It’s all over bar the shouting… so why are we still discussing it?
It seems from various discussions I’ve had recently, the debate about women in ministry is still raging.
I thought I’d do a bit of a survey on this issue of serious theologians (the ones that write books other working theologians footnote, not the ones who write popular books for Word). If that sounds snobby, so be it.
Theological luminaries such as Jurgen Moltmann, NT Wright, and important writers like Scot McKnight, Craig Keener, Thomas C Oden, Walter Liefeld, Gordon Fee, FF Bruce Stanley J Grenz, Ben Witherington, William J Webb… indeed virtually all important living theologians…. are egalitarian. It seems to me the one working theologian of any note is Wayne Grudem: other voices for the Complementarian cause are mostly local church pastors who are also populist writers.
I was told recently the World Council of Churches commissioned their best theological minds onto the subject of women in ministry, and came to the conclusion that the grounds for excluding women from ministry was not biblical, but because it was the tradition of particular denominations (an argument expected to carry more weight in the Catholic and Orthodox tradtions than in Evangelical traditions such as my own).
Curiously, at the level of the local church you would think that this was an issue where the evidence was on some kind of theological knife-edge... or in some cases, that the overwhelming biblical evidence was Complementarian!
As someone who is pretty passionate about women being free to use any of their gifts and talents in the service of others, this disconnect between the world of theology and some local churches is exasperating to say the least. When are we going to get over this? If ever?