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A Discussion 30 Years Ago

I sat in a discussion thirty years ago at Gordon-Conwell Seminary listening to Dr. Andrew Lincoln and Dr. Gordon Fee discuss the place of women in ministry. The discussion between egalitarianism and complementarianism had only really begun back then. The two terms were really not even used because “complementarianism” was not even a word commonly used in the English language. Even today, 99 percent of Christians in the church around the world probably know neither the term “complementarian” nor “egalitarian.” The real question has been “Is it legitimate for a woman to lead in the church of God?” At the time, Lincoln was less egalitarian than he has become. Fee, then as now, was egalitarian to the core. I find Lincoln’s drift both commendable and instructive. That drift for certain contemporary complementarians would probably be impossible since some of them have labelled women leading in the church of God as “morally rebellious.” That is a very difficult position to back down from, once one has publicly stated his case in such strong language. Lincoln drifted because he continued to stay in the text of the New Testament and allow his opinions to be tested and changed. When one has labelled another as “morally rebellious,” dialog comes to an end and change becomes impossible because no one wants to be “morally rebellious.”

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  1. TeriLynn
    Comment #1014 posted May 31, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    Around that time the Sheparding Movement was probably in high swing. Foundations are laid to introduce these things. I’m of the opinion that the strong patriarchal hierarchical benevolent domination that the Sheparding Movement endorsed set the stage for the present day complementarianism.

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