Tuesday, September 02, 2008

On Women Heading Countries but not Churches

Christianity Today is reporting that Richard Land is ecstatic about the nomination of Sarah Palin for Vice President. He's also eager to label as "asinine" any question about the logical consistency of his theology and politics. Here's a quote from his interview with Sarah Pulliam:
The enthusiasm gap has been closed considerably. Let me answer a question you haven't asked me. I had two secular reporters ask me, "Dr. Land, you as a Southern Baptist believe that women are not to be pastors of churches and women are not to be head of the home. Wouldn't it mean that if Sarah Palin were elected vice president, her husband would tell her what to do? And I said, "If you don't mind my saying so, that's an asinine question, but I'll answer it." Mrs. Thatcher said that her husband was head of her home and she ran the country. Queen Elizabeth said that Prince Phillip was head of the home and she was head of the country. If Mrs. Thatcher had been an American, I would've enthusiastically supported her for president of the United States.

The only restrictions we find in Scripture are, that for whatever reason women are not to be in charge of a marriage and women are not to be in charge of a church. That has nothing to do with governor, or senator or the House of Representatives, or president, or vice president.
It is fairly simple to discern when you've identified a weakness in Richard Land's thought. Just probe a little and wait for him to insult your intelligence or integrity. Land always bolsters his weakest arguments with ad hominem arguments.

Land's most egregious use of ad hominem argument to bolster a weak case was at the 2000 meeting Southern Baptist Convention when he flirted with the unpardonable sin by insinuating that those questioning the revision of the denomination's confession of faith were influenced by "demonic spirits." That revision inserted a prohibition against women serving as pastors of Southern Baptist churches.

To grasp how conflicted many evangelicals are about Palin's nomination, one needs only to read some of the weblogs by conservative mothers.

It's going to take incrementally more bluster and nearly perpetual filibuster from fundamentalists like Land both to contend that women can be the "head" of nations and to continue to deny that they can be "head" of families and churches. They will not be able to maintain a static "dead head" understanding of headship for the family and church while at the same time affirming a "living metaphoricity" of headship for the nation. Ultimately, one perspective or the other will prevail.

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