Wayne Grudem Continues His (pseudo)Theological Crusade


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.

* * *

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.




Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

9 thoughts on “Wayne Grudem Continues His (pseudo)Theological Crusade”

  1. “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).”


    Something to note: Egal do not believe in interchangeable roles in the way you are speaking of. The only thing is that gender does not determine leadership standing. We do not claim men and women are not different or that there are not some things certain genders tend towards.


  2. Exista introdiceri simple de mult mai buna calitate in teologia sistematica decit cea a lui Grudem. Pina ri cea, destul de scolastica si rtionalista, a lui Erickson e mai buna.
    Daca cautati ceva de calitate si potrivit pentru un european va recomand Christian Theology a lui Alister McGrath.


  3. Sincer,prima data am apelat la sistematica lui Grudem si mi s-a parut buna in special pentru explicatia trinitatii,pana nu am aflat situatia cu soteriologia.Dar este parerea mea(de amator incepator),cel putin cartea este “layman”.Imi plac autorii dezinteresati teologic ceea ce nu prea vezi mai ales cand merge vorba de subiecte sensibile.V-am intrebat de autori pentru ca ma intereseaza pererea celor care au experienta si care nu gandesc ca mine,asa ca nu va iau un soi de inchizitie:)


  4. Suna straniu intrebarea dvs. Sper ca nu ma luati drept un soi de inchizitie. Eu nu fac liste de autori acceptabili si inacceptabili, dar am opiniile mele (bune sau rele) cu privire la autorii pe care ii cunosc, si imi rezerv dreptul de a nu avea paperi despre cei pe care nu-i cunosc; si de asemenea de a-mi schimba opiniile daca am la dispozitie noi date care sa ma oblige la asta.
    Sunt in lista asta autori care imi plac foarte mult, si altii mai putin. Iata citeva opinii.
    Thiselton este unul dintre cei mai importanti specialisti evanghelici in hermeneutica – destul de abstract pentru incepatorii in teologie
    Marshall este unul dintre pionierii evanghelici ai academismului biblic in UK; provenit din traditia crestina dupa evanghelie – nu-l cunosc prea bine
    Fee este unul dintre pionierii penticostali ai academismului biblic in lume – un autpr care imi place foarte mult; cometariul lui pe 1 Corinteni mi se pare unul dintre cele mai bune scrise de evanghelici
    Osborn este un alt specialist evanghelic (american de data asta) in hermeneutica; cam prea american pentru gustul meu, dar e o chestiune de gust; un autor absolute decent, as spune eu


  5. Am carti ale acestori autorl: Thiselton,Vanhooser,Marshall,Fee,Grant Osborne.Sunt buni?


  6. Pe Carson, da, intr-o masura insemnata. Nu stiu ce scrie Kostenberger pe aceasta tema. Pe Moo, in niciun caz.
    Va recomand sa-l citit pe Scot McKnight si pe NT Wright, biblisti cu valoare recunoscuta si in afara mediul evanghelic, dominat de fumdamentalism.
    In ce priveste corectitudinea politica, depinde de perspectiva. Grudem e foarte ‘politically correct’ din perspectiva fundamentalistilor.
    Si inca ceva. Incercati sa-i citit si pe cei cu care nu sunteti de acord. In felul acesta aveti, eventual, sansa de a va descoperi posibiele orbiri. Va asigur ca le avem cu totii.


  7. Aici ii bagam si pe Carson,Kostenberger,Moo?
    Poate recomandati niste autori care explica aceasta tema corect?Sincer vorbind m-am saturat de corectitudinea politica a unor autori..


  8. Grudem mi se pare in intregime neconvingator.
    Felul in care minuieste el Biblia este literalist si fundamentalist, adica inducator in eroare si de-a dreptul periculos.
    Feminismul este inca o marota cu care fundamentalistii ii sperie pe naivii sinceri (dar sincer inselati).
    Vorba ceia, ‘drumul spre iad e pavat cu intentii bune’.


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