Some perspective on the current gender dustup
The Reformed-ish Twittershpere has been in high dudgeon since the release of Rachel Miller’s book Beyond Authority and Submission. Mark Jones wrote a review of Miller’s book wherein he critiques what he believes are significant weaknesses. And then, to make matters a bit more interesting my friend Aimee Byrd posted a critique by Valerie Hobbs of Dr. Jones’ critique of Miller’s book. It all seems a bit confusing, I know.
Anyway, In recent days I have been inundated with questions and complaints and more complaints:
“Are you going to respond to Rachel Miller’s book?”
“Are Aimee’s views on gender the views of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals?”
“I can’t believe you allowed something by Valerie Hobbs to be posted on MOS.”
“Valerie Hobbs? Really? C’mon!”
“Why are you so awesome?”
You get the picture. Okay, I made up the last one.
Here are a few initial thoughts in no particular order…
1. Aimee and I do not agree on everything regarding gender. Big surprise.
2. The things over which Aimee and I do not agree seem to place our disagreement firmly in the category of the intramural. We both believe that our differences are important but not so important that they rise anywhere near to the point of breaking fellowship.
3. If you are more upset with a sister in Christ who is a member in good standing of a conservative Presbyterian church because she believes women can be police officers than you are about those who for years have propagated errors about the Trinity, then you’re doing this wrong.
4. I share enough differences with Valerie Hobbs’ viewpoints that I cannot endorse her (I’m sure she’ll lose all kinds of sleep over that).
5. I see no need to write a rejoinder to Hobbs’ critique of Jones’ critique of Rachel Miller’s book.
6. I believe Miller’s views on the differences between maleness and femaleness place far too little emphasis on ontology. I believe her view of Genesis 3:16 is wrong (certainly not heresy though). I believe the view that anything a man does is by definition masculine and anything a woman does is by definition feminine to be peculiar at best.
7. The way we understand masculine traits and feminine traits should not be one size fits all. Remember Jacob and Esau. While Esau possessed the sorts of traits one typically associates with burly masculinity, Jacob was characterized by more domestic traits. At no point however is Jacob considered effeminate. We should reject slavish conformity to every cultural expectation attached to femininity and masculinity. However, I would argue that in addition to the Bible’s warnings against the “malakos / malokoi” (effeminate) there is also within nature a common knowledge of those ways in which men and women should typically present themselves.
8. Keep in mind that women in the PC(USA) would consider Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller knuckle dragging Neanderthals and enemies to the cause for believing that God calls husbands to lead their homes and calls qualified men to be office-bearers in the church.
9. #8 is a reminder to keep things in perspective. If you are treating Miller or Byrd like heretics then you’re doing it wrong. Only the most peculiar type of chest-beating patriarchist who places applications of male headship above trinitarian orthdoxy in terms of doctrinal hierarchy would believe that those two women are liberals. A liberal denomination would not tolerate either of them.
10. If you disagree with Aimee's views then you ought to contact her. She's easy to reach. Ask her direct questions. But if you prefer to take cheap shots involving crass language on social media then ask yourself whether that comports with biblical manhood.
11. Aimee and I have no immediate plans for a cage match but you never know…