When the curtain on male headship is pulled back, it shrinks from the light of logic and truth. Consider the most recent defense of male headship by John Piper. He offers three reasons why he believes it will endure, but in pulling the curtain back, we find each deeply flawed.
It matters that Mary and Jesus are often inaccurately imaged with light skin in the West. It matters that pastors preach on Jacob, David, and Peter but not Rahab, Tamar, and Priscilla. And it matters that, Sunday after Sunday, women don’t see preachers who look like us in the pulpit.
As the one shepherding my congregation through worship, I want to make sure the songs we sing express the fullness of the Christian experience, including the female Christian experience. Who is writing the contemporary songs we sing? What backgrounds do they come from and, specifically, how many women are penning the church’s anthems? Not many.
To understand 1 Timothy 2, we need to overcome our blindness to women. We need to see Priscilla, a wise and strong leader and teacher; Artemis, the goddess whose female-centered religion would have normalized female religious dominance; the unqualified women usurping authority and spreading false teachings; and those being deceived by those teachings.
That woman was taken out of man is a recognition that she stands on equal footing with him. This was a beautiful, creative act of God that communicated that man’s suitable helper, the one actually fit for him, would come from him.
Woman is opposite to man, but not in an antagonistic, or inferior, way. Rather, she comes as the suitable one for man. Or as other translations have it, she was “fit for” man. Remember, none of the animals measured up to the ‘ezer role God had imagined for man’s great helper. It was woman and woman alone who met the role.
Were women among the Twelve chosen by Jesus? If not, does this mean that they ought not to serve as "leaders" in the church? In other words, how one conceives of women's roles today often rests on how one pictures any official positions that they were authorized to hold in the early church.