Covenant Seminary on sexuality...

Some weeks back, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Dionne, a recent graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, expressed serious concerns over the commitment of Covenant's administration and faculty to the biblical doctrine of sexuality. At that time, Pastor Dionne forwarded a couple of supporting documents from the years he and his wife, Sarah, were members of the CTS community. Not wanting to allow his material to be lost in the (rapidly depleting?) ozone, I'm depositing it here so it can be on record and debated...

Wednesday evening, March 8, Bryan Chapell and I met together to discuss this recent series of posts. In that meeting, Bryan told me he felt my quotes here were selective and therefore not a fair representation of his biblical commitments on matters surrounding sexuality. So in fairness, I'm happy to present these excerpts Bryan provided from his book, Each for the Other:
The apostles intended for their instructions to Christian families to have continuing relevance to us. This means that the headship principle is valid for today. (p. 25)

The head of a home possesses the most authority in the family. The conclusion that God grants this authority to husbands is difficult to sidestep when we read what the Bible plainly says. (p.31)

The instruction to submit to one's husband, combined with the reason given, the example offered, and the extent indicated, clearly communicates that the apostle wants the husband to have primary authority in the marriage (see Titus 2:5; 1 Cor. 11:3-10). (p. 32)

The apostle says that just as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to the headship of husbands (Eph. 5:22-23). (p. 32)

God's desire for women to submit to their husbands reflects no passing or incidental concern. God considers the submission of wives extremely important. The apostle Paul reflects the degree of God's concerns by describing the duty as having eternal as well as earthly consequences. (p. 79)

Scripture's instruction for wives to submit to their husbands is remarkably sweeping and consistent. Far from being limited to an obscure reference, the concept appears across Paul's letters, reappears in other New Testament writing, finds precedent in Israel's origins, and has its design conceived at humanity's creation. Godly instruction so comprehensive in scope cannot mean nothing for Christians concerned to honor God with their lives." (p. 84)

From the precise biblical contexts in which the term is used, commentators variously interpret submission as "a disposition to yield," "voluntary yielding in love," or "not to exercise authority over... Though the specific definitions may vary a little, it is apparent that submission includes actions, since it involves obedience (1 Pet. 3:5-6), and it includes attitudes, since it involves respect (Eph. 5:33). (p. 85)

...submission (in addition to requiring the pouring of self into the completion of another) involves the exercising of gifts for the glory of another. (p. 90).

...the wife must respect her husband" (Eph. 5:33). The word translated "respect" actually comes from the same term the apostle uses a few sentences earlier to say we must reverence Christ (Eph. 5:21). The apostle uses the word to communicate godly fear or awe. (p. 121)

Bryan Chapell on Ephesians 5:21 and mutual submission...

Covenant Theological Seminary president, Bryan Chapell, has been known to speak in support of man's headship in marriage. Dealing with the classic text commanding wifely submission, though, President Chapell regularly promotes Ephesians 5:21-33 as teaching the duty of husbands to submit to their wives as well as wives to submit to their husbands. From the beginning, this position has been foundational to the propaganda of evangelical feminists.

First, this from President Chapell's message on Ephesians 5:21-33 titled, "The Submissive Husband":

It seems that there is not...a removal of authority but a clear redefinition of it. And that redefinition is that you are to be exercising your authority with this remembering. You are to be submitting to one another even as you exercise your authority. There is not only an expression of authority in headship, but a clear expression of the way in which you are to be expressing it is to be out of submission--submission to what God wants to accomplish in the people's lives around you, in your own life. You are to be submitting to one another even as you express your authority. Now those things don't go together in cultural understanding. But it is precisely what Paul is saying must be what husbands are. They are servant-leaders. And even the order is important here. If you take verse 21 as the controlling verse, submit to one another in everything--submit--then even those people who are leaders are expressing their leadership in the terms of some aspect of submission to what God is trying to accomplish. What does it mean to be a servant-leader, to have this role?

Second, from President Chapell's book on marriage titled, Each for the Other (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 1998), this statement and footnote on the proper interpretation of Ephesians 5:21-33:

What should rouse our curiosity and underscore the special nature of Paul's instructions is what he says to those who are not in traditionally submissive roles. First, Paul affirms their authority. For example, the apostle still gives parents authority over children (Eph. 6:1-4), and servants are not encouraged to take a vote to decide whether to obey their masters (6:5-8). Yet despite his refusal to annul the authority of those that his culture considered to be in charge, the apostle will not affirm the status quo. He requires people with authority (as well as those in submissive roles) to live sacrificially for the ones God places in their spiritual context and care (cf. 5:1-2, 21, 25). Endnote 14
Endnote 14: Significantly different interpretations have been given to the loving phrase "submit to one another." Some have taken the phrase to mean that among Christians no one should have authority over anyone. This interpretation seems unlikely since wives are immediately told to submit to their husbands, children are told to obey parents, and slaves (better interpreted as 'servants'; see note 3 in chapter 5) are told to obey earthly masters. In addition, Paul here and elsewhere establishes offices of authority in the church (see Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 5:17). Other respected interpreters examine the use of these words elsewhere and conclude the phrase applies only to those who are in submissive roles (see Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective, 140-44; Piper and Grudem, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 493-94 [footnote 6]). This may seem to indicate that the only ones who have submission obligations are those in subservient positions. While I understand the concern these conscientious authors have not to blur biblical husband/wife distinctions by allowing that husbands are to 'submit' to their wives, questions remain about their interpretation. Reasons for such questions include: (1) the long Greek sentence (Eph. 5:18-21) that includes this requirement of submission also includes three other requirements that apply to all in the church rather than one group of persons; (2) each of the requirements is a consequence of individuals being 'filled with the Spirit'--a quality all believers are to desire; (3) and the commands for all persons that follow (including husbands, parents, and masters) make it clear that putting self-interest beneath the interest of others is required of every believer (see George W. Knight III, "Husbands and Wives as Analogues of Christ and the Church: Ephesians 5:21-33 and Colossians 3:18-19," in Piper and Grudem, eds., Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 167-68). Arguing that the Greek word for submission "is never 'mutual' in its force; it is always one-directional in its reference to submission to authority" (Piper and Grudem, 493) does not negate the possibility that submission requirements apply to all believers since each is acting "out of reverence for Christ" and thus all are ultimately submitting to the one divine authority. My understanding is that Paul intended for the general phrase "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ" to apply to all in the church as each lives sacrificially in every position or relationship God provides. However, with precisely inspired balance and to avoid confusion about roles and responsibilities, the apostle never uses the "submit" term when directly instructing husbands, parents, and masters about their relationships with those under their authority. The issues are complex, however, and I freely concede an unwillingness to claim certainty on the particular point of whether the specific "submit" term applies to those in authority. Still, this discussion about whether the specific term applies to all persons in every relationship, should not make anyone uncertain about Paul's clear statement at the outset of this passage that all believers should "live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us" (Eph. 5:2). This foundation principle makes it clear that all persons are to sacrifice their own interests to the purposes of God as they are being fulfilled in others. The general requirements of personal selflessness is reemphasized when the apostle later tells those in authority to give of themselves for the good of those under their care. Hence, husbands are told to love their wives "just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (5:25; and note also that this is precisely how women are told to "submit" in 1 Peter 3:1, cf. 3:7); fathers are told, "do not exasperate your children" (Eph. 6:4); and masters are commanded "in the same way" not to threaten their servants since "he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him" (v. 9). Paul does not obliterate all authority but rather requires all persons of every distinction to surrender their own advantages and benefits to the good of the ones for whom they are responsible. The closest analogy to this kind of submission is the very one that in terms of authority he did not serve the church in the same way that she submits to him. He maintained his authority even as he humbled himself to offer his life for the church's good (Phil. 2:5-11). For expert discussion of this careful balance see Foh, Women and the Word of God, 134.

[All emphases in the original.]

And demonstrating how it all comes out in the end, this from President Chapell's message on Ephesians 5:21-33 titled, "The Submissive Wife":

Now you have to remember that it is both the man and the women by virtue of verse 21 that are to be in some form of submission to each other.

Dan Doriani's apology...

Likely the most orthodox member of Covenant's faculty in dealing with the biblical doctrine of sexuality was Dr. Dan Doriani. Yet this excerpt makes it painfully obvious that even Dr. Doriani would prefer not to teach on the subject. Do it he must, though, so he takes up the thankless task. Reading Dr. Doriani's extended apology leads me to wonder how the Apostle Paul might rewrite Galatians were he writing today.

More recently, Dr. Doriani left the Presbyterian Church in America for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church to serve as Senior Pastor of Central Presbyterian Church, the tallest-steepled presbtyerian church of metro St. Louis. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church's distinctive is permitting women in office. It's been reported to me that Central Pres. has no women elders or pastors.

Two days away from the Francis Schaeffer lectures. I'm somewhat apprehensive. I think about the fact that in two days I'll be standing up and not saying what a speaker usually says at the beginning of a lecture series. You know--you're always supposed to say...'it's a joy and honor to be here. This is a very important topic about which I care very deeply.' And on Friday night I won't quite be able to begin that way with full truthfulness. ...I'll say it is an important topic and it's an honor to be here. But I won't be able to say it's a joy to be here... Why?

Let me tell you some ignoble reasons for being afraid or apprehensive before speaking. I don't like controversy, and this topic is controversial. Second, I like to be liked.

And, you know, when I'm done speaking I'm not so sure everyone will like everything that I say and since what we say is connected to who we are people who don't like what I say won't like who I am. And I don't like that. ...I know that at some points to the conservatives I'll be a liberal and to liberals I'll be conservative...and at some points almost no one will really like what I'm saying. That is unpleasant to think about. We all like to be liked. There are weightier reasons than my own preferences, too. It is a difficult topic--a topic on which even conservative Christians disagree sharply. In fact, there are so many decisions that need to be made about the roles of women and the place of women in the church that I don't know if there is anybody that will completely agree on every point that is going to be raised. In other words, the more you talk, the more you accumulate people who disagree with you at least a little bit.

But that's not all. When I keep giving my views on points that are controverted, I come to the conclusion that by the end of the day it is a virtually certainty that I will have said something if not multiple things that are false. If only I knew which ones those were. Then I'd feel better. But I don't. Beyond that there is the problem that even beyond that even if I would perchance say everything correctly...there will be subtle and sophisticated arguments and refinements. And we live in a day when people don't like refinements. When you say "ordinarily" and "probably" and "usually" most people think you are just clearing your throat. But in fact, you are trying to say there is more to this issue than you realize. They say, "Just tell us straight...can women do this or can they not. Just tell us."

And it is just not that simple sometimes...

-Covenant Seminary professor Dan Doriani, Spring 2000: Francis A. Schaeffer Lectures: Convictions and Confessions--Women's Roles in the Church

Comments

I note the parallel between the structure of Eph. 5:21ff with this passage from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

And they shall be recorded in the Rule, each one before his fellow, according to his insight and his deeds, in such a way that each one obeys his fellow, junior under senior.
1QS V 23 (Matinez, 9) see also 4QSd Frag. 1 col. II 2-3 (Matinez, 22)

How does each one obey his fellow? Junior under senior. Likewise, how do we submit to each other? Wives to husbands, children to parents, slaves to masters.

If Paul meant Husbands to wives and wives to husbands, he could have, would have, should have made it clear in his clarifying section.

[Originally posted on 2/26/07 at 2:48 PM]

Methinks Chapell and others ought to ask a very basic question; would their interpretation of "submit" have made any sense whatsoever to the original readers/hearers of the letter to the Ephesians? My take is emphatically "no."

A second question that they really ought to answer is whether their interpretation is compatible with orthodox ecclesiology and Christology. Given that the Scriptures use marriage as an analogy for God's love for us, wouldn't this interpretation of Ephesians 5 imply that our Lord submits to us?

Then exactly how is He our "Lord"? Yikes, I'm starting to weep for the PCA here.

[Originally posted on 2/26/07 at 5:47 PM]

>I'm starting to weep for the PCA here

Yes but just remember we shouldn't be upset about such things. There are still FV advocates to be burned at the stake. That is what really matters...

[Originally posted on 2/26/07 at 7:38 PM]

I can't believe that we're still hearing the same holey arguments that have been around for 20+ years. I suppose the real problem here is the attitude towards the text, and the unwillingness to actually acknowledge the clarity of command.

Husbands are to submit to Christ, and wives are to submit to husbands. If "submit to one another" means that husbands must love their wives as Christ his Bride, then our teaching should be "Love your wives, submit to your husbands," not "It says mutual submission, so you guys figure how this works out."

[Originally posted on 2/26/07 at 11:13 PM]

Robert Perry:

Methinks Chapell and others ought to ask a very basic question; would their interpretation of "submit" have made any sense whatsoever to the original readers/hearers of the letter to the Ephesians?>>>>>

It makes no sense to me, and I am not one of the original readers. It makes no sense, period.

It is a reading of post-modern, radical feminism back into the Biblical text. It involves attempts to try to make Paul talk like a feminist. Oh, it starts out innofensive enough, with all its "mutual submission" sweetness and light, but it is the enemy talking and using the mouth of this fine Christian gentleman - who really has to know better!

Mrs. Bauer has called Al Mohler's warnings about the dangers of the slippery slope feminism a fallacy. There is no slippery slope. No one is sliding downwards, according to Bauer.

If it is not a slippery slope that egalitarians are on, then "mutual submission" as being promoted by them is at the very least the tip of the iceberg and one of the first signs of growing apostasy. Just look at liberalism to see what the rest of the ice berg looks like.

Feminist teachings are post-modern liberalism's leaven. Is that a better, biblical, even Red Letter metaphor? Isn't it obvious? This leaven is being introduced into almost every seminary and Bible school in our land, and being exported to the mission field's of the world.

No big deal, I guess. It's nothing to get all worked up about. After all, this patriarchalism is the real danger to women and their children. It has to be opposed. At least that's how many think.

Meanwhile, great apostasy looms on the horizon, and not all that far away.

Don't mind me. I am an overly dramatic soul.

Sorry to act as though you men don't know all this better than I or just about anyone else. It's just that I used to be very influenced by the feminist teachings. It now bothers me to see the false teachings being promoted, and to see the agents of feminism so active on this blog. Some of them unwittingly being used in that way; others knowing perfectly well what they are up to.

That could have been me at one time...or at least I would have been applauding them.

I find it all very sad, really.

On a happy note, I got to hear Mark Driscoll preach patriarchy right in the middle of one of the most wicked cities in our land. Yes, he even used the "p" word. I am still inspired by his words and his call to repentance and faith.

Of course "they" hate him, too...

Don't mind me...

[Originally posted on 2/27/07 at 1:04 PM]

What ever happened to Romans 1:16? Reality here is that sexuality is central to a Biblical understanding of God's love for us and the Gospel itself.

[Originally posted on 3/1/07 at 2:48 PM]

Dr. Doriani left full-time work at CTS while I was still studying there, and I remember well one of his remarks to the student body about his reasons for taking the position of Senior Pastor at Central Presbyterian. Among other reasons I may have forgotten, he said he desired to be in a leadership position and that leadership positions simply were not opening up at Covenant. His desire was "leadership," and he believed the pulpit of Central Presbyterian would give him this desire.

It was strange to me for Dr. Doriani to admit this reason publicly--before the whole student body--and thereby to embarrass the administration of CTS. It seemed as though Dr. Doriani was saying that Central had recognized something about him that Covenant had not...and so he was leaving.

I do not recall if Dr. Doriani specifically mentioned a desire to be back in the pastoral ministry after his time as a professor, but I do recall thinking it strange that a man desired to be back in the pastoral ministry in order to fulfill a desire for leadership. Yes, leadership is a foundational part of the pastoral ministry...but I was expecting him to say something about desiring to return to shepherding rather than teaching. As I understand things, there is a fundamental difference between leading a seminary and leading a church. Administrative leadership of an academic institution is one thing; shepherding leadership of a body of believers is quite another.

[Originally posted on 2/28/07 at 4:05 PM]

In the interests of full disclosure, you should probably point out that despite the EPC's stance allowing women elders, Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis does not have women officers. The EPC allows for churches to have different opinions on the issue and Central is clearly on the conservative end of the EPC (and is probably more conservative than most PCA churches).

Second, Dr. Doriani did not simply leave Covenant for the "largest steeple" in Metro St. Louis, he agreed to take the pulpit of a church that was in a major crisis. He did not take a marqee job but reentered the pastorate after his time on faculty at Covenant Seminary. (I'm not saying that you ascribed false motives to Dr. Doriani but the context could be read as such.)

[Originally posted on 2/28/07 at 8:42 AM]

Dr. Doriani was a wonderful teacher and a great preacher - I think his sermons have stuck with me more than any other preacher's sermons in the way he made constant reference to the text he was preaching; not a lot of fancy structure, or at least so fancy that I didn't notice the structure. His own mother is an ordained minister and he has taught against women's ordination with her in the same room. He has stood up for complementarian positions at Harvard, and has published some very helpful books on the subject. As for seeking leadership, it is sad the way you've imputed motives to his desire for leadership. We have a church where so few desire to assume leadership roles, and when a man is prepared for leadership, he should find a good fit where God can use his gifts. And Dr. Chapell's marriage book is a winsome, well balanced approach. What I detect here is that you guys are looking for the on-ramps for slippery slopes; something that very much looks like putting hedges around the way we speak on these matters. It's enough to drive a guy *towards* egalitarianism.

I am sure Dr. Chapell and Doriani have been gifted and used of God. Nobody here is saying they are not believers or have no gifts, and have not served, etc. I have met Brian and sat under his sermons.
However, the question is when there may be error or an apologizing for God's glorious truth, what are believer's to do? Did the above examples give them credit or was it squeamish, evasive and cloudy?
What I am getting at is this; they are not infallible and being prominent leaders are in positions of influencing a great deal of souls under them. This requires a great deal of accountability- not less accountability. Yet, this seems what we have accepted in our day? It seems if anyone is a Christian, or especially a leader, they have been elevated beyond reproof and given a pass on accountability? That they have leadership seems to mean nobody has the "right" to offer biblical admonition?
I wonder how Peter felt when Paul confronted him in the sight of all? I wonder if he felt Paul was searching for "onramps to slippery slopes" or if he repented of his hypocrisy and loved Paul for being God's instrument of reproof? Was Peter faithful and a believer and the leader of the church in Jerusalem? You bet. Was he rebuked? You bet. What is interesting is the Holy Spirit has seen fit to place this account in the scriptures for us as well. Yet, are we to believe that leaders today do not err in similar ways? Are they so much godlier than the Apostle Peter?
I like Brian and what you say about Dr. Doriani gives me some encouragement. However, I sense offense taken by the mere thought that someone else would dare try to hold each of them accountable? This was offered by teaching Elders, not a layman. Should Elders be faithful to the biblical mandate of their office to the flock, but ignore each other? May it never be.

Dear Jonathan,

I came to CTS largely because of Dr. Doriani. I was well aware of and thankful for his work on complementarianism before seminary and, during my campus visit, his Gospels class helped finalize my decision to attend CTS. So, it was with great disappointment that I saw him enter the EPC, a denomination that is unorthodox on the issue of ordination.

His comments about his decision stuck in my brain and have been something I have thought about since that time. His desire for leadership is a good one. I just found it confusing that he would equate seminary leadership with church leadership...then jump to the EPC. I grant that I may have misunderstood him, but I can't help being disappointed that he chose to fulfil this desire for leadership regardless of the egalitarian context in which he would be exercising it. Leadership is not just leadership.

But why put so much emphasis on the EPC *as a denomination*? A congregation called Doriani to be their minister - a congregation that does not ordain women. There is no "egalitarian context" for his ministry that doesn't exist for all ministers - Christ's church catholic ordains women - we all live in an egalitarian context of sorts. That's different than teaching women's ordination to the pastorate, something Doriani does not do, and something his congregation does not do.

Finally, one quibble - there is no "orthodox" position on the ordination of women. The Nicene Creed mentions nothing about this. There may be right and wrong positions on the matter, but it does not rise to a test of orthodoxy vs. heresy, and I think we should probably reserve those words so that they will have force when we need them. Arians and Nestorians are not even in the same ballgame as feminists.

I think what I object to most about this "documentation" of alleged creeping feminism at Covenant is how the insinuation is made. Because people tread lightly in presenting male headship in a context of mutual submission, suddenly they are smuggling in an alien theology or an alien ethics. There are many truths that we need not be enthusiastic about. I'm committed to the idea of eternal, conscious torment, but I wish it weren't true, and I certainly think my own queasiness about it will make my defense of the matter, theologically, that much more credible. I don't think we defend counterintuitive doctrines better when we pretend they aren't counterintuitive.

As for whether I was taken aback at there mere fact of "holding them accountable" I don't think that's the case. I just think Doriani is the worst example of a crypto-feminist that anyone could possibly dream up; his courage on the issue comes despite even familial ties! Half of the defenses of male headship and male-only ordination that I know come from his pen! I remember his even advocating to our class that wives not handle the checkbook because it could end up with her having to demand adherence - "sorry, honey, you can't spend on X or Y."

No one I know thinks Dan Doriani is a "crypto-feminist."

>But why put so much emphasis on the EPC *as a denomination*? A congregation called Doriani to be their minister - a congregation that does not ordain women.

You clearly have a very low ecclesiology. Choosing to attach yourself publicly to a church which has chosen to rebel against God's teaching on an issue which is at the forefront of the assault on faithfulness to God says something. Would you be equally oblivious if he were to attach himself to the PCUSA?

>There is no "egalitarian context" for his ministry that doesn't exist for all ministers

See above.

>- Christ's church catholic ordains women - we all live in an egalitarian context of sorts.

That is some of the cheapest sophistry I've seen in awhile. Who ordains women? Not Rome. Not the Eastern Orthodox. Not any Protestant denomination which firmly upholds the historic confessions and catechisms. What are the marks of the true church? The word rightly preached, the sacraments rightly administered and the biblical manifestation of church discipline. At least two of those are not present in a church which ordains women.

>Finally, one quibble - there is no "orthodox" position on the ordination of women. The Nicene Creed mentions nothing about this.

The Nicene Creed did not deal with the issue because even the heretics of the time were not in rebellion on that issue. The Creed doesn't deal with homosexuality either, is that a buffet option as well for you? The orthodox testimony of the church, be it in its historic Latin or Greek manifestations for nearly two millenia demonstrates a clear orthodox teaching on this issue. Only modern depravity has sought to provide a different teaching.

>I think what I object to most about this "documentation" of alleged creeping feminism at Covenant is how the insinuation is made. Because people tread lightly in presenting male headship in a context of mutual submission, suddenly they are smuggling in an alien theology or an alien ethics.

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."

Martin Luther

>There are many truths that we need not be enthusiastic about.

What sort of Christianity teaches that? We may be squeamish regarding some of God's truths but that is a demonstration of our sinful nature not our moral superiority to God which is implicit in this message.

>I'm committed to the idea of eternal, conscious torment, but I wish it weren't true, and I certainly think my own queasiness about it will make my defense of the matter, theologically, that much more credible.

See above with emphasis.

>I don't think we defend counterintuitive doctrines better when we pretend they aren't counterintuitive.

No but we ought to confess the fact that they may seem counterintuitive results from our corrupt and fallen natures, not from any shortcoming in God's teaching.

"There may be right and wrong positions on the matter, but it does not rise to a test of orthodoxy vs. heresy, and I think we should probably reserve those words so that they will have force when we need them."

You sound very much like those fellows who insist that "heresy" is only that error which has been anathemitized by an ecumenical council, knowing full well that there shall be never be such thing until the LORD returns. But with those heresies identified by the ecumenical councils, it was necessary *before* they were so branded for someone to recognize them as heresies and to name them as such. Of course, heresy can be a "naughty word" childishly tossed about by the ignorant. That is exactly NOT how I and others use the term when we apply it to egalitarianism.

"Arians and Nestorians are not even in the same ballgame as feminists."

Exactly wrong again. Egalitarians are the same as Arians and Nestorians in this way: their error, when elborated and incorporated into the deposit of faith, so alters it as to render it alien. Arianism and Nestorianism render the faith a wholly other religion.

Egalitarians are worse than Arians and Nestorians for this reason: their error is so fundamental theologically that it rapidly and necessarily replaces Biblical and Apostolic doctrine concerning the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the economy of salvation itself. Take away male headship, and you take away the gospel (cf. Romans 5 for starters). Egalitarianism is a gospel issue.

Luther's quote provided by David is precisely to the issue here. Christian leaders - pastors, elders, seminary presidents and professors - who blanch at the prospect of defending the Bible's teaching on sex show themselves flawed with more than simple ignorance or confusion. They are deserters in the midst of an attack on the gospel they profess to embrace.

Once again, the rhetoric on this blog and its comment section is irresponsible to the point of being immoral.

Flaming your opponent in a debate like this as "denying the Gospel" is really getting old. The debate about gender is important, but it doesn't rank with Christological and soteriological theological error.

The books and articles by Chapell and Doriani on marriage and gender relations are great examples of faithful exposition and application.

"The debate about gender is important, but it doesn't rank with Christological and soteriological theological error."

Jeff,

The debate about gender error IS a debate about Christological and soteriological error. I acknowledge that you do you agree that it is, and I wonder what it would take for you to change your mind on this.

The only thing I can offer (which, I admit, may have no probative value for you at all) is the example of main-line Protestant groups over the past 50 years, whose Christology and soteriology are corroded by a prior embracing of error in meaning of sex, the sexes, and their relationship to one another. That sorded bit of historical theology is now being replicated within broadly evangelical Protestantism.

That this raises no alarms within institutional evangelicalism (seminaries, publishing houses, denominational administrators) is simply amazing. The alarms that DO register within institutional evangelicalism are the ones that warn against messy fights and quarrels that alienate donor bases, make us appear "not winsome," and otherwise render us as odious to the spirit of the age as the Christians who wouldn't even drop a pinch of incense in a brazier.

I can understand someone ignoring the lessons of history from several centuries ago (though such ignorance is inexcusable). But, how does it happen that these folks who think egalitarianism is just a mild irritant can ignore the trends of the past 50 years, which are within the living memory of everyone above the age of 20?

"Back to Covenant Seminary for a moment, I think the reason it doesn't really set out to create entire classes of Tim Baylys and Andrew Dionnes is because the PCA is flush with that perspective as it is."

Really?

>I think the reason it doesn't really set out to create entire classes of Tim Baylys and Andrew Dionnes is because the PCA is flush with that perspective as it is.

You don't travel around the PCA much, do you?

>Covenant is trying to show leadership in promoting a winsome, warm Calvinism that is missions-minded and non-combative.

It is a bad sign for CTS that its defenders make it sound like a place to be avoided by men who desire to be faithful to God.

I'm thankful that the teaching that Bryan Chapell highlighted is in his book, Each for the Other. But this is not the overarching drift of the book. The Christian husband looking for clear teaching on what his wife is called to submit *to*, or the husband and wife wanting to give themselves to God's design will find cloudy counsel in the book. Lots of slaps against abuse of authority but starvingly little of what would help most. I offer a critical review here:
http://todayorthatday.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/book-review-each-for-the-other/

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