Friday, August 12, 2011

Wayne Grudem issues an apology

In an almost unpredented move, Wayne Grudem followed the lead of Don Miller.  Grudem has deleted a post and issued an apology for what he wrote about men and women.  And now, I am impressed. Today Grudem wrote,
If anything I said personally offended you, will you accept my deepest and most sincere apology?
The post was deleted from both the website of the Gospel Coalition and the website of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  But it remains on the website at  Therefore, Grudem contacted J. K. Gayle of Aristotle's Feminist Subject, asking Gayle to post his apology there.  Grudem also wanted to add a few comments of recantation given that wouldn't let him take the post down there.  Gayle is calling it a guest post.

Grudem added this, the guest post:
Please know that I'm not some emergent church uncredentialed writer like the pop Christian author Donald Miller.  And please don't let anyone think I'm going soft on the Bible, on biblical doctrine, or on systematic theology, or anything like that.  I'm not.  I'm still the manliest of men God ever made.  I still believe in the femininity of women too.

Here's the thing.  I've been thinking hard about what Suzanne McCarthy wrote:  "If we feel that the scriptures are turning hierarchy upside down, let us follow suit."  Now, mind you, I'm not backing down on logic or on reason.  However, I've been out of touch with my real feelings lately, as if emotions are only for women.  They are not.  I can feel as a man.  Jesus wept.  And Jesus said again and again, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, .... But I say to you that everyone ...."  He said that in accurate ESV Bible English.  Yes, and I know that everyone now notices that he's included women in his "everyone."  So I started thinking (I mean) feeling that words really do matter and that all of the sudden what Jesus was saying is part of the scriptures. No scratch that too. What Jesus said really must be now called the scriptures, the very scriptures which are turning hierarchy upside down.

Yes, I know the objections.  Paul wrote AFTER Jesus spoke.  So Paul trumps Jesus, at least chronologically.  And Peter validates that too, even if he complains that Paul is too hard to read; Paul wrote the scriptures too.  Paul surely trumps Jesus, and so does Peter who validates Paul.  Are you following my logic here?   Any reconciliation of Jesus's words with the epistles of Peter and of Paul must be a fitting of the Paradox of how Jesus may have contradicted the Law and may even SEEM to have contradicted both Peter and Paul, who trump Moses too.  Are you tracking with my thinking, my reasoning, my ivory tower proofs?  Yes, I know these objections very well.

Let's follow Peter and Paul very closely at little more.  With logic.  And then I feel I need to recant some things.  To turn some things upside down.  To meta-noia.  To re-think.  To really feel.  To weep.

Peter and Paul were hard on the evangelical feminists.  And please don't mistake me for one of them.  I mean don't ever call me a "feminist."  In that post I deleted, I had to show how "evangelical feminists must take two steps in the interpretation of Scripture that are simply incorrect and that show their position to be contrary to Scripture.said how the evangelical feminists."  Talking of Peter and Paul, I wrote this first:  "In fact, it is very significant that the New Testament authors never explicitly tell husbands to submit to their wives."  And then I referenced the most authoritative scriptures written Peter and Paul (and Luke a little too) to show that "evangelical feminists take another illegitimate step in Bible interpretation when they change the meaning of the word hupotasso ('submit to,' 'be subject to'), giving it a meaning that it nowhere requires, something like 'be thoughtful and considerate; act in love' (toward another), without any sense of obedience to an authority.Peter and Paul win.  Evangelical feminists lose.  And I really like to win.  So I was on what I knew what the winning team:  Peter's and Paul's.  I like to be on the winning team today.  So I do remember using the English word "today" some 15 times in that blogpost I regret writing today; that blogpost I deleted today.  The whole point was to have Peter and Paul make sense for women today, to get them to submit today.  To take away any notion of feminist or egalitarian "mutuality" of the sexes today.  Submission was to go one way today.  But my "today" is now yesterday.  Jesus Christ, I remember the scriptures saying, is the same yesterday and today and forever.  This may even be something Paul wrote after Jesus if he wrote Hebrews.  Even if he didn't, whoever did wrote it after Jesus.  But now somehow my logic fails.  Jesus comes back, from yesterday, past Moses and the Torah and the Law and Peter and even Paul, to today.  He's forever.  Which means if he overturns the hierarchy, then any contradictions get overturned too.  Or at the very least we sweep them under the logic preserving rug we call paradox.  Did you see how my friend Raymond Ortlund, Jr. and my other friend Denny Burk and I did that with the seeming contradiction between woman's equality with man (ontologically) and woman's inferiority to man (functionally, in roles in the home and in the church)?  Paradox is a cool tool.  And it works both ways.  I'd just never thought, um, felt it could be used to overturn Paul, who comes after Jesus.

So I must confess.  When Paula (not Paul) wrote something (albeit neither purely scriptural nor academical), I think the Holy Spirit began to deal in my heart.  She said, "It was always about privilege."  What I'm beginning to see -- and it's still kind of foggy -- sort of like Paul's scales coming off his eyes just at first -- is this.  I'm starting to get the fact that we men who use the scriptures, whether Genesis 1, 2, and 3 in harmonized paradox or Ephesians 5 or the household codes of Peter, will insist that they privilege them.  We won't let Jesus take it back to Genesis in a different way, saying, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."  We have to say, yes, but Paul adds the other side of the Paradox.  And so does Peter.  The no longer two but one must become two again:  the male over the female.  The female sub-missive to the male.  And if God's image is male and female, then in God his female side must submit functionally to his male side.  And the one side then must obey the authority of the other side.  Paul and Peter never say any different.  But look.  This is exactly what Paula is saying.  It was always about privilege, this argument of us men.  And I now don't for the life of me feel that God has privilege in half of himself.   So I'm recanting.  I'm letting Paul and Peter's silence on the husband needing to hupotasso his wife just be first century silence.  Jesus, forever, yesterday and still today, didn't seem to assert this one-sided-ness, that one-up-man-ship.  So I'll just follow the scriptures.  I'm following Jesus.

If anything I said personally offended you, will you accept my deepest and most sincere apology?


Paula said...


Paula said...

Now that I've recovered enough to say more than "woh", my snarky self wants to add "This has got to be a sign! The Rapture is today!" My paranoid self feels like Charlie Brown running up to the football Lucy is holding. But my spiritual self can't help but notice that less than an hour before I saw this post, in another location some friends and I were discussing yet another rendition of "Peter says you have to call me your lord" (and of course I offered this perspective.) Something is going on. And one thing I think we can all agree on is that it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

If this is what it appears to be (we egals have learned not to get our hopes up too quickly), I can't be more pleased with the destination at which Grudem has arrived, though of course I wouldn't have taken the same path to get there. I'm still flabbergasted. o.O

J. K. Gayle said...

Paula, To be sure, my post is just satire, imagination of what Wayne Grudem might say. Donald Miller really is to be commended for his real and real-life apology. I would say the Holy Spirit is at work.

Paula said...

Well, you little imp, you!

But it's all for the best, because I really wanted to pick apart his "logic". A girl can dream, eh?

Kristen said...

Wow, you really had me going, Kurk. I thought maybe this really was from Grudem. I'm sad that it isn't.

But you are right about Don Miller. Because the path to real wisdom lies in listening, and in considering the point of view of another as seriously as you would want your own to be considered. This is the Golden Rule, is it not? And Don Miller followed it, in listening and truly hearing Rachel Evans. Until men like Grudem, in the humility of wisdom (as James 3:17 says) listen with mercy and peaceable willingness to yield and with the desire to understand, they will never truly hear, and will thus continue to assert their privilege and their divine right.

I pray that the day comes that the hierarchalists really will listen, hear and understand.