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Ordinary People

Have just finished reading an article in the CBE publication, Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy, by Robert K. McGregor Wright, titled, "God, Metaphor and Gender." The sub-title is, "Is the God of the Bible a Male Deity?"

The writer is of Reformed theological background and has written a number of other essays as well as having published a some well researched books. I loved the way that he tackled the issue by addressing questions that are often put in this debate by those who believe that God is essentially male because of the many male gender references attributed to God throughout Scripture. Obviously this may lead one to conclude that males therefore best represent the image of God and must, as a consequence, be the only ones qualified to lead both the church and the home.

I think that he (McGregor Wright) argues his case to the contrary really well and thoroughly dispels the notion that males should enjoy this position of leadership supremacy. The whole tenor of the essay is challenging because we can be very sloppy in our understanding of the essence of God and very easily slip into idolatry in that we fashion God after our humanity.

It makes me very aware that I am just an 'ordinary person', even though a pastor and teacher, who needs the expertise of gifted individuals, like McGregor Wright who are theologically astute and can explain, in layperson's terms, these deeply theological and philosophical issues.

I, along with countless brothers and sisters in the Christian faith, am one of the many 'ordinary people' who are so dependent on the training and skills of those who have given themselves to understanding and communicating the 'knowledge' of God. This requires us to be able to discern whether a 'teacher' is truly speaking from the heart of God and is rightly dividing the Word of Truth. We can expect that the Holy Spirit will bear witness to the Truth and assist us in our discernment.

Speaking for myself, I usually decide on a learned person's credibility by their heart attitude, evidenced in a servant spirit and how they respond, or address, their theological opponents. At the end of the day, as Liz says, "We all choose our own experts".

But, we 'ordinary people' need to be wary of those who may be unscrupulous teachers who are serving their own ends or are locked into a theological stance that they will not surrender because of the threat of losing theological prestige and power. In the area of teachings on male supremacy and hierarchy there are, unfortunately, many who are not open to genuinely engaging in debate over these issues but hide behind the pretext that any who disagree with their position are ignoring the plain teaching of Scripture.

This explains why it is that, as 'ordinary people', who don't want to be thought of as, 'ignoring the plain teaching of Scripture', we are so often at the mercy of those who may 'twist', or 'abuse' Scripture by inadequate, or selective hermeneutical methodology. That too is why I am more encouraged and persuaded by those teachers who gently teach in such a way as to allow me to process my own thinking with an open Bible, under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit.


Rachel Ann said…
"I usually decide on a learned person's credibility by their heart attitude, evidenced in a servant spirit and how they respond, or address, their theological opponents." - I really like this explanation of credibility. If a person is humble, they are truly seeking the heart of God. This is a challenging concept. Thanks for writing this!
Thanks for noticing Rachel Ann, it makes it all worthwhile. Have you seen 'The Scroll' blogsite?

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