Tom Pittman's WebLog

2024 March 29 -- Biblical Gender Roles

The latest ChristianityToday arrived in this week's mail, and the cover story proposing a common ground the two sides of the gender wars might agree on -- I have not yet read the article, but this is Religion -- you know, what is held to be non-negotiably true despite any evidence to the contrary (see my blog post seven years ago) -- so I doubt the author will succeed.

Anyway, I was reminded that I'm still stewing over the pastor's sermon a couple weeks ago. He's working his way through Paul's first letter to Corinth (as what appears to be part of doing the whole Bible, but alternating New & Old Testament books), and this was the first part of chapter 11 on gender roles in the church, and... well, he (we all) live in a culture that is rabidly Feminazi (see my blog post 8 years ago on my accurate use of the term) and some, perhaps many of his members are of that persuasion, so he needs to tread carefully.

He told us clearly that he is a Complementarian (so am I, because that's what the Bible teaches), but he started out by distinguishing "Cultural Issues [in the Bible]  not  relevant today" from "Core Issues that  are  relevant today." He did not say at any time that I heard, how we are expected to tell these two categories apart. I don't think he knows, other than personal preference -- I certainly can't make that distinction here -- and unless Scripture itself tells us how to make that distinction (see for example the difference between Jewish ceremonial law that was "nailed to the cross" and Christ's Law which is still binding on all Christians in my essay "The Law of Love" four years ago), we must not add to Scripture what God left out.

That's an important point, Jesus came down very hard on the Pharisees for just that: "you nullify the word of God by your tradition" [Mark 7:13]. Any time we set ourselves over Scripture to cherry-pick verses, to say "This is a Cultural Issue not relevant today, but that one is a Core Issue that is relevant today," we nullify the Holy Word of God -- unless God Himself made that distinction. God did make that distinction in some cases, for example, calculating the last percentage point in how much to drop in the offering plate is far less important than the moral absolutes "Justice, Truth, and Mercy," but not to entirely ignore the tithe! Like the woman who dropped two pennies into the offering box, (one significant digit "2") which was far more valuable in God's eyes than the big complicated (five or eight significant digits) sums the preachers were dropping in.

Think of it this way: In another place, I wrote "I Am a Zero" (first in "I'm a Nobody" in 2012 and then also "Zero" five years ago, and maybe a half-dozen others). Today, before I climbed out of bed, it occurred to me that the zeroes on a bank check are more important than the single significant digit like a "1" or "5". Which check is worth more, the one with five zeroes on it, or the one with only two? The zero has no value in itself, it makes the other digit(s) have value. That's an aside.

The main point today is that the great Apostle, when explaining gender roles to the recently new church in the wicked city of Corinth, he did not say "This is my opinion" as he did in another place in the same Epistle, but he said

Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?" [1Cor.11:14,15, my emphasis].
This is a part of the created order, and our present Feminazi violation of it was described as part of the Curse in response to Eve's participation in the Fall of Adam [Gen.3:16b]. Let's see how this might be a nature question (which Paul says it is), rather than a "Cultural Issue." The length of your hair is not even gender-related in natural law, it's practical. Just look at women in the workplace: most of them have short hair. People with long hair (guys and women alike) are not doing physical work, they are doing desk work, but more often they are artists or even homeless (no job at all). Why is that? Because long hair looks nice, but only if you spend a lot of time in upkeep! People in the workplace, their employer wants those hours spent on the job, not on personal appearance (more than the bare minimum, a clean face and modest apparel, so it doesn't distract from getting the job done around other people). On a farm or in a factory, long hair can get caught in the machinery and Bad Things Happen. Think "Absalom" and don't do that. This is a law of nature, not a "Cultural Issue."

Whether women should be working or not, that's something else. Women have an important domestic role that guys simply -- again by nature -- cannot do. When parents abdicate that natural order (pass it off to hired caregivers), you get gender dysphoria, rebellion, and crime in the streets. I once heard Chuck Colson say that the single demographic statistic most correlated to crime is fatherlessness in the home (which forces the women to work and often into penury). Dr.Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, linked homosexuality to absentee fathers. Paul didn't say all that, he didn't have access to the statistics that we do, so God told him what to say, and he said it. God is not wrong nor mistaken.

In another letter, a personal note to Paul's own disciple Timothy, he emphasized,

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. [2Tim.3:16,17, Paul's emphasis]
In his previous letter to the same disciple, Paul again argued from the created order (and again the Fall) on gender roles in the church. The Pastor got that right, but I never heard him explain it. I wasn't there when he did Genesis. Maybe it's online and I should look it up. His stated policy is "Unity on the essentials," freedom on the other stuff. This probably does not count as an essential, nobody will be damned to Hell for getting the gender stuff bass-ackwards. All the same, if God told us to do it, why would we want to do otherwise? God does not measure our love by how often we say it, but by what we do. God Himself said that, and we do well not to nullify that part of Scripture by our human traditions.

2024 April 1 -- Biblical Gender Roles, Part 2

OK, I read the ChristianityToday cover story and the related stuff, and my opinion has not changed. This is Religion, it's held to be non-negotiably true despite any evidence or pressure to the contrary, as the saying goes:
The person persuaded against their will, Is of the same opinion still.
Those of us persuaded by God's unchanging Word against both the social tide and the Established Religion of the country, well, that basis for persuasion has not changed in nearly 2000 years, it won't change this year or next. Those who have chosen to nullify God's Word in one or more points where it is at odds with public opinion = human tradition, by defining God's teaching to be "a Cultural Issue not relevant today," why should they change? They have already chosen the world's view.

The first of the triad of opinion articles constituting the cover feature is from a pastor and seminary professor, and his approach is to define it as "not a Core Issue" -- he didn't use those words, but his point is that we can get along just fine by agreeing to disagree. All his examples of "complementarians" were people willing to cede all the ground to the egalitarians with the possible exception of who stands behind the pulpit. In other words, a personal preference, like whether to use God-centered hymns that have endured the test of time, or repetitive self-centered "comtemporary" songs in church (see "Collected CCM Posts in My Blog" for some of my opinions on that topic), or whether women should wear skirts or cover their shoulders (or not) in church, very much like the way the pastor of the church where I park my fanny on Sunday mornings (this year) explains it.

The editorial policy of CT itself on this topic tends to be overwhelmingly egalitarian but nominally fence-straddling, like this first author, meaning they might publish one or two articles by an admitted Complementarian in a year, but never anything hard-core. This is obvious: their current editor is a woman, and of the six feature articles this month (excluding regular columns, which usually divide more or less evenly), only two have male authors. The feature triad consisted of a nominal middle of the roader who ceded almost everything to the egalitarians, followed by a nominal complementarian who draws her salary from a very egalitarian denomination and assumes that the complementarians are fighting a losing battle, followed by the egalitarian author who likewise assumes that everybody is heading in that direction. CT's attempt at balance is still entirely egalitarian in perspective, sort of like (back when I was reading it) TIME magazine's nominal "conservative" columnist was an open homosexual (which I likened to calling a Hummer "a fuel-efficient economy car," which it is, compared to a Greyhound bus or 18-wheel truck). Magazine writing is a form of teaching, and the plurality of female-written articles in CT is prima facie evidence that the -- not just feminist, but -- Feminazi Lie of the supposed cognitive equality of men and women is in fact, and by nature, a lie.

Men and women are different, and not only in their gonads, although that profoundly affects they way they think about things. So when Scripture asserts that the teaching about female leadership is expressing a fact of nature, that is not merely "a Cultural Issue not relevant today." Some of us are instructed first by Scripture, and secondarily by nature. Others prefer to side with the changing winds of social pressure in this doctrine, and also in church music and -- as the pastor himself mentioned -- in our understanding of origins of all life. Make no mistake, whenever public opinion disagrees with Scripture, the facts of science (if you dig deep enough to get past the gate-keepers) science also supports what God said, because of course God invented both.

Nine months ago I fully understood why the Biblical Complementarian position is consistent with the Real World, and the egalitarian position simply cannot be reconciled with the Real World (see "Evangelical Feminism"). "It's a free country," as they say, and the egalitarians are entitled to their opinion, but they are Wrong, same as the druggies who claim that the world is a better place when halucinatory "substances" of all kinds flow freely, and same as when the liars (both inside the church and out in the world) deceive both themselves and the rest of us with the false notion that there are no moral absolutes, and also the bullies of the world are Wrong when they claim for themselves the right to force other people to do things against their will...

And because I am not a bully, I will not force my complementarian opinion on the egalitarians, other than to stand on the top of the Moral High Ground and say, "You are Wrong, and both God and nature say so."

Those other two articles in the cover triad? Both written by women. Women care about it, it's the nature of the Fall. Only women write columns and feature articles about women in the Bible -- even in Bible-hating magazines like Biblical Archaeology Review. Why is that? If there were absolute equality in cognitive abilities between men and women, then female authors would write about men in the Bible in the same proportion as the men do, which is closer to the proportion of men in the Bible to write about. If there were absolute equality between the way men and women think, then there would be no such thing as "chick lit" and "chick flick" for men to avoid -- nor would they want to. If there were absolute equality between men and women in their ability to do any particular job well, then there would be no "glass ceiling" for the women to complain about, or else there would be an equivalent "glass ceiling" for the men to complain about. Oh wait, there is such a glass ceiling, but nobody complains, because there is no comparison. There are differences.

Ah, but, the feminists might say, The differences are cultural and historical, not ontological. Then we could respond, where did they come from, and how did they go away? If there never were any ontological differences, then it is unreasonable to imagine that the social distinction started up by magic, without an ontological difference to build on. For a theist, "magic" is spelled "G-O-D" and if God did it, then it is by definition ontological; the atheist does not believe in magic, it evolved that way, it existed from the beginning of whatever version of humanity we now exist in, therefore it was (again) ontological by definition. In either case we only need to ask how it went away. Again, the Darwinist must argue natural selection, that the (formerly ontological) cognitive differences ceased to offer a "fitness" benefit, and the (now alleged present fact of) cognitive equality offers a new survival benefit not previously available. How then does the social distinction still persist, if it offers no survival benefit? The argument falls on its face from inconsistency. The theist looks to God's Revelation for evidence of an end to that ontological distinction, and it's not there, not in our Bibles, and certainly not in any other religious documents. There always have been, and there will always be ontological differences in the way men and women think, any way you look at it. The feminists all know it and act on the fact of those differences.


Evangelical Feminism -- An oxymoron
Collected CCM Posts in My Blog
Established Religion -- Believing what you know ain't so, and having the Government pay for it
What's Really Important -- A faith that is not "Religion"
Biological Evolution: Did It Happen? -- The science says No
Assorted blog posts identifying distinctively female authorship:
Even Feelers Know: Truth Is a Moral Absolute
CT Turns Feminine
Christian Women in Science
In the Image of Their Gods -- a female writer repeating what she does not understand
Lies, D* Lies, and WIRED -- female authorship at its norm
Feminazi Coming-of-Age -- ditto, but fiction
Feminazi -- Why it's a true and useful descriptor

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