Archive for April, 2010
The Together for the Gospel articles of faith make the complementarian view of gender roles a gospel-related issue. Article XVI reads:
We affirm that the Scripture reveals a pattern of complementary order between men and women, and that this order is itself a testimony to the Gospel, even as it is the gift of our Creator and Redeemer. We also affirm that all Christians are called to service within the body of Christ, and that God has given to both men and women important and strategic roles within the home, the church, and the society. We further affirm that the teaching office of the church is assigned only to those men who are called of God in fulfillment of the biblical teachings and that men are to lead in their homes as husbands and fathers who fear and love God.
We deny that the distinction of roles between men and women revealed in the Bible is evidence of mere cultural conditioning or a manifestation of male oppression or prejudice against women. We also deny that this biblical distinction of roles excludes women from meaningful ministry in Christ’s kingdom. We further deny that any church can confuse these issues without damaging its witness to the Gospel.
In particular, Ligon Duncan argues here that:
The denial of complementarianism undermines the church’s practical embrace of the authority of Scripture (thus eventually and inevitably harming the church’s witness to the Gospel). The gymnastics required to get from “I do not allow a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man,” in the Bible, to “I do allow a woman to teach and to exercise authority over a man” in the actual practice of the local church, are devastating to the functional authority of the Scripture in the life of the people of God.
Two, and following on the first point, the church’s confidence in the clarity of Scripture is undermined, because if you can get egalitarianism from the Bible, you can get anything from the Bible.
I agree with Pastor Duncan and T4G on this one.
My question is: if complimentarianism is a gospel issue precisely because it devastates the functional authority for the people of God, why is creationism not a similar issue (esp. since his argument is based in part on a literal reading of Genesis 1)?
If succumbing to an egalitarian view does injustice to “I do not allow a woman to preach…” then how do they justify divergent views on “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…and the evening and the morning were the first day?”
The gospel rightly preached contains a “built-in” apologetic. In other words, when we get the story of redemption right, human boasting and glory are eliminated, while the stage is simultaneously set so that all the glory goes to the Father for His sovereign plan, to the Son for His righteous life and perfect sacrifice, and to the Holy Spirit for His gracious drawing. But, never to us.
How does this help us in defending and advancing the gospel?
Detractor: How do I know that you are telling me the truth?
Answer from the Gospel: If I had told you that I was such a good person that God had to forgive me, accept me, and let me into heaven one day, then you would have reason to be skeptical. Such words make me look like a pretty good person, so perhaps I would have something to gain by telling you these things. However, that’s not what I told you. I told you that I was such a miserable failure before God, a law-breaker, hostile to Him, with absolutely nothing good to offer Him, that Jesus had to die, spilling his blood on the cross, as my substitute so that I could go free.
Not only does this sort of answer disarm at least the questioner’s suspicion about your motives, but it also gives an opportunity to once again clarify the gospel to this individual. It may not solve all of his intellectual questions, but it does speak to his heart. Remember, humanity’s primary problem is not intellectual; it’s moral.
If you haven’t kept up with the Jennifer Knapp on Larry King Live ordeal, you can watch the entire exchange and a little bit of commentary here. The purpose of this post is not to develop an entire biblical theology of sexuality or to comprehensively develop the biblical view. Rather, I want to operate under the assumption that the Bible is inspired/inerrant and that both homosexual desire and homosexual acts are both displeasing to God. The purpose, then, is to help us see the “tricks” of those who want to discredit God’s Word and to equip us to navigate our way through such attacks in a manner that speaks to the heart.