Tag Archives: Gender Debate


WordPress has "pages" that will stay in a hierarchy position (you can find it from the front page).  It seems to me that some of the communication problems that blog writers have is with definitions.  So I'm going to start a "page" that links to posts on "definitions".

The first one I'll define is "gender role".

I've heard a few egalitarians say, "male or female isn't a 'role', it's part of who we are." (or something to that effect).

If you (generic "you") are using the term in an acting (in a play) sort of way.  Yes, you are correct, being male or female isn't a role we play.  In fact, if you use the word "role" as a stand alone phrase, you would still be correct
HOWEVER...context, context, context.  When we write of "gender roles" we are not referring of acting. The term "Gender role" consists of two words used together that have a specific and  SOCIOLOGICAL  meaning.

When we write "gender roles", we are  referring to an "SOCIOLOGY" term.


From Answers.com

A gender role is a set of perceived behavioral norms associated particularly with males or females, in a given social group or system. It can be a form of division of labour by gender. It is a focus of analysis in the social sciences and humanities.  Gender is one component of the gender/sex system, which refers to "The set of arrangements by which a society transforms biological sexuality into products of human activity, and in which these transformed needs are satisfied" (Reiter 1975: 159). All societies, to a certain effect, have a gender/sex system, although the components and workings of this system vary markedly from society to society.


So we read here that "gender roles" are not a "faked" or "acted out" part in a play.  Gender roles (at least in history) have played a part in meeting the needs of society.

In a Biblical worldview, the gender debate surrounds "complementarian" (although I may choose to use a more descriptive term for what I believe is correct) and "egalitarian" beliefs.

This is sparked by a gender debate, but it became a philosophical question for me all on its own, with its own personal application.

There are three words (alphabetically):

  • authority
  • desire
  • will

Authority simply is the means by which to carry out desire or will (or both).

My question ended up being:  what is the difference between a "will" and a "desire"  (I will put "will" in quotes to distinguish which will I will be writing about:  My "will" will win over my desire for chocolate.)

A desire is that which I want.  Carnal urges.  Feeling of "need" for that which is not a "need".

"Will" is the resolve to follow a path, whether or not that path is that which I desire.

Within a church body (my own experience), the board has a "will" that decides the direction of a church.  A congregation member (me) also has a will that believes the church should be heading in a different direction.

The board "wills" that this particular church has no need for a singles ministry.  The congregation member's "will" (a belief that the church should have a singles ministry conflicts with the board's decision.  Who wins?  After examining self, the congregation members sees that the "will" to have a singles ministry is (in reality) a desire, not a need.  The board's "will" will carry the day.  And that's a good thing.


The same church board "wills" that a variety of speakers come into the church for special events - including Sunday morning service.  The same congregation member (me) "wills" that she be in a church where the speakers are in agreement with denominational beliefs.  After examining the speakers and topics, the congregation member discovers that roughly half of the speakers are anti-Trinitarian, Oneness Pentecostals and Kansas City Revival members.  Decides that this is not a mere "desire", said congregation member confronts church leaders.  Getting nowhere, brings the matter to a higher authority (denomination leadership).

The first example is a "desire" for a singles ministry, the second is a "resolve" to see Biblical teaching in the church.

Could this have been different?  Sure, it was tempting to push (against the board) for a singles ministry and it would have been easier to cave in on the speaker issue.

Both of these issue illustrate the "will" within a hierarchy (church government)
How to apply this to on a more personal level?

I can apply it to my health journey in two (and opposite) ways.

I have a desire (want) to be more healthy.  The question becomes, do I have the "will" (resolve) to do what I need to do in order to have that desire met?

In the negative...I have a desire for (want) chocolate.  Snickers to be precise.  The question becomes, do I have the "will" to put down the candy bar and eat in a more healthy way?

Both of these  illustrate a struggle within one's self.

Simply put, my "desire" conflicts with my "will".  That which I should do, vs. that which I want to do.

A "feeling of I-want-to-have-that" vs. a lasting resolve to make it happen.

Within a couple?

I believe that Scripture gives a pattern of male leadership within the church and home.

Desires?  Each member of the couple should put the desires of the other in front of their own.  Desires are like preferences - a desire for chocolate cake vs. strawberry.  Vanilla cone vs. a twist.  Blue carpet vs. green.

"Will"?  A lasting resolve for the direction?  That (in a complementarian vs. egalitarian world), is stickier.  In a godly marriage, both spouses will study together and the direction of the home will be supplied by Scripture.  There are times when this will conflict.  Baptist vs. Methodist.  Infant baptism vs. not.
Slightly bigger, but not insurmountable...Pentecostal vs. cessation.   Reformed vs. Arminian.

These (although with great understanding) I believe that a wife can safely submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ (with limits:  I would not follow a husband to a One-ness church or to an Exclusive Psalmsidy  church.)

Larger issues:

  • A spouse that converts to another religion - I would put this under the second illustration of the church board and me.
  • A husband who wishes the wife to fall into sin.  If there is a difference of opinion of "sin", call the pastor.
  • An abusive situation (no matter which spouse and no matter who is being abused).  There is never a reason for abuse and every excuse is a bad one.

Does the husband have the right to "impose" his "will".

The jury is out.  I tend to think "not" - for the following reasons.

  • to have to impose his "will" means the wife is not being submissive in the first place.  If he is not leading into sin, then the wife is in sin.  If he is leading into sin, then the wife has every right to oppose him.
  • Either way, the path is not open warfare...it is Matthew 18.  And counselors.
  • If the "will" is abuse.  No excuse.  Get out.  Now.  Don't wait.  Not for a ride, not for the kids to grow up, not for another day.

This will not solve any debate; it's about definitions...

(This post is not moderated, but the entire blog is set for all comments to be moderated until I am back from vacation.)