I’ll confess, this is going to be a bit of a rant. But I feel it’s a rant worth conveying, because at its core is seeing Biblical truth confessed, but not practiced. In course of conversation, a friend of mine, though we’ve not met in person as of yet, mentioned some things to me about her experiences in the blogging world, and they have left me more than annoyed. So, I’ll be as gracious as I can with this, but buckle up.
First, I’m leaving my friend’s name off of this because I don’t want all kinds of heat thrown on her for her simply being honest with what she sees. Second, she is just as much of a profound, compelling writer and thinker that I’ve come across. To convey that statement’s true weight, here is a brief list of bloggers and authors that I try to keep up with:
- John Piper
- Desiring God
- The Resurgence
- Mark Driscoll
- Matt Chandler
- C.S. Lewis
- Tim Challies
- The Gospel Coalition
- Russell Moore
Certainly these authors and groups have more notoriety, but my friend communicates Biblical truth in equally compelling ways. I don’t know her education background, other than that she obviously has one, but what I do know is that the Spirit speaks through her writing.
I say all of this, so that this blog will have its full effect. This isn’t just some random girl who is upset about not being listened to, or who feels all alone because she has jacked up doctrine.
I’ve left her comments off the blog, again to avoid unnecessary heat thrown her way, but she did get me thinking about some things. I’ve been fortunate so far, but the blog world can be cruel. It sounds silly, but it’s a bit like a mine field with interspersed trampolines. You jump in one place, talk about the right hot-topic or controversial issues, and your ratings sky-rocket. You land in the wrong place after that, and you get blown up. Sometimes your ratings sky-rocket AND you get blown up. The crowd you’re “in” with can quickly become the crowd which opposes you vehemently. Even the nicer people who just fade away quietly leave a noticable void where there was once support and a sense of community. And it seems that reformed female bloggers have it even worse. They don’t get much credence if they blog on their own, and it’s rare that men will invite them into their posse, leaving them feeling like they’re drowning, all on their own.
Ok, again, I’m trying to deal with this graciously.
The first problem is that Christians aren’t acting like Christians in general on this issue. One barely needs to give Scripture a cursory glance to find passages saying that the core of the Christian life should be that of love. We should be “rooted and grounded in love” (Eph. 3:17), we should bear with “one another in love” (Eph. 4:2) and be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). So, how much of a disservice to Christianity and the glory of God is it when Christians squabble publicly about differing doctrines? Yes, some things are worth that risk, but those are core doctrines, not second tier issues. Even then, this should be done in love, out of a desire for the OTHER PERSON’S benefit and for the glory of God, not to win an argument or get more points for “our cause,” whatever that may be.
The second problem is that it would seem that the Reformed community is not living out one of its core doctrines when it comes to this issue. Namely, the sovereignty of God. If it is God who puts people of authority — kings, priests, prophets, teachers, etc. — into their places, and it is He who removes them, why are we so hesitant to welcome female bloggers into roles of credibility? Yes, there should be a process of vetting someone before we endorse them, as we do that with anyone, male or female. But, I wonder how many times women simply aren’t considered worth vetting in the first place? Maybe we think that women can’t “teach” according to Scripture (1 Tim. 2:12), yet forget about the deaconesses and prophetesses mentioned in Scripture. True, this may be descriptive and not prescriptive, but that does mean there are times where God will raise up women to communicate Biblical truth without compromising the other truths set forth in Scripture. How does that work? I don’t know, but God does, and I trust Him.
The third issue seems to be that we aren’t actually practicing Complementarianism the way we preach it. We say, teach, and preach that women are there to fill a vital role in complementing the man’s role. Yet, we often forget to even ask their opinion on something Theological, or worse, simply dismiss it. If we’re going to say that women complement men, doesn’t that mean that their unique insights, understanding, thoughts, and perspectives as women matter just as much as men’s? Of course, it does. And there are some great groups out there that are displaying this: The Resurgence, Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition. But, what about the women who aren’t backed by a conference or coalition? For that matter, would we give credence to the women who ARE part of conferences and coalitions if they were out on their own? Tragically, I fear that we probably wouldn’t.
Some of this may boil down to logistics of promoting oneself, of trying to be heard without looking like you’re trying to shout over the voices of men, in effort to not fall out of step with Scripture’s complementarian teaching. I think both of these are true. I also think there’s A LOT of room for the men to step up and support the women who are proclaiming Biblical truth, just as we are, even if that means taking some of the popularity hits ourselves.
Why is this important? Because the way the world (and the Church) sees glory of God is at stake! If we bicker amongst ourselves (especially publicly), how does that show the love and peace we have in Christ? If we preach something, and don’t follow through by living it, how does that reflect the Lordship of Christ? If we reject or look over the women who articulate Theology and proclaim Biblical truth, are we not also looking over the very gifts God has given them for the purpose of benefiting and sanctifying the church (both local and universal)? And because the church is supposed to be a real-life example of how good God’s design is, and how well things work when we submit to His Lordship over us.
Ok, so I’ve ranted long enough. The real issue isn’t that many people will disagree with this, except those who would disagree with Reformed Theology and Complementarianism as a whole. The real question is what are we going to do about it? What can we do about it? Let me know in the comments.