Feminism is rising in conservative Christian circles (again) so can Seminaries build bridges without creating platforms for feminist and lesbians?
Rev Thomas Littleton
Beeson Seminary which is on the campus of Samford University in Birmingham Al. recently announced a new “Center for Women in Ministry” and held the inaugural conference event in June 2021. It is both curious and concerning that the timing of the launch comes when feminism is clearly rising on the back of intersectionality in the SBC , PCA and other conservative denominations. Timothy George helped found and lead the non denominational seminary since 1984. Yes the seminary is non denominational but it is located on the Campus of Samford University whose founding was as a Southern Baptist school.
(NOTE Samford’s final ties with SBC funding were severed in recent years when Samford faculty approved an LGBTQ activist organization on campus .More on that in a later update.)
Beeson does still have a significant impact on Baptist and other conservative Christian community when churches hire pastors or staff trained at the institution. So should conservative churches who hire graduates of Beeson be concerned about the Center? Yes and for several reasons given some of those involved as well as the stated mission of George in bringing egalitarians and communitarians together in a “New E&C Together ” focus at the crossroads of a culture steeped in Intersectionality.
Timothy George has long been an advocate for common ground in his “A Modest Proposal”. This goes back at least to 2005 in a Christianity Today article
A Modest Proposal
Nine tasks egalitarians and complementarians can pursue.BY TIMOTHY GEORGE|
A QUICK LOOK AT THE NEW CENTER
FROM THE WEBSITE
“The Center for Women in Ministry at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School exists to encourage and equip women called to Christian ministry and to serve as a resource for the Church of Jesus Christ for the edification of the Church and for the thriving of women in ministry.”
“The Center for Women in Ministry partners with programs and colleagues across the Samford campus, including: Beeson’s Women’s Theological Colloquium, Beeson Alumni Association, Beeson’s Thriving Pastors Initiative, Beeson’s Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute, Beeson’s Student Government Association and Minority Student Fellowship, Samford’s Biblical and Religious Studies department, Samford’s Christian Ministry program, Samford’s Center for Worship and the Arts, and many others.”
“The Center for Women in Ministry at Beeson holds to the commitments of Beeson Divinity School and to the two beliefs that God calls women to Christian ministry and the Church needs God-called, theologically trained women in ministry. This Center does not advocate for a complementarian or egalitarian theological position as such, but rather assists all women in evangelical, Protestant churches (whether complementarian or egalitarian) for the sake of the flourishing of women in ministry.”
THE LARGER CONCERN IS ABOUT MORE THAN THE PULPITS
The new Beeson Center launches at a time when sexual abuse scandals abound in the SBC and other complementarian movements. This has caused a push for “MORE women in leadership” in order to “prevent sex abuse and the cover up of abuse”. This is a flawed rhetoric and open door for feminist who wish to target” toxic masculinity” across the board.
Currently books like “Jesus and John Wayne ” and “Surviving Biblical Womanhood” are on a full frontal assault against the perceived “Toxic Masculinity” represented by evangelical men who are “fans of john Wayne and Donald Trump”.
MORE ON FEMINISM RISING HERE :
NEUTRAL GROUND -DOES IT REALLY EXIST? NEVER HAS !
So the Center aims to remain neutral on the issue of “E vs C ” or in other words whether or not women should be in pulpit and pastoral ministry. The real issue is MUCH LARGER. Can conservative Christians enter a E&C dialog without opening the door to feminist and lesbian radicalism?
Intersectionality -“The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”
Intersectionality IS a radical feminist movement. It weds together a collective of self identified victims of discrimination across the range of racial gender ,gay and other identities. It is at the heart of organizations like BLM. Despite all the attention and controversy about Resolution 9 on Critical Race Theory in the 2019 Southern Baptist convention – most seem to have ignored the melting pot of feminist, racial and gender /LGBTQ theory and activism represented by the push of “Intersectionality” along with CRT in the 2019 SBC Resolution # NINE. Trust the experts. Intersectionality is no LOVE POTION.
OFF TO A BAD START
A quick look at the Advisory Board for the Beeson Center for Women in Ministry shows a couple of infiltration points have already manifest.
Revoice “LGBTQ Thriving in Historic Christian Tradition” leader Tish Harrison Warren is a Board Member for the new Center for Women. She is also featured in a chapter of a recent book by the Center’s Executive Director Kristen Padilla.
Revoice conference inaugural event in 2018 exposed disturbing insight into the radical infiltration of both SBC and PCA’s flagship seminaries by “feminist theology” denouncing “the nuclear family as an IDOL”. This narrative is straight out of Drew Divinity School and radical feminist theologians like Janet Fishburn. Fishburn errors are many and Biblical believers should not be espousing her views of family or orthodoxy.
NATE COLLINS OF REVOICE ON THE FAMILY IDOL
“Human = parent??? It’s possible to uphold and prize biblical sexual ethics and marriage while not reinforcing the idolatry of the nuclear family that’s so prevalent in cultural Christianity. Single friends, ESP those who plan to never marry: you are wonderfully and fully human.” Quote from Revoice founder Nate Collins.
REVOICE AND “QUEER CULTURE “
Revoice also celebrated the “treasures which Queer Culture and Queer Theory” offer the church and “will bring into the New Jerusalem . Revoice espouses sexual minority, gay Christian and ” Queer Christian “identities & theory,
The thought leader behind the Revoice movement is American Psychological Association (APA interfaith leader on sexuality and gender Mark Yarhouse of Wheaton College. Yarhouse has fully persuaded many evangelical leaders like Southern Baptist Albert Mohler and PCA’s Tim Keller ( who is a favorite repeat speaker at Beeson) that “sexual orientation” exist and is inborn and unchanging. This is totally counter to the Gospel offer of repentance, freedom from the power of sin, hope and transformation for all sinners. Yarhouse also asserts the confusing reality of gender conflicted-transgenderism among believers. So the assertion is homosexuality is “fixed and cannot be changed” while biological gender not fixed to “‘gender fluid” gender identity. More on that at a later time.
TISH HARRISON WARREN REVOICE AND INTERVARSITY
Tish Harrison Warren@Tish_H_Warren “These past weeks, I’ve felt an ache-in-my-body longing to talk w/Revoice & sideB ( added for clarification- Side B are those who identify as LGBTQ but assert an espousal of celibacy This is a modern take on the “non-practicing homosexuals” narrative of the 1970s activism to infiltrate the mainline denominations.) friends. As a member of the advisory council, I want to be available to talk through *whatever* you want. So this webinar. We’ll talk my book but also happy to answer questions re: the ACNA brouhaha.” ( ACNA is the Anglican Church in North America and the “Brouhaha ” is over women’s ordination. )
Notice the issue of women’s ordination and LGBTQ activism run hand in hand.
TISH HARRISAON WARREN ENDORSEMENT OF GREG JOHNSON’S NEW BOOK .
Activism never sleeps .Even though Greg Johnson’s hosting of Revoice in his PCA Memorial Church in St Louis has caused a massive upheaval in the PCA followed by a significant split and recent efforts to squash the foolish and unbiblical LGBTQ Christian identities – Tish proudly endorses Johnson’s book.
“In the suffocating quagmire of the church’s debates about same-sex sexuality, Greg Johnson’s Still Time to Care is a breath of fresh air. While Johnson unflinchingly documents the failures of the ex-gay movement of the 1980s and ’90s, he also defends a traditional sexual ethic and articulates a ‘paradigm of care’ to counter the ‘paradigm of cure’ that has harmed so many people. Drawing deeply from history, evangelical leaders, and Scripture, Johnson articulates a way forward for sexual minorities and those who love them. Winsome, intelligent, personal, and warm, this book is important and profoundly needed. I want everyone I know to read it.”
—Tish Harrison Warren, Anglican priest; author, Liturgy of the Ordinary and Prayer in the Night
Deep Dive with Tish Harrison Warren
“Check out our most recent Revoice Deep Dive with author Tish Harrison Warren. Join Revoice Executive Director Bekah Mason and Tish as they discuss Tish’s most recent book Prayer in the Night.”
According to her bio Tish- “She has worked in ministry settings for over a decade as a campus minister with InterVarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministries”. InterVaristy publishes Mark Yarhouse books & SPONSORED REVOICE IN 2019. Tish is also a founding member if the Pelican Project with SBC activist women like Karen Swallow Prior. Tish is a “senior fellow” of the problematic Trinity Forum where Obama era activist Michael Wear and now defrocked ERLC former President Russell Moore often role played advocating for “immigration reform” and social justice in the Soros funded National Immigration Forum. Funding for Trinity also comes from the progressive Muslim founder of Ebay.
Another Concern with the Beeson Center for Women in Ministry is the presence of an associate editor for the InterVarsity Press Anna Moseley Gissing. This concern is not only because of it’s 2019 support of Revoice after it’s 2018 controversy but also it’s weighty endorsement of Revoice thought leader and 2019 event speaker Yarhouse.
“We’re excited to announce
@ivpress as one of our #Revoice19 conference sponsors! Be sure to visit their table at the conference, where you can pick up copies of “Single, Gay, Christian” by Greg Coles, “Listening to Sexual Minorities” by @markyarhouse, and more!”
TIMOTHY GEORGE 2018 INTERVIEW WITH HEAD OF THE CENTER FOR WOMEN IN MINISTRY
George and the new Center’s director interviewed on the issue of women in ministry while she was communications coordinator for Beeson. George espouses the ability to bring these issues to the forefront while not taking a position on them biblically. Really?
Dean Timothy George talks to Kristen Padilla about her new book, “Now That I’m Called: A Guide for Women Discerning a Call to Ministry.”
Kristen Padilla is marketing and communications coordinator at Beeson Divinity School.
Timothy George: That's what I like about you. Your book sounds a little bit like Beeson Divinity School, in that we don't take an advocacy position on these two positions that are out there in the Christian world. We have professors, and we have students on both sides of those issues. We talk about them. We sometimes have even public discussions about them. We don't sweep it under the rug, but we say, "This should not be a test of fellowship within our community," and that makes us different from other kinds of school. There are seminaries that are strictly complementarian. You couldn't be on the faculty if you didn't, and likewise, strictly egalitarian. You couldn't be on their faculty if you didn't take that ... We have a both and approach. We're not the only school like that. There are a number of others as well, and you seem to ... I guess the word is tension. There's a tension in your treatment of this issue which you find somehow reflected in the scriptures themselves. Is that right? Kristen Padilla: That's correct. I say in the book that we don't want to write off the difficult passages of scripture to make us feel better, but at the same time, we don't want to create a canon within a canon, elevating one text above the other, so I'm trying to help the women, in a gentle way, to enter into the tension of scripture, where on the one hand, you find women prophesying, very involved in the work of ministry, and then on the other hand, you have difficult texts like First Timothy 2. I want us to be faithful to Scripture as both complementarians and egalitarians do. We want to be faithful to the text, but I also want them to wrestle with the text, partly because they're going to wrestle with these questions if they haven't already. I want them to be prepared for that wrestling now, so that when they encounter these questions, and they encounter these texts later, that they'll be able to stand on a firmer footing. Timothy George: Yeah, so let me pose the question this way. If you're a complementarian woman, and we shouldn't think all complementarians are men, of course. There are many complementarian women, even women theologians who are complementarian, and likewise egalitarians, there's both/and, if you're a complementarian, what can this book help you with? How can it help you understand this issue better? Kristen Padilla: For many women that I've encountered, and I grew up in complementarian traditions in churches, but for some women in certain complementarian traditions, they might feel that there's no place for them in ministry. I really hope that they feel encouraged where they may not feel encouraged. I also hope that they will see that even their ministry is restricted to women and children, that is a valuable ministry, that women and children are God's sheep. They are made in God's image, and delivering God's Word for them is just as important as it is to deliver it to men. I want them to see value in any sector of ministry that they are allowed to do. I also want them to wrestle with the idea that the Spirit gives gifts that are not divided along gender lines, and this is something that Anne Bowman talks about in her piece in the book Two Views on Women in Ministry, the first edition that I have, published by Zondervan. She's a complementarian, and she talks about the use of gifts. You do not have to have an office or even a pulpit to practice these gifts.
The notion of espousing neutrality while hosting the controversy is almost silly. E vs C is a divisive issue while George being a theologian heading a theological institution, the problem with “neutrality” should be glaringly obvious. George has raised many conservative believers concerns during his years at Beeson. The new Center for Women in Ministry and the push for Egalitarians and Complementarians Together looks to be yet another misstep in his troubled and fading legacy.
Some WOULD LOVE TO THINK Timothy George advocacy and “modest proposal” for a new E&C Together movement is helpful and harmless. In these times of intersectionality and it’s march through the institutions, neutrality looks like surrender and has the same eventual outcome. Black Lives Matter is led by radicalized racism feminist and lesbian activist who have attacked Christianity openly. Moreover with the current push against “toxic masculinity ” among evangelicals who love John Wayne let us consider carefully what entities like The Beeson Center of Women In Ministry are seeking to create. Is a forum for common ground and dialog without a theological stand amid the controversial and divisive issue able to discern and protect such a conversation or it’s participants from the rabid and destructive feminist agenda? Given that Revoice leaders and financial supporters have already infiltrated the new Center for Women in Ministry at Beeson … things are not looking good. Can Beeson’s new Center be neutral? Seems a very simple minded notion for deep thinking theologians.
The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees
“Pharisees and Sadducees Together”? Good luck with that.
Jesus warns of the leaven of doctrine.
5 Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the [a]leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”
8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you [b]have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the [c]leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the [d]doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Galatians 5: 7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.