COMMENT: The Hugen group sees the complementary roles as valid for the home but not for the Church. To best understand this position, go here. For a complementarian response to this idea of being Comp in the home but not in the Church, read Vern Poythress “Church as Family” available here. Whether you are one or the other, or an Egalitarian, you must have strong, exegetical answers to those challenges presented by each side on these questions. We’ve watched the Egal camp breaking into smaller groups. Question 4 is probably the last line of agreement between all Comp, and is swiftly followed by a ton of splintering opinions on how to pratice the now stated beliefs. For example, there is debate over whether a woman can function in certain (seemingly) forbidden roles, if she does so under the authority of her husband. There is much disagreement on what roles within the Church a woman may or may not exercise. At this point, many Comp will admit some ambiguity in how to clearly draw lines. The most taken route, as far as I can tell, is reserving only the role of Elder/Overseer (or senior/teaching Pastor) for men, though many will forbid women to teach in any setting where men will be learning such as a mix-gendered Sunday school class or even forbid women to read scripture aloud in a mix-gendered meeting because, they will argue, that is a form of teaching or ministering the Word. There is not enough room to describe all the facets of this issue. I found both Hugenberger and Poythress enlightening here with one arguing for Egal and the other for Comp within the Church. The questions arising here are where the rubber meets the road, so mostly are practical and personal. Further Questions:
- Should gunai be translated as wife or woman in various contexts?
- How far can we carry the fact that the Church is modeled after the family?
- Does a look at Church History’s interpretation of this debate or practices enlighten the discussion at all?
- What roles are forbidden/allowed?
- Can the reserved roles be temporarily practiced by a woman under the authority of her husband?
- What about the mission field? Women missionaries? Young churches with no qualified men?
Well, this brings us to the end of this particular flow chart. Someone in each camp could come up with a flow chart helping folks walk through the practical applications of each view. Perhaps I will do that for my view whenever I have the time. At this point, I just want to reiterate that while I believe I am right and that this issue has implications (good or bad) for the Church, we must all remember that the folks in the other camps are humans, made in the image of God…no less than sons and daughters of the most high. Also, this is perhaps the most personal theological issue because it involves the very nature of people. I’ve never seen someone weep over folks disagreeing with their eschatology, but I have seen it over this issue, multiple times. But of course, just because it is personal doesn’t mean that there isn’t a right or wrong answer or that we shouldn’t press forward in understanding and persuasion. Just remember to walk softly, because you are treading on hearts.
I’d love to hear anyones feedback on this…even if you’d like to point others to this series and get their input, that would be great.