Oh, Tim (Sigh)

kinnon —  May 23, 2009 — 10 Comments

There should be little doubt for those who have been reading this blog for a while, that I hold Tim Keller in high esteem. However, this quote from the “News Service of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary” is more than a little graceless. (It sounds more like a certain younger man from Seattle than the more mature Pastor from New York, actually.) [HT]

…there is an idolatrous reason behind each behavioral issue. For example, behind the belief that women should be ordained is the need for power and a love for feeling in charge.

Many of us would suggest that “the need for power and a love for feeling in charge” is precisely why so many humans with dangly bits are incapable of reading scripture in any way other than to deny leadership to those without. (Keller in praxis, does not seem to fall into this category.)

I can think of hundreds of examples of idolatrous reasoning in the church and wonder why this example is used – one with which more than half the evangelical camp would profoundly disagree. (That is, of course, whether you consider evangelicals from the developing world as part of the “evangelical camp.”)

Earlier today, I linked to Peggy Brown’s article Where ARE the Women? in Next Wave. Let me quote from Peggy.

So, where ARE the women? Well, they’re everywhere, actually. Doing some of the most amazing ministry. Some of them are serving “out in the open” with official status and proper recognition. Some are also serving “out in the open” with no official status or recognition. Some are serving “under the radar” where status and recognition have no meaning – or, worse, could get you in a heap of trouble. Some are also serving “under the radar” with official status and proper recognition among the “Under the Radar” folks. And some are just serving wherever and however the Spirit gives them the inspiration and the power. This last group of sisters is not interested in status or recognition, especially. They figure they are just serving Christ as faithful followers right where they find themselves, and that’s all the status or recognition needed.

The problem is not that the women aren’t out there using their gifts to build up the church. The reality is that they, in fact, are. The problem is one of perception. Perceptions about what women can do versus what they may do in ministry. And it is a problem that the sisters share with many other segments of society. [Please read the entire article.]

Keller’s denomination, the PCA do send women out to the mission field, where they are expected to teach new believers up to the point where local males can replace them. Something I’ve always found rather inconsistent in their complimentarian theology. (Please note that the Kinnon family attended a Toronto PCA church for almost three years and love and respect the PCA leaders we know. We disagree on complimentarianism. Which probably makes me even more of an idolater than I was earlier today. Thank goodness for the Interwebs or I’d never have known.)

I linked earlier to Jonathan Brink’s post featuring NT Wright on this very topic. Now I’m going to post the YouTube video here.   UPDATE:   This older post from Rebecca Groothuis is also well worth your time.

kinnon

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

10 responses to Oh, Tim (Sigh)

  1. Man, I’m glad no one cares what I say:)

    Reply
  2. Actually …

    It’s probably idolatry to continue to insist that women should stay out of ministry.

    Just sayin’ …

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  3. *sigh* indeed. I’m sad.

    p.s. you spelled Becca’s name wrong: Rebecca 😉

    Reply
  4. Yesterday I just happened to listen to a series and Q&A on this issue by Tim and Kathy Keller. It’s probably the best and most pastorally sensitive presentation of a complementarian position that I’ve heard. This statement isn’t quite as easy to swallow, and I was surprised when I first read it.

    I think it’s certainly true some of the time. Some are motivated by power and the need for control, whether male or female. We’d all agree with this. But are all who hold the egalitarian view motivated by the idol of power and control?

    My best guess at what he means is that he is referring to the post-Fall curse in Genesis 3:16 in which both men and women tend to sin against each other in different ways as a result of the curse. Behind all sins are idols. So males sometimes sin by domineering and withdrawing emotionally, and (under the complementarian view) women also are complicit in the gender-based battle for power and control. The relationship between men and women has been corrupted, and both genders have idols that make a mess of things.

    That’s my best guess, and it’s not as incendiary as it would first appear. It’s always a good idea to grant as much charity as possible when guessing what someone may have meant, and this is my best guess. But I could be wrong.

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  5. Seaton,
    To quote that famous philosopher, killer guitarist & occasional Jennifer Aniston boyfriend, John Mayer,
    Say what you need to say,
    say what you need to say.

    Sonja,
    To quote Supertramp,
    Right, right, your bl__dy well, right…

    Susan,
    Indeed and to quote the Beatles,
    You say “Yes”,
    I say “No”,
    You say “Why?”
    and I say, “I don’t know.”

    (I fixed Becca’s name. I was so focused on not putting an “h” on the end that I stuck an “a” in the middle instead.)

    Darryl,
    There seems to be a resurgence amongst many in the reformed camp who want to go on the attack regarding women in ministry. They want to make this a 1st Order Issue. I would never believe Tim to be in that camp but this choice of an idolatrous example leaves me wondering. To quote my all time favourite song writer, Rich Mullins,
    We are frail
    We are fearfully and wonderfully made
    Forged in the fires of human passion
    Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
    And with these our hells and our heavens
    So few inches apart
    We must be awfully small
    And not as strong as we think we are

    Reply
  6. Seaton,
    To quote John Mayer,
    Say what you need to say,
    Say what you need to say.

    Sonja,
    To quote Supertramp,
    Right (right),
    You’re bl__dy well right.

    Susan,
    Indeed & to quote the Beatles
    You say Yes, I say No
    You say Why, I say I don’t know

    [And yes I’ve edited lines from two verses together. I am an editor after all.]

    Darryl,
    There seems to be a resurgence amongst some in the Reformed Camp who want to make Women’s Ordination a First Order issue. I would not have put Tim in that camp but this “example” of idolatry leaves me wondering. To quote my favourite songwriter, Rich Mullins,
    We are frail
    We are fearfully and wonderfully made
    Forged in the fires of human passion
    Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
    And with these our hells and our heavens
    So few inches apart
    We must be awfully small
    And not as strong as we think we are

    Reply
  7. Seaton,
    To quote John Mayer,
    Say what you need to say,
    Say what you need to say.

    Sonja,
    To quote Supertramp,
    Right (right),
    You’re bl__dy well right.

    Susan,
    Indeed & to quote the Beatles
    You say Yes, I say No
    You say Why, I say I don’t know

    [And yes I’ve edited lines from two verses together. I am an editor afterall.]

    Darryl,
    There seems to be a resurgence amongst some in the Reformed Camp who want to make Women’s Ordination a First Order issue. I would not have put Tim in that camp but this “example” of idolatry leaves me wondering. To quote my favourite songwriter, Rich Mullins,
    We are frail
    We are fearfully and wonderfully made
    Forged in the fires of human passion
    Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
    And with these our hells and our heavens
    So few inches apart
    We must be awfully small
    And not as strong as we think we are

    Reply
  8. Bill, thanks for the link to Rebecca’s article. It is very well done.

    As to Tim Keller’s comparison, I am sad when folks throw out an off-handed remark like this without fully realizing what they did say and how it might be perceived by a wider group of readers.

    Certainly, there are some (men and women) who seek ordination because of an idolatrous desire for power and control. But that does not make it so for all men and women. Sigh, indeed….

    That the ordination of women is considered a “behavioral issue” merits an entire conversation …

    OTOH, perhaps what brother Tim actually meant is that it is the men who have an idolatrous issue with power and control that blocks them from embracing the sisters? Or, perhaps, it is some men and some women who have issues?

    Just trying to give the benefit of the doubt, eh, Daryl?

    Reply
  9. “There seems to be a resurgence amongst some in the Reformed Camp who want to make Women’s Ordination a First Order issue.”

    You’re right. I get the complementarian position, but I don’t get making it a first order issue.

    Reply
  10. To be taken with a grain of salt–but after reading lots of Keller, that statement seems unqualified and out of place for him. After looking at the original article, it seems to be a condensed conversation with Keller. It would not surprise me if further context was clipped for the publication.

    Reply

What do you think?