Book review: Spencer, Salty Wives

My attention has been drawn to this new book which I will now review.

F. Scott Spencer, Salty Wives, Spirited Mothers, and Savvy Widows (Eerdmans 2012)

Engaging feminist hermeneutics and philosophy in addition to more traditional methods of biblical study, Salty Wives, Spirited Mothers, and Savvy Widows demonstrates and celebrates the remarkable capability and ingenuity of several women in the Gospel of Luke. While recent studies have exposed women’s limited opportunities for ministry in Luke, Scott Spencer pulls the pendulum back from a negative feminist-critical pole toward a more constructive center.

Granting that Luke sends somewhat “mixed messages” about women’s work and status as Jesus’ disciples, Spencer analyzes such women as Mary, Elizabeth, Joanna, Martha and Mary, and the infamous yet intriguing wife of Lot — whom Jesus exhorts his followers to “remember” — as well as the unrelentingly persistent women characters in Jesus’ parables.

This book probably has pros and cons. My view is that it is valuable but should be used with care because it might have traces of a softer complementarian position. Let me explain why.

  • Luke does not send “mixed messages” about women.
  • Eerdmans is good but it isn’t as trustworthy as IVP.
  • I’m not particularly happy that the author has felt the need “to engage” with feminist hermeneutics and philosophy, even if it restores the more constructive hard complementarian center. That sort of thinking can be safely ignored, not “engaged”. Would you “engage” with Hitler, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or the anti-gun nuts? No, thought not.
  • I am happy that the author has criticized the exposing (and “exposing” is exactly the right language) by Liberal Bible Scholars that Luke was a feminist and believed that women had “limited opportunities for ministry”. Luke was a hard complementarian who loved women through his medical ministry.
  • I am happy that more traditional methods of biblical study are used. Frankly, too many Liberal Bible Scholars have ignored J. I. Packer for far too long so it is good to see him being used in a book that will be read by them. Of course, hard complementarians never stopped using Pastor Packer. Some soft complementarians claim they never stopped but then they don’t have a problem with ladies teaching women so I doubt it every much.

But I’m particularly endorsing this book  (with all due qualifications) because “salty wife” is how I describe my wife after what I have done to, all over and sometimes in, her when I colonize her in the martial bed (on which see Pastor Mark Driscoll with Mrs Mark Driscoll and Jared C. Wilson and The Gospel Coalition). And she has never once complained.

– Pastor Randy Hawk

To the Brethren in The Gospel Coalition: Where art “The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey, Etc.”?

Now Christmas Day is over, it is time to reflect on the year. And what a year 2012 was!

For my reviews of the year I avoid the secular liberal media and turn straight to The Gospel Coalition (TGC). However, for some reason TGC’s “ten of our most popular articles of 2012” doesn’t even mention THE obvious TGC article of 2012 by Jared C. Wilson (“The Polluted Waters of 50 Shades of Grey, Etc.”) which included Pastor Douglas Wilson’s important reaction against those (e.g. egalitarians, soft complementarians and other feminists) who have forgotten biblical concepts of true authority and submission. As he described martial sex: “A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts”. This article was hugely popular and widely discussed on the internet so why didn’t it make the Top Ten?

The only reason I can think of is a technical hitch because I can’t find the link anymore. I hope this gets fixed soon and that the article gets restored to the Top Ten immediately (we all want to know if it came first!). This is tactically important because unbelievers might claim a (hollow) victory by suggesting that the Wilsons and TGC actually succumbed to Liberal Humanist pressure and removed the link themselves. I know this latter suggestion is not possible because of Matthew 24.24: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect”.

Bet let’s not fret over a mere hyperlink! There are some great memories from 2012 and TGC. Few of us will ever forget articles such as “How to Win the Public on Homosexuality“, “Don’t Take It from Me: Reasons You Should Not Marry an Unbeliever” (by The Wife of Tim Keller), “Why You Should Consider Cancelling Your Short-Term Missions Trips“, and my personal favourite, “Gay Is Not the New Black“.

– Pastor Randy Hawk

Is God Unequal to Men and Women? Yes, and for the Great Benefit of Womenfolk

The scriptures clearly testify that woman was created to serve man, and man was created to love and cherish woman. Those who deny these truths ignore the clear witness of the Bible to this effect (e.g. 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:25), and so have no excuse. The Word of God is straightforward and true, unlike the convoluted attempts made by soft complementarians and the shrill voices of egalito-feminists which attempt to avoid the plain meaning of Scripture.

Nevertheless, there is a claim we often hear from soft complementarians and egalitario-feminists, who are more willing to listen to their own voices than hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit, is that these unbiblical positions are more “fair” towards ladies. This was the claim recently by Dirk Byrd who as many of you will know introduced division into the body of Christ this year by setting up his rival American League of Soft Complementarians. Although I find his exact point a bit unclear and confusing, involving some longwinded analogy about tennis, he does seem to be making the claim that the softening of God’s Word results in greater fairness towards womenfolk.

But is this really so?

To the contrary, it is only the uncompromising hard complementarian position, in obedience to ALL the scriptures, which can provide the full benefits God intended for women.

Let us read from Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, chapter 2 verse 15:

Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

Here we see that God, in his infinite wisdom, has offered women a special means of salvation, to rescue them from the “even more” original sin of Eve (even more original than Adam, who as Genesis chapter 3 shows, sinned only after Eve had first sinned). But wait! Men cannot be saved by childbearing, can they? Well, anything is possible these days, given the perversions we see on the news each day, but in the time of Paul, when men were really men and not Thai lady-boys or some such abomination, that was the case. So in 1 Timothy 2:15, God is offering a means of salvation to women that he does not offer to men, if they fulfill their matrimonial role and function as the passive conduits of new life. I suppose the politically correct crowd would cry, “Wait! But that’s unfair. We’re all the same!” But God, taking into account the inherent weakness of the daughters of Eve, has provided a special means for them to be saved. If this is “unfair” (which is a worldly way of describing it), it is surely “unfair” in favor of women! Where are the protesting hairy-legged egalito-feminists, now? Suddenly they’ve all gone quiet!

So, yes – God does treat us differently, even in the most important matter of our eternal salvation. But it simply a fallacy to equate different treatment with unfair treatment.

Of course, although 1 Timothy 2:15 tells us that women may be saved in childbearing, we need to read what follows: “… if they continue in faith …”. And faith comes only by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart, which is the same if you are a man or a woman. But what Paul is telling us today is that those women who resist their God-given passive role of childbearing will also resist accepting Jesus into their hearts. They prefer giving their souls to the Devil over giving their bodies to their husband for his possession.

So the next time you hear some egalitario-feminist complain that the hard complementarian position is “unfair to women” you tell them back: “No! Hard complementarians believe in inequality; but only feminists believe in unfairness“.

– Pastor Randy Hawk