Younger Evangelicals And Women In Ministry: A Sketch Of The Spectrum Of Opinion -- By: Denny Burk

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 12:2 (Fall 2007)
Article: Younger Evangelicals And Women In Ministry: A Sketch Of The Spectrum Of Opinion
Author: Denny Burk


Younger Evangelicals And Women In Ministry: A Sketch Of The Spectrum Of Opinion

Denny Burk

Assistant Professor of New Testament

Criswell College

Dallas, Texas

Jim Hamilton

Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Houston Park Place Campus

Houston, Texas

Introduction

Between the extremes of radical secular feminism and androcentric sexism,1 there is a spectrum of opinion regarding what the Bible says about gender and how it applies today. This essay will examine that spectrum with particular attention to the positions taken by younger evangelicals. The major positions on the spectrum of opinion will be described and discussed in turn. Our focus is not so much to trace the range of opinions among younger evangelical scholars as it is to describe the range of opinion among practitioners. Here and there we will highlight the authors and theologians who are informing the ministry practices of younger evangelicals. We do not claim to be comprehensive in our coverage of contemporary practice, but we do hope to trace some of the major currents among younger evangelicals.

Identifying a spectrum of evangelical opinion on the question of gender can be very difficult because the terminology used to differentiate the positions has become somewhat fluid. On the one hand, many people who claim to be complementarian in principle overlap with egalitarians in terms of their practice.2 On the other hand, some prominent egalitarian writers have begun to use the term “complementarian” to describe egalitarian positions.3 For this reason, Russell D. Moore has suggested that complementarians might want to trade in the moniker “complementarian” for a term that is more descriptive of their view of gender-hierarchy.4

William Webb has suggested a “spectrum of thought” on the gender question in an attempt to frame the issues of this debate.5 Webb traces four positions along his spectrum:

Though Webb’s spectrum is in some ways commendable, its shortcomings render it unusable for our purposes. On the positive side, however, the spectrum rightly divides between those who affirm hierarchy and those who do not. Since we agree that hiera...

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