Questions of Clarification from Knox’s Publication for Matt Trewhella
Welcome to the No-Neutrality podcast Jason Sanchez here. Today I will be setting forth some questions for Matt Trewhella, pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and founder of Missionary’s to the Preborn. No Matt is not in studio with me, but I do hope that he takes the time to listen and get back to us with his answers.
I want to make clear from the beginning that we at reconstructionist radio have not attacked Mr. Trewhella’s character as a husband or a father, instead our contention is with his teaching and views in the area I will address in this episode. In fact personally, I have respected and admired Mr. Trewhella for his mantra of defying tyrants wherever they may be found in the civil realm, and his bulwark stance as a voice crying out in the wilderness in defense of our preborn neighbors. But alas when a mans views and teaching is in contradistinction to the word of God, we must obey God rather than man. Because God is no respecter of persons, neither should we be.
Recently there has been a debate within reconstructionist and abolitionist circles regarding patriarchy and servant-leadership. Within the context of this debate one of the members of Mercy Seat had posted a sermon by Matt Trewhella as support for her patriarchalist view. This sermon was titled:
“A Refutation of the Debased Theology of a Monstrous Regiment of Women”
The context of Matt’s sermon is a refutation of a liberal “feminist” named Gil.
Matt preface’s his sermon with an appeal to 16th century reformer John Knox’ publication titled “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against The Monstrous Regiment of Women” by giving it high praise as an EXCELLENT publication. In light of what Knox posits in this publication there should be immediate cause for concern. Not only does Matt say it is EXCELLENT, but he names his sermon after it.
In Knox’ publication he is attacking Queen Mary I, aka Bloody Mary, who was an evil woman that persecuted and had protestants murdered, as she sought to reverse the effects of the English Protestant Reformation, which had begun during her fathers reign, King Henry VIII.
In his publication, Knox chose to focus the majority of his attack on Queen Mary’s ontological nature, instead of her evil murderous rule, he directed his attack on her being, her ontology as woman. According to Knox, women were not fully image bearers like men, in other words they were not EQUALLY created image-bearers of God. He also appeals to the curse after the fall as the punishment to all women for all time and that they would be in subjection to all men as men lord it over them. Knox also attributes bad traits common to ALL women given as punishment due to Eve’s disobedience, and because of these things they are not to be in any type of authority, at any time.
So Knox in this publication does not primarily judge the acts of men and women ethically and judicially but ontologically. While he had MUCH to blast Bloody Mary for, he focused on ontology. This is a common trait of Power Religionists everywhere.
Matt follows the same direction as Knox in pointing to the order of creation to substantiate his claim that women IS NOT created EQUAL, but is inferior to man. Now, yes Matt does believe as far as justification in the sight of God goes, that both men and women can be equal image-bearers as recipients of God’s grace, but let us not conflate positional justification with the ability and duty of men and women to equally engage in the dominion mandate given to them as redeemed image-bearers of God according to their gifts. Lets make sure as I move forward in this episode, that we are not thinking about salvation but that we are thinking about exercising dominion to the glory of God in His world as given in Genesis 1:27,28
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
So as we move on lets look at a few things in Trewhella’s sermon. He says:
“How do we know that the woman was a secondary derivation? Because she was created second! Duh.”
This is not a stand alone statement here pointing to second derivation as simply the order in which they were created, it is actually a pretext where he is building his case to substantiate his following points:
He quotes Gil here as she refers to Genesis 1:
“These verses show us that male and female are equally made in the image of God”
And then Trewhella responds with:
“I ask you this, listen to me now. Where does God say that? Where does God say that they, male and female, were made EQUALLY in his image? NOWHERE does it say that! The Christian feminists are imposing that upon the text.”
“Now I ask you, what was the point being made in scripture when it says “a helper suitable or comparable to Adam” that a woman was EQUAL TO MAN IN CREATION? Or was it that all the other animals that God had created were not suitable, but woman was?”
“I submit to you that the context was clear, the woman was declared the suitable helper because all the other animals weren’t suitable! That is the clear point of the passage, NOT THAT WOMAN IS EQUAL TO MAN.
Now that we’ve listened to the quotes in contention from Matt Trewhella I will be reading numerous quotes from Knox’ publication, which remember Mr. Trewhella has referred to as “excellent“ in the very beginning of his refutation of Gil. But for the sake of clarity as I read these quotes I will follow them up with questions to Matt, in order to see if he affirms or denies their validity.
But first I want to read Matthew 20:25-28 and contrast this with the words of John Knox:
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and [their] great men exercise authority over them.
26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Questions regarding John Knox’ statements in “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women”:
“To promote a woman to bear rule, superiority, dominion, or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature; contumely [an insult] to God, a thing most contrary to his revealed will and approved ordinance; and finally, it is the subversion of good order, of all equity and justice. “
Q. Do you affirm that it is an insult to God and subverts good order equity and justice if a woman is in any form of authority in any area of life?
“And first, where I affirm the empire of a woman to be a thing repugnant to nature, I mean not only that God, by the order of his creation, has spoiled [deprived] woman of authority and dominion, but also that man has seen, proved, and pronounced just causes why it should be.”
Q. Do you affirm that all women have been deprived of authority and dominion by God?
“For who can deny but it is repugnant to nature, that the blind shall be appointed to lead and conduct such as do see? That the weak, the sick, and impotent persons shall nourish and keep the whole and strong? And finally, that the foolish, mad, and frenetic shall govern the discreet, and give counsel to such as be sober of mind? And such be all women, compared unto man in bearing of authority. For their sight in civil regiment is but blindness; their strength, weakness; their counsel, foolishness; and judgment, frenzy, if it be rightly considered.”
Q. Do you affirm that all women are blind, weak, sick, impotent, Foolish, mad, and frenetic person’s; and because of this cannot have authority?
“Nature, I say, does paint them forth to be weak, frail, impatient, feeble, and foolish; and experience has declared them to be inconstant, variable, cruel, lacking the spirit of counsel and regiment. And these notable faults have men in all ages espied in that kind, for the which not only they have removed women from rule and authority, but also some have thought that men subject to the counsel or empire of their wives were unworthy of public office.”
Q. Do you affirm that ontologically women are weak, frail, impatient, feeble, foolish, and constant, variable, cruel, lacking the spirit of council and regiment?
“…that albeit the outward form of men remained, yet should they judge their hearts were changed from the wisdom, understanding, and courage of men, to the foolish fondness and cowardice of women. Yea, they further should pronounce, that where women reign or be in authority, that there must needs vanity be preferred to virtue, ambition and pride to temperance and modesty; and finally, that avarice, the mother of all mischief, must needs devour equity and justice.”
Q. Do you affirm that women are foolish and cowards, that if they are in authority they are vain, full of avarice, Will devour equity and justice, and can not be virtuous?
“The Law does moreover pronounce womankind to be most avaricious (which is a vice intolerable in those that should rule or minister justice). And Aristotle, as before is touched, does plainly affirm, that wheresoever women bear dominion, there the people must needs be disordered, living and abounding in all intemperance, given to pride, excess, and vanity; and finally, in the end, they must needs come to confusion and ruin.”
Q. Do you affirm that womankind is more inclined to avarice, And that wherever a woman is exercising dominion, there the people must be disordered living and abounding in all intemperance, given to pride, excess, and vanity, and their end will be confusion and ruin?
“For those that will not permit a woman to have power over her own sons, will not permit her (I am assured) to have rule over a realm…”
Q. Do you affirm that a woman has no authority over her own son?
“But now to the second part of nature, in the which I include the revealed will and perfect ordinance of God; and against this part of nature, I say, that it does manifestly repugn that any woman shall reign and bear dominion over man. For God, first by the order of his creation, and after by the curse and malediction pronounced against the woman (by reason of her rebellion) has pronounced the contrary.”
Q. Do you affirm that due to Eve’s rebellion that the curse upon women is to be propped up until the consummation as a punishment for her rebellion?
“First, I say, that woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man, not to rule and command him…So I say, that in her greatest perfection, woman was created to be subject to man.”
Q. Do you affirm that the woman in her greatest perfection, is to serve, obey and be subject to man?
“But after her fall and rebellion committed against God, there was put upon her a new necessity, and she was made subject to man by the irrevocable sentence of God, pronounced in these words: “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. With sorrow shalt thou bear thy children, and thy will shall be subject to thy man; and he shall bear dominion over thee” (Gen. 3:16). Hereby may such as altogether be not blinded plainly see, that God by his sentence has dejected all women from empire and dominion above man. For two punishments are laid upon her: to wit, a dolour, anguish, and pain, as oft as ever she shall be mother; and a subjection of her self, her appetites, and will, to her husband, and to his will. From the former part of this malediction can neither art, nobility, policy, nor law made by man deliver womankind; but whosoever attains to that honour to be mother, proves in experience the effect and strength of God’s word. But (alas!) ignorance of God, ambition, and tyranny have studied to abolish and destroy the second part of God’s punishment.”
Q. Do you affirm that as a punishment from God woman is to be in subjection of herself, her appetite, and her will, to her husband, and to his will?
Q. Do you affirm that the curse will not be reversed in time and history, but in fact will continue to reign supreme, so that women will always be in subjection of herself, her appetite, and her will, to her husband, and his will?
“Against God can nothing be more manifest than that a woman shall be exalted to reign above man; for the contrary sentence he has pronounced in these words: “Thy will shall be subject to thy husband, and he shall bear dominion over thee” (Gen. 3:16). As [though] God should say, “Forasmuch as you have abused your former condition, and because your free will has brought yourself and mankind into the bondage of Satan, I therefore will bring you in bondage to man. For where before your obedience should have been voluntary, now it shall be by constraint and by necessity; and that because you have deceived your man, you shall therefore be no longer mistress over your own appetites, over your own will or desires. For in you there is neither reason nor discretion which are able to moderate your affections, and therefore they shall be subject to the desire of your man. He shall be lord and governor, not only over your body, but even over your appetites and will.” This sentence, I say, did God pronounce against Eve and her daughters, as the rest of the scriptures do evidently witness.”
Q. Do you affirm that man is to Lord and govern not only the woman’s body but her appetites and will?
Q. Do you affirm that God is using man to punish women due to Eve’s rebellion?
Speaking on I Corinthians 14:26-32 Knox says “And thus the apostle would have prophesying an exercise to be free to the whole church, that every one should communicate with the congregation what God had revealed to them, providing that it were orderly done. But from this general privilege he excluded all women, saying, “Let women keep silence in the congregation.” …And therefore yet again I repeat, that which before I have affirmed: to wit, that a woman promoted to sit in the seat of God (that is, to teach, to judge, or to reign above man) is a monster in nature, contumely to God, and a thing most repugnant to his will and ordinance. For he has deprived them, as before is proved, of speaking in the congregation, and has expressly forbidden them to usurp any kind of authority above man.”
Q. Do you affirm that all women are excluded from sharing within the fellowship of believers? If so is a woman like the Activist Mommy in rebellion, who speaks with exhortation to the fellowship of believers, and has a massive following of both men and women, in effect granting her authority over men, by her gifts of persuasion?
“Tertullian, in his book of Women’s Apparel, after he has shown many causes why gorgeous apparel is abominable and odious in a woman, adds these words, speaking as it were to every woman by name: “Do you not know,” says he, “that you are Eve. The sentence of God lives and is effectual against this kind; and in this world, of necessity it is, that the punishment also live. You are the port and gate of the devil. You are the first transgressor of God’s law. You did persuade and easily deceive him whom the devil durst not assault. For your merit (that is, for your death), it behooved the Son of God to suffer the death; and does it yet abide in your mind to deck you above your skin coats?”
Q. Do you affirm that Eve’s sin in the garden has been transmitted to all women, so that they are all, the port and gate of the devil, and aligned with Eve as the first transgressor of God‘s law? If so does this not split mankind into two streams where as Scripture says that through one man sin entered the world and death through sin? Is the woman’s covenant head Eve, while man’s is Adam?
Quoting Augustine Knox writes “For so he does explain himself in another place, affirming that woman ought to be repressed and bridled betimes, if she aspires to any dominion; alleging that it is dangerous and perilous to suffer her to proceed, although it is in temporal and corporeal things. And thereto he adds these words: “God sees not for a time, neither is there any new thing in his sight and knowledge:” meaning thereby, that what God has seen in one woman (as concerning dominion and bearing of authority) the same he sees in all; and what he has forbidden to one, the same he also forbids to all.”
Q. Do you affirm that women are to be repressed and bridled often if she aspires to any form of Dominion?
Quoting Augustine once again Knox writes: “How can woman be the image of God, seeing (says he) she is subject to man, and has none authority, neither to teach, neither to be witness, neither to judge, much less to rule or bear empire?”
Q. Do you affirm that woman is a lesser image of God?
“To the question how she can be the image of God, he answers as follows: “Woman,” says he, “compared to other creatures, is the image of God, for she bears dominion over them. But compared unto man, she may not be called the image of God, for she bears not rule and lordship over man, but ought to obey him,” etc.”
Q. Do you affirm that compared to man a woman may not be called the image of God?
“The same Ambrose, writing upon the second chapter of the first epistle to Timothy, after he has spoken much of the simple arrayment of women, he adds these words: “Woman ought not only to have simple arrayment, but all authority is to be denied unto her. For she must be in subjection to man (of whom she has taken her origin), as well in habit as in service.” And after a few words, he says, “Because that death did enter into the world by her, there is no boldness that ought to be permitted unto her, but she ought to be in humility.”
Q. Do you affirm that death and sin entered into the world by Eve contrary to Romans chapter 5:12?
“Yea, it is plain, that all [every] woman is commanded to serve, to be in humility and subjection.”
Q. Do you affirm that women are to be commanded to serve and to be in humility as subjects rather than voluntarily serving in humility?
Quoting Chrysostom Knox writes: “For this cause was woman put under your power (he speaks to man in general), and you were pronounced lord over her, that she should obey you, and that the head should not follow the feet. But often it is, that we see the contrary, that he who in his order ought to be the head, does not keep the order of the feet (that is, does not rule the feet), and that she that is in place of the foot is constituted to be the head.” He speaks these words, as it were, in admiration [astonishment] that man was become so brutish, that he did not consider it to be a thing most monstrous that woman should be preferred to man in anything, whom God had subjected to man in all things.”
Q. Do you affirm that woman is the feet and is to be lorded over by man?
“And in another place, he induces [brings in] God speaking to the woman in this sort: “Because you left him, of whose nature you were participant, and for whom you were formed, and have had pleasure to have familiarity with that wicked beast, and would take his counsel; therefore I subject you to man, and I appoint and affirm him to be your lord, that you may acknowledge his dominion; and because you could not bear rule, learn well to be ruled.” Why they should not bear rule, he declares in other places, saying, “Womankind is imprudent and soft (or flexible): imprudent, because she cannot consider with wisdom and reason the things which she hears and sees; and soft she is, because she is easily bowed.” I know that Chrysostom brings in these words, to declare the cause why false prophets do commonly deceive women, because they are easily persuaded to any opinion, especially if it be against God; and because they lack prudence and right reason to judge the things that are spoken. But hereof may their nature be espied, and the vices of the same, which in no wise ought to be in those that are appointed to govern others. For they ought to be constant, stable, prudent, and doing everything with discretion and reason, which virtues women cannot have in equality with men. For that he does witness in another place, saying, “Women have in themselves a tickling and study of vain glory; and that they may have in common with men. They are suddenly moved to anger; and that they have also common with some men. But virtues in which they excel, they have not common with man; and therefore has the apostle removed them from the office of teaching, which is an evident proof that in virtue they far differ from man.”
Q. Do you affirm these numerous character traits of all women, That they are unwise, easily persuaded, unable to judge, and inferior to men?
“Chrysostom means, saying, “Then is the body in best proportion when it has the best governor. But woman can never be the best governor, by reason that she, being spoiled [deprived] of the spirit of regiment, can never attain to that degree to be called or judged a good governor; because in the nature of all [every] woman lurks such vices as in good governors are not tolerable.” Which the same writer expresses in these words, “Womankind,” says he, “is rash and fool-hardy; and their covetousness is like the gulf of hell, that is insatiable.” And therefore in another place, he wills that woman shall have nothing to do in judgment, in common affairs, or in the regiment of the commonwealth (because she is impatient of troubles), but that she shall live in tranquility and quietness. And if she has occasion to go from the house, that yet she shall have no matter of trouble, neither to follow her, neither to be offered unto her, as commonly there must be to such as bear authority.”
Q. Do you affirm that women cannot have authority because all women are rash, foolhardy, and their covetousness is like the gulf of hell that is in insatiable?
“That God has subjected womankind to man, by the order of his creation, and by the curse that he has pronounced against her, is declared before. “
Q. Once again do you affirm that the curse will not be reversed in time and history, and that we should continue to be enablers of the curse upon women unto the consummation?
Speaking of Deborah the Judge, Huldah the Prophetess, Zelophehad whom God told Moses to give a hereditary position amongst her fathers brothers, Knox writes: “To the first I answer, that particular examples do establish no common law. The causes were known to God alone, why he took the spirit of wisdom and force from all men of those ages; and did so mightily assist women against nature, and against his ordinary course; that the one he made a deliverer to his afflicted people Israel, and to the other he gave not only perseverance in the true religion, when the most part of men had declined from the same, but also to her he gave the spirit of prophecy, to assure King Josiah of the things which were to come. With these women, I say, did God work potently and miraculously; yea, to them he gave most singular grace and privilege.”
Q. Do you affirm that if at anytime a woman is in a position of authority it is only because God has worked a miracle?
Again speaking of Deborah the Judge, Huldah the Prophetess, and Zelophehad, Knox writes “In those matrons, we find that the spirit of mercy, truth, justice, and of humility did reign. Under them we find that God did show mercy to his people, delivering them from the tyranny of strangers, and from the venom of idolatry, by the hands and counsel of those women.“
Q. Do you affirm that the women mentioned above as having a spirit of mercy, truth, justice, and of humility, only had these attributes because God worked a miracle, and that these good traits are not not normal attributes to be found in women but only in men?
“Because many are offended at the First Blast of the Trumpet, in which I affirm, that to promote a woman to bear rule or empire above any realm, nation, or city, is repugnant to nature, contumely [an insult] to God, and a thing most contrary to his revealed and approved ordinance; and because also, that some have promised (as I understand) a confutation of the same, I have delayed the Second Blast till such time as their reasons appear, by the which I either may be reformed in opinion, else shall have further occasion more simply and plainly to utter my judgment.”
Q. Finally Mr. Trewhella, you said this was an EXCELLENT publication, will you stand by your previous assessment, or are you willing to reform your opinion of this publication in so much as how it demeans women as inferior image-bearers of God?
So as you can see in Knox’ publication there seems to be a major focus on ontology as to who has the seat of power and authority. In the current debate over patriarchy the power religionists are fixated on who has authority, and they base this first and foremost, off of ontology. It makes me wonder if most Christians have theoretically abandoned self government directed by the Holy Spirit?
We are the temple of the Holy Ghost and He is to teach us all things in light of Scripture, yet so much focus and attention is given to who has authority outside of the aforementioned. We do a disservice to the Holy Spirit when we disregard His abiding in every one of His people, both male and female. He is the one who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).
Authority in the family, in the church, and the state is given by God to those who serve (Matt. 20:25-28). Govern yourselves by the power of the Holy Spirit, according to Gods law, and you won’t have to worry about who is in authority because you are an ambassador of the King of kings and His Spirit dwells in you.
The irony is that if we look at government in reverse order, starting with the civil government, we get a majority of us who come with a “Defy Tyrants” mindset, and a “Courts can’t make laws” mantra, which is completely the right mindset to have because we are looking at this sphere of government through a biblical lens. God is the giver of law not man, and so any law that goes against the word of God is a usurpation of God’s law, therefore the giver of lawlessness is no longer serving us as deacons (Romans 13) and therefore no longer does he have God given authority over us. Instead of being a servant of God and man by wielding the sword against evil doers, he has instead forced upon those he was to serve, pagan power religion by the sword. We would all (for the most part) agree that this authority in the civil realm is predicated on service, and a failure of serving means they are no longer authorized to lead.
The same argument follows into the ecclesiastical sphere of government. This is where we start losing some to the power religion, the “who are your elders” crowd. But regardless, an elder must fulfill the qualifications in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. When you go through the list you see that he must be a servant-leader. To be an elder in the ecclesiastical sphere is to be a servant to the body of Christ. Among other character traits outlined in those passages, he must be serving his family well. If he does not serve he does not lead.
Service…service…service. Again this is the model Jesus gave us in Matthew 20:25-28.
What makes you think that it is any different in the structure of family government? In this sphere we have a husband and a wife who leave their parents to cleave to each other and become what? ONE. They are now equal with divided authority based on their service one to another and to their children. Their authority is divided based on their gifts and calling, yet united in the service of the family structure. Again authority is given through service.
What exactly was Adam and Eve’s relationship prior to the fall?
One flesh exercising dominion. Equal but divided (bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh).
Genesis 2:23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
The curse does not dictate the aim in redemption because Christ came to redeem that which was lost, as far as the curse is found.
I ask that you consider these things and that you seek to serve one another as you submit to one another with Christ as Head and His law-word as the mediator between His image-bearers as the standard by which we judge all things.
Blessings in Christ our King!