" I have known quite a few complementarians who seem to be such less because of the Bible and more because they apparently watched Conan the Barbarian a few too many times in their early teenage years."
"It’s ubiquitous. And it’s becoming an inflexible law. We dare not face any issue without the requisite hat tip to 'the gospel.' "
Drop of Water
Several weeks ago Don Carson wrote a thought-provoking article What's Wrong With Patriarchy, which was published on The Gospel Coalition blog. I responded to Carson's post by writing Complementarian Confusion at The Gospel Coalition and The Gospel Coalition's Complementarian Conundrum. Truly, these are confusing times in Christendom.
The Together for the Gospel (T4G) leaders have declared that complementarianism is an essential issue, while The Gospel Coalition is not willing to go that far.
Now Carl Trueman has weighed in with a post entitled: Confused by Complementarianism? You probably should be. He writes:
Given that the issue of complementarianism is raising its head over at The Gospel Coalition, it provides an opportunity to reflect on an issue that has always perplexed me: why is the complementarian/egalitarian debate such a significant bone of contention in parachurch cobelligerent organisations whose stated purpose is to set aside issues which divide at a church level but which do not seem to impact directly upon the gospel? Why, for instance, is this issue of more importance than, say, differences over baptism or understandings of the Lord's Supper? Historically and confessionally, those have been the issues that divide, so it is strange to see the adjective 'confessional' applied to movements which actually sideline the very doctrinal differences which made Protestant confessions necessary in the first place.
As Trueman has rightly pointed out, why is complementarianism such a "bone of contention" among those who are promoting the Gospel? (more on that momentarily)
It is incredible that theologians can disagree on baptism, an important ordinance in the Christian faith, and yet egalitarians are not welcome at the complementarian table? Is the Danvers Statement the foundation for such divisiveness in Christendom?
Then there's the word "gospel" that we have called attention to numerous times here at TWW. It's not only a noun, but an adjective that has been used ad nauseam, and that's the gospel truth!
Thabiti Anyabwile, who hails from N.C. State University (where my younger daughter attends), has just weighed in with his criticism of the overuse of the term "gospel" with his post I'm Tired of Hearing the Gospel (Warning: Mild Rant)
"…someone has sent me another note chastising me (mildly) for not concluding a post with “the gospel.”
It doesn’t matter what the topic is. Men and women struggling to get along in their marriages? ”The gospel.” Someone struggling to find work in this economy? ”Believe ‘the gospel’.” The mechanic just “fixed” your car–again–and charged you–again–for the same problem you noticed last week? Think of “the gospel.” The Russian high court sentencing a punk rock band to two years in prison for a flash mob performance in a Russian Orthodox cathedral? ”They need the gospel.” Want rock hard abs? Try “gospel” aerobics. I smashed my little toe against the dresser? All together now, “the gospel.”
It’s ubiquitous. And it’s becoming an inflexible law. We dare not face any issue without the requisite hat tip to “the gospel.”
I really liked Tom's comment in response to Anyabwile's post:
When the gospel becomes “hip” and “cool” what do you expect? You get tens of dozens of books with gospel in the title, and each one is touted (by the same voices!) as the best treatement and application of the gospel since Augustine.
You get reformed hipsters constantly trying to out gospel one another and to convince their peeps how non-legalistic they are. The Gospel™ is so ubiquitous in certain reformed circles that it has become meaningless because, as you wrote, it has come to be the answer to every question.
Enjoy the rest of your explicit gospel-centered, gospel-powered vacation, full of gospel-wakefulness.
Indeed, the overuse of such an important term as "gospel" renders it meaningless in my book. Here's what the term Gospel means:
Gospel – the message concerning Christ, the kingdom of God, and salvation
Folks, could we PLEASE get back to sharing the living water with those who are thirsty and stop all these shenanigans that are so confusing to a lost world. Let's stop making complementarianism a primary doctrinal issue and use the term "Gospel" (with a capital G) correctly. It means "Good News", and we have the message that a lost world is dying to hear…
Lydia's Corner: Genesis 41:17-42:17 Matthew 13:24-46 Psalm 18:1-15 Proverbs 4:1-6