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Women Teaching in Seminary, Oh Yes! (@KaitlinCurtice)

Women Teaching in Seminary, Oh Yes! (@KaitlinCurtice)

On Tuesday I noticed a tweet, after comments on the Desiring God blog regarding women teaching in seminary. The answer was, not surprisingly, no. The men who do ministry should be taught by men who model men leading the church.

Here’s the tweet:

I thought this such a good idea that I immediately chimed in with the names of two teachers, one in my undergraduate theology program and one in graduate school who had been important, even critical influences on my learning and development. I intended to blog immediately afterward and talk about why I list these two women, both of whom have gone on to glory, in particular. Unfortunately, life happened, and a couple of days have passed. I’m still going to do it.

Preliminary Thoughts

But first, ever the wordy one, let me write a note on my view of women in ministry. I’ve been accused of not really being egalitarian, not by other egalitarians, but by complementarians. The reason seems to be that I don’t say men and women are the same. Come to think of it, I pretty much don’t say men and men are the same. That is, we’re all different. What I do say is that this isn’t the issue. The issue is to see each person as one who is gifted by God, to recognize the gifts God has given, and to not merely allow, but to do everything to encourage that person to use those gifts.

How many women should be in church leadership? Precisely the number that God has gifted for that leadership. How many women should teach? Precisely the number that God has gifted to do that teaching. My main scriptural argument in favor of women in leadership is that the Holy Spirit gives gifts as the Spirit wills (Hebrews 2:4, among many others), and that when such gifts are recognized, quenching the gifts is quenching the Spirit. It is also not men who have the right to allow or not allow women in ministry. Their call is a call from God. Men have the choice of recognizing or not recognizing God’s call.

I do understand the other view and the scriptures on which it is based. I believe that it is a case of using advice produced for a particular time and place and making it universal. I believe making it universal hinders the advance of the kingdom.

Many

I have been taught by many women. Doubtless, complementarians would approve of having women as teachers in elementary and high school. I have to mention home school years with my mother and my older sister Betty Rae, both strong influences on my. Ethel Wood at Wildwood Rural School in northwest Georgia, who discovered I already knew how to type, and used my help in the school office. There I learned some skills that would come back to me later when I became a publisher. But this isn’t just about having women influence one’s life. It’s about training people for church leadership.

Theological Education

Lucille Knapp

Lucille Knapp taught first and second year Greek at Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University). I was privileged to take both these courses and to become friends. She was determined not just to teach us Greek but to help us use it to understand the Bible better and to help us grow in our spiritual lives in ways beyond just language.

I remember her particularly for gentle conversations urging me to consider unfamiliar ideas that hadn’t been part of my world before. She also connected the beauty of literature with my spiritual journey. When I graduated, I received a gift from her of a book of inspirational poetry, along with a note that urged me to remember that faith and theology were not just about the technicalities of biblical languages and biblical studies, which were my focus, but also about the experience of beauty and of God’s presence that was available through art and literature.

There were some people who thought she should shut up and just teach Greek. It was OK that she teach technicalities, but she should quit trying to influence others and shape their spirituality in any way. I’m glad she resisted those voices and continued to model spiritual leadership to her students.

(A bio and obituary.)

Leona Glidden Running

When I arrived at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, though my degree was an MA in Religion, concentrating in biblical and cognate languages offered by the graduate school, I almost immediately meet Dr. Running. Some of us thought she truly deserved her last name, as she was an active and vigorous person who didn’t let any grass grow under he feet. Ever. She didn’t believe in letting grass grow under our feet either.

One of my favorite memories of her was taking the final exam in Akkadian. I was the only student for that term for Akkadian, so the class had been somewhat informal. She handed me the final exam, which was a legal size sheet of paper filled on both sides with cuneiform text. She said, “Translate this. You have two hours.” Then she walked out of the room.

Now my guess is that I might have produced a good translation of a few lines in two hours. I don’t mean getting the gist, but getting a workable translation. The idea that I could produce a decent translation of that much text in two hours at the end of my first quarter was ludicrous.

So I struggled through, grabbing the first possible translation I could find and writing it down, knowing that I wouldn’t have time to recheck, and also knowing that I had to be making substantial errors. I managed half of the first page using that approach. At the end of two hours she was back, took the paper and made no comment. I got it back the next day with a grade — an A. So I asked her how this was possible. I was actually gratified by how few red marks there were in my translation, but I mean that with reference to my expectations. The page was still doing some bleeding! She said, “I wanted to see your first pass. I didn’t want you to have time to double check. I graded accordingly.” She had deducted only for things she thought I should have gotten without taking a second pass.

She also invited me to tutor Greek and Hebrew for the seminary students, guided me through what to charge so I could help pay my way. (I had a fellowship, but it didn’t cover all expenses.) When my Uncle, Don F. Neufeld, passed away, she was the one who recognized that I was grieving when I was still telling myself I could handle this. She made sure I made the trip to his funeral and took care of myself. She remained a friend after graduation.

She was, like Lucille Knapp, an example of leadership. She modeled that godly leadership for me.

(A bio and her obituary.)

Different Styles

Even though I didn’t select them for that reason, I like the fact that they exhibited two very different styles. I chose these two names because their influence on me was powerful.

I will still tell classes that while I value my knowledge of biblical languages highly, it was not learning the biblical languages that did the most for my hermeneutic. It was learning about people, learning how people react. Often elements of the tone of a Bible passage become much clearer when I think about the way people react to different things. Lucille Knapp is responsible for starting me on that way of thinking, and I’m eternally grateful.

Dr. Running, on the other hand, taught me that thoroughness is important, but so is diligence and vigorous pursuit of a goal. It isn’t just your last read that counts, but the way you attack a text in the first place. In coming to understand a text, it’s important not to get hung up or lost in the forest while carefully examining each tree. Of course, that has to be balanced by thoroughness, but she both modeled that for her students and expected it of them.

Conclusion

My life and work would be significantly less productive without these two women who taught, one in a theological school, and the other in a seminary. I thank God that their gifts were not suppressed, and that they were there for my benefit.

(Image credit: Openclipart.org. Modified by me.)

A Note on My View of Egalitarianism

A Note on My View of Egalitarianism

Speaking of equality, I want to write a brief note on egalitarianism as I see it. As with all labels, the boundaries are often a problem. Back in early science classes, I learned to distinguish vegetable, animal, and mineral. At certain levels, those distinctions become pretty muddy. It’s not just in social science.

What I mean by egalitarianism is that all activities and offices should be available to men and women based on their gifts, not on their gender. If a woman has pastoral gifts, she should pastor. I’m actually less concerned with the office of pastor than with the exercise of the gifts of a pastor, but since I believe that offices should follow gifts, the two would generally go together. I do not mean that there must be an equal number of men and women in pastoral roles. I do not comment on how many women or men might be gifted for those roles. I don’t know. I suspect that there may be more women gifted for those roles in the church at the moment. I also believe that authority follows gifts in the same way as an office does; the greatest behaves as a servant.

I’m not going to try to define complementarianism here, though I previously objected to a definition of complementarian which was alleged to include my own position. This is because I don’t believe that men and women are the same. They are not. I simply believe that either a man or a woman may have any set of gifts, and if they do, they should make use of those gifts as God’s servants. I’m stating this in church terms, but I hold the same view in society in general. The issue for me is not how many of what hold what position or job; rather, the issue is whether a person who has certain gifts can fully exercise those gifts.

Now specifically in the church I think there should be less difference between the practice of the complementarian and egalitarian positions than there is, assuming we both take the same view of authority that Jesus did. “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11 NRSV). In the church, this issue should not be one of seeking power. I think God, through Jesus Christ, has set the goal, which is leading with grace. That means that Christian leadership, no matter who exercises it, should be based in service. Those who follow leaders in the church should be doing so because they respond to that grace, demonstrated in being the servant of all. To whatever extent the battle over gender equality in the church is a struggle for supremacy, rather than for servanthood, it’s on the wrong track.

I don’t mean by this that those who are suppressed or oppressed in churches by leaders who seek power should just roll over. What they should do is either follow servant leaders or become servant leaders themselves. Move on to where you can do that! Let those who seek power exercise it over empty buildings if they must. Let’s live as servants in the world and be a servant church.

Ephesians 2: The Radical Nature of the Gospel

Ephesians 2: The Radical Nature of the Gospel

As I’ve been reading this passage repeatedly this week, I have been repeatedly struck by the radical nature of what Paul is saying here. I’m surprised we don’t spend more time on it, because it seems to me to clarify many things that are left unclear in Galatians and Romans.

Of course, considering the discussion of authorship, if one thinks Paul did not write the letter, one would hardly go there for a clear statement of Paul’s view. I think a similar corrective would be provided if one added the undoubtedly genuine 1 & 2 Corinthians to the mix when one wants to determine Paul’s theology.

In the meantime, however, Ephesians 2 remains radical. There are two ways in which this impressed me.

1) Contrary to what many modern readers imagine, the gospel message of grace received through faith does not treat works negatively, provided they are in their proper place. If I walk a couple of miles a day with a view to reaching Australia, I will likely be disappointed. There’s an ocean between here and there, and I keep winding up at my starting point. If I do the same thing for exercise, however, it’s a good thing.

Works done to earn God’s favor are destined to fail. Since all that we do is by definition a result of God’s gift to us (of life, before salvation), we can’t actually create something that God needs in order to make God owe us something. But to fail to attempt good works, however imperfectly we may accomplish our mission, after we have received God’s grace, is not only ungrateful, it is a rejection of the gift. The gift of grace makes good works possible.

For by grace you are saved through faith. Yet this is not from you. It is God’s gift. It’s not from works, so nobody can boast. For his creation is what you are, created in Christ Jesus for good works, so you can walk in them (2:8-10).

I also note that the exclusion of boasting as a reason why works are not the source of our salvation also excludes an intellectual sense of achievement in grasping and accepting the gospel. We are also not saved through intellectually comprehending the theology of salvation. We are not better than the person who cannot comprehend the theology.

2) This radical gospel could not have been produced using a modern hermeneutic. It must add to, and in some cases transform, what came before. I do not mean to suggest that Judaism was a graceless religion. I think it was filled with grace. I think the transformation is rooted in the Torah and developed in its early stages by the prophets.

But that entire process required just that—a process. God’s message came at various times and at various places before God finally spoke to us through God’s Son (Hebrews 1:1-3). Is there a more profound way for God to speak than through the incarnation? I don’t think so. But there is the possibility that we will more and more deeply understand the implications of God’s message.

In the face of this radical gospel, our hermeneutic of God’s entire revelation is often not radical enough to let us hear God calling us ever deeper.

I apply this idea to my previous note on egalitarian and complementarian texts. Rather than seeking a filter for those commands that are eternal and those that are temporal (and I suggest that all commands are both eternal and temporal; always given for a time and place, always deriving their force from an eternal principle), we need to be asking how God’s revelation should continue transform our natures and attitudes, both individually and as Christ’s body.

I think this is the failure both of many of us (definitely including myself) and of much of  the 21st century American church.

 

Shades of Outrage but Comments Closed

Shades of Outrage but Comments Closed

I pointed earlier to a post by J. R. Daniel Kirk responding to the post at The Gospel Coalition by Jared Wilson. Wilson has now responded to some of the outrage generated by his original post. But generally his new post says we shouldn’t read his excerpt as saying what it actually says, but should understand it as saying something completely different. He then closes comments.

I have two issues here:

1) The minor one is that the effort to respond and then cut off public discussion. E-mail is an easy way to take on only those you want to, and not have your responses subject to public scrutiny.

2) This is not a good characterization of complementarians that I know. I’m egalitarian. I’m quite willing to argue the issue. But I believe most of those complementarians of my acquaintance would not be any more comfortable with this language than I am. It’s important to recognize nuances of one’s position. It’s easy to make all of our arguments based on what some position might lead to or what might be associated with it.

Wilson tries to maintain that his excerpt is saying nothing more than the ordinary complementarian position (fourth paragraph), and then wonders why people are so perverse as to fail to realize this, especially after the author has said that he really, really didn’t mean what we read his words to say. But unfortunately if language means anything, that summary is inaccurate (the fourth paragraph), and Douglas Wilson’s denial is disingenuous.

Consider this paragraph, the second in the exerpt:

When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, [note that this is not said to be offensive to all decent people, but to egalitarians] and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed [in other words, authority and submission is appropriate to the marriage bed, and is suppressed] (bolding and bracketed comments are mine).

I vigorously reject this paragraph. Obviously I do so as an egalitarian. But I also reject it as a fundamental statement of complementarianism. Were I to accuse my many complementarian friends of holding such a position, they would justifiably accuse me of constructing a straw man.

Wilson accuses detractors of decontextualizing this post. Is this excerpt insufficient context? Let him tell us what context would suffice to make this acceptable. The only context I could imagine that would justify the paragraph would be one that made it the statement of a villain in some sort of theological novel.

(See also this post from Political Jesus regarding Douglas Wilson and a discussion of slavery.)

Responding to TGC on Sex and Power

Responding to TGC on Sex and Power

Well, I’m not responding. I found someone who wrote a better response than I could manage. That is J. R. Daniel Kirk. The payoff quote:

When Jesus came and showed us what Christian manhood was all about, he did not conquer, but allowed himself to be conquered; he did not pierce, but allowed himself to be pierced; he did not plant by scattering his seed forcibly, he planted by giving up his own life–the grain of wheat falling to the earth and dying that it might produce a crop 100-fold.

A certain number of the differences between egalitarians and complementarians might be resolved if we all took our concept of authority and power from Jesus and the way he loved. Not all the differences, but a good number. “As Christ loved the church.” It’s not about putting you or me in charge.

Ken Schenck on Women in Ministry

Ken Schenck on Women in Ministry

Ken Schenck outlines his reasons for supporting complete equality in ministry, and he even uses the t-word — trajectory, as I did in my previous post. The arguments are related to those used by Kubo, but Schenck goes into some detail on the specific texts rather than just laying out the approach.

I think all of the referenced posts illustrate the importance of going over our hermeneutics at the beginning of a discussion like this. Too often we shoot past one another because while we’re reading the same texts, we’re using a different method of interpretation. And the most varied aspect of interpretation is the way in which a text is applied to the interpreter’s context.

 

 

Connecting the Scriptural Dots – From Then to Then … to Now

Connecting the Scriptural Dots – From Then to Then … to Now

When it came time for third year Greek at Walla Walla College (now University), I had Dr. Sakae Kubo, who had just become dean of the School of Theology. Taking a Greek class with Dr. Kubo was an experience. I credit him with bringing my Greek to the level that allowed it to stick with me. He gave me a workout!

Recently he wrote two articles for Spectrum, the first Slavery, Circumcision, and the Subordinate Role of Women (Nov.  21, 2011) and second Jesus, Galileo, and the Interpretation of Scripture (Dec. 19, 2011). The Seventh-day Adventist Church is going through a great deal of controversy right now over the ordination of women. Right now they have women as “commissioned” ministers. In local churches in North America and Europe, these ministers perform the same function as ordained ministers, just under another name. One of the key questions of the moment is whether women can be conference presidents, which would place them in a position similar to that of Bishop in the United Methodist Church.

Kubo’s basic argument is that in the case of circumcision we see a change in right and wrong within scripture itself. At one time circumcision is commanded, and then at another that command is set aside and membership in God’s people is determined by a different means. He notes as well that the new means, faith in Christ, is no longer male-centered as was circumcision. In the case of slavery, we came to understand that slavery was wrong at a much later date, but nonetheless a change was made.

He extends this argument to dealing with the subordinate role of women, and thus to ordination and to eligibility for other offices in the church. (This is a very abbreviated form of the argument. You should read both articles linked before commenting on Kubo’s position.)

Now this is not a complete argument for the ordination of women. One could (and should) discuss some specific texts as well. But what Kubo has done is provide a framework for the egalitarian argument. This is not how it is often done, but I think it is a more robust approach. It is similar to arguments I made earlier regarding trajectories in Scripture.

That is why I used “then to then” in the title before “to now.” We often do biblical interpretation in a simple progression of discovering what the Bible writer was saying to people then, determining from that eternal principles, and then applying those principles to a modern situation. This is similar to the nutshell process illustrated given by Michael Patton on his blog.

That approach is generally quite useful, but we also need to recognize that there is more than one “then” involved generally before we get to a good general principle. And if we look at multiple points of “then,” such as statements regarding vengeance that I referenced in my trajectories post, then we may find that the eternal principles are somewhat different than what we would get if we took just one passage and went from the “then” statement through theology to the “now” statement.

Now many egalitarians make their argument almost exclusively with the very same exegetical methods as complementarians, which sometimes results in some odd readings of the various texts. I would argue that the key here is in the hermeneutics, and particularly in the way we get at the principles and apply them to modern times. It is much easier, though not necessarily simple, to discover what a passage meant to the original hearers/readers.

I believe that Kubo’s method allows one to both be very faithful to what the text said originally, while also being flexible enough to apply the principles to modern times in a valid way.

But why do we need flexibility? The accusation is generally that those who are more liberal in their interpretation are flexible in order to avoid the plain commands of Scripture. I would say instead that the flexibility is required so that we can be faithful to the broadest (and I think clearest) principles of Scripture. I see a very clear effort to move people from one set of practices to another in many areas. Galatians 3:28 provides a template for this, I believe.

But in addition, I think we often ignore the story (or stories) of Scripture, and the fact that what is practiced is not what we think the authors are preaching. I think the evidence of women in leadership in the early church needs to be laid alongside our understanding of specific commands. Which should have priority? Perhaps if we follow the trajectory, neither. Both can have their place.

 

Answering a Question on Egalitarianism

Answering a Question on Egalitarianism

I already responded to one post by Michael Patton on this topic (Am I a Complementarian?), but he followed this up with a question. I have been so busy with the release of my latest book (co-authored with Geoffrey Lentz) that I have fallen well behind the progress of this topic, but I still want to respond, though briefly.

I would note that I don’t agree with the common statement that there are no stupid questions, even though I use that in classes. “The only stupid question is one you don’t ask,” I intone. But then I contradict myself by teaching that often we get the wrong answer because we ask the wrong question. I’ll dodge that one by noting that “wrong” and “stupid” are not synonymous. So I’m not going to call Dr. Patton’s question stupid, but I think it’s the wrong one.

My egalitarianism, or more simply belief in equal rights, is not based on a view of just what women are as a group. This applies both in church and in society as a whole. I do not advocate that women be permitted to compete for and take roles because I think they are the same, but rather because I think that the opportunities should be kept similar. I do believe that some women and some men will be found amply qualified for certain non-traditional roles, and in fact I think that we will find that the determinative differences are few, but that will be demonstrated, in my view, by what those people actually accomplish.

So when Dr. Patton asks:

Here is my question(s):

* Is there any way for us to train boys to be “men”?
* Is there any way for us to train up girls to be “women”?

If so, what does that look like for each?

* What does it uniquely look like to be a “man”?
* What does it uniquely look like to be a “woman”?

My response would be: What do those questions have to do with anything?

Well, I can see the value of a negative response. If men and women are essentially different, why is it that you think you have to train them to be different?

My suggestion? Just as I said with ministry, train and use people according to their gifts. Then if you find that God has not gifted any women (or men) to do a particular task, we can surmise that we are dealing with some kind of fundamental difference.

How would I train a boy to be a boy or a girl to be a girl? I’d look at their individual personalities and gifts and flow with that.

Bottom line? My egalitarianism does not require me to assume some artificial sameness of men and women, nor some arbitrary distinctions. I view each person as an individual, and I believe that is the best way to do it. If no woman qualifies as a pastor, then no woman should be a pastor. If God calls no woman as a pastor, then no woman should be a pastor.

I will emphasize, however, that I do believe there are women who are called and gifted to be pastors, and I know some of them personally. I think there are many more. Too frequently I encounter a woman who is serving at less than her potential because someone told her that women can’t be pastors, or women can’t be theology teachers.

Follow the gifts; follow the call. That’s my approach.

PS: Scot McKnight has a letter on his blog today from a woman in seminary. I find its contents both saddening and quite realistic.

Am I a Complementarian?

Am I a Complementarian?

Michael Patton has taken it upon himself to define both complementarianism and egalitarianism and I think he gets it almost completely wrong. Now I must note that I really like reading Michael Patton’s blog posts and I think he writes with an irenic tone that promotes Christian unity, and in the end he does that even in this post.

What I disagree with are his basic definitions. As I read it, he says that egalitarians deny essential differences between men and women, while complementarians affirm such differences. To quote:

The belief that God has created men and women equal in all things. Men and women are ontologically and functionally equal. The way the sexes function in the church, society, and the family is determined by individual giftedness, not role distinctions according to the sexes. Therefore, each person should be judged individually when being placed in a particular position. We should exemplify this reality by overcoming the stereotypical placement that has traditionally been a part of societies in human history, thereby giving freedom to individuals to follow the path that God has uniquely created them for, whatever that may be. In doing so, we should no longer educate or indoctrinate according to any of the former stereotypes, including those of basic masculinity and femininity. [Emphasis mine, indicating my strongest disagreement; I disagree with the rest to varying extents.]

And of course, complentarians are just the opposite on those key points. He continues to argue that to be consistent, egalitarians need to deny pretty much all differences that are essential and imply that men and women are pretty much the same, except for the plumbing.

I don’t know whether there are complementarians that fit Dr. Patton’s description of them. I know very few egalitarians who fully fit his definition of them. I certainly do not. To me, it looks like an attempt at reductio ad absurdum on the egalitarian position.

In fact, I would state my own essential position quite differently. It is simply that every person, irrespective of gender, should be permitted to serve in the church as they are called and gifted by God. My egalitarian position says nothing whatsoever about how many men or women will or will not possess what gifts and what calling. That is precisely what I reject. I do not think they are ontologically and functionally equal. I just don’t believe that the offices of the church are necessarily tied to such function and ontology, nor do I think that each man and each woman can be defined solely as “man” or “woman.” There are an abundance of other differences.

By implication I am claiming that both men and women may possess those gifts, and indeed that some of each will. My position would be pretty silly if there were no women so gifted, or no men.

What I would ask would be that the simple fact of one’s gender not be the basis of determination. I would think complementarians should be able to work with this quite well. If they are right about essential differences (and here I rely on Dr. Patton’s definition of complementarianism), then one should be able to point to the absence of certain appropriate gifts or character traits that would exclude each and every woman from the position of teaching or being in a position of authority over men.

I am quite capable to declaring that a woman is not called to the ministry, nor gifted for it. I have been in the position of having to say so both to a candidate face to face and to the people who were considering her. (I would never say this to the committee if I was unwilling to say it to the candidate’s face.) But I have encountered even more men who were not qualified, and in my opinion neither gifted nor called. I believe the church needs to be able to make such a decision through whatever mechanisms are available.

I neither know nor do I care what the proportion there is between men and women who are gifted for ministry and called to various church offices. I simply assert that there are some of each and when they are gifted and called the church should admit it and let them serve. Their pastoral and/or teaching roles might even be quite different from one another, and that is good as well.

A further implication of Dr. Patton’s definition, at least as I see it, is that no essentially feminine characteristics would be appropriate to the pastoral role. I would again disagree. I don’t think that a calling to pastoral ministry would mean that a woman must have some collection of masculine characteristics. In fact, one of the benefits to ministry would be the use of some of the characteristics that are often seen as feminine.

In answer to the question in the title, I don’t think I am, but following the definition Dr Patton used, I might be one of those really odd complementarians who accepts differences between men and women, but doesn’t believe those differences mean no woman can be a pastor.

Besides, don’t we all have a measure of submission to at least one man–Jesus Christ?

And on that, I’m pretty sure Dr. Patton and I agree. We further agree that we are not dealing with an essential of the faith. It is an issue on which I have a strongly held and deeply felt position, but not one on which we must divide the body of Christ.

A Calvinist Complementarian defines Arminian and Egalitarian

A Calvinist Complementarian defines Arminian and Egalitarian

… and does so very well. Not surprisingly (to me, at least), this is from C. Michael Patton on Parchment and Pen. To quote his definitions of “complementarian” and “egalitarian”:

Complementarianism: Belief in essential equality, but functional hierarchy in the sexes. This hierarchy is by God’s design and is not due to the fall. Man is to be the leader in the church and home. Women are not to be in positions of authority over man in the church or home, but are honored due to their role in the same way as men.

Egalitarianism: Belief in the essential and functional equality of the sexes. All role distinctions which imply leadership belonging to the man is due to the fall, not by God’s design. Therefore, women can serve in positions of authority over man in both the church and the home. Role is assigned by individual giftedness, not gender.

While I would say that many in each group take things a bit further, for paragraph length definitions, I would describe those as fair, balanced, and even accurate. The same goes for the definitions of “Arminian” and “Calvinist.”

The whole post is worth reading, especially as he discusses how a church can show, and not just teach, grace.