Four Really Lame Reasons to be Complementarian

I have been in a recent online battle with Complementarians, and as such, I'm consoling myself with some blogging therapy. I hope you'll indulge me.

I've discovered some lame reasons to be Complementarian, and am reproducing these for your reading pleasure.

PROOF TEXTS!

The majority of the "in favour" arguments for Complementarian theology involved quoting single proof texts; eg (I CORINTHIANS 14:37!). That proves it!!!

Sometimes the proof texts were quoted in CAPS LOCK! BECAUSE THAT SHOWS HOW IMPORTANT THIS ONE VERSE IS!!!

And because the art of hermeneutics, and analysing 1st Century Koine Greek, and taking in the grand sweep of Scripture... indeed, the art of Christian theological reflection... is hard work. It's so much easier solidify an existing prejudice around a single verse. END OF DISCUSSION!!!

But this not the only lame reason to be Complementarian. Oh no... there are other reasons:

LONGEVITY!


Yes, there is NO need to engage with the thoughtful reflection of some of the world's greatest and most prominent theologians, who happen to be Egalitarian. Because... the church (allegedly) did not support "women's liberation" until recently. Here (used without permission) is an archetypal comment:

"Hmm, I wonder why the great majority of Christendom has agreed on its interpretation for thousands of years re leadership, but in recent times an Egalitarian spin has been (dare I say it!) 'imposed' on it? Gee...what happened? ...I feel like it should be obvious..."

Well let us ignore for a moment the monumental role female leaders have played throughout the history of the church... (although Wikipedia is worth an initial look for the curious!)

It is true that we interpret scripture through the lens of our culture. And so it has always been.

Indeed, the reform movements that that have renewed Christianity from age to age have always involved a fresh engagement with scripture and with culture.

The Reformation took off in many places because it was an idea whose time had come. Churches of Christ, while birthed in a genuine move of the Holy Spirit, was also shaped by the ideas swirling around society in the early 19th century. This is true for all the Christian movements and denominations you'd care to study.

Indeed, part of the "success" of Christianity is that it's culturally adaptable. It would have stayed a fringe Jewish cult otherwise.

Christianity formed a foundation for human rights in the West, and human rights formed a foundation for women's rights: an idea whose time had come.

And theologians do what theologians have always done: engage in a dialogue with scripture and culture. And ordinary Christians, who are all working theologians in one way or another, engage in that dialogue also.

The fact that the social change towards women's liberation occurred relatively quickly, and that this theological conversation also happened relatively quickly, does not NECESSARILY mean that theologians are twisting scripture to mean anything they like, or being sloppy in their examination of scripture.

There is in fact "brilliant and compelling" theology to support an Egalitarian position. The idea that any recently adopted ideas must be wrong or sloppy or unfaithful is ridiculous.

BIOLOGY!

"Men and women are different! You egalitarians want to make men and women the same! You want to obliterate difference!"

Oh good grief!

1) It's pretty hard to find anyone who thinks men and women are the same.

2) What on earth does that have to do with theology?

3) In what universe did biological and psychological points of difference require narrow rules to be established barring women from leadership? There's compelling research that women's involvement in leadership makes things better not worse. See here and here.


THE BIBLE "CLEARLY" TEACHES...


Argh!

Obvioulsy ANYONE claiming this hasn't engaged with ANY Egalitarian theology... nor noticed that many denominations, including evangelical faith traditions such as mine, ordain women.

(Or do they imagine that such churches / theologians don't read the bible? Argh!!!!)


In short... there are some very lame reasons to be Complementarian.

Have you heard of other ones?

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