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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mode of Communication II

On his own blog, Peter has completed his series on exegesis and the The Scholarly and Fundamentalist Approaches to the Bible. It is well worth reading. (I have just finished writing my own post in a rather half hearted way and all I can say is that I wish Peter's series were here, and my post were in the Antarctic where it deserves to be.)

I had intended to write about how the difference between speaking and writing contributes to Grudem's theories about the role of women in the church in Evangelical Feminism and Bibilical Truth. This is considered a scholarly book by Al Mohler and is recommended by many complementarians. I believe that at 864 pages long, it might be Grudem's longest book.

However, as is often the case, I stopped along the way and read again one of Grudem's earlier chapters. This is where he compares three different kinds of beliefs. The effeminate left (egalitarianism), the complementarian middle, and the violent right. Grudem writes on page 54 that egalitarians are characterized by:

    mutual submission, often husband as wimp, and wife as usurper
    men become unmasculine, unattractive to women,
    women become unfeminine and unattractive to men
    ambivalent towards sex
    moving contrary to nature
    With reference to the complementarian middle, on page 55 Grudem writes,

      husband: loving, humble headship, wife: intelligent, joyful submission to husband
      monogamous, equally fulfilling intercourse as the deepest expression of a great "mystery", equality and differences and unity,
      positive delight in sex as a gift from God
      natural desires fulfilled, man and women have a deep sense of acting as God made them to act
    No data, no footnotes, no 'I wonder if egalitarians feel that way about themselves', no illustrations of masculine looking egalitarian women, no Kinsey report percentages. Without in any way writing about how I feel personally when I read this kind of book, I will do a quick communication commentary.

    This reminds me of the Marlborough man ad and the kind of advertising which makes people think that if they use a certain product, it will make them more attractive to the opposite sex. If you smoke this cigarette you will be more masculine and attractive to women. If you use this perfume, or lipstick, you will attract more men. I think that the same thing is going on here. Grudem is saying, if you become a complementarian you will be more attractive to the opposite sex.

    I have read blog reviews of this book by some complementarian women and one of them writes, "It is readable, enjoyable, and usable." What can I say? The table I quoted sets the tone, if you are a complementarian man or woman, you are sexy and attractive, if you are an egalitarian you are probably not.

    I really was going to try and make this post funny and entertaining, and write a little more, but somewhere along the line I just didn't find it funny any more. I will try to critique another section of Grudem's book tomorrow.

    Good Night.


    At Thu Jul 27, 04:22:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

    Suzanne, thank you for your recommendation of my series. I thought it was not appropriate for the BBB because it is not about English Bible translations. Besides, I want to get my own blog noticed! But I am glad that it was linked to here.

    Meanwhile your post certainly doesn't deserve to be in the Antarctic - although in this weather (and I hear it's even hotter in parts of the USA) the Antarctic sounds rather attractive. Thank you for persisting in reading Grudem - I can't bear to read much of books which I strongly disagree with. His caricature of egalitarians bears little resemblance to any egalitarians I know - well, I know some wimpish men and some unattractive women but they are just as likely to be complementarian. Yes, you are right, this is not scholarship but manipulative propaganda.

    At Thu Jul 27, 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Just A Berean said...

    This is not only really not that funny, it is relative to a mid to low sort of social intelligence. He has some sort of intelligence to make it through college and get a degree, and he's creative to come up with something like this, but his appeal is only to prejudicial conformists and groupies.

    No intelligent man or woman who reads, researches, thinks analytically could ever buy into such poor hypothical thinking. It doesn't even pertain to anything in Scripture.

    I'm amazed. It is also just a tad revealing how much of his comp description paints relationship with women in sexual tones:
    ° monogamous
    ° equally fulfilling intercourse
    ° as the deepest expression of a great "mystery"
    ° positive delight in sex as a gift from God
    °natural desires fulfilled

    Much as I love the gift of sex, to describe sex as the DEEPest expression of marriage is incredibly shortsighted IMO. And how does believing in male dominance guarantee fulfilling intercourse. Is there a hidden manual of special skills that only are given to comp men and women (or maybe only to the men). I hear enough comp women say how difficult submission is to know that hierarchical submission does not give one real satisfaction in marriage. And that dissatisfaction will indeed leak into the sex for the women.

    And this is all in the "Evangelical Feminism and Bibilical Truth"? I suppose I'm going to have to buy one in order to further document the degree of poor theology being printed by hierarchalists. :(

    At Thu Jul 27, 11:09:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

    I must say, A None, I can't help wondering if Grudem is among those conservative complementarians who restrict sexual activity to the "missionary position" - although he does seem to accept that it should be "equally fulfilling" to women and men. But this does take the issue rather a long way from English Bibles!

    At Thu Jul 27, 03:55:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

    In my posting on my own blog on appeals to authorities, I have linked to this posting twice, although both times in passing - once to rescue you from the Antarctic, and once to suggest an example of what kind of authority should not be appealed to.

    At Fri Jul 28, 12:08:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


    Thank you. The most important thing about going to the Antarctic is getting back!

    A none,

    There is a pdf download of Evangelical Feminism on the internet somewhere, but I can't find it at the moment. You really should not have to buy this book.

    At Fri Jul 28, 01:12:00 AM, Blogger Just A Berean said...

    Thank you Suzanne, I will look for the pdf file.

    Matthew James wrote: "Also, if Grudem is using the "great mystery" phrase in relation to sex, this does appear to be an idea deposited by the New Testament writers."

    While the Ephe. 5:30-33 part about the "great mystery" does indeen mention the two becoming one, I've always doubted it is about sex. After all all the verses prior are about loving one another in humble submission. Further Paul closes this section with reminding the husband to love and the wife to respect. It seems it is more about the concept of two living in such complementary harmony that they become as one entity instead of two.

    Matthew James wrote: "Your opinion doesn't take into consideration the fact that sex has continued to puzzle the mystical and philosophical mind alike."

    You are quite correct that human sex can and should be almost mystical. But I consider it the icing. The cake is the complementary relationship. The icing isn't all that mystical if one doesn't have a good foundation to spread it on.

    That is the problem I see with the comp description. It's all about the beauty of the icing. In reality he's missed the deepest beauty of the woman and relationship with her. Human relationships are or can be amazing as it is. All this talking and sharing of souls that we do. But there is something different and differently profound in a committed devoted life blending relationship between a man and a woman. They both can become better persons together.

    At Fri Jul 28, 02:55:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

    Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth is available for download here. But I am not going to bother.

    Is there something especially holy about the white tops and blue jeans worn by everyone in the picture on this page? Is this another part of the new complementarian orthodoxy?

    I was thinking about starting a new blog "the antarctic: the coolest place on the planet", but I wouldn't have anything of my own cool enough to post there!

    I always thought the "great mystery" in Ephesians 5:32 was about Christ and the church, and so nothing to do with husband and wife. That is certainly implied by the punctuation in TNIV and NIV.


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