Tim Keller blithely continues down the broad egalitarian path...

Picture_3 (Tim) Several years ago, I was talking with one of the patriarchs of the PCA about a series of pieces we'd published here exposing the promotion of false doctrine within one of our largest denominational institutions. Although we've worked together in other battles outside the denomination, any thought of discipline or conflict inside these hallowed grounds of the PCA was beyond the pale to this church father. He expressed his disapproval of what I'd written with the simple statement, "Tim, I'm a loyalist when it comes to (that institution) and the PCA."

What is loyalty?

Was Hezekiah loyal when, informed by Isaiah of the coming Babylonian captivity his people and his own sons would suffer, he responded, "'The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good.' For he thought, 'There will be peace and security in my lifetime?" Was the Apostle Peter loyal when he left the Gentiles and went over to the Jews at church potlucks? Were those giving preferential treatment to rich men within the church loyal in seeking to provide for the church's financial well-being? Was Eli loyal when he allowed his sons to continue to profane the holy things as they held sacred office?--family first, you know.

From loyalty, Monday we called attention to the fact that friends from CBMW days seem to have no problem with a woman, Dr. Diane Langberg, publicly teaching men doctrine at a theology conference their professional association, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, is co-sponsoring. There they all are--John, Al, C.J., Lig, Phil, John--and they're promoting the ministry of a woman teaching men. In fact, beyond promoting, a couple of them (Don and Al) are sharing the pulpit with her.

From loyalty, yesterday we ran a piece on the apparent lack of discipline of faculty members at our denomination's Covenant College, pointing out that one third of them support Barack Obama's presidential bid and half of them decline to acknowledge abortion to be "Very important" in their choice. To put this in perspective, imagine a PCA college in Germany during the Third Reich, keeping in mind that the number of little babies slaughtered now by abortion absolutely dwarfs the number of Christians and Jews Hitler's men slaughtered during the Nazi regime.

Once again, from loyalty to this faith community known as the PCA, we turn to the Rev. Dr. Tim Keller...

We have said before that we believe Pastor Keller's understanding of God's order of creation is defective and has resulted in a number of errors within his congregation. Several weeks ago, a PDF of the letter pictured above was forwarded to us by a friend who lives in New York City. He'd circled several parts:

  • Community Formation--Hired Pamela Brown-Peterside as Fellowship Group Director. Launched 3rd Beta Group Campaign. Developed a "new and improved" template for Redeemer Fellowship Group studies. Began development of a 3-year advanced leader training curriculum, written leader resources and "kits" to help leaders flourish in their ministries.
  • Mercy and Justice--Trained and installed eight new deaconesses and one new deacon.

Then he commented:

Attached please find a Redeemer newsletter dated July 18th that shows Redeemer's most recent employment of women in positions of church authority. I've circled the relevant sections. Honestly, I don't know how Redeemer, notwithstanding its stance regarding deaconesses, can level hiring a woman "Fellowship Group Director" with Scripture. Since when does a "Director" not have authority?

A little over a year ago, we wrote here about Redeemer's announcement of the appointment of a Ms. Jenny Chang as Redeemer's "Diaconate Director," noting that Ms. Chang's appointment followed nearly a decade of service in the same position by Ms. Andrea Mungo. Now Redeemer has appointed a woman, Ms. Brown-Peterside, to direct the church's small group fellowship ministry.

So the deacons and small group leaders are headed, led, taught, disciplined, administrated, rebuked, encouraged, exhorted, corrected, guided, resourced, served, directed, redirected, organized, evaluated, chosen, fired (and whatever other word might occur to us) by a woman.

Of course, another way to put it might be that Pastor Keller and the elders of Redeemer have no objection to women leading and teaching and exercising authority over men as long as it isn't them--Pastor Keller and the elders, that is.

Then too, note that this July 18th letter reports the church just trained and ordained nine new officers to the office of deacon--eight women and one man. But of course, they didn't use the word 'ordained,' but rather 'installed.' Why?

It might be that these women and one man had already been ordained to the office of deacon years ago, and having had a mandatory hiatus due to term limits, were now coming back on the board. But if so, it seems strange they were trained again.

But of course, we all know exactly what's going on here: To get around our Book of Church Order's prohibition of women deacons, Pastor Keller and his elders are refusing to ordain anyone to the office of deacon. That way, men and women may serve together in the diaconate, without discrimination on the basis of gender identity. (We've written before on this subject--many times--and this and this are good places to start building an understanding of these things.)

And what do these members of the diaconate do?

Well, they teach, exercise authority over, lead, and disciple women and men--except, of course, Pastor Keller and the ruling elders of his session. Teaching, exercising authority over them is the job of...

Apparently, no one.

Comments

Dude: Before you make a post like this, you should do a little more fact checking. You say, "Now Redeemer has appointed a woman, Ms. Brown-Peterside, to head the church's small group fellowship ministry."

A simple search of redeemer's website shows in the staff directory that Dr. Pam Brown-Perterside is NOT in charge of the church's small group fellowship ministry but is in fact one of six other "directors" (all men) who serve under the actual head, the Rev. Scott Sauls. I found this information at http://redeemer.com/about_us/staff_directory.html

Keller actually makes his argument for commissioning and not ordaining deaconesses here on the denominational website byfaith.com: (http://byfaithonline.com/page/in-the-church/the-case-for-commissioning-n...)

His position on deaconesses is a) not new news b) not outside the scope of what Calvin believed (and therefore Reformed thought) in regards to deaconesses and c) clearly not outside of what the PCA BCO allows as his presbytery has allowed him to do this practice for almost 20 years! (see the article)

Perhaps we are being a little hard on Tim Keller?

Hope this helps and tempers possible frustration and confusion with a fellow brother.

Blessings.

Dear Michael,

>You say, "Now Redeemer has appointed a woman, Ms. Brown-Peterside, to head the church's small group fellowship ministry."

Sorry, I've now changed the word 'head' to 'direct.' Maybe that will bring clarity. To remind you, Redeemer's letter reads: "Hired Pamela Brown-Peterside as Fellowship Group Director."

On Redeemer's web site you'll find Dr. Pamela Brown-Peterside listed as Director of the Fellowship Groups which they describe as follows: "Fellowship Groups are the primary place where you are known and cared for at Redeemer." Two others are also listed as "Directors"--both Reverends. There is no indication Dr. Brown-Peterside is under the authority of either of these men:

http://www.redeemer.com/connect/fellowship_groups/

But this nitpicking is immaterial to the point I've made above as recorded in the question asked by our reader: "Honestly, I don't know how Redeemer, notwithstanding its stance regarding deaconesses, can level hiring a woman 'Fellowship Group Director' with Scripture. Since when does a 'Director' not have authority?"

It's hard to imagine how anyone who's had substantive involvement in small groups could think that the leader of a mixed sex small group, let alone someone who is Director of Fellowship Group ministry, will not regularly exercise authority over the men she "directs."

If Dr. Brown-Peterside is not directing men as "Fellowship Group Director," who is she directing? And to point out another page that indicates there may be a man over her is to say nothing. We already knew Rev. Dr. Tim Keller was over her. The question isn't who is in authority over her, but who she herself "directs" or exercises authority over? In other words, who is under her and submits to her authority?

>His position on deaconesses is a) not new news

Who said it was? I'm reminding the men of the PCA that Pastor Keller's practice continues to reflect the bad doctrine he holds concerning the order of creation. Had I thought it was something new, I wouldn't have written in the post, "We've written before on this subject--many times" providing links to those previous posts.

>b) not outside the scope of what Calvin believed (and therefore Reformed thought) in regards to deaconesses

Michael, you don't understand John Calvin or Tim Keller. To put it as simply as possible, John Calvin would never approve deaconesses, ordained or unordained, exercising authority over men. As for Tim Keller's advocacy of women exercising authority over men--and not just women deacons, either--I've written on this before so I won't repeat myself.

Earlier on this blog, I've cited two superb treatments of women deacons (or deaconesses) in church history written by Brian Schwertley and Aimes Georges Martimort.

Schwertley is correct in his statement here pointing out how dissimilar contemporary men like Tim Keller's practice of woman deacons is to the position held by John Calvin:

"Once again it is necessary to point out that those who are arguing for women deacons at the present time are arguing for something completely different in character and function than was permitted in the early church and by John Calvin. The early church and Calvin had an order or office of widows who happened to be called deaconesses. They were not the same as deacons, as modern advocates of deaconesses assert.”

Like the misquotation of B. B. Warfield by East Lanier Community Church (PCA) and Phil Ryken, this claim you make about John Calvin is simply wrong. If we're going to bring church fathers into this battle, we need to do it in a way that causes others to have confidence in our scholarship and essential honesty.

>c) clearly not outside of what the PCA BCO allows as his presbytery has allowed him to do this practice for almost 20 years!

In Presbyterian polity, a practice going decades without presbytery rebuke or discipline is never to be taken as proof positive that the practice is in conformity with Scripture itself, let alone subordinate standards. In cases such as this, violating the church's Constitution with impunity is likely a reflection of the institutional power or the amount of money that church wields within presbytery.

So, to sum up: Redeemer's practice is not in conformity with our PCA Book of Church Order; it differs with what John Calvin held concerning women deacons as night differs from day; and it's not news at all, but quite old hat by now.

Before you address our denomination's polity as it applies to woman deacons again, you would do well to spend some time reading here:

http://www.rongleason.blogspot.com/

But before turning to a treatment of this issue within the PCA, I think you'd find Schwertly and Martimort very helpful.

Hi Tim,

Thanks for your thorough post and even more thorough response. I am greatly encouraged by all that you are doing to protect the church from conformity to the world...

Tim,

Was referring to the PCA as a demonination a typo, a pun, or a Freudian slip?

A fleudian srip. Thanks, I've changed it.

It always strikes me as odd to see Protestants citing "Church Fathers" as authoritative. Thanks for your words Rev's. Bayly.

Tim,

I'd never refer to you as "dude" though you are one "cool dude." Also, thanks for bringing this to surface.

Come on, Michael, show a little respect here. That should be Rev. cool dude or Pastor cool dude.

And as for your sentiment, I heartily concur. Thank you, Timothy, for your faithfulness regardless of the cost and for standing in the gap. Well done and well said. God bless you.

Rev. Most Right Cool Dude?

>It always strikes me as odd to see Protestants citing "Church Fathers" as authoritative.

Reformational Protestants consider them to be an authority, albeit one lower than scripture.

Perhaps the real issue, as Tim alluded to above, is misplaced denominational loyalty - as evidenced in the case of the old PCA patriarch who put loyalty to the system above loyalty to the truth. It can happen quite easily.

I've seen this for years in the Pentecostal tradition; some very bad things have happened, and been allowed to happen, yet people talk in generalities about the problems, rather than face them head-on. Certainly there is a lot of criticism in 'private', as the comments to Lee Grady's blog demonstrate. The exchanges there are more forceful, and angry, than anything I have seen here. But not many have stood up within that tradition to ask why it is that most of the people caught up in moral failure tend to be Pentecostal - because it surely points to some systemic issues underneath.

Back to the PCA. Given the problems with Tim Keller and others, how long is it before someone goes for the nuclear option in preference to maintaining a sham of denominational unity, and there is a split?

“Back to the PCA. Given the problems with Tim Keller and others, how long is it before someone goes for the nuclear option in preference to maintaining a sham of denominational unity, and there is a split?”

Ross:

You raise a superb point. Something should be done, and the stakes are indeed high. Yet we shouldn’t assume that a split will be the result. We should pray that the PCA and her elders will seek the truth and let God take care of the results. In the example that Tim noted, Paul’s public confrontation of Peter and his refusal to eat with the Gentiles was an audacious and risky move, yet it turned out to be a great blessing for the church and for Peter as well. May God give us men of similar apostolic boldness.

I have to agree with Michael on this. As a Redeemer member and small group "leader," (and yes, I'm a male) it is clear you don't have the faintest clue what you're talking about. You cherry-pick quotes from a newsletter without context and without any sort of investigation into the matter. You state as fact gross distortions and pass along blatant misstatements if not outright lies. This blog post is the worst sort of scholarship and only promotes division. Despite your claims to piously "expose the promotion of false doctrine," your blog is nothing more than incendiary bilge, and the worst sort of Christianity. Here's why:

Pamela Brown-Peterside's role is administrative. Of the roles you list in your blog ("headed, led, taught, disciplined, administrated, rebuked, encouraged, exhorted, corrected, guided, resourced, served, directed, redirected, organized, evaluated, chosen, fired"), only resourced, served, and to a certain extent organized fit the bill for her role. Our training was conducted by a member of the pastoral staff, and he made it apparent that any pastoral concerns were to be directed to HIM. As a pastor, he made it abundantly clear that he alone is responsible for all of those actions you listed, other than perhaps administrative organization. Some fellowship group leaders are elders. Does that mean they are "directed" by her and that she has authority over them? Of course not! At a more basic level, you make assumptions about fellowship group leaders that are plainly false. Redeemer makes it clear that those who lead fellowship groups are more "facilitators" and we are expressly told NOT to teach, as that is the job of the pastoral staff. We are given discussion guides with specific questions and answers written by the pastoral staff based on the sermons. The goal is to lead discussions, not give lectures or teach classes. So the title "leader" is a bit of a misnomer in that the real job entails little more than organizing the actual group meetings - there is nothing resembling authority within the role. Perhaps fellowship group "organizer" would be a better term, but then you'd probably criticize that for being too close to Barack Obama's community organizer job.

So to summarize, the fellowship group structure at Redeemer has no women in any true "leadership" or "authority" roles. If there is a pastoral concern, it is brought to an ordained pastor at Redeemer. I fail to see how this violates any Biblical concept, "blithely" or otherwise. You make assumptions and criticize what you do not understand. Come to Manhattan and discuss this with the Redeemer staff if you want to improve your education and actually disseminate truth on this site.

As for the deaconess issue - you have made your view known and Tim Keller has made his known. I won't add anything else to the argument one way or another, other than to re-iterate that the deacons at Redeemer are not in positions of authority. They are servants, and as such they have helped countless people both inside and outside the church.

Overall your blog on this issue is fundamentally inappropriate: factually wrong, full of distortions, inflammatory, and divisive. Redeemer had over 1,000 first time visitors the first weekend of September. The senior pastor is one of the mostly widely respected reformed leaders in the world. It was the first PCA church in Manhattan and has planted dozens of daughter churches in the area - virtually miraculous such in such an unfriendly place to reformed beliefs. Instead of praising all of these wonderful accomplishments you focus on raising a controversy where none really exists. But go ahead, continue blithely leading your readers down a road of falsehood and foolishness - it's your blog...

(and yes, I'm a male)

A male, maybe, but a *man* would surely sign his name to such charged words, as the Baylys do.

Your administrators have no authority; the small group leaders have no authority; and the deacons have no authority.

I think I hear your pastor laughing maniacally in his office...

Redeemer makes it clear that those who lead fellowship groups are more "facilitators" and we are expressly told NOT to teach, as that is the job of the pastoral staff. We are given discussion guides with specific questions and answers written by the pastoral staff based on the sermons.

Oh brilliant. Non teaching facilitators who don't actually lead and definitely don't teach? And that is called a "discussion" group? Sure. What do you do play 20 questions? How are you allowed to sorta lead them, to the coffee pot? These non teaching facilitators who are (sorta) misnamed leaders must get quite good at shrugging their shoulders and saying "gosh that isn't covered on my what I am allowed to say sheet so I'll have to get back to you. Such illogic is laced through your entire post.

Are you so naive as to imagine that a designated group facilitator, or a women bearing the title deacon, or the woman hired and paid to direct the groups are not seen as authoritative? Yer kiddin right? If not please email me. I have some Florida property for sale.

> Pamela Brown-Peterside's role is administrative.

Unfortunately, many pastors are nothing but administrators, too, which is part of the reason we're in this mess.

[Cumbersome hyphenated last names of complementarian women are a real stumbling block to me for some reason, I must confess.]

Dear MW,

I've sent you an e-mail asking you to identify yourself, first and last names. I'm hopeful you will comply. Normally, I'd pull your comment until you'd responded as I've requested, but in this case I want to keep your defenses publicly available, so I'll leave them up for now, at least. But I'm waiting for you to comply with my request, please.

Concerning the position Dr. Brown-Peterside holds, your explanation that she exercises no authority over men because she's in a purely administrative role contradicts three things:

First, the nature of administration: Frequently, as a way of emphasizing how crucial administration is in the pastorate, I tell our pastors college students that administration is pastoral care by another name, and that no one should ever denigrate the work of administration because it is often the most spiritually sensitive work we'll do in a week. I suppose there are administrative tasks such as paper shuffling and copying and putting up signs and such that involve no exercise of authority, but no one needs to be Director of a church's small group ministry, let alone have a doctorate, in order to do such work. Despite what you've written, I have no hesitation in contravening your declaration: Dr. Brown-Peterside should exercise considerable authority in her position directing you church's small groups. There may be division of responsibilities that allow her to minimize her authoritative role with men, but exercise authority she most certainly does. And of a sensitive nature.

Second, your description of the breakdown of work between the sexes at Redeemer flies in the face both of Pastor Keller's own explicit statements concerning the matter, as well as his theological explanation of the meaning and purpose of sexuality along with the application of that meaning and purpose to life. Again and again, he and his church (your church, too, I know) have publicly articulated that the only prohibitions on women exercising authority will be in the specific responsibilities constitutionally required to be performed by teaching and ruling elders. Thus the frequent repetition of the rule, "A woman may do anything an unordained man may do."

It may be that pastoral attempts are made to soften this position held by your pastor and elders so it's not scandalous to you and others in the church. It may be that the pastor working with you--the man you cite in your comment--doesn't agree with his Sr. Pastor or session on this matter. But as with women deacons, so with everything else, it's long been clear that Redeemer and its Sr. Pastor do not believe in placing prohibitions based on sex in the way of women except at very, very limited places. Every other task, responsibility, or authority in the church is open to them (other than those few places where the task properly belongs to ordained men).

So, all you've said, really, is that the parts of Redeemer's practice you've seen personally in the home fellowship groups seem to you, personally, to be better than the principles Redeemer claims. I take no offense at this; or rather, it pleases me. But make no mistake about what Redeemer believes: A woman may do anything an unordained man may do. She may be a deacon (unordained, that is); serve the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, teach men, lead mixed-sex small groups, direct male leaders of mixed-sex small groups, and on and on it goes.

Third, a number of souls have spent time back and forth between Bloomington and New York, and so my sources for this and other posts are people familiar with Redeemer's ministries and pastors, including members. As I said under another post earlier today, David and I make a habit of saying less than we know--not more. But since you've denied the truthfulness of what I've written, I do think it's worth saying that the man who sent me this letter and commented about the unbiblical position Dr. Brown-Peterside will be holding is himself involved in the small group ministry of Redeemer.

For further interaction we've done with Pastor Keller's faulty doctrine of the order of creation, including quotations of his precise positions, do a search on this blog of "Keller." We do not lie about those with whom we disagree or create straw men, the easier to knock them down. But of course, we may do it without seeing what we've done.

In such cases, we greatly appreciate correction by our readers.

Redeemer certainly sounds like a remarkable place, and I would bet that many of the people who participate on this forum would be a little less intense about this whole thing if it were not for the fact that as a church in the PCA, Redeemer has an obligation to abide by the Book of Church Order, and as such, they explicitly violate that obligation by installing deaconesses, and further exacerbating and confusing the situation by installing a woman as the "director" of Redeemer's small group ministry. If her role is truly administrative, then why not call her "assistant to the director" of for that matter, "secretary". Those terms certainly would not allow for any confusion, whereas the term "director" is either very misleading or suggestive of her authority, neither of which is a desirable trait in the PCA.

As far as using the success of Redeemer as evidence for its theological orthodoxy and orthopraxy, the same could easily be said of many others: mormons, muslims, even Jim Jones. MW, you claim that success is justification for actions and a reason to not criticize, and so, your argument would link Keller to these examples, in that since Redeemer is successful, we therefore should not criticize anything about it. Reductio ad absurdum.

Here's a hypothesis I put up for testing.

Tim Keller's church has a lot of singles in it, I think. It is on a 'broad egalitarian path', as you (Tim) put it. I wonder if the two are related?

Here's why. Single Christians, particularly long-term singles, are often unsure as to what 'complementarian' means in a single adult Christian context. (There is one article on the CBMW website that addresses this, but that would be all I have seen). What this means in practice, is that singles relate in an egalitarian way, and this sets up a momentum which encourages it elsewhere in the church setting. Certainly in my own IVCF days, we were basically egalitarian, with the leadership committee having a fair number of young women on it.

On top of that, in some church life, the environment facing the single men is that their contribution is seen as complementing that of the married men, making the single men into de facto egalitarians. This may not be the case with the Bayly's churches, I grant you, but I was in a church setting once where that was very much the situation.

So, I wonder if this is what is happening with Tim's church - an environment in which there is obviously a lot of very capable single women who are not married, combined with the relative absence of older married women to disciple them, is creating the pressures which are pushing Dr Keller in the direction his church is going.

I didn't realize full names are required on here as I'm an infrequent visitor. My name is Mason Mandy (first initials MW).

Let me respond to a few points:

- The nature of administration. If you want to say that administrators by nature have at least some authority, then you may be correct on some level. Her job is a big one: overseeing hundreds if not over a thousand people in dozens of groups that meet on a nightly basis (she doesn't oversee all groups - the work is divided amongst other staff members). Her responsbilities are vast and difficult - more than many PCA pastors I would imagine. And from what I can tell she is doing a very good job. But her role is not one of teaching, not one of authority in terms of hiring/firing or strategic planning, and she has no true biblically defined leadership role. If you want to say that by very nature she is an authority figure in a pastoral sense, fine. We'll agree to disagree.

- "Second, your description of the breakdown of work between the sexes at Redeemer flies in the face both of Pastor Keller's own explicit statements concerning the matter....Thus the frequent repetition of the rule, 'A woman may do anything an unordained man may do.'"

This is simply untrue. I reread my post several times, and I see nothing that disagrees with Keller's philosophy on this. Where did I say otherwise? Pastoral concerns are to be taken to pastors. Issues of errant theology, conflicts between members, sins that need to be addressed, etc. all go to the pastoral staff. I don't see how this "flies in the face" of Keller's beliefs or the church's belief. It wasn't a matter of the associate pastor "disagreeing" of "softening" Keller's position - it's the policy for the fellowship group organization. The role of the fellowship group is to foster a "family" level of community, not to be a Bible Study in the traditional sense of the term; this is explicitly stated in the manual, so it's not simply my "personal" experience. So nothing in what I said contradicts church belief or Keller's beliefs.

- "But since you've denied the truthfulness of what I've written, I do think it's worth saying that the man who sent me this letter and commented about the unbiblical position Dr. Brown-Peterside will be holding is himself involved in the small group ministry of Redeemer."

In your blog post you said: "small group leaders are headed, led, taught, disciplined, administrated, rebuked, encouraged, exhorted, corrected, guided, resourced, served, directed, redirected, organized, evaluated, chosen, fired (and whatever other word might occur to us) by a woman." This is simply untrue. Maybe you are mistaken, maybe your Redeemer friend needs to reread the 250 page manual on fellowship groups, but regardless it is absolutely false. Does she administrate? Yes, and well. Serve, organize, resource? Yes to all. Encourage? Yep. But does she teach, exhort, fire, hire, etc? No. So are administration, serving, organizing, and resourcing inappropriate for a woman? Obviously I would argue no - your view may be different, but at least define her role correctly.

- "And what do these members of the diaconate do?

Well, they teach, exercise authority over, lead, and disciple women and men--except, of course, Pastor Keller and the ruling elders of his session. Teaching, exercising authority over them is the job of..."

- Here's the actual job description from Redeemer's website:

"The Diaconate is a ministry that reaches out to people in Redeemer's congregation who are in crisis or challenging circumstances and offers help in assessing their needs and working together to find solutions. Unlike elders, who are responsible for teaching the Gospel, administering healing prayer, and overseeing the church, the Diaconate (deacons and deaconesses) focus on extending mercy and compassion. Our purpose is to show God's love by trying to help people out of difficult circumstances and to be facilitators of the work God is doing in their lives."

So once again, your definition of the role of the Diaconate at Redeemer is clearly and completely false. The above paragraph explicitly says deacons do NOT do the things you mentioned. All you had to do is go to their website and read their exact role. It took me maybe 30 seconds to find. But here's the link: http://www.redeemer.com/care/diaconate/

I have highlighted and shown ways that your original post is plainly untrue. Maybe you didn't intend it, but you were wrong. Just admit it. If you disagree with Keller about the role of women in the church, so be it. But please be factually honest about it. Discuss it on a philosophical/theological level, but not by using statements and comments that are absolutely wrong. If it seems like I'm angry about this, it's because I am. How would you like it if I said untrue things about your church and about you in a completely negative blog on the internet? You probably wouldn't like it either, and neither would your church members. Again, the point is not the philosophical disagreement. Disagree all you want, but at least do it based in reality.

I have no problem with trying to correct error and point out problems when needed. But give credit where credit is due. You maybe disagree with Keller on 20% of his beliefs, but the other 80% contains all the essentials and more. Why constantly quibble over secondary and tertiary issues? The work he and his staff have done at Redeemer is remarkable. Redeemer is one of the most influential churches in the world in the most influential city in the world - and it's a solid reformed Presbyterian church. Isn't that cause for great praise!!?? I did search for "Keller" in your blog. I found absolutely no positive posts. A man who has done far more for the PCA, Reformed churches, and the Gospel than you or I will ever do and you can't muster a single compliment (that I could find)? Shameful, in my opinion...

Dear Mr. Mandy,

Thanks for your integrity in giving your name. I appreciate it.

Since I've written extensively on Pastor Keller's position on these matters before, I'll not reproduce that work here. But a few comments are in order.

>>>Here's the actual job description from Redeemer's website: "The Diaconate is a ministry that reaches out to people in Redeemer's congregation who are in crisis or challenging circumstances and offers help in assessing their needs and working together to find solutions. Unlike elders, who are responsible for teaching the Gospel, administering healing prayer, and overseeing the church, the Diaconate (deacons and deaconesses) focus on extending mercy and compassion. Our purpose is to show God's love by trying to help people out of difficult circumstances and to be facilitators of the work God is doing in their lives."

>>>So once again, your definition of the role of the Diaconate at Redeemer is clearly and completely false. The above paragraph explicitly says deacons do NOT do the things you mentioned. All you had to do is go to their website and read their exact role. It took me maybe 30 seconds to find. But here's the link: http://www.redeemer.com/care/diaconate/

The disagreement isn't due to ignorance of what Redeemer and many other churches say about the work their woman deacons or directors do. Let me give an example in an effort to convince you that there may be more to this than has met your eye thus far.

Say a woman explicitly states that she does not believe in a wife submitting to her husband. Say she declares that authority and submission are the product of the Fall and those who are "in Christ" are no longer under that curse. Then, say she states that her husband submits to her and she submits to her husband; and she goes on to claim that her submission--what many would refer to as "mutual submission"--is a fulfillment of the biblical command, "Wives, submit to your husband as unto the Lord."

Would you understand why I would deny that she obeys Scripture's command to submit to her husband; why I would say she does not, in fact, submit to her husband at all?

Similarly, you and Redeemer state categorically that Directors and Deacons do not exercise authority because their job descriptions say Directors and Deacons do not exercise authority. And you think that settles it. When I differ, you say I'm bearing false witness against the church. After all, you've clearly stated that Directors and Deacons at Redeemer do not exercise authority.

Well, my time is up, dear brother. Thanks for the interaction.

To leave on a note of clarity: here is what Pastor Keller has written concerning women's leadership at Redeemer. I have cited it before and it is, as I said, clear in demonstrating the substantive authority women will (and do) exercise over men at Redeemer:

* * *

In a nutshell, our position is this: whatever a non-ruling elder male can do in the church, a woman can do. We do not believe that I Timothy 2:11 or I Cor.14:35-36 precludes women teaching the Bible to men or speaking publicly... Thus, women at Redeemer will be free to use all the gifts, privately and publicly. There are no restrictions on ministry at all. There is a restriction on the office of elder.

The Deaconnesses will be women elected by the congregation who will do discipling, counseling, and shepherding in the church, particularly among the women... They will probably also exercise a teaching ministry in the church, depending on their gifts.

...Deaconesses will serve on planning/oversight committees (e.g. evangelism, education, worship) with other officers and non-officers. Deaconnesses could chair such a committee if the group so elects. Also, the Elders, Deacons, and Deaconnesses will meet regularly for strategy and oversight of the church.

...The real challenge will not be to create a structure, but to create a climate in which men and women truly work together as equal ministry partners in the church, still recognizing the principle of male headship in the eldership. Will we really let women lead ministries? (Yes.)

Do you not have a problem with there being deconesses at Redeemer, a PCA church, despite its contraindiction in chapter 9, by only men being mentioned for the appointement of deacon, contrasted with the appointment of deacon assistants mentioning both men and women.

Do you not find it odd that Redeemer has gone to extra lengths to provide their definition of the deaconate, while a perfectly satisfactory definition of the diaconate is provided in the binding document of the PCA, the book of church order?

Given Keller's New Life background, I'd be surprised if Redeemer did not affirm every member ministry. That concept surely upends the basics of Presbyterian polity.

Hello, Tim,

There is a currently a forum on a conference on “Denominational Renewal” in the PCA, held this last Spring, on a blog, Common Grounds Online: http://commongroundsonline.typepad.com/

It is a well-organized forum; Glenn Lucke, who runs the site has enlisted responders for each of the five talks at the conference. There are not many posters, but I am sure there are many readers. I would welcome your and your brother's participation.

I love the name of your blog--always brings to mind your father’s column in His mag.

God created the entire universe in the space of six days of ordinary length. (The sun was made on day four, therefore I avoid the

term "solar day." God of His most free will determined the length of a day, and thereafter created the sun to govern it. The sun and

the other heavenly bodies serve as time keepers, but only the Lord God is time's Creator. )

Our sovereign, all wise Creator made man and woman, on day six, in His image. He assigned to them roles: specifically each to the

other, and together toward the rest of creation.

The manner in which Adam and Eve were respectively formed illustrates their complementary roles. Even as the Son is equal in

nature to the Father but subordinate to Him, so men and women are peers in creaturely dignity.

Yet starting with its most most basic building block, a married couple, and on outward into its more complex forms, human society

reflects the mysterious plurality in unity of God triune. One person is made in His image. WE are made in His image...

His most praiseworthy work of creation and these primeval but abiding statutes are documented for the LORD's covenant people of

all ages in the holy, God-breathed, inerrant, and infallible Scriptures. That divine work and the giving of those divine statutes

preceded the Fall.

From the root of this Biblical, orthodox, historic doctrine of creation grows an orthopraxis among God's people as touching the role

of the sexes that is Biblical, orthodox, and historically Reformed.

From the root of the various compromising, accomodationistic, and erroneous views of Divine creation spring diverse weeds of

chaos and disorder. Kyrie eleison...

Sorry for the way the paragraphs posted above; I think it has to do with using Notepad to write it...

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