Complementarian theology depends on distinct roles for women and men in marriage. This article explores how, in practice, these roles mean women and men are not equal, leaving women vulnerable to spiritual abuse by men.
A seminary student explores questions about God-given hierarchy between women and men, including what the New Testament teaches about power, domination, and status to affirm God’s intent for women’s equality with men.
As a woman who has come more fully into her leadership gifts as she’s aged, her story offers both inspiration to other leaders and a challenge to the church to fully incorporate the gifts of women at all ages.
There is no single calling for all women. This is a realization that cannot be taught or persuaded. A person must want to grow, and a Christian should want to learn new ideas because pursuing truth requires accepting that we can be wrong.
When people share their stories of harmful church teachings about gender roles, we’re accustomed to real horror stories of abuse. We also know that the problem is far more widespread, and it’s not always so overt.
Female theology students in a rural context are often online students who don’t regularly see flesh-and-blood role models: women who are leading in church, teaching a mixed congregation and fulfilling other roles.
We were guinea pigs, the women that year and I. We knew—after we had applied and been accepted—that our school had just begun admitting women to the MDiv program, the denomination new to the concept of women in the pulpit.
I so wish I could have told those bright young women about the challenges they will face as they enter their careers and endeavor to find satisfaction in their work and lives. I did not want to be that person, warning optimistic young women about future obstacles—and that the odds of success are ever stacked against them. I fear, though, that if we don’t have open conversations about workplace and cultural challenges, if we don’t call out hurdles by name, we set women up for failure when they enter the workplace.