Adj. Pertaining to complementarianism and egalitarianism.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Complementarianism summary

Paula recently blogged a summary of her understanding of the main points of egalitarianism. Today I came across a summary on the A-Team blog and in this post I excerpt from that post. This summary is from the book Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More Than 100 Disputed Questions, by Wayne Grudem. This book has been on our blog Bookshelf and is available as a free download by clicking on the name of the book in this post and on our Bookshelf. Here is the excerpt:

The first two chapters provide a description and positive case for the Complementarian view. Following that foundation, Grudem analyzes Egalitarian arguments and objections through eleven chapters, with a concluding chapter summarizing the current controversy in evangelical circles. The following is a summary of chapter 1: A Biblical Vision of Manhood and Womanhood as Created by God, which explains six key issues revolving around creation and marriage.

Key Issue #1: Men and Women Are Equal in Value and Dignity

All discussions of gender should start here since this is where the Bible starts (Gen 1:27)

Key Issue #2: Men and Women Have Different Roles in Marriage as Part of the Created Order

Grudem puts forward ten arguments from Scripture (some stronger than others) that there was male headship prior to the Fall; thus distinct roles from creation.

  1. “The order: Adam was created first, then Eve (note the sequence in Genesis 2:7 and Genesis 2:18-23).” (p30) Paul saw this as important- 1 Timothy 2:12-13.
  2. “The representation: Adam, not Eve, had a special role in representing the human race.” Eve sinned first, but Scripture says we fell in Adam- 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45-49)
  3. “The naming of the woman: When God made the first woman and ‘brought her to the man,’” (31) Adam named her- Genesis 2:23. Naming is a function of authority- See God’s naming creation Genesis 1:5-2:20.
  4. “The naming of the human race: God named the human race ‘Man,’ not ‘Woman.’ (34)- Genesis 5:1-2 “Does this make any difference? It does give a hint of male leadership, which God suggested in choosing this name. It is significant that God did call the human race ‘Woman.’” (35)
  5. “The primary accountability: God spoke to Adam first after the Fall…. It indicated a primary responsibility for Adam in the conduct of his family.” (36) Genesis 3:9
  6. “The purpose: Eve was created as a helper for Adam, not Adam as a helper for Eve.” (36) She was Adam’s helper by virtue of creation, not in certain situations, but in a normative sense. Genesis 2:18, 1 Corinthians 11:9
  7. “The conflict: The curse brought a distortion of roles, not the new introduction of roles.” (37) Genesis 3:16 is not how the roles ought to be, but is how the created roles were distorted.
  8. “The restoration: When we come to the New Testament, salvation in Christ reaffirms the creation order.” (40) In Christ the curse is reversed and the created roles are restored- Colossians 3:18-19.
  9. “The mystery: Marriage from the beginning of Creation was a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church.” (41) Paul makes this point in Ephesians 5:31-32, and it is applied in 5:23.
  10. “The parallel with the Trinity: The equality, differences, and unity between men and women reflect the quality, differences, and unity in the Trinity.” (42) See issue #3 below.

This Biblical model can only be worked out when husband and wife each avoid errors of distortion in either being too passive or too aggressive with their roles. Apart from headship, the man’s responsibility is to provide for and protect his family. Apart from support, the woman’s responsibility is to care for the home and nurture the children.

Key Issue #3: The Equality and Differences Between Men and Women Reflect the Equality and Differences in the Trinity

See 1 Corinthians 11:3, “’head’ refers to one who is in a position of authority over the other, as this Greek word (kephale) uniformly does whenever it is used in ancient literature to say that one person is ‘head of’ another person or group.” (45-46) So the principle of headship and authority did not begin with the advent of theology, but is rooted in the eternal relationship between the persons of the Trinity. Contra culture, authority can be (and is in this case) a good thing.

Key Issue #4: The Equality and Differences Between Men and Women are Very Good

Since the equality and differences are part of the created order, God’s judgment that it is very good applies (Genesis 1:31) This order is fair because God it is God’s decision, not that of sinful man. Because God is all-wise, this order is also the best for us.

Key Issue #5: This is a Matter of Obedience to the Bible

“I think… God has allowed this controversy into the church to test our hearts. Will we be faithful to Him and obey His Word or not?” (53)

Key Issue #6: This Controversy Is Much Bigger Than We Realize, Because It Touches All of Life
This summary does not include complementarian beliefs about the different roles men and women have in the church. These beliefs can be summarized, I believe, with the following statement:
Only men are ordained by God to have authority roles in the church. Women must not function in any role in the church where they would have authority over men or teach men.
Feel free to comment in case anything was left off either of these two summaries, or in case anything was worded in a way that does not reflect your understanding of complementarianism.