I was reading a blog post by Mark Driscoll here where he gives a brief outline of what he sees as the three main positions held on the relationship between men and women.
I appreciate Driscoll’s attempt to outline the different views and thought it might be helpful to think about it before our Blog Conference. One reason for doing this is that it can help us to distill in our minds what some of the issues are. This is what Mark Driscoll said;
“There are three basic views prevailing today in the home and church:
Egalitarian (Feministic): There is no innate distinction between the roles of men and women in the home or church. Women can be pastors and men can be stay-at-home dads so that their wives can pursue their careers.
Complementarian (Moderate): Men and women are partners in every area of life and ministry together. Though equal, men and women have complementary and distinct gender roles so that men are to lovingly lead and head their homes like Jesus, and only men can be pastors in the church.
Hierarchical (Chauvinistic): Women are not only commanded to follow male leadership, but are not given a voice with male leaders, as women are often chauvinistically kept under thumb as the polar opposite of egalitarian feminism.”
In looking at the basic positions as outlined by Driscoll I noted the following;
1 – Egalitarian is about recognising equality between men and women in the home and the church. It is therefore appropriate that Driscoll likens this with feminism, as true feminism (according to my dictionary) is about equality, and NOT women dominating men, as is often thought and at times seen in extreme movements. According to Driscoll’s definitions, egalitarian (feminism) is NOT the moderate position! For Driscoll, complementarianism holds the moderate position.
2 – According to Driscoll complementarianism holds that male and females are equal, though men are to lead in the home and in the church. Personally I find complementarianism hard to define because the terms used at time appear contradictory. Often comps describe men and women as equal – but different. When trying to define how they are different it would appear that with marriage and church there is a hierarchy. This hierarchy is claimed to be God ordained and involve love, but is hierarchy none the less. Although Driscoll claims comps are moderate it must be admitted that they are very closely related to the chauvinists!
3 – Under the heading “hierachical” Driscoll makes some interesting comments. He sees this stance as being the “polar opposite of egalitarian feminism”. If this was the case, egalitarian feminism would be trying to make sure that men “are often chauvinistically kept under thumb”. As noted above, this is not what egalitarian feminism is about. As a result Driscoll’s two extremes and one “moderate” view actually demonstrate a lack of understanding of the true moderate view (egalitarianism), while trying to distance complemantarianism from the hieracrhical model, when in fact they are very similar!
Leading up to our Blog Conference we will continue to think through how we define some of the terms we use to describe ourselves and the different views we represent. What I have written above could be challenged by complementarians and chauvinists because I am trying to show the group I represent as “moderate”. What do you think? What is the “moderate” position?