Overheard on “Parchment and Pen”

A comment by minnowspeaks (an egalitarian):

"Then as now my greatest difficulty is with the notion that a loving Creator would purposely gift His creation in a certain way only to insist His creation NOT use the gifts. Such a notion goes against my belief in a loving God as well as the idea that our gifts are meant for the edification of the whole."

1) Complementarians do not deny that all members of the bride of Christ are gifted OR that they should be able to use their gifts within Scriptural limits.

2) Why is it that if a woman cannot use her gifts to teach or lead men, you do not consider her to be using her gifts?


  • women are not worth teaching or leading - at least not as valuable as men
  • using your gifts is only worthwhile if it involves leading or teaching men.
  • women who are using their gifts by leading and teaching women are wasting their gifts.

3) Why is not teaching and leading women part of "edification of the whole"? Are women not part of the whole?

"gifted and kept silent" is a false dichotomy.

I have been a leader and teacher of women. It is rewarding, satisfying and (I believe, although minnowspeaks might disagree) edifying to the whole.

Each part of the body has a function and is honorable. Just because women are not men, does not mean they are not worth teaching and leading.

Women are equally valuable to God and leading and teaching women is an honorable use of the gifts.

Those women who teach and lead women ARE using their gifts. Please do not insult them by telling them that they are not, merely because they are not teaching men.

"Then as now my greatest difficulty is with the notion that a loving Creator would purposely gift His creation in a certain way only to insist His creation NOT use the gifts.

Such a notion goes against my belief in the equality and value of woman - I believe in a loving God who teaches that leading and teaching of women is a honorable and valuable use of my gifts.

(HT: Parchment and Pen)

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7 thoughts on “Overheard on “Parchment and Pen”

  1. Ellen,

    I think this is a really good post. Have you included it in the discussion at P&P?

    I believe this is what my own church does. We have a very large women's ministry, with a woman's pastor and dozens of women who serve each other within the group. Their gifts are in constant use, including those whose gifts include teaching and governing, within the ministry.

    It is truly a blessing to see God's word fully honored in a church, and how it edifies the members!

  2. Thanks...I've been studying this for a while and have not changed...nor has much been said to change my views.

    I did include an excerpt - which has been ignored. I would "allow" it to be (meaning I'd be tickled pink if it were) included in a main post. It's an important point that many miss. The side-effect of egalitarianism.

  3. Sue

    Until women are accepted as equals at the table of Bible translation then women are not treated as equals. Women need to teach on par with men. The way it stands now, men have access to the teaching of half the church population and they are incredibly limited by this. And if women don't teach in a seminary they are limited in their resources too. The state of affairs right now is terrible. Why support the status quo?

  4. I have enjoyed reading your responses over at Parchment and Pen. You are probably more gracious than I would be.

    I have concerns when people talk about not being able to use their gifts and not having more power. I think that attitude is quite telling as it misses the point. We fight others battles and let God fight ours. Further God often uses people without much natural gifting so as his power can be more manifest. Paul did not boast in his giftings, rather he considered them rubbish compared to Christ.

    I also find it frustrating that people extend a specific point but limit a general one.

  5. I debated about defending myself on your blog because in part it seems useless to continue the egaltarian/complementarian discussion when each party is clearly entrenched in their own point of view. At the same time because the quote you chose to focus on was clarified in a later comment but you still decided to argue against my quote as if I meant to say something I did not mean to say I feel it is important to clarify my point here as well. I was intending to compare teaching the whole Body verse teaching a part of the Body. I did not ever mean to compare the value of teaching men verses the value of teaching women. The latter comparison is often used by complementarians to discredit egaltarians by suggesting that egaltarians do not honor women but prefer men or think the teaching of men is more important.
    My original comment on the P&P blog was also in direct reference to another person suggesting that the gifting or abilities of a woman might be better than a man's but such did not matter because women were forbidden to use them (in the general assembly was implied).
    Personally, I believe we honor God by using our gifts in whatever environment we find ourselves--teaching women, teaching children, handing out bags in a food bank, cleaning toilets in a group home, or running a fortune 500 company.

  6. Given the delay in your replies I posted about the questions here.

    I am glad that you posted a response here. Thank you for responding.

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