wrote yesterday about a lady (Anne Eggebroten) who contributed a piece for Sojourner (a magazine for liberals who still want to call themselves "evangelicals"). Mrs. Eggebroten was shocked! shocked! to find men leading at John MacArthur's Grace Community Church.
(I know what you're thinking: "Alert the media!")
Eggebroten provides a horror-struck narrative, in an alien-sociologist tone, about this odd group of pre-Pleistocene throwbacks who think (in agreement with God) that men should lead in the home and in the church. Then, as if thousands of devastating responses hadn't already been launched against Paul Jewett's lame reach for Galatians 3:28 in the last 30+ years, and as if it has anything whatever to do with function, Eggebroten trots it out again. We are all one in Christ. Therefore women can be pastors and needn't subordinate themselves to their husbands.
What of the Pastorals? No problem; they have to be recategorized as sub-Pauline. Other passages? They don't mean what they say, or they're interpolations. Galatians 3:28 — out of context — is Eggebroten's canon. In fact, you could call it The Eggebrotenian Canon.
(Eggebroten doesn't actually cite Jewett, by the way; instead, she reaches for lesbian "Christian" feminist Virginia Mollenkott and a few other Usual Suspects instead. None of which is actually an upgrade.)
What comes through loud and clear is that Eggebroten reveals no doubts that she should be allowed to do what she wants. Eggebroten is insistent on her rights, getting her way; appalled at any talk of submission, subordination, or even "helping." No actual on-the-scene authorities should stand over Eggebroten's wants, her wishes, her desires. They are all presumed to be holy and good. She is sure of them. So sure, in fact, that she is willing actually to snip out part of the Word of God to accommodate them. Her desires, and her judgment, are superior to the Word of God.
Then comes Professor of Biblical Studies and BioLogos blogger Kenton Sparks, who writes: "I have no interest in preserving Christianity . . . I believe because, as I understand it, it makes sense of human experience. But if it turns out that Christianity fails to do that, I’ll simply turn elsewhere."
Like Ms. Eggebroten, you see that Professor Sparks has absolute confidence in his moral judgment, his personal powers of reason, his spiritual acumen. He announces that Scripture "stands in need of redemption"; and apparently Sparks himself will step in to do the job.
In the words quoted above, Sparks betrays no doubt whatever that he is up to the task. He seems himself as able to judge rightly; in fact, is in no doubt that his judgment potentially superior both to the Bible and thus to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus. The Bible (and Christ) may well be wrong. But Sparks? Never! If the Bible offends Sparks, he'll simply walk away, no big deal. Sparks will follow his own judgment wherever it takes him. It is adequate, sound, whole, sufficient.
It is as Gleason Archer and others warned decades ago: abandon the inerrancy of Scripture, and God's supremacy is replaced by the supremacy of personal human judgment.
In these comments, Mrs. Eggebroten and Professor Sparks together stand over the Word. The Word is in the dock, they are the judges. They will massage, manipulate, torture the parts they don't like (creation, created order). If those parts will not subject themselves to EggeSparks' will, they'll either relegate it to sub-Canonical status (Eggebroten) or call it "broken," and perhaps move on in search of something better (Sparks).
As I have argued elsewhere, the point at which the heart shows itself is that point at which God's will and His truth cross our wills and our biases.
Contrast both of these attitudes with that of men and women on whom the Holy Spirit has effectually done the work of conviction of sin, who have had a glimpse of the living God.
Recall Isaiah 6, the throne room vision. How did the sight of the thrice-holy Yahweh affect Isaiah? Remember: Isaiah was a good man: a holy man, a godly man, an incredibly eloquent man. What did he think of himself, after he saw God?
Did Isaiah say, "Now I really feel empowered! I really have to get after asserting my rights"? Did Isaiah say, "You know, that really wasn't bad — for now. You know, until something better comes along"?
Not so much.
This is what the fear of Yahweh means, that fear which is the beginning and sine qua non of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and of wisdom (9:10). It is the proper view of God, and of my position before Him.
This is the point at which a man throws himself at Jesus' feet, imploring Him for mercy and life and salvation and forgiveness. This is the point at which a man takes Jesus' yoke on himself (Matthew 11:29-30), counting himself a fool, so that he may become (for the first time) genuinely wise (1 Corinthians 3:18). This is the point at which a man embraces Jesus as Savior and - not partner, not advisor, not sounding-board, but - Lord. It is the issue he settles in principle at conversion, or arguably there has been no conversion.
This is a very different spirit than one sees in the wannabe world-friends, the various compromised "-ists" (evolutionists, feminists). This is the spirit that says something like this:
"Left to my own reasoning and judgment, I will surely go horribly, damnably wrong. I already did! My way of thinking headed me straight away from God and towards Hell. It would do it again in a heartbeat, given the chance. I do not know how to think rightly about anything until God teaches me how to think about it, and He does so through His word alone."I suggest that it is this realization which utterly parts the two schools of thought. They proceed along lines drawn by two markedly different views of God and of self: that I surely can be wrong, but the God of Scripture cannot; or that the God of Scripture can be wrong, but I surely cannot.
The two views cannot be harmonized.
Don't even try.
Postscript: am I judging the writers' hearts? Of course not. How could I (1 Corinthians 2:11)? All of us say and do things from time to time that do not represent our truest beliefs (Romans 7:14-25). I can only see what they write - and that is what they present to the world for evaluation. Yet these are arguments the writers are making which reveal ways of thinking that, if they are Christians, need to be reconsidered, and repented of. I offer them as cautionary examples.