The Wartburg Watch: When They Get It Right

When TWW gets it right, they are spot-on. This is a great example of when they get it right.

Before I elaborate, we need to list some stipulations. I know this seems redundant, as we’ve done this before, but I’ll do it for the sake of someone potentially reading this who is not a regular here:

(1) There is a huge difference between Calvinism as a hermeneutical model (good) and Calvinism as a systematic dogma (not so good). Hermeneutical Calvinism, simply put, means taking the Scriptures at face value. It is not the same as taking all Scripture literally–which many fundamentalists do–but rather taking the Scriptures as literally as the text requires. This is a good common-sense approach to Scripture that one can reasonably take without arriving at the same dogmatic conclusions at which the hard Calvinists arrive.

(2) You cannot have a church without discipline. There is no getting away from that fact. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, commands them to “expel the immoral brother”. The Corinthians, as you may recall, had many serious discipline issues, not the least of which included rampant sexual immorality, including one among them who was sleeping with his own stepmother.

So yes, there is a place for the “nuclear option”–excommunication.

At the same time, throughout the New Testament, most of the discipline is exhortation and admonition. The nuclear option is reserved for the most egregious sins: those involving malice, deceit, immorality, and neglect of family.

(3) The Church ought to err on the side of liberty while admonishing against license. The problem with many of the NeoCalvinist churches is that they fail to learn from the abuses of others–particularly the Shepherding Movement–who have attempted to implement the degree of micromanagement that they seek.

And that’s what this is all about: micromanagement.

At my church, people come and go all the time. People leave for varying reasons: they might prefer a different style, they might like a particular pastor more, they might have different location preferences, they might have job changes that require geographical relocation. The reasons are varying.

Unless a member is “under discipline”–which is extremely rare, and we have only had two people in the nearly 8 years I’ve been there to whom this applied (it was a case of flagrant immorality)–then they should be free to leave as they wish. This is how it works at my church.

So yes, TWW is correct here about the potential disaster looming in churches that adhere to “covenant membership”. Done rightly, it is very good. Done wrongly, it can be disastrous.

Personally, I think the NeoCals need to get their heads together and arrive at a framework that properly defines the functionality of “covenant membership”. This would allow for churches to avoid the near-catastrophe that required a prompt, public apology from Matt Chandler. It would also help protect those families who wish to move on from abusive situations.

Triathlon Glossary (Half-Serious)

Triathlon = An event for people who wish to suck at three sports on the same day.

Sprint Triathlon = a triathlon featuring a 750-meter swim, a 20K (~12.5 mile) bike, and a 5K (3.1-mile) run.

Olympic Triathlon = a triathlon featuring a 1500-meter swim, a 40K (~25 mile) bike, and a 10K (6.2-mile) run.

Half-Iron Triathlon (also called “half-distance” triathlon) = a triathlon featuring a 2K (1.2-mile) swim, a 90K (~56 mile) bike, and a 21K (13.1-mile) run.

Ironman Triathlon (also called “full-distance” or “Iron-distance” triathlon) = a triathlon featuring a 4K (2.4-mile) swim, a 180K (~112-mile) bike, and a 42K (26.2-mile) run.

“Double-Anvil” Triathlon = Iron distance x 2 (4.8-mile swim/224-mile bike/52.4-mile run). People who do these races need such anvils dropped on their heads.

P1 = Peeing before the race. Often done in the wetsuit, although many athletes deny doing this. While we’re on this issue, there are only two types of triathletes: those who pee in their wetsuit, and those who lie and say they don’t. Just sayin’…

P2 = Poop stop before the race. If you don’t do this before the race, Murphy’s Law guarantees that you’ll have to do this during the race, and–when this happens–your distance to the nearest port-a-potty will be directly proportional to the square of the urgency of your need to go, and the probability of it being unoccupied when you reach it will be inversely-proportional to the square of your need.

T1 = Swim-bike transition area.

T2 = Bike-run transition area.

Brick Workout = a workout involving a multisport combination–usually a bike-run combination–in order to prepare your body for transitions during race day. Otherwise known as a masochistic workout done by people who are just nuts.

Mass Start = swim start where everyone starts together. This is also called a “washing machine”.

Rolling start = swim start where people stand in line to enter the water. Your time begins only when you start. This method is prominent in some Iron-distance events where athletes swim in a river and the start area is a set of boat docks. Examples of this include Ironman Louisville.

Wave start = swim start where people go out in groups (called “waves”). Your time begins when your wave starts.

DNS = Did Not Start. Athletes who were registered but otherwise skipped out due to injury, illness, sharks in the water, alligators in the water, jellyfish in the water, algae blooms in the water, human feces in the water, etc.

DNF = Did Not Finish. Athletes who started the race but, for whatever reason, did not complete the race. Reasons include quitting (rare), getting pulled for medical reasons, missing designated cutoff times, or dying during the race. On a serious note, the latter DOES happen a couple times per year, usually during the swim, and usually due to undiagnosed heart problems and/or swimming-induced pulmonary edema (SIPE).

DQ = Disqualification. Athletes who started the race but, due to rules violations, were disqualified.

Draft zone = that distance–usually 10 meters–behind a bike that, in USAT races, athletes must remain outside in order to avoid a drafting penalty, assuming the officials are enforcing draft zones, which they usually don’t.

Drafting = On the bike, that means following another athlete closely enough in order to take aerodynamic advantage of the slipstream, which minimizes the drag forces you encounter, therefore making your work on the bike easier.

This practice is actually very common in cycling events and is actually an integral part of the strategy. In ITU (International Triathlon Union) events, it is also a common practice.

But in USAT (USA Triathlon) events, which is what most triathlons in the US are, it’s a big no-no. If you get caught doing this, you get penalized.

This is often a sore spot among American triathletes, because while drafting is illegal, the rule rarely gets enforced, and many of the elites will draft with near-impunity.

It’s like federal laws against mishandling classified information: they only apply to little people.

Sucking Wheel = synonym for drafting, usually a perjorative term.

“That cheater is sucking wheel!”

Penalty tent = a prison where athletes guilty of various offenses hang out for a designated time and kvetch about the officials. I’ve never been in one myself, but I’ve heard stories from folks who’ve worked them in Ironman events.

Special Needs = In Iron-distance races, a designated point (usually during the halfway point of the bike, and the first loop of the run) where athletes keep items that they may need during the race. This could include an extra clothing item, a food item, a bottle of beer or vodka or bourbon.

(Well, not really, but–trust me–when you’re starting the back half of the marathon portion of an Ironman, bourbon sounds like a wonderful idea.)

HTHU = Harden The Heck Up. More common variations of this include HTFU, and–since we’re adults–we all know what the F stands for. This is a common admonition to embrace toughness, and is popular among the ultra-distance community, which includes ultra-marathoners, long-distance swimmers and cyclists, and triathletes who go out at distances from the half-Iron and beyond.

Athlete #1: “I am dehydrated, I’ve hit the wall, my legs are killing me. And I still have 20 miles left on the run.”

Athlete #2: “HTHU! You got this!”

RTFM = Read The Flippin’ Manual. (OK, that’s the clean version anyway.) The response when athletes on Facebook groups ask the same question over and over, and the answer is in the athlete manual.

Body Glide = one of the greatest inventions of the last 50 years. Helps prevent chafing. Failure to use it often results in bloody nipples.

Chamois Butter = another great anti-chafing aid. Often used to prevent saddle sores and chafing in the crotch and buttocks.

Modesty = Forget it.

Gatorade = sports drink that royally sucks but, due to universal availability, is very standard at endurance events.

Infinit = high-end sports drink that is popular among Ironman triathletes.

Tri bike
= a road bike that is specially-designed to accommodate the aerodynamic position and includes aero bars. Also called a “time trial” or TT bike.

Aero bars
= special handlebars that allow the rider to pedal while resting in an aerodynamic crouch. These are a hallmark of TT bikes, but also can be installed on standard road bikes.

Podium: If you place overall, or place in your age group, or place in any group that receives awards, you get to stand on the podium for a photo op. Example: “I made podium; I got second in my age group.”

DFL: Dead Flippin’ Last. Again, that’s the clean version. In triathlon, this is often a badge of honor, as finishing always beats the heck out of a DNF or a DNS. A crappy finish is better than no finish. And if you manage to finish in spite of severe setbacks, it can be a “Peacock Moment”.

Peacock moment = a major accomplishment. Whether it’s your first triathlon finish, your first open-water swim, your first century ride, your first “podium”, a first-place finish, or even a DFL. If it matters to you, then it’s a Peacock Moment.

After-Action Report: Louisville Landsharks Triathlon

After my DNF at Tri Louisville in June, which was due to a mechanical problem and not a physical matter, I signed up for the Louisville Landsharks Triathlon, held at Taylorsville Lake State Park on July 24.

Instead of doing the smart thing and signing up for the Sprint triathlon (1/2-mile swim, 12-mile bike, 5K run), I did the really stupid thing and signed up for the Olympic triathlon (1-mile swim, 25-mile bike, 10K run).

Why was this a stupid idea, given that I was otherwise in fine shape for it?

(a) the course was very tough. Water temperature was 87F, meaning this would be my first OWS without a wetsuit. And given that the swim was in loops, I was going to get kicked, bumped, and swam over by the faster swimmers. The bike course was quite hilly. And the run was also quite hilly.

(b) the weather forecast was very nasty: morning temps were in the mid-80s with very high humidity. Temps would climb into the 90s, with heat indices surging above 100F. And there were no shaded areas on the course.

The triathlon was hosted by a triathlon club in which I am a member: the Louisville Landsharks. They have many highly-elite athletes. I absolutely expected to finish near the bottom.

Many of the elites had opted out of doing the entire triathlon, opting instead to participate in relay teams. They were the smart ones.

Me? I was a freaking idiot. I wanted revenge for Tri Louisville. And–dang it–I was going to get it, heat be damned.

Part 1: The Swim

The swim start was a “mass” start. I intentionally started in the back, and was the last one out. The swim felt pretty good for the first loop, even though I got bumped quite a bit. I started having trouble on the back half because I kept bumping into a swimmer who I was slightly better than, but not so much better that I could overtake him. I would pass him, he would draft me, and then pull up and bump or kick me (unintentionally). I finally said the hell with it, stopped, treaded water, and let him go on for a while. I didn’t want this upsetting my rhythm.

My back locked up on the last quarter-mile, as this was my first open-water swim without a wetsuit. I usually rely on the wetsuit for low back support, and I didn’t have that this time. Still, I finished relatively comfortably, even though I was clearly slow as molasses.

T1 (swim-bike transition) was pretty smooth–downed some carbs, got my bike shoes, jersey, and helmet on, and I was on the bike path.

Part 2: The Bike

My Speedfil hydration bottle was not mounted properly on my aero bars, and this made drinking and riding difficult. But that was a minor inconvenience.

The course started with a very hard half-mile climb-out, followed by 24.5 miles, mostly rolling hills. The heat was noticeable, and I drank nearly all 3 of my water bottles. My pace was a bit slow, but I otherwise felt comfy. I passed a lady on the bike, who was clearly dehydrated.

Pulling into T2 (bike-run transition), I felt pretty good, although it was hotter than Bill Clinton in a Japanese whorehouse. I downed more carbs, got some water down, dried off my feet and got my socks and shoes on, strapped on my back brace, and headed out for a 10K. On the way out, I passed the gal I passed on the bike.

Part 3: The Run

Whether I would finish the run was never in doubt. But, after the first mile, I knew it was going to be slow. I saw elite runners walking the last leg on the return! While I clearly had the legs to jog comfortably, the heat was very brutal. I was sweating profusely, but my body was not cooling. I had a water bottle and drank from it liberally, and I was consuming water at twice the rate I normally do on runs. I had to defend against heat exhaustion.

So I decided to jog only on downhills. I felt good, but wanted to be cautious, as MrsLarijani does not permit me to die without permission.

The gal I passed on the bike caught up with me, but she was clearly struggling. She was very dehydrated. I figured I’d chat it up with her and see if she could jog some downhills when they came.

Thankfully, there were plenty of water stops, and I was able to keep my water supply strong. I was still getting dehydrated, but being able to drink was helping. I was able to jog comfortably, but didn’t want to upstage the gal. At this point, I really didn’t give a crap about trying to beat anyone. And besides, I was having a good time giving her tips about the Ironman Louisville course, which she signed up for this year. Her weak area is the bike, and that is actually one of my stronger showings.

With a half-mile to go, it was all downhill, so I broke into an easy jog. She broke into a sprint when she got into the parking lot. I was happy to finish jogging and smiling.

At the finish, I felt good, albeit a little dehydrated. I got my revenge. The heat added at least an hour to my time, but I felt good at the finish, and that was a lot better than a lot of folks could say. Once I got a liter of cold water down, I felt fine.

At this point, my triathlon season is over, as I have completed the triathlons I had on my schedule. I finished an Olympic and a half-Iron, while DNFing at a Sprint due to a blown tire and no spare. On top of that, I have three century rides done, with one more to go. The grand finale will be the Air Force Marathon in September.

If my stress test goes well, I’m aiming to sign up for an Iron-distance next year.

The Mrs.

Y’all … I just have to say … Mrs. Larijani is awesome! Amir done married well when he snagged her!

Yes … I need brownie points with her … cause, apparently, I encourage certain behaviors that are not always necessarily the easiest to live with. I really wouldn’t know about that. But there was an implication on facebook as to such.

So, I thought I’d make sure Mrs. L and the whole rest of the world know how awesome this Beautiful woman is! She’s super smart, very quick-witted, loves the kitties, including our own Recon. She can definitely hold her own (don’t get on her bad side) but has no problem being the lady and following her Man, Amir. And despite my apparent trips falls from grace, she’s still loyal. I’m very grateful she’s my friend!

RNC Convention and Cruz v. Trump and Gingrich: Are We Past The Point of No Return?

I totally get the “alt-right” (AR) movement, which has championed the cause of Trump on the basis of nationalism. While there are many unsavory elements in the AR world, they are where they are because of decades of a GOP establishment that has overpromised and never delivered, and which has actively and passively supported an immigration policy that is nothing short of suicidal.

The GOP nominee, Donald Trump, has ridden that anger to the nomination, and he will face off with DNC nominee Hillary Clinton. While Trump has a marginal amount of faithful supporters, his candidacy has vacillated between brilliance for liberty, with flashes of authoritarian despotism, with scant attention to matters of personal liberty and a foreign policy that vacillates from non-interventionist but sensible trade deals on one hand, and more boots on the ground in the Middle East.

With Trump. we may get a President predisposed to Constitutional government, who nominates sensible, constructionist jurists to the federal courts, who works sensible trade deals that address the fact that Americans are paying for socialist health care scams in the Eurozone and south of our border, and who will play hardball to shut down the mass migration of citizens of Muslims and those south of our border.

Or we may get a President who says that the Constitution doesn’t matter, who will suspend liberties, give us authoritarian government, spread the military thin by prosecuting more protracted wars in Syria and Iraq, and pursue a domestic policy consistent with the social liberalism that has defined him for most of his life.

Last night. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) delivered a stunning speech that, while congratulating Trump on securign the nomination, stopped short of endorsing Trump. In his speech, he highlighted his fight for fundamental liberties, constitutional government, and those who risk it all every day to protect Americans. But he stopped well short of endorsing Trump, instead calling on Republicans to “vote their conscience”.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), an establishment Republican who rides the Trump train like a million-dollar whore, provided his own endorsement on Cruz’s behalf. Trump graciously said that Cruz’s non-endorsement was “no big deal”, and reportedly he knew beforehand that Cruz would not endorse him and still permitted Cruz to speak.

(That being the case, Trump showed quite the measure of grace, as past GOP nominees have shut down their opposition. Examples include the Establishment’s blackballing of Pat Buchanan in 1996, and the lockout of Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012.)

The larger issue, however, is this: if it takes Trump–the ultimate “lesser evil” candidate–to stand in the way of a Hillary Presidency, are we past the point of no return?

We have reached the point where illegitimacy rates are paving the way to national instability. Black illegitimacy exceeds 70%; white illegitimacy, which exceeds 45%, is also suicidal. Marriage is on a severe downslope, as fewer people are getting married, and birth rates have been well below replacement level for nearly three decades. The dirty secret about immigration is this: we are using it to cover for that low birth rate, which impacts our economic capacity.

Even worse, we now have a financial system that is unsustainable, with federal spending on a gravy train that is running out of gravy. Our Federal Reserve continues to manufacture imitation gravy, which the world pretends is real gravy, but that has resulted in the spike in the cost of gravy that is diluted. When that train breaks down, the reckoning will make 2008 look like the most prosperous years of the 1980s.

On matters of life and liberty, the death toll in the abortion mills exceeds 60 million since 1973, while race relations are at their lowest point in nearly 50 years. President Obama has stoked black anger against whites, and black anger against police, and this has resulted in a rash of attacks on cops. Federal courts have decided that gay “marriage” is not only a right, but also that Christian businesses must cater to said “marriages”. A military that, for more than 200 years, had been very friendly to Christians has become very hostile to Christians. Meanwhile, Presidents are using the apparatus of federal government to harass and squelch political dissent.

John Adams famously said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” While it is logically possible that the Constitution is big enough for a secular people, even a critical mass of Muslims, the fact remains: the Constitution is a product of a Christian consensus, rooted in a common law that has its roots in Biblical principles, articulating rights that have scant recognition outside the realm of Christendom.

The Constitution was designed for a certain kind of people. The issue is whether we are that kind of people anymore? Over the past 240 years, our Christian heritage has been the basis by which we resolved our great struggles, from post-Civil War reconciliation, to the abolition of slavery, to the abolition of child prostitution, to the Civil Rights movement, even the Cold War and matters of free markets versus collectivism.

But are we that kind of people anymore?

If the answer is yes, then America can survive the worst of Trump or Hillary, although the next decade will be downright ugly.

If the answer is no, then the Presidential race is moot, as we are merely haggling over which candidate is going to delay the inevitable.

If we are no longer the type of people for whom that Constitution was written, then Trump will, at best, give us a brief reprieve from the coming onslaught of totalitarian government.

Against that backdrop, Cruz was speaking to matters that, to the GOP delegation last night, might as well have been in a foreign language.

Intellectual Dishonesty 101, Part 2 (TWW and the “Secret Origins” of Complimentarianism)

Here is another example of TWW’s reporting going off the rails.

While they were correct in the way that Grudem, Piper, Kassian, et. al, provided the impetus for what would be the complimentarian movement in modern Christianity, I have a few issues with that presentation.

(1) They seem rather obsessed that the meetings were held in private. They devote a large amount of space to the “secrecy” of the meetings in which Grudem & Co. arrived at their formal position statement on gender roles in the Church.

Their obsession with this seems counter-productive. For a pair of bloggers who clamor for more freedom, assailing the heavy-handed leadership of certain church leaders, they sure are obsessed with like-minded believers who take the liberty to meet privately to deliberate and study and arrive at conclusions over critical matters. I see no Biblical injunctions against this, and yet TWW acts as though Grudem & Co. are the epitome of evil, scheming against all believers.

(2) They devote very little attention to the way Grudem was treated; when he was presenting the case for complimentarianism, he was put in situations where (a) he was vastly outnumbered, and (b) the forums were set up in ways that did not allow him a chance to adequately present his case.

This was EXACTLY the problem at SBTS when I arrived there in the Fall of 1993. The issue is not that there were liberals among the faculty; the issue is that THE DECK WAS STACKED.

Every single professor in the Philosophy department supported evolution. All supported women pastors.

Every single professor in the OT department supported evolution. All supported women pastors.

All but two professors in the NT department were liberal. All but one supported women pastors.

Every single professor in the theology department was liberal (except one emeritus professor). All supported women pastors.

Every single professor in the preaching department was liberal. All supported women pastors.

Every single professor in the Social Work department was liberal. All supported women pastors.

Every single ethics professor was pro-choice on abortion. All supported women pastors.

Almost every professor in the Christian Education department was a liberal. All supported women pastors.

Complimentarians were nowhere to be found at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Had the problems ended there, it would have been bad enough.

One of the really hot-button issues at SBTS at the time was the issue of inclusive language. This was a threefold debate:

(a) The reference of God using feminine pronouns.

(b) The use of gender-inclusive language in Scripture in places where male-dominant pronouns are used.

(b) The use of inclusive language colloquially.

Most of us had no objection to the (c), but the conservatives among us had serious issues with (a) and (b).

Honest discussion of that was impossible, however, because (1) we were outnumbered, and (2) the professors often moderated the discussions such that dissenters had little place to make a case.

TWW apparently has no problem with that, as, in their world, egalitarian bullying is ok, because it’s for a good cause, whereas when complimentarians have secret meetings to formulate their strategies, they are the legion of the darkest forms of evil.

I’m not saying any of this to defend everything Mohler did at SBTS; I have problems with the extent of the attrition at SBTS. My gripe back then was the lack of parity, not the fact that liberals and mdoerates were among the faculty. And I do have a serious problem with the neo-Calvinist dominance among the Southern Baptist leadership.

Still, as I said in my piece about TWW and Mary Kassian, we need to understand the goings on at SBTS in light of what went on before Mohler arrived, as well as the outright savage character attacks launched on Mohler and anyone who supported him–or who opposed the leftist agenda at SBTS.

And yet TWW gives little or no attention to those dynamics, but merely attempts to cast Mohler, Kassian, Grudem, Piper, and the rest of the complimentarian folks as evil schemers.

This is where TWW goes off the reservation.

Intellectual Dishonesty 101: TWW and Tucker vs. Kassian

First, some disclaimers:

(a) I don’t know Ruth Tucker or Mary Kassian.

(b) I attended SBTS from 1993-1994. Kassian was not at SBTS at the time. Quite frankly, there is no way she would have been hired in the pre-Mohler days. Back then, there were a few conservatives in the NT department, but that was it.

I was there when Mohler was inaugurated. I was there when liberals dominated most departments at SBTS. To say that “the liberals were in charge” at the time does not do justice to the situation.

Any attempt to raise legitimate concerns about women pastors, any attempt to raise legitimate concerns regarding egalitarianism were dismissed as sexism.

If you believed in referring to God using masculine pronouns (and objected to feminine pronouns and gender-inclusive language to refer to God), then you were a sexist.

If you suggested that the Scriptures restrict sex to heterosexual marriage and that any aberration from that–including homosexuality–is sin, then you were a homophobe. If you objected to abortion, then you were a misogynist.

While Mohler gets a fair amount of flak at TWW, I can honestly say that he did a great service at SBTS: he cleaned up a mess that needed cleaning. If you think that egalitarians do not foster a culture of abuse, then you are only looking at one side of the story. They were very domineering at SBTS, and were effective at shouting down and crowding out dissenters.

It was so bad that a few of my friends–who were very feminist and anti-Mohler–were embarrassed by the way conservatives were treated. Complimentarians were subject to all sorts of ridicule, and honest discussion was damn-near impossible.

I would contend that any discussion regarding Mohler and his treatment of such matters must be weighed with respect to the disaster he inherited at SBTS. I can attest to the abuse he received, and I can attest to the abuse heaped on his wife, all by egalitarians who hated him and did everything they could to make him look bad. If you call that Christian, then I question your Christianity.

(c) I am not a neo-Calvinist. I subscribe to Calvinism as a hermeneutical model–taking Scripture at face value–but not the dogmatic teachings of the Calvinist camp. While I admire Mohler’s intellect, and while I have great respect for Piper and Keller and Chandler on a number of matters, I don’t fawn on their every word. I bust them when they are wrong, I laud them when they are right.

(d) I share the concerns of The Wartburg Watch regarding Neo-Calvinism, particularly the goings on in the celebrity pastor circuit. I also share their anger at ministerial failures: overstretches of authority, failure to report abuses (including sexual), and heavy-handed leadership. I am also dismayed at the lack of accountability among their ranks. I am long convinced that if Mohler or Piper or Keller had taken Driscoll (and Mahaney and Harris and Dever) to the woodshed, then the outcomes would have been considerably more favorable. Mars Hill would still be there, Mahaney would still be at Covenant Life Church, and 9 Marks wouldn’t be 9 Marxism.

(e) When TWW gets on their “complimentarianism causes abuse” kick, they begin to lose credibility.

Fact is, any church governmental system can be abused, and any gender-relation framework can be abused. While we’re at it, let’s not kid ourselves: churches led by a “plurality of elders” are no more prone to abuse than congregational churches. And, by the way, Southern Baptist Churches–overwhelmingly–are congregational. At their root level, deacons and pastors are voted on, and most matters of importance are voted on. And while they market themselves as complimentarian, trust me: the women often run the show behind the scenes. They often dominate the key committees that have the power to hire, fire, allocate money, and select teachers for classes or small groups.

If you don’t think those types of churches cover up abuse, then you are smoking something I would legalize.

If you don’t think those churches have authority issues, then you’re out of touch with reality.

I’ve been to a fair share of “egalitarian” churches, particularly in the evangelical world. Their pastors could be every bit as shady; they had abuse-related baggage; they even had cultures that didn’t tolerate any dissent. Would they run you out of town for disagreeing with them? No, but they wouldn’t invite you to the proverbial party, either. You were always an outsider, and that was that.

To that point, Mary Kassian makes an astute observation: humans can, and will, exploit any system, Patriarchal, Matriarchal, Egalitarian, Complimentarian…doesn’t matter.

Africa has many matriarchal societies. Men screw to their hearts’ content and live it up, while women do the heavy lifting. Poverty is terrible, and disease is rampant.

The Middle East is Patriarchy on steroids. In Iran, barefoot and pregnant is the law of the land. Men dominate everything and take sexual license with everything: their wives, other men, boys, and–yes–girls. Some are so barbaric that they perform clitoridectomies on girls, often with the complicity of the adult women. It’s a sick dynamic.

The West has fluctuated between shades of Complimentarian and Egalitarian. With the passage of the 19th Amendment–which gave women the right to vote–this created, overnight, a large voting block to which any aspiring politician must pander for the vote.

If you think that this “egalitarian” paradigm has been good for America, then you must dismiss the 60+ million children killed in the abortion mills, or otherwise say that the death toll is worth universal suffrage.

———-

Enter TWW’s assessment of Kassian and her review of Tucker’s book Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife.

Having read Tucker’s account, I cringe at the pain she suffered. I have a great friend who married under similar circumstances, had a bad marriage, and it, too failed. While I do not blame her for the abuses of her husband, there are some poignant lessons that people can learn from her story.

(1) There is value in Biblical commands and proverbs, particularly the need to seek counsel, and the command to honor your parents.

Tucker, from the reading I’ve done, is not a dumb person by any stretch, and is in fact otherwise bright. But, by her own admission, she was “in love”. That is understandable, particularly given when one is young and idealistic. Her future husband had been kicked out of Wheaton for stealing, and had been arrested for voyeurism. At this point, he had established himself as a cheater who was given to sexual fetish.

While we all have to battle various lusts–including sexual lusts–and while that is particularly difficult when you are young and with hormones raging at Mach 9, there is a fine line between lust and fetish. I may not know where that fine line is, but her husband clearly crossed it.

Her parents objected to the marriage, but Tucker did not heed their warnings.

While this does not excuse or justify the abuses she suffered, let’s be honest here: honoring one’s parents, and trusting their counsel, can save you from a world of heartache.

(2) Once you are in that type of abusive relationship, there is no easy way out. If you are dependent on his income, then getting out throws you into instant poverty. If there are kids involved, their lives will be ripped inside out. If he is abusing the kids and you report him, the economic impact will be severe. In the Church, you can become persona non grata, even if the breakup isn’t your fault.

(And yes, I know that men also suffer in this dynamic, but I am using the case of the woman because, in this instance, we are dealing with the account of a woman.)

My church has a cadre of volunteers who work at a women’s shelter; we have had women in our church who have stayed in that shelter. I can attest to their destitute state, as well as the baggages they must unpack in varying degrees for the rest of their lives.

In that regard, I empathize with Tucker.

OTOH, Tucker commits a huge logical error by using her particular experience of abuse to promote the premise that complimentarianism leads to abuse. She attempted to argue from the particular tot he general, and failed miserably.

Unfortunately, she ignores the obvious problem: her husband’s abusive tendencies are less about complimentarianism than they are about his own character: he was a sexual fetishist, he was a thief, he had profound anger issues. He was kicked out of college due to his character issues; he was fired from at last one ministerial post due to his character issues; his sexual abuses are consistent with his fetish behavior before they were married. And while he insisted on wifely submission, he blatantly ignored Paul’s command to husbands: love your wives as Christ loved the Church.

Moreover, this also casts serious light on Tucker’s own character issues, and while none of these issues justify the abuses she suffered, they do call into question her own judgment and even her own egalitarian viewpoint.

If you insist on an egalitarian paradigm, then you accept that you ought to be judged by the same yardstick as your husband.

That being the case, I find Tucker’s failure to report the sexual abuses of her husband–against their adopted daughter via the foster care system–every bit as egregious as his abuses against Tucker. By doing as she did, she empowered an abuser and failed in her duty to protect those who were clearly being abused. I also find it deplorable that TWW gives her a pass on that front, given their rightful excoriation of Mahaney, Harris, and others who either have covered up sexual abuses or have given passes to those who have.

You cannot have that both ways.

In America, the law gives you the right to kill your child before birth (and your husband has no legal say-so), gives you the right to end your marriage without proving fault, the right to compete for just about any job in the country, and even gives you deference if you file a claim of domestic violence against your husband. And yet you refused to report sexual abuse to the very authorities who could have done something about it?

As for Kassian, while I generally agree with her assessment of Tucker’s book, I do question whether a complimentarian marriage would have saved Tucker from abuse. While I am a complimentarian myself, I would also contend–and Kassian seems to admit this–that any framework can be abused. I’ve seen abuses in egalitarian marriages; I’ve seen abuses in complimentarian marriages; I’ve seen them in patriarchal marriages; and–yes–even in matriarchal marriages. We humans are capable of exploiting just about anything.

As for TWW, I take serious issue with their character assassination of Kassian. It reminds me of the same jackwagons who ran the show at SBTS in the pre-Mohler days: if you don’t like what your opponent says, then ad hominem is the way to go.

Every time they do that, their credibility sinks.