UCCF contradicts itself on Women speaking

The UCCF have quietly updated the following news release UCCF: The Christian Unions – Student – News – UCCF Statement on Women speaking in Christian Unions.

I have added paragraph numbers below, otherwise this is taken from their website on 8/12/12

[1]CUs are at liberty to invite speakers (male or female) who will maintain the unity reflected in the Basis of Faith, but it would be wholly against the spirit and intention of the UCCF Basis of Faith and the advice of UCCF staff if an individual CU devised a policy not to have women speakers for some or all of their events.

[2]The Bristol CU is utterly committed to reflecting the core biblical truth of the fundamental equality of women and men as they resolve this matter. This is a sensitive issue and the recent email exchange has revealed the internal processes of an undergraduate CU trying to think their way clear on a subject that Church denominations around the world have struggled with.

UPDATE – 07/12/12

[3]UCCF should like to stress that the choice of any speaker is made by each individual; student run CU. UCCF does not have preferred speaker lists or undesirable speaker lists. Neither do we take a view on the complementarian/egalitarian debate. UCCF has staff and students in both camps and everywhere in between; we therefore cannot have a policy of ‘No women speakers’ nor a policy of ‘you must have women speakers’.

[4]UCCF continues to support students as they lead CUs in a manner that reflects the unity and purpose of our Basis of Faith.

In particular the following 2 sentences (last of para 1 and last of para 3) seem to directly contradict each other:

it would be wholly against the spirit and intention of the UCCF Basis of Faith and the advice of UCCF staff if an individual CU devised a policy not to have women speakers for some or all of their events.

I understand this to mean that if a CU decides on a policy of no women speakers then they will have only been ablke to do so against the UCCF Basis of Faith and against the advice of UCCF staff. In other words UCCF has a policy that their staff will advise against a policy in a CU of no women speakers.

Yet in the update

we therefore cannot have a policy of ‘No women speakers’ nor a policy of ‘you must have women speakers’.

we see the UCCF now claiming that it cannot have a policy that CU's must have women speakers.

In summary the UCCF now say that have not got a policy that CU's must have women speakers so how can they still say that not having women speakers would go against their Basis of Faith and the advice of their staff?

4 thoughts on “UCCF contradicts itself on Women speaking

  1. Peter Kirk

    I guess it’s a matter of pragmatism. UCCF is saying to CUs that they don’t have to invite women if they don’t want to, but they shouldn’t make that into a formal policy. The reason: not theology but to avoid the kind of public scandal we have seen this week. Yes, their theology is bad, but given their position, isn’t their way of handling it in fact rather wise?

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  2. Dave

    Peter,
    If that is what the news release said then maybe it would be pragmatic.
    If all your staff and your interpretation of your Doctrine of Belief say the same thing to a CU then this is your policy formal or otherwise.
    What you are seeing as pragmatism appears to me as dishonesty if it means what you say. It implies the UCCF wants to say to the world that no CU has a policy of no women speakers while at the same time saying to CU’s by al means do not invite women speakers, just don’t make it a policy.

    Reply
  3. Blue, with a hint of amber

    By its very nature a Christian Union will have a cycle of leadership, and in many cases ethos, on the three yearly cycle of undergraduates.
    Sure, one or two heavily dominated by one or two particular churches (which includes some famous ones) may have a real level of consistency, but my experience was very much one of the exec at the time setting the agenda, and very little by way of formal policy, which a future exec may or may not agree with any way.
    In that sense it is representative of the studentce at the time, not creating edicts which future students are bound to.
    My experience of UCCF was that all the debate was about charismatic gifts and CUs lurched between different ways of trying to keep most people happy whichever side of the fence they were on, which largely involved not doing the thing which may cause offence to some.
    I always saw that as a weakness, as the CU rather than embracing the variety gets stripped of anythign which could offend its own members. In my case the charismatics were not allowed to raise thier hands in worship (true story) so as “not to offend”.
    They seem to get into rather a pickle about matters of Church practice and leadership while also maintaining they are not a Church.

    Reply
  4. Dave

    BWAHOA,
    I guess that given it is stated in the first chapter of Genesis we can take it as a fairly foundational statement that All human beings are made in the image of God.
    I therefore agree (only more strongly when you say “I always saw that as a weakness, as the CU rather than embracing the variety gets stripped of anythign which could offend its own members.”
    Only when we accept and celebrate diversity can we be embracing the God who created such diversity.

    Reply

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