October 25, 2011

The Monstrous Regiment of Passive Aggressive Girly-Men

Phil Johnson has whined about women:
The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Discernment Divas

I knew we should never have taught women how to read... (thank diva Marusha for that line)

Good grief, this is rich, comparing female discernment bloggers to  queens like Bloody Mary. Hyperbolize much Phil? Use inflammatory, snippy, insulting language much Phil?

The part about women begins at about 25:00.

"Most of them are amateur discernment experts who are housewives and homeschool moms."
Phil explains how John Knox wrote a book called "The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women." (btw he wrote it anonymously from Geneva.)

Phil: "I'm going to write a blog post called 'The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Discernment Divas.' Because I think sometimes there's a certain personality style of woman who gets in her mind that God has called her to a ministry of discernment and her greatest ability for that is not some rational understanding of doctrinal truth but an ability to use a really sharp tongue. And it's counter productive and embarrassing, frankly."

Friel "I want to spend a little time before going back to the Elephant Room because this is for all of us now in discernment world. Whether you have a blog or not. I want to touch just a little bit on what are the issues that we do blog about, that we do talk about, that we do go to bat over, that we don't stop talking over, because there's two types of...discerners that are on the table right now. You've got the monstrous regiment, and you've got valid legitimate people who are concerned about theology. That's US ok? So what are the... to make sure that I don't go over in the wrong way, which issues do we discuss lovingly, at an Elephant Room, and which ones do we say forget about it the gloves are coming off, we go to the mattresses (sic) on this. Where's the line?

27:26 Phil "That's a great question. I'm glad you're asking me because, people who read my blog sometimes might get the impression that I'm just constantly a critic because one of the things I do on my blog is deal with things that concern me in the evangelical movement. I critique trends that I think are bad and so on, if you listen to me preach I'm not always so critical.  And the other thing about that is while it may seem like I'm always critical, I'm not critical and opinionated about everything. There are certain things you couldn't engage me in an argument about. Even theological issues."

Friel "Can I just tell you how not true that is?"

(Friel tells a rather irrelevant story about Chick Fil A sandwiches. And how Phil had an opinion about whether to eat a spicy one first before a regular one, which just trivializes the whole point he was trying to make.)

28:50 Phil "Ok allright, maybe I shouldn't say I'm not opinionated, my opinions aren't equally strong on everything.  You couldn't get me to argue, for example, on, you know, most eschatological debates, I just... everybody else likes to debate that, I don't.  You know.  You couldn't pick a fight with me on it.   And so, not every theological issue is of equal import.   And I would say the answer to your question is there is no clear cut and dried list of these things are worth fighting over and these aren't"

[Except there must be a list somewhere in Phil's head because he's giving examples of things he finds worth or not worth fighting over.  He himself considers vocal tone (from a female, but not a male) to be worth fighting over.  I guess that must be more important than say, eschatology, or whether or not someone calls a wolf orthodox, biblical, deeply theological, and sound.]

"But the rule of thumb is the closer it is to the heart of gospel  truth, the more it's worth kicking up a fuss over."
That is EXACTLY why people were upset over John Piper /Rick Warren and why they were alarmed that Phil didn't see it as that important, not nearly as important as trashing people who may have called Piper a 'clown' or not showed some unwritten code of  "proper deference" to the man.

Friel 29:30 "Essentials."

Phil "Yeah, essentials.  And here's the problem.  Everybody talks about essentials and secondary doctrines as if we all have a common understanding of what those are, and we don't, and I've often said I think the major failure of the fundamentalist movement that really began to... I'm talking about the early fundamentalists who devised that name in the 1920's and wrote those books on the fundamentals... I would say the biggest failure of that movement was a sort of inadequate study of the difference between fundamental and secondary doctrines.  You know they wrote multiple volumes of the fundamentals, and there are several articles on issues like evolution and things like that.  They're all quite good. But there's only one article in the whole thing on the doctrine of justification. And I would say that's the big one.  But I think they took it for granted because it wasn't one of the controverted issues in their time. And so for 80 years or longer, the doctrine of justification by faith was more or less assumed and then neglected, and then basically thrown out by the evangelical movement. In around 1960 or so the banner of truth published a book called 'Justification by Faith.'  It was a reprint of a book that had been published a hundred years before.  And they got J I Packer to write the foreword to it.  And in the foreword he said 'As far as I know since this book was written a hundred years ago there hasn't been a single serious treatise on the doctrine of Justificaiton by Faith written in 100 years of Evangelical Polemical writing.   And he said if that's the only fact you knew about this era in church history, you'd be justified in drawing a conclusion that this has been an era of serious decline.  And I think he's right on there."
Yes, so do I. So is he saying the men are not doing their jobs?  Could he maybe get after those men with the same kind of tone he takes against discernment divas? No, I won't hold my breath.

He then rightly applauds the discussion of this subject in the last 20-30 years or so, and thinks the Elephant room is the first big test of that.

No actually, John Piper and Rick Warren ought to have been the first big test of that, if any of these guys had the temerity to speak up with authority and not let it go.    At least a few more Evangelical men decided to raise a fuss when a much bigger and smellier wolf (T D Jakes) was invited in this year by a negligent under-shepherd (James Macdonald).   As far as John Piper inviting Rick Warren, well, that wolf is still in the sheep pen as far as evangelical leaders' public stance goes.

I'm surprised someone as learned as Phil can't see the two instances as incredibly closely related, nearly identical.  The only reason I can figure is that it's because Rick privately confesses an orthodox creed, and is even slipperier than a modalist.

about 33 minutes in, Todd poses a scenario.  Suggests that he likes the Elephant room. And Phil said he wouldn't break fellowship with Todd, but that Todd would never hear the end of it and Phil would never cease trying to convince him  that it is a bad idea.

But what Todd leaves out is this next question "now what if I go on the attack against Phil for telling me it's a bad idea?  Then what?"  Because that's what generally happens, and then the one who pointed out the error in the first place is labeled 'bad' and 'divisive.'

For example, I separated from Chris because Chris attacked several of us for disagreeing with him on what was a secondary issue.  His very vehemence on the issue betrayed the level of import he put on it.  The same thing happened when we disagreed with Phil's stance re Piper/Warren, that it was too limp-wristed and punitive of the WRONG people.  He continued to punish the wrong people.  Yes, I will separate from that as much as possible.  I have no use for that sort of 'pastor.'

Returning to the Knox book:  The book by John Knox was written anonymously from Geneva, Switzerland.  Now, the title actually means "the unnatural government of women" because he thought women were out of place to rule, it's against having a woman as queen, as Phil said.

Funny, though, wasn't Deborah a judge? I keep hearing, from complementarian evangelicals, about women in leadership being an indication of judgement on the church. I agree. Perhaps the men ought to take it as God sending judgement on them, because they did not do what they were supposed to do in guarding the flock, instead of blasting the women who dare to speak up about that.  It's just a thought.
"a woman who has no teaching authority in the church to raise a public objection against a teaching elder whose office is recognized by the church."

I was thinking specifically of the pugnacity and snippy, catty tone we often saw in Ingrid's blogposts, the scattershot approach and conspiracy-theory mindset behind the Lighthouse Trails campaign, and the type of women who plastered my Facebook page with endless, angry, deliberately insulting rants (and still do sometimes) because they think my criticism of the Piper-Warren connection wasn't sufficiently vehement.

In short, I was referring to those very vocal (mostly, but not all female) self-styled "discerment" specialists who seem to think screeching, angry emotions are as good a response to heresy as carefully reasoned, biblical answers.
Yes, Phil is the epitome of careful reasoning here and well balanced calm rational prose.

Self styled? What other style is there? Copycat style? I suppose I could say these women have learned from the best by reading things like Team Pyro and listening to Todd Friel and Chris Rosebrough. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but funny they don't take it that way.
If any woman fancies herself a gift to the church as a guardian of sound doctrine because she thinks she has a special "gift of discernment" that entitles her to go online and write insulting epithets against a duly ordained and divinely-called pastor, She is seriously mistaken and grossly out of line--and she is an embarrassment to propriety and feminine modesty.

We've had a standing challenge for six years for our critics to point out actual examples (with cut-and-paste quotes, not a skewed paraphrase) showing where they think we have breached the bounds of taste, propriety, Christian charity, or good manners.

The complaints-to-substance ratio currently stands at about 500:1.

So I'll add another aspect to that challenge: I'll apologize and eat a worm if you can show one example where I have published watchblog-style criticism consisting of raw passion or verbal hysterics instead of rational or biblical arguments.
I guess this particular post would be a good example of his irrational argumentation.  But I don't want him to eat a worm.  I just want him to repent, and  stop bashing everyone that doesn't agree with him.  Women are of course an easy target to make a good 'whipping boy' for some men.  It's a shame and it should not be so among godly men.  These guys have much more worthwhile things to say.  This only makes them look chauvinistic and weak-spined and petty.

Wonder if this would be another
Phil Johnson Mocks Man's appearance

It's good to know Phil looks at approval ratings of people (500:1 approve!) as a way to judge whether he's being Biblical.  I bet Rick Warren does that too.  It could be too that the critics just get tired of banging their heads on the wall.

The funny thing is, that challenge only actually works if Phil actually agrees that you're right.  And of course if you argue Biblically, he would HAVE to agree right?  If that is so, then how come there are ANY disagreements at all between believers?  How come ANY teachers drift off into apostasy?  Because a woman spoke or wrote a sarcastic word to them?

So let me get this straight. These guys are endeavoring to shut up women who are NOT in their church, using shame and disgrace, and a blanket general statement.  And they do this while appealing to some sort of nebulous authority structure based on one's own interpretation of the Word of God and primary and secondary doctrines, while Phil simultaneously admits there is no hard and fast common rule for which issues can be discussed and/or how they are discussed.  Then he tries to enforce that nonexistent hard and fast rule on a bunch of nameless women (of whom Ingrid isn't the specific person he had in mind, but he brought her up anyway).  Using nebulous language about 'stuff that touches on the heart of the gospel.'  But if you decide that something touches on the heart of the gospel, and he disagrees, well, woe to you!

Interesting to note too that Brannon and Phil just had a tete a tete not too long ago, where Phil was on Brannon's show.  A little spiritual germ sharing and gossip fest is always good for building unity and stuff ya know?  And also good for purposes of not having Ingrid specifically in mind while bringing her up specifically on his own in a response to Christine Pack.  I found it interesting to read that he described her situation with her dad in almost the same exact words Brannon used. It's almost like they got the same talking points from somewhere.

So in spite of the fact that he wants to whine and opine about nagging women who are not even remotely under his authority, he won't take nearly the same stance against the same men that those women complain about, those men who invite heretics, because... they're not in their church and have no authority over them.

Not only that, in the process of doing it, they'll go after women with derision and disdain, if they dare to write and speak more emotionally and bitingly than, say,  Michael Horton.  In fact, I read some biting derisive words against gospel sanctification over at Jay Adams' blog the other day.  Wonder if there will be a post about men who write with an edge to their tone...  I'm guessing no.

But men who are in serious GROSS error in teaching and fellowship and promoting dividers and wolves, they will speak only rationally, calmly, and lovingly about their errors.  Kumbayah...

Well, all in all, I'm just glad I don't have Phil Johnson guarding my house. While the wolf is at a sheep's throat he'd still be saying "oh come now, please, let's not have any of that. Can't we discuss this like rational Christians?"

But if the sheep is a woman, especially one of THOSE kinds of women, he may just let the wolf have her.

Maybe someone ought to write a blog post about the Monstrous Passive Aggressive Horde of Girly-men. Oh... I guess I just did.