Friday, January 14, 2011

New Series!

                                                     Dear Men and Women,

 Your blog owner, Deidre Richardson here. I'm writing to share with you a new series I'm about to undergo at the site "Men and Women" as well as my other research site, "The Center for Theological Studies" (CTS). I sent CTS a post regarding the new series. I thought I'd send it to you all as well. May the Lord bless you in the days ahead. Happy New Year!
                                                                          - Deidre

                                          Dear Readership,

 Happy New Year again to you! About a week ago, I wrote my latest post at CTS. I realize that it has been an entire week since I've written. I wanna take time here to apologize to my readership for the time that I have been away. I am currently registered in a January term class here at Southeastern Seminary, called "Critical Thinking and Argumentation." I've spent the last two weeks going to class everyday from 8am-12:30pm, followed by a nap at home...only to wake up, shower, get dressed, grab dinner, and study with a brother of mine. It's been one heck of a two weeks!! Continue to pray for me; I am doing well, but I've pulled all-nighters everyday for the last two weeks just to make sure I'm up and awake for class at 8am. I don't do very well with morning classes, so I've been sleeping about 5 hours or so doing the day in order to have just enough sleep to stay up and do homework all night. In addition to the chapters of reading and the 150-page book my class has been reading (which I'll talk about in a minute), I've also been given the joy of having computer software (called "LogiCola") that tests your knowledge of the chapters in the book. I recently took my midterm in the Critical Thinking class and was thankful that I played with the software during the week. Many of the questions came from the it was good to see that my efforts did not go unrewarded :-)

 On to the book my class has been reading...the title of the book is called "Exegetical Fallacies" by D. A. Carson. Now that I've read the book, I have to write an 8-page sermon (exegetical), using ten of the 56 fallacies Carson mentions in his book. It's a fun assignment...but it's also a hard one. I'm gonna struggle most with committing logical fallacies. I've been taught as an apologetics major here at Southeastern that God is a God of logic, a God of creatures made in God's image and likeness, we too, should strive to think God's thoughts after Him. So committing logical fallacies to get a good's what I'm required to do, but my fear is that I'll write a sermon thinking I've committed fallacies that may not even be fallacies :-) such is the fear of every seminary student...

Having read Carson's book, I noticed that he tends to critique the views of Arminians and the position I'd like to refer to as "Spirit-gifting" in regards to the issue of women in ministry. I have used the term "egalitarian" at my other site, "Men and Women in the Church," but I do so to distinguish it from the view of complementarianism. There are some things that egalitarians believe that I do not. Among these, some egalitarians, particularly feminists, like to refer to "women's rights"  in regards to women in the church. Instead, I focus more on Spirit-gifting because to me, the debate on men and women in the church is not political, but Scriptural.  I hold to the headship of men in the home, but I do so because wives are commanded to submit to their husbands in several places in the New Testament. However, I don't see the kind of evidence that complementarianism espouses  regarding women in the church  in the Scriptures themselves. Rather, I see the presupposition (or assumption) that 1 Timothy 2: 8-15 means that women cannot be in leadership, and then everything else in Scripture regarding women is defined in terms of that one text (others being Titus 2 or 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Corinthians 14, etc.). I think 1 Timothy 2 as it has been interpreted by complementarians cannot stand up to the claims the Scriptures themselves make regarding the gifting of the Spirit. God didn't create roles irrespective of Spirit-gifting; rather, He created roles "in accordance with" Spirit-gifting. As a result, complementarians have to prove that a woman cannot serve in a role because she is not given certain gifts, rather than just "women have certain fixed roles in the church." And I don't think anyone can claim that God can't gift a woman to preach, teach, pastor, etc. To make that claim would amount to heresy, as some would begin to limit God's sovereignty. Calvinists (and even some Arminians) should think twice before making this mistake.

 And that brings me to the announcement. This coming week, starting Monday, January 17, 2011, I intend to start a new series here at the Center for Theological Studies titled "Exegetical Fallacies in D.A. Carson's 'Exegetical Fallacies.'" I think that Dr. Carson, as much as I respect him, has fallacies on his own (ironicly) in a book in which he tells believers not to commit exegetical fallacies. What I aim to do in this new series is show that Carson brings his own presuppositions to the biblical evidence, and that he attacks all views that disagree with his and uses both Arminians and egalitarians as part of his "fallacy" attacks. I have to be honest and admit that he does attack some of his Calvinist brethren who smear Calvin's name (and claim that Calvin separated faith and reason), but these examples are few compared to the "overwhelming" (I can use no less of an honest term) attacks he makes against egalitarians and their claims. I for one here at the Center often critique sharply the views of those who disagree with me...but I have my reasons. And I hope that you, the readership, will seriously study my views of theology and the Scriptures and question whether or not I hold to the biblical text. I desire to be faithful to what God says in His Word. I realize that we all have presuppositions, but that is not the issue; rather, the question to ask ourselves is, "Does the Bible support the way I think about this?", or, "Does the Bible support my perspective on this given issue?". These are the kinds of questions we must ask ourselves.

 So much for a brief announcement! In any case, I just wanted to let you all know that I am soon to return to CTS. I have much to tell and show in the coming days about the new understanding the course in Critical Thinking has provided. God bless you all...and keep studying the Scriptures for the glory of God.


  1. Hi, Deidre,

    What you said here struck me:

    "So committing logical fallacies to get a good's what I'm required to do..."

    That really bothers me. Not that you would do this, but that the institution of higher education (to which you are presumably paying a fortune) would operate this way. Simply the fact that you have no other option but to nix an arguably valid perspective on what is true/truth/the decipering of truth in order to get a good grade.

    I can see the value in sheer sermon-writing experience which (unfortunately) uses a topic or premise you don't necessarily espouse. But how possible is it to complete the assignment with excellence without compromising your own integrity? To state your case for why a given exegetical fallacy might have its own fallacies -- thus earning well-deserved high marks?

    Seems to me that mere sermon writing is one thing, but sermon writing with conviction is the real objective. What is the point of a sermon, anyway? Simply the exercise of doing it (with no regard for the fact that there logically will be an audience)? A sermon presented to an audience by an individual who doesn't have conviction much less belief in what they are sermoning about will cheat the audience. It's silly, really. To require a sermon to fall into this category seems like a logical fallacy to me. In contrast, a sermon whose content is backed by the full conviction of the presenter will be communicated with conviction, and will have greater impact for the audience. Isn't this the real point of a sermon? Ah, the clear ringing sound of logic!

    Certainly the point of higher education is to equip the student to think for themselves with enlightened scrutiny of the data, rather than to cookie-cut intellectual automatons.

    I'd like to have WORDS with your teacher/professor/whoever!


  2. Elastigirl,

    The exercise, according to the directions I was given, was supposed to be a fun one in which one would get experience about how others easily commit logical, grammatical, and presuppositional fallacies in sermon presentation. Sadly enough, I did place conviction in my paper, so much so that I got points docked off for things I said that my prof didn't like. In the end, he decided what the grade would be on the sermon, end of story.

    I've been in higher education now as a student for the last 9 years, and I've seen my share of insanity. I've had professors give me poor grades without any commentary on why they did schools where noone questioned their right to do it. Because they had tenure at the university, they were simply allowed to curve grades how they wanted to, when they wanted to. I learned pretty early on at college that grades are highly subjective and are very much the pawn of professors. I was told a story recently by this same professor I wrote the sermon for that a professor he knew back at the seminary he attended used to stand at the top of a set of stairs and throw his student papers down a long, winding staircase. Depending upon where the papers fell, some would get "A's," while others would only get "B's," "C's," and "D's." That's the sheer craziness of higher education. Sadly enough, if students do not attend set institutions, and perform at set status, students do not have jobs in the real world.

    Thanks for writing. This comment was a surprise, but I am glad that you commented and attempted to identify yourself. Feel free to join the site and return to comment at any time. I'm blessed to know you're reading me.

  3. Hi, Deidre. Thanks for the reply. How weird it all is. But kudos to you for your being true to yourself and your own mind. I only wish your grade was a true reflection of excellence and effort.

    As for jobs in the real world being dependent on higher ed degrees, it's not necessarily the case. I'll use my husband as an example: he is from England, has the equivalent of a GED highschool certificate (getting out at the earliest possible moment), and has truly forged a sterling career for himself. He's been in America for maybe 20 years, and through basicaly the need to survive & the understanding that surival was solely up to him coupled with knowing what he wanted to do, he has done extremely well.

    Have you ever visited Cheryl Schatz website She usually has a lively debate going on concerning women & God & church 'n all 'dat. The commenters are sincerely wanting to debate and evaluate with as much objectivity as possible. Your contributions & the running dialogue that would result would be interesting to read.


  4. Elastigirl,

    I have been to Cheryl's site quite a few times. She has actually written to me here at the blog, Men and Women. I guess if you type her name ("Cheryl") into the blog search box, you would actually get to see her name pop up (possibly). I think a lot of Cheryl and don't get to visit her blog often, but I certainly laugh about complementarianism there when I do.

    In any case, women have it hard in America. Despite the fact that today, over 30% of businesses in the US are owned by women, we still struggle to be accepted in the church community with regards to our God-given spiritual giftedness. That is one of many reasons why I was moved by God to come to seminary. I desire to be a woman who has no "holes" in her resume: that is, I want men to see me as a powerful woman of God who has done the hard work in theology to come to her convictions. By so doing, I can be "free of any reproach." Secondly, by so doing, I can also please the Lord with my mind.

    Thanks so much for writing back. It has truly been a blessing to hear from you these last few days. I pray that something said here at "Men and Women" has touched you, has aided you along life's way. If you ever desire to contact me, you can contact me at my e-mail, click on my profile picture. It should bring up a place where you can e-mail me. E-mail me from there if you just wanna talk more in the future.

  5. I double-clicked on your picture, but didn't see anything related to email.

    I fully agree, women do have it hard. It's amazingly unjust. I'll stay on topic by saying it's totally illogical that it should be this way (although i'm not prepared to justify that statement, beyond saying it's understandable given the fact that ignorance exists).

    Perhaps this is getting away from the issues discussed on the site (& would be better suited to email once i know what it is), but there are christian organizations that are very pro women -- simply because they see no reason to eliminate, legislate, or limit the contribution of what God can do in half the human race. Like YWAM (Youth With A Mission). Chances are you are well informed on things like this.



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