I was chuffed when The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology arrived in the post the other day. Not least because it costs £95 (!) and it was a review copy 🙂
In it is a chapter on Gender by Cherith Fee Nordling.
Her opening section speaks right into the furore of John Piper’s call for a masculine Christianity.
What do you think of what she says here – especially her description of ‘oppositional dualisms’ running deep within some evangelical theologies of male-female relationships?
‘All things are yours,’ writes Paul to the women and men of the church at Corinth, be it ‘the world of life or death or the present or the future – all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God’ (1 Cor 3:21b-22). Paul reminds them that because of God’s self-giving generosity, there is no longer any need or place for division over leadership that would limit the gifts of the Spirit poured out equally on women and men alike. To do so would be to go backward, to live as ‘old creation.’ Rather, these diverse women and men, reconstituted by the Spirit, are ‘new creation.’ They share eschatologically in all that belongs to the Son, who has guaranteed an embodied inheritance that does not prioritize gender, class, ethnicity, or anything else.
This expansive offering of life together, grounded in the generous life of the Triune God, offers a challenge to evangelical traditions and theologies where oppositional dualisms run deep, especially in terms of being female and male image-bearers of Jesus Christ. These dualisms take multiple forms. One is that of prescribing and proscribing roles according to gender and sexuality. Authority, hierarchy, tradition, and head/leadership are biblically interpreted through a set of assumptions that essentially prioritize men’s being and function over that of women. In this dualism, biology is a God-ordained destiny.