Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gender Issues and the Gospel

This post on the T4G blog addresses some questions I've been pondering: Why did the T4G statement address gender issues? What does this have to do with the gospel? Why are gender issues more important than differences on theological issues like paedobaptism and cessationism?

Dever's summary:
Of course there are issues more central to the gospel than gender issues. However, there may be no way the authority of Scripture is being undermined more quickly or more thoroughly in our day than through the hermenuetics of egalitarian readings of the Bible. And when the authority of Scripture is undermined, the gospel will not long be acknowledged. Therefore, love for God, the gospel, and future generations, demands the careful presentation and pressing of the complementarian position.

6 comments:

Ryan Martin said...

I am very interested in what makes the gender question so important, particularly in its relationship to the gospel. I posted this remark a couple months ago on this very topic (I know it seems like a shameless plug, but really, it is connected--feel free to delete if I have crossed the shameless plug line). I am not sure I buy Dever's line of reasoning, but it is an interesting way of relating the question to the gospel nonetheless.

Ben said...

Ryan,

I think I'm on board with you on this one. Maybe I need to do a follow-up post.

I'm not sure I buy Dever's reasoning here either, but I'm glad to understand their rationale. Ironically, the quote you cite gives an argument for the priority of gender issues that is more directly related to the gospel than Dever's, but I think it's also a good bit more speculative.

My real concern is with the thinking of the younger group Dever describes that sees "women's ordination as a precursor for creating legal categories of gay rights." In other words, because egalitarianism is a precursor to something more distasteful, it's a big deal.

The REALLY big deal is that people are rejecting biblical authority (as Dever notes). Whether it's a rejection in favor of egalitarianism or a rejection in favor of homosexuality is largely irrelevant to me. I fear that the group to which Dever refers is not motivated as much by defending the absolute authority of Scripture as by insulating themselves from the "yuck factor" of homosexuality.

Nik C said...

Have Dever and others not read the egalitarian literature? Biblical egalitarians are coming from a hermeneutic that takes Biblical authority seriously.

Ryan Martin said...

Ben, here's a little bit from the "MereComments" blog on this very topic. Now I think the argument Hutchens is putting forth here is really getting us somewhere. Very interesting stuff.

Ben said...

Ryan,

I'm curious to hear why you think the essence of Hutchens' argument (as represented by the quote below) is substantially different from and superior to the argument Dever is making about the authority of Scripture. I'm not saying you can't. I'm just interested to see your rationale.

Anyway, here's the quote: "[T]he metaphysics of egalitarianism that invariably stand behind the movement to ordain women involve a rearguard attack on the Creed, on the fundamental teaching of the Christian faith on who God is. Active reflection on the theology of women’s ordination invariably blossoms into egalitarianism, the full fruit of which is neopagan religion."

Ryan Martin said...

Hutchens says that metaphysics of egalitarianism is in direct opposition to the metaphysics of Christianity, where for Dever it is the hermeneutics of egalitarianism that undermines the authority of Scripture. I think that the metaphysics of egalitarianism is more dangerous than its hermeneutic (which has me concerned as well). I guess it's not an either/or question, but I think Hutchens has the edge.