, appeal to authority! (Follow the link to see what I think about that line of thinking.)

    Also, by way of parallel rebuttal, greater men than us have interpreted it as I do. So that gets us nowhere!

    Again, if you’re going to take up this discussion, you also should answer the questions I asked Jon (@43). Particularly, what does it mean to “exercise authority”? Once you’ve spelled that out, we can how it applies to voting in the church.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oops. Should be (@45), “Once you’ve spelled that out, we can see how it applies to voting in the church.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oops. Should be (@45), “Once you’ve spelled that out, we can see how it applies to voting in the church.”

  • DonS

    Jon and Lou: I would say that most conservative churches today permit women to vote on congregational matters. Many also permit women to be in charge of children’s ministries, women’s ministries, and the like, even though this means that they will occasionally be in authority over men, for instance, when a man teaches a Sunday School class. As with many things doctrinal, there is some flexibility in how the literal Scriptural language is interpreted while retaining the essence and impact of its meaning. That being said, having the right to vote can certainly be interpreted as having the right to exercise authority. What if the congregation is majority women? What if women get together and organize their votes to swing a congregational election a particular way? Aren’t these examples, even if unlikely, instances where women would be exercising authority over men? And, if so, it seems as if the scripture at I Tim. 2, I Cor. 11, and I Cor. 14, for example, comes into play.

  • DonS

    Jon and Lou: I would say that most conservative churches today permit women to vote on congregational matters. Many also permit women to be in charge of children’s ministries, women’s ministries, and the like, even though this means that they will occasionally be in authority over men, for instance, when a man teaches a Sunday School class. As with many things doctrinal, there is some flexibility in how the literal Scriptural language is interpreted while retaining the essence and impact of its meaning. That being said, having the right to vote can certainly be interpreted as having the right to exercise authority. What if the congregation is majority women? What if women get together and organize their votes to swing a congregational election a particular way? Aren’t these examples, even if unlikely, instances where women would be exercising authority over men? And, if so, it seems as if the scripture at I Tim. 2, I Cor. 11, and I Cor. 14, for example, comes into play.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Just as a practical matter, what I take away from the notion of sticking the guys with some of these responsibilities is so that the guys can’t sit back and leave the women to do everything. Then comes along someone who flatters the women and makes it sound all big and important to sit on some board or committee and before you know it the guys are free to go get a beer and we are stuck writing reports, taking minutes, and chasing after stuff yada, yada. Nuh, uh, brother. Guys need to help out, too.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Just as a practical matter, what I take away from the notion of sticking the guys with some of these responsibilities is so that the guys can’t sit back and leave the women to do everything. Then comes along someone who flatters the women and makes it sound all big and important to sit on some board or committee and before you know it the guys are free to go get a beer and we are stuck writing reports, taking minutes, and chasing after stuff yada, yada. Nuh, uh, brother. Guys need to help out, too.

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon, #34,

    “If I answer yes, you’ll say that I disagree with God. If I answer no, then you’ll say that denying women the vote is no different from the examples you cited.”

    Actually, Jon, (though you sort of volunteer a check mate in the previous quote,) I’m just interested in seeing how you are reasoning this out. You could, for instance,

    1) think that the Old Testament was trumped together by a bunch of patriarchal thugs who thought monotheism was the next great thing in religion and beyond whose primitive ideas we have now progressed. In that case we would entirely disagree, but it would explain your position. You could also,

    2) think that the Old Testament, while interesting, is “expired” (your word from #11) and therefore not in continuity with the New Testament. Here we would also disagree, but I would understand your reasoning. You might still further, (I strongly suspect this is the case),

    3) think that the Old Testament is the true and eternal Word of God, yet recognize that not all of the legal requirements remain binding on the New Testament Church. If that is your perspective, then I can understand your reasoning that the analogy of the levitical priesthood does not apply and consider it a valid line of debate.

    But if that is the case, then you must argue that the Old Testament prohibition no longer applies in this instance and make your scriptural case. What you cannot do is argue that any gender distinction is demeaning, for if so then you argue that God was demeaning when He drew such distinctions.

    I think the real point of your discussion is not whether a distinction may or should be made, but where the line ought to be drawn. You continue to respond to me as though I am arguing for a “policy (allegedly grounded in Scripture, not custom) that denies women the right to vote on any congregational matter.”

    I have never made that argument. What I did is question YOUR argument, which is not really an argument at all. Or at least your argument was not clear. Are you saying that any and all restriction placed on the service of women is “demeaning?” If so, you have the problem of the Old Testament. (and 1 Timothy) Or are you saying that some churches go too far? If so, I agree with you, but I also don’t find that helpful. Let’s get to the point:

    Where do you think the line should be drawn, and why do you think it should be there?

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon, #34,

    “If I answer yes, you’ll say that I disagree with God. If I answer no, then you’ll say that denying women the vote is no different from the examples you cited.”

    Actually, Jon, (though you sort of volunteer a check mate in the previous quote,) I’m just interested in seeing how you are reasoning this out. You could, for instance,

    1) think that the Old Testament was trumped together by a bunch of patriarchal thugs who thought monotheism was the next great thing in religion and beyond whose primitive ideas we have now progressed. In that case we would entirely disagree, but it would explain your position. You could also,

    2) think that the Old Testament, while interesting, is “expired” (your word from #11) and therefore not in continuity with the New Testament. Here we would also disagree, but I would understand your reasoning. You might still further, (I strongly suspect this is the case),

    3) think that the Old Testament is the true and eternal Word of God, yet recognize that not all of the legal requirements remain binding on the New Testament Church. If that is your perspective, then I can understand your reasoning that the analogy of the levitical priesthood does not apply and consider it a valid line of debate.

    But if that is the case, then you must argue that the Old Testament prohibition no longer applies in this instance and make your scriptural case. What you cannot do is argue that any gender distinction is demeaning, for if so then you argue that God was demeaning when He drew such distinctions.

    I think the real point of your discussion is not whether a distinction may or should be made, but where the line ought to be drawn. You continue to respond to me as though I am arguing for a “policy (allegedly grounded in Scripture, not custom) that denies women the right to vote on any congregational matter.”

    I have never made that argument. What I did is question YOUR argument, which is not really an argument at all. Or at least your argument was not clear. Are you saying that any and all restriction placed on the service of women is “demeaning?” If so, you have the problem of the Old Testament. (and 1 Timothy) Or are you saying that some churches go too far? If so, I agree with you, but I also don’t find that helpful. Let’s get to the point:

    Where do you think the line should be drawn, and why do you think it should be there?

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon and Lou,

    I’m also interested in hearing you answer tODD’s question at #45, namely what does it mean to “exercise authority” based on 1 Tim. I think that would help us get on to the real debate.

  • Dan Kempin

    Jon and Lou,

    I’m also interested in hearing you answer tODD’s question at #45, namely what does it mean to “exercise authority” based on 1 Tim. I think that would help us get on to the real debate.

  • Jeremy

    “run by the elders of the church who are always men only”

    One thing that I find so odd about churches who don’t allow women to lead, is that many of the same people would vote for Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann for president. I would think a woman in charge of the country and a “first husband” in the White House would be much more challenging to traditional gender roles than having a female youth pastor leading only a bunch of teenagers.

  • Jeremy

    “run by the elders of the church who are always men only”

    One thing that I find so odd about churches who don’t allow women to lead, is that many of the same people would vote for Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann for president. I would think a woman in charge of the country and a “first husband” in the White House would be much more challenging to traditional gender roles than having a female youth pastor leading only a bunch of teenagers.

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Sooooo, how do bathroom breaks work at this school?

  • http://enterthevein.blogspot.com J. Dean

    Sooooo, how do bathroom breaks work at this school?

  • Matt

    lol

    Most of this news story is hardly news. The part about removing “gender rolls” from language and books is new – and rather weird. But seriously, I don’t know of any preschool anywhere in which the teachers would frown on a boy who played with dolls or limit a girl from playing with trucks. In every preschool I have ever known the toys are available and any of the kids play with whatever toys they like. So part of this preschool’s philosophy is based on a false premise that big bad traditional preschool somehow force some kind of gender identification on poor helpless kids during playtime. Doesn’t happen in real life. Sounds like they are creating a tempest in a teacup.

  • Matt

    lol

    Most of this news story is hardly news. The part about removing “gender rolls” from language and books is new – and rather weird. But seriously, I don’t know of any preschool anywhere in which the teachers would frown on a boy who played with dolls or limit a girl from playing with trucks. In every preschool I have ever known the toys are available and any of the kids play with whatever toys they like. So part of this preschool’s philosophy is based on a false premise that big bad traditional preschool somehow force some kind of gender identification on poor helpless kids during playtime. Doesn’t happen in real life. Sounds like they are creating a tempest in a teacup.

  • DonS

    Jeremy @ 51: Well, and you might add, say, Hilary Clinton to that list as well, just to keep it non-partisan.

    Of course, the thing is that the Scripture at issue only applies to the church, not the state. So, your beef is really with God.

  • DonS

    Jeremy @ 51: Well, and you might add, say, Hilary Clinton to that list as well, just to keep it non-partisan.

    Of course, the thing is that the Scripture at issue only applies to the church, not the state. So, your beef is really with God.

  • Lou

    Dan and tODD, you both act is if the example I gave from the PCA’s Book of Church Order doesn’t address the “exercise of authority” question. DonS picked up on it, and asked some follow-on questions. Voting in congregational meetings on topics that are put before the church by the session of elders does not give the voters authority over the ruling elders. Keep in mind, the kinds of things that are put before the congregation are not about doctrine, theology or church polity. Those things are always decided by the session or general assembly (all men). So, the PCA does not view congregational voting as exercising authority over the session.

    tODD, interesting that you are so interested in this question of “exercising authority” and yet are quick to dismiss someone who argues with an appeal to authority. Not all appeals to authority are fallacious. Dontcha think it sounds just a tad ironic to reject an appeal to authority in the context of a discuss about authority roles?

  • Lou

    Dan and tODD, you both act is if the example I gave from the PCA’s Book of Church Order doesn’t address the “exercise of authority” question. DonS picked up on it, and asked some follow-on questions. Voting in congregational meetings on topics that are put before the church by the session of elders does not give the voters authority over the ruling elders. Keep in mind, the kinds of things that are put before the congregation are not about doctrine, theology or church polity. Those things are always decided by the session or general assembly (all men). So, the PCA does not view congregational voting as exercising authority over the session.

    tODD, interesting that you are so interested in this question of “exercising authority” and yet are quick to dismiss someone who argues with an appeal to authority. Not all appeals to authority are fallacious. Dontcha think it sounds just a tad ironic to reject an appeal to authority in the context of a discuss about authority roles?

  • Lou

    One more thing I left out, in voting, the session of elders always holds the final decision even after congregatonal vote. Typically, what happens in practice is that the question or issue is assumed to have been presented in an incomplete manner or without clearly spelling out the implications, etc… The issuue that has been put before the congregation will most often go back to the session and then will be redefined or rephrased so as to ensure the congregation has an adequate understanding before a revote. Of course this can be manipulated, but it is done because they see it as in keeping with the Council of Dort and other historical docmentation that places decision making on church matters with the elders of the church (not men in general).

  • Lou

    One more thing I left out, in voting, the session of elders always holds the final decision even after congregatonal vote. Typically, what happens in practice is that the question or issue is assumed to have been presented in an incomplete manner or without clearly spelling out the implications, etc… The issuue that has been put before the congregation will most often go back to the session and then will be redefined or rephrased so as to ensure the congregation has an adequate understanding before a revote. Of course this can be manipulated, but it is done because they see it as in keeping with the Council of Dort and other historical docmentation that places decision making on church matters with the elders of the church (not men in general).

  • Jeremy

    @DonS

    “Of course, the thing is that the Scripture at issue only applies to the church, not the state. So, your beef is really with God.”

    Don, maybe you’re right. Maybe my problem is with scripture. But can’t you concede that the policy is just a little bit surprising? A woman can lead our nation, command the military, set foreign policy, and appoint supreme court justices, and that is biblical. But if she were to go to her church and vote on setting up a preschool summer camp, then that would be overstepping her biblical bounds.

  • Jeremy

    @DonS

    “Of course, the thing is that the Scripture at issue only applies to the church, not the state. So, your beef is really with God.”

    Don, maybe you’re right. Maybe my problem is with scripture. But can’t you concede that the policy is just a little bit surprising? A woman can lead our nation, command the military, set foreign policy, and appoint supreme court justices, and that is biblical. But if she were to go to her church and vote on setting up a preschool summer camp, then that would be overstepping her biblical bounds.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “But if she were to go to her church and vote on setting up a preschool summer camp, then that would be overstepping her biblical bounds.”

    This ignores the actual situation that when the men “let” the women do stuff, before you know it, no guys will show up to do anything. This appeal of flattery is just a way to dump more responsibility and work on women under the guise of “valuing” their opinions. It is a trap. Not surprisingly, denominations that “let” women do stuff quickly find that fewer and fewer men show up.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “But if she were to go to her church and vote on setting up a preschool summer camp, then that would be overstepping her biblical bounds.”

    This ignores the actual situation that when the men “let” the women do stuff, before you know it, no guys will show up to do anything. This appeal of flattery is just a way to dump more responsibility and work on women under the guise of “valuing” their opinions. It is a trap. Not surprisingly, denominations that “let” women do stuff quickly find that fewer and fewer men show up.

  • Lou

    SG: I’m so tired of Adam blaming Eve (or in this case of Eve inflicting self-condemnation over and over because Adam won’t man up for his sin). I’d much rather listen to God and let each fulfill their roles in full faith as if unto the Lord.

  • Lou

    SG: I’m so tired of Adam blaming Eve (or in this case of Eve inflicting self-condemnation over and over because Adam won’t man up for his sin). I’d much rather listen to God and let each fulfill their roles in full faith as if unto the Lord.

  • DonS

    Jeremy @ 57: Yes, I can. On human terms, it’s quite surprising. But we also see biblical support for the differentiation between political and spiritual leadership. Note, for example, the well known example of the judgeship of Deborah (Judges 4).

    I think the struggle is in seeing the biblical submission of women to men in spiritual matters as demeaning. It’s not. It’s just role differentiation. The context of scriptural teaching on the Body of Christ is that we are all members of the Body, and we all have unique defined roles. The Body needs all of us to fulfill our assigned roles to be fully effective. Women have been given the gift of empathy, which is an incredibly important nurturing gift for the purpose of motherhood. But, that gift is accompanied by a tendency to be vulnerable to an emotional appeal, which is not ideal for spiritual leadership. This is what Paul is getting at, I believe, in I Timothy 2: 14, when he says “..it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” Note what he is not doing. He is not blaming Eve for the fall. That blame is assigned squarely to Adam throughout Scripture. Instead, he is saying that women are vulnerable in this area, because of their unique giftings, so they shouldn’t be put in positions of spiritual leadership.

    The bottom line is that, although we have different roles within the Body, we are all equal before God.

  • DonS

    Jeremy @ 57: Yes, I can. On human terms, it’s quite surprising. But we also see biblical support for the differentiation between political and spiritual leadership. Note, for example, the well known example of the judgeship of Deborah (Judges 4).

    I think the struggle is in seeing the biblical submission of women to men in spiritual matters as demeaning. It’s not. It’s just role differentiation. The context of scriptural teaching on the Body of Christ is that we are all members of the Body, and we all have unique defined roles. The Body needs all of us to fulfill our assigned roles to be fully effective. Women have been given the gift of empathy, which is an incredibly important nurturing gift for the purpose of motherhood. But, that gift is accompanied by a tendency to be vulnerable to an emotional appeal, which is not ideal for spiritual leadership. This is what Paul is getting at, I believe, in I Timothy 2: 14, when he says “..it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” Note what he is not doing. He is not blaming Eve for the fall. That blame is assigned squarely to Adam throughout Scripture. Instead, he is saying that women are vulnerable in this area, because of their unique giftings, so they shouldn’t be put in positions of spiritual leadership.

    The bottom line is that, although we have different roles within the Body, we are all equal before God.

  • DonS

    Lou @ 59: As I mentioned in the post above, Paul also brought up Eve’s vulnerability to deception, in I Timothy 2:14. Not for the purpose of “blaming” Eve for the fall, but as a warning against women taking on roles involving spiritual leadership over men.

    sg makes a valid point. I have on many occasions observed what happens when women are permitted to overstep into traditionally male roles within the church. The men, rather than picking up the slack elsewhere, consider the job done and slack off — go fishing, so to speak. The women end up doing their jobs, and the men’s jobs as well. One of the crises in the world of Christianity today, and in society at large, is the lack of understanding of men as to their role in the world, and, more importantly, in their families and churches.

  • DonS

    Lou @ 59: As I mentioned in the post above, Paul also brought up Eve’s vulnerability to deception, in I Timothy 2:14. Not for the purpose of “blaming” Eve for the fall, but as a warning against women taking on roles involving spiritual leadership over men.

    sg makes a valid point. I have on many occasions observed what happens when women are permitted to overstep into traditionally male roles within the church. The men, rather than picking up the slack elsewhere, consider the job done and slack off — go fishing, so to speak. The women end up doing their jobs, and the men’s jobs as well. One of the crises in the world of Christianity today, and in society at large, is the lack of understanding of men as to their role in the world, and, more importantly, in their families and churches.

  • Lou

    DonS: Very true. I agree that role-creep (if that’s a term. kinda like scope-creep in the world of PMs) is a big issue with gender roles in the church. Sometimes, though, I think that we conservatives tend to swing a bit too far in the other direction in some ways. One of these is trying to make all women submit to all men, when the Bible states that women must submit to their own husbands and to the rulers of the church. True, she is not permitted to have authority over any men in the church. I think we have to be careful not to assume that all men in the church can exercise authority over all women.

    In the case of SG’s comment at #58, it seemed like she was saying that women should not do anything in the church (“when men let women do stuff”). Certainly, we can’t react out of fear and not allow women to do anything at all. That seems a bit extreme, if that is what is being argued for (it’s not quite clear to me if that is what SG means or not).

  • Lou

    DonS: Very true. I agree that role-creep (if that’s a term. kinda like scope-creep in the world of PMs) is a big issue with gender roles in the church. Sometimes, though, I think that we conservatives tend to swing a bit too far in the other direction in some ways. One of these is trying to make all women submit to all men, when the Bible states that women must submit to their own husbands and to the rulers of the church. True, she is not permitted to have authority over any men in the church. I think we have to be careful not to assume that all men in the church can exercise authority over all women.

    In the case of SG’s comment at #58, it seemed like she was saying that women should not do anything in the church (“when men let women do stuff”). Certainly, we can’t react out of fear and not allow women to do anything at all. That seems a bit extreme, if that is what is being argued for (it’s not quite clear to me if that is what SG means or not).

  • Jeremy

    “Yes, I can. On human terms, it’s quite surprising. But we also see biblical support for the differentiation between political and spiritual leadership. Note, for example, the well known example of the judgeship of Deborah”

    This is only my opinion, but the whole thing sounds so compartmentalized to me. A conservative Christian man might start work on Monday, where his boss is female. Then on Tuesday, he could go out and vote for Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann as leader of the nation. Then on Wednesday, he might go to the hospital where his doctor is female, and he is putting his life in her hands. Then on Thursday, he might be involved in a court case where the judge is female. And while all this is going on, his wife may work in a professional capacity as a doctor or lawyer. But then on Sunday morning from 10:30AM to 11:59AM, the woman might not even be eligible to be a youth pastor.

  • Jeremy

    “Yes, I can. On human terms, it’s quite surprising. But we also see biblical support for the differentiation between political and spiritual leadership. Note, for example, the well known example of the judgeship of Deborah”

    This is only my opinion, but the whole thing sounds so compartmentalized to me. A conservative Christian man might start work on Monday, where his boss is female. Then on Tuesday, he could go out and vote for Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann as leader of the nation. Then on Wednesday, he might go to the hospital where his doctor is female, and he is putting his life in her hands. Then on Thursday, he might be involved in a court case where the judge is female. And while all this is going on, his wife may work in a professional capacity as a doctor or lawyer. But then on Sunday morning from 10:30AM to 11:59AM, the woman might not even be eligible to be a youth pastor.

  • Jon

    @63 Or eligible to vote on funds to remodel the church bathroom. My example’s purposely mundane to show the absurd effect of a blanket policy against any woman congregant voting on any matter. The burden to justify such a policy, on the ground that it is mandated to prevent any woman from ‘having authority’ over any man, is on those who support the policy.

  • Jon

    @63 Or eligible to vote on funds to remodel the church bathroom. My example’s purposely mundane to show the absurd effect of a blanket policy against any woman congregant voting on any matter. The burden to justify such a policy, on the ground that it is mandated to prevent any woman from ‘having authority’ over any man, is on those who support the policy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jeremy said (@51):

    One thing that I find so odd about churches who don’t allow women to lead, is that many of the same people would vote for Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann for president.

    Once again, in order to address this apparent oddity, you have to be able to explain what it means in 1 Tim. 2 to “exercise authority”. But, Jeremy, you seem unwilling to examine this from a scriptural stance, instead viewing it as merely a sociological concern: “challenging … traditional gender roles”. If you don’t understand the primacy of Scripture to Christians, you’re likely going to miss the whole point.

    Of course, DonS says (@54) that “the Scripture at issue only applies to the church”, but I think that statement needs to be unpacked. What, exactly, in the context of 1 Tim. 2 (notably v.12), limits its application strictly to “the church”? I’m not necessarily opposed to that reading personally, but I tend to suspect it’s more conditioned by recent cultural mores than proper exegesis.

    Lou adds (@55) that, according to the PCA’s method of doing things,

    Voting in congregational meetings on topics that are put before the church by the session of elders does not give the voters authority over the ruling elders. Keep in mind, the kinds of things that are put before the congregation are not about doctrine, theology or church polity.

    But Scripture doesn’t proscribe women exercising authority over “the ruling elders”. It says “over a man”. Nor does Scripture limit this proscription of authority solely to the realms of “doctrine, theology or church polity”. Why do you read it that way?

    And Lou, as to your earlier appeal to authority (@44), it was logically fallacious. Period. You did not appeal to reason, but simply to unnamed “greater men” — as if I necessarily even agreed that such men are “greater”. That’s pretty much a textbook example of the logical fallacy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jeremy said (@51):

    One thing that I find so odd about churches who don’t allow women to lead, is that many of the same people would vote for Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann for president.

    Once again, in order to address this apparent oddity, you have to be able to explain what it means in 1 Tim. 2 to “exercise authority”. But, Jeremy, you seem unwilling to examine this from a scriptural stance, instead viewing it as merely a sociological concern: “challenging … traditional gender roles”. If you don’t understand the primacy of Scripture to Christians, you’re likely going to miss the whole point.

    Of course, DonS says (@54) that “the Scripture at issue only applies to the church”, but I think that statement needs to be unpacked. What, exactly, in the context of 1 Tim. 2 (notably v.12), limits its application strictly to “the church”? I’m not necessarily opposed to that reading personally, but I tend to suspect it’s more conditioned by recent cultural mores than proper exegesis.

    Lou adds (@55) that, according to the PCA’s method of doing things,

    Voting in congregational meetings on topics that are put before the church by the session of elders does not give the voters authority over the ruling elders. Keep in mind, the kinds of things that are put before the congregation are not about doctrine, theology or church polity.

    But Scripture doesn’t proscribe women exercising authority over “the ruling elders”. It says “over a man”. Nor does Scripture limit this proscription of authority solely to the realms of “doctrine, theology or church polity”. Why do you read it that way?

    And Lou, as to your earlier appeal to authority (@44), it was logically fallacious. Period. You did not appeal to reason, but simply to unnamed “greater men” — as if I necessarily even agreed that such men are “greater”. That’s pretty much a textbook example of the logical fallacy.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon said (@64),

    The burden to justify such a policy, on the ground that it is mandated to prevent any woman from ‘having authority’ over any man, is on those who support the policy.

    But that burden has been met already by pointing you to 1 Tim. 2. You haven’t addressed that passage of Scripture, have you? I certainly missed it, if you did.

    Again, what does it mean when Paul says “exercise authority”? Ball’s in your court on that one.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Jon said (@64),

    The burden to justify such a policy, on the ground that it is mandated to prevent any woman from ‘having authority’ over any man, is on those who support the policy.

    But that burden has been met already by pointing you to 1 Tim. 2. You haven’t addressed that passage of Scripture, have you? I certainly missed it, if you did.

    Again, what does it mean when Paul says “exercise authority”? Ball’s in your court on that one.

  • Lou

    tODD: First of all, I completely disagree that appeal to authority is fallacious. Such an idea is out of hand anti-Biblical — Period.
    Since you seem to have missed the logical reason behind it, I addressed you with it because your approach to attacking Jon’s points was demeaning, as if everyone in the Bible-believing world was on your side and against his. My point was to show you your presupposition was wrong. There are plenty of conservatitve, Biblical men who disagree with you.
    The fact that you don’t even recognize how ridiculous it is to try to make a case of establishing authority by arguing against an appeal to authority is laughable.

    Finally, exercising authority has already been established. Voting in a congregational meeting is not exercising authority. I’ll say it one more time for you — The session of elders decide what matters will be brought forth before the communing members of the church in a congregational meeting for their votes. The session of elders has the final right to accept the outcome of the vote, or to reconvene.

    Summary
    – Exercising Authority means ruling over by using power delgated (see exousiazó)
    — Women are not to exercise authority over men
    — Women are to submit to their own husbands and to the rulers of the church
    — Not all men in the church rule over all women in the church.
    – All women do not submit to all men.
    – Congregational voting does not create a situation where women are exercising authority over men generally or the men who rule over them.

    You may not agree with this reasoning, but at least try having some respect if you can find it in yourself tODD.

  • Lou

    tODD: First of all, I completely disagree that appeal to authority is fallacious. Such an idea is out of hand anti-Biblical — Period.
    Since you seem to have missed the logical reason behind it, I addressed you with it because your approach to attacking Jon’s points was demeaning, as if everyone in the Bible-believing world was on your side and against his. My point was to show you your presupposition was wrong. There are plenty of conservatitve, Biblical men who disagree with you.
    The fact that you don’t even recognize how ridiculous it is to try to make a case of establishing authority by arguing against an appeal to authority is laughable.

    Finally, exercising authority has already been established. Voting in a congregational meeting is not exercising authority. I’ll say it one more time for you — The session of elders decide what matters will be brought forth before the communing members of the church in a congregational meeting for their votes. The session of elders has the final right to accept the outcome of the vote, or to reconvene.

    Summary
    – Exercising Authority means ruling over by using power delgated (see exousiazó)
    — Women are not to exercise authority over men
    — Women are to submit to their own husbands and to the rulers of the church
    — Not all men in the church rule over all women in the church.
    – All women do not submit to all men.
    – Congregational voting does not create a situation where women are exercising authority over men generally or the men who rule over them.

    You may not agree with this reasoning, but at least try having some respect if you can find it in yourself tODD.

  • Lou

    Yikes. That came off really, really grumpy. I really do want to have a discussion about the topic. It just frustrates me when the discourse breaksdown over silly semantics, which is where it seems like we are.

  • Lou

    Yikes. That came off really, really grumpy. I really do want to have a discussion about the topic. It just frustrates me when the discourse breaksdown over silly semantics, which is where it seems like we are.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    This discussion is too theoretical. It ignores what actually happens when women vote. First we start of with the Creator and Master of the Universe explaining how to run things based on His superior knowledge. Then we have some people who seem to think that giving women extra responsibilities is somehow respectful. Then there are bad results which are ignored, yet the theoretical discussion continues without even a concern about how it has affected real churches.

    I must be a bad old pragmatist because I just don’t get it. It doesn’t work.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    This discussion is too theoretical. It ignores what actually happens when women vote. First we start of with the Creator and Master of the Universe explaining how to run things based on His superior knowledge. Then we have some people who seem to think that giving women extra responsibilities is somehow respectful. Then there are bad results which are ignored, yet the theoretical discussion continues without even a concern about how it has affected real churches.

    I must be a bad old pragmatist because I just don’t get it. It doesn’t work.

  • Lou

    SG: Two things though. You haven’t established how voting equates to “giving women extra responsibilities”. You have assumed that to be true, but yet scripture doesn’t state that anywhere. Most of us here are not trying to disobey what God has said.

    If anything, it would be easier to make a case against all voting ever by anyone, than to limit voting to based on gender, as voting is not an exercise of authority or a role of office.

  • Lou

    SG: Two things though. You haven’t established how voting equates to “giving women extra responsibilities”. You have assumed that to be true, but yet scripture doesn’t state that anywhere. Most of us here are not trying to disobey what God has said.

    If anything, it would be easier to make a case against all voting ever by anyone, than to limit voting to based on gender, as voting is not an exercise of authority or a role of office.

  • Lou

    Can you please give some of examples of “bad results which are ignored” that have occurred by allowing women to vote in congregational meetings?

  • Lou

    Can you please give some of examples of “bad results which are ignored” that have occurred by allowing women to vote in congregational meetings?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Lou said (@67),

    First of all, I completely disagree that appeal to authority is fallacious.

    Well, you can furthermore disagree that words have particular meanings, for all that’s worth. Doesn’t make it so. You seem to have a larger issue with the whole of rhetoric and logic than you do with my particular proposition. This brings into question if we can even have a discussion on the particulars if you reject the very framework by which we are to discuss them. But I also submit that you don’t understand the framework in which appeals to authority are fallacious.

    Such an idea is out of hand anti-Biblical — Period.

    This is, of course, superbly ironic of you.

    I explicitly appealed to Scripture (@43) to defend my stance. You, on the other hand, explicitly did not appeal to Scripture, but instead, to “greater men” (@44). And now you would defend your position as the more Biblical one? Even as you fail to rely on Scripture alone, but instead would have me consider other men’s “greatness” in determining an argument’s validity? I really can’t see that you’ve thought this through very much, sorry.

    Seriously, make your case from Scripture. Would you really have me believe that something else matters more in understanding Scripture?

    Since you seem to have missed the logical reason behind it, I addressed you with it because your approach to attacking Jon’s points was demeaning, as if everyone in the Bible-believing world was on your side and against his.

    Of course, the ultimate clause there is yet another appeal to authority, as if the validity of an argument rested on how many people agreed with it. That’s not how we determine validity — whether we are speaking of logic or Bible interpretation.

    My point was to show you your presupposition was wrong. There are plenty of conservatitve, Biblical men who disagree with you.

    And there you go again. You seem to care an awful lot what other people think. How about Scripture?

    Voting in a congregational meeting is not exercising authority.

    This is just a reiteration of your position, not an explanation.

    You seem to think that I’m specifically addressing your PCA election structure, when I haven’t been, at all. Is that what you want to discuss?

    Anyhow, seemingly out of nowhere, you offer up this statement in your summary (it’s odd to summarize something you’ve never mentioned before):

    Exercising Authority means ruling over by using power delgated (see exousiazó)

    Okay, let’s run with that definition. Since you claim that “voting in a congregational meeting is not exercising authority”, it necessarily follows that you believe that voting in a congregational meeting does not involve ruling over anyone using delegated power (transitive property). I find this hard to believe. Clearly, a congregational meeting has power delegated to it. And also clearly, the congregation is bound by (i.e. ruled over by) the decisions of the voters. As such, any women among the voters will exercise authority over men in the congregation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Lou said (@67),

    First of all, I completely disagree that appeal to authority is fallacious.

    Well, you can furthermore disagree that words have particular meanings, for all that’s worth. Doesn’t make it so. You seem to have a larger issue with the whole of rhetoric and logic than you do with my particular proposition. This brings into question if we can even have a discussion on the particulars if you reject the very framework by which we are to discuss them. But I also submit that you don’t understand the framework in which appeals to authority are fallacious.

    Such an idea is out of hand anti-Biblical — Period.

    This is, of course, superbly ironic of you.

    I explicitly appealed to Scripture (@43) to defend my stance. You, on the other hand, explicitly did not appeal to Scripture, but instead, to “greater men” (@44). And now you would defend your position as the more Biblical one? Even as you fail to rely on Scripture alone, but instead would have me consider other men’s “greatness” in determining an argument’s validity? I really can’t see that you’ve thought this through very much, sorry.

    Seriously, make your case from Scripture. Would you really have me believe that something else matters more in understanding Scripture?

    Since you seem to have missed the logical reason behind it, I addressed you with it because your approach to attacking Jon’s points was demeaning, as if everyone in the Bible-believing world was on your side and against his.

    Of course, the ultimate clause there is yet another appeal to authority, as if the validity of an argument rested on how many people agreed with it. That’s not how we determine validity — whether we are speaking of logic or Bible interpretation.

    My point was to show you your presupposition was wrong. There are plenty of conservatitve, Biblical men who disagree with you.

    And there you go again. You seem to care an awful lot what other people think. How about Scripture?

    Voting in a congregational meeting is not exercising authority.

    This is just a reiteration of your position, not an explanation.

    You seem to think that I’m specifically addressing your PCA election structure, when I haven’t been, at all. Is that what you want to discuss?

    Anyhow, seemingly out of nowhere, you offer up this statement in your summary (it’s odd to summarize something you’ve never mentioned before):

    Exercising Authority means ruling over by using power delgated (see exousiazó)

    Okay, let’s run with that definition. Since you claim that “voting in a congregational meeting is not exercising authority”, it necessarily follows that you believe that voting in a congregational meeting does not involve ruling over anyone using delegated power (transitive property). I find this hard to believe. Clearly, a congregational meeting has power delegated to it. And also clearly, the congregation is bound by (i.e. ruled over by) the decisions of the voters. As such, any women among the voters will exercise authority over men in the congregation.

  • DonS

    Well, the discussion has moved on quite a bit since my last comment @ 61, but let me at least address Lou @ 62, and some general comments about following posts.

    Lou, you said

    Sometimes, though, I think that we conservatives tend to swing a bit too far in the other direction in some ways. One of these is trying to make all women submit to all men, when the Bible states that women must submit to their own husbands and to the rulers of the church. True, she is not permitted to have authority over any men in the church. I think we have to be careful not to assume that all men in the church can exercise authority over all women.

    I agree with you that not all men have authority over women not their wives or daughters at home. Scripture only indicates the authority of leaders and husbands. However, I’m not sure in my own experience I have observed a problem in our churches in this area. I don’t see men not in leadership trying to assert authority over women not in their household — maybe I’m missing something? The fact is that true leadership doesn’t come across as an assertion of authority except in rare cases where some kind of discipline is required. Or, at least that’s how it seems to me. As for sg, she can speak for herself, but my sense from knowing her on this blog is that she is plenty involved in church. I think she has mentioned being the church librarian, for example. So, no worries about her not doing anything at all, or believing that is the proper place of women.

    On the issue of congregational voting, as mentioned by Jeremy @ 63, Jon @ 64, and then beyond in the dialog between tODD and Lou, I offer this. The only example of congregational voting in the early church that I can think of is in Acts 6, where the elders summoned the “congregation of the disciples” and asked them to select from among themselves seven deacons to serve the widows’ tables, so the elders could devote themselves to prayer and ministry of the Word. Verse 5 says that the congregation chose seven men for this task. We don’t know if voting was involved, but some method of selection was. We also don’t know if women were involved in the selection, because we don’t know whether women were in the “congregation of the disciples”. We do know that Tabitha is identified as “a certain disciple” in Acts 9:36. We also know that Scripture is specific in calling out the many good deeds of various deaconesses and workers in the early church, including Phoebe, Priscilla (Prisca), Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis, all mentioned in Romans 16.

    My point? There is much in this area that is a matter of interpretation, and that will be a matter of some different practice, all reasonably within Scriptural guidelines, in various denominations and churches. Is congregational voting a proper form of church governance? Scripture doesn’t say it isn’t, but I think the board of elders of a church needs to carefully consider the types of matters that are put to a vote. Should women vote in these congregational meetings? There is no question that, when a congregation engages in a binding vote about a matter of church governance, it is, as a whole, exercising authority over the whole church with respect to that matter. Does that mean individual voters, including women who vote, are also exercising authority? It’s not unreasonable to answer yes. So, the question is whether that level of authority is unscriptural. Personally, I think the answer is no, but I respect those who make a different choice, as that is certainly a fair reading of Scripture as well, and a matter of conscience for the church leadership.

  • DonS

    Well, the discussion has moved on quite a bit since my last comment @ 61, but let me at least address Lou @ 62, and some general comments about following posts.

    Lou, you said

    Sometimes, though, I think that we conservatives tend to swing a bit too far in the other direction in some ways. One of these is trying to make all women submit to all men, when the Bible states that women must submit to their own husbands and to the rulers of the church. True, she is not permitted to have authority over any men in the church. I think we have to be careful not to assume that all men in the church can exercise authority over all women.

    I agree with you that not all men have authority over women not their wives or daughters at home. Scripture only indicates the authority of leaders and husbands. However, I’m not sure in my own experience I have observed a problem in our churches in this area. I don’t see men not in leadership trying to assert authority over women not in their household — maybe I’m missing something? The fact is that true leadership doesn’t come across as an assertion of authority except in rare cases where some kind of discipline is required. Or, at least that’s how it seems to me. As for sg, she can speak for herself, but my sense from knowing her on this blog is that she is plenty involved in church. I think she has mentioned being the church librarian, for example. So, no worries about her not doing anything at all, or believing that is the proper place of women.

    On the issue of congregational voting, as mentioned by Jeremy @ 63, Jon @ 64, and then beyond in the dialog between tODD and Lou, I offer this. The only example of congregational voting in the early church that I can think of is in Acts 6, where the elders summoned the “congregation of the disciples” and asked them to select from among themselves seven deacons to serve the widows’ tables, so the elders could devote themselves to prayer and ministry of the Word. Verse 5 says that the congregation chose seven men for this task. We don’t know if voting was involved, but some method of selection was. We also don’t know if women were involved in the selection, because we don’t know whether women were in the “congregation of the disciples”. We do know that Tabitha is identified as “a certain disciple” in Acts 9:36. We also know that Scripture is specific in calling out the many good deeds of various deaconesses and workers in the early church, including Phoebe, Priscilla (Prisca), Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis, all mentioned in Romans 16.

    My point? There is much in this area that is a matter of interpretation, and that will be a matter of some different practice, all reasonably within Scriptural guidelines, in various denominations and churches. Is congregational voting a proper form of church governance? Scripture doesn’t say it isn’t, but I think the board of elders of a church needs to carefully consider the types of matters that are put to a vote. Should women vote in these congregational meetings? There is no question that, when a congregation engages in a binding vote about a matter of church governance, it is, as a whole, exercising authority over the whole church with respect to that matter. Does that mean individual voters, including women who vote, are also exercising authority? It’s not unreasonable to answer yes. So, the question is whether that level of authority is unscriptural. Personally, I think the answer is no, but I respect those who make a different choice, as that is certainly a fair reading of Scripture as well, and a matter of conscience for the church leadership.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There is a name for this fallacy. I don’t remember it.

    Basically the requirement is that all leaders are men. Then the assertion was made that it means all men are leaders, but that is not the requirement. That is a misstatement of the requirement.

    You haven’t established how voting equates to “giving women extra responsibilities”. You have assumed that to be true, but yet scripture doesn’t state that anywhere. Most of us here are not trying to disobey what God has said.

    That just ignores the real world. Where women vote, on average they vote against Biblical authority. They vote for stuff like female pastors. That is a responsibility.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There is a name for this fallacy. I don’t remember it.

    Basically the requirement is that all leaders are men. Then the assertion was made that it means all men are leaders, but that is not the requirement. That is a misstatement of the requirement.

    You haven’t established how voting equates to “giving women extra responsibilities”. You have assumed that to be true, but yet scripture doesn’t state that anywhere. Most of us here are not trying to disobey what God has said.

    That just ignores the real world. Where women vote, on average they vote against Biblical authority. They vote for stuff like female pastors. That is a responsibility.

  • Martin

    Yeah! No girls should be able to vote!
    Look what that has gotten us. Wholesome, Christian boys keep winning American Idol and all the reality competions!! Darned that voter block. If it wasn’t for those girls voting, Adam Lambert or Beverly McClellan would’ve won for sure!

  • Martin

    Yeah! No girls should be able to vote!
    Look what that has gotten us. Wholesome, Christian boys keep winning American Idol and all the reality competions!! Darned that voter block. If it wasn’t for those girls voting, Adam Lambert or Beverly McClellan would’ve won for sure!

  • Martin

    And while we’re at it, no idiots should be able to vote either. This way, SG will be excluded on both accounts.

  • Martin

    And while we’re at it, no idiots should be able to vote either. This way, SG will be excluded on both accounts.

  • Martin

    That should read “NOT be able to vote.”

  • Martin

    That should read “NOT be able to vote.”

  • Lou

    Hi DonS:
    Thank you for your comment. I appreciated many of your wise words and I am gaining a better understanding and respect for other interpretation. Although I don’t agree that voting in and of itself constitutes an exercise of authority, I am glad to read other perspectives on the issue.

    I apologize for not being explicit about my purpose for mentioning the fact that biblically, all men are not called to rule over all women. I hope I can explain this a little more clearly and in a charitable tone.

    If congregational voting is to be viewed as an act of “exercising authority” (again, a view which I do not hold), then neither men in general nor women qualify. Therefore, it follows that no congregational voting should be permitted, if such an act has been defined in that body or denomination as an exercise of
    authority. In such a case then, only the elders/deacons (ordained men) of the church have authority over the corporate church and should be permitted to vote.

    If, on the other hand, congregational voting is established by the rulers of the church as an instrument for their use in governing the local church, and will not serve as any sort of threat or undermining their own decisions or authority, then all communing members ought to take part. Otherwise, the exercise of that function would unnecessarily be assigned to all men in general in the church, who do not possess special authority in the church, to the exclusion of female members.
    That was my main point.

    One other note on this: I mistakenly identified the word used for “exercise authority” as exousia in 1 Tim 2:12, when in fact it a much stronger word is used: authentein. The definition is: “to unilaterally take up arms, i.e. acting as an autocrat – literally, self-appointed (acting without submission).” Thus, given the usage, it seems a like a stretch to use 1 Tim. 2:12 as a valid scriptural bar to women participating in congregational voting.

    Again, I do respect that various denominations do differ on their interpretation of this subject. I simply believe that the PCA has a more comprehensive approach. Finally, please remember: the types of decisions that are presented to a congregation vote in the PCA are very selective. No congregational vote can overrule things such as the WCF or the BoCO. Any attempt to do so could be prosecuted in the denomination’s courts. Topics that touch on any area of the historical faith or practice are restricted to the ordained
    officers of the church within the context of the presbytery and/or general assembly.

    I write this with the hope of garnering mutual respect.
    Thank you DonS for clarifying the discussion.
    Grace and Peace in Christ,
    Lou

  • Lou

    Hi DonS:
    Thank you for your comment. I appreciated many of your wise words and I am gaining a better understanding and respect for other interpretation. Although I don’t agree that voting in and of itself constitutes an exercise of authority, I am glad to read other perspectives on the issue.

    I apologize for not being explicit about my purpose for mentioning the fact that biblically, all men are not called to rule over all women. I hope I can explain this a little more clearly and in a charitable tone.

    If congregational voting is to be viewed as an act of “exercising authority” (again, a view which I do not hold), then neither men in general nor women qualify. Therefore, it follows that no congregational voting should be permitted, if such an act has been defined in that body or denomination as an exercise of
    authority. In such a case then, only the elders/deacons (ordained men) of the church have authority over the corporate church and should be permitted to vote.

    If, on the other hand, congregational voting is established by the rulers of the church as an instrument for their use in governing the local church, and will not serve as any sort of threat or undermining their own decisions or authority, then all communing members ought to take part. Otherwise, the exercise of that function would unnecessarily be assigned to all men in general in the church, who do not possess special authority in the church, to the exclusion of female members.
    That was my main point.

    One other note on this: I mistakenly identified the word used for “exercise authority” as exousia in 1 Tim 2:12, when in fact it a much stronger word is used: authentein. The definition is: “to unilaterally take up arms, i.e. acting as an autocrat – literally, self-appointed (acting without submission).” Thus, given the usage, it seems a like a stretch to use 1 Tim. 2:12 as a valid scriptural bar to women participating in congregational voting.

    Again, I do respect that various denominations do differ on their interpretation of this subject. I simply believe that the PCA has a more comprehensive approach. Finally, please remember: the types of decisions that are presented to a congregation vote in the PCA are very selective. No congregational vote can overrule things such as the WCF or the BoCO. Any attempt to do so could be prosecuted in the denomination’s courts. Topics that touch on any area of the historical faith or practice are restricted to the ordained
    officers of the church within the context of the presbytery and/or general assembly.

    I write this with the hope of garnering mutual respect.
    Thank you DonS for clarifying the discussion.
    Grace and Peace in Christ,
    Lou

  • DonS

    Lou @ 78: Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    To clarify, I am not a Lutheran, and in our church, congregational voting is done for certain matters, with both men and women members participating. Those matters typically comprise the larger decisions of the church, such as calling a pastor, electing elders to the board, or engaging in a new building program. We do not vote on matters of doctrine, of course, and we vote on choices nominated by the elders, not from the floor, so that we are electing from a range of choices that are all acceptable to the elder board.

    Clearly, as I pointed out earlier, Scripture appears to allow for congregational decision-making, so that I believe congregational votes are an appropriate part of church governance. However, it is not at all clear whether women were part of that process, so I think the specifics for how this works in practice are a matter of Scriptural interpretation, conscience, and preference, and will vary between churches and denominations. The points you make are reasonable, but I don’t find them determinative, or compelling enough to make me comfortable in judging the practices of other churches and denominations of which I am not a part.

  • DonS

    Lou @ 78: Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    To clarify, I am not a Lutheran, and in our church, congregational voting is done for certain matters, with both men and women members participating. Those matters typically comprise the larger decisions of the church, such as calling a pastor, electing elders to the board, or engaging in a new building program. We do not vote on matters of doctrine, of course, and we vote on choices nominated by the elders, not from the floor, so that we are electing from a range of choices that are all acceptable to the elder board.

    Clearly, as I pointed out earlier, Scripture appears to allow for congregational decision-making, so that I believe congregational votes are an appropriate part of church governance. However, it is not at all clear whether women were part of that process, so I think the specifics for how this works in practice are a matter of Scriptural interpretation, conscience, and preference, and will vary between churches and denominations. The points you make are reasonable, but I don’t find them determinative, or compelling enough to make me comfortable in judging the practices of other churches and denominations of which I am not a part.

  • Lou

    Agreed. Reasonable, but not determinative. I like that. Thanks Don.

  • Lou

    Agreed. Reasonable, but not determinative. I like that. Thanks Don.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Excerpted from the Concordian Sisters blog:

    http://concordiansisters.blogspot.com/2011/01/extraordinary.html

    25 JANUARY 2011

    Extraordinary
    The people who say, “A few women did it!” never mean that just a few women should do it.

    POSTED BY REBEKAH AT 8:30 AM
    7 COMMENTS:

    Leah said…
    I love how Balaam’s ass qualified!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Excerpted from the Concordian Sisters blog:

    http://concordiansisters.blogspot.com/2011/01/extraordinary.html

    25 JANUARY 2011

    Extraordinary
    The people who say, “A few women did it!” never mean that just a few women should do it.

    POSTED BY REBEKAH AT 8:30 AM
    7 COMMENTS:

    Leah said…
    I love how Balaam’s ass qualified!


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