Hold me back...

One seminar I have to miss at the PCA General Assembly this year is that you-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours tag team of Lig Duncan and Tim Keller. They tell us those who sign up for their GA seminar will be the lucky recipients of their inestimable prognostications concerning the next twenty-five years:

What are the deep challenges of our cultural moment? Where is the culture going? What will it look like in 25 years? Is the evangelical influence in our culture in decline? Does that matter? Should we be addressing or engaging culture at all, and if so, how? What does it mean to engage culture? What are we trying to accomplish? Should we “contextualize,’”or is that a denial of the “ordinary means of grace”? What are the unique opportunities for Reformed Christians in general, and the PCA in particular, to contribute to the advance of the Gospel in our time and situation? What are the PCA’s resources—and what can we do in particular? There seems to be disunity and disagreement within the PCA, particularly over the issue of culture and how to address it. How can we work together despite our differences?

Scintillating. Tim and Lig are the future of the PCA as John Grisham and Rick Warren are the future of Half-Price Books. (This post has been edited to remove some snark; but as you see, not all. It's my purpose to warn men of the PCA not to allow these two to be their prophets because they aren't wise about the times. And given their universal acclaim, snark is my attempt to break the hypnotic trance.)

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

There seems to be disunity and disagreement within the PCA, particularly over the issue of culture and how to address it.

Ho boy. This line is, quite possibly, rooted in a subtext (cultural engagements are all about subtexts, dontcha know!).  And in this subtext, the text that is supposed to lie quietly but powerfully below the surface got too close to the surface in this particular sentence for it to remain a subtext any longer.

Instead, what flashed across my monitor was this:

There seems to be disunity and disagreement within the PCA, particularly over the issue of women's role in the church and how to address it.

And, so, I offer the seminar overview with this subtext resurrected to the status of overttext, so all who run may read it:

What are the deep challenges of our feminist moment? Where is the role of women in the church going? What will it look like in 25 years? Is the evangelical influence upon the role of women in the church in decline? Does that matter? Should we be addressing or engaging the role of women in the church at all, and if so, how? What does it mean to engage the role of women in the church? What are we trying to accomplish? Should we accomodate religious feminism in our churches? Or is that a denial of the sexual order of creation?

What are the unique opportunities for Reformed Christians in general and for women in particular, to contribute to the advance of the Gospel amidst our secular feminist culture? What are the PCA’s resources for women in ministry—and what can we do in particular for such women? There seems to be disunity and disagreement within the PCA, particularly over the issue of the role of women in the church and how to address it. How can we work together despite our differences?

Hopefully there will be jerseys for sale. All I know is that we need Togetherness and maybe a Coalition...for the Gospel...with books, audio, and autograph sessions.

I wanted to add to Craig's snark, but unfortunately for me, he covered it all.  Dead on.

Don't forget coffee mugs and shot glasses, Craig.  You can't have a movement without designer mugs and shot glasses.

And fashionable glasses!

What about podcasts where we get to hear these men talk to/promote eachother?

Dear brothers, I'd be pleased for them to do podcasts if they were sounding a clear note of warning. Love,

And to add to the general note of calling a spade a spade, "What is the chance of losing a decent share of the PCA in a split because we push(ed) too hard on the issue of women in Christian leadership?"

Ross and Father Bill,

I believe your comments, while not irrelevant to the Tim vs. (but not really versus) Ligon seminar, probably better describe the session on the Super Bowl and how Christians can create a counter-narrative to the sexism of the big game.

But there's no subtext there so it's not as easy to poke fun. Reality is getting too satirical to satirize. I think Doug Wilson recently made fun of the people who were scandalized by what records used to say when played backward while, in reality, the problem was what they said when played forward. Let's not strain our eyes too much when trying to read the billboard right in front of us.

Still, and this is where the post hits home and your comments are appropriate, those who are reputed to be pillars should speak better and clearer.

Friends, 

I'm a Bayly Blog troll who is often amused and discouraged by the constant harping on all that is being done wrong by Tim Keller and find the critcism a bit childish. I think you may be missing the forest for the trees but please let me know exactly how I'm wrong.

Andrew - I didn't think I was satirising anything ... the point I was making (and I have made this before), is that I can see the PCA splitting on this matter and  maybe some others. 

Ross, I fear God much more than I fear losing a decent share of the PCA in a split.  Speaking of calling a spade a spade, this whole issue is much larger than just women's roles in the church (i.e. "Christian leadership").  The reason we are even having this discussion in the PCA is because we have long since abandoned the whole Biblical approach to women's roles in the home economy.  Titus 2:4-5 is quite clear, as is Proverbs 31:10ff.  The primary sphere for a godly Christian woman is the domestic sphere of the home economy, gladly serving as her husband's helpmeet under his authority.  For unmarried women, that sphere of service would encompass serving her family under her father's authority.  For a long time now we've been sending our girls to college, training them to pursue a vocation where they can compete in the workplace with men and take care of themselves if Mr. Right doesn't come along.... and we wonder now why our women are clamoring for equal access to ordained ministry alongside men.  The PCA doesn't need to simply repent for our waffling on the clear Biblical teaching about women's ministry.  The PCA needs to repent for years and years of refusal to preach the Biblical mandate for godly family economies/households where women submit to godly masculine leadership (Eph 5:22ff; 1 Peter 3:1-6) & where men personally take radical responsibility to wash their wives and children with the word of God and to lay down their lives daily for the souls under their care (Eph 5:25-6:4).  Then we would end up with more qualified, godly men to boldly lead in the church as they already have in their homes (1 Tim 3:4-5; Titus 1:6). Godly women have no problems submitting to godly men who lead.  It's when men fail to fearlessly lead in their homes and in the church that women will inevitably want to fill the void.  I wish we could get a seminar at the PCA GA on our need for repentance rather than our need for cultural relevance.  I think that would do a lot more good.

@Steve - yeah, I suspected there was more underneath the surface than simply "women in Christian leadership". It is interesting that I have come across your perspective on the role of single women in the church/Body of Christ, amongst various Fundamentalist groups, but never from a Reformed perspective.

>>I think you may be missing the forest for the trees but please let me know exactly how I'm wrong.

Dear Brother,

Maybe you're not wrong, but I am. God bless you.

Love,

  I can see how a post like the one above would appear odd without knowing the background. Tim Keller has written some fine things, and the description of his seminar seems innocuous enough. The problem, if I remember rightly from previous well-documented posts, is that Tim Keller  (a) has shown timidity, to be  charitable, in the face of  hot issues such as homosexuality, (b) has been sneaky about breaking denominational rules on the ordination of female deacons, and (c) is much admired by other PCA pastors because he built a big church and writes books. 

"The example of Alexander's chastity has not made so many continent as that of his drunkenness has made intemperate. It is not shameful not to be as virtuous as he, and it seems excusable to be no more vicious. We do not believe ourselves to be exactly sharing in the vices of the vulgar when we see that we are sharing in those of great men; and yet we do not observe that in these matters they are ordinary men. We hold on to them by the same end by which they hold on to the rabble; for, however exalted they are, they are still united at some point to the lowest of men. They are not suspended in the air, quite removed from our society. No, no; if they are greater than we, it is because their heads are higher; but their feet are as low as ours. They are all on the same level, and rest on the same earth; and by that extremity they are as low as we are, as the meanest folk, as infants, and as the beasts." (Pascal)

    I don't mean to sound silly comparing Tim Keller to "great men",  but   there's a danger that those to whom he's a celebrity might imitate him in what's least admirable. He  may lead more pastors to be silent about sodomy in Chattanooga than vocal about Jesus in Manhattan. 

   

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