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Complimentarian Patriarchy vs Complimentarian Egalitarians

Updated on September 11, 2013

Male Dominance Verses Female Equality

Welcome to our new hub. I think you will find this Hub very interesting in this gender debate on submission of the female to the male. This has always been a very controversial subject for humans since the "Fall" in the garden of Eden, Genesis 3:1-17. It is even more so in these last days before Jesus Christ return, Revelation 22:10-21.

The big question should be, did Jesus Christ come the first time to make sure that women continue to submit to men. Or did he come to place women as equals to men and restore the equality that men and women had lost in Genesis 1&2, through Genesis 3:15 ? Is the Christian church supposed to be a continuation of male hierarchal authority over women or not? Is marriage and ministry different for Christians today or does it still follow the same old concept of male domination, chain of command based on the concept that the Godhead is only male and therefore women can never be placed equal to men? Is this the mind of God? It seems to me to be a paganized minded Christianity today? I wonder why no one seems to listen to Jesus Christ? Is it because they are so self serving, Luke 22:25-28?

How can we be the children of Abraham in Christ Jesus if God is only male, Galatians 3:28-29, 2 Corinthians 6:16-18- And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the Living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be you seperate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. .? If this is true then why did God say He is not a man nor a male in Numbers 23:19, Hosea 11:9? Is there something wrong with this teaching by the complimentarian hierarchist that God is male only? Doesn't the word for God in Genesis 1, Elohim, mean a group of Gods that can be either male or female in essence and role? And why is the noun for the Holy Spirit, Ruach HaKadosh, feminine in Genesis 1:2? Could it be that men ignore and have been wrong all these years about the character of women being inferior to men's character?

Can it be possible that the woman called to be man's helper is really equal to the man? That the word "ezer" or helper, which is so often applied to God as man's helper puts women on a level at least equal or better than the man? Why the cover-up? Why do the male evangelicals today insist that women cannot preach and teach men with authority? Why do churches grow better when woman are allowed to share the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ? Doesn't this prove that women are just as capable of preaching the Gospel for Jesus Christ?

Could it be that some men have taken the negative teachings from the Greek philosophers Socretes, Plato and Aristotle and applied their negative misogynistic teachings alongside Gnostic and Jewish Kallabah concepts that women are inferior to men, a ploy by Satan the devil, to keep women out of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ?. Is this only a vain show by men inspired by the Devil to hinder Christ's work, Revelation 12:9? And if most churches have been mislead and teach that only males can preach, that they are in danger of being the apostate teachers and tares against Christ, Matthew 24:4-11;13:25-26. God will soon give them a big test to prove whether they are of Christ, the Holy Spirit and our heavenly Father, Revelation 7:9-17.

Biblical Hermeneutic Views

The egalitarian and complimentarian- hierarchist positiions differ significantly in their approach in the gender debate specifically in their interpretation of biblical history. Christian complimentarian egalitarians believe that male and femaes were created equally without any hierarchical roles. God created both woman and man in Their own image and likeness. God made the first couple equal partners in leadership over the earth. Both were jointly commissioned to be "fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth, Genesis 1:26-28.

Conservative Christian Egalitarian Gilbert Bilezikian points out that throughout the Old Testament era and beyond, just as God prophesied, men would rule over women in a patriarchal system which God sees as a compromise or accommadation between sinful reality and divine ideal. The coming of Jesus Christ is understood as moving forward from Old Testament patriarchy, re-instituting full equality of gender roles, as articulated in Galatians 3:28.

Also, New Testament passages such as Ephesians 5:21-24 which teach submission to one another and are typically understood by egalitarians as a permanent solution and accommodation to a harsh 1st century culture. Some argue that Christian egalitarians pursue a superior ethic to that found in the New Testament, therefore undermining the authority of Scripture. They claim that some evangelicals misconstrue the biblical teaching about slavery and women, and inappropriately confuse the two. God's way and ethics are far superior to men's ethics according to what Jesus Christ said about men's ways or ethics in, Matthew 15:7-9, Isaiah 55:8-9.

In Rachel Held Evans' comment however, she makes her own analogy when she states on her Web page, see her link, About 1 Peter 3 - that she sees that by relying on letters of Peter or Paul is somewhat problematic because in nearly every case, the admonition for wives to submit to their husbands is either proceeded or followed by the admonition for slaves to obey their masters. Well, women are not slaves to men no matter what hierarchy complimantarians say. Rachel also states that complimentary hierarchist rely heavenly on only a few passages in Scripture Genesis 1-2, Ephesians 5, 1Timothy 2, and 1 Peter 3. Which if studied carefully tell a different story.

The Study of Ontology;p

Take for instance the study of Ontology, the study of the fundamental nature of being, what makes something what it is. Or the study of essence and accident which is similar to Ontology. Essence means that some quality or atribute is necessary for something to be what it is. And then there are necessary and suffient: These terms mean pretty much what you would expect. Is this attribute of something necessary to it being what it is? Is it suffient to make something what it is? For instance the use of ontology used for all the functions of the words mentioned.

Complimentarian hiearchy ,or patriarchy which is a better title for complimentarian hierarchist, that believe that God is ontologically male. That is maleness is an essence of God's being. Maleness is necessary for God to be God. Some Patriarchal Christians who use this believe humans are made in the image of God. If God's essence is male, then only men are complete images of God. Patriarchy or complimentatian hierarchist establish a hierarchy of men over women in the church and marriage. This sounds a lot like the philosophies of the pagan Greeks and Romans. ( Read "In the Spirit We're Equal," by Susan Hyatt, contact CBE for your copy). Also why do hierarchical males call them selves complimentarian when what they teach is hardly complimentary to women who they teach are inferior to men because they are not male. I wonder if these men are trinitarian Gnostics?

Complimentarian Egalitarians refute this by saying that the Genesis account, Genesis 1 and 2, clearly teaches the creation of humanity in God's image, " So God created man(and woman) in Their own image, in the image of Elohim they were created. Male and female created They them, Genesis 1:27, Job 33:4, and called their name Adam, in the day they were created, Gen 5:2. So, while Jesus was born a human male, God is not in essence a male. In fact it is only the body of Jesus that is male. The God side of the Son's dual nature is not male at all. God is super-gender. So, any human hierarchy based on God's maleness has a fatal flaw in it's logic. Both male and female words used to discribe God in the Bible are images, not ontological statements.

God's "maleness" which seems essential according to the complimentarian hierarchist, for God to be God, means that it becomes necessary for God to be male. So, the question becomes whether a person's gender makes them essentialy different from humans who are of the other gender, female. The question is how necessary that impact is to his/her being in the essence and image of God.

Complimentarian patriarchist argue it is necessary for an image of God to be male. (the second Commandment forbids God to be made in a male image). God's essence is spirit with male and female attributes depending on what their roles are in the God family, Ephesians 3:14-19. This seems simple enough; God the Father's role is as a Father, the Holy Spirit's role is as a Mother and the Son's role is as a Son to them as in a kind of mirror likeness, necessary for us to be like God as male and female in a kind of physical image of their parents for now, but soon they will be in their spirit essence and image forever, 2 Corinthians 6:16-18.

The patriarchist believe it is necessary for God to be male in order for humans to be like God. This convinces them as to why God has only men in leadership positions. They say males have leadership built into them by reason of being God's exact, necessary image, and women are not. How can this be so, if the essence of the Holy Spirit is a female role in Genesis 1:2? So, patriarchist apply this to both church and marriage. but egalitarians argue that God is God, and God is super-gender, so it is neither necessary or sufficient to be male to be in the image of God. So all of us in essence human and humans are made in the image of God's essence, we are all necessary in the image of God's essence and can interact as equals. (see:CBE'S link).

At a recent Equality and Complimentary hierarchical conference in Melbourne,Australia as an informal working group, Kevin Giles, a prominent evangelical egalitatian, wrote a response to the reasoning to the patriarchicalist. Giles turns to the Bible, the site of their disagreement, because he must use it to challenge the source of hierarchical- complimentarians' view. As highlighted in his response, some of the Reformed slave owners would not have changed their views without the convincing presentation of a different interpretation of the Bible like Kevin' Giles presented to this group of hierarchicalist.

In the egalitarian/complimentarian patriarchal discourse and that of other so called 'secondary' issues, it seems that a dichotomy between unity and truth exists. Evangelicals are very wary of unity with other Christians when it seems truth may be compromised, emphasizing verses like 2 Tim. 4:2-5. On the other hand, other evangelicals and at the extreme end, liberals, prioritize Christian unity e.g. John 17:21-23. The challenge is: how can we be unified yet hold onto truth? What happens to a distressed individual when we are unified in our difference of opinion? Discussion of first and second order fail to validate their being. for example Kevin Giles' says. "Let's imagine what the black man would think when a Reformed and evangelical white man in the Apartheid days said to him, 'the Bible says we are truly equal but your role must always be subordinate to mine. I am born to lead; you are born to be under my authority. Simply because of your skin colour given at birth you can never have a leadership role.' I suspect the black man, would say to himself, "This is a funny kind of equality: it has no content in the world in which I live." Accordingly, Kevin says I remain unconvinced by hierarchical- complimentarians' insistence that the nature of a woman's being, as equal with men, has no bearing on their 'equal but different' role. Kevin Says he supports Rebecca Groothius words, "Regardless of how hierarchists try to explain the situation, the idea that women are equal in their being, yet unequal by virtue of their being, is contradictory and ultimately nonsensical. (Rebecca Groothius, 'Good News for Women: A Biblical Picture of gender Equality, Grand Rapids, 1997, p.p. 53,55).

How then, do we work with someone of a different view? Read this statement by Elizabeth Culhane a Christian egaltarian woman in Melbourne, Australia.

While each side challenges the views of the other, unity in love and our purpose of bringing the gospel to others must be expressed more readily to all.

Here are three suggestions we could all agree on

1. To pray that God would inform our view of Scripture, and change our views as necessary.

2. To be open to changing our ideas through discussion.

3.To refraim from using a particular position as a "badge" of theological orthodoxy.

In the past, my 'solution' to work with hierarchical - complimentarians has been to humble myself, giving up roles I'd like to have, like Christ in Philippians 2. I think this is an appropriate response. But this response itself does not change the situation. in cerain contexts, I choose to not grasp social equality with men. Let me make myself clear; making the Gospel known is of primary importance. but once this is prioritized, the significance of the issue of biblical equality requires that I humbly continue to present a different view. Being told that a skin colour prevented you from performing certain 'roles' had little currency for any black people.I suspect that many women in today's churches remain similarly unconvinced. - Well said, Elizabeth.

A woman's inheritance is not second rate to hierarchal men. It is first rate! So, what is your inheritance?

In the July 28, 2011, CBE, Arise ,News Letter we found this inspired letter that gives us a sure answer. Buelah Wood has an answer for you? She is a New Zealand Cross-cultural writer and part time lecturer at the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies in Bangalore, South India. Widowed at age thirty- seven, while serving in Nepal, she raised four daughters, learning to accept God's gifts for herself and her daughters.

Last year when offered to coach my class of Indian Christian women in preaching, they protested. They said, "Our mothers and pastors taught us Eve brought sin into the world and women aren't much good anyway. Should we learn to preach?" They went on, Mothers tell us, "don't laugh! your a girl. 'Don't talk or laugh when you get married and go to your mother-law's house. You would shame our family'."

My heart stood still. What a stifling inheritance these mothers gave their daughters! In their advice to their daughters, these mothers were directly saying, "Your opinions and feelings are without value. You are nobody, and make sure you keep it that way."

Many families in India where I teach also believe economic inheritance must go to the males, and females often support this. Daughters, who will marry and go to another family, cannot inherit. Wives can rarely inherit, for they may not be seen as fully family members, but as individual mainly brought in to give birth to sons. This was also a belief in OldTestament times but not when God ruled, Numbers 27:6-8. It happened when Israel began to backslide away from God's leadership and wanted a king and a male hierarchy to rule over them like the Gentiles did, 1 Samuel 8:4-22;1018-19, Jeremiah 3:1,6-7,10-14. Jesus warned his new disciples not to follow any pagan leadership like that, Mark 10:41-45..

In the New Testament

Jesus cut across all these cultural traditions, spiritually and generationally. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, he welcomed men and women. 'Come, you who are blessed of my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you' (Mattt. 25:34-35, TNIV). Scholars tell us since we are between the times, between the already and the not yet, God's kingdom is both present and future, and in this kingdom, women inherit even as the daughters of Zelophehad did in ancient israel when God was their King..

Paul taught similarly. He told a whole congregation, "[God] has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his people" (Col. 1:12). This offers men and women " the riches of his glorious inheritance" (Eph.1:18),because we are family, "Since you are his children, he has made you also heirs"(Gal. 4:7). Even better, God Gives us status with Christ. "Now if we be children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ' (Romans 8:17). Hence, we may, "{e}agerly desire spiritual gifts' ( 1 Cor. 14:1) and ask Christ for what we need. Peter agreed. He wrote , "Husbands... be considerate as you live with your wives ...heirs with you of the gracious gift of life" (1 Peter. 3:7).

The Lesson for today!

These passages of Scripture teach two things. First, for those living in traditional and even some modern cultures, if daughters and sons through Christ inherit in the same way, then surely daughters and wives are competent to inherit family property from their parents or husbands. Second, for all of us, God gives spiritual gifts equally to sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:17-18, again). Will you accept and develop the gifts God wants to give you? Will you contest the false teachings that woman cannot be heirs of God? ( I wonder what those ladies in India thought when they heard these words from Beulah?). God wants you, his heirs to claim your inheritance. If you fear taking this inheritance, know that the honor is already given to you. You are the heir of the King and inherit His ministry gifts to use in his Kingdom.

These are very powerful and beautiful words spoken out of Beulah's mouth and put on paper and the internet for you to reconsider what an inheritance and calling we are all given as the daughters and sons of God in God's priesthood of all believers that have now inherited God's mercy through God's grace, 1 Peter 2:9-10, Ephesians 2:5.

1 Timothy 2:

Now as to those other verses in 1 Timothy 2:11-15, that patriarchal men try to use against women to keep them from preaching, are they correct when they use them? More than likely they are not. It is simply through a matter of proper research of these Scriptures that we will find out what the apostle Paul was forbidding certain women not to do. It is obvious that scholars like Richard and Catherine Kroeger did a lot of hard research to expose what was going on in Greece in the days of the apostle Paul and Timothy the minister of the church in Ephesus.

The church in Ephesus was under attack by Jewish Gnostics who were turning the first eight chapters in Genesis upside down. They were teaching and sending, certain women from the Temple of Artemus that Eve was the source of Adam. That Adam came from woman who raised him up. One of these woman from that Temple was named Eve, and was declaring Eve of Genesis 1-2, created Adam. Paul was correcting her and forbid her to teach and have authority to do so in the Church at Ephesus, verse 12. This woman and others with her where noisy and being disruptive during church services. Paul told them to shut up and to go home and learn from their husbands. For more informtion on this subject please get a copy of Richard and Catherines inspiring book, '' I Suffer Not A Woman," Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:1-15, In Light of Ancient Evidence. Check our link to Christians for Biblical Equality and order a copy. You can learn the truth about these Scriptures and be set free from the deceptions of men who think women should not preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, (Acts 2:17-18, 1 Peter 2:4-10).

Men since creation and the "Fall" seem set on blaming women's being deceived by the Devil for their plight in life, but just maybe if might be that they are still insistent on sinning with their eyes wide open, when they know very well what the 'Word of God' says, "I am the way, "if you love me then you will enter into eternal life by keeping my commandments. Not just nine or six ,but all of them, James 2:8-10, John 14:6,15,;Revelation 22:12-16., Matthew 19:16-26. After all no prophecy is of any private interpretation, it says what the Holy Spirit says it is, 2 Peter 1:20-21. It is also interesting to know that the last six commandments really are there to teach men how to treat women who have been abused by men throughout the centuries.

A Sad Note in a Desperate World

Here is a sad note from CBE'S, Arise News Letter. This has to do with the disappearance and abuse of One million women in the world! Ross Douthat, in a recent op-ed piece for The New York Times, discusses economist Amartya San's 1990 essay, " More Than One Million Women Are Missing." As Douthat summarizes her work, "the wildly off-killer sex ratio in India, China and elsewhere in the developing world. To explain the numbers, Sen involked the neglect of third world women, citing disparities inhealth care, nutrition and education."

Presently, the number of missing women is estimated near 160 million. Douthat, in discussing the June 2011 publication, Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a world Full of Men, highlights that the "most distrubing passages (in the book)... are the ones that depict self-consciously progressive Westeners persuading themselves that fewer girls might be exactly what teeming societies of the third world needed." The article calls for a moment of pause to consider how we must be better equipped to save the lives of females.

Well, human reasoning in trying to solve its over population problem should not be to dispose of women and have more men. God knows the nasty character of some men is to use a Devil devised Eugenics system to solve the problem by the New World Order and to dispose of all of us, is not His way,Jeremiah 17:9,13. God knows the real problem is that humans need to rely on Him and his ways if we are to survive, Jeremiah 17:7-8,10,14. Women can be like beautiful trees with strong roots that can bear much good fruit for God.

If you would like to learn more, then check out our link to Christians for Biblical Equality, and learn the whole truth about men and women, who should be submitting to one another in the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, Matthew 28:18-20, Ephesians 5:21.


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