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This woman preacher is schooling the Christian boys club on the crucifixion

Fleming Rutledge is an Episcopal priest and theologian whose book "The Crucifixion" is making waves among a wide range of Christians.

If you are embedded in a Catholic or conservative Protestant community, you might assume that theology is a man’s job. After all, most theological books are penned by male authors. Women are prohibited from becoming Catholic priests and are similarly forbidden from pastoring in many evangelical traditions. And most Christian conference rosters are dominated by male speakers.

It’s surprising then that a woman preacher is leading a conversation about the theology of the cross within these male-dominated communities.

Fleming Rutledge, 79, is a theologian and one of the first women ordained in the Episcopal Church. Her book, “The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ,” is a magisterial 669-page tome that has garnered the attention and respect of some unlikely religious leaders.

Exhibit A is the “New Calvinist” movement, which firmly holds that women are barred from the pastorate and are required by God to submit to their husbands. John Piper, who is something of the pope for New Calvinists and once claimed that God had intentionally given Christianity a “masculine feel,” featured a reading from the book on his podcast and called her book “valuable.” Andrew Wilson gave it a glowing review at The Gospel Coalition, a New Calvinist mega-website, where he called it “beautiful scholarship.”

But mainstream evangelicalism has also embraced Rutledge’s work. Mark Galli, editor-in-chief at Christianity Today, devoted a lengthy interview with her about the crucifixion. And the publication named her book its “2017 Book of the Year.”

The influential Catholic periodical Commonweal Magazine devoted a feature article to Rutledge’s work. The article called her book “remarkable” and “monumental.” The Jesuit publication America Magazine recommended it as a “vast theological reflection.” And commentator George Weigel quoted from and lauded the book in a column at the conservative Catholic publication First Things.

The widespread acclaim her book has received is not just substantial because of her gender. Rutledge’s book offers something to rankle Christians of nearly every stripe. Catholics will readily identify that Rutledge speaks with a Protestant accent. Feel-good liberal Christians may wrestle with her full embrace of the bloody nature of Jesus’ sacrifice. And conservative Protestants may disapprove of her rejection that the principal point of the cross was to satisfy God’s wrath against human sin.

Because Rutledge’s work has been accepted and even celebrated by the Christian boys club, I decided to invite her to this forum to give us an introduction to her views for those who aren’t familiar. Call it “Crucifixion 101.” Here we discuss what the cross of Jesus means to her and where she believes others have gotten it wrong.

Image courtesy of Eerdmans

RNS: I know churches that feel uncomfortable about discussing the cross in all its bloody violence. Why do you think churches avoid preaching about the cross?

FR: One significant reason, as I explain in my book, is reaction against overemphasis on a particular version of “penal substitution,” which became an idée fixe in some Protestant circles. Other reasons may be cultural, since many mainline Protestant churches have associated the preaching of the cross with supposedly less-educated, right-wing Christians — and also, a bloody corpus on the cross was more typical of Spanish and Latino Roman Catholic imagery. A third factor is American optimism, a preference for what makes us feel good, and an unwillingness to talk about the power of Sin — in spite of the persistence of Sin throughout the world.

RNS: I grew up in a religious context that saw “penal substitution” theory of atonement — that Jesus died for our sins to satisfy God’s wrath — as a non-negotiable doctrine. How does your view compare?

FR: I argue strongly against (1) making this model the “non-negotiable” feature of authentic faith; (2) presenting any feature of the Bible as a “theory,” since the Bible deals largely in images and narrative; (3) the rationalized, schematized nature of the penal substitution model as expounded in 19th century Protestantism; 4) any model that splits the Father from the Son.

I do, however, attempt to present the strongest case possible to show that the theme of substitution — in the words of a great hymn, “the slave has sinned, and the Son has suffered” — is embedded in Scripture and tradition and, if discarded, is a serious impoverishment.

RNS: You also embrace “Christus Victor” as an atonement motif. Can you explain this briefly for those who don’t know, and what are you saying about this that’s fresh and perhaps more convincing?

FR: Christus Victor is not really an atonement motif. Paul Ricoeur points out that the Bible speaks of Sin in two essential ways: (1) as a responsible condition for which atonement must be made; and (2) as an Enemy that must be driven from the field. Sin is therefore both a guilt and a Power.

The biblical motifs of substitution and sacrifice address the first problem, and Christus Victor (incorporating the Passover-Exodus imagery from earliest Christian liturgies) depicts Christ the conqueror of the cosmic Powers of Sin and Death. It’s important to hold both of these pictures simultaneously. Taken together, they are the most complete account of the human predicament that we have. Of course, if you don’t think humanity is in a predicament, this won’t mean much to you.

I try in my book to show as clearly as possible that the Christian message is the most universal geo-political worldview that has ever been offered.

RNS: You think churches should embrace the gruesomeness of the crucifixion. Why?

FR: I wouldn’t put it exactly that way. As I point out in my book, the Evangelists don’t dwell on the gruesomeness. I do think it’s important for people in our sanitized society to know what is involved in this method of executing a person, but the shame, degradation, dehumanization, and, above all, godlessness of crucifixion are what’s most important. Those features, I believe, lie at the heart of what Christ suffered, and I argue that it is crucial (“crucial” derives from Latin crux, cross) for the church to ask why God chose to die in that particular way.

RNS: But don’t you think that the cross can be voyeuristic or manipulative? I think of “Passion of the Christ” and the way it uses violence in a kind of evangelistic shock-and-awe campaign.

FR: I know what you mean. I mention in my book that I used to see this manipulative approach used in youth groups. I don’t agree with this technique. I have taken pains to avoid it.

RNS: Why do you believe that Jesus’ crucifixion is the “center of the gospel?” Why not the incarnation and birth of Jesus? Or the resurrection of Jesus?

FR: In my book I emphasize the essential doctrine of the incarnation, because it proclaims that the man who was crucified is none other than God’s own self, God’s Second Person in human flesh. I also make a point of insisting that the crucifixion and resurrection are a single event, incomprehensible if separated. But the cross is the uniquely non-religious feature of the Christian message, and that gives our faith its ultimate grounding. There is nothing remotely like this shocking dénoument in any other faith. In the final analysis, I find this a convincing argument for the truth of the Christian proclamation.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

150 Comments

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  • Women were designed and formed to be helpers of men – not teachers of men. The man is the priest of the household – not the woman. The woman is submissive to her husband – although to no other man, yet, she should not be teaching any man in the assembly. The head of the man is Christ. The head of the woman is man.

  • Yawn. Your bible teaches this but look around and you see this viewpoint is being discarded more and more. This is reaching into the churches and dying off in them or being fought over. Just because an ancient book says so doesn’t make it so.

  • Please take a moment to re-read the Genesis account and notice how Eve was formed from man’s side. To stand side by side as equal with man. Please look at how Jesus elevated women over and over again in numerous stories throughout the NT. Please take a brief look at how historical patriarchy has destroyed society’s ability to thrive, justified abuse and elevated a false sense of power in humanity. Please consider what this umbrella structure to God has done to keep people down and how Jesus came to expose this power structure and all of its harmful effects.

  • The Bible does not teach this. The people who interpreted the Bible in early history (men) have put this into the structure of religion when Jesus was exposing it all along. Think about how people used to use the Bible to defend slavery.

  • And woman was formed to be a help-mate. Genesis 2:18 – English Standard Version

    Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

  • There is nothing that I cited that is not upheld by scripture.
    1 Corinthians 7:23 -New International Version
    You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.

  • In the second Creation account of Genesis, after God formed man from the dust of the earth and placed him in the garden of Eden, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (2:18).

    The phrase “helper suitable,” rendered “help meet” in the King James Version, comes from a combination of the words ezer and kenegdo. Far from connoting subjugation, the Hebrew term ezer, or “helper,” is employed elsewhere in Scripture to describe God, the consummate intervener—the helper of the fatherless (Psalm 10:14), King David’s helper and deliverer (Psalm 70:5), Israel’s shield and helper (Deuteronomy 33:29). Ezer appears twenty-one times in the Old Testament—twice in reference to the first woman, three times in reference to nations to whom Israel appealed for military support, and sixteen times in reference to God as the helper of Israel. The word evokes both benevolence and strength, and is a popular name for Jewish boys, both in the Bible and in modern times.

    In Genesis 2, ezer is combined with the word kenegdo to mean something like “a helper of the same nature,” or a corresponding character. Kenegdo literally means “as in front of him,” suggesting that the ezerof Genesis 2 is Adam’s perfect match, the yin to his yang, the water to his fire—you get the idea. Everything about this descriptor implies mutuality and harmony, and it provides us with a lovely glimpse of what a sinless relationship between a man and a woman might look like, the picture of a true partnership. This reality is reflected in Adam’s reaction to God’s creation of woman. He responds with “ishshah!” a play on words, which basically means, “Wow, this one is like me!”

  • There is only one (1) creation account in Genesis. Sorry. Your point is moot. I cannot trust anything else quoted. Thanks though.
    “This reality is reflected in Adam’s reaction to God’s creation of woman. He responds with “ishshah!” a play on words, which basically means, “Wow, this one is like me!”
    No. Adam responded with: Genesis 2:23 English Standard Version (ESV)

    23 Then the man said,

    “This at last is bone of my bones

    and flesh of my flesh;

    she shall be called Woman,

    because she was taken out of Man.”

  • Maybe it’s time we men put aside our false bravado and welcome the giftings of our sisters in Christ. I’ve benefited immensely from women pastors and mentors. It’s tragic that some men insist that a woman’s only value is the ability to bear children and cook a potluck dinner.

  • Oh, this is first-class nonsense and worse, it’s coming from a woman. My parents (who were and are very conservative people) did not raise me to be any man’s helper. Which was a good thing since I’m a never-married, childless, middle-aged woman with a professional job and a life. Your “helper” nonsense, like complementarianism, has absolutely nothing to do with my life.

    If you truly believed you were a helper, you wouldn’t be here, Sandi. You’d let your husband do the leading and the teaching. But you don’t believe it, even though you preach it like a man.

  • Yank, yank, yank out of context, Sandi. Why are you teaching men, if you believe you’re a helper?

  • If you read the full context of the article I posted, you would understand the phrase at the opening of the statement I shared. I don’t intend to argue with you, but I would encourage you to consider doing further study. Grace and peace.

  • Actually, even with your misunderstanding, the Lord wants me here to help people like you and others who don’t know Him, and His wishes for us. Show me your scripture mirele, if you think I’m wrong.

  • Sandi,
    Some men who disagree with your comment after reading it will be thinking ‘Christ my head hurts.”

    Who says a negative impact on someone won’t produce a positive outcome.

  • lol…..but sadly, I do think these people hurt the Lord, truthfully. The rebellion against Him isn’t unknown to Him, I realize, but He wants so much more for us.
    But, hey, if my comments direct people to prayer…..hallelujah!
    Blessings.:)

  • I’m sorry for you that you appear to be so misguided and appear to have drunk the koolaid.
    Men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church – He gave His life for us. That is not just only finding value in bearing children and cooking dinner. Any man who reduces a woman to only that is not a Christian, by far.
    The feminist koolaid is that men are stupid and need women to correct their sweet errors. They have spent years belittling men in the media. It’s baloney. But television will tell you that. The feminists will tell you that and unfortunately some men are buying the heresy.
    Christian women are told to respect their men. Does the feminist trash exemplify that? Of course not. They are women wishing God had made them men and will compete with any male to bring them to her level – paganism. There is nothing female in their actions. Women acting in defiance against the Lord, instead of being the best they can be in the role given to them by the Lord.
    Please don’t believe all women are as evil as the feminists, because we are not. We love our husbands and are happy with them – as Christ intended.

  • Believe me, as a Pastor’s daughter, I am very familiar with your view on women. I have found, though, through further study that Jesus’ example doesn’t elevate this view. This brought about a 15+ year journey to further understand these stories from a non-patriarchal view in light of the gospel.

  • First Sandi, I thank you for sharing your thoughts. However, you are mistaken. My comments are meant to highlight the fallacy of such a teaching. These views have been expressed by well-known evangelicals such as John Piper who has said on more than one occasion that biblical womanhood is best expressed within the context of marriage and motherhood.

    Secondly, I don’t agree with your views based on Scripture. Jesus set the standard by having female disciples something that was forbidden in the culture of the day. When understood according to context there is nothing that prevents women from assuming the role of a pastor or being viable for positions of church leadership. The spiritual gifts administered by the Holy Spirit is not based on gender, race, class etc. But upon the Spirit’s wisdom. Each person receives gifts that will help build up the body of Christ. Why should Christians assume that the gifts of preaching and teaching is only assigned to men? The creation narrative (Genesis 1 & 2) reflects God’s original design for humanity that both man and woman serve as equal partners governing the creation under the sovereign rule of God. There is no mention of the woman coming under the rule of men in either passage. Subjugation occurred after The Fall and the conflict between both genders for dominance is a reflection of how far humankind has fallen from God’s original ideal.

    Thirdly, you are misinformed about feminism. Not all feminists support the views you’ve espoused. I suggest you study the history of feminism and you will discover that women struggled to obtain equal recognition. To be afford the same privileges as their male counterparts under the law of the land. The same struggle continues today whether you recognize it or not. The glass ceiling is real even in our churches.

    Finally, such a view as practical and ethical implications. If the Church excludes women from ministry we lose a valuable asset to the Body of Christ. I’ve grown to value the insights of female pastors, theologians and biblical scholars because they can draw attention to biblical passages in ways that men cannot. Both men and women need to serve side by side as equal partners and heirs of God’s kingdom. Any theology that pushes women into the background is in my view worth reconsidering.

  • You know Sandi, I really find the Lord to be bigger than bad theology. I also find Him to be much deeper than what the best theology makes of Him. Bigger is the difference in knowledge and knowing, deeper is the difference between knowledge and knowing.

  • Sandi if you’re interested I encourage you to read As Christ Submits to the Church: A Biblical Understanding of Leadership and Mutual Submission for reasons why some in this post are in favour of women being leaders in the church. You don’t have to agree with the views expressed in the book but I can assure you it is based on solid exegesis. I’ve provided the link here http://amzn.to/2rsinR8

  • Isn’t your standard argument that the NT prohibits women teaching in church, and that’s why you’re allowed as a woman to present biblical arguments? I noticed that you’ve chosen “assembly” this time instead of church. Are book talks now prohibited?

  • Yeah, there are definitely two accounts, that doesn’t mean you can’t try to harmonize them. Anyway, if you understand the Hebrew you’ll see what Esther is saying. “She shall be called Ishah, because she was taken out of Ish.” You’re really not in disagreement.

  • No….but as a pastor, I would not listen to some woman trying to change scripture. I should have been clearer. My apologies.

  • Maybe if the writer didn’t have such a slanted view or Piper and others, it wouldn’t be a shock that he and others see this book and it’s author as valuable. The disconnect is not with Piper and “New Calvinists”, it’s with people who don’t understand them and think they hate women.

    I additionally enjoyed the number of times she corrected misunderstandings and misperceptions of the interviewer within the interview.

    In short, some people who rave against Evangelicals and New Calvanists don’t know or understand what they think they do.

    Both Piper and Rutledge make this evident. He, by his support and she by her writing, scholarship, and answers.

  • Understood…
    John 6 -65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
    66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
    67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?”
    I think the Lord was saddened there. I think we can hurt the Lord – not that I want to, believe me.

  • Thank you for your response. I offer the following scripture:

    Jesus had no female disciples.
    “Why should Christians assume that the gifts of preaching and teaching is only assigned to men?”
    1 Timothy 2: 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

    1 Timothy 3King James Version (KJV)
    3 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
    3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
    4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
    5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)…7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
    8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
    9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
    10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
    11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
    12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

    Genesis 2:18 – English Standard Version
    Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

    Women are not to teach or have authority over men.

  • As a student of the Bible….I disagree and suggest you brush up on scripture. Blessings.

  • I encourage you to do some additional research. It is a proven fact both historically and biblically that Jesus had female disciples. Mary, Salome, Mary Magdalene just to name a few travelled with Jesus and his apostles during his ministry (Mark 15:40-. 41; Luke 8:1). Simply referring to those texts doesn’t strengthen your argument. I suggest you read Scot McKnight’s book The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. We can go around in circles but that isn’t my interest. If you choose to hold to your beliefs I’m cool with that but this is a conviction I do not and cannot share based on my own reading of the text and examining its historical context. You may also want to see this YouTube video by a pastor who responds to the text you’ve provide in 1 Timothy. http://bit.ly/2rgbAwA

  • Very familiar with the event you are talking about. Jesus had this huge following, he is probably at the height of his popularity at this point in his ministry. Then he tells the crowd the only reason you follow me is because I give you what you want. They didn’t know him, they didn’t know the depth of him, they didn’t know the greatness of him. They were “followers” for all the wrong reasons. They were the, “keep him happy so he keeps giving us the good stuff” folks.

  • Of course all this Bible quoting each other to each other up silence their point of view is rather moot. The Bible itself does not claim to be the Word of God, rather it claims that Jesus is the Word of God. So we are not required to obey scripture your required to obey the risen Christ made present in our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit/Spirit of Truth. You really need a scripture reference for this I would recommend the gospel of John from chapter 13 through to the end of 16. And don’t cherry pick verses from that section it hangs together as a whole. In fact the Gospel of John very dense and trying to lift’s teachings out of it without being quite familiar with the whole gospel is quite problematic.

  • Absolutely, and Christ showed emotion as He did with Mary and Martha and the Lazarus incident.

  • No. Christ had no female disciples. He had female followers but no Disciples. Thank you but I have no need to read Scot McKnight.

  • I don’t have an issue with headship. It’s the non-biblical & historically uninformed view of headship I have real issues with. The church has subjected women to much pain and abuse in the name of unbiblical submission. We don’t know our own history & such ignorance is not acceptable. I say this as a pastor. This ‘lesser’ view of women is non-biblical & historically inaccurate church theology & must not trump the actual unbiased Word of God. Both Jesus & Paul incorporated women into their ministry. They broke the social norms. Jesus never followed the religious crowd or their man-made rules. We must separate what churches have stubbornly or ignorantly taught with their misunderstanding of contextual Bible days. Scripture clearly states there is no male or female, no Jew or Greek. We are all on equal footing at the cross. Both sexes are to respect each other. While the wife is taught to submit, it doesn’t make her a door mat or lesser. In fact the man seems to have the greatest responsibility to God when he’s told to love his wife as Christ loved the church & gave His life for her. The sad fact is the most upright, prayerful on fire believers are more often than not – WOMEN! We men have fallen down on the job. Its time we get with the program of God & throw out the doctrines of men who want to keep women locked up in the kingdom. They were pivotal in Jesus’ & Paul’s ministry. Paul also endorsed women in ministry. It’s in the Bible if you will accept it. A very good book that speaks to the historical context of the sayings of Paul & Christ (which have been grossly used out of context) is “Understanding Jesus: Cultural Insights into the Words & Deeds of Christ” by Joe Amaral. Please Please read it.

  • “While the wife is taught to submit, it doesn’t make her a door mat or lesser.“

    “We are all on equal footing at the cross.”

    Which is it?

    “It’s in the Bible if you can accept it” Other people can show completely the opposite. Again, which is it?

  • The Bible is the word of god, say so many Christians here say. You’re saying it’s not the word of god.

    Which is it?

  • Sandi says one thing. This book says something different, so you say.

    Which is it?

  • Eve was created from Adams rib. Adam and Eve were Created independently and at the same time. Both accounts are in Genesis.

    Which is it?

  • Sandimonious has her own, special version of the Bible, according to Sandi. If she says there is only one creation story, then there is only one creation story.

    End of story.

  • Christians don’t agree because it boils down to interpretation. The texts which seem to suggest that women can’t teach or have pastoral authority must be understood within the historical context of Paul’s writing. Unless we understand what Paul actually meant in his epistle we can misunderstand and misapply Scripture. The book As Christ Submits to the Church: A Biblical Understanding of Leadership and Mutual Submission does a careful analysis of Paul’s epistles and Jesus’ teaching and makes a case for the inclusion of women in ministry and positions of church leadership.

  • It all boils down to interpretation. I understand that. What isn’t clear is why the word of god needs interpretation. Or why the interpretations, all informed by scholarship and language expertise and authority, still disagree with each other.

    Please understand, this isn’t an attack. But for people like me, who have been on the receiving end of that difference of opinion for decades, it is this very fact of difference which brings conflict.

  • I hear your concern and I agree that at times people can become overzealous in their disagreements. However, there is an equal danger in assuming that the Bible doesn’t require sound interpretation. We are reading a collection of documents written over thousands of years. The authors spoke a different language, engage in different cultural, social and religious practices that modern readers are completely unfamiliar with. The Bible was written by people who were complex and grew in their understanding of God over time. The Bible is a human book and not solely a divinely inspired book.

    Differences of interpretation arise mainly because we are “outsiders” to the world of the text. We are reading texts that would have been understood by the audience of the day. The Bible while considered inspired literature is still literature and we must respect the text to interact with it on its own merit.

  • There’s just something astoundingly small-minded about reading a magnificent exposition of the Christian faith like the one Rutledge provides above and then saying, “but she shouldn’t be saying it because she’s a woman.”

  • It’s patronizing to assume that people who disagree with you do so because they haven’t “brushed up on Scripture.”

  • Yes, and I’m sure he was probably none to pleased to hear his disciples walking in his footsteps arguing over who would be greatest in the kingdom. There is the work at hand, and then there are the arguements at hand. There is what’s pleasing, and there is what’s not.

  • As a minister of the church and theologian I am delighted in hearing of another study on important and central theme of our faith – the cross. Thank you, Rev Anneli Sinkko MPhil

  • I don’t think I can add anything to this discussion except to say that I appreciate the generally moderate tone of the bulk of the statements. We could use more of that around here. For my part, I merely wish to see men and women both working together to advance the cause of Christ, nor do I consider complementarianism a dirty word or a flawed concept. Why should men and women not complement one another; two sound halves make a healthy whole.

  • You managed to interview an amazing individual who made a significant theological contribution and come off sounding shallow and immature.

  • “. . . the Lord wants me here to help people like you and others who don’t know Him, and His wishes for us.”

    If a lord chose you for that purpose, it demonstrates how incompetent s/he is. A genuine lord would certainly have been able to do much better than that.

  • Critical analysis shows that to be not completely accurate: there are two accounts, blended into one. Why does God have a different name in Chapter 2 than in Chapter 1? Why is the creation finished by the end of Chapter 1, then returns to the same material in 2:4? Anyway, if you believe in four canonical gospels, why is it different than believing in two canonical creation accounts?

  • Must you hijack every thread? Rev. Rutledge’s book isn’t about “a woman’s place.” She takes equality for granted.

  • This seems like a fitting response to your comment:
    Romans 9:20 …O man, who are you to answer back to God? Shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does the potter not have power over the clay to make from the same lump one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”

  • Thank you for you courteous response.

    But this is precisely the problem. This is not the word of god, but the word of men– men a world away from us in time, thought, language, morals, and understanding. it tells us about them more than it tells us about us. It does no good to say yes, it is the word of man, but inspired by god. How do you tell the difference? You’ve admitted that one can’t.

    There is always something to be learned from other people as they grapple with issues facing them. It’s why I have been an inveterate reader of advice columns and letters to the editor ever since I was a boy, over 55 years now. But that isn’t the same thing as believing that people 2000-3000 years ago had all of the answers, or even, any of the answers.

    The issue is between those with your approach and those who claim that they not only understand the Bible, but that it is complete and unchanging. On one sense, they are right. All the progress we have made as a species is not because the Bible changed, but because WE changed.

  • Fleming Rutledge’s writings certainly demonstrate the fact that one’s genitalia has NOTHING to do with one’s ability to comtemplate and express the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

    Take careful note, Roman Catholic hierarchy!

  • Sandi, Darlin’, you’re a few centuries behind the times!

    When you read an article elsewhere in The Slingshot today, concerning the influence of Martin Luther on the theology of his day 500 years ago, you encounter the beautiful concept of “the priesthood of the believer.” At that time, Luther could never have imagined the arrival of the day when women would be ordained to the priesthood. This article about Rev. Fleming Rutledge and her book proves that she is as much a priest and theologian as any of her male contemporaries!

    Believers in Jesus Christ represent both sexes, so they can equally serve as priests to each other, regardless of their human genitalia!

  • Here, Here!

    See my posting on here about unimportance of human genitalia matters when it comes to one’s ability to contemplete and write about the crucifixion of Christ.

  • Another minister’s daughter here…thanks for some truly important context that gets washed out when biblical “interpretation” doesn’t go back any further than King James English.

  • Ben, I’m no expert on matters of the Bible, however, I would encourage you to guard against defining the Bible into neat little categories. Many have been taught to view the Bible a certain way and when we are confronted with a more complex view of Scripture that can cause discomfort. I suggest you check out Rob Bell’s latest book. It should clear up some of your concerns. http://amzn.to/2pXETQD. You can check this interview on YouTube where Bell discusses the Bible. http://bit.ly/2pPEB2q. It was nice chatting with you.

  • I see you’ve turned on robot mode so I’ll move on, but I would like an answer to the questions I posed to you.

  • I don’t have time for nor is the Lord glorified by verbal jousting. Please, if we are following Jesus we are to live as he lived. No further discussion from me, as I will not engage in arguments. Paul talked a lot about that too. Bless you.

  • Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they don’t also know the scriptures you quoted. I, for example, completely disagree with you but have all the verses you quoted memorized.

    I can’t speak for the others here, but I assume they’re probably familiar with them as well.

  • So you choose to ignore scripture? I don’t think you are trying to say such, but it seems that way.

  • Sandi, are you ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you’re not one of them?!

    Satan has ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE OF HUMOR!

  • Washed in the blood of the Lamb here…..but thanks for the blessing.
    You do know the scripture: “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” from Hebrews?

  • Please Learn your Bible as opposed tu religious rhetoric & stop lying. There is no life giving merit in your unsubstantiated opinion. You do a great disservice to the cause of Christ. Please, if you love Jesus – stop this.

  • I have no reason to lie. Refute what I said scripturally. It’s easy to say what you said, show me. Thanks.

  • I was quoting you. I asked you a question. Your response is “I’m rubber and you’re glue.”

    Sure.

  • ” Paul also endorsed women in ministry. It’s in the Bible if you will accept it.”
    When Paul was setting up the church for Christ, he taught:
    1 Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    And furthered that with:
    1 Timothy 3:1 Timothy 3King James Version (KJV)

    3 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

    4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

    5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)…….8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

    9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

    10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

    11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

    12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

    So, if your book is teaching differently, so much for scripture, eh? Is that what you teach?

  • Sorry hon, if the “new translation” changes scripture, it isn’t a new translation, it is a lie.

  • Except she isn’t relying on a ‘new translation,’ but on the original language. You know, Hebrew? The Bible wasn’t written in English!

  • Genesis 1:1 – 2:3
    Genesis 2:4 – 25

    There are also two flood stories and two of many other stories. In the first flood story, two animals (one male, one female) entered the arc (Genesis 6:19). In the second version seven pairs of clean animals, seven pairs of all birds and only one pair of unclean animals (Genesis 7:2-3)

  • Scholars posit different sources. You will note certain themes running through each set of stories–how G-D is referred to being one. One has less or no reference to the mosaic law, the other does contain references.The two accounts are presented in the same “book” but they remain two distinct sets of stories.

  • Your comments are based on your interpretation of scripture, Sandi. To fail to acknowledge two sets of stories in Genesis is just plain silly.

  • Take sandi with a grain of salt. Quoting the Bible makes one a Christian no more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger. She’s acknowledged being a follower of the bible rather than of Jesus, which makes her anything but a Christian.

  • Sandi does not follow Jesus; she follows the bible; she has made it into a god. If you note, her reference is to “Christ” not Jesus. When pressed, sandi does not acknowledge that the person of Jesus is particularly relevant.

  • I choose to disagree with your interpretation of scripture, much like you (I hope) choose to disagree with the interpretation of scripture favored by southern preachers who advocated slavery (for example). They would accuse us both of “choosing to ignore scripture,” and demand that the Bible is very clear.

    If you don’t believe me, read Thornton Stringfellow. Then compare how much scripture he uses to, for example, John Wesley.

  • Sandi sure seems to. It’s a delicious kind of ironic that this conversation is a woman (Sandi) trying to teach Edwin (a man) that women should not teach men.

    If she wanted to prove that she really believes women should not teach men, but remain silent, then perhaps Sandi should prove that she believes it by ceasing trying to teach Edwin. This conversation itself serves as evidence that she doesn’t believe it.

  • David, Sandi has already stated that commenting here isn’t preaching /teaching in the sense Paul’s spoke about. No the sky won’t fall if a woman teaches a man, but I’ve never seen a woman pastor who was traditional and conservative. All without exception were liberal. What does that tell you?

  • doesn’t anyone want to comment on her views on crucifixion? I’ve read elsewhere (N.T. Wright) that you cannot separate the death from the resurrection, which Rutledge says toward the end of the interview here. And apparently all the male pastors love it but am curious to see how the Anglican/Episcopal church sees it. There’s a great overview in the Catholic review linked above.

  • What is so difficult to understand about “A woman shall not teach or have authority over a man.” That’s pretty clear.
    The slavery was wrong, and basically what you are doing. There is anti-slavery scripture: 1 Corinthians 7:23 – New International Version
    You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.
    Thank you, but, these scripture are clear enough for me. I hope you will come to see that also. blessings.

  • Sure you can. Women can read the book, discuss it with their husband and they can tell her where she is wrong. Women do not have authority to teach men.

  • And the thousands, upon thousands of people who translated the Bible, and the thousands of thousands of people who translated the scriptures from the original languages are wrong, but she is correct. I see.

  • I’m rubber you’re glue;
    What I say about me bounces off me and sticks to you.
    I believe this to be true;
    I’m heterosexual now you should be too.
    ?!!!!!!!!!!!! What? It didn’t work? But I believed it would. Damnit Ben this must be your fault.
    That’s quite a conversation you had. For what it’s worth, I would try to answer your question this way. I know you know the story of Mary and Martha. Martha tells Jesus to tell Mary to come help in the kitchen. Jesus tells Martha Mary’s fine doing what she’s doing. If Martha was a Martin and Mary’s husband I don’t hear Jesus saying to Mary, “I am the head of the man and the man is the head of the woman, now go to the kitchen and sin no more.” So there’s that, then I think Martha and Mary probably would have been extremely loyal to each other. I think neither was perfect in that relationship. I think Jesus would have probably been extremely loyal to Mary and Martha and in this moment he speaks into a potential conflict. Sometimes I say something like what Jesus says to Martha to my wife, and she appreciates it when I do. Sometimes I sound like Martha when I’m trying to sound like Jesus talking to my wife, she and Jesus don’t appreciate it when I do, so then there’s that. Not everything that is in the Bible is said, some of it is just seen. The unsaid but seen seems to be missing from our interpretations of the written sometimes.
    Hope that half way makes some sense friend. Always good to have that person who is fiercely loyal to us. I’ve got mine, Mary had hers, you’ve got yours.

  • Nope. I’m still gay!

    And it sounds like you are still very married! as I always like to say, “If a tree falls in the forest, and Paul is not there to hear it, am I STILL wrong?”

    But Nathan, like so many posting here, misses my point. You can find whatever you wish to find in the Bible, including point B that contradicts point A right after you state that point A is correct. IT’s not about what is in the Bible, but what it is in the speaker.

    And that is what so many refuse to see.

    Thanks for writing.

  • I know we come to some different conclusions on some matters but I really respect how, you’ve come to your conclusions. What I appreciate about you is that you challenge me in some ways that I would not think of to challenge myself. I mean that as a big compliment to you.

  • Oh I have read sandi. extensively. I know exactly what I am talking about.

  • With the amount of information that I’ve had to teach you, you’ve given me reason to doubt.

  • As long as you know. But now that it is on record that you make nonsense responses, anything you say can be taken with a grain of salt.

  • From someone who has needed to be taught by me to understand scripture, lol……have a good time. Of course I know you don’t understand scripture……..or things pertaining to Christ. Blessings to you mark. (edited)

  • Regurgitating scripture does not constitute teaching.
    So, you never did say whether you were a follower of the bible or a follower of Jesus.

  • Read front. Read sideways. Read up or read down. Try reading. There are parallel sets of texts throughout the Pentateuch but Genesis in particular. To fail to acknowledge that can only mean that you did not read them.

  • I’m afraid you’re the one who doesn’t know what you are talking about–not the content of Scripture per se (which I’m sure you know well) but the nature of reading and interpreting texts.

    I don’t think the Biblical case against slavery was as weak as David implies, but it certainly wasn’t obvious, and a lot of apparently “literal” passages seemed to point the other way. You cited 1 Cor. 7:23 but didn’t cite 1 Cor. 7:21, which tells people who are already slaves to accept their lot. And of course there are other passages like that. No passage of the NT actually tells slaveowners that they have to free their slaves, or says explicitly that slavery is evil.

    Furthermore, the “household codes” in Scripture consistently link parent/child relationships, husband/wife relationships, and master/slave relationships, implying that all three are legitimate, although the “superior” party in all three should act with gentleness and moderation.

    If you have read “egalitarian” exegesis of “I do not allow a woman to teach” you know that indeed it can be interpreted in many different ways. Wikipedia does a good survey of various interpretations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1_Timothy_2:12

  • And Christ taught to be a slave to no man – fulfill your commitments and then don’t repeat the folly.

  • This is coming from someone who’s response to the question of whether there are different pairs of stories int he OT is simply: no there isn’t. No discussion of why the different stories that are articulated in the OT are not different; no justification for your (ignorant) response; just a simple pontification. But then, that is pretty normal for you when it comes to scripture.

    So tell us, are you a follower of Jesus or a follower of the Bible?

  • all of your questions have been answered. You just didn’t like the answers you got.

    So tell us, are you a follower of the Bible or a follower of Jesus. And why is it that you persistently refuse to answer that simple question? You are aware that Christians existed for two centuries before the Bible as we know it existed.

  • To discuss means to actively listen. You have demonstrated no ability to actually hear what the other person is saying or attempt to understand what they are saying or why they are saying it. All those factors are essential to a discussion whether you agree with the other person or not. Throwing out scripture is not a discussion.

  • Protecting people from your abuse. Odd how you won’t answer a simple question. Are you a follower of Jesus or a follower of the Bible?

  • Why is it that you can’t answer very simple questions. You assert the primacy of scripture and scripture contains parallel but different versions of many old testament myths. You assert that there are no such repetitions with different content. Either it’s there or it’s not there and I’ve shown two examples of where they are. If it was any other subject matter you would be tossing bible verses out. When someone does that to you, you become totally disregard the content? Sounds a tad hypocritical.

  • “OK” you are going to do it, or “OK” that’s beyond your capacity to do?

  • I think Martin Luther figured this out 500 years before the current author at least as far I have read history.

  • Indeed. A multiple-choice question allows you to pick among several clearly defined answers, only one of which is right.

    I agree that interpreting Scripture doesn’t work like that. It’s more like an essay question, in which we respond in our own words and there’s a high degree of subjectivity–which does not mean that there are no objective truths being discussed.

  • Translation: “You have a strong point for which I cannot think of a reasonable response. Therefore, out of the blue, I will say god is against using the Disqus board to talk about this. I will also claim that discussing and arguing are synonymous. I will then completely disengage but in a way that makes it clear that I’m taking the morally high ground.”

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