They’ve Changed Their Mind

Well, this is good news: the Bristol Christian Union has changed minds on the women speakers issue. (See the post below this one.) My thanks to RJS for finding this.

A university Christian union that came under attack for not allowing women to teach at its main meetings has now said it will allow both sexes to preach at all events.

Bristol University Christian Union (BUCU) is being investigated after a memo emerged revealing women could not teach at its weekly meetings, and could only teach in some other settings with a husband.

On Tuesday night it put out a statement saying it would now allow women to teach at all its events.

It said: “The executive committee now wish to make clear that we will extend speaker invitations to both women and men, to all BUCU events, without exception. BUCU is utterly committed to reflecting the core biblical truth of the fundamental equality of women and men.”

The statement added it was “well known” that Christian churches differed on the question of women’s ministry. It said: “BUCU is not a church, but a student society, so it has never had a formal policy on women’s ministry.

“In recent months, the executive committee have been exploring ways in which BUCU can best accommodate members with divergent and strongly held convictions, while expressing our unity as Christian believers.”

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  • James Petticrew

    Sanity is restored

  • Pat Pope

    Do we know if this is without qualification? I know of some churches that will allow women to speak but not from the pulpit.

  • Not as helpful as hoped: it is not at all clear that what they say and what they do match up.

    I live in Nottingham, and only last year one of my female colleagues was told she could not address the Nottingham University CU.

  • Brandon Bishop

    This change is good. However, it would be interesting to know whether they changed because of biblical conviction or because they “came under attack”.

  • Scott

    If I understand correctly, a number of other Christian Unions in the UK still have similar policies to the original Bristol policy. I wonder if this Bristol controversy will change anything in the policies at other universities and colleges.

  • Scot McKnight

    Ian, inform the leaders there and I’ll give them space on my blog to explain the situation — or to anyone who knows what this reversal means.

  • Barb

    When I was a Young Life Leader (back in the day) I couldn’t lead songs, much less give the message.

  • Rick D

    Barb – can I ask when that was? I was on YL staff for about a decade and your experience is shocking to me.

  • Brandon Bishop

    Barb, I’m sorry for you’re experience with Young Life. I’m currently on YL staff and missionwide we are fully inclusive of women in all facets of ministry now. The first line of the Position Paper for Women in Ministry reads
    “Young Life believes that men and women together reflect the wholeness of Christ and that God calls and gifts both men and women to serve at every level in this mission.”

    Every level, means every level. A woman can be president of YL as well as give club talks, camp talks, etc.

    I believe this has long been a conviction on a corporate level of YL, but in the last 10 years or so they have made a push for all areas to “get there” theologically, so that missionwide we are inclusive and no longer allowing certain areas or regions to continue to oppress the talents and gifts of women in leadership.

  • E.G.

    Don’t tell Denny Burk about this development:

  • Larry S

    On Denny I thought his post on “why aren’t we calling it the “royal fetus” was quite clever.

    Credit where credit is due

  • I’d be interested in seeing a follow through to Ian Paul’s post, #3, too. I hope the leaders take Scot up on his offer!

  • Fred

    There have been similar issues with a few CU groups at Australian Universities. It’s created quite a stink in some quarters and caused unnecessary schism and hurt. Hopefully Bristol CU’s change of heart is genuine.

    Ironically many patriarchal/complementarian groups kind of get away with it at present because Muslim groups on campus are allowed gender segregated spaces etc. If the Muslims are allowed to do so, then Christian groups are too.

  • Mike M

    Denny Burk has something messed up when he says “This has never been a compelling argument to me. It is true that parachurch groups are not the church. They cannot baptize or administer the Lord’s supper.” Wrong. Through Christ, we are all prophets, priests, and kings. We all have the authority to baptize and commune through the Lord’s Supper.

  • Scott

    Here is a British pastor’s perspective on the nature of Christian Union groups in the UK and the way this kind of debate too often goes: