Chewymom has recently posted some great thoughts over at her blog. After reading Finally Feminist, she asks the question, “What if we’re wrong?,” considering the negative outcomes of both the egalitarian and complimentarian views.
For each viewpoint–egalitarianism or complimentarianism–what if they’re wrong? If the egalitarians find out one day that they were wrong, what has ultimately been the consequence? I guess you could say it has resulted in an inaccurate portrayal of Christ and His church, since marriage is a picture of that. What else? Too much freedom has been given. Women have been allowed to do things that biblically, they ought not to do, like preach. Or maybe they have been allowed to serve communion. Or hand out bulletins. All in error.
What if the complimentarians are wrong? Then they have been guilty of oppression. They have held back an entire people group–half of the population of the earth, in fact. Not only have they kept women silent who may have a gift of preaching, which is the most obvious example of what women are currently not allowed to do, but they have not allowed women to hold the office of deacon, or to serve on committees, or in some cases to even hold certain jobs outside the church. Some take it so far as to treat women almost as property of the men they married.
Clearly I am not God, and I do not presume to be. I don’t want to sound like I know how He would react to any sin. But in my feeble human mind, I can’t help but think that the sin of oppression would be viewed a lot more seriously than the sin of granting too much freedom. In Jesus’s earthly ministry, He spoke against those who would oppress–the Pharisees. I wonder if my own denomination, the PCA, is going to find one day that they were guilty of oppressing women unbiblically? I don’t know. I’m still thinking through the issue. And for now, I’m wondering if one or the other view is in error, which is the most or least Christ-like?
Read more of her conclusions here.
Personally, I tend to think that granting freedom would be the most Christ-like. However, at this point in my journey I consider women to have freedom within boundaries– I believe that Scripture forbids women from ordination and proclamation of the sacraments (though I know there will be some who will disagree), though I do think that women may teach and speak and sing in church and hold jobs and be leaders outside of the church. But again, in that view, am I not granting women some freedoms they rightly deserve? I’m still not sure.
Christ came to set free the captors, and in the first century as well as in many societies today women were oppressed and considered little more than property. Jesus’ interactions with women in the gospels lead me to believe that though he had to work within his cultural boundaries, He knew that the Kingdom was coming in which there is no male or female, and that over time women would be released from certain bonds, though I’m still uncertain as to exactly what that means. What are your thoughts? What does freedom in Christ mean for women? As others have noted, is it something in between the two views mentioned above? And if both turn out to be wrong, then what is the right answer?