Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Willowback or Caluther?

A rambling repost from back in 2009:

This article at IMONK brought to mind how my thinking has developed over the past few years with regard to spiritual gifting. My view is perhaps a bit oversimplistic, but I wanted to share some thoughts here and see if anyone else might have anything to add.

According to the writer and in my experience, there are at least two major ways of thinking on how we might use our spiritual gifts as members of the body of Christ.

One of the models is that of the Saddleback/ Willow Creek megachurch model (which I'll refer to as the Willowback Model) where every member is encouraged to volunteer for service opportunities in the church by using their strongest gifts as a way of becoming mature disciples. The other model is a reformed model introduced by Martin Luther as the doctrine of vocation, and adopted by other early reformers, such as John Calvin. I'll refer to this model as the "Caluther Model." If you are not as familiar with this one, think "Protestant Work Ethic."

Under the Willowback Model, the way church members become mature disciples is essentially by being put to work by the church. Based on their S.H.A.P.E. (spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experience), members are 'plugged into' ministries where they can contribute to the mission of the church's voluminous programs. A member's spiritual growth and maturity is linked directly to his or her participation in or leadership of various ministry opportunities.

When the Caluther Model is practiced and taught, the emphasis is on church members living as members of four various estates: the church, the home, the state and work (initially work was grouped under state, but was later separated from the state and includes school and other such 'occupational areas.' )

Under this model, there are two significant differences with regard to church ministry and the understanding of "the priesthood of all believers." Under Caluther, the priesthood of all believers primarily means direct access to God for prayer and forgiveness through our Mediator and Savior, Jesus Christ. And even though the priesthood of all believers in the reformed model rebukes the idea of papal authority, it does not mean that every single Christian is called to (or trained for) ministry leadership. Some men are called and ordained to lead and teach and maintain the purity of the Church. They are responsible and hold the authority of these positions, whether in full-time or voluntary status. As members we gladly submit to their authority and their shepherding. This is very unlike the Willowback Model, where the "priesthood of all believers" defers teaching and leading within the church to essentially anyone willing to volunteer and commit their time.

The second outworking of the "priesthood of all believers" under the Caluther Model emphasizes the equipping of the members of the body of Christ to serve in all four of the estates where God has sovereignly placed them. Think about the radical nature of this concept in the context of today's pragmatic churches. For instance, when I think of utilizing my abilities, talents, and gifting to serve God, am I immediately thinking: "Maybe I should teach that Bible Study that I was asked to teach?" Or "perhaps I should say yes to that committee that I was asked to lead?" Or "Should I be going to the homeless shelter to serve with other members of my house church?"

Or...shouldn't I rather be built up in the faith by the gospel and the Word in order to be a steward of the grace of God in how I:
  • serve my family and at home.
  • perform, serve and honor my boss and coworkers in the workplace (or teacher and fellow students in class.)
  • participate as a citizen in the city, state and nation where I live.
  • participate in and support the mission of my church.
This may lead to me serving on a committee on church, but how I minister as a priest or ambassador of Jesus Christ is not limited to the activities that I do at church.

Unfortunately, the Willowback Model sucks energy and time from people to support all of the programs of the church and very often causes them to de-emphasize the other three estates of life, resulting in broken families, poor job prospects, and apathy with culture. Or, on the other hand, the model can also promote a program-heavy style of ministry that tries to take on all four estates, creating a sort of "Christian Ghetto" in the process.

I wonder (and this one is really out of left field, I know), has the Willowback Model perhaps actually created the conditions whereby ordaining women does look like a good idea? In other words, 1) if the priesthood of all believers means that every believer can and should serve and lead in ministry, why should only men be ordained? Or why should we even ordain anyone? And 2) if the church creates a subculture so that members have a place to exercise all of their gifts and talents, then it becomes a home away from home, a work away from work, a community away from culture, whereby leaders must be good at more things than just teaching the Word of God, preaching the Gospel, and administering the sacraments and church discipline. When that happens, why not ordain women? Who else is better at administering the affairs of the home, keeping the workplace running, and creating a lively society and community?

Rather, I think the Caluther Model is correct -- which stays focused on the Church's core missions and acknowledges their members are sovereignly called into all four estates of vocation where they are specifically placed to live as neighbors, brothers, sisters, friends, and co-workers as they are built up in the knowledge of Christ. The challenge is how do we as the Church enter into these vocations with one another? How much greater is the need for prayer and for sharing our requests and concerns with one another? Thoughts to consider pondering...

Monday, November 16, 2015

More Blogging Chronicles

A few days ago, I contributed to a bit of the back and forth and back and forth over what might have happened to some of the mature women writers.

In my original "Blogging Chronicles", I left off with an observation of the shift that was occurring back around the 2009 timeframe, when The Jolly Blogger (David Wayne) and The Internet Monk (Michael Spencer) were both diagnosed with cancer. Concurrently, there was a significant rise in commercialized blog sites like and The Gospel Coalition. The unity of the blogging community seemed to unravel, either fragmenting into special content interests or expanding into electronic bastions of the Christian media and publishing subculture.

I was honored to have Tim Challies reply to my post by mentioning that many of the women bloggers seemed to lead the way in migrating from blogs to newer social media modes, such as Facebook and Twitter. The trouble is, Facebook and Twitter serve very different purposes for most of us than our blogging ever did.

This was certainly true for me, as I found that Facebook greatly contributed to my ability to connect more personally with family members and friends. While Facebook started out as a great supplemental add-on to my already existing relationships, in 2009 it became a real lifeline for me. By regularly connecting me to friends, family, and church contacts, those interactions would help me through one of the toughest times of my life. My blogging tapered off, but I was dealing with many painful circumstances. My time shifted away from blogging and onto these other things.

It was during this painful time that I learned how vital my church family had become, as I was providentially and personally ministered to by the body of Christ. I dove into church life in my local church -- and my denomination as a whole. If I come across sometimes like a spokesperson for the PCA, it's because I've been a direct recipient of immeasurable grace because of our denomination's intentional focus on discipleship and care for the flock -- especially its women.

I believe the tide is shifting back toward more women blogging again, though. Facebook and Twitter serve specific and important purposes in terms of keeping us connected with one another. However, blogging serves something different, in some ways, something greater. The act of processing one's thoughts and working out various ideas by writing more than 140 characters at a shot is a growth opportunity. To do it in conjunction with other writers is a privilege.

Lately, I've had the privilege of interacting with some truly awesome women bloggers. These women are gifted, amazing writers and have been real encouragers to me personally. Women bloggers are on the comeback!

I've missed blogging regularly and would love to commit to it again. I'd love to migrate to Wordpress, as I'm not particularly fond of blogspot and dislike the template options available here. However, I don't want to lose all of my content here or take the time to recreate it over there.
Much to ponder. Guess I'll take it one day at time for now.

Here is a quote I'll leave with you:

"God became one of us, not to erase every shadow or to undo the difficulties of humanity, but to be with us in the midst of it, to transform our spectrum of darkness by bearing a truer depth of light, and to enlarge us with the joy of expectancy until the fullness of time when every hope has come to pass."
- Jill Caratinni for Slice of Infinity (December 2011)

Thank you for reading and God bless!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Weary - Five Minute Friday

Work makes one weary when it feels like whispering in the wind.
As I reflect, I remember and believe that our labor is not in vain.
What we do for the Lord matters. It has and will reap a harvest of righteousness.
Because the Lord is faithful.
His ways are not our ways, but they are so very much better than all we can ask or imagine.
This is not pie in the sky.
I have seen it happen in my life and in the lives of those around me.
These days of weariness are light and momentary in comparison to the eternal glory that lies ahead of us.
So I press on toward the goal. Today I fix my eyes on Jesus, the rock of salvation, and continue to press forward. Day by day. Step by step. Breath by breath. I place my weary mind, heart, and body into His tender care and trust completely that He will complete the good work that He began in me.

 Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Titus 2 Women in Reverse: Naomi and Ruth

Ruth 1:16 But Ruth said (to Naomi), “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God."

I've always had a particular affinity to the redemption story in Ruth, where the kinsman redeemer, Boaz, restores the line of Elimelech and Naomi by taking Ruth as his beloved wife. Reading that such a noble man as Boaz would be willing to risk his inheritance so that the inheritance of a deceased family member would be left intact is mind boggling to understand. This is a man who understands love and covenant. And learning that the son of a Gentile widow would not only become the grandfather of King David, but eventually would even be named in the bloodline genealogy of the Messiah, is truly an inspiration for those of us who were not born into the covenant (and raised in the church). 
The other aspect of Ruth's story that has equally inspired me in my walk with Christ has been the relationship between Ruth and Naomi. Both women  had suffered devastating losses. Ruth and Naomi had both lost their husbands during a famine in Moab. Naomi's suffering was even greater, since she had also lost both of her sons as well. Several times in the first chapter of Ruth, Naomi states that she believes the Lord's hand has gone out against her. She even tells Ruth and the other women not to call her Naomi any longer, but to call her "Mara" instead, which meant bitter, because she was bitter and because the Lord had dealt bitterly with her in her calamity.

As Naomi pleads with Ruth to return to her own family and her Moabite god, the younger woman, Ruth, responds by binding herself to the older woman, Naomi, to Naomi's people, and to Naomi's God - the only One, true God.  As an older woman, Naomi seems to have forgotten her true identity as being a child of the God of Israel. Naomi's example is far from the ideal as an older woman of the covenant. Because of Ruth's commitment to and covenant with Naomi, God provides a kinsman redeemer to bless them both -- and eventually to redeem the rest of us, too

This was no mere friendship. The younger woman, Ruth, demonstrated real covenant commitment through active faith, love, and encouragement not only to the older woman, Naomi, but to her people -- and most especially to the Lord. Because of Ruth, the Lord redeemed  the devastation that Naomi and Ruth experienced in Moab, while Elimelech and Naomi were separated from the covenant community, in the days of the Judges. Because of Ruth, we see the Lord transform Naomi's life from an untimely tale of death and discouragement to a phenomenal epic of life-giving rescue. 

In this regard, the text speaks for itself:  

Ruth 4:14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! 15 He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
We could use a new generation of younger women like Ruth who make the active decision to commit to the covenant community and to the older women, like Naomi, who are experiencing trial and suffering. Whether it is loss of a loved one, ill health, or just lagging faith, most older women could really use the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement that younger women often to bring to their interactions. I'm a middle woman. So, I feel the tug to be both a better younger woman, committed to the older women and the church, as well as the tug to be a better older woman who is willing to open up my life and share it with those who are newer in the faith. 

Thanks for reading!!! 

(note: This is a follow-up article to the previous Blogging Chronicles article, in which I attempted to write my background experience over the past ten years blogging.) 

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Blogging Chronicles: My Take on Where the Mature Women Bloggers Went

Recently Lisa Folmer Spence started an interesting bit of dialog with her article entitled Writing from the Middle Years. Aimee Byrd picked up on the theme, inquiring "Where are the Mature Women Writers?" Lisa is one of the gifted and faithful bloggers over at Out of the Ordinary and Aimee is one of a small band of bloggers over at The Mortification of Spin, a ministry of The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

In both Lisa's and Aimee's posts, Tim Challies is mentioned as a sort of bellwether marker for what's going on in the world of reformed blogging. Given the current trends in reformed blogging, I'd say that is a fair and accurate assumption. The other highly visible, and uber popular blogging presence is housed at The Gospel Coalition website. There are many others that probably deserve mention, but far beyond the others, Challies and TGC are the most widely known.

Yet, for many of us reformed bloggers, who've been out here in the blogosphere for a very long time, we know that the blogging landscape has changed immensely in the past 10 years or so.

An Overview of the Past

When I started blogging in late 2005, I did it mainly for my own personal thought processing and as a devotional endeavor. However, in 2006, I learned about some other women who were blogging and got connected with them via blog comments and discussion forums. From their blogs, I learned about about two popular blogging aggregators: League of Reformed Bloggers and the PCABlogs. The League of Reformed Bloggers was co-hosted by Tim Challies and David Wayne, the JollyBlogger. The PCABlogs blog roll was hosted by and managed by David Wayne, the JollyBlogger.  Both were set up originally by Adrian Warnock and the prerequisite to have one's blog added to the blog list was for the blogger to subscribe to the five sola's of the reformation, the appropriate confessions, standards, or creeds and to send their link to Mr. Wayne for approval. These aggregators pulled together blog posts from all across the spectrum of reformed writers and members in the PCA, including men and women alike.

Our posts would go up simultaneously, right along side the top bloggers of that time, such as Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds (pre-Gospel Coalition, when Justin Taylor was arguably bigger than, The Internet Monk (Michael Spencer), and others. The contributions varied from missional and evangelistic to more formal practice, and every thing in between.

Participation was encouraged by men and women alike. The feed served, more or less, as a self-correcting process, whereby one writer's blog post would often be countered by another writer's post on the same subject, but from a different angle or viewpoint. As one of the regular, almost daily participants to these aggregators, I interacted quite a bit with other men and women bloggers, and as a result, learned quite a bit along the way. And I had the opportunity to provide a unique voice and perspective that was valued in these blogging communities (including this testimony from 2007).

Nothing New Under the Sun

As I was reviewing the old posts from the JollyBlogger site this morning, a scan of the content confirmed one of the reasons why some long-time bloggers may have dropped out of the field in the last few years. Most of today's "hot topic" issues are the same as they were seven, eight, or ten years ago. So, most bloggers who've been writing for a while have seen, heard, and read all the angles more than once. It's no longer a "new thing" that we need to process to understand. As King Solomon has told us before, there is nothing new under the sun,

Here are a few examples of genres that the younger people are still chattering about today:
In 2008, David Wayne and others blogged about the issue of Women Deacons in the PCA. The General Assembly committee produced a full study and report on the issue which dealt with the scriptures and the Book of Church Order. Today, younger women bloggers are attempting to re-tackle the issue female deacons, but for the rest of us who've been there before, we feel that we've already studied all the angles and the issue has been fairly settled (in the PCA). 
As early as 2006, The Jollyblogger was addressing issues of Women in the Church head on, by engaging with both the complementarians at Together For The Gospel (pre-Gospel Coalition), and with the egalitarians alike:
Women's Roles in the Church In the comment section, you will read engagement from Ligon Duncan and Joel Hunter (not an uncommon thing, btw, back in the earlier bloggy days!!)  
The Jollyblogger held a solidly complementarian position, but recognized luminaries like Dr. Roger Nichole at RTS and others who did not buy into the idea that one's stance on complementarianism is a Gospel issue, per se. Furthermore, The Jollyblogger was cautious to warn men of how the remaining stain of our sinful human nature can often lead to oppression in some complementarian church cultures.
 This is just one example of how issues and topics recycle, and why some of us who've been blogging for a while can easily lose motivation, as most of things have been done before. A few other re-hashed themes I came across include:
Illinois Legislature to Pass Law, Adding Sexual Orientation to Protected Class (2005)
Beth Moore and Lifeway publishing - a conspiracy to take over your church? (2004!) 
The Mystery of Joel Osteen (2005) 
Media and Culture(2008).
On Politics and Society (2008 Election). 
Vladimir Putin Jokes and Tim Tebow Facts (2007)
The Curse of Individualism in the Church (2010) 
Sin as a Disposition (2009) 
 "Some Jolly Good Links" - David Wayne's predecessor to Challies' A La Carte  today  

A Blessing to the Church

All in all, The Jolly Blogger was blessing to the Church and the aggregators served as a catalyst for robust dialog on a variety of issues. Mr. Wayne did not shy away from engaging with all manner of bloggers, and didn't succumb to propping up the "big name" people (like John MacArthur or Tim Keller) or turning guys like Justin Taylor (again, possibly the most popular blogger back in those days) into celebrities. The main emphasis was about how we engaged with one another. To that end these were some of the resources quoted and referenced frequently:
As a result of the focus and emphasis, the Jollyblogger and the blogging aggregators turned out to be a tremendous boost for the voice of women bloggers and really enabled us to network with one another. I remember some of the key women bloggers in those early years, like, ConsiderableGrace (Tara Barthel), (Carolyn McCulley), PalmTreePundit (Anne), Recovering Legalist (Emily), and many, many others! Most of these women no longer blog, but I still enjoy one or two of them!

The Year that Rocked the Blogosphere - 2009

Within the backdrop of mega conferences and coalitions forming, Mr. David Wayne was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and had to give up his ministry efforts of serving the reformed blogging community. The Jollyblogger, along with Michael Spencer (the Internet Monk) and Matt Chandler of the Village Church, contracted cancer in 2009. Few remember Spencer's predictions of "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" from early 2009, just prior to finding out he had cancer. You can read him here: Part 1 "Why is it Going to Happen?", Part 2 "What Will be Left When Evangelicalism Collapses?" and Part 3 " Is This a Good Thing?" Essentially, the break up of the aggregators coincided with major shifts in the blogosphere that actually mirror Spencer's predictions quite a bit.

Timing wise, Justin Taylor had linked up with folks at Together for the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition and transitioned his blog over to their website as their first official blogger. Tim Challies had moved front and center with his Free Stuff Fridays promotions, A La Carte linkage love, and Reading the Classics Together, which were staples by 2009.

The two key branches of change blogging wise were 1) an increase in tribalism, on the one hand, and 2) a move toward commercialization and consumer-oriented approach on the other.

Many bloggers, previously connected via the broad reaching aggregators set off to create blogging networks that focused on particular affinity areas, like missions and outreach, or promoting a more serious orthodoxy with a confessional focus. Some bloggers, seeing what Spencer saw about the coming changes within Evangelicalism, went off and cultivated a network of "discernment" focused websites. Eventually, most of the little people disappeared from the public conversation and the mammoth, highly-commercialized models superceded them. In 2009, The Gospel Coalition and would come to mostly own the reformed sector of the interwebs from a content perspective.

Under this system of commercialism, newer bloggers largely see their work as a commodity. They are often inadvertently set up as a sort of 'Issue Avatar", where the work of one or two specific people emerges as representing the particular viewpoint or experience of a whole demographic.

Whether readers are still welcome to comment or not, the former community and atmosphere of participation has been largely discarded -- exchanged for click-throughs and shares. As a result of the consolidation of authors into mega-blogs, newer bloggers tend to be primarily be interested in seeking to grow a "platform" where their work can be seen by as many "consumers" as possible, and perhaps, even as a place where they can monetize their content. Cultivating community, dialog, and participation is no longer seen as a desirable outcome.

Additionally, these changes in the reformed blogging community since 2009 greatly improved the opportunity for many men bloggers and men authors. However, the changes have had an overall negative impact on women bloggers and authors. The majority of my former bloggy women friends no longer blog.

My Personal Reflection

For me, I mostly feel that because of the current context, anything I blog is just whispering into the wind. At other times, it is just a matter of not getting worked up anymore over a topic that has been discussed to death already. So many things that younger writers see as something novel has already been settled by previous generations in council, committees, or creeds. Unless it personally concerns me, I don't feel the need to spend time on it anymore. Maybe I should? And finally, as I get older, I just don't feel as driven to take sides on every little thing that crosses the computer screen. Besides, the things that are troublesome are more like overarching themes, such as the tribalism and commercialism that I mentioned earlier or the few recent issues I've engaged like the nature of sin and redemption in Christ.

I certainly don't speak for mature women overall, as I would hope to read and learn from more mature women than myself!! However, there is a touch of conviction in writing this that perhaps I have more to share than I even know.

And this may be the biggest thing standing in the way -- convincing the older women that they actually do have the wisdom and experience that we need! 

In which case, maybe what we need most is a generation of Ruth's... (keep reading)....

Monday, September 7, 2015

Gender Specific Discipleship by Susan Hunt

Susan Hunt speaks on the topic of "Gender Specific Discipleship, one of the latest videos in the latest Women's Ministries series by the PCA's Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM):

Gender Specific Discipleship -- Susan Hunt from PCA CDM on Vimeo.

Monday, August 31, 2015

My Perspective: Women in Combat

In recent news, The Pentagon is expected to open most combat roles to women soon. The decision has been in the making for quite some time. More than two and a half years ago, my friend, Joe Carter, wrote a thought-provoking article called Battles are Ugly when Women Fight, in which he predicts that young women will soon be required to register for the Selected Service, to eventually be subjected to the draft.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not a fan of putting women in combat, nor am I a fan of "slippery-slope" argumentation. It seems unlikely to me that 1) the American public will likely support any form of a draft at this point, given the overwhelming success of an all-volunteer Army, and 2) that the American public should easily make the leap from women being allowed to do something to forcing women into the specific fields where they have to serve. We really don't need to look much further than the track record that science and engineering fields have had for attracting and recruiting young women. STEM programs and diversity clubs everywhere have actively recruited women for more than 20 years in those fields and the actual ratio still remains at a meager 8-10%, even in best case scenarios.

However, even though I find it unlikely that the public will force women to enlist into combat any time soon, I strongly believe we should advocate for the right for women to claim  conscientious objector status, should legislation be passed in the near future. Without having to prove that they are full-blown pacifists, women should be able to opt-out, solely on the grounds that they are women. That's something that I'd like to see put into place with any future legislature.

All of that said, I'm still in accord with Mr. Carter's position here, particularly because I've lived through three decades of first hand knowledge regarding the changes in our military forces. Long before 9/11/2001, the slide toward women on the front lines has been in full effect. However, the tables went into full-tilt when the lines between combat and service support roles were irreversibly blurred by the asymmetric style of warfare employed by our cowardly enemies.

The global threats presented by a post-Cold War environment necessarily thrust every military member into the "warrior" role. The days of either young men or young women joining the military in a support capacity have been gone for longer than a decade. Just think about it, and remember that Jessica Lynch was a supply specialist (service support) who became a POW after she and her fellow soldier were engaged in a fire-fight. Not your typical supply specialist job description, right?

In my case, this change in roles was one of the main reasons why I left the military to move on to better callings. It was never my intent to have to shoot a weapon at another person. In fact, through most of my career, my job mostly involved shooting a camera and wielding a pen (or a typewriter back in the day). Even that role was rewritten and changed to mobile/combat camera more than 15 years ago. When our unit got called to go to Iraq, I invoked my 20-year letter option and retired as a matter of conscience.

Finally, anyone who reads this stuff knows that I'm a full-fledged PCA church member, who values my denomination's Biblical teaching and positions on topics such as these. Many years ago, in 2001, my denomination formed an Interim Study Committee, that wrote this Consensus Report, and made these Recommendations for the Wise Counsel of the Church, specifically pertaining this topic. Back in 2007, as I was wrestling with my own issues of "Should I Stay or Should I Go" regarding my military status. I was directed to these documents by the wise counsel of a Godly PCA elder, who I met while one of our presbytery events. (Chaplain Lee served in the military for many years and is currently the Executive Director of the Presbyterian & Reformed Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel for our denomination.)

Save Complementarity by Re-Affirming The Danvers Statement

As I've stated in numerous previous posts, I'm a complementarian woman and a fully participating member of a PCA church that teaches the complementarian position. As such, I find myself compelled to defend what I have come to regard as the thoroughly scriptural teaching of the Bible on the issue of manhood and womanhood. I wrote a brief introductory background on my coming to a complementarian understanding in my previous post, but did not describe what I in fact believe that position to be.

What I'm interested in doing here is to actually look at what the complementarian position is, according to vast majority of Biblical churches, and especially my own denomination, the PCA. Nearly every minister and body in our denomination that I'm aware of subscribes to The Danvers Statement, which was written in December, 1987, by the original council members of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).

The Affirmations are as follows:
1. Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood. 
2. Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart.
3. Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin. 
4. The Fall introduced distortions into the relationship between men and women. · In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility. · In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.
5. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women. Both Old and New Testament also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community.
6. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse. · In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husband’s authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership. · In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men. 
7. In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission—domestic, religious or civil—ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin.  
8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside biblical criteria for particular ministries. Rather, biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will. 
9. With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world. 
10. We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large.

The importance of the carefulness and the clarity with which these original affirmations were written cannot be overstated, in my opinion. In each of these affirmations, the latitude spared for individual application and cultural differentiation seems self-evident. Hard and fast rules that are not presented in scripture are excluded. Prescriptive behaviors that fall outside of those given by the Word of God are also not mentioned. The overt wisdom of these deliberately chosen words ought not be overlooked, friends.

The Affirmations in The Danvers Statement Summarize Matters of Agreement

Again, the vast majority of church leaders, including those whose writing and teaching on the subject that I trust, subscribe to the above affirmations. In fact, I'd venture to say that even my fellow bloggers and writers who are currently challenging some of the recent articles or books written by authors associated with the CBMW would also agree with the affirmations as written.

Rekindling the Danvers Statement at this time is a way to provide a plumb-line -- a historical representation of what the founders of the complementarian position actually meant when the word was coined and the movement was launched.

Over time, the complementarian position has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and in many cases overstated or misapplied, from all sides. With the latest generation of CBMW leaders and authors at the helm, I'm most hopeful that their renewed sense of clarity will enable us all to better engage cultural issues.

One thing that might help is for us to not start with the culture or with psychological categories of "what is", but rather, for us to start with how God's Word states things "should" or "ought to be". This is not nearly as easy as it sounds. Quite often, because of our own sinful nature, we tend toward seeing the overwhelming presence of cultural dilemmas in our world in zero sum terms -- as either all or nothing propositions or in win or lose categories. Thus, I think it's important for each of us to check our assumptions by the Word of God before we engage in cultural applications of Biblical teaching. Far too much of the advice floating on the internet is reactionary and even somewhat embarrassing.

In my case, I'm constantly on guard against the fact that I came from a rather unique, secular upbringing, where I was exposed to a strange mixture of personal independence and freedom, during a time when traditional and progressive gender roles were being radically re-written.

For others, being raised with a 1950's style of family ethics can be equally confusing, especially if Ozzie and Harriet are viewed as the prototypical "Second Adam" and "Second Eve" from a theological reference point. (Many excellent, complementarian Christian authors have challenged this mistaken notion of the idealized American family - see Carolyn McCulley or Nancey Pearcy for starters.).

Accordingly, my two-fold purpose in advocating for the Affirmations of The Danvers Statment as a baseline description of what it means to be complementarian follows:
1) To dispel confusion on the one side of the complementarian debate that tracks either toward culturally-contrived universal prescriptions and rules that do not have a specific Biblical warrant.  
2) To encourage the other side of the debate to recover and reclaim the complementarian moniker, based on the affirmations and sound teaching of scripture, rather than rejecting it as a manifestation of a wrongly contrived cultural Christianity that has no relevance for their own life situations . 

I do not think we need to create a new "label", friends. Nor do we need to adapt the arguments of egalitarians, whose position is unbiblical. But I believe we do need to reclaim and revitalize complementarian teaching.  If we are going to represent the Lord's authoritative teaching on this issue. while at the same time not presenting silly stumbling blocks to the Gospel in the future, I say we should consider getting back to basics of complementarian teaching.

God bless.


Monday, August 24, 2015

My personal take on complementarian gender roles

In recent days, I’ve been following along, reading, and watching while a bit of a firestorm brews over the issue of the complimentarian position on women in our reformed churches. Here are a few of them, if you need to get caught up: Aimee Bird | Carl Trueman1 | Todd PruittCarl Trueman2 | Wendy Alsup.

My concern is that folks on both sides of this debate may be devaluing the relevance and significance of the Biblical complementarian teaching on the issue of womanhood. As someone who came from a completely secular upbringing, surrounded by mostly boys and men in childhood, and who spent 24 years of my adult life in the military (again, with mostly men), I’d like to think that I have a unique perspective and hopefully some valuable insights to contribute to the discussion.

First, I’d like to start by giving a bit of my personal background, and then follow up in another post by directly responding to the recent issues raised surrounding complementarian teaching. 


When I first joined the church, the last thing on earth that I wanted was to be sent to a Bible study with a bunch of women. I did not want to be considered that type of a weak woman -- one who found her identity in a husband and children (and knitting and doilies)!! As someone who was used to leading squads, platoons, and even an entire company for a while -- groups made up of mostly men -- I couldn’t help but relate to their women’s ministries as something, quite frankly, alien and foreign. The seemingly frivolous nature of everything that lots of the churches I encountered had associated with women's ministry had very little substantive to offer a woman of my occupation and station in life. 
Furthermore, because of my upbringing and professional career, I never particularly bonded well with women and didn’t need to. In fact, even after being a Christian and a member of a Presbyterian church for a few years, I still greatly disliked women and was pretty unhappy with the idea that I should be one of those blanket-knitting, doily-making, fluff-and-stuff creatures that gathered together for tea-times sporting their fine china ensembles. I was quite content with male-led Bible studies, where I could interact theologically with the men and have substantive conversations about interesting things like mission, outreach, evangelism, and cars.
In those days, I was convinced that my only hope as a reformed Christian woman was to become a missionary, because female missionaries embodied the type of Christian woman that I respected and could envision myself emulating. This missionary focus enabled me to see my vocation in the military as a mission field, where I had the privilege of watching as the Lord saved many young men and women around me. He used me -- my testimony, my friendships, and my personal study of the Word -- as one of His means to draw them to Himself. Twice when my unit deployed to another country (Japan and Germany), we left this county with only one known Christian in the unit (moi) and returned with several others who would go on to profess faith in Christ soon after, and eventually join a Biblical church as a participating active member.  The joy of hearing someone who adamantly fought tooth and nail during the train-up process against even admitting that God existed, return to the states months later only to proclaim that at church that Sunday he had heard the best sermon ever – and it was on the topic of sin and repentance—is immeasurable.
Still though, there was such a huge disconnect between what I heard coming from women’s ministry and the kind of teaching and work that I longed for. Whenever the topic of men's and women’s roles came up, I recoiled, sneered, and often walked out of the room. I didn’t mind the women’s Bible studies (although they were a bit more touchy-feely than I cared for). What I did mind was the contrived cultural roles that made no sense at all. If the chairs needed to be moved to expand the room, we had to call the men to rearrange them. I would think, “Really?! Are these women so frail and dependent that they can’t even move some chairs? Or are these men so fearful that they would feel threatened by women strong enough to move some chairs?” If the church needed meals to be made for particular a function, the women’s ministry had to send around a sign-up sheet. And then I would think about how my father was such a great chef and loved to cook, and about my male sergeant friend in the Army who had designed and implemented a new nutritional menu plan that was about to be adopted by the sergeant majors’ academy. I began to wonder if there were scripture verses that directed the proper protocol for chair shuffling or food preparation, and decided to check it out when I got home. Needless to say, the scriptures didn’t seem to comport with these strange applications.
After many years as a Christian woman and feeling such a serious gender divide between myself and my church, I had become jaded about gender-divided events or ministries and mostly avoided the women only stuff. I rarely attended the women’s groups and avoided the conferences like a plague. I had a great dislike for women and anything feminine before becoming a Christian, but now I would say my attitude was more like one of contempt.  It was just safer and a whole lot easier for everyone involved if I could just maintain gender-neutrality. Until a good friend dragged/invited me to one of our denomination’s women’s conferences which was put on by our presbytery.
The woman speaking at the event would completely disrupt all of my prejudices and false thinking about what it meant to be a woman in the church. This speaker was thoroughly Biblical, personally engaging, and uncompromisingly challenging. She spoke from the heart, from her own life experience, and also through the lens of Biblical teaching and counsel.  She spoke about everything important to me – the Gospel, God’s Word, sin, repentance, and reformed theology! And she also spoke about the very thing that I had been running from and avoiding – men and women in the church. She even said that she loved being a woman! That she loved submitting to her husband and to her elders at her church. “Loved” it?? Really? And I could tell that she really meant it.
Finally, she said that at these conferences there’s usually a woman sitting there in the audience thinking that she's the only one who feels “different”, “alone”, “alienated”. That was me. Well, except that she also went to say that at every event dozens of these women come up to her and say that that described them – that they were the one who felt different and alone. Over the course of the years, she would tell you there have been thousands.  
This event opened a door for me that had been locked tight for far too long. I had seen a new perspective and a new outlook on women’s ministry that I never expected. I started to devour the teaching that this speaker recommended on her website. Teaching by some of the premiere PCA teachers on the complementarian view, like Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt. I began to embrace the idea of womanhood – female gender identity – as I grappled with what that would look like for me, as an Army Captain, a company commander, and a Christian woman.
As unlikely as you might imagine, in 2007, I was asked to become a member of my local church’s women’s ministry committee. Shortly thereafter, I retired from my role in the military and was invited to become a council member on our presbytery’s women’s ministry, where I have served for about seven years in various roles.  Honestly… who’d a thunk it?
All of this personal backdrop is to say that my passion for women’s ministry is not driven by a need to maintain a stodgy, status-quo, patriarchal interpretation of womanhood, because I’ve never been part of that world. Similarly, my passion for women’s ministry is not driven by the need to fix some outmoded cultural Christianity that defines women by some type of silly, hard-wired fluff-and-stuff, because that is not what the people in my PCA circles teach. In fact, the PCA discipleship committee (led by a male elder of the church) specifically focuses its teaching for women’s ministry on how to Think Biblically and to Live Covenantally. Unpacking that two-sided coin continues to be a great privilege for me and many others. Thus, this is the legacy of sound Biblical womanhood, based on the clear teaching of scripture, which is my passion.  

(In my next post, I plan to look specifically at the complementarian view from a theological perspective.)


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Part 3 - Ezers & Eves

The concept of Women's Ministry (WM) can often evoke strong emotions for many of us, perhaps because we've either seen or encountered poor examples of women's ministry in action. Whether it involved theologically false/unsound teaching or efforts that inadvertently challenged and usurped the authority of the male ordained leadership within the local church, our strong reactions against unfounded models for WM are surely warranted in those cases.

It seems though that the question at hand yet is whether or not there is a true Biblical warrant for having a WM in the local church at all. Since we could spend weeks or months citing the many ways that WM can go terribly wrong, and in the spirit of avoiding heresy hunts and conjuring up counterfeits, I'd like to continue (see Part 1 - Intro and FAQ and Part 2 - Ministry?) by attempting to put forth the positive case for a Biblical philosophy of WM in this post. I'll attempt to do so primarily by looking at Genesis as providing the essential groundwork and necessary attributes for an effective WM. Meanwhile, I'll be saving future posts for the topics of 1) unhelpful and unbiblical variants of WM and 2) the ever-popular Titus 2 model.

Genesis and Women's Ministry: Our 'Ezer' Calling

Perhaps the most important factor in considering the necessity for WM, according to the PCA's Committee on Discipleship Ministries, originates with the very creation of mankind in Genesis 1:27
"So God created mankind in his own image,    in the image of God he created them;    male and female he created them."
and in Genesis 2:18:
"The Lord said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
This suitable helper in Hebrew is signified by the word "Ezer", which is used throughout the Old Testament as a word that also describes particular attributes of God himself.

The following descriptions (from page 35 of Women's Ministry in the Local Church by J. Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt) provide an excellent contrast of what the women's helper, life-giving ministry should look like in contrast to what our flesh, the world, and the devil would tempt us be like instead. These "Ezer" words are strong, compassionate, relational, life-giving words.

HELPER/LIFE-GIVER                                 HINDERER/LIFE-TAKER
----------------------------                                    ---------------------------------
Exodus 18:4: Defends                                       Attacks
Psalm 10:14: Sees, cares for oppressed           Indifferent, unconcerned for oppressed
Psalm 20:2: Supports                                        Weakens
Psalm 33:20: Shields, protects                          Leaves unprotected and defenseless
Psalm 70:5: Delivers from distress                    Causes distress
Psalm 72:12-14: Rescues poor, weak, needy    Ignores poor, weak, needy
Psalm 86:17; Comforts                                      Avoids, causes discomfort

The PCA's goal for WM is that each woman will “know Christ personally and be committed to extending His kingdom in her life, home, church, community, and throughout the world” and thus God will be glorified. This purpose for WM is ideally suited to enable us to glorify God, because it mirrors the Lord's own "Ezer" attributes.

Under the Ministry Umbrella

In an earlier post on the Mortification of Spin, Aimee Byrd insightfully asks, "What Goes Under the Umbrella of Women's Ministry?" In the article, Aimee points out many issues with the way that WMs are often employed in the local church context. As previously mentioned, in a future post, I hope to look at some of the unhelpful and unbiblical approaches to WM that are prevalent around us.  My initial reaction to the question of what goes under the umbrella of WM was that the underlying premise seemed off. It seems that the question ought not to be so much about what falls under the umbrella of  WM, but rather it ought to be about what umbrella WM falls under and about how WM functions within the framework of the Church

Informal, non-public ministries in historically reformed churches traditionally operate under the oversight of a session or a presbytery. Whether we're considering the children's nursery, the outreach soup kitchen, elder care, or a campus ministry (just to name a few), each informal ministry ideally falls under the umbrella of authority given to the ordained, formal ministers of the Church (for a more thorough explanation, see my previous post on "Ministry?").

Within the local church, these informal ministries which have oversight by the formal ministry umbrella, may also be likened to the swirl in a marble cake. Rather than being silo-ed off as lone ranger groups, they ought to be interconnected and intentionally partnered along side the other works the church -- in order to support and build up the leadership and formal, overall Ministry of the local church.  Paul describes this overall concept for ministry even more clearly in Ephesians 4:15 - 16: 

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."
In the case of WMs, women should proactively involve their sessions in planning and decision making, by at least submitting any materials and names of Bible study teachers for approval in advance. Likewise, the women chairpersons ought to coordinate and collaborate with the overall ministerial direction of the congregation, so the discipling efforts of the local church's WM projects its complementary nature of the "ezer" design on a corporate level.

Furthermore, this concept for a ministry model within the church, as well as our "Ezer" image-bearer design, dovetails nicely with the teaching of Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) in Chapter 26, which states:

The Westminster Confession of Faith
Chapter XXVI

Of the Communion of Saints

I. All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by His Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with Him in His grace, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory:[1] and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts and graces,[2] and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.[3]
II. Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification;[4] as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offers opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.[5]

Thus, a healthy, Biblical WM will equip and encourage each woman to be better church members - and - to fulfill her "ezer" image-bearer function to glorify God in her life, home, church, community and throughout the world.

Genesis and Women's Ministry: Eve as Life-Giver

In addition to our ezer/helper design, Susan Hunt also reminds us in her books and talks that women have been given the name and the promise of "life-giver". When Adam named Eve, Genesis 3:20 tells us that it was because the woman would be the mother of all the living. And we know that Eve literally means life-giver. God's promise of redemption by the Messiah, through the seed of the woman was also a promise that a key redemptive purpose for womanhood is tied to this aspect of "life-giving". Paul in 1 Timothy 2:15 also picks up on this redemptive theme in Eve as life-giver and the miracle of child birth. Matthew Henry writes in his commentary on the passage, "But there is a word of comfort; that those who continue in sobriety, shall be saved in child-bearing, or with child-bearing, by the Messiah, who was born of a woman. And the especial sorrow to which the female sex is subject (Gen. 3:16), should cause men to exercise their authority with much gentleness, tenderness, and affection."

In a healthy, vibrant WM that is Biblically informed, the theological foundation will specifically orient toward these building up and life-giving attributes that conform us to Christ and aid us in discerning His good and perfect will (Rom. 12:2). This includes all women, single, widowed, divorced, young, and old (another topic, for another post?)

For instance, let's take the recent exposure of Planned Parenthood's atrocities, and the notion that many Christians (especially many women) have been relatively silent on the topic. I know I have reserved my voice quite a bit compared to most of my friends. However, given that Planned Parenthood is the diabolic opposite of the name Adam gave to Eve and the promise that God gave to women in Genesis 3:20, I have to wonder whether we've become desensitized to the practical and functional outworking of what it means to be a Godly, life-giving woman? As those who are called and identified by God as "life-givers", we above all others should so overwhelmingly understand, embrace, and cherish the beauty and miracle of life that there would be no room for peace or tolerance for these gruesome and horrific actions of Planned Parenthood.

In the final analysis (or perhaps just in attempt wrap up this overly long and rambling post), whether a local church has an official women's ministry or not, we do need to answer the question of whether we are equipping women to be helpers and life-givers? These are specifically female callings that are God-given, and women will not learn these principles outside of the church. We do need to ask ourselves if we are being intentional about how to build up distinctively feminine disciples - female image bearers and life-givers who live holy lives that glorify God in their homes, their church, their communities -- and all of life. The PCA has chosen to address these discipleship needs by providing denominational, presbytery level, and local level training in women's ministry. Visit this site for more information: PCA CDM Women's Ministry.

Related resources: Women's Ministry in the Local Church by Dr. J. Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt.
The Session and Women's Ministry, ByFaith Magazine
Philosophy of Women's Ministry by Susan Hunt

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Part 2 - "Ministry?"

(This is the second part of a series of posts on the topic of Women’s Ministries in the Local Church)
Read Part 1 here: Introduction and FAQ.

Two important doctrinal legacies of the Reformation are the concepts of vocation and the “priesthood of all believers”. The Reformers rejected the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) narrowly defined view of vocation which was limited to full-time church work primarily ascribed to priests. Ordinary occupations such as farmers, maids, soldiers, or bakers could not be acknowledged as legitimate vocations by the RCC, because these were seen as too worldly (1). In this view, the vocation of the priest (or perhaps to a lesser extent the monk, nun, or anchorite) as a full-time, spiritual commitment to the Lord was considered the only holy vocation(s) available to believers. Because women have always been banned from the priesthood in the RCC, the only holy vocational option to a woman in that system was to essentially take to heart the infamous advice of Shakespeare's Hamlet to Ophelia: “get thee to a nunnery”.  

As Dr. Gene Veith has written in his book “God at Work: Christian Vocation in All of Life”, the Reformers (especially Luther and Calvin) found that the scriptures supported a far more expansive view of vocation for all believers that includes all the various spheres of our lives: the workplace, the family, as citizens of our communities, and in the Church. All believers serve in callings in all of these spheres. The calling of ordained ministers of the church collapses two into one, the workplace and the church, just as full-time politicians or homemakers do as well. Once we admit that all Christians have vocational callings in each area of life, we can avoid extreme views that would limit certain spheres entirely, such as the home to wives and children or the church to men only. Vocation frees us by acknowledging that our work in all of these places matters immanently to God and also exhorts us to embrace our present station in all of these areas by seeking His glory and our neighbor’s good(2).  Veith, writing for Modern Reformation Magazine, states, "Every kind of work [including fathering and mothering] . . . is an occasion for priesthood, for exercising a holy service to God and to one's neighbor."(3)

Similarly, the RCC teaching on the doctrine priesthood limited the role of priest to a select and elite class of Christian, which was considered by the Reformers as a return to Old Testament shadows and a lack the understanding that the reality had come in Christ (4).  In contrast, the three main implications of the Reformed view of the priesthood of all believers are: 1) that we all have equal access to God the Father through our mediator and High Priest Jesus Christ which includes forgiveness of sins and prayer (contra the RCC understanding of priesthood, where the human mediator was required); 2) as previously mentioned, that every vocational calling in each sphere of life is of equal worth and value in the Kingdom; and 3) that every believer has an equally important and valuable role as ambassadors of the Gospel and as agents of reconciliation.

One of the common mistakes made in Young, Restless, and Reformed circles is to view the priesthood of all believers as meaning that all believers should have equal access to pursuing ministerial vocational roles in the local church. That simply is not the case. Yes, our pastors and teachers equip us for works of service and good works in the body of Christ, but the ministerial offices of teaching and preaching and ruling are specific vocational callings not given to all believers. Also, important to note is that simply having a leadership aptitude or speaking ability does not equate to calling.  A man must be called by Christ and confirmed by the leaders of the Church. For women, we are prohibited from exercising authority over men in the church, so our leadership roles are always going to be limited by God's Word to only that which He permits.

The Reformers held that women and the majority of men were not called to the ordained ministerial offices of elder, pastor, or deacon, but recognized the clear teaching of scripture whereby all Christians have a form of vocational calling in the Church as lay church members.

 As an example, James Bannerman in “The Church of Christ”, specifically refers to “the ordinance of the ministry” and the “office of the ministry” as an “ordinance of Divine appointment”. He further describes the office of ordained pastors and teacher as men commissioned to expound the word and administer the sacraments, and instituted by Christ in His Church for dispensation of Word and Sacrament in the public ministry (5). The gift of the public ministry, as Bannerman sees it, should "not be apart and contradistinguished from the members of the Church. He further writes:

There is a certain office or duty with all Christians must discharge in the way of teaching, exhorting, and admonishing one another, distinct and separate from the teaching of ministers set apart to the work. There are many passages of Scripture which lay upon private believers the duty of ministering in the way of doctrine and instruction to all whom they can so profit, which yet come very far short of enjoining that all private Christians should take upon them the work of public ministry……. The private teaching of the truth by individual believers is wholly different from the official teaching of the truth by public ministers; and the passages of Scripture which enjoin the one are not to be held in countenancing the other. The Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to Titus, exhorts even “aged women” to be “teachers of good things;” but the same apostle in his Epistle to Timothy and to the Corinthians, declares that he “suffers not a woman to teach in the Church” (6).

I present all of the above in order to lay the foundation for understanding the concepts of formal or public ministry (given only to the ordained ministers) and the informal or private forms of ministry (works belonging to believers generally).  I hope these points will serve to help some folks understand that informal ministries of the church, which fall under the headship of Christ ultimately, also require conformity to and submission to the leaders of the church. Any informal ministry should always be leading and preparing folks to more readily participate in the corporate worship service – the formal ministry of the Church.  This is especially true for Women’s Ministry, where one of the chief purposes is to equip women to fulfill our distinctively feminine helper design as “ezers” in the church, in our homes, in our communities, and in all of life.  

I hope to address this focal point for women's ministry more fully in the next post. Stay tuned!

(1)    Challies, Tim. “Ordinary Christian Work” (June 1, 2015)
(2)    Veith, Jr., Gene Edward. “God at Work: Your Christian Calling in All of Life” (Crossway, 2002) pp. 47-54.
(3)    Veith, Jr., Gene Edward. “The Doctrine of Vocation: How God Hides Himself in Human Work.” Modern Reformation, May/June 1999 Vol 8 No. 3, pp: 4-7.
(4)    Horton, Michael . “What About Bob?” Modern Reformation, March/April 1997, pp. 8-15.
(5)    Bannerman, James. “The Church of Christ”. First Edition. Kindle location: 4920.
(6)    Ibid. Kindle location: 6740.