Complementarian vs. Egalitarian (pt 2) – Complementarian

Posted on September 13, 2012 by


Complementarianism? YAY here we go…

( I will be using third person pronouns, don’t take it personally )

This Ligon Duncan quote is the benchmark of the majority of this view,

“God has created men and women equal in their essential dignity and human person-hood, but different and complementary in function with male headship in the home and in the Church.”

Basically men and women are equal in value but different in purpose.

The thing that modern complementarian apologists use as their go to point is the creation account. Since people have accused this view of being based in first century Palestinian patriarchal culture.

Current advocates for this view point to the creation account in Genesis 2 as the basis for male headship of home and by extension the church. In Gen. 2 man is created first and God says that it is not good for man to be alone. This is the only thing, pre-sin, that is considered “not good”. God decides that Adam needs a helper so he is tasked with the job of naming all the animals in creation. While doing this Adam finds that he has no other like him within all created things. So God takes a rib of his while he is sleeping and creates a woman. When Adam sees her he is clearly in love because he sings a little song in which he calls her woman.

By this account they say that this dynamic of male leadership and female support is based in the first humans and is part of pre-fall creation.

They also point to Paul’s writings on the subject as evidence of God’s continuing desire for this dynamic to be sustained.

Most complementarians will say that this applies chiefly to two areas of life, the home and the church.

In the home – this is from The Village Church which has one of the more balanced views of complementarianism.

“Distinction within the home revolves around the idea of the headship of a man over his wife. This headship is not to be exercised as dominating and oppressive authority, but rather servant leadership. The husband is called to serve and sacrifice for his wife as an expression of his love for her. At the same time, the wife is called to submit to and respect her husband as an expression of her love for him. In this way they complement each other. Though equal, they have distinct roles in their homes.”

In the Church – Passages in 1 and 2 Timothy are the basis for the distinction we see here. At the very least they will not allow women to be elders since one of the qualifications for elder is that they be the “Husband of one wife”. Also they interpret 1 Tim. 2:12 as saying that women are not to exercise authority over men.

As with almost everything this is a spectrum. Within Complementarianism you have those who only hold that women can’t be elders and you have those that hold an almost patriarchal view that women exist only to support men as the men see fit.

Next time Egalitarianism YAY

Posted in: Theology