Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Anti-intellectualism and Secular Knowledge as Evil (The IFB's Strange Woman)

This post is part of a series examining the “strange woman” doctrine.

The concept of a “strange woman” is an unofficial doctrine** held by some Independent Fundamental Baptists concerning sexually abused girls: They become human garbage and things to be used, to be dispensed with in whatever way is convenient to those who have charge over them. Note that many doctrines in a high demand group are not formally documented but become part of the oral tradition or the hidden curriculum** of their culture and are often more powerful rules than the formally stated ones.

Ron Williams of Hephzibah House offers a very lengthy sermon about this insidiously taught doctrine causing pastors confront occurrences of sexual abuse in their congregations and in educational settings. (Full sermon transcript available HERE. Audio available HERE.)

Rachel Seeks Medical Care?
I'd like to think that all knowledge that is true and valuable is God's knowledge. These beliefs that Rachel is sinister come from Rashi's prejudices. And if they were evil or of no value, why did Ruben bring mandrakes home to his mom anyway?

QUOTE: Part II, Jacob's Spiritual Low Point at Shechem
Genesis 30: “And Ruben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, ‘Give me I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.’ And she said unto her,” and you can just hear the pent up anger and bitterness in this response “’is it a small matter that though has taken my husband and wouldst though take away my son’s mandrakes also.’ And Rachel said, ‘therefore he shall lie with thee tonight for thy son’s mandrakes.’ And Jacob came out of the field in the evening and Leah went out to meet him and said ‘thou must come in unto me for surely I’ve hired thee with my son’s mandrakes’ and he lay with her and he erected there an altar and called it ‘El Elohe Israel’.'

Rachel is cast as resorting to superstition and this is suggestive of witchcraft. Williams actually draws from a patriarchal Jewish commentary that draw upon obscure writings in the apocrypha to develop this thesis. Why does Williams recognize these extra-Biblical texts that Protestants do not recognize as God-breathed or even King James Version truths?

Dinah's Discontented, Wandering Feet

QUOTE: Part II, Far Country Disease
But Dinah developed this curiosity because as bad as Jacob was on this occasion in his life, as much as he’d been on spiritual vacation for ten years. There was still apparently a distinctive difference here because she went out, as our text tells us, she went out to see the daughters of the land because she noticed they’re different than we are. We look different than our neighbors do and that ought to be the testimony of a believing home.

QUOTE: Part II, Far Country Disease
See a person that’s content with God, content with family, content with home, content with what they’ve been taught is not going to go out curiosity seeking how do the Pagans of this world live. Because that’s dangerous. But rather she would have been content to stay at home, she would have been content to be a separated person. . . . But Dinah didn’t, as she went out to see the daughters of the land, she should have known that we live in a world filled with sin. And believe me, we do.

God forbid that you be curious, intelligent, and friendly and you leave the house!