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Christians for Biblical Equality

When Women Don't Speak

Groundbreaking BYU research shows what it takes for a woman to truly be heard. readmore 

It is International Women’s Day on March 8th. Has anything changed for women since last year’s International Women’s Day? I ask this question because we Australians are reeling under the shock of the horrific murder of Hannah Clarke (31) and her three young children, Aaliyah (6) Laianah (4), and Trey (3). They were killed by her husband and the children’s father, Rowan Baxter. He doused them with petrol and set them alight in the family car. They appeared to the world as a glamorous couple with three beautiful children but in the home, Rowan was, his sister in law said, “a monster.” He always wanted his own way and was controlling. Hannah lived in fear of him and went to the police for help several times and had a court order out against him. Nevertheless, she is dead and so are the three children. In her greatest time of need no one could do anything. Her husband killed her and their three children in the most appalling way. If this woman would not live with him, or recognise his authority over her, and she wanted to take his children from him, he decided to kill them all.

This is almost too much to get our heads around but to make things worse the police inspector in charge of the case, Mark Thompson, implied it was possibly all Hannah’s fault. Speaking the day after the murders, he said, “to put it bluntly,” we are “deciding which side to take.” We are “opened minded” at the moment. Which side are you on? Is this an issue of a woman suffering significant domestic violence and she and her children perishing at the hands of a violent and angry man, or is this an instance of a man being driven too far by his wife who wouldn’t do as he demanded? In other words, was this an awful, violent and wilful crime against a defenceless woman and her children, or did this woman deserve it? Had she driven her husband to do this because of her own actions?

Kevin Giles first reply to Lionel Windsor.

I am delighted that a Moore College lecturer, Dr Lionel J. Windsor, is critically reading my last book, What the Bible Actually Teaches About Women (Or: Cascade, 2018).  I always write to encourage open debate and discussion. In addition, I am very appreciative of the fact that Lionel wrote to me first to express his concerns and criticisms, mainly on my translation of Genesis 1:27, and in his blog I am now answering he has recorded my response (see http://acl.asn.au/category/authentic/theology/). In his initial email to me personally I read him to be virtually accusing me of deliberately falsifying the evidence and deliberately rendering Gen 1:27 to say what I wanted it to say. He seemed to be saying, if I deliberately cheated on this verse nothing I said in my book of 260 pages should be uncritically assumed to be true. In reply, I admitted I had made a bad mistake in giving the pronoun in the second line of verse 27 in the plural following the English NRSV translation that gives the plural "them" when the Hebrew has the singular pronoun. I assured him it was a careless mistake with no intent to be dishonest; the several scholars that read the chapter did not note this mistake; I would write immediately to the publisher and ask that this mistake to be corrected (and I sent him my email to W&S); my mistake was inconsequential - I built absolutely nothing on the number of the pronoun; and in v 26 the pronoun is in the plural and in v 28 the verbs following Adam are in the plural.

Kevin Giles delights in Australia and its ideal of being an egalitarian nation. This ideal is not always present and for Kevin the subordination of women, as taught in certain Christian communities in Australia, is one such exception.  A deeply offensive one.

The teaching of the subordination of women upsets Kevin Giles deeply. He has advocated for equality between men and women for over 40 years. He has preached, spoken at conferences and written numerous books. He has at least 4 reasons for opposing the notion of women’s subordination.

Subordinationism.

Most theological text books mention a trinitarian error called, ‘subordinationism’ but they do not agree on how this error is to be defined. Possibly this is the most inadequately defined of all the major trinitarian heresies.

1.      The emergence of the term ‘subordinationism’.

In the fourth century, several groups of theologians who could not accept the use of the word homoousios (one in being) to define the Father-Son relationship in the creed of Nicea (325) were lumped together and called ‘Arians’- followers of Arius - by the Nicene fathers. Some of them insisted that they were not followers of Arius.[1] Later, the term ‘Arianism’ became a term either to designate those who in some way questioned the full divinity of the Son, or, as a catch-all pejorative term to designate any who deviated from to be teaching on the Trinity given in the creeds and later in the Reformation confessions.[2] From the middle of the sixteenth century until the late nineteenth century the term ‘Anti-Trinitarianism’ was often used as a synonym for the very broad understanding of ‘Arianism’ just mentioned.[3] In the middle of the nineteenth century it came to be recognised that a specific and precise term was needed to speak of those who, in differing historical times, proposed that in some way the Son and/or the Spirit were subordinated to the Father in the immanent Trinity. First, the English term ‘subordinationism’ began to be used for this purpose, and then later in German, ‘subordinationismus.[4]  From then on, this error could be contrasted with the errors of tritheism and modalism, and Arianism recognised as but one form of subordinationism. This technical term immediately discloses something about this theological error. It has to do with the sub-ordering or ranking of the Son and/or the Spirit below the Father; the hierarchical ordering of the trinitarian persons.

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