On Complementarianism

posted in: Women | 0

Jonathan Leeman has a fabulous article in the new 9Marks journal on relationships between men and women (complementarianism/egalitarianism). I was just able to teach on biblical womanhood at a youth camp with my church. Honestly, one session went extremely well, one session could have gone better. I wish I had some of this before I went. This discussion can get confusing if not presented and articulated well, especially when not knowing where your hearers are coming from. Always be ready with a biblical answer – and always submit to the authority of Scripture and Christ when speaking on this. That is how I’ve worked on my conversations. I try not to share my opinion – because why does my opinion ultimately matter. But, the only lasting perfect words on this subject is from Scripture.
Thanks to Dr. Burk for highlighling this article and for the men at 9Marks for putting this together and for CBMW for being around for so many years giving us good resources on this topic.

Jonathan Leeman has an excellent essay in the latest 9marks journal. In short, he argues that Complementarianism is crucial to discipleship. It’s worth reading the whole essay, but I want to highlight one section that I found particularly helpful. It will frame the way I engage the “borders” from now on. He writes:

‘Too often, the discussion about complementarianism gets stuck at the borders. For instance, people get marooned on matters like whether it’s appropriate for adult women to teach high school men. Where’s the line, they ask. But focusing on the borders of what’s licit is a bit like the dating couple who asks, “How much can we do with each other physically? Hold hands? Kiss?”

‘There is a place for such questions, but what’s needed first is a positive statement about how to promote biblical masculinity and femininity among young men and women. The dating couple, instead of asking, “How far can we go?” should instead ask, “How can we serve one another and best prepare the other for marriage?” In the church, likewise, we should ask, “How can we best help these high school women become mature women, and these high school men become mature men?” But that’s a question a church will never think to ask if it doesn’t have a positive vision for Christian masculinity and Christian femininity in the first place.

‘So let’s try again: Is it okay to have adult women teaching high school men? Well, frankly, I’m not entirely sure if it’s licit or not, but I do know I want those high school men to learn what it means for men to take initiative and biblical leadership in the church. And I do want the women to learn what it means to love, affirm, and support male leadership in the church. Therefore, I’m going to be very careful about what models I place before them. In most circumstances, I’m going to have Bible-loving, initiative-taking adult men teach the group as a whole, while having mature women support and assist that ministry.’

This entire issue of the 9marks journal is devoted to the complementarianism and is titled Pastoring Women: Understanding and Honoring Distinctness. Go check it out.