Saturday, May 27, 2006

Black Hat or White Hat? And Blue on Blue!

After reading a post at David Shedden's site as well as gender news at CBMW I am dismayed and saddened by the constant accusations that egalitarians are opposed to inerrancy (or should we say biblical authority and biblical veracity), that they undermine ministry and marriage, and they are the enemies of all "true" evangelicals. I have egalitarian friends and that describes none of them.

For the post that started this kafuffle go read the blog of Susan Wise Bauer

Folks, regardless of what you think about women in ministry, regardless of how you exegete Rom. 16 and 1 Tim. 2.11-14, pick the battles that are worth fighting about. The introduction of pansexuality into mainline churches, our culture of pluralism that is becoming common law, the extent of poverty in the world - fight against those things.

The whole complementarian versus egalitarian thing on my books is like credobaptism vs. paedobaptism; pre-tribulation vs. post-tribulation; or coca-cola vs. pepsi. This is where godly and Christ-loving people disagree (and there are serious implications as to what one thinks of these issues and I'm not denying that) but this is not where we draw a line in the sand, this is not the issue where we say "who is wearing a black hat and who is wearing a white hat?"

When I was in purgatory, I mean the Australian Army, I remember a classic story of Blue on Blue, that is when friendly forces fire on their own people. During WWII a US Marine Division invaded an Island off Japan in the Pacific. There was a combined forces naval bombardment, air raids, a contingent of Marines stormed the Island and secured its airstrip. In the whole two day operation only 12 US marines were killed. Which is just as well - more marines may have been killed if there actually were any Japanese on the Island!

This debate is Blue on Blue! Let's remember that the things that bind us together (Christ, the Spirit, the Gospel, Scripture, Creeds, and Confessions) are stronger than anything which might separate us. Let us also meditate on the words of Rom. 14.19.

7 comments:

Celucien joseph said...

Amen! Amen! Amen!

Nick Nowalk said...

I agree its not a "heresy" or central orthodox issue, but I fear the pressures all around us so often (consciously or unconsciously) lead us to minimize how important this issue really is. It's not a salvation issue, but that doesn't mean we should run to the other extreme and say it is secondary and superfluous in every sense. Scripture talks about it alot (many, not just one or two, of the biblical writers!), and every single time in the NT epistles a passage specifically on husbands and wives (marriage) appears, submission and headship is ALWAYS discussed. You don't need to doubt the motives of brothers and sisters in Christ who (I believe) are mistaken here because of cultural surroundings, background, or a thousand other blindspots that every one of us has, nor do charges of heresy need to be raised. But let's not reduce something the biblical writers clearly think is important to Coke vs. Pepsi (to which I would say, by the way, Coke every time:)

Clifford B. Kvidahl said...

"The whole complementarian versus egalitarian thing on my books is like credobaptism vs. paedobaptism; pre-tribulation vs.post-tribulation; or coca-cola vs. pepsi. This is where godly and Christ-loving people disagree (and there are serious implications as to what one thinks of these issues and I'm not denying that) but this is not where we draw a line in the sand, this is not the issue where we say "who is wearing a black hat and who is wearing a white hat?"

This hit the spot with me! It is exactly what I am experincing right now in my life. Thanks for the encouragement Mike!

exegetical fallacy said...

I'm a bit late to comment, but nonetheless...

I'd have to echo a bit of Nick's concern, and add that there are also degrees within the issue. Some egalitarians are passionate about Biblical authority, and yet others are more passionate about political correctness, equality (in a secular sense), and simply having women in positions of leadership...just because they are female. (a female friend of mine said that when she was at Seminary, she had so many people pushing her to go into ministry REGARDLESS of her qualifications of 'able to teach, not pugnatious, HUMBLE, etc etc').
Likewise, some complementarians are passionate about Biblical Authority, and yet others - deep down - are more given to their own tradition and are really afraid to re-examine the issue BIBLICALLY or at least admit that 1 Cor 11 DOES suggest at least a potential BIBLICAL evidence for the other side.
So like with so many issues, I think it is wrong to just say it's a grey area, let's all join hands in spite of our different views. This issue may be a symtom of a low view of Scripture (ON BOTH SIDES!), which is, to my mind, fairly important.

ef

Michael F. Bird said...

Let me add a few things:
1) I admit that "pepsi vs. coke" is a hyperbolic overstatement and the issue (for both sides) has more gravity than that. This is a matter of theological conviction and not simply aesthetics.
2) My real gripe is about people who say that evangelicalism is Jesus + Complementarianism or Jesus + Egalitarianism or Jesus + Anything else.
3) Both sides of the debate can be guilty of compromizing biblical authority by either trying to be politically correct or simply clinging to received tradition.
4) I'm trying to make remarks that BOTH complementarians and egalitarians can agree on.

JayWoodhamTheMan said...

There is so much that could be said on this issue. I am a recent "convert" to a mild form of complementarianism (basically I don't believe women should be senior pastors, but they can do anything else) from being a longstanding egalitarian. What prevented that conversion for the longest time was the insecurity and vitriol displayed by the complementarian side, particularly here in the States. I'd echo what Exegetical Fallacy said. It's true that some egalitarians are as concerned about PCness as they are the authority of Scripture and submission to it. But I've seen as many or more complementarians driven by a compulsive need to get gender roles "just right" in the church and in the home. What a lot of them don't seem to notice is how often that concern gets elevated over and above the fruit of the Spirit and the practical commands of Jesus in how believers ought to treat one another. I have to think if we concentrated on practically living the injunction to think of others as better than ourselves and that the one who is greatest among us is on who serves then a lot of the Evangelical brouhaha about gender would take care of itself.

JayWoodhamTheMan said...

Ooops, I meant "one who serves" in the last sentence of my previous post.