Sunday, April 20, 2008

Feedback About This "Jackbooted Thuggery"

Concerning the Patriarchy Workshop
and the (Very Few but Powerful)
Voices of Dissent:

I am overwhelmed at how kind everyone has been to me through this whole "disclaimer" process. I am very much at rest in the truth and at peace with what I have presented, though I am sorely disappointed in the lack of academic and just plain Christian integrity that I have seen as a result. I have been told by the spokesman for the unnamed apologetics organization that he himself cannot act as my advocate (neither for nor against the claims of the unnamed apologetics organization's politically motivated Board) because he has no personal knowledge of the teachings of Bruce Ware, the individual upon whom this controversy focuses. As he is overwhelmed with the investigation of the emergent church issue, he does not have any available time to review the teachings regarding gender and the Trinity. There are also political battles that certain individuals decline, and in the process, I have been declared to be in error without any evidence for that assertion.

In my personal correspondence with this spokesman, I stated that the claims of some that say "I know Bruce Ware and he would never teach these things" are a poor rationale when there is plenty of evidence that Bruce Ware has indeed stated these things. I have been accused of name calling as well, merely for citing that one author (Kevin Giles) states that subordinationism is "consistent with a form of heresy." I also said that I "have a problem" with Ware's views. Yet the term "name calling" has been attributed to me, I assume because I cited an author's thesis.

I was invited to speak. I submitted an outline that I was told was thorough enough to be considered an outline for a book. That outline contained the names and teachings of Bruce Ware, Russell Moore and Wayne Grudem. The outline and bibliography was reviewed by three members of the nameless apologetic organization's Board. The president of the nameless apologetics organization also reviewed my original, rough draft powerpoint file, which at that time, actually featured a photo of Bruce Ware which I later removed! In late August, after reviewing Kevin Giles' book "Jesus and the Father," I submitted a synopsis of the first chapter to several ministers and apologists (including the nameless apologetic organization's president), asking whether these esteemed others found Giles to be a credible source. In early February, I phoned the president of the nameless apologetics organization to clarify and ask if it was appropriate to include the names of SBTS and ETS within the presentation because of the sensitivity of their affiliation with the nameless seminary hosting the apologetics conference. I was told that if I could document the statements made by the faculty of SBTS, that I could certainly include it. I also specifically mentioned Giles book during the same conversation, as well as the inclusion of a reference to Robert Lifton's thought reform criteria.

When I returned from the conference where one individual who took offense to my evocation of the name of Bruce Ware in a negative context from the podium offered to my the nameless seminary, I again contacted the president of the nameless apologetics organization to discuss my obligations. Another apologist who was very familiar with the writings of Bruce Ware believed that I had not misrepresented anything and that I was certainly under no obligation to contact Ware to "apologize" to "clarify" or to "be sycophantic" (as this offended individual at the conference stated that I would be wise to do). The unnamed apologetics organization's president agreed at that time, a few days after the conference concluded, that it was not incumbent upon me to apologize or "be sycophantic" with anyone. This president even included a link to the online Patriarchy Lecture in his other apologetic ministry's weekly email newsletter.

But within days of the video going online, I was deemed guilty of misrepresentation and unwarranted commentary against Ware. The disclaimer went online prior to me being notified about it (though the interim was short and could not have been more than the span of an hour or two), as I found it online before I received private notification or information about the content of the disclaimer. Essentially, I was deemed guilty of something without evidence or opportunity to offer a defense, much like the apologetic that we hear from the patriocentric camp: "That can't be true because they are a godly man and they have a lovely family."

So I offer here only a few of the mighty host of comments that I have received regarding the posting of the disclaimer and the unsupported claims of the unnamed apologetics organization that have been made against my presentation and my behavior.

I am so grateful for this much unexpected encouragement that has been so kind and gracious. I am also grateful for the humor that is laced within as it has made my heart merry and been good medicine in the midst of this hope deferred. God bless you all! You have put gladness in my heart!

(Note: names of individuals and the organizations that have disavowed me have been removed/altered)

I am getting e-mails from people in the SBC about this. People who have been around and know people. People who are serious complementarians. They are freaking out at how far the SBC is taking this authority and women stuff. They are seeing why the push to put this in our BFM. Baptists are NOT creed people. We don't usually have anything except the very basics of the Gospel ...the essentials. But that has changed slowly since the Conservative Resurgence of the 80's. We went 60-80 years between any changes to our cooperative BFM UNTIL Mohler and folks. It has been changed like every 6 years since the early 90's.

Some are thinking the woman thing was added on purpose knowing most would not be against a woman senior pastor in order to use it to purge the seminaries, etc.

Now they are messing with the Trinity and Priesthood of believer. (Mohler wanted that out of the BFM in 2000 but could not get the support for it so he 'added' an 's' to it in a private committee) That 's' is becoming significant now.

Dear Cindy,

My heart is heavy and saddened for what you are going through. This is not the world of evangelical philosophy and scholarship that I thought existed. In fact, this sort of rejection of intellectual process would surprise me even in the secular, anti-Christian world. I don't understand why there can't be a simple back and forth debate and continuation of the intellectual process. It's very sad and disturbing.

It seems to me that when people have to shut down dissenting thought and expression, they are loudly proclaiming that they have no way to defend their side of the argument. This does not bode well for the future of conservative Evangelicalism.

I would like to offer the following disclaimer, should the promised disclaimer not appear.

All material in this video was invented in an effort to impugn the character of perfect and holy men who have never done anything wrong in their lives. Please do not think that anything in this video is true. In fact, the lecturer, the audience and even the presentation are figments of your imagination and should be rejected forthwith. In fact, the very occurrence of these hallucinations on your part indicates a severe lack of humility and is quite likely an indication that you do not possess the holiness required to get you into heaven (Hebrews 12:14-15). In an effort to provide reparations for your sin of watching this video, you should immediately contact YouTube and complain about these falsities and intentional distortions, which are not, in fact, on YouTube but are, as mentioned before, figments of your diseased imagination.

Sincerely and with the utmost humility and sanctification,

(Folks Lucidly Opposed to Cindy Kunsman)

"What disturbs me most is the jackbooted thuggery to which you've been subjected. You advanced a thesis; they don't like it. Fine; let them refute it. Good arguments don't need thuggery to prop them up. This politicized disputation is really annoying."

OUCH! So, they have issued this in order to protect themselves? Has anyone even threatened one? I am a bit confused, because it seems to me this goes beyond a disclaimer and goes further. I am so sorry! You don't really need them to endorse you, but why this?
I will continue in prayer over this.

Cindy, I simply lack comprehension as to why you are being put through this. I tend to stay away from reactionary Christians because I find them more trouble than they are worth. God cares about our reactions, so I am going to pray you have the wisdom to know when to stand strong, and when to listen and that everyone involved remains teachable with God always at the forefront and not ministries, or paychecks, but the truth. The truth does set us free!

I am scratching my head because it's so odd that your "friends" are causing more problems than those exposed.

I am sad that you are going through so much trouble. I also hope that the powers that be will not throw their weight around and cause other dear brothers in Christ to lose their jobs or their livelihood. That would be a terrible thing. Not that you are causing that at all, but others may do the unthinkable because some like to control and rule over others.

Isn't it amazing how nobody wants to discuss the real issue here: Bruce Ware's mistaken theology… If it can be documented that Ware said what he claims you did - and of course, it can - then I do not understand their strange behavior.

Dear Sirs,
Would you please consider clarifying which parts are faulty? There is indeed growing concern within the SB community about the surge of the patriarchial movement (Dr. Paige Patterson and his firing of Dr. Klouda immediately springs to mind) and why and how it is gaining such a foothold in our beloved denomination. This sort of "retraction" with very vague references only fuels speculation.

With sincere regards,
(Name withheld)

Though I did not get to read the text of your talk with searing scrutiny, I saw nothing obviously wrong. I think you were right to go the extra mile with the ministry that invited you. I am proud of your courage.

I am a comp and I think it's well and good you can share what you have learned. What in the world is wrong with the comp men who think they can play Tarzan and we will cow tow down to them? Some of them act like they have short man's complex! Yikes, did I say that?

Well, I just think some of them are attracted to this because they think it gives them some sort of power, when the truth is that is not God's idea of how a man should act… Don't let them try to bully you! Bullies use words to put fear in our lives, but they are really wimps inside.

I have been amazed at the ad-hominem, the vitriol, and the extreme lengths that these people are going to in order to silence any opposing opinions. The fact that they do not attempt to defend their argument in the face of opposition but instead try to shut the mouths of those dissenters loudly proclaims to me that they have no defense, just a lot of bluster and anger.

Words fail me. (Being a writer by profession, I am not often at a loss for words.) Were we in the same room, you would just get a big, long hug from me. This is astounding to me. I do not know the president of the unnamed apologetics organization except from his blog and website, but I am disappointed that he did not stand up for you because he usually seems to stand firm against false teachings. Somebody must be pressuring him quite a bit. This is really quite interesting. I see a pattern here. God is using faithful women like you, Cheryl Schatz, and Karen Campbell to shine the light on false teachings. And these patriarchalists don't like it, not one little bit. All three of you have come under pressure or harassment of one kind or another. I am sure that many of these men feel that insult has been added to injury because it was a woman who exposed these false teachings.

Karen hit the nail on the head when she described you as "ladylike." I totally agree. You were very ladylike, very poised under pressure. I am sure it was because you were so well prepared, they could not flummox you. You handled questions and comments very gracefully. I want to be like you when I grow up. You were a beautiful, beautiful representative of God's truth.It is very easy for me, with nothing at stake, to encourage you to stand firm and leave those videos up. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 I am confident that you scattered many seeds of truth at that conference, and am praying that many of them will take root in the hearts of those who heard.

Wow - it must be exciting to be the first wave storming the beach. You've begun quite a firestorm.

I applaud you and your husband for standing for the truth. It is uncomfortable and even dangerous at times. But it must be done for the cause of Christ. The truth is ours to defend partly because of those in the past who stood for the truth in the face of peril. Huss, Bunyan, Zwingli, Tyndale, Luther ... many have gone before us and have suffered greatly for it.

But as Luther so eloquently said:Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also
The body they may kill, God's truth abideth still
His kingdom is forever

I believe the Trinity doctrine is going to be the single biggest dividing issue in Christendom. I think we had all better fasten our seat belts. It is going to get very nasty.

I see it in another light, too. We can see this prophesied in Scripture that..., we are going to see that those who are respected leaders are bringing in a subtle but huge false teaching that is going to lead millions astray before Jesus comes back. And they are doing it for personal gain (power, arrogance and pride) The wolves are among us and are wearing sheep clothing. And the sheep have been trained to listen to men and not seek the Holy Spirit to teach them.

I'm just curious as to exactly what caused the seminary to ask you not to post the video... you were invited to speak on this topic, and then they decided that they weren't so thrilled about the content of the lecture? Or did they just not want to get all wrapped up in it, but said "you can pursue this, but we don't really want to be affiliated with it"? Just wondering why you would be invited to speak and then they would ask you not to post said lecture.

Your response to an unnamed apologetics organization president was absolutely right on. The burden IS on the Board because of all you stated. Aren't you thankful to have all of this in writing, proof that you submitted to the property authorities regarding the conference with an outline, bibliography, etc?

You know, what really struck me while I read your gracious but direct letter? Perhaps none of these men are willing to tackle this subject because they don't really care. They are looking at this from the good-old-boys-club mentality. The issue of women and ministry just isn't that important to them....yet…

Just wanted to encourage you after reading the unnamed apologetic organization’s response yesterday. Seems like folks are moving quite quick over ruffled feathers. I agree with the last email that too bad honest dialogue can't be done with parties involved...

God is certainly able to vindicate Himself if you are wrong but I don't feel that you are. I say that in that manner, so that the 'powers' that be see how silly this is. If you are really that much of a threat sounds like its over reputation and possibly money and friendships rather than the truth.... we see in part and prophecy in part.. so we see this a little more clearer now what does it hurt?

I am curious.... what if it was a man up there saying the same material I wonder if
the so called outrage would be the same?

CBMW is sliding into a position that is much more dogmatic in recent years. Russell Moore (SBTS Dean and a protege of Mohler’s) is advocating Patriarchy instead of the 'soft comp' he sees practiced in most churches. Ware (SBTS) is teaching women are made in the 'indirect' image of God.
They are NOT interested in scholarly debate on any of their interpretations.
What is going on is an attempt to stifle any dissent or debate by name calling. Being called a liberal and radical feminist is the worst sort of insult for folks like us who believe in the inerrancy and sufficiency of scripture but consider this a secondary issue that should not divide us.

I believe things are heating up for one reason: Blogs and available resources for the average person to study Greek, Hebrew, etc. The scholars are losing their singular influence and now even conservatives are questioning interpretations of some scriptures. This is simply a result of the dogmatism on this issue!