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Rachel Held Evans, Owen Strachan, and Adrian Warnock Went on a Radio Show

It wasn’t as funny as if they’d gone into a bar, but it was considerably more enlightening. It might appear that having two complementarians against one egalitarian was unfair, but Rachel clearly had no problem with the format, and the host pointed out that, though he was playing neutral moderator, he was more inclined to Rachel’s position.

I very rarely listen to something that long. I much prefer the written to the spoken word. If you want to get my attention, write. But the participants were enough to get me started and the quality of their discussion was enough to keep me listening.

It will surprise nobody who reads this blog that I agree with Evans down the line, though I might be a bit more liberal than she is on hermeneutics. The important points on hermeneutics came out more toward the end, though you’ll miss some references if you skip to that point, where Owen Strachan talks about having to obey all of scripture and not pick and choose and warns of a slippery slope. Evans quickly points out that there are other things we don’t follow, yet somehow we don’t feel we’re on a slippery slope.

The fact is that nobody obeys “all of scripture” in the sense of keeping every command. Everyone has some way to distinguish between commands that apply and those that don’t. It’s just that they generally tend to ignore the ones that they have, in their own view, really excellent reasons to ignore. In ignoring them, they hardly notice the fact that they are ignoring commands.

So the question is whether one’s application of a scripture to a situation (or failure to do so) is justified or not. I commented some on this on my Participatory Bible Study blog.

I would add to this discussion this note: When Owen Strachan refers to using the simple or plain portions of scripture to explain those that are more obscure, I find it interesting that he sees commands and theological statements as simple, while stories and history are apparently more obscure. I would see it as precisely the reverse. When Paul says in one place that he doesn’t allow a woman to speak, and in another we have a very clear indication of a woman in authority, I think it would be best to find an interpretation of the command (or theological statement) that doesn’t suggest that Paul was violating his own command, rather than trying to explain away the action and make it appear that it didn’t violate our view of the command.

Thus if Junia stands out among the apostles in Rome, while women submit (and don’t speak) in Ephesus, I’m going to guess that the command has something to do with Ephesus.


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