No. 6 on the list of most-read posts on this blog appeared on December 18, 2006, and was a summary of the highlights of my interview with Dr. Wayne Grudem, a man who is certainly a wonderful gift to the global Church! Other segments of this interview would have made the top 30 in their own right, as would my review of Dr. Grudem’s supreme Systematic Theology.
At times it looked like it would go on forever, but the Wayne Grudem interview is over. In this post I look back on the whole interview and its aftermath. If you haven’t got time to read through the whole thing, this will give you an overview and help you select the parts you may want to read in more detail. I will also share some personal reflections of the interview – some of which, of course, directly resulted in the sudden change to my comment policy
Part 1 – Personal Matters
If there is one thing that stands out from this whole interview, it’s the fact that egalitarians simply don’t understand what complementarians like Wayne Grudem are saying. The assumption made by some people seems at least to me to be that anyone who believes in a husband leading and taking responsibility for his wife is effectively a woman-hater. I hope that particular view is indeed rare, but we need to do everything we can to ensure that we are communicating across the divides caused in part by us using words differently.
This quote sums up the man, Dr. Grudem, in my mind, and reveals that – far from being the troublemaker some people think he is – this is a man of deep love and humility. Bizarrely to me given the way I understand the word, some poeple even held this quote up as an example of Dr. Grudem “submitting” to his wife. In reality, it is a great example of him taking the responsibility for a decision that would help his wife and simultaneously hurt his career. Perhaps if this was what every husband meant by leading his wife, the whole feminist issue would evaporate:
“We moved to Phoenix Seminary in Arizona in 2001, primarily because of Margaret’s health. She had been experiencing chronic pain after an auto accident a number of years earlier, and we found that the pain was aggravated by cold and humidity. Well, the Chicago area is cold in the winter and humid in the summer! After a couple of trips to Arizona, which is hot and dry, we realized that Margaret felt much better there. So I phoned the academic dean at Phoenix Seminary and asked if there might possibly be a job opportunity there for me. It is a long and wonderful story of the Lord’s guidance and provision, but the result is that we have been here since June of 2001, Margaret has felt much better, and I also love the seminary where I am now teaching. So we are thankful for God’s blessings in many ways. I am thankful to the Lord that when we were making a decision about whether to move to Phoenix, on the very day we were talking and praying about it, I came to Ephesians 5:28 in my regular schedule of daily Bible reading, and the Lord used this verse strongly in my own decision process: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” After reading that, I thought it was important for me to move for the sake of Margaret’s physical body, her physical health.
Part 2 – Systematic Theology and Controversy
Dr. Grudem’s answer to my question about his book, Systematic Theology, further demonstrated his humility, but in other ways was also quite revealing. A big difference between men like Grudem and certain other theologians is that he believes it is his task to make complex theological truths understandable by ordinary “lay” people without theological degrees – people like me. I cannot agree more, as quite frankly, if a theologian cannot write about his ideas and the evidence he bases them on in a way that a person of reasonable education can understand, then there is something very wrong. I thank God for men like Grudem who can do just that.
“I am surprised, and thankful to God for the way the book seems to continue to be a blessing to people – and not just to pastors and seminary students, but lots of other Christians from all walks of life. As you know, I believe that God intended His Word to be understood, not just by specialists, but also by ordinary Christians. The “blessed man” in Psalm 1 is held up as an example for all of us: “His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)”
Read more . . . Dr. Wayne Grudem—Highlights and Reflections