Sunday, September 9, 2012

Complentarianism (the sparknotes)

  • non-Christians who don't understand what and how complementarians believe as they do.
  • Christian egalitarians who think their complementarian siblings in Christ have lost their minds. 
  • complementarians, who perhaps haven't researched their own position.

The complementarian or traditional view (summarized from John Piper and Wayne Grudem’s Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) holds that a person’s “sexuality permeates one’s individual being to its very depths.” To deny the behavioral patterns implied by this “profound dimension of your personhood” dishonors both a person and his or her maker, putting “strain on the humanity” of men and women alike. “Men and women are of equal value and dignity in the eyes of God,” having both been made in His image and although they have different roles, it should be noted that “[t]here is no necessary relation between personal role and personal worth.” The insistence that leadership or authority is positive while submission is negative, is purely secular and unbiblical. Men and women both ought to conform to God’s design because this is “fulfilling in the deepest sense of the word.”
Biblical masculinity is a sense of “benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for and protect women” within the context of their varied relationships. This masculinity “accepts the burden of the final say in disagreements” and accepts responsibility for the family’s spirituality. Men should set a “general tone and pattern of initiative” in relationships with women.
Biblical femininity is “a freeing disposition to affirm, receive and nurture strength and leadership from worth men” within the context of their varied relationships. Even if a woman might be in a position of authority over a man (a principle over male teacher, for example), she should affirm his unique role to protect and lead her through a general disposition to yield. Wives should act as though“[her husband’s] needs set [her] agenda.”
 These beliefs are undoubtedly countercultural, but are derived mainly from the Genesis creation account of mankind. Man was created first and enjoyed a special relationship with God. It was Adam alone who named the animals in the garden and to Adam alone that God ordered not to eat of the tree of good and evil. (Genesis 2) Woman was created “for man,” not man for woman (I Cor 11:2). He named her, she came from her. Several of the early church letters encourage women to submit to the authority of the male counterparts in both marriage and worship practices. (I Tim 2:11-15, I Cor 11 and 14) No women were chosen as leaders or apostles in the gospels, nor were any of the original seven deacons women. (Acts 7)

Have I lost you all to boredom yet? Hopefully not. For my opinion/analysis, check out part 2.

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