Friday, February 16, 2007

Seduction of the Evangelical Church

I got a book awhile back from World magazine. Called Salt, not sugar, it highlights 20 years worth of articles from the magazine. I’m almost done with it and it has been very interesting reading old articles that are still very contemporary.

I usually read the book at bedtime. The night before last, I read an article that so stirred up my thinking that it was quite awhile before I could go to sleep.

In the book, it was titled Defending biblical understandings. The original publication date was March 29, 1997. I looked up the archive and the original title was Femme fatale. The article starts out talking about Zondervan Publishers and the plan to change the New International Version of the Bible into an inclusive version. In case you are not familiar with this, it is basically a feminist move to neuter the Bible. He, man, brothers, mankind, etc., would be replaced with people, person, brother and sister, humankind, etc. If you know anything about Bible Translation and the original languages that the Bible was written in, you know that this cannot be done without a major corruption of God’s Word. The purpose of my thoughts here is not to give all the arguments related to gender inclusiveness. What I want to major on is the rest of the article.

It seems that the Willow Creek Community Church, pastored by Bill Hybels, has been on the forefront of pushing the feminist agenda in the church. I had wondered about that when I read of Bill Hybels promoting the Today’s New International Version (TNIV) which is the inclusive version of the old New International Version.

For all the details, read the World article cited previously. Here I will focus on the issue of female leaders and teachers in the church. This seems to be a big thing at Willow Creek. You have to go along with it to be a member. Here is what I took from their membership page FAQ:

13. What if I disagree with Willow’s view of women in leadership?
It is and has historically been the position of Willow Creek Church that the Bible, when interpreted comprehensively, teaches the full equality of men and women in status, giftedness and opportunity for ministry. Therefore, Willow Creek affirms the participation of women in all levels of leadership, including elder positions and teaching positions (based on spiritual qualification and giftedness). We recognize that this is a complex issue and has historically been the subject of much debate among godly believers. While we respect the right of individuals to hold a different position, we ask that Participating Members of Willow Creek minimally be able to affirm with integrity the following:
  • That they can joyfully sit under the teaching of women teachers at Willow Creek
  • That they can joyfully submit to the leadership of women in various leadership positions at Willow Creek
  • That they refrain from promoting personal views in ways that would be divisive or disruptive
I don’t have a problem with women teaching other women or children. Where we run into a problem is when they are set over men in the church. Despite the flowery language Willow Creek uses, it is prohibited. In Scripture, only men were leaders of the church and elders. There are many places women can serve and exercise their gifts but pastor, elder, teacher or leaders over men are not some of them.

1 Timothy 2:12 is very clear. Here is what it says: But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. This is not a proof text but a defining text of what is said in the rest of Scripture. We may not like it and many argue against it but a simple exegesis of it says that women cannot instruct men in doctrine or be in authority over them in the church.

We have Willow Creek holding the feminist position for many years and so it is very easy now for them to accept the corruption of Scripture called gender inclusiveness.

Many people wonder what difference it makes; so what if we change a few pronouns. So what if women are pastors and teachers. If you want to look into this further, I would recommend the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. They are on the forefront of exposing how these things corrupt Scripture and the church.

Now that I’ve said this I should be able to sleep better.

Philip

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