Invitation Incarnate?

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“But we fail to make the invitation incarnate, in the flesh, if we extend it solely with a tract, a bumper sticker, or a prefabricated one-size-fits-all gospel presentation.” Just as there is nothing wrong with memorizing the chart of chemical elements to make progress in understanding chemistry, neither is there anything wrong in knowing numerous ways to present the gospel to someone who has never heard it… But to think of spreading the gospel as merely sitting next to a person in a coffee ship and asking in the first, second, or twentieth interaction: `if you were to die tonight and were to stand before God, and he were to ask you…’ negates the power and glory of incarnate story. So when should we ask the crucial question? Simply when the stories of our lives intersect deeply enough that spiritual questions and conversation are part of the larger framework of knowing and delighting in each other.” (Dan Allendar, The Healing Path, pp. 241-242)

This is where so many “women’s ministry” models we’ve seen fall short. There are many factors and variables in play, but one of the recurring themes seems to be finding a place in which “our lives intersect deeply enough that spiritual questions and conversation are part of the larger framework in knowing and delighting in each other.”

It’s easy to find those who are content with the shallow, the superficial, the pat answers and trite clichés. But color outside the lines, challenge the status quo or question the “conventional wisdom,” particularly when it comes to gender theory, and the tar and feathers can arrive in a nano-second.

Why?

This is one of the points Kevin Giles makes in his review of Wayne Grudem’s Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism.

We’ve also wondered:

If the hierarchical complementarianism “men and women are equal, yet role-differentiated” gender paradigm of Grudem, John Piper, the True Woman Movement, CBMW and others  is so biblically sound and “divinely inspired,” why can’t it stand up to scrutiny?  Why do proponents so often stoop to name-calling and ad hominens attacks against those who question this “women are permanently subordinate to men” gender model?  Why are those who disagree with this position so often painted with as “unbiblical” or “feminist” – usually without any sound definition of either?  “Feminist” is a loaded word, particularly in conservative church circles.  Use it there and it’s anathema.

Which leads us to wonder…

If the male supremacy/female subordination view on gender is truly “God’s design,” particularly as it relates to women’s roles in the church, why can’t advocates such as Grudem defend it without the cheap shots (seek link above)?

Going further:

Why is the idea of women serving hand-in-hand and arm-in-arm in tandem with men in church leadership – rather than being relegated to “women’s ministries,” the kitchen or teaching children – so threatening to so many hard complementarians, such that they dub it “unbiblical”?   Sound biblical arguments exist to support biblical equality between men and women (see Giles’ book review above for starters).

What are opponents of the full, complete integration of women into the life of the local church afraid of?  And when  do the stories of our lives intersect deeply enough that spiritual questions and conversation are part of the larger framework of knowing and delighting in each other without what may be artificial, essentially cultural limitations based on gender?

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