There are two organizations promoting certain political agendas–the CBMW (Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) and the CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality). A close look at these organizations indicates though that neither organization takes our Lord’s commands that seriously. The CBMW is a mix of more fundamentalist Baptists and Presbyterians while the CBE simply promotes a list of denominations that have minimal in common sacramentally and theologically simply because these denominations ordain women.
First off, I’m going to upset both sides of the debate when I say this but NO WHERE IN THE BIBLE does Jesus instruct us to ordain a women and NO WHERE IN THE BIBLE does Jesus instruct us not to ordain a women. However, there is something he DOES instruct us to do.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matt. 28:19)
Baptists and Presbyterians may not be as big of a problem as the denominations promoted by the CBE but nevertheless, because our Lord made such a big deal about us baptizing people and making disciples out of them, the priority of our theology must focus on the proper understanding of the sacrament of baptism. The Niceno-Constantinopoloitan Creed insists that Christians are to believe in “one baptism for the remission of sins”. To be a Christian means to take this as your doctrine. All of the most ancient churches recognize this creed as establishing official church doctrine. The Assyrian Church of the East, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, and the Oriental Orthodox Church. To be a Christian one must accept the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. The issue of the nature of God and baptism are both settled there.
YES! Baptism is a big deal! Which is why the CBE is actually heretical, not for its egalitarianism but for it’s promotion of non-Christian denominations! It promotes both the Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Salvation Army! Neither of these groups practice baptism and are in a state of willful disobedience to our Lord!
Of course, another significant problem is that many of these churches disagree on sacramental theology. For instance, the Anglicans wold certainly view paedobaptism as a necessary teaching and so would the ELCA. The ELCA would argue for consubstantiation in the eucharistic presence and reject other forms as a heresy. Anglicans frequently debate the proper nature of the eucharist.
The bottom line is that the CBE doesn’t have it’s priorities straight in promoting denominations and neither does the CBMW which mixes Presbyterians and Baptists (who both disagree on the nature of baptism and who should be baptised). None of these churches mix well in theology together and to argue that the issue of egalitarianism vs. paternalism is the most important issue for the church is to completely ignore our Lord!