If the Tables Were Turned?

On Complegalitarian, Don Johnson tells us how a complementarian can be a poor witness based on how they react when a woman teaches.  A complementarian is not to question, not to raise a fuss, they should either not attend if they know ahead of time or slip out quietly if caught by surprise.

How to turn this table?

If a woman is in a complementarian church and suddenly believes that she is to be in leadership over men, should teach authoritatively in the assembly - against the leadership of that church.

Should she stay and try to convince that church that she is right and they should put her in leadership, should she speak within that church against the leadership of that church and what they believe or should she leave quietly and go to a church who would put her in leadership?

I have asked that question before and an egalitarian answered that of course, she should stand her ground and fight the leadership.

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28 thoughts on “If the Tables Were Turned?

  1. Really? To my knowledge it is absolutely NOT taught by egals that a Christian should fight leadership. Where have you read that an egal said such a thing.

    Also, a call to ministry is not characterized by anyone male or female suddenly believing that they should be in leadership. Usually, a call from the HS comes slowly along with a strong desire to become fully equipped to serve the people of God. All spiritual leadership is a call to serve.

  2. madame

    I've seen people leave a very strong complementarian church because they didn't agree with their doctrine of gender and family. They are happily serving in different churches.
    I think most mature Christians would approach the leadership and inform them of their calling, and depending on the answer they got, they would either stay or leave.
    Personally, if I felt God calling me to teach, I'd assume it meant to teach children, women or young people.
    A calling to teach doesn't need to mean teaching the whole congregation.

  3. My views on gender changed while I was attending a CBMW style complementarian church. I knew that #1), my words on the issue would never change anything, but more important than that, #2.) the Spirit was not calling me to stand and fight, but to go in peace. (Normally, I'm all for open communication, but in this case, I never even stopped to give an explanatory word for why I would never be back. I just knew there was no way they could hear it...why waste either of our time)?

    I know that I, as an egal, would never counsel anyone to fight to teach their views at a church that was pronouncedly complementarian, unless they felt VERY sure they were hearing from God that they should, and even then, to be prepared for the consequences. The church is already conditioned to mistrust strong women...so staying and "fighting" will only serve to enforce their mistrust. How much better to leave quietly (or after explaining why you are leaving in private with the church leaders), and find a place that will be able to support and encourage your giftings.

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  5. Don Johnson

    What I think could happen if a woman thinks she is called to give a teaching is to go to the elders and present her case. Paul said that all might teach, for example. If this is not accepted to move to a place where it is accepted.

    I do not see demanding to teach as being an option.

  6. "I believe that comments are unavailable on the old blog. Is that a round about attempt to call me a liar?"

    Oh, good heavens no!! I've just never heard anyone say that and wanted to know where it was so I could read the entire context of the statement. Sometimes, we can get caught up on individual words and not realize that it is the context that gives clarity.

    I'm a friendly sort, MzEllen. Too old to be waging wars. 🙂

    Are you certain we cannot see comments on the old blog.

    Molly, were comments thrown out???

  7. Post author

    Put another way, are egalitarians content to let complementarian churches be complementarian and serve in a church who embraces what the egalitarian believes? - the answer, obviously not.

  8. I've served in complementarian type churches most of my Christian walk. And I've served in equality minded churches also. Nazarene and Assembly of God churches were the most encouraging. But interestingly, I've served most (teaching adults no less) in SBC churches.

    I've also been hurt and wounded most in comp style churches. The Shepherding Movement churches did the most damage IMO and those who research history can see that the SM is behind the modern patriarchal push.

    But I'm curious. How does one NOT let churches be whatever they are. If you mean making big fusses with leadership, etc. it is most often that men do that sort of thing, not women. I can't imagine one fighting with others in order to be able to do what they want in ministry. It would be pretty difficult to serve someone that didn't want to be served. Most people just go elsewhere.

  9. Post author

    I disagree with the extent of the patriarchal movement - I also believe that men should be doing the "heavy lifting" in terms of leadership and teaching the congregation as a whole. Women should be teaching women and children.

    How does one NOT let churches be whatever they are.

    Pressure. Do you remember a few months ago when Bruce Ware forced himself into an egalitarian church and forced them to bend to his teaching? Of course not. Bruce Ware was invited into a complementarian church to present his views. The fact that he was in a church that aligned with his teaching did not stop the liberal blogosphere from vilifying the man.

  10. Bruce Ware is spoken harshly of because of the harshness of his views towards women as well as other inconsistencies of his teachings. Patterson is equally troublesome. I imagine you are aware that he took away a Professor's (of Hebrew) tenure (after promising security) and caused her and her family a great deal of trouble. I believe Patterson is also the one who advocates an abused woman return to her husband and submit more. He even claimed something to the effect that if it might cause her death, she should be consoled that it could lead to the man's salvation. IOW the man's life was more important than the woman's.

    As for your example, I am not aware of a Christian who believes in equality and mutuality forcing themselves into a church to present their views.

    May I ask why you sound so hateful? Am I 'hearing" you wrong?

  11. Post author

    Sorry, not hateful at all, merely not so "wordy". Truly...my apologies; I am having a "hit and run" day on the computer and I've been dashing out a few words and leaving again.

    Remember, Ware did not force himself into a church; he was invited and still drew the ire of egalitarians.

    It seems that the source of the Patterson information is Wade Burleson...a pretty good example of an egalitarian speaking out against the leadership of the (complementarian) organization he has chosen to affiliate with.

    For what it's worth...complementarianism is not abuse. Complementarians do not endorse spousal violence.

  12. Post author

    equality and mutuality

    Complementarians believe in equality, yet recognize that men and women have different roles in the church and home.

    if a woman thinks she is called to give a teaching

    I believe a woman can be called to teach...women. It is not as if a woman who does not teach men is "silenced".

  13. Thank you for clarifying MzEllen. I can be sensitive sometimes. I get yelled at a lot for believing in mutuality and equality. 🙂

    Ware draws ire because of his teachings. It has nothing to do with what church he teaches his teachings in. Is it OK to misrepresent Christ just because others do also?

    Actually, the source of the Patterson information is Patterson himself. At the time of the incidents, a lot of people knew about them and were outraged, both comp and egal alike.

    Have you ever had a discussion about inherent being?

  14. Post author

    Tiro, I also believe in mutuality and equality. Men and women are equal, with distinctive roles within the church and home.

    Inherent being seems to have its roots in Eastern thought - I remember a few conversations about it in philosophy class.

  15. No, inherent being simply refers to what one is in the fullness of their being, who they are by birth. It is not about religion. IOW a black man is one by his genes and DNA. He is inherently a black man. A woman is inherently a female by her birth, by DNA, by her genes, etc. We are inherently female. It is written on every cell. It is not about religion and cannot be changed no matter what some sciences claim.

  16. Yes. I've been a licensed professional massage therapist for 15 years. We had to do a lot of studying on anatomy. Plus, I've touched a lot of people and met a lot of people. Even though there are instances of deformities in the physical attributes, which can be confusing (double sex organs etc.), sex is so imbedded in our being that even those who have surgeries to change some of their physical form, still are inherently male or female because gender actually affects all our tissue. It affects our muscles, our fat, the density of our bones, the way our bones are attached, and so many more things. Even our brains though basically the same, yet the connections operate slightly differently. There is a beauty to it and an efficiency. Because it is so pervasive it is inescapable. This is what it means to be inherently male or female. We each cannot not be what we were inherently born to be.

    Make sense?

  17. There are other things that are inherent in each individual, his or her personality. God knows each person in their womb, knitting them into the kind of person they were meant to be. Each individual laughs a certain way, tends to love to do certain things right from a child. We are not totally culturally influenced, although it certainly does affect us. We are a certain flavor of a human. Thus they say no two people are alike. It is part of the brilliance of God He has woven into our souls. And God wants each one of us to grow up into the fullness of Christ, the full maturity of pure humanity without the taints of sin. Women are not all alike and men are not all alike. Even in the animal world, no two parrots, or fish or birds, dogs, cats, etc. are the same.

    Interestingly, unlike our inherent sexuality, we can resist who we were created to be individually even though it is inherent. It’s a curious thing. We even want to tell other people who they can be, what they can like to do.

    But what we choose to do (outside of sin) does not make us male or female or even who we are as an individual. We can ride horses and it does not change our gender or make us less female (contrary to some ancient beliefs). Even if a woman never has children, it does not make her less of a woman. Having ten children, does not make one more of a woman. We are inherently female regardless of what kind of lifestyle we live.

  18. Post author

    And back to the subject of the post...since we are male and female, and God made us that way, I believe that we should honor the distinctives that He also created.

    I truly wish that liberals would not infect churches other than their own.

  19. Don Johnson

    Each gets to choose what type of church they attend, my take is a church should reflect in a general way the people in the surrounding area and so should the leaders.

    The concern about Ware was simply about what he taught. His words could be interpreted as endorsing abuse, perhaps he did not mean this, but he should have clarified it.

  20. Sue

    I remain convinced that functional inequality is not a good thing in a marriage.

    I would also be very suprised if any woman demanded the right to be a teacher in the church. My experience is that of being in a church that used to have women speak from the pulpit and then shut that down.

    I also wrote this true story.

    This woman was a college president and is well educated in theology, but you see how it has ended for her, and for me as well. We would not dare to speak out of turn.

  21. Post author

    Sue, I am encouraged that a church can go back. It is my experience that once a church starts down that road it is nearly impossible to turn around.

  22. Happy Promise Keeper

    Egals are better instructed to simply leave a Comp church. No Comp church in their right mind would welcome the false teachings of the Egal platform. Of course, the Egal could simply swallow her pride, humble herself, and submit to that church and learn correct theology.

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