There is a new kid on the block and she is called “Equity for Women in the Church.” Birthed as a community in the Alliance of Baptists, Equity for Women in the Church is comprised of clergy, denominational, and seminary leaders across the country from various races, genders, and 10 denominations.
Much to the surprise of Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood co-founder, Wayne Grudem, egalitarians are not giving up.
It did not turn out the way Grudem thought. This is a resistance that he did not expect, and while CBMW’s determination remains strong and their actions are more visible, there is a movement for equality as both women and men are calling for the end to male headship.
In Grudem’s own words:
I am surprised that this controversy has gone on so long. In the late 80s and early 90s when we began this, I expected that this would probably be over in ten years. By force of argument, by use of facts, by careful exegesis, by the power of the clear word of God, by the truth, I expected the entire church would be persuaded, the battle for the purity of the church would be won, and egalitarian advocates would be marginalized and have no significant influence. But it has not completely happened yet!
I still believe it will happen. Jesus Christ is building and purifying his church that he might present it to himself without spot or wrinkle. But on this issue Christ’s purification process is taking much longer than I expected! (CBMW Journal April 2012.
The Danvers Statement that was the charter statement of the CBMW (and the forerunner of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000) was conceived in 1984 and written in 1987 and is the largest single influence of male headship since women have gotten the right to vote. Before the 1920s, women were hampered by lack of education, limited mobility, pregnancy and large families, and restrictive clothing. Sixty years after the vote, men were again binding women to restrictive leadership roles in the church and home.
This restriction can be laid directly at the feet of Wayne Grudem, professor of theology and biblical studies, who penned the premise of the Danvers Statement and called for the first meetings which founded the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. While Grudem says that he is coming to the end of his advocacy for male headship (female submission), his work lives on in an increasingly larger way through others who received the mantle.
As a professor of theology and biblical studies, Grudem would know that just because someone claims that God is directing and leading, does not mean it is true. In fact, in the Danvers Statement, Affirmation #8 spells it out, “In both men and women, a heartfelt sense of call to the ministry should never be used to set aside biblical criteria for particular ministries. Rather, biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.” Therefore, Grudem feels one thing, while others see God’s working in a different direction, based upon a different interpretation of biblical teaching.
Additionally, it is extremely offensive when Grudem makes the comment about the purification of the church, which includes wiping out women in leadership roles in the church and also in their own homes.
The larger question is: how can pastors and husbands read Grudem’s words and not find complete revulsion in the arrogance of purifying the church of women?
It is time to stand up. It is time to speak up against this atrocity against women and against the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are the egalitarian resistance movement and we will not be marginalized!