Jump directly to the content

Subsciber access onlyarticle preview

Available to TCW subscribers only. Log in or subscribe now.
Complementarian Versus Egalitarian

Complementarian Versus Egalitarian

What's the correct view?

What makes for a healthy Christian marriage? What's the biblical role a woman should play? Or does there even need to be a gender-defined role?

Depending on who you ask, you might get wildly different answers to these questions. Some focus on the liberty both men and women find in Christ, stressing equality as well as mutual love and respect in marriage. Others emphasize God-ordained, gender-tied functions of leadership and submission, highlighting distinct but equally valuable roles for husbands and wives. Toss into the mix extreme views that relegate women to quiet-subservient-little-mouse status or exaggerated stereotypes of bra-burning, husband-dominating feminists, and you've got quite a mess to wade through!

So what's the correct view? How ought I best approach my marriage? These are questions I've wrestled with since even before I was married—when I was an earnest, ideals-driven, single university student. And, through Bible study, research, prayer, and discussions with pastors and mentors, I've come to a conclusion. . . . and then, as life continued on, I've leaned toward another conclusion . . . and then, sometime later, I've swayed back again . . . and so on. The truth is, these aren't easy matters to navigate. And now, a decade and a half into marriage, I'd say I've forged somewhat of a hybrid position: I'm a complegaltarian.

The truth is, these aren't easy matters to navigate. And now, a decade and a half into marriage, I'd say I've forged somewhat of a hybrid position: I'm a complegalitarian.

A what? you ask? A complegaltarian. (Yes, I made that word up.) It's the best way I can explain my stance toward two different, Scripture-based understandings of Christian marriage: the complementarian view and the egalitarian view.

Defining the terms

It's important, right off the bat, to distinguish the complementarian view from an ultraconservative, traditionalist stance which may view women as secondary in importance to men. That is not the case with biblical complementarianism. In the complementarian view, men and women are both of equal, intrinsic value before God— and are also both of equal value and importance within the marriage. However, they are understood to have different, complementary roles or functions, with the husband serving as the spiritual leader in the family. An egalitarian view of marriage, on the other hand, focuses on equality within marriage without distinct roles based on gender. Both the husband and wife lead the family collaboratively, stressing mutual submission to each other.

article preview

This article is currently available to TCW subscribers only.

To Continue Reading:

LoginorSubscribe
Kelli B. Trujillo

Kelli B. Trujillo is editor of Today’s Christian Woman. Follow her on Twitter at @kbtrujillo or @TCWomancom.

Subscribe to TCW at this link, and sign up for our free e-newsletter to become part of a community of women striving to love God and live fearlessly in the grit of everyday life.
From Issue:
Today's Christian Woman, 2014, March Week 4
Posted March 26, 2014

also in this issue

March Week 4
What's So Scary About Submission?

What's So Scary About Submission?

Six secrets about what the Bible really teaches
The Surprising Truth About Submission

The Surprising Truth About Submission

How my marriage mirrors my relationship with God
The Hidden Power of Submission

The Hidden Power of Submission

The secret that can unlock deep intimacy in marriage
Be a Yes-Woman

Be a Yes-Woman

What submission to God is about

Comments

More For Women
Gifted for Leadership

gifted for leadership

The Leadership Journal blog inspires and connects women leaders in church ministry
Her Meneutics

her.meneutics

The Christianity Today  women's site provides news and analysis for evangelical women
Shopping