Scholar Dr. Daniel B. Wallace shares insights on first female president of the Evangelical Theological Society

By Madison Joy Gerwing

PLANO, Texas — Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director of CSNTM (The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts) expresses gratitude for acknowledgment in Christianity Today’s article of November 20, 2024, “First Woman Steps into Leadership of Evangelical Theological Society.” Highlighting Dr. Karen Jobes—a superb and internationally known biblical scholar from Wheaton College and a former board member of CSNTM—Christianity Today’s article recognizes Wallace’s role in helping to facilitate the inclusion and equality of female scholars within the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS).

In response to this acknowledgment, Wallace openly reflects on his involvement in ETS as a member and former president. He emphasizes the systemic inequality that suffused the society and highlights the governance processes that fostered an unwelcoming environment for female scholars. Wallace confesses that he was unaware of the inequalities within ETS’s leadership structure until he was elected vice president. This became apparent when Princeton Seminary student Emily Zimbrick conducted a formal survey on biblical equality at ETS in 2013, with Wallace himself as one of the interviewees. Throughout this survey, Wallace became keenly aware of the imposing barriers that faced his female colleagues. In response, he asserted that women were “terribly oppressed” within ETS at that time and that rectifying the situation was “a matter of justice and equality.”

When Wallace became president of ETS he made it a top priority to “right this wrong so that there would be equality between the sexes at ETS.” In his 2016 presidential address, “Medieval Manuscripts and Modern Evangelicals: Lessons from the Past, Guidance for the Future,” Wallace admitted his own “blindness” and stated that “Before I attended my first ETS conference, I just assumed that this perspective—my perspective—was the only legitimate one. Semper reformanda was not my motto; numquam reformanda (“never being reformed”) suited my prejudices better.” However, through Wallace’s interactions with scholars from various backgrounds, beliefs, and convictions at ETS, he came to treasure the immense value of unity and diversity in biblical scholarship. With this renewed appreciation, Wallace collaborated with a small group of colleagues (both women and men) to ensure that female voices would be heard throughout the election process. Recalling this pivotal decision, Wallace remarks that he “wanted to facilitate change to see equality in the society. I knew that to get a woman elected and to have equality, women needed to participate more in the decision making. I was able to use my power to speak truth to the power structure and help to facilitate this change.”

Sandra Glahn, a fellow member of ETS and long-term colleague of Wallace, expounds upon the marginalization of women within the society by stating that “ETS was not a welcoming place for women” and that “The assumption is if you’re a woman at ETS that it’s because your husband is there.” Yet, in the midst of such inequality, she recalls that Wallace “constantly was championing women.”

Stefani McDade, author of the Christianity Today’s article regarding Karen Jobes, addresses Jobes’ journey to the presidential office and states that “The effort to include more women in ETS has not only been led by women, those involved are quick to point out. They say many men, including some who are complementarians, have worked to make the association more hospitable for women,” including Wallace whom Jobes referred to as “a consistent ally.”

Moving forward, Wallace shared his vision for the future of ETS and its role in advancing equality within scholarship. He emphasizes the need for Christian scholars of varying convictions to “major on the majors and not on the minors,” claiming the latter as the cause of ETS’s historical inequality. Finally, Wallace encourages his fellow scholars by asserting that “we can get past our insecurities and fears of other viewpoints, and ennoble our brothers and sisters who may disagree with us,” with the overarching goal of fostering unity and enhancing the quality of biblical scholarship.

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About CSNTM
The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts is a non-profit organization in Plano, Texas, committed to preserving ancient New Testament Manuscripts for the modern world. By digitizing ancient manuscripts for preservation, duplication, and research purposes, CSNTM stands at the forefront of biblical, modern translation and is a leading organization in digitizing the Greek New Testament. CSNTM hosts a biennial conference in May 2024, where female lecturers are welcomed and esteemed. To learn more about CSNTM and keep up with the latest discoveries, expeditions, opportunities, and more visit csntm.org.

Contact:
Madison Joy Gerwing
The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts
972.941.4521
[email protected]

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