Women in Ministry: The Complementarian Position (He Said) Versus the Egalitarian Position (She Said)

He said: God created man first and later He created woman to be man’s “helper” (Gen. 2:18-25).
 
She said: God created male and female in His image (Gen. 1:26-27) and there is an argument that any hierarchy is a result of the fall (Gen. 3:16), which has been reversed by Christ (Gal. 3:28).
 
He said: There were no female priests in the Old Testament!
 
She said: That’s because menstrual cycles precluded women from serving but now, our only priest is Jesus! (Heb. 4:14-16). Moreover, there were female judges (Judges 4-5) and prophets (2 Kings 22)!
 
He said: Jesus only chose men to be his disciples!
 
She said: Jesus could not have chosen women disciples without endangering his ministry. Yet, he encouraged many women to participate in his ministry (Luke 8:1-3; 10:38-42) and, after his resurrection, chose to reveal himself first to women! (See Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8 and John 20:11-18).
 
He said: Yet, there is not one example of a female preacher/teacher/elder in the New Testament!
 
She said: However, the Holy Spirit is poured out on all (Acts 2:17-18) and Paul is clear that God distributes gifts to all His people (1 Cor. 11-12) regardless of gender. Moreover, Priscilla (named first) and Aquilla taught Apollos (Acts 18:26).
 
He said: Prophesying and praying is not teaching! And Priscilla clearly taught Apollos as a team and in private!
 
She said: In Romans 16:1, 7 Paul commends two other women (besides Prisca in 16:3): Phoebe, who is a servant, perhaps a deacon, in the church; and Junia, who (if in fact a woman) is named as “outstanding among the apostles.”
 
He said: No one is arguing that a woman can’t be a deacon and Junia may have served beside, and under the authority of, her husband. Furthermore, “apostle” is a loose term, sometimes used authoritatively and sometimes it used to designate a church planter.  AND Paul tells women to submit to their husbands. How can he rightly do this if, as you say, he has declared hierarchy the result of sin and now abolished in Christ?
 
She said: Interestingly, the fullest treatment by Paul on husbands and wives (Eph. 5:22-23) is introduced with a transitional statement in 5:21 that reads, “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” What follows after this verse, then, cannot rightly be seen to contradict his clear command that Christian people be subject to one another. What, then, does he mean in 5:22? He gives this as a prime example of the kind of submission that needs to go on more generally among all Christian people. Its purpose is illustrative, and is not meant to single out wives as subordinate to their husbands.
 
He said: Yeah, well, when Paul says that the man 1 Cor. 11:3 or husband Eph.5:23 is the head of the woman, doesn’t he mean that the man has the position of authority and responsibility over the woman?
 
She said: No, and this can be shown by looking at the word translated as “head” (Gr.: kephale). This term is widely used in Greek literature outside of the NT to mean “source” (as with the “head” of a river). Therefore, what this means, then, is that woman owes her existence to the fact that man was created first and, in his incomplete state, God made from him the woman. The woman, then, is “sourced” in man. As such, this word does not suggest, as many think, that man is has some rightful authority over woman.
 
He said: When Paul says in 1 Tim. 2:11-15 that women are to learn in submission and not to teach or exercise authority over men, and that this need be the case because of the order of creation and Eve’s fall into sin, doesn’t this require that women are to be in a subordinate relationship in the church, with only qualified men teaching or preaching?
 
She said: This traditional understanding errs because it treats Paul’s specific instruction to one particular church situation as though it is normative instruction to all churches at all times. There is evidence that the church at Ephesus (where Timothy pastored) was plagued with false teaching, and that this false teaching was coming primarily from women in the church who usurped authority and taught wrong doctrine about the creation and sin of Adam and Eve. If this is the case, then we must see this passage not as precluding any and all female teaching in the Church, but as a direct prohibition to these certain women in the church at Ephesus who were false teachers.
 
He said: Look at 1 Peter 3:7 While the second half of this verse stresses the equal honor accorded to women along with men (as fellow-heirs of the grace of life), the first half of the verse clearly indicates the fundamental gender difference between a husband and his wife. She, according to Peter, is a “weaker vessel,” and she needs to be treated with tenderness and understanding as such. This implies that 1) while she is fully equal in essence (3:7b), she likewise is constitutionally different from him as a woman (3:7a), and 2) the husband bears particular God-sanctioned responsibility to care for his wife, indicating his leadership and primary responsibility in their relationship.

She said: See my earlier comments  on Ephesians.

What do you have to say?

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2 responses to “Women in Ministry: The Complementarian Position (He Said) Versus the Egalitarian Position (She Said)

  1. I spelled situation wrong. My apologies.

  2. I think that it would be great if we have a female that would like to take a leadership role in the church. I think that we have several women at present time who are more than capable of helping promote revolution and evangelize non-believers. I don’t think that we currently have anyone qualified to preach in Matt’s position, but a guest speaker would be fine if the subject were to be topic that she is knowledgable on, such as Cera speaking on TWLOHA in a few weeks. I do think that 1 Timothy 2 is referring not to women for all time, but just the specific situatation. I think that if we were to use that as our example, we must follow it to the letter. I am certainly no feminist in any way, but women are not stupid, and it is not just the job of men to show the lost the way to Jesus, but of women as well. If we cannot take on the role of submitting ourselves to God first, then to our husbands, rather than submitting to our husbands and waiting for him to submit to God, then we should not call ourselves Christian women.

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