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Archive for August 6th, 2008

A while back, I found these letters written by Jennie Chancey published on a website and I’d like to interact with them a bit here.  Jennie is well-known for “speaking” her mind and she certainly doesn’t pull any punches here.  Please take the time to read the original letter (the link to the second letter will bep published when I have time to interact with it).

“Letters from Jennie… On College, the workplace, etc.”

Unfortunately, too many modern Christians look everywhere else for answers before turning to the Word (just look at all the “Christian” psychology and counseling books in Christian bookstores).

Okay, I know that this letter was written many years ago, but I do still find it ironic that Jennie has co-authored a book that does the very thing she is writing against here.  Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God is one of those “counseling” books that she rails against here.

I do agree with her premise though.  It is must easier to buy a book from Amazon about whatever ails us than it is to pick up God’s Word and search for the answer.  I am guilty of thise myself and many times over!

So many families believe that a young woman, like a young man, is “free and independent” at age 18 or age 21 and should leave home to strike out on her own.  This is in total opposition to God’s teachings.

There are a few issues to discuss here.  The first one I’d like to point out is that Mrs. Chancey offers no scriptural basis for this statement.  In fact, she offers very little scriptural support in her entire letter.  She makes bold, sweeping statements and, apparently expects her readers to take her word for it because she doesn’t give much support from the Bible at all.  If a belief or action is in “total opposition to God’s teachings” but is commonly believed or practiced by a society, wouldn’t it be prudent to explain why such a belief or action contradicts God’s Word from Scripture itself?

Additionally, Mrs. Chancey states that young men are permitted to be “free and independent,” but that young women are not.  Again, a Scriptural basis for this statement would be nice.  She points out repeatedly in her letter that men are to leave when they get married whereas women are given in marriage.  Women are never permitted to act independently of their “covenant head.”

And yet, the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus comes to mind.  Here is a young girl, unmarried but betrothed, and still living in her father’s house, under her parents’ authority.  The angel Gabriel appears to her and tells her that she has been chosen to bear the Savior of the world.  She agrees to bear that child.  Her father is not consulted.  Her father isn’t even TOLD of the incident.  Mary agrees, on her own, to allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow her and give her the baby.  She declared “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

I’m not trying to make a grand, sweeping case using one example… and yet, this is a pretty BIG example of a young, unmarried woman acting independently of her “covenant head.”  Who was Deborah’s head?  Who was Lydia’s head?  Who was Phoebe’s head?   Who was Mary Magdelene’s head?  Who was Mary of Bethany’s head?  Who was Marthat’s head?  Who was Miriam’s head? Miriam, the prophetess, was unmarried.  There is no mention of her father, only her brothers, Moses and Aaron.

As to whether or not a daughter or a son, should leave home to “strike out” on their own?  I believe that is a decision to be made between parents and children in individual families.  I do not see a case made against that in Scripture, nor do I see a command or a precept that sons are free to be independent, while daughters are not.  Do we see examples of independent sons and dependent daughters?  Absolutely!  But it behooves us to ask ourselves if this is because it is commanded by God or if it is rooted more in the cultural mores of the time.

Starting in the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy), we see that God made woman for man.

And here I would disagree again.  God made the wife for her husband, not the woman for the man.  The natural outworking of Mrs. Chancey’s statement is that all women must be under the authority of all men and that simply is not the case.  I don’t think that she even believes this.  Her statement is probably just poorly worded.  What she is saying is that women were created to be helpers to their husbands and that wives are in subjection to men because it is part of the created order and not due to the Fall.

Conversely, man was made to protect, cherish and nourish the woman.  Men who are not doing that and are not loving their wives as Christ loved the church are covenant-breakers.

If that statement is true, then all husbands, including her own, are covenant-breakers.  Men are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church, but no man does this every moment of ever day.  Do we really need to call them “covenant-breakers?”  Especially when you weigh that statement against this one:

Women who refuse to stay home and obey their fathers or husbands are also covenant-breakers.  They are inverting God’s created order, which is God-Man-Woman-Animals.  Today we have Animals-Woman-Man-God.

So much for her claim that she doesn’t expect all women to live exactly as she does, but that’s beside the point.  I’m not sure what she means by “created order” because if we are basing our views of gender roles on the order of creation then wouldn’t animals be on top?  They were created before men!  I know that’s a stretch since animals aren’t created in God’s image, but stick with me here.  Men and women are equal image bearers of God.  Most complementarians would say that men and women are equal in essence or being and unequal in function or role.  I’m still debating whether or not complementarians can actually claim equality in essence because it is by virtue of a man’s “maleness” that he is placed in authority over the woman.  Male authority isn’t about body parts.  Its about being male.

Getting back to it though… so women who refuse to stay home and obey their fathers or husbands are covenant-breakers.  How so?  I’m looking for a full-time job because my husband asked me to.  I am neither refusing to stay home nor acting in disobedience to my husband so how, exactly, am I a “covenant breaker”?  I know she’s referring to “working women” like me, but I’m still hoping for an explaination at some point.

Moving on to the books of the law, we see in the case laws (these are the laws which tell us how to live the ten commandments) that God puts a daughter under her father’s protection.

Chapter and verse please.  Oh, you mean Numbers 30?  The sole scripture that is ever used to support this kind of argument?  Well, how many holes we can poke into that one!  All children, daughters and sons, are commanded to obey their parents and to honor their parents in the Lord.  No distinction is made between mother and father.  I would put forward that a daughter is just as much under her mother’s authority and protection as she is her father’s.  I see that idea permeated throughout Scripture as we see women involved in the affairs of their families, women bringing their children to Jesus for healing, and women becoming Christians and having their entire households baptized by virtue of their faith.

This post is plenty long and I’ve just done the first page of Mrs. Chancey’s letter!  Some concluding thoughts as I wrap up: Jennie Chancey, Doug Phillips, the McDonalds, et al, all operate on the premise that the Bible speaks to each and every single aspect of our lives, no matter how big or small.  I recently listened to Doug Phillips’ CD “How to Think Like a Christian” wherein he details what ails American society and the Christian church and how the solution to that is to look to the Bible for answers.  Well, I have news for Mr. Phililps- the Bible does not answer every question posed to it.  It just doesn’t.  And sometimes the idea that it does is carried way too far and it ends up trumping Christian liberty and creating rules where God has not.  This kind of thinking breeds the kind of legalism that Vision Forum, LAF, Family Reformation Ministries, Kevin Swanson and others propogate.  No, not works to merit salvation, but the kind that creates laws where God has not.  The kind that comes up with commands where God has allowed for liberty.  The kind where obscure Scriptures (and the obscure ones are just as important as the “biggies”) are used to create an entire paradigm of thinking and lifestyle that are then to be imposed on the entire Christian church.

I would like Jennie Chancey to respond to this story from Peets Coffee about their new “Las Hermanas” coffee:

Las Hermanas

Crafted for Peet’s by a sisterhood of growers on their own plots of land, Las Hermanas coffee is smooth and balanced with the brightness of spring’s new crop.

“In 2001 we first bought coffee from a small cooperative of women farmers in Nicaragua. Year after year, this co-op has produced exceptional coffee, and over time we have built a direct relationship with the group of inspirational women, which has given them control over their own destinies and livelihoods. As a result of our long-term contracts and the premium prices we pay for their quality coffee, “the sisters” have developed their community and their co-op in ways that inspire us anew every year.

Membership in Las Hermanas has empowered these women to move from subsistence to sustainability, from impoverished landless laborers to smallholders free of crushing debt. They now own their own land, have access to cooperative financing, agronomical training and social programs. For Maria Elia Castillo – who struggled even to send her children to school before joining the cooperative – selling Hermanas coffee has brought vast improvements to her quality of life, providing daily necessities we would take for granted. Things as simple as a table and chair so her family can eat a meal together, or beds for her children. Formerly a landless laborer, she is now a successful member of the community whose children are not only able to attend school, but are also learning about environmental and social stewardship, ensuring that the next generation of Las Hermanas has more opportunities than Maria could have dreamed of.

We have also been able to support the women of Las Hermanas through our work with Grounds for Health

Every member of Las Hermanas has their own story of hope and inspiration that we at Peet’s are proud to tell – and proud to support through the sale of this fresh, sweet, new crop coffee.”

Source

If Mrs. Chancey’s precepts are indeed God’s precepts, then they should be lived out everywhere, at all times, in all nations, and in all circumstances.  Financial hardship and lack of “proper authority” are no excuse.  And yet, the women of Las Hermannes would not be able to survive if they didn’t have this coffee farm.  Send Jennie’s letter down to them and see how fast it would be thrown into the fire.  For the vast majority of the world’s population, especially the world’s Christian population, living these principles is just impossible.

I’m not sure how to end this post.  Suffice it to say that there’s more and it gets worse.

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Ethics Daily has posted an article regarding Doug Phillips’ outrageous stance on terminating ectopic pregnancies to save the mother’s life.

Check it out here.

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