Monday, July 04, 2011

Broadly Evangelical?

On the one hand, I feel some empathy for this ministry and those leading it. On the other hand, I feel sad about this. First, I am convinced that complementarians are pushing language change and causing us to lose more masculine generic langauge than we otherwise might. In this case, "fellow" ought to function as a generic, a word that may have been masculine but now refers to both men and women. But on the keyboard of Michael Patton, a fellow is male only. He writes,
The Credo House “Fellow” is the concept we have come up with to describe the ministry leaders of future Credo Houses. Each Credo House will be run by 1) a “Fellow” and 2) a coffee house/book store manager called the Credo House “Monk” (since monks invented coffee!). In a sense, the Fellow is like the pastor of the Credo House carrying many the unique giftedness of which such a job would demand. But the Credo House is not a church so we have to be careful with this.
While one might think that certain gifts that are unique to men would be listed as qualifications, in fact, none are. The qualifications are simply to be well-educated, peaceful, a caring leader, and so on. Nothing that women are not known to be.

When language is used in this way, who can be surprised that those who read the Bible assume that any and all uses of the generic masculine pronoun, really do refer to males.

Michael begins his description of the ideal "fellow",
1. Evangelical in confession: contrary to what some may believe, this will not be an issue of Reformed/Arminian, Dispensational/Covenant, Cessationist/Continuationist, Young Earth/Old Earth, etc. In fact, the more diversity we can get in these areas, the more I feel that we will represent our evangelistic mission of majoring in the majors. The person and work of Jesus Christ, salvation by faith alone, and the final authority of the Scriptures will be the non-negotiables.
And then in the comments he counters this open-mindedness with this rebuttal,
Yes, while we seek to be broadly Evangelical, there are certain commitments such as our complementarian stand that will necessarily be evidenced in the planting of Credo Houses. We don’t seek to make a dividing statement by this and understand that there are many good evangelicals who are egalitarians, but the choice has to be made. If we were to be “open” to having women as Credo House Fellows, that would be taking a definite stand in the other direction. Therefore, you can’t really be neutral in this area, if you know what I mean.
I admire the work of Credo House, but I hope that complementarianism will not be accepted as "broadly evangelical."


EricW said...

C. Michael Patton explained on February 15, 2010, "Why Women Cannot Be Head Pastors":

I assume he'd use the same argument for why they can't be "fellows."

Donald Johnson said...

More talmud-like additions to the faith that one is to reject when they negate Scripture.

Mark Baker-Wright said...

Wait, WHY does the choice "have to be made"? Is he saying that it isn't possible for comps and egals to work together in the same way he's already suggesting Reformed and Arminians (etc) can work together? I don't think I follow....

Kristen said...

It looks like they will permit an egal to be "fellow" -- provided he's male.

I don't know, in that case, what they would do if this egal "fellow" allowed women to teach under him.

pam said...


I commented with a question to you on the post from Monday, June 27, 2011: More on the SBC, NIV, Denny Burk.

Have time to look at it?

Sorry if I'm not using comments right.