Aimee Byrd

Inside the word. Outside the box.

Deny, Attack, Reverse the Victim and the Offender

Steven Wedgeworth has posted an article claiming he has been doxed and deepfaked by a malicious group of people. I would be one of those malicious people, because I shared the Genevan Commons Screenshots website on my blog. And I did that because I have been harassed by this group for over 2 ½ years now. Waiting for someone in the group to speak out. Waiting after confronting people in the group. Waiting for the people I’ve told about it to do something. Waiting while my reputation was continuously slandered, my looks picked apart, while they go after anyone who hosts me or says something positive about my work, while they go after my own session, and plots increased to “stop my agenda.” I drove to speaking engagements in fear, knowing these men have joked around about showing up and have called ahead to warn churches to guard their families from my danger. Waiting. No more.

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During times of trial, many Christians rightly find comfort in the Psalms. I have been turning to the Song of Songs. It’s led me to read a lot of commentary and sermons on the Song as I have been studying it. The latest issue of Credo Magazine is out and I have a review published of Ellen Davis’s excellent commentary on the Song of Songs. Here’s a short intro. excerpt:

What do we do with the Song of Songs? Many scholars have differing interpretations on its writer, when it was written, and why it was written. Is it one, unified song or a compilation of songs? This book found right in the middle of our Bibles is thought by some to be the most secular book in Scripture and by others the most biblical of Old Testament texts. Although the Song has enjoyed much popularity in the past—many have even looked to the Song to help them interpret other parts of Scripture—today many avoid it. How often do you quote from the Song of Songs to encourage, exhort, or teach a brother or sister in the faith? This year, it was even parodied in the popular Babylon Bee featuring imaginary Valentine’s Day Sweetheart candies with messages such as “UR Breasts = Fawns” and “Hey, Tower Neck!” It’s funny because it really speaks to our awkwardness with handling the language in the Song.

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“Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

Ephesians 5:11
Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

There are a few posts and comments rising against my sharing the recent website of Genevan Commons screenshots because, along with the screenshots, standards, definitions, and a help and hope page, it provided the membership lists. And the membership list of the group also gives the information these members provided on their Facebook profile, such as their employers. I’ve been accused of both doxxing and slandering for sharing this website.

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We the undersigned, as ministers, elders, and members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), present and publish this open letter in order to express our deep concern with regard to many comments and posts which were published on the “Genevan Commons” Facebook group and which were recently made public. 

Our concerns include these:

  1. We are greatly concerned that members of our church, including Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller, along with others, have been subjected to disparaging comments which are “corrupt,” “foolish talking,” and “coarse jesting” (Eph 4:29; 5:5). Such words are never acceptable, and certainly not from officers of the church.
  2. We are greatly concerned that officers of the church, who have sworn to be accountable to “their brethren in the Lord” (4th ministerial ordination vow), would attempt to hide behind a group that pledges itself to secrecy, as if “locker room talk” could somehow be exempted from the accountability of the church on the basis of an alleged right to privacy. Indeed, our Lord warns us that “whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops” (Luk 12:3).
  3. We are greatly concerned about the overtly misogynistic tone of the critiques leveled at women authors, whom many Geneva Commons members have not honored as fellow image bearers (Gen 1:27), as fellow heirs of the grace of life (1 Pet 3:7), and as members of Christ’s body who are endowed with many glorious and useful gifts for the building up of the church (Eph 4:7). Rather than thoughtful critique, we are dismayed to find officers of the church deriding and mocking others. Such behavior is completely unacceptable towards our sisters in Christ. It is the opposite of love.
  4. The ninth commandment forbids “undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others” (WLC 145); therefore, we cannot remain silent after the public revelation of such unedifying words.
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 “The usefulness of an elder will depend in the long run more on his character than on his gifts and knowledge.”

David Dickson said in The Elder and His Work

Yesterday, a website went live with an overwhelming number of screenshots from a Facebook group named Genevan Commons. Sadly, I know there are more. I am very aware of this group, as they have been harassing me for years now. I was made aware of a number of these screenshots last fall. There will always be jerks on the internet, but the more concerning factor is the number of church officers participating in this group, some are the administrators leading it. I have a lot of commentary I could say about the behavior in this group. But I just want to try and restrain myself from that and stick to the biblical qualifications for an elder and let you look for yourselves.

1 Timothy 3:2-3: An overseer, therefore, must be above reproachnot a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome…”

“I wish her husband loved her enough to tell her to shut up.” —Joseph Spurgeon
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Seven years ago, I published my first book. In the process of writing it, I started a simple WordPress blog to test out my thoughts. When I first published that blog, it was a scary experience. No one knew who I was. I’m not an academic and I don’t work for the church. Who am I to write a blog and why should anyone care? I am a laywoman who saw a dearth in theological investment and contribution for women in the church.

That’s why I wrote my book. That’s why I started my little blog. I knew that I needed to put my writing out there if I wanted to get published. Much of my blogging speaks to why it matters to know the true God and what hinders our growth in this in our own church culture. I hoped that there were other like-minded thinkers who would join in a conversation with me. It was such a pleasure to find all kinds of interaction from men, women, laypeople, church officers, and academics.

The very first podcast interview I ever did in my life was for Mortification of Spin. That developed into me being asked to cohost with Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt, and later my blog joined with the Mortification of Spin for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. We have had a lot of fun together and I have met many wonderful people who have sharpened my thinking over this time.

One of them is Scot McKnight. I am thankful that he invited me to share an update about my working relationship with the Alliance over on his Jesus Creed blog. My writing has aimed to examine the scriptures with the help of our confessions as we continue to see how the church is continually in need of reforming. This has dovetailed well with the mission of the Alliance. However, after the publication of my last book, Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a blog was posted on their website asking me to answer nine questions by a group of concerned, unnamed people. I responded, expressing my confusion at the nature of the post, nevertheless answering the first question and saying I was not sure that I would answer the rest. I then received an email from the chairman of the Board imploring me to answer these same questions for the Board of Directors. I do not know who is on this Board.

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I have to say that I find the latest post by Jonathan Master regarding my book Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood a bit perplexing. I wrote a book highlighting how a contemporary movement has damaged the way that we disciple men and women in the church, focusing on the way we read scripture, the way we view discipleship, and our responsibilities to one another. I wanted to offer an alternative resource that is faithful to Scripture. In it, I show how the creators of this movement have some seriously faulty structures—from unorthodox teaching on the trinity to Aristotelian views of sex—used to subjugate women. What is the response from my colleague?

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Andy Naselli wrote a lengthy review posted on the CBMW website the day before the release of my book, Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I’m not surprised to see a negative review of my book on the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood since I heavily critique their movement in my book. And, given the vitriol I have experienced from some, this review—though hard-hitting—is a welcome, respectful engagement. It is my desire to have profitable discussions on this important matter.

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Don’t you love it when you hear a sermon, a very good sermon, and it overflows with fruitfulness as you find all kinds of intertextual references connecting to your own private Scripture reading? That happened to me today, as my pastor preached on John 20 and the resurrection of Christ. I saw the Song of Songs everywhere, as well as Revelation connections. This is all fitting, as I have been already looking into John’s use of the Song. My mind was reeling, so I wrote a bit of a stream of conscious style piece while cooking my Easter feast (which makes me want to include the feasting language in the Song associated with the presence of the Groom, but enough Aimee!)

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I have been doing a lot of reading over here and very little posting. I’m currently enjoying a lot of research on a new project I am working on, which has taken me from writing much on the blog. But I wanted to share some quick blurbs on some notable books I’ve been reading on the side. After all, with most of us social distancing, reading may be making a comeback! I wish I was smart enough to figure out how to add the cover designs in a way that’s pleasing to the eye on this new webpage system, but I did provide the links. 

Our Bodies Tell God’s Story, by Christopher West 

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