Should CBMW fight egalitarians?

Should CBMW fight egalitarians?

This week CBMW (the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) released two audio tapes from the February 2007 “Different by Design” Conference held in Minneapolis Minnesota. ( I was amazed at the way that the gospel was connected to the gender issue in such a way that those who do not hold to patriarchy and male-only leadership were charged with not holding to the gospel. I would like to present some clips from the first audio tape by Russell Moore in this post and reflect on his comments.

The source of the following audio clips is from CBMW’s audio files ( The first speaker from the February 2007 conference is Dr. Russell Moore who is the dean of theology at the Southern Baptist theological seminary in Louisville Kentucky.

Dr. Moore starts out by stating that evangelical feminism is winning the debate in our churches. The clips below are very short so it won’t take long to get through them. The shortest clip is only 11 seconds long and the last clip which is the most jaw-dropping clip is only 1 minute 18 seconds.

(click here to listen to clip 1)

Dr. Moore then asserts that Christians who hold to the egalitarian viewpoint do not have an exegetical argument and have largely abandoned (trying to use exegesis).

(click here to listen to clip 2)

I would respectfully disagree with Dr. Moore. I have read many excellent biblical exegetical arguments from evangelical egalitarian sources. In 2006 our ministry also produced a careful and respectful verse-by-verse exegesis of the hard passages of scripture in our 4 DVD series called “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” It was extremely important to us to recognize that as Christians we need to work hard to rightfully divide the word of truth. We believe that scripture is God-breathed and we do not advocate disregarding any parts of scripture. All scripture has been given by God for our learning and our correction. Have egalitarian Christians abandoned an exegetical argument on the gender issue? Absolutely not! Those who hold tightly to scripture do not have to abandon scripture at all to reject patriarchy.

Dr. Moore then says that women who teach the bible in the media, like teaching on DVDs, are taking a pastoral role that isn’t allowed to them and men who watch and listen to women teach the bible on DVDs are more willing to let women teach them.

(click here to listen to clip 3)

It is interesting that Dr. Moore appears to be very against women teaching scripture using various media. Should women stop teaching scripture? No. We are in a battle against the enemy and we must not be silent. We cannot stop teaching the bible if we are to be faithful to Christ. Women who teach scripture on DVDs as I have on my WIM series are following Christ using the gifts that he has given us. Should women be forbidden to teach using the media? It appears that Dr. Moore believes so. Why? He says that this debate is not a secondary issue but is an issue of the gospel. He says that it is not an intramural debate where brothers and sisters in Christ can disagree on a secondary issue. Rather according to Dr. Moore and CBMW, the gender debate is not a secondary issue but a core issue of the gospel.

(click here to listen to clip 4)

Dr. Moore goes on to say that we as a church have treated the doctrine of God as a more important issue than the “male headship” or gender issue, however he disagrees. He says that brothers and sisters who are together on the doctrine of God are not really together if they disagree on the gender issue because open theism (a view that denies God’s full knowledge i.e. the teaching that God is not omniscient) is not worse than evangelical feminism.

(click here to listen to clip 5)

How sad that the gender debate can be considered in the same category as open theism. How this must hurt the heart of God when a brother in Christ is willing to separate from other brothers and sisters in Christ over a secondary issue, instead treating the gender issue as a core issue of faith. This is not a core issue of faith but an issue where sincere brothers and sisters in Christ can differ without breaking fellowship. Those who are charging egalitarians with serious doctrinal error and with dismissing the gospel just because they believe that women are allowed to use their spiritual gifts without restriction,have moved over into a divisive and unloving stance. This should not be.

The last clip brings a great sadness to my heart.

(click here to listen to clip 6)

Evangelical feminists are not necessarily lost? Perhaps some of them can be saved? It is just so sad to hear Dr. Moore state that those who hold to the egalitarian argument are holding to a belief that seems right to them because they are shaking their fists in the face of authority. He says that lives are at stake. He says that the gospel is at stake.

Beloved, our brothers in Christ are seeing this issue as in-house spiritual warfare. We are the enemy to them and they are out to win because they believe they are fighting the battle for the gospel.

This is not a battle for the gospel. We believe in the gospel just as strongly as Dr. Moore and CBMW does. In fact the core of our ministry is the defense of the faith and we have been instrumental in leading many Jehovah’s Witnesses to Christ by presenting the gospel to them. But when one adds conditions to the gospel that the bible does not add, then there will be an attack on those who do not hold to those conditions.

I say that it is time that our brothers in Christ stop treating us as the enemy. Where is the love for others in the body of Christ who do not think as they do? Jesus said that they will know us by our love. Our love MUST be for the body of Christ. Complementarians need to learn to love us and do it for Jesus’ sake.

What is your opinion? What do you think of these quotes?

In closing I would like to quote a short piece from a blog article by Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds

The article is regarding controversy and how we as Christians need to treat others who disagree with us. Justin quotes John Newton, writing in a letter on controversy (The Works of John Newton, 1:273-274):

It seems a laudable service to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; we are commanded to contend earnestly for it, and to convince gainsayers. If ever such defences were seasonable and expedient, they appear to be so in our day, when errors abound on all sides, and every truth of the Gospel is either directly denied, or grossly misrepresented.

And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it. Either they grow in a sense of their own importance, or imbibe an angry contentious spirit, or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those things which are the food and immediate support of the life of faith, and spend their time and strength upon matters which at most are but of a secondary value.

This shews, that, if the service is honourable, it is dangerous. What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made!¦

Amen! We all need to work at keeping that humble, tender spirit especially towards fellow Christians who are also members of the body of Christ even as we expose error.


15 thoughts on “Should CBMW fight egalitarians?

  1. Wow what a strong attack, has he seen your DVD? If not, you should send it to him.

  2. Hi Martin,

    I don’t think he has seen our DVD since I know that the president of CBMW has thrown the copy I sent them into the garbage. I don’t think he passed it around before he threw it out. Unfortunately these men are very closed-minded and tend to come across in a judgmental way. Yet if they believe they have the truth and we are wrong, then they need to gently correct those who are in opposition (2 Timothy 2:25). It has been tiring for me to try to get them to respond. CBMW has already told me that they have nothing to say about my DVD and for me to keep asking for a response smacks of pride. Perhaps they feel they can see my heart and judge me for trying to discuss these issues. I do not think that is a kind way to respond to me and it hurts. Therefore I will no longer be trying to communicate with them although if they would like to communicate with me and dialogue in a loving and respectful manner, I would certainly be more than willing. As it stands it is time for me to concentrate more on reaching people who are open to hear both sides.

    What we are hearing in these latest tapes shows the direction of this movement. I will be putting a summary of the other audio tape from the February conference within a couple of days. It is clear that there is a “battle” mentality that has become very combative towards egalitarians. This should not be. If they cannot love their brothers and sisters in Christ and if instead they choose to create a division in the church on a secondary issue, then I am afraid that they are going to find themselves disciplined by the Lord Jesus. He does not take lightly to attacks against the body of Christ and he hates this kind of division on non-essentials.

  3. This is so heart-breaking. Listening to these clips – well, i am simply shocked that it’s come to this. It’s unusual for ‘words to fail me’, but i am feeling (almost!)speechless. Satan is having a field day… turning the ‘Body’ on itself. Father God please help us fight the REAL enemy – not our brothers and sisters in Christ.


  4. Oh my goodness. A woman declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ is somehow going to put “lives at risk”????? Do they know how ridiculous they sound. Lives are at risk, and that is why men and women must continue in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. God blessings on His sons and daughters who have answered the call to make disciples.

  5. Cheryl,

    I have read your blog with interest today and find your opinions well thought-out, some which I agree with, some I don’t. But I thought it worth my time to comment on one point: your response to “clip 6” from Russell Moore. Since you asked: “What is your opinion? What do you think of these quotes?”

    You have missed his point in referring to this issue as one of “spiritual warfare”. Moore does not mean (nor does anyone one else I know who uses the terms “spiritual warfare”) that this is an in-house war against you or those of a feminist position. He invariably means, by “spiritual warfare”, that the conflict of positions over this is a result of the war of the enemy of our souls (Satan) against the church. I do believe that the position you hold not only is a device of Satan against the church, but against the interest of your own souls. But I would never refer to myself (nor do I think Moore would) as in a state of “warfare” against those who differ with my view. The warfare is spiritual – between enemies of our souls and humans as a race. I think Moore is clear on that and don’t really see how you could misinterpret him to mean that he is at war with persons of a differing opinion, and I would discourage anyone from viewing him as taking this sort of hostile and austere position.

    He is not saying he views you as the enemy. He is saying that he believes a spiritual enemy has you (and the church at large) in his sights.

    ~ Dennis G

  6. Hello Dennis,

    Thanks for stopping by and providing your comments.

    You said:

    “Moore does not mean (nor does anyone one else I know who uses the terms “spiritual warfare”) that this is an in-house war against you or those of a feminist position. … He is not saying he views you as the enemy. He is saying that he believes a spiritual enemy has you (and the church at large) in his sights.”

    I certainly appreciate your opinion but I heartily disagree with you. Moore is not saying that Satan has us in his sights, but rather that Satan has us. This is why he says that this is a battle for the gospel. He does not believe that one can have the true gospel unless one accepts the complementarian position. In this way, it is a fight against egalitarians because egalitarians according to Moore are not preaching the true gospel.

    Every egalitarian that I know of would not say that complementarians are preaching a false gospel. None of them would say that complementarians must repent of their belief in complementarianism or they are cannot be saved. Egalitarians do not make this an issue of the gospel and therefore although they can passionately disagree with complementarians, they can still consider them brothers and sisters in Christ.

    However CBMW and Moore do not hold to this charitable position. They say that there must be change, there must be repentance and egalitarians must accept the complementarian position or they are not preaching the gospel and salvation depends on the complementarian position. Moore says that women are not necessarily lost who are egalitarian. What does that mean? It means that a woman who teaches the bible to men still has time to repent and if she repents she will not be lost.

    I asked CBMW if a woman teaches the bible to men all her life and does not repent of this “sin”, will she go to hell? Their answer was consistent with the position that Moore presented. It is an issue of salvation. I was told that if a woman did not repent of teaching the bible to men by the time that she dies, then she must not have been saved to begin with, and yes, unsaved people go to hell.

    When Moore and CBMW say that we are not believing or preaching the gospel, then they are charging us with heresy. Distorting the gospel of Christ is a serious offense and the charge of such a sin is a serious matter. Did Paul say that a distortion of the gospel is not a fight against the false teachers but only a fight against Satan? Absolutely not. Paul handed Hemenaeus and Alexander over to Satan. (1 Timothy 1:20) One cannot be a brother or sister in Christ and be guilty of distorting the gospel.

    This is a serious charge and a very serious matter. But the gospel has nothing to do with complementarianism. The gospel is about who Jesus is, his death and resurrection and the price that he paid for our sin. Those who make a secondary issue to be a source of division in the body of Christ by attaching their side of this controversial issue to the gospel are those “who spreads strife among brothers” (Prov. 6:19). This is not a matter of complentarians fighting Satan. It is a matter of complementarians dividing and separating Christian brothers and sisters over a side issue. We have been told in scripture not to judge unfairly, and to be told as egalitarians that we are outside the gospel and in danger of being lost because we do not accept complementarianism is an unfair judgment. Anytime we add something to the gospel and make the acceptance of a secondary issue a requirement for salvation, we are treading in dangerous waters. I believe that these brothers in Christ are sincere in what they are doing, but they are sincerely wrong. I also believe that Jesus disciplines those he loves because using the gospel as a tool to force others to accept your opinion on a side issue is not an acceptable Christian practice.

    Let’s continue talking and dialoguing as brothers and sisters in Christ, but I appeal to complementarians as my dear brothers in Christ, to turn away from making this an issue of salvation and the gospel.

  7. “Evangelical feminists are not necessarily lost? Perhaps some of them can be saved? It is just so sad to hear Dr. Moore state that those who hold to the egalitarian argument are holding to a belief that seems right to them because they are shaking their fists in the face of authority. He says that lives are at stake. He says that the gospel is at stake.”

    This is the same stand that Jehovah Witnesses take against Christians.

    I think he is correct that it is a spiritual battle, but it is not egals that are siding with the enemy of our souls it is they who would so dare to accuse the brethren falsely.

  8. Yes, TL, I do agree with you. This is where the complementarians have escalated this disagreement to and it is so sad. When fellow Christians are accused of losing their salvation or just plain not been saved in the first place if they do not believe in the hierarchical view, it is a false accusation against the brethren. Satan is our accuser and Christians should never follow his lead.

  9. Moore makes much ado about how evangelical feminism
    compromises the Good News of Jesus Christ. I still
    don’t see how. What I do see however is a grotesque parody of the dim past,when perhaps the Holy See in Rome prepared written documents for distribution that railed against Luther as heretic and anathema…

  10. Well, CBMW just proves that asses have their uses:

    1. Speaking words when God injects them into their mouths – the rest of the time they simply bray (or is that the clanging of a cymbal that I hear?)

    2. Having their jawbone used to kill Philistines.

    Other than that, they don’t really bring anything to the discussion worth listening to. Their spiritual decendent is that nutcase in Kansas, Fred Phelps – God hates everyone but me. You must agree with my doctrine or you are going to hell.

    Jesus never, ever said that men would know us by our doctrine. He said that people would know his disciples by their love for one another. Can’t you just FEEL the love from CBMW? Maybe I should throw the souls back into hell that have been saved in my meetings – after all, they can’t REALLY be saved if a WOMAN preached the gospel to them, now CAN they?

    You know what is really sad? 50 years ago or so you could take all these arguments and replace the word WOMAN with NEGRO. Same spirit, different target. At least they aren’t debating whether or not we have souls.

  11. I just thought about my last comment:

    You know what is really sad? 50 years ago or so you could take all these arguments and replace the word WOMAN with NEGRO. Same spirit, different target. At least they aren’t debating whether or not we have souls.

    The leaders in the charge against women (make no mistakes about this, they are AGAINST women) is the Southern Baptist Convention. The leadership of this group is filled with racist, biggotted leaders. I know. I went to an SBC college. They finally appologized for their stand on slavery and racism in the mid 1990’s. They are led by fundamentalists who truly belive American society went to hell when women were allowed to vote.

    In the last update to the Baptist Faith and Message, their doctrinal statement, they removed a line that has been part of the Message since its initial printing. Freedom of conscience. No longer as a Southern Baptist are you allowed to disagree with the stated doctrine. No longer are you allowed to have an opinion on non-essentials.

    You cannot speak in tongues and be a Southern Baptist. You cannot hold an egalitarian point of view and be a Southern Baptist. You can’t hold to any form of Arminian theology and be Southern Baptist (does anyone in their right mind REALLY believe in double predestination?!)

    You know what makes me maddest of all? Lottie Moon was a phenomenal SBC missionary. Their missions fundraising drive is named after her. She would not be allowed on the mission field today by the SBC. But it’s okay for her name to be involved to milk the masses of their money.

    This is the same spirit of prejudice that caused the SBC to hold to slavery and teach that African Americans have no soul (this was taught in the South well into the 1970’s). The complimentarian camp is not bringing scholarly debate to the table. They are coming with the same load of demonically motivated garbage that they brought to the race debate. They are twisting scripture to protect their vested interests. There is no more honesty in them now than there was when they opposed Martin Luther King.

  12. Here is how I see CBMW, a lot of people who have read the Bible in a certain way and think that is the only way to read it. As they realize they are losing, they get more shrill, as the alternative is to admit they made a fundamental mistake. But these are leaders and to admit such would mean a huge loss of acceptance by their hearers, so they are stuck. They do not even need to watch your DVD, it just goes in the trash as it is not even possible in their worldview that they MIGHT be wrong.

    For me, I am always concerned that I might be wrong. I do not want to be and I try not to be, but I have been changed enough times by Christ to know that where I am right now still needs more changing.

    P.S. I just ordered your DVD set, I am a member of CBE and going to their convention in August.

  13. Don,

    I agree with your assessment of CBMW’s options. It is a very humbling experience to admit that you are wrong especially since CBMW’s purpose is to bring the complementarian view back into the church and into Christian marriages. If they were to admit that they are wrong, then their whole organization would be for nothing. The fact that they are getting more militant as the years go by is a sign that they see themselves fighting a losing battle. Their security blanket is being pulled away from them and their reaction is an attack against those whom they perceive are pulling the blanket. I think this is positive in one way – in that their attack on egalitarians has become so intense that even other hardened complementarians are admitting that they have gone too far. I have heard from former complementarians who are not yet fully in the egalitarian camp but who have become quite sickened by the rhetoric and militant attacks coming from those within CBMW. They are their own worst enemy.

    In contrast, Jesus commanded us to love one another and to be kind and caring to our brothers and sisters in Christ. When CBMW goes so far as to equate their brothers and sisters in Christ as unregenerate sinners because they differ on the non-essentials, they show the fruit of their movement. When they respond in this way, we can see that their doctrine does not lift up Jesus and his commandment to us and many people’s eyes are being opened daily.

    Don, I hope you enjoy the DVD’s. I am confident you will find them challenging. I would love to hear your feedback when you have viewed the material.

    Your humble attitude about being open to finding out where you still might not be right is so refreshing! I wish everyone were like you.

  14. Dr. Moore refers to something that belongs to Jesus’ alone as “our churches”. He refers to himself with the worldly title of Dr.

    We have to change and become like little children, if we want to enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever wants to be first must be a slave.

    I am not an egalitarian or a complemetarian. I am simply a follower of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the Word made flesh Yeshua the messiah and as He commanded Mary Magdalene, I will go and tell my brothers the good news.

    We must shake the dust from our feet.

  15. I believe Jesus/The Bible said “Let No one steal your reward” and that is what CFBMW is doing to women In Christ. Keep them in the back there by stealing there reward! That scripture jumps out at me!

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