September 19, 2016

Last year at ETS, four resolution were passed by the society pertaining to issues about gender and sexuality:

(1) We affirm that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess inherent dignity and worth.
(2) We affirm that marriage is the covenantal union of one man and one woman, for life.
(3) We affirm that Scripture teaches that sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage as defined above. This excludes all other forms of sexual intimacy.
(4) We affirm that God created men and women, imbued with the distinct traits of manhood and womanhood, and that each is an unchangeable gift of God that constitutes personal identity.

In an open letter published by ETS, Stan Gundry, a former ETS President, explains why he voted against the resolution: “Because the resolutions went beyond the Doctrinal Basis of the Society and were inconsistent with the clearly stated Purpose of ETS.” Gundry – a publisher and a friend – is concerned that the resolution is part of a “conspiracy” to push ETS in a specific complementarian direction when the society has no formal commitment to complementarianism and egalitarianism. Gundry worries that the resolution is a covert effort to:

 1.) ease out biblical egalitarians, 2.) exclude women from the leadership of ETS, 3.) let qualified women scholars know they are not part of “the old boys network,” 4.) shut down discussion of contentious ethical and theological issues, 5.) marginalize those who do not come out on the “right side” of those issues, 6.) “pack” the nominating committee so as to get their compatriots in the positions of leadership, 7.) question the evangelical and inerrantist bona fides of those who ask hard questions and come up with answers that most of us are not persuaded by, and 8.) propose and pass a poorly framed set of four resolutions that makes the Society sound more like the Family Research Council or the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood than the intentionally diverse “medium for the oral and written expressions of thought and research in the general field of the theological disciplines as centered in the Scriptures” as stated in the ETS Purpose statement.

Please do read Gundry’s statement if this is part of your context and tribe. Let me add that I believe in ETS, I believe there is good will among the leadership to make it a broad evangelical tent (broad as the gospel at least!), and ETS remains a great forum to promote discussion and debate by evangelical scholars. However, there are legitimate concerns about those who may be trying to take ETS in a very particular direction which would not accord with the stated intention of the leadership to try and attract more women and minorities. But I’ll let others debate that  point.

I wasn’t at the Atlanta meeting last year and I would not have affirmed the resolution. Not because I’m some ultra-left wing tree hugging femonazi from Harvard who rails against heteronormativity; rather, I simply think # 4 of the resolution is notoriously inadequate. Issues related to gender identity and gender dysphoria require a multi-disciplinary medical, social, theological, and pastoral response, not a 30-word precis.  You cannot offer superficial responses to complex topics, passing them as resolutions, and be expected to be taken seriously.

September 8, 2016

Over at Housewife Theologian, Aimee Byrd laments why only egalitarians seem to write about Phoebe in Rom 16.1-2. She provides a good list of sources and citations about Phoebe including my own comments in Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby HaircutsAimee exhorts fellow complementarian readers with these wise words: “These are not women that we should feel uncomfortable talking about. There’s a lot to learn here. I would love for more complementarians to be writing about this.”

June 8, 2016


I predict that there is about to be a miniature civil war among conservative Calvinist Complementarians about Trinity and gender.

One wing of that movement has been arguing for a while that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father and importantly the way that the Son submits to the Father is mirrored in the way that wives submit to their husbands. So the hierarchy in the Trinity is said to provide grounds for a hierarchy in gender relationships. Since this trinitarian debate is not really about the Trinity but about gender and equality, it is no surprise that Complementarians have been arguing for the subordinationist view (e.g., Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem) over and against the Egalitarians who have been arguing for an equality of persons view (e.g., Kevin Giles, Gilbert Belizekian).

Yet it is worth noting that many Calvinistic Complementarians, especially one’s that know their patristic theology and doctrine of the Trinity, have always balked at the idea of postulating the Son’s eternal subordination and questioned the wisdom of using the Trinity to bankroll a particular view of gender. In their mind, Calvinist Orthodoxy is Nicene, it affirms the eternal equality of the divine persons, which rules out any hierarchical subordination. They are still complementarian in regards to marriage and ministry but they reject perceived tinkering with the Trinity by the Subordinationist Calvinists. This group of Nicene Calvinists has always been rather silent and never really offered vocal protest against the Subordinationist Calvinist. However, I think that is about to change.

Over at the Mortification of Spin, (part 1 and part 2), Dr Liam Goligher of 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, offers a scathing and penetrating critique of – what I will now call – Homoian Complementarians. Now Goligher is a Conservative Calvinistic Complementarian, and yet he writes:

I am an unashamed biblical complementarian. The original use of that word took its cue from the biblical teaching about the differences yet complementarity of human beings made in the image of God while not running away from the challenges of applying biblical exhortations for wives to submit to their own husbands in the Lord or the prohibition on ordination for women in the church. With only those two caveats, as Calvin told John Knox, women may be princes in the state, but not pastors in the church. But this new teaching is not limiting itself to that agenda. It now presumes to tell women what they can or cannot say to their husbands, and how many inches longer their hair should be than their husbands!  They, like the Pharisees of old are going beyond Scripture and heaping up burdens to place on believers’ backs, and their arguments are slowly descending into farce.  They are building their case by reinventing the doctrine of God, and are doing so without telling the Christian public what they are up to. What we have is in fact a departure from biblical Christianity as expressed in our creeds and confessions. Out of that redefinition of God their teaching is being used to promote a new way of looking at human relationships which is more like Islam than Christianity; more concerned with control and governance than with understanding the nuances of the relationship of the Son with His Father in eternity on the one hand and how that differs from the roles they adopt in the economy of redemption on the other. They make this move by failing to distinguish between God as He is in Himself (ontology) and God as He is in Christ in outworking of the plan of redemption (economy).
Carl Trueman speaks frankly and wisely on what is at stake:
Indeed, the question which the leadership of the various groups associated with New Calvinism — the Gospel Coalition, CBMW etc. — must answer is simply this: do you consider Nicene orthodoxy to be a non-negotiable part of your movement’s beliefs?  Now, we live in a free country and, as Protestants, we are committed to scripture alone as the norming norm.  Thus, you are free to say that Nicene orthodoxy has no place in the church today. You are also free to say that it is something of secondary importance on which Christians can differ.  You are even free to say that the Creed of Constantinople and the Chalcedonian Christology which flowed from it are erroneous and contrary to biblical teaching.  But make no mistake: in doing any of these things you place yourself and therefore your movement not simply outside of the boundaries of the consensus of the confessions of Reformation Protestantism but also outside what has historically been considered orthodox Christianity in its broadest sense.  That is your prerogative and if your conscience and your understanding of the Word of God bind you to it, then you must do it. But you need to be honest and transparent about what you are doing.
Now I’ve been part of this debate myself along with my former colleague Robert Shillaker. What I would say is:
– The Son’s submission to the Father during his earthly life does inform us about the Son’s eternal relationship to the Father.
– The problem is that “subordination” wreaks of Arianism and should be avoided like the plague.
– I’ve always preferred Pannenberg’s way of referring to “the Son’s obedient self-distinct from the Father” as expressed in terms of a Nicene understanding of a divine equality between the persons.
– I find it pointless to use the Trinity to argue for subordination in marriage relationships, unless your marriage includes an older man, a younger man, and eunuch. (Sorry, I should have given a sarcasm alert warning!)
– Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem are not Arians, their denials are clear enough on that, but they are perilously close to Homoianism, which is semi-Arianism, or in the very least, they are non-Nicenes. In fact, the book by Bruce Ware and John Starke, One God in Three Persons looks like an apology for a Homoian or a non-Nicene view of the Trinity.

The tragic thing is that, if so inclined, you can be Nicene and still be Complementarian. Furthermore, Homoianism is a more subtle and therefore more dangerous sub-variety of Arianism. So this is a pointless and dangerous position to espouse. The root of the problem is that some Complementarians are willing to ditch Nicene christology for Homoian christology if it will give them a bigger stick to use to keep women out of the pulpit!

It just so happens that Scott Harrower and I are working on a collaborative project dealing with this issue, so watch this space, more to come in the future.

March 2, 2016

Mark L. Strauss
Jesus Behaving Badly: The Puzzling Paradoxes of the Man from Galilee
Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015.
Available at

Reviewed by Adam Ch’ng

All of us, to one extent or another, read our Bibles selectively.  Feel-good passages are set against picturesque scenery as desktop backgrounds.  While challenging passages are conveniently rationalised or simply ignored.

Much the same attitude is regrettably adopted when reading the gospels.  Instead of confronting Jesus as he is presented, we prefer a Jesus of our own cultural imagination.

In Jesus Behaving Badly, Mark Strauss refocuses the cultural lens through which we see Jesus.  He displays Jesus in high definition, casting light on all the paradoxes of his character that offend our 21st century Western sensibilities.  Strauss presents the Jesus of the gospels uncensored, unedited and uncut.

From the outset, Strauss lays down the challenge: ‘Ultimately we have to decide if we are going to sit in judgment on Jesus or listen and learn from him’ (14).  Cherry-picking Jesus’ identity is simply not an option.

Strauss systematically assesses 11 puzzling paradoxes of Jesus, asking if he is: Revolutionary or Pacifist; Angry or Loving; Environmental or Earth Scorcher; Legalist or Grace Filled; Hellfire Preacher or Gentle Shepherd; Antifamily or Family Friendly; Racist or Inclusivist; Sexist or Egalitarian; Anti-Semitic; Failed Prophet or Victorious King; and Decaying Corpse or Resurrected Lord?

Readers may find each chapter peculiarly relevant to different individuals and cultures.  For example, the chapter, ‘Antifamily or Family Friendly?’ will have special resonance with Asian Christians who instinctively feel the cultural indignity of Jesus’ question: ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ (Mark 3:33)

In each chapter, Strauss is refreshingly honest; indeed for some, maybe too honest.  When examining Jesus’ shocking words, ‘it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs’ (Mark 7:27), Strauss is comically blunt: ‘Jesus, like the famous “Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld, says “No soup [bread] for you!” (129)  We are confronted with the full offence of Jesus’ rebuff.

Some readers may find Strauss uncomfortably slow to “explain away” this apparent racism.  However, that cultural discomfort is exactly what he intends for us to appreciate in full.  The key strength of this book is its brutally honest engagement with the culturally jarring facets of Jesus’ character.  This is no exercise in straw man argumentation.

According to Strauss, the key to untangling these 11 puzzling paradoxes is the kingdom of God.  This divine kingdom – ‘God’s authority and dominion, his sovereign rule over the universe’ (165) – is the interpretive key to unlocking Jesus’ mission, purpose and vision.  It is the lens through which each paradox is not only resolved but redefined.

So Jesus was indeed a revolutionary but against the true enemies of the kingdom.  He was genuinely angry but with those who opposed the kingdom’s herald.  And he was an ‘earth scorcher’ of sorts but inaugurated a kingdom of a new creation.

The book climaxes in its grand claim that Jesus is ‘the victorious King and Savior of the world’ (185).  This divine kingship was vindicated in his resurrection and is the quintessence of his multifaceted identity.

When Jesus is known as king, the puzzling paradoxes of his character fall into place.

Strauss has written a book that portrays Jesus in raw reality.  He refocuses our cultural lenses and confronts us with a Jesus we simply cannot ignore.

Adam Ch’ng is a student pastor at Holy Trinity Doncaster and studies theology at Ridley College, Melbourne.

February 5, 2016

John Goldingay
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs for Everyone
London: SPCK, 2014.
Available a

By Felicity Clift

If I was to attempt to summarise my first thoughts on Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs prior to reading John Goldingay’s study on these books “for Everyone” they may be something like this:

– Proverbs. An almost random collection of sayings for the purpose of teaching young men how to live wisely and prosperously… and a token chapter about a woman who is said to be exemplary at homemaking.

– Song of Songs. Written by Solomon; about sex; supposedly a metaphor for God’s relationship to his people; excessively pastoral (i.e. lots of fruits and vineyards); also telling girls to remain virgins until they’re married.

– Ecclesiastes. Realistic, and perhaps pessimistic; written by Solomon; a biblical anomaly.

In presenting these as my first thoughts I do not mean that I believe these to be a true understanding of these books. Instead, these are the ideas that have accumulated from various presentations and which remain the first thoughts which come to mind – my internal word-association (some of which need to be unlearned). I am blessed to be studying at theological college as I write, and have recently had opportunity to study further the biblical genre of wisdom literature, but higher education is not essential for a clearer understanding of these books. Instead, Goldingay’s ‘Old Testament for Everyone’ series offers clarification and simplification.

In my previous review of Deuteronomy and Numbers for Everyone by Goldingay (London: SPCK, 2015), I commented on the value of reading from the beginning. It seems this is Goldingay’s formula in this series – to lay important foundations in the introduction and then to fill these ideas out, and the ‘filling’ is worth reading. I particularly appreciate Goldingay’s lighthearted willingness to present his opinions openly. Goldingay has once again engaged my thinking in new and encouraging ways.

His explanation for the Solomonic association with these books suggests that Solomon was ‘clueless about love’ (p.3) and therefore an unlikely author. In fact, the association is because Solomon was the ‘patron saint of wisdom’ (p.3). Goldingay also encourages deeper reading and broader application of the text. He suggests that the links to Babylon and Egypt that are found in wisdom literature represent the ability to learn from anyone’s experiences. All people are image bearers of God in his world, irrespective of their culture or beliefs (p.4-5). Amongst many other ideas, Goldingay comments on Christian social responsibility (p.9), on a different biblical attitude to poverty (p.28), on making plans (p.86), and on the importance of feminine teaching (p.152). As a woman from an evangelical upbringing I find Goldingay’s preparedness to acknowledge the place of gender in the Scriptures encouraging. Instead of presenting the writer and the speakers within Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs as generically ‘human’, Goldingay explores what the gender of the speaker adds to our understanding of the text. He suggests that beginning and ending Proverbs with a focus on teaching from women (Wisdom, Folly, and the strong woman of Chapter 31) ‘completes’ the masculine teaching in the inner chapters, just as the story of Moses and Pharaoh (in Exodus 1-15) is set in the context of women (p.152). Song of Songs similarly is embellished in my mind by Goldingay’s suggestion that the young woman is an initiator in this egalitarian relationship (p.245) and not a mere piece of property, however cherished she is by the man.

In reading this study guide, Goldingay has helped me to recognise the half-truths of my first associations regarding these books:

– Indeed, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes do contain some random collections of sayings, but they do so for the purpose of encouraging the audience to learn from the experiences of others (both men and women) in a practical way in their present setting.

– Song of Songs is about sex but not in a metaphorical God/human sense. It is an acknowledgement of the present reality and management of human desires.

– Rather than being biblical anomalies, the language and content of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs may be explained by their intention to look to the present (as distinct from other biblical books which tend to consider Israel’s future or past).

It seems that, just as the writer of Ecclesiastes wants to keep faith honest and so says ‘things that you wouldn’t have thought a churchman would say’ (p.177), Goldingay, too, wants to keep faith honest, and so presents ideas that are sometimes less conventional but not without grounds. His presentation remains engaging and rich and entirely God-oriented, and having now read two of Goldingay’s ‘Old Testament for Everyone’ study guides my appetite for the series, as well as the Old Testament, has been whet. Goldingay certainly makes it clear that, just as the Old Testament was ‘a living resource for understanding God, God’s ways in the world and God’s ways with us’ for Jesus and the New Testament writers, it remains so for Christians today (p.1).

Flyck Clift studies theology at Ridley College in Melbourne alongside working as a nurse in her local hospital. She is currently involved in leading a home group at church and enjoys encouraging people in integrating their belief in God with their daily living.

December 4, 2015

Morling College (a Baptist College in Australia) last year hosted a great event called The Gender Conversation with a variety of speakers and presenters from all over Australia. I gave a talk on the NT household codes, other people talked about egalitarianism, gender dysphoria, gender and ministry, and singleness, controversial stuff, but lots of perspectives represented. The videos for that conference are now available for renting or purchasing.

But note this!

EVERYONE should watch the three videos about Gender, Biology, and Identity! If you do not have a medical degree or expertise in gender theory or know how to make heads or tails of the whole transgender/gender dysophoria thing, then you really, Really, REALLY need to watch this.

Speakers include:

Justin Toh – Cultural or Created? Gender and Sex in the Context of Caitlyn Jenner’s ‘New Normal’

Patricia Weerakoon – The Biology of Sex and Gender

Andrew Sloane – Gender, Biology, and Identity: Theological Reflections.

This session was awesome, I learned a heap about the topic, what the debates are, I got insights into the psychological and medical conditions we are dealing with, the whole hoopla surrounding Caitlyn Jenner. If you are a pastor where you have people struggling with gender identity and don’t have a clue about this stuff, you need to see these videos.

April 26, 2015

I’ve always found author/blogger Rachel Held Evans to be an interesting person who could probably hold up a good conversation in a cafe. She has an interesting story of wrestling with what it means to be a Christian, combined with some contrarian sass and social media savyness. She has successfully cultivated a following out of disenfranchisement with the American evangelical scene while trying to affirm her faith in God and love for the church. She is a capable author and energetic commentator. Evans is not afraid to court controversy by disagreeing with leaders like John Piper and Al Mohler on everything from theodicy to gay marriage.

In her latest book, Searching for Sunday, she narrates her journey from evangelicalism to Episcopalianism through an exposition of the seven sacraments. It is a book that wrestles with things like doubt and the wonder of Jesus. Evans talks about the richness of liturgy and how she became pro-LGBT. In a nutshell, the book is about:

The church tells us we are beloved (baptism)
The church tells us we are broken (confession)
The church tells us we are commissioned (holy orders)
The church feeds us (communion)
The church welcomes us (confirmation)
The church anoints us (anointing the sick)
The church unites us (marriage)

Many people, especially millennials, will resonate with much of Evans’ story and her journey into the mainline. Others will eschew her critique of evangelicalism as shallow and remain wary of her adulation for liturgical churches. Evidence of the polarizing response to her book is the lukewarm reception it got from Ben Witherington and the positive review from Mike McHargue who has trouble containing his enthusiasm for it . What I like is that Evans is beautifully affirming of the resurrection, she has an almost poetic view of the Eucharist, and is resolutely pro-church. Evans also calls those trying to woo millennials back to church not to bother with tacky worshiptainment, but to seek substance over cheesiness. In addition, I really loved this line from her interview with Jonathan Merritt:

Every Sunday morning, I stand in my Episcopal church and join in a chorus of voices publicly affirming the Apostle’s Creed. Together, we declare that there is a good and almighty God who is the creative force behind all things seen and unseen; that this God is One, yet exists as three persons; that God loved the world enough to become flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived, taught, fed, healed and suffered among us as both fully God and fully human; that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born to Mary; that he was crucified on a Roman cross and buried in the ground; that after three days dead, Jesus came back to life; that he ascended into heaven and reigns with God; that he will return to bring justice and restoration to our broken world; that God continues to work through the Holy Spirit, the church, and God’s people; that forgiveness is possible, resurrection is possible, and eternal life is possible.

However, as an Anglican theologian/clergyman, I do have some pressing questions for Rachel. Who knows, maybe she’ll even answer!.

1. What if there was a brand of evangelicalism – committed to the authority of Scripture and the proclamation of the good news about Jesus – which did not have the specific baggage of American evangelicalism with its marriage to right-wing politics, its tribalism, negative rhetoric, and fear of losing cultural supremacy; a place where there is egalitarianism, liturgical worship, with hermeneutical sophistication rather than crass literalism? I call this place “the rest of the world” where Christianity, even in its conservative forms, does not have the window dressing of American evangelicalism. Could it be that you’ve used the right extreme of evangelicalism as a shallow reason to justify leaving it rather than engage with the moderate/centrist evangelicals in the US and around the world who have similar concerns to yourself, but are not prepared to jump the evangelical ship precisely because they believe in the evangel? In other words, did you ever consider that Michelle Bachmann might not be the only evangelical game in town?

2. You’ve said in the past that, “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not,” which is a mantra I oft quote myself. However, given that your faith seems to sit quite well with a progressive liberal audience, is there anything that a secular Caesar would find affronting about your faith? In other words, what is there about your faith that would make a secular fundamentalist want to throw you to the lions?

3. The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a complex and diverse denomination. Only last January I had the pleasure of worshipping at two Episcopal churches in Houston, which was a great experience with some wonderful people. In a broad church like TEC there are people to the theological left and right and everything in between. However, TEC as a whole is typified by a radical liberalism and an authoritative leadership that punishes dissent and persecutes conservative believers (I can provide evidence if you wish!). Bishops in TEC have denied every line in the Apostles’ Creed and there is a flagrant rejoicing in apostasy. I have to tell you that the vast majority of world-wide Anglicans look on TEC with a mixture of confusion and disgust and have broken fellowship with TEC. It is because of TEC that the next Lambeth conference has been indefinitely postponed. The African and Global South Anglican bishops have responded with no shortage of rage and rancor at TEC’s actions and attitudes towards Scripture. Now if the TEC presiding bishop asked you, as something of a celebrity recruit to TEC, to go to Africa and get the African bishops to chillax and to receive TEC back into the Anglican fold, what would you say to them? In other words, should the global south Anglican bishops be in fellowship with TEC?

4. You rejoice in reciting the creeds, as do I, in fact I’ve got a book coming out on the Apostles’ Creed! But what are we saying when we confess “one holy catholic and apostolic church”? I don’t want a corny answer, “This is what it means to me” as if we are looking at Rorschach drawings and we can each believe whatever we like. The creeds embody the faith that all Christians – be they orthodox, protestant, or catholic – profess together. As a Christian, what am I supposed to believe about the church’s oneness, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity? What is the essential substance and symbol of a church compared to any other organization? To put it differently, when is a church non-apostolic or when is it not holy?

5. Do you think it possible for a church to be affirming of LGBT persons even while insisting on celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in heterosexual marriage? What would you say to an ex-gay person like Rosaria Butterfield and a celibate gay Christian like Wesley Hill who both hold to traditionalist view of sexuality?

I’d like to have the kind of conversation with Rachel that Ben Witherington suggested:

Come let us reason together, without the one side or both shouting at the other, or the one side or both foreclosing the discussion prematurely. Without self-righteousness or condescension let us have a heart to heart talk, and if we still disagree, then let us part as Christians, with love and respect for each other.

I don’t know if Rachel will answer these questions, but these are juicy questions for all us to ponder about the church (though #3 is really just for Anglicans).

February 15, 2014

The Acts 29 network is a church planting movement that establishes Bible-believing churches in various places throughout the world, including in Australia. I recently came across a peculiar item in their doctrinal statement about love, Christ, leadership, and gender (HT: Megan Du Toit).

You can read their doctrinal statement here, which is fairly straight forward, tries to be non-adversarial, but takes a stand on certain issues. Given who they are and what they are doing, that’s fair enough, even if you disagree with them.

The dot-point I question is this one:

We are not egalitarians and do believe that men should head their homes and male elders/pastors should lead their churches with masculine love like Jesus Christ.

A couple of comments I want to make.

First, it is undoubtedly true that Jesus’ divinity does not transcend or swallow up his humanity, including his masculinity. Jesus became a human being, a man no less, with the specific physiological, neurological, and biochemical make-up of a man. However, that is not to say that divine love is thereby defined in terms of his masculinity (that’d be Rahner’s rule gone very wrong!). While the man Jesus undoubtedly loved others as a man, he exercised love prior to the incarnation, prior to taking on human and male qualities into himself. What is more, male love is not a separate species of love compared to female love, not everything about the incarnate Jesus’ love is man specific. For case in point, self-sacrifice is the ultimate love and men and women are equally capable of that (see John 15:13). Thus, God’s love is no more masculine than it is feminine. Not because God’s love is neutered, but because divine love encompasses all that is specific to male and female expressions of love for one another and even exceeds them. Christians are undoubtedly exhorted to imitate divine love and Jesus’ love – see especially the Johannine Letters – but that love is never, ever defined in terms of a specific gender. In fact, if it was, it would imply that women can never really express or experience divine love in a full sense. To identify divine love or even Christ’s love with a particular gender is just as mistaken as identifying divine love with a particular race or ethnicity. Should we talk about the middle eastern love of Jesus or the circumcised love of Jesus or the semitic love of Jesus? No, of course not.

Second, does anyone really think  that unbelieving and unchurched men will be more attracted to church because they can experience the “masculine” love of Christ. I don’t know, but when I think of all the reasons I have for going to church, the prospect of “man-love” is not one of them. Now maybe it might work for an episcopalian church plant in San Francisco, each to their own, but I wouldn’t use masculine love as my part of my church marketing campaign.

So, I would suggest that Acts 29 tweak their doctrinal statement to as follows:

We believe in the complementarity of men and women and that men therefore should head their homes and male elders/pastors should lead and love their churches in the same way that God loves the world and that Jesus Christ loves his church.

No reference to masculine love required, unless you want to mess up the concept of divine love, disenfranchise women, and reach out to the gay community with a message of man-love.

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