Reflections on “Becoming New”

IMG_5427This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Christians for Biblical Equality international conference in Los Angeles. Picture a hotel ballroom full of passionate, committed egalitarians, gathering for a time of learning, community, and focusing on the Biblical theme of gender equality, and you’ve got yourself quite a meeting.

Hey Tertullian, watch your back!

I thought I would offer a selection of reflections from my experience at the conference, my first ever CBE event:

First, overall, I was proud to simply be present. Don’t get me wrong…I hope that, one day, a group dedicated to the earnest and thoughtful promotion of Biblical gender equality will be flat out unnecessary, because that would reflect a church that has embraced the full and equal participation of women and men in ministry. Until that day, however, I’m proud to be a part of a community of believers who is committed to challenging the status quo in this area.

Second, I loved the culture of the group. For instance, right off the bat the emcee exhorted us to charity and grace with those with whom we might disagree. May it be so! Next, before every plenary speaker, a brother or sister from around the world would pray for us, both in English and in their native tongue. I found it to be a beautiful reflection of God’s Kingdom (and CBE’s international scope). And then there was the high value for Scripture. As one example, I spent an hour in a seminar on Paul’s letters led by Philip Payne, and while I left with my head spinning, I also left more convinced than ever that Paul preaches a message of gender equality. In fact, perhaps the only thing missing was a bit more space to chew on what was delivered in community. Every session was screaming for processing conversation that came only through my own initiative.

Third, I was helped to think about gender equality through the lens of justice. Because the truth of the matter is that gender inequality is indeed an issue of injustice. And so I straightened up in my chair when plenary speaker Eugene Cho, referencing the global scourge of human trafficking, called gender justice “a matter of life and death.” Strong words, but, in my heart, true ones.

Fourth, the age demographics of the room were fascinating to me, as it looked to me like the majority of the conference was 45+. On one hand, this is terrific; I love that an older generation of believers is all-in on behalf of gender equality. On the other hand, the cause also needs a younger generation to take it on. And so I was challenged to think about my role as a campus minister; how can I mobilize the young ministers that I am privileged to lead, as well as students, to advocate for gender equality in their contexts?

Finally–and this was perhaps my strongest impression from the weekend–it was great to network with like minded (and hearted) folks. Because, to be honest, sometimes all of this blogging, reading, writing, studying and speaking feels pretty isolating. Being at CBE, then, was a powerful experience in community, for which I was grateful.

So, who’s with me?!? To join up with CBE, go here.

PS…if you’re curious about others’ experiences at the conference, the Facebook processing is happening here (just scroll down), and my friend Ellysia’s write-up is here

PPS…one final highlight. Here’s a shot of me and two of my staff friends with CBE President Dr. Mimi Haddad:


6 responses to “Reflections on “Becoming New””

  1. searchingfortreasures says :

    Hi Rob! It was great to meet you at the conference. Thanks for blogging your reflections!! Perhaps you’d like to share your reflections on the CBE – Christians for Biblical Equality FB page? There are people on there who are eagerly looking for reflections from the conference. 🙂 — MaryAnn 🙂

  2. Leah says :

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I was unable to attend this year, but I hope to attend in the future. I long for this kind of community that just gets it. Keep doing what you’re doing. Blessings to you and all you hold dear

  3. Xana McCauley says :


    I am horrified that after reading your blogs for a while now (and greatly enjoying them) I left CBE’s conference in LA (just arrived in Johannesburg) without shaking hands with you. I also attended Philip Payne’s workshop. Is this possible I ask myself.

    I am Xana McCauley and facilitated Eugene Cho’s panel on Saturday 2:30. It would have been good to have told you in person how much your writings encourage me and that I share them often with others here in South Africa.

    Glad you enjoyed CBE’s Conference. I am the founder of CBE.SA’s group and will be hosting the CBE’s International Conference in Sept 2016 (Johannesburg – SA).

    Once again thank you for your writings – challenging and encouraging.



    Pastor Xana McCauley


    Rhema Hands of Compassion | GEMA (Gender Equality Matters)

    cell 082 887 5344 | | facebook – Hoc Rhema-sa | twitter @HOCRhema

    From: Challenging Tertullian
    Reply-To: Challenging Tertullian
    Date: Thursday 30 July 2015 at 8:23 AM
    To: “Xana McCauley @ GMail”
    Subject: [New post] Reflections on “Becoming New”

    rdixon1365 posted: “This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Christians for Biblical Equality international conference in Los Angeles. Picture a hotel ballroom full of passionate, committed egalitarians, gathering for a time of learning, community, and focusing”

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