I read your recent letter “A Letter to My Brothers” and have been processing it over a number of days. In it you say around October 2016 – “[You] came face to face with one of the most demoralizing realizations of [your] adult life: Scripture was not the reason for the colossal disregard and disrespect of women among many of these men. It was only the excuse. Sin was the reason. Ungodliness.”
I’ve taken to heart your encouragement to increase my awareness “of some of the skewed attitudes many of [my] sisters encounter.” I agree with you that I should “have no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in [my] spheres of influence.” As you mention, this sin is an ungodly perversion of God’s design for manhood and womanhood driven by sinful desire to protect positions of power. I’m asking God to keep my eyes wide open.
As I have been doing so, I was a bit surprised to hear your call to men given your recent and widely broadcasted confession that your life has been marked by this ungodliness. You recently prayed a public prayer saying, “Lord, I repent of ways I’ve been complicit in and contributed to misogyny & sexism in the church by my cowardly and inordinate deference to male leaders in order to survive rather then simply, appropriately respecting them as my brothers.” You detail a few examples of how this has marked your ministry in your recent letter.
Your far reaching public repentance in the wake of “one of the most demoralizing realizations of [your] adult life,” signals how serious this sin has been in your life. I was grieved to hear that you have abused women rather than served them; and manipulated men out of a lust for surviving in powerful positions rather than nurturing strength and leadership from worthy men.
I whole-heartedly forgive you.
Even so I’ve had trouble reconciling your tone in your letter with the very serious confession you recently made. In our age, misogyny takes the form of machismo, but it may even more often take the shape of silence toward women who may be going down a bad path. There are all sorts of selfish reasons for our silence, and our disingenuous apologies.
All to say, I genuinely want to appeal to you as a mother in Israel. I ask you to think over the incongruity between your public prayer of repentance along with the tone of your recent letter and the godly sorrow of 2 Corinthians 7. Has your misogyny and your perverse inclination toward men had the prideful protection of your career at its heart? If so, how can you put this sin to death? It is my hope to see you fully restored, trusting in God’s protection so that you might regain the moral standing necessary to teach faithfully.
I am holding out hope that your sins you’ve publicly acknowledged perhaps are not as significant as you’ve made them appear. There’s a chance you’re simply signaling to others a problem you see with them. Although I think that comes with its own set of problems, I would rejoice if that were all this is. But if your address to our Lord on Twitter was genuine, and the sin you are repenting of has pride at its heart, then your action seems very close to praying on the street corner.
There is forgiving and sanctifying grace in Christ! More than enough for us. I have written plainly because you have publicly acknowledged these things and are a teacher of many believers. I have written very much aware that “[You were] getting up before dawn to pray and to pore over the Scriptures when [I was] still in [my] pull ups.” I have written in an effort to take your counsel and “have no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in [my] spheres of influence.” I have prayed for you today, that God would bless you and you would be a shining example to others. I hope you receive this reply in the benevolent spirit in which it has been written.
Your brother in Christ,