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EFAC Australia

General

Is complementarianism on the way out?
he Masculinist thinks so.
In an issue largely themed on the state of the Christian discussion on gender, it might be worth finishing by noticing emerging energy for critiques of complementarianism from quarters which are dissatisfied with the character and direction of the cultural take on gender, and dissatisfied with egalitarianism and complementarianism as faithful and viable roads to walk.

Gender

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. 

Servant of the Church of God:
Donald William Bradley Robinson, 1922–2018

A series of highlights from the full tribute by Rory Shiner which you can read online at au.thegospelcoalition.org
Early on Friday 7 September one of Australia’s most brilliant biblical scholars and influential church leaders went to be with the Lord whom he loved and so faithfully served. If you are an Australian evangelical, you owe him a great debt, even if you’ve never heard of him. His name was Donald William Bradley Robinson. He was 95 years old.

Fresh Legs

This year will bring some fresh legs onto the Essentials editorial team. You may have noticed that a disproportionate number of the contributions to Essentials come from Western Australia (which is the price you pay when the editor lives in Perth!) In order better to tap into the EFAC networks in other states, we are glad to be welcoming two new editors: Gavin Perkins, Rector of St Judes, Bowral, NSW, and Mark Juers, Assistant Minister at St Hilary’s Network, Kew, Victoria. I hope and expect that these two will help us hear from new contributors and bring more national breadth to the journal. I am very much looking forward to what they will bring to this journal in 2019 and beyond.
Of course, as I always do, I encourage readers to contact me about making contributions to Essentials, wherever you live. It gives me great pleasure to have articles, book reviews, Bible Studies and Cabooses from city and bush, east and west, north and south, and off the mainland too.

If evangelical votes have been credited as part of Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the last US presidential election, does this damage the evangelical brand? If so, is it time to drop the moniker? Rhys Bezzant asks us to treasure the name ‘evangelical’ and its story.

Rhys Bezzant is Dean of Missional Leadership and Lecturer in Christian Thought at Ridley College, Melbourne

No doubt you are hearing this question too: why is it that so many evangelicals voted for Trump? Many used this term to describe their voting choices in the US, even if amongst the unsophisticated media pundits it meant simply ‘white, non-Hispanic Protestants’. Of course, if your politics don’t align with Trump, you might be asking the question to distance yourself from those Christians who take on this label. There are however many who vote Republican, but have serious questions anyway about whether the evangelical brand is damaged. The populism of American presidential elections is often a bellwether for other countries too. Many nations around the world are experiencing either discomfort with, or disdain for, the international order, and are making their opinions known through the ballot box. Here is not the place to canvass the economic drivers which lead to different kinds of extreme politics, or to analyse the strategy of fear-mongering adopted by world leaders. But here is the place to ask the question whether the word ‘evangelical’ is past its use-by date. I say it is not.

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