Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Did God really say? (Genesis 3:1)

Egalitarianism and advocating homosexuality - is there a connection?


This is an excellent panel discussion of the Biblical view of the roles of men and women, at the recent "T4G" conference, defending the complementary position, that men and women are equal in the sight of God ontologically, but have different roles in the home and in the church; that they complement one another.   John Piper mentions one of the proponents of "egalitarianism" (that women can be elders and pastors; and men are not the leaders or head of their own wife and family) in the late 1970s -  Virginia Mollenkott.  She called the complementary position "obscene", according to Piper, in chapel services at Bethel Seminary when Piper was teaching there in the late 1970s.

See the wikipedia article on her.

It is interesting to note that Mollenkott was married for a while, and had a son, then later was divorced from her husband in 1973.  This seems to indicate she was heterosexual for at least some of that time.  I realize that many homosexuals claim that "they were denying who they really are" by trying to be heterosexual in a marriage.   She later went on to announce or "come out" that she was a lesbian and since that time in her writings has advocated homosexuality, lesbianism, bi-sexuality, and "transgenders"; that these are all defensible Biblically.   The episcopal bishop, Gene Robinson, who is now openly homosexual and divorced his wife and is living with his "gay lover", etc. also seems to have had a similar kind of "evolution", even though he indicated his fears about his sexuality to his wife years before.  He had two children with his wife.

Not all egalitarians advocate that homosexuality is not a sin, but there does seem to be an increase in people who "evolve in those issues".  And there seems to be an increase of people who used to be married in the traditional heterosexual, Biblical way; then got a divorce, and then go on to be homosexual or lesbian.  At least we hear about this more in recent years.  Is there a connection or correlation between the egalitarian position and advocating homosexuality as not sin?  I am just asking the question.    I am sure there are many others who hold the egalitarian position that will be offended by even asking the question.

Rachel Held Evans, caused quite a stir on the internet by her article, "How to win the culture war but loose a generation";  where she basically said that the traditional Evangelical position against "same sex marriage" was wrong and she and the younger generation is tired of the "culture wars", and "tired of fighting" and wanted "to wash the feet" of homosexuals.  She is not a lesbian; but rather is married to Dan, but advocates that there are "LGBT Christians" (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuals, and Transgender) who can be genuinely Christian and not have to repent of those actions and desires.  By the way, how does a "Bi-sexual person" fulfill his or her desires/orientation?  They would have to advocate for a marriage of 3 people in "loving, committed relationships" - a relationship involving one of the opposite sex and one of the same sex.

It is necessary to again mention basic Scripture that tells us that homosexuality is sin and unnatural and wrong - 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Genesis chapter 19.  And we should add to that list Matthew 19:3-6, the words of Jesus the eternal Son of God, while on earth.  The other verses are His word also, as they are "God-breathed". (2 Timothy 3:16)  And it needs to be said again clearly, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful to forgive and save homosexuals and cleanse them and give them new and holy desires and a changed life and hope in the battles against sinful desires!

 It is interesting to study Rachel's other articles at her blog and we find out that she is a very strong advocate of the egalitarian position, that women should be able to be pastors/teachers/elders of a local church.  This, it honestly seems to me, is probably her main issue at her blog and has been for a while.   She has many articles on issues that are about women in the Bible and empowering women to be leaders in the local church.  Some of the things she writes are good and right, but the constant drum beat of wanting women to be elders and pastors over-shadows some of her good points.   In one of the Amazon reviews of her book, "Evolving in Monkey Town", the reviewer points out that Rachel Held Evans admits that she does not like the scripture verse, 1 Timothy 2:12.

See her book and the reviews:
Evolving in Monkey Town 

Brian McLaren of the Emerging/ Emergent church fame endorsed the book, so that should tell you how orthodox it is in doctrinal content.  Rachel Held Evans seems to espouse pretty much the same ideas that the Emerging/Emergent church does.   Brian McLaren started off in his writings as questioning the traditional response of the church to homosexuality in his book, A Generous Orthodoxy, but then later also "evolved" into advocating homosexuality and "same sex marriage" in later writings.   Tony Compolo seems to have followed a similar pattern over the years.

See 15 Reasons I left church.  by Rachel Held Evans

"1. I left the church because I’m better at planning Bible studies than baby showers...but they only wanted me to plan baby showers. "

See also her article "15 Reasons Why I Returned to the church", linked to a the end of her article on why she left the church.

From what I can gather, in reading some of her articles, Rachel also has problems with the necessity of evangelism and missions for people to be saved.  This seems to be one of the first issues historically that cause people to drift toward theological liberalism.  She also questions the doctrine of eternal hell.  She has a big problem with young earth creationism, and questions other doctrinal issues and historical narrative of the Bible.

Now Rachel seems very nice and intelligent and is married to Dan Evans, and I hope anyone reading this would understand I have nothing personal against her.  Rachel is very articulate, smart, witty, an excellent writer, and she admits that she is competitive and she asks lots of questions.  She is challenging.  I want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with a woman who asks questions and challenges men to think.  She questions the difficult passages in the OT where God commanded the Israelites to make war against the Canaanites and Amalekites.  I understand those honest questions and struggles.  (Understanding Genesis 15:13-16 really helped me on that one.  "until the iniquity of the Amorite is complete." )  She has made some excellent criticisms of certain sins and wrongs done in the church.  (hypocrisy, judgmentalism, legalism, neglecting issues of poverty and injustice, of Mark Driscoll as a "bully", etc., even though she seems to apply those sins wrongly to standing against sin and actually doing church discipline.)

Rachel Held Evans' famous recent article seemed, in my opinion, very disrespectful toward the middle aged Christians and elders generation - anyone over 35 or 40 - because she seemed to be saying that we "older" folks need to "get with the program" and surrender our minds and opinions to the 16-29 year olds. (I turned 51 a few weeks ago.)  It is not enough that that age demographic already controls the music and movie industries, the cell phone industry, clothing styles, TV shows, iPods, etc.  It seems many young people are frustrated that they cannot have their own way and force their parents to think the way they think.  They seem to have an underlying distain for those that have been married and raised children and have built businesses, and have some experience in life.

Triablogue had several responses to Rachel's article, I will point to just two of them -  here, (the photograph of Arlington cemetery is enough to give oneself a sobering perspective, and visiting it for a day is overwhelming with scenes of that photograph multiplied 100 times over, maybe); and here.

Yes,we have seen that there is a lot of wisdom in the young folks involved in the "Occupy Wallstreet" movement, right?   Does Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Sean Penn, and Charlie Sheen have a lot of wisdom for life?  Does Miley Cyrus, and Carrie Underwood have much real wisdom, given that they have recently spoken out in favor of homosexual marriage??

Rachel Held Evans based a lot of her argument on the opinions of what she found among the younger generation of ages 16-29.  I mean, really, Rachel, let's start with a section of that group, the  16-22 year olds - high schoolers and college/University students.  They do not have enough experience in life yet, are mostly not married, have not done the hard work of raising children, and most don't have steady full time jobs yet for some significant years, and yet, you seem to think that they have more wisdom than all the 10,000 (+/-) years of recorded human history, the Bible, and most of her elders, who disagree with her.

Rachel said she was "tired of the culture wars".  Well, it seems to me that it is the homosexuals and the left wing political agenda that started the culture war by demanding that we have to approve of their sin and allow them to get married.  Homosexuals should have never been allowed to adopt children.  By nature, it is wrong, no matter how "nice" they are.  They are the ones who are attacking society and decency by their demanding that we think they are normal and that homosexuality is a good and positive thing.  They want to shut us down and tell us that we cannot say things like "love the sinner, but hate the sin" or to call for repentance from the homosexual lifestyle.  I am sure that some people who struggle with same sex attraction were treated wrong and overly harsh by some churches, but Rachel should not label all conservative churches as "too judgmental" or "responding to homosexuality wrong."

There is a great difference between two issues that people conflate when discussing homosexuality.  In witnessing situations, the person who advocates homosexuality will say things like, "you Christians need to have more mercy and compassion and not be so judgmental".  That is a different issue that the larger "culture war" that some homosexuals are taking to the court of public opinion by seeking to change culture and shut down churches from speaking and preaching that homosexuality is sin and must be repented of.  Most Christians can and do have lots of mercy on someone who is humble and knows it's wrong, yet confesses their inner struggle, and is not a "gay activist".   One on one ministry to the humble demands a different response than to those activists who demand that we all approve of their lifestyle.  I disagree with Rachel that churches have responded wrongly to homosexuality.  Biblical churches minister to homosexuals with compassion, mercy, and biblical counseling that does not compromise, with those who are honest and humble and confess that is is sin and are willing to repent of their same sex desires and walk the road of holiness and abstain from all homosexual behavior.  But churches are also obligated to contend for the faith and defend the biblical understanding of marriage as between a man a woman, as Jesus did in Matthew 19:3-6 - "have you not read from the beginning how God created them male and female and said, "the two shall become one" ?

“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

This shows that Jesus did say something about homosexuality, by His quoting from Genesis and teaching that the true nature of marriage is rooted in creation and God as creator of male and female.  Marriage is God's idea, and man has no right to change that.  "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" is still true and we are not afraid to say that.  

If anything, Evangelicals have had more and more mercy and compassion on homosexuals in recent years, not less.  Many have spoken of the need to minister to those who are humble and know that their own homosexuality is sin and yet confess that their struggle of same sex attractions and desires.  Below are some good examples of compassionate and at the same time no compromise teaching on the issue of homosexuality.  Sam Williams' lecture was very compassionate toward those who struggle with same sex attraction, and yet did not compromise on what the Bible teaches.

Sam Williams - a very compassionate lecture on the issue of people who struggle with same sex attractions, but Professor Williams does not compromise what the Bible teaches.

Matt Chandler

Robert Gagnon

James White - refuted Matthew Vines argumentation.

Fred Butler - excellent compilation of articles.

Rachel seems to think that she would be a good Bible teacher - but since she doesn't want to "fight the good fight of faith" and "content for the faith" and rebuke false doctrine, then, Rachel, I am sorry, but you are not qualified to be a Bible teacher, as that is one of the main duties of elders/pastors/teachers/overseers - (Titus 1:9; 1 Timothy chapters 1 and 3, Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Titus chapter 1, 2 Timothy 4:1-7; 2 Timothy 2:24-26)  You could have been a teacher of women, but your jettison of basic Biblical truths makes you unqualified. Maybe that is one of the reasons why God does not allow women to be pastors/elders/teachers of the church, (1 Timothy 2:12) because you don't want to fight.   Remember when the actress Sally Field, at an award ceremony, said, "If women were in charge there would be no G ... D. . .  wars!"   I always enjoyed many of Sally Field's movies - but I was very disappointed in her political rant there.  There would be no defense or police or chivalry or standing up against bullies and dictators or rapists and injustice either, if she had her way.  I don't think she really thought through her statement.

Rachel, your desire to "not fight" -  That actually indicates that you are a true woman - not wanting to be out front and fight. Think about that.  Men are called to fight.  Men are called to fight against evil -both physical and spiritual and moral -  and men are to defend the truth in the office of pastor-teacher/elder/overseer. You left the church for a while, and your number 1 reason for leaving the church was because you said you were better at organizing a Bible study than organizing a baby shower, but the church only wanted you to organize a baby shower.  But if you don't want to defend Bible doctrine, then you are not qualified to be a Bible teacher in a local church, even among women.

Rachel said she wanted to "wash the feet" of the homosexuals.  That's a good thing, in itself, provided there is repentance and conversion first; but I think she needs to study that passage deeper.  Jesus in John 13:9-13 is indicating that our feet need washing because after we take a bath, and then go out into the world, walking around, our feet get dirty.  There is sin in the world, and it affects us; but the passage assumes that one has truly been "cleansed"/converted first (John 13:10; cf. John 15:3; Acts 15:9; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) and Jesus is indicating that we are to help each other grow in holiness, by washing each other's feet. It is not just bare service, but it is a sanctifying service of cleansing from sin and growing in holiness.   There is no washing/cleansing without confession of sin and repentance.  The disciples had taken a bath - verse 10 - "he who has taken a bath needs only to have his feet washed"  - repented and trusted in Christ - "cleansing their hearts by faith" - Acts 15:9.  The foot washing indicates the ongoing cleansing that we need after we are justified in order to grow in sanctification and holiness.  This seems to point to confession of sin (1 John 1:5-10) and repentance (Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10)

Jesus answered him, “ If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 

A person must let Jesus Christ cleanse them by His grace and work for us; one must surrender to Jesus - repent of their sins and trust in Christ alone to save them.  And a person must allow Christ to continue wash them and sanctify them.  To refuse to repent of homosexuality is to refuse to let Jesus or the church "wash their feet".  Matthew Vines and other "Gay Christians" are saying "never shall you wash my feet" by their refusal to repent of their sin.  In fact, they are refusing the sanctifying/justifying bath of conversion.  (1 Corinthians 1:30) 

John 13:9-15
Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord,then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10 Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 

So, I think it is clear that Rachel misunderstands Jesus' teaching and example here in John 13.  Later, after Judas leaves, Jesus tells the other 11 disciples who are truly converted, "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken." (John 15:3; see the clear connection with John 13:10-11)  The branches that "hang out" around Jesus but bear no fruit are like Judas, who was externally around Jesus and the other 11, who will become the church, but had no true internal conversion or change.  (John 15:2, 6  - those that bear no fruit were never born again and will be burned up in hell.)

But back to the sub-title idea of the post, "Does Egalitarianism tend to advocate homosexuality? Not necessarily, and I would like to study this issue more as whether there is a possible connection and correlation; but there does seem to be many who  evolve from the Egalitarian position and later also advocate homosexuality as not a sin.  Or is that just the general way theological liberalism is by nature?  When one starts out with the devil's way of thinking, "Did God really say that?" (Genesis 3:1), then I think we can at least agree that we need to be very careful about what and how we question things in the Scriptures; and we should be careful about how we question our elders, our parents, and those that lead in the church.


Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Ken, I'm really glad James added you to the stable of writers here at BA. Terrific post!

James Swan said...


Ken said...

I appreciate the encouragement and feedback! It took me a long time to put it together; and I made lots of changes along the way in the process; but I pray God will use this for His glory.

Rhology said...

Rachel Held Evans, while an OK writer, is shallow, disingenuous, and not careful (viz her lame "stories change everything").

I hate it that people think of her an "evangelical"; she's more like a thoroughly American hedono-syncretist.

Ken said...

The whole "stories change everything" is part of the Emerging/Emergent church / Brian McClaren paradigm - personal experience / your journey trumps truth and doctrine and propositions. In that, and many other problems, it is clear that she is not Evangelical or orthodox.

She wants to hold on to some parts of the Bible (some of Jesus' words), but not submit to all of Scripture.

I wonder what she does with Mark 9:48 - Jesus said, hell is "where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched"

All of her questions are the same basic questions and doubts that liberals and Emergents start with and they keep following their own authority of their own mind to go down the road of eventually becoming liberal and doing what so many other have done in history.

Ken said...

I did notice that at the time when her article was really "hot" - you tried to engage in conversation in the com box and it was obvious that they were not interested in rationally discussing the issue and point you tried to make.

I also saw it would be pointless to try and have a discussion - because I would need a long article like this to make a point. It motivated me to write this, because the Emergent/Emerging types shut down conversation by labeling all of us who believe that homosexuality is wrong, etc. as "too judgmental" and "too involved in politics" (so only the Emergents and liberals have a right to be involved in politics ? - note Brian McLaren's official endorsement of Obama in a video during the 2008 campaign)

Ken Abbott said...

A most significant point is buried deep into this very good article: If there is a culture war over homosexuality, they (meaning the activists within the homosexual community) started it. My memory for these sorts of things only goes back to the very early 70s but I certainly don't recall this issue being particularly high on the list of concerns within evangelical Protestantism in America until some of the more vocal/strident members of the homosexual community began to demand increasing degrees of acceptance--even approbation--within the larger culture.

Ken said...

Thanks Ken Abbott - thanks for reading the whole thing and bringing that point out.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I met a woman a couple of months ago at a church function who's lamenting that her son, a former missionary, is now an apostate atheist.

She's thinking of giving him Rachel Held Evans' book "Evolving in Monkey Town" to help bring him back into worshipping God because a friend told her that it was a good book.

Sigh. I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing.

Ken said...

"former missionary" - wow.
I wonder what kind of missionary, and for how long and what church he was a part of; and what mission field he was on.

With the state of "Evan-jelly-fish-ism" today, that may not be much; but it is still distressing.

Sometimes the Lord uses a an incremental approach, but generally I am seeing that in principle, James White's statement is more and more true:

"Whatever we win people with, that is what we win them to."

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I didn't ask particulars because I thought it would be insensitive, asking her to relive the background prior to his apostasy. There were other people at the table as well.

Ken said...

That was probably wise; if she wanted you to know more details, she would have told you.

Unknown said...

I may be wrong on this, and it sound sooo trite: I remember when women started wearing pants everywhere, lots of people start to worry. Although women always wore pants they looked FEMALE. The poeple who were worried thought unisex clothing was DANGEROUS to a society. Now you DONT SEE many women wearing dreses/skirts even in hot weather--and we are contending with the homosexuality and passivity of men in this modern cultre...pants also may have started the ANOREXIC disease since many women have thighs that are a little large: Karen Carpenter problem when she stared to wear pants--and was the 1st to die from it. Now many die from it

Unknown said...

if young girls and women started wearing dresses/skirts as standard; we may see a reversl. I believe it could help if CHRISTIAN married couples start to show more physical affection in public (man holding hands or shoulder of wife; holding door open for wife) (Christian men holding door open for women once again without being told)
Many passive men in this culture, even christian men are actually passive/Aggressive--passive on things he should take care of but AGGRESSIVE because he has a 'temper'.