Thursday, February 26, 2009

Word and Etymology-- An Ancient Landmark

14(L) "You shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.” (Deuteronomy 19:14, ESV)

I picked up a new book to read recently called “Exegetical Fallacies” (Second Edition) by D.A. Carson. Carson calls this book “an amateur’s collection of exegetical fallacies” (pg.26), and he isn’t joking—at the outset, that is what this book seems to be. I’ve only ready about 30 pages (maybe a little more) and I’m about ready to call this book a “laugher.” He starts his book out with word-study fallacies. The first fallacy Carson addresses is “the root fallacy”:

“One of the most enduring of errors, the root fallacy presupposes that every word actually HAS A MEANING BOUND UP WITH ITS SHAPE OR COMPONENTS. In this view, meaning is determined by etymology; that is, by the root or roots of a word. How many times have we been told that because the verbal cognate of ‘apostolos’ (Greek for ‘apostle’) is ‘apostello’ (I send), the root meaning of ‘apostle’ is ‘one who is sent’? often do preachers refer to the verb ‘agapao’ (to love), contrast it with ‘phileo’ (to love), and deduce that the text is saying something about a special kind of loving, for no other reason than that ‘agapao’ is used?” (28)

I find Carson’s opening statement regarding the root fallacy a bit disturbing. I mean, every word doesn’t have a meaning bound within itself? Are you kidding me? If words don’t have an inherent meaning, if a compound word isn’t made up of two or more words (that have a definite meaning), then how is language formed? How can humans communicate?

Let’s go on to see Carson’s argument regarding ‘apostello’ and ‘apostolos’:

“It is arguable that although ‘apostolos’ (apostle) is cognate with ‘apostello’ (I send), New Testament use of the noun does not center on the meaning ‘the one sent’ but on ‘messenger’. Now a messenger is usually sent; but the word ‘messenger’ also calls to mind the message the person carries, and suggests he represents the one who sent him. In other words, actual usage in the New Testament suggests that ‘apostolos’ commonly bears the meaning ‘a special representative’ or a ‘special messenger’ rather than ‘someone sent out’” (30).

I don’t see how “special messenger” and “someone sent out” are different. I mean, how many people are just naturally sent to run errands for the sake of running errands? That doesn’t make any sense. Usually when someone is “sent out,” they have a special message or specific message to deliver. If ‘apostello’ (what happens to the apostle, the verb) cannot be similar to ‘apostolos’ (the apostle, the noun), then our English words “driver” and “drive” do not belong to each other as well. If this is so, then the English language has just been destroyed in a day!!

Carson attempts to redeem himself in the same section but only sticks out even more like a sore thumb:

“I am not saying that any word can mean anything. Normally we observe that any individual word has a certain limited semantic range, and the context may therefore modify or shape the meaning of a word only within certain boundaries. The total SEMANTIC RANGE IS NOT PERMANENTLY FIXED, OF COURSE; WITH TIME AND NOVEL USAGE, IT MAY SHIFT CONSIDERABLY…even so, I am not suggesting that words are infinitely plastic. I am simply saying that the MEANING OF A WORD CANNOT BE RELIABLY DETERMINED BY ETYMOLOGY, OR THAT A ROOT, ONCE DISCOVERED, ALWAYS PROJECTS A CERTAIN SEMANTIC LOAD ONTO ANY WORD THAT INCORPORATES THAT ROOT…LINGUISTICALLY, MEANING IS NOT AN INTRINSIC POSSESSION OF A WORD; rather, ‘it is a set of relations for which a verbal symbol is a sign’” (32).

First he says, words can’t mean anything; but then he says that the semantic range changes over time. Then, he says that words are always flexible, that they do have fixed meanings. He seems to float somewhere in-between the inherent meaning of words and the plasticity of them; But the dagger thrown at the heart of language itself comes in Carson’s last words from the passage above:

“Linguistically, meaning is not an INTRINSIC POSSESSION of a word; rather, it is a set of relations for which a verbal symbol is a sign.”

What Carson is saying here, in so many words, is that words themselves do not carry an inherent meaning—a fixed definition that does not change over time. If this line of logic is taken to its full extent, the word “is” will no longer identify objects anymore—it could mean they are similar to it or appear to be similar to it. He said that words were not “infinitely plastic,” but neither do they have “an intrinsic possession” of meaning. I would object to Carson on the basis that word cognates serve as a reference point for which we can understand other words that may seem foreign to us.

Returning to Carson's comments about "apostello" and "apostolos," word cognates are a “foundation” for language. Think of a foundation of a house, for example. Without that strong, sturdy underlining of a house, the house could not stand. Jesus used the idea of foundations in a familiar passage about hearing His words and obeying them:

24(AL) "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like(AM) a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like(AN) a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7:24-27, ESV)

To the Lord Jesus Christ, foundation was important because the foundation would determine the endurance of the house built (in this case, listening to Christ’s words and obeying them would determine the success of a person in life). And I believe that foundations are central to everything we do. As I am learning in epistemology, knowing, for example, that the physical world is a component of reality keeps me from becoming a complete skeptic and adopting an idea that all the world is an illusion. If the physical, tangible objects around me are not reality, what is? And if I don’t have something such as the physical by which to weigh reality, then how do I KNOW that reality even EXISTS? I don’t.

Richard Weaver writes a great chapter in his book “Ideas Have Consequences” regarding the meaning behind words—a chapter called “The Power of the Word.” Here Weaver demonstrates the necessity of the Word in everyday language:

“As myth gives way to philosophy in the normal sequences we have noted, the tendency to see A PRINCIPLE OF DIVINITY in language endures. Thus we learn that in the late ancient world the Hebrew ‘mamra’ and the Greek ‘logos’ merged, and in the Gospel of John we find an explicit identification: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.’…a following verse declares that ‘logos’ as god lies behind the design of the cosmos, for ‘without him was not anything made that was made.’ Speech begins to appear the principle of intelligibility. So when wisdom came to man in Christ, in continuation of this story, ‘the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.’ The allegory need give no difficulty; KNOWLEDGE OF THE PRIME REALITY COMES TO MAN THROUGH THE WORD; THE WORD IS A SORT OF DELIVERANCE FROM THE SHIFTING WORLD OF APPEARANCES” (149).

Go back to Genesis 1. What did God do when He decided to create the world?
“3And God said,(
C) "Let there be light," and there was light.”
The first thing God did was SPEAK light into existence. Notice that one of Adam’s tasks in the Garden was to name all the animals (Genesis 2:19). God gave man such power that the very words he spoke (in this case, the naming of the animals) was done—whatever Adam called them, whether “frog” or “dog,” that was their name. When Adam SPOKE a name, the name was “set in stone.” The name Adam gave was the name the creature held, no matter what it was.

Words, from the beginning, have been vital to human understanding of life. To put it briefly, they are “an ancient landmark”; and as the above verses from Deuteronomy 19 tell us, the ancient landmarks were not to be removed. While the context of Deuteronomy 19 pertains to property, I believe these words can describe the modern-day situation with words. There is a battle today going on between those who cherish the meaning of words vs. those who choose to strip every word down to nothing. To remove etymology (the study of word history) and “the ancient landmark” of the word from human language is to do humanity a major disgrace—for removing the word could also amount to removing “The Word,” Christ Jesus.

For the reader who desires to read more, I will examine more material from Richard Weaver’s chapter called “The Power of the Word” in the coming days. Stay tuned…

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Death of Common Sense

Some time ago, I heard a sermon entitled “The Death of Common Sense” by Dr. Ergun Caner of Liberty University. Dr. Caner’s sermon was all about how what we know as “common sense,” the normal ability to reason and think, is on the verge of being eliminated from our society completely.

While common sense is not dead completely (there’s still some left—I’m trying to be hopeful here), it is dying a slow, painful death. And the church has a role to play in its death—particularly with the issue of women in ministry.
Let’s examine the following conversation from Sarah Sumner in her book, “Men and Women in the Church”:

“Some time ago a complementarian told me on the phone that the Bible is ‘absolutely clear’ on the issue of women in ministry. He said that he had ‘studied the subject carefully’ and arrived at the conclusion that ‘women are not allowed to exegete the Scriptures in Sunday School or church or in any other place where there are men.’ Resolutely he said it’s ‘unbiblical’ for a woman to pastor or preach or teach theology or serve as a deacon or an elder. But then, gratuitously, he added, ‘My desire is for women to be able to do more. In fact, my wife would make a much better elder than I do. I really don’t understand why God wants it this way.’

In my estimation, this gentleman is a Scotist. As a Scotist, he can see his wife’s ability to lead, but he doesn’t consider her giftedness to be a valid clue of God’s will. As a fellow conservative, I can appreciate his caution. He doesn’t want to exchange the biblical revelation for some preference of his own human will. That’s understandable and wise; I wouldn’t want to do that either.

Logically, however, something seems a little off to him. But because he is a Scotist, he accepts the strange dissonance between his theology of women and common sense. Morally he sees no reason for the traditional prohibition upon his godly wife. But neither does he expect God’s will to correlate necessarily with God’s design. Justifiably, then, he can say to himself that the only reason why it’s wrong for his wife to be an elder at church is because ‘GOD SAID SO’ in the Scriptures” (284-285).

The above excerpt from Sumner’s book shows us the Scotist stance in action: no matter how gifted a woman may be, no matter how evident that observation to any man, he won’t allow himself to acknowledge that she belongs in a place of leadership.

But this doesn’t make any logical sense. Think about it: what do we say if a person is good at drawing or painting? We respond with the words, “You’re good at what you do; you should become an artist.” What do we say to someone who is good at working on cars and other vehicles? “You should become a mechanic.” What do we say to someone who is good with numbers? “You should become an accountant or a math teacher,” etc. What do we say to someone who is a good orator? “You should become a professor, teacher, lawyer, or lecturer.” What do we say to someone who is good at diagnosing cases? “You should become a doctor.”

We seem to have no problem, from an observatory standpoint, to acknowledge someone’s giftedness and place them in a category that allows them to live out that giftedness. But when it comes to the issue of women in ministry, it suddenly becomes another issue entirely! Now, despite the woman’s giftedness, she can’t live out the task she is made for—because “God said so,” or so the complementarians say.

We can sit around and laugh and joke about how illogical complementarian thought really is; but the complementarian view has serious implications for the Body of Christ. I mean, if giftedness now can no longer be evidenced in the lives of believers, what about the fruit of the Spirit? If tangible evidence no longer shows us the gifts a person possesses, then that means anyone can just grab any office or task in the church. The gifts suddenly become a “free-for-all” instead of a distribution. Now, all a person has to do is just go to Bible college and seminary, get a few degrees, and before you know it, that person is ready to tackle any leadership position in the church. If we take the complementarian view to its logical standpoint, then God no longer CALLS a person to a task; people no longer DESIRE tasks in the Body of Christ (desire coming from the Lord). Now, they can just grab a task. But the problem with grabbing a task or office in the church is that, if you just grab the task because, say for instance that no one else can do it, it can come and go—I can grab this office today, and that office tomorrow, and the day after I might rid myself of both offices!

Jesus did not concern Himself with the Pharisees who only wanted to be “in the know.” He knew that they didn’t care about salvation and living a life pleasing to the Lord. Instead, He occupied His time with the masses, the societal outcasts—those who really desired to know Him. And in the church today, God is not concerned about office grabbers. God doesn’t just want people to tackle a task or job in the church because no one else can do it, or they feel they have to. God wants people to receive tasks in the church because they DESIRE to do it, because they’d rather do God’s work than anything else. As Peter writes to the elders of the churches of the Diaspora Jews:

“1So I exhort the elders among you,(A) as a fellow elder and(B) a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2(C) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,[a](D) not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;[b](E) not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3not(F) domineering over those in your charge, but(G) being examples to the flock. 4And when(H) the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the(I) unfading(J) crown of glory.” (1 Pet. 5:1-4, ESV)

Notice that 1 Peter 5:2 says that the elders should serve “not under compulsion, but willingly, AS GOD WOULD HAVE YOU.” A person shouldn’t serve in the church because they feel FORCED or OBLIGATED to, but because they DESIRE to serve God in that capacity. Next, Peter says, “not for shameful gain, but eagerly.” Another easy motivation in the church could be money. Peter says, “if you’re gonna serve just because you get paid, it’s a waste of time. Serve because you love what you do FOR God, not because of what you might receive FROM God.”

I think that complementarians need to get back to the basics: we all can acknowledge the ability of the woman as a schoolteacher, a babysitter, a nurse, a professor, and so forth; now, it’s time for us to acknowledge the giftedness of a woman teacher, preacher, and pastor. To say it best, some women are made for more than the nursery, the music department, and the youth church. Come on: I know it’s gonna take some work, but you can acknowledge it...

The Hermeneutical Violation

In this post we reach the end of Andreas Kostenberger’s and Thomas Schreiner’s book called “Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15.” I have spent quite a bit of time showing how Schreiner’s arguments (and some of Kostenberger’s) don’t make any sense from a biblical standpoint. You would think, however, that, after all the loopholes in their argument (which we have seen), that the ending of their book would throw us a punch, would leave a huge impact on the reader. After all the attacks and assaults they throw at egalitarians and their “progressive hermeneutic,” that they would end the book with an effective defense for the complementarian position.

Who do they pick for this task? The honorable Dorothy Patterson, wife of the distinguished and honorable Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Now, don’t get me wrong: Dorothy Patterson is quite a heavyweight in her own right: she holds a PhD as well as a Doctorate of Ministry degree (not to mention her Masters and undergrad degrees. Make no mistake—she’s no novice when it comes to education; but I doubt if Kostenberger and Schreiner made the right choice when they selected Dorothy Patterson’s chapter as the LAST of the book!

I’m in no shape, form, or fashion disrespecting Dorothy Patterson. I think she is a phenomenal woman and should be commended for her educational achievements. However, Kostenberger and Schreiner chose a chapter to end their book that works against everything they claimed they stood for throughout the book. They wanted to provide us with “an analysis,” as the title of the book suggests; but what happened? Instead, they provide us with a chapter titled “One Woman’s PERSONAL REFLECTIONS!” A woman’s personal reflections? What is this—another “what does it mean to you” Bible Study session? It seems as if even Kostenberger and Schreiner succumbed to hermeneutical violation—for a good rule of thumb in hermeneutics is to never OVERSTAND the text (to STAND OVER it), but to UNDERSTAND the text (STAND UNDER it, and let the text preach to you). When a person stands over the text, they tell the text what to say (instead of letting the text stand over them), and impose their own meaning on the text. And it is because of such hermeneutical violation that our churches are in such dire straits today! Is there ANYBODY out there who is tired of age-old hermeneutical gymnastics? I know I can’t take it for much longer…

Well, on to the task at hand: facing the one and only Dorothy Patterson. In her concluding chapter in Kostenberger’s book, she tells women about what tasks they should hold in the church:

“How much better it is for one to miss an opportunity for service than to cause confusion through her service. A wise woman would rather GIVE UP AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW AND USE HER GIFTEDNESS if by using that giftedness she would risk bringing dishonor to God’s Word and thus to him (Titus 2:5). A woman committed to the Lord Jesus DARE NOT DO EVEN WHAT SHE IS TRAINED OR GIFTED TO DO IF BY SO DOING SHE IS DISOBEDIENT BY CALLING INTO QUESTION HER ACCOUNTABILITY TO A CLEAR TEACHING OF SCRIPTURE” (152).

Let’s examine this excerpt of Dorothy’s chapter. First, she states that a woman should give up an opportunity to use her giftedness “if by using her giftedness she would risk bringing dishonor to God’s Word and thus to Him.” When did a woman using her giftedness bring dishonor to God in Scripture? When did a person using their gifts bring dishonor to Christ in Scripture?

The first statement doesn’t really sting; but the last one does:

“A woman committed to the Lord Jesus dare not do even what she is TRAINED or
GIFTED to do if by so doing she is DISOBEDIENT by calling into question her ACCOUNTABILITY to a CLEAR TEACHING OF SCRIPTURE.”

I took time to italicize certain words to show how illogical this argument is. First of all, giftedness is from God. According to 1 Corinthians 12:11, the Spirit gives the gifts “as He wills.” If a person is given a gift by the Spirit, then he or she is to use that gift as the Spirit would have them use it. To fail to use it is to disrespect the Spirit of the Lord, who is God! It is the equivalent of a child who destroys the Christmas gift they received from their parents right in front of their parents!

Next, she opens up the possibility that a woman could be DISOBEDIENT by using her gift. What a laugh! When was a person ever labeled disobedient in Scripture because they used their gift? I don’t read of such a case. But I do read of an account where someone was chastised and punished by God because they failed to use what God had given them. Let’s read the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25: 14-18 (ESV):

14(O) "For(P) it will be like a man(Q) going on a journey, who called his servants[c] and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five(R) talents,[d] to another two, to another one,(S) to each according to his ability. Then he(T) went away. 16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18But he who had received the one talent went and(U) dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.”

Jesus is telling a parable here, a story that involves a situation the masses could understand. This one involves a master, servants, and money (what was known as “talents”). Notice that the Master gave to each servant “according to his ability” (Matt. 25:15). All three servants were not given the same amount of money; but each servant was given an amount of money. The Lord Himself gives to each individual a certain amount of gifts and talents to use for His glory.
The first two servants made gains on the money they had been entrusted with. But what about the last servant? “But he who had received the one talent WENT AND DUG IN THE GROUND AND HID HIS MASTER’S MONEY” ! (Matt. 25:18)

How did the last servant respond to the gracious money given him by his master? With contempt! He went and hid the money. Whatever his reason, we don’t know—all we know is that he threw it away.

This last servant is the equivalent of those who adhere to Dorothy Patterson’s advice. Dorothy Patterson actually had the CAHUNAS to write that if a woman is gifted, no matter how endowed by God she is, she shouldn’t use her gift. And why? because of a faulty interpretation of 1 Timothy 2.

Let’s see what happens when the Master returns to check on the servants:

“19Now(V) after a long time the master of those servants came and(W) settled accounts with them. 20And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21His master said to him, 'Well done, good and(X) faithful servant.[e](Y) You have been faithful over a little;(Z) I will set you over much. Enter into(AA) the joy of your master.' 22And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' 24He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be(AB) a hard man, reaping(AC) where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here(AD) you have what is yours.' 26But his master answered him, 'You(AE) wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29(AF) For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30And(AG) cast(AH) the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”

The first servant is rewarded for multiplying his talents—he received the right to enter into glory. The next servant multiplied his talents and received the same reward. But the third servant got anything but a joyful reply from his Master—instead, all he got was discipline and punishment. What did the master call him? “You wicked and slothful servant!” What happens to him? His talent is given to the one who had ten talents, and the wicked servant is cast into Hell.

The problem with the complementarian view is that, if you listen to Dorothy Patterson, you’ll end up like this wicked servant. And there are gifted, God-called women out there in the world who say to themselves, “I don’t have to step out on God’s calling: there are men out there who can do the job.” Others say, “I don’t have to worry about pastoring a church—I’m sure God has a man somewhere who can do it.” I’m sure God does: but what about if God is calling you at this time for His purpose? Remember Esther’s thought about going before the king: she thought that she would die if she went before the king because he hadn’t called her in. Protocol dictated that she stay out of the king’s presence; but Mordecai’s words awakened her from her fearful position:

“14For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14, ESV)

Mordecai reminded Esther that God would deliver His people, for He would always come to their aid; but what would happen to Esther? According to Mordecai, God forbid the king should find out that his own queen was a Jew! If the king found out, Esther stood to lose everything—including her life. What did she have to lose? If the king found out she was a Jew, Haman’s edict would cost Esther her life; and if she tried to fight for her people and the king didn’t wanna grant her request, she would lose her life. It seemed that death was the worst for Esther, either way.

But what I love about Mordecai’s words to Esther is that he made it clear to her that Providence was responsible for the very moment she was in—and that, God could very well have placed Esther in the queenship for this time. God could have put Esther in this position of standing so that she, a woman of authority, could save her people against evil Haman and his anti-Semitism! Who knew? But Esther realized that she had the power to save her people—and, if not Esther, then who? Who was to come to their aid? She knew the courage and strength to defend the Jews came from within herself. And she believed that her God was strong enough to use her in that way.

Who knows, women, if you aren’t where you are FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS? Who knows if God doesn’t have you and your giftedness where you are for this moment in time? Who knows if God gave you the ability to teach and preach His Word for this time, to turn the hearts of men and women back to Him? Who knows where your giftedness and calling from God will take you? You never know. But you won’t know if you let Dorothy Patterson and her inconsistent hermeneutic influence you.

Remember, the wicked servant was not chided for his gender, but his slothfulness, his laziness. And, despite the inconsistency of complementarians, God is the opposite—He is ALWAYS CONSISTENT! And the same thing He expected of Esther and the servants, He expects of you! Be an Esther—go and do likewise…

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Philosophical Complementarian Problem

I spent time yesterday on the Lord’s Day returning to the work I’ve spent an entire month away from—and a work that beckoned me after being away for so long. Picking up Sarah Sumner’s work entitled “Men and Women in the Church,” I suddenly remembered that the issue of women in ministry remains the passion that stirs my soul. It sure feels good to return to the work I love so much!

In this post I am gonna address a new perspective on the issue itself. While I have spent quite a lot of time defending the Scriptures in their acceptance of women and their giftedness, I have not addressed other issues in this debate. Starting with Sarah Sumner’s book, I will address what I call “The Philosophical Complementarian Problem.”
Sumner, in writing on the underlying philosophical differences between egalitarians and complementarians, writes,

“I don’t claim to see every aspect of this debate in perfect detail. But I can name one reason for the gridlock that results when complementarians and egalitarians try to talk about church order. Their philosophy of order is not the same. Generally speaking, complementarians are Scotists and egalitarians are Thomists. Understanding the difference between these two philosophies of order is vital to interpreting the debate” (“Men and Women in the Church,” 274-275).

What are the views of the Thomists and the Scotists? And how do they differ from one another? Let’s read more Sumner:

“While Thomists insist that God’s commands and God’s creation correlate directly with one another, Scotists believe that God’s commands need to correlate with nothing but God’s will…egalitarians, being Thomists, assume it is obvious that God’s plan for women accords with nature and reason. Complementarians, being Scotists, don’t see that as necessary. By contrast, they assume that it is obvious that God’s plan for women doesn’t have to be connected to anything else in God’s design” (275).

In short, Thomists assume that God’s will is revealed in nature and reason; Scotists, on the other hand, believe that God’s will need not be revealed to us—that, by necessity, it only has to reside in the mind of God.

I’m one to agree that God was not obligated to reveal Himself; I mean, after all, He is God, and is free to do whatever He chooses. If He didn’t will to reveal Himself, He didn’t will it. Revelation of Himself was entirely His call.
But He DID reveal Himself to us. And Scripture is full of evidence against the complementarian’s philosophical perspective.

Consider Psalm 98:2 (ESV):

“The LORD has MADE KNOWN his salvation; he has REVEALED his righteousness in the sight of the nations.”

When the Lord came to the aid of His people, as He did all throughout the Old Testament, God did not just secretly transport His people out of the troubling situations; He PHYSICALLY delivered them! Think back to the Red Sea. What did God do? He parted the Red Sea, let the Israelites walk on dry land, and then He DROWNED the Egyptians, Pharaoh and his army!

What about all their enemies in the land—the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, etc? God rescued His people out of their hands—but the Israelites had to take up arms and go to war (and God PHYSICALLY rescued them!).

Look at Isaiah 40, a chapter about the coming comfort for God’s people. In verse 3 we read:

“A voice cries: ‘in the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God…’

Who was the voice of the one in the wilderness? John the Baptist (Mark 1:3). And who was He shouting about? The LORD.

Look at Isaiah 40:5—
“And the glory of the LORD SHALL BE REVEALED, and all flesh SHALL SEE IT together…”

Not only would God’s glory be revealed in Christ (as the Gospels signify), but also everyone would see it! Christ’s coming in the flesh as Son of Man would be something tangible, something that humanity would witness with its own eyes!

John the Beloved writes this of Christ in his Epistle of First John:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have HEARD, which WE HAVE SEEN WITH OUR EYES, which WE LOOKED UPON and HAVE TOUCHED WITH OUR HANDS, concerning the Word of Life—the life was MADE MANIFEST, and WE HAVE SEEN IT, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was MADE MANIFEST to us—that which we have SEEN and HEARD we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn. 1:1-3, ESV).

So God’s will was PHYSICALLY evident on earth in Christ. Doesn’t sound to me like the Scotist view.

Not only was Christ revealed tangibly as a sign of God’s will, but even creation was revealed physically to show God’s existence:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For WHAT CAN BE KNOWN ABOUT GOD IS PLAIN TO THEM, BECAUSE GOD HAS SHOWN IT TO THEM. For his INVISIBLE attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, HAVE BEEN CLEARLY PERCEIVED, ever since the creation of the world, IN THE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20, ESV).

Note that here in Romans 1 we have creation reflecting the glory of God (as does also Psalm 19). What I love about the passage above is that “God’s invisible attributes” (the things about God that humanity couldn’t see) God chose to PHYSICALLY reveal so that humanity could see and observe them. What attributes did He make known to mankind? “His eternal power and divine nature.” Without God showing us these things, we would still be “in the dark” about who God is. And without seeing God, every person in humanity could cry ignorance.

But God has made Himself visibly known to humanity—through His creation. This is what we call General Revelation. All the world can see this demonstration of the nature of God. God also reveals Himself through His Word—and we call this “Specific Revelation.” This knowledge can only come from God’s Word.

There are a host of other passages of Scripture that demonstrate to us God’s desire to make Himself known; and I will continue to bring those passages up in the following days. The point of this post, however, is to demonstrate that the God of the Bible is a God of revelation, not a God of disguise. If the Scotists are looking for a God who masks Himself, they’re looking in the wrong place (the Bible) to find Him.