Tag Archives: complementarianism

The Great Equalizer, Illustrated

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “equality” lately. You can’t do even a cursory study of the gender debate without running across this word a lot. There are so many arguments about it — what groups are actually equal with each other; what groups need to be; what groups claim to not have equality, but really do; and, “well, what is your group to tell me that my group doesn’t need it anymore?” etc. etc. There are tons of ideas of how to achieve equality, countless articles searching for the cause of its absence, and lots and lots of finger-pointing and/or self-pity regarding those who get the short end of the stick. It is such a dicey subject.

On one hand, I definitely agree with the overall concept of equality. We in the church are supposed to love, honor, and submit to one another in Christ, so we really should not be seeing vast swaths of people who are being systematically oppressed. We need to treat even unbelievers with kindness. Defending the oppressed is biblical, and it’s a great thing.

But on the other hand, it’s hard to justify by the Sermon on the Mount how it’s okay for any of us to stand up and demand our fair and equal rights. Although it’s right for us to be treated well, it’s not our job to fight tooth-and-nail to make sure that happens. The Bible actually seems to assume that we’ll be mistreated (Matt 24:9; John 16:33; 2Cor 4:8-11; 2Tim 3:12; 1Pet 4:12…just to list a few)! And then it tells us to do ridiculous things like turn the other cheek! But shouldn’t we stand up for what’s right?

Holy ideological minefield, Batman! What do we do now?

As I was mulling over this topic the other day, it struck me how I was coming at it from completely the wrong angle. The Bible actually gives us a really clear picture of what Christ-centered equality looks like. And it looks something like this:  Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on June 15, 2010 in Theology, Women in Ministry


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Examining Genesis 1-3

When I began studying the topic of women in ministry (I have so got to find a better way to refer to this topic), I was quite unprepared for how much Genesis 1-3 figured into the discussion. I was expecting to see a lot of argument about Genesis 3:16, but wasn’t the rest of it pretty straightforward?

Evidently not, according to some. This is rather serious, seeing as these chapters are are considered a pivotal foundation for any discussion on gender roles. Raymond Ortlund Jr., a contributor to a leading complimentarian book, said it about as bluntly as one could hope: “As Genesis 1-3 go, so goes the whole Biblical debate.”

Whoa. I guess we’d better take a closer look at these three chapters. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Bible, Genesis, Women in Ministry


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1 Corinthians 14 – “Let Your Women Keep Silent”

Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.

This is one of the passages that is used as a deal-clincher in the debate about women in ministry. As we see, Paul clearly is saying that women should not be the speakers in church.

Or at least, that’s what he is “clearly saying” if we only read one verse and stop. Read the rest of this entry »


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Why I’m Not an Evangelical Feminist

The semantics of this may be mostly relevant to me, but I think the principles are definitely worth some airtime on this blog.

When studying the topic of women in ministry, you instantly run into two big camps of thought. Complementarians believe that, although men and women are equal in their personhood, they are inequal (but complementary) as it pertains to their proper roles in life. Egalitarians believe that men and women are equal in their personhood and are not limited to specific roles/functions. Within these two broad categories, I would technically fall into the second, most particularly as it pertains to ministry.

If you’ve tracked with this blog very long at all, you’ll see that I’ve been doing a study on this subject lately. I’m still at it — albeit slowly — and currently I am studying through a particular complementarian book to try and see both sides of the argument. Now this particular book almost never refers to egalitarians as “egalitarians”. It prefers the term evangelical feminists.

I don’t want to read more into that term than was intended by the authors, but I have to admit it makes me squirm.

Read the rest of this entry »


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For now, a question…

I hope to address this in more detail soon, but I figured it would make good food for thought in the meantime.

As I continue to study the topic of women in ministry, I’m continually seeing the complementarian argument appeal to the order of Creation. Adam was created first, and according to the argument, this means he was created with the principle of the firstborn. As the “firstborn”, he thus had unique responsibilities and priveleges. Probably a third to half of the points of contention point back to this argument, saying that we have to ask ourselves the question of why Adam was created first, when God could have easily created man and woman at the same time.

I have several thoughts on that, but it occurred to me the other day that maybe this is asking the wrong question. Should we be asking why God created Adam first, or should we rather ask the question, “Why did God create Adam alone” (especially since He knew that it was “not good”)?

Think about it — I am, and I hope to write more soon.


Posted by on February 3, 2009 in Women in Ministry


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Approaching Gender and Leadership – Part 2

In the previous post, we looked at how our Greek mindset affects the way we view gender. In this post, I want to look at how it affects our view of leadership. We don’t even have to look at the history of Greece to get an idea of what the Greeks thought about it — Jesus told us. “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them” (Mark 10:42). When we do look at history, though, it completely agrees with this witness. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on October 25, 2008 in Women in Ministry


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Approaching Gender and Leadership – Part 1

When approaching the issues of gender and leadership, we have to use caution with what sort of baggage we bring to the discussion. Namely, we tend to approach this from a very Western, very Greek mindset. While there are a lot of beneficial things that have worked into our culture from the logical, analytical thinking of the Greeks, there are a whole lot of off-the-wall things as well.

First, there’s just the fundamental issue of male and female. Or, perhaps more accurately, male versus female, which is part of the problem. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on October 23, 2008 in Women in Ministry


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