Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nicole on Biblical Egalitariansim

Roger Nicole, reformed Baptist theologian has passed on.  One thing that serparated him from many of those now extolling his virtues was his outspoken egalitarianism.
Since biblical egalitarianism is still viewed by many as inconsistent with biblical inerrancy, it is desirable to state in a very brief manner my position on this subject.
The matter of the place of women in the home, in society, and in the church is not an issue that can be conclusively determined by a few apparently restrictive passages that are often advanced by those who think that subordination represents God’s will for women.
The starting point must be at the creation of humanity, as our Lord himself exemplified by quoting Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 in response to a question by the Pharisees (Matt. 19:4-5, Mark 10:6-7). The climactic point must be at the consummation of the redemptive plan in the wedding supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9, 21-22), as St. Paul notes in discussing marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33. These two moments are the only ones in which sin has not damaged the institution. Thus, the line that connects creation and the eschaton of redemption represents the relationship of males and females in its unadulterated form. What comes in between may include factors due to human “hardness of heart” (Matt. 19:8).
Rest of his article on this subject available here.

5 comments:

  1. Many of us have tried to make this point in various online venues, but the reaction has been to invent hierarchy before the Fall (creation order, naming, etc.) and in eternity (the Trinity). Yet there are only two possible conclusions such a reaction can reach: that women must not be quite as human as men, or women must not quite be grown up enough to manage themselves as men do. That is, women are by nature and divine decree forever under male authority, since the "fault" of being female apparently lies in the soul and not just the body.

    But I grieve and marvel at the fact that we are still, as believers, even discussing what women can or cannot do. Just as society no longer approves of slavery and therefore the church has no reason to enforce instructions on how Christian slaves must behave, so also society does not hold femaleness against women and malign their souls or brains, yet the theology of being mindful of society is thrown out the window.

    I do try to remind women that egalitarianism is not a matter of asking men's permission to be adult human beings, but simply of stating a spiritual and social reality. It is not a polite request for room at the table but a declaration of freedom from having been wrongly excluded.

    It seems to me that the irony of the church lagging far behind society in terms of freeing the human spirit is quite lost on many of the church's influential elite. It is long past time for them to face reality.

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  2. "Just as society no longer approves of slavery and therefore the church has no reason to enforce instructions on how Christian slaves must behave, so also society does not hold femaleness against women and malign their souls or brains, yet the theology of being mindful of society is thrown out the window."

    Paula, that is a very interesting way of putting it, thanks for that.

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  3. You're very welcome, Jonathan. :-)

    The whole "culture" thing can be a very winding road. One minute it's a bad thing and the next it's God's divine order. I should make up a chart sometime.

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  4. I was just reading about that this morning,
    http://www.patrolmag.com/2010/12/culture/mark-driscoll-jay-z-avatar-engage-culture/
    On a different subject, but the same point.

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  5. Oh, Driscoll... don't get me started. ;-)

    Debating Christians and culture is like debating nutrition between western and alternative: in the end you conclude there's nothing safe to eat, drink, or breathe.

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