Better Bibles Blog has moved. Read our last post, below, and then
click here if you are not redirected to our new location within 60 seconds.
Please Bookmark our new location and update blogrolls.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Grudem joins TNIV team

Dr. Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary, has joined the TNIV translation team. In his announcement today, Doug Moo, chairman of the CBT, said, "Wayne and I used to teach in the same department at Trinity Evangelical Seminary. I look forward to working with him on the TNIV. Wayne brings a dedication to precision in translation which will be of value as the CBT continues to revise the TNIV. In addition, Wayne has a high public profile and is an enthusiastic promoter of accurate Bible versions. We believe that as we bring the TNIV more in line with the translation principles which Wayne has promoted in his writing and public appearances, the TNIV can replace the NIV as the current best-selling English Bible version."

Asked if he still stands by his claim that there are thousands of inaccuracies in the TNIV, Dr. Grudem said, "Yes, but in the agreement which I reached with the CBT, they assured me that we would examine each of the inaccuracies which my research assistants and I have found in the TNIV. In fact, the CBT has written into my contract that I would be allowed to revise every third inaccuracy which is in our posted lists of TNIV inaccuracies. And I will advocate strongly for correcting the inaccuracies which are not covered by my contract."

Dr. Karen Jobes, the sole female member of the CBT, was asked if she feels comfortable with Dr. Grudem joining the CBT. "Oh, yes," she responded. "Wayne and I have been friends for a number of years. I received my Ph.D in Biblical Hermeneutics from Westminster Theological Seminary where Dr. Vern Poythress teaches. As you know, Vern and Wayne have written an extensive critique of the TNIV. We on the CBT have heard them. As to whether I, as a female biblical scholar, will be able to work well with Wayne, the answer is yes. Even though Wayne consistently teaches that women should have not teach men in church, many people do not know that Wayne has encouraged women like Sarah Sumner and myself to use our spiritual gifts to benefit the Body of Christ. Wayne was even on Sarah's dissertation committee at Trinity."

Dr. Mark Strauss of Bethel Seminary West and a new member of the CBT was asked how he feels about Grudem joining the CBT. Strauss says, "I'm delighted. I have interacted with Wayne about the TNIV in articles and debates. We have had opposing views about the TNIV. But now we'll be on the same team. The CBT has been disappointed at how slow sales of the TNIV have been since its publication as a complete Bible in 2005. The CBT recognized that we needed some major change to increase TNIV sales. Having Wayne on the CBT will help that happen. Christian bookstores listen to what Wayne says and we expect that after we make changes in the TNIV which Wayne has been asking for, the bookstores will freely sell the TNIV. Also, Wayne has told us that Dr. Jim Dobson will continue to invite him to be a guest on his radio program, Focus on the Family. A few days ago Wayne told us that during the months of our negotiations with him over his contract, he called Dr. Dobson several times to ask for prayer and advice about whether or not he should join the CBT. Wayne said he can now tell us that Dr. Dobson told him, "If you can correct the errors in the TNIV, I would fully commend you to this new opportunity. I wish that I could so easily see some changes in the Republican candidates for President in 2008."

Strauss ended by saying, "The CBT believes that the TNIV has the potential to impact English Bible readers for many years as the NIV did. We need to increase sales and gain the confidence of Christian leaders who have opposed the TNIV. We expect to do both now that Wayne is part of our team. We are not fooling around. This first day of April of 2007 should someday be seen as the major turning point for acceptance of the TNIV."


At Sat Mar 31, 09:23:00 PM, Blogger reGeNeRaTe said...

This is very interesting. It will be interesting to see how the TNIV will change (if at all) with Grudem on the team but I am grateful that they are working together to provide reliable translation of the Word. I just bought a TNIV Study Bible today after weeks of researching the translation.

At Sat Mar 31, 11:10:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

You're kidding me, right? "In fact, the CBT has written into my contract that I would be allowed to revise every third inaccuracy which is in our posted lists of TNIV inaccuracies." Every THIRD inaccuracy? Okay...this has got to be an April 1 joke. 'Fess up.

At Sat Mar 31, 11:15:00 PM, Blogger Kyle said...

In related news, the PCUSA has recently hired John Piper as a consultant to help them revise their leadership standards to no longer allow woman as elders and pastors, the Southern Baptist Convention has mandated that all of their pastors read and discuss John Howard Yoder's The Politics of Jesus, Rick Warren announced in a press conference that he wanted to be a part-time Starbucks employee who also led a house church congregation of less than twenty people, and the Primates of the Anglican Communion have rescinded their recent reprimand of the American Episcopals, instead saying that they wished to place themselves under the direct leadership of this formerly "wayward" arm of the church.gzy

At Sun Apr 01, 12:18:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

It is with interest that I have followed this story. I note that although CBMW has taken down all background material and justification to the statement of concern against the TNIV, (cloaking the CBMW motivation in mystery) Dr. Grudem has recently reposted this material on his Phoenix Seminary site. I wonder if he has uploaded an excel chart to keep track of progress.

Next, I wonder if Karen Jobes is aware of the annotations which Dr. Grudem has added to his recommendations for restricting women from areas of visibility and recognition. I wonder if the note DS stands for "discretely out of the spotlights" as Grudem says any respectable women should be.

Any respectable women in public venues were expected to be discretely out of the spotlight. Notes page 52

I am happy to note that Dr. Grudem also includes more than one feminist on his booklist. R.K. Harrison, I remember personally welcoming women into ordination in Toronto in 1976. It is nice to see Dr. Grudem include him on his list of acceptable authors.

He also archives some material whose loss would be a great detriment to society, for example the notorious World Magasine article of 1997.

At Sun Apr 01, 03:33:00 AM, Blogger Apprentice2Jesus said...

This, my friend, is the funniest April 1 posting I have seen in quite some time. I laughed as soon as I saw the headline.


At Sun Apr 01, 04:27:00 AM, Blogger Psalmist said...


I am SO not worthy!

Superb 4/1 post, Wayne! I'm still laughing.

At Sun Apr 01, 05:37:00 AM, Blogger reGeNeRaTe said...

Wait, have I been had?! LOL! Danggit, it is April Fools, lol. It never even dawned on me that this could be a joke...

At Sun Apr 01, 06:21:00 AM, Blogger Brad Boydston said...

Don't be so quick to label this a joke! I heard from a very reliable source that World magazine has also joined those with a change of heart and will be announcing next week that the TNIV is their official translation of choice. They're holding the information back so that no one thinks it's an April Fools' joke.

At Sun Apr 01, 07:16:00 AM, Blogger Nathan Wells said...


At Sun Apr 01, 08:19:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Cheryl responded:

Every THIRD inaccuracy?

That really was quite generous of the CBT, eh?! Given that there are 10 or so members, for Grudem to get 1/3 of his list right from the start is rather amazing.

I'm glad that you picked up on the math, Cheryl.

At Sun Apr 01, 08:39:00 AM, Blogger reGeNeRaTe said...

Brad wrote:
Don't be so quick to label this a joke! I heard from a very reliable source that World magazine has also joined those with a change of heart and will be announcing next week that the TNIV is their official translation of choice. They're holding the information back so that no one thinks it's an April Fools' joke.

Well, I'm glad I bought my pre-Grudemized TNIV, lol. Thanks for the insight.

At Sun Apr 01, 01:42:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...


It takes a lot to pull a fast one over me. I was called a "confounded skeptic" by a unbeliever at my old workplace. However, I do want to say that even though you didn't convince me, your April fool's prank was one of the best I have ever seen. It was exceptionally well done and you get this year's trophy. For this April 1st you THE MAN!

At Sun Apr 01, 02:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm curious if you could fill us in on where you've been following this story...? ;-)


At Sun Apr 01, 03:12:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


By reading documents which Grudem has recently uploaded to his personal site at Phoenix. I have provided links.

I have posted about Grudem and Aner already today, two posts down, but I am going to post again tonight or tmorrow a more scholarly article providing references for everything. It should be interesting.

Do you have questions regarding any details of my post. I can supply more documentation if you wish.

At Sun Apr 01, 04:02:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Great news, Wayne and Wayne. See my blog for a related story.

At Sun Apr 01, 06:07:00 PM, Blogger reGeNeRaTe said...

This story is mos def bogus, lol. Next, I will hear that Jim Dobson is doing a duet with Elton John, lol. Very funny Wayne and Peter.

On a more serious note, I have recently been called to join Bethlehem Baptist Church as the Associate Preaching Pastor. I will be the first women to hold such a ministry position. I will even get to preach with men in my presence.

At Mon Apr 02, 02:14:00 AM, Blogger Trevor Jenkins said...

Wayne, this is the best one yet. Made me smile. :-)

At Mon Apr 02, 05:02:00 AM, Blogger John Radcliffe said...

"The CBT believes that the TNIV has the potential to impact English Bible readers for many years as the NIV did"

Wayne, I'd guess that's why they made the TNIV Study Bible so big. It *is* a bit of a handful, but it would certainly make an impact, especially if thrown across the room (or from a pulpit). However, I'm not sure that the binding is sturdy enough to allow such use "for many years".

At Mon Apr 02, 11:30:00 AM, Blogger Gary Zimmerli said...

Not having read this until after April 1, you had me going for a couple minutes! ;-)


At Mon Apr 02, 07:41:00 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

I was reeling in shock for a few minutes. But I don't doubt that anyone could have a change of heart and mind. The length of your post added to the seriousness and really had me going. Now I've come back to reality.

At Tue Apr 03, 07:06:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

Excellent, Wayne! This is one of the best April Fools blog posts I've every seen. It's too bad I didn't discover it until just now. I'm not sure why it never showed up in my RSS reader. Two posts showed up today that were posted after this one, but this one never appeared. I found it from someone else's link.

Suzanne, there are quite a few egalitarians in Grudem's list. Gordon Fee, William Klein are egalitarians, and Bruce Metzger was also. I believe Stanley Gundry and Donald Guthrie are/were, but I'm not as sure about them offhand. Those are just the ones I know about. I'm sure there are at least several others.

I find it totally unsurprising that these scholars are listed in his list. But then I don't assume him to be unscholarly from the outset in order to be surprised when he recommends scholars who aren't carbon copies of him.

As for Karen Jobes, are you aware that she is a complementarian? Like a number of other complementarians (Douglas Moo, D.A. Carson, Mark Strauss, Bruce Waltke, Craig Blomberg), she does not share Grudem's views about gender-inclusive translation. But that doesn't mean she'll find his other views on gender horrific the way you do. Her I Peter commentary very clearly affirms complementarian views on gender relations in marriage, even if she doesn't think that's what Peter is talking about (she thinks Paul makes that clear as a universally applicable theological principle). I don't know her views on I Timothy 2, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility that she also has complementarian views on that passage.

The Grudem quote you give doesn't seem to be online anywhere, including in the place your dead link is supposed to go. Where did you take this from? The other link isn't any update. It's just to the original article. Even from the little bit you've taken out of context, it seems obvious to me that Grudem isn't saying what you take him to be saying. His wording seems to be indicating what some cultural norm in some other culture in the past was. That's what "were expected to be" sounds like it's referring to. So why does this show that he thinks this is a universally applicable principle about what ought to be true of women? Maybe the context reveals something favoring your interpretation, but I find it extremely unlikely given the actual words you quoted.

At Tue Apr 03, 07:20:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Jeremy, Stan Gundry is an egalitarian. He tells the story of his journey from being a complementarian to an egalitarian in this blog post.

At Tue Apr 03, 07:25:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Suzanne referred to Dr. Grudem's seminary website. You can click here to access links to his publications which he has posted there.

At Tue Apr 03, 09:25:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


I was taking Grudem out of context in one of my quotes and just having a bit of fun for April 1st. I did quote him quoting someone else who he agrees with etc. - but out of context.

The link cannot be opened because it is a word document, oops. It is on Grudem's webpage where he has reposted the statement of concern against the TINV among other things.

It is called Interaction with defenders of the TNIV Bible in the list here.

I just noticed that particular quote in passing when I was reading up on his firm assertation that the TNIV was wrong to translate aner as generic person,(also on page 52) because, um, you know, that had never been done before.

How can I say this nicely. He misread the lexicon entry. He wants to convince women that they should submit to men. Hmm.

At Tue Apr 03, 09:37:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


This is the problem. Grudem writes,

And even if someone produces some unambiguous examples that aner can mean “person” without implying a male person... this would still be an uncommon sense, not the “default” sense that readers assume without contextual specification. And even in such cases the male-oriented connotation or overtone would probably still attach (with the sense that the people referred to are mostly or primarily male).

But mankind is not 'mostly or primarily male' - last time I checked. Yet 'mankind' and the 'race of men' were clearly given as examples for aner in the Liddell Scott Lexicon. This is representative of all of Grudem's lexicography.

That is why I find him amusing. And yes, I am familiar with the position of those people you mention. Thanks.

At Wed Apr 04, 07:20:00 AM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

Suzanne, I'm familiar with your repeated mentions of that one point on every post that isn't about that point. That's not what I was commenting about.

At Wed Apr 04, 09:32:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


I am trying to answer this question of yours.

So why does this show that he thinks this is a universally applicable principle about what ought to be true of women?

you have to read Grudem's article page 52. Grudem links these ideas.

1. Women were kept discretely out of sight in Greek society.

2. Women were not aner.

3. Women are intended by God for lesser visiblity and recognition. Also for lesser prominence and order. Yes, this is a universal principle for Grudem. He doesn't think women should be "out of sight" as long as they are appropriately "less visible".

Grudem links these ideas in all his writing. Maybe I didn't make this sufficiently clear. One hinges on the other.

At Wed Apr 04, 01:55:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

Grudem uses the bit about what the culture saw as appropriate for women as part of his argument that 'aner' is male-only. He doesn't use it to show a universal principle about women being less visible. I see nothing in that entire paper to indicate that he thinks women should be less visible, and I very much doubt he believes such a thing. He's very happy to have women prophesying in large congregations, which is just as visible as preaching.

At Wed Apr 04, 03:09:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Clearly Grudem would not carefully list all ministries by their degree of visibility and recognition and then draw a line for women, if he did not hold that women had to be restricted to less visibility and recognition. He does that. He also wants the "he" generic pronoun because there are differences between men and women in "order, prominence, level, etc.".

And women can prophecy but not teach? If men and women are equally inteligent and equally well-trained, then half the time women are likely to be right. But they are trumped by a man because he is a man. What a way to teach Greek grammar. It really shows!

At Wed Apr 04, 05:48:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

I did a search in that paper for "visibility", "recognition", and "degree". The words don't appear in the article. There's nothing in that paper beyond pointing out that a certain attitude was prevalent in the NT days in order to establish one component of an argument about what the word 'aner' meant at the time. I see nothing about drawing lines between positions of greater or lesser visibility. Since that's the only source you gave for your comment, I've been assuming we were actually talking about that paper.

I'm not sure I follow your last paragraph. You seem to be assuming that prophecy is something like teaching in the relevant respects, but for Grudem prophecy isn't authoritative in the way that teaching is.

I don't have any clue what you mean about being right half the time. Are you assuming that men and women will always disagree on anything and that each will be right half the time? I can't think of a better interpretation of your argument, but I have a hard time believing that's what you meant.

At Wed Apr 04, 06:50:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


The quote came from the link supplied in my first comment. It is very clear. It is an article from 1995. I think you can scroll up and find it cleary referenced. Grudem has also dedicated space to this theme in Ev. Fem and Biblical Truth.

Grudem also writes

Feminism replaces biblical honor with a misguided attempt to wipe out the differences in people with respect to prominence, order, leadership, and representation.

in the GNBC and the TNIV. I am not going to make things up. Biblical honour must be assumed to give women a different prominence and leadership and so on, less, not equal.

Why women can prophecy and not teach is odd because prophecy is above teaching in hierarchy. And teaching should be based on learning which women do as well as men.

Now in a matter of disagreement on Greek grammar for example, on which exegesis is based, when equally trained men and women disagree, why should a man simply be able to say "I am the man, I can teach and you, the woman, cannot."

And one has to wonder why so many mistakes in Greek are made in these books.

At Thu Apr 05, 05:59:00 AM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

Suzanne, the only link in your first comment is to a long list of papers he posted. The only direct reference to anything is the World Mag article in 1997, which is not 1995. So I'm still not sure what you're referring to.

Do you have any evidence that Grudem accepts the hierarchy of gifts that you accept? I know Carson does not, and Grudem and Carson are often in agreement about issues related to gifts in I Corinthians. Their work on that issue was around the same time in conjunction with each other, when their offices were down the hall from each other. As far as I remember, Grudem and Carson's view is that tongues is less important because it does not edify the body, while the other gifts edify the body and are equally important. Someone lost my Carson book, and the only Grudem item I have on that issue is in his Systematic Theology, where it's harder to find anything, but I'm a bit skeptical that he endorses the view that prophecy is in a hierarchy above teaching.

I would hope teaching wouldn't be based on learning alone. I know plenty of awful teachers who are very learned. Just because learning is is a necessary condition for being a good teacher doesn't mean it's a sufficient condition. Just because being a good teacher is a necessary condition for authoritative teaching in the church doesn't mean it's a sufficient condition. We will obviously disagree about what some of the other conditions might be, but I don't think you'd disagree that other requirements besides just being learned should count (e.g. spiritual maturity).

At Thu Apr 05, 09:56:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

In my first comment I linked to this article

But what should women do in church? CBMW News Nov. 1995, Vol. 1, Num. 2

However, the list of greater to lesser visibility and recognition reappears in Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth, page 84 and following.

I believe you are right that Grudem does not accept the hierarchy of gifts. He is being selective with God's truth. Complementarians have to prove that prophecy is not above teaching or the basis of the subordination of women is called into question - unless you deny that women are prophets which a recent CNMW article tried to do.

On your last point, are you trying to imply that men are, on average, better teachers than women, or that they have the edge in spiritual maturity. I think this would be novel support for the theory of the priority of right to leadership for men, that they are more mature.

At Thu Apr 05, 02:15:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

I still don't see that link in your first comment. I see a few dead links, and some that don't go to the article in question.

My last point was a mere logical point. You said something that I'm sure you don't believe. I offered one reason why complementarians would deny it and another why even egalitarians should deny it. It had no more significance than that. I care about stating things accurately, and I wasn't trying to insinuate anything more than what I actually said. As I've said to you before, I don't think gender role differences are based in differences in capability but in the nature of the Trinity, so I'm not sure why you would want to try to read something like that into my words.

As for the supposed hierarchy of gifts, I think it is those who see one in a passage that doesn't explicitly say what the order means who have to establish that the order has to do with importance or level of authority. I remember having this conversation before, and I listed off about seven or eight interpretations of what's going on there that don't involve something like that. I don't myself know which one I prefer, but I'm pretty sure that the place of prophecy above teaching is itself a good reason not to take it as a list of gifts in order of importance, since Paul clearly does not take prophecy to be better than teaching or more important than it in any other place. Instead, he regularly treats all the gifts as equally important but as serving different equally important purposes. So the burden of proof is on those who want to rule out all the other ways of taking that passage, since those automatically become more plausible given how he treats the gifts throughout his writings but especially in chs.12-14.

At Thu Apr 05, 02:43:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


The link was the second link in my first comment. I can't comment on this further except that I provided a clear link in good faith.

Next, clearly 1 Cor.12 says that some gifts are 'greater' or 'higher' or 'better' than others. It is certainly one possible interpretation that they are ranked. Since 'apostle' is placed first on the list, this indicates fairly clearly that hierarchy or level was intended.

I think the difficulty comes in defining prophecy - I would give it a broad definition of speaking a word of moral exhortation - a message from God. Prophets also reveal/teach the written word of God to the people.

My guess is that the presence of women prophets causes the problem here. Otherwise no one would balk at the ranking of gifts.

Circular reasoning is employed to keep women in subordination.

At Fri Apr 06, 05:11:00 AM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

Hold on a second. There's nothing circular about this reasoning. There's a debate over how to interpret one statement. Even if the argument is based on a complementarian assumption, that's not circular unless complementarianism is established solely from this one statement. Circularity means you establish one thing based merely on itself.

Consider the following argument form:

1. If A then B
2. A
3. Therefore, B.

That's a deductively valid argument. There's nothing circular about it unless you base either premise 1 or premise 2 on the conclusion. This argument for is called modus ponens. Consider this second argument:

1. If A then B.
2. Not-B
3. Therefore, not A

That argument is also deductively valid, and it's not circular unless you base either premise on the conclusion. This argument form is called modus tollens.

Now, if faced with an argument of the first form, someone can always deny a premise, and the way to do that is to deny the conclusion and then reason in reverse. If both you and I accept the first premise, I may accept the second premise, and you may deny it. You may even deny it on the basis of denying the conclusion of the argument, which you think you've established some other way. There's nothing circular about that. As the aphorism goes, "one person's modus ponens is another's modus tollens. Both argument forms are equally good provided that the premises are supported.

Now complementarians have a huge set of arguments. You think the most obvious way to read one relevant statement is in conflict with complementarian views (or at least with one particular thing that some complementarians say). Others disagree. Their disagreement is circular only if their only support for that interpretation relies on first taking that passage in the way they do. That is circular. But that's not the case. Even if it's based on a complementarian interpretation of other passages, the only way it would be circular would be if they take the other passages that way only because of this passage.

Since this passage is hardly the basis of complementarian interpretations of I Timothy 2, I Corinthians 11, and other relevant passages, there simply is nothing circular about this. It's just starting with a different set of passages, taking them at face value, and then interpreting this one in light of those. Then you're starting with your own set of passages, taking them in a way that you think is face value, and interpreting the other set in light of those. Neither approach is circular, and it's wrong for either side to call the other circular. It may be that some steps in the process are unsupported by the evidence, but that's not circularity. It's just not providing a sufficient argument.

Now I don't think that's even what's going on in how Carson (and I believe Grudem) are taking this passage. It's not based on complementarian interpretations of other passages (but it wouldn't be circular if it were). As I've already pointed out, it's based on the most obvious way of taking this passage in the context of Paul's repeated statements that all the gifts are equally valuable, equally important for building the church, and so on. That's the main point of these chapters, in fact. So it's very strange to take this ordering of gifts in a way that conflicts with Paul's main point. That's the argument, and there's nothing circular about it. You may disagree. You may prefer to modus tollens the modus ponens and take your interpretation of this verse as controlling over how to interpret the whole section. That's not circular either. But it's wholly unfair to call the other argument circular just because it starts with a different datum and then swings back to question your starting point on the basis of some additional piece of evidence.

At Fri Apr 06, 06:31:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Jeremy, it is circular argument if someone starts from complementarian presuppositions, reads the Bible in the light of them, interprets the Bible in a complementarian way, and then teaches that the Bible supports their complementarian position. Now, while I have no evidence that Grudem has done this, I do have evidence of this for his co-author John Piper. See chapter 1 of Piper and Grudem's book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, in which Piper describes how he accepted complementarian presuppositions of his mother and father's different roles before he found them in Scripture.

At Fri Apr 06, 07:45:00 AM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

All right. I've finally gotten that file open by clicking on the name from the list. I didn't know the name, so I didn't know which one you meant until you mentioned the name. Since the link doesn't open anything, I couldn't do anything without the name. Then even when I knew which one it was, it kept telling me the file was corrupted and couldn't open. On about the fourth try, it worked.

It looks as if Grudem does not think there is anything wrong in principle with women holding positions that are prominent and visible. The only reason he lists the third category is because some people might confuse prominence and visibility with having authority, and sometimes caution is in order to avoid that misimpression.

He does make it very clear that he doesn't think these have any relation to any hierarchy of what's most important to the church. These differing ministries are all equally important, as Paul consistently says throughout I Cor 12-14.

Now back to the original question. First you said this:

Next, I wonder if Karen Jobes is aware of the annotations which Dr. Grudem has added to his recommendations for restricting women from areas of visibility and recognition. I wonder if the note DS stands for "discretely out of the spotlights" as Grudem says any respectable women should be.

Then you quoted him out of context:

Any respectable women in public venues were expected to be discretely [sic] out of the spotlight. Notes page 52

You then took it back as an April Fools joke. It was not remotely obviously so, but I will accept your statement that you knew you were taking him out of context very badly.

But then you said the following:

Women are intended by God for lesser visiblity and recognition. Also for lesser prominence and order. Yes, this is a universal principle for Grudem. He doesn't think women should be "out of sight" as long as they are appropriately "less visible".

I don't see how what you've directed me to remotely implies any of that. Maybe he's drastically changed his view in his more recent book, which I don't have any access to, but what I just read in his 1995 article doesn't seem to me to justify what you've attributed to him. He denies that he thinks women are intended by God for less visibility and recognition.

He gives three lists of degrees of how much someone might have of something. The first two rely on principles he finds in the Bible limiting women's roles in ministry. The third does not rely on any such thing. The only reason he mentions it is that some people confuse prominence and visibility with authority, so he lists degrees of prominence and divisibility as a distinction and then determines its relevance later. When he determines its relevance later, he basically denies its relevance by saying that only the top item is forbidden to women, and his justification for that isn't on grounds of prominence and visibility but on grounds of authoritative teaching and governing.

So the third list basically plays no role in which roles he would restrict women from doing. He thus does not do what you say he does, i.e. see God as having intended women for lesser visibility and prominence. You have thus serious misrepresented his position, as I had expected before I read what he said.

At Fri Apr 06, 08:14:00 AM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...


Jeremy, it is circular argument if someone starts from complementarian presuppositions, reads the Bible in the light of them, interprets the Bible in a complementarian way, and then teaches that the Bible supports their complementarian position.

Yes, and that's exactly what I've just explained is not what's going on here. It's not that this passage is being used to support complementarianism as a whole, which is then used to support an interpretation of this passage. It's that complementarian conclusions from other passages then make an interpretation of this passage unlikely. There's nothing circular about that even if it's what's being done (and it isn't, as I've explained).

As for Piper, he does not say that he used complementarianism to support itself. What he says is that he accepted complementarianism before he understood the arguments for it based on scripture. But we accept things all the time before we understand how scripture teaches them. I had been told for years that Jesus rose from the dead, long before I could even read. I believed it was true before I could see how strongly taught it is in scripture. What would be circular would be to believe the Bible says it only because you already believed it. But if there are arguments for a conclusion that you already believe, and you then come to believe it on the basis of those arguments in addition to always having been taught it, then there's nothing circular about it.

Besides, Piper says several things that make me think he didn't really hold to a complementarian view until he read the biblical texts that he now sees as supporting complementarianism. In fact, he didn't even understand the view he now thinks is true until much later in his life:

"[Leadership and submission] ... had to do with something I could never have explained as a child. And I had been a long time in coming to understand it as part of God's great goodness in creating us male and female. It had to do with something very deep."

Then of the "dimensions of reality and goodness" that he now sees as having been present in his home, he says, "now I see that they were rooted in God. Over the years I have come to see from Scripture and from life that manhood and womanhood are the beautiful handiwork of a good and loving God."

So, far from saying that he believed this view first and then used them to support a reading of scripture, then using that reading to support the original view, he says the opposite. He says he didn't really have this view until he understood the depths of scripture's teaching on this issue, which he then read back into his parents' lives.

I admit that there are people who do use circular arguments. Perhaps Piper is even being dishonest about what happened with him (although I would not assume such a thing). But it's clearly not the case that he says that he believed complementarian views because he was taught them by his parents, read the Bible in light of that, and then used his conclusions from reading the Bible that way to support complementarianism. At least what Piper says does not commit the fallacy that you are saying it does.

At Fri Apr 06, 10:36:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


It was extremely unfortunate that the file I linked to was so difficult to open. This simple fact has prolonged the discussion long past April Fool's day. I did know that I was taking Grudem out of context, and, please note, I am not applying for a position as his research assistant either. Anything written on that day was suspect.

Grudem's list about visibility may be ambiguous, but he clearly intends women for lesser prominence, order, leadership and representation. This is for certain.

I have already supplied this quote.

The cirularity exists in this. 1 Tim. 2:12 contains a word of unknown meaning. The footnotes to Grudem's appendix clearly proves that no one knows what Paul meant by the word authentein. The ranking in 1 Cor. 12 is obvious in the Greek but has been interpreted otherwise because women can't be ranked above teachers because of 1 Tim. 2:12.

Let's leave headship - 1 Cor. 11 - out of it unless you think that men are the head of women as a group.

I firmly believe from the timing of their books that P & P came to complementarianism in young adulthood, as most men do, and then learned exegesis afterwards. Many complementarians, from their complete lack of interest in Greek as a language, indicate that they learn Greek in order to prove things.

There have been many different ways of arguing throughout history that women are subordinate. This is never a constant. When I was young, women were to be silent - that's it. There was no sense that 1 Tim. 2:12 said "exercize authority". It clearly said "usurp authority". But no problem, women had to be silent.

Now that the word "silent" is known to be the same word as is used for men being "quiet", the emphasis is thrown back on the word authority. But in my upbringing only the word of God had authority, not people. After all, the word authority in English translates 10 different words in Greek! The cohesion has been created in English.

So throughout history men just need some reason to justify keeping women subordinate, it doesn't have to be the same reason all the time. This is not exactly God's truth, but human exegesis.

Can't you see how irritating it is to think that Grudem et al. are accredited to teach Greek in a seminary, and they can't read lexicons. Authority should not be invested in maleness, but in truth.

It is painful to see people recommend Grudem's books and all I can think is that he misread the lexicons, and the textual apparatus, not once, but over and over again, and he is the editor-in-chief of a Bible translation! There is something wrong with this picture!

At Fri Apr 06, 12:59:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

You have supplied no quote except one that you admit was ripped from its context. The quote says only that the prevailing mindset in the ancient world kept women from being prominent and visible. Nothing Grudem says comes close to endorsing such a principle, just observing that it happened, and the article you keep referring to in fact recommends that we not have such a policy.

The cirularity exists in this. 1 Tim. 2:12 contains a word of unknown meaning. The footnotes to Grudem's appendix clearly proves that no one knows what Paul meant by the word authentein. The ranking in 1 Cor. 12 is obvious in the Greek but has been interpreted otherwise because women can't be ranked above teachers because of 1 Tim. 2:12.

For the sake of argument, I'll grant everything you say in this paragraph except the first sentence. I just don't see how such an argument is circular. Grudem takes a view in I Tim 2 that is unsupported. Suppose he does. Then he takes a view in I Cor 12 that depends on his previous judgment in I Tim 2. OK, suppose he does. Where is the circularity? He has a starting point that is unsupported, but being unsupported isn't the same as being circular. To be circular, he'd have to have based his original view in I Tim 2 on his conclusion in I Cor 12 and then based his conclusion in I Cor 12 on his conclusion in I Tim 2. That's not what you describe him as doing. You describe him of taking an unsupported conclusion in one passage and then basing a conclusion in another passage on that. There's no circularity involved in such a move.

As for I Tim 2:12, a number of complementarians admit that the word 'authenteo' can mean "to usurp authority" (just as a number of egalitarians are now admitting that it can mean "to have authority", e.g. Craig Keener, Philip Towner, Alan Padgett), but Kostenberger's argument that the parallelism requires a positive (or neutral) reading for both verbs or a negative reading for both verbs has won a lot of support. It drives Philip Towner to suggest that the very for "teach" is negative, which he thinks is plausible based on the overall context of epistle (as opposed to the immediate context of this chapter, which appears to me not to have anything to do with false teaching, or Paul would have condemned the content of the teaching and only those who teach it, whether they are male or female).

But whatever else is true, there are complementarian arguments available for taking 'authenteo' to be the positive term for having authority rather than usurping authority, and those arguments do not rely on any view about whether I Cor 12 involves a hierarchy of gifts. So there's no circularity required in taking the view of I Tim 2:12 that mainstream complementarians take.

As for older views and newer views, I have no idea how old you are, so I don't know when you are referring to as when you were growing up (and I'm not pushing you to tell me either), but J.N.D. Kelly's commentary took this view in 1964, and if that's not old enough for you then you can check out W. Lock's 1924 commentary. William Mounce says that the KJV negative rendering as "to usurp authority" was actually the unusual rendering for the time. The more standard view until recently has been the neutral rendering.

Some egalitarians have taken the verb this way as well, including Alan Padgett (and Craig Keener leans toward "domineer" but says the evidence isn't very clear), so it's not fair to say that the only people who hold this view have taken it on the assumption that complementarianism must be true.

For the record, I'm not recommending people to read Grudem's books. I just think you're drastically misrepresenting his views.

At Fri Apr 06, 01:56:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


The Gender-Neutral Bible Controversy: Muting the Masculinity of God's Words

Here is the context,

Most significantly, Adam and Christ are representatives for two cosmic groups. Adam represents all his descendants, and Christ represents all who belong to him: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22, RSV; cf. Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:20-22, 45-49). Husbands are imitators of Christ, and wives of the church which is subject to Christ (Eph. 5:22-33). Yes, the Bible gives honor to all members of the body of Christ (note the importance given to all members of the body in 1 Cor. 12), but it also refutes the erroneous aspects of feminism. Feminism replaces biblical honor with a misguided attempt to wipe out the differences in people with respect to prominence, order, leadership, and representation.

Generic “he” is thus seen to be simply one aspect of the larger spiritual conflict. Feminists want to abolish generic “he” partly because, by its lack of gender symmetry, it symbolizes a difference between men and women. But the Bible paints a different picture, a picture in which God has ordained men, not women, to serve in certain positions of leadership, first in Adam as representative of the human race, then in Christ, and now in the family and the church. It so happens that generic “he” in English subtly resonates with this truth by suggesting a male case as the starting illustration for a general truth.

Grudem must mean that biblical honour entails differences in leadership, order, prominence and representation - don't you think? I don't mean to take him out of context. You can check out this document and search it. This is also one of the sources for much of his lexicon work.

Just for the record, apart from a few minor details of modern life, I might just as well have been brought up in the 19th century, in the Plymouth Brethren. My parents would not allow the RSV in the house. They were far from KJV onlyists, but the RSV was pretty much pagan as far as I can remember. Most of us in our family studied Greek.

I agree with you completely that there is a wide variety of interpretation among both complementarians and egalitarians. It is very diverse on both sides. Therefore, there is no way that exegesis is going to solve, once and for all, the subordination of women. There must be another basis.

There must be a prior inclination, on the part of complementarians to subordinate, and for egalitarians, not to.

I think the double command of loving God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself should be the cornerstone. Jesus places it there himself.

Can't a man understand that a woman has the same ambitions, the same desires to engage publicly at the level of her own competence, not always at a subordinate level to man - whether in mission, or theology or earnings, or leadership, in accomplishment. Why shouldn't women head up a mission, pastor a church, teach theology?

At Fri Apr 06, 03:28:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

Suzanne, I can't agree with the following:

I agree with you completely that there is a wide variety of interpretation among both complementarians and egalitarians. It is very diverse on both sides. Therefore, there is no way that exegesis is going to solve, once and for all, the subordination of women. There must be another basis.

There must be a prior inclination, on the part of complementarians to subordinate, and for egalitarians, not to.

I think Thomas Schreiner is a good case that conflicts with this. He says that he was an egalitarian and wanted to continue to do so, but he was convinced by complementarian arguments. I can testify to many people I've encountered, both online and in real life, who are reluctant to accept complementarian views but are convinced that the Bible teaches them and thus they are complementarians despite not understanding in their own minds why God might command something like that. So I don't think there has to be a prior inclination toward subordinating women (to use your way of putting it).

I'm not going to dispute what sort of input you had growing up. What I won't allow to stand is the claim that a neutral sense of "having authority" is a newly assigned meaning of the word 'authentein'. According to William Mounce, it was the common view at the time of the KJV, even if the KJV didn't hold to it. I cited a commentary in 1924 and another in 1964 that took this definition of the word. It's not some new view that Grudem and other recent complementarians have introduced, and that's what you sounded like you were saying.

As for the Grudem quote, that's another work of his I don't have. (Actually, all I have by him are his Systematic Theology, his I Peter commentary, and the Piper/Grudem anthology, aside from perhaps an article or two in books edited by other people.) It does sound as if he's willing to use the word 'prominence' to describe something that he thinks men should have more of, at least in certain contexts.

If you put it together with his other article, however, I think he must be meaning it in a different way from what he was calling prominence and visibility there (unless he actually changed his view in between the two, which I doubt). He makes it so clear there that the only case in which a role is too prominent and visible for a woman is one that is also having too much governing authority for a woman and having too much of an authoritative teaching role for a woman.

So he must mean something at least a little different by prominence in this context. I'm not sure exactly what he means, but perhaps he means prominence in authority rather than just prominence in visibility.

At Fri Apr 06, 04:07:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Jeremy wrote:

What I won't allow to stand is the claim that a neutral sense of "having authority" is a newly assigned meaning of the word 'authentein'.

Fair enough, Jeremy. I hope you will also not allow to understand the claim which Dr Grudem has made, reported here, that a not so neutral sense of "assuming authority" or "usurping authority" is a newly assigned meaning of the word 'authentein'. Or, to use Grudem's own words:

in 1 Timothy 2:12 the TNIV adopts a highly suspect and novel translation ... It reads, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man”

This translation is of course not at all novel, because it is almost the same as KJV.

At Fri Apr 06, 04:44:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


I don't own anything Grudem has written but the complementarian books are all online for free.

Authentein is, and always has been a bit vague. I understand that. But Grudem is, as Peter shows, determined to assign one meaning to it without being aware of the history. Really one has to wonder where he was all this time and didn't he ever read the KJV.

My 1633 Schotanus lexicon says αυθεντεω - "authoritatem usurpo in aliquem" (no other meaning).

But exegesis is just an exercise in futility, sort of like playing tennis. Your serve!

Jesus has given us so many clear commands to love the one next to us as ourselves, that should keep us all busy, why tie up half the population.

At Fri Apr 06, 07:16:00 PM, Blogger Jeremy Pierce said...

I'm fine if you criticize Grudem for his real mistakes. I'm trying to point out places you've criticized him that I think are unfair. It's accurate to correct him in his claim that taking it as "to usurp authority" is a new view and in his claim that 'aner' is always masculine-only. He would have been right if he had said that the KJV translation hasn't really been the dominant view among scholars until more recently, but of course he was wrong to say that it's a recent view altogether.

I agree that he committed a real howler with those two mistakes, but they're not really news to me after the last several dozen times you've pulled them out it at the very mention of anything to do with Grudem or complementarianism. It doesn't strike me as particularly significant in the debate, since it's specifically related to idiosyncratic positions of a scholar whose work doesn't seem to me to be at the center of scholarly defenses of complementarianism. Even if Grudem is no fringe figure in popular culture, it just amazes me how much time gets spent here pointing out errors he makes without any regard whatsoever for more mainstream complementarian arguments that the more careful egalitarians (e.g. Towner, Keener) have acknowledged as good work.

At Fri Apr 06, 10:13:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


The centre of the debate is bible translation - not complementarianism.

If it is tangentially related to complementarianism then that has to enter the discussion. If they are on the same page, and with Grudem they are - what can I do?

When I posted about Grudem's error re: aner, just a few days ago, I checked to ensure that the data I presented had not been presented by anyone else ever before. Unless you can find it. It is extremely relevant because it relates to part of the platform against the TNIV.

Grudem has made many significant errors, and also repeated the errors of others like Wallace and Burer, re episemos.

Let's see.

adelphos, anthropos, aner, authentein, autos, episemos, ... shall I go on.

Grudem has recently reposted the statement of concern against the TNIV. Packer has signed one of the statements, and endorsed Grudem's book - without reading it, I might add.

I listen to Packer preach, and I know what grief the statement has caused Fee and Waltke.

This is in my own backyard, it is an ongoing disgrace. I shall be quiet about this when Grudem takes down the statement of concern and writes a letter to Fee, Waltke and the rest and says "I'm sorry - I made a mistake, many mistakes actually."

Actually I asked Packer to take his name off and he shrugged and said that he agreed in principle that bible translation should not give in to culture. That is his mantra. I don't hear Packer trying to reinstate the singular "thou" and "thee" on a theological basis, but oh my goodness, from Grudem you would think that changing a singular to a plural would change God's truth. They have absolutely no consistency.

I was/am in the same congregation as Packer and I believe that something wrong has been done. Who else will stand up for the truth if I don't? Who else is equipped to read Grudem's footnotes? Not too many people as it turns out.

That is, most people who could do it don't think it is worthwhile.

In the meantime, around the blogosphere, people write about Ev. Fem and Biblical truth and the new one, and women actually write that complementarianism is convincing because a "scholar" like Grudem martials so much evidence for it. No one actually reads the footnotes and notices that for Grudem 2 + 2 = 7. They had better have other reasons and leave his books unopened.

In the meantime, I note that 4 or 5 new translations have demoted Junia on the basis of a truncated quote from the Psalm of Solomon. Burer finally admitted what they had done. I asked why he didn't just quote the NETS, the New English translation of the Septuagint but he didn't respond. Anyway, he acted as if the NETS did not exist.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home