Always the Trinity
S. M. Hutchens Answers a Question on Egalitarian Theology
Dear Dr. Hutchens,
I am a recent graduate of a well-known Evangelical seminary. I do not know how familiar you are with the school, but, among other things, it very strongly supports egalitarian readings of Scripture.
In the years that I have spent here, I have been subjected to a nearly continuous barrage of egalitarian propaganda. Even in classes that are otherwise unrelated to “gender issues,” such as Greek or inductive Bible study, the professors will invariably make use of examples that support egalitarian interpretations of Scripture. Yet, for all of this, I remain unconvinced. Even their best arguments are based on faulty logic or fabricated “fact.” Finding men who hold to traditional understandings of Scripture on these matters is a difficult task on this campus (I can count all those I know on one hand).
This is one of the reasons that I have enjoyed reading your articles in Touchstone. I would like to thank you for your strong stand against the current drift of the Church into feminist-inspired doctrine. I would very much like to hear more of your thoughts on the subject. Do you have any writings (other than what can be found on Touchstone’s website) that expound upon biblical understandings of men and women, as well as how this relates to God’s own nature and the structure of the Church?
I was also wondering if you could point out some specific writings by church fathers, or other great saints, that address these issues. While the Fathers are largely ignored (if not outright maligned as “dead white men”) on this campus, I still have a great respect for them but simply do not know where to start.
I thank you very much for taking the time to read this email and for the work the Lord is doing through you for his body, the Church.
First let me commend you for holding your ground at the seminary. The kind of resolve necessary to refuse the king’s meat, whatever that might mean for future prospects, that I did not have to adopt with full intent until I was a graduate student in a liberal Protestant seminary must now be taken up by students at schools that profess Evangelical orthodoxy but want egalitarianism in the bargain—which, as you have become aware, can’t be done.
For many years your school had a reputation for providing ministers in the tradition of its confession’s founders to a church that became more decidedly modernist as time went on. Many congregations, in the attempt to maintain the earlier doctrines and practices, looked to it rather than the official denominational academies to provide them pastors, something the powers-that-be within that church resented, and thwarted when they could. There isn’t much need for them to do this any more, for the Evangelical schools are giving them much of what they want. The leaders of fallen churches can tolerate, as matters of style or preference, any number of pieties, high-church or low, charismatic or traditional, legalist or loose, as long as they are accompanied by the orthodoxy du jour.
Feminism seems to have been more than the majority of these seminaries, whatever confessional history they claim to represent, could resist—and you are right: viewed dispassionately, the whole business is absurd, for what must be done to the interpretation of Scripture and the Church’s history to accommodate egalitarian doctrine is so perverse and nonsensical that only the sort of indoctrinational methods you mention, joined with subtle, then later—when feminist power has become consolidated—not-so-subtle intimidation, suffice to stifle the voice of reason.
Those who are truest to egalitarian principles admit the ultimate impossibility of reforming a faith that is, in the words of one of them, “hopelessly patriarchal.” They have, very sensibly given their convictions, denounced Christianity and left the Church altogether.
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!
Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
more from the online archives
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor