Dr. Patterson's View of Women (Straight From the Horse's Mouth)

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Todd, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Todd

    Todd
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    I've seen several folks post messages about Dr. Patterson's theological understanding of women here on the Board that seem to offer of skewed view of what the SWBTS President actually believes. For those who are interested in the truth, it is printed here for your enjoyment and edification.

    FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--There were rumors that women would not be allowed to take classes with men at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary when Paige Patterson became president just over a year ago. In fact, there were rumors that women would be drummed out of the theology school altogether.

    Patterson said he knew he would have to speak to the rumors one day. “But I sort of enjoyed watching the rumor mill work for a year,” the Texas seminary president said in chapel Oct. 19. “Every once and awhile I’ve been known to feed one and watch how far it goes.”

    Patterson said he purposefully scheduled a discussion of the issue of women in ministry because others often misrepresent his views on the subject, calling such misrepresentation a “diatribe and lie of the left.”

    “No Bible-believing, evangelical Christian and follower of Jesus Christ has ever believed anything else other than that women are equal with men,” Patterson said.

    Patterson said that the story of creation in Genesis 2 and the Apostle Paul’s words to his young protégé Timothy in 1 Timothy 2 demonstrate the equality of women in creation and their assignment in the body of Christ.

    In Genesis 2, God paraded all of creation in front of the man he had created and watched as Adam named the creatures. But God said it was “not good under any circumstance” that there was not another special creation like the man, Patterson said.

    “By the time all those animals had been named and viewed, it was apparent to Adam that each one had a suitable helper. He was the only one in the world that was alone. God was preparing his heart for a wonderful blessing that was about to happen to him,” Patterson said.

    God caused Adam to sleep deeply and then He took part of Adam’s “side” -- not necessarily his “rib” -- to fashion the first woman. Patterson said the word used to describe the creation of the first woman means to “beautifully and artistically construct.”

    “I wish I had $5 for Southwestern Seminary every time a well-meaning preacher or Sunday School teacher said it, but it is not true that women have one more rib than men,” Patterson gibed. “If I am in a car accident and lose one arm, it doesn’t mean all of my kids are going to be born one-armed. The genetic code is in place.”

    Beyond what is contained in Scripture, Patterson said there is no way to know for sure what Adam thought of his helpmate when he awoke. “What do you think he said? We don’t have it all recorded here folks. But we have what is necessary for faith and salvation and our understanding of creation.”

    Genesis 2:23 records Adam’s description of Eve as “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, and she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.” Patterson said that Adam was saying, “Whatever it is I am, there is another one ... with certain notable improvements.”

    “Every woman, like every man, is made in the imago Dei, in the image of God. Every woman has the right and responsibility to come to God for herself. Every woman, like every man, has the right to study God’s Word and apply it to her life. Every woman is fully equal and quite a lot of them more than equal to any man I ever saw,” Patterson said.

    Patterson asked if the equality of women with men means that a woman can do anything she wants to do in the church.

    For the answer, he turned to 1 Timothy 2:9-15. Patterson described the passage as “one the most hated in all of Scripture” because it runs counter to an American culture that drives women to succeed in business and other endeavors while spending less time concentrating on family.

    “What can a woman do in the church?” Patterson asked after reading the passage. “Anything she wants to. Anything she wants to that is not expressly prohibited in Scripture.”

    The portion of the passage referring to submissiveness drives many people away because they assume submissiveness indicates a lower order of being, Patterson said. But there are examples in society that disprove such thinking, he said, noting, for example, that in an encounter with a police officer, he and the officer would be equal before the Lord.

    “However, he is above me,” Patterson said. “God gave him an assignment that affects me and made him a minister of God to correct my evil ways. I am obligated to submit to him, not because he is a superior human being, but because his assignment from God is such that it is.”

    Patterson said the same principle applies to the relationship of children and their parents. The children are fully equal to their parents as human beings, he said, but placed by God under their parents’ supervision and authority so they will grow into godly, respectable citizens.

    “It is in the obedience that we all have to somebody that we learn how to obey God. That is why God placed those positions of authority all throughout society to begin with,” he said.

    Jesus exemplified this principle during His earthly ministry, Patterson noted. “Ontologically, the Son is always equal with the Father, but from eternity past He is positionally subordinate to the Father and so shall He ever be. If it is not too good for Jesus, it is not too good for us. Every human being on the face of the earth is accountable to somebody.... We are told to submit ourselves to those to whom He has made us accountable.”

    The same rule, Patterson said, is to be applied in the body of Christ, the church. Of the many attempts to explain what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote the passage about the submission and silence of women, Patterson said, “Oftentimes, the answer of the evangelical world is that a woman cannot serve as a senior pastor.”

    “Would somebody please find that in the text? It is not in the text. That is not said. There is no mention of occupation in this text at all. This is not a question of occupation. It is a question of an assignment from God, in this case that a woman not be involved in a teaching or ruling capacity over men,” Patterson said. “It is a prohibition of a woman teaching or ruling over a man in the church,” which would necessarily mean that women cannot serve as pastors, he said.

    The words of the apostle do not make any man a dictator, a supreme sovereign or a “be-all, end-all,” Patterson said. The words mean that men are responsible for the spiritual well-being of the home, he said.

    “Wives are told, ‘Submit yourself.’ No one makes you do it. That’s a voluntary matter,” Patterson said.

    “It means voluntarily to line up in the right order that God has given, and the husband is loving his wife sacrificially as much as Jesus Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, so that all the husband can think of is, ‘Honey, what can I do for you? What can I do to serve you? How can I make your life better?’ And all the time she is submitting herself to her husband and saying, ‘You just lead and, honey, I’ll follow.’ Would you tell me how any kind of fight could develop in that situation? It will just be heaven on earth. That’s all. God knew it and He wants the church to be an example of it. That is the reason He said ‘no’ to a woman having a ruling or teaching position over a man.”

    Patterson said that revisionists approach the passage in Timothy and say, “Yes, that’s what it says, but.” Others, who see the passage as providing commentary on practices limited to a specific culture, believe it was meant only for that time. However, these overlook the inherent connection to the created order referenced in Genesis 2, Patterson said.

    But the passage is very clear, Patterson said. The passage does not mean that a woman cannot say anything in church. “In that case, we would have Paul contradicting Paul. There is an appropriate time for women to pray and prophesy,” he said. Instead, the injunction for women to learn in “silence” means to have an attitude of meekness, respectability and godliness.

    The role of women in the church, Patterson said, is bound up in the enigma Paul wrote about when he said that women would be “saved in childbearing” in 1 Timothy 2:15.

    “She will find her greatest contribution and impact through the children she bears,” Patterson said. He said that many women do not view rearing children as an honorable profession. Many women who fill out paperwork write their occupation as “homemaker” in small letters.

    “Ladies, the highest and noblest calling of God is mother and grandmother. Equal to men, yes, but do what God has called you to do,” Patterson said. “Write it in bold letters with a big magic marker.”

    Patterson said he believes a seminary education is perfectly suitable for women. “Any woman who loves Jesus is welcome at this school. We have even established a full women’s studies program here. We will raise a generation of women committed to doing it God’s way. They will shake the world in ways a stumbling old preacher never could.”
    --30--

    This is one of the best brief explanations of a woman's ontology and her role in the kingdom of God that I have ever seen. Especially insightful were the analogies of a police officer/citizen and a parent/child relationship. Of course, those analogies illustrate the relationship between the Father and the Son, which of course is the relationship that the NT looks to as it explains the value of women and their place within the kingdom of God. I'd be interested to know if there are still any out there who think that Dr. P. is still "too narrow" or "heretical" in his view of women.
     
  2. Paul33

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    I don't disagree with anything Patterson said.

    But can you flesh this out for me?

    Women are not to teach or rule over men in the church. If a woman is the children's ministry director (pastor) and is responsible for the children's SS, what happens to her role if men are children's SS teachers? Would she be "ruling" over them by calling teachers' meetings and leading those meetings?
     
  3. gb93433

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    Well you need to speak with those who have worked with him over the years.

    Ask Dr. Karen Bullock who was a professor at SWBTS about him.

    Also ask him why he felt that he wouldn't do anything differently at SWBTS than what the local church would do. Ask Patterson why he hires people from Dallas Theological Seminary rather than those who have graduated from Baptist seminaries. Ask him why he hired a man who got his Ph.D. from Pat Robertson's university. Ask him why he subscribes to dispensational theology when that has not been the main theological stance ever among Southern Baptists. He has detoured from the main theology of the SBC that it has been even before 1845 when the SBC was formed.

    Dr. Karen Bullock was one of the finest teachers I have ever had in any school. Now she is not there. Ask about the former registrar and why he is not there. Ask about what happened when he brought it to their attention about the academics at SWBTS being substandard. Why is he no longer there?
    Ask why Dr. Lorin Cranford (probably the best NT professor in the SBC) is no longer there.

    Just check the SWBTS website and see where the faculty did their studies at. Ever get the picture that Patterson is bringing in people that do not uphold the theology that the SBC has held even before 1845?

    Would you trust a man who is bringing in a teaching foreign to Southern Baptists since its inception?
     
  4. gb93433

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    Craig Blaising the provost was educated at Dallas Theological Seminary and taught there for awhile.

    He has written

    Progressive Dispensationalism , co-author, Victor Books, 1993; Baker, 2000

    Dispensationalism, Israel and The Church: The Search For Definition , co-editor, Zondervan, 1992

    How does it feel to have a provost and president who do not agree with historical Southern Baptist Theology?

    But they won't come right out and tell Southern Baptists about their theology. Many would have a cow if they knew.
     
  5. Todd

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    Paul, you say you don't disagree, but you give no biblical reason why...pretty weak disagreement. As for comparing a women's presence in a meeting with men to women having teaching authority over men, clearly you are comparing apples and oranges. Please come up with something from the Scripture that is in clear contrast to what Dr. P. has presented and then maybe we can have a discussion.

    GB, yours was another characteristic post. You didn't try to argue from the Bible why you would disagree with Dr. P. The best you could do was to offer Dr. Bullock as an example, but you and I don't even know all the details of her story. As for your long list of other quasi-accusations, they really bear no impact upon the question at hand. My question was, "Where is Dr. P's view of women unbiblical or heretical?"

    By the way, pre-millenial dispensationalism has been the predominant understanding of eschatological matters in Southern Baptist life for at least the last 50 years. The only amillenialists left that I know of are older, moderate pastors and those who have never given any serious study to Rev. 19-20. Therefore, I don't think you're being completely accurate when you say that dispensationalism is not a historic Baptist doctrine. Besides, if it were a biblical understanding of the last times, does it really matter if it is the historical position or not? Are we more concerned with preserving historical theology or preaching accurate theology? I hope we all choose the later.

    Let's try to stick to the issue of Dr. P's comments about women in ministry please.
     
  6. Paul33

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    Todd, I don't understand what you're getting at.
    I don't disagree with Patterson, so why would I have to give a biblical reason? Biblical reason for what? I agree with Patterson!

    I didn't say the woman children's director would be teaching men in a meeting. I asked if her leading the meeting with men present would be a violation of what Patterson was saying about women ruling men.

    I asked for help on fleshing this out. I agree with Patterson, so how does this work itself out in our local churches?

    Todd, I hope you understand what I'm getting at now.
     
  7. Todd

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    Paul, my apologies...I simply misread your last post. I'm sorry about that.

    As to your question, I certainly think that a woman can offer leadership in a meeting that men (in this case male teachers) are present in. Yet, the Scripture is clear that when it comes to women teaching men, that is against the plan of God in the home and the local church. I think you bring up a good point about what would happen if a potential conflict should a matter over God's Word arise in such a meeting. Personally, that is why I would prefer a male in all ministerial staff positions. Yet, I wouldn't force the issue, especially since your question is one that probably wouldn't bear too much weight on the issue at hand.
     
  8. gb93433

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    Patterson does not know the difference between a teacher and a pastor-teacher. Apparently you have not read some of his writings lately. Just do a search on the internet and read what he has written just in the last year or two. He is not a theologian. He can baffle students but not professors who know better.

    There has never been one person in the theology school at SWBTS until just recently that subscribed to dispensational theology. Never!! Sometime do a search and read what Spurgeon wrote about Darbyism. It is the forerunner of dispensationalism.

    Yes historical theology is absolutely accurate. Paul preached it. Peter preached it. Jesus preached it.

    Some years ago I wrote a former professor who is retired from SWBTS now.

    What he told me was that at the heart of dispensationalism is 17th century German rationalism that was popularized in the English speaking world through Scottish Common Sense Realism. It begins with the closed in universe view developed through rationalism. The subtle snare of dispensationalism is that this archaic rationalism becomes the real authority, rather than scripture. The scripture has to be read through this rationalistic filter. When the historical meaning of scripture contradicts this preconceived theological system of dispensationalism, then it is either ignored or outright rejected. Thus, the dispensationalist uses the scripture not to establish his belief system; rather, the Bible -- 'properly' read through this filter system -- only serves confirm his already established beliefs. Any view challenging or contradicting it has to be rejected -- usually by labeling it as liberalism.

    I went to dispensational churches for the first part of my Christian life and can tell you that what I saw caused me to question them on the basis of what I read in scripture. When I read the Bible I would ask questions and get few answers. Finally one man told me that I had a lot of questions but I just needed to press on. How could I press on when I was shackled by what I had been taught. What I fond interesting is that same church is very different today. Few believe what they believed then. I talked with one of the pastors about this and he told me, “I used to believe that but I don’t any more.” He graduated from Talbot Seminary and Masters Seminary and has a doctorate.

    Just in my lifetime I have seen dispensationalism revised twice. What does that tell you about its accuracy. Whereas interpreting scripture in light of its historical context has never changed. It has always been accurate.

    Sometime ask a dispensationalist about why in Matthew there are so many two mentioned and in Mark and Luke only one. A good example is the Gadarene demoniac in Mt., Mk. And Lk. Dispensationalism will not answer that question. Only the historical context will give you that answer. What I find interestinmg is that the majority of dispoensational scholls are now emphasizing this way of interpreting scripture but some of the old leaders in the SBC are now bending to the godless theology of dispensationalism. Even a close friend of mine who is a doctoral student at Dallas Theological Seminary has told me that most of the current professors do not subscribe to the old dispensational theology. And now SWBTS is bending to the theology that DTS has mostly left. Think about that.

    Many dispensationalists believe in a two type of salvation theology–one for the Jews and another for the rest of the world.

    Sometime do a search on J,N. Darby, C.H. MacIntosh, Clarence Larkin, Kewis Sperry Chafer and C.I., Scofield. Scofield believed in the gap theory which no scientist ever has, nor does anybody today.

    Dispensationalists interpret scripture through their filter of rationalistic dispensational theology. But I happen to believe that what A.T. Robertson taught is accurate. He taught that scripture must be interpreted in light of its historical context.
     
  9. Todd

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    GB, I'm really beginning to lose more and more respect for you as a poster here on the Board for the following reasons:

    1. Everything you say is based on your own experiences and biases. You need to at least try to be objective without telling three stories from personal experience that you think make your case.

    2. You often dodge the issue at hand. This is your second post on the thread, and you have yet to deal directly with Patterson's comments. Thus, you are really just taking up space on this thread when it appears that you need to start another thread on dispensationalism.

    3. You claim that Dr. P. is not a theologian. Clearly, this proves that you know nothing of the man whose views we are attempting to discuss. Do you honestly think that the world's largest evangelical seminary would call a man to be its President who has not demonstrated himself as a careful theologian? Your claim about Dr. P. is really quite foolish. I saw him debate Dr. Stanley Hauerwas (Head of Religion at Duke and Time Magazine's 2001 "Theologian of the Year"), and he won the debate overwhelmingly. But to you, that will prove nothing. Because you don't agree with him, he's not a theologian. That's dishonest and distasteful.

    Either objectively speak to the issue at hand or go and start a different thread somewhere else please. And by the way, you claim (unbelievably) that all historical theology is absolutely accurate. Arianism is historical theology...is it accurate? Modalism is historical theology...is it accurate? Southern Baptists historically believed that slavery was an acceptable practice...were they accurate? Clearly, your point is without any merit - just because a piece of theology is historical doesn't "absolutely" mean it is accurate. Bless God, I don't just want historical theology, I want accurate theology. Frankly, I'm starting to wonder if you desire the same.
     
  10. gb93433

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    You mentioned about Patetrson's theology.

    Retrieved from http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=18135

    Patterson says, 'The principal of Acts 5:29 that “we ought to obey God rather than men” does make allowance in rare situations for the Christian to indulge even in violent protest. Surely this was the conclusion of the American colonists at the time of the Declaration of Independence and the war for independence in this country. Once again though, American colonists faced a question not so much of Christian protest against an existing government. Instead theirs was a question of whether to seek independence from a repressive regime. The fact that some and perhaps many colonists were Christians means that individually they had to assess these matters for themselves.'

    Violent protests! Where does scripture teach that?

    It doesn't. Historical Christianity among the martyrs does not either. He took Acts 5:29 right out of context and applied it to the colonists. Look at the protestr Jesus puit up. Waat does 1 Peter teach and James 1:9-11?
     
  11. Todd

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    I ask you GB, if you walked in your house and found an intruder beating your wife, do you think you would be entitled to a "violent protest?"

    Further, this is your third post with no reply to the original message. Time for you to start another thread.
     
  12. Dr. Bob

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    Agree. Either deal with the issue or post on a different thread.
     
  13. Jimmy C

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    Todd

    Here is what I dont understand

    A woman can be a pastor - so she cant teach in the school of theology (Bullock - history, one of the favorite proffs in the history dept for the past 7 years or so until fired), but evidently can teach hebrew - at least this year.

    Women can teach in the school of education and music - several proffs, some even tenured

    I did not see Patterson adressing these issues/inconsistencies, or providing a biblical basis for firing Bullock. After all her kids are grown, and I dont think she will be having any more any time soon!
     
  14. Dr. Bob

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    Correction, Jimmy - a woman CANNOT be a pastor as that is, I'm sure, what you meant if we're dealing with the biblical text here.

    She can teach hebrew or education or music or whatever in a seminary (NOT a church by a million miles) - any class so positioned by her boss. Of course, she has to sign fidelity to the doctrinal statement.

    And she may be dismissed just as any male prof. Beloved or not.
     
  15. Todd

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    Jimmy, you may not agree with it, but I think comparing the school of theology with the school of music is like comparing apples and oranges in many ways. While those within the School of Music will deal with matters of theology from time to time, those within the School of Theology deal with those matters daily. And think about it: If we wouldn't allow a woman to have authority over a man when teaching the Word of God in a local church, then why would we allow it in a School of Theology? You may not agree with that, but at least admit that Dr. P as the school's President has the right to make that decision.

    After reading what God's Word has to say about the position of women in the home and the local church, I think we tred on serious ground when we begin to allow women to have authority over men in the teaching of God's Word - regardless of where it is taught. Further, do you think there are many conservative Baptist churches who want a Pastor who was taught theology by a woman? These are all questions that Patterson had to consider, and I'm sure he sought the face of God when he began to make some hard decisions.
     
  16. Jimmy C

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    Good catch Dr Bob - m fingers are tired as am I.

    before anyone else blasts me on saying a woman can be a preacher - please edit in your mind to cannot
     
  17. go2church

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    I'm not sure the point of the thread but it does seem a bit inconsistent for you to start the thread with a news article and hammer someone else for referencing other articles (although not noted specifically, the articles would be easy to find) to make a counterpoint.

    I was struck by the, I don't know....arrogance in the beginning of the article, feeding the rumor mill and allowing it to go on for more then a year. Doesn't seem like the thing a man in his position should be doing. Especially with the rumors that fly around everything he does already. If they are so wrong why no address them and go on record to bring them to an end?
     
  18. gb93433

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    Let me start off by mentioning that you made assumptions that are not true. You took what I wrote out of context. That is eisegesis and dishonest.

    In your post you accuse me of doing the very same thing you just did. Where is the scripture you posted? Did I miss something?

    You assumed I called Paterson foolish. I could not imagine myself calling him that. Apparently you have not read your Bible to know what a fool is. Could you quote me where I mentioned Patterson was foolish?

    You forgot that it was the trustees called him and not the professors. They are the same kind of people who fired Whitsitt at Southern. One of the chairmen of the trustees that preceded the current chairman was caught shacking up with ladies in his church. We know what his theology was like. It was not the professors who called Paterson but laymen and pastors. It is the professors who are the most knowledgeable in theological matters not a lawyer, pastors and some laymen.

    FYI, I have listened to a numbered of Patterson’s sermons and read articles written by him. I have even written him too. So how’s that for knowing him?

    What an example to use someone whom the liberal media calls “Theologian of the year.” Can’t you find someone better than that? I would like to see Patterson debate Dr. Lorin Cranford. Why don’t you write and ask him if he would debate Dr. Cranford? Let me know what his answer is. If it comes about I will plan to be there. So let me know.

    The first words of my posting were, “Patterson does not know the difference between a teacher and a pastor-teacher.” Do I need to give you a chapter and verse so you know where those words are used. If you don’t know look them up in a Greek NT. Did you not read those words? If you read Paterson’s writings on the role of a woman when he arrived at SWBTS you will see what I mean. He basically stated that he would not do anything differently than what a church would do. Therefore women would not be allowed to teach men at the seminary. Again he does not know the difference between a teacher and pastor-teacher commonly called pastor.

    Then you did some eisegesis when you lifted what I wrote right out of context. One of the first rules of proper hermeneutics is that you interpret in light of its historical context. FYI, the exact quote is, “Yes historical theology is absolutely accurate. Paul preached it. Peter preached it. Jesus preached it.” Now show me how that is wrong? Are you saying God’s theology since before the beginning is not accurate? What you attempted to do is prove me wrong by giving a perversion of God’s theology in scripture and said it was inaccurate. Of course I would agree with you. Have you not studied hermeneutics?

    I have probably read at least 50 books by dispensational theologians. I can tell by the way many post here that they don’t have a clue what the leaders of dispensationalism believed. If you want to know more about dispensationalism then read books by Chafer, Walvoord, Larkin, Scofield, C.H. MacIntosh and J.N. Darby. While you are at it also take a look at German rationalism too. It will give you a better picture of dispensationalism. Then sometime read some books by Bruce Corley, A.T. Robertson. They will help you to better interpret scripture in light of it historical context.

    From what I know of Patterson’s theology his is a mixture of biblical theology and dispensational theology. Sometime read the article about Patterson at http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/8/22002e.asp . It is some truth mixed in with error. Check out his theology against what is written in the Bible in Phil. 3:2-6 and Matthew 5:17.
     
  19. gb93433

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    They are very similar. It is a well known fact that most people in the congregation get more theology from music than they do from sermons and the Bible. I know at SWBTS there are women teachers teaching men in music too. Some men in the school of theology also take music classes.
     
  20. gb93433

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    Those who proclaim that wives should not work need to start giving more immediately.

    If the wife's place is totally in the home then a number of pastors need to quit pastoring and find a job to support their families. Almost all of the pastors on the west and east coasts need to leave their church at once. We need to quit reading Proverbs 31 where it says "she buys a field and plants it."

    What do you think about women who work so their husbands can plant a church? That is happening more and more all the time.

    That was the way it was with me and my wife for awhile. That used to make me mad when the SBC would declare that wives shouldn't work outside the home when they would not even give me enough money to live on when I planted churches. It is still a widespread practice in the SBC. Even the DOM's would help my wife get a job through their contacts. Imagine how that made us feel. Eventually I left and one DOM I spoke with understood why when I told him why.
     

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