The Layperson and ETS

The Layperson and ETS October 5, 2016

A group of academics gather for a theology conference. Papers and panels have been vetted in advance of the event, and conferees move from session to session listening to presentations. There are books to be purchased, break-out sessions and dinners and meetings to attend. After the conference, the academics head back to their work in universities, colleges, Bible schools, and churches. They carry home with them some food for thought, an armload of new books, and perhaps a few new professional connections.

In the case of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), I would like to suggest that some conferees might be bringing something more than these things home with them.

Scot recently posted some comments about a letter penned by past ETS president Stan Gundry addressing the politicking that has taken place within the organization in recent years around the subject of gender:

When the history of late 20th and early 21st Century evangelicalism is finally written, one of the most embarrassing stories will be the way male leaders behaved and sought to control all voices — mostly after meeting behind closed doors, in seeking to control who gets published and where, and who was chosen to speak so that a who-under-control would say what-was-controlled. Often those who are in control are taking the least amount of heat for this embarrassing way of powermongering.

Stan Gundry has now sent an alarm to ETS that the resolutions contradict what ETS is about and what its Doctrinal Basis is designed to do and not to do. He has suggested, too, that there is a complementarian conspiracy at work.

(Full text of Scot’s post, which includes the text of Stan Gundry’s letter can be found here.)

I am not a professional theologian. I’ve never been to ETS. I am, however, an interested layperson who has for many years read the work of some of the theologians who are members of ETS. I have some acquaintance with a few theologians as I once worked at TIU/TEDS as a staff member, and have been blessed to attend some seminary classes at Northern. I write for the Church, worship in a local congregation, and connect with other believers when I have the opportunity to speak in other local churches.

As a layperson, I wish I could remind conferees at gatherings like ETS that what happens at these events doesn’t stay at these events. [Read more]

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