Byrd's "Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood"

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
That's the question I kept asking people and no one wanted to answer it.
I ask because there has been some sort of "call to action". Seems to me it's the duty of those in the OPC to not just write reviews and issue directives for action to everyone but to actually use the means in their own sphere to address this.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Has the Rev. Castle or anyone in the OPC taken action by filing charges?
Mr. Castle is exercising his right to informal influence via blogging. Filing charges is an example of formal action. Machen's writing articles and books in his day is another example of informal influence; and yes, a person's office or credentials can allow for more such influence by one person than for another. At the end of the day, both of the current-authors are engaged in the same exercise: namely, informal influencing of opinion.

1) the court of original jurisdiction for an individual is the congregation.

2) if any charges would be brought, some sin must be specified and Scripture adduced.

3) Mrs.Byrd is laity, and so has not taken vows to uphold the Standards. However, she has stated she intends no violation of the doctrinal standards of the OPC; and she claims to have sought the counsel of the session that is over her in the Lord. So, is there an accusation present that the church (some part thereof) is derelict in its ministry?

4) if the blogger (a minister in the Presbytery of the Southeast) or anyone else outside the Presbytery where the congregation Mrs.Byrd is a member wanted to prefer charges or complain against the actions or non-actions of a party, they would have to persuade their Presbytery to bring a complaint against the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic to the G.A.

5) those charges would have to identify a violation of the Constitution by a Presbytery, be it doctrinal (with the Standards in play) or in regard to proper order and discipline (a BCO matter). To my knowledge, the OPC does not treat sin as anything but a personal offense (groups don't sin, but the individuals in a group bear the responsibility for their participation

6) if some party within the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic wished to charge the pastor or Session of Mrs. Byrd's congregation--as they have no standing in that congregation to bring a charge against her--this would again entail specification of sin against individuals, or violation of the Constitution, amounting to misfeasance of a court or office, dereliction of the ministry entrusted.

The OPC is a church organized in such a way that it's governing bodies function as courts. And properly functioning courts work within what is known generally as principles of Due Process. People who are not accountable to everyone else are accountable to their own masters, Rom.14:4. This may cut two ways, as it limits the extent of influence but also of interference in formal relations. Informal influence and interference (no formal accountability or common jurisdiction) are matters of another kind; we deal with such almost daily. PB interaction is an example of informal relations.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
A book review explaining Byrd's hermeneutic and call to action by OPC minister Rev. Bennie Castle:

I don't know if there is a formal name for a kind of approach where the reviewer says correct things but they are aimed in the wrong direction.

I used to think that OPC ministers were uniformly careful thinkers but this review proves the opposite and is, sadly, too consistent. This review is a mess.

It's not right. It's not even wrong.

It tries to be flowery whipping us up into things that no Christian should ever disagree with.

"The Spirit of God inspired the Scriptures!!"

Yeah!! That's right! How dare she argue otherwise?!

Except that, sad to say, she doesn't

I actually hate to think what kind of regular mishandling of the Scripture this Pastor practices on a regular basis given his inability to handle a text from a lay-person and come to the kinds of conclusions he does. It's got the depth of Dana Carvey's Church Lady in its observations.

If anyone wants a serious review of Aimee's work then Mark Jones at The Calvinist International has provided what I believe is a good review.

Due to the furor aroused by this work, I listened to the book last week (I have to listen as I can't see well enough to read).

As I stated I agree with Mark Jones' review. I think Mrs. Bryd's approach is distracting and will undermine her aims. I believe she has three basic points she is trying to get across:

1. That there is no principle of women generally submitting to men. Wives submit to their husbands but women, in general, are not to have (as the central focus of their identity) looking for ways in which to affirm "male leadership" in every man they meet.

2. That women don't have to be the leaders in the Church but it doesn't imply they should not be throughtful, contributing members of the Church. They can do more than nursery and children's Sunday School and have an important perspective that ought to be sought out.

3. That we ought to prioritize the Church over the parachurch.

There are a few ways in which I found myself wincing throughout:

1. The yellow wallpaper motif was distracting and unnecessary. It serves as a metaphor for they ways in which we have constrained our thinking about what men and women can and can't do. As one example, I've interacted with one Brother frustrated that there is an idea that if you are quiet and introverted you are not a man. The problem with this metaphor is that she keeps using it as if she feels a need to bring literary quality to her work and employs it even to describe how Americans are keen to prioritize the parachurch over the Church.

2. As noted in multiple reviews, Mrs. Byrd allows egalitarian authors to do the heavy lifting for any controversial point made and doesn't provide any countervailing argument to the contrary. As such, her arguments are speculative and imaginative at times bordering on the absurd. A passing comment about Phoebe becomes the occasion for the notion that she must have been a central figure in the early Church. I think her aim is more modest (to establish the idea that women can be contributing, thinking participants in the Church) but the overwrought arguments about passing references undermines her case. Deborah, Phoebe, Junia, etc. She pushes to the center what the Bible mentions in passing. They are important but not central. They are contributing but it doesn't mean they are "inner circle". I've told others that I think she'll end up failing to influence the very people she was hoping to reach with this book because of this decision to utilize egalitarian scholarship as the central place to support her overall aim. I don't think she's egaliarian herself but I found myself thinking that she felt like she had to offer some sort of strong scholarly argument and grabbed arguments in a slap-dash manner that don't fit together very well. If, for instance, she's as consistently insidious as the former reviwer noted, she would have a much tighter argument but it all seems to hold together very tenuously.

3. She ends up re-creating the same problem she is critiquing in her book about "CBMW-like" movements. The Scriptures are not, primarily, a manual about manhood and womanhood. What they have to say about God and what God requires of man certainly involves things that we need to heed and learn about what it is to be a man and a woman but the Scriptures don't operate as a manual. Those who focus on those topics tend to distort the Scriptures mostly in the way they train people to think that the principle aim of a person reading the Scriptures is to figure out, daily, how they are to "be a woman" where the Scriptures have much more to say to us as we read them and the Spirit sanctifies us. Her critique of the approach of many is on point here but then the book tends to descend into that distortion itself in the way it handles texts and pushes the issue of men and women "contributing" to the foreground and uses speculative and imaginative thinking of the the scholars she cites to distort the meaning of the text.

In conclusion, I found that I could agree with what she was trying to accomplish (to an extent). I agree that women have important perspectives. They are created in the image of God, are intelligent, and see things that men miss. I find her use of sources troubling as well as the methodology used to establish certain points. That said, I think the notion that she's denying the Gospel (a la Galatians 2) as the reviewer noted is laughable to scorn. If anyone ought to be brought up on charges, it is the OPC minister who has violated the 9th Commandment in his complete and utter overstatement of the case. I've got serious reservations about her work but more serious reservations about that review from an OPC minister. I hope his Presbytery will be sufficiently embarrassed by the utter folly of some of the breathless exaggerations and convince him to take it down.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't know if there is a formal name for a kind of approach where the reviewer says correct things but they are aimed in the wrong direction.

I used to think that OPC ministers were uniformly careful thinkers but this review proves the opposite and is, sadly, too consistent. This review is a mess.

It's not right. It's not even wrong.

It tries to be flowery whipping us up into things that no Christian should ever disagree with.

"The Spirit of God inspired the Scriptures!!"

Yeah!! That's right! How dare she argue otherwise?!

Except that, sad to say, she doesn't

I actually hate to think what kind of regular mishandling of the Scripture this Pastor practices on a regular basis given his inability to handle a text from a lay-person and come to the kinds of conclusions he does. It's got the depth of Dana Carvey's Church Lady in its observations.

If anyone wants a serious review of Aimee's work then Mark Jones at The Calvinist International has provided what I believe is a good review.

Due to the furor aroused by this work, I listened to the book last week (I have to listen as I can't see well enough to read).

As I stated I agree with Mark Jones' review. I think Mrs. Bryd's approach is distracting and will undermine her aims. I believe she has three basic points she is trying to get across:

1. That there is no principle of women generally submitting to men. Wives submit to their husbands but women, in general, are not to have (as the central focus of their identity) looking for ways in which to affirm "male leadership" in every man they meet.

2. That women don't have to be the leaders in the Church but it doesn't imply they should not be throughtful, contributing members of the Church. They can do more than nursery and children's Sunday School and have an important perspective that ought to be sought out.

3. That we ought to prioritize the Church over the parachurch.

There are a few ways in which I found myself wincing throughout:

1. The yellow wallpaper motif was distracting and unnecessary. It serves as a metaphor for they ways in which we have constrained our thinking about what men and women can and can't do. As one example, I've interacted with one Brother frustrated that there is an idea that if you are quiet and introverted you are not a man. The problem with this metaphor is that she keeps using it as if she feels a need to bring literary quality to her work and employs it even to describe how Americans are keen to prioritize the parachurch over the Church.

2. As noted in multiple reviews, Mrs. Byrd allows egalitarian authors to do the heavy lifting for any controversial point made and doesn't provide any countervailing argument to the contrary. As such, her arguments are speculative and imaginative at times bordering on the absurd. A passing comment about Phoebe becomes the occasion for the notion that she must have been a central figure in the early Church. I think her aim is more modest (to establish the idea that women can be contributing, thinking participants in the Church) but the overwrought arguments about passing references undermines her case. Deborah, Phoebe, Junia, etc. She pushes to the center what the Bible mentions in passing. They are important but not central. They are contributing but it doesn't mean they are "inner circle". I've told others that I think she'll end up failing to influence the very people she was hoping to reach with this book because of this decision to utilize egalitarian scholarship as the central place to support her overall aim. I don't think she's egaliarian herself but I found myself thinking that she felt like she had to offer some sort of strong scholarly argument and grabbed arguments in a slap-dash manner that don't fit together very well. If, for instance, she's as consistently insidious as the former reviwer noted, she would have a much tighter argument but it all seems to hold together very tenuously.

3. She ends up re-creating the same problem she is critiquing in her book about "CBMW-like" movements. The Scriptures are not, primarily, a manual about manhood and womanhood. What they have to say about God and what God requires of man certainly involves things that we need to heed and learn about what it is to be a man and a woman but the Scriptures don't operate as a manual. Those who focus on those topics tend to distort the Scriptures mostly in the way they train people to think that the principle aim of a person reading the Scriptures is to figure out, daily, how they are to "be a woman" where the Scriptures have much more to say to us as we read them and the Spirit sanctifies us. Her critique of the approach of many is on point here but then the book tends to descend into that distortion itself in the way it handles texts and pushes the issue of men and women "contributing" to the foreground and uses speculative and imaginative thinking of the the scholars she cites to distort the meaning of the text.

In conclusion, I found that I could agree with what she was trying to accomplish (to an extent). I agree that women have important perspectives. They are created in the image of God, are intelligent, and see things that men miss. I find her use of sources troubling as well as the methodology used to establish certain points. That said, I think the notion that she's denying the Gospel (a la Galatians 2) as the reviewer noted is laguhable to scron. If anyone ought to be brought up on charges, it is the OPC minister who has violated the 9th Commandment in his complete and utter overstatement of the case. I've got serious reservations about her work but more serious reservations about that review from an OPC minister. I hope his Presbytery will be sufficiently embarrassed by the utter folly of some of the breathless exaggerations and convince him to take it down.
Did the review really say she was "denying the gospel"? If so, I didn't pick up on that in my reading. I thought the linkage to Gal 2 was looser than that. Am willing to be corrected on this.

I thought the case he made was stronger than I would have, but he made some solid points.

As to the three "basic points" above, if that's all that Byrd is contending, I don't think that should even be controversial. Those are baldly true. I also agree with your "wince points."

I feel like there's something else that bothers me, though. Something that does seem drawn from the spirit of modern theory in some sense. Maybe I could simply state it as the "privileging of identity''; a concept which shares something from intersectional theory, wherein one's "identity," as a woman in this case, allows one special insights or perspectives into truth that aren't available to others, and hence represents some untapped source of wisdom and insight, the lack of which is keeping the church from being all that Christ wants her to be.

I can't say that this is fully false, in some sense. Maybe it's even somewhat true. But I'm very suspicious of this perspective, for some reason. Something about it seems problematic to me.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
I don't know if there is a formal name for a kind of approach where the reviewer says correct things but they are aimed in the wrong direction.

I used to think that OPC ministers were uniformly careful thinkers but this review proves the opposite and is, sadly, too consistent. This review is a mess.

It's not right. It's not even wrong.

It tries to be flowery whipping us up into things that no Christian should ever disagree with.

"The Spirit of God inspired the Scriptures!!"

Yeah!! That's right! How dare she argue otherwise?!

Except that, sad to say, she doesn't

I actually hate to think what kind of regular mishandling of the Scripture this Pastor practices on a regular basis given his inability to handle a text from a lay-person and come to the kinds of conclusions he does. It's got the depth of Dana Carvey's Church Lady in its observations.
You either did not read his review or you are just the intellectual slouch you accuse him of being. Either way, your comments here are unbecoming an ordained servant in Christ's church.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
You either did not read his review or you are just the intellectual slouch you accuse him of being. Either way, your comments here are unbecoming an ordained servant in Christ's church.
I read it carefully. I'll let the reader decide who is intellectually lazy and intemperate in their rhetoric.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
I read it carefully. I'll let the reader decide who is intellectually lazy and intemperate in their rhetoric.
My point is that you might have disagreed with his argumentation and conclusions by a thoughtful interaction with what he wrote instead resorting to personal attacks. That is what you did. And that is, by its very nature, lazy and intemperate.
 

BottleOfTears

Puritan Board Freshman
As to the three "basic points" above, if that's all that Byrd is contending, I don't think that should even be controversial. Those are baldly true. I also agree with your "wince points."

I feel like there's something else that bothers me, though. Something that does seem drawn from the spirit of modern theory in some sense. Maybe I could simply state it as the "privileging of identity''; a concept which shares something from intersectional theory, wherein one's "identity," as a woman in this case, allows one special insights or perspectives into truth that aren't available to others, and hence represents some untapped source of wisdom and insight, the lack of which is keeping the church from being all that Christ wants her to be.

I can't say that this is fully false, in some sense. Maybe it's even somewhat true. But I'm very suspicious of this perspective, for some reason. Something about it seems problematic to me.
I think how we handle this sort of thing is really key in discussions like this. Because, as you say, there is a certain amount of truth in many things Aimee says, if we notice problematic elements, tendancies, or even just weaknesses, we cannot merely offer a blanket condemnation as in doing so we would accidentally be arguing against many true things as well, potentially causing some, in reaction, to embrace some of the more problematic elements.

In the case of intersectionality, we have to be careful not to deny the usefulness that multiple perspectives can offer us, as well as the culture and boundary crossing nature of the church, while at the same time critiquing more problematic elements. Pointing out potential problems with a skewed view of identity could be useful in a review, reading in a complete "intersectional" theology and disregarding every valid point made in the book because of it would not.

What can easily happen is that we set up a false binary discussion where people who are actually very close in what they believe find themselves on the opposite side, and neither side is willing to do anything that could be interpreted as conceding ground. Those who see themselves "in the middle" are left kind of confused and thinking "I don't agree with either side completely".

It seems that many reviews or discussions of Aimee's book do something similar to this, and then in response, those who appreciate the book see the actual valid criticisms as small potatoes compared to all the ridiculous stuff thrown Aimee's way. So the actual things worth discussing are often never discussed in a reasonable fashion, it's just arguments about who commited the worst 9th commandent violation. Even when a rather decent review such as the one produced by Mark Jones appears, it is refused a response because of the reviewers apparent association with those who have been slandering (I have zero idea of the truth on this matter). I believe Aimee actually wants a discussion, but it's becoming increasingly more difficult more people to write something more measured and even then the discussion is often side tracked into specifics of Natural Theology instead of what is discussed in the book itself. I also think that the more Aimee gets misrepresented or slandered, the more likely she is to percieve something as an attack or a malicious misrepresentation even when it is an honest mistake or disagreement. If an innocent person gets labelled like that, discussion will become next to impossible.

Even if no one is attacking others, where the focus is in discussion can also hurt matters. If "opponents" centre discussion on a relatively minor area while ignoring valid points in a relatively major area, discussion becomes a spiral of what-aboutism. Think of the Trinity debate. People throwing Trinitarian Orthodoxy out the window to back up their views on male-female relations doesn't look very appealing to those trying to pick a "side". People to this day still refuse to listen to anyone who professes ESS opine on other topics because their priorities seem so out of whack. Then if anyone tries to point out that they may be making a good point regardless, it just sounds like what-aboutism and reinforces the idea that people care more about women submitting than they do about how accurate their doctrine of the Trinity is.

I actually think there are problems even beyond this. Take a look at the reaction to the Mark Jones review. I don't have so much issue with said review in-and-of itself, but rather the way it has often been treated. I might be misreading things here, but people generally didn't see it as a useful contribution to an ongoing discussion, but almost as the silver bullet that they've been waiting for, which is arguably at odds with the review itself. Now, to be fair, a lot of the reaction was merely relief at someone writing a review who didnt sound incredibly outraged, but I also suspect that some people simply disliked the tone of the other discussions while agreeing with the majority of the content. No one wants to be sharing an angry review around, but dropping in the Mark Jones review when Aimee's book comes up in discussion is pretty reasonable.

But why do I say silver bullet? I think that a lot of people don't care whether or not Aimee is making any valid points. They are mostly concerned with elements of feminism coming into the church and see her book, and by extension Aimee herself as a threat. This is not to say these people want to slander Aimee, they would of course be opposed to that. But they also don't see any issues with current views on male female relations in evangelicalism. If pushed, they would probably concede that, yes, purity culture could be a bit legalistic and, yes, Doug Wilson-types say some weird stuff sometimes but they wouldn't go out of their way to make a fuss about it. So they see no need for a book like Aimee's, it may say some nice stuff sometimes, but the risk just isn't worth it.

Aimee wants a discussion where things get fleshed out a bit more and problematic elements are done away with. I have never seen her books as portraying themselves as The Final Word on such and such an issue, but rather as a beginning of a discussion that she thinks would be useful. I am often sympathetic to many things she points out in her books, though I am more on the Trueman part of the Byrd-Trueman-Pruitt scale if you will. I think that some of the problems in her works would be eliminated via more books by some others. I don't think she would be opposed to this at all, rather I think she would be delighted.

Sadly, it seems that many don't think a developmental discussion is necessary here, and see Aimee not as a useful voice that brings a bit of balance, but as a danger that needs to be dealt with. Enter Mark Jones review, stage left. Finally, a reasoned article that will sort this mess out. Retweet it on Twitter... and done. Complementarianism is saved.

I jest, but I believe here we come to the real aspect of disagreement currently. I think we can move beyond discussing "how slanderous is this one review I found" which honestly is not very edifying or helpful, and into the vastly more useful argument about whether much discussion actually needs to be done. Note, I am not asking about whether one agrees completely or even at all with Mrs Byrd on these issues, but rather whether (or how much) current views need to be analysed and modified/fleshed out.

Only then can we decide on how to tackle the real meat of discussion, that is, the subjects and ideas Aimee brings up in her book. I would hope that most would see that at the very least some fleshing out needs to be done, even if it is just the retrieval of existing ideas. I think Mark Jones has gone in that direction, which is one of the reasons his review is far more useful than the others. In fact, re-reading his review, much of what he says in his last few paragraphs concords with this idea as well as other things I have brought up.
Complementarianism is sometimes about ideology, not reality. Revision needs to take place in some circles, and I would like to see a strong condemnation of ESS from all complementarians. In my view, the issues before us, in terms of the role of men and women in the church, need to be done carefully and in a context where authors are not approaching these questions from a preoccupation with teachings in their own contexts. This book is perhaps too preoccupied with CBMW, and in particular Piper and Grudem. Thinking against such a foil means the texts may not be approached attentively but rather they are being subjected to the demands of the debate. Or maybe the author isn’t allowed to develop their positive case well because of the polemical concerns.

In the end, we have a bold and provocative book by an author who wishes to liberate the church from what she perceives to be unbiblical views on male–female roles. I admit that I do not write from a female perspective, and some women may feel unjustifiably silenced in their churches in various ways. As a pastor this book makes me think about my own church context and whether women feel valued. Yet, a lot of her views have been already stated in the many books on this topic out there, which means the distinctiveness of this book is perhaps the polemical tone towards CBMW (hence the title of the book). For this reason, I worry this type of book will entrench party–lines more than develop sympathetic understanding. Whether supporters and opponents of Byrd’s project in the current climate have the ability to read both critically and sympathetically is an interesting question. But I think the biblical–theological case in this book needs filling out in more detail, and in a way that doesn’t basically re-state what has been offered already in recent decades. I also feel she’s (perhaps unwittingly) been squeezed into the demands of a debate where the church has not offered in recent decades the right theological tools for us all to work with. This issue is a truly difficult task before the church, and I pray God will raise up future authors (male and female) who can guide us on these admittedly sensitive (but hugely important) topics.
So what does everyone think? Do we need much theological development in this area? Who are those best suited to the task? Does much need to be changed? And how useful is what Aimee Byrd has written towards said development?
 

Castle

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't know if there is a formal name for a kind of approach where the reviewer says correct things but they are aimed in the wrong direction.

I used to think that OPC ministers were uniformly careful thinkers but this review proves the opposite and is, sadly, too consistent. This review is a mess.

It's not right. It's not even wrong.

It tries to be flowery whipping us up into things that no Christian should ever disagree with.

"The Spirit of God inspired the Scriptures!!"

Yeah!! That's right! How dare she argue otherwise?!

Except that, sad to say, she doesn't

I actually hate to think what kind of regular mishandling of the Scripture this Pastor practices on a regular basis given his inability to handle a text from a lay-person and come to the kinds of conclusions he does. It's got the depth of Dana Carvey's Church Lady in its observations.

If anyone wants a serious review of Aimee's work then Mark Jones at The Calvinist International has provided what I believe is a good review.

Due to the furor aroused by this work, I listened to the book last week (I have to listen as I can't see well enough to read).

As I stated I agree with Mark Jones' review. I think Mrs. Bryd's approach is distracting and will undermine her aims. I believe she has three basic points she is trying to get across:

1. That there is no principle of women generally submitting to men. Wives submit to their husbands but women, in general, are not to have (as the central focus of their identity) looking for ways in which to affirm "male leadership" in every man they meet.

2. That women don't have to be the leaders in the Church but it doesn't imply they should not be throughtful, contributing members of the Church. They can do more than nursery and children's Sunday School and have an important perspective that ought to be sought out.

3. That we ought to prioritize the Church over the parachurch.

There are a few ways in which I found myself wincing throughout:

1. The yellow wallpaper motif was distracting and unnecessary. It serves as a metaphor for they ways in which we have constrained our thinking about what men and women can and can't do. As one example, I've interacted with one Brother frustrated that there is an idea that if you are quiet and introverted you are not a man. The problem with this metaphor is that she keeps using it as if she feels a need to bring literary quality to her work and employs it even to describe how Americans are keen to prioritize the parachurch over the Church.

2. As noted in multiple reviews, Mrs. Byrd allows egalitarian authors to do the heavy lifting for any controversial point made and doesn't provide any countervailing argument to the contrary. As such, her arguments are speculative and imaginative at times bordering on the absurd. A passing comment about Phoebe becomes the occasion for the notion that she must have been a central figure in the early Church. I think her aim is more modest (to establish the idea that women can be contributing, thinking participants in the Church) but the overwrought arguments about passing references undermines her case. Deborah, Phoebe, Junia, etc. She pushes to the center what the Bible mentions in passing. They are important but not central. They are contributing but it doesn't mean they are "inner circle". I've told others that I think she'll end up failing to influence the very people she was hoping to reach with this book because of this decision to utilize egalitarian scholarship as the central place to support her overall aim. I don't think she's egaliarian herself but I found myself thinking that she felt like she had to offer some sort of strong scholarly argument and grabbed arguments in a slap-dash manner that don't fit together very well. If, for instance, she's as consistently insidious as the former reviwer noted, she would have a much tighter argument but it all seems to hold together very tenuously.

3. She ends up re-creating the same problem she is critiquing in her book about "CBMW-like" movements. The Scriptures are not, primarily, a manual about manhood and womanhood. What they have to say about God and what God requires of man certainly involves things that we need to heed and learn about what it is to be a man and a woman but the Scriptures don't operate as a manual. Those who focus on those topics tend to distort the Scriptures mostly in the way they train people to think that the principle aim of a person reading the Scriptures is to figure out, daily, how they are to "be a woman" where the Scriptures have much more to say to us as we read them and the Spirit sanctifies us. Her critique of the approach of many is on point here but then the book tends to descend into that distortion itself in the way it handles texts and pushes the issue of men and women "contributing" to the foreground and uses speculative and imaginative thinking of the the scholars she cites to distort the meaning of the text.

In conclusion, I found that I could agree with what she was trying to accomplish (to an extent). I agree that women have important perspectives. They are created in the image of God, are intelligent, and see things that men miss. I find her use of sources troubling as well as the methodology used to establish certain points. That said, I think the notion that she's denying the Gospel (a la Galatians 2) as the reviewer noted is laughable to scorn. If anyone ought to be brought up on charges, it is the OPC minister who has violated the 9th Commandment in his complete and utter overstatement of the case. I've got serious reservations about her work but more serious reservations about that review from an OPC minister. I hope his Presbytery will be sufficiently embarrassed by the utter folly of some of the breathless exaggerations and convince him to take it down.
Brother, you are in Virginia as am I. You are welcome to come to my church and worship with any time you are in the Lynchburg area.

First, as to intellectual laziness, my point about the Scripture and the Spirit goes deeper than the superficial slogan we all agree with. My critique of Mrs. Byrd trades on two poles of the doctrine of canonization. First, she writes that the Scriptures were compiled by committee. She then goes on to "discover" in the story of Huldah the contribution of a woman's voice to that compilation. This twin move allows her to say that a woman's voice was part of God's process of canonization.

But the confessional doctrine is otherwise, as I labor to show in the article. The catholic doctrine of canon is that the Scripture bears all the marks of divinity of itself. The reception of the canon by the church is based upon the authenticating witness of the Spirit in the hearts of the Church.

When we look at the story of Huldah, without any axes to grind, we see that the confessional doctrine of canonization is exactly what happens in the narrative. Josiah and the priests recognize the book as God's Word by reading it. The book is already authenticated before they go to Huldah. Huldah plays no part in authenticating the book as God's Word. Rather, she, as a prophetess, applies it to their lives much like a pastor does today in his sermon. This was an extraordinary time and so her being a teacher is an extraordinary circumstance which I don't want to go off on here.

All this is to say, if you read my review and thought my only contention is that the Spirit inspired Scripture and Mrs. Byrd somehow denies this in some inchoate way, then you missed my point. And missing my point falls more so on my shoulders as an author than it does on yours as a reader, but it still falls to you to try and understand what I am doing in this article.

Secondly, my invitation to come worship with us still stands. But you need to watch the snide insinuations about my ministry which you have never attended. I wrote a review of a book directed at ordained men. I tried to show the deeper system of doctrine in the Confession and how Mrs. Byrd's book contradicts, not the individual doctrines of the confession, but the system underlying it. If you missed my point, then go back and reread or ask. But do not imply that I am mishandling the Word of Life in the feeding of my sheep whom I labor for based upon a misunderstanding of an admittedly thorny topic.

Be better than that and use manly rhetoric.

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
but almost as the silver bullet that they've been waiting for
Bingo. I think there is misunderstanding on both sides. Those on Aimee's side tend to think that all CBMW types are semi-Arians. They aren't, though CBMW allows for that. Those on Jones's side think Aimee's concerns simply reflect the worst of feminism.

I got it full bore on twitter last week simply because I criticized the argumentation in one paragraph of Naselli's review. I didn't even say Naselli's larger point was wrong, only that his logic was sloppy. The complentarians (or patriarchalists or whatever) went into full meltdown mode.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
I think that a lot of people don't care whether or not Aimee is making any valid points. They are mostly concerned with elements of feminism coming into the church and see her book, and by extension Aimee herself as a threat. This is not to say these people want to slander Aimee, they would of course be opposed to that. But they also don't see any issues with current views on male female relations in evangelicalism. If pushed, they would probably concede that, yes, purity culture could be a bit legalistic and, yes, Doug Wilson-types say some weird stuff sometimes but they wouldn't go out of their way to make a fuss about it. So they see no need for a book like Aimee's, it may say some nice stuff sometimes, but the risk just isn't worth it.
You've accurately described where I am in this discussion. Though saying "a lot of people don't care whether or not Aimee is making any valid points" may be overstating it. For myself, I would say that whatever valid points she makes, they are incidental to the errors in her hermeneutics. Even a broken clock is right two times a day. But the categories she introduces to interpreting the Bible represent an error far outweighing anything positive about her work. She is claiming that the entire way we interpret the Bible needs to be changed. That is huge. Nothing can be more important than orthodox hermeneutics and nothing can be more dangerous than getting that wrong. And I believe she does.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
This is truly an alarming statement. Regardless of the poster's rank or status, is this kind of invective really to be tolerated here on the PB?
Maybe, maybe not, but that's very gentle compared to some of the rhetoric I've received from people here over the years. Not judging PB, of course, just some of the people.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Maybe, maybe not, but that's very gentle compared to some of the rhetoric I've received from people here over the years.
It's also comparable, and perhaps even gentle compared to what Ms. Byrd and other women who've spoken in this area receive here and elsewhere in the reformed community.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Maybe, maybe not, but that's very gentle compared to some of the rhetoric I've received from people here over the years. Not judging PB, of course, just some of the people.
It's also comparable, and perhaps even gentle compared to what Ms. Byrd and other women who've spoken in this area receive here and elsewhere in the reformed community.
I know your mother taught you that two wrongs don't make a right. Accusing a minister of the OPC of mishandling the Word of God on a weekly basis is slander. Plain and simple. Rich (@Semper Fidelis) should withdraw the offending remark. He perhaps owes an apology to Mr. Castle.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
I know your mother taught you that two wrongs don't make a right.
Right, it doesn't. Jacob's post which I quoted did not say that the statement was justified. He pointed out that he's received this sort of engagement here; and I think it's important to note that Ms. Byrd has too. -- I guess I'm more of a traditionalist about these things -- I don't think it's noble for men to be more careful when dealing with one another than they are when dealing with women. I think it's good to be equally careful with Ms. Byrd and other women here.

I didn't personally read the original review or follow that part of Rich's post; I appreciated his engagement with the substance of the book which notes some issues but also some good aims.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Right, it doesn't. Jacob's post which I quoted did not say that the statement was justified. He pointed out that he's received this sort of engagement here; and I think it's important to note that Ms. Byrd has too. -- I guess I'm more of a traditionalist about these things -- I don't think it's noble for men to be more careful when dealing with one another than they are when dealing with women. I think it's good to be equally careful with Ms. Byrd and other women here.

I didn't personally read the original review or follow that part of Rich's post; I appreciated his engagement with the substance of the book which notes some issues but also some good aims.
My apologies. I assumed you were following the discussion.
 

BottleOfTears

Puritan Board Freshman
But the categories she introduces to interpreting the Bible represent an error far outweighing anything positive about her work. She is claiming that the entire way we interpret the Bible needs to be changed. That is huge. Nothing can be more important than orthodox hermeneutics and nothing can be more dangerous than getting that wrong. And I believe she does.
I think you may be overstating your case here. Is Aimee Byrd advocating for a complete reworking of our hermeneutics? Does she discuss typology or allegory indepth, or talk about the full extent of the ANE context for the Penteteuch? Does she reject Covenant Theology? I think not.

There's no problem with objecting to a strange interpretation of a passage (and its not as though novel interpretations are uncommon from either "side" here) or from bringing up a strange method of looking a texts about women, but that's a far cry from a completely new hermeneutic. Also to be pointed out is that the Reformed, Dispensationalists, and NCT people have far more differences in hermeneutics than anyone involved in this discussion but people make far more out of a single understanding of a passage if it has anything to do with gender roles.

What I think is also missed here is that Aimee makes a definite effort to link her arguments to Reformed theology in many ways, often quoting extensively from Swain and Allen. Her book Why Can't We Be Friends quotes from them so much that special permission was needed. I think to say she is merely advocating for an egalitarian theology/hermeneutic is wrong.

That said, as Mark Jones points out:
Byrd marshals a number of arguments that have been made in the (ever–growing) secondary literature on male–female roles by appealing to egalitarian theologians such as Carolyn Custis James, Philip B. Payne, Michael Bird, Richard Bauckham, Cynthia Westfall, and others. One gets the impression that the egalitarians do the heavy lifting for Byrd in terms of the more controversial points she wishes to make, whereas the “complementarian” theologians (e.g., Allen, Swain) are invoked for points less debateable, but nonetheless helpful.
So it's not as though one cannot object to said arguments.

However, this gets into another problem I have with this whole discussion, which ties into why the refusal to develop our theology in this area is so frustrating. When Aimee raises an objection to something, it is often dismissed, but not so often argued against.

To explain this, let me give another example. Say an article or popular book was written on election by a non-Reformed evangelical. Say they made some interesting points and as such, discussion of the article began on this board. The Reformed Faith has incredibly well defined views on election, so any confusing points could be well cleared up by marshalling an impressive array of sources. "Actually what Turretin says here is interesting" "It's obvious this person needs to engage more with what Muller has written in PRRD" etc. In short, there is plenty of indepth discussion and reasoning. Or maybe one of our doctrines gets challlenged, say justification by the NPP. Then we have not only our old resources on the topic, but new ones that deal with objections grounded in new discoveries in Second Temple Judaism, such as Horton's two volumes.

But when it comes to something like this, none of that happens. Arguments tend to be rather surface-level or sometimes things descend further into insults. Aimee is sometimes dismissed as a feminist, or treated as though she is just obviously wrong, without much discussion. People see this dismissal and defend Aimee instead of entering into proper discussion. It goes nowhere. Remember when Piper wrote that stuff about women police officers? Aimee obviously objected to that, because she saw no basis for Piper's reasoning. But many objected to her objection, hence now we have this idea of "thin" complementarianism. The supposed idea is that "thin" complementarians only listen to the bare commands of scripture, but are feminists elsewhere.

The problem with this is that much of the stuff that makes you a "thick" complementarian comes mostly from conservative American culture, and is often assumed more than argued for. To someone who didn't grow up with that, it isn't obvious at all. It's like purity culture. People in America have incredibly strong opinions on that topic ranging from "its incredibly demeaning to women" to "its basically good, why are you objecting are you a feminist?" Over here though, its just weird. It's utterly foreign to us. So it's rather frustrating when we read a bit of reasonable critique from someone like Aimee and all we hear back is "sounds like feminism".

Now if you disagree that there is little basis for this, then let me ask you something. Why does ESS exist? It exists because complementarians needed a stronger theological grounding for their positions. Now the doctrine itself and the idea that gender roles should be grounded in the Trinity are problematic, but there is some good in the aim. They noticed a lack of a solid theological defense against egalitarianism and tried to ground their beliefs in a central doctrine of the Christian faith. They ultimately failed. But one cannot merely leave it there. Surely a more solid foundation must be sought after?

Aimee is trying to be a part of something like that as well as trying to repair the damage caused by the mistakes of CBMW. If you disagree with her theology in that area, you have to do what she is doing but better. To disregard her because you don't like the authors she quoted from is ridiculous. You have to actually engage with her arguments. More than that, we all need a better developed theology of men and women, even if Aimee is completely wrong, that seems pretty obvious judging by the weakness of most critiques of her books. Why is the fact that Aimee Byrd being wrong taken as a free pass not to develop our theology in this area?

When someone says something controversial about gender roles, I want to be able to go to resources that are deeply theological and well-grounded in Scripture, rather than deeply political and well-grounded in American Evangelical Culture. We just don't have anything like that. Everything is polemics.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I moderated a response to permit the person whom I "came out swinging" at was permitted to respond to my scathing response. It is only fair to permit a man to respond to something another has written and I have permitted him to do so.

Let me address those who believe that what I have written is an ad hominem attack of the minister.

I should have written: "If the way this man handles Mrs. Byrd's material is indicative of the manner n which he handles the Scriptures then I have serious reservations about his teaching."

I maintain that his review is unfair and a gross misrepresentation of Mrs. Byrd portraying her writing as:

a. claiming that Scripture was created by a committee and denying divine authorship.
b. claiming that Mrs. Byrd's writing is feminist theology and, consequently, a denial of the Gospel itself.

The manly thing to do when anyone is being slandered (as Mrs. Byrd was) is to defend against the slander.

I'm sympathetic to what @BottleOfTears writes. The review represents the kind of excessive overreach that fails to take the overall thrust of the work, focus on her admittedly questionable use of resources, and then ascribe the absolute worst kind of departure from Reformed orthodoxy. It rallies the troops with a "Here I stand!" on orthodoxy in the pretense that her book represents that kind of departure from orthodoxy.

The reason I offered my own thoughts on the problems with the book was not to engage in some sort of "either-or" dilemma in which we must either accept what Aimee writes or the sources used but neither must we ascribe the worst kind of departure from basic hermeneutics or even an inchoate feminism that is opposed to the very Gospel itself.

I don't view Mark Jones' review as a "silver bullet" but a fair critique that acknowledges, in part, that there is an overall problem in this arena and seeks to offer a way in which she can be viewed sympathetically. In other words, we can (as he notes) acknowledge her errors without ascribing the worst in her as this review proposed.

So, for my part, I repent of over-stating the case. If the Pastor who wrote the review is an otherwise solid exegete then I have no information with which to judge his regular sermons. With respect to this particular review, his conclusions are indefensible and represent a gross accontextual use of Aimee's words in the book as if she proposes a gross departure from Reformed hermeneutics. One can note her errors (as has been done) and come to far different and fairer conclusions than what the reviewer jumps to.
 

Castle

Puritan Board Freshman
I moderated a response to permit the person whom I "came out swinging" at was permitted to respond to my scathing response. It is only fair to permit a man to respond to something another has written and I have permitted him to do so.

Let me address those who believe that what I have written is an ad hominem attack of the minister.

I should have written: "If the way this man handles Mrs. Byrd's material is indicative of the manner n which he handles the Scriptures then I have serious reservations about his teaching."

I maintain that his review is unfair and a gross misrepresentation of Mrs. Byrd portraying her writing as:

a. claiming that Scripture was created by a committee and denying divine authorship.
b. claiming that Mrs. Byrd's writing is feminist theology and, consequently, a denial of the Gospel itself.

The manly thing to do when anyone is being slandered (as Mrs. Byrd was) is to defend against the slander.

I'm sympathetic to what @BottleOfTears writes. The review represents the kind of excessive overreach that fails to take the overall thrust of the work, focus on her admittedly questionable use of resources, and then ascribe the absolute worst kind of departure from Reformed orthodoxy. It rallies the troops with a "Here I stand!" on orthodoxy in the pretense that her book represents that kind of departure from orthodoxy.

The reason I offered my own thoughts on the problems with the book was not to engage in some sort of "either-or" dilemma in which we must either accept what Aimee writes or the sources used but neither must we ascribe the worst kind of departure from basic hermeneutics or even an inchoate feminism that is opposed to the very Gospel itself.

I don't view Mark Jones' review as a "silver bullet" but a fair critique that acknowledges, in part, that there is an overall problem in this arena and seeks to offer a way in which she can be viewed sympathetically. In other words, we can (as he notes) acknowledge her errors without ascribing the worst in her as this review proposed.

So, for my part, I repent of over-stating the case. If the Pastor who wrote the review is an otherwise solid exegete then I have no information with which to judge his regular sermons. With respect to this particular review, his conclusions are indefensible and represent a gross accontextual use of Aimee's words in the book as if she proposes a gross departure from Reformed hermeneutics. One can note her errors (as has been done) and come to far different and fairer conclusions than what the reviewer jumps to.
I appreciate the exchange and I accept your apology. Come to church with us. We are looking at Genesis 19, the Wickeness of Sodom Displayed.

My point though, goes deeper than all of this.

If Paul is to be believed, the Mrs. Byrd should not have written this book.

One, because she attempts to teach the church. She repeatedly calls on pastors and elders "church leaders" to listen to her and take her seriously. She even goes as far as to recast Anne Hichtinson as a hero of the faith.

Two, she is a woman. Paul said, let a woman keep silent and not teach (1 Timothy 2:14). The rrasonnshe should not teach is because it takes great labor to accurately divide the word of truth, God has called men to do this work, and women are more easily deceived. Case in point, RFBMW., a book which relies exclusively on egalitarian and feminist sources which carry with them the feminist meta-narrative to the interpretation of Scripture. Mrs. Byrd even uses the operative metaphor from a feminist novella as her own governing paradigm for how she reads Scripture. She shows, by the book itself, that she cannot discern the wheat, if such there be on feminist scholarship, from the chaff which there certainly is in feminist scholarship. To fail to discern the unbiblical elements in a source is to be deceived.

Three, among the various other orthodox debates (Covenant vs. New Covenant Theology, etc), the agreed upon assumption is the Scripture interprets Scripture. What Mrs. Byrd engages in is not that but applying the feminist meta-narrative to Scripture and history and reading both through that lens. "Do you see the yellow wallpaper" is a constant refrain in the book. I don't see how an orthodox interpreter can look at the Huldah or Ruth narratives and come up with the interpretation she puts on them (when in the Ruth narrative the very criterion she selects for feminine voice is absent from the narrative, even as she admits!) without supposing that the there is another lens by which she is trying to read Scripture.

I do not see this as an innocent conversation we can disintestedly discuss. These types of arguments have been made before in the CRC and PCUSA and look where they are now. How did they get there? Because to accept the arguments which Mrs. Byrd is making, is to accept the view of Scripture and the work of the Spirit upon which those arguments stand.

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
One, because she attempts to teach the church. She repeatedly calls on pastors and elders "church leaders" to listen to her and take her seriously. She even goes as far as to recast Anne Hichtinson as a hero of the faith.
I think this is a good example of the excess in your rhetoric or your ability to read what she wrote. She does not recast Hutchinson as a hero of the faith. It's hard for me to take you seriously when you write things that are clearly not the case.

She engages in speculation about whether Anne might have been "salvageable" if her Pastors took her seriously and trained her in the Scriptures more properly. It's a questionable point but she doesn't cast her as a "hero". If you are to be taken seriously you need to cast your criticisms fairly and accurately.
wo, she is a woman. Paul said, let a woman keep silent and not teach (1 Timothy 2:14). The rrasonnshe should not teach is because it takes great labor to accurately divide the word of truth, God has called men to do this work, and women are more easily deceived. Case in point, RFBMW., a book which relies exclusively on egalitarian and feminist sources which carry with them the feminist meta-narrative to the interpretation of Scripture. Mrs. Byrd even uses the operative metaphor from a feminist novella as her own governing paradigm for how she reads Scripture. She shows, by the book itself, that she cannot discern the wheat, if such there be on feminist scholarship, from the chaff which there certainly is in feminist scholarship. To fail to discern the unbiblical elements in a source is to be deceived.
The question about whether she places herself as a teacher or someone making an argument is debatable. Are you ordained as a Pastor for every Christian or are you ordained to a particular calling with a flock? One might argue, in the same vein, that even though you are ordained as a TE you are nevertheless exceeding the boundary of your calling and some Pastor might take you to task for presuming to shepherd beyond the flock to which you have been called. If, however, we are all permitted to engage in public conversation then the issue of "presuming to teach" is relieved.

Her "yellow paper" metaphor is just that. She actually only introduces the concept as an illustration of the Fall that clouds our thinking. I find the metaphor distracting but the book itself is not the "controlling paradigm" and you again either failed to read or misunderstand that her controlling paradigm is that human sin clouds our understanding of Scripture. One does not have to endorse or agree with her to represent her accurately and fairly.

Three, among the various other orthodox debates (Covenant vs. New Covenant Theology, etc), the agreed upon assumption is the Scripture interprets Scripture. What Mrs. Byrd engages in is not that but applying the feminist meta-narrative to Scripture and history and reading both through that lens. "Do you see the yellow wallpaper" is a constant refrain in the book. I don't see how an orthodox interpreter can look at the Huldah or Ruth narratives and come up with the interpretation she puts on them (when in the Ruth narrative the very criterion she selects for feminine voice is absent from the narrative, even as she admits!) without supposing that the there is another lens by which she is trying to read Scripture.
You again miss the mark here. The refrain (while distracting) is again the clouding of our mind by sin. Surely (if you are an orthodox Presbyterian) you agree that corruption remains in the justified sinner. This means that your thinking is clouded by sin and is in need of constant renewal. I have already stated I don't like the "yellow paper" motif but she clearly thinks this to the Fall.

Also, if you read between the lines, Amy is leveraging authors to make certain arguments but not adopting the fullness of their implications. You can call her inconsistent at this point and I find it to be a weakness in her book but her principal purpose in leveraging them is to try to argue for the importance of a contributive voice and input from women. Your own perspective seems to be the idea that, because women are more easily deceived, that they should distrust any perspective or contribution as laypersons but is it not true as well that men are deceived and unstable in some cases?

My point is that, if you take the time to read her more carefully, you can fairly critique her use of sources and have some patient endurance with where she is making speculative or misguided arguments to try to see the heart of the main argument. If,however, you treat every source utilized or metaphor utilized as a clear adoption (in full) of every source cited then you will be prone to actually fail to apprehend the very qualification she makes as to why she cites the sources.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
By the way, I do appreciate the irenic exchange.

For some reason your posts keep going into moderation for us to approve your replies and I can't figure out why. I've also updated your username so it's not your personal email.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don't know if there is a formal name for a kind of approach where the reviewer says correct things but they are aimed in the wrong direction.

I used to think that OPC ministers were uniformly careful thinkers but this review proves the opposite and is, sadly, too consistent. This review is a mess.

It's not right. It's not even wrong.

It tries to be flowery whipping us up into things that no Christian should ever disagree with.

"The Spirit of God inspired the Scriptures!!"

Yeah!! That's right! How dare she argue otherwise?!

Except that, sad to say, she doesn't

I actually hate to think what kind of regular mishandling of the Scripture this Pastor practices on a regular basis given his inability to handle a text from a lay-person and come to the kinds of conclusions he does. It's got the depth of Dana Carvey's Church Lady in its observations.

If anyone wants a serious review of Aimee's work then Mark Jones at The Calvinist International has provided what I believe is a good review.

Due to the furor aroused by this work, I listened to the book last week (I have to listen as I can't see well enough to read).

As I stated I agree with Mark Jones' review. I think Mrs. Bryd's approach is distracting and will undermine her aims. I believe she has three basic points she is trying to get across:

1. That there is no principle of women generally submitting to men. Wives submit to their husbands but women, in general, are not to have (as the central focus of their identity) looking for ways in which to affirm "male leadership" in every man they meet.

2. That women don't have to be the leaders in the Church but it doesn't imply they should not be throughtful, contributing members of the Church. They can do more than nursery and children's Sunday School and have an important perspective that ought to be sought out.

3. That we ought to prioritize the Church over the parachurch.

There are a few ways in which I found myself wincing throughout:

1. The yellow wallpaper motif was distracting and unnecessary. It serves as a metaphor for they ways in which we have constrained our thinking about what men and women can and can't do. As one example, I've interacted with one Brother frustrated that there is an idea that if you are quiet and introverted you are not a man. The problem with this metaphor is that she keeps using it as if she feels a need to bring literary quality to her work and employs it even to describe how Americans are keen to prioritize the parachurch over the Church.

2. As noted in multiple reviews, Mrs. Byrd allows egalitarian authors to do the heavy lifting for any controversial point made and doesn't provide any countervailing argument to the contrary. As such, her arguments are speculative and imaginative at times bordering on the absurd. A passing comment about Phoebe becomes the occasion for the notion that she must have been a central figure in the early Church. I think her aim is more modest (to establish the idea that women can be contributing, thinking participants in the Church) but the overwrought arguments about passing references undermines her case. Deborah, Phoebe, Junia, etc. She pushes to the center what the Bible mentions in passing. They are important but not central. They are contributing but it doesn't mean they are "inner circle". I've told others that I think she'll end up failing to influence the very people she was hoping to reach with this book because of this decision to utilize egalitarian scholarship as the central place to support her overall aim. I don't think she's egaliarian herself but I found myself thinking that she felt like she had to offer some sort of strong scholarly argument and grabbed arguments in a slap-dash manner that don't fit together very well. If, for instance, she's as consistently insidious as the former reviwer noted, she would have a much tighter argument but it all seems to hold together very tenuously.

3. She ends up re-creating the same problem she is critiquing in her book about "CBMW-like" movements. The Scriptures are not, primarily, a manual about manhood and womanhood. What they have to say about God and what God requires of man certainly involves things that we need to heed and learn about what it is to be a man and a woman but the Scriptures don't operate as a manual. Those who focus on those topics tend to distort the Scriptures mostly in the way they train people to think that the principle aim of a person reading the Scriptures is to figure out, daily, how they are to "be a woman" where the Scriptures have much more to say to us as we read them and the Spirit sanctifies us. Her critique of the approach of many is on point here but then the book tends to descend into that distortion itself in the way it handles texts and pushes the issue of men and women "contributing" to the foreground and uses speculative and imaginative thinking of the the scholars she cites to distort the meaning of the text.

In conclusion, I found that I could agree with what she was trying to accomplish (to an extent). I agree that women have important perspectives. They are created in the image of God, are intelligent, and see things that men miss. I find her use of sources troubling as well as the methodology used to establish certain points. That said, I think the notion that she's denying the Gospel (a la Galatians 2) as the reviewer noted is laughable to scorn. If anyone ought to be brought up on charges, it is the OPC minister who has violated the 9th Commandment in his complete and utter overstatement of the case. I've got serious reservations about her work but more serious reservations about that review from an OPC minister. I hope his Presbytery will be sufficiently embarrassed by the utter folly of some of the breathless exaggerations and convince him to take it down.
I would like clarification on your first point. Does Ms. Byrd make the case that within the Reformed church there is the assumption that all women are subordinate to all men? Does she really believe that? I have been in NAPARC churches for 30 years now and have never once heard that expressed or implied. It’s a straw man (or maybe straw woman?)

The problems I see with Ms. Byrd are hard for me to define but having been a militant feminist prior to my conversion I am sensitive to its many ways of expression.. Now please don’t think I’m labeling her as such. But what concerns me is a subtle undertone of dissatisfaction, a resentment of perceived restrictions and a need to “correct” the church. I guess I just don’t see the issues she sees as being actual problems. I know that ordained lady deacons will be the rule rather than the exception soon. Women will be teaching adult Bible studies eventually. But do we believe the Bible is inspired or not? If we say we believe this, then it seems to me that these issues were settled long ago. i hope that godly men will not succumb to the feminization of the Reformed church .
 

Castle

Puritan Board Freshman
I would like clarification on your first point. Does Ms. Byrd make the case that within the Reformed church there is the assumption that all women are subordinate to all men? Does she really believe that? I have been in NAPARC churches for 30 years now and have never once heard that expressed or implied. It’s a straw man (or maybe straw woman?)

The problems I see with Ms. Byrd are hard for me to define but having been a militant feminist prior to my conversion I am sensitive to its many ways of expression.. Now please don’t think I’m labeling her as such. But what concerns me is a subtle undertone of dissatisfaction, a resentment of perceived restrictions and a need to “correct” the church. I guess I just don’t see the issues she sees as being actual problems. I know that ordained lady deacons will be the rule rather than the exception soon. Women will be teaching adult Bible studies eventually. But do we believe the Bible is inspired or not? If we say we believe this, then it seems to me that these issues were settled long ago. i hope that godly men will not succumb to the feminization of the Reformed church .
Seeing that you were a radical feminist, I would be interested in your feedback on this review. I don't know if you've read it yet, it was linked above. I'll link it here:


Your concern is mine as well.

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I would like clarification on your first point. Does Ms. Byrd make the case that within the Reformed church there is the assumption that all women are subordinate to all men? Does she really believe that? I have been in NAPARC churches for 30 years now and have never once heard that expressed or implied. It’s a straw man (or maybe straw woman?)
It's half a straw man. There is a very vocal group within the Reformed world that holds views that women shouldn't work outside the home (sometimes not even getting an education) and that men should be manly manly men. Indeed, one group created its own microdenomination to emphasize "masculinity."

It is a problem but not as big as Mrs Byrd might suggest it is.

Yes, I know of the verse that says women should work at home. I don't think the Bible applies it absolutely, since Lydia worked her own business and the Proverbs 31 woman did stuff outside the home.
 
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