Women in Ministry: How Luke Geraty went Beyond Mike Bird

Over at ThinkTheology, Luke Geraty shares how he has changed his views about women in ministry.  While Luke doesn’t want to be labeled either an egalitarian or a complementarian, he offers the following as his position:

“I am convinced that the most convincing biblical scholarship, most robustly well rounded theologically informed arguments, and the consistent witness from church history and my experience leads me to conclude that women can and should serve in all leadership roles in the church, as the Spirit leads.” (emphasis added)

While Luke doesn’t want to be labeled an egalitarian, what he says about women serving in “all leadership roles in the church, as the Spirit leads” is what egalitarians actually say (Scot McKnight’s Blue Parakeet makes this plain, where he quotes F.F. Bruce on the matter.).

In his journey from complementarianism to the position he now holds, Luke mentions his indebtedness to Mike Bird’s Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts: A Case for Gender Equality in Ministry (this short work finds Mike Bird tackling those Pauline texts that complementarians and egalitarians have been debating over the years.  It’s worth the read.).

In his work, while Mike Bird may not be the “hard” complementarian of a Wayne Grudem (both Luke and Bird interact with Grudem, in their respective works) and allows for women teachers and preachers, in mixed gatherings–he still restricts and limits women in ministry:

I have reservations about women occupying the senior roles of bishop or senior pastor since male headship still seems normative to me and more missionary contexts seem conducive to limiting women’s roles in some instances.”

While Mike Bird doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into either the complementarian or the egalitarian camp, egalitarians I’ve interacted with would call him a complementarian and complementarians would call him one of their own, albeit a “soft” one, because he still restricts and limits women in ministry.

Mike Bird may have helped Luke Geraty along the way, but some would conclude that the student has gone beyond his teacher, on this issue.

This entry was posted in Complementarian, Egalitarian, Michael F. Bird, Scot McKnight and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Women in Ministry: How Luke Geraty went Beyond Mike Bird

  1. Brian LePort says:

    Exactly, once limitations have been placed on ecclesial roles b/c of gender one is complementarian and cannot be egalitarian by definition.

    • luke g. says:

      I’m fine with going “beyond” Michael Bird, although I’m not sure if I’ve fully thought out the ecclesiological challenges… mostly because I’m not Anglican and we don’t have Bishops in the Vineyard movement 😉

      But I actually like how Bird tends to contextualize his perspective. He uses the example of NOT sending a woman to be the senior pastor of a church in a Muslim country, for example.

      My main reason for not wanting the “egalitarian” title should probably be a blog post some day…


      • TC Robinson says:

        Brian: that’s how I see it too.

        Luke: I’m familiar with the Vineyard movement but still haven’t seen them call a female senior pastor yet, which goes against your current view on the matter.

        In all fairness to Bird, he does contextualize well. But I’m afraid that at the end of the day he is a complementarian, no escaping the label. 😉

        Looking forward to your blog post…

  2. luke g. says:

    TC Robinson: There are actually a number of female senior pastors in the Vineyard movement, along with co-senior pastor couples (husband and wives). In fact a number of years ago the Vineyard movement, at a national level, embraced Egalitarianism. While this is not enforced on a local level, their statement on the matter was pretty clear (you can read Sam Storm’s thoughts on it, from a Complementarian, here: http://cbmw.org/uncategorized/women-in-ministry-in-the-vineyard-u-s-a/).

    Soooo, yeah. As an actual Vineyard pastor, I can probably speak authoritatively when I state that you are incorrect in regards to the Vineyard movement 🙂

    But I’m still not convinced that those two options (Complementarian or Egalitarian) are even helpful these days. Most of my Complementarian friends wouldn’t tend to hold to some of the beliefs that get forced on them by Egalitarians, which is why I refuse to use that label (at this point). ha ha.

    But I’m still in process…. so.. there you have it.

    • TC Robinson says:

      Luke: thanks for the correction. I was opinionating based on two Vineyard churches that I was familiar with in California (at any rate, I admire the fact that the autonomy of the local church is honored. I wish my own denomination would do likewise. 😉 ).

      Perhaps there’s a third option.

      • luke g. says:

        yeah… I think the third option is worth pursuing or discussing, if it can work.

        And that’s my crux. I can respect Complementarians and understand where they are coming from… makes a lot of sense. I no longer hold their view, but I respect it and certainly don’t want to minimize their participation in the Vineyard, etc.

  3. Jon Hughes says:

    I seem to recall F.F. Bruce saying that Euodia and Syntyche weren’t just there to make the tea!

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