New Testament Lecturer's Concerns with Together for the Gospel.
I am reluctant to break into my train of thought and posts with a more negative post, but it is a well-written, objective piece and worthy of reading. Furthermore I recall James B asked in a comment a few posts ago about the definite point the foursome make in their 'statement' concerning their complimentarian views. This post highlights my views for me. The post has 20 comments (so far) following it, some from conference attenders who agree he has a point. It is deserving of a hearing. Michael Bird is a Baptist scholar in Scotland and noted the following:
"Part of me would really like to have attended the conference, but another part of me wonders if this is the kind of gospel I want to identify with! Whoa! Yes, you heard me right".
"I also read that one woman was asked repeatedly to give up her place so that a man could attend [that's bad]). The reason being that the conference is orientated primarily towards ministers and pastors, and women obviously cannot be pastors. Women cannot attend since places are limited and they might take the place of a pastor/minister who wanted to attend the conference".
"Why it is wrong for a woman to take the place of a pastor at the conference, while it is okay for a male pew sitting couch potato to take the place of a pastor? The only difference is that one is a woman and one is a man".
"I must conclude, with great reluctance, that the word “Together” in Together for the Gospel does not seem to include women. That is a travesty and a tragedy. I want nothing to do with a gospel where “together” does not include my sisters-in-Christ who are partners and co-workers in the gospel".
Re: Article 16 of the 'Statement'.
"This is not only a strong affirmation of complementarianism but is an allegation that egalitarians undermine the church’s witness to the gospel. I have two problems with this: (1) I have some very good friends who are egalitarians and they are among the most faithful proclaimers, practitioners and imitators of the gospel that I know. (2) To me this statement is on par with saying that those who believe in amillenialism, those who practice paedobaptism, and those who speak in tongues are damaging the church's witness to the gospel. Although the subject of women in ministry might not be adiaphora, it is a topic where faithful, Bible-believing, Christ-proclaiming and God-honouring Christians disagree. I will not regard my egalitarian friends as “damaging” to the gospel".
"T4G are not anti-women, that is clear to me. But just as Peter did not realize that by separating from Gentiles he was endangering the gospel; by restricting only women from the conference I think the organizers did not realize that they were undermining the significance of women in the church and the integrity of the gospel".
"My recommendations would be for T4G in the future to do one of the following: (1) Allow women to attend the conference and to receive encouragement, exhortation and edification in the Word of God just as men do. (2) Restrict the conference to only pastors or pastoral ordination candidates so that women are not the only group restricted. Perhaps all attendees should be required to have a letter from their church saying that they are involved in ministry or are being considered for pastoral ministry. That way neither women nor male pew sitting couch potatoes will displace pastors who want to attend the conference. (3) Extend the conference by one day to include special sessions for women involved in ministry".
One Commentator said:
"I'm so glad someone said it! I've been reading some of the blogs that have raved about this with something close to shock.As someone who is neither a Calvinist, nor an Evangelical, I didn't feel that it was worth commenting on those blogs. Yet, I can't shake the idea that they are bringing the issue of complementarianism into the very heart of the gospel. Wow!In fact, aside from all of that, I am concerned with the specificity of the statement. Without meaning to be inflammatory, I cannot get away from the idea that it is an exercise in exclusion. This appears to be a new kind of statement for a new age".