Kirsty Cunningham asked if I would consider guest posting this article on my blog. As I am pretty sick today, and this is so well written, how could I refuse. By the way, I am aware there are some big gaps in my Top 100 Blogs ranked by Twitter followers list from yesterday. Please @ the missing people to me and I will revise it as soon as I feel better. Good news if you were missed off somehow! With no further ado, here is Kirsty’s post, except to say that if you havent read it yet, go have a look at my Gender Role Spectrum post, and I hope you will be able to tune in to the debate on Saturday.
I’m a hard-working, strong-minded, articulate Christian woman. I’m also a complementarian. You’d be forgiven for any surprise provoked by that last sentence- we are, after all, somewhat under-represented on the internet. While I don’t doubt that there may exist a wealth of eloquent female complementarians somewhere in the vast galaxy of the blogosphere, it’s impossible to deny the weighty presence of egalitarian female bloggers such as the popular Rachel Held Evans. As a woman, this smarts a little: female egalitarian bloggers are dear sisters in Christ, but do not represent all Christian women. As a complementarian woman, this is worrying. By not adding my two pence to the debate, am I adding fuel to the fire? If I believe that the complementarian view is Biblical and God-honouring, why am I not stepping up to be a voice for Christian women who feel the same?
The debate is wide open and multi-faceted; to fully engage with the subject would require more time than I have and more patience of you, the reader, to endure my ramblings. To simplify, here’s four reasons why I’m glad I’m a female complementarian.
1. I’m glad because I know I’m uniquely gifted as a woman. I was created for God’s glory (Isaiah 43:7). I exist to serve Him, the church, and- if the Lord wills it one day- a husband and children. When I was intricately woven in my mother’s womb, God had a plan for me to serve Him in the body I was given. Am I short of things to do for the Kingdom because I believe that women should refrain from adopting a teaching role in the church as a whole? As Paul would put it- “by no means!” As I have sought God’s will and increasingly found my desires to be in line with His (Psalm 37:4), He has blessed me with opportunities to serve Him in ways more tangible and sweet than I ever thought possible for a wretch like me. My energies can be used where He would have me serve, and I do not
struggle and strive where there is no need.
2. I’m glad because there is freedom in being “out of the world”. In John 15:19 Jesus reminds His disciples that He chose them to stand out and be hated for the sake of His name. In all the knowledge of the gospel and of what is to come, we as fellow disciples can know boundless, world-flummoxing joy in that truth. As a female in 2012, holding a complementarian view feels pretty “out of this world”. Women are encouraged in the pages of yawn-inducing lifestyle magazines to “take control” of their men; on television sitcoms, to live promiscuously in the name of perceived empowerment; in society, to “keep up with the lads” in stamina and strength of body and mind. Now while I don’t suggest that the Christian egalitarian view stands for these exact things, I do suspect that the complementarian view- being so dramatically different to this culture of aggressive “equality”- would sound rather less cuddly to the woman far from God on the street. It calls for sacrifice, humility, servitude. It involves a re-orientation of the heart and a rich supply of grace; a dependence on God to defy ourselves and seek His will.
3. I’m glad because, as a single, it makes the prospect of marriage even sweeter. I don’t know about you, but I like to know what I’m in for. Marriage promises to be hard enough without blurring the roles of man and wife. John Piper explains the complementarian view of gender roles in marriage pretty succinctly, with a husband pursuing the calling of headship- that is, “primary responsibility for Christ-like servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home”. And in partnership, his wife submits “to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts”. In the complementarian marriage, each half has a clear, defined and special role that promotes trust, clarity and unity within the whole. In our culture chock-full of non-committal cads and teasing, game-playing gals, can there be a more beautiful model for marriage than this?
4. I’m glad because it stirs my affections towards Christ. Jesus was the humble King who served relentlessly, loved boundlessly and suffered joyfully for every last one of us. Let’s not take 1 Corinthians 10:31 lightly: all things should be done for God’s glory, as an act of worship to our King. Resting in a supply of grace that will never run out, I can seek to serve Him in this area of my life by honouring gender roles as I believe they are outlined in the Bible. With the fall came a struggle between men and women that will not end until Christ returns- so I don’t pretend that I never doubt or become tempted to change my views for the sake of an easy life. I praise God, then, for the Holy Spirit’s help as I seek fuller understanding and further sanctification day by day.
Though my word count may defy me, I’ve only scratched the surface of this heavy and often sensitive subject. Complementarian chicks: you’re not alone. Let’s seek to express ourselves in a way that is respectful, helpful and humble. Egalitarian ladies: I love you! If we must debate, let’s do so lovingly as part of the family that is the body of Christ.