Following its publication as an ebook in early May 2014, we are delighted that Women, Sermons and the Bible (WSB) will soon be available in a print version (available from Matthias Media in August).
Our hope for both versions is that thoughtful Christians will be helped to read their Bibles well, and to conduct gospel ministry in a way that honours Christ through understanding and believing his word—particularly his word to us about teaching, preaching and the complementary ministries of men and women in church.
This godly partnership in gospel ministry in obedience to God’s good word is what we love and long for. The publication of John Dickson’s Hearing Her Voice (HHV) raised serious questions about how this ministry should be conducted—questions that were sufficiently important to warrant a careful and detailed response in book form. The result was WSB, a collection of essays that interacts with both the first edition of HHV (published by Zondervan in Dec 2012) and the revised second edition (self-published by John in August 2013, and by Zondervan in mid-2014).
In the two months since the publication of WSB as an ebook, John Dickson has made various allegations and complaints in social media and blog posts about the fairness and credibility of WSB, and our intentions as its authors. We understand John’s desire to defend himself and his views, although we are saddened by the manner in which he has done so. And while we might wish to protest (in detail) at the various claims that have been made, we do not think it would be wise or productive to do so.
We wrote WSB so that readers would have access to a careful, reasoned critique of the two published editions of HHV, as well as to some clear and positive statements about the nature of complementarian ministry. It is our conviction that this is how Christian debate on important matters such as these should proceed—with proposals being put forward, and serious, thoughtful responses being made to these published arguments in due course. That this involves disagreement, even strong disagreement, implies no lack of respect for the other people or their argument. Quite the opposite: to respect someone’s point of view is to engage with it thoughtfully, test it against the evidence, and make a responsible conclusion about whether it is true or not.
This is what we have all worked hard to do in WSB. We stand by what we have written, and have made no changes between the ebook and the print version.1 We are confident that a careful and unbiased reading of HHV (in both its editions) and WSB will indicate not only that we have understood and interacted with John’s published arguments accurately and fairly, but that we have shown the substance of his proposal to be deeply problematic.
Whether that confidence is well placed is a judgement we are happy to leave in the hands of our readers.
The Rev. Peter Tong
The Rev. Danielle Treweek
Dr Claire Smith
The Rev. Dr Peter Bolt
The Rev. Tony Payne
The Rev. Dr Lionel Windsor
The Rev. Dr Mark Thompson
- Apart from a couple of minor typographical and other fixes. ↩