Tag Archives: Reformation

The First Trumpet Blast against Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin & Michelle Bachmann

Against the Monstrous Regiment of Men

My people—children are their oppressors,
and women rule over them-Isaiah 3:12, NRSV

In my first year of seminary, I did a book report on John Knox for Church History II: The Reformation, Rosalind Marshall’s John Knox. Rejecting Knox as the founder of Scottish presbyterianism, her approach was that in his historical context, John Knox preached the Word that made Scotland more receptive to Calvinism.

In 1562, Mary, Queen of Scots rose to power over Great Britain as Queen Mary I. Knox would engage Queen Mary in debates over the Catholic and Protestant faiths. I nis his text, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, Knox proposed God had the great Isle of Britain under judgment by placing a WICKED woman in power. The key word here I think is the adjective “wicked” and his reference to Mary as Jezebel. It is wicked women [note: Catholic women and men] whom Knox objected to being in power. Knox served three years as a galley slave while living in exile since Protestantism was illegal (1547-1549), but safely made his way back once Parliament repealed the laws against the heretics.

Knox was so opposed to Catholicism, he was even offended by those who would kneel at communion (they do in the Anglican and Lutheran churches today. Just sayin…). He suffered political persecution and was once more driven into exile (the dude had a martyr complex, seriously), and it was there in Geneva, he became acquainted with John Calvin. I would like to note that Knox came to see that his Reformation would exclude the dukes an nobility of Scotland [an interesting point I need to go back and study–thanks Joel for reminding me of this paper] since it was the rich and the powerful that corrupted his movement.

From this position, added to the fact that John Knox knew of Protestant preachers executed at the hands of Mary I (so much for a more peaceful world if women reigned, yes?), it was a matter of life and death for John Knox to oppose Queen Mary.

What hath this to doeth with today’s world? Well, remember that controversy over whether Southern Baptists should vote for the McCain/Palin ticket simply because she was a woman? Or now how we are wondeirng if Michelle Bachmann shall be “submissive” at her denomination’s request? All of this baggage has a history connected with John Knox’s struggle with Queen Mary and his interpretation. Now, I predict we will hear evangelicals use the story of Deborah over Knox’s narrative of Jezebel.

And that’s fine. But let us not apply John Knox’s use of the Old Testament universally, and let us do admit his influence on the current debates over the appearance of women’s bodies in the public square.

Inside, Outside: How Does the Blogosphere Impact the Secular World’s Impression of the Church?

I’ve been reading about some of the early Church councils and the politics and drama that surrounded them.  Take the Second Council of Ephesus as an example.  Dioscorus, head of the assembly, had been given authority to determine who could even speak at the council.  Pope Leo’s representatives who were there to read a letter on behalf of the Pope were denied.  The council’s declaration was that the doctrine of Christ having “two natures” was heretical, and anyone who believed in such a doctrine would not be able to be ordained.  Leo was absolutely ticked and nicknamed the council “The Robber’s Synod.”  Two years later, a new council at Chalcedon was convened, and this time it set out a paradigm, not a creed, on the nature of Christ, namely that He is one person, with two distinct yet inseparable natures – divine and human.

All throughout Church history there have been councils and meetings and debates and even wars within the Church.  The Great Schism of 1054.  The Protestant Reformation, with the Protestants and Catholics taking turns labeling each other as “anathema.”   The brouhaha in the Evangelical Theological Society over Open Theism, several years ago, that had people calling for Clark Pinnock and John Sanders to be expelled from the Society.

But, all of these have largely been in-house.  While the broader secular society may have maybe heard about these disputes, they were for the most part kept “in the family.”

But what about this weekend?  You know the hoopla to which I’m referring, the one that has managed to propel a certain, not-even-released-yet book to number 20 on Amazon.com (that’s rank 20 overall, not just in Christian spirituality.  Not bad for a book that’s only available as a pre-order).

How has the blogosphere changed an in-house theological dispute?  Up until yesterday, I would have said, “it’s okay, only the Christian bloggers care.”  But then, not only did the drama end up on CNN.com, but the story got picked up over on Fark.com – a news aggregate and community forum that is viewed by millions.  (For your sanity’s sake, don’t go into the thread over at Fark.  The number one rule I’ve learned about being a member over at Fark, never comment in religion or politics threads).

In the past, most of our squabbles have happened within the confines of the Church.  They have happened in fairly structured settings, such as councils, society meetings, etc.  And there has been some level of authority in and through the process.

Is the blogosphere the new council?  Where is the authority?  What are the boundaries as to how the discussion should proceed?  Should we be airing our issues for all the world to see in such a public format?

How do the events of this weekend impact the secular world’s impression of the Church?

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