Byrd's "Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood"

Andrew35

Puritan Board Freshman
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.
How big a problem is this in NAPARC really? PB is pretty conservative, I believe. Are there any on here that would come out as affirming the above? I'm genuinely curious.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
How big a problem is this in NAPARC really? PB is pretty conservative, I believe. Are there any on here that would come out as affirming the above? I'm genuinely curious.
How big is the problem of perceived femininity among men?

or How big is the problem of brochismo manly men denomination mindset?

Truth be told, I bet most people are somewhere in the middle. No one is burning bras and only the most extreme Wilsonites are guilty of what Mrs Byrd likely alleges.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Freshman
How big is the problem of perceived femininity among men?

or How big is the problem of brochismo manly men denomination mindset?

Truth be told, I bet most people are somewhere in the middle. No one is burning bras and only the most extreme Wilsonites are guilty of what Mrs Byrd likely alleges.
Right, but those are perceptions/mindsets. I was referring more to the specific behaviors you mentioned; e.g., believing women should not work outside the home as an absolute principle.

There's definitely much to criticize in the "traditional" American view of masculinity, I'm not denying that. Of particularly grievous note, "masculinity" as comprising a set of stereotypical behaviors and affinities rather than a striving for an identified set of virtues. (I never fit into the stereotypical "model American male" myself: one summer at camp, I missed a baseball due to picking dandelions in the field instead of watching the game. I wore the humiliating title of "dandelion boy" for the rest of the week. My parents eventually gave up and stopped forcing me to go. :D)
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
believing women should not work outside the home as an absolute principle.
Not overwhelming, since the financial structure of America usually requires a two-income household. I did sit in on an interview where the candidate was adamant that the woman stay home, so there's that.
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
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 .
She has a wider audience (or target) in view than the NAPARC world. I could be wrong, but I think the idea that women should submit to all men is much more common in Baptist/CBMW circles, and maybe CREC. As far as I know, none of the ESS teachers are Presbyterian.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
She has a wider audience (or target) in view than the NAPARC world. I could be wrong, but I think the idea that women should submit to all men is much more common in Baptist/CBMW circles, and maybe CREC. As far as I know, none of the ESS teachers are Presbyterian.
That sounds about right. I know that Doug Wilson, quite surprisingly, doesn't hold that all women should submit to all men. I think that has more to do with "encroaching on another man's territory" than anything to do with the dignity of the woman.

I think we can make a spectrum:

Bishop of the Episcopal Church -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------R.C. Sproul Jr.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Freshman
She has a wider audience (or target) in view than the NAPARC world. I could be wrong, but I think the idea that women should submit to all men is much more common in Baptist/CBMW circles, and maybe CREC. As far as I know, none of the ESS teachers are Presbyterian.
For what it's worth, I grew up IFB, my dad a pastor, and I never heard of it. Even if I had, just try telling one of our green bean casserole-toting grandmas she's got to submit to "naughty Bryan" who she spanked 8 years back for stealing church cookies.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
For what it's worth, I grew up IFB, my dad a pastor, and I never heard of it. Even if I had, just try telling one of our green bean casserole-toting grandmas she's got to submit to "naughty Bryan" who she spanked 8 years back for stealing church cookies.
It's fairly recent. And I haven't seen it in IFB circles. I think it is more of those in SBC who are overreacting.
 

Castle

Puritan Board Freshman
She has a wider audience (or target) in view than the NAPARC world. I could be wrong, but I think the idea that women should submit to all men is much more common in Baptist/CBMW circles, and maybe CREC. As far as I know, none of the ESS teachers are Presbyterian.
While it may be present in some fringe elements of the evangelical world (The now discredited Vision Forum), I think her presentation of the problem is a straw man.

I own the label patriarch, and I don't teach this. And I don't know anyone who does.

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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
So what do you think her motivations are? I think there are better and more specific ways she could have addressed her concerns, maybe? Could you find areas that she may have valid concerns? I didn’t read her book but she is targeting “biblical manhood and womanhood” by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. Maybe some of her criticisms are valid? But is she qualified to be a biblical authority on these matters? Would P&R publish this book? Just some random questions for consideration if you would be so inclined, thanks!
That points to the tension. We all agree that women shouldn't teach men *in the church.* Can a woman teach a man outside the church? That's the issue. And that's why it is not entirely divorced from questions like "should women submit to all men?"
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
That points to the tension. We all agree that women shouldn't teach men *in the church.* Can a woman teach a man outside the church? That's the issue. And that's why it is not entirely divorced from questions like "should women submit to all men?"
I also know some who believe that a woman should never be a man's boss in the workforce (ie, women can work outside the home, so long as its menial), and should never be above men in the governing heirarchy of society.

Also related: many believe that women cannot teach men anything spiritually, cannot write commentaries or religious resource books etc.

We've discussed much of this before in a number of places, recently here: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/rachel-miller’s-beyond-authority-and-submission.99277/
 
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mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
Another friendly, yet critical review, picking up on some of the same concerns Rev. Castle highlighted in his review:

 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I bought Aimee’s book on Kindle and have read the intro (The Introduction That You May Not Skip! The Church’s Yellow Wallpaper), and Chapter One. I made some notes, such as when Aimee is complaining about women’s frufru study Bibles, and wondered why she doesn’t see that this is something Bible publishers have done to make money, not something CBMW or the church did.

I’ll try to finish the book just because, but it’s hard slogging and I’m just about too old to deal with. Aimee does, in my opinion, use the yellow wallpaper meme consistently (in the portion I’ve read) to illustrate the church’s failure to give women their proper place in the church.

The simple thing to do I think is to just compare what Aimee says she wants for women in the church to what Scripture wants. I don’t think they’re going to line up. I’ll try to make a list of the Bible’s instruction to women/wives, and make notes of where Aimee agrees or disagrees with those things.

We really need a recovery of Puritan teaching in the churches on marriage and the church. Ministers willing to teach and preach on all the “hard” passages that apply to all— men, women, and children.

And bring back the idea of stations in life, of superiors and inferiors. We need that.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
It's fairly recent. And I haven't seen it in IFB circles. I think it is more of those in SBC who are overreacting.
I've been around conservative Southern Baptists for a long time and while I haven't heard much about complementarian theology, I believe some I know acted as if homosexuality was the biggest issue facing the church. Perhaps this sparked some opinions of the family and marriage? Now it appears to me the non-Reformed conservative SBs are concerned more with promoting some form of racial reconciliation. The man who first taught me about Reformed theology is a Southern Baptist chaplain who is a big Doug Wilson and John Piper fan. I'll have to ask him about this.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
I’ll try to finish the book just because, but it’s hard slogging and I’m just about too old to deal with.
This cracked me up. :lol:

We really need a recovery of Puritan teaching in the churches on marriage and the church. Ministers willing to teach and preach on all the “hard” passages that apply to all— men, women, and children.

And bring back the idea of stations in life, of superiors and inferiors. We need that.
:agree::amen: :ditto:
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
And bring back the idea of stations in life, of superiors and inferiors. We need that.
As a monarchist Tory, I agree. Here is the problem. By superiors and inferiors, are we referring to ontology/nature or status? I've seen patriarchalists on social media argue for the former, which is the terrible error of Aristotle.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Interesting points, including Mr Arsenal’s review. Based on some of this feedback, I almost get the impression that this is more of a vanity project above anything else. Which is in most of our subconscious a motivation for writing a book. Maybe publishers need to be more selective. Credentials are not the be all end all but for topics such as these there should be some type of minimum standard maybe.
That's entirely subjective. As someone who writes about 5 book reviews a week, I can say the same thing (vanity project) about most book reviews (sometimes including my own). She identifies problematic statements made in family manuals. I think clarification on those statements (e.g., are women inferior by nature or by status? The first leads you to Greek philosophy).

Which is in most of our subconscious a motivation for writing a book.
Freud, anybody?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Per Tony's review. He admits he listened to an audiobook. Fair enough, but this hamstrings the reader of the review since we just have to take his word on some arguments and aren't able to evaluate the pages ourselves.

1) She uses egalitarian sources, which must be bad. Well, Samuel Rutherford quoted papists approvingly more than he quote Calvin.
2) Half-baked argumentation: he doesn't give a single example. I want to see where exactly the conclusion doesn't follow the premise.

Her conclusions:

3) Deuteronomy being recognized by Huldah. I actually think that is historically accurate, pace Tony, but pace Aimee, I don't think it is significant, aside from the fact that Huldah wasn't at home mindin' her man.
4) Ruth as a sexual situation. I don't want to read too much into it, but that's standard in the commentaries. Feet often mean genitalia. No, I don't think Ruth was having sex with Boaz, but it would have been a scandal had someone walked up on the situation.
5) Per Junia: it's a plausible argument. I'm not persuaded yet, but many NT scholars are.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
Sounds like she does a bait and switch, using these sources to reach different conclusions. Isn’t this disingenuous to the original intent?

Did you read the book? Why are you assuming the reviewer is wrong? How can he disprove a negative? If he says the following are absent from her (overall thesis) book, how can he further make his point to your satisfaction?
  • Aimee repeatedly affirms that there are essential differences that exist between men and women. However, there is little in the way of explanation of what those differences are.
  • Aimee states (here and elsewhere) that she does not have to act in a feminine way since she is a woman. However, it seems like Aimee would not deny that it is possible for a man to act like a woman, or a woman to act like a man. An explanation of these two facts and how they cohere is necessary.
  • Aimee indicates that men and women have unique things to contribute to the Church, but she does not give any real indication of what those things are.

Per Tony's review. He admits he listened to an audiobook. Fair enough, but this hamstrings the reader of the review since we just have to take his word on some arguments and aren't able to evaluate the pages ourselves.

1) She uses egalitarian sources, which must be bad. Well, Samuel Rutherford quoted papists approvingly more than he quote Calvin.
2) Half-baked argumentation: he doesn't give a single example. I want to see where exactly the conclusion doesn't follow the premise.

Her conclusions:

3) Deuteronomy being recognized by Huldah. I actually think that is historically accurate, pace Tony, but pace Aimee, I don't think it is significant, aside from the fact that Huldah wasn't at home mindin' her man.
4) Ruth as a sexual situation. I don't want to read too much into it, but that's standard in the commentaries. Feet often mean genitalia. No, I don't think Ruth was having sex with Boaz, but it would have been a scandal had someone walked up on the situation.
5) Per Junia: it's a plausible argument. I'm not persuaded yet, but many NT scholars are.
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Sounds like she does a bait and switch, uses these sources to reach different conclusions. Isn’t this disingenuous to the original intent?
Not necessarily. I used to quote Nietzsche to atheists and I quote Heidegger all the time without endorsing their worldviews.
Did you read the book?
Not yet.
Why are you assuming the reviewer is wrong?
I didn't. I simply pointed out that his argumentation, or lack of it, was weak.
How can he disprove a negative?
By not basing a review on an audiobook that is intended as a critical analysis.
However, there is little in the way of explanation of what those differences are.
If there is "little in the way," then that means there is little, not absence. In any case, the most your counter-argument could prove is that I haven't yet read the book and maybe I could provide evidence.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
As a monarchist Tory, I agree. Here is the problem. By superiors and inferiors, are we referring to ontology/nature or status? I've seen patriarchalists on social media argue for the former, which is the terrible error of Aristotle.
I would have assumed we were using it in the same sense as that employed by the Westminster divines (LC 123-133; SC 63-66).
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I would have assumed we were using in the same sense as that employed by the Westminster divines (LC 123-133; SC 63-66).
That's generally true, but since most people today don't talk about metaphysics, substance, ontology, and property-relations, this is apt to be misunderstood.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Aimee states (here and elsewhere) that she does not have to act in a feminine way since she is a woman. However, it seems like Aimee would not deny that it is possible for a man to act like a woman, or a woman to act like a man. An explanation of these two facts and how they cohere is necessary.
She probably could give a better explanation on that one.
Aimee indicates that men and women have unique things to contribute to the Church, but she does not give any real indication of what those things are.
I could be wrong, but I thought she did and that's why she got in trouble.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
ok, the publisher is Zondervan

I could see where that could be problematic as far as confessional publishing standards, or lack thereof.

Didnt she say it was the publisher that encouraged the controversial yellow paper cover and title?
 
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BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I'll be honest. I have no idea what the connotations of yellow wall paper mean. Is it bad?
Shes obviously building her brand and expanding her reach which may lead her into the arms of liberalism..... MAY.
That's a really specious line of argumentation.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Freshman
Yellow wallpaper = a metaphor for how society has confined women to domesticities and away from mental stimulation, such as writing for Gilman and presumably churchly and theological concerns for Byrd. In this manner, women are kept from areas where they may better serve and contribute to society, as well as from their full potential.

I think that's probably the fairest understanding of the metaphor as both authors use it. (I read the story years ago, incidentally, but never cared for it very much. More of an Edith Wharton fan.)
 

Pilgrim

Puritan Board Doctor
Now it appears to me the non-Reformed conservative SBs are concerned more with promoting some form of racial reconciliation.
Unless I'm misunderstanding you, that's backwards. The ones pushing racial reconciliation are almost all "Reformed" types. Think TGC and T4G. SBTS and SEBTS are the hotbeds for it, and those are the two "Calvinist" seminaries. Founders stands against it, but they are really a minority even within the ranks of Calvinistic Southern Baptists at this point, and apparently had to team up with Wilson and friends to get their documentary made.
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Sophomore
I don’t like what she’s writing here. She acknowledges that she is perceived as ‘dangerous‘ but seems to double-down.

“So I wrote another book, doing theology. It’s about how important our confession of hope is to our perseverance in the Christian life. I didn’t want it to be a women’s book, because it’s not a “women’s message.” But I found that my writing and my target in that book really didn’t have a marketabletarget. Books marketed to women’s studies are fluffier, lighter, and my writing was a bit over their head. This is sad, as it isn’t an academic book by any means. I was hoping that it would serve as a positive challenge to popular-level reading. And, maybe even sadder, men didn’t take it seriously. I remember one conversation I had with a well-meaning pastor when the book came out. He said that he suggested the women in his church use my book for their next study. I thanked him and said, “You know, it’s not a women’s book. The men in your church can read it too.” He and the other pastor beside him looked at each other and laughed. They laughed. Then they switched the conversation to something else. This was my worst-selling book.

This made me explore the reasons women are targets for theological junk, how we view women’s ministry, and how it affects the whole church. That led to my 3rd book, which targets pastors and church officers as well as women, hoping church leaders will lead the way in some of these discussions in their own churches and that women will be motivated as necessary allies in the church, their homes, and society. I wanted to bridge a gap. And the book is selling pretty well. Although, discussing it revealed another issue.

So I wrote my next book, basically saying we have a serious problem with our Christian message if men and women can’t even relate in meaningful, dynamic, and pure ways. This book labeled me as dangerous among a lot of people in my own circles. Hmm. I wrote it because I actually believe what I confess with my congregation on Sunday mornings: I believe in the communion of the saints.

Which led to my next book, pressing further into the question of what the communion of the saints actually looks like. But I quickly realized in the planning stages that writing on this topic of discipleship and communion---as a woman---poses the same problems as my second book, but even worse now that I am dangerous and all that. So, I directly spoke into the elephant in the church: does a female lay disciple have the same agency as a male lay disciple in communicating God’s word, communing in it, and passing it down to the next generation? What’s distinctly meaningful about male and female disciples? What is our aim? I was warned that I may lose everything if I write on this topic. I may get kicked out of the reformedish writing and speaking world. I will probably lose friendships. It could affect my own church life. This is dangerous stuff, you know. (Whatever happened to regular critique, I wondered?) I’m already experiencing some of this. But I only began writing in the first place because I found a need for certain books that I wanted to read. That’s why I write. And if I get kicked out of the whole writing world, I would be very happy to open a modern-day speakeasy or work at a fruit stand. It would be a lot less stressful.

Writing friends also advised me that maybe I should give this gender stuff a break. This book will pigeonhole me, and I am capable of writing on much broader topics. Ah, but that’s the whole point. Remember my worst-selling book?

My worst-selling book is also my favorite topic to speak on. I get to address three areas: 1) How perseverance is not an individual training exercise: we hold fast to the confession of our hope within the covenant community of the church. 2) The confession of our hope is also David’s in the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament (110), with 14 confessions of how Jesus is Lord in his person and his work. 3) We can hold fast without wavering because he who promised is faithful. Man, those basic truths are exciting to me.”

 
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Castle

Puritan Board Freshman
ok, the publisher is Zondervan

I could see where that could be problematic as far as confessional publishing standards, or lack thereof.

Didnt she say it was the publisher that encouraged the controversial yellow paper cover and title? The publishers bottom line is sales, so controversy is good maybe?

This smells a bit opportunistic, not necessarily a problem in and of itself, but open to unintended consequences possibly.

Shes obviously building her brand and expanding her reach which may lead her into the arms of liberalism..... MAY.
The yellow wallpaper cover and motif from Gilman were both original ideas of Mrs. Byrd.

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