A Response to Denny Burk’s Post on the Importance of Complementarianism to the Gospel by Wm Dwight McKissic, SR.

Wm Dwight McKissic, Sr. is the pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX. This post appeared on August 30 at his personal blog. This should be a good discussion!

Denny Burk recently posted an interesting and provocative piece regarding the relationship and importance of complementarianism and inerrancy to the Gospel.

I have two responses to Denny Burk’s post which is summed up in the following quote:

“The gymnastics required to get from ‘I do not allow a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man,’ in the Bible, to ‘I do allow a woman to teach and to exercise authority over a man’ in the actual practice of the local church, are devastating to the functional authority of the Scripture in the life of the people of God.”

1. To practically equate complementarianism—as The Gospel Coalition defines it—with an accurate definition of the Gospel and inerrancy, I find to be borderline idolatry and heresy, and a position that cannot be defended or argued from Scripture. This argument coming from the same people who will not equate social and economic justice with a wholistic definition of the Gospel (and certainly not inerrancy) simply proves that much of what we call biblical Christianity is simply cultural Christianity, and the passing on of someone’s biases, prejudices and preferences, in the name of or under the ruse of—orthodoxy.

By the way, I am a complementarian, if believing that the Bible teaches that a female cannot be a senior pastor because of God’s design, makes one a complementarian. I fully believe what the 2000 BFM states, and it does not preclude a woman from teaching a man in a public setting. If that’s what it teaches, certainly FBC Dallas under Dr. Criswell was in violation each week with his wife regularly teaching men.

2. How do you get from, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all, for to one is given…different kinds of tongues…And God has appointed these in the church…varieties of tongues…For he who speaks in tongue does not speak to men but to God…in the spirit he speaks mysteries…He who speaks in tongues edifies himself…I wish you all spoke in tongues…for if I pray in tongue, my spirit prays…I thank my God that I speak in tongues more than you all…If anyone speaks in tongue [and there is no interpreter]…let him speak to himself and to God…do not forbid to speak in tongues (I Cor. 12:7, 10, 28; 14:2, 4, 5, 14, 18, 27, 39)—to—“I forbid you to speak in tongues privately or publicly, with or without interpretation, and if you do so, you can’t serve as an IMB missionary, and you have psychological, emotional or demonic issues and influences effecting your private devotions”? I don’t know for certain, but it would not surprise me if Burk and Duncan can do the “gymnastics” required to get there. And if they can get there and consider themselves inerrantists, so can the egalitarian get from I Timothy 2:12 to egalitarianism and yet be an inerrantist and hold a proper view of the Gospel.

The way we got there is by employing the same thinking, hermeneutic, rationale and personal and cultural preferences and biases on the text as Lig Duncan has done here, and Burk affirmatively quotes him here.

If evangelicals can ignore the clear teaching of Scripture and arbitrarily decide to “forbid speaking in tongues,” why can’t the egalitarian do the same thing with the 1 Timothy 2:12 passage? I know you would say, “Not so”! Evangelicals arrived at their position on forbidding tongues based on careful and critical exegesis. “This is what my egalitarian friends say as well. I’m sure you are aware that those who conclude that same-sex marriage and monogamous homosexual relationships are not sinful also claim they reached those conclusions through careful and critical exegesis.

Therefore, I conclude where I started: To equate complementarianism and inerrancy (of which I wholeheartedly believe in) with an accurate understanding or definition of the Gospel is idolizing the doctrines of inerrancy and complementarianism to a height that the Bible does not elevate their doctrines and consequently distorts the true Gospel. It further removes our focus on the Gospel from where Jesus placed it; and that is on the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14, 15). An accurate view of gender roles in Scripture is not a “gospel” essential, nor does it threaten one’s belief regarding inerrancy. That is a cultural Christian perspective, not a biblical Christian perspective.

I have no problem with Burk and Duncan advocating a robust complementarianism as it relates to the office of the Senior Pastor. My disagreement with them lies in the fact that they appear to argue that their positions are inextricably combined with the Gospel. Not only do I find this position without biblical merit, but an unjustified indictment against all of the churches that I’m aware of (predominately African American) that at a very minimum allow a female annually on Sunday morning to address the congregation at the regular preaching hour on “Women’s Day” and many who allow women to speak/preach intermittingly throughout the year. What Burk and Duncan are advocating is robust Fundamentalism masquerading as the Gospel.

If I understand Burk and Duncan correctly, those of us who allow this do not have a proper understanding of the Gospel, and we threaten belief in inerrancy. Pleeeeeezze! These are the very reasons we allow these practices, because we believe they are biblical.

Comments

  1. says

    To practically equate complementarianism—as The Gospel Coalition defines it—with an accurate definition of the Gospel and inerrancy, I find to be borderline idolatry and heresy, and a position that cannot be defended or argued from Scripture.

    I think you’re being less than charitable to Burk and Duncan, at least compared to how charitable they’ve been with egalitarians in their posts. They have not equated complementarianism with an accurate definition of the gospel, and Burk’s section on paedobaptism could easily be applied to your example concerning tongues.

    If I understand Burk and Duncan correctly, those of us who allow this do not have a proper understanding of the Gospel, and we threaten belief in inerrancy. Pleeeeeezze! These are the very reasons we allow these practices, because we believe they are biblical.

    At no point did I see the article suggest that complementarianism was necessary for a proper understanding of the gospel. His point is that groups like TGC include complementarianism because by far the egalitarian movement has, on the whole, a seriously flawed hermeneutic that interprets Scripture more in light of present cultural trends than authorial intent. Consider:

    We can think of other individuals for whom egalitarianism has not and likely will never lead to an erosion of their fundamental evangelical commitments. Nevertheless, the issue at hand is not whether or not we can find orthodox evangelicals who are also egalitarian. The question at hand is whether or not egalitarian doctrine itself tends toward the erosion of fundamental evangelical commitments such as inerrancy, the doctrine of God, and penal substitutionary atonement. Is the egalitarian blemish benign or potentially malignant?

    On the surface, it looks like you’re just trying to radicalize the views of those you disagree with to give more clout to a practice that you approve of: women preaching to and teaching men. To quote you, “Pleeeeeezze!”

    • says

      Just saw this response from Denny Burk on the original post:

      Dear Pastor McKissic,

      Thanks for the spirited interaction. I’ll respond briefly to each of your points.:

      1. I did not “equate” the gender issue with the gospel and inerrancy. I was careful, actually, to distinguish them. My point is that egalitarian hermeneutics are dangerous, and those interpretive approaches can lead to an erosion of evangelical convictions about the gospel and inerrancy.

      2. The hermeneutic that cessationists use is grammatico-historical exegesis that recognizes the authority of scripture. That is not the case with many egalitarian approaches. Consider, for example, the trajectory hermeneutic of William Webb in “Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals.”

      Again, I happily acknowledge that there are egalitarians who are otherwise faithfully evangelical. That is why I cited the example of Roger Nicole who remained both evangelical and egalitarian all the way to his death. It seems to me, however, that guys like him tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Having said that, I happily acknowledge the exceptions and wish there were more.

      Blessings!

      Denny

      • Dwight McKissic says

        Andrew,

        Burk wrote, “I think Lig Duncan said it best: ‘The denial of complementarianism undermines the church’s practical embrace of the authority of Scripture(thus eventually and inevitably harming the church’s witness to the gospel).”Certainly Burk and Duncan conflate, convolute, associate, relate or pick whatever word you choose the Gospel–rightly proclaimed–is wedded to complementarianism and the authority of Scripture.

        If denying compementarianism “undermines the church’s practical embrace of the authority of Scripture….and harm the church’s witness to the gospel,” I simply don’t see how Burk or you can deny that he does not practically equate the gospel with complementarianism.

        Dwight

        • says

          Dwight,

          Do you believe that sex scandals harm the church’s witness to the gospel? If so, then you are practically equating sexual propriety with the gospel. Do you see the fallacy here? Anyone who claims something harms the church’s witness to the gospel must therefore be equating that issue with the gospel.

          If you seek to engage complementarians on this issue, you should stop trumping up your argument with charges of elevating secondary issues to the status of gospel. You are basically charging complementarians such as Burk and Duncan with preaching another gospel.

          The issue here is the authority of Scripture and whether or not egalitarianism presents a serious challenge to that doctrine. Burk and Duncan belong to and work with organizations that see egalitarianism as a serious challenge to the authority of Scripture and have therefore decided not to particiapte with them in many, if any, endeavors. They have not charged people with believing a false gospel or with having a false hope. They’ve merely stepped forward and said that egalitarianism has, on the whole, consistently led to a denial of the authority of Scripture, and therefore they don’t wish to partner with those who are egalitarians.

          • Dwight McKissic says

            Andrew,

            Do I believe sex scandals harm the church’s witness tothe gospel? Absolutelty!!! Are sex scandals affirmed in Scripture as complementarianism is affirmed? Absolutely Not!!! Therefore, your analogy does not fit. You will have to offer a biblically affirmed position or scenario in order for your analogy to work. Perhaps you ought to try again. Until then, I’ll stick with my position that Burk practially has equated complementarianism with the Gospel. Nice try though.

            Dwight

          • says

            Dwight,

            Are sex scandals affirmed in Scripture as complementarianism is affirmed? Absolutely Not!!! Therefore, your analogy does not fit.

            I think you’ve completely lost my comparison. Look back over my opening paragraph:

            Do you believe that sex scandals harm the church’s witness to the gospel? If so, then you are practically equating sexual propriety with the gospel. Do you see the fallacy here? Anyone who claims something harms the church’s witness to the gospel must therefore be equating that issue with the gospel.

    • Jim G. says

      Hi Andrew,

      You wrote:

      “I think you’re being less than charitable to Burk and Duncan, at least compared to how charitable they’ve been with egalitarians in their posts. They have not equated complementarianism with an accurate definition of the gospel.”

      Burk wrote:

      “I think Lig Duncan has said it best:
      ‘The denial of complementarianism undermines the church’s practical embrace of the authority of Scripture (thus eventually and inevitably harming the church’s witness to the Gospel).'”

      It seems pretty plain to me that complementarianism is equated with
      an accurate description of the gospel in Burk’s mind.

      I find it interesting that the same Baptists who are more than happy to work with Presbyterians in groups like TGC likely would not allow the typical Presbyterian to take communion in their Baptist church (because of an invalid baptism) and thereby excluding that Pres from the body of believers in fellowship together. But we could have an egal in our church who now could be a cancer. Amazing indeed!

      Burk is simply picking and choosing which battles he fights (likely based on the theological and political aims of his boss). McKissic is absolutely right.

      Jim G.

      • says

        Jim,

        Do you believe that undermining the authority of Scripture would harm the church’s witness to the gospel? If so, then the difference is whether egalitarianism does or does not undermine the authority of Scripture. With a few notable (and welcome) exceptions, egalitarianism undermines the authority of Scripture.

        • David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers says

          Using a broad label “egalitarianism” does not address the specifics of exegesis. I believe you need more precision in developing your conclusion. Adam Omelianchuk has an excellent analysis on Dr. Burk’s site:

          I think the sort of arguments which conclude “egalitarianism is a new path to liberalism” are flawed. They represent the so-called “track record” like this:

          [1] If one holds to egalitarianism, then one (probably) undermines the authority of Scripture.
          [2] If one undermines the authority of Scripture, then one is (probably) on a path to liberalism.
          [3] There are people who hold to egalitarianism.
          [4] Therefore, there are people who are (probably) on the path to liberalism.

          Call this THE ARGUMENT. In order for THE ARGUMENT to go through, one has to show that premise [1] is true, that is, that holding to egalitarianism is a *causal factor* that, at least, increases the likelihood undermining the authority of Scripture. But I think this is far from clear in light of the sizable contingent of scholars who truly hold to the authority of Scripture AND egalitarianism.

          Obviously, holding to egalitarianism isn’t a sufficient condition for undermining the authority of Scripture (a la Roger Nicole). And of course, neither it is necessary. One can deny the authority of Scripture while rejecting egalitarian gender roles. Plenty of conservative Muslims and Jews do just that. Therefore, I think THE ARGUMENT would be better stated like this:

          [1] If one does not hold to the authority of Scripture, then one is (probably) on a path to liberalism.
          [2] If one is on a path to liberalism, then one (probably) holds to egalitarian gender roles.
          [3] There are people who do not hold to the authority of Scripture.
          [4] Therefore, there are people who (probably) hold to egalitarian gender roles.

          Of course, evangelical egalitarians would agree with this argument, because the determinative issue is whether one holds to biblical authority–not egalitarian gender roles.

        • Jim G. says

          Hi Andrew,

          I do believe that undermining the authority of Scripture harms the church’s witness to the gospel. No argument there.

          I do not believe egalitarianism undermines the authority of Scripture, at least not any more than paedobaptism or Calvinism do (Don’t take that last one personally, it was just for illustration). We are at the level of hermeneutics, not the level of Scripture’s innate authority. Egals may be making hermeneutical blunders, but are they really any worse than those that lead to paedobaptism for instance? Or Calvinism? Or traditionalism? Or…? Or…?

          How can anyone say that, given two areas of theological disagreement, baptism and gender, that one hermeneutical blunder (gender) is a direct attack on Scripture’s authority while another (baptism) is not? It seems like arbitrary picking and choosing to me, especially given the fact that both the Bible and tradition has plenty to say about baptism and very little about gender roles.

          If TCG wants to support the comp position, fine. But it is not an essential gospel issue. If it were, Roger Nicole and Millard Erickson (and many thousands more) would have to be excommunicated.

          Jim G.

          • says

            Ultimately I think hermeneutics is a good point for making decisions about cooperation. The methodology of those who advocate paedobaptism is very different from that of those who advocate egalitarianism. By and large, those who are both egalitarian and committed to the authority of Scripture are a small minority. I haven’t seen where Burk has suggested that egalitarians are heretics and need to be excommunicated.

        • Dwight McKissic says

          Andrew,

          Burk is claiming that egalatarianism harms the church’s witness to the Gospel and undermines the authority of Scripture. Converesely, he is saying complementaranism does not harm the church’s witness to the Gospel, nor undermines Scriptural authority. By taking that position I don’t understand why you can’t plainly see that Burk relates, associate and conflate, the Gospel with complementarianism and scriptural authority in a way the two are never associated or convoluted in the Scripture itself. It would be equally as preposteros if an egalatarian made such a claim.

          The Gospel does not need complementaranism to prop it up,supplement, or undergird it. If one arrives at egalatarianism using grammatico-historical exegesis (as some claim they do), they don’t harm the church’s witness to the Gospel or Scriptural authority. And if they do, it would be the same harm Burk, perhaps Duncan, and other cessationist do when they use grammatico-historical exegesis to arrive at a cessationist position. BTW, I honestly don’t believe that you can use grammatico-historical exegesis and arrive at a egalatarian or cessationist position; nevertheless, I am willing to respect those who do and not question whether or not they harm the church’s witness to the Gospel. If Burk’s position on complementarianism being important to the Gospel witness is true, that line of thinking would also hold true for the importance of continualism ism important to the church’s witness to the Gospel. Burk would object vehemently to that position, yet this the position that he takes toward the egalatarian.

          Dwight

          • says

            Dwight,

            “Burk is claiming that egalatarianism harms the church’s witness to the Gospel and undermines the authority of Scripture.”

            Not exactly. More specifically, he says that egalitarianism undermines the authority of Scripture, and as a consequence of undermining Scripture, the church’s witness to the gospel is also harmed. There is no organic connection between egalitarianism/complementarianism and the gospel; rather, the connection is through the treatment of Scripture. Abuse the Bible in one area and the door is opened to abuse the Bible in another.

          • Dwight McKissic says

            Chris,

            Cessationism undermines the authority of Scripture. As a matter of fact, it is a flat out denial of Scripture. But who argues that a denial of continualism harms the church’s witness to the Gospel and undermines the authority of Scripture.

            I will go on record saying that I believe cessationism is a direct denial of inerrancy, but I know persons who hold that view who are faithful witnesses to the Gospel.

            Perhaps you, Andrew and others are comfortable with TGC, Burk and Duncan relating complementarianism to the Gospel. I absolutely am not comfortable with this and believes the association of the two dilutes the Gospel and elevates complementariamism– as a result of the association– to a place it is not elevated in Scripture. This association is a southern cultural and Fundamentalist Christisan perspective. It is not a biblical association or perspective.

            Dwight

          • says

            Dwight,

            Cessationism is a completely separate issue which has nothing to do with the complementarian discussion. The point remains, your summary of Burk’s post is not correct: he does not equate complementarianism with the gospel nor does he say that egalitarianism itself harms the church’s witness to the gospel. The issue is not that particular doctrine’s connection to the gospel but what the formation of that doctrine does to one’s use of Scripture.

        • Dwight McKissic says

          Chris,

          I share the same concern that Carl trueman posted about the TGC and Together For The Gospel need to list Complementarianism as a gospel essential or comittment. If the primary purpose of these two groups is to share and promote/preach the gospel, then why list complementarianism as an “essential” or comittment? Trueman is right: (1) it is unnecessary (2) it invites criticism (3) it elevates complementarianism to a place that it does not belong.

          You can acess Trueman’s post by clicking Denny’s post in the intro. of my post above. I rest my case.

  2. Debbie Kaufman says

    “1. I did not “equate” the gender issue with the gospel and inerrancy. I was careful, actually, to distinguish them. My point is that egalitarian hermeneutics are dangerous, and those interpretive approaches can lead to an erosion of evangelical convictions about the gospel and inerrancy.”

    Andrew: This statement could lead to a career in being a politician. I’m not saying Dennis Burke is a politician. I’m saying this statement could lead to being a politician.

    • says

      Burk was very clear in his article about what he was saying. I suggest you (re)read it. McKissic did not deal fairly with what Burk actually wrote.

      • David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers says

        “lob insults”?

        What is the “insult”?

        Is Wencl’s “I suggest you read it” condescending and insulting?

        • Dave Miller says

          David NAS Rogers,

          She did not engage his ideas or answer them biblically, she simply accused him of being a politician – code for deceptive.

          That is simply not acceptable.

          I’ve only met Denny Burk a couple of times, but to assail his integrity in such a way is just plain wrong. He does not deserve that and I will not permit her to just insult a man without giving any evidence for her insults.

          • David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers says

            Burk said “equate”. McKissic said “practically equate.” I believe that Burk’s dropping of the “practically” creates a murky response which unfortunately has an air of political-rhetoric. I believe that Burk needs to demonstrate that there has been no “practice” of associating the two concepts in order for his reply to have persuasive response.

        • David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers says

          I will concede now that Wencl’s statement may possibly only be an encouragement to read Dr. Burk’s original article. Or it may be condescending. I can’t determine which.

          • says

            After I wrote it I thought it probably would have been better to put “(re)read.” I don’t always read the articles that are linked to on posts here, so I didn’t want to assume she’d read it, especially since I think Dwight was reading more into what Denny had written than was actually there. If you refresh the page in a minute, it will read that way.

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        Thanks Dave. You have further proven the point I was making. You read that I was calling Denny Burke a politician. You read right. I read that Denny Burke was equating the Gospel and inerrancy to Egaltarianism. I believe I read correctly, although in the same breath he denies that is what he is saying. I read the article, my comprehension of that reading was he was denying that which he was really saying. He was equating the Gender issue and the Gospel along with inerrancy. So if that is an insult, so be it. I think my point is clear in my making that statement.

        BTW I always read what I am responding to. I have never not read what I was responding to. Nice argument to say read or reread, but it simply is not a true argument.

        • Debbie Kaufman says

          At the risk of being deleted or banned or…on the subject of respect. All people should be given the courtesy of respect, not just certain individuals. That has been a problem in the church and the SBC.

          Certain people are difficult for me to respect. I do have that choice. Those who try to shove out others, and this view are just two of many examples. These two views are more abusive and have done more harm along with a few other views. Right now these two are at the top of the list. Scripture says more on women than is currently being taught. Then to say they believe in an inerrant Bible, which I believe they do, and leave out a large percentage of the Bible in their argument, knowing there is more, causes loss of respect on my part.

          • Dave Miller says

            Your opinions are your own and you are welcome to them. You may express your opinions here. However, what you cannot do is insult the character of a man like Denny Burk as you did.

            You can disagree with him. You need not and will not be allowed to insult him or denigrate his integrity.

          • Dave Miller says

            The issue, Debbie, is that ALL you did was insult. You didn’t give reasons or show evidence, you simply insulted another believer.

          • Dave Miller says

            Again, insults and assertions must be accompanied by evidence. Please do not exchange insults, folks. It takes time to delete comments and I am lazy.

            My next step for those who simply want to insult one another will be moderation.

            If you wish to discuss it, my email is davemillerisajerk@hotmail.com

  3. Greg Harvey says

    I think that in the true universal church, complementarianism v. egalitarianism is a second tier issue from a doctrine standpoint. Elevating it back to a top tier issue with the slippery slope argument is certainly an interesting strategy, and using that approach to justify it being a top tier issue in a single denominational structure as a buttress against creeping anti-inerrancy reasoning and doctrine is, in my opinion, somewhat less egregious than expecting other denominations to accept the same reasoning.

    Some might think I’m recommending a compromise in writing that. No, I’m not. I’m instead offering a different thought: that humility can lead one both to taking a consistent stand within one’s own group while acknowledging that others have come to a different conclusion and agreeing to treat them as still faithful brothers and sisters who are not practicing heresy but with whom we still disagree.

    That’s a tough thing for those who supported the CR in the SBC to do, but I think it’s the right thing. I will even offer there is some room for compromise with fellow Baptists of the Southern tradition who strongly emphasize evangelistic praxology when they essentially hew to the same view of Scripture in practically everything other than complementarianism. I just don’t think the SBC would choose that path so I doubt we’ll go down it. But the funny thing about congregational polity is that over time the congregation changes…

  4. David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers says

    Dr. Burk said, “I did not “equate” the gender issue with the gospel and inerrancy.”

    Pastor McKissic, Sr. said, “1.To practically equate complementarianism—as The Gospel Coalition defines it—with an accurate definition of the Gospel and inerrancy, I find to be borderline idolatry and heresy, and a position that cannot be defended or argued from Scripture.”

    The keys are the terms “practically” and “as The Gospel Coalition defines it”. Their formation statements and several videos show that indeed they have “practically equated” the Gospel and this interpretive perspective.

    I hold some complementarian views and some understandings that women can indeed teach in a church, even when men are present. I believe that sound historical-grammatical exegesis supports this. In fact, it is my position that belief that Scripture does not teach contradictory things and its inerranct authority led me to discover how women can teach men.

    I think Debbie Kaufman’s insight about a politico-rhetorical aura of the response rings rather true.

    • says

      Then I would posit that McKissic is the one using politicized rhetoric by charging Burk with “practically equating” complementarianism with the gospel.

      • David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers says

        The “practically” (in my opinion) comes from all the discussions that discuss the complementarianism and “egalitarianism” issues with warnings about slippery-slope disregard for the authority of Scripture and thus endangering the integrity of the Gospel.

        Dr. Burk and the Gospel Coalition do not “explicitly” equate the two, but the “practical” equating is demonstrated by their continual practice associating “egalitarianism” with liberalism. Omelianchuk’s analysis noted above should be noted.

  5. says

    As much as Dwight would love for it to, economic justice does not mean economic equality. So some people don’t have as nice of a house, car, health care, or clothes as others. Boo hoo If they want better, they can go earn it. If person A works 30-35 hours a week at McDonalds, has to take their kids to the county health department, and has to shop at Goodwill while person B is a stay at home mom (former CPA) whose husband has great health insurance and shops at Macy’s, Belk, and S&K Mens Wear for their clothes, you know what the Bible says about that?

    Not a dog gone thing. Of course, Dwight would claim that’s not fair and we must take money from Person B, via his beloved President of course, and give it to person A because it’s just not fair that A has so much while B has so little. Again, if A wants a better life, A can go earn it. Until then, A doesn’t deserve better.

      • Dwight McKissic says

        Joe,

        When I have I ever argued here or elsewhere that “economic injustice mean economic equality?” Never said that, nor do I believe that. Greg Harvey addresses this issue biblically, adequately and eloquently much better than I could in comment #26. Unless you can document me having said what you allege, I would appreciate you correcting your gross misrepresentation and mischaracterization of what I said.

        Dwight

        • says

          I didn’t say you said it. I said you would love for it to mean and would claim because I believed you would. I didn’t say that you have said that. I believed that what you would say because any time I’ve heard economic justice it meant left wing economic policies. If you say you wouldn’t characterize economic justice like that I’ll take your word for it because, at least as far as I know, you haven’t said that.

          • John Fariss says

            Dwight,

            Don’t worry about Joe too much, or that he misrepresents what you say. He much prefers to argue with what he wants people to have said, rather than what they actually say. At least that is his usual M.O. with me. Bottom line: don’t confuse the situation with facts.

            John

        • says

          I figured out why I assumed you meant equality of outcome and left wing economic policies when you talked about economic and social justice. You said Burk will not equate social and economic justice with a wholistic definition of the Gospel. Adding to that the fact that you had said, maybe a year or two ago, that Southern Baptists needed to repent of their Republicanism (or something to that effect) Given that Dr. Burk openly supports right wing politics, I assumed that what you were criticizing.

          However, you said that’s not what you mean so I’ll take your word for it.

      • says

        This argument coming from the same people who will not equate social and economic justice

        By economic justice, he means government redistribution of income.

        • Greg Harvey says

          I think you give Dwight too little credit for his ability to understand the Bible. The OT deals with economic justice that has zero to do with government intervention. We learn of one example very early in children’s Sunday School when Ruth gathers gleanings from Boaz’s field. We were taught that harvesters were not permitted to pick up stalks that fell to the ground and that the landowner was required to permit the poor to gather that for food.

          The Bible speaks against moving boundary markers and of returning cloaks taken as collateral for loans at night when it’s cold. Judges are required to dispense justice which also means the rich are not allowed to buy injustice from judges. Sojourners are required to be treated the same as members of the nation if they commit to follow the law of the land and to worship God. These are all related to economic justice and avoidance of discrimination, corruption, and inequality.

          Now I’ll concede the point that you made that this isn’t about equal outcomes. But a systemic miscarriage of justice deserves a response that seeks to correct wrongs. That a Black pastor would mention economic injustice is simply to put a face on a systematic miscarriage of justice in our society. That Dr. McKissic emphasizes the Gospel as the primary remedy to injustice is not to repudiate the witness of the Acts church in sharing according to ability and need nor is it to repudiate Paul’s admonition for some of the congregations he planted to support believers and the church in Jerusalem.

          I’m not even saying the notion that believers, churches, and governments need to live within their means is somehow unChristian. But God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and sometimes his provision for us is intentionally through those around us.

          • says

            Without question, Christians should help those in need and it is utterly sinful that we don’t do more. What is not sinful is for my boss to make a 6 figure income while I am no where close. It is also not sinful that he’s able to buy nicer clothes, drive nicer cars, and live in a nicer neighborhood that I do. That it no unjust.

            Someone will whine “What about that poor person who tries to raise they family on a minimum wage job? That’s unjust to pay them only that little bit.” Well, duh, NO ONE is supposed to be able to raise a family on a minimum wage job. Duh. However, those who clammor for “economic justice” mean equality in outcome and they mean doing that through the redistribution of wealth via the government.

          • Frank says

            “””has zero to do with government intervention.”””

            Israel was a theocracy. The O.T. “was” the governing document.

            I see this as an important challenge in trying to apply Biblical principles of “economic justice” to our present American system. I’m not disagreeing that we should apply these principles, but simply struggling with exactly what that would look like, today.

            I can pretty much guarantee that Dwight and I would not go about the application process in exactly the same way, but I don’t think it is because of my “color” that we would take different approaches.

            I repudiate the idea that a Black man has a keener insight into economic justice than a white man, if that is what you were trying to suggest in your post–and I am not saying that is what you intended with your reference to “a Black pastor would . . .”

            Clarence Jordan is a name that jumps out in this regard.

          • Greg Harvey says

            I actually was suggesting a Black man has keener insight into systematic discrimination than others. I’m not sure why on earth I would think that given the history of the Southern Baptist Convention.

        • Dave Miller says

          Joe, you are either going to have to demonstrate where Dwight said that, or I’m going to have to shut you down on this one.

          Dwight has said clearly that he does not believe what you are saying he believes.

          I do not think he is a liar.

  6. volfan007 says

    The Bible very clearly teaches complementarianism. The Scriptures are just too clear on this issue. The real gymnastics, which take place, is to try to get the Bible to teach egalitarianism. I really think that not believing in complementarianism is doing exactly what Burk said….it’s shying away from the truth of the Word, in order to “fit in” with today’s, feminist culture.

    David

  7. Dave Miller says

    I think one of the confusions here (and I’ve written on this more than once) is the way people throw around the term “gospel.” What is a gospel issue?

    For some, it is a reference to a particular soteriological view (5-point Calvinism).
    For others, it refers to important doctrine on which little compromise can be permitted.

    On this issue, I am more in agreement with Denny Burk’s view. I cannot understand how anyone can read the Bible and say, “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man” really means, “I DO permit a woman to teach and have authority over a man.”

    I also agree that there is an issue here that touches inerrancy. Certainly, many inerrantists end up in the egalitarian camp, but when we use such cavalier hermeneutics as are often employed by egalitarians to essentially change the meaning of texts, we tread dangerous ground.

    But I still struggle with the idea that it is a gospel issue.

    I think we ought to hold that term for doctrines which are essential to the biblical gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ.

    The circle of doctrine around which we draw the “gospel issue” terminology should be very small.

    • volfan007 says

      Dave,

      I agree with you. The verse you quote is just too clear. Also, when you see that all the Apostles were men….all the Pastors in the NT were men….would surely show us the truth of complementarianism.

      David

      • Eric says

        Junia, Phoebe, Philips daughters, Priscilla – guess they missed out on that comp thing…

        • says

          Eric,

          You write as though complementarians have nothing to say about these individuals. Complementarians have addressed questions concerning their ministries and the implications on women in leadership, as well as affirming their ministries and statuses as women.

        • John Wylie says

          Eric,

          Really? Do you have one single reference that demonstrates that they were allowed to teach men in the church? And by the way there is no way that the text on Junia can mean that she was an apostle seeing that in the Greek the word apostle in the text is a masculine noun.

          • says

            John,

            Not to rain on your parade, but the noun is going to be masculine whether it refers to Junia or not, since it is plural, and Greek words will take a masculine plural as long as one member of the group is masculine (such as Andronicus).

  8. David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers says

    “But I still struggle with the idea that it is a gospel issue.

    I think we ought to hold that term for doctrines which are essential to the biblical gospel of the death and resurrection of Christ.

    The circle of doctrine around which we draw the “gospel issue” terminology should be very small.”

    I heartily agree.

    The difficulty is when the associating of the term “Gospel” with this second or third tier issue creates confusion about what essentially the “Gospel” is. Carl Trueman addressed this and Denny Burk attempted to make the case for the association by referencing hermeneutics and biblical authority.

    I believe that a broad based labeling of “egalitarian” hermeneutics and slippery-slope descent into lessening biblical authority has not been persuasively established. I could just as well argue that “complementarian” hermeneutics leads into a wooden “fundamentalism” that leads to bibliolatry. That kind of assertion is too broad-based and opaque in persuasiveness.

    I will now let this go.

    Thanks for the opportunity to have a little back and forth.

    Blessings.

    • Greg Harvey says

      I’ve heard that joke from the pulpit frequently. Let’s all agree it’s patronizing, shall we?

  9. says

    “To practically equate complementarianism—as The Gospel Coalition defines it—with an accurate definition of the Gospel and inerrancy, I find to be borderline idolatry and heresy, and a position that cannot be defended or argued from Scripture.”

    From my reading, it does not seem that this is Burk’s intention at all. Complementarianism is not itself a gospel issue, but, as he points out, once an individual is willing to manipulate Scripture to arrive at egalitarianism, that opens the door to many more maneuverings. Five examples come to mind for me: UMC, ECUSA, ELCA, PCUSA, and AOG. The first four, United Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian (USA) are all at varying points along the road to complete liberal capitulation. There remain some faithful members who are trying to wrest those denominations back to biblical faithfulness, but the prognosis is not good. While correlation does not equal causation, it is nonetheless telling that the slide for each of those began with the kinds of maneuverings necessary for egalitarianism and have continued from there. The fifth example, AOG, is a bit different and represents a different kind of slide which usually has a different source. There, the misunderstanding of the work of the Spirit in individuals has led to the elevation of anything that might be interpreted as the Spirit’s work, even if the Spirit’s work seems to contradict what the Bible says the Spirit will or will not do. In their case, the ordination of women goes along with a reliance on supernaturalistic theology more than biblical theology. The emphasis is not on what the Bible says but on what the Spirit has said to us – perhaps through the Bible, perhaps through a prophet, perhaps through his whisperings to me. To my knowledge, the AOG has a much higher view of Scripture than the other four denominations I mentioned, but Scripture still takes a secondary place to the perceived work of the Spirit and is interpreted in light of what the Spirit is seen to be doing among us. If we believe the Spirit has moved a woman to speak to a group of men, then Scripture must not mean what we think it says about the roles of men and women in the church. Subjective experience trumps the objective Word (and to that end this discussion is relevant to the previous discussion on the Spirit).

    The common characteristic of these five denominations is a reduction in their reliance on Scripture. Something has come along to take supremacy over Scripture. In the liberal churches, individual consensus takes precedent. The consensus is that no difference should be noted between men and women. In the charismatic churches, experience takes precedent. Either way, the sufficiency of Scripture is weakened, if not sacrificed.

    The whole issue of the tongues seems a bit of a distraction. I understand what you are trying to do – saying that the cessationist has an equal error to the egalitarian by the kinds of maneuverings required to arrive at that position. But surely you see the vast difference between the person whose hermeneutic seeks to draw from the Scriptures and the person whose hermeneutic seeks to diminish the Scriptures? I grant that there are those egalitarians who believe the Bible supports their position, but many (if not most) of them are honest enough to acknowledge that their view is at odds with the Bible. They have other ways of explaining why it is okay for our theology and practice to go against the Bible (and in those ways continue the slide away from faithful, biblical Christianity).

    “To equate complementarianism and inerrancy (of which I wholeheartedly believe in) with an accurate understanding or definition of the Gospel is idolizing the doctrines of inerrancy and complementarianism to a height that the Bible does not elevate their doctrines and consequently distorts the true Gospel.”

    I don’t altogether follow. Where does the Bible elevate any particular doctrine? Truth is always presented as truth. Given the diversity of belief that has arisen over 2,000 years of Christianity, we have come along to try and identify those things which are essential and those things where disagreement is permitted, and even on areas of disagreement we have differentiated those disagreements that hinder close fellowship (denominations and local churches). I believe the disagreement over complementarian/egalitarian issues is a serious one and for myself I won’t cooperate with a church that has a woman preacher, nor am I generally receptive of having women teach men in my church (I think it is rather arbitrary to make a distinction between women serving as senior pastor and women teaching men in other capacities).

    As Burk says, one may well remain faithful while being in error on this issue, but history has shown time and again that the tendency is to descend from egalitarianism into full-blown liberalism, a descent made possible – even likely – by a weak hermeneutic that seeks to undermine what the Bible has to say about men and women.

  10. says

    Aw, Bro. McKissic: I would be a lot happier, if you had let Bro. Burk know that his take on complementarianism is outside the bounds of Scripture as is most of what is being set forth as the pabulum that will ruin our return to Scripture. I don’t buy their (Burk’s as well as others of our Southern Baptist leaders, even though this will cost me dearly) complementarianism. One reason is that complementarianism is a short road to Rome and the hierarchy, the unchecked rule of the superiors, the know-it-alls, over all underlings who do not have enough knowledge to come in out of the rain (all according to the hierarchy folks…according to my interpretation…based upon years of research in church history, especially of the Inquisition). I am a full-fledged congregationalist; the government, according to J.R. Graves’ Mantra, is with the body, and that without my being a Landmarker but with due appreciation for Graves’ great exegesis in Intercommunion on Acts 19, distinguishing between the oklos (mob) and the ekklesia (the governing body) of Ephesus.

    This complementarian stuff is functional. We fought two world wars in the 20th century, all because unconditional complementarianism had dominated the German scene since the days of Luther, whereas the functional complementarianism, the complementarianism of checks and balances, of England and America, allowed for corrections. Rome still has to learn that lesson one of these days, and, hopefully, Germany learned it from the debacles of the 20th century. Southern Baptists, due to their reaction to the radical feminists (I had one of them dear things call me a male chauvinist pig, in seminary), have taken a course along the lines of Germany and with the same predictable results a century or so out in the future. I always get a kick out of how these folks ignore history…even on our own Baptist history. Unchecked complementarianism was one of the reasons for the dumb stuff of slavery, when the very basic doctrine of the Bible really does not allow it…how could one hold his brother or sister in slavery. But money, the profit motive, has a blinding power, just as power and position, have a blinding power with the subsequent and consequent results that do harm to churches, families, and Christian causes. While not one will believe me now, there is nothing like a new conversion, buying all uncritically, to blind one to the reality, I do believe that out there in the future someone will take a look at what I have written and ask, “Why couldn’t they take the time to study his comments. After all, they were informed by history of the most ominous kind, e.g., World Wars and Inquisitions (Medieval and Spanish)?” Also, we have a warning that one can believe in the verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God and still have eldresses…as in the case of Sandy Creek Church and Assn. I know of a lady in the 20th century who believed in Sovereign Grace and preached it, and she founded a church and gave it to a local assn. They made her agree to the idea that she would never be acknowledged as the founder of that church (a rather nice sized congregation, so I understand). What a hoot! And she was an American Indian,. a careful student of the word, the most zealous soul-winner I ever saw. And I am sure, Brother McKissic, there are African American women just like her, African American women who carried the torch, when the men could not, who certainly did carry the torch in the absence of the men, raising sons that would make anyone proud in the midst of all those who failed due to a loaded prejudicial social structure of complementarianism that had no checks and balances. I salute my great historian, Dr. Lorenzo J. Greene, who without knowing it enabled me to see through any approach to control that lacks checks and balances.

    • Frank L. says

      Let me get this straight . . . Dr. J, are you arguing that complementarianism is the cause of WW1 and WW2?

      I have to say, I’ve never heard that before.

      Are we at Voices on the verge of WW3?

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