Young Methodist hopeful and encouraged contrasts with …

This Listening to God from Jarel is very encouraging.

I can't help but feel that the next year will be a good one for Methodism

I particularly loved this bit:

Sitting down and listening to Rev Alison Tomlin's Presidential address to Methodist Conference was more inspiring than I had expected. I was waiting for the usual. You know, those speeches about caring for creation, or revitalising mission or something to that effect but this year the President's speech went to a whole new level! Clearly, she is a woman of extreme experience and her anointing is definately the kind of anointing that reaches through your PC screen and slaps you in the face! lol

:-) I do hope Alison reads that, she will love it.

I have read many really encouraging reports from people at the Methodist Conference about the worship, our President and Vice President. Plus of course there is already a lot of good business that has been done. All very encouraging indeed, especially to find that the conference feeds are being watched by young Methodists like Jarel who are getting so excited about what God is doing in the Methodist Church even as they work out their own calling.

I have said it many times before, but this is a wonderful time to be in the Methodist Church as we see God shaping a new future for us.

Contrast Jarel's view (remember from a committed young man in a Church with women as President and Vice President) with the sad position of the men wanting to do anything to avoid God's blessing through all the people called to be ministers, deacons, elders, leaders, bishops, archbishops, equals, preachers, prophets, teaches, apostles, …

As an example look at Adrian Warnock's recent post New John Piper sermon: The Gospel and Racial Harmony. Fantastic, I do celebrate that the gospel is about equal opportunities for all people, from all ethnicities, cultures, nations, … But oh how sad that in the celebration both Adrian Warnock and John Piper go and carefully and deliberately ignore approximately 50% of the world's population. The gospel is for all, includes all – only not if you are a woman. Aaaaggghhhhh!!!!! 

It puzzles me how you can work out all that stuff about God breaking down prejudice and barriers to get the Church to welcome those it previously excluded while at exactly the same time you are building ever stronger barriers to exclude other people. 

I still can't make up my mind whether this is deliberate and conscious (in which case it is clearly evil), or if they are just stupid, unaware and incapable of reflection about what they are doing.

To add to the dilemma I received another book to review today. "Woman this is war: Gender, Slavery & the Evangelical Caste System" by Jocelyn Andersen. Even as I start the first introductory pages (engaging, funny, powerful) I am thinking: Gulp, this is not Christianity as I have ever known it, this is not Evangelicalism as I know it. 

Then I go back and think about Adrian Warnock, New Frontiers and it scares me. These are British Christians trying to introduce these hateful American views of women into Britain.

I have at times been accused of being aggressive and of picking on certain Churches and Individuals over gender issues, but it looks like this book might well take me a lot further. Heads down if you want a quiet life while we ignore those marketing hatred, exclusion & slavery under fancy names (Complementarianism, Male Headship)and pretending it is scriptural/Christian.

Oh and friends in the Church of England, don't think we won't notice if you give in to a noisy minority and don't implement full and equal women Bishops. We are watching and waiting, I for one will not be willing to compromise on this. 

I for one am tempted to say Methodists should not consider any more steps implementing the Covenant with the Church of England (such as Bishops ourselves) until a women is installed as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

19 thoughts on “Young Methodist hopeful and encouraged contrasts with …

  1. PamBG

    How does one deal with a blindness that thinks equality does not involve gender?
    Or how do you deal with someone to takes seriously the concept of “ontologically equal but functionally subservient”?
    If someone buys the idea that the latter statement is not contradictory but wise, I’m not sure that there is actually any possibility of getting through to them.

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  2. Sally

    Challenging post Dave; I suspect we are a long way off seeing a woman Archbishop of Canterbury, but it was good to hear ++Rowan say that he wanted to see women Bishops! That of course opens the way to that possibility!

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  3. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Then I go back and think about Adrian Warnock, New Frontiers and it scares me. These are British Christians trying to introduce these hateful American views of women into Britain.
    “Introduce”? “American”?
    Eh?
    How many female priests has the UK Catholic Church (i.e. under Rome) had since its inception in England? How long has that been?
    What about the FIEC churches which sprung out of various protestant churches?
    What about the various predominantly black pentecostal churches?
    What about some of the higher profile pentecostal Churches?
    Where were the protestant Christians from who took the faith to the USA from?
    Who founded the Southern baptists?
    I don’t mind the challenge, I think it is important to do so. But statements like the above don’t show much awareness on just where these ideas come from, who has held them in the past, or where they got them from…
    I don’t mind you warning people of the dangers of anything, but you appear to be writing off a large chunk of the history of British Christianity (notably non-conformist protestantism).

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  4. Tim Chesterton

    Why would you lot want bishops anyway???
    Mind you, if you could find aw ay to having them without mitres, copes, croziers, thrones, cathedrals, palaces and endowments, you’d be doing Anglicanism an enormous service!!!
    By the way, can I just mention for the umpteenth time that ‘women bishops’ is grammatically incorrect (and so would ‘men bishops’ be). ‘Women’ is an noun, not an adjective. My former bishop, Victoria Matthews, always enjoyed pointing this out!

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  5. Dave

    Tim, You first as it is easier.
    a) The only reason for Bishops is for the relationship with the Church of England. The Methodist Conference voted for no Bishops a few years ago, but it does keep coming back as a requirement for unity with the CoE.
    b) Yes I agree it would be good if we could give an example of Bishops that was without the paraphernalia
    c) You are quite right, Women Bishops is wrong. Sorry, grammar ain’t never been a strength for me.

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  6. Dave

    Bwahoa,
    “Introduce”? “American”?
    Yes absolutely. Look at the influences on Adrian Warnock and New Frontiers: Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Mark Driscoll etc etc.
    American Evangelicals one and all.
    More later.

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  7. Tim Chesterton

    Well, here’s one Anglican who thinks it would be sorry to see a part of the distinctive witness of Methodism die out because the CofE says ‘You have to be like us before we can have unity with you’!

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  8. Dave

    Bwahoa,
    I have problems with all Churches where women are not treated equally. I fully support the need to change the Catholic Church as much as any that does not recognise the equality of all human beings.
    But there are significant differences between the longer established Churches and the US Evangelical movement.
    I do not find Catholics for example supporting male headship in the home in the way US Evangelicals do. I do not find them resisting gender accurate Bible translations. I do not find them trying to avoid women getting educated nor do I find them stopping women teaching men, having freedom to work …
    In fact I was fortunate to have a wonderful Catholic Nun teaching us Spirituality as part of my training.
    So while some historic Churches such as the Catholic Church do not ordain women to the priesthood when you look at their behaviour in general they are nothing like as anti women as New Frontiers and their US Friends.
    I don’t have much experience of the other Churches you mention. But in Raunds we have a pentecostal friend, Dawn, who has just been ordained by her Bishop (who happens to be a woman).
    As for the who founded arguments I think you have missed the huge divergence on the issues of Slavery and Women’s rights between the UK and the US over the last few hundred years.
    I find it odd that so many British Christians look to the US when they are so behind in many areas of the gospel (look at the US development of the prosperity gospel, their strong fight against women, their attitude to pacifism).
    When you talk of writing off British non-conformist protestantism to be honest I think you are spouting absolute rubbish.
    You are trying to pretend that British Protestantism has not been on the move all through it’s history. It is typical of the US Evangelical movement to ignore history. That many Christian Women stood up against slavery, that Christian Women were critical to the work for Women’s rights. That it was back in 1666 that Margaret Fell, co-founder of the Quakers, started a move to full equality cogently argued from Scripture. See the book I am reading at the monment “Women this is war: gender, slavery & the evangelical caste system” by Jocelyn Anderson (which by the way has some of the best footnote references I have seen in a long long time – so you can easily lookup her sources and check what she is saying).
    British protestantism has many times been radical and ahead of others in signing up for anti slavery, women’s rights, justice issues (such as Make Poverty History), Fair Trade, anti modern slavery, anti BNP, …
    It is terrible that these US influences stem the prophetic voice of the God who creates and loves all people. The God who cries out for justice, mercy and grace. The God we see in Jesus who says “then I don’t condemn you” and who dies for all.
    The only uses of history that the Male Headship evangelicals make are
    a) to look back on some golden time when women knew their place and
    b) to rewrite history to deny the roles of women (from Scripture onwards) or to reinterpret that history (such as the way the ESV rewrites the Bible by inventing it’s own rules for translation where they claim grammatical gender gives male nuances – something that displays either total ignorance of Classical Greek or wilful mis-interpretation to control women).

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  9. PamBG

    I think that the Catholic Church’s refusal to ordain women is as wrong-headed as the conservative Protestant refusal to ordain women. The reasons for the prohibitions may differ somewhat but both positions fail to take the ontological equality of women in the sight of God equally. Both still rely on the “Animal Farm” perspective on equality.

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  10. PamBG

    That should read:
    “…both positions fail to take the ontological equality of women in the sight of God seriously.”
    One of the “interesting” (dare I say “rewarding”?) things about hospital chaplaincy is how so many people suddenly don’t seem to care about denominational differences when they are having a health crisis and are looking to be held before God in prayer or sacraments. One of the most “holy” moments of this past week was seeing a Roman Catholic patient visibly relax after I celebrated a “Methodist communion” and handed him the bread with the words “The Body of Christ”.
    Or my Jewish Rabbi colleague who not only had a Pentecostal woman ask him to pray for her, but she asked him to come back tomorrow and pray for her again.

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  11. Blue, with a hint of amber

    When you talk of writing off British non-conformist protestantism to be honest I think you are spouting absolute rubbish.
    Well I’m glad that one is cleared up then!
    Seriously though, I can only really suggest lots of English people read US stuff and US people read British stuff because we share the same language.
    This idea of some sort of transatlantic takeover does not particularly fit with anything I have experienced. I have only known two out of maybe 40 conferences I have been to where the speaker was american, with many more from African countries.
    I agree with you that plenty of what is within american evangelicalism is entirely unattractive, and would point to the propserity gospel and some of the excesses of whacky charismatic theology as examples. But don’t point those out too loudly, you’ll start to sound like Mar Driscoll ;-)

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  12. Dave

    Pam,
    Thanks for sharing that encouraging news.
    BTW We are on the same page re Catholics.
    Bwahoa,
    Saying that there is any chance of me sounding like Mark Driscoll is about as insulting as you can be to him. What a scary thought for him that people would think he is a wimpy feminist Jesus follower.
    When you admitted that so much of US evangelicalism is entirely unattractive you accidentally missed out their hatred of women.
    Oh and find some voices that are not US on Adrian’s blog. Some I remember from the past stuff about arranging marriages for daughters from Sovereign Grace that he was raving about.
    Look at the key speakers that New Frontiers rave about for their conference like Mark Driscoll, always male headship in the aggressive way.
    As I say this is not British protestantism (especially in wealth, gender and violence aspects). We should not be abandoning the Gospel because Wealthy, Domineering, Anti Women, Violent Americans tell us to.

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  13. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Oh and find some voices that are not US on Adrian’s blog. Some I remember from the past stuff about arranging marriages for daughters from Sovereign Grace that he was raving about.
    I reckon maybe 5% of people in our Church have ever heard of Adrian’s blog, let alone read it regularly. I just don’t see the link. He goes to New Word Alive and interviews an American speaker. I have never been to New Word Alive and do not know of anyone who does, at all, not in my Church, not in any other that I know of.
    Look at the key speakers that New Frontiers rave about for their conference like Mark Driscoll
    Looking back I remember Mark Driscoll, before him Rob Rufus, a South African living in Hong Kong and before that Ram Babu from India. CJ Mahenney from Sovereign Grace is a friend of Terry’s so he was there one year. I don’t remember any Americans speaking last year and there are none this year.
    You also seem to be throwing a whole load of american evangelicals into the same pot there. Certainly the reformed camp would have very little to do with the charismatic scene and absolutely nothing to do with the prosperity preachers.
    It is like in the UK throwing newfrontiers inw ith Vineyard because we are Charismatic and FIEC because we are conservative evangelical.
    The last newfrontiers conference I went to (not Brighton) had two headline speakers, one anglican minister and one anglican from Zacharius Trust. Both British evangelicals, both charismatic, both egalitarian (I would guess) and both a great blessing.

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  14. Dave

    Bwahoa,
    I agree that you are probably correct that many members of New Frontiers do not realise how influenced their leaders are by US Evangelicals or what those US Evangelicals believe about women. That is not a good thing.
    It is not me throwing these Americans in the same pot. The pot is Adrian Warnock and New Frontiers, I am simply pulling them out, I agree on other issues these Americans disagree, but in terms of being actively anti women there is huge consistency, they work together on this even if they don’t agree on anything else (see Together 4 the Gospel as one example).
    So are New Frontiers and Adrian, their internet spokesman (has to be a man of course), simply grabbing any high profile American who stands against women to support their own campaign?
    Of course local conferences are less like to bring people in from the US, that does not say anything about New Frontiers and these hateful policies towards women.
    Who were these Anglicans? Let’s ask them their views. Is New Frontiers allowing male egalitarians to speak (we already know if does not allow women to speak, except to women)? Is it allowing them to speak on gender issues? Come on if it is happening I am quite happy to celebrate it.

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  15. Dave

    Bwahoa,
    My agreement with you about the visibility of Adrian’s blog and New Word Alive within your Church is out of a recognition that generally New Frontiers keeps it’s views on gender as quiet as possible.
    From what a number of women have told me it is only when a woman asks or questions the status quo that she learns about the policies. I guess the hope is that by the time a woman has been in a New Frontiers Church for long they will have had enough “teaching” on the role of women to not question it.

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  16. Dave

    Shirley,
    Difficult choice. On the other hand I don’t think the future of the British Methodist Church will affect the United Methodist Church in the US very much.
    Anglicans in the UK tend to forget how much larger Methodism is worldwide (and how it is growing too).

    Reply

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