First Female Preacher at Irving Bible Church

Last May, I wrote about the egalitarian shift at Irving Bible Church (IBC). The elders had just completed an 18-month long study and had concluded that they would allow women to preach in their church. Yesterday, IBC had a female preacher fill the pulpit for the first time since the elders’ findings were published. The preacher’s name was Jackie Roese (pictured at right).

Sam Hodges of the Dallas Morning News wrote Saturday about the changes at IBC, and he quoted from my forthcoming JBMW editorial on this topic. But the best lines from the entire news article come from Tommy Nelson, pastor of Denton Bible Church:

The Rev. Tom Nelson of Denton Bible Church said his friends in Irving are on “dangerous” ground.

“If the Bible is not true and authoritative on the roles of men and women, then maybe the Bible will not be finally true on premarital sex, the homosexual issue, adultery or any other moral issue,” he said. “I believe this issue is the carrier of a virus by which liberalism will enter the evangelical church.”

Mr. Nelson added that his church’s recent sermon series on the Bible and gender roles came in part because of Irving Bible Church’s conclusions about women and preaching.

Also of note, Hodges commented on IBC’s connection to Dallas Theological Seminary:

Another measure of the controversy is that Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, has removed himself from a team of regular guest preachers at Irving Bible Church.

The Dallas seminary, which supplies pastors to Bible churches around the country, has long had close ties with Irving Bible Church. But Dr. Bailey said that he and his wife, Barby, were amicably distancing themselves for “personal convictions and professional reasons.”

Dr. Mark Bailey has a note of clarification on DTS’s website that further explains his separation from IBC and DTS’s stance on the gender issue. This is worth your time to read.

One final word of clarification is also in order. Hodges quotes from my forthcoming JBMW editorial in which I say that the changes at IBC are “a matter of grave moral concern.” By that, I do not mean to say that IBC has suddenly descended into a tailspin of immorality. I don’t believe that at all. In context, that line actually addresses the deeper issue of how the IBC elders are interpreting the Bible. By adopting a trajectory hermeneutic, they set aside the clear teaching of scripture in favor of misguided hermeneutical criteria. In this way, the authority of the Bible is at stake in the changes that they have initiated. Their hermeneutic threatens biblical authority, and that is what I identified as the “matter of grave moral concern.” That will be clear when the editorial comes out this Fall. Stay tuned.

“Woman’s turn in pulpit at Irving Bible Church brings buzz, beefs” – by Sam Hodges (Dallas Morning News)

UPDATE: Jackie Roese’s sermon is now available for download from the IBC website. You can listen to it below if you are interested.


129 Responses to First Female Preacher at Irving Bible Church

  1. Mike August 25, 2008 at 12:11 am #

    Okay, before the comment war begins, I just want to say I agree with Pastor Tom. This is ‘dangerous ground.’

    Dr. Burk, I hope you’re getting settled well in the new position.1

    It’s kind of neat to be the first comment by the way. I have a feeling this will be a little nuts.

  2. Denny Burk August 25, 2008 at 12:18 am #

    Thanks, Mike.

  3. Mike Bird August 25, 2008 at 3:32 am #

    Denny,
    Does anything in IBC’s action violate BFM 2000? What’s the standard here: BFM or CBMW?

    Love ya bro

    Mike Bird

  4. jb August 25, 2008 at 6:48 am #

    Having made their point by letting Jackie Roese fill the pulpit they will immediately pull back and only men will fill the pulpit in the coming year. They don’t want to lose the church. I suspect you’ll see a woman preach once-in-awhile but not at all regularly. They don’t actually believe in that.

  5. Denny Burk August 25, 2008 at 8:58 am #

    Mike (in #3),

    My major concern with IBC’s action is the adoption of a trajectory hermeneutic. I think it undermines the functional authority of the Bible.

    From the sixth “affirmation” of the Danver’s Statement: “In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 1 Tim 2:11-15).” It appears that IBC’s findings are out of step with this point.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  6. Don August 25, 2008 at 9:33 am #

    My daughter goes to IBC and I am glad to see them moving in the egal direction, after a study of the relevant Scripture.

    Once one sees that the (very) few puzzling verses do not need to be understood as CBMW claims, one can in good faith understand them in ways that align with the rest of Scripture as endorsing leadership based on giftedness by the Holy Spirit, and not restricted by gender, culture, wealth, race, etc.

    I commend IBC.

  7. volfan007 August 25, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    There’s a College I would not recommend anyone that I know to attend. If they have that low of a view of Scripture, then I will advise people to not go to that college, when I know that they’re considering it.

    This is sad.

    David

  8. Phil August 25, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    While the storm is still brewing and people are readying all their comments on her gender, and whether or not that disqualifies her to teach in a church, I have some different questions. Was she any good? Was she a skilled expositor of God’s word? Did the Spirit work in her to illumine the scriptures in a way that inspired the hearers to live more Godly lives?

  9. Scott August 25, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    Being an egalitarian does not mean having a low view of Scripture – a different hermeneutic for sure, but not a low view of Scripture. Not everyone holds to the literal, plain sense perspective. I think Don makes great points.

  10. Don August 25, 2008 at 10:22 am #

    The 66 books in the protestant canon of Scripture are the inspired word of God. They are definitive for our faith and practice. That is what it means to be a canon.

    However, as humans, our interpretation may be mistaken, communication takes 2 and we can misunderstand what God intended. We do our best to try to understand Scripture in context, but also need to be teachable and perhaps change our understanding on something as we learn more. Some things in the Bible are simple and some things are not simple to understand.

    Faithful people can have different understandings of some of the things in the Bible, we are to strive to keep the unity of the Spirit until we have unity of the faith.

  11. John August 25, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    “they set aside the clear teaching of scripture in favor of misguided hermeneutical criteria. In this way, the authority of the Bible is at stake in the changes that they have initiated. Their hermeneutic threatens biblical authority”

    I’m sure nobody in your camp is guilty of this. Their interpretations are always “clear” and “plain,” never twisting scripture and isolating verses to prove their points and agendas.

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t think this is as big of a deal as you or Nelson make it out to be. I mean, the “carrier of a virus”? Give me a break. Talk about a brick wall view of doctrine at it’s finest.

  12. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 25, 2008 at 11:05 am #

    Pastor Tommy Nelson: “If the Bible is not true and authoritative on the roles of men and women, then maybe the Bible will not be finally true on premarital sex, the homosexual issue, adultery or any other moral issue,” he said. “I believe this issue is the carrier of a virus by which liberalism will enter the evangelical church.”

    Amen.

    “Another measure of the controversy is that Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, has removed himself from a team of regular guest preachers at Irving Bible Church [for “personal convictions and professional reasons”].”

    Amen.

    Denny: “Their hermeneutic threatens biblical authority, and that is what I identified as the “matter of grave moral concern.”

    Amen.

  13. Don August 25, 2008 at 11:19 am #

    FWIIW, I do not need to use any “trajectory hermeneutic” to interpret the Bible to support leadership based on giftedness, not gender.

    Given that we are commanded to strive to keep the unity of the Spirit UNTIL we come to the unity of the faith, we need to discern who has the Spirit (which is a much larger group that all those that believe exactly as I do) and accept them as faithful believers who differ on non-salvation matters.

    To use terms like “carrier of a virus” and “grave moral concern” is to use fear tactics. Rather, a teacher should tell us what he/she believes and why and ask us to be Bereans and search the Scriptures and see if what he/she taught is true.

  14. Barry Creamer August 25, 2008 at 11:19 am #

    Denny, I’ll be hosting Dr. Andrew McQuitty on “Live from Criswell” tonight, so I blogged a little response to their position paper on my website. Just thought I’d let you know. By the way, we’re waiting for a response from Mark Bailey, who we also hope to have on the air tonight. May the Lord bless you, even up there!

  15. John August 25, 2008 at 11:24 am #

    Also, Denny, I don’t understand the big deal with you posting about Bailey and DTS. What’s your problem with your alma mater? He seems to be taking steps that I figured you would support, so why do I still get a negative vibe from you regarding DTS?

  16. jeremy zach August 25, 2008 at 11:27 am #

    First, to say that the egalitarian position is liberalism is a stretch and to say that because a church is shifting to an egalitarian approach will automatically make them start teaching FOR homosexuality and pre-martial sex is also a stretch.

    We cannot assume a church will automatically become liberal if they are moving in an egalitarian way. That is not fair. In a way we are playing mind readers or fortune tellers.

    Second we need to give IBC a huge acknowledgment because they spent 18 months discerning what God wanted for their church. That is huge!!!! Why cannot we be supportive of their process? Instead we immediately attack the result of the process.

    So if we think IBC is too liberal of a church now do we start praying for them? And do we dismiss their faithful journey in attempting to address the Women in ministry issue?

  17. Paul August 25, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    ***Note to Biblical scholars reading this…I am simply a dumb musician who goes to church and loves God. This discussion is likely way over my head. However, my thoughts on this issue follow below anyway…***

    I’ve always been intrigued by the egalitarian/complimentarian issue.

    It’d be easy to write off what Paul says as strictly of the time and place it was written, and I’ve seen that point of view taken, and I have to admit, it’s hard to brush that off. After all, these were letters written to churches almost 2000 years ago.

    However, what tends to lend some credence to the complimentarian side of the debate for me is this one simple fact: I’ve never, ever, ever, ever, ever seen an effective female preacher. They’re either super liberal and don’t even mention the Bible in their sermons, or in an attempt to prove that they can hang with the men, go so far over everyone’s heads that the sermon is pointless (hunt down Melissa Scott for proof of this).

    So, to me, at the end of the day, when a church says, “whoopie! We’ve got a female pastor!” It simply translates to, “whoopie! I won’t go to that church!”

  18. Don August 25, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    I can learn from teachers of either gender. There are good teachers and bad teachers of either gender. I try to assess each teacher as an individual.

  19. Benjamin A August 25, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    Don said, “FWIIW, I do not need to use any “trajectory hermeneutic” to interpret the Bible to support leadership based on giftedness, not gender.”

    Don, Do you have a problem with IBC not allowing women to be elders? Clearly they decided to interpret the Bible to support leadership based on gender and NOT on giftedness. The leaders (ie. Elders) of IBC are currently all men unless that too has changed since I last looked; but I don’t believe it has.

    Do you believe from ‘your’ reading/study of Scripture that women should also serve as Elders of a local church? How has the Spirit led ‘you’ personally in understanding this?

    If 1 Tim. 2:9-15 was simply for that cultural time and place; and NOT intended as a prohibition for all churches; wouldn’t that same hermeneutic apply to every book in the Bible? So 1 Tim. 3:1-7 would also be culturally bound; clearly male leadership (ie. Elders) wasn’t God’s intention for all time and all churches either; if you apply the same hermeneutic consistently across the pages of all scripture. So, do you feel IBC missed it here? Or do you feel they are making their gender changes one step at a time and will eventually revisit their study and remove the “seems”/ “appears” language with regard to Elders needing to be men???

    On page 21 of the “Women and Ministry of IBC” this is the language I’m referring to:

    “…the role of elder SEEMS biblically to be relegated to men.”
    “The New Testament APPEARS to leave with men the responsibility and burden of giving leadership as elders of a local church.”

  20. Don August 25, 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    Benjamin A,

    I do think church leadership based on giftedness is God’s ideal (women may be church elders if they have been given a leadership ministry Spiritual gift and a church recognizes them as having such), however, God works with individuals and groups of people where they are at, moving them step by step to be more and more in the Kingdom.

    I do not see 1 Tim 2 or 3 as simply for that time and place, however it needs to first be understood in terms of 1st century culture, that is, what it MEANT to the original readers as best we can discern, then and only then can we try to discern what it MEANS for us today. We should have every expectation that it will mean something for us today and it does.

    My hermeneutic is in trying one’s best to discern how the original readers would have understood the letter. This is AKA the historical-grammatical-literary method, but those are fancy words for “original readers”.

  21. Phil August 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm #

    Paul #15:

    I can’t say that I’ve heard many female preachers, but some that I have heard were very, very good. Some names you might want to check out: Anne Graham Lotz, Elizabeth Achtemeier (deceased now), Fleming Rutledge, Kay Arthur, Beth Moore. Some of these ladies’ styles are not to my taste, but their skill and care in handling God’s word is evident in all they do.

  22. Darius August 25, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    Ditto to what Paul said.

  23. Ferg August 25, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    Don,
    Thank you so much for your comments. It’s so nice to see someone post here with integrity and humility.
    I fear when posts here start about the issue of women in ministry as it can bring out a streak in people that is not very admirable. Let’s hope this one doesn’t turn out that way.
    Paul, you must know some scary women. The conference I was just at had a woman speaker and she was truly incredible. She was so in love with Jesus and amazingly inspiring. It is such a shame that some men would feel that they cannot hear what God is saying to her. She is a wonderful mother to her kids, and has devoted her life to bringing the kingdom to the broken around her as she and her husband mutually respect and support each other in their ministry. They are a huge inspiration to me in what I would like my marriage to be like.

  24. a preacher's wife August 25, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    Paul,

    Thank you for prefacing your insult to women by admitting you’re a dumb musician.

  25. Ferg August 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm #

    Paul.
    give yourself some credit. You may be dumb, but you’re a great musician :o). I’ll buy your cd if you post to ireland!

  26. Moz August 25, 2008 at 3:14 pm #

    Denny,

    Disclaimer: I am a complementarian. However, I wouldn’t say egalitarians set aside the teaching of Scripture. They may interpret it wrongly (and I think they do) but surely they are concerned with what Scripture intends to teach. This seems the more charitable way to address these brothers and sisters and does so in a way that recognizes our debate (within the evangelical community) is over what the Scriptures teach, not whether or they matter. In other words, it is an in-house debate. These folks are certainly wrong about gender issues but we need not imply they lack a sufficient appreciation for Scripture or orthodoxy.

  27. Jason August 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm #

    Ferg,

    I think you are confusing the issue.

    Of course godly women and mothers are vital to the life of the church and are crucial to its growth and development. Those that are mature have a responsibility to instruct those that come behind them.
    However, it does not follow that they MUST be pastors/elders because they are godly and have the ability to speak. (Actually, just because a man is godly and has the ability to speak does not mean he should be a pastor/elder.)

    This is not/has never been an issue of godliness..it’s a matter of what Scripture teaches regarding the roles of men and women, in particular their roles within the leadership structure of the church.

  28. Benjamin A August 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm #

    Don said, “I do think church leadership based on giftedness is God’s ideal (women may be church elders if they have been given a leadership ministry Spiritual gift and a church recognizes them as having such), however,…”

    Don, thank you for your reply, and I’m assuming you feel IBC missed it on the elder issue. I obviously take a different position than you are taking and would be interested in seeing how you make scripture say ‘women may be church elders if they have been given a leadership ministry Spiritual gift and a church recognizes them as having such”. What portion of scripture do you use to justify this position of yours?

  29. J.J. August 25, 2008 at 3:19 pm #

    I am confused as to how allowing women to preach means that the church is going to allow homosexual preachers or change their stance on adultery. I fail to see the logical progression in that. I agree that it seems like scare tactics to me.

    I think that IBC did a wonderful job of having a council of trusted and educated leaders in their church that spent SO long debating, researching, and discussing this issue. I think that they put more effort into this decision than most churches do for the majority of their important decisions. It’s amazing how seriously they took this issue.

    I think that their move to having women preach is a great step for the church. I also like the fact that they don’t feel like they have to defend their decision. They said in their Chatter that they feel like for this time period in the church that this is the best step for them. They don’t feel like they have to comment on other churches or ‘solve’ the whole issue themselves. They made a decision based on what is best for their church and I think that’s very responsible and brave of them.

    I am sad to hear that the President of Dallas Theological Seminary is going to boycott a church just because of an internal decision. I don’t feel like that is very mature of him. It seems to me that he is saying that we should not associate with people just because we don’t 100% agree with all of their viewpoints. As Christians, aren’t we called to do the opposite?

    I am interested to know something from the men in this audience: If the Bible clearly stated (in your opinion) that is OK for women to preach, would you still have a problem with it? Please search your heart and give the honest answer.

  30. Jason August 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm #

    jeremy zach,

    First, I respectfully disagree with your conclusion regarding egalitarianism and liberalism. The 2 go hand in hand…in fact, I would venture to ask you to find examples of it NOT being the case. I know of none.

    Second, We need not give credit to a church for taking a long time to consider carefully a decision. Why? It is their responsibility to carefully make a decision and take time doing so. Why be praiseworthy of something that necessary? But also, so what if you take a long time to make a decision and decide wrongly? This was a poor decision and the amount of time makes it worse, IMO. I don’t think their journey was faithful…seeing that their destination is not faithful.

  31. Adam Omelianchuk August 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm #

    Trajectory hermeneutics do not necessarily undermine the authority of the Bible. Many accept a trajectory hermeneutic on the issue of slavery, an issue that has many more verses that seem to support it as a non-sinful institution than the texts that deem women as pastors as unacceptable. William Webb has an article in JETS outlining the different scholars who accept Redemptive Movement hermeneutic on that issue, but don’t go so far to extend it to women. The point at issue has always been how much of the women-restrictive texts have cultural componets to them that make them more or less binding. The less binding they are the more the RM hermeneutic can apply. When I read the church’s statement on gender roles it seemed that their concern lied moreso with that, than “trajectory hermeneutics.”

  32. Denny Burk August 25, 2008 at 3:36 pm #

    Moz (in #27),

    I think egalitarians who advocate a trajectory hermeneutic are of a different sort than those who simply have a different interpretation of the relevant texts. The latter group looks at a text like 1 Timothy 2:12 and argues that Paul didn’t mean to prohibit women from teaching and exercising authority over men. The former group says that Paul did mean to prohibit women from teaching and exercising authority over men but that Paul’s meaning represented an inferior ethic that we have now surpassed.

    The implication that trajectory hermeneutics has for biblical authority is staggering. We are only seeing the beginning of it.

    Denny

  33. John August 25, 2008 at 3:36 pm #

    Thanks for the comment Adam. I totally agree with you and believe Denny and all the others here probably uses trajectory hermeneutics in the area of slavery to get around his “plain” meaning.

    I would actually like to hear how others get around the slavery issue if trajectories are not used.

  34. John August 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm #

    Denny,

    Nobody seeks to undermine biblical authority, whether they use trajectories or not. “Biblical authority” is just a word used to back up what you believe anyways. If I wanted to be “biblical,” I would move to a country where I could have slaves or a dictator.

    Also, I don’t understand the relevance of you mentioning Mark Bailey and DTS…could you please explain?

  35. Don August 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm #

    On IBC, I see them following the Spirit, so I am NOT going to dink them for taking only one step when they might have taken 2 steps. Sometimes taking one step is appropriate. Go slow and evaluate can be wise.

    Hey, I can be wrong and I admit it. I act in faith based on my current understanding (no analysis paralysis) but want to be teachable.

    On what I use to justify women leaders, I have studied both sides and while I have learned from both sides, I find the egal position more compelling and more aligned with the other teachings of the Bible, esp. the new covenant. I recommend Bereans study both sides (p.s. do not let one side tell you what the other side says, you need to actually read both sides).

    If you have a question about a specific verse, I can try to answer. A summary is:

    1. Women were on occasion leaders in the OT. This is somewhat surprising as it was a very patriarchal culture with polygamy. Women were not Aaronic priests, but in the new covenant, every believer is a priest. This is good for most of us (not just women) as most of use do not meet the requirements for Aaronic priests.

    2. Jesus had women disciples, this was incredibly counter-cultural. The 12 were free Jewish men to map to the 12 tribes.

    3. Later, Junia was an apostle (not one of the 12, but still an apostle) and Phoebe was at least a deacon/minister. All the churches that met in the homes of a woman were likely led by that woman, that would have been the expectation. It is possible one or 2 were not and they were just the host, but not all of them. I agree this last is a probability argument, but sometimes that is the best evidence we have.

    4. On the verses mentioning giving of spiritual gifts, there is not a hint of them being segregated by gender, culture, race, wealth or anything else. Contrast that with the verses on Aaronic priests where it is very specific when those are being inaugurated. In other words, the Aaronic priest verses show how God uses only men (etc, lots of other restrictions) for something, but we do not find something similar for the new covenant leadership ministry gifts.

    5. There remain a few puzzling verses, but the puzzles can be addressed.

    I understand that others can come up with different answers.

  36. William August 25, 2008 at 4:01 pm #

    Could someone define “trajectory hermeneutics”?

  37. William August 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm #

    Never mind… looked it up.

  38. Denny Burk August 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm #

    William,

    Here’s a critical review of William Webb’s book: http://www.cbmw.org/Resources/Book-Reviews/Slaves-Women-and-Homosexuals-by-William-J-Webb-reviewed-by-Wayne-Grudem.

    I think Grudem’s critique is spot-on.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  39. Benjamin A August 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm #

    John said, “I would actually like to hear how others get around the slavery issue if trajectories are not used.

    John, I see a verse like 1 Corinthians 7:21 as a solution to the slavery issue without the use of trajectory;

    Paul wrote, “Where you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if YOU ARE ABLE also to become free, rather DO THAT.”

    You will need to read it all in context of course, but Paul clearly is saying to a brother of sister in Christ, who were saved (called) while in slavery (1) to not worry about being a slave (see v.22 for Paul’s reasoning) or (2) if your able to get out of being a slave (become free) to do that over not worrying about being someone’s slave. Free yourself if you are able to do so.

  40. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm #

    Jeremy Zach: “First, to say that the egalitarian position is liberalism is a stretch…

    No, it’s not.

    “…to say that because a church is shifting to an egalitarian approach will automatically make them start teaching FOR homosexuality and pre-martial sex is also a stretch.

    You’re making a stretch because Denny never made that claim.

  41. William August 25, 2008 at 4:13 pm #

    Thanks Denny.

  42. Denny Burk August 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    FYI. I just updated my original post. At the end, I posted a link to Jackie Roese’s sermon.

  43. Don August 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm #

    I do not think I was wrong over there. I do not claim infallibility or perfection, I can be wrong.

  44. Benjamin A August 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm #

    Don said, “If you have a question about a specific verse, I can try to answer.”

    Don, thank you for your reply; I can tell you have thought through this issue and appreciate your humility regarding your own discovery. I was hoping you were able to put together some scripture supporting your belief that women should be elders. I realize your five point summary implies a lot from Scripture; but I was wanting to see even just one verse that said what you are claiming Scripture says; that “women can be elders…”. If it’s possible for you to provide just one verse that shows me how you understand the Scripture to say/mean that women should be Elders of local churches would be helpful.

  45. jb August 25, 2008 at 4:30 pm #

    “However, what tends to lend some credence to the complimentarian side of the debate for me is this one simple fact: I’ve never, ever, ever, ever, ever seen an effective female preacher. They’re either super liberal and don’t even mention the Bible in their sermons, or in an attempt to prove that they can hang with the men, go so far over everyone’s heads that the sermon is pointless (hunt down Melissa Scott for proof of this).

    So, to me, at the end of the day, when a church says, “whoopie! We’ve got a female pastor!” It simply translates to, “whoopie! I won’t go to that church!””

    I won’t say “whoopie” but neither will I join a church (or regularly attend one) that is led by a woman.

    BTW, I don’t think Beth Moore or Annie Lotz pastor churches, nor does Kay Arthur. Pretty sure they don’t intend to either.

  46. John August 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm #

    Benjamin,

    There doesn’t have to be “one verse” (read: proof-text) for something to be right and true (e.g. Trinity). Agree? So while you may be trying to trap Don by him eventually saying “There’s not one,” this does not undermine his argument or give strength to yours. I say this with kindness and no arrogance.

  47. Don August 25, 2008 at 4:34 pm #

    Benjamin A,

    OK, I will try. Here is a short take on my understanding.

    The terms elder, overseer and shepherd are synonyms in the NT and prostatis used to describe Phoebe is also possible/likely. My understanding is that to be an elder you need to have one of the 5-fold leadership ministry Spiritual gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher. It is possible to have more than one, but rare; Jesus had them all. Apostles are often called missionaries today and prophets are often called preachers. It is possible to be given the gift but not be an elder in that area of gifting, it takes the recognition of a congregation of your gift to actually be an elder in a congregation.

    As Junia was an apostle, she was also an elder. She did not merely have the gift of being an apostle, she was Greek en/within the apostles. As apostle is listed first by Paul in his list in Eph, all the rest follow as possibilities. In another letter, Paul says that apostles are first in a list.

  48. John August 25, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    That’s because your definition of church seems to be “a building with four walls and a steeple with a hierarchal structure.”

    Seriously, what constitutes a “church”? I remember Nelson mentioning something about this in his sermon a while back…something about how women can lead conferences and stuff, they just can’t lead in a church. What’s the difference people? Seriously? I would like an educated opinion.

    By the way Benjamin, thanks for your answer about slavery. I will check that text out and have not heard it used before. Thanks for the civility as well.

  49. Benjamin A August 25, 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    John,

    Are you the same John I responded to in post #39?

  50. John August 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm #

    Also Denny, I don’t understand the relevance of you mentioning Mark Bailey or DTS. Can you please explain the relevance of you mentioning the president and the institution while your post was basically about IBC? I’m seeking clarification and am confused why you won’t answer me.

  51. John August 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm #

    That’s me :-)

  52. Benjamin A August 25, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    Sorry for post #49. Post 48 wasn’t up when I sent it out.

  53. Benjamin A August 25, 2008 at 4:58 pm #

    Don,

    Thank you for your reply; It helps me to see where you are coming from to make the claim that women can be Elders of local churches. Though I respectfully disagree with your understanding, I do appreciate your patience in filtering through all my questions. Your latest post however, has opened the door for all kinds of questions, all of which go beyond the scope of this thread and beyond our time to deal with in this forum. Thanks again for your generosity.

  54. Moz August 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    Denny,

    It seems to me that most evangelicals would say that Paul’s prohibition was contextual. Are you saying this amounts to a trajectory approach? Even so, I want to say you can still value Scripture and think something that *was* taught is no longer applicable, such as observing the Sabbath, provided you ground the trajectory in Scripture itself. I am not endorsing the trajectory approach, but seeking to show that it is not obviously a matter of setting Scripture aside.

    Thanks Denny,
    Moz

  55. Don August 25, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    Yes, I agree that this is not a good forum to discuss these things in detail. P.S. This was just an example, I do try to integrate the whole counsel of Scripture.

  56. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 25, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    Don, #43: “I do not think I was wrong over there.”

    Even with your statement on Aug 6, 2008 8:10:07 PM: “Jesus submits to me by serving me and saving me, this is an example of submission. He is acting in my best interests, even if I am not aware of it or deny it. He died that I might live, that is true submission.”

  57. John August 25, 2008 at 5:29 pm #

    Denny,

    Can you please explain the relevance of mentioning Mark Bailey and DTS in your post? I ask because it kind of seems out of place, yet you act like it’s pertinent information. I am puzzled as to why you won’t answer an honest question I have asked about 5 times now.

  58. Don August 25, 2008 at 5:35 pm #

    Yes, my understanding of Jesus dieing for me is a whopper of an example of his submission to me, in this case my best interests, doing something for me I could not do.

  59. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 25, 2008 at 7:24 pm #

    Don: “Yes, my understanding of Jesus dieing for me is a whopper of an example of his submission to me, in this case my best interests, doing something for me I could not do.”

    Let’s say that a fireman died from the flames while saving me during his rescue effort.

    I would not say that the fireman submitted to me.

  60. Don August 25, 2008 at 7:29 pm #

    Well, I would say that the fireman submitted to me.

  61. Steve Hayes August 25, 2008 at 8:01 pm #

    Headline:
    Conservative College Dean Allows Woman to Preach on Web Site

    Dateline: August 25, 2008, Louisville, KY.

    Dr. Danny Burks, Dean of Royce College, in a stunning twist of fate, has allowed a woman to preach on his conservative web site. The woman’s name is Jackey Rose.

    Pastor Tom Nixon of North Texas Bible Church responded to Burks’ posting of Rose’s sermon by preaching a three week series called “Surfing the Slippery Slope: How to avoid Women Preachers on the Web.” Nixon went a step further and created his own web site to refute the vile action taken by Burks. You can view this site at http://www.knowyourrole.com.

    Rumor has it that Dr. Mark Barley, President of Generic Conservative Theological Seminary, began having computer problems as soon as Mrs. Rose’s sermon was posted on Burks’ site. “I don’t know what happened”, said Barley. “My computer suddenly crashed. I think it fried the entire GCTS network.” IT personnel could not be reached for comment.

    Dr. Burks, when asked about posting the sermon, said “The obvious trajectory of culture allows for equal opportunity web posting. Women can’t preach in pulpits, but they’re basically female versions of Billy Graham on the web. I can’t explain it, but it’s awesome!”

    Disclaimer: The above news story is FAKE. None of this happened. It’s my attempt at sarcasm, so please don’t be offended by it. Laugh a little. It’s good for you!
    __________________________________

    Sorry, Denny, but I just couldn’t help myself. Please know that I’m just poking a little fun here. Question: does preaching only occur in a pulpit, or can you be accused of letting a woman preach on your web site? I think you should write a 25 page document explaining your stance.

  62. Russ August 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm #

    Steve…

    Priceless.

    My favorite post ever on this blog.

    P.S. – I’ve also burned all the “inspirational” and/or theology books on my shelves written by women. ;-)

    God help us. Seriously.

  63. John August 25, 2008 at 9:21 pm #

    Denny,

    Can you please explain the relevance of mentioning Mark Bailey and DTS in your post? I ask because it kind of seems out of place, yet you act like it’s pertinent information. What is your problem with them? I am puzzled as to why you won’t answer an honest question I have asked about 6 times now.

  64. Steve Hayes August 25, 2008 at 9:25 pm #

    John,

    Mark Bailey is a member of IBC, and was on the teaching team until recently. He recently wrote a letter explaining his resignation from the teaching team and posted it on the DTS web site. That’s why he’s mentioned.

  65. Don August 25, 2008 at 9:57 pm #

    I listened to her sermon and it was very inspiring. I recommend it.

    One minor quibble, it was allowed for women to divorce back then, but many teach different as they do not know this. That does not change the substance of her teaching.

  66. Russ August 25, 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    Dr. Bailey’s departure from the IBC teaching team seems to be being used at least indirectly to bolster the argument of those opposed to the IBC position in this matter.

    It is no secret that Tommy Nelson, in his position of formal power (as a DTS board member) and otherwise put pressure on Dr. Bailey and DTS in this matter. (Yes, the same pastor who chose to deal with his disagreement with a sister church’s position by hosting a series of sermons in public opposition to it.)

    It could well be that this pressure was the main reason for Dr. Bailey’s move more than the IBC position itself. One could note, for instance, that the IBC position had been known to Dr. Bailey as a member of the team long before Pastor Nelson or anyone else outside of IBC got wind of it.

    I know what Dr. Bailey’s official statements are, and they are appropriate given his responsibilities to the seminary and its supporters, but I suspect there is more here than meets the eye.

    I can’t speak for Dr. Bailey, so there is probably little to be discussed here. I simply wish that his resignation from the team would stop popping up as supposed ‘relevant material.’

  67. Denny Burk August 25, 2008 at 11:42 pm #

    Steve (in #61),

    You are hilarious! I laughed out loud. My wife could barely hear Michelle Obama over my cackling! Okay, maybe that’s an embellishment. But I really did laugh out loud.

    I love you, bro.

    Much luf,
    Denny

  68. Ian Clary August 26, 2008 at 8:08 am #

    Would this “trajectory hermeneutic” have anything to do with Bill Webb’s book “Slaves, Women and Homosexuals”? There he argues for a “redemptive movement” hermeneutic.
    I went to Heritage Bible College, but thankfully did not have Dr. Webb’s class. But he has caused quite a ripple amongst Baptists in Canada.

  69. Don August 26, 2008 at 9:16 am #

    Yes, it is the same thing.

    My recommendation is to read both Webb’s book and Grudem’s review; I have concerns with both. But do not depend on just reading Grudem to see what Webb is trying to say.

    FWIIW, the RCC basically agrees with the idea of “Spirit trajectory” but claim it for themselves exclusively, as infallible interpreter.

  70. Denny Burk August 26, 2008 at 9:59 am #

    Ian,

    The short answer is yes.

    Thanks,
    Denny Burk

  71. Phil August 26, 2008 at 10:19 am #

    JB #45:

    “BTW, I don’t think Beth Moore or Annie Lotz pastor churches, nor does Kay Arthur. Pretty sure they don’t intend to either.”

    That’s goal shifting. Paul opined that he had never heard an effective woman preacher. You’ve shifted that to say these women I offered as effective preachers/teachers don’t pastor churches, nor do they want to. No one ever claimed they did.

    Please don’t obfuscate by refuting an argument that hasn’t been made.

  72. Dan August 26, 2008 at 11:15 am #

    I agree with Don #65.

    Regardless of where you land on this issue, Jackie Rose’s sermon was great and would have been excellent and spirit-filled regardless of whether it was given by a man or a woman, or whether it was given in a church or in a bible study. She has a powerful testament of what God has done in her life.

  73. Paul August 26, 2008 at 11:40 am #

    A Preacher’s Wife in #24:

    1) I didn’t say something offensive about women. If you don’t like what I said, blame the ineffective women womyn (I figured you’d like that better) that I’ve seen preaching, not the guy that saw them preach.

    2) your post, frankly was rude and pointless.

    3) In light of #2, I will remind you that people can be judged by the company that they keep. At which point, does your husband really have any business being a pastor?

  74. Paul August 26, 2008 at 11:41 am #

    whoops, I guess Denny’s blog doesn’t allow for strikethroughs in his HTML. That omission makes my post look silly.

    Just imagine that there’s a strikethrough “women” and it’ll make more sense.

    Thanks,

    Paul

  75. Pastor X August 26, 2008 at 1:40 pm #

    I hope I can share my thoughts as briefly as possible on this.

    I am a pastor and DTS grad; also a complementarian (I think)
    [I am not posting my name, but Denny can verify I’m a local pastor by sending me an email at address provided].

    I am very uncomfortable with IBC’s decision, but I do respect the way they arrived at it. I don’t know if that is the conclusion they wished to come to, or if they truly went into this study as objectively as possible. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I trust that they set out to fulfill the “approved workman” spirit of 2 Timothy 2:15. I trust that they set out to truly study the word, contexts, and other things, so that their conclusion would not simply align with what they had heard (or wanted to hear), but what they had studied, “rightly handling the Word of God.”

    I say that, because I wonder how many churches who have statements on women’s ministry have developed them via thorough study, rather than someone else studying it for them (e.g., Piper, Grudem, Sumner, et. al.).

    In our situation, we have no statement, because at least one of our elders is too afraid to dig in, in fear of the possibility that we may come out disagreeing with his preconceived notions. Honestly, I fear that possibility too, even though I think the chances are slim that such would happen. I simply want us to have a statement, period, yet we are hog-tied by a fear of studying a very complex passage. I doubt that we are alone.

    I heard a complementarian say once that the woman-teacher issue was a matter of a “plain reading of the text.” If that is the case, my plain reading also tells me that women (or perhaps Eve) can only be saved if they give birth to children (v. 15). Now, when you say this to a complementarian, they will give you an answer on its meaning, based upon careful exegesis (interestingly, answers will differ). It seems to me that IBC has sought to do the same with the woman-teacher issue.

    I do disagree with IBC’s conclusion, and yet I respect them for truly seeking to exegete the text. However, if they went in with the intent of coming out more egalitarian, all bets are off (I can also say the same for Grudem if he seeks to come out complementarian, no matter what).

  76. David August 26, 2008 at 3:33 pm #

    I have read through the many responses on this issue so I felt compelled to throw in my two cents.

    My wife and I, along with our two children, have attended Irving Bible Church over the last 10 years. Over the last 2-3 years, we have noticed the church, as a whole, has taken a more ‘progressive’ or ‘liberal’ turn in its tone and its teachings. Although my wife and I became concerned with the direction IBC began to take, we pressed on, relying on the Lord to direct our decision to stay. The female pastor thing pretty much solidified our position on the church. Not so much the issue itself, but the method by which Andy announced to the congregation that ‘next week we will have our first female PASTOR delivering the message!’ There was a tremendous roar of approval from about 25% of those in attendance. Then Andy began to tell a story about a man that used to complain to him, as he put it, after almost every sermon about the message or the reverence of the church….etc.. He basically told the man to like it or leave it. The MAJORITY of the congregation laughed in approval over that one. It was plain to me right then and there, that the elders do have a plan, a vision, and a direction for IBC that we, as a family, should not be a part of. They have their vision and if you don’t like it, you can always leave. Thats what I took from the message that day. Well, we are leaving.

    I feel as if Tommy Nelson said what he said because he already knew the things that have crept into IBC. He chose to make those points to the ‘evangelical church’ but I believe he was speaking directly to those that attend IBC. Believe me, those specific points opened my eyes.

    My 2¢…..FWIW.

    God bless

  77. Blank Slate August 26, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    What I don’t get with egalitarians is the fact that they are all about giftedness… So, there should be no such thing as a “bad” woman preacher because she is in the preaching business because she is “gifted” ain’t she??

  78. Don August 26, 2008 at 5:16 pm #

    Teaching is one of the Spiritual gifts, that is what is meant by church leadership being based on giftedness, not gender.

  79. Blank Slate August 26, 2008 at 5:43 pm #

    To Don;

    What the???

    If she feels she is gifted by God to be a preacher then you would think that the majority of her sermons would be “good” don’ch’think?

  80. Russ August 26, 2008 at 6:14 pm #

    Don…

    Would that that were true!

    There a lot of teachers out there (men and women) that feel they are gifted to be preachers, and yet give sermons that many of us might think were not “good.”

    I’m not sure what point you are trying to make.

    The IBC position is simply that we should be encouraging, or at the very least allowing, people to exercise legitimate gifting regardless of gender.

  81. Don August 26, 2008 at 6:48 pm #

    Yes.

    Jesus said the workers are few.
    Some men said to divide that by 2.

    I support IBC in not dividing the number of workers by 2.

  82. Russ August 26, 2008 at 6:52 pm #

    Oops!

    Sorry, Don… my comment was meant for Blank State. :-)

  83. Russ August 26, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    I meant Blank Slate.

  84. Blank Slate August 26, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    Hi Russ;

    All I’m saying is that egals say it is about gifts and comps say it is about (put simply)gender. Yes, gifting would help, but because it is about gender then you get good with bad preaching, where as, you should, in a perfect world, only have “good” preaching from female preachers because they would be told that they don’t have the gift if they was bad.

    It just sounds to me like egals are encouraging women to be preachers because they want women to be preachers (according to their translation of the texts)not because they are gifted.

    I guess I just want egals to be straight on the motivations behind there translations of the relevant texts.

    Slate

  85. Russ August 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm #

    Slate…

    I guess I see your point, but I would hope that you could see that the statement IBC has made here does not in any way imply what you are describing. Furthermore, the proof is in the pudding and one thing that does not seem to be in dispute here is the quality of Jackie’s teaching. :-)

    By the way, this has never been about Egalitarians v. Complimentarians at IBC. In fact I never heard those terms used at all as we were headed toward this ‘study project’ until we started digging in and reading the books and doing the study itself. This was always first and foremost about trying to have integrity and consistency in our policy and practice.

    Just so readers know… I am not on staff at IBC currently, but I was on the pastoral leadership team at IBC as we were working through this issue. And my leaving IBC had nothing to do with this issue… just God moving us on after 17 years at one of the most amazing church communities I know of! :-)

  86. Brittany August 26, 2008 at 8:11 pm #

    The former group says that Paul did mean to prohibit women from teaching and exercising authority over men but that Paul’s meaning represented an inferior ethic that we have now surpassed.

    Dr. Burk, I am surprised at your gross misunderstanding of trajectory hermeneutics. You have not been one to characterize your “enemies” so incorrectly.

    Trajectory hermeneutics does mean that Paul intended to prohibit women from leadership roles for a time. The idea is that women in leadership immediately after the ascension of Christ would alienate the surrounding culture and prohibit evangelism from taking place. Therefore, women with gifts in that era were to set aside their gifts for the sake of spreading the Gospel. Consequently, now that women are accepted in public life, Christian women are free to express their gifts in leadership positions because it would not hinder the spread of the Gospel anymore (some go so far as to say, in fact, that complementarian theology could hold back the Gospel in our day and age). It is not about creating a superior, “surpassing ethic,” it is about making decisions that best support evangelism the best in a given time and place.

  87. Don August 26, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    What egals want is for everyone to be all they can be in God’s army. Egals want all Spiritual gifts used to build up the body of Christ. If someone (anyone, male or female) claims to have been given a specific gift, let them show evidence of it. Let the Kingdom advance.

  88. Russ August 26, 2008 at 8:19 pm #

    Denny,

    I just listened to the KCBI radio broadcast on this subject in which you participated. I thought you all did a great job. Especially Pastor Andy, since he had no idea that you were even going to be on the show, and thus could not have been as prepared as you were for the ‘soft debate’ format the show proved to be.

    One thing you brought up a couple of times was the distinction of teaching ‘doctrine.’

    This has got me thinking…

    Where do you draw that line between ‘teaching doctrine’ and teaching something else? What is the definition of such? Could it even be that this is another difference between the context of the NT passages in question and our churches today? That is to say that adding to the understanding that women did not have the access to education, theological or otherwise, then that they do now would be the fact that the very doctrines of the church were in formation at the time of Paul’s writing! Perhaps, following this reasoning and dove-tailing it with the nuances of the IBC statement regarding male Eldership and headship, we might say that it is fine for a woman to preach from the pulpit in the context of established doctrine and under established authority AND with proper training. Of course, one would hope this would be true regardless of gender. The point is that the idea of a woman being able to meet those criteria in Paul’s day would be nonsensical. Not so today!

    …just thoughts that came into my head sparked by your distinction regarding the teaching of ‘doctrine.’

    Thoughts?

  89. John August 26, 2008 at 8:36 pm #

    Denny,

    What is the relevance of you bringing DTS and Mark Bailey into the equation? The issue that has always been addressed is IBC, not DTS, so why did you see a need to bring it up?

    I would hope that when students ask questions in class, you answer them.

    Thanks

  90. Truth Unites... and Divides August 26, 2008 at 8:58 pm #

    Please do not conflate “gifts” with the biblical standards for the “office” of pastor or elder.

    Thanks.

  91. Don August 26, 2008 at 9:08 pm #

    No office for pastor or elder in the Bible, they are ministries which are all gifted and some are then recognized thru laying on of hands.

  92. John August 26, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    Denny,

    What is the relevance of you bringing DTS and Mark Bailey into the equation? The issue that has always been addressed is IBC, not DTS, so why did you see a need to bring it up?

    I would hope that when students ask questions in class, you answer them. Can you please answer me?

    Thanks

  93. Paul August 27, 2008 at 12:58 am #

    John,

    at this point, fair or not, it is pretty obvious that Denny is NOT going to answer you.

    At which point, it’s no longer him being rude, but you being annoying.

    That said, I admit to having used the same tactic before. And it didn’t work for me either.

    If you poke around this blog, however, you WILL find an e-mail address. I’d suggest going about your question that way.

  94. kathy August 27, 2008 at 5:21 am #

    If the idea that man has ‘headship’ over woman is positive because Adam was created first and then Eve then how come in 1 Tim 2 Paul does not say that man is head of woman for Adam was created first then Eve? Paul speaks of chronological ordering of creation ‘And was created first then Eve’ in 1 Tim 2 where he does NOT mention ‘head’ but yet where he does mention ‘head’ he does not speak of chronologial ordering of creation.

    And if the idea that man has ‘headship’ (implicating hierarchy) over woman is correct because Adam was created first then Eve, then how come in 1 Co 11 where Paul actualy does talk about ‘head’ (kephale) he speaks rather of woman coming FROM man but NOT ‘Adam being created first then Eve’, as also in Eph 5 at the end of the passage but as the mystery of Christ and the church?

    And if chronological ordering is said to be implied in 1 Co 11 and Eph 5 because Paul does speak of the woman coming FROM man, then how is it that kephale can mean ‘headSHIP’ (implicating hierachy) without first taking the chronological ordering and turning it into hierarchal ordering. How can chronological ordering = hierarchal ordering?

  95. kathy August 27, 2008 at 5:52 am #

    Let me add to post #93

    How is it that (a)chronological ordering indicates (b)hierarchal ordering? And what tells us or what indicates that a indicates b?

    And why is it that this doctrine of male hierarchy begins with an indication (even claimed by Bruce Ware) but not solid written word as in, ‘The man is the head (authority) of the woman for Adam was created first then Eve’?

  96. Kathy August 27, 2008 at 7:01 am #

    How can we be sure that Paul meant all women for all time cannot teach Doctrine to men in light of the grammar shifts from plural (vv9 & 10) to singular (vv11-15)? Can we be sure that he meant all women because he said ‘for Adam was created first then Eve?’ We can hold such an opinion IF creational chronological ordering means or indicates male-female assembly hierarchal ordering. But how do we know that one type of ordering in one context indicates another type of ordering in a different context?

    Well, what indicates that creational chronology in the beginning indicates gender hierarchy in the assembly?

    How can we know that the male should be ordered on top over the female Therefore only teach doctrine and female cannot teach doctrine during assembly (without male on top?) based on Adam being created first then Eve, when yet we have no evidence whatsoever in Genesis that Adam who was created first even taught Eve God’s word in the first place? Since Adam did not even teach God’s word to Eve at all (at least there is NO evidence that he did and there is evidence that she learned God’s command from God himself) then it can be concluded that both were taught of God and if both were taught of God therefore both male and female can teach if called to do so. But then how do we go from both sexes can teach God’s word to only males can teach doctrine? How is that leap made?

  97. Kathy August 27, 2008 at 7:05 am #

    I submitted some other comments from another computer in my home, I guess they didn’t go through yet.

  98. Denny Burk August 27, 2008 at 9:51 am #

    John,

    I thought number 64 would have been sufficient (see above). For what it’s worth, a former staff member at IBC is the one who wrote number 64. Also, the DSM article brings up the connection.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  99. Branden August 27, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    I am a former member of IBC. I believe it is a church that does have a heart for God. I tend to agree with what David has posted.

    To be honest on my view, I am a complement. I did not leave IBC due to this issue. I moved and where I now live, Denton Bible is the closest bible church. Though I think I probably disagree with Russ and Steve Hayes (guys posting here that have been involved with IBC ministerially) I think they are men that love God and I have respect for them, though I may disagree with their views. They are good men with good hearts for their Lord, of that there is no doubt. Howdy fellas.

    Back to what David posted. I too felt there were some more liberal movement in IBC that made me uncomfortable even before I left. I think that having women preach at IBC might in fact increase attendance at IBC, not reduce it. Not because I think it is the right path, but I think it is the most world welcomed path. I believe there is a strong movement in the church in the direction of feminisation and feminism pushed forth by the post modern world view that surrounds us.

    Also to be clear, initially what attracted to me to IBC was that the Bible was taught expositional. In the years of my attendance, it has moved away from this. I liked a bigger church, but at the same time, I don’t like the Saddleback Corporate Church Model.

    I imagine that those that leave IBC over this subject will do so without declaring it. In fact, if asked directly, I bet they would be reluctant to state that the women’s role issue would be why they did. To do so would be most, for a lack of a better term, un-politically correct. The implications, though not intended, make one look like at least a heel if not a woman-hater (in the extreme).

    David Says:
    August 26th, 2008 at 3:33 pm
    I have read through the many responses on this issue so I felt compelled to throw in my two cents.

    My wife and I, along with our two children, have attended Irving Bible Church over the last 10 years. Over the last 2-3 years, we have noticed the church, as a whole, has taken a more ‘progressive’ or ‘liberal’ turn in its tone and its teachings. Although my wife and I became concerned with the direction IBC began to take, we pressed on, relying on the Lord to direct our decision to stay. The female pastor thing pretty much solidified our position on the church. Not so much the issue itself, but the method by which Andy announced to the congregation that ‘next week we will have our first female PASTOR delivering the message!’ There was a tremendous roar of approval from about 25% of those in attendance. Then Andy began to tell a story about a man that used to complain to him, as he put it, after almost every sermon about the message or the reverence of the church….etc.. He basically told the man to like it or leave it. The MAJORITY of the congregation laughed in approval over that one. It was plain to me right then and there, that the elders do have a plan, a vision, and a direction for IBC that we, as a family, should not be a part of. They have their vision and if you don’t like it, you can always leave. Thats what I took from the message that day. Well, we are leaving.

  100. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 27, 2008 at 1:43 pm #

    I. Don: “Yes, my understanding of Jesus dieing for me is a whopper of an example of his submission to me, in this case my best interests, doing something for me I could not do.”

    TUAD: “Let’s say that a fireman died from the flames while saving me during his rescue effort.

    I would not say that the fireman submitted to me.”

    Don: “Well, I would say that the fireman submitted to me.”

    Don, why do you say Jesus and the hypothetical fireman “submitted” to you?

    II. TUAD: “Please do not conflate “gifts” with the biblical standards for the “office” of pastor or elder.”

    Don: “No office for pastor or elder in the Bible, they are ministries which are all gifted and some are then recognized thru laying on of hands.”

    No office for pastor or elder in the Bible??! I don’t understand how you can make that claim. Please explain.

  101. Don August 27, 2008 at 1:54 pm #

    Jesus and the hypothetical fireman submitted to me when they served me. Serving another is one example of submitting to them. A believer is to submit to other believers, one way they might do this is to serve them in some way. And the other believer might submit to or serve the original in a different way. Thus a fellowship acts like a living organism, per the metaphors in the NT.
    =========
    Pastor and elder are not offices in 2 senses:

    1. There is no office of an elder that stays around when there is no person in it in the NT. Rather, there are people who have various gifts that are leaders, in a plurality of elders in the NT.

    2. No one is called Apostle Peter or Elder John, so they are not titles to an office. Rather, it is Peter, an apostle or John the elder.

    The KJV translators added the words “office of” when translating some Greek text, but it is not there in the Greek, it is just the word for e.g, elder when noun or e.g., oversight when a verb, etc.

    We are not to add nor subtract from God’s words. If you find words in your translation that are not justified by the text, I recommend striking them out.

  102. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 27, 2008 at 4:10 pm #

    Don: “Jesus and the hypothetical fireman submitted to me when they served me. Serving another is one example of submitting to them.”

    It may the case that you are equivocating, albeit perhaps unintentionally or unknowingly, on the word “submit” or “submission”.

    “A believer is to submit to other believers”

    Don, you profess to be a believer. Yet I do not see you submitting to Complementarian-believers.

    “Pastor and elder are not offices”

    Oh? Well, I must say that I have not yet seen this approach taken by egalitarians. Your assertion would certainly undercut a significant portion of the complementarian position on women’s roles in ministry if it can be shown that “pastor” and “elder” are not biblically-supported-and-biblically-based ministry offices.

    Or perhaps you are conflating the words “submission” and “service” with each other.

  103. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 27, 2008 at 4:13 pm #

    Oops! That last statement “Or perhaps you are conflating the words “submission” and “service” with each other” should follow my statement about “equivocating”.

    Sorry. The sequencing got out of whack.

  104. Don August 27, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    I try to be in submission to all believers. I try to respect all believers. This does not mean I agree with everything another believer may say.

    I believe in the plurality of elders being the leaders of a congregation. There should be an organic process of raising up new elders as existing elders may die or leave for many reasons. But there is no office of elder, there is nothing that says there are to be 2 or 5 elders or any set number, such that when an elder is no longer there, there needs to be a replacement, it is up to the church as they decide is appropriate.

    An office is like the president or a senator, if a holder dies in office, the office still exists and someone steps into the office. This is the main job of the vice president for example. This is not the structure of a congregation’s leadership, at least as I can find in the NT.

  105. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 27, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    “I believe in the plurality of elders being the leaders of a congregation.”

    “But there is no office of elder …”.

    Don, I’m not quite following your reasoning here. If there is no office of elder, then why do you believe in the plurality of elders being the leaders of a congregation?

  106. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 27, 2008 at 7:22 pm #

    Don:I try to respect all believers. This does not mean I agree with everything another believer may say.

    So if a Complementarian-believer were to make the same claims for themselves, then you’d be perfectly okay with it too, right?

    Eg., Complementarians try to respect all egalitarians. And this does not mean that complementarians agree with everything an egalitarian may say.

  107. Don August 27, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    Yes, we can discuss why we believe as we do, try to learn from others, and if we do not agree then still try to maintain the unity of the Spirit over non-salvation issues. There is no Magisterium among protestants the last time I looked.

    There are people who have been gifted to be elders and acknowledged as such by a congregation, but they do not hold an office, per se, in the NT. It is not like the church at Ephesus had a city-wide church with offices for 3 elders (or any set number), it was more organic than that.

  108. ahunt August 27, 2008 at 8:24 pm #

    Don, with your permission, I would like very much to copy and paste and use at need the following:

    Yes, we can discuss why we believe as we do, try to learn from others, and if we do not agree then still try to maintain the unity of the Spirit over non-salvation issues.
    Gentle words to de-FUSE escalating rhetoric, on any board. You will of course…get all credit.

  109. Don August 27, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    Well, it is just Paul reworded as I see it, so credit him.

  110. ahunt August 27, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    Good enough, Don. Restraining the sassy mouth is not easy for me, and very recently, online feelings were hurt,(a first for me, given that the remark was generic and undirected.) I need to do better than to respond in kind, and this blurb says it all.

  111. Jason August 28, 2008 at 5:41 pm #

    Jesus submits to us??

    Wow.

    Sad.

  112. Don August 28, 2008 at 6:44 pm #

    I recommend studying John 13 where Jesus acts like the lowest slave in a house and washes the disciples feet. See what he says is true if one does not let him do this.

  113. Sue August 28, 2008 at 7:08 pm #

    Yes, it is important to see how Clement of Rome uses the word submit, the strong to the weak and the rich to the poor, just as Christ to us. It helps to know that the word is used for a king to his subjects as well. As you say, wow!

  114. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 28, 2008 at 7:32 pm #

    Yes, it is important to see how Apostle Paul uses the word submit in the following passage:

    “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18)

  115. Don August 28, 2008 at 7:33 pm #

    Yes, it is Wow! Amazing!

    There is nothing sad about it.
    It is incredible.

  116. Sue August 28, 2008 at 7:53 pm #

    Tuad,

    That’s the point, people can submit to each other. They may be doing different things but they are still submitting to each other, the strong support the weak and the weak are grateful, etc.

  117. Truth Unites.. and Divides August 28, 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    Sue,

    I’m glad you see the point of submitting to God’s Word like in Colossians 3:18

    “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

    That is wow! Amazing! There is nothing sad about it. It is incredible.

  118. Don August 28, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    One should read and implement the whole counsel of God. There are many “submit” verses in the NT, all are to done. If something is mentioned once or 5 or 10 times, they all are true.

  119. Lydia August 29, 2008 at 10:17 am #

    “I’m glad you see the point of submitting to God’s Word like in Colossians 3:18

    “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

    That is wow! Amazing! There is nothing sad about it. It is incredible.”

    It was quite a step up for women at the time who legally were property and legally had to obey their husbands. For Paul not to mention obedience, even though he did for slaves and children, was understood loud and clear to the believers in that culture.

    What was even more radical was for Paul to tell all believers to submit to one another within the Body. All means all. He did not say that believing husbands were exluded. He also did not exclude elders from this passage. Perhaps we have a wrong understanding of submission?

  120. Don August 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm #

    Col 3:18 is in the middle voice. We do not have this voice in English, so it is challenging to translate.

    Active voice means the subject is doing the action. Passive voice means the subject is being acted upon. Middle voice combines these 2 concepts and means the subject is acting upon themselves.

  121. Dewey Cooper September 2, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    Can we stop arguing over who is what kind of tree, and examine the forest before us. -rutics and -tarians aside, the issue that needs to be examined is whether or not it is the RESPONSIBILITY of women to be the Pastor of a church group. We can all probably agree that women can be gifted with teaching, and can very capably use this gift. But too what end?

    12yrs ago when I was serving as a ministry leader and Sunday School teacher at IBC, and first breached this issue with Andy McQuitty, IBC allowed women to teach to anyone under the age of 18. So, women were exercising their gift of teaching and doing a fine job (Jan Fanning was a great example). But they were still under the guise of the male elders and at the time, a male pastor. At that time, Andy expressed to me that he had no problem with a woman deacon or pastor at IBC, suprisingly citing the same issues presented in IBC’s new policy statement.

    Then and now, I beleive they are overlooking several key aspects of the issue.
    1) In Genesis, God first instructs Adam. When Eve is created later, God does not instruct Eve, but gives that rule to Adam. When Adam gives up this responsibility and fails to question Eve’s false understanding (though both walked with God at this point), sin enters into the world.

    2) The leaders of Isrial from the casting out of the Garden to the NT were men, and did not go back and forth as some want us to believe. This prescedence of patriarcal society was instituted in the Garden with Adam and followed from it. Women were only used when a man did not step up and assume his responsibility. And even then, as was the case with Moses, it was his own sister who tried to wrestle leadership from him. Women led well, but once again, it was not God’s ideal. As a man stepped up to the plate, the woman stopped leading, as there is no record of an extended era of matriarcal rule.

    3) The NT Church followed the same suit as OT Isrial. Women were leaders, but only when men didn’t. The issues concerning slaves, head coverings, and speaking must all be taken in deep context. Head coverings were to be asa symble of submission. Not speaking, praying, etc. was once again concerning disruption and submission to a male church leader, or pastor. Slavery contrasted the physical and the spiritual. IBC should be ashamed for tossing these herrings into the discussion.

    4) Christ often referred to himself as the groom and to the Church as His bride. God established this relationship for us to understand in the garden with Adam and Eve. In this arrangement, it is the grooms responsibility to be the spiritual leader of the bride. If and only if the groom fails in this is the bride to step up. And so if Christ, a male, is the leader of the Church, and we are to follow His example, how can we hold that it is NORMAL for a woman to spiritually lead a man or an entire church?

    5)The responsibility of the pastor of a church is to spiritually guide the congregation, as a shephard leads his own flock. This is NOT the responsibility of the Elders. And so to claim that a woman who is under the thumb of male Elders is Biblically acceptable is a further ‘shucking’ of the pastor’s responsibility and no longer mirrors God’s ideal, but His exception. The fact that some elders at IBC disagreed with this move further calls into question how submissive this woman is to their leadership.

    In my opinion, IBC had an agenda and picked and ‘interpretted’ things to fit that agenda. Andy as the spiritual pastor (as oppossed to the accountent call the shots) handed off more of his authority and responsibility. The fact that the foundation of the ‘Finley Road’ IBC is no longer active in the leadership speaks volumes. This will unfortunately become the norm as these large churches must bring in a larger audience to meet an increasing staff salary and an even more increasing mortgage.

    Did this woman do a great presentation? yes. Is it her responsibility? NO.

  122. Nick September 5, 2008 at 3:14 pm #

    I am a member of IBC and when this issue was first brought to light, I too had questions. However, I would like to elaborate more on IBC decision to allow women to speak from time to time. With the Protestant Churches rejection of tradition as an authoritative guide for the Church (indeed, I would say, its denial of the power of the Holy Spirit to use a human institution as THE vessel of the Kingdom of God–which cannot be divided), I cannot see how one would make a case that such a decision by IBC was against anything. One need only reply that of course the first “ministers” were only men and, of course, those that followed them were men; however, such was merely a product of cultural conditions that led to the necessary adoption of such a procedure. As wrong as I find this argument, I believe it to be valid from a Protestant perspective.
    I should also note that the Catholic Church, and me for that matter, have no problem with women as leaders, teachers, etc. It only insists that those offices granted for the teaching and guidance of the Church qua Church are restricted only to men. I know of Catholic and Protestant Churches that have had women deliver the sermon; they do so, however, not from the ordained position.

  123. Don September 5, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    There is no statement that the man was to instruct the woman. The woman’s testimony is that she heard it from God, not the man.

  124. Ken Carmichael December 24, 2008 at 2:35 pm #

    My wife and I have been going to IBC for about a year and when this issue first came up I took my deep southern Baptist stance and said this goes against what the Bible teaches. I believe that men should be the heads of the Church, and in this case I think they are. I think the decisions and direction of the Church are still dictated by men. I went to Second Baptist Church in Houston for ten years and in our Bible study class we would have women teachers every other week. Is it OK for a women to teach a Bible Study class but not preach to the whole congregation. I dont think just because a women preaches every once in awhile that it makes here the spirtaul leader or head of the church. I think the spiritaul leader makes decisions on the direction the church is going. I think if a women can deliver a message that speaks to other people than that is God speaking through her. I am not going to be so arragant as to think God cant speak through anyone he wants.

  125. lilly January 3, 2009 at 7:51 pm #

    My family and I have attended IBC for 6 years now. There are more things that we agree with than disagree with but this issue was the first my husband and I actually discussed, actually biblically researched, and actually discussed with friends outside of the church. (We have dear friends who attend DBC and Bible church in houston area). Is this a “salvation issue?” is the first thing that came to my mind and still does. It is difficult for me to follow a discussion here that seems to be more about lingusitics and theory than how Christ’s Love changes your life now and forever more. Wether you seek Christs salvation after hearing a man “preach” or a woman “teach” does it really matter? YOU’RE STILL SAVED! I understand the concept of teaching/preaching implies a sense of authority. I want my kids 2nd grade teacher to be a skilled authority on teaching grammar, arithmatic, etc. I would want the same skilled authority to be present in the ones who teach/preach in my church. I have to also ask this… there are many African American churches, missionary churches, smaller churches that have skilled woman teachers, leaders, and preachers.Are they in the wrong biblically or just under your judgement? Or is this more of a statement of the lack of men using their spiritual (apparantly) gender specific gifts? Are we not all equally sinners (none are good said Paul) are we not all equally saved? Thank you IBC for presenting the reasoning and biblical research as to how you came to this desicion. There are many churches for people to attend where the preachers/teachers/elders will more accurately reflect personal philosophies. I am ok not agreeing with everything that comes out of my church as long as we are walking toward CHrist and pursuing his HIS KINGDOM here on earth.

  126. Anthony January 15, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

    Wow Lily and to the rest of the family that wants to liberlize the scriptures. Bottom line is God’s word is God’s word. Peter tells us that the prophecy of any scripture can’t be privately interpreted. We can’t all have opinions and all be correct. Let the scriptures speak for itself. I guess it’s okay for homosexuals to preach as long as they bring people to GOD. Well that’s the arguement I’m hearing when you want women preaching and the word don’t support that. Or how about in the year 2050 we just sit back and let robots preach the word. C’mon people. Let’s speak where the bible speak and remain silent where it remains silent.

  127. J February 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    I had been taking my son to IBC and up to this point been pretty happy with everything I had seen, but I have to admit after attending the service today I was disappointed with the lady that preached today. It just didn’t speak to me the way I had hoped it would. I will keep trying, but I have to admit that I didn’t care for a few things she said during the service today. I hope the next time I go I have a better experience.

  128. Kim Andereck August 22, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    In December of 1996, my wife and I were newly married and relocated to Valley Ranch from Minnesota. IBC had moved out of the little church in Irving and into the “new” building off MacArthur.

    I met a few men at church, early on. In fact, I was asked to be an usher at the first service. It seemed like a good way to meet people, so I did it.

    There were two services on Sundays. Each Sunday, I’d stand at the door to the sanctuary and greet people, hand out worship programs and so forth. The early service was lightly attended for the most part, so a minimum number of ushers were required.

    One Sunday, there was a larger congregation than expected. We were one usher short when the call was made, “Let the men come forward to collect the offering.” I asked my wife, Brenda, to join me in order to have a partner in the far aisle to return the collection plate.

    Seemed a simple thing to do; act of service and all that.

    You can imagine the gasp when “the men” came forward and in their midst was Brenda. Being new, she and I were unaware of IBC’s position in those days regarding the role of women in the church.

    Well, we made it through the service and were thereafter quite well-known among the congregation. We continued to usher and greet at the early services…she and I as a team at the door…but never again was Brenda asked to serve.

    Two years have now passed since the first woman was invited to preach at IBC…and some 10+ years after Brenda’s memorable walk down the aisle with “the men” to accept the offering.

    Congratulations to IBC for their study of and acceptance of results from the task force assigned to investigate this matter.

    I think they’ve got it right.

    Kim and Brenda Andereck
    San Antonio, TX

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Denny Burk » Radio Debate with the Pastor of IBC - August 27, 2008

    […] On Monday I wrote about Irving Bible Church (IBC) and their elders’ recent decision to allow a woman to fill their pulpit. On Monday evening, I debated IBC’s pastor Andy McQuitty on the topic. The discussion occurred on my good friend Barry Creamer’s radio program “Live from Criswell.” […]

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