While I’m still open to reading books from solid Egalitarians, some of what I’ve read is just as troubling as being from those “legalistic traditionalists” that are so opposed to women that they can’t stop from reading their gender biases into the text. For those unfamiliar with the terms of this debate, allow me to give you two quick and simple definitions: (1) Egalitarians are those that hold the view that men and women can both hold the role/office of Pastor (Bishop, Presbyter, Elder, Overseer), and (2) Complimentarians are those who believe that the “senior” leadership role of the church is reserved to men only. Both positions believe theirs is the most biblical and both use scripture to argue their points. Anyway, I came across an example of a horrible way that an Egalitarian ended her response to an opposing view. She writes,
“Perhaps when we all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we will learn that in the eyes of our Lord, women through the centuries have been the real leaders of the church.” (Alvera Mickelsen, Women in Ministry: Four Views, p. 169, emphasis mine)
I think it is quotes like this one that cause some Complementarians to consider a lot of Egalitarians as being driven by “radical feminism.” It sure seems like there is an ax to grind. It’s similar to how some Complementarians make the charge that Evangelical Egalitarians don’t really honor scripture or hold to it’s sufficiency and inerrancy, when in fact they do (in their minds, at least!). I can’t judge Mrs. Mickelsen’s intentions, but the way this reads is as if most of men church leaders haven’t been really doing the leading. It seems like a subtle insult against both Complementarians and with the church’s past male leaders. Maybe that wasn’t the intention, but it sure read that way!
What do you think? Got any examples of Complementarians doing the same, or do I need to dig up my own? This is such a fascinating subject to discuss, and yet so little discussion actually seems to take place!
I’m still a “soft complementarian,” but like I said, I’m equally open to further study. The essay that Mickelsen offered just simply seemed more about “agendaneutics” than offering her hermeneutical methods and solid exegesis. But maybe my agenda is to read into her writing another agenda… errr.. wait… what?
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.