T4G – What's the Big Deal About Women Elders?

T4G – What's the Big Deal About Women Elders? May 31, 2006
Mark Dever has a great post over at the T4G blog which hammers home their reasons for prioritising the complementarianism versus egalitarianism issue in their statement. You might feel that the issue of whether or not women should hold the position of elder is a relatively minor point of theology. These guys clearly do not! I am going to take the liberty of quoting the last few paragraphs of this, but do go and read it all:

“Well then,” you might say, “why don’t you leave this issue of complementarianism at the level of baptism or church polity? Surely you cooperate with those who disagree with you on such matters.” Because, though I could be wrong, it is my best and most sober judgment that this position is effectively an undermining of–a breach in–the authority of Scripture. As Lig, the paedobaptist, has often said, “If there were a verse in 1 Timothy saying, ‘I do not permit an infant to be baptized . . .’ we wouldn’t be having this conversation about baptism! There is such a verse about women serving as teachers/elders!”

Dear reader, you may not agree with me on this. And I don’t desire to be right in my fears. But it seems to me and others (many who are younger than myself) that this issue of egalitarianism and complementarianism is increasingly acting as the watershed distinguishing those who will accomodate Scripture to culture, and those who will attempt to shape culture by Scripture. You may disagree, but this is our honest concern before God. It is no lack of charity, nor honesty. It is no desire for power or tradition for tradition’s sake. It is our sober conclusion from observing the last fifty years.

Paedobaptism is not novel (sadly). But, on the good side, evangelicals who have taught such a doctrine have continued to be otherwise faithful to Scripture for five centuries now. And many times their faithfulnesses have put those of us who may have a better doctrine of baptism to shame! Egalitarianism is novel. Its theological tendencies have not had such a long track record. And the track record they have had so far is not encouraging.

Of course there are issues more central to the Gospel than gender issues. However, there may be no way the authority of Scripture is being undermined more quickly or more thoroughly in our day than through the hermenuetics of egalitarian readings of the Bible. And when the authority of Scripture is undermined, the Gospel will not long be acknowledged. Therefore, love for God, the Gospel, and future generations, demands the careful presentation and pressing of the complementarian position.”

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