Monday, August 24, 2015

The Lie of Two Worlds

You've heard the expression, the best of both worlds.  As an expression, it doesn't need to be wrong, because someone can live in the country close to the city and enjoy the best of both.  I get that. Almost everyone in the world though acts like there are really two worlds.  There is the world they live in, which is acceptable, albeit not real, but fictitious, and then another world, the biblical world, which is actually the only world,  To them the real world is a kind of ideal world, an impossible one and, therefore, not required.  They choose to live in a fantasy world.  They do.  God is still going to judge them for what they do in His world, the real one, the only one.  He's not going to judge them based upon how they operate in their own fictitious world.

What happens, of course, is that people have to alter the truth about God Himself, invent a new god, who does accept their fictitious world, and inhabits that world in their imaginations.  He's fine with them.  The problem is, it's not Him, this one they've made up.  The one judging their fictitious world is a false God.  At some point this all breaks down into false worship, because they are not worshiping the one and true God.  There is no such thing as a brain in a vat, but they are living like they are brains in vats, projecting on this world the one in which they live, which doesn't happen to be the one in which they live.  They're only living it in their brain.

From the perspective of the world, there is the world of engineering that builds bridges and skyscrapers according to certain laws that it cannot transgress without consequences.  Then there is the world of their own morality that can infringe many other natural laws that are as concrete and inviolable as the laws of physics adjudicating the construction of infrastructure.  However anyone argues, he is assuming laws of logic that exist to the same degree that man is separated from God because of his sin.  There are not two worlds, but the world lives like there are.

I've been thinking of this two world thought for awhile, but what brought it to my mind is especially when I have seen it all over in evangelicalism and in fundamentalism.  Let me give you an example that I observed recently.  A segment of evangelicalism says they believe in complementarianism and eschew egalitarianism.  They write books about it.  I would like to take them at their word in those instances.  I'm very happy that they would want to support in writing male headship of a home and distinct roles for the man and the woman.

Sometimes in the real world, the only world, male headship does clash with evangelical church growth philosophy or technique.  Other times it contradicts their views of the church and of unity.  To make this all work with everything they might want to allow, they right on the spot spontaneously invent their own version of complementarianism that looks just like egalitarianism.

There is a fairly conservative, evangelical Christian talk show host(ess), Janet Mefferd, who got more famous at one time when she attacked the cussing former pastor, Mark Driscoll, because of plagiarism in one of his books among other things.  She got big time support for her putting it to Driscoll again and again.  Several conservative evangelicals fawn over her pounding of Driscoll and treat her like fans for this kind of application of her gender role.  It's not intended for a woman, but she gets a pass because of her position.  Is this right or even appropriate?

Driscoll deserves negative exposure and repudiation, but do complementarians support this being done by a woman?  Do we need a woman to do it?  Should a women be encouraged to do it or even be placed in a position to do it?  How can an evangelical support complementarianism on the one hand and then cheer her role reversing behavior on the other?  This occurs again and again in evangelicalism, because they have capitulated to their own world, even conservative ones.  Conservatism itself has chosen to do this too.  Rejecting two worlds is at the heart of conservatism, but yet accepting various editions of world has begun to characterize it.

The encouragement of egalitarianism is a small example that is very much on the ground that anyone can see day by day.  Conservative evangelical men, who say they are complementarian, essentially act egalitarian or encourage it.  They are supposed to be giving a clear presentation of the only world, God's world, to everyone, and yet they don't because they have sunk to the fantasy, the fictitious.  The real world isn't egalitarian even if real people construct that fiction in their fake worlds.  Same sex marriage is a mirage.  They swear it.  That's true too. One egalitarian mirage should not accompany another though if we live in just one world. And yet, they give in again and again, this just an example.

The above type of exposure I make of the two world lie brings upon me the wrath and disdain of conservative evangelicals, as seen in this tweet by Phil Johnson, giving his best evidence against it.

I'm not a thing like Bob Wilkin, who preaches a false gospel in my opinion.  He is living in his own world.  However, Phil Johnson must live in mine, because it is the only one.  He can't defend his view of the world, so he just mocks me in order to poison the well.  That is enough  proof for his adherents.  Phil Johnson never gives me biblical reasons why he opposes the things I preach that he denies.  He just calls names.  This reveals the level of desperation in keeping the bridge from the only world that exists to the fantasy one he has erected in his own mind to justify its existence.  You're in trouble if you even point it out. It isn't real trouble though.  It couldn't be, because it's only trouble in their fantasy world, not in the real world that God created.


I would like add another example for those who are reading here.  I'm right now watching the google hangout as part of the Ligonier, R. C. Sproul work, with John MacArthur.  There is so much for which I'm thankful with John MacArthur.  So much of what he says is good and right.  You'll hear much helpful.  I wish people would recognize that I say that.  Very few people even in fundamentalism are as strong as him.  However, the host there asked about his relationship with R. C. Sproul.

MacArthur answered that Ligonier and Sproul invited him to a conference many years ago even though he was a premillennialist and they were so kind to him.  Later he talked about lying about choosing a president and figuring which is the best liar between them.  This is confusing to people, because isn't amillennialism a lie that peverts a third of God's holy Word?  What about the lie of infant sprinkling that might be the lie that has condemned more people to hell than any other lie?  If you don't care about the lie of amillennialism and the lie of infant sprinkling and you justify it with your fellowship, your communion, then what is lying?

Bruce Jenner is a liar, but is that a worse lie than amillennialism?  I understand that Ligonier says better things overall than Jenner would, but accepting other lies as almost commendable, at least acceptable.  You can preach against both, but can you fellowship with one of them?  Why?  This is where there are two worlds again -- the amillennial world and the premillennial world, the credo-baptism world and the paedo-baptism world.  This accommodation to two worlds influences and prepares people for the two worlds.  People just assume then that truth is relative and whatever world you want to live in is fine.

More to Come


George Calvas said...

"Driscoll deserves negative exposure and repudiation, but do complementarians support this being done by a woman? Do we need a woman to do it? Should a women be encouraged to do it or even be placed in a position to do it?"

What you say is correct. Women need to address what the scriptures teach of keeping "silence in the church" and learn to be quite when the assembly meets for teaching and preaching.

But then, since you believe in "local church only" then why do you take issue with other outside of "your church" (that is how you think and believe-- YOUR church)? Why care what Phil Johnson or anyone else believes since you have no authority except in your "local church"? You cannot have it both ways. Be consistent in your teachings and practice. Either the church, which is the body of Christ should be organized to deal with those that are contrary to sound doctrine as one body, or leave them alone and "let the blind lead the blind".

Let me ask you a question, seeing that this is a reason of your writing. Is your assembly consistent in both teachings and practice in the area of women talking. Do the women in the assembly speak or ask questions when the men begin to teach and preach in direct violation of 1 Corinthians 14:34? Do you teach them to "ask their husbands AT HOME" (v35) INSTEAD of the pastor? Do you teach them how to "keep silence in the churches (v34)", i.e., they are responsible to make sure all women and children be quite and listen during THIS time in the assembly of the saints?

George Calvas said...

"Phil Johnson never gives me biblical reasons why he opposes the things I preach that he denies. He just calls names."

Well if the shoe fits wear it. You call me a "Ruckmanite", a false teacher of biblical inspiration and preservation, local church only fallacies and other such things and just IGNORE what I have taught BIBLICALLY.

I believe many of your arguments are scriptural (like this one) and you do an excellent job of laying it out and that others in the body of Christ should desire to come to one understanding in truth. But, since you oppose the things that I preach (finding excuses not to post them because at times you do not want to answer the truth found within!), therefore why expect others to treat you differently?

Farmer Brown said...

Kent, I have a question about a part of this. You say of the correction of Mark Driscol, "It's not intended for a woman" and "Do we need a woman to do it? Should a women be encouraged to do it or even be placed in a position to do it?"

Do you mean that a woman should never correct a man? Can you explain this a little? What about husbands and wives, or members of the same family or church? I am curious about your position on this.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Farmer,

Men and women have distinct roles enunciated, laid out, by scripture. Women are not to be usurping male authority. That is not their role. It is not for a women to take authority over a man in biblical teaching especially. We see this in 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:29-35. A part of the curse is that women want to have authority over men -- Genesis 3:16. You can also see this fleshed out in 1 Corinthians 11, first half of that chapter, and then in 1 Peter 3. The Janet Mefferd effort was ongoing and cheered by men. I recognize that it isn't politically or theologically correct, theologically sexist, to say what I'm saying. But professing complementarians should be consistent. Isn't that doctrine at least as legitimate as whatever it was that Driscoll was violating?

Farmer Brown said...

Kent, I agree with all that. When the church is assembled, it is not just teaching, but asking questions and speaking. This bars "testimony time", verbal prayer requests, and many other popular Baptist activities. The distinct roles are plain and clear.

However, my question is whether it is a violation of those roles for a woman to present error or offense to a man. I am under my pastor, but I can approach him if I think he is in error. My children know they have permission, and in fact an obligation, to challenge me if I depart from the Bible.

Can my wife do that as well? What if I offend a woman friend, can she come to me with the offense? I realize this is not what Janet was doing. Does it usurp authority for a woman to point out the error of a man?

George Calvas said...

"Driscoll deserves negative exposure and repudiation, but do complementarians support this being done by a woman?"
NO, but in this day an age most Christian men are feminine and do not have the biblical "guts" to do it.

Do we need a woman to do it?
NO, but in this day an age most Christian men are feminine and do not have the biblical "guts" to do it.

Should a women be encouraged to do it or even be placed in a position to do it?
NO, but in this day an age most Christian men are feminine and do not have the biblical "guts" to do it. When Christian men are not preaching openly and rebuking sin, righteousness and judgment to come, the church will be weak, sickly and men will stay in the closet because they are too much in love with SELF.

"This occurs again and again in evangelicalism, because they have capitulated to their own world, even conservative ones. Conservatism itself has chosen to do this too. Rejecting two worlds is at the heart of conservatism, but yet accepting various editions of world has begun to characterize it."

And it will continue to go in that direction much like the days of Lot (who lost his guts even though he was "vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked").

Kent Brandenburg said...

Farmer Brown,

I don't believe that "silence" in the context applies to testimony time or singing. Women participate in congregational singing, because it is not a forum for challenge. Keeping silent is related to authority, and women are not to usurp authority. They can sing, give testimonies, I believe, but they are silent in preaching and other forums of authority in the church. I'm open to discussion about this, but I believe what I'm writing is defensible in the congregation.

1 Corinthians 11:3 reads axiomatic, so I believe this extends outside of a church. What I read is that a woman can ask questions in private. 1 Peter 3, I recognize is a context of unbelievers and evangelism, but she does not correct him with word but without word. She doesn't disobey herself, but she is not to correct him. This has got to fit with asking questions at home. I recognize that questions can be challenges to authority, but this is why it is in private, I believe, in case the question is a challenge, it's being done in private. We shouldn't see a woman challenge male authority in public. It shouldn't happen in private either, but she can ask questions that are not a challenge to authority. These are information gathering questions, truly wanting to know.

Since authority is hierarchical as presented in scripture, she disobeys man when it means disobeying God. Let's say that he is breaking the law in some way. She can defer to his authority. Here's a biblical way to handle things in a church. She talks to a more mature spiritual woman. That woman talks to her husband. That husband talks to her husband. It's always a man dealing with a man. In the world, if he is breaking the law and life and property are threatened, she can turn him in. She's still not the one correcting him.

Here were your last questions.

"What if I offend a woman friend, can she come to me with the offense?" I answered this above.

"Does it usurp authority for a woman to point out the error of a man?" Yes. She can ask questions. She can defer to a man. She changes him by chaste lifestyle, not by verbal correction.

I recognize that women will hate what I'm writing here, but they are going to need to correct it with scripture, not just hate it.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I want you to know how I'm dealing with folks like George. I love George. I do. But I'm not generally going to discuss things with him in this comment section, because when I have, he's not receptive to the teaching. I'm not saying I won't say anything at all to him, but I'm not going to go off again on his view of the KJV or preservation of scripture or the body of Christ.

I'm printing comments from folks like him, because I don't think it violates the line I should draw. He can attack me here, challenge my manhood and all that, like he does, but I don't need to answer him on those things. I don't think it's fooling anyone here. Someone may wonder why I'm not answering, but I think most people understand that. I'm happy to be attacked by him, but I'm not going to answer everyone challenge I get on the blog here. I'll post the comments because other people like George will be able to comment, like the SDA folks and others here recently. They can comment. I won't print foul language and that sort of thing, and will draw the line at places. I'm not going to publish every single comment of George necessarily, but it doesn't bother me to publish his comments, even if they are wrong.

George's points are not tough to answer. That's not the issue, even though he says that's the issue. I don't like answering them, he says. That isn't it at all, and I'm not going to keep writing this kind of comment every time either.

If that's a problem for someone, let me know in the comment section here.

If you don't answer him, I understand that's the way it will go for him.

Farmer Brown said...

Kent said, "I don't believe that "silence" in the context applies to testimony time or singing."

I agree on singing. We have the OT testimony on that, and Paul in addressing this says "As also saith the law." For example, Miriam sang but never spoke, and the temple had female singers.

Regarding public speaking, Paul seems to go out of his way to be sure this prohibition is not limited solely to exercising authority. 1 Cor 14:34 does not start with authority, but rather with a general prohibition before moving on to obedience, but I suppose you could link that to the previous comments on preaching.

However, in 14:35 Paul goes out of his way to be sure it is not limited just to teaching, preaching, and the exercise of authority. This says not to speak even to ask questions to learn something This is not the challenging question of a prosecutor, but a deferential question intended to teach the hearer.

It is submissive, acknowledging the need of the asker and a willingness to learn from the speaker. Even this, though, is prohibited. It should be done in private. Then the passage ends as it started with a complete prohibition on speaking.

It is very broadly stated. Paul does not say it is a shame for women to teach or to usurp authority. Those terms are intentionally avoided in favor of the much broader "speak", the dominant term in this discussion.

The act of standing, all eyes on you, speaking and being heard is not an act of submission. The hearers sit in deferential silence, while the speaker addresses them. When a woman stands to speak, the men are commanded to keep silence, as revealed in 14:30. When a woman gives a testimony it is all the men who are to be in silence.

Further, the testimony would have to be terribly vague to not teach at all, something separate from usurping authority in 1 Timothy 2:12 (neither teach nor usurp). What would she say that is free from all teaching, all instruction? If it is free from all instruction, where is the edification?

And where is the example of this in the Bible or in church history? Did churches 500 years ago have testimony time? I have not found that to be the case. If this is as broad a prohibition as Paul makes it seem, churches that allow this are allowing something shameful for a dubious or nonexistent benefit.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Farmer,

At what point do the women start with the silence? They can sing. During our prayer meetings, they pray, not publically, but they're not silent. I understand how testimonies can be used, but I see the point of the two passages to be authority, which is why the men make the decisions of our church. Our testimony time is not a forum for challenge. Is it edifying? All things are edifying when they are biblical. I'm fine with your not having them publically testify though. I would respect that and get that, but I have to defend it scripturally and I don't see the line there where you do. It's certainly not out of left field though.


KJB1611 said...

Dear Farmer,

If you have studied the history of testimonies and women and have good sources, I'm interested.

Farmer Brown said...

Kent said, "At what point do the women start with the silence?"

Silence begins when the assembly begins. When we break up for prayer, we are no longer assembled. Nevertheless, most churches have separated prayer groups into men and women for this reason.

I think the larger point is your statement that the two passages are about authority. 1 Cor 14 is about order, not authority. It begins, continues, and ends with order, concluding "let all things be done decently and in order."

The context of vss 34-35 is the same context of vss 33 and 40. The entire chapter is that context. The shame associated with women speaking is first the shame of disorderliness. It is disorderly for a women in an assembly to be in a position that is not subordinate. She is out of order. A woman giving a testimony while men sit in quiet subjection is first disobeying Paul's demand for silence, but is also out of order. She is to be in subjection, not the men, who are to lead the assembly.

1 Timothy deals with authority first, but Corinthians is order. Even 1 Timothy though brings the problem back to the natural order. The verses in 1 Corinthians do not speak about authority at all. The closest they come is a reminder of the natural order. There is no discussion of teaching or usurping authority as there is in 1 Timothy. It is solely about silence being the orderly position.

That is why it is difficult for me to understand justifying testimonies and "amens". The Bible speaks briefly in a chapter on orderliness on women, beginning with "Let your women keep silence in the churches" and ending with "for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." Paul uses a variety of words and examples to show it is not about authority. It is as if he is going out of his way here to be sure it is not seen only as authority.

Then there is the content of the testimonies which nearly universally have at least some teaching element. A woman stands in church to relate something the Lord has done for her. The men sit in subjection and are edified by her witness.

But the discussion does not have to even get that far. Testimonies violate the teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14, so the content is really irrelevant.

James Bronsveld said...

When would a testimony not be instructive? When would it not teach? Could it not be observed that the words for testify and testimony are frequently used in conjunction with preaching and teaching in the New Testament?

In seeking to come to a Scriptural understanding of the limits of speaking by women in the assembly, I cannot get past Paul's stipulation that not only could they not teach, but they also had to learn in silence, which seems to assist in defining the parameters for the word "speak." Would not the prohibition of public questioning to women who desired to learn (and if they will [desire to] learn anything...) indicate that these were not questions perceived as challenging the authority of the teacher/preacher? In other words, I Cor. 14:35 seems to indicate that even submissive questioning in a desire to learn was to be restricted to private settings and directed to the one in immediate authority over the questioner.

Bro. Ross, you may find the discourse Paul and the Women by J. B. Hawthorne (1897) of interest. He treats all public address of the assembly (or on behalf of the assembly) equally, and mentions congregational singing in passing.

Farmer Brown, out of curiosity, does your church forbid the singing of special music by women in the assembly?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi everyone,

Most of interest to me is criticism coming from a more strict position than ours, which is already considered by most to be very strict. What I'm saying is that I'm getting criticism from the more strict, so I know what it is like too, and I'm fine with it. Women are silent during preaching. They don't preach or teach. They don't vote. They ask questions at home. They congregational sing. They sing in choir. We're talking about testifying. That's it. I don't even know if those criticizing agree with all this so far.

If silence relates to the moment we begin assembling, then women can't sing. They do sing in scripture, so silence doesn't mean no noise, complete silence from the moment of the assembly. 1 Cor 14 is obviously during preaching. I add to that a forum for authority, because it is about authority, and since no usurping of authority, no vote. Congregational singing and other singing go together -- you can't look at them differently. We're left with testimony, which is like singing. You aren't preaching. You aren't teaching. You are praising and thanking God without the music.

If the women sing, then you already gave up total silence during the entire assembly. Testifying isn't an authority issue, which is what this is about, so it is still in play. I think you guys have this wrong.

James Bronsveld said...

Bro. Brandenburg, I realize that this thread has wandered from the original post, but since it's treating a very current and pertinent issue, I still have some questions. In answer to Bro. Brandenburg, I do agree with your position so far as it goes (not to give a nod of approval, but simply to answer your statement about those criticizing). I've also listened to your treatment of this in your series on I Corinthians, and although I don't think you addressed the issue of testimonies at the time, I can see your connections with a forum that allows for the challenge of authority.

I don't see how congregational singing ("with one voice") is the same as publicly addressing the assembly. The former does not require the men to be in silence while the women testify, the latter necessarily does. Is a woman reading Scripture solo out loud the same as her reading scripture in unison with the assembled church? Would she be permitted to do both in your church?

If a woman (or man) in the church gives the following testimony: "I just want to say how thankful I am that the Holy Spirit said to me 'Mary, you need to change lanes right now,' on the freeway this week and that I listened, because if I hadn't I would have been rear-ended," would a pastor not be right in correcting this as teaching false doctrine? And yet it is testimony - testimony that affirms one or more doctrines (whether true or false). Testimony in the legal realm consists of statements made with the intent of establishing some fact or truth in a court of law. This holds true in general usage. In an ecclesiastical context, it involves affirming or establishing some doctrinal truth to the assembly.

Again, I agree there is a point to be made about authority in the passage, but it seems to go further in the area of public address. Bro. Brandenburg, would you agree that the questions Paul has under consideration are (in terms of translation and context) submissive questions with a desire to learn rather than challenging questions? If not, why not?

Kent Brandenburg said...


If the woman reads scripture, and in that scripture, she reads something exhortative, reproving and rebuking, she has taken up authority. I don't know of a passage that doesn't do that. I agree with your argument on singing. I understand that testifying is her speaking, but it doesn't say "speaking" in scripture. It says teaching, which assumes application too, and prophesying. This is testifying, which I'm defining as praising and thanking. Do we have any example of scripture reading, in which the woman is doing that? As it relates to testifying, I think of the song of Deborah. She is singing with Barak in Judges 5 to the Lord that content, not to the congregation. I also think of the song of miriam in Ex 15. Isn't that similar to testifying? Read what she sang. Does it change it to add music to it? I'm thinking of John 4, where the woman at the well tells them that Jesus told her everything she ever did, testifying to Him.

I see 1 Cor 14 as silence while prophesying is occurring. That's mainly where we get the silence, and I know it doesn't refer to singing, so it is subjected to what? Authoritative speech. They can't even say "Amen" during that, because the prophets are subject to prophets, which are not women.

I'm fine with restricting testimony, but I'm not convinced, and I'm going to lead and enforce what I know.