I am a complementarian. Without apology, I embrace complementarianism. I believe the Bible reveals a consistent complementarian understanding of gender. Not only so, the BF&M clearly states where the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists stand--they are complementarian too.
Thus, I have my theological feet squarely planted in the mainstream of my faith community.
Now that I have neatly put my personal perspective in place, I have to say Lifeway's recent decision to ban* the September/October issue of Gospel Today, a Georgia-based magazine, must be, at least for me, the most confusing, inexplicable move I have known since Dr. Thom Rainer took its leadership in 2006.
I cannot find, as of this writing, an official statement from Lifeway about it. However, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution quotes Chris Turner, spokesman for Lifeway, as saying: “It is contrary to what we believe." While I am prone toward caution because of AJC's not-so-fair representation of many former subjects, surely Lifeway has a more sophisticated, nuanced response.
Nonetheless, for my part, I cannot imagine a viable case for making this decision. If they were making such out of deep theological conviction on the one hand and consistency with the BF&M on the other, I can think of plenty of material that needs to go.
For starters, how about Lifeway's love-affair with Max Lucado, a retired Disciples of Christ pastor, toward whom they continue to give 'rock-star' status? He gets more PR than our beloved Adrian Rogers ever did. Now there's a theological fight to pick if ever there was one--The Essence of Believers Baptism!
Not to mention the personal bookshelves lined with works by R.C. Sproul, an unrepentant baby-baptizer. "It's contrary to what we believe."? What under heaven were they thinking?
Some books don't belong in Lifeway, all will grant. Nevertheless, when the decision to ban a work is made, it should at least have been given some serious thought. I cannot fathom the decision to pull Gospel Today got more than a short, pigmy-sized, knee-jerk reaction.
This faux pas cost you, guys. The PR fallout alone is stupendous. I remain quite confident that Sarah Pailin's campaign folks are jumping up and down with joy right now: "Well, thank God Sarah is a Pentecostal and not a Southern Baptist!"
With that, I am...
*The magazine is technically "not banned" since they still sell it "on request." However, they keep it under the counter, similar to the way some convienient stores peddle "adult" material