Barefoot, Pregnant, and Unplugged

To say that the Bayly brothers have a one track mind would be to traffic in innuendo. I do not know them well enough to speculate on their sexual desires. I presume that as ministers of the gospel and as husbands their sexual passions are properly regulated.

But in a sense they do have sex on the brain, not in the sense of your average beer sipping NFL fan, but in the sense of men’s and women’s roles and sexual relations that produce offspring. After all, if you have a web page at Amazon dedicated to the ten best and worst books on sex, people might properly conclude you have women on the brain.

Beyond book lists and blog categories, Tim Bayly gave a good example of the borderline obsessiveness that he and his brother have about keeping men men and women women and never the twain shall meet except . . . well, . . .this is a PG blog. When news came out that the Presbytery of Missouri had exonerated the Federal Vision pastor, Jeff Myers, Doug Wilson posted a short notice that led to a rather moderate number of comments. Responses were chugging along about the merits and ties of Federal Visionaries, with an occasional distaff iteration when Tim decided to weigh in – not about Federal Vision, its theology, or merits – but about whether or not women should be discussing such matters at a public forum like a blog. To one female writer, Tim wrote (with love, of course):

it might be best for you to limit your comments when the subject matter here is the discipline of ordained officers of Christ’s Church and the application of God’s Word to that discipline. If there’s ever a time when it might be good for women to limit their online contributions, this would be a good candidate for careful consideration.

When another woman rose to the rebuked woman’s defense, especially because of a recent personal loss, Tim, to his credit, conceded that he should have been more circumspect and offered comfort.

But in further explanations, Tim reminded readers about the need for women to respect church officers like Doug Wilson. He wrote:

We’re not talking about submission, here, but the public rebuke of teaching elders on a matter of doctrine by a woman who does so, publicly, and with some considerable invective. Read what she said about my dear friend, Doug Wilson (who by the way is one of the more humble pastors I’ve met), and ask yourself if it’s seemly for a Christian woman to address a pastor in such a way at all, let alone in public?

Feminine deference is not “submission,” nor is a teaching elder “all men.”

For some reason, the public rebukes that he heaps out on ruling elders and pastors is fine. But the little ladies need to watch out for men and especially for the ordained ones.

I do wonder if Tim realizes the propensity he displays to view almost every issue according to what women are doing as sexual beings. We were once having a very nice conversation at Old Life about Presbyterian justice when Tim had to intervene and censor us for not talking about abortion even though that was not the subject. Now he interjects femininity into a discussion of a controversial and potentially damaging teaching like Federal Vision. Does Tim think that our society and churches would be fine if we could put the genie of women’s spunk back in the bottle of Calvin’s Geneva?

Update: I forgot to add this: when will the Baylys notice that Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia has two pastors with feminine names? Shocking.


35 thoughts on “Barefoot, Pregnant, and Unplugged

  1. And yet he allows women to rip other PCA pastors on his blog with statements like this directed at Tim Keller:

    “Dear Pastor Keller, I am a wicked sinner redeemed by Jesus blood. You may think I sound judgmental and you do well to think so, because based on your answer I am judging you. Stand up, be a man of God, a leader in your church, and preach the words God has given you to lead men from death to life everlasting. Reformed Pastors “don’t kind of play cards”, they trust in God’s sovereignty that His elect will be saved by grace. What are you so afraid of that is more frightening than God’s wrath?”

    And this:

    “Feh. Nuance is the refuge of scoundrels like the religious feminists.”

    And this:

    “His response is so shameful it poisons every word he’s ever preached or written.”

    All those are found in one comment thread – there are plenty of other examples scattered throughout the archives. You see, Mr. Bayly apparently believes women should not rebuke teaching elders publicly with “some considerable invective,” but only if they happen to disagree with the Bayly’s. It’s a constant theme on their blog: if you agree you can say anything about anyone, but if you disagree you’re an unfaithful heretic. And of course you must be an egalitarian feminist, and probably a closet Molech worshiper.

    And he similarly hijacked another FV thread on Heidelblog with this:

    “Men, it’s discouraging to see how much zeal there is among us for opposing FV, but almost-complete silence about the denial of the Scriptural doctrine of sexuality practiced in tall and small steeple PCA churches around the country.”

    One track mind, indeed…


  2. What one has to keep in mind, if the “Gap Issues” from ClearNote Fellowship mean anything, is that the Bayly’s think that “the doctrine of man is central to the Christian faith.” This instead of the doctrine of justification, evidently. The upshot is the politics of sex and a glowing description of Doug Wilson’s pastoral acumen:

    Zeke, bingo. But they are also fond of banning an individual from their blog and then lifting his comments from another blog and criticizing them. So give the women who side with you a public place, but not those who don’t (which seems a lot like saying the other guy’s social gospel is bad, but ours is good), and be sure to bound and gag a guy before you criticize him:


  3. To say that DGH has a one track mind would be to traffic in innuendo. I do not know him well enough to speculate on his desires. I presume that as a duly ordained elder, and as a husband, his passions are properly regulated.

    But he does have Bayly on the brain, not in the sense of your average bra-burning feminist or wine sipping Redeemer fan, but in the sense of R2k and the “spirituality” of the church. After all, if you have a blog dedicated to R2k, and your most vitriolic, innuendo-laden posts related to the Baylys, then people might properly conclude you have Bayly on the brain.


  4. Craig –

    I think DGH posts about the Bayly’s here because it’s the only way to respond to the criticisms and vitriol they spew on the BaylyBlog. It would be nice if they could have a civil, rational discussion/argument with each other, but the Bayly’s don’t have the moxie to fight on foreign soil, so to speak, other than the drive-by cheap shots mentioned above. And having a discussion on their blog is pointless – they quickly veer off topic, misrepresent dissenters, edit comments to suit their interests, and ban anyone who dares disagree for too long. I doubt they will ban DGH because he is so well known, but anyone who takes his side won’t last long. Just ask Zrim. Or me.


  5. As the impertinent woman who rebuked Pastor Bayly, I appreciate this, too. The irony is that, as a young woman of the 1970’s who rejected feminism, I’m afraid a new generation of young women are going to reject Biblical complementarianism after being exposed to this rather peculiar reformed version of sharia. I got banned, along with my husband, from Baylyblog for calling out another ordained man who has not acted like one, so Pastor Bayly is consistent at least on that point.

    Zrim, what you wrote about the doctrine of man driving the Bayly bus had not occurred to me, but that would certainly explain something which I have struggled to figure out–their appreciation for Doug Wilson and the free pass they give him on FV. Thanks for helping me to understand that.


  6. DGH said: “Zeke, truth be told, I have been banned. But with love, of course.”

    Honestly, I’m shocked. Banning Joe Schmoe commenter is one thing, but banning a recognized Reformed scholar and an ordained elder in the OPC is something else. Truly a new low. Banning all these people only demonstrates their insecurity and lack of confidence. If they really believed what they were saying, they would have no trouble defending it.

    And by the way, +1 to whoever came up with the Rabbi Bret moniker. Genius…


  7. I wonder, do some of you need a psychologist, or do you just like playing one on the blogosphere?

    Apparently when an ordained OPC elder misconstrues other ordained men’s positions, slanders them, and posts sexual innuendo…well, apparently that’s the height of Reformed discourse and a validation of his writings.

    None of you, Eileen included, seem to understand the fact that justification by faith alone is part and parcel to headship. Jesus was the 2nd Adam after all, not the 2nd Eve. Just as through one man sin entered the world, so through one Man the justification of all who believe.

    Reading a constant “reformed” bitch-fest is not God-glorifying. The Baylys exhude God’s Word and display the strength of Jesus, the God-Man, who as such, is mighty to save. Consider this my last post.

    Content yourselves by believing my departure is also proof of my weakness and insecurity, because the glory of the faith you display is ichabod.


  8. Eileen, if my time in the CRC has taught me anything it’s that instead of complementarianism, I might suggest that elitism is a better alternative to combat egalitarianism. Complementariansism reduces the matter to sex alone, whereas elitism makes it (ahem) inclusively exclusivist. Complementarianism seems to reduce the conversation between those who want men to know the world is flat and those who want women to know their place. Just as there is no place at the conservative/liberal table for a confessionalist, there is no place at the flat/place table for an elitist.

    So if Pastor Bayly wants women to sit down and shut up in informal public forums (read: not formal ecclesiastical courts, more kingdom confusion) on the basis of being unordained then he should also want to ban unordained males like me. Which he does, but only because I disagree with him, not because I’m unordained. So, I say no points for consistency, but kudos all around for fundamentalism.

    P.S. There is a difference between a male chauvinist and a male chauvinist pig.

    Craig, physician, heal thyself.


  9. Craig, in case you didn’t notice, the Bros. engage in lots of sexual innuendo also — remember the line about lesbians who watch women play sports? Or how about their he-man assertions against wimpy 2kers? What you and they don’t seem to understand is that when you and the Bros. slander officers in the church and bitch-slap around respondents, the other people get upset and have a hard time seeing all of that glory of the Lord that the Baylys appear to think they have bottled and now have exclusive rights to sell.


  10. Craig –

    All the accusations you make against DGH and this blog could be brought 10-fold at the BaylyBlog, and with much more accuracy. I’m not saying anyone who has commented there is perfect, but most of what you/they consider misconstruing is simply taking their comments to a logical conclusion. None of my comments were the least bit “offensive” – they were just disagreements. Instead of engaging they just ban. I think most people can decide for themselves if that practice is a fruit weakness or manliness.


  11. Just to be clear on my part, I fully accept that Christ is head of the Church, that pastors/elders are the leaders of the visible church, and that my husband is my spiritual leader and head of our family. I don’t believe (and I don’t believe the Bible teaches) that all women must submit to all men in all situations.


  12. Craig,
    The doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone hinges on every woman being submissive to every man? How to you get that from Scripture? Eve was to be submissive to her *husband* if I recall correctly. Paul gives us further instruction regarding the proper role (or not) of women *in the church* and with regard to *their own husband.* Did Lydia have her husband speak for her in the marketplace? How about the Prov. 31 woman? You are putting a yoke of silence on women that is not Scriptural, and you are thereby diluting the force of what Scripture actually does say. That is very counter-productive, in my opinion.

    Your last comment is interesting, but I’m not sure what you mean by elitism countering egalitarianism more effectively than complementarianism. I’m pretty sure I missed a good point, so could you break that down for me? Thanks.


  13. Eileen, what I mean by elitism is simply that there are those specially qualified for extraordinary tasks and those that are not (think doctors and lawyers and mechanics). Egalitarianism says that everyone is qualified for every task, which is where we get something like “every member ministry.” Sex is one trait that rules out certain members in the church from extraordinary office, but sex isn’t the only trait that distinguishes ordinary members from extraordianry. It seems to me that, at best, complementarianism is perhaps more a subset of elitism, and at worst, one might even say that complementarianism is an undue fixation on sex.


  14. Zrim,
    Thank you. I think your description as C being a subset is helpful, because in many C churches, offices are held by men without real regard for the rather special qualifications put on those men by Scripture. Focusing on the sex of the office-bearer rather than incorporating the entire body of qualifications, which includes the sex (male), degrades those offices. In other words, the sex of the office-bearer is necessary but not sufficient. Am I getting closer to your point?


  15. OK, were you the one who said that on HB? I though we had established I would be Empress of La Jolla.

    Since I’ve been nominated for President, may I editorialize a little on the sex question in the church? From where I am–a woman observing men–the new effete Metro Men are really not much different than the overly restrictive Macho Men. Their worldview is shaped by feminism and their reaction to it. One adopts it and the other rejects it, but they are still letting feminism write the script.


  16. (Yes, that was me.) Ok, then, being a sucker for alliteration, Eileeen for Empress. And I agree that Metro’s and Macho’s are two sides of the same skewed feminist coin. It’s like Fundamentalists and Liberals being two sides of the same skewed modernist coin.


  17. (…But speaking of machismo, I once described myself as America’s second least interested male in sports, which earned the suggestion by dgh that I was “light in my loafers.” Cute, coming from a cat person.)


  18. You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to know that the Bayly brothers’ obsession with all things women subjugated is an external manifestation of a major internal malfunction. Likewise, you don’t have to be Ted Haggard to know that Wilson’s obsession with “homosexuals here, homosexuals there,” is an obvious symptom of a repressed urge. It’s ironic, therefore, to see the brothers Bayly not hide their man-crush on Wilson, esteeming him the most masculine image since Michelangelo carved David. However, I think it’s probably in everyone’s best interest if they abstain from radio interviews. You never know who may be listening.


  19. Well, Dr. Hart being a cat person would certainly mean that he has the skill set that is necessary to manage the threads here. ;o) When it comes to sports obsessions, I think that it’s just reverse projection. One could argue, however, that the blogosphere is a contact sport, at times.


  20. Ok, I just have to add. I went to their amazon book page to see what they recommend. I’m really surprised that they recommend “Middlemarch” by George Eliot. They do know that George Eliot was really Mary Anne Evans, don’t they? Surely it must be wrong for a woman to publish a book under a man’s name, according to them.

    I’m not being sarcastic either. I really am surprised.


  21. Eileen,
    You said, “Craig, The doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone hinges on every woman being submissive to every man? How to you get that from Scripture? Eve was to be submissive to her *husband* if I recall correctly.”

    Craig never said this. Neither did Tim or David Bayly. Props for KO’ing a straw man.

    The Baylys don’t teach that every woman is to submit to every man. Never have.


  22. Craig – what do you mean by “that justification by faith alone is part and parcel to headship”? I don’t understand the connection between justication by faiith alone and how it relates to headship. Are you saying without headship we are not justified? Are you talking about the headship of Christ or the headship of man over woman? I am totally confused by what you are saying.


  23. Andrew,
    OK, stand the Straw Guy up again and please explain for me what this statement means in the context of a discussion of women participating in the public sphere:

    Craig writes: >>>…the fact that justification by faith alone is part and parcel to headship. Jesus was the 2nd Adam after all, not the 2nd Eve. Just as through one man sin entered the world, so through one Man the justification of all who believe.

    OK, I understand that everyone is either in Christ or in Adam. I understand that Christ was fully a man and not a woman. As far as I know, everyone commenting believes that. If my statement did not convey what Craig intended to convey, then please let me know what his statement means, because Lisa and are having a hard time understanding it.

    In view of the Bayly’s regard for Doug Wilson, would you say that denial of headship (egalitarianism) is as dangerous to the doctrine of Justification By Faith Alone as any kind of works-righteousness is? Please do not accuse me of saying the Baylys deny JBFA. I believe that they do. I’m just trying to get at the priority of concern regarding JBFA. If you say that FV does not incorporate works-righteousness, then we will have to agree to disagree.


  24. Clarification: I believe that they [Baylys] *do* believe and teach JBFA. That sentence was not phrased correctly [blush].


  25. Craig,

    None of you, Eileen included, seem to understand the fact that justification by faith alone is part and parcel to headship. Jesus was the 2nd Adam after all, not the 2nd Eve. Just as through one man sin entered the world, so through one Man the justification of all who believe.

    You completely rip Adam Christology, which is closely linked to adoption and justification in Romans to make a grossly misinformed point about sexuality in the current age. Why don’t we go the whole way, and include a discussion on sonship as well. Because women are called “sons of God”, not because they are robbed of their femininity, but because they have equal share in the heavenly inheritance. Adam Christology is not pretext to advance masculine superiority in this age, and its use of hierarchy in contemporary settings is restricted to the church only.

    To be more pointed if anyone other than me, or the elders that we have submitted to as members of our church attempts to exert authority over my wife, they will have to get past me. We have only made vows to eachother and to the church, and the authority structures are limited to these two institutions, marriage and the church.


  26. Dr. Hart,

    Since I don’t know where else to post this inquiry, would you respond to the recent blog by the Bayly Bros. apparently suggesting that not having large families is sinful? (E.g. The church “also speaks with one voice concerning this other Order of Creation law that obstructing fruitfulness in the marriage bed is sin.”). Unless I misread their post, this seems to further confirm your thesis above. And I’m probably in real trouble, since I’m not only a proponent of 2k, but my wife and I thus far only have one child.




  27. I actually think Tim Bayly is right. He is applying the principles of authority/submission more consistently than, as many complementarians do, artificially limiting them to nothing more than ‘women can’t be elders’.

    So why is he criticised for this? And where is the biblical argument against his application of the relevant biblical texts? And how is criticising him for admonishing a woman how to properly submit consistent with those biblical texts which you presumably agree with?

    Would you confidently affirm that it is consistent with feminine submission for a woman to make a public rebuke of on an male elder????


  28. Henry, I’m a male elder (as opposed to a female one) and plenty of women rebuke me publicly and don’t show proper submission. In which case, being and elder does not come with a uniform and a badge. But even if I had those, women who are not members of my communion or even believers would not be expected to show submission to me — courtesy is another matter. In my recollection, Tim was rebuking a woman at a blog different from his. A blog is a public space and the rules governing officers and church members don’t necessarily apply there the way they might in the PCA or in Tim’s congregation. Even at the Bayly Blog, I’d argue that women have some freedom to express their views. Why, a number of women there showed me in the comments section nothing but contempt. For some reason, Tim and David weren’t quick to tell those women to submit. Why? Because sometimes for them agreement with their views matters more than sex.


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