Debating Feminism Well

I don’t know what caused it, but lately there has been an explosion of blog posts about feminism and gender roles. It’s gotta be something in the water. Or maybe, just maybe, the Holy Spirit is pressing His Church to work out a Biblical understanding of spiritual authority and the roles of men and women in the Church. There are typically three views on this: Complementarianism, Egalitarianism, and Non-Committal. Complementarianism holds that men and women were created with, and still have, equal dignity, value, and worth, but that God ordered creation and the Church in such a way that men are the leadership and women support the men in their role of following God’s leadership. This does not mean that their role isn’t vital, only that it’s different. Egalitarianism holds that men and women not only have equal dignity, value, and worth, but can also fulfill the same roles of leading, whether that be in the corporate world, the home, or the Church. And the Non-Committal either don’t care or don’t know enough to know where they believe Scripture lands. But there’s a problem with all of this.

Too many times, this turns into nothing more than a power struggle. What may have initially started out as a sober-minded, gospel-driven debate among those who love God has turned into a shouting match, in which no one listens to anyone. Anyone who knows me knows that I believe truth is worth fighting for, both to learn and to maintain, and solid Theology worth defending and articulating, but too often, when it comes to this issue, it just turns into the very graceless, pointless bickering we were admonished to avoid.

In order for anyone to get anywhere with this, we have to lay down our pride. We have to admit that we might be wrong. We have to lay down our desire to be in control, and our insistence on not getting the short end of the stick. We have to be living sacrifices for the glory of God. If exalting Christ isn’t our focus, if bringing glory to God isn’t our only aim, then we’ll do nothing short of making fools of ourselves and looking like bickering children fighting over the remote control.

That is why I am incredibly grateful for two posts I have read recently concerning this issue. In the order that I read them, the first is a Deeper Story post by Amber Haines. While I don’t agree with her conclusion on gender roles, I absolutely love the passion for God’s glory and living out the gospel that I see in this post. This was displayed even more in the comment interaction between the two of us. The second is a Theology Gospel Mission post by Lore Ferguson. While I do agree more with where Lore lands on this issue, I can see the same Christ-exalting, gospel-driven approach to this issue. Lore communicates truth so deeply and compassionately that it makes me rethink how I would do so, and I am very grateful to see her insight on this issue.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s how it’s done. It’s ok to disagree. Denominations within the Church has disagreed since the Reformation, if not before, and the Church is still standing, because Christ builds His Church, and He sustains it. Each of us believes the other view is less-freeing than our own, but when that becomes the focus instead of the gospel and exalting the name of Christ, then we all become bound to our own selfishness. It isn’t just the Christians within the Church who are watching, it is the world watching us turn on ourselves over this issue.

Debate with grace, love, humility, and by all means boldness, once you have the first three. Or please, for the sake of Christ’s name, stay silent.

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