Are these definitions about right?

Threads from Henry's Web introduces definitions of complementarianism and egalitarianism.
What do you think?

Complementarianism: Belief in essential equality, but functional hierarchy in the sexes. This hierarchy is by God’s design and is not due to the fall. Man is to be the leader in the church and home. Women are not to be in positions of authority over man in the church or home, but are honored due to their role in the same way as men.

Egalitarianism: Belief in the essential and functional equality of the sexes. All role distinctions which imply leadership belonging to the man is due to the fall, not by God’s design. Therefore, women can serve in positions of authority over man in both the church and the home. Role is assigned by individual giftedness, not gender.


DaveW said...

"Complementarianism: Belief in essential equality,"As an egalitarian I don't accept this claim by to believe in "essential equality". I don't see anything equal in a hierarchical system.

Rachel said...

I really struggle with that too - I keep trying to understand it but it just doesn't feel right, even if I can try to rationalise it, there is something much deeper going on in me which struggles to really believe that essential equality is really there, if it isn't also there in practice (role).

Thanks for your comment.


Anonymous said...

Dave, I think you’re right to say you see nothing ‘equal’ about a hierarchical situation, and there’s no doubt the church is a hierarchy .. God is in charge.

Biblically, God being God .. well there’s no question, we’d be fools not to submit. Of course we do refuse .. what fools we are! But there’s no question about who has the power and authority is there?

Humanly speaking in an hierarchical situation, well your boss has the power to sack you. Your parents have the power to punish you .. so submission could be said to be wise. That means you submit because you know that the boss/parent enforces his will. You ‘submit’ because you have to.

That’s not biblical submission as I understand it.

If something is greater than you .. above you .. has power over you .. then it’s not a question of submitting. You choose to submit because it’s completely wise and logical.

If something or someone is "equal" to you .. only then can one choose to submit in freedom. In fact that’s what freedom IS .. the ability to choose to submit to an equal. That’s when you find the absolute beauty, the liberation of choosing to submit .. to obey.

So the logical conclusion is .. equality is a given .. and absolutely obvious.

Rosemary Behan

Rachel said...

I think Dave and I might both fail to understand how practical outworkings of the Biblical idea transmogrify into role prescriptions for men and women. (I'm thinking here particularly about the roles defined by Piper and Grudem). The one we find it difficult to see scriptural warrant for is the one where women are forbidden in some churches from preaching to mixed congregations.

Sorry Dave, I might be saying too much on your behalf here and speak really from my own point of view. :)


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