step up, men

It doesn’t matter if you already have a copy of the book or bought one for your father-in-law for Christmas last year or thought about reading it once or saw it on your pastor’s bookshelf and promptly forgot it. You still need to check out this edition of Women Pastors: The Ordination of Women in Biblical Lutheran Perspectivestach 007This edition includes three essays by LCMS women: two deaconesses and, um, me.

(Hey, I was in the deaconess program for, um, a quarter. That totally counts.)

There are differing thoughts on  having women write for this book. Some think it’s good because it defuses the “Where are the women?” tirade. (And I think we can all agree we’ve heard our fair share of that in the last few months.) Others think that women don’t need to add to the conversation, that the discussion thus far is enough.

stach 008

I credit my brother-in-law with my ah-ha moment. Sometimes he just gets on a roll in Bible class, and everything he’s saying is so good and so right-on that I can hardly keep up. But I did hear him say something about how men are always giving and women are always receiving, and I raised my pointer finger in the air and cried, “Ah-ha!”

No, I didn’t actually.

I was too busy eating a donut and drinking church coffee.

But he was still on to something. stach 009

So here’s a sneak peek into the idea in 50 words or less: God became incarnate as a male. As a man, He was continually in a posture of giving: His Word, His forgiveness, Himself. So was Adam. So are all men, all husbands, all pastors. Women, conversely, receive what the men have to give: their name, protection, love. So when it comes to the pastoral office . . . . oh.

My bad.

Ran out of words.

Guess you’ll just have to buy the book. stach 010But even if you don’t (you slacker you), know this: I don’t think the women’s ordination issue has anything to do with women. I think it’s all about the guys and their lack of truly being men.

Feel free to tell me I’m wrong.

Be brutal. I can take it.

I mean, I’ll disagree, but I can handle it.

And if anybody needs me, I’ll just be over here in the corner.

Wearing Kevlar.

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24 thoughts on “step up, men

  1. To clarify, I actually do understand what Adriane is teaching, which is why I so vehemently disagree with it. If you’re asking if your words help me accept the veracity of her teaching. I’m not actually interested in that. If I want what Adriane is selling I’ll go find a Promise Keepers convention or sign myself up for the love-dare from the movie ‘Courageous’. Sarcastic? Maybe, but at least you know what I’m thinking. And please please please don’t throw the 8th Commandment at me. Public action is fair game for public criticism.

    • Adam’s sin is plainly stated in Gen. 3:17, “Because you have listened to your wife . . . .” What is his sin? Listening to the voice of his wife. What should have he done? He should have listened to the voice of the Lord. And thus, when finding a contradiction to the Lord’s voice, he was to live a life in concert with the Lord’s voice. How does one live that life? Certainly by not eating. But also by speaking the truth of God’s Word in that very situation. By repeating the Word and command of God that He gave to Adam before the creation of Eve at that moment when Eve offers the fruit to him. The same Word that Adam undoubtedly taught Eve before the she was deceived, saw that the tree was good for food, that the fruit was desirable to the eye, and then ate of the fruit and sinned. You know the commandments and their meanings. There is always a positive aspect to the Law, not only what we are not supposed to do but what we are supposed to do.

      You wrote: “Show me that verse and I will capitulate, publicly. I will cast aside the centuries old Law/Gospel hermeneutic I have come to rely on over the last 25 years, adopt your giver/receiver hermeneutic, and be the first person to put my name on the waiting list for the Adriane Dorr Study Bible so I can have the expert footnotes telling me what the Scriptures really mean and how my wife’s sin, and the sin of every female in my church who opens her mouth, is all my fault.”

      Please spare us all the rhetorical sarcasm. This doesn’t serve the body of Christ and it is unbecoming a Christian. Public false doctrine deserves public rebuke, but there is no right to or need to resort to sarcasm, which is not about settling the issue but rather tearing down the person. Sarcasm is veiled anger and brings us dangerously close to what St. Matthew 5:21-26 is talking about. We are to rebuke in love. Resorting to this tactic only makes you look bad.

      Adriane’s thesis in her article in the book (have you read it?) is not offering a new hermeneutic so that we can abandon law and gospel, etc. Neither she nor I are or would argue this. If I have inadvertently given this impression, I am sorry. This was not my intent, nor do I suspect hers.

      In Christ,

      +JMB

  2. Adriane, one additional point, for now, the real sin at the Fall was not Adam failing to be male, or Eve failing to be female, but each listened to the voice of someone other than God, each broke the 1st Commandment, each fell into unbelief, each on their own, each responsible for their own actions, and each justly cursed by God. You are mischaracterizing the Fall, and by building on your false premises, you produce error.

    • Or, to use Adriane’s paradigm, the man received from the women what she was not given to give because she took what she was not given to receive.

      I don’t recall Adriane arguing that Adam sinned first. That is a different argument than to say Adam is held responsible. It is true that Eve sinned first as you rightly point out in 1 Tim. But as you also point out, St. Paul attributes the Fall to Adam (sin entered the world by one man and death through sin . . . .). I don’t think Adam’s responsibility means a sin prior to that of Eve’s. It indicates that God holds him responsible for the whole thing even though Eve sinned first.

      And so, Eve spoke when she should have been silent. She received counsel from the angel Satan when she should have received counsel from her pastor, her husband, Adam. So she received from the serpent and gave to her husband Adam.

      Adam was silent when he should have spoken. He was with her. The serpent speaks to both of them (the “you”s in Gen 3 from the serpent’s lips are plural). But he didn’t speak. He didn’t give. Instead he received from his wife.

      The point here is not that women never give, nor is it that men never receive. But we are only able to give because we have received first, and received from one who is authorized to give what is given. The authority to give comes in receiving from the right place. This is St. Paul’s point in 1 Cor 11, when he speaks of heads and later in chapter 14 when he teaches that women ought to remain silent. There they are to receive not give. But men, there they are to give not receive, to speak not remain silent.

      Adriane’s paradigm makes sense to me, and what I have come to know of the Scriptures and what I know of life as a pastor, husband, and father.

      Does this help your understanding at all? I hope it does.

      In Christ,

      +JMB

      • But if you listened to her on Issues she in fact did say that Adam failed to give, before the Fall, that Eve was a holy, pious receiver, looking for someone to give. The bible I read tells me Eve saw that the fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirous to make one wise, and SHE took it and ate, then the sinful Eve gave it the yet in fallen Adam, who fell, not by eating but by listening to the voice of his wife rather than the voice of God. Your calling Adam her pastor is eisegesis, and It doesn’t matter if Luther said that or not. You and Adriane are forcing the giver/receiver paradigm to the breaking point. How about if you just stick with what’s written as it respects women pastors: women are to learn in quiet submissiveness. I don’t need to understand what Adriane is saying to understand those plain words.
        Paul in Romans 5 attributes sin entering the world to one man which is exactly Adam’s curse. I already addressed the legal declaration of Adam’s responsibility. If you take the time to listen closely to Adriane on IssuesEtc you will hear her give actual responsibility for Eve’s action to Adam, something not even God himself did when confronting them in the Garden.
        Adriane is developing or has already done so a Law driven paradigm to beat men into “stepping up.” I have addressed the concern with this as well.

      • Sin enters the world through one man because it is his curse? This sounds like a tautology. And I don’t understand how this proves your point. The point I’m trying to make is that Adam is held responsible by God for sin and death even as the serpent is held responsible for Eve’s deception. “Because you have done this” only applies to Adam and the Serpent. No such thing is spoken to Eve. She is not held responsible, even though she is still cursed.

        For Adam, the “because you have done this,” refers to the fact that he heeded the voice of his wife. He received her words and not God’s. The order of giver to receiver was reversed. I don’t think this is pushing a foreign paradigm. The order of creation is more involved than simply who was created first. It includes this, but it refers also to the orderly way the creation interacts, the paradigm, the hierarchy, for lack of a better word.

        1 Tim is clear. Eve sinned first. She was deceived. Adam was not deceived. And he still ate. Though the serpent spoke to both, though he was with her, He didn’t step up when he should have. And Adam is held responsible for sin entering the world by God in the curse and reiterated in Romans 5 because he was silent and listened to the voice of his wife. So I guess I don’t know what you disagree with me about.

        We should all be willing to be corrected, Joe, not just the people we disagree with. Perhaps Adriane misspoke on the air, or overemphasized her point, or even spoke wrongly and if she did, I’m sure she would be happy to correct that here. And in fact, I think she has.

        If it’s because her words about stepping up are harsh, or that they are the law. Yes, it is the law. And yes, the law condemns. It is harsh. But it is good. It is holy. It is God’s will. And we need to hear it as men and as women. Adriane’s call for men to step up echoes that of St. Paul at the end of 1 Cor 16. He says, “be men.” And from what we read, the problems in Corinth seem to be stemming from men not being men, not being the head, not speaking when they should. And so women have stepped into their place. It is a call that all men need to hear and heed. It is a major problem in our homes and our churches.

        In Christ,

        +JMB

      • So Adam should have should have should have….but he didn’t. And we’re back to square one. Adam fell before the Fall. Adam sinned first. If Adam SHOULD HAVE done something and he DID NOT DO the thing he should have done, then he sinned…first in time according to you, second according to the Bible.

        Adam could have been cursed a thousand ways, but he was cursed one way and through his curse sin and death entered the world. I do not have a problem with the forensic declaration of Adam’s guilt for the behavior of another. A person who is given faith is declared righteous when no good dwells in that person. I get all that.

        But I do have a problem with saying Adam actually fell short of God’s law before Eve fell short of God’s law. If I recall, before what has historically been understood to be the Fall, everything was very good. Did Eve “need” a pastor when she had no sin? For whom was Adam to be a steward of the mysteries of God when there was no sinner? This is what is being forced on the account of the Fall whether you want to admit it or not.

        Another separate point, you repeat Adriane’s view that because men fail to step up, women then do so. On IssuesEtc Adriane said this happened because women are being “resourceful”. In the Bible this happens because women are being sinful. If you and she want to correct error in the church or home, preach the entire Law to male and female alike, in all its harshness (you know, including the parts about wife’s submitting, and leave off the footnotes created to give the wife a way out of this). Yes the Law is good. I don’t question that. But the Law does not, cannot, bring life. It kills. So preach the Law, but tell me how Christ fulfilled it for me, and for my wife, actively and passively, for both of us, and let the Holy Spirit work through the Gospel in both of us to fulfill our vocations in the church as males and females.

      • “But I do have a problem with saying Adam actually fell short of God’s law before Eve fell short of God’s law.”

        Once again you argue that I have said this. I have not. I plainly state over and over again in accord with St. Paul in 1 Tim that Eve sinned first. I also plainly state that Adam is held responsible for the sin of listening to his wife’s voice. His responsibility there, in that moment, was not to listen but to speak. I suggest you reread Gen 2-3. Adam should not have listened to his wife. He should not have received from her words and the fruit. He should have said what God said to him before Eve was created: “You may not eat of it.” He should have taught, spoken, given. That is the sin that he is cursed for. This is all in the Bible, a thing I also treasure.

        Adam’s sin is listening to his wife and then eating the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:17). The sin that corrupts all of humanity is the sin of listening to his wife, receiving what was not given from someone not authorized to give it. This is my point.

      • You are plainly contradicting yourself. You say, “His responsibility there, in that moment, was not to listen but to speak.” Who gave him this responsibility? Was it a verbal command by God? Was it derived from the natural order, God’s Natural Law? You say further, “He should have said what God said to him before Eve was created: “You may not eat of it.” He should have taught, spoken, given.” Again, by using the word “should” you cannot be saying anything other than that he failed to meet a pre-existing standard, that Adam sinned first.
        If you would like to end this, you may do so by giving me one chapter(s)/verse(s) which intrinsically tells me, “Adam should have spoken up” and into which I do not need to read this command by relying on your new giver/receiver hermeneutic or anything outside of the verse itself.
        Show me that verse and I will capitulate, publicly. I will cast aside the centuries old Law/Gospel hermeneutic I have come to rely on over the last 25 years, adopt your giver/receiver hermeneutic, and be the first person to put my name on the waiting list for the Adriane Dorr Study Bible so I can have the expert footnotes telling me what the Scriptures really mean and how my wife’s sin, and the sin of every female in my church who opens her mouth, is all my fault.

  3. I listened to you on Issuesetc on this topic, and there isn’t enough room here to review all your errors. First, and not in order of importance, you argue much from silence. Please give us the chapter/verse where scripture actually SAYS Adam failed first, failed to chatechize. I’ll save you some time, it isn’t there. We do not know and cannot know who told Eve the words she relayed to the devil, God or Adam. We do clearly know that Eve sinned first, and NOT because as you say that Adam failed to give. Scripture clearly states the woman saw that the fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirous to make one wise AND SHE took it and ate, as opposed to her being a “holy, pious” receiver. I Tomothy 2:14 clearly disputes your view that Adam fell before the Fall. Second, if you’re going to use the Law to try to make men better people, how about using the Law to tell women to “remain quiet” I Tim 2:12 whether or not men “step up.” The Law always accuses, it always brings death. Oh, but I forgot, women are just being “resourceful,” not sinful by failing to learn with all submissiveness. How convenient if you’re a woman. I’ll be happy to go into more detail with you regarding the errors you were teaching, just let me know.

    • Joe,
      Thanks for your note. It sounds like this topic is near and dear to your heart.
      For the record, I’m a not a feminist. I’m not out to put men down or blame them for all the world’s problems. I am, though, encouraging them to be purposeful about doing their duty as husbands, fathers, brothers, etc. in the Church.
      A couple of thoughts:
      To your first point, if Adam is not the one ultimately responsible for Eve’s well-being, why does God seek him out in the garden after the Fall? If the fault is solely Eve’s, why doesn’t God go directly to her? Eve is not without blame here, but Adam is her giver, her protector, her husband. He is ultimately responsible for her.
      Second, the duty falls to the men to reclaim their rightful role because that is the order in which God made His creation. He gave it that specific order for our benefit as men and women and for the well-being of each sex. God puts the man in the position of giving (everything from home to love to name), and He places the woman in the position of receiving (living under her husband’s care selflessly, thankfully, and humbly).
      In the end, men and women are both at fault. Any desire for either sex to return to scriptural and confessional truths must begin with repentance and with hearing that which relieves the wounded, penitent heart: the Gospel. Hope that helps.

      • Adriane, I have no idea why God sought out Adam first, and neither do you, because Scripture does not tell us why. Scripture is silent on this issue. You are drawing an inference. Your inference may be correct, but it may be incorrect as well. Based on your statements on Issues on this limited topic, you concluded that God approached Adam first because of the order of creation AND that Adam failed to chatechize, again based on an inference on the order of creation. When God confronted Adam, Adam responded with a factual recitation, the woman You gave to be with me…, which we write off as an excuse for what he did. It may be an excuse, but it’s still a factual recitation. And there is nothing following from God about Adam’s supposed failure to chatechize. I Tim 2 tells us clearly Eve sinned first. Period. If you want to speculate about why they sinned why not start with the presumption that A&E had something we do not have and will not have, i.e. truly free will untained by sin. If you want to look at Romans 5 as God blaming Adam, that’s another discussion with at least a couple of explanations: 1. God is making a forensic, legal declaration of Adam’s guilt just as He declares us righteous when we are in fact still sinful (another way of explaining this is a parent being legally, perhaps criminally, liable for a child’s actions, even though the parent did not directly or indirectly cause the child’s actions); 2. Look to Adam’s curse, it matches up with the language in Rom 5 very well: through Adam sin/death came into the world, creation was cursed, contrasted with Eve’s curse regarding child bearing.

        You may like your giver/receiver paradigm, but it ultimately fails even though it’s clearly true as it respects salvation. I don’t like to argue from anectdotal evidence, but my wife gives to me constantly, she makes my meals, washes my clothes, gives day in and day out to our disabled children, and she also gives that which oddly enough is hardest for her and which she herself receives in abundance from God: forgiveness. Fulfilling our vocations, for male and female, involves serving out neighbors, giving to our neighbors.

        God’s kindness leads us to repentance, Romans tells us; the Gospel produces good works, serving, giving to our neighbor, NOT the Law. You may want to step back and analyze whether you are preaching Law or Gospel to produce the good works you demand of males.

        I am happy to carry on this discussion, but if you intellectually cannot allow for the possibility that you may be wrong, then it might not be worth it.

  4. Glad you were able to contribute to this edition, and I’ll have to pick it up. I do think one thing, and you didn’t mention if your essay addresses this, but I would encourage (and other deaconesses and female DCE’s and teachers) to write about what you do on a daily basis and how it fits the order of creation.

    Like you, I find it tiring that women tend to play “no women wrote or commented on that, therefore it’s invalid” card. Please, attack the logic of the argument and humor me.

    You also seemed a little vague in your comment that women’s ordination has nothing to do with women, and has to do with men “slacking off”. I’m guessing you men that you feel the issue is men are either too afraid to comment on a “woman’s” issue. Granted, I’m probably the world’s worst example of manning up, but you just seemed to assumed everyone would know what you meant. (Unless of course, you left it vague so we’d go out and buy the book, in which case, well done.)

    I wrote a bunch of posts on woman’s ordination a while back, which you may read here: http://derekjohnsonmuses.com/?s=woman%27s+ordination

    Adraine, God’s continued blessings on your work.

  5. I think the premises is spot on – and I think it is born out in liberal church bodies.

    One of the things I have noticed over the years is that where a particular church body falls on the sliding scale of liberal doctrine is directly proportional with the number of husbands/fathers who are NOT in attendance and have relegated church to the wife/mother’s sphere of responsibility.

  6. Adrianne,
    Thank you! So true. If men would step up and assume their God-given role, faithfully practicing Law and Gospel, loving their wives as Christ loved the church, treating all women with respect and as fellow children of God as Jesus did, there wouldn’t be any need for women to assert themselves into roles not designed for them. May the Lord give us all a Godly perspective on our roles as servants and children of the heavenly Father.

    • LN .. and all

      Regrettably … and from a male prospective, you are correct when you say ” If men would step up and assume their God-given role, faithfully practicing Law and Gospel, loving their wives as Christ loved the church, treating all women with respect and as fellow children of God as Jesus did, there wouldn’t be any need for women to assert themselves into roles not designed for them.”

      I must confess as a male to being chief of sinners in this area as well as many other areas of life. I could attempt to explain and/or make excuses … some which may even seem valid to our earthly ears … but NO explanation/excuse is valid in the ears of our Heavenly Father … but thanks be to God that there is unending full and complete forgiveness for all who repent AND believe that thru Christ’s blood our Heavenly Father sees us as sinless saints!

      Humbly, as a forgiven sinner, does my sin as a man failing to “step up and assume their [my] God-given role, …” allow women in God’s eyes “to assert themselves into roles not designed for them.”?

      Through our sinful human eyes, the answer may appear to be “yes”, but what about through the SINLESS eyes of our Heavenly Father? Do two wrongs (my failure to step up and assume their [my] God-given role, …” which tempts ” women to assert themselves into roles not designed for them.) make one right in our Heavenly Father’s eyes?

      Is it God’s will that the women assert themselves in men’s roles when men fail to step up or is it God’s will to use women to call men to repentance and for women to encourage and if necessary teach men how to be God pleasing men?

      I am not asking which is easier …. we all know the answer to that question. Thank God that Christ did NOT take the easy route while on earth!

      I have no doubt that humanly speaking the author of this blog as well as many of the females responding have far more knowledge of scripture and theology and would make better pastors than I, but God’s Word clearly states numerous times men ONLY are to be pastors as well as be the head of the home.

      In short, in this sinful world, God’s will is for women to forgive, encourage, and teach the sinful men when they fail to be God pleasing men rather than to assume roles and responsibilities he has given to sinful men. Men are to do the same … with the help of God.

      May we all live in the forgiveness that God has equally gifted to men and women alike!

      I am a poor miserable male sinner, thankful for Gods forgiveness as well as the forgiveness and encouragement of my Christian brothers AND sisters!

      Hoping that I do not need any of Adriane’s Kevlar!

      Jay

      PS…Adriane, as an editor, I’m sure you could have said this far better and in fewer words than I!

  7. Any chance that the new essays will be available separately for those of us who own earlier editions of the book? I need to read the new ones!

    Thanks for your posts. They are always enlightening. And I hope you don’t need the kevlar!

  8. It seems you have something going here. I want to buy and read what you have to say. I would say that women always should be apart of the discussion. It is through women that other women who disagree will listen. Can’t wait to read your article!

  9. Donuts and church coffee are an important part of Sunday morning Bible studies. I wish there was a way to mandate that every church have this… I miss it this year at my field work church. And weird thing – they only serve decaf coffee!

    Enough about that, thank you for this blog post! Thanks be to God for the males he calls and uses in the service of the Office of Public Ministry!

  10. I love you.

    …sorry if that’s a totally creepy thing to say, I mean it as a sister in Christ sort of way, I really do!

    I have seen more than a couple feminists leave the LCMS because of this very topic. I think it’s brilliant that women are contributing to this discussion because it proves to those people that some women actually DO agree with this and we’re not just being silenced and we see the brilliant beauty in God’s design for the genders!

    Have you read Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerich? Not a Lutheran book, but that book make Paul’s words about wives submitting and husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church SO perfectly clear and amazing to me. Through Paul we heard God’s perfect marriage advice… I believe it pertains to this very issues as well, since God Himself referred to Christ & the church as a marriage.

    Also–please tell me how I can purchase this book?

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