A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sloppy Exegesis Strikes Again.

PC recently penned a must-read on the sloppy exegesis culture warriors use to hogtie religious men with old-fashioned gender roles. Take a gander at it, fellows.



Elusive Wapiti said...

I looked. I think he overstates his case a bit.

I think that a case can be made to connect men as a sex with a requirement to work (Gen 3:19), and it will be difficult (Gen 3:18). And while he correctly asserts that working the ground per se isn't the implication of the Bible, that's not what Moore, Chanski, and Baucham are trying to say.

Of course, if one is going to point at Genesis 3 and say man has to work, and other passages to claim that he has to provide for his family, then one also must look at Genesis 3:16 as directive in the sense that a woman's duty is to bear and raise children as well as be under her husband's authority.

Thus, if one points to Genesis 3:18 as identifying what a man's sex role is, then one must also accept that a woman's sex role, as laid out in the exact same chapter of Scripture, is to bear children (which will also be difficult), raise those kids (no nannies allowed!) and obey her husband.

My issue isn't so much with the sex role as it is with those who hammer men for not providing but give women a pass for "choosing" to not to have children. Sorry, there's no choice here. If you accept one, you must accept the other.

How many

Elusive Wapiti said...

Please ignore the "how many" at the end of my last comment.

Amir Larijani said...

EW: I'd venture to say that they accept the woman's sex role as defined as well. The issue is what the context of their discussion was.

If the context was about the male roles, then their lack of discussion of the women's roles ought not be seen as a lack of acceptance of that Biblical set of roles.

As for grooming them to be church leaders, I don't get the impression that they believe that every man who is "godly enough" will be qualified for eldership positions.

On the other hand, promoting godliness and Biblical masculinity, will foster a male culture in the Church that probably produces more Biblically-qualified elders (overseers/deacons).

Having been to no small number of churches where elders were anything but Biblically-qualified, many of whom were selected on the basis of (a) how many years their family had been in the church, (b) how much money they put in the plate, (c) whether they were "team players", and (d) whether they had "influence", I can certainly understand the culture that they are addressing, as it is more commonplace in "conservative" churches than anyone will admit.

Elusive Wapiti said...

"If the context was about the male roles, then their lack of discussion of the women's roles ought not be seen as a lack of acceptance of that Biblical set of roles."

Amir, a good point. I do not have visibility into the context in which these comments were made.

While we know what happens when we assume, I will assume that what I've observed to be the usual attitudes of Establishment Churchianity hold in these fellow's cases: that they do not hold women as strictly to the Biblical sex roles as they do men.

Amir Larijani said...

EW: Keep in mind, however, that these are the same folks who ran off the feminists at SBTS.

For all the talk about "assumptions", that saying is catchy but not practical by any means. Engineers make assumptions every day when they solve problems. So do exegetes for that matter. The issue is the strength of the assumption on the basis of the known facts.

(a) Moore is Mohler's right hand man (b) Mohler, while he has issues with headship theology, is very much pro-Patriarchy, especially with respect to women's submission. Many professors jumped ship in the 1990s because he held that view.
(c) the denomination that they represent was the same denomination that, in 1997, passed the resolution calling on women to submit to their husbands
(d) they tend to have a very literal view of that section of Scripture.

Ergo, I'd give them the benefit of a doubt on this one.

Even with the headship theology bias, they've never suggested that it is okay for a woman to eschew her wifely responsibilities.

I don't expect every discussion and presentation by these guys to be academic peer-review quality, with references to every source down to what their thoughts might have been while taking a piss as they were translating the original Hebrew or Greek.

At this point, I'd say the evidence is in favor of giving them the benefit of a doubt.

PuritanCalvinist said...


Actually, I think a much better case can be made for their interpretation of Genesis 2, rather than for their interpretation of 1 Timothy 3, 1 Timothy 5:8, and Titus 1. It is their interpretation of these last three passages that I find so outragious.

However, again, one must somehow argue from the context that God is somehow defining a gender role here, which I think is difficult to do. In fact, I was reading Calvin's commentary on this passage last night, and he seemed to have the same impression that I did, namely, that this is a function of humanity, not a function of gender:

15. And the Lord God took the man Moses now adds, that the earth was given to man, with this condition, that he should occupy himself in its cultivation. Whence it follows that men were created to employ themselves in some work, and not to lie down in inactivity and idleness. This labor, truly, was pleasant, and full of delight, entirely exempt from all trouble and weariness; since however God ordained that man should be exercised in the culture of the ground, he condemned in his person, all indolent repose. Wherefore, nothing is more contrary to the order of nature, than to consume life in eating, drinking, and sleeping, while in the meantime we propose nothing to ourselves to do.

Also, I have been questioning whether or not the Bible speaks about the man having work as part of his gender role at all. I certainly agree that God created men with a desire to work, rather than stay at home and nurture children, but he also seems to have created little boys with the desire to play with trucks rather than with dolls. I certainly don't think that, on the basis of that, that playing with trucks is a gender role!

Anyway, I think that it is a much better discussion than the idea that 1 Timothy 3 is talking about gender roles, or that 1 Timothy 5:8 is talking about a gender role. At least there is something in the context remotely resembling gender roles in Genesis 2!

God Bless,

Ame said...

PC - the little 3 yr old boy i keep also has a 7 yr old sister ... he thinks barbies are made to ride in trucks :)

he also has a hard time distinguishing the words 'princes' and 'princesses' ... he being a boy is a prince and not a princess ... and that boys are princes and not princesses. i hardly think this will endear him to being feminine as his dad will absolutely not allow it.

anyway ... i know this is off-topic ... but the comment that boys like to play with trucks brings this to mind :)

Kevin in Manila said...

I enjoy reading Adam's posts, but I didn't find this one to be very compelling. I think it is a stretch to call it "sloppy exegesis."

Just my two cents.

Christina said...

Seems to me that the women who most ardently expound on men being family providers are the ones that WANT to raise their kids.

Or maybe that's just me being naive =p

Anyway, I'm in complete support of men being the provider, but that's simply because I can't do my share without my man doing that part.

I agree with Amir. Sometimes, the belief in certain things is born out of a pre-existing belief that they've already established.

I've established in my own heart and mind that the proper place for me is in the home, raising my children with my own hands and providing a home for my husband, while being submissive to his authority in the home.

I believe that's biblical. But for me to accept that as biblical requires some responsibility from the man involved to make it work.

Which means HE is the leader. HE is the financial provider.

There has to be some balance for it to work.