Some things are obvious. Take, for instance, anatomical differences in male and female. Obviously different. Gender confusion of the day argues that to be the only difference. Male and female, they say, are interchangeable in their abilities, attributes and (in most Arminian mainstream social-gospel “Christian” churches) even their place in the pulpit. Evangelical feminism infiltrated the church long ago and I suppose we’ll see more of that as apostasy increases.
It’s time to give that other view, egalitarianism, equal share, ahem, on this blog.
What is Christian egalitarianism?
Christian egalitarianism holds that all people are equal before God and in Christ; have equal responsibility to use their gifts and obey their calling to the glory of God; and are called to roles and ministries without regard to class, gender, or race.
This is the basic definition. Sounds wonderful and innocent on the surface. But equal responsibility to use their gifts and obey their calling is where it gets fuzzy. A woman may feel gifted or called to be a pastor, but God’s Word says women should be silent in the church. 1 Timothy 2:12, 13 says:
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
Women are never called to lead men or preach! If they feel that calling, it’s certainly not from God. This is a blatant disregard for authority – God’s authority. It is a breach of God’s created order. More about this later.
To further understand egalitarianism and how it usurps God’s order, let’s peek back into the Hollywood realm and recall a darling 1940s film, Adam’s Rib. We have husband, Adam, and wife, Amanda (wonder why they didn’t call her Eve). Both are lawyers. Both are brilliant, strong and savvy. Certainly, the wife is as capable as her husband in their shared profession. This is an egalitarian relationship. Husband and wife are created equals (as they are in complementarianism), but there are no distinct male/female roles or attributes. Amanda was free to pursue her career. But is this her intended purpose? Does she neglect Adam in any way while she works on her case as the defense lawyer? Notice Adam wearing an apron, performing kitchen duties. Hollywood began its feminization of men earlier than we’d realized. What many Christians forget is that God has a purpose for everything He does and it is always a good purpose. It is always to carry out His will, not ours. So let’s begin to study this idea of egalitarianism with Adam’s rib.
The original Adam’s Rib
Our identity series Bible verse – Gen. 1:27:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Adam’s rib in Genesis 2:
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
We know that God said it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18), so God created a suitable helper and companion for Adam. The following is a beautiful explanation of God’s design for male and female, penned by one of my favorite dead men.
John Angell James on Adam’s rib in Female Piety:
It has been often shown that by being taken from himself, she was equal to man in nature; while the very part of the body from which she was abstracted indicated the position she was intended to occupy. She was not taken from the head, to show she was not to rule over him; nor from his foot, to teach that she was not to be his slave; nor from his hand, to show that she was not to be his tool; but from his side, to show that she was to be his companion. There may perhaps be more of ingenuity and fancy in this, than of God’s original design; but if a mere conceit, it is at once both pardonable and instructive.
Got that, egalitarians? She was equal to man in nature, but she was intended to occupy a certain position. The real Adam’s rib is a companion. She is for Adam, not against him. And even though she submits to Adam, her purpose was not to be his slave (so many feminists argue her submissive role results in her oppression). Stop whining about women’s rights. You don’t have the right to rebel against God’s created order.
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Let John Angell James speak on this verse:
The other expressions of the apostle in this passage are very strong. As Christ is the head, or ruler of man, so man is the head and ruler of woman, in the domestic economy. Man was made to show forth God’s glory and praise; to be in subordination to him, and only to him; while woman was created to be, in addition to this, the glory of man, by being in subordination to him, as his helper and his ornament. She was not only made out of him, but for him. All her loveliness, attractions, and purity, are not only the expressions of her excellence, but of his honor and dignity, since all were not only derived from him, but made for him.
His helper and his ornament. For him. All her loveliness, attractions and purity…expressions of his honor and dignity…made for him. Wow. Do Christian egalitarians have a problem with this? I know feminists probably hate these statements. I’m reminded of Proverbs 31, where God says:
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
As Christians, we are to love sacrificially, as Christ loves us. Wives serving husbands is part of serving Christ. It’s an expression of loving our Lord, as the example given in Ephesians 5 comparing the marriage relationship to the dynamic of Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5 and Mutual Submission
Many argue that Ephesians 5:21 supports the egalitarian view of husbands and wives mutually submitting:
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
But I guess they haven’t read the rest of the chapter:
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it
Out of Order! 3 Big Dangers of Christian Egalitarianism
- Female Pastors
Women in the pulpit sicken me. The pet verse they use to defend themselves is Galatians 3:28:
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Meaning of this verse according to Reformation Study Bible:
you are all one in Christ Jesus. The wall of separation between Jew and Gentile is removed for those united to Christ: all in Christ are Abraham’s seed (Eph. 2:14–16; Col. 3:11). Indeed, no human distinctions avail as advantages in the matter of salvation. Paul does not obliterate these distinctions, such as those between the sexes, but indicates they give no preferential status in terms of our union with Christ. Until Christ returns, the created order remains and order in the church takes account of it (1 Cor. 11:3; 14:34; 1 Tim. 2:11–14).
We see that this verse does not mean we shed our maleness or femaleness and become androgenous blobs. It means that, with Christ’s covering for our sin, we are all part of His body, no matter what sex, ethnicity, or whether we are rich or poor, etc. This does not render God’s order of creation null and void. I really hate when this verse is twisted to fit the egalitarian agenda.
Egalitarians cite female Bible heroines as proof that women may be preachers and pastors. Their favorite, Deborah, was used by God in a civil position, not an ecclesiastical one. Egalitarians also name Miriam, Huldah, Esther, Ruth and Naomi as examples. I don’t recall any of these women as spiritual leaders of men. Miriam led women into songs of praise in Exodus 15:20 after Moses led the children of Israel in song. Matthew Henry’s commentary says “Moses led the psalm, and gave it out for the men, and then Miriam for the women.” Huldah, according to Reformation Study Bible on 2 Kings 22:14, was probably a court prophet, consulted on matters of state. Esther submitted to King Ahasuerus. She approached him humbly when she was beckoned. She obediently ‘did the commandment of Mordecai’ (Esther 2:20). Ruth and Naomi? Really, I won’t waste time on those ‘examples’. Those women are the epitome of humility and submission.
- Egalitarian marriage –
is messy indeed! Egalitarian couples where the wife is the provider and husband is Mr. Mom may seem to work beautifully, but it’s really upside-down, out of order. Okay, that’s an extreme example. Realistically, most egalitarian marriages are those two income families where both husband and wife are breadwinners and they share domestic chores equally. I imagine both spouses tired at the end of the day. Both spouses concentrate on career goals. Children may be abandoned to day care centers. This doesn’t sound conducive to a happy marriage. It sounds like a breeding ground for selfishness, irritability, and neglect. While it’s wonderful to have a husband sharing household chores, how many women are really happy with the way men execute those chores? Let’s be honest. I think women are better at them. And I also empathize with men who are exasperated by these added responsibilities. Providing is the man’s role. Let him do that. When he gets home from work, feed him well and let him rest.
- Confused gender roles leads to wider acceptance of any sexual perversion.
CBE, Christians for Biblical Equality, is the antithesis of CBMW, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Cruising their website makes my skin crawl. It reeks of feminism, gender blurring and socio-psychobabble garbage. Exploring male and female identity is made a social science experiment. In Will Boys Be Boys and Girls Be Girls, David M. Csinos writes:
…gender roles are not biological givens. Ways of being male or female are culturally developed norms for living out one’s sex that become fossilized and institutionalized in human cultures and are passed on from one generation to the next. Thus, ways of being male or female can be adapted.
What??? This is such a scary statement. When gender roles are interchangeable, and male/female identity blurred, it will be easy to accept the lesbian, gay, transgendered, bisexual, confused, androgenous lifestyles as the norm. If we accept this slime, we can easily accept any sexual perversion imaginable. I am not alone in this argument.
Daniel R. Heimbach states from this CBMW article:
If gender differences in human sexual identity really do not matter-if in fact what we think are differences [in gender roles] are actually just transitory, cultural, or perhaps even unreal-then the idea of difference based on separate sexual gender identities can sustain no real moral value either. Then the idea that gender-based sexual differences sustain or define any sort of normative standard must be rejected. Thus, it turns out, a way of thinking used by egalitarians to justify opposition to gender roles is shared by advocates of plastic sexuality [e.g., proponents of homosexuality] who use it to deny that heterosexual marriage should be treated as a standard.
There is further confirmation of its danger in this Patheos article, Matthew Vines: Rejecting Complementarianism Means Accepting Homosexuality, where Owen Strachan states:
If we reject Scripture’s word on manhood and womanhood, we will be sorely tempted to reject its word on other subjects. There is serious momentum in self-identified evangelical circles toward the normalization of transgender identity, egalitarian gender roles, and homosexual identity and behavior. These things are increasingly of a piece; they certainly are for spokespeople like Matthew Vines and Rachel Held Evans, two of the most prominent young voices for egalitarianism.
When something is OUT OF ORDER, it doesn’t work!
Adam and Amanda may have been entertaining and romantic in 1940s Hollywood, especially with that happy ending, but in reality they were out of order. They competed against each other. They argued. Amanda neglected Adam. She was not for him. Amanda was a rebellious rib. That rebellion is widely accepted today, even in Christian homes. I pray that all Spirit-filled believers who truly love God, trust in Jesus as the Way, Truth and the Life rethink how they are submitting to, serving and obeying our Lord.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. – John 14:15
For full definitions and excellent commentary on Complementarianism vs. Egalitarianism, please see: