Friday, January 6, 2012

Egalitarianism/Complementarianism - our two favorite 50 cent words

Not a lot of deep thinking or tricky exegesis here, just some observations and questions:

Egalitarianism and complementarianism are sterile terms that fail to convey much for either position. They dehumanize women in the same manner that antebellum vocabularly dehumanized a considerable segment of the American populace.

There is no good manner by which Baptist groups (associations, state conventions, or the SBC) can assert their belief in and desire for pure complementarianism and not appear harsh and unfair. Google "Bailey Nelson" and "Surry" for last year's poster situation of the same.

Leading SBC females are almost always wives of prominent pastors or SBC entity leaders. Note, for example, the ABP story about the new LifeWay Women's Evangelical Commentary which features the female spouses of two SBC entity leaders. Plodder would be pleased if readers would submit names of SBC females of prominence who do not fit this profile. Aside from Beth Moore, I cannot think of a single one. Name female members of blue ribbon SBC committees who are not married to pastors or SBC entity leaders.

What is communicated to SBC females by the above? That you will not have great value unless you are espoused to a minister?

Although we officially specify "senior pastor" as limited to men, it is necessary in the application of complementarianism to continually define proper roles. Should women be allowed to read the Bible in worship? Should there be deaconesses? Should they only teach children? To what age? Should they address mixed groups? Should they be "under authority" of a husband? Etc. Etc. ad nasueum.

All the tempered words on complementarianism/egalitarianism are undone by a the regular, if not frequent, intemperate words. Google Andy Davis and FBC Durham.

Quick, name the highest ranking female who is employed by any SBC entity?

Has complementarianism has already passed its high water mark in SBC life?

Will we see, in spite of SBC heavyweights holding conferences, seminars, and publishing materials, a steady erosion of support, first from the pew, later from the pulpit?

We're in for a rough ride with these two fifty-cent terms...and some decry the term "Southern" in our name.


Bill said...

I agree. And it doesn't stop there. The issue affects other doctrines. The doctrine of ESS seems to have been devised for the primary purpose of bolstering complementarianism.

Stephen Fox said...

Adrian Rogers Son David is on record at SBCImpact saying he can fellowship with folks who have women deacons.
And Anne Graham Lotz preaches from the pulpit and Timothy George put his stamp of approval on it.
Read the Anointed by Giberson and Stephens and quit the mendacity

John Wylie said...


The doctrine of ESS was not "devised" it was derived from 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. The fact is I believed ESS long before I considered its implications on Complimentarianism.

Lin said...

Excellent thoughts. You have hit the nail on the head concerning the terms used.

Egalitarian sounds so individualistic when the truth is more of a mutual submission.

Complementarian is not what it says it is equal but different roles because the roles are not equal at all in their difference. It is almost like some big ad agency came up with the term to make it look good. A kinder gentler patriarchy.

But in the end, we need a Talmud of sorts to keep up with all the do's and don't's for women. I have seen it all over the board.

This issue is not going away and more and more people are studying in depth on their own and not coming to the same conclusions at CBMW.

My biggest problem concerning roles, etc, is that Jesus came as a man so who is to be my spiritual role model as a woman? Can I be Christlike as a woman? Galatians says yes because IN Christ.....

The bottomline is our roles matter little when it comes to spiritual matters. I do not have a pink sanctification.

Matt said...

Second blog post I've read lately dealing with this issue. The other was Wade Burleson's:

Speaking of Beth Moore, I recently heard that she spoke at this year's Passion conference. Let's hope none of the men were listening or learning lest she be accused of assuming the role of their teacher!