(AP) Deerfield, Illinois — Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) co-founders D. A. Carson and John Piper revealed today in a press conference that the CBMW and its sister (“Really, we should call it ‘brother,'” said Piper with a laugh) organization The Gospel Coalition (TGC) have in fact been massive shams meant to mobilize North American evangelicals to consider and embrace feminism and other non-traditional ideas.
“We took our cues from ‘The Daily Show’,” said Carson, grinning in front of reporters gathered at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he holds a distinguished professorship. “The way Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would square off, we thought, ‘Hey, what if some of us played the Stewart part and others of us the Colbert part? Who wants to do what?’ So we drew up a list of teams and went to work.”
The first part of the plan was to form a feminist group. The Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus had been founded in 1973, but it had become too liberal for the purpose. So a new group, Christians for Biblical Equality, was formed and staffed with a number of prominent evangelical Biblical scholars. “We were afraid the whole thing would be obvious from the beginning,” beamed Mimi Haddad, current president of the group and a regular member of Piper’s Wednesday night poker game. “I mean, we clearly had the best biblical and theological and historical arguments. It was a real challenge for the other guys,” and here she shot an admiring glance at Carson and Wayne Grudem, a former member of the poker game before he left for Arizona, “but they came through!”
The CBMW was formed shortly thereafter and produced a massive volume (“The thing’s a brick!” chortled R. Kent Hughes, former pastor of College Church in Wheaton and a member of the original council) that made waves as it was tossed into the calm pond (some might say, “stagnant slough”) of evangelical theological reflection. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was the shot heard ’round the evangelical world, and the mock battle was on.
As a result, CBE memberships have steadily climbed, reported Haddad. “It’s been tough keeping up the pretense of a fair fight,” she said, shaking her head. “Bill Webb’s book pretty much did in the other side, with other books kinda just blowing up the rubble. When the Sexist Pigs–yeah, that’s what they called themselves in private!–came up with the new argument of a permanent subordination within the Trinity, they could get only Bruce Ware to champion it. Everyone else just couldn’t bring themselves to do it. That’s when we knew we needed to move on.”
“Yes,” said Piper, putting his arm around Mark Driscoll, “we had to pull out the Big Gun here and try to rankle a whole new generation into paying attention. I mean, the arguments have already been laid out pretty clearly on behalf of egalitarianism, but Markie here did the job of annoying people under 40 enough to actually explore the issue for themselves.”
Mention of Driscoll, pastor of the wildly successful Mars Hill congregation in Seattle, Wash., prompted the panel to disclose that The Gospel Coalition was really just a foil for the Emergent Church movement.
“We were happy to do double duty,” Carson said. “I mean, I had time on my hands. Trinity has given me this posh post, and the New Testament isn’t all that hard to figure out. So I’ve been able to write tons of books and articles ‘warning’ people” (at this point he used his fingers in the “scare quotes” gesture) “about all kinds of false doctrine. The point, of course, was to get people to think theologically for once, instead of just thinking about a Christian diet plan or listening to mindless CCM all the time.”
“I was in the same situation,” Piper volunteered. “I mean, my church pretty much runs itself by now and everybody there knows what I’m going to say each Sunday morning, so I can kinda preach on autopilot and then take the time necessary to stir up American Christians to new ideas by playing this hilarious Stephen Colbert role I love so much!”
At this point, Rob Bell stepped to the microphone. “I just want to thank these guys for boosting my career so incredibly. Without them denouncing me so often and so relentlessly–and by golly they did a hell (well, I don’t believe in that, so let me say) heck of a job–I could never have been able to escape Michigan’s winters!”
Bell embraced Driscoll, and they then turned to the audience having pulled on matching T-shirts that read, “I’m with the pastor of the real Mars Hill Church!”
Christianity Today editor Mark Galli then said a few words. “CT has always tried to lead, even manipulate, evangelicalism in America, and we’re just proud to have been part of this friendly conspiracy to wake people up to new ideas. Mark Noll told us that the nineteenth century was full of debates about every darned doctrine you can imagine, and people paid attention, sometimes riding for miles to hear a three- or four-hour debate on modes of baptism. That seemed to us to be pretty groovy, so we thought we’d better do the same thing.
“We appointed Scot McKnight as a kind of brake on the emergent guys and Tim Keller to do the same for the Gospel Coalition ‘dudes’, as they prefer to be called, and it all worked out pretty well, I think. Even I got into it from time to time. It was super-fun!”
Alas, with the recent Elephant Room debacle during which Driscoll misunderstood Piper’s hand signals from the front row and ended up being too accepting of T. D. Jakes’s obvious heresy, the leaders of the conspiracy decided to call it off and go public.
“Yeah, that oneness Pentecostalism is obviously, obviously wrong,” said Piper, with Driscoll nodding beside him. “I just had to scratch my ear at exactly the wrong time and that was the signal for Mark to back off. He almost never sees me do it, of course, so he really paid attention. My bad.”
T. D. Jakes himself spoke up and said, “It’s a great relief to have this thing over, let me tell you. It’s been very hard trying not to roll my eyes or shudder in disgust with some of the clearly erroneous things I’ve been scripted to say. But it’s done now, and I look forward to my new position as academic dean and professor of systematic theology over at Reformed Theological Seminary.”
At this point, Richard Mouw emerged from the group to applause. “Rich was really the main guy behind this scheme,” said Carson. “He quietly pulled the strings and, really, I think he deserves all the praise and all the glory for its success.”
“Well, God deserves some glory, too!” said Piper, and everyone smiled and shared hugs.
Only this reporter happened to notice the elderly J. I. Packer in the back row of the room. “Very satisfactory,” said Packer in his droll Oxonian accent. “I think Stottie would have been proud.”