, , , , , , ,

COMMENT: If you believe that there is no difference in the natural makeup of men and women, then you can stop here as one assenting to a classical form of Egalitarianism.  However, there are many who would call themselves Egalitarian (probably most Egalitarians today) who would answer affirmatively to this question.  I, personally, see a negative answer here as, not just wrong, but sub-Christian with no grounding in respectable exegesis or theological reflection.  To answer the previous question negatively assumes that in the Trinity there is a more-God part and a less-God part.  To answer negatively here is to argue that there is no differentiation of persons within the Godhead.  If man and woman, together, are in God’s image, then while there is equality of persons, there must also be differentiation, for it is so within the persons of the Godhead, which further demands, then, that there is a differentiation between male and female.  Further Questions that you must wrestle with include:

  1. What is the meaning of “helper” in Genesis 2?
  2. Why does Paul seem to think that there is some significance to Adam’s being created before Eve? See 1 Tim 2:13-14.
  3. Is Jesus being a 2nd Adam informative? See Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15.

For resources, at this point, I would recommend reading summaries of the positions.  One place to look are the at books.  There are 2 books entitled Women in the Church (here and here).  The first is written from an egalitarian position and the second from a complementarian position.  Or you can see this book which puts forth arguments from both sides of the equation.  You can also visit websites of the two main groups that seem to speak for each side.   The Counsel for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood represents the complementarian position and Christians for Biblical Equality represents the egalitarian position.  There are recommended resources, books, articles, lectures, etc posted on each site.

The most thorough presentation of complementarian thought is from the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem.  That book is free to download here.  Other recent complementarian arguments have been put forth in these books: Kevin DeYoung’s Freedom and Boundaries, Andreas Kostenberger’s God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation, and Daniel Doriani’s look at not only the Biblical data but puts forward a plan for women’s ministry within a complementarian framework in Women and Ministry: What the Bible Teaches.

Some of the better recognized egalitarian resources include Craig Keeners’s Paul, Women, and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul, Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger’s I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking I Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, William Webb’s Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis is often referred to in regard to egalitarian hermeneutics, Linda Belleville’s Women Leaders and the Church: Three Crucial Questions, Cunningham, Hamilton, and Roger’s Bible study Why Not Women : A Biblical Study of Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership, and Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy edited by Pierce, Groothuis and Fee which is sort of an egalitarian counterpart to the complementarian work edited by Grudem and Piper.

There are tons more books on both sides of this conversation.  I recommend starting with articles or the various books that present both sides as they typically streamline each argument, though they can’t nuance or go into as great of depth in an article though it also, often, keeps the author for wandering as well.  If you know of other resources that should be included, please leave it in the comments section.