controversy

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/


If You Aren’t The Victim by Shane Anderson

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  “...Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16

If you aren't the victim, you are the perpetrator. Or so they say.

What is it with kids (men, women, actual kids, and uniquely-self-identified individuals) these days? Well, sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning say that we are in the midst of a transition of moral cultures, from a society that used to be honor based, then was dignity based, to one which is victim based.

In an honor-based society, people were obligated to maintain their reputation through direct, forceful responses to insults or slights. Think duels and such. In a dignity based culture, people maintain their dignity by ignoring insults and slights, “rising above them” and then using the force of government or other authorities to step in if things get crazy. But in a victimhood culture, the first one to cross the victimhood finish line wins! Slights and insults are to be uncovered, their naked wickedness publicly exposed and then assaulted through “empowered victims” who “are given a voice” and “a seat at the table” where they can use power to eradicate “systemic injustices.”

The implications for educational environments are already being seen. During my first undergraduate and graduate studies (1993-2001), I did not experience this approach. I reentered the education environment in 2008 for graduate studies in nursing, and I’m working on my second nursing degree now (update: finished in 2016! Now I’m a nurse practitioner in family medicine—Whoop!). At both a major private university and two public universities, I have personally witnessed the massive inroads this way of thinking has made. “Safe spaces” are being created for the student who is “triggered” by an “uncomfortable discussion.” Special educational plans are being developed for students individually, so that their special specialness is never slighted and always celebrated. Aggrievement processes and sensitivity discussions occupy a large percentage of lecture content. And “I don’t feel safe” isn’t about being mugged or raped, it’s about being “attacked” verbally, which sometimes means simply overhearing something you don’t like.

As others have noted, a victimhood culture creates perpetual conflict: drama, inefficiency, perpetual discussion and litigation.

Where does this leave us as Christians? Here are a few modest proposals for navigating this new cultural morass.

  1. Be wise.
    As people around us (and we ourselves) are influenced by this way of thinking, notice it, discern when it is happening, and watch your step. Perpetual fighting, visits to HR, social media shaming, and lawsuits are in your future. So pay attention, think, be careful: “The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.” Proverbs 14:8

  2. Don’t let this nonsense infiltrate the church.
    I have already begun to witness both within the churches and its governments the sad drift toward this approach. Is the aggrieved to be listened to more because he or she (or ze?) is more “hurt” than the one they accuse? Are we to parse the words of others to find hidden oppressive meanings and subtle “attacks” against us or whomever we are choosing to “give a voice?” Do we foster a “brokenness” culture in our churches where being a “beautiful mess” is lauded? Unless we see that this victimhood culture approach is a substitute for biblical living, we will begin to co-opt this foolish way in our lives and congregations.

Follow the Ten Commandments.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul” Psalm 19:7 The way of wisdom is expressed perfectly in God’s law, and it is a light to our feet so we will sufficiently know how to live in this world. The days are evil, but the way of the righteous will prosper.

How do the Ten Commandments provide an alternative to the victimhood culture? Primarily they do this by rightly orienting all of our relationships under the saving kingship of the Triune God. Because He is our Savior in Christ, we now have the true and living God over us as our only “end game.” Our finish line is not dominance over others, by the means honor cultures, dignity cultures, or victimhood cultures offer. Our finish line is the full maturity of the complete man in Jesus Christ. The Ten Commandments lived out in faith, hope, and love point the way forward. If we believe this and are buoyed up in hope by God’s promises given to that way of life, we will navigate this cultural change just fine.

 

 

(originally posted at Torrey Gazette November 2015)

When The Truth Sounds Like Heresy: Piper and A. W. Pink On The Need For Repentance by Shane Anderson

I was struck then by A. W. Pink’s old explanation of the necessity of repentance. In the passage below he shows his concern over similar problems that Piper and representatives of the historic Reformed tradition are addressing: the necessity of sanctification, repentance, and good works is a pressing need for our lawless day, but some in our own circles not only sound an uncertain sound, they actually often actively fight against these biblical and necessary emphases. 

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