Dave Kersten on the Commission on Biblical Gender Equality (full version)

Dave Kersten, former executive minister of the Department of the Ordered Ministry and current dean of North Park Theological Seminary, speaks on the history and current status of the Commission on Biblical Gender Equality.



  1. Nancy Gordon says:

    Thank you for posting this! As someone who helped plan the consultation on women in ministry in 2000 and who was on the Commission in its early years, this brought back lots of memories. I’m grateful that the commission has persevered and that the Covenant is more fully living into including all in God’s salvation and the work of God’s kingdom.

  2. kevin says:

    Are you saying that if I don’t believe that women should be head pastors of a church, that I believe that women are not saved? (see around 20 min)

  3. Ron Peterson says:

    In recalling an event (around the 23 minute mark) and repeating a comment of yours which you admit was not appropriate and less thoughtful, you have endorsed language which I believe is not helpful for the discussion on women in ministry. I suggest that you edit it out.

  4. jhavens says:

    Editor’s note: This comment came via email from a Covenant pastor named Herb. I am posting it here with his permission.

    Hi Dave,

    We are currently searching for an Associate Pastor. One of the well-qualified applicants (from outside the ECC) is a complementarian. Based on a conversation with him I was prompted to view the video on Covchurch.tv on the history of the Commission on Biblical Gender Equality. I was involved in the COMS of the Midwest Conference during the middle of the last decade, including a bit of time as chair. I was chair when the first time license issue came up and the language of faithful dissent and egregious dissent was very helpful to me at that time. Also helpful was the “test” question about supporting and advocacy for women in this person’s church who are called to ministry. All that to say I was peripherally involved in those broader conversations at that time, directly involved in the outworking locally and grateful then and now.

    Watching this video this morning I am deeply grateful for your leadership and courage around this question, manifested in your careful speech and in some of the anecdotes you share. Your comments continue to help me in my task as local pastor. Very well-articulated, very respectful of the people involved while maintaining a strong, clear voice of advocacy for women at all levels of ecclesiastic leadership.

    Thank you,


  5. Greg says:

    Carter quote + deeply dubious comments at opening…complementarians “subjugate” “for selfish ends”…leading to world “persecution” … That is offensively aggressive toward the position and motion of the global church for the 1800 +/- years after Christ … and the majority of the church today…on the idea of pastors…church leadership has effectively been a persecutor of females for the majority of its history?
    Spiritually disturbing that the speaker’s “complementarian = sexist bigot” story was so heartily received by the room.
    This video should be retracted.

  6. Lexington says:

    Overall, this is a helpful conversation. However some of the caricatures of the complimentarian position are a bit overdrawn. If you read the leading complimentarian thinkers, they would argue that their position is not about the subjugating women but rather calling men to become sacrificial servants on behalf of women and children. But that is another discussion for another time.

    More importantly, it will be interesting to see if the ECC is willing to follow their own convictions concerning Women in Ministry (WIM) into the arena of human sexuality (HS). In 2007, the ECC commissioned an excellent and articulate theological paper on this issue. Yet if the ECC considers WIM an issue that has “salvific” importance, will they also have the courage to say the same thing about HS? Biblically speaking, the evidence of WIM pertaining to anything remotely close to salvation is slim at best, but texts abound about the seriousness of HS in terms of salvation (see Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; 2 Peter 2:4-10; Jude 7; Rev. 18).

    The 2007 paper is a fine work, but to actually find this paper on the website takes quite a bit of digging around. Furthermore, given the increasing attention this issue is having in the public sphere, it will be important for the ECC to begin resourcing church leaders and congregations with educational tools to help them articulate and defend the current position on HS, just as they have with the WIM issue. Many denominations are being torn asunder over HS, and the ECC has become an attractive option for some, given its evangelical heritage and theological openness. Given this, the ECC is in a unique place to offer a compelling voice and leadership over this issue.

    Will the ECC rise to the occasion and give equal (if not more!) attention to this pressing issue as they have WIM? Time will tell…

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