Today, @TGC announced that @butlerjosh, who wrote THAT article & book, won't be speaking at TGC2023 & is no longer a Keller Center fellow, claiming the book was published because they didn't have "better review systems." Have they misdiagnosed the problem?…
I'm glad they apologized and asked for forgiveness. However, to ensure that this doesn't happen again we need to figure out why such an offensive & harmful work could be published in the first place. Is it simply because, as they state, their "review systems" weren't adequate?
That insinuates either that not enough people looked at the book (and if more people did it wouldn't have been published); or that the wrong people looked at the book (and if the right ones did they'd be okay).

Does this explanation hold water?
Here's Collin Hansen, Executive Director of the Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics, and Editor in Chief of The Gospel Coalition:

"You'll love how he uses biblical theology to reveal God's good design for sex."
He claims books like Butler's could "play a key role" in people turning to Christ. He apparently feels that depicting a man's climax as a sacrificial & generous act, & depicting prostitution as a problem of SELLING sex rather than BUYING sex, is an effective evangelistic tool.
Here's Brett McCracken, Senior Editor at The Gospel Coalition:

"Beautiful Union is simply astonishing. Every chapter is full of mind-blowing biblical insights, jaw-dropping theological connections....It's the Protestant magnum opus on sexual ethics we've been waiting for."
Here's Keller Center fellow Andrew Wilson, keynote speaker at TGC2023:

"One of the best books I have read on anything in the last year, Beautiful Union combines a biblical theology of marriage with a compelling piece of sexual apologetics, and it does so with a pastoral warmth."
Here's Jen Pollock Michel, with 49 bylines at @TGC: "Beautiful a marvel. Its simplicity is its profundity; its truth is its love. I finished these pages in tears, my imagination renewed and expanded...Read this book to understand the meaning of bodies in sexual union."
We have the Executive Director of the Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics; a fellow of the Center; The Editor-in-Chief and Senior Editor of The Gospel Coalition; and a prolific writer for The Gospel Coalition all praising this book to the heavens.
Was the problem really that they didn't have proper review processes? Or is the problem that the book was actually right in line with TGC's theology?

The problem is not that the book wasn't reviewed; it was that the biggest key players reviewed it, and loved it--and were wrong.
After all, this apology was not their first reaction to the outcry about the article. Instead, on Friday they posted the entire first chapter, confident that if people saw the article "in context" they would embrace its message.
That day I published a thread with my concern that Butler would bear all the consequences for this fiasco. Unfortunately, my fears appear warranted. To date, Butler has shown the most integrity. He resigned. He seems to be trying to take responsibility.
Yet The Gospel Coalition and The Keller Center have not. In their statement, they say they want to care for Josh, but they are making him the scapegoat to preserve their power. We must not be distracted from the bigger questions that @TGC and The Keller Center are avoiding.
What is it about TGC and The Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics that made this book seem like a good idea? And the answer, to me, is simple. These are both extremely male dominated spaces where women's voices are marginalized.
The Keller Center has 5 female fellows and 22 male fellows (including both directors) . At TGC2023, only 17 of the 90 speakers are female; all 8 keynote speakers are male. The female speakers are speaking primarily in the women's track, or on parenting & women's issues.
If we ask "how did this book get published", the answer is not "Josh Butler wrote it." The answer is: Butler is in male-dominated spaces that think of sex only from a male point of view. Those in the same bubble saw his work, and failed to note the substantial issues with it.
If we don't want this to happen again, we need to acknowledge that this was not a problem with Butler alone; it is a problem with the top leadership of The Gospel Coalition and the new Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics.
It is a problem with the structure that ignores and marginalizes women. It is a problem with their theology that prioritizes men.
Rather than a "better review process", they need a "renewing of their minds" (Romans 12:2). They need humility. They need to step back and be silent. They need to listen.

Because this week, they have shown us that they are not safe to listen to.

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More from @sheilagregoire

Mar 5
Brett McCracken, in reviewing the movie Women Talking, says that, while it is good that the women escaped abuse, and while the movie does show them still believing, the movie is still suspect because the women embrace a "new religion."

Can I tell you about that "new religion"?
It is summed up perfectly by a woman who has been abused by her husband and raped by the men in her religious community.
After the women agree that they want a religion focused on love, not on abuse and control, she says she wants:

1. My children to be safe
2. To be steadfast in my faith
3. To think.

McCracken is concerned that this is a "new religion".
Read 6 tweets
Mar 4
This week, Twitter blew up because Josh Butler, who works at Tim Keller's brand new Center for Cultural Apologetics, wrote a horrible article about sex that was roundly criticized.

I believe the timing of Tim Keller's tweet here, in that context, is problematic and concerning.
When someone who is associated with a Center that bears your name writes a book that equates the Holy Spirit with semen and presents a man's climax as something sacrificial he does for his wife--and then the internet reacts in horror--the right posture is to apologize.
Instead, Keller is warning people against being quarrelsome.

However, that is not the only takeaway from this passage. Just six verses before the ones Keller quoted, Paul mentions Hymenaeus and Philetus by name as false teachers.
Read 10 tweets
Mar 3
Thank you, Rich.

Another endorser has retracted their endorsement of Josh's book.

He admits he endorsed it without reading the whole thing (quite a common practice) and he apologizes for that, and asks forgiveness, committing to doing better in the future.

I appreciate this.
The other retraction: @dennaepierre . I will add others as they come in.

Read 4 tweets
Mar 3
Right now, @TGC is asking all of us to read the first chapter of Beautiful Union, rather than just the excerpt, so we get a fuller picture.

@butlerjosh , I'm asking you to put an end to this. If people start reading the rest, it will turn out even worse for you. Image
@TGC @butlerjosh There are so many things wrong with the rest too, including framing the problem with prostitution as SELLING sex rather than BUYING sex, again centering on men.
@TGC @butlerjosh You DO NOT want this conversation to continue over the weekend. You have a lot of introspection to do, and I'd be happy to have a conversation. But for your own sake, please ask them to take this down. Stop the madness. Admit you have learning to do.
Read 4 tweets
Mar 3
I believe that Josh Butler's book A Beautiful Union, which was excerpted by The Gospel Coalition yesterday, should be pulled. It is not a healthy view of sex. It is not a healthy view of God. It is not a healthy book.

However, I feel very deeply for Butler.
When I read the excerpts, I did not feel like he was a danger to women in the same way that I do when I read other problematic Christian marriage/sex books. He seems like a good guy who loves God, but who didn't see where his metaphors went too far & his perspective skewed.
He seems to be in such a male-dominated bubble that he didn't see how problematic it was to present sex as something which is so male centered that a man's orgasm is considered to be his sacrificial gift.

However--that wasn't his job to see.
Read 7 tweets
Mar 2
I'd like to address how I'm quoted in the first chapter of Josh Butler's book Beautiful Union--where the TGC article that caused a ruckus was taken from.

Though he quotes me talking about "the theology of the clitoris", it appears he misses the whole point of what I was saying. Image
The point, in the larger context of the quote he pulled, is that women's bodies are not necessarily designed for maximum pleasure from intercourse alone, because the clitoris is outside the vagina (though the clitoral roots travel up the vaginal wall).
While many women can & do orgasm through intercourse, most women in our study found other routes to orgasm more reliable. And this is how our bodies were made! For women to feel pleasure, men need to do things to bring us pleasure. Quick intercourse alone won't cut it (for most).
Read 10 tweets

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