Friday, September 30, 2011

Tenet 20: Should education and socialization be age-integrated?

20. The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for training and socialization and as such provide the preferred pattern for social life and educational endeavors. The modern preference for grouping children exclusively with their age mates for educational and social purposes is contrary to scriptural wisdom and example. (Deut. 29:10-11; 2 Chron. 20:13; Prov. 22:15 with 13:20; Joel 2:16; 1 Cor. 15:33)

Deut. 29:10-11 – All of you stand today before the LORD your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, your little ones and your wives—also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water—
This is an example, and a command to Israel on a particular day. It is not a command to us. (If it was, it would have supported mega-churches instead of home churches.)
2 Chron. 20:13 – Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the LORD.
This is an event, not a teaching.
Prov. 22:15; 13:20 – Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him. … He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
If a child spend time with children, this claims, he spend time with fools. Thus children should not play with children or go to school with them. In that case, why do patriarchal mothers raise several underage children in the same home? This is fools (children) spending time with fools. And why do they want a mother to be with the children? She is then the companion of fools, is she not?
Do you want to reason that they spend time with the mother leading, not each other? In that case, the same goes for schoolteachers.
And why, if children should not spend time with children, do many quiverfull mothers have their 9 or 10 year old daughters looking after little siblings?
More importantly, this way of putting together verses may contradict Jesus himself: Matt. 18:3: I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Instead of regarding children as fools, we should become like them. That children have foolishness in them, is only a part of the truth about children.
Joel 2:16 – Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room.
This, too, is an order to a particular group of people in about 835BC to gather for a particular event, not a command to us.
1 Cor. 15:33 – Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
The Patriarchists probably claim here children are evil company. See the comment under the Proverbs verses.


20a) The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for training
Family and church are the God-ordained institutions for spiritual training. But the Bible don't spell out spiritual training should be age-integrated. In fact, there are places it mention teaching men, women (Acts 16:13), or children (Ps 78 - …we will [teach] their children), without mentioning all age groups were together at the time of teaching. It also mentions some age- and gender-integrated teaching.
b) The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for socialization
No verse backs up who are ordained by God for socialization. It sounds strange to ordain socialization - love and friendship - to an institution. For example, should I not socialize at all at work, because my co-workers/ employees are not in my church? Should a believer not reach out, in friendship, to witness to his neighbors, as those neighbors are not in his church?
c) and as such provide the preferred pattern for social life and educational endeavors.
With point b) undefended, and point a) defended only for spiritual training and only without the word "age-integrated", this conclusion has nothing to follow from.
d) The modern preference for grouping children exclusively with their age mates
Is there really a preference for grouping children exclusively with age mates? Schools have teachers. Children still spend some time socially with parents and grandparents and other adults and older and younger siblings. Some children fail at school, and those children are grouped with younger children. Children are pretty much grouped by age nowadays, but not exclusively.
e) grouping children exclusively with their age mates  for educational and social purposes is contrary to scriptural wisdom and example.
I have to agree that it is contrary to scriptural example - scripture does not exclusively group children with age mates. It does, however, mention some grouping of children together. (For example, teaching children so they won't be like their fathers in Ps. 78, and children playing on the street in Zech. 8:5)
But then, even a father who teach his publicly schooled boy something once every two years, or a church that has one age-integrated worship service a year, do not group children exclusively with age mates. Such a father or church does too little inter-generational involvement, and neither I nor anyone I know advocates spending that little time with children. But the "even a father who ..." sentence show how little tenet 20, point e) actually mean.
Are age groupings contrary to scriptural wisdom, and a reason to keep them at home with their mother instead? Patriarchists will quote Prov. 22:15; 13:20 and 1Cor. 15:33. But those verses could as well be used against children from different age groups, and from the same family, spending time together. Whether your 6-year old play with 2 other 6 year olds, or with his siblings of 5 and 8, he still spends time with children.


Other Christians believe

Nobody denies that children have foolishness/ evil in them, but wise people know that anyone –child or adult – does, that children can be corrupted by sinful people of any age. And most Christians don't understand the patriarchal opposition to age grouping, as the same "problems" occur in families with more than 1 child.



Summing it up

How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:

      The color code:
      This is adequately biblically defended
      This is a partial truth. (The other part of the truth, that together make it Biblical, will be added in brackets.)
      This is not biblically defended

 20. The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for (spiritual) training and socialization and as such provide the preferred pattern for social life and educational endeavors. The modern preference for grouping children exclusively with their age mates for educational and social purposes is contrary to scriptural wisdom and example.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tenet 21: A Multi-generational vision

21. The Bible presents a long-term, multi-generational vision of the progress of God’s kingdom in the world. Christian parents need to adopt this perspective and be motivated by the generational promises of Scripture, and church shepherds need to promote this outlook within their flocks. By the grace of God, as fathers faithfully turn their hearts toward their sons and daughters and the youths respond in kind, the next generation will build upon the faith and improve upon the faithfulness of their parents. (Ps. 78:1-8; Is. 59:21; Mal. 4:6; Lk. 1:17; Gal. 6:9)

Ps. 78:1-8 – Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; And may not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
This passage could be used for telling your children about God, or for telling any descendants of your forefathers (for example nephews and nieces, or brothers and sisters, or perhaps even aunts and uncles, about God. (“What our fathers – that would include forefathers - have told us, we will not hide from their children” – children meaning descendants.) In Christ, all believers descend from the Father, and from other believers. As such this refer to any young believer. Young believers are “the next generation.”
Is. 59:21 – “As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the LORD, “from this time and forevermore.”
God has a multi-generational vision.
Mal. 4:6 – And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.
Lk. 1:17 – He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
This is a part of the truth, but we should not lose sight of this part either: Mat 10:34-36 - Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Although God promised some degree of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, His multi-generational vision is not dependent on biological families.
Gal. 6:9 – And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
This is a good verse, but don’t support this tenet.


21a) The Bible presents a long-term, multi-generational vision of the progress of God’s kingdom in the world.
That is Biblical, primarily from an overview of the Bible.
We build on the heritage of our spiritual forefathers too, as any non-Jewish Christian could testify. (Heb 12:1 in context with Heb. 11) As such, a multi-generational vision don't mean staring yourself blind on your biological children.
God's multi-generation vision takes each generation, with their flaws, and builds up the Kingdom nonetheless. For example, look at the genealogy of Jesus: Adam was the one who caused death to enter the world. (Rom 5:12, 14) Rahab was a prostitute. David was an adulterer with murder on his conscience, etc. 
b) Christian parents need to adopt this perspective and be motivated by the generational promises of Scripture,
All Christians - including non-parents and those Christians who don't have Christian parents - could be encouraged by this. As we build on the generations of believers before us, biologically related or not, believers - biologically related or not - build on what we leave behind. (Heb 11-12:1)
c) and church shepherds need to promote this outlook within their flocks.
I believe pastors need to teach a multi-generational vision that includes not only biological families, to the whole congregation. Singles, widows, the divorced, the infertile, and children who come to church without parents or siblings wanting to come, should all be part of the (non-biological) multi-generational vision. But no verse was given for this.
d) By the grace of God, as fathers faithfully turn their hearts toward their sons and daughters and the youths respond in kind, the next generation will build upon the faith and improve upon the faithfulness of their parents.
There was no cause and effect demonstrated from the verses. Turning the hearts towards each other will happen, in some cases. Others will have to accept division between them and their families to serve Christ. There is no promise in the Bible that children will improve on the father’s faithfulness if his heart is turned towards them.


Other ways Christians understand this:

Precisely because the Bible presents a long-term, multi-generational vision of the progress of God’s kingdom in the world, most Christians believe that we should rather look at the last characters in the Bible than the first, that their ways are wiser. The patriarchs had a mere beginning of God's revelation. It is nothing close to the revelation we have in Jesus. As such, we should rather follow in the footsteps of the disciples of Jesus. If we want to learn something from the example of a Bible character, (as opposed to learning from clear scriptural commands and doctrine), the New Testament followers of Jesus are superior to the earlier followers of God. Abraham, Isaac or Jacob did not even have the 10 commandments revealed yet, while the New Testament Christians had Christ himself.


Summing it up

How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:

      The color code:
      This is adequately biblically defended
      This is a partial truth. (The other part of the truth, that together make it Biblical, will be added in brackets.)
      This is not biblically defended


21. The Bible presents a long-term, multi-generational vision of the progress of God’s kingdom in the world. Christian parents need to adopt this perspective and be motivated by the generational promises (which are not only biological) of Scripture, and church shepherds need to promote this outlook within their flocks. By the grace of God, as fathers faithfully turn their hearts toward their sons and daughters and the youths respond in kind, the next generation will build upon the faith and improve upon the faithfulness of their parents.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tenet 22

A father and his older children
22. Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection. Fathers release sons from their jurisdiction to undertake a vocation, prepare a home, and take a wife. Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection. Even after leaving their father’s house, children should honor their parents by seeking their counsel and blessing throughout their lives. (Gen. 28:1-2; Num. 30:3ff.; Deut. 22:21; Gal. 4:1,2; Eph. 6:2-3)
Gen. 28:1,2 – Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him: “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.
This is an example, not a biblical teaching. If this is teaching, should we teach young people to marry cousins?
Num. 30:3-5 – Or if a woman makes a vow to the LORD, and binds herself by some agreement while in her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears her vow and the agreement by which she has bound herself, and her father holds his peace, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement with which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father overrules her on the day that he hears, then none of her vows nor her agreements by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the LORD will release her, because her father overruled her.
This was the laws of ancient Israel. A girl in her youth means a girl under 12 in their culture. Children were seen as adults at 12. As such, this do not refer to older children at all.
Deut. 22:21 – then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house. So you shall put away the evil from among you.
It is worrisome that this is quoted: Do Sproul, Phillips and Lancaster want to return to stoning, as that society did?
Please note that this verse do not say she should stay with her parents.
Nor does it say she should be a virgin at marriage if she stays with her parents. (See Ex. 22:16-17 – she could marry as a non-virgin, and the shotgun wedding was a recognized concept. But she should, by Deut. 22:16-17, not lie about it – she should not marry Man 2 under the pretense of being a virgin while she is not. This lie is the only thing in the law, as far as I know, for which women could be stoned and men not.)
Gal. 4:1,2 – Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
This, ironically, is a comparison to say we are no longer under the law: The law is a guardian prior to the inheritance coming in Christ. The irony is that the previous text used to defend this tenet, Deut. 22:21 was a stoning verse from that very law we are no longer under!
A child is under guardians and stewards, in this case, means he cannot manage his inheritance before his father deems him mature. This being under guardians refers to rich children who will inherit from their parents.  
Eph. 6:2,3 – “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
We should honor our parents.


22a) Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection.
These verses do not spell out children are under his command. Deut. 22 (Old Testament law which passed when Christ came) only say a girl could be in trouble for doing one particular thing while under his roof, whether her father set rules about it or not. Gal 4 say heirs are under a father’s (delegated to stewards) command until a time he appoints, not “as long as they are under his roof.” This "time he appoints" is not the "time when they may make their own decisions about their lifes" but the "time they will inherit."
b) Fathers release sons from their jurisdiction to undertake a vocation, prepare a home, and take a wife.
What jurisdiction? This point was not defended at all.  
c) Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection.
No verse teaches she should stay under his protection until marriage.
d) Even after leaving their father’s house, children should honor their parents
Yes.
d) by seeking their counsel and blessing throughout their lives.
Nothing in here say how children should honor their parents.


Other ways Christians understand this:

Christians outside patriarchy do not see this point at all.


Summing it up

How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:

      The color code:
      This is adequately biblically defended
      This is not biblically defended

22. Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection. Fathers release sons from their jurisdiction to undertake a vocation, prepare a home, and take a wife. Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection. Even after leaving their father’s house, children should honor their parents by seeking their counsel and blessing throughout their lives.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tenet 23: Fathers, and helping children to find a marriage partner

23. Fathers should oversee the process of a son or daughter seeking a spouse. While a father may find a wife for his son, sons are free to take initiative to seek and “take a wife.” A wise son will desire his parents’ involvement, counsel, and blessing in that process. Since daughters are “given in marriage” by their fathers, an obedient daughter will desire her father to guide the process of finding a husband, although the final approval of a husband belongs to her. Upon a Marriage taking place, a new household with new jurisdiction is established, separate from that of the father. (Gen. 24:1ff.; 25:20; 28:2; Ex. 2:21; Josh. 15:17; Jdg. 12:9; 1 Sam. 18:27; Jer. 29:6; 1 Cor. 7:38; Gen. 24:58)
Gen. 24:1 – Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” …
Gen. 25:20 – Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian.
Gen. 28:2 – Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.
Ex. 2:21 – Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses.
Josh. 15:17 – So Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it; and he gave him Achsah his daughter as wife.
Judg. 12:9 – He had thirty sons. And he gave away thirty daughters in marriage, and brought in thirty daughters from elsewhere for his sons. He judged Israel seven years.
1Sam. 18:27 – therefore David arose and went, he and his men, and killed two hundred men of the Philistines. And David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full count to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him Michal his daughter as a wife.
Up to this far, all passages describe events, not what we should do.
Jer. 29:6 – Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished.
This order was given to the Israelites taken in captive to Babylon. The whole passage is about building a future in Babylon, prospering where their situation took them. This is not a “God’s will for the Christian marriage” passage.
1Cor. 7:38 – So then he who gives her in marriage does well, but he who does not give her in marriage does better.
This passage does not mention a father, or a daughter. This is just one interpretation of the passage. The real Greek don’t even have the word “her” in this verse. Bible scholars disagree whether this passage speak of a father giving his daughter, of a man who may behave uncomely towards his fiancĂ©e by staying single (:36), or a person who will struggle to keep his/ her virginity, and should rather give it away in marriage.
Even if this verse is about fathers who give in marriage, the literal meaning would be that fathers do better if they do not give children in marriage. They do better if they do not “oversee the process of a son or daughter seeking a spouse”. As such, it is certainly no command to be involved in their search for a partner.
Gen. 24:58 – Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”
Rebekah chose to go to Isaac. This is an event, not a teaching.


23a) Fathers should oversee the process of a son or daughter seeking a spouse.
No verse in here teaches they should, unless you take Jer. 29:6 as an order to us. But by :4, it is an order to those “caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon”. That is not us.
b) While a father may find a wife for his son,
Some texts speak of fathers doing it. But that don’t mean they may do it. Those same men who gave daughters in marriage were often sinners and cowards, prone to many types of wrongdoing. For example, Abraham (used here as an example of giving spousal advice to his son) also gave away his wife to a harem. The examples Abraham set for marrying and giving in marriage should not always be followed.  
c) sons are free to take initiative to seek and “take a wife.”
These texts do not teach they are free to do so. It mentions sons doing so, but some of these very same sons who take wives also have crimes like murder and adultery on their consciences. As such, their examples do not show we should follow it.
d) A wise son will desire his parents’ involvement, counsel, and blessing in that process.
No verse teaches it. I think a wise son will ask their involvement, council and blessing if he correctly judges them to be wise. A wise son, who correctly judges his parents not to be wise in this matter, will not ask much help from them in the process.
e) Since daughters are “given in marriage” by their fathers,
“Are given” is a bit ambiguous here. If it means they were given in marriage by fathers in the sinful world of Bible times, then it is true. It is historically and factually true that daughters are often given in marriage.
If it implies daughters should be given in marriage by fathers, this is not in the Bible. Since patriarchists act out the latter belief in courtship/ betrothal, I will treat it as meaning the latter.
f) an obedient daughter will desire her father to guide the process of finding a husband,
This is not in the Bible.
g) although the final approval of a husband belongs to her.
This is believable, and compatible with free will and with mercy and loving others as yourself, but not taught in the Bible.
h) Upon a Marriage taking place, a new household with new jurisdiction is established, separate from that of the father.
This was not defended at all.

Other ways Christians understand this:

On the blog Jensgems, Jen writes:

This Tenet is about “betrothal,” a system that is far more about a cultural system that was commonplace two thousand years ago, than it is about any biblical mandates. Patriarchists are seeking to reestablish a system whereby the father becomes the ultimate authority and arbiter on making the most important decision that his children will ever enter into — their marriage partners. Two thousand years ago this may have made a lot more sense culturally than it does today. Two thousand years ago sons generally took wives right from within their own communities. Sons also often took wives from among their own cousins. Today we know that such “inbreeding” often produces disastrous results. They also frequently took wives that were in their early teens (e.g. 14 year olds). Betrothals were also often arranged for a young man to take more than one wife. Today we know better than to encourage that. Not everything recorded in Scripture (polygamy, marrying cousins, etc.) can or should be interpreted as a biblical mandate for us today. God gave us an intellect and He expects us to use it.
Summing it up

How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:

      The color code:
      This is not biblically defended
      This was not defended from the Bible, but I’ll concede it for rational reasons.


23. Fathers should oversee the process of a son or daughter seeking a spouse. While a father may find a wife for his son, sons are free to take initiative to seek and “take a wife.” A wise son will desire his parents’ involvement, counsel, and blessing in that process. Since daughters are “given in marriage” by their fathers, an obedient daughter will desire her father to guide the process of finding a husband, although the final approval of a husband belongs to her. Upon a Marriage taking place, a new household with new jurisdiction is established, separate from that of the father.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tenet 24: The sufficiency & application of Scripture

The sufficiency & application of Scripture
24. Scripture is the believer’s sufficient guide for all of faith and practice, and Christians must believe and obey whatever it teaches and commands. The Bible provides the Christian — through precept, pattern and principle — all that is necessary to make wise decisions concerning the many ethically complex issues of life. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3)

2 Tim. 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
When Paul wrote this, he did not refer to the 66 books we now know as the Bible. Some of these 66 books were not even written yet. However, by faith this is believed about more books than what Paul referred to when writing this to Timothy.
2Pet. 1:3 – as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.
This passage does not refer to scripture. It teaches that knowing Him gives us all things. He is not the Bible. He is the one who want a relationship with us.


24a) Scripture is the believer’s sufficient guide for all of faith and practice
Scripture is called profitable in the Bible, but it is not called sufficient. It is through “knowledge of Him” that we get “all things pertain to life and Godliness” – not through Scripture. And the Spirit guides us in all truth (John 16:13), and should thus be called our guide. To call God sufficient is biblical, to call the Bible – without mentioning God’s help – sufficient, is not. The Bible is not God.
b) and Christians must believe and obey whatever it teaches and commands.
That is a biblical view, whether the words "Christians must obey the Bible" appear in the Bible or not. A high view of the Bible is the hinge on which a biblical world view hangs.
c) The Bible provides the Christian … all that is necessary to make wise decisions concerning the many ethically complex issues of life.
Not all. See 24a).
Here is a simple example: It would be ethical and wise for a judge to listen to both sides, and judge justly. (Prov. 24:23, among others) The Bible don't give the judge party A's words or party B's words, but their testimonies help a Christian judge to make a wise decision.
In that way, all kinds of knowledge, from outside and inside the Bible, help us make wise decisions concerning ethics. We should consider everything we know in light of biblical guidelines, in the power of the Spirit. The Spirit and the facts are necessary too, not just the Bible.
d) The Bible provides this through precept, pattern and principle.
Through precept and principle, the Bible provides a lot of what God will use to help the Christian make wise decisions. But not all. It gives the letter, but not the Spirit At times, God leads in other ways.
Making decisions through scriptural patterns is more controversial. There is, for example, a pattern in the Bible of people turning away from God, again and again. There are patterns of polygamy, adultery, lying, and misunderstanding God’s purposes. There is a pattern of church leaders (both in the Old and New Testament) being Jewish. Americans are not in any of the Bible’s patterns. But patterns in scripture are often examples of what the imperfect world of Bible times did again and again. They are not commands. We should not be like the sinful world – neither the sinful world of Abraham’s era, nor the sinful first century Roman world around Jesus, nor the sinful Victorian or current world.


Other ways Christians understand this:

Some Christians say that precisely because Christians should have a high regard of scripture, they disregard the way the Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy proof-texts to get to the conclusions they want.

Summing it up

How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:

      The color code:
      This is adequately Biblically defended
      Scripture say the opposite


24. Scripture is the believer’s sufficient guide for all of faith and practice, and Christians must believe and obey whatever it teaches and commands. The Bible provides the Christian — through precept, pattern and principle — all that is necessary to make wise decisions concerning the many ethically complex issues of life.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tenet 25

25. Fathers need to exercise discernment in the choices they make for their families and not simply drift with the cultural tide. Egalitarian feminism is an enemy of God and of biblical truth, but the need for care goes beyond this threat. The values of modern society are often at odds with those that accompany a biblical worldview. For example, fathers need self-consciously to resist the values of individualism at the expense of community, efficiency at the expense of relationships, and material well-being at the expense of spiritual progress. The world and the worldly church will cheer many choices that are detrimental to family sanctification. (Rom. 12:2; 1 Jn. 2:15)
Rom. 12:2 -And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
1John 2:15 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
We should not conform to this world, or love this world. That also means we should not love or be like the sinful world of Bible times, to which this was written. Some of these tenets hold up people from the sinful world of Abraham, Sarah, Rebekah, Isaac, Leah, Rachel and Jacob, as an example for us, without proving God was indeed in favor of their behavior. These patriarchs were evidently sinners (with several examples of stealing, lying, fraud and loveless behavior between them), so why would we want to follow their example? We could follow their example in behavior God praises elsewhere, but not in all they did. Also see "Other ways Christians understand this" under tenet 21.

25a) Fathers need to exercise discernment in the choices they make
Yes, fathers should exercise discernment. So should mothers, singles, children, widows, and childless people. This is a major problem with these tenets: They read everything in terms of men and fathers, even that which apply to everyone.
b) for their families
This imply fathers should make choices for their families. Except for Eph. 6:4, which say fathers (and perhaps mothers) should (choose to) bring their children up in the training and admonition of God, no other verse in TBP say they should make any other choices for their families. Even with that verse, no verse in TBP prove they should make any decision whatsoever for their wives.
Common sense certainly suggest that there will be times, in a family, when not everyone can make his own decision, but nothing in these tenets prove this is the father's job.
c) and not simply drift with the cultural tide.
That is a challenge to all believers, not just fathers.
d) Egalitarian feminism is an enemy of God and of biblical truth,
This is hard to comment on, as they did not define "egalitarian feminism." Do they mean secular feminism, with egalitarian meaning its emphasis on equality? Do they mean Christian egalitarianism, with feminism meaning the focus on how women are treated in church? If they mean secular feminism, which aspects of it are meant? Is Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s work to allow widows to inherit the same as suffrage?
The tenets do not prove anything about secular feminism in itself (see for example how tenets 5; 12 and 14 have no biblical basis).
And the undoubtedly biblical things in the tenets do not prove that Christian egalitarian is an enemy of God or biblical truth. Even those things marked with "It can be Biblically defended, but so can another view"shows, at most, that Christian egalitarians may be mistaken about (some of?) their ideas if the patriarchal interpretation is right. It does not prove their view, as a whole, is an enemy of God.
As such, I will simply state that it was the business of Phil Lancaster, RC Sproul, and Doug Phillips to define their terms and give texts to defend it. What they did not define, they cannot defend.
e) but the need for care goes beyond this threat.
Whether egalitarian feminism is an evident need for care or not, some things are a need for care. I grant them this.
f) The values of modern society are often at odds with those that accompany a biblical worldview.
The values of all societies - including patriarchal Old Testament society - are at odds with a biblical worldview. That is, if you define "biblical" as what God wants and have revealed in the Bible as His will.
Define "biblical" as whatever Bible characters did, and murder, rape, theft, prostitution, marrying your half-sister, and giving your wife away to a harem, all become "biblical."
I believe the message they want to give is not akin to "Christian pro-life values are at odds with the murders that happened in the Old Testament." The message is that our values are less than what God wants. As such, this point is true, and defended in Rom. 12:2 and 1 Jn. 2:15.
g) For example, fathers need self-consciously to resist the values of individualism at the expense of community, efficiency at the expense of relationships, and material well-being at the expense of spiritual progress.
These were not defended from the Bible. Where are texts against individualism, or for community? Can being like the community not entail loving the world and the things of the world? Were John the Baptist not an individualist? Could efficiency not be to our advantage sometimes, even when you have to work on a task when you could have worked on a relationship?
h) The world and the worldly church will cheer many choices that are detrimental to family sanctification.
The world will cheer many choices detrimental to sanctification. That is implied in the texts provided. But inserting "family" is simply adding to scripture. And since these Bible passages warn us not to be like the world, it implies that the worldly church could live like them. I'm not sure the texts say a part of the Christian church would "cheer" those choices.

Other ways Christians understand this:

Christians agree that we should not be like the world. Most of them don’t see the need to add “fathers” or “family” to this truth.


Summing it up

How reliable is this tenet? I will use a color code:

      The color code:
      This is adequately biblically defended
      This is a partial truth. (The other part of the truth, that together make it Biblical, will be added in brackets.)
      This is not biblically defended


25. Fathers (like everyone else) need to exercise discernment in the choices they make for their families and not simply drift with the cultural tide. Egalitarian feminism is an enemy of God and of biblical truth, but the need for care goes beyond this threat. The values of modern society are often at odds with those that accompany a biblical worldview. For example, fathers need self-consciously to resist the values of individualism at the expense of community, efficiency at the expense of relationships, and material well-being at the expense of spiritual progress. The world and the worldly church will cheer many choices that are detrimental to family sanctification.