‘Egalitarianism’ as a slippery slope?

I have heard or read a number of people recently arguing that an ‘egalitarian’ (hate the term…) position is to be rejected by evangelicals because it necessarily involves an approach to the the Bible which tends towards the erosion of Scriptural authority. This argument comes in two forms, one which has a degree of prima facie plausibility but is weak, and one which would be powerful but is in fact simply implausible. The plausible/weak form is based on hypotheticals: ‘someone who treats 1Tim 2 or Eph 5 like egalitarians do must therefore …’ The problem with this is the hidden premise in the argument is the theological (exegetical/hermeneutical) imagination of the one making the argument: in fact what is being said is ‘I...

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The bare minimum gospel?

I’ve been involved in a discussion recently, connected to the excellent Evangelical Alliance Confidence in the Gospel campaign, which raised, amongst other issues, the question ‘what is essential to a gospel presentation?’ I understood the reason the question was on the table – are their certain things that, if they are not included, make an account of the Christian gospel simply inadequate – a ‘bare minimum gospel’? – and I sympathise with the concern: of course there are ways of calling people to faith that are so misleading, or just so anaemic, that they need to be criticised. That said, this way of presenting the question was one I struggled with. The good news of what God has done in Jesus Christ His Son, the...

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Why ‘complementarianism’ matters: reflections occasioned by Carl Trueman

Carl Trueman has an excellent blog post on the Reformation21 site, expressing puzzlement at why so many (American, evangelical) parachurch organisations make complementarianism (male-only leadership) a defining point of their platform. He highlights the potential absurdity of this in characteristically sharp and witty fashion, pointing out that the historical divisions that these organisations choose to bridge (baptismal practice; church polity; doctrines of grace) are, or should be, far more basic than complementarianism, and asking some sharp questions about practice (he imagines a situation of a male, paedobaptist, Presbyterian minister and a female Baptist minister visiting a Baptist church that is part of one of these coalitions, and asks how this will be...

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Keep Saturday Special?

The question of Sunday trading is in the news again. Here in Scotland, there is no difference in retail law between Sunday and other days; in England and Wales, however, there has been a limitation on trading on Sunday such that ‘large’ stores are only able to open for six hours. This southern limitation was relaxed over the course of the Olympics, with government ministers and spokespeople lining up to assert that this was a one-off, extraordinary relaxation, not a test case for a broader relaxation. It now seems that the line-up of ministers and spokespeople was misinformed or mendacious; the government is now publicly suggesting that a permanent change in the law would be desirable. There’s a political story here, about incompetence in...

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