Wayne Grudem is one of the favourite authors of those evangelicals inclined towards fundamentalism. His extremely simplistic Systematic Theology (see for instance his absolutely pathetic treatment of the doctrine of the Trinity|) has been translated into many languages, including Romanian, creating confusion in the minds of many candidates o ecclesial ministry.
Among other subjects, it seems that Grudem has acquired a real obsession with evangelicals sympathetic to the egalitarian position on gender roles (or what he calls ‘evangelical feminism’). He has published already three books on this topic (see HERE, HERE and HERE).
Recently, David C Cramer, from the Council for Biblical Equality, in his article ‘Assessing Hierarchist Logic: Is Egalitarianism Really on a Slippery Slope?‘ has taken Grudem to charge on his claims that what he calls ‘evangelical feminism’ is leading people on the slippery slope towards liberalism, showing the logical fallacies on which Grudem builds his argument.
Here is how Scot McKnight summarises Cramer’s argument:
First, there is the fallacy of hasty generalization or selective evidence. This happens when supporting evidence is emphasized and counter evidence is ignored or minimized. [I found the same logical fallacy in Grudem’s approach to the warning passages in Hebrews.] Or when a universal claim is made on partial evidence. The problem here is that Grudem connects egalitarianism to liberalism; the former leads to the latter. Only there are so many contra indicators, esp the number of Wesleyan and Holiness women in ministry that vastly outweigh the number of “liberal” women in ministry (3 or 4 to 1), that the author is guilty of a hasty generalization. The correlation, then, is only possible. Cramer concludes that Grudem’s argument is ultimately a tautology.
Second, the fallacy of equating correlation with causation. This one is simple: that some liberals are egalitarians, or even if all were, there is no necessary causation between being egalitarian and becoming liberal. It is far more likely, something Grudem does not explore adequately, that other factors are at work, and not all of them the same between the two groups. Cramer suggests Grudem should have abandoned this logic and argued that egalitarianism or evangelical feminism could be called the new forms of liberalism. Grudem gives no logical reason “to worry that evangelical egalitarianism is a cause of liberalism” (7).
Third, there is the fallacy of the slippery slope argument, which the author criticizes in the case of the “trajectory hermeneutic” and which the author could have applied equally to his own arguments. This argument only works if there is a logical necessity between egalitarianism/Christian feminism and liberalism; there is none. Cramer: “there is simply no logically necessary relationship between these positions” (8). Cramer sees too many psychological issues at work here.
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As I have explained a number of times on this blog, in what I am concerned, I refuse to chose between the egalitarian and the so-called complementarian positions, even if, as it is obvious, I have more sympathy for the first one. What I dislike with the egalitarian position is its (sometimes unconscious) indebtedness to Marxism, which I find problematic. Even if I agree that men and women are equal in value and dignity, I do not believe in interchangeable roles (men obviously cannot give birth to children), but neither do I believe in fixed roles (like, only men could be ordained as clergy). I believe, rather, that, whatever their actual roles, men and women are created for living in harmony (be it in the family in society at large). This requires a certain degree of complementarity between men and women.
Yet, this does not make me a complementarian. As McKnight writes, in agreement with Cramer, ‘the complementarian view is essentially — by consensus of their approaches and emphases — a species of hierachicalism’. As such, the term ‘complementarian’ is a misnomer and deceitful (even if, possibly, not intentionally so). I am convinced that gender hierachicalism is unjustified biblically and theologically, being rooted often in a faulty view of the Trinity.