Now, it is supposed to be people like myself who are going to bring up the topics of designed gender distinctions in dress (i. e., the pant-skirt issue) and Bible versions (i. e., the preservation of Scripture issue). Fundamentalism is supposed to be looking at those subjects in their rear-view mirror at this point. They really just deserve a little head wag, a snort, and move on. At least that's what I thought such "minor" issues deserved from them, really just to be ignored. But something does bug fundamentalists about these two issues. I hope it's because they are actually feeling conviction about their stands on these. I believe they are. I'm not planning on hearing that from them, but I know that our position is right on these two issues. I know we are following God's Word exactly, so I hope that is what I'm getting from their mentions of the subjects of pants and of versions.
This particular post has been composting in the back of my brain for a little while. I've known it was coming, but there were other things that I thought should come first, so I've put it off. There was another reason I waited. Dave Doran's post was one honoring his pastor, William Rice, who had just died. I didn't want this mistaken for something that would lack respect for him. And I don't either. Doran wrote nine paragraphs. Here are paragraphs five and six, right in the middle of the piece to honor the man who was his pastor and from whom he took the mantle of the church he presently serves:
There never was any debate around here about the KJV—it was great translation, but only that. Our bookstore, from its inception, sold other translations. Dr. Rice regularly cited other translations. We’ve had professors who have used other translations in their seminary classes from day one.
It wasn’t until I went off to college that I even knew that anybody thought there was something wrong with women wearing pants. I’d never even heard of men like Jack Hyles or Bill Gothard. I was shocked to find out that people thought the Bible prohibited inter-racial marriage (obviously, I knew people who opposed it out of prejudice, but none who defended it biblically).
So in a piece to recount what was great about his pastor, Doran includes that Rice used, cited, and sold other translations other than the KJV (a whole paragraph for that one), and that he said nothing was wrong about women wearing pants. These are two important traits with which Dr. Doran could leave us about Dr. Rice---not King James Only and not against women in pants. Doran said other things, but these were big enough to make a very short tribute.
As I read it, I asked, "Why that? How does that merit celebration or thanksgiving?" Why would anyone want to leave people with "his church used multiple versions and its women wore pants." Even if Doran doesn't believe Scripture teaches anything that would result in one Bible and women wearing skirts and dresses, for sure God's Word is silent on several versions and women wearing pants. There are no multiple version or women-in-pants verses in the Bible.
So obviously this was important to Dave Doran. It was what he thought was impressive about his pastor as he summed him up. That was on July 12, 2010.
The previous day (7/11/10), Kevin Bauder wrote the following in his series on the differences between evangelicals and fundamentalists:
Fundamentalists have sometimes failed to subject their second premises to careful examination. This failure has resulted in silly and sometimes scandalous applications of Scripture. This is the mechanism that some fundamentalists have used to prohibit slacks for women, ban interracial dating, and insist upon the mandatory use of a particular version of the Bible. One fundamentalist leader spent years denouncing the “demon of the AWANA circle.” No wonder some are skeptical of their judgments.
Bauder has done good work at helping fundamentalists understand the application of the Bible by explaining what he has coined "second premise arguments." You can read the above linked article to get an understanding of what he's talking about. I've dealt with the subject here and over at Jackhammer. Here, we see that Bauder, like Doran, attacks the prohibition of "slacks for women" and the "mandatory use of a particular version of the Bible." In his view, these are silly, scandalous, and uncareful. On the other hand, if you continue reading Bauder in this series, he spends a good portion of an article smacking down dancing. I liked what he had to say there, but he was heavily criticized as being silly and uncareful himself by many fundamentalists. Perhaps poetic justice.
On consecutive days online, leaders of the most conservative historic fundamentalist seminaries in the United States, where many pastors are and have been educated, targeted the single Bible and the women wearing skirts and dresses. The perfect preservation of Scripture, which leads to a one Bible position, is the belief of historic Christianity. Women wearing dresses and skirts is the belief and practice of historic Christianity.
When women started wearing pants in this country, all evangelical Christians opposed it. Even society in general rejected it in this culture. The perfect preservation position is found in many historic, orthodox Christian confessions. Christians have thought that both of these were taught in the Bible. They are not now popular positions. They have been the subject of decades of attack.
The perfect Bible position came from faith in several passages of Scripture that taught the preservation of every Word of God. The pant-skirt belief came from the application of Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Corinthians 11:3-16. Established Christian beliefs just cast by the wayside. We have arrived at a point where worldly society has become sovereign in the application of the Bible. And the most conservative seminary professors have codified popular culture into their pastoral training.