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Archive for February 2019

Exceedingly valuable

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There is an alternate approach to men’s and women’s roles today, an approach articulated in the following remarks of Margaret Mead. In the course of a discussion of the relationship between biological male-female differences and social roles, Mead asks the question, Must a society fashion distinct social roles for men and women?

We have here two different questions: Are we dealing not with a must that we dare not flout because it is rooted so deep in our biological mammalian nature that to flout it means individual and social disease? Or with a must that, although not so deeply rooted, still is so very socially convenient and so well tried that it would be uneconomical to flout it—a must which says, for example, that it is easier to get children born and bred if we stylize the behavior of the sexes very differently, teaching them to walk and dress and act in contrasting ways and to specialize in different kinds of work? But there is still the third possibility. Are not sex differences exceedingly valuable, one of the resources of our human nature that every society has used but no society has as yet begun to use to the full? (Emphasis added)

(Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ, 445)

Written by Scott Moonen

February 3, 2019 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Quotations

Differentiation

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Some people respond skeptically to these assertions [that all societies include some ways of expressing gender differences between men and women] because they have a vague notion that some societies have been “matriarchal”—that is, the governing authorities have been women. However, anthropologists unanimously dismiss matriarchy as a characteristic of any known society, present or past. As stated by Rosaldo, “The issues involved here are complex, but the evidence of contemporary anthropology gives scant support to an argument for matriarchy.” There are two main reasons for the persistent confusion about matriarchy. First, some primitive tribes have myths which tell of a time in their ancient past when women ruled. Anthropologists now generally regard these myths as justifications for some current aspect of the tribal life, such as male authority, and not as historically reliable tradition. Myths about Amazonian warrior women are also considered unhistorical by anthropologists. Secondly, anthropologists once used the term “matriarchy” to describe societies which are today called matrilineal or matrifocal. Matrilineal societies are those which trace lineage through the mother and not the father. Matrifocal societies are those in which the female role receives special attention and honor. Modern anthropologists no longer use the term “matriarchal” to describe these societies precisely because it implies that the women of the society actually govern the overall life of the group. In fact, men are the overall governing authorities in both matrilineal and matrifocal societies. Thus, the idea that matriarchal societies did or do exist is a popular misunderstanding, and a notion that modern anthropologists reject. (Stephen B. Clark, Man and Woman in Christ, 415)

Written by Scott Moonen

February 3, 2019 at 4:43 pm

Posted in History, Quotations

Baptism

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. . . of a different kind. Some friends and I have been discussing baptism in or with the Spirit: Pentecostalism vs. charismatic vs. third wave. My view is essentially third wave, as follows.

It’s an interesting academic and biblical theological question to ask what is meant by baptism in the Spirit. But the more crucial question is how we think of our relationship to the Spirit, and how we pray. Should I pray for (1) something that I don’t have; or (2) much, much more of what I do have? Depending on which prayer is “right”, the “wrong” prayer involves some kind of important confusion about either the Spirit’s absence or presence in our lives.

The doctrine of regeneration is an important part of this. It’s interesting to me how the meaning of the term has shifted from the time of the reformation to the present day. For some background and reflections, refer to the following posts:

We can say, then, that regeneration is the continual life-giving procession of the Spirit from Father and Son to us; this is part of our union with Jesus and of his promise to be with us always. From an individual perspective, baptism in the Spirit is therefore the one beginning of or entry into that stream (what we now call regeneration), and filling with the Spirit is an opening of the flood gates. The Spirit is not divided; there is no second stream of the Spirit other than this continual regeneration, no power and joy vs. sanctification (as Martyn Lloyd–Jones would have it). There may be varying sources of the stream, however: direct, through the word, through one another. So our prayer is: more, more!

The reason our experience is different from that of first–century believers is that we don’t set foot in the old covenants first. Contrary to Martyn Lloyd–Jones, there is much in Acts that is unique to the first century, including people’s receiving water baptism who had been saved for many years; going to the Jew first and then to the Gentile; and Nazirite vows.

There is also a corporate meaning of the baptism with the Spirit; the first–century formation of the church out of the ashes of Israel (a la Ezekiel’s bones; a corporate resurrection). This corporate sense points to why we no longer experience or expect tongues of flame today—that was the Spirit’s first setting fire to the altar when the new temple–body is first filled with God’s presence, as happens with every new covenant. As with all altar fires, the Spirit’s fire is now continually present in the temple of God’s church and people.

Written by Scott Moonen

February 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm