Misogyny in the Church

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The Roys Report
Misogyny in the Church
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Do women need to maintain a certain weight and aspire to look like Melania Trump to keep their husbands happy? And is “weight control” the solution to women’s marital problems?

A pastor at a General Baptist Church in Missouri actually preached that on a recent Sunday morning—a sign that misogyny is alive and well in the church.

On this episode of The Roys Report, Julie discusses misogyny in the church with author and speaker, Aimee Byrd. Aimee knows about misogyny first-hand and has been the target of cyberbullying  by leaders and pastors within her own denomination.

Julie and Aimee explore why the Missouri pastor’s sermon is so hurtful towards women and what needs to be done to change the objectification and belittling of women in the church. They also talk about Aimee’s pursuit of church discipline against those who bullied her and the systemic misogyny she encountered.

Transcript

SPEAKERS
AIMEE BYRD, MICHAEL SPANGLER, JULIE ROYS, PASTOR STEWART ALAN CLARK, ASH GUIGES

JULIE ROYS 00:04
Do women need to maintain a certain weight and aspire to look like Melania Trump to keep their husbands happy? A pastor actually preached that on a recent Sunday morning, a sign that misogyny is alive and well in the church. Welcome to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And today I’m going to be talking about misogyny in the church. And if you heard that abysmal sermon by Pastor Stewart Alan Clark, you’re well aware that misogyny is an issue in the church. I’ll be playing clips from Pastor Clark sermon in just a few minutes, but what he said was atrocious. At one point, he affirms a husband who has a divorce weight for his wife, Pastor Clark urges wives to wear makeup and perfume so they aren’t, quote, ugly and stink. It was absolutely awful. But I suppose if pastor Clark’s outrageous statements were an anomaly, I wouldn’t be hosting this podcast. But sadly, scores of Christian women have been commenting on social media saying they’ve heard the same attitudes in the church numerous times. And joining me today to discuss this issue is someone who has been the target of this kind of gross misogyny . Her name’s Aimee Byrd. She’s a blogger, speaker and the author of Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. And over the past couple of years, Aimee has been the target of breathtaking cyberbullying. And the worst part of it is that the people bullying her included elders and pastors in her own denomination. As a result, Aimee has sought discipline against these bullies, and she’ll be updating us on that. And it’s a very revealing update showing how misogyny is systemic within the church. So I’m very eager to dive into my discussion with Aimee and I think it’s going to be a very revealing podcast. But first I want to take a minute just to thank the sponsors of this podcast, Judson University and Marquardt of Barrington. I so appreciate my friends at Judson University who have been tremendous supporters of the Roys Report. Judson is a top ranked Christian university providing a caring community and an excellent college experience. Plus, the school offers more than 60 majors great leadership opportunities and strong financial aid. Judson is located on a beautiful 90 acre campus just 36 miles northwest of Chicago. Judson University is shaping lives that shaped the world. For more information, just go to JudsonU.edu. Also, if you’re looking for a quality new or used car, I highly recommend my friends at Marquart of Barrington. Marquardt is a Buick GMC dealership where you can expect honesty, integrity, and transparency. That’s because the owners there Dan and Kurt Marquardt are men of integrity. To check them out. Just go to BuyACar123.com. While again Joining me is Aimee Byrd, the so called housewife theologian, Aimee is a blogger, speaker and the author of several books, including her most recent Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. So Aimee, welcome. Great to have you with me again.

AIMEE BYRD 03:02
Yeah, it’s great to be back. Thanks for having me, Julie.

JULIE ROYS 03:04
Well, Aimee, I just want to talk to you about what’s been a very tumultuous year, and several months since the last time we spoke, but before I do, I want to take a moment and just talk about the state of the church when it comes to its treatment of women. I’m sure you’ve heard this recent sermon by this Missouri pastor that I referenced where he told women that weight control is a solution for marital problems. I wish it was just you know, what he said was an anomaly. Right? And then this was just a one time, you know, this pastor’s just a little whacked out over there, Missouri, but it’s not. And I’ve seen it in the social media comments from woman after woman after woman saying, I’ve been subjected to this in my church. I’ve heard the same messages, what is going on what’s happening, that this kind of misogynistic speech is accepted and promoted in the church?

AIMEE BYRD 03:57
I know I mean, even just listening to that sermon, you could tell, well, these aren’t, he didn’t just like stick his foot in his mouth, and make like a one off comment or something you could tell that this church has been conditioned to hear, you know, this kind of speech about women because it’s, it was so dehumanizing. So it really doesn’t look at women as a gift. And that’s what I find in a lot of the underlying theology in about man and woman. And we see this a lot in the biblical manhood and so called, I should say, that book called manhood and womanhood teaching is that woman isn’t looked at as a gift, and she just belongs to the man. She’s subject to the man and so many marriage books even are telling us that, you know, we need to direct our husbands eyes to us so that they don’t look elsewhere. You know, some of the best selling marriage books are telling us this. So you know what he’s saying? He said it in a more crass way. But you know, a lot of them Underlying theology was already there, which is pretty sad.

JULIE ROYS 05:03
And we just talked about that actually in a previous podcast with Sheila Wray Gregoire, talking about this book Love and Respect that has a lot of these messages. I honestly, some people listening probably haven’t heard this pastor and you really have to hear what he says to believe it. Yeah, at least that’s how I was. But let me let me just play a clip from him. It’s a compilation of bytes from his sermon. Again, you’ve got to hear it to believe it.

PASTOR STEWART ALAN CLARK 05:30
Why is it so many times that women after they get married, let themselves go? Why is it Why they do that? No, I’m not saying every woman can be the epic, the epic trophy wife of all time, like Melania Trump. I’m not saying that at all. Not most women can’t be trophy wives. But you you know, like her. Maybe you’re maybe a participation trophy? I don’t know. But all I can say is not everybody looks like that. Amen. Never looks like that. But but you don’t need to look like a butch either. But you say, How can I do that? Oh, I’m so glad you asked that question. I’m so glad you asked that question. Because you’re in my office, you and your husband, and we’re talking about your marriage. And you’ve asked me this question about what can I do about that? All right, if you were sitting in my office, here’s the first thing I’d say to you. And boy, I hate to say that this is why I don’t do marital counseling anymore. And that is weight control. So how important is this? Let me tell you some. I have a friend. He has put her divorce weight on his wife. That’s how important this is. You know, makeup. Makeup is a good thing. You know, one little boy said, Why two girls were making perfume, you say because they they’re ugly, and they stay you don’t want to be ugly. instead. Scientists have discovered by the way, food that admission is a woman sex drive is called wedding cake. Yeah.

JULIE ROYS 07:00
Unbelievable. Again, this is a pastor at the general Baptist Church in Malden, Missouri by the name of Stewart Alan Clark, things that he said an actual sermon. And as a result, I mean of of saying these things, and it got out on Facebook. And because of social media, there’s has been a public outcry. And I believe he’s on. He’s on administrative or some sort of leave now getting professional counseling, which I think he deserves. But the thing that strikes me I mean couple things. One, the goal, he assumes that the goal is to be a trophy wife is not a trophy wife by its very nature, making us into objects, not persons.

AIMEE BYRD 07:36
Yes, again, it’s totally reductionistic and dehumanizing. And not only that, then he says you most of you can’t even be that, but you could at least be a participation. Unbelievable. In the laughter the lander kills me to hear because I mean, the humiliation for all the women in the room, and the message that it sends to them, and how it affects the men as well. How are they to grow in Christ? How is this even a sermon? I’ve heard of a sermon in my area, which was kind of the opposite. And it was an independent Baptist Church where someone I knew actually who goes to that church had lost a significant amount of weight. She was feeling really good about herself, you know, really getting into shape. And, and the pastor preached a sermon about women who lose weight rapidly, are probably having an affair.

JULIE ROYS 08:27
Wow. And that’s the thing, whether you’re speaking about women, how beautiful they are, or you’re speaking about how they need to be more beautiful, or whatever, you’re bringing attention all to their external appearance, which when you say scripture, I want one guy said on social media, which if you see the video of this guy has a big open Bible that he’s holding the whole time. He’s like, sir, you’re opening a Bible, I suggest you use it. Yes, this does show how sermons have degenerated where there’s, there’s like hardly any biblical content. And these pastors are trying to be stand up comics and not very good ones. But again, it’s bringing attention to women as objects instead of persons. And there’s also again, if you see the video, and incredible double standard, because this pastor who’s speaking, happens to be overweight, and to speak the way he does. It was like, it’s okay for a man to be overweight, but not a woman to be overweight. Why is there this double standard?

AIMEE BYRD 09:24
Well, and that’s just that, I mean, we could, it’s so easy, I think, because it’s so basic, what is wrong, is, quote unquote, sermon to pick it apart. And yet, it’s this underlying theology of this male superiority and female inferiority, and that the woman exists for the man’s pleasure, right? And so which is so opposite of what the story of our bodies is really telling, which is the great joy in which Christ received the gift of his bride, the church. And you see that he is the first to love and the first sacrifice and the First to give. And if you look at the great picture of that in the Song of Songs, he’s just piling on the delightful compliments to her, you know of how he delights in her. And it’s just so opposite of any of the biblical language.

JULIE ROYS 10:16
Well, and the thing I thought about too, is not just the women in the room, but the girls in the room.

AIMEE BYRD 10:22
I know. Yeah.

JULIE ROYS 10:24
I mean, I thought of my own daughter, you know, if she had been there, I mean, she’s 18. Now, but if she had been there, like when she was 12, or 13, or 14, I mean, they’re the body image problems that girls have today, are, are just shocking. And the pressure because of I think our visual society and the social media and everything has made it it made it even more intense. But our daughters, how do we protect them from these kind of messages?

AIMEE BYRD 10:53
It’s ridiculous to have to think that you have to protect them during the Sunday sermon. Right? Right. I mean, it’s outrageous. I don’t understand how the whole congregation sits under that preaching either though, like, if I was there, I know my husband would be the first one to stand up and be like we’re leaving, you know, we’re not going to sit under this.

JULIE ROYS 11:13
Well, as I said, this is not an anomaly a one time thing, and you are subject to an incredible amount of cyber bullying. And I would say the root of all of this is misogyny. And I’m not just talking about hatred of women, I’m talking even about hatred of the feminine. I mean, to hate what is uniquely woman what makes us women, again, you endure this horrible cyber bullying. And it was when you published your latest book. Now I know it was going on for a while, but it became especially virulent. When you published your book recovering from biblical manhood and womanhood. What was it about that book that really unleashed this vitriol?

AIMEE BYRD 11:56
Yeah, you know, it was leading up to the book, my book before that was on friendship between the sexes, and you know, they had even gone so far as you know, that book was called Why can’t we be friends? And, you know, there was a circulation to an anonymous account that they were sharing on, didn’t even comments of the cover of my book being changed to why can’t we be naked? And they took like the clothes off of the cartoon characters on the cover of my book, and then said, I forget that subtitle was something else crazy, too. So I mean, like, they were doing that kind of stuff before it. I don’t think it had escalated yet to like calling ahead of my speaking engagements and like doing more plotting offensively against me, aside from just online. But, yeah, this book, recovering from biblical manhood and womanhood, since I was interacting, like more directly with the Council of biblical manhood and womanhood teaching. I think that that definitely struck a nerve with them, like and even the way that the word biblical is being used. They take it as you know, I don’t want to be feminine, you know, according to what their categories of feminine are, and that I’m rejecting femininity. And the other part, which is the strangest part to me, is that the book is about discipleship. And all of my writing has been focused on discipleship. And as a woman, you know, at first, when I began, began writing, I wanted to encourage women as disciples in the church, like, Hey, we’re theologians, too. We should care about the resources we’re getting and our own level of theology, but what we know to be true about who God is, we shouldn’t be settling for like the theology light stuff. That was acceptable. But then when, when it came to putting that into, like, well, how does that look in the church? Then if women are disciples to, you know, how are we how are we investing in the women? How are the men and women serving together? Well as brothers and sisters, well, then that’s where all these invisible fences I found were, and even not so invisible in some of the teaching, then coming out of the Council for Biblical manhood and womanhood. So it became like a danger. I was branded as dangerous for talking about women, as disciples, active disciples in the church. And you know, it’s a slippery slope, I must have a secret agenda to turn everybody into quote, unquote, evangelical feminists and start promoting female pastors. And then the next thing, you know, LBGT, accepting into the ministry and things like that. So there’s this fear of like the secret agenda, and of the woman’s voice. I feel like in general, the woman’s voice is threatening, it must be managed.

JULIE ROYS 14:40
Well, and the crazy thing is, is that you’re not promoting women as pastors, you’re not an egalitarian, no, to make you into a feminist would be to really distort what feminism means. I’ve read what you’ve written. You You’re not a feminist. You’re very opposite of the feminist. I mean, the feminists that mean at the core would say that The males and females have interchangeable roles. And that’s not what you’re saying. But you are raising the dignity and the worth of women to truly be equal participants in the kingdom. And that is threatening. And I think what’s even more threatening is that you’re dangerous to those who are holding to, I would say extra biblical ideas about women, and of passing them off as biblical. And sadly, that’s happened in really mainstream circles. And so you become dangerous. I found this, Amy, that when when I get the most pushback, it’s because yeah, I’m threatening something that somebody wants to preserve. And I’m speaking the truth, where there have been lies, or there has been manipulation and deception, and then you’ve been you do become a very dangerous person. And what’s interesting to me, is I get labeled, I get labeled a feminist, shocking, the same exact thing. I just recently, a YouTuber found a video of a talk that I gave at a conference. And then he tweeted that this wicked woman preacher has shown herself to be an unstable double minded truth twister.

AIMEE BYRD 16:05
Oh, my I’m so sorry.

JULIE ROYS 16:07
Well, it out. And I’ll tell you what, it’s become more virulent as I published articles critical of John MacArthur. So

AIMEE BYRD 16:15
Yes, I imagine so

JULIE ROYS 16:16
I’m not blaming John MacArthur for that. But I’m saying, right, the people who follow him, the people who support him, it doesn’t seem to matter what I’m publishing about. They want to use feminist and feminism as something to attack me.

AIMEE BYRD 16:32
Yeah. And it’s their fear words, and so that it brands you as dangerous that something they need to protect the church from it. villainized as you and so it’s interesting, because they’re the ones using all this emotional language. Right, right.

JULIE ROYS 16:50
And worthy emotional ones.

AIMEE BYRD 16:52
Yeah, they project so much, and, but it’s a way to dismiss you, and then have others be afraid. I know, once, you know, and I see stuff, it’s so weird to see stuff written about yourself like that. It’s totally misrepresents your not only your writing, but you know, also your motivation. You know, one time somebody had recommended my book, and somebody wrote underneath, oh, you know, I heard that she’s dangerous, you know, all this other stuff. And there I am reading it, you know, and so I just commented underneath and said, Well, I guess I am kind of dangerous for those who want to think for themselves and read for themselves, and then compare that to Scripture. Exactly. I mean, imagine that, but that’s dangerous.

JULIE ROYS 17:32
Well, truth tellers have always been dangerous. And they have always been villainized. And so I guess, I guess that’s part of it. Let me turn it back to you know, what happened to you and what you’ve done done since because we covered a lot of what was done to you, as far as that bullying. And you mentioned the Genevan Commons, It was a private Facebook group where, you know, a lot of this happened, you have sought some discipline against those who were a part of that. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

AIMEE BYRD 18:00
Yes. So like I said, it’s been going on for years. And I kept wondering, like, this group Genevan Commons, it’s made up of a lot of church officers throughout . . . , which are the, you know, reformed denominations in North America, and, but it was, the administrators were in my own denomination, the OPC. So, you know, your, as a public writer, and author and writing about something that is, you know, a controversial, I’m going to expect pushback, I’m going to expect critique and, and even jerks on the internet. But, um, these are church officers, and they’re calling names, they’re harassing they’re, you know, making plots to ruin my Amazon page or call ahead of my speaking engagements and calling churches and warning them, you know, guard your families, and even the mocking it was it was definitely crossing a big line, you know, they’re doing memes with me as a transgender woman, and, you know, things like that, you know, I start thinking like, surely officers in my denomination, and in these other denominations are going, you know, first I confront them and say, Hey, your officers in a denomination in my denomination like this is beyond critique. name calling is a character issue here, and it’s breaking the ninth commandment, and you really shouldn’t do that. And I get like, blocked and all this other stuff. And so then I think, well, surely, other officers are going to see this and be bothered, you know, pastors and, and elders are doing this and nothing’s happening over years. Then they escalate to the point where, you know, it’s become more misogynistic. So my own elders decide, well, these guys aren’t in our presbytery, which is like you should handle things like within your own presbytery, if you can. And explain that. What’s the presbytery? Yeah, so I’m Presbyterian, and so I have the elders and my church which makeup which called like together when they act as as a session, but then there’s like, geographically they make up a presbytery where they’re accountable to, you know, all these elders ruling elders, and pastors come together and they have a governing board like, and then they meet like maybe four times a year, I’m not quite sure. And then there’s a general assembly above that. So like if I had a complaint or something and took it to my elders, and I didn’t agree with their decision, I could take it to the presbytery level. And I could even appeal to the General Assembly.

JULIE ROYS 20:34
And I will say this, I mean, this is where I think the Presbyterian Church is unique in evangelicalism, because most churches, there’s nothing you can appeal to, except for the elder board, which usually is a part of the local body. And, and usually, I hate to say it, but in the back pocket of the senior ambassador, so if it’s an elder or pastor who’s sinning against you, it can become very difficult, but the Presbyterian Church does have this ruling body so that you do have somebody to appeal to and you did appeal, or your church did. So continuing with that story.

AIMEE BYRD 21:06
So some of my elders, along with another OPC, Pastor, filed charges against three of the men in Genevan Commons who were administrators, and some of the worst offenders although there’s there’s plenty of others. Yeah. But they they focused on these three loud, loud men. And because it is it’s overwhelming, how do you address this whole thing. So they they filed charges. And during that time of waiting for the presbytery meeting and the charges to be looked at the president of the south east, all three of those men were from that presbytery, they decided to put together and this is after I kind of went public with sharing a website that put together, you know, tons of screenshots of these men harassing after that was made public. And over 90 OPC officers signed an open letter that was published on my blog, I’m calling, you know, for these men to repent. So a committee was formed. So a set of them filing charges, they formed a study committee to see like to look into the Genevan Commons, and if there’s anything wrong with it, and during that time with the Study Committee, two months go by and they never contact any of the victims. Hmm. It was just blows my mind, you know?

JULIE ROYS 22:28
So they never talked to you.

AIMEE BYRD 22:30
They don’t want to talk to me until after two months. This time, I know they had already been calling signers of the open letter. You know, it’s just very strange.

JULIE ROYS 22:39
And during this time, is this when Michael Spangler preached this sermon on perfect hatred?

AIMEE BYRD 22:45
Oh, yeah. After the assignors of the letter was published, because he brings them up in the sermon,

JULIE ROYS 22:51
Right? Yeah. And I’ve got a clip of that. And he talks about you

AIMEE BYRD 22:55
Yeah, he preaches this sermon on Psalm 139. And there’s so many things to pull from right that beautiful, Psalm 139. And he decides to preach on perfect hatred. It was jaw dropping the sermons full of despair. It’s full of how you need to have, you know, your perfect love for God requires perfect hatred for God’s enemies. And he calls things like excommunication an act of hatred, or discipline in the home, an act of hate, perfect hatred. And when he gets to his applications, why we need to stand up in perfect hatred to God’s enemies. And he refers to feminism in the OPC. Like, this is where we need to direct our perfect hatred. And interestingly, you know, he’s already written a five part series on how I’m like the General of the Army of feminism, etc.

JULIE ROYS 23:49
Let me let me play that clip so people can hear it I have that and it is, is breathtaking

MICHAEL SPANGLER 23:55
It’s a great temptation, even in our opposition to the wicked, to hedge to fudge to give a little bit, but that’s why this text calls us not just to hatred, but to perfect hatred. Unless we think that this trouble is only outside of us. In our own denomination, There have been many godly men who have stood up firmly against an encroaching error in our own church, that of feminism. And recently, dozens of officers in our church signed a letter that lied about those men and said awful things about them, including that they hate women. They do not hate women. They hate feminism. And those who stubbornly frowordly support it. I asked you my friends, when you see these things, Are you ashamed of the stand for righteousness? Or are you ashamed of the hatred of those who take that stand?

JULIE ROYS 25:11
Wow. Like you’ve heard hate the sin and love the sinner? He’s saying Hate the sin and hate the sinner, and you and everyone else that he’s labeled a feminist are the sinner to hate?

AIMEE BYRD 25:26
Oh, I mean, he’s been coming after me, like leading up to that sermon like, I’m the queen bee feminist and the biggest danger in the . . . church. So, I mean, basically, he’s calling the congregation to hate me with a holy, perfect hatred.

JULIE ROYS 25:40
That is, it has to be the most toxic sermon I’ve ever heard in my entire life. And this is evil, to take scripture and manipulate it into a call to hatred is one of the most violent, manipulative things I’ve ever heard. And yet, here’s the stunning thing is that you pursued discipline against Spangler, and several of them man, you said three men, he was one of them. Your denomination heard this message, it was sent to them. They didn’t get real bent out of shape about this message. But what really bent them out of shape was something else that Spangler did, which was challenging their authority that got them really upset, but this not so much.

AIMEE BYRD 26:24
Yes, I will distinguish that there, you know, are a number of church officers in my denomination who were very concerned when they heard that sermon to the point where you know, they wanted that to be one of the charges. But yes, Michael Spangler and Cheney Anderson wrote a letter to their congregation, which is very un-Presbyterian. And, and they wrote this letter defending themselves and kind of throwing the the presbytery under the bus and challenging the authority of the presbytery. So that’s what angered the presbytery. And that’s when they said, you know what we should take over these charges. They called the original signers of the original charges and said, it will be stronger coming from us we’ve got stronger charges we can put together. And one of those charges was about the sermon about perfect hatred. So there were three charges. One was for sowing discord and the church by publicly disparaging the governance of the presbytery. So that was violating the fifth commandment. So that was for offending them for writing that letter, the second charges, they reduced Oh, of the harassment, all of the sermons, the phone calls, everything that they’ve done articles. And it wasn’t just against me, it was against multiple people, you know, I guess their biggest target, but they’ve done some pretty horrible things. All of that got reduced from the original charge, to just publicly revealing and detracting from the good names of Miss Aimee Byrd and Miss Rachel Miller. And the specification was reduced down to two words for calling us ruthless wolves.

JULIE ROYS 28:06
That’s right and, and it seemed like what what they didn’t like about that was they they were equating that with saying you’re not a believer, if you’re a wolf, you must be not a believer and that’s

AIMEE BYRD 28:17
Jezebel, just go ahead and call her Jezebel just go ahead and call it feminist outrage. You know, guarding your family, in churches, you know, she’s dangerous and all those things, it’s fine, but um, and so then the third charge, they did have a third charge for not loving his neighbor and they use that sermon as the specification. When it got to presbytery that charge got dropped because it was too vague. The whole sermon got dropped as evidence.

JULIE ROYS 28:52
That’s kind of like the second most important, man. Wow. Well, and here’s here’s the thing when the ruling body met and this this is something that we normally don’t get is sort of a view to the thinking behind how everything went on but, but there is a video on Facebook of ash. I don’t know that the pronunciation of his last name, but it’s about GUIGES so gauges, gauges, I don’t know. He he got up as a ruling elder in the OPC. And he said about writing that letter, and basically challenging the authority of the presbytery. He says out of all the things that have been done that that perfect hatred sermon out of all the horrible names have been called out of just nasty, nasty, hateful stuff. He said and I quote the ruling elder in that teaching elder sent out a letter that was absolutely inappropriate. It undermined the authority of the church and undermine the pastor. It undermined the relationship with the presbytery to the church of the charges that were presented. That was the more dangerous charge when you look at how it affects the church immediately.

AIMEE BYRD 30:00
He was describing the next meeting where they actually had the trial. And so he was found guilty for that one. And he was made to apologize. And he was given a two year suspension, definite suspension from preaching from the Office for doing that. And then for charge two, which was the one with the rabid, ruthless wolves, he was admonished not doesn’t even have to apologize. doesn’t even have to apologize.

JULIE ROYS 30:29
Unbelievable.

AIMEE BYRD 30:30
Yeah, it’s just what’s the message there about what, who was valued?

JULIE ROYS 30:36
The church authorities.

AIMEE BYRD 30:37
Valued his authority and the power are not the people under their care.

JULIE ROYS 30:41
Right? And how about half of their church that happens to be female?

AIMEE BYRD 30:45
The people. I mean, it’s the very people they’re called. I mean, I just feel like the way that we treat our women reveals what our eschatological expectation of joy is we so show forth, where we’re headed as the bride of the collective Bride of Christ, it all boils back down to our theology, I really think so. And where we think we’re headed,

JULIE ROYS 31:06
Sometimes I wonder, does it boil down to our theology? Or does our theology has it been informed by our personal biases and sins, and, you know, our own misogyny, I really do wonder that and and I say this as somebody who’s not egalitarian who’s leans complementarian, although I will say this, when I see the way that complementarian men treat women, it, it makes me not want to have anything to do with that label.

AIMEE BYRD 31:34
And it’s certainly not complementarian.

JULIE ROYS 31:36
It’s not, it’s not honoring, I mean, I happen to go to a church where it is complementarian, and where our pastor, and there’s one of the most blessing things a pastor can do, I think, is every now and then he will say, we need to hear from the women in the church, and he’ll call up women that he knows and you know, just speak with authority, because of their walk with the Lord, and they will come up and they will speak to the church and have words for the church that the church needs to hear. And sometimes they need to hear from the mothers of the church, right. And it’s so healthy, but it’s so affirming, and to see the way that he he clearly listens to his wife, his wife is so wise. And and that is just so affirming. But but that is rare. I hate to say it, but I found that it’s very rare in complementarian circles. And if complementarians want to, you know, include increase their influence, they would best do it by starting to treat women the way that women should be honored and treated.

AIMEE BYRD 32:35
Yeah, I mean, a female voice is often so limited. suspect it’s, it’s not given any agency to even speak truth about abuse. And a lot of times, and often, the valuable insights, like you’re talking about are ignored. And that’s one thing I really appreciate about your podcast, Julie is that, you know, you invite in all the voices. And that’s so valuable.

JULIE ROYS 32:59
Well, and I found to hearing directly from women involved and things like this, and not like I just have women on my podcast either. But, but now hearing voices. Yeah, but hearing from victims has been something that I’ve really wanted to do and healing hearing from women who have really important perspectives that often don’t, aren’t given the platform that should be so important.

AIMEE BYRD 33:21
Well, and I just really think about and you know, my whole experience going through this because, you know, when you are the subject of a trial like this, and I have been on a couple occasions now. Man, it is so devaluing, to go through, and even the eyes that are dotted and the T’s that are crossed become like these symbols of how, you know, all this abuse that’s been heaped against you has been parsed into these, you know, little little clips, and it all hangs on whether those clips are the good enough ones, and it all comes at at your costs, because you know, I’ve had to, I’ve had to fight back the whole time to get anything done. And and then the result is, is so disparaging. And and so you know, it’s just really made me look at the whole system. And how hard it is like, you know, I have a wonderful husband, who has been by my side supporting me through all of this, and I’m hearing I’m hearing from women like this, where it’s the husband who’s abusive, he might be a deacon, he might be an elder, she comes forward and she has no support. And you know, you’re told to trust in the system, right? But you don’t have a voice and then you Oh, you should file a complaint against the session then to the presbytery, right, then that sound Well, how you’re going to do that when the very place you got to come back to your house. None of that safe. So it’s, I really think that the woman’s voice needs to be sought more through the process. There’s no care for the victims, but there’s also These, these men don’t have the same eyes, they don’t see from the same perspective that we do, and how the system itself is hurting us.

JULIE ROYS 35:11
Well, and I wonder, even as you’re describing it, we talk a lot about now we become aware that, that racism can be systemic, it can be just woven into the entire system, and those of us who are white may not see it, because we’ve never been subject to it. Right. So we just, we don’t notice it, because it doesn’t happen to us. We need to see through their eyes. You know, we need to hear their voices. And, and same with the women and you know, all the marginalized people, you know, it’s hurting God’s church, and how are we going to grow? There’s so much fruit we’re missing out on. And I just feel too, like, you know, I hear from these women who are, you know, reaching out to me now, who have been badly spiritually abused and OPC. And, you know, some of them want to share their stories now, they see that I have, you know, spoken out and they think maybe now’s the time for them. And it keeps me up at night. But, you know, I just want like, why aren’t the church officers up at night? Worried about this stuff? Because they’re the ones actually accountable for our souls, you know, like for shepherding them? Yeah. Well, it does keep you up at night. I mean, I hear not within the LPC, generally orthodox Presbyterian Church for those who are wondering what that is. I don’t hear those those particular stories, but I hear the stories of victims, and it does keep you up at night. And, and it does really give me passion for what I do, I’m sure give you passion for what you do.

AIMEE BYRD 36:37
Yes.

JULIE ROYS 36:37
I want to play this clip by this ash gauges, because he’s a very reasonable sounding person.

AIMEE BYRD 36:45
Yeah. And this is a Sunday school the following Sunday, right explaining this to Sunday school class.

JULIE ROYS 36:51
Right? Basically, he says that he has very little problem with these nasty things said about you, because you’re a feminist. And and that’s really bad. And we talked about vilifying people just need to hear this. Yeah,

ASH GUIGES 37:07
If you recall that the issue at hand had to do with five articles that were written against by this teaching elder against feminism, I want to make it clear. The presbytery as a whole understands the evil, the danger, the heresy that is perpetrated by feminism in the church. This is not a small thing. This is one of the greatest dangers that the church faces today. It’s just another theme on the continuous perpetration of sin. In the church. In one era, it was well, is the version birth real? In another era? It is? Is Christ truly divine? In another era, it is is the Bible. Absolutely true. And from there, is Paul, a male chauvinist, or is he the apostle of God’s speaking God’s Word? And now it is, does it really mean what you think it means? When the Scripture teaches? what it teaches concerning the officers of the church, and the teaching of the Church? This is a heinous sin. But do two wrongs make a right? No, they don’t. And so when a man in our midst proceeds to call a member in good standing, a wolf that has consequences.

JULIE ROYS 38:42
Okay, so so you’re basically the most evil person in the world because you Yeah, are aligned with this evil thing that he doesn’t really define. I’ve read your book. And and I would be, you know, the first to say that his sexuality and gender and the confusion in our culture, probably the major area where the church is getting attacked. Yeah, I would agree with that. I mean, it’s awful what’s going on when you have beautiful girls mutilating their bodies when they’re 12 years old, to become something that God didn’t make them? That’s an awful, awful evil, and to make someone hate their own body, that guy created that much. I think that is evil. However, what you write in your book is nowhere even close to that it doesn’t undermine anything that I’ve seen in Scripture, all I see is that it calls out a very important truth about our theology being rooted in something true and it talks about discipling women, which is that not what what Jesus told us to do when he gave us the Great Commission. He didn’t say apparently that’s a heinous thing. I go into all the world and disciple only the men and if you do the women, then it’s a heinous sin. I mean, what on earth

AIMEE BYRD 39:58
I feel like it That kind of patriarchy that that is hurting the churches witness to the suffering people in the world Yes, with their sexuality. And you know, that’s part of my argument is that we’re not getting behind the meaningfulness of our sex and the beauty of it. You know, their teaching isn’t beautiful, because it isn’t godly. Right. And but then yet, you know, here this is, it’s interesting, because he contradicts himself. He calls what I’m teaching a heinous sin. And then he calls me an upstanding, good member, a member of Good Standing. And there’s a reason why the reason why is because, you know, the OPC itself has written a report on women in the church, back in 1988. Okay, so a while ago, and my my writing my quote, unquote, teaching is way more in line with the report of women in the church, they even distinguish between special office and general office and give tons of latitude and freedom for women in the church in general, exercising general office and teaching even adult Sunday school. So with men and women, so that’s the OPC report on women in the church. And yet, you’ve got this extreme patriarchal teaching, acting like I’m the danger to my denomination that you know, anything they haven’t writing on it is far from what they’re saying.

JULIE ROYS 41:22
So where do you go with your denomination? And there’s a ton of women listening right now, and they may not be in the OBC. They may be in a totally different denomination, they may be in a non denomination, but but they’re, they’re in it. And you’ve seen this, okay, let’s just call it systemic misogyny throughout your, your denomination. How do you deal with that?

AIMEE BYRD 41:46
Well, that’s the million dollar question, right? It’s like, do I stay. But you know, it is in a lot of denominations right now, it is a big problem. I’m in a church with a wonderful community of people. I have good communication with my elders. So I feel like providentially that I should stay and follow through with some of this. And then providentially I’m hearing these other stories. And so I mean, my wish, because my goals are bigger than, you know, I think sharing your stories are important. It’s for healing, you know, and for bringing darkness to light, because it’s gonna keep happening. But my goals are bigger than that, too. I would love to see the theology being addressed because it’s getting pumped out of seminaries, about the ontological authority of man over a woman. And I would love to see pastors being trained in how to spot abuse, and how to navigate through that when they do spotted. I’d love for there to be more of an emphasis on character when it comes to ordaining pastors and elders, because it seems like there’s such a hyper analysis on getting you’re checking the boxes on certain theological issues, at the expense of really examining character issues. I would love to actually look back at the system that’s used for for church discipline, and do some reform. I’m not saying hey, let’s throw out the book of church order. For the Presbyterians, I’m just saying, there are some easy things that we could put in to help for reform and for actually caring for the victims. This is what I want to explore. I think that we are at a point where it’s way past a few bad apples. I think that it’s time to hire outside professional help, that can actually do investigative looking into some of these stores, invite victims, men and women, you know, spiritual abuse to say, this is where you can come forward. This is where you’ll be heard, this is where it’s going to be investigated. Even if you’ve left the denomination because you had zero support, like we’re trying to do an assessment to not just an investigation, I would love the OPC to say, we can do better. And we have to do better like this. Where’s Christ and what’s happening here? And so let’s make this right. Let’s reconcile let’s reform. As you know, the Reformed Church loves to say that we always need continual reforming to Scripture, because the church is full of sinners. And no system is perfect. And we’re putting the system above the people. We’re putting the institution above the people. And I think that it’s a sign of great love and humility to say we need help. Hmm.

JULIE ROYS 44:25
Well, and it’s becoming more and more common for churches to bring in third parties like godly response to abuse in the Christian environment, Grace, they do an outstanding job or we’re seeing different groups coming in and beginning to expose things and train the church how to respond to victims, but I think to training the church how to spot misogyny because this is just a really great sound to the theology. Yeah. Hmm. If you could boil it down to just one thing. theologically, what would you say is the most important thing that churches need to know brace to really value women the way that Jesus does.

AIMEE BYRD 45:05
One thing. Well, Mike, the one thing that is the problem is the anthropology and an ontology, like the very essence of man and woman, it’s being taught. And you know, this is old as Aristotle, it’s just been repackaged, and like velvet has been put on it, of male superiority. And now instead of saying, women are defective men, therefore are inferior to them. Now we’re using this word roles, which isn’t in Scripture, roles are about playing apart, you know, not to say that we don’t play different parts in our lives. But that’s not our ontology. And so I don’t have this submissive role that I’m supposed to put on all the time. The project I’m working on now that I’m publishing with Zondervan, next next spring, is called the sexual reformation. And it’s the subtitle is restoring the dignity and personhood of both man and woman. And I really think we need that I think we need a reformation on our understanding of sexuality, the meaningfulness behind our sexuality, not just what we can do and not do, that’s what we talked like both sides, the conservative side is roles. And then the egalitarian side is Oh, no, we can all do everything. But no one’s talking about the meaningfulness behind our sexuality, and what that points to what you know, what is the topology here, that I think is so important to even helping us with the real suffering that is going on in in the ethical part of it, then whether we’re talking about same sex attraction, or whether we’re talking about adultery and pornography, and then the whole transgender movement, like, we do need to be able to speak to these things. And I think that there’s something much more beautiful to uncover here.

JULIE ROYS 46:50
Absolutely. I mean, that is that is so key, it just kills me that it’s like we’ve missed the forest for the trees, right? We’re so focused on what we do and don’t do like, like God made men and women different, just so he could tell half of them what they can’t do. I mean, it’s, it’s unbelievable to me, and yet we miss when I ask people, what is the essential what what did God make? Why did he make two genders? Is it simply for procreation? Or is there something deeper richer behind that, and people just give me the, you know, deer in the headlights? Look, pastors can be a deer in the headlights. And if we, if we don’t figure that out, and we don’t see what’s beautiful, and embrace what’s beautiful about the difference between men and women, and what we uniquely bring to the table that’s beyond what we do and don’t do. We’re never going to get this right. So man, I love what you do. Amy, I could talk to you for like hours and hours about this, because we’re both passionate about it. But I so appreciate what you’ve written, the theological engagement that you’ve done. And I just wish you the best as you try to stand up to misogyny there in the OPC. Church, you’re doing a wonderful job, but thank you for what you’re doing. Really, really appreciate it.

AIMEE BYRD 48:00
Oh, thanks. It’s always a pleasure to talk with you, Julie. And I appreciate being invited back on.

JULIE ROYS 48:05
Well, we’ll have to do it again. Because you have a lot to say and a lots happening with you. But we will do that. Well, and thanks so much for listening to the Roys report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. If you’d like to find me online, just go to JulieRoys.com. Also, please subscribe to The Roys Report on Apple podcasts or Google podcasts. That way, you’ll never miss an episode. And while you’re at it, I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us spread the word about the podcast by leaving a review. And then if you would share the podcast on social media so more people can hear about it. We really appreciate that as well. Again, thanks for joining me today. Hope you have a great day and God bless.

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39 thoughts on “Misogyny in the Church”

  1. Glorianne Schott

    The comments of this pastor was particularly concerning to me was because my daughter has a serious eating disorder. There are many misconceptions about eating disorders. His views are out of bounds on so many levels. And it goes against what is now know about health and size.

    1. I don’t think the ridiculous sermon by a pastor nobody heard of before this indicates misogyny is alive and well in the church. Typically that word is used with a false accusation against Christians who follow God’s commandments about gender roles and are the opposite of misogynistic, while those falsely accusing Christians tend to be the actual misogynists who view women as see objects or commodities.

      1. “misogynists who view women as see objects or commodities”

        Like a man telling wives to take as their model a literal nude model, so as to goose their husbands’ genital urge?

        Bizarro world …

  2. This sounds like a SNL skit. When I first heard it I thought it was a joke. Someone please take this guys preaching credentials away from him!

  3. John Carpenter

    I have heard pastors make similar statements, thinking they were helping the wives, because, let’s face it, men are very visual creatures. But that’s no excuse for being completely tone deaf and offending half their congregation. Run him out of town on a rail!

    FYI: your transcription program rendered “misogyny” as “massage Annie.”

      1. Another error in the transcript – you’re name is spelled incorrectly when you state your web address. “If you’d like to find me online, just go to Julie ROI spelled ROI s.com.”

  4. I think the more fundamentalist a church is, the more you probably see this sort of thing. In the ancient societies in which the bible was originally written, patriarchy was an unquestioned given (as was slavery). In the Torah, it’s pretty inescapable that women were considered property. So the council Paul gives concerning women needs to be interpreted in the context of the societal norms of that time. Otherwise, you do lose sight of the forest for the trees. Did Jesus come to earth, die, and rise from the dead, to put women in their place? Is that the gospel?

    Also, I would add, I suspect many of the folks in these churches hear words like “Misogyny” and “Patriarchy” as trigger words, and will simply label you a liberal and stop listening.

  5. Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark disgusts me and, like Aimee, I fail to understand why anyone would waste their precious time listening to this neanderthal. Similarly, I don’t see why anyone would remain in the OPC as they don’t seem to treat women any better. I understand Aimee likes her local church leadership, but I believe I would have to depart the denomination.

    When it comes to obtaining a fair hearing it doesn’t seem to matter whether you are appealing to your local Board of Elders, whom Julie correctly stated are generally in the back pocket of the senior pastor, or a presbytery comprised of men from several churches who are long-time cronies. Either way, justice is denied. There must be a better way of “doing church.”

    Anyway, great podcast. I greatly admire both of you ladies. Keep up your much-needed work.

    1. Curious counselor

      Some stay within these conservative denominations with a vision to move them toward greater truth. For this Aimee I’d my heroine 🙏

  6. I am trying to track where the “created order” started being used as an argument for men ruling over women… I can only track it back to George Knight the 3rd… who was also responsible for started the idea of “roles” for women, and also held the belief of ESS/eternal submission of the Son, which has been part of the underlying rationale for how women are viewed… as far as I can tell from my research so far, originally, back w the philosophers, etc, that women were inferior to men, and only males were made in the image of God, and females in the image of man, therefore men were the only ones made in God’s image and superior… then at some point it was that men ruling over women was a result of the fall… but it started shifting to “created order”/”God’s grand design” as a pre fall God ordained design in the last 50 years…

    http://www.bible-researcher.com/knight1.html

    there have been centuries of twisted theology based on traditions of the elders/man that has been undermining women in the Church… It has become systemic as subtle variations have been added into scripture to support the authority of men over women… The ESV did not help by adding “contrary” to Gen 3:16, which the root is from Susan Foh in the 60s/70s… I’m trying to find the roots of where various views started, how it became a tradition of the elders and a tradition of men, that is making God’s word null and void… Matt 15, Mark 7…

    any help is appreciated!

    1. Bev,

      That doctrine of “created order” goes back a long way to before Jesus’ day and was taught as part of the “oral law” of the Jewish Rabbis. These doctrines crept into the Church as well as Bible translations.

      I highly, highly, highly recommend “God’s Word to Women” by Katharine Bushnell, published 1921. She goes into great detail on the evolution of the verse you mentioned (Gen. 3:16), tracking how it’s meaning has changed over a 2,500 year period. Her exposition of Paul also debunks our current misunderstandings of his views on women.

      Her work and reputation have largely been buried by “the industry”, but thanks to God, I found it. It’s in the open domain now so you can download it freely. Her work has, for me, been truly eye-opening and I know why “they” would not want people reading it.

      Hoping you see this comment (perhaps a nice moderator will let you know it’s here) :-)

      God bless.

    1. True, but Exodus 21 has regulations on how a man can sell his daughter. She pretty much has no say in what happens to her.

  7. Man should be very careful with the treatment of women. God chose woman (Mary) to bear & mother His Son on earth. He didn’t have to. He could have just made Jesus, but woman, had the honor to bear Gods only Son, to tend to and cherish Him. I know this fulfilled prophecy but that still doesn’t take away from my point. Woman is very special to God.

  8. I found out about Julie Roys when she appeared on “Mortification of Spin” with Aimee Byrd, Mr. Trueman, and Mr. Pruitt. I became a fan of both ladies.

    I’m looking forward to this.

  9. I first saw this about 7 days ago on YT and the comments went nuclear.
    “Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark tells Women to Look Hotter”
    What’s a disgrace beyond what he says… His toxic rhetoric wasn’t interrupted and shut down. It was allowed. How many sat in that room allowing this? And for how many years? Bad things happen too often because it’s been allow it. It’s called apathy – when you lack motivation to do anything or just don’t care about enough to do something. No reasonable person can believe Allen Clark’s views were not known. He didn’t wake up suddenly talking like this… It’s been allowed. And those who allowed it are complicit by their silence.

  10. Steve the Engineer

    My mother, who along with my father held a complementarian view, reconciled marital realties by saying, “My husband may be the head, but I’m the neck that turns the head.” She often turned the head, sometimes with charm and other times with vinegar.

  11. It’s very accurate to point out the misogyny of Stewart-Allen Clark’s remarks and of the belief system behind them, but I think it’s important to observe that this view is also misandrist – anti-men. The flip side of viewing women as existing simply as objects for men’s consumption is viewing men as existing simply as walking arrays of appetites.

    It’s bizarre that one can be labelled a “radical feminist” for saying that God created men for a purpose other than base consumption, but that’s the environment we’re in. I’m old enough to remember when Dr. Laura Schlessinger summed up a husband’s needs as, “If I’m not horny, make me a sandwich!” and men loved that depiction of themselves.

  12. While this incident is concerning, even more concerning to me is that is seems he has been talking like this for awhile and still had a job. The church website says he has been put on leave and is getting counseling…. the church has really thrown him under the bus… all the people in the congregation have been listening to this for years and no one said anything. The entire church should be deeply ashamed and should be held responsible.

  13. Susan Vonder Heide

    Genesis 1:27 says “So God created mankind in his own image. In the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them.” Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 5:21 says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”, etc. Sexism is not a virtue (indeed it can become a false god) but a careful reading of the whole of scripture (as distinguished from a selective parroting of favorite proof texts) is a virtue.

  14. What bothers me, especially as a pastor, is what does this crap have to do with his sermon? A pastor is to preach the Gospel and not stand up there and give their opinions and fallen perspectives on things. That congregation came to hear about Christ and not some guy’s warped opinion and objectification of women. He needs to get out the pulpit and start a Youtube channel so he can spew his garbage all day without dragging the name of God into it.

    And as other people have said, the hypocrisy of the pastor being overweight is so funny it’s sad. I would have loved for someone to have grabbed a mirror and confronted him with it, “You are the (fat) man!”

    This is the American Church…

  15. I’ve been seeing this guy’s sermon on some mainstream outlets now. He may not be able to show his face in public anymore.

  16. Some things for you to consider Julie.
    Bethel OPC church in Wheaton had a split in 1989 over the issue of women reading Scripture during worship. Immanuel EPC in Warrenville is the split off church.
    From the Immanuel website:
    In those years, Bethel belonged to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). Over time, differences developed within the congregation over the participation of laity (unordained men and, especially, women) in leadership and worship. The elders sought orderly change and greater flexibility within the OPC, but without success. So, after much discussion and prayer, the church voted in 1989 to form a new Presbyterian and Reformed congregation. While a core of Bethel friends remained with the OPC, 250 members, along with the senior pastor, Robert Harvey, and the entire board of elders, chose, in obedience to God’s calling, to form a new congregation.

  17. I don’t think it’s fair to criticize this pastor until you see if he tells the husbands not to be fat and slovenly also. Some pastors pick on women, but demand little from men, while others hold husbands to high standards. I don’t agree with what he says about make up, but being overweight isn’t just about beauty–it’s a reminder of poor health and gluttony. Both men and women need to take steps to keep their weight in reasonable bounds, unless they have a brain tumor or some horrible disease that requires regular use of steroids. Almost everyone who has died of Covid-19 has been overweight or obese, except for the oldest cohort. People who are overweight get more cancer, joint problems, asthma, heart attacks etc. People are naturally repelled by obesity because it’s associated with illness. Maybe this pastor is unfair to women, but we can’t really know based on one sermon. Does he blame wives when husbands are clearly abusive and/or immoral? We don’t really know without interviewing people in the church. Sometimes the men with the most liberal attitudes about women actually treat their wives must worse than traditional men–often refusing to work for a living or cheating. This sermon is clickbait, but we don’t know enough about this pastor to conclude much of anything about how he views family or life or if he is like the abusive celebrity preachers who have been in the news.

    1. Susan Vonder Heide

      This was not an anti-gluttony sermon (and, by the way, there are many causes for obesity other than gluttony). This was an anti-woman sermon in that it criticized only women and did so in shallow reductionist terms. It was also an anti-human sermon in that it reduced human beings to their appearance by basically telling women that it was their fault if some jerk divorced them for not being thin enough to suit his arbitrary standards.

  18. This is no man of God, and the book he clutched during his “sermon” was not the Word of God. It was “His Needs Her Needs” by Dr. Harley, the source material for his message. He had to resort to that because he won’t find any Scripture to support his view of women, for “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” not a Melania-esque trophy wife. Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

  19. The group that supports the podcast, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (ACE), reportedly had been receiving pushback from its audience concerning Byrd. The group also objected to Byrd’s refusal to answer a list of questions it had sent her.

    Byrd, however, said she didn’t trust the entire interrogatory process. The questions, though posed by a colleague, were first presented to her in an online blog.

    So it should be fine for MacArthur to distrust you entire interrogatory process as well and refuse to answer your questions.

  20. Happy Women’s History Month, ladies, as you continue to make history worth remembering, for God’s glory and the benefit of His Church.

  21. This guys message, attitude and theology is repulsive. Thank you for exposing him. Women aren’t dangerous. They are glorious. Women are disciples too. And the church needs to utilize and give opportunity for the full expression of all their gifts. And, for what it is worth, I am a complimentarian with regard to male and female goals.

  22. This is what happens when a pastor starts trying to play counselor when they aren’t qualified. Most aren’t , they just think they are and have all the answers. Then they get behind the pulpit and try to be funny, again most aren’t. Worse yet they have a special ability to embellish God’s Word to the point where their message is anything but biblical.

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