An article appeared in today’s GR Press that immediately grabbed my attention.

You can learn about it here:

Be sure and get to the bottom of a very long post, and link to her blog.  There you will find all kinds of other links that are extremely interesting.  The immediate impression I get is that this gal is something else, and can understand why she creates such controversy.  She doesn’t quite fit the mold of a seminary professor. 

I know Barbara and Tina will enjoy and want to read some of her books.



  1. RubeRad said,

    September 13, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    She doesn’t quite fit the mold of a seminary professor.

    Maybe that’s why the seminary is booting her. This statement, ripped from the very long post, made me uneasy:

    The statement, “Gain a reputation for godliness,” with no explanation, was one of 9 expectations Neal identified (1-28-03) in “addressing the deficits and lapses” in my life—“in ways and means that are measurable.” How one measures a reputation for godliness is beyond my comprehension. But I responded to all of his expectations, including this one:

    “Regarding godliness, I hesitate to even speak of it. It’s almost as though if I were to claim it, the very act of doing so (at least in my mind) would prove the opposite. . . . I’m still feeling my way in understanding exactly how a CRC reputation for godliness is defined. Within my own congregation (La Grave) I certainly think I have a reputation for being a good upstanding Christian. I have been asked to preach (and have done so) in Sunday morning services as well as evening—and I have taught in the adult education program and been involved in other ways. I faithfully attend . . . and people often seek me out. I guess I’m just struggling to know what you’re looking for under this category. . . . There is surely a lot more I could say about my personal spiritual discipline . . . but except where it comes up naturally in class or in conversation, I don’t typically speak of it.”

    Her answer to a charge of a lack of godliness seemed to me to be exactly the kind of answer that a liberal Christian would give to a charge of unorthodoxy. It gives the impression that she considers Christianity to be an outward, ritualistic, social exercise, rather than inward, redemptive, and recreative. To say that this kind of thing is not what she “typically” speaks of “except where it comes up naturally in class or in conversation” seems backwards to me. As a professional theologian, it should be the kind of thing that she typically does speak of all the time, in the natural administration of her classes and conversations.

    Also, it seemed odd to me that her very long article contained not one reference to scripture to justify her position. It would appear that her position is indeed defensible by scripture, and given that she is a theologian, employed by a seminary, the lack of scriptural argument seems to me a glaring omission.

    I know she left out “details of her personal spiritual discipline”, so I am not attempting to judge whether she is a Christian or not. But the tone of that one statement, combined with the evident belief that scripture is not applicable to actual life events, implies to me that she might be the type of ‘theologian’ who studies the texts of the Bible without bothering to apply biblical truths. The type of ‘theologian’ who rotted Princeton Theological Seminary from its original status as a premier institution of Reformed Theology to a theological joke: a secular academic institution devoid of spirituality.

    If, and I repeat If she is such a theologian, then indeed, she should be kicked out of the seminary, without reference to gender. And If this is really what is going on, then it is sadly understandable that CTS is somewhat close-fisted about their dealings in this process, since they would be negotiating not (as Tucker alleges) the legal grey areas of sexual discrimination, but the legal grey areas of religious discrimination.

    If she is not such a theologian (which of course is ultimately God’s to judge, but is also not a little bit the responsibility of her CRC eldership to shepherd), then shame on CTS for drumming her out, and shame on her colleagues for not truly standing up for her.

  2. Barbara said,

    September 13, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    I haven’t read through everything, but I do know her by her fine reputation in her book on missions history. I wonder how many seminary professors do speak openly of the issues of godliness because academic pressures of creating new and sythesizing old knowledge, while not antithetical to spiritual disciplines of godliness, certainly can theoretically be set aside while focusing on the academic. It is all too easy for all of us to dichotemize our spiritual and academic (or work) lives. Your dad can speak to this issue from his own personal experience of taking seminary classes. That balance is certainly a struggle for all “real” Christians who teach in religious studies environments. I have no way to judge her (if indeed we as outsiders should) and am eager to find the time to read through all of this.

  3. setty said,

    September 13, 2006 at 8:38 pm

    I finally found something to get a little discussion going. Too bad Jennifer can’t jump in with her insights on the matter of “godliness” , etc., but her job there pretty much requires that she keep quiet. Bruce thinks Neal won’t be playing his violin at Ruth and John Worst’s grand kids weddings.

  4. #2son said,

    September 14, 2006 at 12:05 am

    Oh, I don’t know about that. Your tomato plant thread looked like it had some legs for a while.

    But don’t even try to get me to “extract” any info out of her. I’ve tried and all she says about the woman is that she seemed a little…. oh hi honey, say what are you doing with that frying pan behind your back.

    Anyway, here I was hoping for a complete maelstrom of controversy and rumors. No such luck.

  5. setty said,

    September 14, 2006 at 2:28 am

    Quite a while ago I published a post about the Imam who wore a gun on his hip while preaching his sermon, and in that connection I made some comments about ministers who did things that I incorrectly regarded as not fitting my template of what a minister should do. I guess my feelings were that they should spend their whole time in their study or at the hopspital visiting the sick. That idea of how a minister should conduct his (or her!!) life is way off base. I don’t like it that ministers regularly outdrive me, Anyway it was in that vein that I made the comment, “she doesn’t fit the mold”. Eg., riding a bicycle umpteen miles with her husband, redoing the house boat they moved to, etc. And of course there is nothing wrong with that, in fact, I can admire those qualities.

    I must admit there is a pretty clear picture that she is a feminist, but that does’t make her ungodly, in my judgement.

    Hey Reuben, how do you get that vertical line alongside quotations? Now that impresses me. The rest, well maybe.

    I can’t make out what #2son is driving at. Is he lost in the wrong post?

  6. RubeRad said,

    September 14, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    The line is due to what your WordPress theme does to blockquotes. I’m not sure if I can illustrate the syntax of a blockquote in this comment, without WordPress recognizing that syntax and turning it into a blockquote, but here goes:

    When typing in the comment box, surround the paragraph(s) you want blockquoted with

    in front and

    in back, except without the spaces.

  7. RubeRad said,

    September 14, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    OK, that didn’t work. Here’s another way: surround your desired quote as follows: [blockquote]somebody else said this[/blockquote] — except use angle-brackets (less-than/greater-than) instead of square brackets.

    But another answer is, when you (as owner of the blog) write a post (or edit your or somebody else’s comment), you can always select any paragraph, and hit the button showing a right-arrow being applied to a block of text. That will indent the whole thing into a blockquote, and your theme should interpret it visually with the vertical bar.

  8. RubeRad said,

    September 14, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    …can theoretically be set aside while focusing on the academic. It is all too easy for all of us to dichotomize our spiritual and academic (or work) lives.

    First of all, how can those sentences be next to each other? On the one hand “can theoretically” makes it sound like a difficult task that we might strive to accomplish, and the next sentence makes it sound like a natural tendency we might strive to avoid.

    Second, there are many who would deny that such a dichotomy is valid; I think such people would tend to endorse Kuyper, or Theonomy, or the Cultural Mandate…

  9. Bruce S. said,

    September 14, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    I actually followed #2 son well. He thought your hanging tomato plant post had garnered lots of comments (which he pointed out because it seemed that you posted this controversial article partly in the hopes of getting a big discussion going). Then he pointed out his inability to get his wife to discuss this issue even face to face. So, you won’t have any luck getting her to comment on it here either.

    He’s a funny guy and I wish I could seem him more often.

  10. Great Aunt Barbara said,

    September 14, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    Theoretically–because in seminary we would hope that the professors have the academic and spritual all thoughtfully integrated, but in reality, we are all moderns who naturally think in this (false) dichotemous way, all the more so because of our academic training. So, yes, there is a tension between the two. I agree that the dichotomy is not valid, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t all struggle with it. I wonder how “Calvinist” RT is (knowing, of course, that the label covers quite a range of ideas); her previous seminary home was Trinity International, which is the E Free’s seminary. On another note (still not having read the whole original article), CTS should have realized that RT’s interests lie on the intersection of feminist thought and theology, at least at a popular level. Look at the titles of her books! I had only known of the missions one. And as for JDS, no wonder she is keeping silent. She must be experiencing a lot of tension and struggle herself these days. Don’t castigate her for this; feel some empathy for her!

  11. Bruce S. said,

    September 14, 2006 at 4:27 pm

    Hiking, swimming, painting, plumbing, yardwork, washing all the cars, general handyman work [and on and on and on] does not make one a feminist, as I can confirm by watching Big D here in San Diego. What makes one a feminist is flipping over/tossing aside the order of God’s creation re gender (which was affirmed by Paul in the NT).

  12. Bruce S. said,

    September 14, 2006 at 4:28 pm

    I might comment on

    It is all too easy for all of us to dichotemize our spiritual and academic (or work) lives. Your dad can speak to this issue from his own personal experience of taking seminary classes.


  13. Barbara said,

    September 14, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    There are many definitions of “feminist,” not all of which are as extreme and (I might add) biased as yours. I saw that she has a link to the Christians for Biblical Equality webpage. You might want to check out their statement of beliefs.

  14. Sarah said,

    September 14, 2006 at 10:45 pm

    What makes one a feminist is flipping over/tossing aside the order of God’s creation re gender (which was affirmed by Paul in the NT). …

    Yikes! “Tossing aside the order of God’s creation?”

  15. Bruce S. said,

    September 14, 2006 at 11:46 pm

    Not a definition – it’s way too simplistic to serve as a definition. More of a “how to”. And if appealing to scripture forms a “bias” why don’t you have the same bias? And if you want to claim that my handling of scripture is biased, how do you know it’s a bias and not merely good exegesis. (Not that I’ve done any yet on this topic- or ever will).

    If you had to come up with a single word for “flipping over/tossing aside the order of God’s creation re gender” what word would you come up with?

  16. Barbara said,

    September 15, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    I don’t know what you’d call it, but I know the Christians for Biblical Equality folk don’t fit the description. My friend, atr, whose husband is a relavtively new prof at Calvin and who definitely is in the CBE camp, just says “The Lord have mercy on us all,” and that our reaction to this whole affair ought to be prayer for those involved and the seminary and the denomination.
    And, dad, whatever did happen to those tomatoes? Where are the pictures and have you enjoyed the fruits of your labor?

  17. setty said,

    September 15, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    Maybe I shouldn’t have started this. It gets way over my head, but my heart is with the new professor at Calvin. I can’t quite figure out why RT (since we are now shortening it) needs to quote scripture when arguing her point. Quoting scripture just to get it in somewhere sounds like my experience in Saudi Arabia when I attended a church there and everyone said “Praise the Lord in every other sentence.”
    Boy Bruce you are good at figuring out your brother, he is too subtle for me, but now I get it, even the frying pan thing, and I hope you seem(sic) him soon.
    Finally, who is Sarah? Glad to meet you.

  18. RubeRad said,

    September 15, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    I can’t quite figure out why RT (since we are now shortening it) needs to quote scripture when arguing her point.

    She is making a moral argument. If she can’t justify it scripturally, then she is wrong. If she can, then her argument would have more weight among the community of theologians with whom she has a dispute.

    Or maybe the (implicit) point she is trying to make by avoiding scripture is that CTS is wrong even by secular, natural law standards? They’re so wrong, even people outside the church understand why they’re wrong?

  19. Barbara said,

    September 15, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    You don’t know that she did not justify her argument by way of scripture just because it isn’t threaded through her public post. As I read her material, it is a condensation of various meetings. And it could very well be (and seems to me quite possible) that the seminary itself did not “justify its arguments by way of scripture” (either). This whole affair is so very sad. And one more point to your father: the CBE folk have done careful exegesis in formulating their stance. Just look at their website. Christians can disagree with each other over the role of women in the church, but accusing either side of not doing their exegetical homework is not valid (I’m not saying you had done this, B, but often those arguments can fall to those low point.) Tomatoes, dad, tomatoes!! I can still buy homegrown ones in the local supermarket.

  20. RubeRad said,

    September 15, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    I went and read the CBE statement of faith. Maybe it’s hiding somewhere else, but in that statement, there is absolutely no reflection of the biblical distinction between man and woman. I take that back, they do use the word “heterosexual”, but otherwise they admit to no particular ways in which men are ‘hetero’ from women.

    So it would appear that the organization might be better named: “Christians for Biblical Equality, but Let’s Not Talk About Biblical Distinction”. I would be much more comfortable if the CBE, right up front, emphasized a biblical balance between equalities and distinctions.

    Aha! So this is where they hide the statement of faith I was looking for…

  21. Bruce said,

    September 15, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    Wayne Grudem and the one and only John Piper have produced a critique of CBE’s statement which can be found via’s ecclesiology page. Interestingly, these are just a few of the male endorsers of CBE: T.L. Osborn (whom I remember from BMT days as a Pentecostal faith healer type), Tony Campolo (no surprise), Cornelius Plantinga Jr. (big surprise) and two deceased gentlemen: FF Bruce and Lewis Smedes.

    Note: if you re-read any of my contributions to this thread you will see that I don’t come out with much of an opinion at all on the issues other than to offer an observation of an established gender order by the creator.

    I will ask Dr. S. Baugh when I see him Sunday at church whether multiple wives were a common thing in the church of Asia Minor in the first century. If he says no,[and I am almost certain the answer is that polygamy was not anywhere near a common occurance either in the church or in the culture of the time] then I might then have cause to dig my heels in on the requirement of a bishop [ruling elder] that he be the husband of one wife.

    I recall asking a woman of my aquaintance what she thought of having a woman pastor. She made a face and said “I don’t think I would like it.” Oddly, she made no appeal to scripture and in general gave me the impression from her answer that the Bible wasn’t really all that authoritative on the subject. But her personal likes and dislikes were the determinative factor.

    Plug in [cultural proclivities] or [pragmatic considerations] or [the Holy Spirit has changed his mind] for [personal likes and dislikes] and you get to the same place.

  22. setty said,

    September 21, 2006 at 1:18 am

    Tonight in the Press was a short item about a speech Ruth Tucker is scheduled to give (I think tonight) sposored by CBE. Apparently the speech is about the contorversy, and when the CBE realized Neal Plantinga is a member of CBE they opted out of the sponsorship, and someone else is sponsoring it.

  23. setty said,

    September 22, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    This is obviously intended for an inocent bit of humour.

    Does this story remind you of anything?

    The Times September 07, 2006

    Punch is served at vicar’s tea party
    By Nicola Woolcock

    WHEN the Rev Ann Douglas retired as vicar of St John the Evangelist,
    her parishioners organised a farewell tea party.

    Sadly the event did not proceed in the spiritual and genteel manner
    one might expect: it came to an abrupt end when a senior vicar of the
    diocese was punched in the face and had a soft drink poured over his

    The Rev Jon Honour was forced to follow the Christian teaching of
    turning the other cheek after the attack by an angry supporter of Mrs

    After four years as the vicar of Woodley, Berkshire, she had announced
    her retirement, supposedly on the ground of ill health. In a parting
    sermon, however, Mrs Douglas, 56, said she had been undermined,
    bullied, intimidated and harassed during her tenure.

    One parishioner blamed Mr Honour, who is now acting priest-in-charge
    of the church. As about 100 guests enjoyed tea and sandwiches, the
    unnamed man landed several thumps on Mr Honour’s head.

    A guest said: “It was such a shock — you don’t expect that at a
    vicar’s tea party. After the reverend was hit all hell broke loose.
    One old lady started grappling the other man’s face and told him off.”

    Another guest said: “One minute it was very peaceful, the next he had
    a drink thrown over him and was punched in the face a few times.”

    Mrs Douglas announced her retirement last month. In a leaving speech
    delivered from the pulpit several weeks ago, the vicar said she had
    experienced a “difficult time”.

    “Over the last four years there have been those who have sought to
    undermine the work of the Church in the most ungodly way, and I have
    experienced everything from gossip, to rumour mongering to bullying,
    intimidation and harassment from some people, which has been for me,
    the final straw,” she said.

    The church was said to have suffered a recent exodus of members, with
    the congregation dwindling after Mrs Douglas modernised services. She
    was criticised for allegedly banning the choir and church organ.

    Mrs Douglas refused to comment on the incident. She said: “I have
    nothing to say. I was at the other end of the room so I did not see
    anything anyway.”

    Mr Honour said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by the
    attack, which happened on Sunday. He said that he had received a
    letter of unreserved apology from his attacker.

    His wife, Anna, said: “My husband will be OK. He just has a few

    The Diocese of Oxford played down the incident but admitted that Mr
    Honour had been attacked by “a disgruntled member of the congregation”.

    The Right Rev Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Reading, added: “I am
    extremely sad that the farewell tea for the Rev Ann Douglas was
    disrupted in such an unfortunate manner.

    “The Rev Jon Honour is now acting priest-in-charge of the church in
    Woodley. He has my complete support and I have every confidence that
    he, and the other clergy and lay leaders with whom he works, will help
    bring peace to the church.”

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