Patriarchy, with its reference for the strong, is simply contrary to the free power and liberty of the Holy Spirit. And patriarchy’s infection of AHA is a sad, sad thing to see.
Excerpts from his July 24th, 2018 letter to Abolitionism (Linked here):
I was saddened to see the heavy hand and forced removals from the Abolitionism page, but I was not shocked or surprised. I have seen this coming for some time.
You cannot have one side that upholds certain strict forms of patriarchalism, forbids divorce for any reason, and imposes strict forms of sexuality and gender roles (including more extreme dress codes) on the weaker vessel, sometimes explicitly on behalf of the stronger; while on the other side have a view that sees these as extremes which in some cases protect physical and sexual abuse, and in general oppress the weaker vessel. Both sides see themselves as biblical truth, and each, in both expression and application of that biblical truth, are in fundamental conflict over one of the fundamental ethics for which the movement exists. That cannot be held together.
Let’s be clear, too: it does not matter which side is right. Taking sides is not the point here, though I have one in general. My point is that when this circumstance arises, THAT MOVEMENT CANNOT BE HELD TOGETHER NO MATTER WHAT. Trying to appeal to “the main thing”—i.e., that abortion is murder, our nation’s and churches’ greatest sin, and must be abolished—while obviously true, is only to ignore the deep fault line running beneath, and to which that main thing is inevitably connected. The split will come, with both sides still opposing abortion, but now also opposing each other more forcefully and openly.
That’s how it always turns out.
When faced with those consequences, the question must be, does that worldview accord with position A or position B? Does the worldview in which abolition is true also entail that women must submit, even in some ways, even to abuse and adultery (according to some), procreation without limit, or that divorce is not permitted for any reason? Does that worldview entail that people who disagree with these positions, or who see a more expanded purview for women’s rights, are “heretics”? Or does the worldview in which abolitionism is true entail that an abused wife should be protected under the same principle of protecting the weakest as would an unborn child? While hardly attempting to be exhaustive in these representative examples, the point is that both sides cannot be right, and also, more importantly, that neither side can coexist in one movement with the other. They are conflicting purported applications of the same principle.
You can’t have the celebration of power, and the limitation of power, in the same group. It just isn’t going to work out.
***Abolitionism also stands or falls on the truth of two interrelated theological propositions derived from the Bible and nowhere else.
1. Human beings are created in the image of God and reflect His image.
2. The Creator Himself became a man in order to rescue mankind from sin, self-destruction, death, and eternal separation from God.
Historically, these two propositions have laid the foundations for all human rights movements and campaigns for human equality. They have been a bulwark standing between humanity and the monstrous inhumanities of history. Slavery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison called the belief that God created man in his own image “A DEATH-BLOW TO ALL CLAIMS OF SUPERIORITY, TO ALL CHARGES OF INFERIORITY, TO ALL USURPATION, TO ALL OPPRESSIVE DOMINION.”***
Or else, it would be a drift from these principles toward older forms of patriarchalism and other forms of organizational hierarchy, against which these principles are (and Garrison himself would have been) adamantly opposed.
The old gods regain their power, and the promise of a new dawn fades away. Back to the same-old, same-old.
The Establishment is pleased.
Finally, these consequences will be permanent barring a major act of repentance. Such repentance at this point, however, would unfortunately call into question credibility for leadership to a severe, probably crippling, degree.
King David repented of his sin of power-worship: but it cost him.
People – especially men – especially men with a fondness of hierarchy and power – don’t believe in paying those kind of prices.
It must now not look back, but march ahead with its new stripes and regalia. Thus, again, the split is permanent, and so are the consequences regarding the nature and composition of AHA going forward. Siding with strong patriarchalism and more centralized organizationalism (even just the beginnings of such) means AHA has thrown its more visionary and consistent adherents under the bus to accommodate a persuasion, worldview, and tactics antithetical to its original vision.
God drives men to make a choice, to be consistent.
There is no neutrality: and keeping the high path is difficult.
Now I see something different, and in that new vision, what happens to the AHA/OSA/MTP complex does not appear to be any of my business, at least for the time being. Soli Deo Gloria.
There will be a better movement, when the Holy Spirit is ready to act. The Shekhinah Glory leaves one place, only to dwell elsewhere.
Where will it dwell now? Seek, and ye shall find.
Prayer and fasting helps, too.