Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Debbie Maken Shows her True Colors
(And a challange to Debbie Maken)

I don't know if people involved with the Mandatory Marriage Movement saw the dialogue between Debbie Maken and a man with the screenname of "Farmer Tom," but it reveals some interesting things about Debbie Maken. First, Farmer Tom wrote the following:

Any attempt to get men back to church, ie older(traditional)forms of worship, without also teaching women to assume the traditional role of women, staying home to raise the children, not spending their day in the corporate world, is doomed to failure. You want men to be the traditional man while living out your feminist fantasies as the smart, sexy, career godess who can do it all. Good luck with that. Guys can find bimbos that believe that foolishness on every street corner, and in most churches.

Debbie Maken replied with:

Farmer Tom,

Did you even read the article???

Newsflash: Most women do not want careers, but to be wives and stay at home moms. This is even more true of Christian women.If you care to look at the research from the National Marriage Project, it is the men who are actually seeking "independent" women, so that they don't have to measure up as the family bread winner. The Popenoe/Whitehead surveys reveal that the men do not want that much "pressure," and that they view women who want to stay at home as "gold diggers." If you care to look at the writings of Danielle Crittenden, she advances another theory for females who maintain their careers after marriage-- it is because the liberal divorce laws ultimately inform them that their husbands may or may not be around, and that they need to keep up their competitive market "cred," almost like a divorce insurance policy. Most women have no choice today but to prepare themselves to be market producers because our climate is so anti-marriage and because most men cannot be counted on to bring relationships to a full orbed marriage.

Yet again, I find myself addressing a faulty assumption with a faulty conclusion. So, farmer Tom, spare me the condescension of most women being feminist, men-disrespecting, corporate ladder climbing, career lovers, somehow leaving hapless, well-intentioned men in a dusty haze of confusion. Get off your bottom, be a "man," so that a woman will actually be attracted to you, and quit making excuses.

However, Debbie made a HUGE mistake. Farmer Tom is already married. Here is what he wrote back:

First, an explanation. I have read your book, my wife and I gave it as a gift to several young ladies who graduated from high school or college this year. I agree with your thoughts on an "agent". I believe that the Biblical model shown us by Eliezer in his search to find a wife for Isaac is an excellent principle for Believers to follow. I am currently helping a young couple who are interested in finding a marriage partner in their search. Please understand that I agree with your description of the current problems in "christian" circles, regarding the lack of men who commit to marriage. I agree it is a problem. I said these same things in a two part review of your book I did on my blog.

While, indeed, Debbie Maken embarrassed herself by saying this, her response is even more telling:

But I do want to apologize if my initial reply came off as harsh. I am afraid I thought you were just one of those rude and contentious bachelors that spend more time nitpicking over my book, than investing in securing a wife. I am glad to know that you are married and have brought fruit into this world, and that our disagreement is actually small in the scope of our assessment of the situation. Let me respond to your substantive points soon.

Debbie Maken

Notice that Debbie Maken said that she will respond to his substantive points soon. What does that mean? That in her first response she had nothing of substance to say to Farmer Tom only because he was single! She says that he is only making excuses, and therefore, he is not actually engaging the issue.

Now we have a problem. If Farmer Tom is just out there making excuses, then how can you make a substantive response to his post? What does it mean to make a substantive response to excuses?

Secondly, I have a challange for Debbie Maken. Debbie wrote the following on this post:

Read the book and the blog. My personal focus is on helping ministers get back on track. The original version of my manuscript had a hard time finding a publishing home because it was twice as long as the book and more academic than how the book currently reads. The publishers thought and I concurred that it would be a good idea to make the book "more accessible" to large numbers of women and men, where the idea could take hold among Christian singles, and this in turn would then force the ministers to stop marveling at the emperor's nudity.


If we can get the help to make this work, I have a challange for you. If you think your book is so academic, and that Christian men are just "making excuses," then I challange you to a written debate on each of our blogs. Here is the catch. I would like to have this debate sent to John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Albert Mohler, James Dobson, Joshua Harris, and Carolyn McCulley. If we are just "making excuses," and the "modern" view is so bad that you had to point out that "the emporor has no clothes," then let us see if some of the most respected theologians of our day can agree. Here is the thesis:

The position given in Debbie Maken's book Getting Serious about Getting Married about singleness and marriage is the Biblical position, and the position of the reformers.

Debbie would affirm, and I would deny.

Remember our little dialogue where even people who were in agreement with you were saying that you were unfair? Do you remember that you and "Darren Allan" had to resort to an absolutely reprehensible misreading of me, saying that I said that "Barrenness is like being a nerd in school?" Do you remember that you blatantly engaged in the ad hominem fallacy by trying to determine my motives, which even secular philosophers recognize is always fallacious? Trust me Debbie, you would not get away with that if we were to do this.

Finally, as I have demonstrated in my post on the reformer's view of marriage, the "scholarship" in your book is so dishonest that anyone who has access to the sources you cite from church history can just look up the sources and see that you have, misleadingly, left things out of quotations, and even altered quotes to make the reformers say what you want them to say. You had better believe that I will point that out in this debate. You had also better believe that you are going to have to do better then just citing particular passages and then giving an interpretation. I will challange you to interact with the scholarly literature at every turn. I will challange your interpretation at every turn.

Also, given the above facts, I have to wonder if the reason why your book could not find a publishing home is because of the fact that you think that a thousand foot notes equals a "scholarly" and "academic" book. Given your misuse of scholarly sources and your tendency to just quote a passage and just assume its meaning, I have to wonder if the real reason your book could not find a publishing home is because of the fact that most publishers are not going to be willing to publish such an error-filled book. I cannot prove that, but, given the fact that I am, myself, a part of the acadamy, I know that I would get a failing grade at my school, Concordia University Wisconsin, if I *ever* displayed the "scholarship" that you have. Trust me, I will point this out at ever turn in our dialogue.

Also, if you do to me what you did to Farmer Tom, you will lose easily. If you do not respond with substance, these church leaders will not take you seriously. On the other hand, I will point out that your position comes, not from the Bible, but from the Indian culture in which you were raised. I will point out that, time and time again, you read the Bible and the reformers through the lens of your Indian culture.

So, let's be honest. If we can get the people to make this work, you have absolutely no reason to decline this challange. You are trying to show that the single men who are against you are just making excuses, and are just little children who are not men. You also say you are trying to "help ministers get back on track." Well, you can do both of these if your analysis of the situation is correct. However, I will be interested to see if, indeed, you have the confidence in your convictions about single men, and about the church in general to even take up this challange, or whether you will just spew out more of that intimidation that you use to try to avoid the obvious conclusion that your book was a huge mistake, and that you have gotten in way over your head. I know that there are plenty of people interested in this issue that can make this work. Maybe you know some people as well. Either way you have no reason to turn this down. I can only think that a refusal from you will merely demonstrate what we have been saying all along is exactly correct...that your ad hominem attacks are simply something you use to hide the fact that you cannot answer the arguments put foward by me, Anakin, and others.

Debbie, I know your arguments. I have dealt with them, and I have refuted them. I have beaten you before, and I will beat you again.
Is it "The Rule of Shewa" or "The Duel of Shewa?"

This interesting animation was sent to me by one of the pastors at my church:


I figured all of the folks who have studied Hebrew would get a kick out of it.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Reviews of Was Calvin a Marriage Mandator??????

Two folks have chimed in, and reviewed my article Was Calvin a Marriage Mandator?????? Anakin Niceguy and Chizadek. I know that they are not exactly unbiased, but here is what they said. First here is Anakin:

Wow. That's all I can say, PC. You have beaten Debbie at her own game. Although I am not Reformed in my theology, I appreciate your adept handling of the historical sources and the way you exposed the spurious appeal Mrs. Maken makes to church tradition. I argued against the use of Church History (as opposed to biblical exegesis) to formulate doctrine, but you went further and nailed the coffin by turning Mrs. Maken's Frankenstein back on her. It is utterly devastating to her case that she walking in the "old paths" (when in fact, marriage mandate theology is a recent creature born out of sloppy hermeneutics).

Anakin also said, on his blog:

1. First there is this decisively humiliating piece by Puritan Calvinist, wherein he exposes Debbie Maken's claim to the mantle of Reformed tradition as an ahistorical sham.

Chizadek wrote the following in the comments section of my blog:

Regarding the celibacy = continence issue. I believe Maken is mainly redefining celibacy to be continence, not the other way around, though she does seem to take an extreme meaning of continence as absence rather than control of desire as you discuss. She does not use celibacy in the dictionary sense. It seems that the idea is that celibacy means whatever the gift of celibacy entails.

I believe that Matthew Henry had a control rather than absence view of the gift, but didn't realise that Calvin was the same. I wonder what support there is for a historical no-desire view of the gift? Your analysis is helpful, thanks.

I really hope we can get my article out to Reformed Christians so that we can keep the Mandatory Marriage Movement from getting a historical foothold. If we can show it to be a-historical as well as unbiblical we can take away any argument that they might use.

Thanks to both of you for your comments!