Is Hospitality Lacking at The Gospel Coalition?

I left a comment at The Gospel Coalition the other day complimenting this article’s call for pastors to support gifted women teachers, and I suggested those same pastors should also consider sitting under the teaching of those gifted women. I included a link to a post about pursuing Christ-likeness regardless of one’s sex.

It was a fairly short comment, and I closed with the words, “Blessings to my complementarian sisters and brothers, Tim.”

TGC deleted the comment.

No room at the TGC inn for egalitarian commenters?

Here’s one thing I’ve learned about running a Christian blog: Sometimes people who have different doctrinal views will not only read the blog but they will comment from those views. I’m sure the people who run TGC’s blog pages have discovered the same. They’ve come up with a different way to handle it than I have.

I engage those comments. TGC deletes them.

I think my way follows the New Testament model about having different views on doctrine:

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. (Philippians 3:15.)

There is a mature way to present ideas and engage others with them. It’s not always easy and I’m not always successful at it, but I think Paul’s model is a good one to follow.

Apparently TGC thinks differently than I do on these matters. To echo Paul, I’m sure that God will make the mature view clear to them.


[For those who think I should have contacted TGC about this before writing this post, I did. No response. Of course, this is not a Matthew 18 situation anyway – it’s more Galatians 2 – but I thought I’d try.]


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64 Responses to Is Hospitality Lacking at The Gospel Coalition?

  1. Nick says:

    Just to be sure – have you read TGC’s comments policy? Many blogs have a policy not to allow any direct links in the comments section, so it may be due to that rather than in-hospitality. Worth checking into.

    • Tim says:

      I tried commenting without the link too, Nick. Got deleted.

      Oh well.


      P.S. I just checked their website and couldn’t find a comment policy. I did see this statement at the top of the post, though: “TGC’s blog features a community of voices who promote gospel-centered ministry for the next generation. We discuss the Bible, theology, church history, books, culture, and more, so join in the conversation as we seek to glorify God in what we do and say.” I tried to join in the discussion per that statement. No go.

  2. janehinrichs says:

    Tim, I just shared that article written by Jen. It is really good. Sorry they wouldn’t let your comments fly. Their readers’ loss.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks Jane. I think the main thing is that Christian blogs should allow for open conversation among people who try to engage constructively. Doctrine should inform the contributions to the discussion, not be a litmus test for whether someone can join the discussion in the first place. Running a blog in that manner takes work, but I would hope that TGC and other major voices in the kingdom of God would see the blessing in putting in the effort.

  3. Hope says:

    You got to experience what complementarian women experience often, Tim. Perhaps you could think of it as an exercise in immersion journalism. 🙂 You walked in a woman’s shoes.

  4. Jeannie says:

    That’s really unfortunate. I read the original article you linked and I thought it was very helpful and well-written. I would hope they’d welcome all thoughtful comments regardless of one’s supposed position.

    • Tim says:

      It was a well-written article, and from a complementarian perspective it is one that a lot of male pastors need to read and come to grips with. I also think they should be ready to discuss these issues with egals as well as fellow comps.

  5. christine says:

    I don’t read TGC…and now have no motivation at all to start. I do read several blogs where you comment regularly. I try to keep your civility in mind when I comment…it’s a good model. Hope says you experienced what complementarian women experience. I’m thinking you didn’t take the “go along to get along” road that it seems to me most complementarian women travel. What you experienced is the world of Christian women who know God has gifted them equally with men and are shut down and out of the body…deleted. I truly wonder if the treatment of women in the church qualifies as “quenching (grieving) the Holy Spirit”. When God gifts and the male leadership refuses to acknowledge, what else could it be? I am so encouraged when men of God see women as equally gifted and equally responsible to God. Thanks Tim…once again!

  6. Bronwyn Lea says:

    I’m so very disappointed in TGC’s response. Truly.

    • Tim says:

      It’s merely one instance of a larger issue in the Christian blogosphere in general, Bronwyn. Lack of dialog will get us nowhere.

    • Alana Childers says:

      Disappointed but not surprised. That circle has a long standing tradition of shutting down any voices that question anything they say (not just core doctrine!). I grew up with an atheist parent. I never had the luxury of shutting down that continuously dissenting voice – but engaging and defending my faith made me stronger and wiser. I am so thankful for the dissenting voice that forced me to be able to engage with both passion, integrity, intelligence and love. Really, Jesus and the NT church had to do the same thing, since they were surrounded with people who constantly challenged their beliefs! Sadly, TGC and their community either pretend egalitarians don’t exist, or they paint them as extremists, “feminazi’s”, women burning bras, etc in order to make their people afraid to even listen to us.

  7. Aimee Byrd says:

    Tim, you raise an important issue. Here is a good article that also addresses this: I am, as you know, a complementarian. But it seems to be interesting to me too that this is a litmus to gospel-centered communicating.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks for the link, Aimee. I think you pointed me to Trueman’s excellent essay a while back, but I’d forgotten just how compelling his position is.

      Another interesting point is the way Trueman handles his blog. He is unapologetic about not hosting comments, and says that if people really want to give him their thoughts on what he’s written they will find his email or postal address. I completely respect that view. In fact I’ve emailed him, as you know, and he responded very kindly.

  8. Laura says:

    A big thank you Tim for speaking up – for commenting on TGC post and writing about it here. I find some (not all) in the comp camp very frustrating in this aspect – so unwilling to dialogue or even be “friends” just because our views differ on this one issue. I found a group of female bloggers whose blogs have real depth of content, and they also happen to be comps – but most of their blogging is NOT even about the women’s issue. I so appreciated their challenging posts, and tried to get involved – regularly reading, leaving comments. Well, when my egal views were discovered, I was given the very clear cold shoulder. I was not welcome in their blogging circle. Any comments I then left were ignored (although not deleted), even though the posts and my comments were not even about the comp/egal issue! This so deeply saddens and frustrates me. But I have also experienced similar with some on the egal side as well – they shun anyone not fully egal. Sigh.

  9. Julie Anne says:

    Tim, I have had so many comments deleted by TGC that I now routinely grab a screenshot. (Many of them had to do with the SGM case – – they don’t want to talk about that.) As you know, I was sued for defamation by my former pastor and so I strongly believe in freedom of speech. When I spoke out against my pastor publicly (after going through all biblical processes), he sued me. When I started my blog, a former member commented about her church experience using her real name. She was then added to the lawsuit. This was a clear sign to blog readers and former church members: “if you speak out against me (the pastor), I will sue you.” This was an attempt to shut our voices down.

    I do not believe the TGC guys would sue anyone, but they are clearly using a “position of authority” to shut down communication. What are they afraid of? Is their way the only right way? That is the message they are sending and I find it heavy-handed and frankly, rude.

    I might have to try commenting 😉

    • Tim says:

      Thanks for giving us insights from what sounds like an extreme example of a refusal to communicate. I have another post coming up in a week that talks about what real communication looks like.

      • Julie Anne says:

        I know I’m on the radical side – people rarely like to discuss abuse. But as I study systems of abuse, the “no-talk” rule is a foundational way in which abusers use their power over others. If you cannot talk, you cannot report crimes, you remain stuck in a system of abuse, unable to seek help and recover. It is a really hot topic of mine.

        I’m not saying these guys are abusive, but the my-way-or-the-highway response is very disconcerting. Where’s the love?

  10. Susanna Krizo says:

    The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood does the same. I posted a question on the FB page about their book “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” and why they don’t object to the flawed hermeneutics (which is what CBMW claims Rachel Held Evan’s book is guilty of) that plagues the book in the form of internal contradictions and other fallacies.

    My question was deleted without a comment.

    • Tim says:

      Did you identify some of the hermeneutic issues you saw in their book? Interesting that they would not honor your question with a response, Susanna, if given the opportunity to engage constructively.

      On the issue of Biblical manhood and womanhood (not CBMW, just the basic idea) you might like this post where I reject the concept almost entirely.

      • Susanna Krizo says:

        I did identify plenty of them, Tim. I actually wrote a whole book about it (When Dogmas Die. It ended up a bit shaky, it was my first work), but I have listed some of the most obvious problems on my blog ( I’m still working on the series. The most obvious problem I found was that the writers contradict each other on almost every major points. Grudem says one thing, Ortlund says another, Frame a third. It’s true throughout the whole book. I found also some serious exegetical flaws, such as Ortlund claiming ‘adam means man, which entirely destroys Genesis 1:26-28. If this is as good as it gets, I’d say complementarism is in trouble, which explains why they don’t want to engage in discussion.

        Thanks for the link, I will take a look at it!

        • Tim says:

          I think much comp hermeneutics follows sound principles. I also follow sound hermeneutics and come to a different conclusion. My main beef is when someone makes this kind of doctrinal difference an issue of fellowship.

        • Susanna Krizo says:

          I agree that a lot of complementarian hermeneutics is sound, but in the case or RBMW one writer denies what the other affirms. You don’t see it unless you compare notes (the book is rather large), but if you don’t, you come away from it affirming that the woman in 1 Tim 3 are deacons, while you at the same time say they are wives of deacons. I believe this kind of theology isn’t sound.

        • Susanna, I suspect that is EXACTLY why they silence you. They don’t have a good comeback.

  11. You just got a badge of honor, the honor of having a post deleted because it did not agree with the original poster’s theology. Welcome to the club!

  12. Jeremy M. says:

    That is just sad. I mean it sounds like your comment was positive in nature, and maybe a wee little bit challenging, but on what grounds does it warrant deletion? Simply not being a complimentrian?

    I mean to be honest The Gospel Coalition was the first blog I read, it led me to Rachel Held Evans (even though I believe the connotations weren’t all too glowing) and then reading her led me in a bunch of other directions. However, I don’t really like the attitude that is on display. I’m fine with them holding what they believe, but squelching communication is quite petty.

    • Tim says:

      I think TGC has a lot of good stuff as well, Jeremy. The article I tried to comment on is a good example of a well-written piece that can instigate good discussion on sound doctrine. My point, though, is not about TGC of course. It’s about who the Body of Christ comes together to reason and consider our wonderful Savior.

      • Jeremy M. says:

        I wasn’t really trying to defend The Gospel Coalition, more saying that I think actions like this just really detract from the messages that may be very good in their posts.It would be the same for anyone else. As you say it’s about the body of Christ and really that attitude wherever it rears its ugly head isn’t a one that meshes well with the idea of the body of Christ.

  13. A similar thing happened to me on this post on a “biblical counseling” blog: – he left my first comment but made sure he got the last word by deleting my response to his response to me.

    • Tim says:

      Wow, he said you were trying to validate your emotions at the expense of God’s word! That was nowhere in your comment there, JN. Sad.

      • Thanks Tim. In the follow-up comment that he deleted I had said “isn’t it possible that your interpretations of scientific data are driven by deep theological presuppositions that could be wrong?” I guess he didn’t like that. He also emailed me and in his email he said, “There is no debate with regard to Scripture…it says what it says.” And there’s just no arguing with someone who refuses to acknowledge that all of us are INTERPRETING scripture! I was so frustrated I pretty much stopped trying to engage people like him and the Gospel Coalition, etc.

        • Tim says:

          He also emailed me and in his email he said, “There is no debate with regard to Scripture…it says what it says.”

          Who wants to debate? I’m happy when people enter into a discussion!

        • christine says:

          You are so evolved Tim. Don’t you understand the point? Discussions don’t have winners and losers! We can’t have a contest if we are merely investigating with an eye toward learning. We can’t be an authority if our conclusions can be challenged. Pride is a crippling disease suffered by many in and outside of the body.

  14. Rob Grayson says:

    That’s a shame, and does nothing to help TGC’s reputation.

    On a related note, I’m always surprised when bloggers don’t respond to comments. As a rule, I try to respond to every single comment – something I see you do too, Tim. (I realize this may not always be possible for those with more popular blogs, but I see it happen on smaller blogs too.)

    • Tim says:

      I do my best, Rob. There are some posts that don’t fit the response paradigm, like the quick humor things I sometimes toss out. But if someone is going to engage with a post then I like to engage back.

      • Rob Grayson says:

        For me, the biggest buzz I get from blogging is when someone comments – it shows that not only have they read what I’ve written, but it’s actually connected with them enough for them to want to take the time to leave a comment. I find that very honouring, and will always try to at least acknowledge every comment.

  15. jamie says:

    Verrrryyyyy interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience. Loved reading all the comments you got here, too. Eye opening.

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  19. keriwyattkent says:

    The comment delete doesn’t surprise me. But honestly, reading this article: it’s almost funny. It talks about how women can be gifted teachers, that they bring a different perspective on the text, etc. But then the author keeps inserting the idea of “when they teach women.” Couldn’t they give those gifts and insights to a mixed audience? So crazy that they favor women teachers but keep inserting their bias into the article.

    • Tim says:

      I thought the same, and in the comment they deleted I had pointed out that men could learn a lot from these women teachers too. I think that’s the part they couldn’t approve.

  20. Bev Murrill says:

    At least you tried! Good. They probably find you very trying!

  21. Heather says:

    I’d say any group that denies full church participation to 50% (or more) of its membership is lacking in more than hospitality.

    But yes, I hear you. Their practice of deleting comments that even remotely challenge their narrative makes them almost…cultish.

    • Tim says:

      It seems to me a type of groupthink operation, controlling the narrative. It’s one thing if they had a stated policy (like the Junia Project for example, which says comments debating the legitimacy of egalitarianism will not be allowed), but they don’t. They claim instead to be a coalition for the gospel. That’s a broad subject and I would expect there to be broad discussion.

  22. Well put. The way they fail to engage commenters – especially those who present disagreement in a reasonable way – seems to be a persistent problem in a tribe I love and am more than a little associated with (reformed leaning, baptistic complementarians).

  23. Tim says:

    Demonizing opponents is only a short term strategy, and will backfire when the people they’re trying to influence see it for what it is.

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