Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tim Keller on the Meaning of the Sex Act in Marriage: A Virtual Dialogue with Shirley Taylor Part I

Spiritual Sounding Board (SSB) just cross-posted my weekend commentary on Anna Duggar and the scapegoating that "spread your legs theology" doles out to women.    Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd swiftly proved my thesis on Sunday.

I read that the Dugggars "identify" with Floyd's church where their daughter Jill married, though I understand that they often choose to worship at home as well.  By the time that the church deleted the online podcast of Floyd's sermon, the lion's share of the material had been reproduced by a host of journalists and bloggers, noting the manner in which their religion blames wives for adulterous husbands.  I guarantee that within the Gothard system specifically, the condemnation proves far more scathing.  The SBC as a whole isn't quite as miserable about such matters.

And as an aside, I was happy to learn that Anna Duggar's brother offered to take Anna and her children with Josh in and would support them, should Anna choose to separate.  Or something to that effect.

What turned out to be the middle of the night for me, a person commenting under the SSB reposting inquired about the specifics of statements made by Tim Keller that I found rather salacious, and in light of the drama over the past two years or so in the Duggaresque world, I didn't feel all that hesitant use equally salacious terms to define the gender theology.  With permission, I quoted Shirley Taylor's private comments to me a few years ago, qualifying Keller's belief system little more than a theology of sexism which reduces women to creatures of lesser essence and purpose.  I believe that it is helpful to note that Shirley Taylor reached the status of septuagenarian a year or so ago.  I can imagine that her critics have characterized us both as young, foaming at the mouth man-haters.  She a loving wife, mom, grandmom and still works as a church secretary.  She even does home canning.  (And I turn 50 next year.)

Questions about Tim Keller

A polite person posted a response, asking for specifics about what Tim Keller had to say about marriage, as I am probably more disappointed in him and in D.A. Carson than all of the rest of those involved with this ideology.  Because the issue that I believe Keller gets very wrong is so central to the central message of Christianity, I will post the quotes and my response in at least two blog posts.  Shirley and I have discussed these matters many times in conversation, but I would also like to highlight her statements about these same matters from her book.  (She's currently revising it and has written two more books since its publication.)  I noted at the SSB blog that I didn't want to give Keller's statements a platform of legitimacy without my own responses to them as well.  To me, it's like handing out cookies laced with rat poison, and I don't feel comfortable doing so.

There are several things in the Sex and Marriage chapter in Tim Keller's marriage book that give me pause, and not because I am prudish.  I've been a nurse for 29 years, and I worked in hospital urology for two years when I first graduated.  I don't agree with many things that Keller postulates in that chapter, but it's a free country and I disagree with plenty of people on the planet, including fellow Christians.  I will limit my comments to those matters with serious doctrinal implications and that which I see as inappropriate in terms of what Scripture actually says.

I'll keep this blog post limited to this series of quotes from the Sex and Marriage chapter in The Meaning of Marriage:
 “Sex leads us to words of adoration—it literally evokes shouts of joy and praise. Through the Bible, we know why this is true. John 17 tells us that from all eternity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been adoring and glorifying each other, living in high devotion to each other, pouring love and joy into one another’s hearts continually (cf. John 1:18; 17:5, 21, 24–25). Sex between a man and a woman points to the love between the Father and the Son (1 Corinthians 11:3). It is a reflection of the joyous self-giving and pleasure of love within the very life of the triune God. Sex is glorious not only because it reflects the joy of the Trinity but also because it points to the eternal delight of soul that we will have in heaven, in our loving relationships with God and one another.”

My Initial Response to Keller's Statement

I don't know about you, but from a reading of these proof texts, prior to ever hearing about the Eternal Subordination of the Son Doctrine (ESS), and thereafter, I can say with all honesty that I never saw anything concerning the actual sex act in them.  Never once did it occur in the midst of physical union with my husband over the past 25 years that I was supposed to be thinking about the analogous relationship between Jesus and the Church.  I thought about love for my husband and his love for me, and about the blessing of pleasure through that experience. 

I would say that the more profound lessons about love and care that introduced me to a whole new, deeper level of being loved more than anyone had ever loved me came not through anything having to do with the sex act.  My husband's patient kindness with me, self sacrifice, and all sorts of other ways in daily life that I never dreamed took me by surprise in the way he honored me in real life.  I remember the first time that he made and brought me a cup of coffee about a month after our honeymoon.  I thought about the profound effect that the way my father treated my mother had on my expectations and how the love my husband lived out for me so far exceeded any other love that anyone had ever expressed for me.  I still feel that way about him today.  And as all marriages, it has not been a rose garden.

A Gospel Coalition Sex Talmud?  (a.k.a,  I've been doing it wrong for 20+ years?)

I thoroughly enjoy sex and would say that it can feel transcendent in its own unique way, but it is such a small element of marriage in comparison to everything else that I can't imagine cheapening the whole of our relationship by claiming that sex was the apex of it in the way that Keller lauds it.  (Keller's associate Mary Kassian uses that description to qualify sex in marriage and writes about discussing the subject with Keller.)  My relationship with my husband is not that static, and life is too complicated to classify sex as an apex.  Maybe it was during the first decade?  I don't know.

Admittedly, this is not not Keller's statement who does make statements about marriage that I don't see supported in Scripture, but Kassian goes on to say that if you're not thinking about God during sex, she almost makes it sound like it's tantamount to adultery.  I have other problems with her analogies and reasoning in this whole series of posts from 2012.  I recall one almost arguing for elder rule in a way that made it sound like an argument could be made that a woman could have sex with an elder if that's what he desired.  I'm not bothering looking it up, but it had more puzzle piece pictures that were just...not right.   She didn't say that you could commit adutery, but the whole line of argument was so bizarre and full of error, that's what her logic (?) could justify.

From Kassian's post, More Necessities for God-Glorifying Sex:
The final and overarching necessity for God-glorifying sex is “Godwardness.” By that, I mean understanding that your sexuality (and the rest of life) is ultimately not about you, but about reflecting truths about your Creator-Redeemer. [. . .]  When I work at desiring my husband and being desirable for him, I honor the gospel story. Godward sexuality is far more than following a set of rules for moral conduct. Having a Godward mindset informs and transforms me from the inside out, enabling me to embrace the fullness and joy of my God-given sexuality, and to live in a way that honors Jesus.


There is much rhetoric of this sort in the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and among those well accepted in Keller's Gospel Coalition, and Keller echoes the spirit of it and has never challenged these types of ideas.  I feel safe to assume Keller takes no issue with these concepts.  John Piper is another one who has made provocative statements, and he's definitely never publicly challenged Bruce Ware's writing.)

Dethroning the Bizarre

Shirley discusses these and other statements in her book, Dethroning Male Headship.  As the wife of one husband, the mother of two sons, and a Christian who loves Jesus, and a woman of the Word who sees these glaring Keller's description of marriage this way in her book, I thought her comments here were insightful, especially since I may have left those reading here with the impression that she was little more than a shock jock egalitarian.

In her chapter entitled Sexualization of the Trinity, she comments:

Keller is saying that when husbands and wives have sex, particularly when they climax (when else would there be “shouts of joy?”), they are emulating how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit rejoice in each other. 
[. . .]
The ‘union’ between the Son of God and his bride the Church, according to Piper and Keller, is sex. Just as sex supposedly points to the love between the Father and Son, now the bride (the Church) is involved . . . if you believe what Piper and Keller are saying.

Why is it that a grandmother who has studied the Bible and never went to seminary can see right through these matters, and so many people can't?   Or perhaps they don't want to see any of it.  I really don't want to know.


The next post will examine more problematic statements that branch back to the presupposition of the ESS Doctrine held by Keller, The Gospel Coalition, John Piper (a contributor to some of Piper's works), and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Who put Jesus in a dress? The Insane Theology of the Eternal Subordination of the Son Doctrine

Shirley Taylor is revising her first book, but I wanted to revisit it in the event that this portion changes. 

I still can hardly believe that anyone takes this Subordination doctrine seriously at all, especially the alleged ramifications that it holds for gender relationships.  I wandered into a seminary a number of years ago and challenged doctrines that I could barely believe that anyone took seriously and found out in a most unpleasant way that it was one of the hottest topics within the Southern Baptist Convention.

I've heard rumors that many who claim to embrace gender roles and female subordination actually reject the idea that these roles and relationships find their origins in the Trinity -- a mystery of religion in and of itself.  But who knows.  Follow the money, I say.  When it completely stops bringing in the bucks, they'll abandon the concept and come up with some new kind of spin to make their concept try to work.   I'm still in awe that seminaries full of Christians can sit and listen to this, saying nothing.

This excerpt was taken from Taylor's 2013 book, "Dethroning Male Headship."  It's located in the Kindle Version at Locations 1630 through 1651:

Kevin Giles, renowned Anglican priest, theologian, and author of The Trinity and Subordination, counters complementarian teaching with this statement, “To bolster support for this “great cause” (the permanent subordination of women), the doctrine of the Trinity has been redefined and reworded to give evangelical who has written in support of the eternal subordination of the Son is committed to the permanent subordination of women in the church and the home. This agenda is what drives them to advocate the eternal subordination of the Son.” 1

Cindy Kunsman wrote, “It’s not enough to just slam women but complementarians are so motivated by the woman problem, they will put Jesus in a dress and make Him out to be the eternal slave— a special purpose God. The one Divine Person who actually had a physical body that was male is given the “role” that is synonymous with women. In that sense, they put him in a dress. Even on that level, what sense does this teaching make? The one man who was a man is likened by analogy to a woman. The one who is given the pre-eminence in all things is secondary in power. Why?” 2

She was referring to Bruce Ware and his teaching that Jesus is in eternal submission to the Father. This theology is used to explain why women must submit to their husbands. It is the theology that is being taught to young future preachers at Southern Baptist seminaries.

Ware explains a portion of the Eternal Son Subordination theory in The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit the Trinity as theological foundation for family ministry, “In addition, just as the husband’s thoughtful and loving headship should reflect Christ’s relationship to the church (Eph 5: 25– 27, 31– 32), so the wife’s glad-hearted and consistent submission should reflect the church’s privilege of absolute submission before the lordship of the Messiah (Eph 5: 24, 31– 32).

Therefore, the type of submission a wife is called to render to her husband is joyful and glad-hearted.” He goes on to say, “Just as God calls all of us to submit to authority with whole heart and willing spirit, so this special calling and privilege is given to wives as a reflection of the triune relations within the Godhead.”  3

Ware’s explanation reduces our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to that of a slave to the Father (absolute submission), and demotes Christ. Complementarians who teach this theology keep getting confused about the wife’s role. In this particular comment by Ware, the husband represents both Jesus and God, while the wife represents the church. Again, it is a mystery where the Holy Spirit fits into this triune relationship.


1 Giles, Kevin. The Trinity and Subordinationism: The Doctrine of God and the Contemporary Gender Debate (InterVarsity, 2002) and Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals Reinvent the Doctrine of the Trinity (Zondervan, 2006)

2  Kunsman, Cynthia, undermuchgrace.com (private communication)

3  Ware, Bruce. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: The Trinity as Theological Foundation for Family Ministry. Implications for Husbands and Fathers. http:// www.sbts.edu/ family/ blog/ the-father-the-son-and-the-holy-spirit-the-trinity-as-theological-foundation-for-family-ministry/

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Will Anna Duggar be offered as the next live sacrifice to save the Duggar Family Brand? Scapegoating, Spread Your Legs Theology, and the Modern Molech

(Please take note of embedded links 
                 for background information.)

I’ve tried for more than 48 hours to write this, but having watched this scenario play out with other followers of Bill Gothard, it brings up so many disturbing emotions for me, I found myself too caught up in them.  As the media begins to report, Anna Duggar will share in the blame for her husband’s sins and divorce will be strongly discouraged if not demonized.  I’ve watched it happen with other people who follow this belief system, over and over again. 

I don’t know how the family will make her the scapegoat for his behavior prior to their courtship, but they will scapegoat her for his infidelity.  The wife’s exemplary performance allegedly and magically prevents a husband from indulging in sin.  We see elements of this same mindset in the blaming behavior of Tullian Tchividjian.  Such magical thinking rests at the core of all of the beliefs within the Duggars’ cultic excuse for sanitized and superior Christianity.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Jill and Jessa Duggar as Quivering Daughters: Hillary McFarland’s book is available again!

The previous post explains the plight of Second Generation Adults of Patriarchy (SGAs) — those who suffer in the confinement of thought and in the circumstances in life created by Christians who sought to help their families.  The SGA describes adults who grew up in a family that followed high demand religion — a process that has profound effects for those who endure it.  Quivering Daughters by Hillary McFarland seeks to help those who have lived a “Duggar-like lifestyle” but found that it worked to destroy that which it was meant to create.  Rather than a nurturing environment of safety and love, many of its daughters and sons were met with pain, rejection — and sometimes, with abuse.

I am grieved to see that some of these misfortunes have also touched the Duggar Family.  I feel pity and empathy for all of them, especially for Jill, Jessa, and those unnamed ones who don’t even fully realize that they were abused.  They also do not realize the nature of the system of belief that they follow not only puts them at risk for physical harm, it also packs a punch of emotional, spiritual and psychological abuse.  That is where most of us who were involved with Gothardism find ourselves when we wake up to the reality that formulas for living that eliminate the problems in life simply don’t work.  It takes time and valiant courage to face the tragic consequences as well as the end of the fantasy that promised us “a better way.” 

Available Again!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The First Step Towards Understanding Jill and Jessa Duggar’s Fox Interview: Second Generation Adults in Cultic/High Demand Religion

A host of resources exist exploring the characteristics of the subculture of the Quiverfull Movement (which is often synonymous with Patriarchy within evangelical Christian homeschooling circles).  As the new generation that this movement produced finds their voice, there appears to be little information about the process of how this group in particular has affected the development of the now adult “arrows” of their parents’ quivers , especially for those who remain within their religious culture of origin.

Defining the Term:  Second Generation Adult

Simply defined, children who are raised in a high demand religion whose followers view themselves as special have been described as “Second Generation Adults,” (resulting in the acronym of “SGA”). Their parents, those of the “first generation,” who opted to follow a particular ideology obligated their children to its demands — demands which shape how their children grow into their adulthood.  

Parents’ choices burden their children with concerns and issues that people outside of their religious culture do not share.  Even into adulthood, this burden alters normal growth and development as well as identity in predictable, lasting, and often in profound ways. 

The Duggar daughters who appeared on the June 5, 2015 interview on Fox News represent the SGAs of the duplicitous Bill Gothard’s “Advanced Training Institute” homeschooling program.

A Very Complicated Subculture:  Duggar Children as SGAs

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What Micah Murray and I Want You (and the Duggars) to Know about Joy

My blog post today was birthed by a new article written by a thoughtful young man -- a Second Generation Adult (raised in high demand religion) -- who used to be the equivalent of a Duggar, but sans TV show.  Hopefully sans abject abuse, too.

(As I finish this post, The Kelly File featuring the first interview with the Duggars following the tragic news of sexual abuse in their family just beings to air.

Read my general thoughts here and listen to the Patriarchy Workshop if you're interested in what I think about the top layer of their theology.  And a blog series I did on repentance and forgiveness....)

Congratulations to Micah on his premiere article in Bedlam Magazine.  (I'm probably his mother's age, so I see him as young and nearer than I am to the beginning of his own, hard work of healing.)

My!  Did the article set me thinking -- about things other than the he offers which don't begin to reflect the trenchant and thoughtful posts that he pours out on his blog, Redemption Pictures.

As the First Post Sex Abuse Duggar Interview Airs...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Leaving the Quiver Behind

For the young adult who emerges from a high demand religious household, there's so much grieving (anger, depression, etc), backtracking and adjusting to do that the reconciliation that parents desire takes longer than they would like. Reconciliation doesn't always happen, either.

 The process takes the survivor of this Patriarchy/Quiverfull mess years to process things after growing up in it, and the parent has to go through their own (very different) grieving as well.  Making sense of the rift takes time and work, and it's often difficult to devote oneself to healing and reuniting with parents while forging ahead with one's own life.  And it basically sucks.  It's well worth doing, but it's painful, and it's work.

Getting Back to Blogging and Photo Hacking

I finally moved out of the 20th Century and bought a Smart phone, but not without some casualties.  I thought I was deleting images from  my phone to save memory...  Ha!  I inadvertently deleted a couple of years worth of images from this blog --  291 of them if I remember correctly.

Basically, I've been overcome by life events....  Though things are looking up.

I plan to replace a couple of the missing images every day, but then... I plan to do many things.  (Sigh.)  I have yet to finish responding to Cynthia Jeub's blog in the hope of helping parents feel more comfortable with their adult children and the independent choices that they make.  (I haven't read there since I last posted about her writing here on this blog.)  But to that task  I will return in the Fall.

I feel so old!
I'm not sure when it happened, either.

In the interim and amidst the latest scandal (which seem to be monthly since I last posted here), keep up with Spiritual Sounding Board, Homeschoolers Anonymous, Recovering Grace, and No Longer Quivering for the homeschooling related drama.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bob Jones University: Hope Before the GRACE Storm

Update 2Jun15:  Follow up with the significance and effects of the GRACE Report for Bob Jones University at Bible Madness.

Original post 10Dec14:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Prerequisite for More Discussion about Cynthia Jeub's Blog Posts

Religious lifestyles that demand a great deal of conformity can create a lot of relationship tension as children venture into adulthood as those adult children begin to make their own choices about life and belief.  If there is too much reliance on the identity of the family of origin or if the family demands the adult to remained defined by this identity, relationship are likely to develop.

But what makes for a person's identity?  Where does it come from?  How does an individual find their worth, value and peace?  It's more complicated than you might think.

How would you rate your own self-esteem?  Your self-efficacy?  What kind of locus of control do you have?  What about your loved ones?  Can you speculate about how these elements affect your relationships with family?

Multigenerational Tragedy?

The Ultimate Tragedy:

Another tragedy... is a problem of multigenerational nature. The serious dysfunction in a founding family will be absorbed by the children’s families and then their children’s families, a ripple of misery extending farther and farther down through the years. The dependency or dysfunction may change... But it’s there. It’s almost always there, wreaking it’s damage.

by Hemfelt, Minirth and Meier

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Affects of Stress on the Body and "Multigenerational Faithfulness" in Quiverfull Families

During the interim while waiting on the continued discussion of Cynthia Jeub's blog posts about the inconsistencies she experienced in her TLC celebrity family, enjoy a graphic about how stress affects the body.
Let it be another good motivator to work through the negative and costly aspects of true "multigenerational faithfulness."  It might be better termed "parental convenience" for which adult children raised in the high demand system pay a terribly high price.

Idealization often occurs in families that are very religious, especially in those kinds of religious homes that draw very strict boundaries to define acceptable and unacceptable attitudes and behaviors.
The high value that is placed on family, and on respect for parents, makes it almost impossible for children to integrate their parents’ failings and weaknesses... 
Adult children who have practiced this degree of splitting and idealization tend to be driven by fear. 
Dr. David Stoop

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Are You a Mom Who is Triggered by Cynthia Jeub's Blog? Finding Healing Part I


At the age of forty eight, I find myself in an interesting place concerning the discussion of the Evangelical Christian homeschooling movement. While I'm roughly the same age of the first generation parents in the movement's spotlight, I identify most strongly with the Second Generation Adults (SGAs) – the adults who grew up in the quiverfull homeschooling world. Through my childbearing years, I found my social niche with moms who were a decade older than me, and their babies that I once carried around on my hip are now adults. Because I never managed to carry a pregnancy very far before miscarrying, most moms in the movement who were my age held me at arms length, and I was treated as a pariah. Though my experiences classify me as an SGA, because I was neither homeschooled nor had the experience of parenting, I often stand on the outside looking into both groups. My perspective has advantages and disadvantages, but I've been determined to make the best out of both.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gothard's New "Ministry": Men's Accountability Parachurch Groups

I've been waiting for weeks for this one...

Visit Spiritual Sounding Board for the all of the bizarre and inane details.