In the Spring of 1981, as a doctoral student in Nottingham, England, I piled Kris and our two kids, Laura and Lukas, into our small car and drove to Buxton. Professor F.F. Bruce, perhaps the most widely known evangelical scholar of the previous generation and a specialist on Paul, had invited our family to his home for some late-afternoon tea. When we arrived, we were welcomed into the home by Professor Bruce, and we sat in the living room for about two hours. During that time our son managed to spill a glass of orange squash on the Bruce's rug, which Professor Bruce dismissed with a 'whatever can be spilled has been spilled on that rug.'
During a break, as Kris was talking to Mrs. Bruce, I asked Professor Bruce a question that I had stored up for him (and I repeat our conversation from memory): 'Professor Bruce, what do you think of women's ordination?'
'I don't think the New Testament talks about ordination,' he replied.
'What about the silencing passages of Paul on women?' I asked.
'I think Paul would roll over in his grave if he knew we were turning his letters into torah.'
Wow! I thought. That's a good point to think about. Thereupon I asked a question that he answered in such a way that it reshaped my thinking:
'What do you think, then, about women in church ministries?'
Professor Bruce's answer was as Pauline as Paul was: 'I'm for whatever God's Spirit grants women gifts to do.' (italics original; 206-207)
All I can say is 'wow'! Oh yeah, and another thing...go pick up this book!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
When Scot McKnight met F.F. Bruce
I have recently read the outstanding and thought-provoking book Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight. I believe Scot has spoken somewhat prophetically in this book on what the Bible is, how it is to be read, and specifically, the role of women in ministry. Do go out and purchase this book if you have not. I believe you will be challenged, provoked, and inspired by what Scot has to say.
In the chapter (15) entitled "Silencing the Blue Parakeet (2): Women in Church Ministries 5" has an interesting story of when he and his family met with F.F. Bruce for some afternoon tea. It is worth quoting the story in full and pay close attention to what Bruce says in this conversation.