Questions for Aimee

"So along the lines of Aimee’s recent blog posts, I have listed some questions and concerns regarding her book. I did not formulate these entirely on my own. Some are from readers who did not feel comfortable raising these concerns publicly." - Ref21

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Paul Henebury's picture

I hope he receives clear answers! 

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Jay's picture

What is the response from my colleague? 

Oddly, none of that is addressed in the post. There is not a separate post asking any questions about these serious errors being taught in the complementarian movement. There isn’t any engagement with the content and purpose of my book at all. Instead, it speaks of a number of nameless men who have some questions for me. None of these men can be directly challenged, as I am not given the privilege to know who they are, except for Jonathan. I've contributed a lot for ACE over the past 7 years and, while my colleagues don't have to think my book is good and I shouldn't be immune to critique, it seems some time could have been taken to interact with me better with these questions. Seeing how we are an alliance, instead of getting a heads up email the night before, maybe they could have 1) revealed themselves, 2) engaged more with the book itself, and 3) taken the time and courtesy to arrange this as an interview format rather than posting a list of 9 questions (the bulk of which are not directly even related to my book, some claim things that I do not say in the book, and some are already answered in the book) that I’m told I may or may not want to answer. What would be more helpful and edifying? 

For the record, if Aimee's book is as huge of a threat to the church as it is, then men ought to be lining up to defend the faith against it.  The idea that some see her book as a threat but are not willing to put their names on the concerns is...confusing, to put it mildly. You can read the rest of her response here.

I'm reading RFBMW now.  It's good and interesting, and it's not nearly as radical or dangerous as people have made it (or her) out to be.

I'd also like to note that so far, Aimee has not used the phrase "broken through" at all in the book.  I don't know where that is coming from but it's a misrepresentation of the book and needs to end.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

T Howard's picture

Jay wrote:
For the record, if Aimee's book is as huge of a threat to the church as it is, then men ought to be lining up to defend the faith against it.  The idea that some see her book as a threat but are not willing to put their names on the concerns is...confusing, to put it mildly. You can read the rest of her response here.

Jay, I haven't read Aimee's book and probably won't. However, when men have "put their names on the concerns" in the past, they're accused of ganging up on the woman and bullying her. The tone police arrive next and accuse them of being unloving and ungracious.

If Aimee wants to salvage any credibility she has on this issue, given her recent book publication, she can't object to answering hard questions about her views on the issue, regardless of their source or whether they are explicitly addressed in her book.

Paul Henebury's picture

Of course Mrs Byrd failed to address even the question she claimed to be asking.  She skirted round the yellow wallpaper theme (it certainly is a feminist metaphor).  Whether it is "broken through" or "peeled back" the metaphor remains.  She cites Carolyn Curtis James, who I believe has gone egalitarian, and the Catholic nun Prudence Allen, who considers herself a "new feminist".  E.g. 

I consider myself as a new feminist philosopher in the line of Saint Pope John Paul II. By this I mean that I am concerned to help remove obstacles for women’s full development in areas of discrimination, exploitation and violence—a desire that is shared with feminists in other traditions."

The issue here is that Aimee sounds like a feminist and could have addressed her issues very differently. 

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

TylerR's picture

Editor

What problem is Aimee trying to solve and why on earth should I read her book?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jay's picture

@Tyler - Aimee (and others, including myself) have noticed that there are some very unhealthy aspects of the CBMW-esque teachings on "biblical manhood and womanhood" and she wants the church to take that back instead of outsourcing it to a parachurch org.  That's the short version.

@Paul - have you ever read or cited someone who you disagree with?  Yes, she's a writer and yes, she uses a metaphor from a book published in 1892.  This is concerning because... why, exactly?  CBMW has cited feminists in their papers.  Should we not read their materials?  These objections are silly. 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

Editor

You wrote:

@Tyler - Aimee (and others, including myself) have noticed that there are some very unhealthy aspects of the CBMW-esque teachings on "biblical manhood and womanhood" and she wants the church to take that back instead of outsourcing it to a parachurch org.  That's the short version.

Like what? I listened to Aimee on MoS discussing her book, and I don't understand what she wants. I really think she's talking past her opponents, whoever they are. There's too much of a spectrum on these matters to speak in generalizations. I think many people are really just talking past one another on this one. The whole thing just annoys me. Aimee isn't communicating very well what her problem is or who her opponents are, by name.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jay's picture

Judging from what I'm seeing, a lot of this is in Presbyterian circles (particularly the OPC, which is the denomination Aimee and her husband belong to; the OPC has defrocked church leaders over comments made on Facebook and Twitter), but there's overlap with SBC circles as well, where the CBMW is located and markets to. 

Be thankful that it hasn't affected you yet.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Paul Henebury's picture

Jay addresses me with, 

@Paul - have you ever read or cited someone who you disagree with?  Yes, she's a writer and yes, she uses a metaphor from a book published in 1892.  This is concerning because... why, exactly?  CBMW has cited feminists in their papers.  Should we not read their materials?  These objections are silly. 

To answer the first question: of course, but from her references to "Aristotelian views of sex" she is relying on Prudence Allen, not disagreeing with her.

You are free to disagree with me, and disagreement is fine, but (e.g.) the yellow wallpaper IS a feminist token as anyone who can do a Google search can find out.  What is she driving at by using it?  I'm with Tyler here, I don't know what her real beef is.  I'm also with Tom and his concerns.  But by employing such a symbol and failing to acknowledge its connotations, plus doing things like avoiding the first (and crucial) question about the biblical view of man and woman, she again raises suspicions; at least with me, and I am not alone.  I also sense more than a hint of encroaching mysticism in her typology and woman as eschatological marker viewpoint.  This seems to contradict 1 Cor. 11:7-9.   

If you think the sea is calm with nary a ripple on its surface that's your prerogative.  I differ.  Whether you think that's silly is your opinion and, again, I differ.  

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

TylerR's picture

Editor

This is the Facebook ad I saw just now that Aimee is running for her new book. It encapsulates her failure to explain what she's talking about:

Do men and women benefit equally from God’s word? Are they equally responsible in sharpening one another in the faith and passing it on to the next generation? Do men and women need separate Bibles or can the one, holy Bible guide us all?

This book calls church leaders to engage in thoughtful critique of the biblical manhood- and-womanhood movement and the effects it has on their congregations.

https://www.recoveringwithbyrd.com/

The questions are all silly. I can't conceive of a conservative Christian of any theological stripe disagreeing with any. So, what is she talking about? Who are her foils in this discussion?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Paul Henebury's picture

This obfuscation (that's what I'd call it) is what makes me believe that she has an undisclosed but radical agenda.  She's not making sense, but she's smart, so I don't put it down to lack of ability.  Perhaps it's just my patriarchal bias kicking in, but she sounds wounded.  Now it could be self-inflicted (her ego isn't content with the attention she's getting), or due to some personal strife.  Who knows?  But I can't believe that what I've heard and read is all there is to it.  Like Tyler asks, "what is she talking about?" 

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

TylerR's picture

Editor

From the book's website:

In this book, Aimee Byrd calls church leaders to engage in thoughtful critique of the biblical manhood- and-womanhood movement and the effects it has on their congregations.

Like what?

She fortifies churches in a biblical understanding of brotherhood and sisterhood in God’s household, the necessity of learning from one another in studying God’s word,

Who denies this is good and healthy?

and the active role both men and women play as witnesses to the faith, passing it on to the new generation.

Who denies this is good and healthy?

With biblical insight and theological discernment, Byrd seeks to help church leaders improve the culture of their church and equally disciple men and women in their flock to read, understand, and apply Scripture.

Who denies this is good and healthy?

In the church, the school of Christ, commissioned to discipleship, it is the responsibility of every believer, men and women together, to be active and equal participants in and witnesses to the faith.

Who denies this is good and healthy?

There appears to be no reason to buy this book. I can't shake the impression this was a book written in response to Twitter discussions, which is not the real world. I just don't understand what she wants, what her thesis is, why I should buy the book, or what the secret is to obtaining a platform like what Aimee has.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Paul Henebury's picture

"With biblical insight and theological discernment, Byrd seeks to help church leaders improve the culture of their church and equally disciple men and women in their flock to read, understand, and apply Scripture."

We're getting close to real problem areas here; formed mainly because of parachurch ministries.  Is this a role Aimee ought to see herself in?  

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.