CBE conferences regularly feature an awards banquet to honor those who have courageously declared that the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, supports gift-based rather than gender-based ministry. This year, CBE celebrated sixteen individuals for their important leadership as egalitarians. One of our award recipients was Dr. Roger R. Nicole, who played a leading role in the formation of Christians for Biblical Equality.
Trained at the Sorbonne, Harvard University, Gordon Divinity School, and Wheaton College, Roger taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he recalls sitting at his desk in anguish over the female students who had lost one of their strongest champions—David Scholer (who had moved to teach elsewhere). Asking God to bring support to the many women called to ministry, Roger felt the Lord ask him, “Why don’t you support them?” He responded, “Yes, I will do it!” Advocating for female seminarians at Gordon-Conwell was invaluable preparation for his next appointment—Reformed Theological Seminary, where Roger continued to stand beside women called to ministry. Roger persisted in his support for women at the Evangelical Theological Society, where then he served as president in 1956.
Nicole played a seminal role in the vision and genesis of this organization. He, along with a select number of visionaries wrote CBE’s statement “Men, Women, and Biblical Equality,” now translated into twenty-four languages. This foundational document has become the basis upon which hundreds of churches and organizations have developed their stance on gender. Roger said concerning the statement:
Having shared with six others the responsibility of drafting the original manifesto for the Christians for Biblical Equality, I stand firmly committed to the same. I believe that most, if not all of the restrictions on women in society have no basis in Scripture; and that those maintained in the Church are based on an inadequate interpretation of a few restrictive passages which put them in contradiction with the manifest special concern and love of God for women articulated from Genesis to Revelation. I do believe that in the eschaton all the redeemed will endorse biblical equality, since all of them will together constitute the bride of Christ.
Join me in asking Christ to raise up many more Roger Nicoles in evangelical seminaries throughout the world!