Friday, December 31, 2010

The hazards of "googling"

Mother Google is getting a bit too clever for my tastes. Why can't I simply enter search terms and get a listing of all pages that fit? Why does it "help" google to know where I am from and what my search history is? It skews the results and ends up in frustration because it gives me what it thinks I want and that is, with increasing frequency, not what I want. This morning's search was a case in point. While searching for "Celtic Christianity", I stumbled across a new church in the Denver area. It is "co-pastored" by a Denver Seminary professor and his wife (she, a former PCUSA pastor). They are currently preaching through Saint Patrick's Breastplate.

This got me wondering that, with all of Denver Seminary's expansion lately, are they not managing to train enough pastors in the trendy new thing? Are they unsatisfied with how their students are doing?

Apparently not being satisfied with teaching feminism on campus, they have to put it into practice as co-pastors. Not that feminism is the only cultural trend they are chasing after. In an effort to echo the title of a Philip Rieff book, Denver Seminary's counseling program seems to have triumphed as well. I am guessing such a therapeutic view of things is the source for their support of another professor-church planter who is divorced and re-married. That church, which currently meets on the seminary campus, describes their leadership council as being composed of men and women fitting the biblical qualifications as elders.

Never mind that women aren't included in the biblical listing of elder qualifications because, apparently, this particular church pays no never mind to that husband of one wife thing, either.

To quote yet another Denver Seminary professor, "The genius of Evangelicalism is its ability to re-invent itself".



Sarah Geis said...

Speaking of "Googling," my Denver Seminary Google alert sent this post to my inbox. Interested by the title, I ventured to your blog to read the post.

As a current student, I am critical of Denver Seminary in certain areas, but I have not encountered "feminism" being taught. True, there are egalitarian professors, but never have I heard them teach that women are superior or somehow deserving of teaching positions simply by virtue of being female. Furthermore, if this pastor "team" of husband and wife is unbiblical, I am curious to hear how you account for Paul's endorsement of Priscilla and Aquilla, a husband and wife "pastor team" (likely headed up by Priscilla)?

Kamilla said...


If that's how you define feminism, there is no doubt in my mind that you have never encountered it being taught there.


Kamilla said...

I would also suggest this post:

Sarah Geis said...

I define feminism as such because that is a definition consistent with the historical movement called feminism. My points were that (1) evangelical egalitarianism is not the same thing as feminism, and, most importantly, (2) there is nothing unbiblical about husband and wife co-pastors.

Nicholas said...

In all serious Sarah how on earth are you getting so much out of Acts? We actually know very little about them other than Paul was fond of them. We also have to read scripture in continuity with itself and the Church which would argue against your reading.

Kamilla said...

Earlier today, I asked my friend Steve Hutchens if he would care to respond to Sarah. Here is his reply:

Kamilla, you were interested in how I would respond to Ms. Geis.

First, I would say that in my experience religious egalitarians rarely regard themselves as feminists, the latter being people who downgrade men in some way, needing them like fish need bicycles, and the like. No, egalitarians think men and women are equal in every significant respect, particularly in the respects where patriarchy has traditionally forbidden them offices in church and society historically held by men--like the pastorate.

You and I, if I am not mistaken, are among those who don't see much difference between feminism in its more and less radical manifestations, who regard egalitarianism as fundamentally anti-male as feminism in its nastier forms.

The problem with religious egalitarianism is not that it asserts the equality of men and women in the image and likeness of God, for in that it agrees with Christianity, but its denial of the man's headship over the woman. It just can't get around the assertion that both are true. For the egalitarian, it's one or the other.

That's why they just can't make heads nor tails of all those jostling Bible passages, and must expend so much ingenuity trying to make things work out in the prior light of their egalitarian convictions. It's just like Arianism (or its modern recrudescence in the Jehovah's Witnesses), which fully agreed with orthodox Christianity that Christ was a man, but was fatally repelled by the allegation that he was also God. It just didn't make sense to them: he had to be one or the other; he couldn't be both.

I don't see much use in trying to refute the belief that Aquila and Priscilla were a "pastoral team" likely headed up by Priscilla." Frankly, it wouldn't bother me much if they were. I've known plenty of Christian families where the wife wore the pants, and who, together with her recessive husband, did much good.

The problem here is the egalitarian predisposition to interpret all scripture according to an ideology which is repugnant to scripture itself, not to mention the entire history of its interpretation. Honest egalitarians (such as Daphne Hampson), renounce Christianity, recognizing that it is, as one of them has correctly said, "hopelessly patriarchal."

I have found that the great difficulty among Evangelical egalitarians, most of whom seem to be damned nice people, is to make them understand that a great many nice people who talk a lot about Jesus, and who encourage others to be born again by believing in the Jesus they believe in, having become egalitarians, are no longer Christians. Heretics and apostates are, you see, the nasty, the unlikeable, and the stupid-when-not-vicious--like those patriarchalists, in fact--not well-disposed, kind, generous, and open folks like us who just happen to believe that the poor, dumb Church was wrong about all this stuff until they got here with the light.

S. M. Hutchens said...

I would add as a postscript, Kamilla, that people with the attitude I mentioned at the end of the posting not only deserve to be mocked, but should be, since that, or perhaps shocked silence, is the appropriate response to the flabbergasting arrogance of such posturing.

It needs to be driven home to their shame, especially to the young, ignorant, and unreflective (but voluble) what they have fallen for in the name of virtues the Christian faith knows nothing of, like "inclusiveness," or an equality that makes hierarchy among persons into an evil. They need to be told that to the degree a person is an egalitarian he is no Christian, not only to awaken them from their dogmatic slumbers, but because it is true.

Sarah Geis said...

Arrogant posturing? My silence has been for this reason: I have determined through your responses that here is no honest search for truth, but rather a gleeful demonization and ostracization of believing brothers and sisters alongside grossly uncharitable heresy hunting. Frankly, I am sickened at the insistence of some Christians to find reason to attack others by deliberately misrepresenting the Gospel.

Good, intelligent,faithful believers can vigorously disagree on very important issues that remain tangential to the core Gospel. The Jerusalem council in Acts gives us an example of this. The Hellenistic Christians and the Jewish Christians disagreed on whether one must be circumcised in order to be saved. This was very important, as it was something that affected many and had massive soteriological implications, but nevertheless, the debate was an in-house one between saved brethren.

As a response Nicholas, who asks how I can get so much out of Acts regarding Priscilla and Aquilla: There is enough in Acts 18, Romans 16, 2 Tim 4, and 1 Cor 16 to give us a good picture of their roles. They were actively involved in hosting a house church, and in instructing others in the faith (the closest thing we find to the modern position of "pastor/teacher"). The fact that Paul at times even lists Priscilla before her husband (in the original Greek!) is remarkable and tells us a great deal about which of these two was likely the prominent one in their ministry. And to Mr. Hutchens, they are in no way presented as a couple who were not the ideal, or who were living in sin for any reason.

I implore you all to search your hearts and minds because you, brothers and sisters, are the ones in error. Until this is realized, the present conversation (or whatever it is) will be a grand waste of our time.