Daily Archives: January 25, 2008


I just copied and pasted the comment thread...

(edit:  if there is one who would like to use this post (11 pages long in a Word doc) as a post body, feel free to email me [ellen (at) domain name.com].  Among the couple of reasons it is not a comment is the fact that it IS 11 pages long and far too large for a com box)


An egalitarian says:

This is the very definition of comp. teaching from CBMW. They have expressly stated that "submit" is always, without exception, to an "authority over", and that is "dictatorial". This is the official teaching of the organization that made up the word "complementarian".

First, the definition of "dictatorial": Tending to dictate; domineering.

Domineering: Tending to domineer; overbearing. Overbearing: Domineering in manner; arrogant (okay, we're in a circular pattern...overbearing means domineering, domineering means overbearing. What does CBMW teach on men being domineering and overbearing? (in the Thesaurus listing for "dictatorial", we see such words as arrogant, despotic, domineering, oppresive, overbearing, tyrannical...)

Is this REALLY the "official teaching" of CBMW (Council on Manhood & Womanhood)?

(From "Satisfied and Complementarian?") Nothing in Scripture advocates a demanding, oppressive leadership style from men. On the contrary, the exact opposite is commanded (Matthew 20:25-28).

CBMW teaches that Scripture teaches EXACTLY the OPPOSITE of demanding and oppressive.



An egalitarian says...

We link these things because they are accurate and documented. It's just a fact.

It's only a fact if it's true. What "facts"are being presented here? That CBMW teaches dictatorial marriages? Not with the dictionary defintion of "dictatorial". (see above: Nothing in Scripture advocates a demanding, oppressive leadership style from men. On the contrary, the exact opposite is commanded )

If you wish to distance yourself from official comp. teachings, then by all means, invent a term that describes what you believe. But this blog, as it clearly states, is about Complementarianism and Egalitarianism as defined by the organizations that are considered "official", not everyone's individual take on them.

So far, in this thread, the only "teaching" that has been presented is that of a dictatorship. I just linked to an article on CBMW that describes a marriage that is not dictatorial. So I'll distance myself from what the egalitarian claims that CBMW is teaching, but that they are not actually teaching.

I'm pretty comfortable with standing with CBMW in

  • recognizing before God the full equality of a woman's personhood with her talents, skills, and gifts does not give us carte blanche permission to disregard any guidelines and standards that God's Word shows us for the role of a woman in the church and home
  • teaching that husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.
  • teaching that there should be no doubt based on these passages about the manner in which God expects men to lead (loving, self-sacrificial, nurturing) and the fact that there are consequences for not doing so.
  • teaching that any good leader knows that you need to gather all the facts and enlist those who may know the situation better than you before you make the decision.
  • teaching that "head" does not mean male dominance, where a man lords it over a woman and demands her total obedience to his every wish and command. God never viewed women as second-class citizens.
  • saying that the teaching of the New Testament clearly shows that women are to be respected, revered, and treated as equals with men.
  • believing that (y)our [the husband's] unconditional acceptance of your wife is not based upon her performance, but on her worth as God's gift to you. If you want to love your wife unconditionally, always be sure her emotional tank is full. One of the best ways to do that is to affirm her constantly. Let her know verbally that you value her, respect her, and love her. I have discovered that I simply cannot do that enough.
  • that according to the New Testament, being head of your wife does not mean being her master, but her servant. Again, Christ is our model for this type of leadership. Jesus did not just talk about serving; He demonstrated it when he washed His disciples' feet
  • believing that a husband should consider carefully his wife's needs and desires; to live with her "in an understanding way" (NASB); to take the initiative in discovering what is going on in her heart and life and to respond lovingly; to be sensitive to concerns and problems before they become major issues.

So far...I'm pretty much in line.



An egalitarian says...

"Numerous corrections"? What "corrections"? I haven't seen anyone prove an egal teaching that needed "correction". But I have seen a lot of assertions.

That is why we have a debate. If a person does not accept a correction as true, then OBVIOUSLY it is taken as merely an assertion. You cannot force a person to believe.



An egalitarian says:

"Lash out"? What is it when comps accuse egals of promoting homosexuality? What is it when comps accuse egals of not wanting to believe God or accept what the Bible says? What is it when comps accuse egals of bowing to culture?

It could be merely an appeal to look to the extremes on both sides, not just one. It could be an appeal to look at oneself (as I have looked at and examined myself). What if the comps are right? What if the egals are right? If the appeal is done as an appeal, it is not lashing out...it is an appeal.



An egalitarian says:

Maybe, just maybe, if comps here would deal with scriptural arguments, history, linguistics, etc. instead of continuing to try and make egals stop quoting what comp leaders actually say, we could make some progress.

Yes...I've asked a number of times WHY, when Paul directly instructs wives to submit (which was already happening in that culture), WHY, WHY, WHY, if egalitarianism was what he wanted to teach, why husbands (specifically) were never (specifically) instructed to (specifically) submit to their wives. That is asking for a reason from Scripture, acknowledgment that history tells us that men (historically) did NOT submit to their wives, and linguistically...the egalitarians have asked that complementarians at least admit there can be an alternate meaning to kephale. In fact, in this very thread, Sue notes: 3. Head comes from the Greek word kephale. Kephale could mean "beginning," "origin," "source," "prominence," "superior rank," or it is a live metaphor and the meaning is found within the passage. This is very lexicon based, but I have also examined the studies.

Will therest of the egalitarians do the same and at least admit that kephale may have an alternate meaning that includes authority?

Will they?



An egalitarian said:

If people would pay careful attention to what is actually being said, and stop spreading misinterpretation of what is being said as though that is what egalitarian teachings claim.

I suppose, but will it go the other way as well?

We who embrace biblical equality (egalitarianism) are not "linking complementarianism with support for slavery."(...)

In other posts on this blog...

The correct analogy is patriarchy to slavery. Both are the practice of worldly patterns of positional authority: the former of men ruling over women,

Following the logic...in another post, it is made clear that one commenter sees complementarian as BEING patriarchy:

All I have ever heard of is that men can fill all roles and women can fill some roles. I just don't see how this is called complementarity. This is my problem, I see the restrictions as one-sided and an all out denial of the definition of complementarity. If there is some way to reconcile the practice of complementarianism with the definition, I would like to hear it.

Otherwise, I think one should just say that one is patriarchal and put everyone at ease in terms of knowing one's place - restricted.

If egalitarians disagree with this logic, it would be helpful to speak up, rather than have the misconception of complementarian = patriarchy = analogy for slavery. Thanks.

The same egalitarian said:

Instead, several of us have shown the similarity of arguments in favor of unilateral submission (subjugation) of women are remarkably similar to arguments in favor of slavery 150 years ago. Support of unilateral submission of women is not the same as support for slavery, but there are undeniable similarities and flaws in the arguments in favor of both.

I could note that (in fact) the Episcopal church lumps sexual orientation in with the rest of its "do not discriminate... "list. Just as sex cannot exclude them from ministry, in the Episcopal church, neither can homosexuality.

"All Bishops of Dioceses and other Clergy shall make provisions to identify fit persons for Holy Orders and encourage them to present themselves for Postulancy. No one shall be denied access to the selection process for ordination in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, or age, except as otherwise specified by these Canons." -- Title III, Canon 4, Section 1 of the Constitution and Canons for the Government of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, p. 60



The same egalitarian says...

Similarly, we are not "linking complementarianism with spousal abuse." What we are showing is that unlike with biblical equality, complementarian teachings (as published by the founding organization, CBMW) advocate a husband being an authority figure over his wife even if he is abusing her. Again, this is undeniable and deserves discerning scrutiny. Likewise, no one is saying thtat complementarianism makes husbands be dictatorial in their marriages. However, as is the case with other kinds of abuse, dictatorial husbands are still considered authority figures over their wives according to complementarian teachings.


From CBMW's "Statement on Abuse"

  • We understand abuse to mean the cruel use of power or authority to harm another person emotionally, physically, or sexually.
  • We believe that the Christian community is responsible for the well-being of its members. It has a responsibility to lovingly confront abusers and to protect the abused.
  • In instances where abusers are unrepentant and/or unwilling to make significant steps toward change, we believe that the Christian community must respond with firm discipline of the abuser and advocacy, support and protection of the abused.

And in fact, elsewhere in CBMW (chapter 14 of "Pastoral Leadership" deals with abuse)

  • Since real biblical listening is linked to action, you may find that what you hear (especially if the violence has been personal and dangerous) means taking the victim for a medical examination, calling the police, or providing a temporary safe place for her to stay.
  • If the homeis potentially unsafe, it is wise to inform the perpetrator that his wife has revealed the violence and is staying at an undisclosed safe place.
  • It may be appropriate to encourage a battered woman to press legal charges, so that her God-ordained civil authority can be used to help bring an end to this evil (see Rom. 13:1-5).
  • It will also be important for you to point out that submission to God-ordained authority does not mean that she simply stay in the home and continue to suffer. David was submissive to King Saul’s authority (see 1 Sam. 26:23), but he fled when Saul began to physically threaten him (see 1 Sam. 19:10-18, etc.).
  • Love for one’s husband will mean preventing him from continuing to do evil.

I have just linked to a direct teaching by CBMW that is the opposite of what the egalitarian believes: that CBMWadvocate a husband being an authority figure over his wife even if he is abusing her, when, in FACT, CBMW supports the wife leaving, staying in a safe (undisclosed) safe place and possibly filing legal charges. Further, CBMW teaches that submission to God-ordained authority does not mean that she simply stay in the home and continue to suffer.

The egalitarian goes on:

Like it or not, we have organizations like CBMW that are advocating teachings that we egalitarians find to be incompatible with scriptural principles.

Like the ones in the links I just provided that refute what the egalitarians claim CBMW teaches?

They founded the "complementarian" movement and continue to speak for the movement and provide the definitive publications and representatives for that movement. I think that it would be a big move toward some actual discussion and away from false accusations against us egalitarians if those who claim the description "complementarian" would acknowledge the problems with what CBMW is saying it means to be "complementarian."

See above...so far I'm pretty much in agreement with the basic structure.

  • against abuse: check
  • God never viewed women as second-class citizens: check
  • We understand abuse to mean the cruel use of power or authority to harm another person emotionally, physically, or sexually: check
  • being head of your wife does not mean being her master, but her servant. Again, Christ is our model for this type of leadership: check
  • husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.: check
  • women are to be respected, revered, and treated as equals with men: check...



The egalitarian goes on...

It would also be helpful if CBMW's terrible mischaracterization of egalitarianism could be refuted without people who reject egalitarianism telling us we don't know what biblical equality means.

And any mischaracterization of complementarianism?



The egalitarian goes on...

We certainly do, which is why we're egalitarians. In other words, stop taking CBMW's word for what it means to embrace biblical equality and call oneself an egalitarian. They have a vested interest, from the organization's very inception and purpose for organizing, in discrediting biblical equality and egalitarians. Deal with biblical equality, not the false picture of it and its adherents that CBMW publishes.

What does CBMW say in the Summaries of the egal / comp positions?

It's too long to post the whole thing here, but here are some highlights:

  • God created male and female as equal in all respects. Gen. 1:26-27 makes no distinction between woman and man insofar as both are equally made in His image (i.e., ontological equality), and both are given the responsibility to rule over His creation (i.e., functional equality).
  • Sin introduced into God's created order many manifestations of disorder and corrupted relationships. Among the chief examples of sin's defilement is the introduction of an illegitimate hierarchy in the relationship between woman and man.
  • 1. Gen. 1:26-27 - shows that man and woman share the same human nature, both are made in God's image, and both are given God's commission to rule the earth. Not only is there equality of being or nature between man and woman, there is also, importantly, equality of function or task - both are commanded to rule. And note: no distinction is made to give the man a superior position in this rulership.
  • 2. Gen. 2:18 - woman as "helper" is best understood as one who comes to complement (i.e., make complete something that is incomplete). So, far from the woman being subordinate to the man, this shows how indebted man should be to the woman.
  • 5. 1 Cor. 12:7-11 - Clearly, God distributes His gifts to His people as He so wills, but one's gender is not a factor in His giving any particular gift to a person. Women and men alike are recipients of all of God's gifts (e.g., see 1 Cor. 11:5 for a statement of women having the gift of prophecy). Since God's spiritual gifting is gender-neutral, and since God expects His gifts to be used in the church, it follows that men and women alike are equal in their exercise of gifts in the church.


Another egalitarian comments:

Could both sides come to an agreement about Biblical interpretation that looks like this?

1. When the word submission is used for one person, it might, but does not automatically, mean that the other person is given authority. Therefore, two functional equals, for example, two fellow Christians could submit to each other, as in "in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
2. Authentew is a word with the range of meaning from "compel" to "have power/authority over." It is possible that this is a word which means to use power in a way that a Christian should not.
3. Head comes from the Greek word kephale. Kephale could mean "beginning," "origin," "source," "prominence," "superior rank," or it is a live metaphor and the meaning is found within the passage. This is very lexicon based, but I have also examined the studies.
4. "Help" means to be a functional equal, since the only other use of the word is for God.

Whatever this implies, I am not sure, but it might put the woman in the role of Christ to the man, as in other ways, the man might be in the role of Christ to the woman. (...)

Let's at least say to each other - I see how you are being fatihful to scripture, according to the light you have, or the light we share, or something like that.

The term "conversation stoppers" has been applied. Even if a term has been discontinued (and the ones to whom the term was applied are not psychic and don't know the commitment to stop using it), an open commitment to stop using the term might be considered helpful.



One of the egalitarians says:

No, glennsp, it IS what CBMW teaches. They have said so explicitly. And please, stop aiming at me and aim at my arguments. If CBMW denies something or has material than contradicts what I said, provide a link or excerpt.

Before providing links, it would be helpful to know exactly what "IS" is...

I believe I have (see above links). I hope that I have managed to take aim at mistakes and arguments, rather than persons.



The egalitarian goes on...

Ask CBMW yourself and see what they say. Ask them about their document, "The Myth of Mutual Submission", and whether a husband can dictate to his wife or not.

A link was not provided, but it's pretty easy to find.

I have to affirm at the outset that people can mean different things by mutual submission. There is a sense of the phrase mutual submission that is different from an egalitarian view and that does not nullify the husband’s authority within marriage. If mutual submission means being considerate of one another, and caring for one another’s needs, and being thoughtful of one another, and sacrificing for one another, then of course I would agree that mutual submission is a good thing. (...)

In previous generations some people did speak about “mutual submission,” but never in the sense in which egalitarians today understand it. In his study of the history of the interpretation of Ephesians 5:21, Daniel Doriani has demonstrated that a number of earlier writers thought there was a kind of “mutual submission” taught in the verse, but that such “submission” took very different forms for those in authority and for those under authority. They took it to mean that those in authority should govern wisely and with sacrificial concern for those under their authority.

It is clear that in the chapter titled "the Myth of Mutual Submission", that it is agreed that there IS such a thing as ""mutual submission", what is being argued against is the current definition that is used by egalitarians to nullify authority.



The egalitarian goes on...

And stop telling me what I see, and telling me publicly that I have problems with comprehension. Can I say what I think of your omprehension skills? (...)

That's great. But CBMW would call you egalitarians.

Please see all of the above links that demonstrate that CBMW would indeed call those who say that a husband should treat his wife with consideration, should treat her with respect, that a wife should not submit into sin, that a wife should not stay in an abusive situation, etc., etc...yes...CBMW would call us complementarians.


Cite your evidence. Show us what we've twisted. Quote them, and then quote us.



Glenn said:

"Those who try and hide behind Comp to justify their sinful abusive behaviours do not represent Comp in any way shape or form."

and the egalitarian replied...

Who is to determine who represents comp., if not the organization that coined the term? Are you an official at CBMW? Tell them what you think and then tell us their response.

  • Those who abuse their wives are not supported by CBMW
  • those who treat their wives with disrespect are not supported by CBMW
  • those who are oppressive, who are arrogant, who are harsh, are not supported by CBMW
  • Those who sin against their wives are not supported by CBMW (I'm obviously not counting complementarianism as "sin")
  • Those who do not respect their wives are not supported by CBMW

To rephrase Glenn: Those who try to hide behind "complementarianism" to justify abuse, disrespect, who are oppresive, arrogant, harsh, those who sin against their wives, who do not respect their wives, are not supported by CBMW and abusers do not represent CBMW, any more than homosexuals represent egalitarians.

Abuse is sin; compementarianism is not sin.

The egalitarian says...

Yet you cannot escape the fact that only comp. gives Biblical sanction to a man doing whatever he pleases to his wife. In reality, that's how it has happened to many Christian couples. The wife has no recourse, because the pastors tell her it's her fault. That "divine right" comes straight from comp. teachings.


(From "Love and Respect in Marriage") Since God himself cannot sin, he has not delegated to anyone the authority to command someone else to sin. Thus, if a husband instructs his wife to do something that contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, she may properly refuse to obey, saying, "God has not given you authority to command me to do that" (see Acts 4:19-20; 5:27-32).

Thus, we have a teaching from CBMW that instructs a wife that a husband CANNOT do what he pleases, that she DOES have recourse, that if a husband asks his wife to do something that contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture that she may properly refuse.

That sounds like "recourse"to me.

Again: if a husband instructs his wife to do something that contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture, she may properly refuse to obey

CBMW directly teachings AGAINST what this egalitarian says that CBMW does teach.
The egalitarian says...

Are there any comps out there who can argue issues without resorting to ad hominem? Who have actually read what CBMW puts out?

At this point, a fair question might be: have you?