The Moody Conference--Upon Further Reflection
Further reflections on day one.

My post from yesterday elicited a couple of comments asking for further information about the Moody Pastors' Conference going on this week. It wasn't my intention to be unhelpful, but I was. So, thanks, Jarrod and PastorM. You asked good questions. Here are my answers.

I saw no Twittering–in the sessions I was in, there were not even any laptops. A pretty low-tech crowd.

As for diversity, I was actually impressed by the racial makeup. Based on my unscientific observation, I would say the Moody conference was more ethnically diverse that Catalyst and NPC. Significant numbers of Hispanic and black participants. I can't say anything about the international makeup–I met a Canadian. Other than that, I don't know.

The majority of the breakout sessions were issues and/or methods focused–how to grow your church, increase giving, responding to homosexuality, etc.

As for the "hidden curriculum," I'd say the difference in Catalyst and Moody could be described like this: At Catalyst, all the talk was about contextualization and mission. At Moody, it was about doctrine and faithfulness. That observation is based on John Piper's presentation on Tuesday night and the audience's response to him.

As for women, no–there was very little female participation. In fact,

at one point in Piper's presentation, he addressed us as "brothers." Then he said, "I know there are women here, but I'm talking to pastors." The clear assumption is that pastor = male.

May 20, 2009

Displaying 1–10 of 16 comments

Robert MacMillan

June 22, 2010  12:18pm

Piper makes the same mistake that most who write about women in ministry (or women not in ministry) make. He assumes that the word pastor refers to an office in the church rather than to a person given to the church. The word describes gifting, not office, and as long as we confuse the two concepts, we will continue to have men addressing church leaders as "brothers." The term comes from Ephesians 4:11, 12, a listing of five gifted people who are given by God to the church to build up the body. Among this group are apostles (Junia was an apostle), prophets (the daughters of Philip were prophets), evangelists (we have Philip), pastors (any woman described by Titus 2:3-5), and teachers (Priscilla comes to mind). It is an unbiblical argument from silence that women cannot be pastors, or apostles, or teachers, or leaders. Until men such as Piper and women such as Letha Scanzoni start being more careful with their terms, we will continue to cloud the issue of women in professional ministry.

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May 26, 2009  1:24pm

What I find most surprising is that in 2009 there is still a ministry conference that exists that excludes women. Why aren't pastoral wives, elder wives, etc. encouraged to attend so that they, too, can benefit from the ministry training provided? I find that odd. Be complimentarians if you want, but to purposefully exclude women from any kind of ministry training opportunities seems wasteful.

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Adam S

May 25, 2009  1:49pm

Linda, it says exactly what Moody wants to say. There is no disrepect intended (although I am sure there is some in reality) because Moody believes that while women can serve the church, they cannot serve in the pastorate. This is a pastor's conference and therefore a very small female attendance is to be expected. Now I disagree with that stance, but I actually respect them for being consistent. What I think is more concerning are groups that have pastor's conferences that agree with women in the pastorate and have no more women than the Moody conference does.

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Linda Stoll

May 25, 2009  12:56pm

I'm a bit sad to hear that there were few women there ... what does that say to our daughters about their place in ministry?

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May 24, 2009  7:40pm

Maybe lack of twittering showed not that they were not high-tech, but instead that they were respectful.

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Adam S

May 23, 2009  8:23pm

The Moody pastor's conference is for men only. But the fact that it is for men only is making a theological statement. (One that I disagree with). But at least they are consistent, they do say that they do not intend to train women for the pastorate in their MDiv program.

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May 23, 2009  12:37pm

This discussion needs some context. Piper was addressing a group of pastors, at a pastor's conference that was men-only. The females in attendance, from what I could tell, were pastor's wives who had accompanied their husbands, and some Moody students. When Piper said, "Brothers", I don't think he was making a statement of whether or not women should be ordained-he was simply speaking to his audience, the vast majority of whom were men. I suppose if you go looking for "isms" (racism, sexism, etc.) you'll find it. One of my friends struggled with attending this conference because of the men-only policy, until the females on his staff said, "Just go and have a good time."

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May 22, 2009  4:55pm

Unfortunately, I suspect Dwight L Moody is probably turning in his grave over the decision to prevent women from attending the conference, or from being pastors for that matter. In fact in the late 1880s Moody led the pack in providing women "with training to preach, enter the pastorate and teach Bible." (Pierce, 41) Moody himself invited Francis Willard to preach in his Boston evangelistic campaign (Tucker, 273). "MBI women openly served as pastors, evangelists, pulpit supply preachers, Bible teachers and even in the ordained ministry." (Pierce, 41) Nor is the issue one of having men-only events, which are fine. The issue is one of excluding women from leadership functions. While I applaud Moody for their racial diversity–this is clearly a much-needed step for the evangelical church–I believe Moody himself would have deplored the backward step of excluding women. As Micah said, Piper is making his point with a sledgehammer, but it wasn’t Moody’s point at all.

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May 22, 2009  9:00am

Juan: Glad you liked it-your response was genius, one of those "I wish I'd thought of that" moments.

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May 22, 2009  8:20am

Mark: Great line about "men only" roles in the church–like mowing grass and shoveling snow. We should start a ministry for such men. We could call it "Premise Keepers."

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