Against Androgyny

Social engineers have to go to great lengths to push their agendas. They often have to deny fundamental reality and make a mockery of human history and biology. But they are more than happy to push bizarre and ludicrous views if it fits in with their ideological worldview.

As a classic example of this, in recent debates with a leading homosexual activist, I was repeatedly told that there are no differences whatsoever between men and women. Not only are male and female interchangeable categories, but anyone who dares to suggest otherwise is guilty of “sexism”! I kid you not.

So to affirm what everyone without ideological blinders knows as a most basic of truths is to mean they are guilty of the great evil of sexism. Yep, right up there with racism and other evils. Fortunately for this activist, his parents knew better, and were able to bring this person into the world by the very act of celebrating and enjoying their differences.

And this is not mere idiocy on the part of the activists. You can be very sure that as they increase in power they will enforce this lunacy on the rest of society. To suggest that men and women are different is for these activists a type of hate speech, and when they fully get into power we will find the new crime of “sexism”, just as they are seeking to outlaw all forms of “homophobia”.

Of course the homosexual activists, along with the radical feminists, have long pushed the androgyny line; that male and female are merely interchangeable roles and artificial social constructs. Gender is fluid, and there is no physical, biological or genetic basis for sex differences.

This is all part of their radical agenda to destroy marriage and family, and foist their own brave new world on to the rest of society, whether they like it or not. As is always the case, verbal engineering precedes social engineering. And the radical social engineers have become expert in abusing language to further their militant agendas.

But normal people who are not driven by radical social ideologies know full well that the sexes are fundamentally different. Men and women bring unique and complementary skills, abilities, gifts and talents to relationships, to work, to society, and to one another.

Careful studies into human societies have found that gender distinctions are pretty much universal. And the universality of gender differences has been backed up by a wealth of information from various fields: neurology, evolutionary biology, and social anthropology for example. All document the socially determinative innate sex differences.

As one expert has put it, “Sex differences are large, deeply rooted and consequential. Men and women still have different natures, and, generally speaking, different preferences, talents and interests. … These differences can be explained in part by hormones and other physiological and chemical distinctions between men and women. Thus they won’t disappear unless we tinker with our fundamental biological natures.”

Numerous studies can be cited here. But the work of neuroscientists in brain research shows that the brain seems to be sexed in the womb. Gender differences, in other words, are not some social construct, but very much based on brain circuitry and function.

For more on this important field of study, readers should consult such volumes as: Anne Moir and David Jessel, Brainsex (1992); Deborah Blum, Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women (1998); Louann Brizendine, The Female Brain (2007); and Louann Brizendine, The Male Brain (2010).

These differences do lead to different social roles, and become most important in parenting. As one expert puts it, “In the study of kinship, a central finding of anthropology is that in the crucial areas of filiation – defined as who the child affiliates with, emotionally, morally, practically, and legally – the overwhelming majority of human societies are bilateral. Almost all human societies strongly seek for the child to affiliate with both its mother and father.”

Attempts to bring about a gender neutral society are relatively recent innovations. Scandinavia in general and Sweden in particular come to mind here. But assessments of these grand social experiments have found many problems associated with these attempts at androgyny. In seeking to dent innate gender differences, there have been some very heavy costs to pay.

As but one example of the negative consequences of seeking to force gender neutrality onto the sexes, consider how boys have fared in such an environment. Christina Hoff Sommers’ important 2000 volume, The War Against Boys, documents how feminist-led attempts to enforce social androgyny has been especially destructive for boys and young men.

Indeed, family expert Allan Carlson speaks of the “overwhelming medical, social, and psychological evidence affirming the naturalness and critical importance of traditional sex roles”. His important 1988 book is well worth consulting here: Family Questions (Transaction Books).

Gender and Parenting

Men and women are different, and both bring unique qualities to parenthood. As sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox argues, “The primary problem with this androgynous impulse is that it does not recognize the unique talents that men and women bring to the most fundamental unit of society: the family. A growing body of social scientific evidence confirms what common sense and many of the world’s religions tell us: Men and women do indeed bring different gifts to the parenting enterprise. Consequently, at all levels of social life – the international, national, and local – public policies, cultural norms, and social roles should be organized to protect rather than prohibit the complementary parenting styles that fathers and mothers bring to family life.”

He goes on to show, for example, how vital is the complementarity of the sexes for parenting, according to the social sciences research. “Research on parenting styles and family structure indicates that sex-differentiated parenting helps children in important ways. A review of research on parenting in Child Development found that children of parents who engaged in sex-typical behavior where the mother was more responsive/nurturing and the father was more challenging/firm were more ‘competent’ than children whose parents did not engage in sex-typical behavior. Another study of adolescents found that the best parenting approach was one in which parents were highly responsive and highly demanding of their children.”

Fatherhood is indispensable, and is premised on masculinity, maleness, being a man. Research is quite clear that children need a father. Children growing up without fathers experience numerous problems including: more involvement in criminal activities; poorer educational performance; higher rates of suicide; a greater likelihood of involvement in illicit drug use; an increased risk of promiscuity and other sexual problems, including gender confusion; a greater chance of growing up poor; and so on.

The masculine gender is an essential ingredient for fatherhood, and children raised by a committed father do much better in life. Children who grow up without fathers do not always experience these negative outcomes, but generally speaking, such problems are the usual result of growing up in fatherless families. The research on this has become quite extensive and persuasive.

Indeed, so much research on the negative impact of fatherlessness has accumulated over the years that a number of book-length summaries have been written to cover all the data. There has also been a large amount of Australian data to back up this international research.

And the broader issue of how children thrive in a biological two-parent family also ties in here. Most often when the two-parent family is not found, it is the father who is missing. Thus single-parent families are overwhelmingly headed by mothers. The research on these sorts of households shows the same negative outcomes for children. And again, the research is massive, with good summaries of the data now available. Moreover, the Australian data replicates the findings from overseas.

The various ways in which children need, and thrive with, a father cannot here be recounted. But just one small example, of many, can here be offered: fathers are essential in playing with their children, especially boys, in what is known as rough and tumble play. This enables boys to sublimate their excess energy and use their muscles in a socially acceptable way. One of the reasons for so much anti-social behaviour by boys – vandalism, street fighting, gangs, etc. – is because of father-absence. In single mother families, the mothers do their best, but cannot substitute for the absent father.

Indeed, one youth worker who has counselled many hundreds of delinquent young males has noted that the reason they tend to gravitate toward gangs and violence and drugs is precisely because of being brought up in father-absent households. He says that “almost 100 per cent” of these kids are from “single parent families or blended families”.

Thus maleness and fathers are indispensable to the wellbeing of society and the healthy development of children. So next time you hear an activist telling you it is sexist to suggest that men and women are different, recognise that they simply have their feet firmly planted in mid air.

For much more detail on this important topic, see this research paper with 178 references:

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53 Replies to “Against Androgyny”

  1. Sometimes Bill you read these things and they are so bizarre that you are left speechless and dumbfounded. Once again I believe it is simply another case of people being taken captive by the devil to do his will – in this case to create confusion and doubt about things that are otherwise plainly obvious. Once again you have written a very well informed and articulate article. Well done!
    Steve Davis

  2. Thanks Steve

    Yes, one doesn’t know whether one should laugh or cry when stumbling upon such absolutely bizarre and anti-reality concepts and agendas. And I think you are quite right: there is real demonic deception behind all this as well.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  3. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the interesting read. Why do people (people on the left mostly it seems, as they seem to like being the social engineers) feel the need to deny reality so firmly? How do you get so screwed up that you will seek to deny reality and harm others to avoid a pretty simple and obvious conclusion?

    Also, I was wondering if you had any insight, I do remember reading/hearing some time ago, that the reason for the fathers absence is at least as significant as the actual fathers absence in terms of the effect it has on the child.

    Specifically, if I recall correctly, it was talking about fathers who were killed at war or something like that. Do these kids suffer as badly (at all?) from the absence of their father, at least for the criteria mentioned above (not suggesting their wont be grief etc, just if it has any effect on statistical outcomes). There was some suggestion that divorced kids do worse as the mother tends to resent or hate the father and cast him in a negative light in a way that a widow won’t tend to do.

    Jason Rennie

  4. Liberalism really has reached its reductio ad absurdum. Those who push liberalism in the face of such absurdities are zombies. If they don’t recognise obvious distinctions between the sexes (change-rooms, toilets, prisons?) because their mind is ruined by ideology – what about the distinction between the living and the dead? Zombies I tell ya.

    Have a look at what this bloke, a gender studies professor, looks like now.

    Martin G. Snigg

  5. I wonder if any people who are not homosexual believe there is no difference between the sexes?
    I believe once you have had children the truth is inescapable!
    Lynn Nerdal

  6. In reply to Jason’s question,why do people come up with such bazaar and twisted views? The answer is very clearly found in Romans chapter 1 verses 18 and 21.

    Ursula Bennett

  7. Hi Jason,

    If you haven’t already read it, Thomas Sowell’s Vision of the Anointed is a whole book devoted to the reasons why the left feel the need to deny reality so firmly. It’s a great book and goes a long way to explain how leftist ideology, driven by goals rather than processes, and personalities which crave moral preening, results in the suppression of feedback from the real world even when the ideology’s application fails so spectacularly.

    Mansel Rogerson

  8. Thanks Jason

    Yes I certainly do recall research along the lines of what you mention, and I will do a quick look around and get back to you on it.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  9. Thanks Lynn

    Yes you are quite right. Any parent can tell you instantly that there are mega differences between the sexes. So too can any husband or wife. Only ideologues pushing uber-radical agendas seek to deny the obvious and seek to redefine reality.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  10. Gramsci believed that categories and definitions have been created by our ancestors to control society (taboos), so as to give some shape and form to existence, but mainly to allow one group to have power over another. To the homosexuals, heteronormity is an outrage that perpetuates medieval stereotypes.

    Perhaps the United Nations will go and degender the Emperor Penguins and all of God’s creatures that stubbornly conform to male/female roles?

    Will they also force our children, boys and girls, in school, to shower not only with outed homosexuals, transgenders, transsexuals but with one another?

    David Skinner, UK

  11. Thanks David

    But alas it has already happened. We now have politically correct penguins. Back in April 2006 Seaworld in Queensland decided to change the names of ‘fairy penguins’ to ‘little penguins’ for fear of offending homosexuals.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  12. John Harold a school teacher at the British Museum last year celebrated the fact the he written an opera for his children based upon the true story of two “gay penguins,” Roy and Silo who raise a baby chick, Tango, at the Central Park, New York:

    What was odd was that during his presentation, he revealed that Roy and Silo had reverted back to being heterosexual. This was greeted with condescending laughter by the audience, who forgave them, for after all they are only animals who know no better. The response would have been very different if they had been human.

    David Skinner, UK

  13. Denying sex difference is to deny so much common sense about males and females. Dennis Prager has some wisdom on this issue too with his video on ‘Men and the Power of the Visual’

    I am at least encouraged by the fact that essentialism has made a return to metaphysics through the works of the likes of Brian Ellis and the hylemorphists. This could give further theoretical and scientific reasons to believe in the essentially distinct natures (rooted in biology) of males and females which the feminists and gender theorists decry.

    Perhaps then philosophy can be at its best which it is when affirming what we already know by common sense!

    Damien Spillane

  14. We may laugh and see how absurd the propositions are of the revisionists, Marxists and homosexuals, but we must take seriously the mechanisms they are using not only to lead astray our children but whole swathes of the Church. Their tactics are subtle and devastatingly effective. 1) They disarm the opposition by being frank and ope.n 2) They concentrate on how normal their lives are and the way they are just like us, ie., they do the shopping, mow the laws, take the dog for a walk. They say “Where is the harm? Nothing will happen. You won’t die.”
    David Skinner, UK

  15. Steve Walker, according to those who wish to revolutionise the most intimate parts of family life, it is possible to change one’s gender but impossible to change one’s sexual orientation. So what happens to a lesbian who becomes changed to a man? Is she/he still attracted to women, which in the eyes of the public would surely make her/him heterosexual or would she/he be attracted to men which would make her/him a homosexual? It seems that that whilst it is not permitted to change from heterosexuality to being gay, it is possible to change one’s orientation from being lesbian to homosexual. Or is it the case that there is no difference between being a lesbian or homosexual since it is just classed as being gay?

    David Skinner, UK

  16. Thanks everybody who mentioned Romans 1. Yeah I know. I am still constantly surprised by just how stupid people insist on making themselves though.

    Thanks for the tip on the Thomas Sowell book. I actually have that, I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

    Jason Rennie

  17. Christine thanks for the two brains link, it is hilarious! Demonstrates the difference in a great way.
    Rob Withall

  18. I understand that when archaeologists examine bones, they can tell whether they are male or female. So even when someone undergoes a sex change by changing the plumbing, the bone structure remains the same.
    David Skinner, UK

  19. Dear Bill,
    I was so lucky to be blessed with a most beautiful and loving Father. He will be 84 this year! You are such a treasure; your involvement in the debate last night was truly amazing! God bless,
    Jane Byrne

  20. Fortunately, this isn’t like studying the dietary habits of the Hottentots or something else where we have no personal experience. Anyone who had a mother growing up knows perfectly well that substituting some friend of Dad’s would result in a very different experience. I’ve had 62 years of experience as a son, 35 as a father, 43 as an uncle, 65 as a neighbor of parents and children, and so on, and my experience isn’t unusual. I ran an after-school program for inner-city kids in my home town, New York, and they were eager to come back every week for one simple reason — I look and talk and act like the father that none of them had. The sexual revolution, which includes the casual attitude toward homosexuality, has been a wrecking ball. The connection between crime and joblessness is very weak, but the connection between crime and fatherlessness is very strong. If people start looking at these things wholistically instead of anecdotally, this gay rights nonsense will fade quickly.
    John O’Connor

  21. Isn’t is a crazy world we live in when we have to discuss, analyse and write about the blatantly obvious. That men and women are very different is just one of these topics.

    How can people ignore that for millennia men and women have been represented in very different ways (eg. women: nurtureres / men: hunters etc.) in culture and history in ancient civilisations and even small tribes. How can they ignore the obvious traits and desires common within children of different sexes, no matter their race, environment or upbringing. Yes there are always exceptions but they are few and in most cases the reasons for them are external and proceed from abnormal circumstances.

    And obviously they haven’t watched too many Hollywood movies about love/romance either 🙂

    Garth Penglase

  22. Apparently the Y chromosome is ‘sexist’ then?

    Well, I think I’ll start banging my head against a wall since it’s less painful than to try and follow that argument…

    (btw, I’m curious to know how much information is different from the X to the Y chromosome…)

    Mark Rabich

  23. I wanted to add to my last comment on Romans 1 that it should be a continuous warning to us and that we can only think straight because of the mighty mercy and grace of God.
    I have a question in this though too: I have only recently heard of men who have 2 x chromosomes.
    Sin remains sin, but what compassionate answer can we give those who may struggle with this not because of bad things that have happened to them in their childhood or because they have been taught the wrong way, but because their hormones play havoc with them because of genetic disorders?
    Has anyone got some ideas on this?
    Ursula Bennett

  24. Thanks Ursula

    A very tiny percentage of people have what is known as the intersex condition, where genetic abnormalities result in sexual confusion, as in ambiguous genitalia. Chromosomal imbalances – eg, having an extra sex chromosome – is a cause of this. These can be found in conditions such as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Turner Syndrome, Klinefelter’s Syndrome, and Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Homosexual activists seek to claim intersex people as their own, but most intersex folk reject this politicisation of their condition.

    This is far different that homosexuality, and must be considered separately. Theological, we can explain this by saying we live in a fallen world, so imperfections abound. Some people are born missing a limb, or with an extra finger, or with an extra sex chromosome.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  25. If both sexes are the same, what does the term ‘sexism’. mean? How can these people bandy it around the way they do, and use it to vilify those they disagree with?
    Congratulations on a marvelous performance against the forces of evil. You were certainly in our prayers.
    Dunstan Hartley

  26. Tragically many so-called “Evangelical” “bible-believing” Christians have swallowed the lie that men and women are equivalent and do not have differentiated roles in the family, church and society despite the clear teaching of Scripture passages such as Eph 5:22ff. and 1 Tim 2:12ff.

    Churches which ordain women as pastors and allow them to lead and preach to men are taking believers down the path towards androgyny and homosexuality.

    Before we challenge society about the androgyny lie, we need to confront the error which has taken root in most of our own denominations. (Anglicans, Baptists, Uniting, Churches of Christ and AOG all support the ordination of women.) How can we criticise the world’s sin when our own house is not in order?

    Useful resources on this topic are found here:

    I particularly recommend the books by Wayne Grudem.

    Jereth Kok

  27. Jereth Kok, I believe the present situation with women taking spiritual leadership in our Churches comes from Hegelian philosophy, that denies antithesis and consequently categories.

    Another book is David Pawson’s “LEADERSHIP IS MALE” which is described as a clear, concise look at what the Bible teaches, with a forward by Elizabeth Elliot.

    David Skinner, UK

  28. Hi Jereth,

    I don’t know that I can agree with you on your arguments. To suggest that the ordination of women inevitably leads to androgyny and homosexuality is patently false. I attend an AOG church where both the pastor and his wife are ordained, and where both of them teach on a Sunday. However, you will not find much support for homosexual practices, and plenty of support for gender differences. I can’t speak for other churches, but mine at least would seem to undermine your thesis.

    In any case, I think there is a firm biblical basis for pastoral and teaching roles for women in our churches; this is not simply a case of the church flowing with the surrounding culture. Yes, there are passages that appear to prohibit women for taking up such roles within the body, but I think a little bit of cultural context can go a long way to explaining them. Take that notorious passage in 1 Corinthians 14, where Paul says that women should remain silent. Is this a flat, universal command? I don’t think so. Let’s try and inhabit a first-century church for a moment. In the ancient world, many people (mostly men) spoke two languages: a local dialect and a ‘lingua franca’ that would have had wider currency (probably Greek, and much like English today). The church services in Paul’s day may well have been conducted in Greek, the lingua franca of the day. The men would speak and teach, but the women – probably only knowing their local dialect – would no get bored, being unable to understand. You can imagine the scene, with the women talking and chatting amongst themselves until the din would have become completely unmanageable. Hence Paul’s command, which he probably put in place in order to preserve the orderliness of the church (remember, this comes at the end of a section on order in the church, and is part of a wider section on church unity).

    Now, one can dismiss this as a rather imaginative attempt to wriggle out of the plain teaching of scripture. But then one has to deal with the fact that just three chapters earlier, Paul himself assumes that women speak in church when he talks of mean and women prophesying. Either Paul is hopelessly confused, or something else is going on. I could go on, but I think Jereth would do well to look at N.T. Wright’s little essay, “Women’s Service in the Church: the Biblical Basis”.

    Sorry for the length Bill. I also realize it’s not completely related to the thrust of the article.

    Scott Buchanan

  29. Hi Scott
    Whereas I would agree with your statement that, “To suggest that the ordination of women inevitably leads to androgyny and homosexuality is patently false,” I cannot agree with the method you use to exegete 1Cor 14. Equally, the fact that your pastor’s wife is ordained doesn’t automatically make it right biblically.

    The ‘this was just for then’ argument is extremely dangerous and has massive theological implications when used elsewhere. I therefore dispute there is “firm biblical basis” for using this technique. I spent many years in Pentecostal churches, mainly AOG, including 2 years at one of their Bible Colleges, and so am very aware of their teaching and the basis for it. However, if I’d been given a dollar for every time the various pastors derided Bible Colleges in particular or theology in general, I’d have started a very different type of prosperity doctrine!

    I would also assert this is another example of the church being influenced by the surrounding culture which was the basis of a paper I had to do at the AOG Bible College which had a compulsory Women In Ministry unit. My conclusions resulted in both the (male) Senior Pastor of the church associated with the College (who gave the course) and the Principal of the College launching ad hominem attacks on me, but without identifying a single biblical error in it.

    My purpose here is not specifically to get into the rights and wrongs of the Women In Ministry issue per se but merely to look at the means by which people use to justify their arguments which, generally, are culturally based. It is one thing to describe the conditions in a first century church but another thing altogether to extend this – even assuming your description is true – to suggest that a specific passage be dismissed on that basis alone.

    Like you, I could go on. I could critique your interpretation of 1Cor 11 or expand on other issues such as’you need to read this book.’ Suffice to say that in going against the ‘party line’ at the Bible College, I had to read many books on this topic from all angles. Since then, I have come to understand far more that when looking at any topic, you must examine the underlying theology behind each book you read and the implications on other areas of theology should you adopt ‘minor changes’ to what the straight reading of the Word says.

    As an aside, in fairness to Jareth, it’s amazing how many ordained women who appear on the ABC or SBS are lesbian.

    Roger Birch

  30. Jereth, I, like Scott, am not convinced by your appeal to the idea that, since men were more able to comprehend what was being said in a service, the women should wait until they got home to ask their husbands for explanations – especially if the women were going to be busy peeling potatoes and preparing dinner/lunch! It seems to me that Paul took great pains to explain the reasons for his instruction to the churches. So why didn’t he apparently do so here? Maybe it was because it was obvious to his original hearers but not to us who are blinded by our own Hegelian world view. Maybe it is us who are the ones conditioned by our culture, and not the other way around.

    Not only that, but all the verses, in 1 Cor 14 :1- 33, before Paul’s admonishment for women to keep quiet, are precisely about making sure strange tongues should be interpreted and translated, so that all may understand what was being said. Why would the women need a second explanation from their husbands when they got home? Wasn’t Paul being outrageously condescending here?

    In Paul’s letter to Timothy (Chapter 2:8- 14), he does spell it out and he appeals to Genesis and creational ordinance. There is no mention of situational ethics. Man was created first and given authority over nature, before Eve showed up on the scene. Eve was created to enable Adam to carry out his tasks and this authority was not divided equally; delegated perhaps, but Eve was answerable to Adam. This is why when Eve ate from the apple, God first and foremost demanded an explanation from Adam and not Eve. “Look here, Adam; I thought I had made it pretty clear to you. Why are you now blaming your wife for bad advice?”

    One of the signs of our times is a rejection of authority and maybe the link between what happens when women take leadership in churches is not only demonstrated nationally by the unlovely Archbishop Katherine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Gene Robinson, June Bride of 2009, but locally, by a vicarette or priestess coming to a church near you.

    David Skinner, UK

  31. • Why has there been such destruction of men, and male roles, in this modern age?
    • Why has there never been so much divorce, family breakdown & child delinquency a there is now?

    “Another sign of the end times is the rise of the feminist movement in the 20th Century…The spirit of radical feminism is the spirit of witchcraft and rebellion, the spirit manifested in Jezebel. It is the spirit which rejects God’s lawful order and authority and tries to usurp that authority to itself, as did Eve in the Garden of Eden.” (Jeremiah Project re. Feminism

    It is no coincidence that God refers to Himself as “The Father”, the ultimate patriarchal image, and expects us to do the same. He placed himself as the husband of His bride, the church. He does not paint Himself as Mother Nature, or the nurturer, and references to creation are always ‘seed’, the male aspect of creation.

    As a Pentecostal, I have in the past allowed myself to swayed by arguments in favour of women pastors, of placing women in positions of authority over men. I have even supported a woman’s right to be ‘all that she can be’ in Christ, being convinced that meant that because ‘there is no man or women slave or free etc in Christ’.

    But really, just like homosexuality in plainly forbidden the Bible it is plainly stated there in black and white in 1 Timothy 2:11-12, that women are not to be in authority over or to teach a man, and we’d have to be using our own human reasoning to try to subvert it – while I think the reason is fairly easily explained at the end of the day, it’s not our call to make.

    “The only activity women are restricted from is teaching men or having spiritual authority over them. This logically would preclude women from serving as pastors/preachers.”

    Note: they can do everything else: in church they can worship, sing, prophesy, teach other women and children etc. and personally witness and instruct. But they are not to teach or instruct men, as God gave this role to men.

    And ultimately the core reasons that people defend the unbiblical position of women teaching over men are not scriptural ones but built upon man’s reasoning, some examples being:
    – (cultural) well, you can imagine that is was like ‘this’ or ‘this’ in churches back then and that’s why Paul says this
    – (feminist) don’t let satan win at holding down 50% of the church by restricting women from being all they can be in Christ
    – (equality) there is no man or women, free or slave etc. in Christ – we’re all equal.
    But really, as much as people like to paint Priscilla as such, in all of the Bible there’s no women in the Bible who was in a teaching position or authority position over men.

    If one looks at the overall plan & purpose for man & women, of God’s relationship to His church and the structure he plainly established and reinforces holistically in the Scriptures it is clear that 1 Tim 2:11-12 is not just some random scripture which we can take any way that suits us.

    Experientially this has proven to be practical and sound advice. I can honestly and openly say that wherever I have seen women rise to take authority over men, there has been imbalance, both in doctrine and in practical operations within church. Such churches that I have come into direct contact with, that have allowed women to take authority over men, or been established by women, have a much higher divorce rate, have a significantly higher rate of unwed mothers and divorcees, and have areas of significant doctrinal error which they staunchly defend even against blatant scriptural premise. Having been in one for 4 years, the prevailing spirit amongst the divorced women in the church was bitterness, and overall the prevailing spirit was indeed one of rebellion. Ultimately it devastated my family & cost me my marriage as I didn’t counteract the dangerously liberal & false teaching and remove my family from danger early enough – disagreeing with the leadership on this and other points.

    A parting comment… one of my sisters studied under Eugene Peterson of The Message Bible fame in Vancouver. She earned her Masters in Theology, returned to Australia and took up a position as a minister for the Anglican church in rural Australia, overseeing three farming community churches, strongly and unequivocally supported by her husband, himself a relatively new Christian who had come to the Lord through her witness. As a women who studied the Bible diligently seeking truth for her parishioners and often countering the apostacy that came at her from above her in the Anglican church, she had many long arguments with the local Bishop (who wasn’t too bad but was weak and too wiling to toe the populist line), and often spoke out against clear heresy that she encountered.

    Then 2 years ago she resigned from the position. When I asked why she left the ministry, this committed, reverent and Godly woman said that God had made it plain and obvious to her that women teaching men and being in authority over men was wrong. I never previously discussed it with her.

    Garth Penglase

  32. David, I think that you are confusing Scott and me. The argument concerning 1 Corinthians 14 with which you disagree was made by Scott.

    I in fact agree with your interpretation of the texts. I do not think that we can dismiss Biblical teaching on the grounds that it was just for 1st century culture. The Bible is given to instruct the church in all times and places.

    Scott, the whole pattern of Scripture starting at Genesis, continuing through the Old Testament, Jesus’ choice of 12 male apostles and finishing with Paul’s commands point clearly to male leadership in the church and home as God’s design. Churches which ordain women as pastors and elders are disobeying Scripture.

    With all due respect, the arguments you make about 1 Cor 14/1 Tim 2 applying only to a local 1st century situation can (and have) been made in favour of homosexuality.

    1 Cor 11 in fact supports the “traditional” view of male leadership, contrary to your argument. Yes Paul permits women to prophesy, but says they must do so with a visible sign of (male) authority / headship over them. This is fully consistent with his teaching in 1 Timothy and Titus that elders and pastors must be male.

    An appeal to N. T. Wright will not convince me. I don’t really respect him for a number of reasons, chief among them his strong advocacy for the false teaching known as “new perspectivism” which basically denies the historic doctrine of Justification by faith.

    Feminism in the church (manifesting as women’s ordination) is piggy-backing on feminism in secular western society. Their arguments are much the same. If you look at the sort of material produced by Christians for Biblical Equality ( you will see that they basically deny any material differences between men and women apart from purely anatomical / biological differences. This is precisely what pro-homosexual advocates believe. Acceptance of homosexuality may not have occurred in the AOG church (yet), but it has occurred in many (if not most) churches worldwide which started ordaining women a few decades ago.

    Jereth Kok

  33. Thanks guys

    For the record, I think the issue of women leadership (in the home and in the church) is an important and complex issue, but is quite distinct from the issue of homosexuality. I believe they are quite separate issues which must be argued for or against on their own merits.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  34. Dear Bill,

    In some ways yes, the women’s ordination and homosexuality debates are separate issues. But the core of both issues are the same. I recommend you have a look at a relatively short book by Wayne Grudem called “Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?” (Crossway, 2006)

    – Both positions arise from the church seeking to compromise with the surrounding secular-liberal culture
    – both positions rely upon the androgyny argument, i.e. that there are no essential differences between Adam and Eve / manhood and womanhood [women are basically men who can breastfeed]
    – both positions are driven by secular-left ideas of “fairness” and “justice”
    – both positions rely on the same hermeneutics to discount key biblical texts such as Romans 1, 1 Cor 6, Eph 5 and 1 Tim 2 (i.e. these texts only address the 1st century)
    – both positions undermine the literal reading of Genesis 2 (the creation of Adam and Eve)
    – both positions make use of “trajectory-hermeneutics” (Grudem explains what this is)
    – both positions ultimately reject the authority of the Bible (particularly the New Testament) as the guide for normative Christian behaviour today

    Grudem documents how all the major churches/denominations which have accepted homosexuality as normative (eg. ECUSA and PCUSA) started ordaining women as clergy about 20-30 years prior. (By contrast, we may observe that churches such as the SBC and RCC which maintain male clergy never compromise on the sexuality issue.)

    Basically, as in the secular world, so in the church: radical feminism leads inevitably to homosexuality.

    Jereth Kok

  35. Thanks Jereth

    Yes I quite like Grudem and I own ten of his books. He has in fact written six volumes just on this particular issue alone (as well as on many other theological topics, including his very helpful Systematic Theology).

    While there is overlap between the two issues, there are also differences. So I am with him (and you) a good part of the way, but not necessarily all the way.

    And recall that the main topic of this article is not the role of women in the church, but homosexuality and gender differences, which is why I have not really weighed into this particular debate in the comments section.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  36. Hi Bill
    I can see why some of the comments above are being made because although this topic is on ‘androgyny’ it also touches on Scripture Twisting, Destroying Marriage, Worldliness, Embracing Sin and even 50 years of sexual suicide (for different reasons!) so it’s hard to know where to post a comment!

    I mentioned in an earlier post above being berated by leaders in a Bible College I attended for suggesting that the Women In Ministry issue was in fact being culturally driven (and again trying to avoid the rights and wrongs of the debate itself).

    I kept hearing Galatians 3:28 (there is neither male nor female) being used as the primary reason why several other Scriptures needed to be ‘reinterpreted’ as only applying to ‘another time.’

    Although I had not studied the various liberation theologies at that stage, and there were several other arguments being used which I questioned, what caused me to cop all the abuse was to make the observation that if women were going to use that one specific Scripture as justification to twist other Scriptures, then the homosexuals could do just the same.

    I think the comment at the time was “How DARE you compare women with homosexuals?”! Of course, I hadn’t done that – all I had done was compare the METHODS being used to justify a position. However, at that stage, no one was listening, especially the feminist in the class!

    So, when I later picked up my first book on homosexual liberation theology, I was not surprised to find reference to Gal 3:28 on the first page!

    The ultimate tragedy is that we now have people calling themselves evangelical believing this distortion and have just seen yet another nail in the coffin of marriage being supported by the Australian Christian Lobby and even Peter Jensen who find no problem with the Relationships Register Bill which has just been passed in NSW.

    As I said, I didn’t want to move away from the androgyny issue, but this comment could really have been posted against any of your recent articles!

    Roger Birch

  37. Bill, I have to agree with both Jereth and Roger, who said, he was castigated for daring to compare feminism with homosexuality? Roger said “! Of course, I hadn’t done that – all I had done was compare the METHODS being used to justify a position.”

    Homosexuals also say “How DARE you compare us with paedophilia, incest and bestiality.” We too would say that we are not saying that; only that the methods used by the former are exactly the same as those used by the latter.

    And clearly, as I have shown above with a church near me, wherever a women assumes the position of vicar or pastor, homosexuals and lesbians find easy access.

    To stretch things even further we could say what connection was there between eating an apple or turning stones in bread and the horrors North Korea, Hitler and Stalin. The connection is rejection of God’s word.

    David Skinner, UK

  38. Thanks guys

    My point was merely that this post was not about the role of women in Christian leadership. That is an important but separate debate. I like to keep things on track where possible. Hopefully I am allowed that prerogative – it is my website after all!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  39. Thanks Bill. We did get a little sidetracked there. I apologise once again for taking the discussion astray. And I agree with you that the issues of homosexuality and women’s ordination are somewhat separate, and need to be weighed according to the specific merits of each.

    Jereth or David, I would very much like to continue the conversation in some other context, if you are willing (here’s probably not appropriate).

    Scott Buchanan

  40. Thanks Scott

    No problems. Actually you were not the first here to move in that direction. But as I say, it is an important issue, and quite a complex one at that, involving, theology, church history, exegesis, hermeneutics, to name just some of the required disciplines. I may do an article on it sometime, but even an article can barely do the issue full justice.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  41. Hi Roger,

    Just in relation to your post on 16/5 (11am), my point was not that my pastor being a woman could be justified biblically (that’s another issue), but merely that this is an example of how women’s ordination does not automatically lead to support for homosexuality.

    I also take issue with the suggestion that I am contextualizing scripture so that I can dismiss it (assuming I have understood you correctly). My intention isn’t to dismiss scripture but to use it appropriately, given that it flows out of a very different cultural context from our own. Do you think, for example, that male priority in all ancient relationships was uniquely biblical? I do understand that this sort of argument can indeed be used to dismiss all sorts of uncomfortable truths, but that is not what I am trying to achieve.

    OK, now I’ll try and keep my trap shut!

    Scott Buchanan

  42. Roger, thanks for that observation about Gal 3:28. Yes I have noticed too that Gal 3:28 is the main platform for pro-Androgyny Christians of all varieties: both the pro-women ordination camp and the pro-gay camp.

    Jereth Kok

  43. Hi Scott
    I know Bill is trying to keep our comments on track and I’ve been trying hard to avoid the women in ministry issue as such, but merely to comment on the methodologies used and show how easy it is to twist Scripture to one’s own advantage.

    In doing that, I’ve probably crossed Bill’s line, but as I said earlier, there seem to be six topics rolled into one here!

    I haven’t done any study on a linkage between church leadership (in any form) and homosexuality and so was not defending a particular thesis. But, the point I was trying to make in terms of your post was that the one example you cite doesn’t undermine that thesis either. All you can state is that in that one situation, a particular result has not happened – yet.

    In terms of contextualising, the comments in my second post above reflect how, from personal experience, a Bible College associated with an AOG church I had been attending for several years did in fact use one Scripture which they took as being didactic to dismiss half a dozen others which, by necessity, had to be ‘for then.’ There was an inherent assumption in that teaching that the ‘for now’ context was good (without any analysis of the underlying worldview behind it) with the (il)logical conclusion that the ‘for then’ context was somehow bad.

    I again would suggest that the AOG approach to which I was subjected IS culturally driven, and – reverting back to the androgyny – it is this same immersion in a culture which is leading more and more evangelicals to accept that homosexuality is normal.

    I would love to add more, but as Bill has said – this is his web site!

    All I am trying to state is that this ‘for then principle’ is extremely dangerous and is one that can be used with ‘gay abandon’.

    With that, I too will shut up!!

    Roger Birch

  44. Roger and Scott (and others),
    If you want to follow up these issues further, I recommend reading “Slaves, Women and Homosexuals: exploring the hermeneutics of cultural analysis” by William J. Webb.

    [After that you can read Wayne Grudem’s critique of Webb here:

    In this book Webb goes to great pains to explain how we can discount the Bible’s teaching about male leadership in the church and home (because it was just “for then”), but cannot discount the Bible’s teaching homosexuality (because it was “for then and for now”). In my opinion Webb is very unconvincing and his work in fact highlights how compromise on one issue opens the door wide to compromise on the other.

    It may be that AoG remains faithful on the issue of homosexuality, but that does not disprove a link between the 2 issues. All that needs to be shown is that the majority of churches which liberalise on one issue eventually liberalise on the other (which is definitely the case), and that churches which remain conservative on one are invariably conservative on the other as well.

    Jereth Kok

  45. Hey.
    Just like to put forward an opinion. I’m a fourteen year old who identifies as androgynous or gender fluid. I can assure you that I’m not doing the work of the devil (I don’t even believe in him) and, quite frankly, I don’t understand how you can all be so small-minded. Again, I don’t mean to offend, but this article along with the comments is one of the most cold, purely inhuman texts I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time.
    I’d like to know why you think you have the right to tell someone how to describe or present themselves. A person’s biological sex is something they cannot change without surgery, yes. However, society is gradually beginning to realise that gender is a spectrum. How somebody identifies is a) none of your business, b) an expression of character that harms nobody, and c) isn’t necessarily defined by someone’s body.
    It’d be great if your arguments weren’t so focused on ‘reality’, since no religion has been proven anyway.
    Kristi Szynalski

  46. Thanks Kristi

    Um no, sorry but not buying it for a moment. Like zillions of adolescents, it is quite normal to go through a phase of some sexual confusion or ambiguity, but the overwhelming majority come out just fine on the other end – just the way they were born. Unless you are one of the extremely rare group of people who have a genuine chromosomal abnormality, as in Turner Syndrome, you are just like any other girl. You are who you are by the brute facts of biology. So forget the baloney the radicals are trying to force feed you about gender being a social construct and entirely fluid. You are male or female. End of story. But if you are interested in more on this, see this piece:

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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