Biblical studies professor Denny Burk has been elected president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), an organization that helps believers understand and apply the Bible’s teaching on sexuality and gender.
Burk, whose election was announced July 20, is a faculty member of Boyce College at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and director of the undergraduate school’s Center for Gospel and Culture.
His desire to address gender issues stems in part from his work as an associate pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville, Burk told Baptist Press (BP).
“I’ve already had church members wondering what they’re supposed to do and how they’re supposed to think about coworkers who are entering into same-sex marriages and who are transitioning to some sort of a transgender identity,” Burk said.
“They’re wondering, one, what do I think about that? What does the Bible teach about that?” he said. “And then number two, how do I be a faithful disciple for Jesus in their lives in light of that? I see these gender and sexuality questions in my own church as profoundly practical questions that believers are wrestling with.”
Burk’s vision for CBMW includes reaffirming the organization’s bedrock belief that men and women are fundamentally equal and have been assigned distinct roles in the church and the home, a belief known as complementarianism and articulated in one of CBMW’s founding documents, the Danvers Statement of 1987.
Burk envisions drafting a new statement concerning “current challenges” like transgenderism and the redefinition of marriage, according to a vision statement posted online.
“Western culture has embarked upon a total revision of sexual and gender norms,” Burk wrote in the statement. “It has evicted the male-female complement from the definition of marriage. Indeed, with the transgender challenge, it has thrown into question the meaning of the sexual binary that God has encoded into every cell in our bodies.
“As a result,” Burk noted, “churches find themselves facing questions about manhood and womanhood that were barely imagined when the Danvers Statement was written.”
In drafting a new statement to complement the 1987 one, CBMW “will not be backing away from or revising Danvers,” Burk wrote.
The process of drafting a new statement, he told BP, will include “as much input on that draft” as possible, likely culminating in a meeting where complementarian leaders can sign it. He will “be surprised” if the process takes less than a year.
In addition to his duties at Boyce, Burk is a popular internet commentator on theology and cultural issues, who ranked 18th last year on Newsmax’s list of the “top 75 religion bloggers” in America.
Burk served previously as dean of Boyce and on the faculty of Criswell College in Dallas. His books include “Transforming Homosexuality,” coauthored with Southern Seminary’s Heath Lambert, and “What Is the Meaning of Sex?”
His election as CBMW president drew praise from Southern Baptist Convention entity presidents R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Russell Moore, according to a CBMW news release. Mohler of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary called him “a leading Christian intellectual” while Moore of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission said he is a “Christlike leader who understands both the Bible and the culture.”
Burk will continue in his role at Boyce in Louisville, where CBMW also is headquartered. He succeeds Owen Strachan, who became CBMW executive director in 2012 and president in 2014.