I recently listened to the debate between Ligon Duncan and Tim Keller on women and the diaconate. It’s worth listening to as a model of how to engage a controversial and potentially divisive issue.
Whatever you think of the issue itself, a few things struck me:
- You almost couldn’t call it a debate. They jokingly refer to it as a love-fest. That’s exactly how it should be on secondary issues.
- They are still passionate about the issue. Secondary issues still matter.
- I was impressed by Keller saying that he had recently read new books on the egalitarian issue to see if he was missing any new developments. He seemed to approach the issue with a willingness to reconsider his own position. Good example. We should never be afraid to submit our positions to Scripture to see if they need to be revised – but it’s easier said than done.
- Finally, I’m impressed that the issue was being discussed at a theological issue. So often politics derails theology in denominational discussions. I’m sure there was a little of that, but good for them for also dialoguing theologically.
Whatever your position, it’s a good model for how to talk about secondary, but important, theological issues in a denomination.