Egalitarians base their argument for indifference with respect to gender in society, the home, and the pulpit on the idea that men and women are created equally. This post series has argued that when it comes to creation order and its implication for ‘gender roles’ in the church, Southern Baptists do not all differ from the world or from egalitarians. Recent rhetoric regarding women teaching, and even preaching, to men in the SBC, is of some concern. It seems like everywhere we turn, we find ourselves covered up in egalitarian patterns of thought.
Our culture hates humility and femininity, so you can imagine what the culture thinks of humble and feminine women. I personally have suffered from the consequences of my own sinful desires to be in control of my marriage, and to be constantly thought strong and proud. I gave into the desire to see myself as the head of the family, I bought cultural lies about feminism and shed many tears over the constant tug-a-war my heart and spirit played concerning my longing to sin versus personal conviction about that sin. In eight years of marriage, my husband and I have fought endlessly over this struggle. Looking back, I am thankful God created him with a gentle and calm spirit, that our warring was mostly me in sin, with him graciously and mercifully standing in the way to keep me from further sin and leading me back to truth. In those years, I wore myself down spiritually and emotionally day after day engaging in things that wreaked havoc on me as a Christian and as a woman. It was only in the last year that I realized God was using all of those moments to painfully strip layer after layer of pride, resentment, and doubt surrounding my heart. The good news is God sanctifies His people despite our depravity. He will not allow any of His children to remain in sin, and He will use our faithlessness to point us back to His perfect faithfulness.
In this article, SBC author Bart Barber makes plain the contours of the complementarian discussion in relation to the issues of Scripture and abuse, writing, “Beth Moore asserted in her remarks that certain corruptions of complementarianism lead to or exacerbate the abuse problem that the Southern Baptist Convention faces. I think that perhaps I agree in part and that I disagree in part.”
As the old saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The ascendancy of critical theory among evangelicals in recent years has led to a thinning of our tool collection and a consequent restriction of our conceivable responses to diverse situations. When individuals are reduced to group identities, and those groups are (as the script calls for) assigned their white hats and black hats, it’s not difficult to foresee how the plot is going to unfold.
Critical theory’s hammer is calling out oppression of minority groups wherever it lurks (namely, everywhere, all the time, in every conceivable and inconceivable way). Oppression need not be proven in any individual case because it is the pervasive presupposition that defines the inherent structure of human society. Human beings are, according to critical theory, anonymous units of larger identity groups. Those identity groups are defined by power dynamics in relation to other identity groups, and thus all human relationships are viewed through the lens of a struggle for power, either in terms of solidarity (between the oppressed) or in terms of antagonism (between oppressor and oppressed).
In this article, non-SBC author Steven Wedgeworth reviews Beyond Authority and Submission: Woman and Men in Marriage, Church, and Society by Rachel Green Miller, which he claims, “represents a growing new voice in what might be called post-complementarian literature. In it, Miller affirms the biblical teaching of male-only ordination in the church and the husband’s leadership in the family, but she seeks to correct what she considers an intrusion of unbiblical and even pagan assumptions into the traditional Reformed and Evangelical discourse.”
In this article, Thomas Schreiner takes up the issue of whether or not women should preach, and reminds us, “the issue matters, for as churches we must order our practices in accord with the word of God and not our own wisdom. When we deviate from the biblical pattern, there are always consequences.”
In this article, Tom Ascol directs his readers to a debate that “Pastor Dwight McKissic and I held in Birmingham on June 10, 2019, the day before the Southern Baptist Convention convened in its annual meeting. The question we debated is ‘Should women be allowed to preach in our Lord’s Day worship services?’ It was a very cordial event and from the feedback that both he and I received it seems like the Lord answered our prayers that the debate would be clarifying and beneficial to many people.”