Complementarian Versus Egalitarian

What's the correct view?

Ignoring Scripture?

For Jenny, "The misconception that troubles me the most is the idea that egalitarians are ignoring Scripture or they don't have a high view of Scripture. I do have a very high view of Scripture."

The implication that an egalitarian view is not the "biblical" view is a common one that I, too, often hear perpetuated in Christian radio shows or read in books and Bible studies. And, to be honest, I once thought the same thing. Grappling with gender-related passages like Genesis 3:16; Ephesians 5:21–33; Colossians 3:18–19; 1 Timothy 2:11–15; and 1 Peter 3:1–7; it seemed to me that an egalitarian viewpoint could only be held if one conveniently skipped over those sticky passages, explained them away through questionable exegetical high jinks, or simply didn't take Scripture seriously. But, through research and study, I've learned that there are legitimate, scholarly answers to the tough gender issues in those passages that can buoy an egalitarian view just as strongly as the widely-accepted and equally scholarly complementarian interpretations of these passages. (For example, consider this egalitarian article or this one).

Based on her own study of Scripture, Jenny, who is currently a seminary student, concludes, "I believe that the Bible, when taken in its entirety, teaches an egalitarian understanding of men and women."

That tricky word: submission

"Another common misconception about an egalitarian view of marriage, which I think is partly a reaction against second-wave feminism of the '60s and '70s, is that it's basically about women just wanting to do what they want when they want to do it," Jenny says. "But really, the egalitarian view isn't about everybody doing their own thing. It's actually about mutual submission."

She explains, "The question isn't 'should wives submit to their husbands?' Because, yes, they absolutely should, within godly limits." But highlighting a difference between her egalitarian position and the complementarian view, Jenny continues, "The egalitarian view is that men are to submit to their wives as well."

Kelli B. Trujillo

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

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Bible; Husbands; Interpretation; Learning; Marriage; Questioning; Submission
Today's Christian Woman, March Week 4, 2014
Posted March 26, 2014

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