Worlds apart

What a contrast in the posts I was reading this morning.

From Adrian Warnock Sovereign Grace Ministries Announces Upcoming Conference. Compare this to some of the reports on Greenbelt such as A Different Beat and Home (both from Not religion but love via Ian at Youthblog: More Greenbelt) you can see 100′s more reports on Greenbelt via Technorati (by url and by tag). Oh I’ll also point to The best of all: Greenbelt – Friday (whom I met at the Wibsite gathering) and in the secular press: The Public View of Masses of love at cultural festival.

The contrast between on the one hand a festival that includes all with significant emphases on justice, active discipleship, worship in just about every imaginable style, and justice for the poor & impressed all with huge amounts of scriptural foundation, exploration, sharing and exposition.

And on the other hand a conference designed to exclude 50% of the population by gender and is all about power for men in the Church and the world. About defensiveness rather than openness.

Two questions:

  1. Which of these conferences do you think Jesus would be more likely to attend? Consider this in the light of Luke 4: 18-21, Matthew 28:18-20 and Micah 6:8
  2. Which of these conferences offers hope and new life to the world.

Our hurting, lost world needs Jesus like never before, but it needs a whole Jesus and a whole gospel.

Building defences to protect the powerful and creating slick, well marketed, male dominated mega churches fails the poor, fails the oppressed, fails the hungry, fails the lost, fails the wealthy and fails to do justice to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

3 thoughts on “Worlds apart

  1. Carolyn McCulley

    Hi, Dave:
    Thanks for noting the upcoming regional men’s conference. I thought it might be helpful for you to know that it is quite common among Sovereign Grace Ministries churches to have men’s and/or women’s conferences. In this case, it’s a conference for the men. There are also a number of upcoming women’s conferences scheduled. So no one is trying to be exclusive. The conferences are just focusing on pertinent topics. In a similar vein, when we have a worship conference or a singles conference, we’re not trying to exclude anyone–just focusing for a moment on a particular part of the church in order to equip people for the work of ministry.
    Grace and peace to you in our Savior,
    Carolyn McCulley
    Sovereign Grace Ministries

    Reply
  2. DaveW

    Hi Carolyn,
    Thanks for dropping by.
    If you read around here a bit you will see that I do not believe in or accept a complementarian view of scripture (that being incompatible with the constitution, practice and discipline of the Methodist Church in Great Britain as well as scripture).
    My understanding is that Sovereign Grace does have a complementarian theology (given your support for the T4G conference). Putting two and two together it seems likely that your gender based conferences are supporting an exclusive view of Church in which 50% of the population are excluded from leadership and ministry.
    That is the contrast with Greenbelt which has a strong focus on justice. Gender justice is rightly taken for granted at Greenbelt so it is able to focus on others such as poverty, slavery, trade etc.
    I stand by my 2 questions.

    Reply
  3. Bene Diction

    It is interesting for sure.
    I see the same thing, I think unintentionally, between the Progressive Faith Blogs Conference held in the US in July and the upcoming GodBlogCon at Biola U. (year 2)
    Interestingly while the GodBlogCon has female speakers, (four) 18 men, the agendas of the two conferences are like night and day.
    The Faith Blogs Conference focused on worship, understanding different faiths, networking, relationship building, basic technical web stuff, social justice (not just in the US) and one session on communicating with the Relgious Right.
    It was a lot about what people are about and for, interactive and a celebration. They plan to hold them yearly in different parts of the US so as many people as possible can attend. Gender and political affiliation was a such none issue – I had to ask.:^)
    The GodBlogCon is a whole different kettle of fish, a lot of politics, (they are sponsored in a large part by religious media) and a lot of what they are against, secularism, homosexuality, post modernism and the usual suspects. Professionally done site with a lot of listing of credentials common to academic institutions. Pro patriotism, pro freedom, pro intelligent design, protecting yourself legally etc, the usual supects.:^)
    Cool buzzwords like new media (anti traditional or MSM) tech session on podcasting and vidblogs and a session to teach bloggers to stop fighting.
    I think it’s cultural, regional, and a bit sad. I think the organizers are trying, there has only been one public outburst so far.

    Reply

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