Towards a Balanced View of Christian Womanhood

Towards a Balanced View of Christian Womanhood May 17, 2019
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Christian social media has been buzzing of late with a fierce renewal of the long-standing debate over the role of women in the Church. It was catalyzed by this blog post from my friend and Patheos colleague Owen Strachan, which strongly censured female preaching in any context.

By itself, the assertion that women should not be ordained as pastors isn’t controversial in conservative evangelical circles. But Strachan goes farther. Apropos of the announcement that popular speaker Beth Moore was going to address a gathered church assembly for Mother’s Day morning, he writes, “If we take the Bible at its word, then we recognize that there is no way for a woman to instruct the gathered church, whether in an authoritative or ‘non-authoritative’ way. Congregational preaching and teaching is authoritative, for the Word of God is authoritative.” He repeats further down, “Whether a woman is called to marriage or singleness, women should not preach or offer public teaching in the gathered worship service in local churches. The call to local church leadership is not dependent upon gifting or talent; it is based on the creation order of almighty God. For a woman to teach and preach to adult men is to defy God’s Word and God’s design. Elders must not allow such a sinful practice; to do so is to bring the church body into disobedience against God.”

This raised some eyebrows—in my view, understandably so.

Some background: I like Owen Strachan. I know him well enough to call him friend, though we’ve never met in person. We’ve exchanged writing and thoughts in a spirit of mutual respect on topics of mutual interest. In fact, he approached and commissioned me to write the cover story for the launch of his forthcoming magazine venture Permanent Things (a piece examining the Intellectual Dark Web from a Christian perspective). He’s even encouraged me to write a book on the subject (which probably won’t happen, or at least not quite like he envisioned, but I don’t want to give too much away—follow me on Twitter so you won’t miss a thing, natch). So, despite the various comments various people have been making in the wake of his post, I as a certified woman can confirm: Owen does not hate women, nor is he threatened by Intelligent Females, nor is he on a mission to make sure women in the church talk publicly about nothing but making casserole and sewing felt Christmas tree ornaments. Beth Moore tweeted that she would be “terrified” to be the kind of woman Owen approves of. I can only say that as far as I’m concerned, Owen is an all-round Stand-Up Guy. In technical parlance, a Mensch.

With that out of the way, I do have some thoughts on all this that, true to form, will probably leave everyone on both sides mildly annoyed. This appears to be my lot in life. I choose to think of it as a spiritual gift.

To put my cards on the table, like other conservative Christians I too have no disagreement with Owen on the question of women’s ordination. I also agree in broad outline with him that the universe is divinely ordered, and that male leadership in the church and in the home properly reflects this divine order.

However, my own eyebrows were among the eyebrows that went up at Strachan’s extension of this thesis to the assertion that it’s a sin not only for women to be ministers, but to instruct an “assembled church body” in any capacity at all. One context that I’m not sure had occurred to Owen is the context of a conference. Many churches, when they host conferences on apologetics and the like, will schedule speaker sessions during Sunday morning assembly. These sessions could cover a variety of topics, ranging from psychology and sexuality to New Testament scholarship. If a female psychologist or biblical scholar has been invited to come help educate Christians on these topics while grounding her presentation in the Word (as, indeed, we would hope she would!) is it “sinful” for her to be slotted into a Sunday morning session but not a Saturday night session? That is, assuming “adult men” are attending the session? Should only women be in attendance for her Sunday morning slot?

Owen’s phrase “preaching or teaching” additionally raises the question of female college Bible teachers. I’m old enough to remember both when Cedarville College was in a shambles and when those Augean stables finally got cleaned in perhaps more dramatic fashion than people were expecting. Firing all the female professors was certainly one approach, but I’m not entirely sure it was precisely tailored to what was actually needed. A part of me wonders how many theologically solid women were put out of a job while the male evanjellyfish who actually needed to be fired got off scot-free.

This brings me to a broader issue I have with Owen’s post: It leaves unclear exactly what the place is for women whose gifts and interests are not distinctively feminine. He envisions older women instructing younger women in various domestic arts, but not all women are equally competent or motivated to offer such instruction. And some might be highly competent to offer instruction in a skill or a discipline that is less domestic in nature. Not to put too fine a point on it, what if I’m the kind of woman who lets the Pillsbury Dough Boy make all my pie crusts and buys my Christmas tree ornaments from Meijer, but I can really kick ass on the finer points of Bayes’s Theorem, or the poetry of T. S. Eliot, or the abject failure of biblical higher criticism?

Then again, as mentioned earlier, our own interactions can speak to this question. I have, after all, been entrusted with a generous amount of space in his new magazine, writing on a topic that is not exactly water-cooler fodder for most evangelical women, addressing an audience that will include not just adult men but pastors. I also learned about a woman working in New Testament scholarship whom I’d never heard of before he mentioned her name in an exchange. So perhaps it would be fair to say that in this respect, his actions bring clarity where his writing raises questions.

All of these questions are, of course, delicately entangled with the vocations of singleness and motherhood. Owen recently quoted a tweet from a woman expressing frustration at women who complain they don’t “just” want to work with babies and little children all their lives. She found this sentiment shallow and shot back that women should regard the nurturing of children as the noblest possible calling.

I, too, have felt that frustration. I feel it particularly when I see Christian women defensively pushing the idea that deliberate childlessness is an acceptable choice for a married Christian woman who wants to focus on “kingdom work” instead. I’m no Catholic, but I will take a Catholic friend in this particular fight any day. Meanwhile, in some Protestant circles, “Able Christian couples should not make themselves permanently and purposefully infertile” is still an “I can’t believe I need to argue this, but here we are” kind of concept. (This probably has something to do with how the tunnel-visioned focus on sola Scriptura has made evangelicals incapable of availing themselves of the rich resources of natural law, but anyway, another day.)

On this topic, my attention was recently drawn to this now two-year-old post by Karen Swallow Prior, which she re-shared for Mother’s Day. I know Karen less well than Owen but have enjoyed some exchanges with her (including an interview for this blog, which you can read here). I value her voice and found value in this article. She uses her own personal story of (unwanted) childlessness and the profiles of other childless Christian women throughout church history to argue that childlessness can be a “calling.” Inter alia, I appreciated her very clear moral stance against IVF (which Prior is right to note many evangelicals don’t consider with due thoughtfulness). Her historical examples are a mix of women who never married and women like herself in childless marriages. Her concluding thesis that “women do not have to be mothers in order to contribute meaningfully to the world” is unarguably true. However, certain natural questions arise that aren’t clarified within the piece. For example, it’s not clear what stance she takes on deliberate childlessness within a marriage.

Singleness, of course, is another issue yet again. Whereas it’s easy to tell men to man up and set themselves to the task of choosing and pursuing a godly woman, it’s more than a bit cruel to ask a single young woman “Why don’t you have yourself a nice boy yet?” The blunt truth is that men can be pornified cads and sexual selection can be harsh, even in the church. In the process, many good women who would have gladly poured themselves into a family will be passed over. And evangelicalism, unlike Catholicism, does not have a very clearly defined vocation of singleness by which such women can easily navigate. (Nor such men, for that matter.)

To acknowledge that single and/or childless women can bear fruit to the glory of God is not to deny that these things are privations. To acknowledge that God may intend and use tragedy for good is not to pretend that a thing is not tragic. Two things can be true at once: Yes, the natural telos of womanhood bends towards motherhood and homemaking, and also yes, individual women may have talents to offer the church that extend beyond motherhood and homemaking. And for many women, this will take the form of teaching.

Women should not be ministers. Women should not play a pastoral role in adult men’s lives. On this Owen and I are agreed. The need for men to be spiritually nurtured and mentored by a male authority figure is imperative. But there should be a place in the church for women with the gift of teaching more than homemaking skills. Such women have much to offer men and women alike. A scholar can offer knowledge of biblical languages to a seminary student. A conference speaker can offer expert advice in her area of specialty. I don’t see how either of these contexts would constitute a disruption of the divine order for male and female.

Since no post of mine these days would be complete without a Jordan Peterson reference, I note that the title for Owen’s original piece plays on the words “order” and “chaos” in a way that probably unintentionally evokes Peterson’s work. Peterson has frequently been nagged by feminist journalists who press him to “admit” that what he’s really saying is women are the agents of chaos and men need to come along and straighten them out with manly order. This, of course, is a ridiculously shallow distortion of Peterson’s actual message, as people discovered on a viral scale when he winningly disarmed Cathy Newman last year.

Likewise, someone could read the title of Owen’s post and conclude after reading the body that he is prescribing divine order as the masculine antidote to feminine chaos. I think this, too, would be unfair, since Owen clearly has in mind many different forms of chaos that are encroaching on the Church, and he has proven that he hardly views strong-willed women as inherently chaotic and dangerous.

At the same time, I suggest more balance is required than his post provides on its face. As Peterson often points out, the goal is not to overwhelm chaos with order, but to mediate optimally between the two. We should seek to discern God’s good order for man and woman both by revelation and by natural law. At the same time, we should consider carefully where God’s plainly proscribed will for this order ends and where our prudential choices for living it out begin.

This is thorny work. But for the sake of the body, I think it’s worth doing.

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  • John

    “Women should not be ministers. Women should not play a pastoral role in adult men’s lives. On this Owen and I are agreed.” Then you go on to say women can teach, offer biblical insight, speak at conferences without disruption to the divine order. I think you are splitting hairs here. One must consider how a woman speaking, teaching and interacting with anyone can be both ministry and pastoral, whether the recipient be male or female. Once you open up this argument, then multiple and detailed distinctions must be made – can women be missionaries, give testimony, encourage others (men), admonish others (men), hold others accountable (men), ask deep and reflective questions of (men). You get my point. From here the theology is lost and we’ve reverted to compiling a list to help women be compliant, which is what must be monitored and adhered to in order to avoid upsetting the “divine order.” Reverting to a list of do’s and don’ts cuts too close to legalism. Please let me knw where I may have misunderstood your intentions and understandings.

    Also, what was missing in Owens’ piece that I would like to hear more of is the ‘why’ question. Besides just returning over and over to the ‘divine order’ as reason, why is this divine order good and in place? Owen provides no insight here, just the repeated ‘divine order’ phrase. What theological reason does he, and yourself, think underpins this reasoning from God? I realize this may be guesswork, but what do you see scripturally addressing this? Per the NT, it would not be that women are less smart or capable, and that they are not restricted in the gifts of teaching, or less passionate, or less …….. But God has a reason. Any contemplations here?

  • JohnE_o

    It’s very simple – God gets very, very angry when women try to tell men what to do…

  • Tom Christian

    I find so many things wrong with Strachan’s opinions that I’m at something of a loss to begin a critique. However, perhaps this quote may be a beginning;

    “If we take the Bible at its word, then we recognize that there is no
    way for a woman to instruct the gathered church, whether in an
    authoritative or ‘non-authoritative’ way.

    “If we take th Bible at its word…” What/which “word”? OT, NT,? And who’s interpretation? After studying this issue for years I’m convinced that the major problem is exactly what Strachan wants us to do.

    And this by Esther;

    I also agree in broad outline with him that the universe is divinely
    ordered, and that male leadership in the church and in the home properly
    reflects this divine order.

    “divinely ordered…male leadership in the church and in the home”. Really? Or is this more properly called “common social ordering” that has been read back into the text?

  • Dr. Jamin Andreas Hübner

    It might be wise to read such articles as these before drawing such terribly arbitrary and needless rules, and assuming theological credibility of a recent but nevertheless defunct, evangelical tribe:
    https://www.academia.edu/24894019/Revisiting_the_Clarity_of_Scripture_in_1_Timothy_2_12

  • fractal

    I feel like I am in the dark ages.
    People STILL believe this crazy stuff?

    Way to Butch for me.
    Women are by far more civilized and evolved spiritually than men, and should be leading in society AND church.
    Just wish they would hurry up and get on with it…

  • fractal

    All that pretzel logic aside in your link, it is pretty obvious that people choose the church which is in accordance with their belief system.

    If you are a sexist pig, you will be attracted to churches that preach misogyny.
    If you are a Black/White thinker, you will go to a church with lots of rules and judgements.
    If you were cowed into Submission as a child, you will look for a Dominator as a mate, and a religion that reinforces your dysfunction.

    You don’t really need bunches of footnotes and scholarly reviews to surmise that fundamentalist men are running a long-time power-trip, and religious dogma is their assault rifle.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    This article is completely disingenuous. The only basis for refusing women preaching is a (mis)interpretation of a single passage in Paul. You have to pick: either you take Paul as saying women must remain literally completely silent in church (not teaching, not preaching, not even praying aloud or singing) or you don’t. If you don’t, then your “biblical” basis for saying women can’t preach is gone, and you are left with only personal prejudice.
    Likewise teaching: this again is a yes/no issue: either Paul says women can never teach men, or he doesn’t. There’s no logical or practical basis for the ban, so either you uncritically follow what you think Paul is saying, or you re-look at it and understand it as not a ban at all.
    A middle ground only exists where there is scope for practical and prudential judgement, and once you admit that, the case against women preaching and teaching falls away, because there are just as many fine women preachers and teachers than men, who are more than capable of doing an excellent job.
    In case anyone’s interested, I don’t think Paul was actually opposed to women preaching or teaching, and here’s a little think I wrote ages ago where I give my take on what these (and other similar) passages mean:
    https://worldviewsandcurrentnews.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/mansplaining-the-bible/

  • AntithiChrist

    Finally, someone pointing out in an unabashed, full-throated way, one of the many horrific teachings of the Christian bible.

    My mom was only able to reconcile this anti-women nonsense to her Christian faith by firmly asserting that Paul was a “misogynistic POS.”

    The original writers of the biblical texts lived and wrote during a time in which women were male property. That was the law and age-old cultural expectation. Women were, quite literally, chattel, owned by their fathers, then husbands. The concept of female “consent” didn’t even exist, let alone the blasphemous idea of any woman ever having any authority over any man for any reason whatsoever.

    Like so many of these barbaric Bronze Age ideas, that sh!t don’t fly no more, fellas (and the ladies who support them).

  • soter phile

    Did you really just tell this female author that her views don’t fly with women anymore?

    Doesn’t that strike you as even a little bit ironic?

  • soter phile

    you said: The only basis for refusing women preaching is a (mis)interpretation of a single passage in Paul.

    speaking of “completely disingenuous”, your hermeneutics are on display.
    and note well: that is the underlying (read: more foundational) point of disagreement.

    never mind that Catholics, Orthodox & the vast majority of conservative Protestants disagree with you –
    and virtually none of them do so on the basis of a single verse, despite what you claimed above.

  • soter phile

    …and if you are a self-rationalizing pluralist, you will only adhere to self-rationalizing pluralism?

    you are hoist by your own petard.
    your logic here ‘explains away’ your own position, too.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Nope. Catholic and Orthodox don’t ordain women as priests: they have no problem with women speaking in church or teaching men in a lay capacity. The article is talking about fundamental protestants who blather about women not speaking in church at all, or not teaching men at all, which is not traditional Christian teaching and this (in historical terms innovation in Christian practice and doctrine) is expressly based on the passages referred to. The denominations concerned also (somewhat hypocritically) claim that all their beliefs are “sola scriptura” and deny reliance on Christian tradition as an alternative source of authority. Conveniently (wrongly) citing tradition again when the “biblical” case breaks down is another example of the same double standards demonstrated in the article above: “biblical literalism” is waved about when convenient, and dropped when not.

  • Laurel Linc Dunstan

    So, when does breast feeding a baby equai preaching a Gospel sermon from the pulpit? In fact I don’t see one hat worn by a woman in church…at least not where I attend!!

    With due respect, is this the same Esther that wrote this awesome piece. (I still haven’t found my handkerchief!)http://click1.mail.patheos.com/t.do?id=2096959:3911738:7DF2956C-D2F1-40D4-A777-98E450E58360:1558802724

  • fractal

    How many children and adults do you think have been molested literally and spiritually, by male priests?

    How do you think those numbers might have changed, if only women were allowed to be priests?

  • fractal

    I know why.
    Paul had the personality of a FANATIC before he was converted.
    It didn’t impove after…

    “AFTER CHANGES UPON CHANGES, WE ARE MORE OR LESS THE SAME…”
    Paul Simon

  • AntithiChrist

    Yes. That’s exactly what I did. And of course the irony of that is unavoidable.

    However, a religious female author is no more immune to supporting a regressive, outdated, and misogynistiic theology than is a black male, watching police brutality videos on YouTube or seeing the culture of police brutality toward African Americans in his everyday life, immune to supporting the St Louis Policemen’s Benevolent Society. Either one of these situations can actually exist, however tragically ironic they may be.

  • soter phile

    And… a self-styled progressive can still be a part of silencing women simply because that progressive does not agree with what a woman is saying.

    It reminds me of how much resistance the “March for Women” movement has had for pro-life women… it ironically results in silencing the very people they are supposedly empowering.
    “Yay, women! Speak freely… wait, wait, wait – you can’t say that!”

  • soter phile

    because ‘women are never predators’? have you looked into this? even a cursory glance at some of the lawsuits should disabuse you of this false notion.

  • soter phile

    that’s a rather fine line you’re trying to draw. if you actually attended some of these churches conservative Protestant churches you are mocking, guess what you’d find? women are as involved in the service as they are in Catholic & Orthodox communities, in most of the same ways. you want to make a distinction without difference here.

    if you concede the vast majority of the Christian Church, for the vast majority of its history, has not ordained women – it should lead you to take a pause here.

    never mind that sola Scriptura has not historically functioned in the manner you are accusing these churches of using it – and that is precisely why many of them accordingly do not fit your critique. Gospel Coalition comes to mind. I’d post the link – but this page auto-spams links.

    point being: you are erecting a virtually non-existent straw man so you can dismiss an entire group out-of-hand, even though it is a blatant mischaracterization.

  • AntithiChrist

    Who said anything about silencing? Scroll up and review. My comment is that the author’s ideas are completely outdated, aligned with Bronze Age mores and cultural norms. Nothing in my comment is about silencing anyone.

    And do try to keep your focus. It’s not pro-life protestors or the informed people who disagree with them.

    The topic is whether or not women should be able to hold positions of authority over men in a church.

    Paul, quoted in the Bible, explicitly says no, that women should sit there and be silent and submissive, (there’s your silencing, btw), flat out forbids women to teach or have authority over men, and the author appears to be siding with Paul.

    I disagree with the author, She’s welcome to disagree with me. End of story.

  • swbarnes2

    No one is silencing the author. It’s the author who is silencing women by telling them that if they think they can pastor to anyone but children they should shut the hell up and go make sandwiches.

  • Cindy Dufty

    Just came across your recent Jordan Peterson post, which I liked, and was curious to read more. On the scriptural basis for some women being gifted and empowered for teaching and leadership ministry in the church, I see we do not agree. As far as Owen S.’s post, I agree that order is a scriptural principle but thought he boosted it to be alone and all-determining, whereas I see another principle throughout the scriptures of creative freedom, starting with God’s freedom to do new things. Scriptural examples would be Yahweh’s anointing Deborah as prophet and judge of Israel for her generation or Jesus’ friendships, conversations with and revelations to a number of unrelated women, considered against good order by the religious sticklers of his day. Then there’s the contribution of spirit-filled women to kingdom-expansion movements throughout history, in recent years Protestant missions, pietistic, holiness and Pentecostal movements, and the churches that claim those movements as their heritage. (One of these is the ECC, of which I am a member and within which my sister serves as a pastor)
    As my seminary missions professor born in Burkina Faso asked, “when some in our denomination want to prohibit women missionaries speaking from the pulpit during their home assignments, what are they saying about me as an African man since we heard the Gospel from many missionaries who were women? ” The implication to him was that pastors thoroughly opposed to women addressing a mixed congregation in the home country, no matter if they are in submission to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, the confessions, and the gathered church, might be seeing non-Western men like himself as equivalent to children.

  • soter phile

    you’re being disingenuous. AntithiChrist said above: Like so many of these barbaric Bronze Age ideas, that sh!t don’t fly no more, fellas (and the ladies who support them).

    calling her position “sh!t” or saying “shut the hell up and make sandwiches” (a caricature, BTW)… it’s a distinction without difference…

    while doing the very thing one is criticizing one’s opponent for doing.

  • soter phile

    what is the goal of calling her position – in your own words – sh!t, if not to silence?
    it’s either an attempt to shame intellectually (“outdated”, “Bronze age”, etc.) or through the sheer force of pejorative labels.

    never mind the fact that your claims are a dismissal of the prevailing current global social norms in favor of regurgitating your own (myopic) current cultural ones. it raises the underlying question: on what basis does one make such claims? to what authority is one appealing? but note well: in virtually any other case, that would be called what it is – ethnocentrism.

    the March for Women was simply illustrative of the same sentiment. That’s not ‘losing focus’ – simply b/c you do not like the implications of giving yet another example of the hypocrisy of so-called ‘open-minded’ people.

    of course, she is welcome to disagree, regardless of your permission… or mine.
    and you are welcome to disagree with me – even when your logic is self-defeating.

  • Dr. Jamin Andreas Hübner

    You’re generally right. My point is that even within a biblicism paradigm, Paul is not the misogynist of complementarian lore.

  • fractal

    Sexism and racism are two sides of the same coin.
    Can’t have one without the other…

  • Cindy Dufty

    It should be noted that in recent years the Southern Baptists have confessed and repented for the sin of racism in their earliest history as they were the pro-slavery Baptist faction around the time of the Civil War when some northern Baptists were abolitionists. But I agree that emphasis on “good order” over all can be used to support unjust social orders – just read some southern theologians of that era on how God had “ordained” the slavery status of Africans and to oppose that was to oppose God. Today’s hard “complementarians” like Owen S. can sound a little like that to me in their praise of order above all, which seems to include specifying allowed roles for women in the family, the church and even in the workplace, quite an extra-biblical pastime. (Based on Proverbs 31 you could argue that wives should unilaterally make all property purchase decisions for the family.) One problem is that we as humans are strongly motivated to justify a state of society that is working out well for us personally and another is a desire for more certainty that God has afforded us – leading to the elaboration of commands and “hedges around the law”.

  • fractal

    Does it matter that he wasn’t, when everyone thinks he was?

    This is the problem with treating the bible like a Golden Calf.
    People are taught to believe, rather than to feel, think and discern for themselves.
    One verse, and social progress can thwarted for centuries.
    That is too much power for any book to have, especially one written by, in and for the MEN in a bronze age culture.

    Sorry, but I see the bible more as an enemy of women than a guide for women’s spirituality.

  • fractal

    Trying to make society conform to bronze age misogyny, is a pretty BIG PROBLEM—for society.

  • Dr. Jamin Andreas Hübner

    You’re exactly right about bibliolatry and biblicism. It is too much power to place on an anthology of writings. And it certainly has been used to oppress women – and virtually every other group and demographic. I’m not commenting within that fundamentalist framework; what is ‘biblical’ doesn’t matter to me as a christian, what matters is what is ‘Christian’ (e.g., in alignment with the prophetic and ethical vision of Christ) – especially since they are often at opposites (slavery, women’s subordination, stoning homosexuals are all ‘biblical,’ but they are anything but Christian).

    What framework I am working within is biblical scholarship – which supposedly professing evangelicals care about (they often or usually don’t, but some do). So asking “does it matter that he wasn’t, when everyone things he was?’ can be answered: well yes, it does if one simply wants to cut behind the fog and get a more informed perspective and actually respect people’s writings of the past. What if all of us read the New Testament like any contemporary writing of similar kind, and bailed on both evangelical fundamentalisms and our hermeneutic of suspicion reductionisms? Just a thought.

  • fractal

    I think people would like ALL the holy books in the world, if they approached them that way.

  • NorrinRadd

    “By itself, the assertion that women should not be ordained as pastors isn’t controversial in conservative evangelical circles.” — I think this lacks nuance. Most people would regard the AG and Foursquare as conservative and evangelical, and they have ordained women for about a hundred years.

    I’ve been a Christian for about 39 of my 59 years. For at least 2/3 of that time, I was a complementarian. I understand that many passages of Scripture can be interpreted that way. But even when I held that view, I never thought Scripture was anything close to unambiguous on the issue. Even if many remain convinced of complementarianism, even after honest study and dialog on the topic, I really don’t understand how they can hold that view dogmatically, as if it were consistently clear and self-evident in Scripture.

  • NorrinRadd

    If this is a topic that actually interests you, as opposed to just being an excuse to lob blog-bombs, you might consider reading some egalitarian books. I recommend Discovering Biblical Equality for a splendid overview of the “traditional” egalitarian approach, and Paul and Gender by Cynthia Westfall for a new and very different approach.

  • AntithiChrist

    Thanks for the suggestions. Quick FYI: a dissenting view, cogently stated, isn’t a “blog bomb,” though I do admire the rhetoric.

    Checking out these books, For all the good intentions, it appears that each is based on a couple of premises I utterly reject. One, that an omniscient god so lacks the linguistic chops to put together a cogent how-to-do-it-the-way-I-approve manual that constant re-explanation is required, and two, the conceit that some of us share in a nebulous “body of Christ” and that’s why all this constant reinterpretation is needed in the first place, so it can somehow make any sense at all.

  • Jesse H

    Your lot in life Esther is actually to walk a fine line between two compromising positions, and to do so well. The simple fact is that your practical solution is actually what is practiced and espoused by multiple Christian denominations across the spectrum. Some have different theory but still agree in practice. The very idea of complementarianism is that men and women compliment each other in a variety of ways. Amen.