Complementarianism, Rock Your Role

Throwback Thursday ~ Rock Your Role: All Things Being Equal (Galatians 3:28)

Originally published August 21, 2015

Being a church lady can be really confusing at times, am I right? There are so many questions and Scriptures to sort through and figure out. We want to serve the body of Christ in a godly way, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to go about that.

Rock Your Role is a new series I’m starting today that will examine all of the “go to” Scriptures that help us understand our role as women in the church. Some of these passages are – let’s just be honest – tough. Tough to understand. Tough to accept.

As we tackle tough passages like these, it’s important to ask ourselves a few equally tough questions, search our hearts, and answer honestly. Before reading each article in the Rock Your Role series, I’d like to ask you to prayerfully consider these questions:

1. Do I really believe God’s rightly handled, in context, written Word has the final say when it comes to what I (and the church) should believe and do?

2. If so, am I truly willing to “put my money where my mouth is” and back up that belief with action and obedience, even if I don’t initially like or fully understand a certain biblical concept or command?

3. Is this passage a tough one for me because it challenges my preconceived notions and opinions? Am I willing to put my ideas aside and hear what God’s Word has to say so I can obey it?

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started with…

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28

For those of you who have been around the blog for a while, you might be surprised that I’m kicking things off with this verse. I’m about as complementarian as they come, and Galatians 3:28 is the rallying cry for egalitarians. But this verse is foundational to our understanding of the role of women in the church because it tells us who we are in Christ.

Before we zero in on verse 28, though, let’s zoom out and look at the book of Galatians as a whole. Galatians was written by Paul to the churches at Galatia to combat the false doctrine of the Judaizers- those who taught that the Gentiles must first become Jews (be circumcised and follow the Mosaic law) before they could become Christians. The Galatians were being seduced by this teaching, allowing it into their churches, and many were being drawn away from the truth of the gospel. Paul wrote to straighten them out and remind them – and us – that we are justified (saved and made right with God) through repentance and faith in Christ, not by keeping the law.

Galatians 3 is a perfect showcase for Paul’s theme of justification by faith. Take a moment and read the whole chapter now.

Paul reminds the Galatians that they were saved by faith, not works of the law, just like Abraham was. Paul explains that the law came with a curse attached for those who disobeyed it, but that Christ redeemed us from that curse. In fact, the whole purpose of the law was to teach us we can’t keep it and push us to faith in Christ as our only hope for salvation.

Wait a second. What’s all this talk about the law and faith and salvation and stuff? Isn’t this passage about women being equal to men and that they can serve in any capacity or office in the church that men can?

Wait a second. What’s all this talk about the law and faith and salvation and stuff? Isn’t this passage about women being equal to men and that they can serve in any capacity or office in the church that men can? Um…no. No, it’s not.

Um…no. No, it’s not. And that’s where the wheels fall off of the egalitarian argument. The entirety of Galatians chapter three is about salvation by faith instead of works. It says nothing about women serving in the same roles in the church as men. Nada. Zip. Zero.

It tells us something better. Something far more precious to the women of that time – and to us – than we realize. Let’s look at verse 28 in its immediate context:

But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Do you see that? We’re no longer under the guardianship of the law. Anyone can come to Christ in repentance and faith- Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, all are welcome. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. No one is more important than anybody else. We are all equally saved, equally loved, equally forgiven of our sin, equally precious in God’s eyes. In a time when women were considered less important, less valuable, less intelligent, less everything than men, this would have been joyous news, indeed. It should be to us, as well.

But equality in salvation does not translate to equality in church roles. A king and a pauper might have worshiped side by side in the Galatian church, but when it came to the role of giving, the church would not have expected the same offering from the pauper as from the king. This didn’t make the king more important than the pauper, it just gave him a different area of responsibility because of who he was. Likewise, men and women are equally saved and forgiven in God’s eyes, but still fulfill different roles in the body of Christ because of who they are.

Equality in salvation does not translate to equality in church roles.

Let me illustrate this another way. My husband and I have 6 children. Each and every one of us are all equally Lesleys even though I married into the family and the rest of them were born into the family. No family member is more loved or important than another. However, we all have different roles, which come with different blessings and responsibilities. My 12 year old might not be able to drive the car, but he doesn’t have to work eight hours a day and pay bills, either. I no longer have to do homework (thank you, Lord!), but I do have to do housework. Our family would not operate in a healthy way if I tried to take on my son’s role or my husband tried to take on my role.

It’s the same way in the church. God loves, forgives, and saves each one of us equally. But he also loves us each individually. And it’s because of that individual love that He gives each of us unique roles to fill in the church so that it will operate in a healthy way. As we’ll see throughout this series, the role of women in the church is precious and vital to the well being of the body of Christ. So is the role of men. They are both equally important, yet God has specially gifted women to fulfill the roles He has designed for us just as He has specially gifted men to fulfill the roles He has designed for them.

Ladies, you have a Savior who loves and values you as a woman, and your role in the church is no less important than any man’s just because it’s different from his role. There are no second class citizens in God’s kingdom.

Ladies, you have a Savior who loves and values you as a *woman,* and your role in the church is no less important than any man’s just because it’s different from his role.

Southern Baptist/SBC

Arrive Prepared: Resources for Messengers to the 20*20* Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention

Originally published February 18, 20*20*

Why am I re-publishing this article from 2020 when Southern Baptists are getting ready for the 2022 Convention? Because I want to remind us that we’re still facing a lot of the same basic issues (and some of the same people) today, and because much of this is still relevant. (I’ve updated pertinent links from 2020 to 2022.) So let’s take a little trip down memory lane. Sadly, we have not come a long way, baby.


The 2020 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention
has been canceled due to the Coronavirus.
Click here to read more.


Are you a Southern Baptist who’s concerned about – or maybe not even aware of – the direction the SBC is headed? If so, I’m glad you stopped by. I’m encouraging all of my Southern Baptist readers and followers to serve as messengers from your churches to the 2020 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention and make your doctrinally sound, biblically informed voice heard.

At the 2019 Convention, a significant procedural problem was highlighted by the passage of Resolution 9 (more below). It was a resolution that dealt with two complex, and – to many messengers (and even SBC leaders) – unfamiliar issues, Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. These highly technical and intricate issues were brought to the floor for a vote near the end of the day when some messengers had already left, others were tired, hungry, and ready to leave after a long day, and when time was limited. Concerns have been raised that, due to some of these factors, many messengers may not have had a solid grasp of the issue they were voting on and its consequences for the SBC.

I’d like to help rectify that situation in some small way by providing you with resources ahead of time that will allow you to #ArrivePrepared at #SBC2020. Convention procedures. Hot button issues. The original text of some of the resolutions you’ll be voting on. If messengers are to vote biblically, prayerfully, and sober-mindedly, they must be given the time to read, process, and pray for godly wisdom regarding the issues. 

When and where is the Convention being held?

Tuesday, June 9 – Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Orange County Convention Center
West Concourse
9800 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

Get more information, including the meeting schedule, discounted hotel rates, and childcare, at the SBC 2020 2022 Annual Meeting Website

What is a messenger, and how do I become one?

A messenger is a member in good standing at a church in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention who is approved by her church to attend the annual meeting and vote on the items presented during during the business sessions. Contact your pastor to find out how to become an approved messenger for your church.

More details and requirements for messengers and churches (2022)

Messenger pre-registration form/instructions for churches (2022)

What is a resolution, and how do I submit one to be voted on at the SBC?

A resolution is basically a public statement in favor of or opposing a particular issue, and frequently calling for some sort of voluntary action from Southern Baptists on that issue. The best way to understand what a resolution is is to read through some resolutions from the past. You can check out resolutions from all the way back to 1845, and get an idea of which issues the SBC was facing at the time and how Southern Baptists just like you thought the SBC should respond. Messengers vote for or against resolutions, and resolutions either pass or fail. It is important to understand that because of SBC polity, resolutions that pass are non-binding on the local church. In other words, your church is free to follow or not follow each resolution as your pastor and/or congregation sees fit. You do not need your pastor’s permission or approval to submit a resolution, but his input and guidance could be very helpful.

Past resolutions

How to submit a resolution

Members of the 2020 2022 Committee on Resolutions

2020 Resolutions and Motions

These are items messengers may have the opportunity to vote on at the Convention. (Parliamentary procedure or committee action may preclude a vote.) I would love to publish the text of, or information regarding as many votable items as possible so messengers can read, inform themselves, and especially pray about how they should vote.

If you know someone who will be submitting a resolution or making a motion at the Convention and would like to have it published here,
please contact me as soon as possible.

Resolutions

This is the original text of these motions that will be submitted to the Committee on Resolutions. Please bear in mind, the Committee on Resolutions has the authority to “reword” these resolutions in any way they choose and then present the edited version to the Convention for a vote. This was a major issue with Resolution 9 last year. The Committee “reworded” the original resolution so much that the edited version ended up saying basically the opposite of the original version. The Committee also has the authority to decline to present a resolution for a vote. When you arrive at the Convention, please carefully read the versions of the resolutions you are given before voting on them.

On Beholding the Majesty of God submitted by Pastor Allen Nelson, Perryville Second Baptist Church, Perryville, AR

On A Reformation of Corporate Worship Practices submitted by Pastor Allen Nelson, Perryville Second Baptist Church, Perryville, AR

On God’s Good Hierarchical Design submitted by Jared Longshore, Associate Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, FL

Motions

Motion to Rescind Resolution 9 (2019) (more information below)

Motion to approve the first Sunday in February as the annual George Liele Church Planting, Evangelism and Missions Day, (to begin in 2021)

Possible motion related to the ERLC Task Force (see “The ERLC Task Force” under “Hot Button Issues” below)

Who are the nominees we’ll vote on for SBC President?

It can sometimes be hard to find out the names of specific nominees until the nominations are actually made at the Convention, because “campaigning” for the office of SBC president (or any other position of leadership) has historically been considered to be in poor taste from an etiquette perspective. However, in the last few years, those who are planning to make a nomination for president sometimes announce their intentions and the nominee on social media, in their state SBC newspaper, or elsewhere.

These are the potential nominees I’m aware of. If you know of others, please let me know so I can list them here. You wouldn’t vote for a U.S. Presidential candidate without finding out about him and his positions. It’s even more important, from a spiritual perspective, to find out about the SBC presidential nominees and their positions.

Dr. Albert Mohler– President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, former SBC pastor, instrumental in the Conservative Resurgence, theologian, author, blogger, podcaster

Randy Adams– Executive Director of the Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho) Baptist Convention, former SBC pastor, former leader in the BGC of Oklahoma. Read Randy’s blog to learn more about his views. Announcement of nomination and goals here, here, and here. Facebook  Twitter

(For more information on the nominees, please Google them or visit their social media pages.)

SBC 2020 Hot Button Issues to Be Aware Of

Abuse in the SBC Not only is the abuse issue itself likely to be addressed, be aware that the egalitarian movement within the SBC is using the abuse issue as a vehicle for pushing egalitarianism further into the SBC. Just one example: At the 2019 Caring Well conference on abuse, Beth Moore reportedly said that “having too few women in power has directly contributed to the sexual abuse crisis in the Southern Baptist Convention.” (This conference, where Beth Moore was not corrected for her many egalitarian remarks, was hosted by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC.)

Egalitarianism- Increasingly, SBC pastors are allowing women to preach the Sunday sermon in their pulpits, teach co-ed Sunday School and Bible study classes, and preach at co-ed conferences. The current president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, has close friends who are female pastors, and has not only spoken glowingly of Beth Moore but publicly defended her when John MacArthur suggested she should not be preaching. For years, the majority of LifeWay’s best selling women’s “Bible” study authors and conference speakers, including Beth Moore, Christine Caine, Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Harper, Lysa TerKeurst, and Jennie Allen, among others, have continued to preach to men at conferences and during the Sunday morning worship service at local churches. If things continue on their present trajectory, the SBC will likely codify approval of women pastors into the Baptist Faith and Message within just a few years.

Resolution 9 If you don’t know what Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality (CRT/I) are, you must inform yourself and learn why they are dangerous, unbiblical social constructs that all Christians should repudiate and reject. In 2019, the heavily edited Resolution 9 presented CRT/I as a “helpful analytical tool,” and messengers voted to pass it. This year a motion will be made to rescind Resolution 9.

The SBC Pastors’ Conference- Each year a conference for pastors is held immediately preceding the SBC annual meeting. This year’s Pastors’ Conference speaker/performer lineup includes a number of doctrinally unsound people. The most problematic are…

Wayne Cordeiro who pastors a Foursquare Gospel church. This denomination was founded by female preacher, heretic, and faith healer, Aimee Semple McPherson. It encourages women to be pastors, and there is a female “pastor” on staff at Cordeiro’s church.

Hosanna Wong who is herself a “teaching pastor”.

Jim Cymbala whose church’s statement of faith declares that they adhere to the false teaching of the second (separate from salvation) baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Phil Wickham who is affiliated with Bethel Music.

David Hughes whose wife is co-“pastor” of his church, and who is heavily into seeker-driven evangeltainment, even incorporating sexually provocative themes like Victoria’s Secret and Game of Thrones into his church’s materials and worship services.

You can read more details about each of these in Pastor Gabriel Hughes’ article, What In the Wide World Is Going On with the Southern Baptist Convention?

The SBC Executive Committee, David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church Orlando, and president of the pastors’ conference (ergo, responsible for inviting the lineup) and others in SBC leadership have been contacted by numerous SBC pastors and other Southern Baptists protesting these egregiously unbiblical speakers and performers.

(2022 NOTE: Messengers to the 2022 Convention will have the opportunity to vote for Voddie Baucham for president of the pastors’ conference.)

Due to this reproof, the SBC Executive Committee has voted to make their providing venue space for the Pastors’ Convention contingent upon Dr. Uth amending the lineup of speakers and performers. They have given him until March 30 to do so.

View the entire lineup of speakers/performers at the SBC Pastors’ Conference WebsiteDavid Uth has invited feedback and questions about the Pastors’ Conference. (Be polite and godly. State which church you’re a member of. If you’re a pastor, state this, and whether or not you’ll be attending the conference.)

The ERLC Task Force– The SBC Executive Committee has voted to form a task force to investigate the activities of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) “in response to ‘ongoing concerns’ cited by EC members, state leaders, and other Southern Baptists that the ERLC is not adequately fulfilling its Convention-approved ministry assignments.”

Over the past several years, many Southern Baptists have grown concerned over the (far too numerous to list here) progressive, left-leaning positions and actions which the ERLC, under the leadership of Dr. Russell Moore, has taken on social and political issues, most notably: filing an amicus brief on behalf of Muslims attempting to build a mosque, creating an animal rights video that likened animal rights to the rights of pre-born children, hosting/sponsoring the MLK 50 Conference (honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.- a serial adulterer, who denied Christ’s resurrection and virgin birth despite claiming to be a Christian), and endorsing the Revoice (“gay Christian”) conference.

Because of these, and many other issues that suggest a liberal drift in the ERLC, a number of SBC churches have withheld or diverted their financial contributions to the Cooperative Program in protest, to the tune of at least $1.5 million, triggering the EC’s decision to form the task force.

The executive officers of the ERLC wrote a public letter of protest against the task force, essentially claiming that the EC is overstepping its authority and that it is the responsibility of the ERLC trustees (on whose watch the liberal drift has taken place, and who have stated they have complete “confidence in Dr. Moore’s leadership and in the effectiveness of the Commission’s ministry”) to hold the ERLC accountable.

In their letter of protest, the officers stated that they have instructed the ERLC not to comply with the task force “until messengers [at the 2020 SBC Annual Meeting] have an opportunity to signal their belief that such a task force is appropriate and legitimate.” This may indicate that someone in leadership at the ERLC is planning to make a motion at the Convention to dissolve or denounce the task force. You may have an opportunity to vote on this motion so it’s extremely important that you inform yourself on the issues and arrive at the convention prepared to vote intelligently.

Where can I get informed on the issues and keep up with the latest SBC news, so I’ll #ArrivePrepared at the Convention?

Watch the cinedoc By What Standard, filmed mostly at the 2019 SBC annual meeting. It is a good overview of CRT/I, egalitarianism, and other issues.

Connect with Founders Ministries and start reading. They have already addressed a number of these issues and seek to keep Southern Baptists informed.

Subscribe to The Sword and The Trowel podcast and listen in as Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore bring you (among other interesting topics) the latest SBC news.

Join the Conservative Baptist Network, a new, grassroots movement of pastors and Southern Baptists who want to see the SBC return to biblical fidelity. (Attend their launch event on June 8 at the Convention if you can.)

Subscribe to Baptist Press, the news agency of the SBC.

Follow pastors Tom Ascol and Tom Buck on Twitter. They always know what’s going on and what the biblical response should be.

And keep coming back to this article. I will continue to update it with news and links between now and the Convention.

Movies

Movie Tuesday: By What Standard?

Originally published January 21, 2020

…it seems like evangelicals, including Southern Baptists, are in danger of loosening their commitments to…basic, Christian commitments. Dangerous ideologies like Critical Theory and Intersectionality are gaining inroads into the thinking of some leaders, churches and organizations.

These ideologies are even being promoted among some evangelicals as reliable analytical tools that can assist our understandings and efforts in gospel ministry.

The result is that, in the name of social justice, many unbiblical agendas are being advanced under the guise of honoring and protecting women, promoting racial reconciliation, and showing love and compassion to people experiencing sexual dysphoria.

By What Standard? God’s World, God’s Rules is a documentary that presses those questions by showing how godless ideologies are influencing evangelical thought and life.

If you’re a Southern Baptist – especially if you don’t know what’s going on in your denomination outside the four walls of your own church, and especially if you’re going to the Southern Baptist Convention as a messenger in a couple of weeks – you desperately need to watch this documentary.

Because our local churches are autonomous, many Southern Baptists think, “It doesn’t really matter what’s going on at the national level of the SBC as long as my church is doing well.” When you watch, you’ll see why that’s such a dangerous attitude to take. The insidious and sinful concepts of critical race theory, intersectionality, egalitarianism, and other false doctrines have made their way into our SBC seminaries – where your next pastor is currently being trained – into LifeWay, where your next Sunday school, women’s Bible study, or VBS curriculum is coming from – and into the national leadership of the SBC, which represents us and our denomination to the world.

But even if you’re not Southern Baptist, these concepts are almost certainly slithering in to your denomination or church as well.

Be ready by informing yourself.

Complementarianism, Movies, Southern Baptist/SBC

Movie Tuesday: Battle for the Minds

Originally published May 21, 2019

Ladies- did you read yesterday’s Mailbag article, Counter Arguments to Egalitarianism? If not, I would encourage you to read it before watching today’s movie. And if you’re new to the complementarian vs. egalitarian kerfuffle, I would encourage you to read, not only that article, but all of the articles in the “Additional Resources” section of that article as well.

Why?

Because today’s Movie Tuesday movie, Battle for the Minds, approaches the issue from the egalitarian perspective, and you need to be sure you’re firmly grounded in the biblical perspective so that “no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Also, today’s movie is kind of like a homework assignment. How would you apply the complementarian apologetics you learned in yesterday’s article as well as your knowledge of Scripture to the egalitarian arguments and pronouncements being made in this movie?

Battle for the Minds was released on PBS in 1997. It presents the egalitarian viewpoint on the stage of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s transition from theological liberalism to biblical theological conservatism under the then-new leadership of Dr. Albert Mohler, and delves into a bit of the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention around that time as well. (As an aside, I am not familiar with any of the people in the film presented as being on the egalitarian side except for Anne Graham Lotz. I’m only familiar with a few of those on the complementarian side: Albert Mohler, David Miller, and Paige Patterson.)

If you are Southern Baptist, I strongly encourage you to watch and carefully consider these events from our history in light of the battle we are now facing in the SBC concerning the role of women in the church and in the Convention. Because what Nancy Ammerman says at the 37:04 mark is correct. Since all SBC churches are autonomous, many Southern Baptists only concern themselves with their own churches and don’t trouble themselves to worry about what’s going on at the national level. But when you do this, you fail to take into consideration that what’s going on at the national level trickles down to your local church in the form of what’s being taught to your next pastor or staff member at our seminaries; the authors, musicians, and other content creators being sold (and not being sold) at LifeWay; the theology in the Sunday School and VBS curriculum your church uses, etc. It also affects the theology and ecclesiology our IMB and NAMB missionaries and church planters use and teach. And finally, the leadership and issues at the national level are the face the Southern Baptist Convention presents to the world.

But even if you’re not Southern Baptist, you will probably still find this movie informative to the way your own church or denomination is responding to the issue of the biblical role of women in the church.

A couple of things to be on the lookout for, and give consideration to, as you watch Battle for the Minds:

•Notice the amount of Scripture presented in the movie. Is any Scripture presented that backs up the egalitarian view? Is egalitarianism vs. complementarianism presented as a biblical and spiritual issue or an “our position vs. their position” issue?

•Note the sex of each person on the egalitarian side and the sex of each person on the complementarian side. Are any complementarian women presented? Do you think there were absolutely no women on the complementarian side of the issue when these events were transpiring? Do you see how the exclusion of complementarian women in this film gives the subtle illusion that a) all women are egalitarian, and b) the reason men are complementarian is because they’re sexist and trying to protect their power and position – the same argument people like Beth Moore are attempting to make today? Do you think it was sexist to exclude women from the complementarian side?

Complementarianism

Mythbusting Complementarianism: 4 Truths Egalitarians Need to Know About Complementarian Women

Originally published May 31, 2019

I am often frustrated in my role as a complementarian¹ woman. I am not frustrated by what God teaches in the Bible about my roles in the home and the church. I am not frustrated in carrying out those roles. I am not frustrated by complementarian men.

I am frustrated by egalitarians – most of the ones who have crossed my path, anyway – because of the incorrect assumptions they make about me and other complementarian women².

And it’s not just that the assumptions are wrong, it’s that the assumptions are often hypocritically, “log in the eye,” wrong. Then, they turn around and use these false assumptions as reasons to fight against complementarianism. But the reasons don’t exist. They’re shadow boxing. Fighting against a ghost. If you’re going to fight for something, your fight should at least be based on legitimate reasons.

I’m under no delusions that this article will change the hearts and minds of egalitarians, but if I could, here’s what I’d try to help them understand…

1.
It’s a spiritual issue.

I know this isn’t going to be popular. I know I’m going to be called judgmental and harsh and any number of other printable and unprintable names, but I’m going to say this anyway because this is the crucial element on which this entire complementarian vs. egalitarian argument rests.

This is a spiritual issue. It’s not an oppressors versus victims issue, it’s not about power or position or circumstances or legalism or casting off shackles. It’s not about any of those visible, tangible, surface level things we think it’s about. This goes beyond the earthly realm and has its foundation in the invisible, spiritual realm. The reason you hold the positions and opinions you hold as an individual is based on one thing – your relationship with God. This is a me versus God issue. Do you love and obey God as a genuinely regenerated Christian, or do you reject Him and rebel against His commands as someone who is still lost?

The Bible makes crystal clear from Genesis to Revelation that people who genuinely know and love God obey Him, and that if you don’t obey Him, you don’t know Him or love Him. Over and over and over again we see this through Israel’s countless cycles of idolatry and the prophets calling them to repentance in the Old Testament, to John’s near broken-record repetition of the theme in the New Testament. Scripture is clear. Love of God and obedience to God are inextricably and irreducibly intertwined.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:3-6

Additionally, if you’re not saved – a “natural man” – the things of God are folly to you. It’s not that you’re smarter or enlightened or have a different opinion than those who obey Scripture. It’s that you’re spiritually incapable of accepting, embracing, and obeying what God has told you to do. That’s why you see those of us who do as fools.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

Let me say it plainly. If your general trajectory in life is to consistently find yourself angered by, indifferent to, or unable to accept the plain meaning of Scripture, and your heart persists in fighting back against God’s Word even if you’ve been biblically corrected, you are almost certainly not saved.³ That’s not me saying that. That’s a whole lot of Scripture saying that. Regardless of how saved you feel. Despite what you may claim to be. No matter what people have told you about your salvation. God says loving Him equals walking with Him toward embracing, loving, and obeying His commands. And that includes His commands about the roles of men and women.

This is the fundamental reason most egalitarians disagree with most complementarians. It’s usually not that either side doesn’t understand what the other side stands for. It’s that both sides generally do understand what the other side stands for and they reject the other side’s view because of where they are, spiritually.

(Addendum: After I published this article, a few people responded who seemed to misunderstand what I’ve said in this paragraph. Let me see if I can clarify:

1) You’ll notice I’ve used words/phrases (“most egalitarians,” “general trajectory,” “almost certainly,” etc.) indicating that this is a broad, general principle, not something that is universally deterministic about every single individual who has ever had an egalitarian-esque thought cross her mind.

2) I am not saying that holding to an egalitarian viewpoint is what makes someone unsaved. Rejecting the gospel is what makes someone unsaved. What I am saying is that most people who are already false converts gravitate toward the egalitarian viewpoint as a fruit of the pre-existing condition of being unsaved. It is a logical fallacy to turn that statement around and assume I mean the converse to be true.

3) I certainly believe it is possible for genuinely regenerated Christians to have good faith, incorrect interpretations or understandings of Scripture – starting with me. When my husband and I picked out wedding vows 26 years ago, I flatly refused to use any set of vows that said I would “obey” him and only grudgingly agreed to a set that used the word “submit” instead. Embarrassingly, in our wedding video, you can clearly hear me hesitate before repeating that part of the vows. About 10-15 years ago I held a position of local denominational leadership that I’m only now beginning to see I probably, in some respects, shouldn’t have held. One reason for that is that on two or three occasions the position required me to speak to local congregations during their midweek services on a biblical topic which could not be properly addressed without explaining Scripture. Do I think I was unsaved because I thought those things were OK at the time? Of course not. But I’ll tell you this – over time, the Holy Spirit convicted me of those things and I repented. And as I’ve grown in Christ my rebellious attitudes and misunderstandings of those Scriptures and others have increasingly come under submission to God’s Word.

That’s the kind of thing we’re talking about here – the general biblical principle that saved people are on a trajectory of increasing holiness and Christlikeness. Lost people are on a trajectory of increasing disobedience and rebellion (and not strictly with regard to egalitarian ideas). It is possible to be a saved, simul justus et peccator, growing in holiness, desiring to please the Lord, Christian and get some non-soteriological things wrong along the way, in good faith, in the process of growing. What is not possible is for someone to be genuinely regenerated and live in a general attitude of heart-rebellion against God, His Word, and His ways (His ways in general, not strictly egalitarianism) in favor of doing life on her own terms. I don’t know how to make that more clear. That is what the Bible teaches.

4) I clearly made the statement that this article pertains to “most of the [egalitarians] who have crossed my path”. I guess what I did not make clear is that most of the egalitarians who have crossed my path have not been the small minority of genuinely regenerated Christians who have made a good faith error about Scripture’s teaching on the role of women as they’re growing in Christ. That might be your experience, but it has not been mine. Most of the egalitarians who have crossed my path have clearly been of the vast majority of egalitarians who have come to that position, as I explained above, as a result of being false converts. And it shows in their demeanor as they mock the authority of God’s Word in general, lash out in rage, blaspheme, swear, and slander, and generally display the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit.

5) As I’ve stated many, many times in my articles, the Bible is our authority as Christians, not a pastor or Christian leader who holds a particular position, not your loved ones who are in error but you’re certain they love Jesus, not any church or denominational structure or position that conflicts with Scripture – the Bible. If you are going to argue against a biblical principle, you need to support your argument with rightly handled, in context Scripture, not examples of fallible human beings – however godly or well-intentioned they might be. Scripture is our standard, not people.)


2.
Complementarian women don’t feel
oppressed and downtrodden.

Obviously I can’t speak for every complementarian woman out there, but I can say that of the dozens of women I know personally and the thousands who have followed me online for the last eleven years, and speaking for myself, I have never met a single, genuinely regenerated, complementarian woman who felt diminished, held back, chained up, or walked all over by the role God lays out for us in Scripture.

Do we sometimes sin by thinking and acting selfishly? Yep. Have there been husbands, pastors, and other men who have sinned against us? Of course. Do we have a bad day from time to time? Naturally. But none of that changes our delight in our role itself. Even people who have their dream jobs have nightmare moments, but there’s still nothing on the planet they’d rather do. Nothing that makes them feel more alive and fulfilled. And that’s generally how complementarian women feel about our job – maybe even more so, because it’s not just a job, it’s a calling from God Himself. And nobody has a better Boss than we do.

We don’t need your pity, egalitarians, any more than a kid in a candy store needs to be pitied. And we don’t need to be rescued, just like you wouldn’t think of trying to rescue a child from Disneyland. We’re not sitting around saying, “Woe is me,” and feeling like we’re losing out on life. For us, keeping God’s commands about our role is a delight and a joy, because we love Him:

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3

for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. Psalm 119:47

No one is happier, more fulfilled, or more content in life than the Christian who is living in the will of God by obeying Him. No one is more miserable than a false convert who is trying to obey God through sheer force of will, or a genuine Christian living in disobedience to God’s commands.

And if all of that seems foreign or ridiculous, folly or foolishness to you, unfortunately, you’re bearing out the biblical truth I explained in section 1 of this article.


3.
Complementarian women aren’t brainwashed.

Probably the most hypocritical sexist viewpoint of egalitarians is that they assume that Christian women couldn’t possibly have come to the complementarian worldview via our own study, intellect, will, and choice. We must have been brainwashed into it by sexist, misogynistic, abusive complementarian men. But if we could somehow manage to understand the viewpoint delivered by our egalitarian saviors, we’d see the light, cast off the shackles, and be set free from all that’s holding us back.

I’m not making that up. That’s essentially the diatribe I received from one of Beth Moore’s followers recently (and I’ve heard it plenty of times before). Beth had said on Twitter that the reason she was receiving so much pushback from Christians following her announcement that she would be preaching the Sunday morning service at a local church was because sexist men were just trying to protect their positions and power. To which I responded, “What about the pushback you’re receiving from complementarian women? Are we sexist and trying to protect positions and power, too?” No, her follower angrily replied, you’ve just be brainwashed by those men.

If egalitarians can’t see how arrogant, hypocritical, and sexist it is to stand on a pedestal and declare that they’re the ones who will empower women, ensure that women are heard and valued for their independent ideas and unique contributions, and then turn around and condescendingly assume that women who have used those very independent minds they themselves tout to reach a non-egalitarian conclusion are brainwashed, I’m at a loss as to how to explain it. It’s like trying to prove water exists to someone who’s sitting in a lake while drinking a glass of ice water.

Complementarian women are not brainwashed into our worldview. We are convinced by the study of Scripture and our love for God that His plan for men and women is best, beneficial, and a blessing.


4.
Complementarian women aren’t
limited or lesser, we’re specialists.

Oh, that poor cardiologist! He’s so limited in his profession. If only he could be a General Practitioner!

I just feel terrible for that guy – he only practices civil law! He doesn’t know what he’s missing by not also practicing criminal, personal injury, estate, real estate, corporate, family, and malpractice law!

If you ever had the misfortune of hearing someone say something so ridiculous, you’d probably think she was a little off her nut. In the professional world, we normally regard specialty positions as more prestigious than more generalized positions (not that that’s right – general medicine, law, etc. are equally important). Specialists usually go to school longer and have a unique skill set for a unique segment of the population. General practitioners don’t have the luxury of focusing on a more narrow field of study. They have to be a jack of all trades – all things to all people.

But somehow, for egalitarians, that concept doesn’t translate to complementarianism. In the complementarian church, male pastors, elders, and teachers are the general practitioners. Women are the specialists. We specialize in discipling women and children, because we have a unique, God-given skill set for ministering to that unique segment of the population. God has given us the luxury and freedom to concentrate on this population He has called us to serve without the added burden of also having to teach, disciple, and oversee men.

It’s much the same in the complementarian home. The husband is like the CEO of the family. The buck stops with him. Every. single. buck. The house. The wife. The kids. The car. The yard. The bills. Everybody’s health. The extended family. The spiritual leadership. Church involvement. Provision. Decisions. Everything is ultimately on his shoulders. This leaves the wife free to specialize in being the COO of the family – day to day, boots on the ground operation of the household – an equally important position, which, again, she has a unique, God-given skill set for carrying out. While she and her husband certainly work together, God has given her the freedom and the luxury of passing everything that’s not under her purview up the chain of command for someone else to deal with. If she needs something in order to do her job, she has someone to turn to to provide it.

The egalitarian worldview looks down on women who specialize in discipling women and children in the church and being the chief operating officer in the home. Our teaching only has value if there are men in the audience, which reeks of sexism. As if men are the standard, the high bar to be set, the only ones whose mere bodily presence can validate a woman’s teaching and suddenly make it worthwhile. Who cares about teaching women and children? Men are the important ones. Our role at home is only a worthy and important one if we’re the ones calling all the shots at the macro level. Never mind that things actually have to get done and be overseen at the micro level in order for every member of the household, including the CEO, to live, grow, and flourish.

Specialties aren’t limiting or lesser. There’s an equally prestigious and necessary place for GPs and specialized medicine. For general law and specialty law. For CEOs and COOs. For complementarian men and complementarian women.

The egalitarian view does not value women as women. It only values women who are cheap knock-offs of men. Complementarians are the ones who value women as a separate, and equally significant, unique creation of God – not measured by how well we can imitate a man, but measured by how well we live up to all God created us to be as women. And we’re supposed to feel oppressed, limited, and lesser by that? We’d have to be brainwashed to love a worldview that values us for what we are, not for clawing and scraping toward some impossible standard and state of being God never created us to reach?

When you set men up as the standard and tell women they have to measure up to men to have any value, what you are is not egalitarian. What you are is sexist.

No thanks. I’ll take the complement.


¹Thanks to the advent of everything-but-the-pastoral-office “soft complementarianism” I should probably add an adjective, like “biblical complementarian,” but I’m not ready to concede the term yet. Complementarian means you embrace the full biblical teaching of the roles of women and men. If you compromise on that, you’re a functional egalitarian. We only need two terms.
²Egalitarians make incorrect assumptions about complementarian men, too, the main one being that they’re sexist, misogynistic, even abusive. Please. I’ll let complementarian men speak to that themselves, or this article will be way too long.
³Sometimes people who are genuinely saved worry that they’re not. If you’re concerned about your salvation, I encourage you to work through my study AM I REALLY SAVED?: A 1 JOHN CHECK-UPand make an appointment with your pastor if you need counsel.