Gender “war” might sound excessive. Perhaps if we frame this within the broader “evangelical culture war,” then the word-choice probably makes sense. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, you know that I believe that the worldwide church should “Liberate Women for Ministry.” Honestly, the complementarian system holds back the potential for a more beautiful kingdom, filled with 21st century Junia’s and Deborah’s to lead the church forward in her mission. And yes, I say this as a man, called to a pastoral life myself. I think that many of the traditionalist folks who desire “revival” to happen in our day, need to ask: How does our stifling of the gifts of women hold back the potential for revival in our day?
On this issue, I find myself optimistic and yet still concerned. I believe that many people in the broader church now recognize that the egalitarian perspective is most faithful to the Scriptures. A friend of mine, Rachel Held Evans (author of Evolving in Monkey Town and the forthcoming Year of Biblical Womanhood), recently said this on her blog:
I probably don’t say this enough, but I am extremely hopeful about the future of women in the Church. Sure, there are some extra-loud voices calling for women to conform themselves to narrowly defined roles that have more to do with an idealized conception of pre-feminist America than with actual “biblical womanhood,” but I believe these cries represent the last desperate throes of a dying movement. I sincerely believe that, if I have daughters, they will be welcomed as equals in most evangelical churches, and that egalitarian marriages like my own—in which my husband and I work together as a team of equal partners—will become the norm within Christendom.
What do you think based on your experiences? Which perspective is more dominant in your context? Why?
- Liberating Women for Ministry?, Kurt Willems (series I wrote, scroll down to find part 1)
- Junia is not Alone, Scot McKnight
- Some great posts about gender, hierarchy, equality, and marriage, Rachel Held Evans
- Driscoll, “Real Marriage,” and Why Being a Pastor Doesn’t Automatically Make You a Sex Therapist, Rachel Held Evans
- In Which Love Looks Like Real Marriage, Sarah Bessey
- Women’s Service in the Church: A biblical basis, NT Wright