There has been plenty of attention given to current issues in gender and sexuality in the pages of Essentials in recent years. However, discussion has generally been about developments in the wider culture to which evangelicals have a
more or less united attitude. But in this issue we look at issues involving gender where unanimity does not exist amongst evangelical Anglicans, and so there will surely be things you disagree with in the pages that follow. On the whole, I aim for Essentials to be irenic and to stay close to the things which unite us (not always successfully) but this quarter, I’m relaxing that approach, and I think it is good from time to time to be able to include a set of articles that may not have everyone
nodding in agreement together. Before we get to that, however, Chase Kuhn gives us a lovely and pithy opening piece on the late Donald Robinson’s enduring influence. Once you go on, you will find a fine pair of articles on the evolution of the egalitariancomplementarian debate. First, Tim Foster gives an account of the development of these disagreements from an egalitarian perspective, and then Kara Hartley does the same from a complementarian perspective. Some of the frenzy may have gone out of the discussion, but, as Tim demonstrates, that does not mean new proposals are not being brought forth, tested and adopted or discarded, and, as Kara points out, the social context of the debate colours the issues in new and different ways.
We haven’t had a Making it Work in the Parish for a while, and so I’m sharing some material I wrote to train Bible Study leaders. Perhaps you will find it helpful enough to photocopy for some of your leaders now or later. I spin off my engagement with the old and rich story of Cain and Abel in this article for the Bible Study.
In the Book Reviews, we begin with science and theology by way of Richard Prideux’s review of Alistair McGrath’s book Enriching our Vision of Reality, and John Polkinghorne’s Scientists as Theologians. Then it’s back to gender as Graham Hill
reviews Kevin Giles’s What the Bible Actually Teaches on Women, and I give a partial review of Lucy Peppiatt’s newly published popularisation of her novel take on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16
One new gender-and-Christianity thing that I stumbled upon somehow is a critique of complementarianism, not from an egalitarian perspective, but from a nascent thread of thought that rejects both egalitarianism and complementarianism. The Masculinist email newsletter is unfolding a wide-ranging critique of the takes on gender found in both secular culture and US evangelical church culture, and its author, Aaron Renn sees a dim future for complementarianism. I try to
capture his drift in the Caboose.
I will be vacating the editor’s chair for at least the next two issues, while Gavin Perkins and then Mark Juers get their hands on the Essentials tiller. I wish them well and I hope that you enjoy what they bring. I’ll be back in due course.
Ben Underwood -