Happy Father’s Day

Written by Father Bill 22 Comments

father-and-child.jpgOn this Father’s Day in 2007, I say “Happy Father’s Day” to all fathers, and commend to you this essay by Kevin McCullough entitled “Why Feminists Hate Fathers.”  It’s not entirely evident what McCullough’s religious commitments are from the essay, but he most certainly falls into the Judeo-Christian spectrum.  His explicit points are that men are designed by God to do two things:  to provide for and to protect a family.  He also has some things to say about God as the ultimate Father which sound very much like what Paul refers to in Ephesians 3:15, viz. that God the Father is the one from whom all fatherhood in heaven and earth takes its name.

 If you’ve got a stomach for the dismal, here you can read Al Mohler’s commentary on what results when boys don’t have fathers.

On the other hand, for a healthy perspective on imperfect men becoming good fathers, read this.

And, if you need Biblical grounds for the necessity of fathers and some good modeling of fatherhood, read here.


22 Comments

  1. Truth Unites...and Divides   |  Sunday, 17 June 2007 at 11:48 pm

    We share a lot of common points of interest, Fr. Bill. I’m a warm and soft complementarian and I believe that polemics has a bad name among Christians. I also think polemics, rhetoric, debate, argument, etc… in the classic liberal academic sense are wonderful tools that are being neglected, minimized, or pooh-poohed.

    But then again, I’m the uncommon soul who doesn’t attach his ego to his arguments or positions. If I’m in error, I’m more than happy to move away from error, and am grateful to the person who helped me to move away from error. But alas, many people’s ego’s are tied up in the positions that they hold, and if you point out the flaws or falsity of their position, they mistakenly think that you’re attacking them. This frustrates and annoys me to no end. The capability of mutual iron-sharpens-iron is lost because the other party is unable to separate his person from his position.

    Next, egalitarianism to me is a non-salvific doctrine. But I think it hurts, gravely so, the health of the corporate bride of Christ. Same thing with inerrancy/infallibility of Scripture. It’s not a salvific issue, but if you think or propagate the notion that the Bible contains errors, then it’s damaging to the Body.

    Last, truth-warriors for God are simply called to be faithful to God and to leave the results up to God. We are to be kind and respectful to our fellow image-bearers, even though we know we will suffer caricatures, straw-man attacks, ad hominem attacks, false accusations, etc….

    I don’t care how kind you are. If Mother Teresa still got savaged (by Hitchens), then nobody’s immune from criticism.

    Pax in Christ alone.

  2. Fr. Bill   |  Monday, 18 June 2007 at 9:32 am

    “I believe that polemics has a bad name among Christians.”

    I see you also have a love for understatement.

    “… egalitarianism to me is a non-salvific doctrine.”

    I think I understand what you’re getting at here, and if so, I’d agree. I never put it that way nowadays, because I do believe egalitarianism is a salvific doctrine (or, rather, anti-doctrine).

    Let me explain …

    Most of the time, “salvific doctrine” is understood to mean “doctrine which must be understood and embraced if one is to be saved.” Picking these out of the corpus of Holy Writ can be challenging, of course. The gospel which saves us, according to Paul, is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. But, one can also find “the gospel” attached to things that most would never consider salvific doctrine (cf. Rev. 14:5-7).

    A difficulty arises in this connection with doctrine that is a premise to what is otherwise understood to be salvific. There’s a lot of this in connection with Jesus, for example. In Paul’s statement of the gospel in 1 Cor. 15, for example, he says “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” There is not a single word of this statement that does not have roots which if explicated would generate large amounts of theological exposition.
    Consider the word “Christ.” To believe that Christ died for our sins, as Paul says we must believe, we have to apprehend what is signified by the word Christ in Paul’s statement. Would we be saved if we believed “Christ” here is the gnostic aeon? If Christ here signifies Mary Baker Eddy’s Christ, or the Swami Suchabanana’s Christ — are we saved to believe that this is the Christ Paul is speaking about?

    I think not.

    We are agreed, TUAD, that egalitarianism gravely harms the health of the Body of Christ. Perhaps we do not agree that it so undermines the teaching of Scripture which is salvific that it robs the salvific doctrine from its power to save.

    Admitted, if I am right here, I also acknowledge that this pernicious effect takes time to percolate into the gospel the egalitarian offers. It’s this very process which is underway in our day. And, so, where the egalitarian has successfully eradicated the Bible’s teaching on male headship, for example, it has also rendered Paul’s exposition of the First and Second Adam’s role in our salvation in Romans 5 null and void. Paul says we are damned by virtue of the fact that the First Adam is our head; but we are saved by the fact that the Second Adam is our head. Remove male headship and you remove the very economy of salvation itself.

    This is why I say that egalitarianism is a gospel issue.

  3. Truth Unites...and Divides   |  Monday, 18 June 2007 at 11:43 am

    Fr. Bill, we are far more united on the perniciousness of egalitarianism than what I’ve written. Besides egalitarianism, here are several other “2nd-order doctrines” that are “not salvific”, but I think severely harms the body of Christ:

    (1) The total truthfulness and trustworthiness of Scripture aka inerrancy.

    (2) Doctrine of origins. Secular macro-evolution vs. God’s Creation.

    (3) GLBT issues. I suppose one could believe that an unrepentant, same-sex active behaviorist who still claims the Cross will still be eternally united with Christ. Or that this liberal Christian who believes that GLBT behavior is not a sin, will still be eternally united with Christ.

    On all these issues + egalitarianism, I believe that these doctrines are worth vigorously contending for in the most effective Spirit-led way possible. If softness in approach works, great! Be soft then. If scathing logical rebuke works, then have the moral courage to employ it. God does not always whisper. Nor does He always want His disciples to utter a prophetic word so quietly that it conveys a lack of conviction.

    A truth-warrior Kingdom servant is oftentimes a lonely, despised role. So much so, that we are to count it all as joy! 😉

  4. Truth Unites...and Divides   |  Monday, 18 June 2007 at 11:52 am

    Fr. Bill, all the issues above I would regard as “anti-doctrines”… “it so undermines the teaching of Scripture which is salvific that it robs the salvific doctrine from its power to save.” Which I think is an elegant and succinct way of phrasing it.

    Unfortunately, there are so many EVANGELICAL Christians, not just liberal “Christians” who believe you and I are being unnecessarily divisive and argumentative for insisting that correct doctrine must not be minimized. I.e., that the platitude of “Love unites… Doctrine divides” is in actuality a poison pill.

    A loving polemicist for Christ will gain his/her share of enemies. Sux.

  5. Truth Unites...and Divides   |  Monday, 18 June 2007 at 12:21 pm

    A good link that shows the social impact of a decline in biblical patriarchy:

    http://tmatt.gospelcom.net/column/2007/05/30/

  6. Truth Unites...and Divides   |  Monday, 18 June 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Bill,

    You might want to the following blog and post your thoughts:

    http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/3753/#67294

    Matt Kennedy writes: “There will be no use of the word “priestess.” Nor will any debate as to the theological, etymological appropriateness of the term be permitted. Preferred terms for those who cannot in good conscience address women as priests or deacons are: “ordained women” or “women in orders” or even “women purportedly in orders.””

    On the positive side, Matt lays out the ground rules up front. On the negative side, a perfectly good word is banned from the lexicon. Score one for the PC crowd.

    His exegesis on the passages he quotes have been decisively refuted by complementarians, and they are typically used by egalitarians.

    Also, I probably would categorize myself as position 1. I would, however, serve together on a mission trip or aid trip with an egalitarian. So Matt’s description of position #1 needs to soften a bit.

    Lastly, there are some folks who are inerrantists who’ve abandoned egalitarianism. And, of course, there are some folks who see no contradiction between being an inerrantist and an egalitarian such as Matt. There aren’t many folks like that, but they are growing in number.

    Matt Kennedy is a wonderful Anglican priest. Highly intelligent and a great servant of God. But he is wrong on the WO issue. Simple as that.

    Pax in Christ.

  7. Fr. Bill   |  Monday, 18 June 2007 at 7:27 pm

    I have not had much interaction with Fr. Kennedy. I admire him on many fronts, but like every “serious” Episcopal I’ve ever encountered, he’s hobbled by the very thing you’re talking about.

    Some years ago, when I was dining with some of the editors of Touchstone, I asked Fr. Pat Reardon about how the editors selected other editors to join their ranks. He explained various approaches they had used in the early years of the journal, and then he said this (paraphrasing, but not too much):

    “We have learned that a man’s position on women’s ordination is itself a touchstone. The issue is in all communions that name Christ as their Lord, and how they come down on the issue shows us what they think “Lord” means when it comes to Christ. It also shows us what they think “church” means. If a man is orthodox in this area, he’s invariably one with us in our commitment to the Bible and the Great Tradition.”

    So, for all the ways Fr. Matt may rightly be praised, he is damaged goods in the long run, so long as he retains a commitment to WO.

    He’s compromised in another way that is, if anything, even more “binding” … his wife is a priestess.

  8. Truth Unites...and Divides   |  Monday, 18 June 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Dear Fr. Bill, may I share your comment about Fr. Matt Kennedy with another friend of mine? Incidentally, I do agree with your sentiments.

    I am thankful, however, that God is able to use “damaged goods” and “broken vessels” to bring glory to Himself. I just have to look in the mirror and be thankful for His Mercy.

  9. Kamilla   |  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 12:55 am

    Fr. Bill,

    I quite enjoy reading Kevin McCullough from time to time. I think of he, Doug Giles and Mike Adams (Townhall columnists all) as sort of a triumvirate of “muscular Christianity” though sometimes the emphasis is on the muscular rather than the Christianity.

    I became a bit of a fan of McCullough’s a few months ago when he was one of the few voices (with a national platform such as Townhall provides) calling for Rick Warren to “disinvite” Obama from sharing his pulpit at the AIDS conference.

    Kamilla

  10. Fr. Bill   |  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 5:10 am

    TUAD,

    Of course you may share anything with your friend. This blog is public (though the stats might make one think otherwise!), so it’s subject to anything being read by anyone.

    And, yes, God can use anyone who is “damaged goods” or “a broken vessel.” The Bible’s full of such folks. And, yet, it is also candid on the limits of their service imposed by the hobbles they wear, particularly those they’ve deliberately donned. Samson comes to mind, for example. God refused David’s service because of his sins, even though they were forgiven.

    So, too, with those Episcopals committed to women’s ordination. If the current spirit of the age is ransacking the church at the point of its understanding and practice of sexuality (and, of course, I maintain that it is!), then those who support women’s ordination are compromised, having departed from both Bible and the Church’s praxis for two millennia.

    Yes, I’ve read Fr. Matt’s comments in favor of WO, based on “trajectory.” They’re exactly the same as those offered by other baptized feminists. And these arguments are just as effective in favor of gay marriage as they are in favor of WO. So, you see, those who cherry pick their applications of the Bible’s sexual ethics — “I’ll have some WO, but puh-LEEEZE! None of the gay marriage!!” —

    Well, it would be silly if it weren’t so … so Samsonesque. And, Fr. Matt’s refusing to let others use the term “priestess” and insist that they use something like “women in orders” — c’mon! Those who oppose women’s ordination deny the notion that Holy Orders may be conferred on a woman. So, Fr. Matt is going to require them to use a term such as “woman in orders?” Is this funny, or what?

    Samson may turn out to be the traditional Episcoapals’ primary model: one who brought down the pagan temple (or, in their case, the Episcopal Church), while rendering themselves moot as far as laying the groundwork for a reformation in Israel (or, in this case, the Anglican communion).

  11. Fr. Bill   |  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 5:15 am

    Kamilla,

    I agree with your observation about the emphasis on muscular over against Christianity. I suppose that even in a place like Town Hall, one must flash the former and mute the latter in the interests of being published.

    I’ve not read any of these columnists, but on your recommendation I’ll put their links into my bloglines list for a while. Such folk often provide interesting blogfodder.

  12. Truth Unites...and Divides   |  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 8:36 am

    Hi Bill, Hi Kamilla,

    I recognize Kamilla from MereComments. Funny, I did not find this blog via MereComments; I can’t remember how I found this blog, but I do know that it wasn’t via MereComments.

    Bill, what do you think of Doug Groothuis? He’s a polemecist and an outstanding apologist for the Christian faith…. But he’s egalitarian and married to a published egalitarian, Rebecca Groothuis.

    Also, there’s Ephraim Radner. Outstanding writer, but also egalitarian and married to a priestess. See the following link: http://www.chieftain.com/life/1181983705/1

    Samsons, one and all.

    (Humbly, for all I know I may be a Samson too. Just not on the issue of WO, but something else.)

  13. Fr. Bill   |  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 9:11 am

    TUAD,

    First, I’m familiar with the Anglican conservatives within The Episcopal Church, who all (with the rare exceptions of fellows like Bishop Iker, or priests in his diocese) are in favor of women’s ordination. You’ve mentioned Frs. Kennedy and Radner. You can add, as you probably know, Canon Harmon, Seitz, and many others. Those who are opposed to women’s ordination, as you must know from Stand Firm, are tolerated as useful running dogs, but otherwise are given no credence.

    You asked about Doug Groothius. I know of him mostly through his wife Rebecca’s publications. He, of course, is in complete agreement. The Groothius’ are different from the Episcopal folks I mentioned.

    The Episcopal folks mentioned above are trying to salvage their church from the effects of their compromises in Biblical sexuality a generations ago (i.e. dating from the 1970s). In my opinion they are far too few, too late, and (most importantly) too compromised to carry the day. They *may* succeed in bringing the TEC house down around its ears (hence, the analogy with Samson). But, they will never rebuild an orthodox Anglicanism, for though they are conservative, they are not orthodox at the place where the spirit of the age is eating the Church’s lunch today.

    The Groothius’ however, are more like the Episcopal liberals of the 70s and 80s — people who are actively campaigning against the historic and Biblical sexual ethics and order, particularly as it relates to church office, church order, and order wtihin marriage. They have common cause (and even common arguments) with the Barbara Harris groupies in the Episcopal Church. These folks are serving the Church’s lunch to the Spirit of the Age, which always demands more and more lunch from those who feed it.

    The Kennedys, Radners, Harmons, Seitzs, and similar folk will fail in the good thing they are trying to accomplish, for the same reason Samson failed. The Groothius’ have much to answer for at the Judgment. It remains to be seen if they will succeed in the evil thing they are trying to accomplish.

  14. Truth Unites...and Divides   |  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 11:14 am

    “…they are not orthodox at the place where the spirit of the age is eating the Church’s lunch today.”

    Fr. Bill, that’s beautiful. Reminds me of the phrase by Martin Luther (whom I’ve never read) about defending at the point where the Church is being attacked.

    I only remember that phrase because Francis Schaeffer wrote about it in his last book “The Coming Great Evangelical Disaster.” Francis was prophetic and he wept like Jeremiah.

  15. Fr. Bill   |  Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Brother Martin’s words:

    “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

  16. Matt Kennedy   |  Friday, 06 July 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Fr. Bill,

    Two corrections. I am not an “egalitarian”. I do not believe that women can take the role of bishop or rector of a parish. If they are ordained, they must serve under the authority and headship of a male cleric. My position is called “limited” WO. I understand that we will still disagree, but I do not think that you fairly characterize me as an egalitarian.

    Second, I do not think you have read my argument correctly if you think I offer an argument based on “trajectory”. In fact I argue against this position. There is no “trajectory” favoring egalitarianism in the scriptures. This is why if women are ordained they must be submissive to their husbands and serve under the authority and direction of a male cleric.

  17. Matt Kennedy   |  Friday, 06 July 2007 at 12:05 pm

    Thirdly,

    I have banned the word “priestess” not because it is incorrect, but because it inhibits debate. But this does not force you to say “ordained woman” or “women in orders”. I specifically noted that “women purportedly in orders” or “women who claim to be in orders” or “women who pretend to be in orders” is just fine. But not priestess simply because some on the other side (not me by the way) will not even join the debate where this term is used. If you think this is politically correct so be it. Given what I’ve written above, however, I hardly think I merit that description.

  18. Fr. Bill   |  Saturday, 07 July 2007 at 8:35 am

    Fr. Matt,

    Thank you for visiting my blog and offering the corrections.

    I am not an “egalitarian”.

    Insofar as “egalitarian” admits to some elastic boundaries of definition, I’ll acknowledge your rejection of the term as applying to yourself. I’m curious to know what you think the term means. If it turns out that you think that the term requires a comprehensive interchangeability between men and women, your correction is valid. But, if you desire to accomodate that comprehensive sense of the term so far as you can figure out how to do so, I think my application of the term to you is valid. Egalitarianism is as egalitarianism does. And women serving as presbyters is the whole point here. You and egalitarians agree on this. But, this is quibbling.

    I do not believe that women can take the role of bishop or rector of a parish. If they are ordained, they must serve under the authority and headship of a male cleric.

    This is the Anglican way of doing what a lot of ostensible Protestant evangelicals do when they say that a woman can do anything in ministery so long as they have some male as their head. Those who embrace the classical teaching of the Church here find this a tad too precious. It certainly evacuates Paul’s prohibition in 1 Tim. 2. In spite of his prohibition, you’d have a woman teaching and ruling a man so long as she had permission from her head. Of course, in that case, both she and her head are tossing aside Paul’s commandment.

    On trajectory, something you wrote at Stand Firm prompted me to put you into this category of apologist for WO. I’ll accept your repudiation of that approach. I note, however, that you say there is no trajectory favoring egalitarianism, but you do not deny a trajectory favoring WO. It’s the whole “trajectory” hermeneutic which is faulty. Do you, in fact, reject the trajectory notion with respect to the ordination of women to the offices of presbyter and bishop?

    As to priestess, have you considered that your prohibition of the term is just as effective in driving away from the discussion those opposed to WO as you claim its use drives away proponents of WO? Why should someone like me be required to invoke elaborate circumlocutions just to satisfy someone’s pique at the reasonable use of a term like priestess? What are people going to conclude from your banning of the word “priestess” if not that you’re structuring the debate so that the side you oppose is hobbled?

  19. Matt Kennedy   |  Sunday, 08 July 2007 at 6:36 pm

    Fr. Bill,

    Let it be noted: I reject and repudiate any argument for WO on the basis of the commonly proposed “trajectory” argument. I think any notion of a trajectory toward WO left incomplete in the NT undermines the Reformed doctrine of scriptural sufficiency.

    Second, you ask:

    “have you considered that your prohibition of the term is just as effective in driving away from the discussion those opposed to WO as you claim its use drives away proponents of WO? ”

    But, in fact, the prohibition of the word priestess has not, obviously, served to silence those who disagree vehemently with WO. And it has permitted a free-flowing debate. I have not, as I have demonstrated, left you without the ability to articulate the proposition that an ordained woman is an impossibility. And, moreover, I hardly think I warrant the “politically correct” label.

    In any case, as for egalitarian, yes, I continue to reject the term. I do not believe that women can occupy every ecclesial office so long as they are under the headship of a male. I do not believe that women can be a bishop in any capacity or rector/vicar of a parish. That is simply not an egalitarian position.

  20. Fr. Bill   |  Monday, 09 July 2007 at 7:30 am

    Again, Fr. Matt, I thank you for clarifying details for me. I appreciate it.

    But, in fact, the prohibition of the word priestess has not, obviously, served to silence those who disagree vehemently with WO.

    I think you must be referring to the extended discussion at Stand Firm which you initiated a while ago. It is true that some opposed to women’s ordination stepped up to the plate and made their cases (I think of Fr. Laurence and LP, for example). Those, however, who simply shook their heads and declined to enter that particular fray — well, you don’t know who they are, nor even how many of them there are (not that numbers are important). You can’t know, as they remained out of the discussion, judging it to be a game played with a stacked deck.

    As to “politically correct” and this present blog, it was you who raised the term, more or less imputing its use to me with respect to you, when you wrote above:

    If you think this is politically correct so be it. Given what I’ve written above, however, I hardly think I merit that description.

    Honestly, I don’t know if “politically correct” applies to you or not. I’d need to know more of your interior thoughts than I do. Let’s just say that whatever your thoughts, those who are politically correct could be counted on to prohibit the word “priestess” in these discussions, just as those who happily embrace the label egalitarian can be counted on to insist that women receive the same ordination to the presbyterate and perform the same ministry as male presbyters. Consequently, it’s not unreasonable that those who see you ban the term priestess and promote WO will suppose you are both politically correct and also egalitarian.

    If you deny being either, then onlookers can only scratch their heads and wonder.

    And that, finally, is why I find positions such as you defend incoherent. Restricting matters for the moment to the office of presbyter (or elder, or priest, or whatever) — the office cannot “work” without the office holder exercising authority over a man or teaching a man in the capacity of Christ’s undershepherd. These activities, expressly restricted to males by Apostolic command, are the very ones which I understand you to say may be done by a woman, so long as she is under a man’s authority.

    But, if you can find that much wiggle room in Paul with respect to women and church office, the calf is already out of the barn with respect to other express prohibitions from the Apostles. True, you will not seek further wiggle room for homosexuals; but others will. Others do. And your objection to them … well, you’ve heard all this before.

    I say this not so much as to engage you in debate (I declined to do that in the venue you offered). I say these things here, hoping you will understand that those who oppose WO for clear reasons stated in the Bible and in concert with two millennia of Church faith and practice look at chaps like you (who in other areas are obviously conservative) and shake their heads in dismay. People like me — whether their numbers are large or small — will make common cause with you against mainlining homosexuality. We’d make common cause with non-Christians for the same goal if it were prudent to do so!

    But, when it comes to matters such as promoting a re-invigorated, reformed, and renewed expression of the English Reformation … well, that goal cannot contain within it a belief and practice which is so fundamentally at odds with the Bible and the mere Christianity which is rooted in the Bible.

    In any event, people have pretty well made their choices here. I don’t think debate and discussion will advance matters much any more. What’s next is for the passage of time (probably more than you or I have left on earth) to demonstrate once more which side actually preserves and advances the gospel.

  21. Truth Unites...and Divides   |  Monday, 09 July 2007 at 4:25 pm

    >>> In any event, people have pretty well made their choices here.

    Many people have made “irreversible” choices. But many have not. I remember an “Alfonso” on Titus 1:9 and on StandFirm who at one time was an Egalitarian in favor of WO, but once he understood what Paul was referring to in the Pre-fall creation account, Alfonso became a Complementarian and anti-WO. Also, I think of Alice Linsley who resigned as an Episcopalian minister after 10+ years in the ministry. Her rejection is more along the lines of Anglo-Catholic rejection of WO.

    So people’s minds do get changed via biblical argument and reasoning.

  22. Fr. Bill   |  Monday, 09 July 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Hi, TUAD,

    Yes, a few are still making up their minds, and a significantly fewer are changing their minds. I guess what discourages me, particularly with those who have academic degrees or similar credentials, is that they’ve already seen more evidence and apologetics for what they reject than I could ever marshall. Stephen Goldberg once remarked that parents with children of both sexes who think males and females are essentially the same have already rejected far more evidence than he could assemble to demonstrate the contrary notion. Religious leaders, especially those with seminary training, who endorse WO are cut from the same cloth.

    I noticed Alice Linsley’s change of mind, and also noted her change of communion. I’ve always wondered if she switched ecclesiastical houses because she deemed Orthodoxy to be “better” or because she decided the current state of Anglicanism was hopeless, particularly with respect to the WO issues.

    I notice she’s still cheering those who remain within the Episcopal Church, trying to do whatever it is they are trying to do at this stage of the game. I find it hard to cheer any longer, because I think their long-term prospects are so dim. So long as they do not understand that women’s ordination was simply an earlier step along the path that led straight and quickly to Gene Robinson, their near-term heirs are going to keep going down that path in the next generation.

    Keep your eye trained on the Presbyterian Church in America. They broke away from the PCUSA over women’s ordination about 30 years ago. But, today, they are slouching toward the exactly the same position! Their flagship seminary is “soft-egal” at this point, and the wife of an independent seminary that supplies seminary trained staff goes about PCA churches urging that women ought to be teaching and ruling elders in the PCA. There are a couple of voices raising the alarm, but they’re mostly dismissed as chauvinist nut-cases.

Leave a Reply