Teaching and learning in the Bible: An interview with Dr Claire Smith

Dr Claire SmithI think there are two errors to avoid when we consider what ‘teaching’ is in church.

We can conclude that ‘teaching’ is everything – and on that basis, read 1 Timothy 2 and the injunction that women are not to teach and have authority over men (2:12) and conclude that a woman can’t say anything to a man lest he learn something from her!

Or we can claim that what Paul was talking about was a very narrow, particular form of ‘teaching’ directed at special circumstances at the time the letter was written, and therefore his instruction no longer applies to us…”

Equal But Different has published on their website an interview with Dr. Claire Smith, on the theme of Teaching and Learning in the Bible. The interview first appeared in Magnolia magazine.

The ACL’s Podcast

Here is the ACL’s first podcast!

This first edition is designed especially to help members of Sydney Synod understand what’s coming up at next week’s Synod.

The ACL’s President, the Rev. Andrew Bruce (centre), was joined by Dr. Robert Tong, Dr. Claire Smith, Canon Sandy Grant and Canon Phil Colgan.

Sit back and be informed and encouraged:



Or Direct download. (Right click to Save As.)



Topics covered

00:00 Introducing the team.

09:25 What is Sydney Synod? How does it work? How can you participate?

12:55 What is General Synod? What was the recent General Synod like?

20:00 The Property Receipts Policy.

30:40 Gender Identity.

36:37 Domestic abuse.

39:36 Licensing review and ministry development.

43:15 Assistant Ministers ordinance.

45:08 Ministry standards.

46:50 Two referrals to the Appellate Tribunal.

50:50 About the Anglican Church League.


Relevant links:

The Synod Survival Guide, by Dr. Robert Tong.

The ACL Synod Dinner.

About the Anglican Church League.

How to join the Anglican Church League.

Synod Business Papers and Reports. – Sydney Diocesan Secretariat.

Head to Head about 1 Corinthians 11:3-16

“Chapter 11 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians … deals with what women wear on their heads. And to most of us, the issues he raises seem as foreign to us as hats at royal funerals and the experience of young Muslim women. Culturally, it is a world away.

So what do we make of 1 Corinthians 11 in this day and age? Is there anything in it for us as modern Christian women and men?”

– There’s been some unhelpful fuss lately about 1 Corinthians 11. Confused? To bring clarity, The Gospel Coalition Australia recently published this article by Dr. Claire Smith.

And, back in 2010, Kevin DeYoung wrote Why Complemegalitarian Doesn’t Work – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

ACL Annual General Meeting 2017 Report

ACL Council member Caitlin Hurley reports on this year’s Annual General Meeting, held in the Chapter House of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, on Thursday 8th June 2017.   Read more

Broken bad

Claire Smith“I’ve noticed something of a cultural shift in the way we evangelicals talk about the human condition: more and more, we are ‘broken’, rather than ‘sinners’ – people who act out of our ‘brokenness’, not our ‘sin’, rebellion’, ‘disobedience’ or ‘rejection’ of God.

And I’m not convinced this shift is all good…”

– At GoThereFor, Claire Smith points out a drift in language you might not have noticed.

Speaking of domestic abuse

Claire Smith“I want to talk about four traps that await us when we try to understand and respond to domestic abuse.

They are: a tendency towards totalizing; seeing abuse as a gender issue; misapplication of the Bible; and avoiding the Bible’s teaching about men and women…”

– on the newly revamped Equal But Different website, Dr. Claire Smith writes to help Christians respond rightly to domestic abuse.

Moore College to offer its own PhD

Dr Claire Smith and family“Moore College is to be the first Anglican College in Australia and one of very few non-university institutions in the country to award its own PhD. The College has been supervising PhDs for many years in conjunction with the University of Sydney and the University of Western Sydney. Now a Moore College PhD will be available…”

– good news from Moore College. (Photo: Dr. Claire Smith with her family.)

First ACL Women’s Synod Dinner

On Monday 15 October, the ACL hosted its first women’s Synod dinner. In the tradition of the ACL Synod dinners, it challenged guests with the mission of Christ, and promoted the work of the ACL and its role in the Synod elections. Over 50 female Synod members attended the dinner, held at the Wesley Conference Centre.

The key note speaker was Kara Gilbert, newly appointed Archdeacon for Women’s Ministry in the Sydney Diocese. Kara spoke of the biblical illiteracy in our society and the need to make Christ known. She gave an impassioned appeal to seek opportunities to witness for Christ.

Master of Ceremonies and ACL Vice President, Claire Smith, provided a brief history of the ACL and encouraged women to become members. She also encouraged women to participate in Synod debates and to not be overwhelmed by the ‘suits’ (ie. men).

Gav Poole, ACL President, attended the dinner, and afterward commented, ‘Women play a vital part in our synod and it is encouraging to see more women as members, and contributing to debates in recent years. They bring a certain flavour to the floor and represent over 50% of our churches’ membership. The ACL encourages women to be actively involved in ministry. I hope this dinner was the first of many.’

The ACL thanks Kath Driver, ACL Councillor, and her team of helpers for a well-run event.

Photo: Sam Law, Mission Minded.

Just what’s needed: clarity in the debates over men and women

ACL President Dr Mark Thompson writes about a new book he’s reading:

“This is a book worth handing out to women in our churches en masse…

This book needs to be read by men too and especially those men responsible for teaching the Bible in our churches. In a world where women and men receive the most absurd messages about what it means to be human, what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman, here is real sanity…”

God’s Good Design: What the Bible really says about Men and Women will be available later this month from Matthias Media. (Photo: in tandem.)

GAFCON reports: a highlight of the ACL’s Annual General Meeting

ACL AGM 2008SydneyAnglicans.net has posted four video clips from the ACL’s Annual General Meeting held at Moore College last Thursday night.

Sydney delegates to GAFCON related their impressions of the Jerusalem gathering. Among them, 21-year-old Sylvia Tong, called for more involvement by young people in the movement, saying they need to be aware of the struggles of their brothers and sisters around the world.

See the video clips –

SydneyAnglicans.net also has this report by Russell Powell.

ACL Council members


The Anglican Church League

Office Bearers and Councillors for 2017 – 18

President: The Rev Andrew Bruce
Chairman: Dr Robert Tong AM
Secretary: The Rev Canon Tom Harricks
Minutes Secretary:
The Rev Matthew Whitfield
Treasurer: Mr Mark Boyd


Mrs Debbie Blackwell
The Rev Canon Phil Colgan
Mr Clive Ellis
Mr Jeremy Freeman

The Rev Canon Stephen Gibson
The Rev Raj Gupta
Dr Rod James
The Rt Rev Ivan Lee
Mr Peter Mayrick
The Rev Gavin Poole
Mr Malcolm Purvis
The Rev Craig Roberts
Dr Laurie Scandrett
Dr Claire Smith
The Rev Canon Dr Mark Thompson
The Rev Dr Lionel Windsor


Mrs Elisabeth Arnett
The Rev Scott Blackwell
Miss Hannah Blake
Mr Peter Blair
The Rev Nigel Fortescue
The Rev Kate Haggar
The Rev Caitlin Hurley
The Rev Michael Leite
Mr Dan McKinlay
Mrs Michele Morrison
The Rev Scott Newling
The Rev Gavin Parsons
The Rev Jason Ramsay
Mr Martin Robinson
The Rev Dr Ken Simpson
The Rev Mike Taylor
The Rev James Warren
Miss Joanna Warren
The Rev Ian Wood

Emeritus Vice-presidents

The Rev Canon Dr Bruce Ballantine-Jones OAM
The Rt Rev Dr Paul Barnett
The Rev Canon Allan Blanch
Mr John Colquhoun
The Most Rev Dr Glenn Davies
The Rev Neil Flower
The Rt Rev Dr Harry Goodhew AO
The Rev Tom Halls
The Rt Rev Dr Peter Jensen
The Rev Phillip Jensen
The Rev Neil Macken
The Rt Rev Gary Nelson
The Rev Dr Peter O’Brien
The Rt Rev Dr Reg Piper
The Rev Canon Jim Ramsay
Mr Bruce Robinson
The Rev Gordon Robinson
The Rt Rev Ray Smith
The Rt Rev Peter Tasker
The Rev Dr John Woodhouse
The Rev Zac Veron