The future of complementarianism (3): tradition and clarity


The third observation is that those of us who disagree with what (at least seems to be) Piper’s approach of linking what men and women should be doing to claims that men more naturally do some things well and women more naturally do other things well need to realize that if that is Piper’s view then that is arguably also the basic way in which pre-feminist Christians for 2000 years explained the logic behind the relevant Biblical commands. (more…)

The future of complementarianism (2): the search for the One True Complementarianism


The second observation is that the debate over the place of gender in public ministry and the husband/wife relationship is more complex than it can appear on the surface. As I suggested in my previous series, underneath the term ‘egalitarian’ there are a huge number of mutually contradictory positions held for a wide range of mutually contradictory reasons. Underneath the term ‘complementarian’ appears to be a smaller number of positions but which seem to be increasingly concerned to differentiate themselves from each other and which are about as quick to shoot each other for being unbiblical as they are for apparently being egalitarianism. (more…)

A disturbing review

Life, Sola Panel

It was in the Number 1 Bestseller bin at my local Christian bookstore when I strolled in for a browse last week. And it was hard to miss at other places around the store, with its bold, red, attention-grabbing cover: “Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together” by Mark and Grace Driscoll. (more…)

Grace: all the way down

Life, Sola Panel

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!” (Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (2nd ed.; London: BCA, 1998), p. 1.)

All Christians should be like that little old lady. Not, of course, that we should insist on cosmic turtles. But there’s something that Christians should insist on, constantly, in every situation, to ourselves, and to everyone we see. It’s God’s grace. All the way down. (more…)

The future of complementarianism (1): feeling, nothing more than (Christianity has a masculine) feeling


In case you missed it, there was a minor ripple through the evangelical portion of the web recently. John Piper was reported to have declared that Christianity has a masculine feel in a talk he gave on J.C. Ryle’s ministry to a men’s conference on ministry. Blogs and Facebook lit up as Christians reacted—and as is usual with the social media, with those unhappy with the statement responding first, and then others reacting to the first group’s stated disagreement with Piper. (more…)

When your children are sick

Life, Sola Panel

flickr: kourtlynlott

I woke up this morning with a headache. There’s nothing remarkable about that; but as I stood at the bench and gulped down a couple of pain killers, I was reminded of how unpleasant a headache can be, and how easy it is for me to get rid of it.

It’s not so easy for my son. (more…)

After the NIV, then what? The NIV.

Everyday Ministry, Life, Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Some time ago I wrote about choosing a Bible translation for public use in church. At my church, St Michael’s Cathedral in Wollongong, we’ve decided to go with the 2011 version of the New International Version (NIV11), recently published by Biblica (a.k.a. the International Bible Society). I’d like to follow up on my previous article to tell you about our decision, and why.

Among the apostles

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

Our own experiences often affect how we read the Bible. Take Romans 16:7, for example:

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsfolk and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. (Rom 16:7)

There’s something in this verse that often catches the eye of the modern reader: a woman, Junia, is said to be “of note among the apostles.” This means that she was either a person of note to the apostles, or that she was herself “among the apostles.” Either way, the Bible seems to be saying that there was a woman who had a ministry role that was important in the early church. Surely then, as many argue, the example of Junia means that women today, too, can and should have significant ministry roles? At this point, our own experiences can play a big part, particularly our experiences of Christian ministry. (more…)

Professor versus Cardinal (#qanda)

Life, Sola Panel

Here in Australia last week’s Q&A on ABC television was an Easter Monday special, featuring Professor Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, and Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell for a live discussion of faith, science, and morality. The show’s audience was 863,000, its biggest audience since it covered the 2010 federal election. (more…)

Authentic wine tasting

Everyday Ministry

“Thank goodness that’s over,” you sigh, laying your head on your pillow. As the organiser of your church’s ‘wine tasting’ event, your day had been very full. First thing this morning you had been to a number of superstores to chase down the twelve required varieties. As the rain poured down, you loaded the cases into your little old car. Puddle water soaked through your shoes, but you reminded yourself that it was all for the gospel. You arrived at the church and helped arrange the room with a small number of volunteers. Just as you sat down for lunch you received a call from the expert who was going to lead the tasting but now needed to pull out. A few hours, a lot of anxiety, and many phone calls later, you found someone who could fill in for him. Your phone beeped again as you received a message from the friend you invited. Unfortunately she could no longer get away from work in time and wished you a pleasant evening. You felt really disappointed. However, having an official role made it much less awkward for you than for other members of the church family who arrived without a non-Christian. (more…)

The Agony

Life, Sola Panel

Some people would call me aesthetically challenged: I don’t know much about art and music and poetry and literature—but I know what I like. And I’m more a low-brow sort of guy, crime fiction rather than the English classics. (more…)

A different centre of gravity

Everyday Ministry

This heartwarming feedback just came in from Dave, a pastor here in Sydney:

I’m not a teary kind of bloke. Last night, though, I was almost at the point of crying as we went around the room and people shared what they’d got out of doing The Course of Your Life. In the week following the weekend away one lady has told virtually everyone she’s met about Jesus and started praying all the time; another lady has cut back her excessive work hours and is praying far more frequently; three men shared how they’ve started speaking about Christian things in conversations at work where in the past they would’ve kept quiet; one of them gets in the car a few minutes earlier each day so he can pray for opportunities to speak about Jesus at work; another guy can’t stop reading Colossians because it’s just so exciting.


The hope of the resurrection


For Christians, the Bible’s teaching on Jesus’ resurrection is often a bit like a mystery box. It’s central to our faith, but in our minds its value often depends on its mystery. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul urges us to move beyond the surface, open the box and delight in its truths. (more…)