Tuesday, March 07, 2017

A Brief Note on Complementarianism

I wrote this as a comment on a student paper:

"I come from a complementarian background and have heard many, many arguments about how men and women are equals, but women cannot do X (preach, lead, whatever) because they aren’t 'built for' that activity, or are more prone to sin and weakness in this or that area.  Which is to say, they aren’t equal.  The proper complementarian response is: women can do exactly the same things as men, but are prohibited from doing so by God’s command, not by something intrinsic in them."

I find it strange that complementarian arguments so often devolve into saying that women weren't made to do X or Y, or that for them to do so would alter the "unchanging order of creation" (as if the curses in Genesis 3 were original to God's design!).  Both of these things mean that complementarians speak out of both sides of their mouths, an unintentional gaslighting.  "Yes, you're equal...except in X, Y, and Z..."

If the argument is to be made, it isn't because of the creation of women, for Eve was a "power comparable to" Adam (the Hebrew for "help meet"); rather, it is because of the Fall, which is St Paul's argumentative base over and over again.  But, in Christ, the Fall is reversed -- this is the elephant in the room that is never fully addressed...and the reason why the "creation order" must be invoked in these debates.

Instead, the command of God that some do this and some do that seems much stronger than any supposed "creational order" of gender role inequality.  Why do we shirk from that?

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