There are a few big conferences happening this week in Christendom. There’s the Together for the Gospel conference that starts today. But its preconference, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, or #CBMW16, conference has been the one to stir up quite a bit of news and controversy.
#CBMW16 is spearheaded by John Piper and Wayne Grudem and filled with speakers like Reverend Kevin DeYoung, Dr. Al Mohler and John Piper. This year’s event theme is “The Beauty of Complementarity,” designed to equip the church to defend the “gospel version of manhood and womanhood in this fallen world.”
For those unfamiliar with complementarity, The Gospel Coalition offers this definition:
A complementarian is a person who believes that God created male and female to reflect complementary truths about Jesus. That’s the bottom-line meaning of the word. Complementarians believe that males were designed to shine the spotlight on Christ’s relationship to the church (and the LORD God’s relationship to Christ) in a way that females cannot, and that females were designed to shine the spotlight on the church’s relationship to Christ (and Christ’s relationship to the LORD God) in a way that males cannot.
But the conference has attracted quite a bit of disagreement on social media, sparking outrage from speakers like Rachel Held Evans and Sarah Bessey. They, among others, took to Twitter to express concern, and in some cases outrage, about how the conference approaches gender roles, specifically related to issues of abuse in marriage and the role women play in leadership in the church.
Below are tweets from the conference as well as tweets from those in disagreement with what the conference purports.
— Denny Burk (@DennyBurk) April 12, 2016
— CBMW (@CBMWorg) April 12, 2016
— Owen Strachan (@ostrachan) April 11, 2016
— Albert Mohler (@albertmohler) April 12, 2016
“Have you ever noticed that whenever women show up in the Bible something good is about happen?” Kevin DeYoung #CBMW16
— Courtney Reissig (@courtneyreissig) April 11, 2016
“If your theology doesn’t work for the least of these, the poor, the outliers, it doesn’t work. Complementarianism doesn’t work.” #CBMW16
— Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) April 11, 2016
“I call on #CBMW16 to repent for placing ungodly oppressive burdens on men & women. Patriarchy is not the good news of our Jesus!”
— Sarah Bessey (@sarahbessey) April 12, 2016
— Amy R. Buckley (@AmyR_Buckley) April 13, 2016
— Jory Micah (@jorymicah) April 13, 2016
“With so much around us shouting that women are disposable, it is radical that our God believes women are people, too.” #CBMW16
— Sarah Schwartz (@SarahSchwartz) April 12, 2016
As the T4G conference continues this week, it seems from the tweets and commentary that the contention and disagreement will only continue, not let up.