Friday, November 1, 2019

I Agree with Beth Moore

Beth Moore has called out misogyny in evangelicalism, and I want to say a hardy, "I agree!" So she should stop promoting it. Egalitarianism and Feminism are misogyny. That is the entire point that complementarians are trying to make. In fact, that is the entire crux of the whole issue. Answering the question, "What does misogyny believe and look like?" is where everyone divides. The issue then is what or who can tell us which view is correct.

I would argue that God is the only One who knows the correct position and has revealed it in both His creation (general revelation) and the Bible (special revelation) that any views that argue a woman is honored by becoming something other than a woman is misogyny. If someone models a role for women, for instance, that goes against the role laid out for the woman by her biological creation and God's creational work for her as it is revealed in Scripture, it is antiwoman, replacing the woman with some other role meant for some other creature, and displays, therefore, a hatred for true womanhood and the women it seeks to convince. In essence, a woman who takes upon the role of a man or an animal/object has erased her womanhood and has become something other than what God named as a woman. It is absolute hatred for what is truly a woman. Our culture loves women when they are either prostitutes or gender neutral/men in terms of their roles, but actual women are hated by the culture. They are continually viewed as lesser than anyone who is a sex symbol or anyone who aspires to something greater (i.e., to do what the man does) than that banal existence of womanhood as wife and mother or those in the process of becoming wife and mother.

As such, all feminists, all egalitarians, such as Beth Moore, are misogynists. They hate women because they are not content in keeping to the natural role that defines a woman. They think it to be lesser for themselves to have to be "chained" and "imprisoned" to such an existence. They are Gnostics in their understanding of gender, which explains their hatred for women, since Gnostics disdained women and did not believe that they could ascend to be a better individual unless they became like a man or gender neuteral.

Indeed, many misogynists still say they cherish and value women, and even partake in some of the role that is womanhood, but their disdain for what it means to be "just a woman" in terms of staying within the lane of what her biology and the Bible dictate is repudiated by seeking to become "more" than what God would desire her to be by taking upon the role God desires exclusively for a man to take upon himself.

Misogyny is rampant in our culture because the idea that what the men do is better than what the women do has been advocated by pop-Feminism for years now. It's time that women were honored as women, and for Evangelicals to stop lying about their exaltation of women when they exalt those who evidence a disdain for the idea that being only a woman in all that womanhood calls her to be, and nothing else, is to be honored and desired by women more than any desire to be like the man. It's time to start exalting wives and mothers and the roles in the church that support womanhood rather than diminish it.

Let's put an end to misogyny in the church, therefore, and tell Beth Moore to love God by obeying His revealed will for women, and to love the gendered humans he has made in the fullness thereof.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Argumentum ad Consequentiam

I often hear the attempt to refute my argument concerning the image of God with rebuts like, "That sounds dangerous," or "That's alarming?" or "If we all believe that then we have no reason to treat other people with respect," etc. These are all types of arguments that fit under the category of the argument from consequence fallacy. To use one website's definition.

Concluding that an idea or proposition is true or false because the consequences of it being true  or false are desirable or undesirable.  The fallacy lies in the fact that the desirability is not related to the truth value of the idea or proposition.  This comes in two forms: the positive and negative. 

Logical Forms:
X is true because if people did not accept X as being true then there would be negative consequences.

X is false because if people did not accept X as being false, then there would be negative consequences.

X is true because accepting that X is true has positive consequences.

X is false because accepting that X is false has positive consequences.

To put it in the current context, it is to argue that if one holds that fallen humans are not the image of God, then there is no reason not to murder them, no reason to treat them with respect, etc.
Of course, even if this were true, it still is not an argument against the idea. It just means that one may not like the consequences thereof. However, it of course is not true. Strange that I have not killed or kicked around my dog yet, since I do not consider her to have the image of God, or that I have not blown up the world because the earth is not God's image. There are many other reasons why you would still treat fallen people with respect and not murder them, one of which is that the image of God seeks to create and preserve covenant human life, and that means that a life saved through the gospel is part of the work of the people of God as God's images. 

But imagine arguing against other doctrines this way, as some do. Calvinism is dangerous and alarming because if we believe it, no one will evangelize, it means that God does not love everyone the same, and it will lead to an antinomian lifestyle.

All of these have been true consequences of someone believing Calvinism; and yet, they are misapplications of it, as the above argument against the image of God would be.

In fact, Christianity itself is/was seen as dangerous and alarming. If one believed in the Roman Empire, for instance, all of society, rooted in paganism, would fall apart. To the Jews it was dangerous and alarming because they thought if grace was preached, the Mosaic Law would be thrown out. None of this was the logical consequence of Christianity, but one could argue that it could be used to do all of this. 

I would argue that even now genuine Christianity is exclusive, which is part of the imago Dei discussion, and one could be very alarmed that it will destroy the unity of the American zeitgeist. 

Arguments from the consequence aren't real arguments because they only showcase the fears and comfort with the traditions of the individual. They don't attack the arguments at all, and so they leave the arguments untouched in perfect condition. 

As the people of God, we are to do better than this, since one who attacks an argument he does not like with such fallacies one day will be attacked with those same fallacies the next. And that's a consequence I would rather avoid.

Monday, October 28, 2019

If You Have Nothing Nice to Say, Speak the Truth in Love

Here we go again. It's time to pull 2 Timothy 2:24-26 off the shelf again so that those extremely concerned about expressing love through tone can condemn anyone that says anything harshly. I didn't listen to Macarthur's rebuke of the FILL IN THE BLANK woman being disobedient because egalitarian ignorance says she can this particular week, but I'm familiar with the usual "your tone is unloving" card played. It's kind of the Christian equivalent of calling someone racist or a Nazi. If your tone is off then you are an immature, unloving, judgmental, no good, lousy leader (apparently insinuating all of that is not unloving because it's just implied as truth in righteous anger). As the old adage goes, "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all," unless you're critiquing the person saying un-nice things, then say all of the mean things you want.

Now, I'm actually split on the tone issue. From one standpoint, it is true that tone can convey a demeaning of another Christian. If it is snarky, implies the other person is stupid, indicates a lack of concern for the other person, etc. (you know, the type of tone you get when you go in a Reformed chat room or Facebook page), then I do think it falls under the condemnation of Jesus in Matthew 5 of calling your brother Raca or "You Fool." Our tone toward one another should be one of honor and love.

However, it needs also to be understood that our culture cares more about tone than truth because it holds to relativism when it comes to religious truth. Since no one necessarily knows the truth, what becomes important is how we treat one another (I'm not sure how anyone knows that truth, but oh well). The truth is unattainable, but how I make someone feel as a person is what is really important. This is why we often read tone into any challenge we don't like. It's not that it is true or false, but that it must by default be bad because I don't like it. Hence, your tone sounds arrogant and judgy. How dare you put your truth, i.e., speculative conclusions of your subjective experience, over my truth, i.e., speculative conclusions of subjective experience. It's already snarky to begin with. No added condescension is needed.

The former concern for tone is a good one, but it should be understood that harsh speaking and sarcasm employed, not to degrade a brother but to drive home a point, is included in the list of biblically acceptable tones of love.

The latter disposition, however, would also condemn Jesus, the prophets, the apostles, etc., but of course, everyone makes an exception for them. Maybe their tone was acceptable in that day and seen as loving? Yeah, that's why everyone baked them a cake when they rebuked them (see that's a use of the former loving tone--you needed that and love delivers).

Having said all of that, let's not use God's Word as a handmaiden to our cowardly ethics. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 does not apply to someone in sin and unrepentantly disobedient. Let's look at the whole passage that starts actually in v. 23.

But reject foolish and ignorant controversies, because you know they breed infighting. And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient. correcting opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive to do his will. 

Notice that this is talking about people who argue over speculative nonsense. It isn't talking about someone in unrepentant sin. The Lord's servant must be patient with such a one because they may still be trying to learn, they may yet repent of their stirring up disputes over unbiblical issues, etc. This has zero to do with someone in direct violation of the commands of Scripture. 

Now, I do think I would apply this to even people who were in sin by being in violation of direct teachings of Scripture, if they were just struggling with understanding, etc., but this does not apply to the heretic/apostate who continues to do evil even after rebuked and taught otherwise.

The heretic gets a sharp rebuke, even with evidence of disdain from Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles. There is no Mr. Rogers' tone for such a one. In fact, it is commanded to harshly rebuke rebellious heretics of this nature (ἐλέγχειν Titus 1:9) like their Master and His apostles do throughout their ministries.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't practice being nice where we can be, but it does mean that we shouldn't confuse the term "nice" with the term "kind." "Kind" is giving what is needed. "Nice" is giving respect, and that means that one might be giving respect when shame should be brought instead. They can be combined, but one can also cancel out the other. Kindness is an expression of love. Niceness may or may not be. In fact, niceness can be an expression of self-love and therefore hatred for the other instead because it withholds what is needed to receive honor from the other person (if you're nice, people will be nice to you // if you give honor, you will receive it from them). But love is always kind, but not always nice. So if you have nothing nice to say, speak the truth in love, and if necessary, do it harshly.

A List of Biblical Verses that Describe the Image of God in Ontological Categories

Only Christ Is True Humanity

If God's goal in creation is to fill up the earth eternally with humans, then this means that only those humans who will fill up the earth for eternity are true humans. In other words, whenever God completes His creation of humanity, the end result of what humans are is what a true human looks like.

Part of this stems from my understanding that God did not complete creation, but rather He began His creation and continues to create until all chaos is beneath the feet of humanity by being under Christ's feet. In other words, the creatures He initially creates are not the creatures that will be when completed. The creation He makes is not the creation that will be when completed. They, and it, will all be changed. This is the work of God through Christ in us, making us into what God purposed humanity to be, and what humanity is purposed to be, what it looks like in the end, is true humanity. Anything else that does not reach this goal is not truly human. So what does a true human look like?

We are told that they are imperishable, incorruptible, undefiled, immortal, etc., as they partake of the divine nature. They are perfected in every way, without sin, and glorified in union with their Creator through Jesus Christ. They are, therefore, called a "new creation," implying that they are no longer of the older state they were before.

What this means is that they are different from the unbeliever, as they are different from their former selves. And what that means is that the believer is a different creature even now than he was before, which further means that he is a different creature than unbelievers are. And if that creature is more human, since it is closer to that end result of the true humanity God is making and with whom He will communion with for all eternity, then that means that believers have entered into true humanity through Jesus Christ, and unbelievers, not being at all what true humanity will be, are not.

This also means that Jesus Christ, now glorified, is the only true human who exists at the present time. He alone is what He will be in His humanity for all eternity. He alone, therefore, is what God intended to make in His creation of humans. He alone is what defines true humanity. He is the one true human.

In the already-not yet, we have received true humanity in our spirits, having been regenerated/reborn/recreated in His likeness, and in sanctification, we seek to become like Him as we reach out in our race toward our resurrection, the completion of our humanity in the glorification of the body. We find our true humanity, therefore, in Him, and apart from Him, all is lost, including our humanity.

He is our one true hope. He is everything. He is our value, our life, our created purpose, the final destination of God's creation, and the completion of our very human nature.

Those who wish to say that all humans are equally human, whether believer or unbeliever, and ignore the division the Scripture sets between them, have neither understood the creational goal of the gospel nor the exclusivity of Christ in its glorious depth.

The believer therefore cries out, "O Wretched Man that I am, who will save me from this body of death?" The unbeliever should cry out, "Who will save us from existing as a entire being, spirit and body, of death?" The answer, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Why the Imago Dei Is Not a Characteristic of the Unbeliever

There are those who believe in the functional/relational view of the image (in fact, I would say most of modern OT scholars who have studied the issue), but think that it merely has to do with having children, covenant or otherwise. I want to lay out why this is not the case, and why I continually say that it is about filling up the earth with covenant children/human beings.

1. If one becomes the image merely by having children or being open to it, then that automatically means that homosexuals, women having abortions, and people using birth control are not the image of God. I would agree that they are not, but this destroys the attempt at making the term inclusive of all mankind.

2. It is important to note that the role of the image is to be fruitful and multiply and fill up the earth, ending in the rule of the earth and over chaos. The problem is that not only is anyone who works against this not the image of God (e.g., murderers, homosexuals, people who use abortion and birth control, etc.), but anyone who teaches their children a false religion or worldview (i.e., all unbelievers).

The reason why this is the case is that everyone outside of Christ, all who follow false religions and worldviews, which is every unbeliever, will eventually be removed from the earth. This means that the teaching of false religion and worldviews, and the following thereof, is an anticreational act of murdering any children one has, and many other people as well. In other words, it does not fill up the earth with humans. It removes them from the earth.

The unbeliever cannot fulfill the role of the image because only one in covenant with God can raise up covenant children who will fill up the earth for all eternity. What the unbeliever does is place more chaotic agents in the world who one day must be removed.

Of course, this is every man outside of Christ. Once Christ places these chaotic agents/unbelievers in Him, He redeems them to true humanity and the image, both via imputation of His righteous image in justification and via infusion as they are conformed to His image through sanctification.

This is largely why marrying an unbeliever was considered such an act of apostasy, since, as Ezra-Nehemiah and Malachi both argue, God's purpose of making the two become one flesh was to acquire "holy/godly offspring" (Ezra 9:1-2; Mal 2:15), not just offspring.

Hence, as the second Adam, He accomplishes the work of the image by forever filling up the earth with covenant human beings, and all who are in Him are the means through which He does it. Everyone else works against God's creational work, and therefore, empty the world rather than filling it in the end.

One is the work of God tasked to His image who reflect Him in their work, and the other the work of Satan tasked to unbelievers by their god who they reflect in their work.

So the work of the image is in the creation and preservation of covenant children/human beings, which explains why the Bible is exclusive in terms of God's covenant people, privileges them over unbelievers, and makes all of creation about them. In that regard, although the believer can be an image of either due to his two natures, the unbeliever cannot be anything but the image of the devil, working toward the emptying of the world of covenant children/human beings who would dwell in it forever. For the unbeliever it is non posse non peccare, and this is due to his status as a murderer via the falsehood he preaches with his words and his life.