‘Hate something? Change something!’ On gender bias in conferences

I have a recurrent experience with car ads, which I think is their fault not mine: I can often, years later, remember every detail of the ad except which particular car it was advertising. I suspect this is a result of the mismatch between the grandiose claims made by marketeers and the tiny differences between actual cars. One ad, years back, ran under the slogan ‘hate something? change something!’ – as best I recall one manufacturer or another had improved their diesel engine slightly in some particular, and the marketing department decided to make this an example of world-transformation up there with the American Civil Rights movement or the ending of apartheid… I love the slogan, though. For myself I translate it as ‘don’t...

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Why should we be afraid of a UK Religious Right?

Last week’s Theos report asks the question ‘is there a religious right in Britain?’ and concludes not. The piece is well-researched and well-argued, and seems to me convincing. The Religious right in the US has coalesced around eight issues, of which perhaps two or three are on any UK Christian group’s political agenda; it has well-established links of influence with one political party, whereas UK groups either have no real influence, or work indifferently with all parties; UK Christians can be shown to be more left of centre than the general population on many or most questions of social and economic policy; and so on. At most, we can see two things. First, the beginnings of some symbiotic relationships between a couple of – small...

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A truly ‘conservative’ evangelical account of gender and church office

I want here to take issue with the term ‘conservative evangelical’: a ‘conservative evangelical,’ if words retain any meaning, should necessarily be actively committed to promoting the equal ministry of women and men at every level of church office.

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‘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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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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