Women in Leadership
The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada now has a rather long history of varied practices and debates on this issue, including up to and beyond its bi-annual General Assembly of 2014. Despite the decision to ordain women at its 2012 Assembly, there remains a deep division of conviction on this issue and so there is more discussion to come. Below is a collection of links to my own writing on the issue of gender roles in the church, often but not always geared toward the particularities of denominational policies and events.
* Updated, Ongoing History of Women in Leadership in the C&MA in Canada
A summary of Alex Meek's The Great Debate, a review of the C&MA in Canada's history on this matter, along with some additional commentary from the years since its publication and an up to date review of ongoing developments. (For more detailed versions, see the 2012 update or original version)
* My 2008 position paper on women in leadership
An informal, abridged version of a paper I wrote for an Epistles class in Seminary. I think it gives a succinct appeal for what would normally be labelled an "egalitarian" position, although I would rather it be more nuanced as a believer in mutual submission than pigeon-holed according to some preconceived label. If you are just wading into this discussion, this might be a good place to start.
* My review of John Stackhouse's Finally Feminist
This book remains the most clear, concise, and accessible description of the view I hold and that I think our denomination needs to grapple with and embrace. You can buy the book here (last I checked) for under $10, which is money well spent.
* Tinker, Tailor, Complementarian, Egalitarian: Taking a Look at our Labels Again
An important clarification regarding the labels we use for either 'side' in the contemporary debate, showing how close they are in the scope of history, and how inaccurately the terms point out for us their precise differentiations and emphases.
* Who are the Daughters of Zelophehad Today?
An appeal for honest (re)consideration of this issue stemming from the example of Moses when faced with related questions and appeals in his own day.
* If a Woman Aspires to be an Elder, Does She Desire a Noble Task?
An abridged version of a 2014 sermon preached at Richmond Alliance Church, on 1 Timothy 2-3.
* Exegetical study of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 - by former President Dr. Franklin Pyles.
Although there are other resources one could cite, I've always thought this is a very well informed and compelling analysis of one of the key "problem" texts in this debate.
* Why IS The Gospel Coalition Complementarian?: Questioning Carson, Keller and Piper
A review of this explanatory video which questions both the positive and negative rationale of those who approach the gender roles issue as they do.
* Colossians 3 (and Ephesians 5) via Chrysostom
Some reflections on the treatment of this passage from a commentator who is chronologically closer to the period of the early church and culturally closer to the patriarchal milieu in which the epistles were written, and yet makes some distinctions that I find intriguing.
* Karl Barth on Gender Roles in the Church
From the other blog I participate in writing, this is a look at a circumstance in Barth's pastorate which may add insight to recent studies investigating his position on the matter.
* The following set of links comprise my 2008 response to the inaction of that year's General Assembly, which postponed indefinitely a motion to deal with the now-outdated Statement on Women in Ministry. Though I might say some things different today, this still by and large represents my views of that episode. Time has told how this indefinite postponement only snowballed the difficulty.
Intro: Trying to Think Clearly
Part 1: General (Dis)Assembly: What is this Kingdom Business?
Part 2, Take 1: The Gender Roles Issue
Part 2, Take 2: Painting the Issue Again
Part 2, Take 3: The Statement in Question
Part 3: The Proposal
Membership and Baptism
I for one do not have an issue with selecting believer's baptism as our preferred practice. The question here is whether to insist on it when an incoming church member has already been baptized. It is my contention that we should alter policy so that an incoming church member could ratify their baptism with a proclamation of belief without having to redo the act itself. The following links will track the efforts a group of us have taken and are taking to propose the necessary change.
* About our Ecumenical Guidelines
* The Motion on Church Membership and Baptism - The original motion behind the recommendation that was passed at General Assembly 2014, complete with F.A.Q.
* To be Read at your Confirmation - by Jason Micheli
- Only a little bit tongue-in-cheek and a lot helpful, this (fictional?) letter from a pastor to some young people he baptized as infants serves as a wonderful insight to the way baptism is looked at from other traditions.
Hell in the Statement of Faith
My explorations on this matter were prompted by Rob Bell's Love Wins and the controversy it sparked within evangelicalism (see the links at bottom to read my thoughts on that). One post in particular, entitled The Best Response to That Book, ended up serving as a preamble to the series that follows, which sought to contextualize my response within a review of my own denomination's Statement of Faith rather than evangelicalism in general.
1. The C&MA Statement on Hell
A formal introduction to the series, including the most relevant parts of the local church constitution as it regards both the letter and the spirit of the church policy in question.
2. Examining the C&MA Statement on Hell
A ten-point exploration of what point five of the statement could possibly mean.
3a. Biblical Backing for the C&MA View on Hell, Part 1
Here I check the first three references for article five of the statement of faith to further analyze its range of interpretive meanings as well as the credibility of its own biblical footnotes.
3b. Biblical Backing for the C&MA View on Hell, Part 2
Here I check the last two references for article five of the statement of faith (Matthew 25:41-46 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10) - to further analyze its range of interpretive meanings as well as the credibility of its own biblical footnotes.
3c. Biblical Backing for the C&MA View on Hell, Part 3
Here I give my summary conclusions of the biblical assessment and make a modest proposal regarding the statement of faith's specificity.
4. Rob Bell, Love Wins, and the C&MA View on Hell
The series finale which picks apart Bell's book, sees its own internal tensions, and reckons that it is more of an imaginative exercise than a dogmatic treatise propounding an alternate view (regarding hell, that is).
For more of my general theological response to Love Wins, go ahead and check out the archive below:
What has Lotso to do with Bashir? - using Toy Story 3 to address the 'palatable gospel' charge
Rob Bell, Love Wins, and Karl Barth
What Wins in Your Doctrine of Election?
Barth's thoughts on judgment
Barth's answer to the question on universalism
And, finally, a review from a friend's blog which put my series in the best light possible
Thanks for your interest in the above issues. Feel free to comment on this page or on the pages in question, but if you would like to guarantee a quicker response please email me at coutts dot jon at gmail dot com. I wish to remain open to reformation and so would gladly engage in mutual sharpening, the clarification of misunderstanding, and ongoing discussion and debate. Peace.