Critics have done a brilliant job of establishing all that complementarianism isn’t. I am grateful for their groundwork. But today, I want to explore what egalitarianism is. I want to move beyond a justified critique of complementarianism toward a strong egalitarian theology against abuse.
What happens when the hall of theology becomes an echo chamber? What happens when half the sky meets God but the church doesn’t want to hear their story? What happens when the theological insights of women are pressed to the margins of Christianity?
This paper was given by Kevin Giles at the Evangelical Theological Society annual conference on November 15, 2016 in San Antonio, TX. The other speakers on the plenary Trinity forum were Dr Bruce Ware, Dr Millard Erickson, and Dr Wayne Grudem. Dr Storms presided.
I overheard an amazing conversation on my way back from lunch at a conference I recently attended. A university student casually mentioned the history of strong women leaders in the early church, using Priscilla as an example, to his friend. He then passionately contended for women as equal partners in church leadership. I quickly realized that I knew the student who was advocating for female pastors and teachers.
My mama allows it could've been rape
and it might've, you know, unsettled her mind.
Grandma, who's lived with us since grandpa died,
declares she's just a little whore,
probably with some low-ranking Roman,
who's trying to hide her dirty skirts behind blasphemy.
Either way, my mama says, I should watch and remember
how easy a girl becomes trash and has to leave town,
probably for good,
and you can bet her little bastard won't be around
to take care of her when she's old.
In a recent Arisearticle, Amy Buckley recounted an exchange between herself and a group of men who accused Christian feminists of using a hermeneutic of pain to interpret the Bible. It was their way of suggesting that feminists do not understand Scripture because they identify strongly with people who suffer.
The king was desperate. He was a God-fearing man and from his youngest age he had sought God. Now, trying to rid God’s people of idols, he had undertaken major repairs in the Lord’s temple but he had just realized that his efforts were insufficient. His secretary had just brought back a book from the temple—a lost book found by the high priest during repairs. After reading the book, the king realized that despite all his religious training, all his faith, all his attempts at doing what he thought was right, he had been wrong. His priests had been wrong. His people had been wrong. This was the book of the law of God which said “You shall have no other God before me” and warned of the curses against Israel if they did not obey the law. The king was now aware of the remaining idols in the temple and all the false gods around the country to whom Judah was making offerings. The Lord’s feasts such as Passover were barely celebrated, and the covenant was forgotten. The king was appalled. This could mean terrible disaster for his nation because, having forgotten God’s law, they were under his wrath. The king convened his highest ranking officials: his secretary, his attendant, the high priest, and a couple of others. He ordered them to inquire of God for himself and the people of Judah to find out what, if anything, could be done.
In this 2-part series, I will address and support the necessary qualitative distinction between the eternal inner life of the Trinity and the temporal inter-relationships of women and men in church and marriage.