The misogynist churchwatcher clan are at it again over at their sites as they go after yet another female in ministry.

Their target this time is Christine Caine. In fact this is not the first time they have laid into her ministry, as she is one their pet targets and regularly featured.

Chookwatcher has always had a clear and biased antipathy towards women in ministry. I don’t say they hate women, which is the extreme meaning of misogyny, but they certainly come across as wanting to withhold responsibility from women in the Church in a divisive and biased manner.

Recent articles have taken on several women, the worse attack being against Darlene Zscheck whilst she was still undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, from which she has now, thankfully, been given the all clear.

Chookwatcher women who teach men

Ironically, one of the main chookwatchers is a female, and very outspoken. The difference is that she is hidden from view by her use of the group pseudonym, so it is hard for the average reader to pick out that a woman is criticising women for being in public ministry.

Another of the main contributors to chookwatch commentary is also a woman who goes by the pseudonym thinker, and is also against women in public ministry despite her own very public ministry via chookwatcher sites.

Maybe they’re of the new vogue to de-genderise people, using nom-de-plumes as gender-free epithets. Perhaps they cease to be women in the Church once they have a secret identity, or their hidden name gives them license to defy or deny their own understanding of scripture because pseudonyms are gender negative.

Either way, these appear to be women who are happy to apply the Spirit of scripture, which says there is no longer male nor female, whilst actively promoting the letter which says women should be silent and in submission to all men.

Personally, I think women should have a voice, and be allowed to air their views in public and I’m happy for them to have an opinion. I believe there’s enough scripture to validate females in ministry despite part of the Body of Christ having the viewpoint that no woman should ever speak in public, or that is what chookwatchers say and promote, at least.

Bud takes on the pastrix

In a very pointed post by one of chookwatcher’s fave go-to sites, this view is expressed in no uncertain terms by someone called Bud. Let’s grab a few bytes from the piece.

‘In January 2015, “Pastrix” Christine Caine, along with an evidently subservient husband, started a “ministry” called Propel Women. The tagline for this “ministry” is “Celebrating Every Woman’s Passion, Purpose, and Potential.”

I’ve looked in the New Testament. I just can’t find any Scriptural support for a ministry goal of “celebrating” women … or men … or anything else. Nope, the singular zenith of the New Testament is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It seems all the New Testament writers exalted Jesus, celebrated Him, and no one else. Let me prove it with just one verse:

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36′

First of all, why is Christine being referred to as a ‘pastrix’? There is no such thing. It is merely a controversial term used by critics to show condescension towards women who are in ministry. Notice Bud uses inverted commas to emphasise his disapproval before he even makes a point as to why.

Then Bud suggests that Christine’s husband is ‘evidently subservient’. Where does he get this? It is not evident anywhere. In fact, a glimpse at the ‘Propel Women’ website will tell him the following about her husband, who goes by the name of Nick, by the way.

‘Nick Caine is the co-founder and CEO of A21, one of the world’s leading organisations in abolishing human trafficking and injustice in the 21st century. Aligned with the 4-P model of the U.S. State Department, A21 provides safety and restoration services to victims of trafficking, actively engages in preventing trafficking through education and awareness, partners with governments and NGOs, and interrupts the cycle through robust prosecution.  Alongside his work with A21,

Nick serves as a Director of Equip & Empower Ministries, an international organisation dedicated to training leaders and assisting churches.  Nick and Christine have pioneered the establishment of Zoe Church in Greece, Bulgaria, and Poland through the Project Europe arm of Equip & Empower Ministries. 

Together the Caines have carried their passion for leadership and the global church into the launch of Propel women.’

So Nick is in fact an executive leader of a recognised and identifiable leading organisation, as well as a planter of churches, and other organisations.

Right here, Bud should write a letter of apology to the Caines for both his presumption and his condescension towards Christine and her husband. She is clearly not operating Propel Women without her husband’s guidance, and is, in fact, following a Biblical pattern of godly submission to her husband, and the male head of the organisation. She is not operating alone or independently of him, and he is being seen to exercise the correct oversight.

God celebrates women

Next, Bud claims there is no scriptural support for a ministry goal of celebrating women. This, of course, is ludicrous and self-defeating hyperbole. Women are celebrated throughout scripture by God Himself. Christ is promoting and has championed women more than any person, including in the era when He walked the earth. Women are also shown to have been celebrated in both Testaments.

In fact, if Bud had only read the ‘who we are’ section on the Propel Women website he would have noticed the following clue.

“The Lord announces the Word and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.” Psalm 68:11

This is, of course, speaking of Aaron’s wife, Miriam, and the women of Israel who praised God after the famous victory over the Egyptian army that pursued them across to Red Sea and were drowned with their chariots as the waters miraculously closed over them.

Here we have women who are said by the Psalmist, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to have proclaimed the victory in such glorious tones that it is written for our admonition in the Psalms.

This immediately reminds me of Jesus, when he was blessed by a woman who poured expensive perfumed ointment over His feet, that she would always be remembered for her worship that day. This is indeed celebrating women. And what about the woman with the issue of blood whose faith impressed Jesus so much that He praised her for it, having been stopped in a very crowded street as virtue came from Him to heal her. He commended her faith publicly.

As He did the woman who pleaded for her daughter, but not being Jewish, was at first rejected by Jesus, but then, after continuing her plea, was praised by Him for her importunity and faith, so much so that her daughter was delivered within the hour. Jesus said He was astonished by her faith.

And what of the other women whose exploits are recorded in scripture? Are they not being celebrated? Women like Sarah, and Deborah, Esther, Rahab, Ruth, Mary, Priscilla, and so many others whose faith changed communities and saved nations. So much for women remaining silent.

Silence the women

And this is the crux of the matter. Men like Bud and his Reformed buddies, including the chookwatcher crowd, want to silence women in the Church.

Jesus came to emancipate women. Reformed theologists want them in abject subjection and silent. Jesus came to lift all restrictions on people through the work of the cross, to set at liberty those who were made captive, and to release those who were under the thumb. Reformed theologists want to imprison women in their neo-legalistic system of silence, where grace is deformed by their new laws. Jesus came to declare there was no longer male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free, that all were set at liberty through the cross. Reformed theologists want to separate men from women in churches and create a divide.

Legalism always tends to division.

They take as proof Paul’s admonitions to bring into order women who were disrupting meetings through bad manners. Not only this, but the men were ignorantly allowing it to happen, and, apparently, being held captive to the whims of their wives and daughters who should have been told to stop talking in the meetings and listen to the teaching rather than chattering across the aisles, which were separated into male and female sections, and causing disruption to the services. This they did because calling out in meetings was a Greek cultural thing to do, but now Paul was telling them that they should be silent and allow the ministry to take place. If they had questions, ask their husbands and fathers after the meeting. Decently and in order.

Lee Grady, in an article called ‘Ten Lies the Church Tells Women’, says the following:

‘The most common mistake we make in biblical interpretation occurs when we take one isolated verse and build a doctrine around it–even if the verse seems to contradict other passages.  This is often what we do with 1 Tim. 2:12, “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man” (NASB). 

Most theologians believe that this passage was addressing an isolated situation in Ephesus.  They came to this conclusion after studying the myriad of references in the Bible to women in spiritual authority.  The Old Testament records that Deborah was a judge over Israel–and God blessed her leadership in battle (see Judg. 4-5).  Other women who held authority over men include Miriam, Huldah and Noadiah.  

Jesus issued His first gospel commission to women (see Matt. 28:1-10), and both men and women were empowered to preach on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).  Priscilla, Chloe and Phoebe were leaders in the early church, and one woman, Junia, is called an apostle by Paul (Rom. 16:7). 

The promise of the prophet Joel was that “sons and daughters” would prophesy after the Holy Spirit was given to the church (Joel 2:28, emphasis added).  Yet we have taken one misunderstood verse from Paul’s writings and used it to negate hundreds of other passages that support the full release of women into ministry.’

There’s another point to make here. Notice that Paul says he does not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

This is clearly not talking about being silent always, but only in the context of teaching men or having authority over men. This says nothing about holding meetings with women, or speaking by invitation to a group or church. Paul is not making a law out of grace. He is telling us what his practice is amongst the Greeks in certain situations.

Bud misses the point that Christine Caine is starting a ministry for women.

She will be addressing women. How is this teaching men or taking authority over men? “Women are not allowed to teach other women.” Is that what Bud is saying? Does Bud, being the all-encompassing knowledgeable man of the world that he is, know how to teach women on women’s issues better than a woman?

In fact, scripture says that the more mature women should teach the younger women. So there is no blanket ban on women teaching or being in authority in scripture as Bud implies.

Women can prophecy in the church

Notice that Paul, in another place, tells us that women should wear a head covering when prophesying. How is this keeping silent in the Church? No. Paul is allowing the women to prophesy, but, again, decently and in order. What he doesn’t want is women usurping the authority of the men in church meetings. Quite right. We can all agree to this.

Why does Bud think that Paul admonishes prospective Bishops and Deacons that, should they marry, they should be the husband of one wife? Is that wife, then, to be totally silent at all times? Must she never have an opinion, or a prayer, or a fresh understanding of a passage scripture that she can relate to her husband and children?

The Book of Acts speaks of women who were allowed to teach, hold meetings in their homes, prophesy, and hold leadership positions alongside their husbands, and, in one case, as the main hostess in a house meeting. One is called an Apostle.

The Prophet Joel said that men servants and maid servants would prophesy when the outpouring of the Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost. How is this being silent in the Church? The maid servants, that is, women, were granted the ability, through the Spirit, to prophesy. Where else but in the church would the women be allowed to prophesy.

Were not the Evangelist Philip’s daughters all known as prophets? Where did they prophesy if not in church? According to scripture, not all women are, then, to be silent in the Church. Remember that the Church is the Body, not the meeting place or building, or house. It is the people. The saints. The ecclesia. The called out ones.

Jesus, in fact, after He had spoken to the woman at the well, had no issue with her when she went and told all the villages around about that she had met the Messiah. She was not only empowered to announce the Messiah, but told by the Messiah that He was the Messiah. A woman was amongst the first to know the Messiah and announce the Messiah.

Come to think of it, two women were the first to discover the risen Christ, and went immediately to announce the resurrected saviour. Several women were in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost when the outpouring began, and they all spoke in tongues, and extolled the virtues of Almighty God in other languages. These women, at the very beginning of the Church, were not silent in Church.

Surely this the precedent that was set and the real evidence that God the Holy Spirit had empowered women as well as men to speak, to prophesy, and to proclaim the greatness of God.

This is not silence in the Church.

Bud the abrasive

Consider also the following comments from Bud.

‘If Caine, or the “church” which fallaciously ordained her, held to this doctrine, perhaps her diabolically-inspired influence would be more muted in the church today. Yet, it is the disregard, denial, and disdain for Scripture from which all false teaching and heresy flows. You might recall that incident in Eden where a serpent beguiled, umm, another woman with the query, “Did God say?”

So, it’s no surprise that heresy flows freely from the lips of this modern day, serpent-inspired succubus.   Consider the recent Tweet from her ministry: “Prayer gives you a heart for people, gets the content into your spirit, gives you insight.”

Umm, no. Just no. Prayer does not give you a heart for people. The soul regenerated by the Holy Spirit is compelled by Him to be obedience to Christ’s second great commandment, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Mark 12:31. The Holy Spirit causes me to love others, resulting, often, in praying for them.  Love is a fruit He gives, not a trait He imbues in prayer.’

More hyperbole from a critic with no sense of grace or considered reason.

Bud has not in any way proven that the church ‘fallaciously’ ordained Caine, or that her ministry is ‘demonically-inspired’, or that she has ‘a disdain for scripture’. His opinion is based on his own debatable theological stance and doctrine. He has made the false claim that a born again believer has the same influence as Eve in the Garden when she was deceived.

He then surmises errantly that this, then, must be heresy. He gives no basis for this claim, only empty words. And he calls Christine a ‘serpent-inspired succubus’.

This almost demands a separate article of its own, such is the seriousness of this slander. Do you know what a succubus is? My dictionary gives ‘a female demon believed to have sexual intercourse with sleeping men.’

Are you kidding me? Is Bud actually accusing Christine Caine of having demon-inspired sexual intercourse with sleeping men? I think we have yet another case for a public apology from Bud, quick-smart.

Oh, and chookwatcher repeats this despicable accusation.

By the way, Bud, according to Jesus “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Prayer that influences hearts for people

Bud falls short of giving any evidence for his claims. The closest he comes is to state that a tweet (yes, a tweet), in some way proves his claim to heresy. “No”, he says,” just no”, by way of emphasising and confirming his own error –

“prayer does not give a heart for people.” 

In fact, Jesus told us that one of the primary prayers was just this – that we should pray for labourers for the harvest because the fields are white and ripe to reap, but the labourers are few. Is this not prayer for the heart for the people?

In Bud’s world there is seemingly no need for the heart – only obedience. The heart has nothing to do with faith in Bud’s dogmatic scope. Scripture, of course, tells us that faith is of the heart and is worked by love.

So the heart is crucial to faith, and, of course, comes out of love. Prayer is always of the heart. It is the Word, but the Word only works by faith, and faith is always of the heart.

Anything of the Spirit is of the heart. God has given us a new spirit and a new heart. In this heart is written all of the precepts of the Word. We cannot be truly obedient to the Word of God without the heart of faith. Only a true legalist would demand obedience without faith, or without the heart, or without love.

Legalists always want to surround the Church with laws.

They take the words of Jesus and make them into rules. They do not apply the Spirit of the Word. They want the letter of the law. Paul told us that the Spirit gives life but the letter kills. That is because the law is not of faith, and therefore, not of love or of the heart.

Thus they can take the most liberating of scriptures and turn it into an issue of obedience rather than willingness to comply with the Word simply because the heart has been renewed and is in agreement.

How is a person to love his or her neighbour as himself or herself if they do not have a renewed heart – a heart of love from the Spirit of God through faith in Christ? Obedience comes by grace though faith, which is of the heart.

“Love,” says Bud, “is a fruit He gives.” This is very true, but it must come from a heart of faith, and prayer indeed enhances this.

Or maybe Bud has a problem with his own prayer life. Perhaps he prays out of obedience rather than out of love, or out of a heart for the people he prays for. When I pray for the people I know who are not yet saved I do so from heart of love for them.

Prayer always assists in this. Prayer leads to more prayer. Why is this? Because prayer is to the Father, in the name of Jesus, working with the Holy Spirit, and He will always impress upon us to go deeper in prayer.

In reality, and to give him a way out, Bud is only splitting hairs here because it seems that he tends towards legalism and must have fervent accuracy to his post-modern view of scripture. He is a deconstructionist when it comes to the words he reads in the Bible. The trouble with this is that he just doesn’t get it when it comes to the liberty that comes from the Word and Spirit.

Silencing God

Then Bud makes an astounding claim.

“God does not talk to you in prayer.”

So prayer, Bud says, doesn’t give a heart for people, and God doesn’t talk to us in prayer. Bud appears to be an archetypal Reformed theologist. Everything ended when the last Apostle died. So when we read that God the Holy Spirit spoke to one of the Apostles or a disciple, we cannot see that as a precedent for hearing from God for ourselves, because, Reformed theology goes, that would necessitate adding to the canon of scripture.

Yet, in 1 Corinthians 2…

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

So, clearly, we can know the things of God through the Spirit of God who has been given to us. How does God talk to us then? Bud would say it is only through the Word of God, that is, the canon of scripture, but Paul says the Spirit reveals the things of God to us through the spirit that has been regenerated. This is not rewriting the canon. This is revealing personal issues to us through our communion with God the Holy Spirit.  Paul goes on:

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

For “ who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

There you have it. We have the mind of Christ. How? By the Spirit of Christ who is in us, with us and upon us. We are given the Spirit as our Comforter, Counsel, Helper, Strengthener and Advocate. He gives us words and confirms His presence with us. He is the guarantee of our redemption. Is God the Holy Spirit silent now?

Yet in Romans 8…

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “ Abba, Father.”

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

The Spirit bears witness with our spirit. That is how He communicates with us. He speaks to and through our spirit – the regenerated spirit of the born again believer. This can be anywhere at any time for any reason. It doesn’t always have to be in prayer, but it can be in prayer. It can be when reading the Word, and we can pray with the spirit and pray with the understanding. The understanding is according to the Word. The spirit is according to the Spirit. We pray in the spirit led by the Spirit, who helps us when we do  not know how to pray as we ought.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

God speaks to us in mysteries

Then, going in deeper, Bud adds that prayer does not give us content or insight.

However, 1 Corinthians 14 says…

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.

In fact, God speaks to the unsaved, unlearned and unchurched through prophecy, or through tongues and interpretation.

Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

 In the law it is written: “ With men of other tongues and other lips I will speak to this people; And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord.

 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

Of course, being a dedicated Reformed theologist, Bud will not confirm this because it is possible he has subconsciously, or by theological necessity, removed this part of the canon from the canon, possibly inadvertently due to teaching in Reformed circles – unless he has managed to escape their cessationist tendencies.

The gifts and manifestation of the Spirit are, to some of Bud’s compadres, ended. When they ended no one knows, and there is no scripture for this, but they cannot allow them to stand because they do not believe that these things take place today. They reject the gifts and manifestations simply because they do not believe. Therefore they cannot understand them, nor can they teach them, nor can they reveal them.

Yet Paul says, “Beloved, I would not have you be ignorant of spiritual things.”

So, through ignoring this vital teaching, Reformed theologists deny themselves and others the truth that God still speaks through and to His people today.

So, in conclusion, there’s something you should note when reading these comments from Bud and his comrades at chookwatcher sites.

Not only do they silence women in the Church, they silence God.