If A Woman Cannot Be A Leader In The Church How Can Sarah Palin Lead The Religious Right?
Posted by Job on October 16, 2008
Now I do not entirely agree with Voddie Baucham’s position below that women should not have leadership roles in the private sphere i.e. government and business. I believe that the New Testament restriction applied only to the church. Baucham’s statement that a nation ruled by women is a sign that said nation is under judgment because of its immorality causing the lack of suitable males I believe applied to Old Testament Israel, which was God’s covenant people. (Of course, looking at what our own wicked culture has done to our men and boys, resulting in a large portion of the male population being unable to hold a job and lead a household, let alone run a government or business, well that certainly makes Baucham appear right and me wrong.)
So were it simply an issue of Sarah Palin being vice president or even president of our government (or for that matter NATO, the UN, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, etc.) I am fine with that because it is a secular position. That is consistent with by interpretation of Proverb 31 as well as with the fact that Lydia of Acts was a businesswoman and entrepreneur, and women supported the ministry of Jesus Christ with their economic activity. Even in practical terms, plenty of women, particularly those whose husbands have either died or abandoned them or become disabled, wind up needing to support themselves and their children, and the current church does not have a social services apparatus to provide food, housing, and education to such women and their children as the early church of Acts did. Therefore, such women either need to get jobs or get on the very government welfare programs that the religious right so hates.
But that is secular temporal matters such as business and government, not spiritual matters such as Body of Christ ecclesiology. Scripture makes it clear: women cannot take on positions of ecclesiastical leadership. It is interesting that the primary arguments for suggesting otherwise is generally diminishing the spirituality of the church, making it more secular. One either claims that denying certain roles to women is just another manifestation of workplace and societal discrimination, or that the New Testament words in this matter only reflected Middle Eastern worldly cultural norms and was not the Holy Spirit inspired infallible Word of God.
A novel recent attempt has been to claim that the demand that women be silent and learn under subjection only applied to the home, which makes the home the only spiritual institution where God’s suzerain covenant with Adam applies, not the church (to understand the importance of the suzerain covenant with Adam that Paul mentioned that allowed the man to transgress where the woman was only deceived, which allowed woman to be held blameless – though in subjection – and for the church to be redeemed through her seed, please read http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dhgr3tfq_197djp7zwfh).
Now as mentioned in Why The Early Church Fathers Were Millennialists And Why The Gentile Church Quickly Rejected It For Sadduceeism because of a vacuum left in the religious right due to not only the deaths of its prominent founding members but many of the people that have since come along tainting themselves with compromise and scandal, Sarah Palin is the de facto leader of the religious right. She is not A LEADER but THE LEADER.
Now she has not asked for the position of leadership in the entire religious right, but rather has been thrust into it by the hyperbole of socially conservative Christian leaders, including those that have not spoken out on such matters in the past but have allowed themselves to become so fearful of Obama (as if Bill Clinton was any better … what makes Obama so much more fearsome than the draft dodging 1960s radical Oxford elitist Clinton eh, but we are not going there!) and excitement with the potential of conservative leadership in the form of someone other than a white male (as if the very reason why there aren’t more black/Hispanic/Asian conservative leaders isn’t, well, the very same one that causes them to fear Obama far more than they did Clinton).
But that is not to say that Palin has not been courting the religious right. After all, she is not the only pro – life religious conservative. Ron Paul has the same views – including the same ability to dissemble on homosexuality as Palin by the way -and what is more has the actual scientific background to speak form it as a medical doctor and the religious right loathes him. Tom Coburn also has the views and medical background, but the next religious right leader to talk up the fellow that actually wants to end abortion and reduce government will be the first. But yes, we know that Palin has not only courted the religious right in her state, but did so using government resources. See State paid for trip when Palin told students to pray for pipeline and As governor, Palin at times bonds church and state. So even though Palin didn’t ask to lead the national religious right, it is certainly a role that she was certainly willing to use to her political advantage in Alaska and as such has experience in.
But again, Palin is a woman. A woman is not supposed to have such authority in the church, right? I agree that being a leader of the amorphous ill defined religious right is not the same as being leader of the Southern Baptist Convention or pastor of Coral Ridge Ministries. As someone who feels that a woman has the right to, say, initiate and run missionary organizations (a fact made more so because the vast majority of missionaries today are in fact women and said women are putting men to shame in this vital area of the Great Commission) then my challenge is less than perfect because leading the religious right is not direct ecclesiastical authority per se but rather leadership of a parachurch activity.
Still, it is interesting to note that my very liberal views on women in leadership is not shared by many of Palin’s advocates, including the leaders of denominations that forced women out of the leadership positions of the missionary boards that they themselves started, financed, and ran with very little help (and usually only opposition) from the male leadership of those denominations. Also, there is a difference between being a leader of a parachurch organization like, say, a Christian charity (which I assert is a position akin to a deacon, and the Bible does suffer women to be deacons) and leading the religious right. Simply put: leaders of Christian charities have very little influence on church doctrine and practice other than perhaps being more effective at getting more Christians to participate and give.
But it is past time to acknowledge that leadership of the religious right is the closest thing that we have in America to a Protestant pope, or as it were the leader of a state church. The best example is how so many evangelicals have become very accommodating to Roman Catholicism and dual covenant theologies surrounding Judaism and Israel thanks to the need to maintain religious right alliances. One truly cannot be a leader in the religious right while unambiguously stating that Roman Catholic doctrines regarding Mary, angels, and icons are grievous blasphemies and apostasies, or that Jews must accept Jesus Christ or face eternal flame. That is why religious right leaders would much rather simply bash gay rights activists and the ACLU, or for that matter are much more comfortable denouncing their political opponents as a group because of their political, cultural, ideological etc. views than denouncing individual sinners for their sin. Further still, being a religious right leader requires being in good company with people like Rush Limbaugh. Stating that an unrepentant thrice divorced former drug addict should not be accepted as a leader or authoritative voice (and the same for, say, George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, et al) would be appropriate Christian speech, but it would put one very much at odds with conservatism, correct? And as a result, evangelicalism simply follows suit in refusing to oppose Roman Catholicism, tell the truth about Judaism and Israel, and putting up with Council on Foreign Relations new world order globalist occultists. The next religious right leader that asks why we send an ambassador to the Vatican or challenges Bush on putting on Muslim garb and praying in a mosque (no, they only get mad when Obama does it!) or stating that all religions worship the same God (again, imagine were Obama to say the same!) will be the first.
So yes, Sarah Palin will be very influential in the doctrine and practice of politically active evangelicals, especially in areas regarding how they relate to the world. As a matter of fact, it has happened already. Did you note how so many religious right leaders took a far more accepting tone towards teen pregnancy because of Bristol Palin? The next religious right leader to go after Sarah Palin, Briston Palin, or Levi Johnston will be the first. And of course, if the religious right EVER tries to make illegitimacy an issue again, they will be reminded of it. And as I have alluded to, their having to give up on the issue politically will basically mean that they have to give up on it THEOLOGICALLY.
As a matter of fact, they already have. Please recall Dobson’s response: “teen pregnancy is part of the cultural landscape now, and the church has to acknowledge it and adapt to it by praying for and offering support to teen mothers.” Excuse me, but any one that read “A Nation At Risk” knows that teen pregnancy has been part of the cultural landscape since the 1950s, and further that the religious right were the last ones to suggest that the church pray for and support them, but instead demanded that such people be excoriated and marginalized in order to get them to change their behavior.
Now again, if the religious right is a secular movement promoting culture, values, and a particular vision of government and economics, then it is fine for Sarah Palin to wield so much influence over it. But if it is a religious movement, a church movement, then I would like to see how it can be justified. But hey, then again, I was saying precisely the same thing back when many religious right leaders were wanting Mormon Mitt Romney to be their standard bearer. This includes, incidentally, prominent Southern Baptist leaders that were advising him. (Romney did not take their advice, because they wanted him to acknowledge to evangelicals that Mormonism was a totally separate faith from and completely irreconcilable with Christianity, and Romney was determined to force evangelicals to accept his faith as another denomination or branch of Christianity as part of his candidacy, but when you realize that these same evangelicals have done the same with Roman Catholicism and increasingly Judaism, then you cannot blame Romney and his Mormon backers for calling evangelicals big time hypocrites on this issue.) I recall how Romney took the house down at some C-PAC meeting after conceding the nomination to McCain. Make no mistake, based on the buzz emanating from C-PAC, Romney most definitely was going to be the standard bearer for social conservatives going forward. That is, until Sarah Palin, who by virtue of her being female and actually being a Christian has completely usurped and deposed him. (Although ironically if the financial crisis causes a McCain loss, Romney stands to be the biggest beneficiary politically.)
So how about it political evangelicalism? How does having a woman be your de facto pope or state church leader square with what the Bible says about ecclesiastical roles for women? Will you accept Palin being your teacher just as you have been accepting humanistic pyschology and political/cultural values masquerading as (crossless) Christianity from the likes of James Dobson and Bill Bennett for the past 20 years? (Say what you want about Beth Moore, but her teaching ministry apparently does seem to be aimed at women.) So maybe, then, the Voddie Baucham video below should be considered, if only in the context of the religious right. That is assuming, of course, that such an entity based on compromise and commingling between the church and the world as the religious right should have ever existed in the first place.