By Elizabeth Prata
In 1558, Scottish Reformer and minister John Knox wrote a treatise called “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women“. In it, Knox proffered the argument that it was unnatural for women to rule and it was contrary to the Bible.
The archaic word monstruous meant “unnatural” and is often written “monstrous” today, meaning hideous or frightful. Regiment meant rule or government.
In 2011, then-member of Team Pyro Phil Johnson, at his team blog Pyromaniacs, riffed off Knox’s title, posting a blog named, “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Discernment Divas“. He wrote,
“The following video (40+ minutes) is from the recent Psalm 119 Conference in Keller, TX, sponsored by “Wretched,” featuring Todd (“Freakishly Tall”) Friel. Todd dragged me on stage to discuss the Elephant Room and other issues related to wall-building, biblical discernment, bad discernment ministries, shrill-and-sharp-tongued women who fancy themselves called to ministries of full-time criticism—and a few other interesting topics.”
Sadly, that video is no longer available, but the lengthy comment section is interesting.
Johnson apparently spoke spontaneously at that conference about the influx of women claiming the gift of discernment but not employing it in charitable – or even biblical – ways. He said, and I excerpt some of the comments,
In short, I was referring to those very vocal (mostly, but not all female) self-styled “discernment” specialists who seem to think screeching, angry emotions are as good a response to heresy as carefully reasoned, biblical answers.
The pejorative that was floating in my mind during that conversation with Todd is actually a biblical term: busybodies.
[They] relentlessly pestered me with everything from silly taunts and insults to the crassest sort of slander.
[Their] watchblog-style criticism consisting of raw passion or verbal hysterics instead of rational or biblical arguments…are especially prone to fire off rabid posts and caustic comments without sufficient forethought.
Furthermore, these Discernment Divas tend to be incorrigible when you try to point out that this is not a good thing. In fact, they seem to like to drum up campaigns and comment-flurries and virtual tar-and-feather mobs when anyone questions their technique.
Mr Johnson has a way with words. And he got his point across. That discussion, both at the conference and afterward on his blog, made waves.
Eleven years ago was only a few years after the Year of the Blog, 2003. That was when Google bought Blogger’s platform and made it available to the whole world. WordPress launched that year too.
Anyone and everyone suddenly had a blog and could publish anything they wanted, for better or for worse.
In the Christian realms, people found blogging a wonderful way to propagate Christian principles, theology, practical Christian living ideas, and more. Just being able to publish scripture alone, was a revelation. Yay!
But with great visibility, great foolishness is often revealed.
One who withholds his words has knowledge, And one who has a cool spirit is a person of understanding, says (Proverbs 17:27).
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent. (Proverbs 17:28).
Fools are fools for a reason. They do not know when to remain silent. When blogs became a thing, there was also a sudden birth of discernment bloggers. People, women included, who misjudged their supposed ‘gift of discernment’ and used their “gift” as an excuse to tear down, destroy, slander, and simply be cruel. They do not display the gifts of the Spirit nor do these people exemplify the virtues of a Godly woman.
This week, G3 Ministries leader and Pastor of Prays Mill Church Josh Buice had an interaction with Beth Moore of Living Proof Ministries. It did not go well. Moore had said in a previous tweet that she was pleased with her vines producing grapes, and “If Jesus is trying to get me to have a crush on him, it’s working.” Hers was a blasphemous statement, and Buice chided Moore for it. THAT is why the interaction devolved immediately. Moore did not take the chiding to heart (shocker). Her followers, for which this essay is titled, dove immediately into mob mentality with screeching that could be heard from pillar to post.
Those were the PG rated responses. Of the defenses I’ve seen this past few weeks, particularly surrounding Beth Moore but also others, I stand amazed at how yet again the Bible is real. I see the verse from Genesis 6:5 brought to life before my very eyes-
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.
I am truly amazed that people who profess Christ would be so free to slander and condescend and make tirades and say such awful things. But of course, most of them only profess, but do not possess the Spirit, and sinners are indeed ugly and sin is indeed rampant.
Instead of being shrieking feminist harridans, instead of unteachable snarks & uncorrectable mockers, instead of slanderers and harpies, women in God’s economy can and should be so much more. We have the Holy Spirit! With His help, we can be what God has called us to be: gracious, modest, wise, hospitable, kind, discreet, humble, respectful…
In one sense, as ugly as it is to read such comments, and as harsh as they are against their intended recipients, these women help me to see the contrast between worldliness and godliness. Not that I need such illustrations to obey God, but their behavior motivates me- in the other direction. Seeing such ugliness on display illustrates the ugliness of sin and the importance of kind speech, the beauty of submission, the elegance of humility.
Virtues that God wants us to cultivate ARE beautiful. They ARE for the common good. I don’t need to test God in this, but trust Him in this.
There is no in between. We can be a crone, or a queen.