This years "Together on a Mission" conference has now finished and we see a new reshaped Newfrontiers emerging. A new structure with Apostles and Apostolic Spheres (and yes it is all a load of balls as they ignore the Biblical precident for women as apostles in Junia Romans 16:7 – for the best series on this see the amazingly detailed work by Suzanne Maccarthy who destroys the various (and conflicting) arguments put forward for either Junia not being a woman or not being an apostle).
Anyway beyond the new structure we see this from Adrian Warnock's report on one of the sessions:
3. Affirming Leadership Ensure that our churches are environments that are equally liberating for both men and women. We must not change our theology. But we must live consistent to it. We are complementarian which means we believe that men and women are equal but different. We must make sure that we do not stress the difference more than the equal. We must make sure that we recognize male and female gifts, and that we train women as well as men. Keller says “The real challenge is to do things in such a way that even a radical feminist if she was to come into our churches would feel the freedom of the Kingdom of God.” The Apostle Paul speaks of his fellow workers and around half of them are women. How many of us can say the same? We do need to help men to be men. ht TOAM Session 4 David Stroud on the future of UK Newfrontiers.
Remember that Newfrontiers is defined by a number of core values. Of these two are particularly relevant.
‘A church where Biblical family life is highly valued, where husband and wife embrace male servant leadership and joyful female submission, where godly parenting is taught and practised and where the special value of singleness and its unique opportunities are affirmed.’
Value 8 now reads:
‘A church where elders are honoured a servant-leaders caring for the flock and providing appropriate spiritual disciplines where necessary.'
Sadly in the new launch of Terry's website these "resources" have been moved around and no longer seem to have the text that used to go with them. But in 42: Lessons in rubbing salt in wounds from New Frontiers I quoted value 8 as:
‘A church led by male elders (one of whom is clearly understood to be gifted to be lead elder) who are ordained by the Holy Spirit, recognised and confirmed through apostolic ministry. These men are to be helped in fulfilling their calling through ongoing fellowship with trans-local ministries.’
So has something changed?
When David Stroud says:
We are complementarian which means we believe that men and women are equal but different.
Does the New Newfrontiers
a) Still support their value 7 that wives should submit to their husbands?
b) Still support male only elders and apostles?
c) Still invite only Men to speak to their National Conferences (except when speaking to sessions just for women)? All the speakers that Adrian Warnock has mentioned are men and the conference program overview mentions only men (just checked and all the main session speakers are men, there are some women listed for seminars but no indication what these are or who they are for).
d) Only have men as Church planters (usually or always supported by their wives who are nevertheless not considered elders of these Churches).
When David Stroud says:
Keller says “The real challenge is to do things in such a way that even a radical feminist if she was to come into our churches would feel the freedom of the Kingdom of God.”
I would like to know from some radical feminists how much they will feel the freedom of the kingdom when they come into a Church that requires them to submit to their husband and specifically denies them the opportunity to respond to God's call to leadership as an elder or an apostle?
I would like to know from anyone in the New Newfrontiers how welcoming they think radical feminists will find them.