The Sexes

Counterpoint: Critiques Of Aimee Byrd’s Proposals by Shane Anderson

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A compendium of online critiques of Aimee Byrd’s proposals, sometimes called “thin-complementarianism”:


“My Christian Sisters and the Pence Rule (Why Aimee Byrd Is Misreading Scripture)” by G. Shane Morris:

“Byrd’s categorical mistake should be getting clearer, now. The grace of union in Christ does not abolish or supersede the natural distinctions of male and female, husband and wife, brother and sister. It adds to and sanctifies them. Given her apparent reading of the sibling metaphor as abolishing or superseding the biological realities that make close male-female friendship so fraught, it’s fair to ask why she doesn’t follow liberal theologians in taking Galatians 3:28 (‘There is neither Jew nor Greek…slave nor free…male and female’) as an abolition of all natural distinctions between the sexes within the church. Does Byrd (who is an otherwise conservative Protestant) support female presbyters and pastors? If not, why not? There is, after all, ‘neither male nor female’ in Christ Jesus!”

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/troublerofisrael/2018/04/my-christian-sisters-and-the-pence-rule-why-aimee-byrd-is-misreading-scripture/


“Why It’s Very Difficult For Men And Women To Just Be Friends” by Wendy Wilson via The Federalist

“Byrd doesn’t seem to want to give men a say if their perspective contradicts hers, nor does she seem willing to give women who support measures like the Pence rule a fair hearing. Like secular feminists, she is adamant that such safeguards objectify women, reducing them to temptresses while reducing men to predators.”

https://thefederalist.com/2018/05/29/difficult-men-women-just-friends/


“Book Review: Why Can’t We Be Friends, Part I- Houston Is There A Problem?” by Peter Jones:

“Do we have a problem? Yes. But it is not the one Mrs. Byrd assumes. The problem is in a different direction. And if you assume the fire is going out but it is burning hot your solution will only make things worse.”

https://singingandslaying.com/2018/07/16/book-review-why-cant-we-be-friends-part-i-houston-is-there-a-problem/


“Book Review: Why Can’t We Be Friends, Part II- What Exactly Is She Proposing?” by Peter Jones:

“Once we understand her proposal we see what a fundamental, sea change Mrs. Byrd is recommending. She is upending 2000 years of church teaching and practice as well as the teaching and practice of most human societies, on how men and women should interact.”

https://singingandslaying.com/2018/08/21/book-review-wcwbf-part-ii-what-exactly-is-she-proposing/



“A Sexual Or Asexual Public Square” by David Talcott via First Things:

“A Complementarianism that is so thin that it limits itself to a single point circumscribed within two narrow spheres does not do justice to the fact that “from the beginning God made them male and female.” This mysterious and unique human partnership of male and female extends to every part of our lives; it is not limited to small cloisters.”

https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2015/09/a-sexual-or-asexual-public-square


“Natural Complementarians: Men, Women, And The Way Things Are” by Alastair Roberts:

“I have identified three different areas where an unhelpful narrowing of focus can be seen in Byrd’s piece. First, she fails to attend to the pronounced empirical differences between men and women as groups that Stanton highlighted. Second, she handles historical understandings of gender roles as if unalloyed ideology, rather than as practical attempts to respond to and address prevailing social realities, realities that arose in part on account of natural differences between the sexes. Third, she restricts her biblical analysis to an unclear term in relative isolation, rather than seeking to ascertain the larger biblical picture. At each of these points, she limits the part that nature, empirical reality, and scriptural narrative are permitted to play in the conversation. As these dimensions are marginalized, unchecked gender ideologies are given ever freer rein. Christian teaching on the subject becomes ever more of an abstraction, slipping its moorings in concrete natural, historical, and biblical reality.”

https://calvinistinternational.com/2016/09/13/natural-complementarians-men-women/


“A Few Brass Tacks On ‘Christian Teaching’” by E. J. Hutchinson

“Have our natures been warped and deformed by sin? Of course; and even when renewed they continue to show its effects. But they have not been obliterated by sin. Our condition, then, makes all the more needful, first, a greater attentiveness to our irreducible and indestructible and natures and, second, a renewed vigor in Christian reflection upon those natures, precisely because human beings are otherwise prone to attempt the impossible: to reduce and destroy our natures.”

https://calvinistinternational.com/2016/09/15/men-women-nature-christian-teaching-two-responses-aimee-byrd/



“A General Response To Aimee Byrd” by Alastair Roberts via The Calvinist International

“By far the most significant point of difference between us, presuming that we are not speaking past each other, concerns the relationship between our natures and God’s moral command. I see a very close bond between nature and virtue. Virtue is the realization of the appropriate telos of our nature and is about us attaining to the full stature of what we are. It isn’t merely about obeying external commands. Virtue is seen when man is fully, truly, and gloriously man and woman is fully, truly, and gloriously woman.”

https://calvinistinternational.com/2016/09/15/men-women-nature-christian-teaching-two-responses-aimee-byrd/


“Can’t Men And Women Be Friends?” by Winfred Brisley via The Gospel Coalition

“While Byrd offers a thoughtful consideration of biblical siblingship and rightly draws out heart issues, on this point I fear she goes too far. Though our sanctification enables us to avoid sin, so long as we remain in our fallen state, the possibility of any particular type of sin won’t be removed. It’s certainly possible to go so far in trying to avoid sexual sin that we become pharisaical, potentially hurting others as well as ourselves. But it’s also possible to be overly optimistic about the likelihood of refraining from sin, particularly when placing ourselves in precarious situation”

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/reviews/why-cant-friends/


“Men Of Straw” by G. Shane Morris via Breakpoint

“Aimee Byrd of Carl Trueman’s popular ‘Mortification of Spin’ podcast recently shared how ‘triggered’ she is by the ‘pervasive’ emphasis on masculinity in the evangelical church. In reaction to a Patheos blog post by one pastor who advised men to give firm handshakes and limit how often they touch other men’s wives, Byrd heaps 1,600 words of scorn and 1950s caricatures on the very idea that we need to raise men to act differently from women. This is the same Aimee Byrd, by the way, who thinks the ‘Mike Pence Rule’ is ‘pickpocketing purity,’ and argues in a recent book that men and women ought to have more frequent and intimate one-on-one friendships with one another (what could go wrong?).”

http://www.breakpoint.org/2019/01/men-of-straw/


The Fall Was Not A New Creation: Bavinck On Nature, Sex, And Socialism by Blake Blount

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“In all these issues Reformed theology was able to make such sound judgments because it was deeply imbued with the idea that Adam did not yet enjoy the highest level of blessedness. Sin undoubtedly has cosmic significance. As is evident from the phenomenon of death, sin also impacts our physical existence and has brought the entire earth under the curse. Without sin the development of humanity and the history of the earth would have been very different—though still unimaginable. Still, on the other hand, the state of integrity cannot be equated with the state of glory. We may not draw conclusions from the former for the conditions of the latter. Isaiah 11:6 and 65:25 can no more be applied to the state of human life before the fall than Mark 12:25; Luke 20:36; and 1 Corinthians 6:13 (etc.). Though the form (forma) has changed, the matter (materia) of humankind, plant, animal, nature, and earth is the same before and after the fall. All the essential components existing today were present also before the fall. The distinctions and dissimilarities between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends; the numerous institutions and relations in the life of society such as marriage, family, child rearing, and so forth; the alternation of day and night, workdays and the day of rest, labor and leisure, months and years; man’s dominion over the earth through science and art, and so forth—while all these things have undoubtedly been modified by sin and changed in appearance, they nevertheless have their active principle and foundation in creation, in the ordinances of God, and not in sin. Socialism and communism, also the socialism and communism of many Christian sects, are right in combating the appalling consequences of sin, especially also in the sphere of society. But these systems do not stop there; they also come into conflict with the nature of things, the creation ordinances, and therefore consistently take on, not a reformational, but a revolutionary character.”

From Reformed Dogmatics, Vol 2. ch. 13 on Human Destiny