Leaves Everyone More Confused

Diane Gaskins
Jun 12 · 5 min read

Last week Danny Akin, President of the SBC Southeastern Seminary, was invited as a guest speaker into one of his classrooms to help future Bible expositors clarify an issue which currently divides his denomination:

Does the Bible allow women to preach to the gathered assembly on Sunday morning in a non-ordained capacity?

Why this issue? Why now? The Egalitarian/Complementarian debate surfaced recently as a group of SBC women, led by Beth Moore, and their allies boasted online of upcoming preaching gigs. The ensuing online controversy lasted for weeks and culminated in a SBC annual meeting this week with tireless promotions of this same feminist agenda.

Danny Akin is no small voice in Evangelicalism. He was a main speaker at the recent Gospel Coalition annual conference. In this presentation he mentioned that he serves on the boards of Liberty University and The Master’s Seminary.

Does the question at hand represent a minor controversy? Hardly. Differences regarding women in the pulpit have led to tragic historical divisions in major Evangelical denominations over the last fifty years. A word fitly spoken from President Akin would come in due season.

To his credit, President Danny Akin did toe the line at the idea of female elders. Speaking of the Apostle Paul’s forbidding female elders, Akin told the class, “He really did mean that in 1 Timothy 2 and 3 and Titus 1. Just the whole flow of scripture has an understanding of equality in essence but difference in assignment.”

Is there more good news? Yes, there is: In his classroom presentation, President Akin affirmed for the class his views on biblical inerrancy. He expressed strong ire for seminary students who don’t believe the Bible is without error.

Well, almost. To be more accurate, Akin expressed his ire is for students who refuse to sign evangelical documents affirming inerrancy. But that is still a solid beginning. Good and good.

Now for the meat of the theological presentation. To make my point below, I will extrapolate from President Danny Akin’s presentation and I invite you to view the complete transcript of this recorded, 36-minute seminary presentation from which I will draw.

What are the questions Akin is answering? They center on Beth Moore’s recent comments, the role of women in the church and their role in God’s created world. Scanning the presentation we find President Danny Akin makes the following appeals:

“I don’t think so…

“I don’t agree with it…

“I think is stupid…

“I think she said something dumb…

Absurd…

I don’t think…

I think…

I don’t think…

I think…

I don’t see…

I think…

I think…

I don’t see…

I think…

I don’t ask…

I ask…

I think…

So I don’t think…

So do I think?…

But I think…

Which I don’t think…

I think…

For example Jen Wilkins thinks…

I think that would be a misrepresentation…

I think…

Yes, but I think that’s fuzzy…

That is not a space I would want to drive down a stake…

Could I, would I, vote for her for President? In a heartbeat…

You betcha I’d want to…

I could never…

I don’t see…

I don’t think it’s smart…

I don’t think…

I think…

Now that’s a wisdom issue. I can’t give you a chapter and verse. Kind of comes back to what we were saying. I do think…

Would I rule out?…

No, I think it was unwise. I think it was probably even, and it’s difficult if I say that. I just say that and I don’t think…

In other words, I don’t have a problem with a woman teaching in a… — pick the context — and women could exceptionally but not normally…

Would I allow her (Lottie Moon) to come to my church and speak on a Sunday morning? I would…

I actually respect that…

See that’s a quagmire, what in the world is prophesy in 1 Corinthians 11?…

I wish I did know the answer to that…

I begin getting uncomfortable with that…

I do. I think…

I think JD would even say that…

I think it’s a good argument…

Would I invite Beth to come and preach? That may be unwise…

I believe…

… I believe…

I will trust engage my brothers and sisters in respectful conversations and try to persuade one another…

I’m good with that…

Have you seen the Ken Copeland interview on Inside Edition?…

Oh my gosh, is he (Kenneth Copeland) psycho or what?…

It’s brutal…

There’s no doubt in my mind he’s crazy…

Would I have a problem with?…

I would not…

Yeah, so again, I don’t have a problem with…

I’ve seen…

Yeah, fine with that all day long…

So hear me, we do not want or think it’s wise…

But these idiots are out there…

You know, I think…

I’m very much where I think I’m accurate here. I’m very much where Russ (Dr. Russell Moore) is…

Russ has been one of the one’s that’s been telling us…

And I thought he (Owen Strachan) was flat wrong, both in tone and in content…

I find it good to have respectful, healthy conversation…

Now I believe…

… and I believe…

…but I think…

So I believe….

And so what I can do is draw the line…

And I applaud my colleague Ken Kaitley…

I just think it’s one of the wondrous things about Southeastern Seminary…and I think…

… at that point I think…

… now I don’t see that at all…

… and that’s like when I was at Southern. I got so ill of hearing guys saying to me…

And I’ve just not seen too many scenarios…

… having said that, I think…

Let me say again: I think…

I’ll put it this way: I think men would be well served to listen to women from time to time…

I think…

It’s just awkward. But I do think if I were king of the world…

But do I think…

And how that-gosh I think that would be valuable…

So do I think?…

I do think…

I would say yes, yes.

But the hard-core complementarians says no, (Here President Danny Akin speaks of a woman who contributes to an in-home Bible study led by her husband) she would be sinning and they would be sinning. And I just think that’s ridiculous…

I believe the scriptures allow women to do a lot…

I couldn’t have done that if I had to say to them… ‘Why aren’t you home bare-foot and pregnant in the kitchen?’

What I used to say is…

Thank you guys. That was fun.

What do I think?

Perhaps we have found an inerrant source for President Danny Akin.

But I think it kind of comes back to what I think might be a not chapter and verse but rather a wisdom issue. I think.

Let’s try this again from another angle.

Let’s start at the top of the presentation and work our way down to record all the words of inerrant Scripture Southeastern Seminary President Danny Akin reads and exposits…

Hmm. We’re not finding anything.

Maybe it’s time for a “bigger tent.”

We’ll try one more angle:

Let’s start from the top again. This time let’s record all the words of inerrant, God-breathed, sufficient, trustworthy Scripture that Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, merely reads or quotes from memory in answering what the Bible says concerning this denomination-dividing controversy of women teaching in the pulpit…

Nothing.

This must be thin inerrancy.

I think.


For the New Christian Intellectual

Ideas Matter - Help us restore the mind in Christian life

Diane Gaskins

Written by

For the New Christian Intellectual

Ideas Matter - Help us restore the mind in Christian life

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade