From Executive Director Owen Strachan: As CBMW is seeking support for our $30,000 matching campaign, we thought we would take this opportunity to introduce our readership to some evangelical leaders who support complementarianism and CBMW. Today, we interview Jeramie Rinne, a New England pastor with a heart for the gospel. Thanks for reading, and please join us in our campaign!
Jeramie Rinne is the senior pastor of South Shore Baptist Church in Hingham, Massachusetts. He graduated from Wheaton College (Illinois) in 1993 with a B.A. Bible and Ancient Languages and received his Master’s of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in 1996. Jeramie became the Senior Pastor of SSBC in 1997. He enjoys spending time with his wife and four children, reading, board games, and outdoor activities. You can find him on Twitter @jeramierinne.
When did you become a complementarian, and what did that look like?
My odyssey to complementarianism went through three phases. In phase 1, I was saved and discipled in a church with men only as pastors and elders. The church’s structure set my default view. In phase 2, I went to Wheaton College and for the first time heard strong theological and exegetical arguments for evangelical feminism. By the end of college my outlook on men and women in marriage and church had become egalitarian. The view fit my live-and-let-live personality as well as the conventional wisdom of my generation, and now I had a magazine full of biblical ammunition to back it up. Phase 3 occurred while at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where I was challenged by pastors, professors and fellow students to re-examine my egalitarianism. During this iteration I took a much deeper dive into the biblical texts, read a number of books on either side of the issue, and had discussions with students and professors on both sides of the debate. By the time I finished seminary, I had become re-convinced of complementarianism. I suppose I could say I am now in Phase 4, which has been a deepening of my complementarism through further reading, and through seeing it at work in local church ministry.
What role, if any, has CBMW played in your life and ministry?
CBMW has served as a critical resource for me, particularly by helping me hit the exegetical issues head on. For me this debate ultimately comes down to one question: What does the Scripture say? If I can be shown egalitarianism from a close reading of the Bible, then I am willing to buck centuries of church practice. Conversely, if I can be shown that complementarianism best represents biblical teaching, then I will happily bear the cultural marginalization and church controversy that the position invites. Grudem’s book “Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth” in particular has been a biblical tour de force in sorting that out. I’ve recommended it a number of times.
Why do you support CBMW, and encourage others to do the same?
The question of God’s plan for men and women in marriage and the church is increasingly a watershed issue that defines churches and establishes their footing toward the culture. How one answers this question connects profoundly to how one handles the Bible, orders the church, practices pastoral care, relates to the culture, and more. Pastors and churches cannot ignore this issue. CBMW has done more than any other organization to present a biblically rigorous, theologically nuanced, life-giving vision for male and female relationships.
What have you written of late that would be of interest to CBMW readers?
In addition to occasional blogs for 9Marks and The Gospel Coalition, I’ve recently completed a manuscript for 9Marks to be published by Crossway entitled “Elders: How to Lead the Church Like Jesus.” The book provides a concise biblical job description for new or aspiring elders. I envisioned a book that you would hand to a lay elder and say, “Here are your marching orders.” The book should be out later this year.
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