On domestic violence

Life, Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

In October 2013, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney passed the following motion:

33/13 Domestic violence and educating clergy

Synod requests Moore College and Ministry Training and Development, in consultation with the Safe Ministry Board and appropriate experts as required, having reviewed the input they already provide, to investigate and, as needed, develop an effective approach to educating ordinands and clergy in regards to domestic violence and how to respond when it comes up as an i ssue in marriage (and other relationships).


Love and Subjugation


Last week, I wrote Submission and the Clash of Cultures. This week I want to follow it by writing about subjugation and the clash of cultures. For in website and blog comments regarding last week’s article the clash of world views became very obvious. The word ‘submission’ is, as I suggested, the presenting issue of something much bigger; it is a difference over “the nature of marriage, of human relationships and humanity itself”. (more…)

Submission and the Clash of Cultures


Behind the media brouhaha about the word “submission”, lies a clash of world views. It is a clash that feels difficult because of the heat of debate, but one that exposes something of the difference the gospel makes—not just in theory but also in practice. (more…)

Worth the wait

Resource Talk

Should I decline to co-lead a Bible study if there are men in the group? Should I cover my head (and if so, would an old towel do)? Should I keep silent during the public question time in church at the end of the Bible talk? To whom am I to submit, since I don’t have a husband—to all men? In everything? (more…)

→ A talk on gender


A thought-provoking talk from Andrew Errington on gender, given to the Christian group at Sydney University:

In fact, what we see here, I think, is a practice that is in a profound sense one of freedom. This may seem ridiculous, but I believe it is true, and indeed, at the heart of what the Christian vision has to offer. Because what we see here is a way of life that is anchored in the profound security that comes from knowing you have been loved and accepted, and that your future is eternally secured; and that is therefore able to act without fear in the midst of a broken and distorted world. In the face of threat and terror, the wife here is able to not give in to a simplification of the meaning of her sex in terms of outward appearance, but also not reject her sex as unimportant, but to acknowledge the goodness of her husband’s authority. And the husband is able to see his wife as a partner in prayer and an equal in the kingdom without her becoming a threat, so that his strength becomes an opportunity not for selfishness, but for love.

Read the whole thing.

The future of complementarianism (4): things people do and don’t fear


This debate between complementarians that the Piper incident has helped highlight has reinforced my growing impression that there are significant differences between the egalitarian and complementarian “sides” in how they approach ‘in house’ differences. Some reflections on this is my fifth and final observation and will take up the whole of these last two posts. (more…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

After the NIV: Appendix 1—Gender

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel

The NIV11’s approach to gender—variously described as gender neutral, gender inclusive or gender accurate—has been its most controversial aspect and deserves a special comment.

A starting point is to observe that all recent translations, including the ESV and HCSB (e.g. 1 Tim 2:1, 4), are more gender inclusive than the NIV84, when it wasn’t an issue. As Rod Decker suggests, “The issue involved is not if some form of inclusive language should be used, but what specific types of language are legitimate and how extensive should they be.” (more…)

The truth that dare not speak its name (3)

Life, Sola Panel

Why do we find it hard to say out loud that same-gender sex is wrong and perverse, even if we know it to be true?

The obvious answer is that no-one wants to be a pariah, for that is what voicing such a view will quickly make us in our culture. A narrow-minded, homophobic, bigotted pariah—because hardly anyone believes any more that gay sex is wrong and perverse. Quite the reverse. The mainstream view is that gay sex is just sex like any other sex, and should be accepted, validated and even celebrated.

But do they really believe that? (more…)

The truth that dare not speak its name (1)

Life, Sola Panel

We were reading the second half of Romans 1 in Bible study the other night, and I asked the group what they thought would happen around the water cooler at work if they actually expressed out loud what Romans 1 says about gay sex.

There was an awkward silence. (more…)

What makes ‘progressive’ progressive?


In a recent SMH opinion piece, Adele Horin bemoans the choices made by two women of her acquaintance—a mother and a daughter, both highly intelligent, who opted out of the full-time career market to spend time at home raising children:

She topped the state in the final exams, a brilliant girl. But she married young and did what women did in the 1960s, stayed at home to raise her children while her husband climbed the corporate ladder. Much later she worked part-time. Now it’s her brilliant daughter’s turn. A lawyer in her 40s, she has pulled back, left the big firm with its killer hours to do home-based work, and to raise her own precociously bright daughters while her husband does the climbing.