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Published Date: August 18, 2013

Published Date: August 18, 2013

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Gender Division Divides the Church

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God people from every tribe and language and people group and nation.” 

“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)

I always get a thrill when I read the words of this song.  In this song the church is described as being wonderfully universal and inclusive of all God’s people around the world who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, while the lyrics of this song go into some detail to show that Christians come from every nation, tribe, people group and language, the lyrics do not distinguish between men and women, even though this multitude, described in Revelation 5, almost certainly includes women as well as men.

I am disappointed by Hierarchical Complementarians who, instead of working towards uniting the church, are intent on separating and dividing the church along gender lines.  It is obvious that men and women are different in some fundamental ways; yet an ideology which divides the church into two distinct groups and excludes women from certain roles and functions, purely on the basis of gender, is an ideology that does not take into account the complexities of human nature.  Nor does it take into account the empowerment and the resources that the Holy Spirit provides to believers, regardless of gender (! Cor. 12:11) 

“In the last days”, God says, ”I will pour out my Spirit on all people, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy,  your young men [youths] will see visions,  your old men [seniors] will dream dreams.”

“Even on my male servants [ministers] and on my female servants [ministers], I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” Acts 2:17-18 

While men and women are different, there are also profound differences in individual temperaments and abilities between people of the same gender.  On the other hand, most men and women, despite their different genders, share many things in common.  I cannot think of a single non-biological trait that is either exclusively male or exclusively female.  Can you?

One thing that Christian men and women have in common is that God has made us to be incorporated into a royal priesthood. (cf 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9; Rev 1:6; 5:9b-10.)  And both Christian men and women are included in the astounding promise that one day we will reign on earth.

If God does not exclude women from the amazing roles of serving him as priests and reigning on earth, then we need to be wary about excluding godly, capable women from the roles and functions that Complementarians currently see as set apart for men only.