Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Grudem on the State of the Gender Debate and the Way Forward

Wayne Grudem presented a paper on the gender debate and the way forward at the recent annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Diego. During his talk he said:
I am surprised that this controversy has gone on so long. In the late 80's and early 90's I expected that this would probably be over in 10 years by the force of argument, by the use of the facts, by careful exegesis, by the power of the clear Word of God, by the truth. I expected the entire church would be persuaded and that the battle for the purity of the church would be won. I still believe that will happen because Jesus Christ is building his church and purifying it so that he might present it to himself without spot or wrinkle. But, it is taking much longer than I expected.
The logical fallacy in Dr. Grudem's statement, of course, is the assumption that his interpretation of the scriptures concerning the role of women in the home and church is the only possible biblical interpretation. He equates following his interpretation of the scriptures on gender issues with having a high view of scripture and its infallible truth.

A strong case could be made for the claim that the reason the gender debate is taking so long is that it truly is a matter of how Bible-believing Christians understand the scriptures about gender differently. It is not a matter of whether or not they believe the Bible and seek to have it transform our lives.

It is entirely possible that just as there were Bible-believing Christians on both sides of the issue of whether or not slavery was biblically justified, and each side felt the other side was biblical wrong, we have the same situation with the gender debate. It took many years for the Christian church to sort through the issues of whether it was part of God's design for people to own slaves. Christians have differed on modes of baptism, whether or not charismatic sign gifts are for today, and many other issues without questioning each other's commitment to scripture.

There are Bible-believing complementarians and Bible-believing egalitarians. And there are complementarians who do not believe the Bible just as there are egalitarians who do not. Dr. Grudem is mixing commitment to the Bible as our highest rule of faith and practice with commitment to a specific interpretation of the Bible with regard to gender issues.

HT: Gender Blog