24 October 2011

The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Discernment Divas

by Phil Johnson



he following video (40+ minutes) is from the recent Psalm 119 Conference in Keller, TX, sponsored by "Wretched," featuring Todd ("Freakishly Tall") Friel. Todd dragged me on stage to discuss the Elephant Room and other issues related to wall-building, biblical discernment, bad discernment ministries, shrill-and-sharp-tongued women who fancy themselves called to ministries of full-time criticism—and a few other interesting topics:

This was videotaped (evidently on a hand-held cell phone) and posted by Jason Delgado. Enjoy:



Phil's signature

178 comments:

Nathan W. Bingham said...

I'm sure Knox would smile at your post title. :-)

Jason D. said...

Phil, I also made this available as an MP3: http://minus.com/m6Xfttg9d

(and yes, it was from an old cell phone) :-/

Frank Turk said...

That wasn't hardly the first blast of the trumpet. It was more like a light vuvuzela squawk. But the end there as managed by Friel was excellent.

Nathan W. Bingham said...

Frank, I'm fairly certain there is a blanket ban on mentioning the "vuvuzela" anywhere these days—online and offline—as it can result in serious emotional trauma and/or hyperventilation.

Frank Turk said...

Watchblogger.

Nathan W. Bingham said...

Your wit never ceases to amaze me. You made this tired Aussie smile! Now I'm off to bed.

Jason D. said...

Listen to the 25 minute and 10 second mark to understand the title of this blog :D http://youtu.be/5j-Ffnqq6vE?t=25m10s

Robert said...

I loved this. I wish that we could have made it up to north Texas for this! I seriously hope that y'all will be able to make it down to Houston sometime. I haven't heard of a good conference in these parts since R.C. Sproul, Ligon Duncan, and Derek Thomas were here in 2006.

I was especially happy to hear you touch on essentials vs. secondary issues because it can be so easy for us to blur the lines at times. What is important to remember is unity in truth, as Frank displayed with this graphics last week. We have to have both unity and truth...and you can't have unity by yourself. Plus, who is going to sharpen you on things you are wrong about? Even Phil admitted that he has had to change some of his views...I've heard the same about MacArthur and I'd say that any preacher/theologian worth his salt would say the same.

stratagem said...

That portion about "I like the Elephant Room idea and Phil likes me and John Mac likes Phil etc., and therefore they're all bad," portion sounds suspiciously like a Lighthouse Trails newsletter reads.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Phil, you talk off the cuff like you blog: clear, articulate, a dash of wit. Loved the comment about the trinitarianism vel non of Phillips, Craig & Dean (whom - should I be ashamed to say? - I've not heard of before)

stratagem said...

I really liked how quickly he wisely labeled himself the heretic instead of his boss, when put on the spot by Todd. That was funny.

Philip Hunt said...

If James MacDonald affirms TD with a group hug though clearly affirming his own trinitarian views, where does that leave us with MacDonald? If Furtick is a heretic and MacDonald had him in to preach, would you accept an invitation from MacDonald to preach in his church. If yes/no - why?

donsands said...

Nice audio for a cell phone. Good discussion. And the truths within are essential for us to know.

I need to be less critical myself, and I am now worshipping and fellowshipping in a Reformed Episcapol church, whereas I am way more Baptist Reformed.
And we supposrt missionaries who serve with CRU (Campus Crusade), and we support Samaritans Purse. I like how all this fits together, and glorifies Christ in His love and grace. We all agree on the essentials, and yet we differ a lot as well.

Thanks for posting this. Lord keep us "in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". Amen.

Becky said...

I am a Christian, a woman who loves doctrine; a wife to my Man, a home-school mom and a blogger...and I pray I will never become a "Discernment Diva" :)

Frank Turk said...

Phillip:

If Phil would preach at MacDonald's church after Furtick and Jakes have preached there, and you have asked a question on this blog, what should we do about you?

What if you used the internet to do that, knowing that the internet is the #1 purveyor of pornography and blasphemy known to man?

Frank Turk said...

Let me say it clearly: there is a massive difference between being allowed to go someplace and preach the Gospel clearly with no strings attached and being asked to go someplace, state your opinion, and then tell everyone there we're just going to agree to disagree.

If you can't see that difference, you are not a discerning person.

Frank Turk said...

One other clarifier: one thing nobody reading this blog has to deal with ever is the association of being the one who runs a legitimate global parachurch ministry, and who can implicitly endorse things just by showing up there. For Phil (for example) to show up at some event and not say something explicitly about that even is, implicitly, an endorsement. For you to show up someplace and watch what happens is just you showing up. You don't carry the gravitas of GTY.org with you.

So, for example, I can preach the Gospel to theNines. Phil can't just record 6 minutes and hope it goes well and some people "get it" or get some conviction. He'd have to explicitly say something to disclaim his involvement from a GTY standpoint, and then he'd only have 3 minutes to do the right thing -- or less, because everything he failed to disclaim would be scrutinized by the kinds of people he decries in this video with Friel.

So you have

Christine Pack said...

Phil - My sister and I write the Sola Sisters blog (a discernment blog). We also have tremendous respect for Team Pyro, Wretched, Fighting For the Faith, White Horse Inn, and other such solid discernment and apologetics ministries. We desire to be godly in how we handle discernment issues, and so would like to know if a blog such as ours would earn us a place in that lineup of sour-faced women at the top of your blogpost.

Solameanie said...

Frank needs to clown himself for the vuvuzela reference. ;)

Christine Pack said...

Let me develop my answer a little bit more by saying that secondary separation is an issue that we have deeply struggled with, and have perhaps handled wrongly at times. But, our heart's desire is to help people come out of spiritual darkness.

Coming out of the New Age as we both did, we have become more and more alarmed at seeing the same New Age practices we did as functional pagans now flowing unchecked into churches. And we also began to realize that our fellow Christians had no idea at all of this happening. We started writing because we were both watching these practices come into our respective churches, 3 states away from each other. Our Christian friends would in one breath say, "Yeah, New Age practices are bad, it would be wrong to do that!" and in the next breath, would extol the virtues of a "Christianized" form of a New Age practice that they had just begun to embrace.

In our innocence, we assumed that the leadership would be shocked when we explained that these practices were, at their core, pagan and occultic. We thought they would rush to remove these practices. Sadly, this was not the case. After my husband and I eventually left our church and searched for more than a year for a solid, Bible-believing church, my eyes were further opened that the New Age practices in our last church had not be the exception, but by and large, were the rule for most churches today.

Our goal at out blog is to be a refuge for people who are confused and are perhaps sitting in churches where bottoms in the seats and flashly visuals are the norm, and so they are not getting much, if any, in the way of deep doctrinal teaching. They are at therefore at the mercy of the leadership, and in danger of being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. This should not be. Our desire is to help and shine the light of truth in dark places. But we do not want to be out of line either.

Please understand that we make every attempt to write out blog as biblically as we know how to do so. Our husbands and our pastors read our articles and give ongoing guidance to us. It is our understanding that our husbands' and pastors' guidance means that we are properly submitted to the biblical authority placed over us (Eph 5:22), and that we are not out of alignment.

Truly, our desire is to contend lovingly and be blameless in our manner before the Lord.

I am blessed to have a very godly friend who always reminds me to stay humble by God's grace, remembering that I was once confused myself until God opened my eyes. And I count some of this time of confusion as being AFTER I was born again. After all, I was saved in a Seeker Sensitive church that eventually went Emergent. So it's not like I was sitting under great teaching! I was confused myself for several years after being saved, and I think this was by God's design so that (1) I would be humbled and (2) that this would keep me compassionate toward people in similar circumstances.

DMG said...

1 Cor. 1:11 It is possible that Chloe was a woman?

The Lord has given woman 'in Him' eyes to see Truth per God's Word. When they "see" sometimes more clearly than some men; are they to sit in silence and not contend for the faith earnestly? Jude 3 Why must this be called a critical spirit? Woman are very concerned for their children and grandchildren. Could it be that in being forthright re: false teaching/teachers that there is grave concern for what "little ears and eyes" may see/hear? Could it be that sadly some pastors/elders in churches do not warn the flock at all? Would this be a sin of omission?

It is very likely that mature woman in Jesus pray to the Lord for more men to be bold in warning the flock. There are some- but probably not enough. Certainly pastors need to preach the truth of Sola Scriptura BUT must not neglect warning the sheep also. Not all have eyes to see clearly especially when so much of current perversions of scripture may "if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect". Mat 24:24 "wolves in sheep's clothing" Mat.7:15 "crept in unawares" Jude 1:4

Truly the Lord has called some women in Christ to contend for the faith and be watchwomen on the wall.

Thank you for your blog and the video today. Thanking the Lord Jesus for His great mercy and kindness.

Rob said...

Pastor Phil,

Why didn't they offer you a chair for your talk?

Denise said...

Vague accusations doesn't do anyone any good. If one is going to slam women who have discernment blogs, by being sarcastic and mocking (hardly the gracious response Friel demands of these mysterious women bloggers toward others), then at least be bold enough to name names and reasons.

And why target women bloggers? What is it specifically about the discerning women bloggers that is so bad? Are they unbiblical? Or is it merely a matter of preference for how some would like the mere packaging? Is it because they are women? Is it ok to be bold or "shrill" and "sharp-tongued" only if you are a man? Considering the ungracious attitude of calling women "shrill" and "fancy themselves called t to ministries of full-time criticism" without specifics, just comes off as hostile toward women who are bold and discerning; in a word, you come off as bullies.

What is your evidence they are not called by the Lord? That they are not biblical? That they are wrong?

Jim Swindle said...

Robert 5:12 AM, October 24, 2011, you may want to try the annual Fall Bible Conference (just ended) at Founders Baptist Church, Spring, TX. Also the spring Spurgeon Conference. This past weekend, Drs. Tom Schreiner and Bruce Ware of Southern Theological Seminary spoke on Colossians and on Beholding the Glory of Christ.

Denise said...

Shrill---

"So what evidently started out as a warm, friendly attempt to offer comfort and encouragement turned out instead to be a SHRILL call to arms. The whole epistle is a war cry that applies to all believers in all ages. Jude urgest us to join the Truth War and side with the Lord." John MacArthur, "The Truth War", p. 61. [caps, my emphasis]

"Jude is issuing a deliberately SHRILL call to battle. The threat he observed was both imminent and serious. His words about these men being destined for damnation are not mere childish triumphalism. That pronouncement, preceded by Jude's militatnt call to contend earnestly for the faith, is meant to shock us out of lethargy. The danger these apostates posed was of far greater concern to Jude in this instance than the niceties of polite discourse." John MacArthur, "The Truth War" p. 132 [caps, my emphasis]

DMG said...

I do not understand the use of the term "diva" nor the antique photo.

Phil Johnson said...

Rob:

It was a more or less spontaneous dialogue, not a prepared "talk." I think they offered me a chair, but I wanted to be ready to run away if I needed to.

Christine:

I didn't have the Sola Sisters in mind when I said that. I appreciate most of what I have read at your blog. But I was thinking specifically of the pugnacity and snippy, catty tone we often saw in Ingrid's blogposts, the scattershot approach and conspiracy-theory mindset behind the Lighthouse Trails campaign, and the type of women who plastered my Facebook page with endless, angry, deliberately insulting rants (and still do sometimes) because they think my criticism of the Piper-Warren connection wasn't sufficiently vehement.

In short, I was referring to those very vocal (mostly, but not all female) self-styled "discerment" specialists who seem to think screeching, angry emotions are as good a response to heresy as carefully reasoned, biblical answers.

Robert Warren said...

Christine:

I know you asked Phil, but FWIW, I haven't noticed SolaSisters getting carried away with secondary separation.

Christine Pack said...

Thank you, Robert. We try to the best of our ability and with the leading of the Holy Spirit to be very cautious in this area.

Frank Turk said...

Denise --

I find it interesting that the tone of the shortest book of the Bible (as described by Dr. MacArthur) looks good to you as an approach to "discernment ministry". How about the approach of the rest of the Bible to discernment and correction -- like the tone and approach of Jesus in Revelation, or of Paul toward the Galatians?

Phil Johnson said...

DMG: I do not understand the use of the term "diva" nor the antique photo.

diva |ˈdēvə|
noun
• a woman regarded as temperamental or haughty: she's such a diva that she won't enter a restaurant until they change the pictures on the walls to her liking.

The photo speaks for itself.

Ken Silva said...

Phil,

"I was referring to those very vocal (mostly, but not all female) self-styled 'discerment' specialists who seem to think screeching, angry emotions are as good a response to heresy as carefully reasoned, biblical answers."

As one who's been involved with online apologetics and discernment work, there are many of us who also believe there are far too many of those.

stratagem said...

I used to read LHT a lot, thought they made some good points, but got reaaaally tired of the "x praised y, who is linked to z, so x is bad" guilt by association polemical technique. They literally used that in every article they wrote, as if they didn't even understand the fallacy of it.

I handled this in a very straightforward way: I quit reading them and their newsletter. That seemed to solve the problem for me.

Christine Pack said...

I am in agreement about LHT. I say this with some sadness, as they were one of the first ministreis I found that really ministered to me and helped me see that I wasn't crazy in what I was observing in the church around me.

Dave said...

I appreciated the video - when working with someone for a long period of time it is clear how you begin to sound alike!

However, I was disappointed by the title and generalization. Thank you for your further clarficiation.

stratagem said...

Christine
Me, too. It took me a while to figure out what was happening in the church around me, and then it took me a while to figure out LHT.

Staci Eastin said...

I think a lot of female bloggers took a moment for self examination after hearing Phil's remarks.

I get what he was trying to say, and I understand that this was an unrehearsed question and answer session rather than a prepared speech, but I do wish he had used another descriptor for shrill, catty female bloggers than just "housewives and homeschool moms."

Audrey said...

Thank you for posting this; I was at the conference but I had to leave in the middle of this discussion. Now I can hear the rest of it; yay!

Kim said...

Yeah, Staci, I agree with you. Although, I understand with his comment and agree that there are women who are self-appointed discernment queens. That being said, I don't like to hear "housewife" used as a pejorative if it's possible.

stratagem said...

What if most of them are housewives and homeschool moms? Should he still not have said it?

J♥Yce Burrows said...

At least Phil didn't say hoity-toity gadfly gadabouts. Maybe only a woman could get away with that. Maybe not. ;-)

Staci Eastin said...

stratagem:

Let's just say that "Love Wins" and "A Generous Orthodoxy" were both written on Macs (I have no clue whether they were or not, though Bell and McLaren don't strike me as PC enthusiasts).

It may be accurate to say something like "Mac users Bell and McLaren have strayed from Christian teachings," but you've introduced an element that has no bearing on how and why they've strayed, while managing to cast a lot of other people in a negative light in the process.

Frank Turk said...

Not to speak for Phil, but as the husband of a housewife and homeschool mom (joined in ὑπόστασις, so not two wives but one) I didn't hear him use that as a pejorative. His point was, as Paul's point is in Titus 2:3, that some women are not engaged in what they should be engaged in but are instead διαβόλους.

J♥Yce Burrows said...

I didn't think Phil was broadbrushing though a housewife for most married years...and a homeschooling mom of one son from 4-12 and the other 11 years his junior from K-12. The term didn't mean everyone in that category ~ only the ones that the shoe fit. And wear them "some" not "ALL means ALL and that's ALL it means" did/do. Phil deserves a little mercy...a little grace in light of his explanation.

Tax Collector said...

Phil,

As a man, I found your title pointing the finger at me – even before watching the video. I considered it a gender-neutral call for biblical discernment coupled with charity when warranted. It reminded me of a recent Snickers commercial where guys were acting like divas because they were hungry. It made me do some soul searching myself. In years past, it would have been my first response to overreact to something or be hyper-sensitive (or hyper-separatist if you prefer) if that person/church/denomination was not in 100% agreement with me.

By the way, the picture is perfect for the title and could have just as easy been a bunch of old men had the word ‘curmudgeons’ been in the title instead.

I love your comment in the video about how close a topic is to the core of the Gospel should really determine how one takes a stand. And yes, the Trinity is a dividing doctrine.

Granted, even being more charitable now, there is no shortage of people with whom we need to separate from. But, there are also those whom I consider dear brothers and sisters today that I might not have had the pleasure of walking with (and learning from) in years past.

Sometimes I needed to learn just to have a Snickers before reacting to something, so to speak.

J♥Yce Burrows said...

Yes, what Frank said that hits more than one gender...seeing that "likewise ὡσαύτως" in that verse. convicting, thanks!

Traci said...

I'm a "discernment" blogger, so your title made me nervous. Of course, then it made me laugh, so maybe I don't qualify as one of the divas. I hope not.

I loved this conversation. I'm so very tired of all the compromise. It can drive enormous holes through the truth. Then again (I hope this part isn't too diva-ish to share), I'm a Reformed Southern Baptist who studied Theology under the likes of Ergun Caner while I served in a little church modeled after Saddleback.

That's right. I was a Calvinist homeschooling housewife wading through the doctrines and influences of Caner and Warren (wink). It wasn't exactly a perfect match. So, although I'm certainly sick of the compromise, I'm battle weary too.

I guess that's why it's sometimes nice...okay, it's a huge relief to just defer to your insight.

Anyway, I'm glad I ultimately graduated from both the church and the Seminary (some time ago), but I wouldn't trade what I learned for any other experience. You made a great point about not being too eager to separate while maintaining a firm stand. There are a lot of people who need to see it.

Mizz Harpy said...

Thanks for posting this video. The entire let's agree to disagree thing scares me since I've seen it before way back when I still considered myself an Episcopalian. I watched as churches, diocese and the triennial General Conventions agreed to disagree over women in the priesthood, then unrepentant gays in the congregation and finally unrepentant gays in the priesthood. Agreeing to disagree is like strapping banana on peels to go running on an ice field. Make a stand, be clear for the members of your congregations who don't follow and don't have time to really understand what is the at the heart of theological issues. What I'm seeing in otherwise sound churches and among otherwise sound preachers/teachers today scares me. At best these successful churches led by heretics will wither into bankruptcy like Schuller's church at worst the compromise will grow to destroy entire denominations and church aligned seminaries as it has done with the old mainline denominations.

Rachael Starke said...

I winced a little at the "housewife/homeschool" term, but I understand that it wasn't meant as a sweeping generalization. I've heard the term used as many times as a compliment as well, including here at Pyro.

But that's why terms like "sharp-tongued discernment divas" is so perfect - because it can be worn by any woman, of any age or stage of life, with all the vainglory it deserves. She who has ears to hear....

Phil Johnson said...

Kim: "I don't like to hear 'housewife' used as a pejorative"

Me neither.

I would never THINK of using either "housewife" or "homeschool mom" as a pejorative. I didn't. I used those terms as descriptors.

It's an unavoidable fact that the hard-blogging discernment divas who tend to be most pirhanalike in their style DO tend to be housewives and homeschool moms as opposed to career women and conference-speakers. That's not a criticism or a putdown; it's a simple observation.

Personally, I tend to like housewives and homeschool moms better than career women and conference speakers. (Though I'm sure there are many fine career women and conference speakers, too--and some of them are friends of ours. So let's not get sidetracked on that.) I am married to a housewife/homeschool mom, and I love her more than life itself.

She's also VERY discerning. But she is not a member of that sorority where the keenness of one's discernment skill is measured by the cattiness of one's style.

Phil Johnson said...

The pejorative that was floating in my mind during that conversation with Todd is actually a biblical term: busybodies.

donsands said...

Todd really is one tall dude. I watch him on wretched every once in a while. I can't take a full feeding from Todd to be honest. It's like eating and eating a whole apple pie a la Mode.

But to listen to him for a bit, or in a discussion like this is very good indeed.

Lord, thank you for these godly brothers who stand boldly and humbly in Your grace and truth, and shine for the Gospel of love. Amen.

Elaine Bittencourt said...

I just wanted to express my thanks to Phil for a great interview. I remember when I got saved a little 2 years ago and learned the doctrines of grace (having passed through pentecostalism/charismania about 20 years ago) I was very excited to understand the bible and finally see everything to make sense and fit. I have an old blog, and I thought about writing down some of my thoughts, mostly to myself, and then I came upon something Phil said or wrote, along the lines "I advise people new to the doctrines of grace to not start a blog to share their new found faith". I heeded the advice and never wrote about it. I don't regret it a bit. My comments on the gty blog when the blog started are enough to show my "newbieness". hehe

For some reason I mostly stayed away from all the criticism going around in these past 2 years+. There's a point where "discernment" turns into slander/gossip, and I want to be aware of that sin in my life all the time. I think it's a terrible sin. And a lot of women fall for that temptation. Then comes pride and they can never say "I was wrong" and apologize because of their pride. Compounding sin.

Sometimes I think God blinds us to our own sins as a form of discipline. And then the day He takes the veil away the shame is great. I don't wanna go back there again.

So... thank you Phil! I heed your words and I search my heart. God bless you!

Valeria said...

This post is an example of why it is difficult for women to involve ourselves in discussions about theology. If we're disagreed with, or if we're judged to be disagreeable, we can always be ridiculed for our looks or for being 'shrill' or for any of the other stereotypical 'girl' things. If we make a good point, or seem to grasp a comment, someone might express surprise or say we are 'thinking like a man'.

I'm not a feminist by any definition of that word. I have been a homeschool mom in the past and 'housewife' is the only job I've ever held in 25 years of marriage. I tend to think that this attitude toward women is a result of the Fall and we all have to deal with it. I would just implore Christian men to resist using the same stereotypes the world uses..'shrill' 'diva', etc.

If you have a problem with bloggers who happen to be female, respect them enough to address the offense without referencing their gender. Your complaints may or may not be valid, but when you address the issue in terms of gender, there is always the suspicion that you just have a problem with women in general. This can detract from any validity your complaints have.

This kind of ridicule is the reason why I don't dare blog or give my opinion on things. I'll probably regret writing this post.

Strong Tower said...

What's a private forum?

Valeria said...

This post is an example of why it is difficult for women to involve ourselves in discussions about theology. If we're disagreed with, or if we're judged to be disagreeable, we can always be ridiculed for our looks or for being 'shrill' or for any of the other stereotypical 'girl' things. If we make a good point, or seem to grasp a comment, someone might express surprise or say we are 'thinking like a man'.

I'm not a feminist by any definition of that word. I have been a homeschool mom in the past and 'housewife' is the only job I've ever held in 25 years of marriage. I tend to think that this attitude toward women is a result of the Fall and we all have to deal with it. I would just implore Christian men to resist using the same stereotypes the world uses..'shrill' 'diva', etc.

If you have a problem with bloggers who happen to be female, respect them enough to address the offense without referencing their gender. Your complaints may or may not be valid, but when you address the issue in terms of gender, there is always the suspicion that you just have a problem with women in general. This can detract from any validity your complaints have.

This kind of ridicule is the reason why I don't dare blog or give my opinion on things. I'll probably regret writing this post.

Frank Turk said...

Oh brother. Now all women are evil who disagree.

Phil: time for another hiatus. As soon as I finish the open letters.

DJP said...

So, Spring of 2015?

Brian said...

And let's not forget Knox's sermon when Henry Stuart (Queen Mary's husband) was present and Knox talked about Ahab not correcting Jezebel's idolotry...and Stuart taking that as an application of him and Mary, was not very pleased.

Alex Guggenheim said...

I have to agree that the gender is irrelevant and if it is, indeed, anecdotal, it is an unnecessary descriptor, particularly in the way it has been done.

I believe a more thorough address by Phil ought to follow on the matter. One that acknowledges much more completely and specifically the contributions of those he believes are worthwhile and specifically those to which he objects.

As to the claim ""But I was thinking specifically of the pugnacity"...which pugnacity, Pyro's or another blog's?

Sergius Martin-George said...

Three thoughts:

1) Phil, I enjoyed the video and your brief post. I was a little disappointed, however, that the title was something of a bate-and-switch: you discussed the “Monstrous Regiment” for all of a minute-and-a-half. The balance of your comments was insightful as always, but it wasn't about discernment divas. Does this mean you’re going to follow-up with a more substantive piece actually addressing that issue?

2) Tax Collector: I like Snickers, too. Any thoughts on how to balance our increased consumption of the snack that really satisfies with the biblical mandate to treat our bodies as temples?

3) Finally, since Greek terms have been trotted out rather liberally in this thread, I just want to say, to TeamPyro and to all the faithful readers, Σπουδάζω!

Barbara said...

Early on in my walk I ran into the discernment blogosphere because I was striving to know what is true vs what is not. My eyes were opened to the way the things I had been taught growing up were just plain wrong, and why they were wrong - and that helped me tremendously in putting away those things in my embrace of what is true. It helped to clear a lot of confusion and that is a good thing.

But the issue I ran into very quickly was this Fallen tendency to ...well, gawk. For lack of a better word. Like watching a train wreck. The tone often is shrill - call it for what it is, whether one likes it or not - it can get to be very shrill. And it can spread all too easily. It didn't take long for me to feel as though I had a cord (or a snake?) wrapping more and more tightly around my heart, squeezing the life and love out of it. I had to abandon that, confess it for the sin that it is, and seek the heart of Christ in these things.

And so I sought (and still seek) the LORD to teach me how to speak the truth IN LOVE and what that looks like. He has been gracious in that. Justin Peters is a helpful person in that too, someone to emulate and learn from as he teaches about what is heresy, and calls it out for what is is, but yet with a heart of love for the people who are caught up in that. That - and a good measure of grace and humility in secondary and tertiary matters, loving our brothers and sisters enough to believe the best of them - goes a long way toward bringing about the aroma of Christ on our robes, and brings about far more opportunities to give an answer for the hope that lies within us.

Cameron Shaffer said...

As we left the conference, I commented to my dad that if word of your "discernment divas" comments made it to the internet that you'd come under assault from shrill voiced watchbloggers.

Frank's right, perhaps another hiatus may be in order.

Gayle said...

The video had some excellent things to say. The reference to shrill women divas, however, was gratuitous to say the least. Todd talks about these divas sitting in a circle shooting (not sure how that makes sense), but then throws a verbal grenade by making reference to homeschooling women bloggers. I think it was an unfortunate remark. Then the photo and the title add fuel to the distasteful remarks, taking focus off the very real issue of the Elephant Room.

It's too bad - there were some important things said in this exchange.

Patrick Driscoll said...

Phil --- Where did you get that old photo of the Divas? At first glance, I thought it was the Three Stooges.

Jules LaPierre said...

The gal on the left, front row looks like Frank.

In drag.

Solameanie said...

I know that the intent of this post was not to provoke this, but it is the way my rather sick, offbeat mind works. Now that I've seen the phrase "discernment diva," I am going to have mental images of Diana Ross or Whitney Houston behind a pulpit. Phil, you've ruined me.

Kidding aside, very thought-provoking. I've been involved in apologetics-related ministry myself for many years, and had not really thought of gender as a factor in how some discernment ministries/blogs/radio programs etc. are carried out. What I have noticed over the years is that, very often, those who were formerly in cults themselves and have begun discernment ministries since they were saved often lose balance in their general approach. Another factor is that counter-cult ministry (or ministry against false doctrines overall) tends to be focused on the negative due to the very nature of the ministry itself. In the devil's arena, so to speak. If people don't get fed and taught themselves and get a break from their discernment efforts, there is a serious risk of really getting whacked out and turning into a "diva," whether the individual is male or female.

In his book entitled "Leaders," the late Richard Nixon was discussing various communist leaders that he had known over the years. Communism is, for all intents and purposes, like a religion to its adherents. He observed (with Chairman Mao's wife Jiang Qing in mind) that with husbands and wives in communist circles, it was generally the wife who was "white hot" and intense over ideology.

Now I am wondering anew why that is, and pondering what seems to be a similar thing in Christian circles. Hope that my saying this doesn't make anybody mad as it's intended as a dispassionate observation. And yes, men can get "white hot" also.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

I just saw a picture of the Tsunami flotsam from Japan that is floating toward Hawaii, and is estimated to reach our soil in about three years. And we know for a fact that much of this debris is contaminated with radioactive waste.

Things like boats, fragments of houses, refrigerators, cars and all sorts of broken and busted up treasures and dreams, are in a soup swirling about the ocean, just waiting to settle in some unsuspecting, pristine cove, or on one of our beautiful, sun-kissed beaches.

We’re alarmed, and we should be! Who, in their right way of thinking, wants this trash to contaminate, infiltrate, and permeate what we believe are our almost sacred, unsullied shores? This, is a newly defined Tsunami. One that is not like anything we have ever witnessed before. It is a mass of shards, junk and twisted debris, and it is coming our way soon.

Well, we have many choices to make. We can sound the alarm of impending doom, and look for solutions to our problems. We can bury our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well with the world. Or we can wait out the impending doom, and stand watch with the bucket brigade to do a very costly clean up.

I believe good, solid discernment ministries, work out the first scenario in the best way possible. They are pro-active, anticipatory, and always forward thinking. Prevention is always a better choice than having to suffer through the horrible effects of surgery, or chemotherapy. Their antenna are up, their senses are heightened, their looking for the worse possible scenario, for the best reasons possible, so that the Tsunami will not totally deconstruct our way of life and worship, and pollute the sterling, spotless, and pure Word of God. What it he old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?”

There is nothing wrong with being a first-rate Chicken Little. The sky IS falling. There ARE wolves in sheep’s clothing. The trash and off scouring of life are looking to rob, steal and pollute. So, what’s new? What IS new, is if you are not made aware, alerted to the dangers, and acutely discerning, you may become the twisted, sorted, stinking debris (news flash), or be broad-sided by someone’s front porch that has been floating around in the cesspool of the latest storm.

Ministries like Pyromaniacs, Sola Sisters and Apprising Ministries; just to name a paltry few, do a pretty fair job in sorting out the trash. So hopefully we can all sit back, hang up our rakes, shovels and buckets and enjoy their fruit. But, let’s not rest in their laurels too eagerly, and be watchmen ourselves, studying the Scriptures to discern the precarious times we live in. And be able to cry foul for ourselves, if perchance Chicken Little is busy with yet another impending Tsunami.

Lately, we can all attest to the fact that there has been a deluge of this false teacher and that false teacher. It is *absolutely* overwhelming. There is ONE Tsunami after ANOTHER in Christendom; they are increasing like birth pains. But let’s not be lax or wore down by attrition because the minions from the pit are on the march and increase, this is all the MORE reason to sound the alarm with greater diligence.

We live on the very BRINK of eternity, and LOVING someone means never to having say you’re sorry. Tell someone you love about Jesus, and warn them of this new radioactive flotsam coming their way. It may just make their day, not to mention their eternity.

Remember, not all discernment ministries are equal, avoid the SHRILL and follow....Phil??? Ah, couldn’t resist! We love our brothers here at Pyro.

Tom Chantry said...

I have a serious problem with Paul. I think it was unreasonable of him to single out younger widows for going from house to house and becoming gossips and busybodies. After all, men could commit those sins also. Gender was an irrelevant side-note, and he should really not have brought it up. Also, remember when he said to teach young men to be self-controlled? I knew a girl once who lacked self-control. Paul really needed to learn the moral importance of never acknowledging patterns, and particularly of never mentioning gender. It's a pity no one ever rebuked him for that.

Kim said...

Phil, I knew what you meant, and I agree with you, but I still cringe a little when I hear it. I knew you didn't mean that it is ONLY housewives who are sharp tongued and busybodies, because I know your wife, and everything you said about her and more is true. In fact, she has been one of the most influential older women in my life. So, I knew you didn't mean to be critical. Chalk it up to being yet in the developing stages of learning to be less prickly :)

Jennifer said...

Long time listener-first time commenter.

Great interview with so many well thought out and well spoken responses. There's a lot to chew on there!

It is unfortunate that your great points on discernment in general and the Elephant Room in specific are so easily derailed by an off-hand comment.

It did sound a little out of place.

I kinda heard it like if I were to say that that type of comment stands out because it usually comes from the same group of "heavy set white preachers in suits."

... or it sounds like James MacDonald who called discernement bloggers "guys in their pajamas sitting in their mom's basement" ...

Are those far off descriptors? Sounds similar to "house wives and home school moms".

Tom - Paul called out their activity not their occupation ... a Περιεργαζομενους is much different than a "housewife and homeschool mom." In fact the busy bodies were "idle". Funny but 2 Thess. 3:11 sounds more in line with James MacDonald's description of bad discernment bloggers.

Anyway, too bad the great discussion gets lost in an off-the-cuff remark.

stratagem said...

I think some of these comments Illustrate how someone can get into trouble by simply reporting the facts, because inevitably, someone isn't going to like the facts. I'm sure that in itself is an everyday fact of life that Phil has to deal with.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

You know, getting to HEAR the interview as opposed to reading it or a post on the subject was very helpful to my understanding of the issues Todd Friel brought up. Thank you for making it available. I was able to listen while washing the dishes. (I'm proud to be a housewife--my dream job--and mother, about to be blessed again in late December. I also have a blog that I regularly neglect with some regret, though not for the sake of my immediate family.)

I kinda got the impression from the interview that you mostly liked the idea of the title, and were not about to start going after the discernment diva group and targeting a campaign against them. And yet there most certainly is a can of worms here. I appreciate your careful approach, and at the same time there are some of us who agree that "those other women's" mouths must be stopped. (I'm trying not to sound like the pharisee who thanked God that he wasn't like the publican...) Maybe the topic is on Frank's open letter radar. I do think it's a problem, but since it's been around since the Fall, I suppose this issue will be with us until the Lord returns.

(What's this talk of hiatus about any way? That went over my head. Maybe it was supposed to...)

Tom Chantry said...

Tom - Paul called out their activity not their occupation ... a Περιεργαζομενους is much different than a "housewife and homeschool mom." In fact the busy bodies were "idle".

I disagree entirely. Paul regularly addresses Christians on the basis of their gender, their age, and their calling. His point is that each circumstance involves specific responsibilities and specific temptations. His desire is that each Christian be aware of and avoid the temptations which are peculiar to their own status. One particular concern he has is that each Christian discern what is and what is not his own especial calling in the kingdom.

Now I do not know for certain what Phil was doing beyond acknowledging the fact that a remarkable number of the most stringent discernment bloggers are housewives and homeschool moms. Don't let me put words in his mouth. But if he was further suggesting that this might be a particular temptation to persons of a particular gender and station, he was not doing anything unbiblical, but rather something quite pastoral. Moreover, if he was implying that a mother who is raising and educating her children is not called to be the front line of defense against false teaching in the church, and that perhaps online apologetics are not the best hobby for her, that is not so outrageous a position either.

I don't know if Phil thinks those things, but to be blunt, I do. Anyone can disagree with that, but to suggest that the opinion is necessarily offensive to all housewives and all homeschool moms is not at all biblical, given Paul's pattern of addressing Christians according to their gender, age, and station so frequently.

To take offense at such assertions is not a particularly Christian attitude. It is rather modern, and of course it is quite American, but it is not very Christian.

Barbara said...

Tom Chantry is my hero.

Just sayin'.

DJP said...

Join the line, sistah.

Robert said...

Tom,

I'd add the following portion of Scripture from the apostle John:

"I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, little children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one." (1 John 2:12-14, emphasis mine)

How come he has to remind the fathers twice that they "know Him who has been from the beginning" and then remind the young men twice that they "have overcome the evil one"? I am personally grateful that God sees through the tendencies in sinful men and women and addresses them in His Word. That way we can be discerning and look out for them in our own lives.

Robert said...

So, Spring of 2015?

Does that mean y'all will be writing more books in the meantime? 8o)

DJP said...

Entirely depends on whether anyone buys the ones that're out there now.

Jules LaPierre said...

"Moreover, if he was implying that a mother who is raising and educating her children is not called to be the front line of defense against false teaching in the church, and that perhaps online apologetics are not the best hobby for her, that is not so outrageous a position either."

I could not disagree more.

Tom Chantry said...

You disagree with that position, or you think it's outrageous to even raise the question?

Jules LaPierre said...

With that position.

Robert said...

I'd probably say that as long as it stays in the category of hobby, it is OK. It is when it overrides everything else that it can become problematic. Same goes for guys and technology...just to be even-handed.

Tom Chantry said...

And that's fair enough, Jules. I'll just repeat what I said above:

Anyone can disagree with that, but to suggest that the opinion is necessarily offensive to all housewives and all homeschool moms is not at all biblical, given Paul's pattern of addressing Christians according to their gender, age, and station so frequently.

To take offense at such assertions is not a particularly Christian attitude. It is rather modern, and of course it is quite American, but it is not very Christian.

Craig said...

Good morning!!!
I am stopping my viewing of this blog as of today and was curious if there was any evidence that validated the large amount of time wasted arguing and debating on these blogs by christians. Could the time not be better spent for Christ in a different way? Is it REALLY doing any good or changing anything? Has the creator ever validated your side as being right by saving more people in your flavor of churches? Do reformed folk lead in missionary work ?Do reformed folk lead the Christian charge in anything other than complaining about how right they are? There have always been heretics and always will be, in our day and age battling it out in blogs is fruitless. It’s not like you guys have councils to debate each other at like in the old days. You’re just another fractured Christian group that only sees things your way. It’s really scary you will spend your entire life battling out your correctness rather than spending your entire life impacting non-believers with a sweet/loving/ humble Christian lifestyle that opens the doors to cordial discussion about doctrinal issues. The question must be asked would Jakes see Christ in you. Probably not, so why would he or his kind ever listen to you.

Jules LaPierre said...

And, I'll repeat what I said. I could not disagree more.

Barbara said...

Ooh! ooh! Let me! Let me!

.....like ministry?

Barbara said...

(that was in re: Craig)

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I'm not sure where Jules is going with her comments, but Tom's statement is spot-on.

The responsibility of raising children falls to both parents, and certainly the mother has an important and weighty part. It's often easy to get so wrapped up in the importance of it that we could begin to develop too much pride and self-importance in the matter. I know I sometimes need to be reminded that the Lord is the one who causes the growth, not the farmer/curator.

We need to differentiate between the role as a parent who hopes to raise godly children who will honor and serve the Lord, and the roll of actual elders of our church to raise up the future leaders of the church. Though similar, they are not exactly the same.

Tom Chantry said...

Jennifer,

I understand your concern, but let me pose a question:

Are there any older women in the church who struggle with self-control? I've known some, and I've even known some young men - some of them even (gasp!) teenagers - who have excellent self-control. Chalk it up to the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and ultimately to the sanctifying influence of the Spirit.

Yet Paul urges that the young men be taught self-control. I think his reasons for doing so are fairly obvious.

Now, anyone hearing those words should make self-application. A young woman, an old man - anyone - can say, "Yes, self-control is a spiritual virtue which I should cultivate." Does Paul's singling out of young men have the effect of causing some of those others to tune out. assuming that they are not at fault? Possibly, but he does it anyway.

Now to the real point: Should young men be offended that Paul implicitly links lack of self-control with young manhood? Or should they look around, acknowledge that Paul has a point, and redouble their efforts in that direction?

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Oh bummer. I forgot to click on the box for follow up comments. So I have to comment again. Funny that my word verification is "dumoor."

Either do-more, like ministry, or dummer, like I might sound to others, or demure, which is a fun word I know nothing about. ;0)

stratagem said...

Craig - I suppose we ought to all stop attending Bible studies too, and go out impacting people instead?
And people who are using scythes should stop sharpening them, and just keep on whacking at weeds.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Stratagem,

Don't start suggesting that we go out and begin impacting people. You'll have DJP hot on your case about it!

Robert said...

I'm reminded of the words from an appendix in this book where the author says that we need to teach our children to receive discipline or else they will be victims of their own folly. I am reminded of this because people have a hard time receiving criticism and applying it in the fashion that Tom described in his 6:24 remark. I pray that God will soften my own heart in areas where I need the counsel, reproof, and correction in my own life.

Jennifer said...

Hey Tom,

"His point is that each circumstance involves specific responsibilities and specific temptations. His desire is that each Christian be aware of and avoid the temptations which are peculiar to their own status. One particular concern he has is that each Christian discern what is and what is not his own especial calling in the kingdom."

I get that ... and am in full agreement.

Which is why I was confused that James MacDonald's comment about discernment bloggers (those who Scripture would call "idle") is called out as an unnecessary slam, but Phil's comment is met with hearty amens and high fives from you guys.

I wasn't implying that he was unbiblical in his comments nor did I suggest that ALL homeschool moms and housewives need be offended - only those who fit the description of doing it unbiblically should feel the cut. I just think that moving away from the action to focus on the occupation made for an unnecessary distraction from an otherwise great talk.

Paul didn't shy away from gender, age and occupation but I fail to see an instance where he confused them with the action unless your age, gender and occupation would biblically exclude you from the action or position you are pursuing.

If you feel called as a husband, father and pastor of a local church to take up the hobby of an internet discernment ministry I have no qualms with that ... if you feel that it is in line with the place and position that God has placed you and as you follow your hobby do it well ... Phil's talk (and not to put words in his mouth) was not so much attacking a particular type of woman but calling out bad discernment ministries ... he then lost some people as he zeroed in on one particular group of bad discernment bloggers.

All that being said, I do humbly admit that I am not as well versed or well travelled in the blogging world so if Phil's statement that the worst/most of bad discernment bloggers are "homeschooling house wives" is a fact, then I stand corrected. Some of the most outlandish I have seen in my limited experience come from old angry men in suits.

stratagem said...

Stay at home moms struggle with intellectual stimulation, and online debating provides a way for them to get some of that. That's fairly obvious, isn't it? So what's wrong with Phil pointing out that they ought to find some way of getting that intellectual stimulation other than doing amateur discernment ministry?

This discussion is getting to be reminiscent of the Harvard President who was fired a few years back for referencing test data that showed men, on average, are better at some subjects more than others, and so are women in other areas. He found out the hard way that this obvious truth could not be recognized publicly. At some point, insistence on gender-neutrality becomes intellectually fascist in nature. It certainly isn't what's displayed in the Bible, as Tom has pointed out (and so far, no one has been able to disprove other than to say "I disagree").

Robert said...

Strat - you mean Craig thinks we should be paying more attention to this guy? Since what he does is "like ministry"...and we're all haters.

Jules LaPierre said...

"Stay at home moms struggle with intellectual stimulation, and online debating provides a way for them to get some of that. That's fairly obvious, isn't it?"

Um, no.

Robert said...

Jennifer,

I'm not all that familiar with MacdDonald's comments on the old men in the mother's basement comments, but acknowledge that there is a group of men that fit that category. However, my problem with MacDonald using that statement might be more along the lines of him refusing to listen to the thoughtful counsel from some bloggers and using that type of stereotype to justify him doing so. I'm not sure that he has done this, but if he is then that is just another cause for concern regarding some unwise decisions he has made.

Tom Chantry said...

Jennifer,

I think perhaps I'm guilty of only responding to half of what you say, because I'm unfamiliar with the MacDonald comment and also with the response to it.

That said, I think this is the heart of what you are saying, if I understand it correctly:

Paul didn't shy away from gender, age and occupation but I fail to see an instance where he confused them with the action unless your age, gender and occupation would biblically exclude you from the action or position you are pursuing.

You say Paul didn't "confuse" action with age, gender, and occupation. I think, though, that he did connect certain tendencies with certain ages, genders, and callings, and he did make his warnings against certain behaviors to people of those genders, ages, and callings. That he did so is no slam on everyone of any gender, age, or calling, it is just noting that a certain demographic (to modernize Paul to a perhaps unforgivable degree!) should be particularly careful of certain temptations.

Then this:

If you feel called as a husband, father and pastor of a local church to take up the hobby of an internet discernment ministry I have no qualms with that ... if you feel that it is in line with the place and position that God has placed you and as you follow your hobby do it well ... Phil's talk (and not to put words in his mouth) was not so much attacking a particular type of woman but calling out bad discernment ministries ... he then lost some people as he zeroed in on one particular group of bad discernment bloggers.

If Phil lost people by adding in one phrase which said, in effect, "Hey, this particular group is especially challenged in this area," then he lost them in the same way that Paul might have lost some of the young men in churches who wanted to jump up and start pointing fingers at other people who lack self-control.

stratagem said...

Jules - to one person, no. To most people I know of, yes.
I'm afraid your "I disagree" and "um, no" single-phrase reactions aren't very persuasive.

Jules LaPierre said...

And, I'm afraid your generalizations are presumptuous.

Robert said...

Jules,

This might not be true for you, but my wife has expressed this feeling at times. She spends all day teaching the children and speaking with a seven and ten year old (one of the reasons I like to take them and have some alone time with them right when I get home - after showing appreciation for her and asking how she is doing). It is a lot different to be able to interact with adults than with children...even ones who are extremely intelligent. That said, my wife doesn't care for blogging so she doesn't really fall into this conversation as much.

stratagem said...

Apparently not, since you clearly can't refute them.

Jules LaPierre said...

I don't have to, Strat. They are a weak, unsupported argument.

Dave said...

I've never been a proponent of pushing the envelope to get a rise - regardless of the direction from which the wind may be blowing.

stratagem said...

Jules - Well, why do you disagree with it, then? Speak up. If you feel that all generalizations are without support, then you can believe that, but no rational person goes through life without making generalizations.

For instance: You don't go walking at midnight in the bad end of town because to do otherwise would be to generalize that there are more bad people in that part of town. Instead, you recognize the generalization that there are more bad people in the bad part of town, so you don't walk there at midnight.

Likewise Phil made an observation based on lots of data points he's seen, and I made my statement based on lots of statements I've heard from stay at home moms (and I would also have the same need for intellectual stimulation if I were doing what they have to do).

It sounds to me like you just don't like reality, and want to go into denial about certain things if they aren't how things "ought to" be. But at any rate, at least support whatever your point of view is with an alternate viewpoint.

Barbara said...

One of the things that struck me in recent study, thanks to a couple of back-to-back sermons that I had the opportunity to listen to over and again, was that Paul’s instructions to Timothy on how the Lord’s Bondservant should correct those in opposition to the truth (such as Hymaneus and Philetus) uses language that explicitly correlates with the fruit of the Spirit: Patience – Kindness – Gentleness. The text used in the one was 2 Timothy 2, the other, entitled Spiritual Deception, was in Galatians 6, (do not be deceived, God is not mocked, as you sow so shall you reap) given that where we tend to deceive ourselves the most is by convincing ourselves that that fleshly fruit we’re reaping somehow means that what we have been sowing has been anything but flesh, leading to corruption, while sowing to the Spirit in these things, including how we correct those who are in error or being led astray, leads to the fruit of the Spirit. And that the good news of the Gospel is that because of Christ, and through Him and in Him, we can right now start to sow to the Spirit instead.

So when we see that what we are reaping is shrillness or lovelessness or fingerpointing or contentiousness, instead of defending it with more flesh, it behooves us to sit back and look at what we’ve been sowing, repent, seek the heart of Christ, and move forward in humility and truth. He is so, so gracious and good to do that in us, to His glory.

Frank Turk said...

"Frank in Drag" is not an edifying statement. To anyone.

D-:<

stratagem said...

I agree. There are some uses that Photoshop (or GIMP) should not be used for - ever.

Jules LaPierre said...

"Monstrous Regiment of Discernment Divas" is not an edifying statement. To anyone.

D-:<

Phil Johnson said...

Jennifer: "if Phil's statement that the worst/most of bad discernment bloggers are 'homeschooling house wives' is a fact, then I stand corrected. Some of the most outlandish I have seen in my limited experience come from old angry men in suits."

Those two observations are not necessarily mutually exclusive, are they?

But let me apologize: If I used an expression like "the worst/most of bad discernment bloggers," then I wasn't sufficiently specific. What I meant to point out is that among the airmchair, amateur, nonstop watchbloggers, a core of angry stay-at-home women are the most problematic, because they seem to be especially prone to fire off rabid posts and caustic comments without sufficient forethought.

Furthermore, these Discernment Divas tend to be incorrigible when you try to point out that this is not a good thing. In fact, they seem to like to drum up campaigns and comment-flurries and virtual tar-and-feather mobs when anyone questions their technique.

It is altogether true however, that suited (or otherwise costumed) men--whether "angry" or not--can indeed sometimes be a much bigger problem than the Monstrous Regiment. I'd cite Paul Crouch and Harold Camping as evidence that wealthy owners of media networks are the worst of all, but I can't afford to have Rupert Murdoch and his cronies waging war against me in my combox, so I'll just leave that one alone.

threegirldad said...

There's no need to wonder about the scope of Phil's remarks regarding the "divas." He started that sentence with, "Most of them...," and ought to be given credit for that (whether you think he should have said, "Some...," rather than, "Most...," is a different debate). He's also further clarified what he had in mind in his response to Christine here, and I want to focus in particular on one part of that response:

the type of women who plastered my Facebook page with endless, angry, deliberately insulting rants

If you've been wondering why Phil would make the sort of comments on this subject that he did during that admittedly impromptu discussion, and you don't follow him on Facebook, you should consider doing so--primarily, of course, for the positive reasons, but also so that you can watch this scenario for yourself the next time it happens.

In multiple past instances, when Phil has posted something that rubbed this particular group the wrong way, they've shown up like a swarm and carpet bombed the comment thread with the sort of invective that would make any "angry old man in a suit" that you care to name green with envy.

stratagem said...

If Phil had entitled the article "The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Angry Old Men in Suits"
we likely wouldn't be having a 100+ comment discussion. I wonder why that is? Can Doyennes of Discernment only dish out discerning criticism, but not take it?

Robert said...

So is anybody going to talk about Phil's tone in the video? I would hope that watching this wuold make people pause before talking about tone, but I am not naive enough to believe that will happen. Or maybe I'm just too cynical...

Dave said...

Robert - I did yesterday - I thought that he sounded like his boss.

Robert said...

Dave - For some reason, I totally didn't get that you meant that the first time I read your comment. Must be my Louisiana public education!

Dave said...

Let's strive for higher ground. My tone can go south very quickly when I sense that seniors and women are not given proper respect. I didn't receive the fb memo that went out previously - nor do I know where to find it.

Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Strong Tower said...

His tone was condescending. But that was a process of intonation not intention. Impromtu speech often fails in this way since it is not practiced for prepared delivery, and words are not intoned always with considered thought for its tonal appreciation. It follows that it will more likely bear resemblance to the personality in casual speech patterns rather than determined illocution. Phil's impromtu speech tends to a casualness beginning with higher tones and breathy words and then trailing off which sounds dismissive and condecending. It is different than his prepared sermons. The kind of searching style of Phil's impromtu speech, which is typical of this kind of interaction, is such that it appears to slight, but the reality is that he is formulating his answers as he goes and that tends to color the object of his answer when it in reality is no reflection on it.

The above b.s. was provided for your amusement only and is not intended for serious consumption. A discerning reader would have known that before he read this disclaimer.

Gayle said...

Making this about gender diminishes the importance of the issue that was the focus of the discussion. We're ignoring the elephant in favor of what appears to be a smaller animal - a pet peeve.

Staci Eastin said...

As the person who introduced this rabbit trail, I would like to clarify what I meant. I can’t speak for everyone.

I think I made it clear that I knew what Phil was trying to say, and I clearly acknowledged that he was responding spontaneously to live questions, which is very difficult. I also never said that gender is irrelevant. Men and women are given specific instructions in Scripture for good reason.

My point was simply this: I wish that in a comment where he was calling out women who are being busybodies, that he hadn’t decided just to go with “housewives and homeschooling moms” as his main descriptors.

By highlighting their occupation rather than their sin, I felt that he was adopting a shorthand that the world uses negatively. I KNOW Phil doesn’t feel that way, that’s why it bothered me. He’s not going to undo the fabric of the family with one spontaneous remark, but we do need to be aware of how our words are perceived, especially when speaking about a group of which we are not a part.

If Phil had entitled the article “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Angry Old Men in Suits" we likely wouldn't be having a 100+ comment discussion.

Probably not. But I’ve never heard a man feeling called to the ministry express hesitation for fear that he would somehow turn into an “angry old man in a suit.” Maybe they are out there and I’m just not a part of those conversations.

I have, however, heard many women remark that they could never “just” stay home, for fear that they would turn into one of “those” housewives. Since I’m privy to those fears and conversations in a way that many of you aren’t, I thought I could offer a different perspective.

And for the record, Phil's responses have been gracious and clarifying.

Jennifer said...

I just want to echo Staci's comment: Phil, you have been so gracious. I appreciate your ability to bring truth to light without the need for bombastic statements a la many discernment bloggers.

Thanks for the great video!

Frank Turk said...

There is so much wrapped up in that final sentence that it would take a week to unpack it, Staci. A very good word.

David Rudd said...

it was worth reading through this entire thread just to read this:

"I can't afford to have Rupert Murdoch and his cronies waging war against me in my combox, so I'll just leave that one alone."

thanks for the chuckle.

Strong Tower said...

A rose by any other name... Some should be abstemious when it comes to naming things with names, for all is not as it appears but names do not a thing make, as Yoda might say.

The title did exactly what Phil, in the video, suggested the title would do. And the reaction to it with emotive responses brings the point home perfectly. That is only a side issue. As I discern it, the point is that emotive responses to serious problems creates a dismissive license. Those who fall under criticism can simply point to the ugly without responding to the good or the bad. As is seen here, instead of the focus being what is happening in accepting heretical teachers as equals in discussion groups, the camera has been redirected to the little boy eating the cotton candy while the walk-off home run is missed by the viewers.

stratagem said...

I think it's just that Phil is a master marketer. He knew that if he didn't give this video a controversial title, it would only be watched by 6 people. Now look at it!

jk

Jim De Arras said...

I don't know how to reply. You make me ashamed to be a man. Discernment, and discernment error is not a sex-based gift. You good ole boys just want to keep the woman off your turf.

This is as offensive as if you had said n****rs have no business being so uppity.

In Shame,
Jim

David Regier said...

Aaaaaand that's the point where we pray and hope that DJP's internet connection comes back on at work so he can give us something else to talk about.

DJP said...

Actually, I'm not sure there's a point, since everyone's still talking about this one. (Raises eyes up a bit.) Not necessarily reading and listening, but talking.

michelle said...

Jim - take it from me...no, it's not...trust me when I tell you this.

Frank??? Phil??? Dan??? Anybody??? Help.......

Rachael Starke said...

Oh good grief.

Jim, that comment indicates that you may not have 1. listened to/watched the video 2. read the ensuing comment thread or 3. taken the time to read any number of other interchanges between the Pyro men and their large and very diverse population of women readers.

Admittedly, that takes more investment of time than perhaps you have today. But I commend the exercise to you.

If this is another one of those "you can't make a comment about a group of which you're not a member" things, I'll willingly take some of the flak for Phil.

Some women take their natural, God-given gifts for thinking, speaking and writing and let the flesh direct them, rather than the Holy Spirit. The results are not a blessing. They cast a shadow over gifted women in particular (Staci being one of them) who do seek to use their gifts for the glory of God, and over the Christian blogosphere in general. And they make me ashamed to be a Christian woman.

stratagem said...

Jim - so you're saying that Phil didn't get assaulted on his Facebook page by hordes of sharp-tongued women whenever he said something about poorly-founded discernment ministries? Are you saying that they were men masquerading as women? Cause that's what this is about, and not what you said.

Strong Tower said...

"(Raises eyes up a bit.) Not necessarily reading and listening, but talking."

I actually disassembed and listened to Phil's sermon in Unity. I figured, heck, why not separate for unity's sake.

Gayle said...

1 Timothy 5:

1Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

How does categorizing homeschooling bloggers as shrill divas work within these verses?

Jim De Arras said...

I am WAY more up on this than you may think. I consider Ingrid a friend who worked for the Lord for years, and now is getting a raw deal. I have had legal action threatened by a "brother" just for trying to get some facts. However Phil may feel Ingrid insulted him, his reaction here is NOT the way to treat a Christian Sister. Period, end of story.

Jim

Sylvia said...

How many sharp-tongued women are in a hoard again?

DJP said...

42.

You're welcome.

stratagem said...

Jim - so then, you're saying that it is Phil's reporting what the hordes of sharp-tongued women said, is making you ashamed to be a man? But, you're not ashamed about what the sharp-tongued women actually said to cause Phil to report? This is getting confusing.

Strong Tower said...

That took a lot of deep thought.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Ok, everyone. I confess: "can of worms" was the wrong kind of metaphor, and I apologize to all the worms out there. I think now that hornets nest is more apropos. O.o

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

donsands said...

"I have had legal action threatened by a "brother" just for trying to get some facts."-Jim

Those things do happen.

What did you think of Todd and Phil's conversation? If it's okay to ask.

Jim De Arras said...

stratagem, it's the reaction. You read what you want into my words. I pray you do not treat a Christian sister that way when you don't like what she said, true or false. And what about threatening to sue a Christian brother? Neither of these two did, but another discernment minister, male, did. As a first reaction.

David Regier said...

We have reached the point of sacralagia (thanks to David Kjos for that word).

WV: embasher

Phil Johnson said...

Gayle: "How does categorizing homeschooling bloggers as shrill divas work within these verses?"

That's not what I did. I "categorized" housewives and homeschool moms as the kind of people I generally like and admire, but pointed out that too many harpy-style watchbloggers come from that same people-group. That's quite a different matter from broadbrushing all homeschooling bloggers, which I emphatically did not do.

I stand by everything I've said about this, and I'm planning to close the thread in an hour or two. Meanwhile, disprove the point I have made if you can--but note that mere histrionics won't sway me. Rather, they prove my point.

That includes angry rants by people whom I assume are male commenters, such as Jim De Arras.

Ironically, Jim recently posted this picture on his FB page.

Now if my comment about bad watchbloggers was truly a racist-style slur against homeschool moms in general, then his picture is an even worse insult to (and slander against) all pregnant women, especially the one portrayed in that picture (assuming--as it appears--she carried her child to full term).

But see: his meaning was clear enough, so we're not REALLY offended unless we choose to be because we have no better argument.

For the record, since Jim implied otherwise: Neither Ingrid S. nor anyone in her cadre of followers has personally offended me. I'm appalled by Ingrid's chronic (mis)behavior online, culminating in her recent public attacks against her own father. Indeed, that sort of thing epitomizes the concerns I have expressed. But Ingrid is by no means the sole (or even the primary) example I had in mind.

dac said...

The only problem that Phil has with this post is that he did not issue the proper number of disclaimers(as footnotes or end notes, I never remember where they should go) so to fully answer any possible objection, no matter how far afield.


of course one might observe that Team Pyro has upon occasion been a purveyor of this penurious approach to elucidation as often as its victim.

Gayle said...

I suspect you are not aware of all sides of the situation with the complex family matter between Ingrid and her father.

Jim De Arras said...

Phil, if you mistake an anti-abortion picture for a anti-women picture, I am truly sorry. And I made no comment until you had to specifically use Ingrid, who has been silent for months, to attack. She is in a place now where your words are cruel and hurtful, whether you meant them that way or not. They deeply offended me. So if you want to dismiss me from your high and mighty post, so be it. But a little Christian love and concern would be a nice change.

Phil Johnson said...

dac: "one might observe that Team Pyro has upon occasion been a purveyor of this penurious approach to elucidation as often as its victim."

We've had a standing challenge for six years for our critics to point out actual examples (with cut-and-paste quotes, not a skewed paraphrase) showing where they think we have breached the bounds of taste, propriety, Christian charity, or good manners.

The complaints-to-substance ratio currently stands at about 500:1.

So I'll add another aspect to that challenge: I'll apologize and eat a worm if you can show one example where I have published watchblog-style criticism consisting of raw passion or verbal hysterics instead of rational or biblical arguments.

And I'll apologize (but skip the worm) if you can give an example where either of my two blog-partners has ever been guilty of such an infraction in the vicinity of this blog.

Jim De Arras said...

And however anxious you are to label me an angry commentor, look back over your blog, FB and twitter and see if my comment truly deserve that dismissive label. What you said here about Ingrid was WRONG, whether correct or not. You, James White, and to some extent Todd seem to enjoy the occasional put-down of women, I have ignored it, but here it hit home. Go club some seals and leave Ingrid alone. She needs peace right now. You are harming her.

stratagem said...

Jim - did it ever occur to you that perhaps the reason why women watchbloggers "need peace" is because they've been crossing the lines of civility for a long time, getting the predictable harsh reaction from people, and now are just plain emotionally exhausted as a result?
Did it ever occur to you that maybe women in general do not have the emotional resilience that men do, and are more likely to get into the anxious state you describe when they do battle in very public flame-wars online?

I'm probably old-fashioned in my thinking, but a lot of us men can hear criticism and it rolls off of our backs a lot more easily than it does for women. At least, that's my observation over the decades.

In defending her, you may be making an argument for why Ingrid (who I used to listen to a lot when she did the show with her father) needs to leave watchblogging up to others. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's at least a plausible enough theory to consider.

Jim De Arras said...

stratagem, you do not have a clue of what Ingrid is dealing with at the moment, please don't guess. And claiming "Did it ever occur to you that maybe women in general do not have the emotional resilience that men do" is precisely what I am reading in Phil's post. This is a MAN's job, women stay out. You got the message, it is there.

David Regier said...

But it wouldn't mean nothin' without a woman or a girl.

Does that associate me with James Brown? Hope so.

Jim De Arras said...

Phil, I really don't like to get angry, but you really are off base here. There are two sides to every story and you do not know Ingrid's family problems, and you would be best served leaving comments on her family relations out of it until you do. Phil, I respect you as a teacher, and really do not want you to think ill of me, but I cannot just sit by and let a dear friend be hurt. Please try to see it. I am just defending a friend against harm. She has been silent for months, and likely will never return to this arena. Please just forget her and move on. I ask you as a Christian Brother.

stratagem said...

Jim - I'm sure none of us want to cause further pain for Ingrid. But speaking only for myself, I'd say I largely do think that this sort of battle is a man's job when done in a public arena or inside the church. That might make me a sexist, bigot, misogynist, etc etc, but so be it.

stratagem said...

and by "inside the church" I don't just mean a building or a particular congregation.

Jim De Arras said...

stratagem, while I do not agree, you can have this debate and discussion without Ingrid. She is not active in this arena anymore.

DJP said...

This is starting to remind me of the story the ex-cop told me and some others about when he brutalized this perp, and because of those standing around kept yelling "Please, don't make me knock you down! Please, don't make me cuff you! Please, don't make me use a restraining hold!"

Pam said...

Wow. I must be really stupid. I just watched the video, thought "Phil is right on target." and moved on to the comments and never had such a thought that i should feel insulted. Never once did i have hurt feelings as a stay at home grandma or female reader of blogs. I had no idea women could be so overly sensitive and have such paranoia. Perhaps guilty conscienses inspire such vitriol toward Phil's comments? I am truly perplexed at the comments.
Thanks for saying what a number of us were thinking, Phil.

Sam said...

So true Pam, maybe the kicked divas yelp the loudest. Jim, enough with the Ingrid defense. Phil made it clear she wasn't necessarily who he had in mind but the fact of the matter is that she's hurled enough bombs online and shouldn't be surprised when some blow up in her hand. Her situation is a sad one without a doubt but maybe when you were cheering her for "discerning" everything wrong with the contemporary church you could have been a better friend and cautioned her to aim some of the discernment at her own heart.

I have been impressed by many of the ladies who have responded and if you look at their blogs you see wisdom and a sound biblical foundation. However at least two of the ladies who have responded harshly have blogs that sound pretty harsh themselves, a coincidence? I think not.

wv: hansfat as in my ring won't fit anymore because i've got too much hansfat

Phil Johnson said...

Jim De Arras: "I really don't like to get angry, but . . ."

Oh, please.

Search the thread: I've said nothing unseemly about Ingrid. I mentioned her once (in a comment; not the post itself). I named her as one of a handful of bad examples, but only after some commenters insisted I needed to be specific rather than vague.

No one said another word about her, until you commented, angrily accusing me of mysogny, chauvinism, and everything short of genocide. You seemed to think the entire substance of the post was about Ingrid, and you surmised that she had somehow "insulted" me.

So I explained that she hasn't insulted me and why I included her in that earlier shortlist.

You then go into this "Leave Britney Alone!" routine. If you really didn't want the focus of this thread to shift to that, why did you make such an issue of it? If you want the subject dropped, then drop it.

Please.

Jim De Arras said...

Phil, I did not like the focus of the post in general, and it was my mistake, yes, I CAN make a mistake, to focus on what I see as a general attack on female bloggers. I did change my focus specifically to Ingrid, as I was clearly in the minority. I admit to being totally wrong in my approach, but I plead once again to a Christian Brother, just drop Ingrid from your posts in the future, unless she happens to reappear in your arena. Would you at least do that?

Gayle said...

Todd Friehl's said on his program today: We do well to listen to criticism and look past the package in which it is delivered.

Jim De Arras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dac said...

Phil

My comment

of course one might observe that Team Pyro has upon occasion been a purveyor of this penurious approach to elucidation as often as its victim.

was preceded by (and thus is what the above comment, which came second, refers to)is:

The only problem that Phil has with this post is that he did not issue the proper number of disclaimers(as footnotes or end notes, I never remember where they should go) so to fully answer any possible objection, no matter how far afield.

Your retort:

So I'll add another aspect to that challenge: I'll apologize and eat a worm if you can show one example where I have published watchblog-style criticism consisting of raw passion or verbal hysterics instead of rational or biblical arguments.

I am not sure, in any way, how one could construe my comment referring to what you say it did.

word verification:

non sequitur

(well, no, not really, but it is such a fun word)

Phil Johnson said...

Jim:

Are you really wanting to keep this up? Read my previous comment again. I gave an accurate chronology of the exchange.

No one else here is pursuing it, and no one would have, if you had not tried to make it the main issue. So I'll repeat: If you really want the subject dropped, it's YOU who needs to drop it.

That's my final plea.

Phil Johnson said...

dac:

Ah, I see now. I misunderstood you. My sincerest apologies. I'll yield to the truth of your observation, with gratitude that the worm challenge is therefore moot.

DJP said...

...because Phil would never want to eat something, you know, weird...

Jim De Arras said...

Phil, I am sorry you chose to misread my comments. It is over, as long as you lay off.

northWord said...

Well I just listened to the audio and I must say the exchange between Phil and Todd was a most excellent, thorough treatment of how to better see and respond to all this extending-of-the-hand-of-fellowship we see amongst some "Christian leaders", especially of late.

It's getting more and more disheartening out here as our own pastors/elders/brethren still follow, if even unwittingly, certain leaders/ministries who have drifted off the path.

As to the kerfluffle over Phil's comment pointing out a certain category of women in the blogosphere, in light of the responses in here, I thought a few things: a) he's not wrong; b) it seemed moot compared to the bigger picture c) because of my own comments and responses (inc. in my heart) in the past and what I've witnessed around the blogosphere and elswhere it was probably needed.

northWord said...

-and, perhaps, "divas" don't necessarily always have denote women :)

thenface2face said...

Because I have a sneaking suspicion I am one of the shrill amateur homeschooling housewives you mean to call back to her proper venue, I want to assure you that my voice is now very well modulated. Did you not see http://thenface2face.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/the-elephant-is-in-me/

I have always seen your posts as rational and biblical. And the others too, and very edifying at times. There is no need to eat worms. But I do question their purpose -- I said this to Tom Chantry in my comments to him, and I still think it is true, "But I wonder how many who read those sad pages clicked their tongues, ‘tsk tsk’ and went on to the next RSS feed. And I wonder how many readers of Mr. Turks Open Letters get on their faces afterward and cry out, for the name of the Lord, for the glory of His Name’s sake, and cry out for the church to repent…not too many, I think. And so for all the high sounding motivations, all those efforts remain just tasty morsels of gossip to titillate, nothing more and nothing less."

So I have pulled in the discernment shingle, and am asking the Father to give me prayer. Spurgeon said, "I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” I want to learn to pray effectively. I am sure you are heartily relieved for that change.

Dave said...

Phil - I found your fb page a little while ago. As I posted there - I prefer how you introduced the Friel interview at fb..."Todd Friel grills me about the Elephant Room fiasco:..."

Strong Tower said...

What's a private forum?

I was truly interested in this aspect. Just what do you mean? Ecclesiastical structure? If not, what effectual power? Individual rebuke and admonition, I understand, may have all the effectiveness of a church council. But I was thinking when you contrasted public with private that you meant discipline. Then I also thought of the inherent problems with these kinds of forums, they are not a church and so how are they accountable?

Sylvia said...

You know, if we all just named names rather than naming demographics, there would be no doubt as to whom everyone was talking about, who should be offended and who shouldn't. If an offender isn't worth pointing out by name, then perhaps we should reconsider whether the offense is worth bringing up.

Phil Johnson said...

Strong Tower:

What I had in mind by "private forum" would include anything from a one-on-one meeting to a meeting with a group of elders or church leaders where the public isn't invited to listen to the heretic spin his views.

I think one of the points of 2 John 7-11 is that we should not give a show of approval or a platform for teaching to someone who is a known twister of essential Christian doctrines. It confuses people.

So if TD Jakes has truly had second thoughts regarding his rejection of Trinitarian theology, let him explain that to qualified men in a private setting and let them grill him appropriately FIRST; then he can be given a platform to express his repentance to a national audience via livestream.

If we're not absolutely and thoroughly convinced he has turned away from his former heresy, it is a sin to hand him the mike and invite him to address our flock.

That's what I had in mind when I made that comment. I was not calling for the establishment of some elaborate ecclesiastical mechanism; simply due diligence.

Denise said...

Valeria, very well said.

If there's an issue with a blogger doctrinally, then it should be addressed doctrinally, not in an immature, carnal, bullying type of way. Certainly God didn't gift believers with the Holy Spirit and with spiritual gifts according to their gender. So do we dismiss women who are gifted with discernment simply because instead of teaching at college, they teach their children God has given them (being obedient to that call)? Are they less legitimate in any way? Less honorable?

1Co 12:22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked,25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

The respect, legitimacy, patience,tolerance,and honor shown to others, whether a male with a seminary degree, or a housewife and mom, should be equal.

Please don't regret sticking up for your legitimate view, Valeria. Just remember this: it was a woman first to whom Jesus revealed Himself as Messiah (John 4), and it was a woman to whom the Lord revealed Himself resurrected. It was the men who didn't believe the hysterical, vocal, shrill women, who were obviously overcome by emotion and irrationality, claiming Jesus had risen from the dead. Only until they saw it for themselves (ah, unbelief demanded proof!) did they believe the report of the women. Suddenly, they too became emotional. Was the emotion warranted? Sure, because it was grounded on the Truth of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We see Paul shedding tears at times in Scripture because of his love, anguish, and worry for the believers. This is often the heart of those who have discernment because they love the Truth and the love the souls of others and desperately want to see them avoid heinous error.

Personal anger that either leads to slamming women BECAUSE they are women, or leads others in having or maintaining a low view of women, is selfish and unbiblical and should be repented of in humility.

Jas 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
Jas 1:18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
Jas 1:19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
Jas 1:20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
Jas 1:21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
Jas 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Phil Johnson said...

thenface2face: "I have a sneaking suspicion I am one of the shrill amateur homeschooling housewives you mean to call back to her proper venue"

I assure you that is not the case. A few innocent and tenderhearted readers have also asked privately if I had them in mind. But among those whose names might have come to mind in the top ten (if I had been pressed to make a list), not one individual needed to ask. They know very well who they are. Most of them goaded me into de-friending them on FB or blocking them on Twitter months ago, about the time Rick Warren spoke at DG. When I insisted on waiting to respond until the full Piper-Warren interviews came out, they judged me a "Bridger" (or worse) and relentlessly pestered me with everything from silly taunts and insults to the crassest sort of slander.

Phil Johnson said...

Denise: "Certainly God didn't gift believers with the Holy Spirit and with spiritual gifts according to their gender."

Of course He did. He gave us gifts that are in accord with our calling and office. Certain offices in the church are closed to women.

No matter how broadly you want to interpret 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, one of the clear implications of that text is that it's not fitting for a woman who has no teaching authority in the church to raise a public objection against a teaching elder whose office is recognized by the church. That's not to say the pastor is infallible or above critique, and there is (of course) a proper venue for a lay woman to share her concerns or ask her questions, but a blog on the Internet is not that venue.

If any woman fancies herself a gift to the church as a guardian of sound doctrine because she thinks she has a special "gift of discernment" that entitles her to go online and write insulting epithets against a duly ordained and divinely-called pastor, She is seriously mistaken and grossly out of line--and she is an embarrassment to propriety and feminine modesty.