I feel concerned about the extra-biblical stuff, like the lists of jobs which Piper draws up regarding what women should do for careers.
If the hierarchical complementarianist 'men and women are equal, yet role-differentiated' gender paradigm of Grudem, Piper and CBMW is so biblical, why can’t it stand up to scrutiny? Why do CBMW and DesiringGod have to answer so many questions for churches about what women can and can not do? Why are so many of the answers that they give not in the Bible?
Why when these theologians discuss submission, do they use the term subordinate? For example, when I was doing research on the theology for and against women bishops, I looked at Grudem and Rainey’s ‘Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood’. They describe how the ‘Biblical View of Submission …requires her to submit to him…, while no passage indicates that a husband should be subordinate to his wife.’ I think that in the casual exchange of the word submit for subordinate, significant problems lie. These two words are not synonymous because the former is theological and about ‘dying to self’, the latter is worldly, denoting inferiority.
How can these theologians claim that their interpretation of God’s word is God’s word, in effect they claim to speak for God? It is as if when you disagree with them, you are disagreeing with God. Evangelical egalitarians endorse the authority of Scripture, but not the authority of human interpreters. To dispute an interpretation is not to dispute with God himself.
Egalitarians do not embrace secular feminist agendas, it is not secular humanism that motivates us, but the Bible and Egalitarians embrace sexual differentiation and do not argue for a unisex society or church, we want for the equal contribution of women as women and men as men, complementing each other.
Egalitarians embrace what the creeds say about the Trinity: the divine three persons are one in being and authority and “co-equal.” Of relations in the trinity in eternity, the Father is attributed the beginning of action, the fountain and source of all things; the Son, wisdom, counsel, and arrangement in action, while the energy and efficacy of action is assigned to the Spirit. I do not think this equals “authority and submission,"and I believe some hierarchist-complementarian theologians redefine Trinitarian theology to fit their opinions on women in ministry.
About women and men, interpretation acknowledges that in Paul's world the subordination of women occurred and Paul subverts patriarchy by saying that in a Christian marriage husbands serve wives with agapē love, to the point of giving their life. The case is not stated so strongly for women of whom this was expected anyway, instead they are to remember that when they submit to their husbands, which means putting his needs before her own, they are actually serving Jesus in doing this; he is their Lord. The challenge for both hierarchists and egalitarians is how to apply these words.
Christians might come to see that the partnership understanding of marriage advocated by Jesus and Paul as the ideal, is the most enriching.
Christians might discover that allowing women to use the charismata that Paul insists are given without discrimination to men and women, will enrich the life of the church.