The Drift Is Real: Aimee Byrd Preaches a Weird, Weird Sermon At SBC Church

Aimee Byrd is drifting. Once part of The Mortification of Spin, a podcast she co-hosted with Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt, she was sent packing and expunged from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals due to dissatisfaction with her polemical publications, particularly after her views of complementarian went from hard, to soft, to non-existent, which is merely another example of how ‘soft-complementarianism’ is just another fussy word for “egalitarianism.”

For years she rebuffed any notion or concerns that she was on a progressive trajectory- a claim she categorically denied and then became upset that it was even suggested in the first place, despite ample evidence to the contrary. In fact, we noted our concerns with her 4 years ago, after we removed her book from our recommended reading list, two years before she was relieved of her duties on the show.

She used to be far more conservative in her beliefs and was a member of the very conservative Orthodox Presbyterian Church until she left it 6 months ago. During her discourses and online skirmishes, she would frequently point out her membership creds as proof-positive she’s sound in her beliefs- an ironic fact given that she preached to a mixed crowd during the Sunday morning service this past weekend- something her former denomination expressly prohibited.

Pastor Joel Rainey of Covenant Church in Shepherdstown, WV, part of the Southern Baptist Convention, explained that originally Byrd was slated to speak to the women during the evening, but decided to let her preach to the entire congregation because, as he explained it: “I just felt it more than appropriate that she addressed our entire church family about a really really important subject.” He did not take well to claims that he should not have done this.

Byrd starts off by noting that there is something unnerving about the fact that she’s preaching during the morning service, explaining that she knows full well these actions will subject her to criticism.

“And it’s really nice to be here with all y’all and kind of have mixed emotions about it, really. Have you ever come to those times of your life where you’re just like, ‘How in the world did I get myself into this situation? ‘Those moments in our lives that we had never planned, really? Well, that’s me, this morning, speaking on a Sunday morning. I’ve done a lot of speaking, like Joel said, but never before during Sunday worship. And here I am in front of a loving congregation getting ready to offer an invitation to true freedom and belonging in Christ

…So Joel, invited me to come and speak about my work on men and women in the church. And my very presence here today is a challenge to many, myself even. I had to do some, you know, real soulwork and prayerwork to accept that invitation, not only for my own views on that issue, but just knowing ‘Hey, this is going to be on the internet’ and there’s going to be a public smearing of me after this.

One of the strangest portions is this section where she ponders the notion of Totus Christus and the idea that there’s no Christ without his church- a stupid concept, given that Christ existed as the second person of the Trinity long before the church came on the scene. Still, she preachers:

The early church, from the very beginning all the way up into just the modern age, interpreted the song as an allegory of Christ’s love for his collective bride. Church, along with the individual soul of each one, each believer. So that makes the man Jesus, the second Adam, King of Kings, the Great Shepherd, the one who brings peace. And here we see that he’s also a great lover and husband, that all of this was set in motion because of His great love for us. So that makes us, all of us, the men and the woman, the woman in the song. She’s speaking for the collective church and for the soul of each believer individually.

Now the song, like I said, isn’t like other songs. It’s dynamic, and it’s sweeping us up with it, in a sense, and in it, we get what is theologically known as the ‘Total Christ’, or Totus Christus, if we want to get fancy and Latin and sound like we know we’re talking about.

This is a notion that Christ and his church are so united in nuptial union, that there is no speaking of Christ without his church. There is no Christ without his church, and there is no church without Christ. Now this part’s easier for me to understand; there’s no church without Christ. But this part, there is no Christ without his church? That blows my mind. That’s something I want to look into more. And I want to say that we are not going to grasp the scandal of love, until we begin to let that sink in as much as possible.

Weird talk about ‘absorbing truth:’

The bride in the Song identifies herself as a ‘lily of the valleys’, and the groom mirrors her, saying ‘like a lily among thorns, so is my darling among young women.’ The woman says that her lover ‘feeds among the lilies’, and the man describes her breasts ‘like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, that feed among the lilies’.

The bride waits for him until the day breaks and the shadows flee. And leading up to their consummation, he reiterates ‘until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will make my way to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense.’ He will make his way to her, but he is using the language of sacred space there.

She picks up on that mountain spiciness at the end of the song, she beacons ‘run away with me my love and be like a gazelle or a young stag, on the mountain of spices.’ Now I wish I had time to get into all that imagery that I just had to break in and say a couple of them. It’s in my book, but we see how this language is used. They mirror one another and they do it in such a playful way.

So what can we learn from that? Well, on a practical level, we see that these lovers are good listeners, right? Their reciprocating, their longing for and their delight in one another. They absorbed one another’s truths. And that’s something certainly worth meditating on in our marriages. You know, do we listen to one another that way, that deeply to where we can say it back so playfully?

But this isn’t primarily a message for married people on a deeper spiritual level, which we really need to get first, she is beginning to see herself through the eyes of Jesus. She’s being transformed into this union, even as they’re valuably distinct. That’s Totus Christus. It makes a difference. Two in one voice. That changes the way that we read scripture, and the way that we view one another. We’re practicing heaven then, when we begin to believe this love and enter into it with one another.

This segment is basically peak ‘woman preaching.’ If you can decipher what she’s saying, let us know.

What has been made visible here this morning? Do you fear the Bride of Christ in all her splendor? As my friend Anna says, “the prominence of the woman in Scripture parallels the Spirit’s prominence. She’s present, yet back grounded. She’s visible, yet obscure. However, in the unfolding, she comes increasingly into view until she looms as large as day in Revelation, the bride as the final symbol of mankind.”

Does that make you uncomfortable to hear, men? The woman is obscure in Scripture, not because she’s less, but because she’s last. She is indicative of things to come, yet she’s the treasure worth finding as she represents what eye has not seen, what ear has not heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.

Lastly, commentary on how the bride in Song of Songs reveals that all women are in actuality ‘preachers’ while seemingly advocating for no distinctions like “male-only” leadership or roles within the church.

Now, this is an invitation for women, to the competence of Christ’s bride, joining our voice with the spirits like the bride in Revelation and many women throughout Scripture, not joining our voice to Satan’s like when he deceived Eve in offering her an alien glory.

It’s an invitation to be an ally to our brothers, pointing to our destination with longing and great hope. That’s our submission. You’re not sabotaging their vulnerability, and sacrificing, and giving first, not being ignorant to this great beauty or passive, but to be a corresponding strength. In a sense, the bride in Revelation and in the Song of Songs, reveals that we’re all preachers. We’re all revealers. We’re all storytellers. Each member here is gifted and commissioned to use our gifts within the household of God to be heralds of the King, the great bridegroom who has come and who is coming again.

Somewhere out there, John Piper and the CBMW is singing “Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul. I wanna get lost in your rock ‘n’ roll…”

8 thoughts on “The Drift Is Real: Aimee Byrd Preaches a Weird, Weird Sermon At SBC Church

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  1. Absolutely atrocious perversion of Scripture in general, but the one point about there is no Christ without his Church does actually make sense when considering “Christ” means “Messiah”, and that title pertains to the Church.

  2. Per Strong’s: Christ>Gk.5547 Christos, anointed one; Heb.4899 mashiyach, anointed. (as a priest, king), the Messiah, deliverer.

  3. Of course the Second Person of the Trinity has always existed. But we need some clarification on “Christ,” the anointed one who came to seek and save that which was lost. Is she referring to ‘Christ’ only as the INCARNATED Second Person, rather than the ETERNAL Second Person? I see it as her saying that ‘savior’ and ‘saved’ are mutually dependent descriptors; for Jesus to be head of the church, there has to be a church. Anyway, it’s no worse than ESS/ERAS schlock. I’d probably be more comfortable if she did a Sunday night book talk maybe, instead of the morning service.

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