No, not a biblical one. No, not a theological one. This is a very practical question of application. I want to see how your belief plays out in real life.

Here is my question(s):

  • Is there any way for us to train boys to be “men”?
  • Is there any way for us to train up girls to be “women”?

If so, what does that look like for each?

  • What does it uniquely look like to be a “man”?
  • What does it uniquely look like to be a “woman”?

Or, alternatively, you might suggest that we take a gender neutral stance on child rearing since there are no defining characteristic for each?

I know that there is some diversity out there and I don’t want to be accused of any reducio or slippery slope here. I am honestly interested in seeing the patterns and the spectrum of belief here.

In a way this is a set up. You know that. I will just be up front. Because if you do say there is validity in the aspiration of training boys to be “men” and girls to be “women” and you define what that means, you are going to show that you believe that there is, no matter how slight, a unique path for each sex. In doing so, you will have conceded the foundation for complementarianism. Next thing you know you will be putting a “males only” sign on the pulpit! 😉

I also know that there will be some of you who believe in these unique paths, but do not believe in any sort of hierarchy. However (for this breed), another question:

Is it possible that the characteristics of the unique path that you suppose (along with us complementarians) will have qualities that make one sex more capable than another in certain areas? Therefore, one sex could quite possibly be leaders over the other in some areas? Is that possible?

In all honesty, I want to focus only on this for a bit . . . I want to hear from you on this.

Keep it safe.

(For those of you just joining us here, you really need to read the two previous posts on this topic. We are having a ball and some great conversation.)


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    140 replies to "A Question for Egalitarians . . ."

    • JohnO

      * Is there any way for us to train boys to be “men”?
      * Is there any way for us to train up girls to be “women”?

      Of course there is, but that would be to apply stereotyped characteristics. What is wrong with allowing individuals to develop the gifts and talents they have? Training implies imposition. Nurture/development implies growing what is there. Anyone can be trained to do (virtually) anything. They may just be very poor at it regardless.

      is it possible that the characteristics of the unique path that you suppose (along with us complementarians) will have qualities that make one sex more capable than another in certain areas? Therefore, one sex could quite possibly be leaders over the other in some areas? Is that possible?

      You’re asking the wrong question. The issue isn’t whether one sex is more capable, but whether some individuals are more capable. This, I think, is the heart of your recent debates. You have claimed that egals are simply throwing up exceptions to your ‘rule’. However, it was, I think, shown that your ‘rule’ is simply another list of exceptions. In other words, there is no ‘rule’ for how men and women should be, at least not in terms of physical strength or mental characteristics. Why not accept the diversity instead of trying to shoehorn everyone into a mould?
      TU..AD tried to make the point that in the Olympics there are men’s and women’s events. If all were equal then it would be a combined event. But this is a false argument because Olympians are themselves exceptions – they are extreme examples of physical and mental prowess. To use them as representative of their sex is nonsensical and so the argument falls. Place people on the statistical bell-jar curve and you’ll find that, overall, people are much of a muchness.

    • Jay

      I have raised a daughter and a son. I did not raise them differently according to their gender. I think the whole question you raise here is irrelevant. Raise a boy to be a man? Raise a girl to be a woman? That is not our work, that is the work of biology. Our work as parents is to help develop character in our children.

      Take note, the Bible, especially the New Testament says little about leaders but a lot about leading. You might think that my mincing with words is silly, but the point is that a true leader is one that others want to follow. Naturally, some of those will be female, some will be male.

      If you just walk away from all the fear of women leaders going against some divine recipe, your life will be so much lighter, and you will find yourself enjoying being able to respect half of the population in a way you never have done before.

    • El Bryan Libre

      * Is there any way for us to train boys to be “men”?
      * Is there any way for us to train up girls to be “women”?

      I would say yes but it would be according to culture and society not something intrinsic to being a man or woman. It would look like whatever culture you are in. If I had a son (I don’t, I have a daughter) and I were to teach him what it’s like to be a man it would be whatever I in my culture think it means to be a man and it probably differ quite a bit from what my father thinks it means to be a man and probably what his father thought it meant to be a man or even what my brothers think it means to be a man. The same goes for what my wife thinks it means to be a woman versus what my mother thinks or my sisters think. I’m sure there would be some commonality in all of these different pictures of gender. I don’t think however that you could then look at those things that each picture holds in common with the others and make those the essence of being a man or a woman since they may still be because of the fact that we all live rather close to each other in time and culture.

      “is it possible that the characteristics of the unique path that you suppose (along with us complementarians) will have qualities that make one sex more capable than another in certain areas? Therefore, one sex could quite possibly be leaders over the other in some areas? Is that possible?”

      Maybe but that says more about my society and culture than anything else.

      BTW I didn’t bother with the previous posts or the comments because they were all too long and too much. It makes it kind of hard to participate on this blog even when one wants to. just saying.

    • phil_style

      If you define a “man” as having certain learnable characteristics then of course you can train a boy to meet that definition to an extent. You could probably train a girl to meet the definition to an extent also.

      Alternatively, you could decide to train someone up to be patient, kind, loving, self-controlled, peaceful, honest, giving; and not worry about whether or not they’re “manish” or “womanish”…. Why bother majoring on the minors?

    • Philippa

      Hi there, I hope you don’t mind a single, childless woman from the UK butting in. 🙂

      I would call myself ‘egalitarian’ — in practice, certainly, since I am a lay preacher in the Church of England.

      Is there any way for us to train boys to be “men”?

      If I had been blessed with sons, one of the things I hope I would have done would be to teach them not to be afraid of their emotions. (The blight of the average Englishman, I’m afraid. 😉 )

      I would have taught them to respect women.

      As to what my sons would have wanted to be and do in life … that would have been entirely up to them. 🙂

      Is there any way for us to train up girls to be “women”?

      Nobody ‘trained me up how to be a woman’. I just … knew how to be a woman. I am someone who is very, very comfortable with her femininity and always have been. My father had a deep respect for all his daughters.

      If I’d been blessed with daughters, I’d have taught them to respect men as their brothers in Christ and to respect themselves as women.

      I would never have implied to them that sewing and cooking and the like are ‘female only’ activities, or that they were subordinate to men in any way. My mother never did that with me, and she is quite a traditional sort of person.

      I consider myself a very feminine woman. I am lousy at sewing and only average at cooking but I love to be hospitable and I like being a shoulder to cry on even more.

      If so, what does that look like for each?

      I would have given my sons and daughters equal education, as my parents did with me.

      What does it uniquely look like to be a “man”?

      My ‘ideal’ man is strong, loving, wise and has a great sense of humour.

      What does it uniquely look like to be a “woman”?

      The ‘ideal’ woman, in my opinion, is strong, loving, wise and has a great sense of humour. 😉

      Both my sons and daughters would have been taught that marriage is a great…

    • Jonathan

      I have a son (8) and two daughters (12, 7). I have much more interest in them growing into mature adult followers of Christ than in them becoming a man and two women. They will become the latter regardless of what I do.

      The relevant distinction is between the pairs “boy/man” and “girl/woman”, not between the pairs “boy/girl” and “man/woman”.

      My son is more cautious than my daughters. I am trying to help him become more brave, but I have never once placed this is a male vs. female context. I have never said anything like, “Be brave like a man, don’t let a girl be braver than you.” That’s just ridiculous. He is who he is. I want him to be braver so that he will be a more mature, more capable person, not because bravery is masculine.

      I feel there is enormous risk in trying to train a child to adapt to some definition of manhood or womanhood. I never want to give my son grounds for this syllogism:

      Premise: All (real) men are brave.
      Premise: I am not particularly brave.
      Conclusion: I am not a (real) man.

      Some men are brave, some are not. Some women are brave, some are not. Is the bell curve for bravery in men such that the average is braver than the average woman? Maybe. So what? What possible relevance does that fact have to my son?

      Of the character qualities which the Scripture calls us to pursue (love, joy, peace, faith, etc.), how many of them are ones which are for men only or primarily or for women only or primarily? I say: few, if any.

    • Philippa

      ‘Both my sons and daughters would have been taught that marriage is a great blessing from God’, is how my post should have ended!

      (Sorry, I must have run out of my allotted 3,000 characters per post.)

      The other posters have pointed out that pretty much all human virtues are ‘gender neutral’. I totally agree.

      Having said that, I am not one for saying there is no difference between men and women. I am really glad to be a woman and have never had the slightest desire to be a man, or like a man.

      And I’m not surprised when little boys gravitate to racing around like mad things and yelling at the tops of their voices, nor when little girls gravitate to playing ‘babies and mummies’ with other little girls.
      Needless to say, little girls can also do their fair share of racing around like mad things and yelling at the tops of their voices … so I don’t believe in stereotyping either sex. There is nothing wrong with a little girl who is a tomboy, or with a little boy who is gentle and sensitive.

      But believing that men and women are different in some — even many — ways is NOT the same as believing that women must be subordinate to men.

    • Jonathan

      What do we mean when we say the words “men” and “women” in statements like “men and women are different” (as in the poll)?

      What does it mean to say (for example) “men are natural leaders”? Does it mean:
      1. “All men have more leadership ability than all women” (which implies any given man has more leadership ability than any given woman)
      2. “Most men have more leadership ability than most women” (which implies any given man is likely to have more leadership ability than any given woman)
      3. “Some men have more leadership ability than some women” (which doesn’t allow any particular prediction about any given man and any given woman)

      The thing is, I have never in my life encountered “men” or “women” as aggregate entities. I have only ever encountered unique persons. If we don’t mean #1, what possible relevance can it have to say “men and women are different”?

      Perhaps I can gain some insight into my wife by someone pointing out that “most women are X”, but I can’t assume that she fits the description. She is herself. She is not some abstract entity.

      Of course, maybe we mean “God intends for men to be leaders and women to be followers, and to the extent they are not, this is a symptom of sin or the Fall.” The burden of proof lies on those who would makes such a claim.

    • Kay

      According to Eph. 4:13, the goal for all Christians, male or female, is Christ-likeness. Teach them to do as Jesus would do. The fruit of the Spirit is same for all.

    • Eclectic Christian

      CMP,

      I did not respond to your earlier posts, because I thought that you had used the most moderate example of a complementarian and contrasted it with a very extreme example of an egalitarian. In truth, my moderate egalitarion position is not that different from your complementarian position.

      That being said, the difference comes down to what I consider to be descriptive versus prescriptive. (Not to mention a few different interpretation of verses.) Yes, I acknowledge the difference between boys and girls, men and women. I also acknowledge that these differences may lead them into different careers and different roles. But I am not willing to make these careers or roles prescriptive. I will always say to my children, “you can do if life whatever you choose to do, or whatever God calls you to do.” I will be there to support you. Some of these choices will be difficult, largely because there are complementarians out there saying “you are a woman, you can’t do that”, or “you are a man, you can’t do that.”

      A previous post talked about the most influential Christians in your life. For me, one is a previous Pastor, who is now a vice-president of the denomination. In his local church, one of his primary ministries is serving in the church nursery. In doing so, I see that he had the attitude of Jesus Christ, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…”

      I think that this is the attitude that should be driving all of us.

      P.S. My 15 year old son does not like boxing or mixed martial arts, an attitude that does not bother me in the least. One of my daughters plays hockey, a sport that girls just didn’t play 20 years ago.

    • Don

      I recently told my 6 year old son not to fight/rough house with girls as he might with boys, yet I am egal. As a general statement, boys will be stronger than girls for much of their lives, and so this is similar to “Do not pick on someone smaller than you.”

      The goal of a Christian parent is to raised up Godly people, those who evidence the gifts and fruit of the Spirit, which are the same for both genders. When my older kids were growing up, I never even considered a reply to any request they might have made to be “Boys do not do that.” or “Girls are not supposed to do that.” or similar. It was either, “Do not do that.” when they were young or with more explanation when older, but not by gender, it was by concern for others, etc.

    • Lionel Woods

      I guess here are some responses that may not answer the question.

      To “pastor” means to care for, shepherd, be an example for and to train. Can women do all of these? Yes, can men do all of these? Yes, it seems that we are making “pastor” an authoratative office, instead of a loving function. If there are women, who are good teachers, mature Christians, obedient to the word and able and willing to share their lives with others, so that they can be modeled (hospitable) and people want to submit their lives to them because they are such, then that person is a pastor.

      If people don’t want to do those things because that person is a female, then fine, that female will not be able to be that person’s pastor; however the day I come to someone and submit my life to them because they best reflect the Character of Christ and they are willing to be an example for the flock that person is a pastor.

      Much like my job, I have female managers who are competent, able to teach and patient enough to teach. I do submit to them because they are my “bosses” but there is also a personal submission (a joy) submitting to them because they are comptetent and apt to teach.

      We make pastors this permenant office and then say “you are to submit to that office” instead of it being a relational outworking that is flushed out into submitting and leading because of their lives. This is how a man can come into a church where no one knows him, apply for the job by via “pulpit” and then get “hired” to care for others. You have no clue who they are but they become your pastors, yet someone among you will not submit to because he doesn’t hold the office. This seems to be the exact opposite of Heb 13

    • Lionel Woods

      Hey Mike,

      A quick question, so if a dude was a weak, scarey (physically) midget would he still qualify for being a leader in the church? Or does he have be a UFC type of dude? It seems that the qualifications are all charachter related and has nothing to do with physicality or aruging ability, the actually says “don’t argue” 2 Timothy 2 :o) , just rebuke and move on

    • mbaker

      CMP,

      I agree with Don above , who says:

      “The goal of a Christian parent is to raised up Godly people, those who evidence the gifts and fruit of the Spirit, which are the same for both genders.”

      Well said.

      Christ calls upon all His people equally to live Godly lives. I raised my daughter to respect men, even though I was a single mom for much of her life, and her father, unfortunately, not an ideal role model. I think it is a great mistake to retreat into ‘training’ people in specific gender models as Christian parents. In real life, that rarely works, because each child is different.

      However, in the church idealized versions of roles for men and women remain, but now the situations are being reversed. For instance, among many of the younger Christian women I know the most idealized lifestyle nowadays is not a career, but is one where the woman gets to stay at home after she has children and is able to home school them. That sounds like a good thing, no? However, among young men I meet it seems to be a more Christian ideal nowadays to expect their wives to work outside the home instead, as their financial “helpmeet”.

      Now, if we are going to concentrate on training men as men and women and women, what do you think is wrong with that picture?

    • Lionel Woods

      mbaker,

      I would say neither of those are Christian. They are cultural. Working outside of the home, homeschooling, staying home…. are not Christian morals just cultural disctinctives.

    • Don

      P.S. As an egal, I believe in the complemetarity of the genders, my wife complements me and I her, that is God’s plan. I do not see any hierarchy in the idea of complentarity.

      I see the term “complementarian” as a way to present gender hierarchy in a more “sellable” way; since patriarchy has such negative connotations and masculinism is not very well known, but masculinism is exactly what hierarchical comps teach, males on top.

      So my question for hierarchical comps is, why the obfuscation? Why not be plain speaking? How do you know you are not being conned by the obfuscation?

    • mbaker

      Don,

      I’m also wondering how a mother teaches her son that the complementarian heirarchy you are speaking about is okay. Does she allow the boy to talk back to her because he is a man? Does the father correct him if he truly believes his son is just fulfilling his biblical role as a male? Does mom say anything when her daughter bops her brother over the head, and then does the “I’m a girl, so you can’t hit me back” type thing to her male sibling?

      That’s still another reason why why I see a potential can of worms on both sides in ‘training’ children to live strictly by individual gender roles.

    • jim

      “The goal of a Christian parent is to raised up Godly people, those who evidence the gifts and fruit of the Spirit, which are the same for both genders.”

      Bingo !!! Don , I believe you are right on!!

      Having and still in the process of raising “My three sons” has been a complementarim blessing for my wife and I. Having said that our approaches to this are different, but not I believe because of our gender but because of our gifts and abilities.

      Not all males or females turn out the same, nor do I think are they intended to by design. In all churches where does absolute authority lie, (Yes, I know God) it rests with the church membership…..they listen and respond to church business and functions as a member of the body of Christ. If all authority/submission is granted to men only….then why do Churches still govern as a democracy? All members , both male and female have equal status and just because a board of deacons or male leaders may submit opionions doesn’t guarantee church body acceptance nor should it!!!!

      OK, my wife is no longer looking over my shoulder……what I meant to say was………………………………

    • John Hobbins

      I am an egal, but I disagree utterly and completely with the line of argument taken by my fellow egals on this thread.

      Furthermore, I think Michael’s questions, if taken seriously, rather than minimized, are a great argument for having women in the pastorate.

      Here is a first stab at saying what I mean:

      http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2010/02/why-michael-patton-is-still-wrong-about-women-in-pastoral-ministry.html

      Michael,

      I’m happy to go to the mat with you on this. Say the word, and we can cross-post back and forth. There really are more than two ways to skin this cat.

    • codepoke

      I don’t know.

      Really.

      There’s no question that boys and girls are different, but there’s nothing but questions about how different. One little stat that’s always fascinated me. 15 years after violence became a staple on TV, the murder rates in America spiked. 15 years after women committing violence on TV became a staple, murder rates by women spiked.

      So how different, really?

      Even the genital differences between men and women are subject to this very question.

      Of course, this has no bearing on whether God has forbidden women to exercise their gifts, but it’s an interesting discussion.

    • Michael T.

      CMP,
      The problem with answering the questions that you propose is that in order to answer them one must resort to stereotypes which may be true in a majority of the circumstances, but are not true in each individual circumstance. This is why I believe that the egalitarian approach of treating each individual according to that individuals own unique talents and gifts is the correct one. As far as my kids are concerned (should I ever have any – many might consider this a bad idea) if I happened to have a daughter I would encourage her in whatever she felt lead to do. If she felt that it was her place to be a homemaker who took it upon herself to raise children up in a godly way then I would fully support and celebrate this. If she felt that it was her calling to be a neurosurgeon I would support this. And if she felt that it was her calling to go into the ministry I would support that. It would all depend on the unique talents, gifts and characteristics of the individual. Whether or not more men might have that gift then women or vice versa is irrelevant to the individual.

    • C Michael Patton

      Michael,

      What if you had a daughter who wanted to act, think, and dress in a masculine way. Or a son who wanted to do so in a feminine way?

      In other words, would you train your children to be masculine or feminine or do you think that these type of terms are stereotypes that oppress individuality?

    • C Michael Patton

      Or something else. I don’t want it to sound as if I am setting you up here.

    • scott gray

      you ask the wrong question(s).

      and in asking the wrong questions, you build strawmen (and women) with abandon.

      how about this:

      how do i raise my son to be a christian?
      how do i raise my daughter to be a christian?

      or is it more important that your sons and daughters be men and women than be christians? pick your priorities.

    • Michael T.

      I would argue that those things which you mention (dress etc.) are related largely to hardwired physical and sexual attributes. Now that being said how do you define masculine and feminine clothing?? I know many extreme conservatives who would say it is a sin for a women to wear pants because pants are a masculine piece of clothing. I can’t personally think an article of clothing in my closet that would be “masculine only” per se in our culture. Now of course anatomical difference would often necessitate adjustments for a women (i.e. a man’s suit vs. a woman’s suit). Beyond that so much of clothing tastes is cultural that it’s really hard to even use this as an example.

      However since I know what your getting at the example I will use is a male who wants to wear a females dress which in turn would basically mean that we have a boy who thinks he’s a girl. Of course I would see this as a psychological disorder, but one that stems from physical and biological realities rather than career and role choices. Then again could there be a culture where men wearing dress or skirts is the cultural norm (what about the Scottish Kilt?) I think a more apt example would be a male who wants to be a (insert stereotypical female profession here) and would believe in such an instance that this should be supported according to that individuals own talents and gifts. If a male happens to be a spectacular florist so be it.

    • C Michael Patton

      boy, this stuff is really illustrative.

    • Don

      My older son was very sensitive when growing up.

      So we decided that home schooling was best for him, even tho my older girl was going to public school. We made an individual decision as to what we thought was best for each.

      I NEVER thought about trying to “toughen up” my older son so he would not be as sensitive as he was, I just accepted that that was the way God made him and loved him as he was.

      And I never thought that because he was sensitive that he was somehow “too feminine”, I do not map the various human psych attributes into hard categories of male or female.

    • C Michael Patton

      I would suggest, if you have not already, esp the Egalitarians, to go to John’s site and read his comments about this post: http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2010/02/why-michael-patton-is-still-wrong-about-women-in-pastoral-ministry.html

      He is an egalitarian. Really good stuff.

    • mbaker

      CMP,

      You have said on more than one occasion there are several types of complementarians and egalitarians. I think the one size fits all approach so far has not done justice to those of us who share beliefs of both camps.

      Perhaps a post on how you see all the nuances coming into play?

    • C Michael Patton

      You are very right. I actually already have a chart in the works right now!

      There is definitely a specturm of beliefs here. I have learned much beyond the academics of the issue about how people think here. It has been really good. I hope that others, even if we stand on different sides of the river, have benefited from this.

      I will try to put together the “across the spectrum” post soon.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      John Hobbins: “Michael,

      I’m happy to go to the mat with you on this.”

      OoooooOOOh, such a manly challenge.

      How much are the tickets for a UFC blog war on “Women in Head Pastor” between a complementarian and an egalitarian?

      Go CMP!!

      😉

    • JJ

      Interesting.

      I don’t find the answer: “Kids are individuals and we must raise them as individuals,” of very much use. Neither is the answer, “Boys should be Christians; Girls should be Christian,” any better. Of course, both are good. They are “priorities.”

      But how do you raise a boy to be a man? A girl to be a woman?

      Many have said, “I have problems with your terms, with your presuppositions.” and then go on to talk about individuality. You know, that is great too, but it doesn’t answer the question. And I was wondering why, as an egalitarian, we are having trouble with this question?

      See, I really don’t care if my son grows up to love many female dominated professions or hobbies. I don’t care if my daughter becomes a hockey player or a ballerina. As others, I pray they are Christ-like, I pray they are mature, I pray they enjoy their personal mission/vision.

      But what if we change the question: What does it take for a boy to become a good husband to a loving wife? What does it take for a girl to become a good wife to a loving husband? Now, that changes things entirely for me.

      Oh, of course, maturity, sacrifice, commitment, love, forgiveness, integrity and so-forth are going to be MAJOR requirements for both. I don’t want to lose my “egalitarian” credentials I have presented. 🙂 But still, there is more, is there not?

      If my teen child wants to marry, what is it that I should help them to become? Does a man need to strongly enter his world, to stay strong, and yet let that strength be under control, tempered and gentle? Does a young woman need to learn to be strong in embracing her husband, warmly inviting to him, and willing to embrace the team that they have become above all others?

      Those seem to me to be relational skills that are needed for marriage. But again, the way each exercises those skills are highly individual. But I would love to hear your thoughts.

      JJ

    • C Michael Patton

      JJ, you are heading in a good direction, but I would say that limiting it to husband and wives, while helpful is not going to be representative or comprehensive as an expression of masculinity or femininity. Are these only expressed if one is married?

      I had to deal with this a lot as a singles pastor.

      Thanks for your contribution my friend.

    • Mindaugas

      [Sorry for my poor English]. The social doctrine of gender “equality” is the necessity of the doctrine of “individuality”. And every Adam’s child is fighting for his “equality” and “individuality” againts God.
      What does it mean to be Christ-like? I think “equality” and “individuality” is the core doctrine of Adam not Christ. Christian character is about “submission”, not “equality”.

    • Sue

      I work with secular agnostic women and none of them think that men and women are the same, and none of them want to be more like a man. I cannot imagine what they would think reading this thread.

      Yes, women want financial success. Well, why not. We have dentist bills, and college fees to pay just like you guys. We will put on a suit if it helps. But from my perspective women do NOT want to be like men.

    • TL

      ”Because if you do say there is validity in the aspiration of training boys to be “men” and girls to be “women” and you define what that means, you are going to show that you believe that there is, no matter how slight, a unique path for each sex. In doing so, you will have conceded the foundation for complementarianism.”

      Firstly, training boys and girls to be mature individuals deals both with character and choices. Yes, some of those issues will be different between boys and girls. Boys will have to deal with keeping testosterone/hormonal rushes in check, will deal more with aggressive anger, and need to learn how to use their denser muscled physical strengths to bless others. Girls need to learn how to be modest, not give in to their hormonal urges, learn how to say no to boys for both their welfare, and use their physical strengths to bless others. IMO all children should be taught to find their own unique gifts and hone them into something useful and enjoyable. All children should be taught how to be useful to society and their community, and their local church.

      All egals believe in complementarity, both between the sexes and between individuals. What we do not believe in are gender based lifelong hierarchies. And really, complementarianism, true to its foundations from patriarchy is much more about hierarchies than it is about complementarity.

      ”s it possible that the characteristics of the unique path that you suppose (along with us complementarians) will have qualities that make one sex more capable than another in certain areas?”

      Every bit of true research that I have read indicates that within each gender there are so many differences in abilities, inclinations, mental interests and physical abilities, etc. that there can be no absolute gender standard on such things. Every time we think we come up with a standard there are exceptions. When there are exceptions, it invariably means we have limited some who…

    • TL

      ”What does it mean to be Christ-like? I think “equality” and “individuality” is the core doctrine of Adam not Christ. Christian character is about “submission”, not “equality”.”

      I don’t know. Sounds a bit simplistic. If it weren’t for Adam’s sin we wouldn’t be worrying and fighting about equality, we’d be living it. It’s only because some want to take away equality from others that we are forced to think about it. We ARE equal in Christ. And we are each individually different and unique from one another in addition to being male and female. All women are not alike and all men are not alike as well. We each accept the Lord’s salvation individually. We are called and equipped individually. Individuality is not an excuse to sin, it is simple who we are: individual humans who have our own personal relationship with God.

    • TL

      BTW, what does the statement “different by design” mean in relationship to your poll?

    • C Michael Patton

      There is that egalitaian word again: “exception.” Should exceptions create rules?

      Can you bring up boys to be “men” and what does that look like?

      If not, then we promote a gender neutral child rearing because of “exceptions”?

    • C Michael Patton

      I am glad to see the poll. People are acknowledging that people are created with differences.

      Although, it is interesting how many people here are still hesitant to do so without so many qualifications that it becomes meaningless.

    • TL

      “Should exceptions create rules?”

      Rather, man made rules create exceptions. 🙂

      And OF COURSE, people are created with differences. The problems arise when us imperfect humans decide we are going to categorize and restrict so that a select few have more privileges and opportunities to be who God has created them to be.

    • TL

      post #36 I accidentally cut myself off….

      Every bit of true research that I have read indicates that within each gender there are so many differences in abilities, inclinations, mental interests and physical abilities, etc. that there can be no absolute gender standard on such things. Every time we think we come up with a standard there are exceptions. When there are exceptions, it invariably means we have limited some who didn’t fight against our formulas. Thus, I don’t believe in setting such formulas. Allowing God freedom to choose and equip seems more respectful to God and to our fellow humans.

    • JohnO

      I am glad to see the poll. People are acknowledging that people are created with differences.

      Although, it is interesting how many people here are still hesitant to do so without so many qualifications that it becomes meaningless.

      I don’t think anyone has suggested there are no differences. The big issue is that you (comps) are using those differences to justify precluding women from particular roles.
      When egals suggest that there is no difference in being able to fulfil a role (though there are differences in how that role will be fulfilled) you have taken that to imply there is no difference between the sexes – gender neutral. That is simply not the egal argument (and I suspect the root of what John Hobbins is getting at.

    • C Michael Patton

      TL, couldn’t it also be just observing and obey natural laws? Rom 2. How do you dignify one as a purpose in God’s design and another as man-made? Not so easy, I admit.

    • C Michael Patton

      John,

      “The big issue is that you (comps) are using those differences to justify precluding women from particular roles.”

      The fist issue restriction for particular roles, but a development and celebration that capitalizes on the differences. If we can meet there, then I will be satisfied for now. I am trying to rewire the system here so that people don’t just look to how palatable the outcome is for each in these roles, whether they be leadership or otherwise.

    • JohnO

      Aha, Michael,
      I see your subversion now. Once everyone agrees that there are substantive differences between the genders and everyone realises we are saying the same thing in a different way and are therefore fundamentally agreed, then it’s a small matter for the comps to step over to the egal side (and claim that’s what they meant all along). 😉

    • C Michael Patton

      JohnO,

      However you want to express it. Terms or nominal concessions make no difference to me! As long as we are meeting and agreeing on these essential foundational principles, I think it is going to go a long way.

    • Jonathan

      It seems you want me to agree that there are differences between “the genders” or between “men and women” or between “masculinity” and “femininity”.

      This seems very platonic. We’re not talking about actual individual men and women or boys and girls. We are talking about the forms “Man” and “Woman”, or about aggregate entities such as averages or means or medians. Exceptions (e.g., variations among actual individual men) are distractions or unimportant.

      I don’t interact with Man or Woman, or with Masculinity or Femininity. I interact with actual unique people.

      Could someone please answer: What difference does it make (say) that the average man can do more pushups than the average woman? How does that statement (true as it is) help me be who I should be? How does it help me raise my son to be who he should be? How does it help me raise my daughters to be who they should be?

      I do not wish to deal in abstractions, and for this (ironically) I feel like I’m being treated as disconnected from reality.

    • TL

      ” TL, couldn’t it also be just observing and obey natural laws? Rom 2. How do you dignify one as a purpose in God’s design and another as man-made? Not so easy, I admit.”

      Michael,

      I’m not sure that I see the difficulty. Perhaps you can explain what you are thinking.

      God’s design cannot be resisted, only perverted, controlled, etc. IOW men cannot become pregnant and bear children. Women cannot fertilize their own eggs. With the exception of disease or medical abnormalities men and women are born with certain physical attributes. That is God’s design.

      Man made rules seek to add characteristics of their own determination (such as men being leaders) and bind them to one gender denying the other gender. This can be resisted.

    • C Michael Patton

      God’s design cannot be perverted? It is preverted every day through those who follow the “natural” course that so many of you want to back off and stay neutral about?

      Do you don’t “shape” your children, reinforcing in them a sense of right and wrong? Do you ever prevert God’s design in your life?

      “I don’t interact with Man or Woman, or with Masculinity or Femininity. I interact with actual unique people.”

      We are to disciple people. Sexes are different by evident disign. Individuals take form as they grow and are a great mystery exactly what they will be.

      The arguments that I am hearing from you all is very much the same as I hear from the homosexuality community. What is the difference?

    • joshua

      The most interesting thing to me with these comments is the fact that no one has really answered Michael’s questions…

      The vast majority of people are saying, “well of course there are differences…” and then failing to outline what they are or saying they are dependent on culture.

      Can anyone at least attempt to answer Michaels questions? Lol

    • Michael T.

      I guess at the end of the day many of us who consider ourselves egalitarians can’t figure out how we make the logical leap from this.

      “men and women are different”

      to this

      “women can’t or shouldn’t be senior pastors (or any many cases pastors at all)”

      It’s a logical leap I just don’t understand. I just find no evidence which would allow me to get from A to B here. Is it because women aren’t good at defending the truth? Nope, most of the Christian women I know are just as willing and in some cases more willing to defend the truth then the men I know. Is it because they don’t make good leaders? Nope, every study I have seen indicates that women make just of good as leaders and in some cases better leaders then men. Is it because they can’t handle the intellectual rigor required in theology? Again I think anyone who has gone to grad school of any kind and had women in their class would answer this with a no. So what is it? Short of just saying “the Bible says it (which is disputed) and I believe it” I can’t find a logical reason for this leap.

      Maybe you could provide some kind of easy to understand proof as to how we get from A to B here??

    • C Michael Patton

      Michael,

      I would say that there is a logical leap from differences to the complementarian belief that men and women will often be, generally speaking, more proficient at certian types of roles. If you can go with me there, I am satisfied for now. Can you?

    • Sue

      I attended a major and quite mainstream church that was affected badly by complementarianism in the last 20 years. No more women on the ministry team, in the pulpit, and women missionaries now relegated to the back room to present. It was a steady diminishing of the visibility of women in spiritual leadership.

      I saw no positive changes for womenm but ironically lots of influence by a few wealthy women who did not work for a living, but busied themselves with the pragmatic doings of the church.

      Women were out of the pulpit, but unofficially running certain things, and there was no help or ministry for women in crisis, because in the wisdom of the ministry team, there were no women in crisis in that church.

      There was no celebration of the feminine. It was rather downhill.

    • Sue

      I am trying to resist, but no, men are not more proficient spiritual leaders and are often unfit to attend to the needs of the women in the congregation.

    • Rebecca

      The most influential parent is the same sex parent. Girls copy moms and boys copy dads. If a dad is distant and lacks affection, boys will grow up looking for that affection, that nuturing. That’s one idea. Same with girls. Girls identify with other girls and guys with other guys. Each tend to strongly observe the same sex parent from birth and are shaped by age 6. The problem arises when there is neglect from a parent or even indiffference to the child. Disclaimer here: this does not apply to all, only to some.

      However, if a girl is neglected by her dad, upon adolescence if not before she will be more promiscuous in order to feel close to a male. Also, either sex is at risk of becoming a victim to a pedophile is neglected by either parent or both.

      Now I have watched my boys want to play with baby dolls. That’s because they saw my husband very nurturing to their siblings, very interactive, feeding, changing diapers, pushing the stroller, tending to bo bo’s. I’ve seen my daughters play with cars and trucks. Their dad loves NASCAR. But not all daughters were into cars.

      So what’s the conclusion? I don’t have a clue.

    • Sue

      Michael,

      Here is your fallacy. You write,

      I am not sure what you are missing. It is very basic soft or evangelical complementarianism. Women cannot be in leadership over men in the church or in the family, but this does not mean that women cannot be in leadership over men period or that all women submit to all men at all. There will be many times when males, based on biblical principles, will have to submit to women.

      The point is that if there are essential characteristic differences in males and female and, therefore, we are to instill and celebrate these differences, these will often predispose one sex above another in certian areas.

      If you state that women are restricted in leadership in the church and in the home, then you must be saying that women are less proficient in leading spiritually and in the home. You must be declaring that the essential characteristics of the male are better at leading in church and in the home.

      What characteristics of the male make him better at leading in church or in the home, but, do not make the same difference in the secular realm?

      How is the female, a person who is equipped and disposed to running a school, or being a hospital adminstrator, or an exec. or a nurse, somehow NOT disposed to be a leader in the home.

      And how is a single women less fit as the head of a household, than a single man?

      What exactly are these characteristics that women do not have that corelate positively with leadership in the home and church, but mysteriously, do not hamper women from functioning as full adults in the workplace?

    • codepoke

      No one was interested in my negative take on the issue, but let me supply just a couple more details and connect a couple dots.

      The statistic that murders commited by females went up 15 years after the introduction of violent female role models on TV comes from “On Combat” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. I don’t have the book to reference the page number, and I don’t know my way around stats sites well enough to find a direct reference. Daphne Lavers seems to be quoting the same stat as Grossman, if you’d like to know a little more about the influence of TV on violent behavior.

      I apply this trivia to this subject because murder is one of those things to which women are not supposed to be inclined, what with the whole maternal instinct thing and the estrogen-heavy hormonal chemistry. And yet, when violence is modeled to girls, guess what they become.

      In maternalistic cultures, women are feared just the way men are feared in paternalistic cultures. When a woman speaks, men listen.

      I said in my first comment that I did not know whether I could raise my son to be a man and my daughter to be a woman. I don’t. I can raise my son to be an American man, but can I really raise him to be a man? That’s a tough question – much tougher than your wording makes the question sound.

      For a mind-bending moment, let me accept your unpalatable assertion. You say I must believe there are no differences between men and women if I’m to be a consistent egalitarian. OK. What am I if I don’t know what the differences are between men and women outside the influence of a Christian culture that’s misinterpreted scripture for 1800 years or so?

    • C Michael Patton

      Sue, we would be going in a really big circle is I answered your questions. You would have to go back to my original post with the two illustrations. That is an attempt to explain the “why” of Paul’s admonition.

      But when push comes to show, even if we don’t produce a sufficient why (which, in my mind, I have) they Bible tells us such. We don’t really have to have the “why” as I explained it, but I am glad I can explain it with some degree of confidence.

    • C Michael Patton

      code,

      “I said in my first comment that I did not know whether I could raise my son to be a man and my daughter to be a woman. I don’t. I can raise my son to be an American man, but can I really raise him to be a man? That’s a tough question – much tougher than your wording makes the question sound.

      For a mind-bending moment, let me accept your unpalatable assertion. You say I must believe there are no differences between men and women if I’m to be a consistent egalitarian. OK. What am I if I don’t know what the differences are between men and women outside the influence of a Christian culture that’s misinterpreted scripture for 1800 years or so?”

      That says enough. Thanks for your honesty. I did not think we would have so many who would come straight out and admit this much relativization on the subject.

      However, to be fair, I don’t know how representative you and the others who have answered the same here on this blog are. I get the impression from the poll I put up that most Egals would not agree with you, but they just don’t know how to answer these questions without taking it to its logical conclusion.

      Either way, this is somewhat informative.

    • mbaker

      Regarding your Facebook post: This has gotten to be a really biased question, IMO.. Am I as comp-eglatarian left to believe if I don’t think there is a God given heirarchy in the sexes, then I automatically believe that homosexuality is okay? Isn’t that what you said there?

      Please, that is an insult to my intelligence!

      Let’s get real here. You are being completely unfair. Please state your opinion here like you did on Facebook so everyone also knows where you really stand!

    • Sue

      So your argument stands as this

      1. Men and women should do what they are better disposed to do.

      2. Men and women are equally disposed to be leaders.

      Therefore, men should lead in the church and the home and women are allowed to lead alongside men in the workplace.

    • mbaker

      Sue, Hopefully you are addressing CMP not me. 🙂

    • C Michael Patton

      mbaker,

      I don’t think I am the one being unfair here. I did not say that egalitarians automatically accept homosexuality. I don’t appreciate that since the majority of the people here cannot check my Facebook account.

      I said:

      “I often find it hard 2 c a difference between some arguments of Egalitarians and the homosexual left.”

      Now, you might have gotten offended and read that into my post, but that is not what I said

      This is the exact same thing I said in post #50 HERE:

      “The arguments that I am hearing from you all is very much the same as I hear from the homosexuality community. What is the difference?”

      Now, that still stands. I don’t remember how you answered these questions, but my response in #50 is responding to what is very typical here and does sound like the same REASONING that the homosexual left give to justify their position that God created them as homosexuals and we should not attempt to intervene in “human nature” to adjust this.

      I am welcome to a correction. You may look at #50 and say, “That is not my kind of egalitarianism,” but it is very evident that it is representative of a very popular form of Egalitarianism.

    • ahunt

      * Is there any way for us to train boys to be “men”?
      * Is there any way for us to train up girls to be “women”?

      I guess I just do not understand the question, CMP. You are talking about socialization here.

      Is it possible that the characteristics of the unique path that you suppose (along with us complementarians) will have qualities that make one sex more capable than another in certain areas? Therefore, one sex could quite possibly be leaders over the other in some areas? Is that possible?

      Sure, if those qualities are a matter of socialization. But over the last 40 years, we have seen that changing the way our daughters are “trained” has, if not totally erased, certainly profoundly diminished any legitimate distinctions in “capability.”

      So no, I do not understand your question.

    • C Michael Patton

      Sue, not really. Kind of…

      Here is yours:

      “1. Men and women should do what they are better disposed to do.

      2. Men and women are equally disposed to be leaders.

      Therefore, men should lead in the church and the home and women are allowed to lead alongside men in the workplace.”

      Mine:

      1. If we recognize that men and women are different by design…
      2. And we recognize that these differences will predispose one sex to be more proficient in certian areas than others…
      3. Then we should capitalize on this and celebrate it as a way to display more fully the image of God in both sexes.

      The implications come after the acceptance of this philosophy…

      These three are all I am concerned with right now. Everyone else wants to jump to the specific implications because it is those that most have trouble with. But if we can just agree on these three, then we can move to the next step. But then we would have both accepted the foundational elements of the complementarian worldview as I see it.

      Once this is done, the nature, experience, and the Bible will help us to discover the implications more definitely.

    • TL

      ”I would say that there is a logical leap from differences to the complementarian belief that men and women will often be, generally speaking, more proficient at certian types of roles.”

      But the complementarian belief is not that, but rather regardless of proficiencies one gender is restricted from following their proficiencies.

      In the end all, proficiencies are very dependent upon allowing people from an early age to follow their preferences. And reality is that in every nation throughout the world there are pressures put upon both genders to seek certain preferences and not others. And religion is most often the culprit behind this type of channeling of men and women’s activities.

      Take a look at the U.S. for instance. 100 years ago women were not inclined to play golf, ski jump, be a policeman, etc. And it was a rare woman that was a pastor or preacher, although I suspect they’ve existed in every era since Christ came. When pressure was taken away from preventing women in these activities MANY more women became interested and proficient. So what does that do to your observations of generalities?

    • C Michael Patton

      ahunt,

      You have answed my questions sufficiently there. Thanks.

      You are saying that both “men” and “women” are relative depending on the culture. And you are saying that there is no timeless way to define them either here on earth or in the eyes of God.

    • C Michael Patton

      TL, I am not concerned with whether or not you believe my statement is representative of complementarianism right now (I believe it is, see my last post).

      However, do you agree with this statement:

      “I would say that there is a logical leap from differences to the complementarian belief that men and women will often be, generally speaking, more proficient at certian types of roles.”

      If we do indeed agree here, I would be very satisfied. I just can’t get any Egal to actually go with me here, meeting on this very reasonable ground of “compromise(?)”.

    • Gammell

      CMP asked me to post here this comment I made in reply to his facebook remark on the similarities between some egalitarian arguments and the homosexual left:

      It’s not unreasonable. If you get to egalitarianism by arguing that the only differences between men and women are false social constructions (or some variation thereof), then that argument logically leads to viewing men and women as completely interchangeable in all areas including marriage. (After all, there is not really any such thing as men or women. Only individuals on a gender spectrum.) Combine that with a low view of scripture and that’s how my tradition, the Anglican church, got from women’s ordination to its current predicament.

      That’s not the only route to egalitarianism, however. For instance, there are many egalitarian pentecostals not on that trajectory because they get to their position from an argument based on the exclusivity of the Holy Spirit in qualifying for church roles. That trajectory creates its own set of issues, but it is completely different.

    • TL

      ““I would say that there is a logical leap from differences to the complementarian belief that men and women will often be, generally speaking, more proficient at certian types of roles.”

      Well, I don’t believe humans are proficient at ‘roles’ and kind of don’t understand that statement. And I believe proficiency is necessarily tied to interest. And interest is cultivated by parents and the society one lives in. Different cultures steer people according to class, race and gender all the time. This in turn steers what one is allowed or not allowed to follow one’s interest into becoming proficient at.

      Go ahead, give a big exasperated sigh! We’ll understand. 🙂

    • mbaker

      CMP,

      Then give us the real differences you have presented on Facebook and presented here publically. Shouldn’t they be the same if you are to be believable?

      If they are different, then please remove me from your Facebook friends.

    • C Michael Patton

      Thanks TL,

      You find some bedfellows here on these posts as it is very characteristic for egalitarians to believe that the terms “male” and “female”, “masculine” and “feminine” are relative terms.

    • C Michael Patton

      mbaker,

      I don’t want it to get to that. I am sorry you are going in such a direction with this. However, you have to remove me from your facebook friend list I think. I don’t really know.

      As for the clarification, you will simply have to read post #50. I simply believe that many (if not most) of the arguments for Egalitarianism here argue for cultural relativism. This is the same argument that the homosexual right makes, especially in the “gay-Christian” community.

      I am NOT saying you believe that the gay-Christian left is in the right. I don’t know what you think. I don’t know you. I am simply drawing the parallel here in the arguments.

      See post #70.

    • ahunt

      You are saying that both “men” and “women” are relative depending on the culture. And you are saying that there is no timeless way to define them either here on earth or in the eyes of God.

      Not at all, CMP. Hormones, muscle mass, and pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood are pretty gender-specific. Just as it does us no good to minimize genders distinctions, it is manifestly harmful to God’s giftings to exaggerate the differences into rigid lines of conduct, endeavor and calling.

      Timeless implies “immutability.” Here’s the thing…if the potential is inherent, and exists across the genders, then no, the qualities that make for good leadership do not reflect timeless gender distinctions.

    • TL

      “You find some bedfellows here on these posts as it is very characteristic for egalitarians to believe that the terms “male” and “female”, “masculine” and “feminine” are relative terms.”

      Hate to say this but I don’t understand what you mean by that. How can male and female be relative? As well, that sounds suspiciously like an insult. 🙁

    • TL

      “I simply believe that many (if not most) of the arguments for Egalitarianism here argue for cultural relativism.”

      Gender is not determined culturally. ROLES are determined culturally. I suspect that because in your thinking gender is equated with hardwired roles it sounds confusing to think that culture influences the roles that each gender should be proficient in.

    • C Michael Patton

      ahunt,

      This goes back to the original question and focus of this thread. Is there anything beyond strength and reproduction that make men and women different?

      Again, you have reiterated, “no.” All other characteristics are relative?

    • mbaker

      Then you are entirely wrong, and need to look your own beliefs there. I am saying that we as comp-eqalaritians, are looking at the big picture here. Please try to do us the sames the same favor.

    • C Michael Patton

      I am hanging with this here folks, even if I have to say the same thing over and over because I think the implications need to be realized and that this thread serves as a great illustration of how difficult it is to consistantly hold to a truly egalitarian system.

    • C Michael Patton

      TL,

      Try replacing “masculinity” and “femininity” for “male” and “female.” If I am not mistaken, I have continually used both these designations for clarification.

    • C Michael Patton

      TL,

      Is masculinity and femininity culturally relative?

    • ahunt

      Then by all means, tell us what you think are the timeless and immutable distinctions that render men more qualified for leadership in the home and in church?

    • C Michael Patton

      mbaker,

      My link in argumentation is entirely fair and needs to be responded to.

      Please correct me. How would your argument differ for those who say that they were born gay? (Again, if you would argue against this position—I don’t know).

      If you don’t want to answer and are offended, I am sorry. I am just truly attempting to teach AND understand. This is part of my method of learning…dialoguing with those who differ from me so that I am more accurate in my understanding. The “offense” is sometimes necessary to overcome misunderstandings.

    • C Michael Patton

      ahunt,

      That is not where I am going at this point. This has to do with specific implications of which, at present, I am not interested.

      I just simply want to know if you believe that there is a timeless way to define masculinity and femininity, male and female, that goes beyond physical strength and reproduction.

      I think you already said you don’t. That is all I need. No arguments.

      (I am sure that I will soon write something about the implications to this though)

    • ahunt

      Is masculinity and femininity culturally relative

      Wrong question. The question is…are distinctions in the activities, appearance, habits, ambitions, etc… that define masculinity and femininity..culturally relative?

    • Sue

      1. If we recognize that men and women are different by design…
      2. And we recognize that these differences will predispose one sex to be more proficient in certian areas than others…
      3. Then we should capitalize on this and celebrate it as a way to display more fully the image of God in both sexes.

      Are you saying that I as a single parent am different by design from a man, and therefore, I am less predisposed to be a proficient leader of my household. Are you saying that because my children live with their mother and not with their father, that they are receiving a less proficient parenting?

      I fully agree that the two parent family is the ideal. But given that many men and women died young, single parents have been with us forever. Should single women live with their fathers, and let him be the final decision-maker? What are your real life recommendations? Do you really think that women are not predisposed to be good parents? I find this incredible.

    • ahunt

      I just simply want to know if you believe that there is a timeless way to define masculinity and femininity, male and female, that goes beyond physical strength and reproduction.

      No prob. I think the major hangup lies in the focus on “roles” as THE reflection of the timeless and immutable characteristics of masculinity and femininity.

      “Roles” are a product of socialization, and you are going to have to look outside the concept of gender roles if you are to honestly explore your own question.

    • C Michael Patton

      ahunt,

      Good enough. I will not continue to push. I think I know where you stand. Thanks.

    • Sue

      I am not saying that women are not different, but rather that this difference does not relate to leadership of a household.

    • C Michael Patton

      Sue,

      Did I say that women are not predisposed to be good parents? I did not even insinuate this.

      You answered your own question: “I fully agree that the two parent family is the ideal.”

      Me too. One parent of either sex is not as good. The implications of one parent families have no bearing on my argument and are tragic, yet sometimes necessary in a fallen world. We strive for ideal aways, but this does not mean we should always expect it.

      I don’t want this post to turn in such a direction.

      Again, I am good with your answer as well. I think I know where you stand.

    • Sue

      Did I say that women are not predisposed to be good parents? I did not even insinuate this.

      No, you did not. I phrased this very poorly.

      You are quite clear that men are more predisposed to be leaders in the home than women.

      This means that those children who live with the mother as single parent, are living with the parent who is less predisposed to be a leader in the home than those who live with the father as single parent.

      I can come to no other conclusion.

    • TL

      ……. Is masculinity and femininity culturally relative…….
      Wrong question. The question is…are distinctions in the activities, appearance, habits, ambitions, etc… that define masculinity and femininity..culturally relative?”

      I’m in agreement ahunt.

      Different cultures are always seeking to define how masculinity and femininity is shown in activities. Religions do the same.

      But the basics are that men are masculine and women are feminine even if they don’t act it according to their culture. Leave people alone and men will express themselves in masculine ways and women in feminine ways. But these ways of being masculine men and feminine women do not require us to deny women certain activities and privilege men certain activities. Women are perfectly capable of being an excellent sharp shooter and remain feminine…. Same with most other activities. Leadership, preaching, teaching, evangelizing are all spiritually influenced activities and have nothing to do with gender. Neither gender hinders the HS from using either gender. Only people seek to hinder.

    • Minnow

      AMEN ahunt #75 and TL #77
      CMP, you say:
      “1. If we recognize that men and women are different by design…
      2. And we recognize that these differences will predispose one sex to be more proficient in certian areas than others…
      3. Then we should capitalize on this and celebrate it as a way to display more fully the image of God in both sexes.

      The implications come after the acceptance of this philosophy…

      These three are all I am concerned with right now. Everyone else wants to jump to the specific implications because it is those that most have trouble with. But if we can just agree on these three, then we can move to the next step. But then we would have both accepted the foundational elements of the complementarian worldview as I see it.”

      I get that the above is your POV. PROBLEM: #2 is not one with which I can agree. (It is not a “very reasonable ground of compromise”). Instead I would say that the differences between the sexes bring different qualities to how we would carry out various tasks/roles but those do not make one gender’s way better than the other. AND having access to BOTH points of view/methods would be superior to only having one of them! (Sort of like having two parents in the home is better than only one). In other words I reject your characterization of the egaltarian POV and do not agree that scripture supports a complementarian (AKA: patriachal) standard.

    • Minnow

      As to your original question for this post:
      “Is there any way for us to train boys to be “men”?
      Is there any way for us to train up girls to be “women”?”
      My question is this–short of training either to “fit in” culturally or socially to what we think is “correct” is there any way we CAN train boys to be men or girls to be women? Do we need to train humans to be humans as opposed to being dogs or apes or…? Are we not simply what we are? My son who loves to cook and dance is not less masculine than my son who likes to wrestle and watch sports on TV, even if some parts of society might think one activity is more masculine than the other. My daughter who likes to rock climb and whitewater raft is not less feminine than my daughter who likes to dress in pink lace and sparkles and paint her nails, even though some parts of society might lable her such. In their areas of giftedness I hope I am training all my children to be leaders. I hope they are also learning how to be part of a bigger whole. I hope they are all generous and compassionate, humble and committed. I hope they love well and willingly bare one another’s burdens. And, when they meet their Maker I pray He greets them with, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    • Michael T.

      CMP,
      I’m trying to wrap my head around what your trying to get at and failing miserably.

      Ahunt said this “Wrong question. The question is…are distinctions in the activities, appearance, habits, ambitions, etc… that define masculinity and femininity..culturally relative?”

      I don’t know how the statement that the activities, appearance etc. etc. etc. which define masculinity and femininity in any given culture can be anything but relative given the simple fact that they change and vary so much from culture to culture. I’m just really confused here at what your getting at. There are obviously some similarities, but vast differences at the same time.

      Also you said this earlier
      “I would say that there is a logical leap from differences to the complementarian belief that men and women will often be, generally speaking, more proficient at certian types of roles.”

      and then said that no egalitarian here would agree with you. I did in fact agree with this statement in the last post as far as probabilities are concerned. I would agree that there are certain tasks which a female will be more likely be predisposed to then a male and vice versa. Yet again I don’t see why this should logically in the case of a individual that is gifted in a field typically dominated by the other sex, prevent that individual from exercising their gifts. In other words if it were proven (and I don’t think it has been) that men typically make better senior pastors then females, this still shouldn’t bar a gifted and passionate female from being a senior pastor. Do you see where I’m coming from?? I do believe in differences and that these differences due lead to probabilities of being gifted in a certain area, but these stereotypes become useless when dealing with the individual.

      Basically what your saying seems to be that “God doesn’t EVER give the gifts necessary to be senior pastor to females”.

    • Michael T.

      Also one more thing, in you’re earlier post you tried to provide a reason “why” women can’t be senior pastors. In doing so you only looked at one trait, willingness to defend the truth vehemently, that one needs to be a good senior pastor. However, I think you would admit someone that only has this ability would not make a good pastor (all you need to do is read all the “discernment” sites that criticize you to see this). Furthermore, I think you would have to admit that their are MANY women who are more then willing and able to contend for the faith. So if we started looking at other traits such as ability to empathize with the struggles of those in your church, ability to teach, ability to organize (this was a big one with a pastor of my church growing up – church fell apart because he was so disorganized) I think we would find that a greater proportion of women then men have these gifts. Should men be excluded from being senior pastors because they tend to not be able to empathize with the struggles of their flock as easily as women can??

    • C Michael Patton

      Michael,

      “Basically what your saying seems to be that “God doesn’t EVER give the gifts necessary to be senior pastor to females”.”

      No, I am not saying that. In fact, at this point, for what I am trying to do and help people to understand, this is not THE issue. We can deal with that some other time. It is but one application that MIGHT apply. It is the principles that are important.

      If you were to concede that men and women are different. Check
      Then you concede that these differences are are given by God. Check
      Then you concede that these differences often predispose one sex to be more proficient in one area more than another. Check

      So far, nothing extrodinary, that outside this debate just about all people would be happy to concede.

      The next logical step (not “leap” if that is how I put it last time…opps) would be to ask if we are to celebrate these differences by instilling them in people and teaching them to capitalize on these areas. If you say yes, I would say that you have embrased everything that complementarianism essentially stands for.

      Only after this, do we get into questions of what are these predispositions and questions of the “exceptions” and how exceptional they truly are. There is a spectum of belief here in the complementarian worldview.

      But, if we only agreed on the principles, my opinion would be that this becomes a non-issue to a very large degree. There would be a greater appreciation for roles and role distinctions to be celebrated and the exceptions are not seen as an attempt to overturn God’s design in favor of some odd sort of fairness.

      I hope and teach for ideals, knowing that there will be exceptions and very sinful applications. Either way, my job, as I see it, is to proclaim what I see to be these ideals, not change or alter then based upon what could and does go wrong.

    • C Michael Patton

      “Should men be excluded from being senior pastors because they tend to not be able to empathize with the struggles of their flock as easily as women can??”

      Well, that is a good question. And it all comes down to what Paul had in mind when he was discussing this issue. I would contend that there are certian ways that men should not be allowed to disciple other women, especially when the form of discipleship requires introspective intimacy. I am sure you would agree. Same goes for women over men.

      But what I argue for is that Paul is not talking about general education, but ehortation, rebuking, and preaching doctrine. In this, as I have said, there is a combative nature that men are, generally speaking, much more able to accomplish due to drive AND, more importantly, the respect that they will command.

      Will there be times when there is no man to do it? Certianly. Look in Judges. So there are exceptions. However, all things being equal, men should always be sought and chosen for this role. As should women over men in other roles.

    • Michael T.

      CMP
      “The next logical step (not “leap” if that is how I put it last time…opps) would be to ask if we are to celebrate these differences by instilling them in people and teaching them to capitalize on these areas.”

      Well I’m going to maybe turn this question back on you. To you what does this look like? Does it simply mean that you dress you infant daughter in pink dresses and give them dolls to play with well you put blue jeans on your boy and give them toy cars? Does it mean we tell women straight up in school that a woman’s place is in the home taking care of the children and wanting to do anything else is simply a sign of rebellion? Does it mean that when your teenage daughter comes to you and say “I want to be a pastor” you tell her that that isn’t a woman’s place? What does the statement of “celebrating and capitalizing on these differences” mean from your perspective and how does it look in terms of child raising and education?

      I’m just trying to understand what your are saying here looks like on the practical level to see whether or not I can agree with you. Cause there are ways I could take your statement that I would agree with and other I wouldn’t.

    • Michael T.

      Small insight

      I think part of our problem is you are seeing giftedness among the sexes as a either you got it or you don’t phenomenon. I tend to see it as more of a bell curve. So for instance you would see contending for the faith as a gift given to men. I would see it as a gift given 73% of the time to men and 27% of the time to women. Doesn’t mean that the women with the gift aren’t just as capable as the men at this task, just that there are less of them that are.

    • Sue

      Twice as many women as men went overseas as missionaries in the 19th century.

    • Michael T.

      Sue,
      I was just making up numbers here. So don’t read anything into them. I’m trying to understand CMP here and what he means by what he says and how it looks practically. Not determine whether or not a higher percentage of men or women are gifted at a certain thing so I’m just making up examples and numbers to get a better idea of how CMP sees things.

    • TL

      ” I would see it as a gift given 73% of the time to men and 27% of the time to women. Doesn’t mean that the women with the gift aren’t just as capable as the men at this task, just that there are less of them that are.”

      Thinking in terms of other gifts, such as teaching and preaching. it may well be that a comparable number of women are gifted. The problem is that they are either discouraged from exercising their gifting or not allowed, being told that only men are allowed. So for men who have found comfort in the men only room, it could be really scary and threatening their security to find that women do as well as they and have insight and wisdom equalling theirs to share with the Body of Christ.

    • TL

      “And it all comes down to what Paul had in mind when he was discussing this issue.”

      And that is the crux of the matter. Many egals have studied this carefully and come to the conclusion that Paul was simply advising Timothy to allow women to learn and while learning Paul was not then permitting them to teach and dominate men. The thought is that because of what was said in chapter one, Paul and Timothy were referring to some women who were being deceived and dominating some of the men with their false teachings. IOW Paul was NOT making a new, never before made rule, that from henceforth women were to be forbidden from teaching or leading. But Paul was responding to a specific set of events with specific individuals that Timothy was having difficulty handling.

    • TL

      ”Will there be times when there is no man to do it? Certianly. Look in Judges. So there are exceptions. However, all things being equal, men should always be sought and chosen for this role.”

      Michael,

      Scripture does not indicate that God chose Deborah because He couldn’t find a man. God chose Deborah because he gifted her. God knows us from the womb. He formed her for the job from the beginning, just like He does all people. There is no indication that God prefers men over women. God chooses the best people for the job in the times.

      It is statements like this that reveal your bias toward thinking men are always more qualified than women in teaching and leading ministries. Yet Scripture says that God equips by the influence of the HS, not our fleshly natures.

    • El Bryan Libre

      CMT:
      I mentioned early on that I thought as an egalitarian you could raise boys to be men and girls to be women. I did note that it would be rather specific to what my wife and I thought was important which would be heavily influenced by what my time, society, culture, and personal ideals and values were. I’m not really sure based on what those things my wife and I thought were important for men and women what specific roles in life would be excluded to my daughter or my son (if I had a son). Is it possible that there might be? Sure I guess but again I can’t think of any.

      I think it’s more likely that society might exclude them from certain roles or careers not based on abilities or characteristics but simply because that’s what society thinks a specific gender should or shouldn’t do. So if I had a son I imagine it might be hard for him to get a job at a nursery or day care taking care of children simply because society generally doesn’t see men in that capacity whereas it does see women in that capacity. And he might even be discouraged from ever seeking to be in that role/career. The same for my daughter. Maybe she wants to be a pastor but society in general doesn’t see women in that capacity as much and so regardless of her ability, knowledge or characteristics it would probably be hard for her to fulfill that desire to pastor a church.

      Don’t know if I’m really addressing what you’re questioning or where a disagreement might lie between us (if there is one).

    • ahunt

      In this, as I have said, there is a combative nature that men are, generally speaking, much more able to accomplish due to drive AND, more importantly, the respect that they will command.

      This is interesting. If I’m following you…then you believe that men, by nature, command greater respect from others than do women.

      If so, does this phenomenom not reflect sinful pride and arrogance? If you are suggesting that people are less able to “respect” women solely because they are women, regardless of giftings…are you not giving the sins of pride and arrogance and self-entitlement a pass? Are you not encouraging the worst elements of human nature here?

    • mbaker

      CMP:

      I will take one more stab at this:

      Re: the remark about some of egalitarian views being similar to the homosexual views. You have not presented a set of reasons why you feel this way. To make remarks like that without being specific about which views you think fall in line between the two camps is certainly going to make some people think you are making an equal comparison between us. You ask us to honestly state how we felt on this post, and I think we have been, and given many illustrative examples of why we believe as we do. I see no evidence here in the comments to suggest that anyone is suggesting it’s okay for their children to practice homosexuality simply because they hold egalitarian views as Christians.

      It’s sort of like saying just because two people share the same political views they are alike in all other ways. Following that reasoning further I could ask that since you have identified yourself as an evangelical and Ted Haggart, the president of the evangelicals was a homosexual, does that make you one? Of course not. To assume that would be ridiculous, as well as offensive. Here’s my point: Please present some more clarification of what you think the similarities are and why as an egalitarian parent my child would be any more likely than yours to change their gender preferences to homosexuality.

      I think it’s time for that post on all the different types of comp-egals, and the other categories you have named so where we will know where you are going with this.

    • mbaker

      And just to reiterate what I believe: I believe in the God-given authority of the Bible to mandate what goes on in the church and the home. What I do not believe in is parents, Christian or otherwise, deliberately training boys that as men they have the right to boss women around, just because they are male and stronger physically.

      As far as the homosexual issue goes, I also believe in the view of marriage as outlined in the Bible. That is the ideal, to have two parents. However, like Sue and Lisa and possibly other single parents here however, that wasn’t the situation in my home. Nor was my daughter’s father interested in being present in her life as a role model, even though he was invited to parent equally. I have other single parent friends who raise sons and I have never seen any evidence that their boys are adversely affected as far as being less male because they were raised to respect women equally with men.

      I don’t see that teaching children to respect people as people has anything to do with not respecting authority. We all know the standing joke about preacher’s kids, right?

    • ScottL

      CMP –

      What I feel you are doing is saying that if one believes there are differences between men and women, then this cannot allow for an egalitarian belief. [Well, for starters, I will confess that I’m not a fan of the word egalitarian, since it carries a lot of baggage.] Still, I recognise differences in male and female, even the ones you have mentioned in your posts and comments. But I still believe women are not to be hindered from walking out the ministries, gifts, and callings that Jesus would give them, whatever that may be. I know you would probably agree with that statement, but I would also say that this allows for women to have authority. I will also say that men have historically had a more innate nature to lead, to rule, to deal in an oversight way (that’s what elders do). But this by no means should lead us to say, ‘Ah, that means only men can lead, rule and shepherd in the church.’ That’s silly to conclude.

      So I would encourage you to realise, though you probably do, that someone like myself can recognise the general varying differences between male and female (in general, I like what John Eldredge has to say in his books), but that this does not lead to a de facto complementarian view.

    • C Michael Patton

      ahunt,

      “This is interesting. If I’m following you…then you believe that men, by nature, command greater respect from others than do women.”

      Yes, in certian areas. And in certian areas women command greater respect than men. Complementarianism 101. Now you are seeing it.

    • Michael T.

      CMP,
      I really need an answer to comment 100 to see if we can agree here. I need to know what “celebrat[ing] these differences by instilling them in people and teaching them to capitalize on these areas.” means to you and how this would look on a practical level for child rearing and education.

    • mbaker

      Here’s a late thought that ties in with my posts above:

      Let us suppose that a church has a well qualified pastor, whom everyone likes and respects. Under the teaching model you’ve presented of men being stronger and better able to confront things, let’s say a stronger male comes into the church, and says “Well, since I am stronger and better able to confront danger, I should be your pastor instead.”

      Would you accept that? Or would you say that Pastor X is more acceptable for his giftedness in the area of teaching God’s word, and in his willingness to commit several years of study to achieve that? Most people would choose Pastor X, not because he was the stronger male but because he was the more qualified of the two.

      Now let’s change the situation just a bit. Suppose Pastor X had been a female, and the same scenario happened, but you didn’t know the gender of Pastor X in the beginning. Upon hearing this story, you would automatically say the position should go to the one most qualified right? However, under the complementarian model you have presented, the moment you found out Pastor X was female, you would automatically elect the physically stronger more aggressive male to replace her strictly on the basis of his gender, rather than his true qualifications as a Godly leader.

    • Lisa Robinson

      Scott, I think you are asking your question in a vacuum. The male leader has to be affirmed by the community and meet the qualifications of eldership according to Titus 1:6-9 and 1 Timothy 3:2-7. Now if a man marches in and demands that he fill the position simply because he is male, I’d say he has violated a few items on the list. And if the community of faith affirms an unqualified male over a qualified female simply because of his gender, then they have not understood the qualifications for an elder.

    • C Michael Patton

      Michael,

      Celebrating has to do with an acknowledgment of the differences. First and foremost this comes through the opposite sex appreciating the differences of the other. Men, more than anything, need to learn to acknowledge the importance of the nurturing role in women and elevate this to the point where appreciation is invested in numerous ways.

      My mother taught me this very early and instilled an appreciation for the uniqueness of women and how to encourage women in this. She taught me to acknowledge the tenderness and sensitivity that females bring to the table and to take advantage of the unique wisdom and “color” that this brings to the world. Learning to celebrate it means that we don’t look down upon it as a lack of strength, but a different type of strength.

      The same goes for women with regard to men. The celebration first comes from the opposite sex.

      With my son, I teach him continually that he is to protect women and, as the Apostle Peter says, understand that there are ways in which they are “weaker.”

      Learning to relate to the opposite sex, not because they need to be pitied, but because we recognize that without the unique disposition of both contributing to the world, the image of God is diminished greatly.

      I try to get people to close their eyes and imagine what the world would be like if there was only one sex represented. What would a world of women miss (in a good way) if there were no men? What would a world of men miss (in a good way) if there were only men? (besides the obvious!). The list is what we celebrate, appreciate, and hope to instill.

      I am very hesitant to get into very specific examples as I do believe that there is a cultural element to how these expressions find a place, but the principled differences are going to be there and are going to be consistent. As well, if I brought up specific examples, there would be people who misuse them as representative of my entire position and attempt to place me in a box. So if you are looking for the “hunting” and “ironing” specifics, I cannot give them now. But I don’t really think that they are necessary as I don’t really do that with my kids. As long as the differences are appreciated, they will find sufficient and satisfying expression without fear or feelings of inadequecy that so often accompany those that attempt to elevate one role as being more important than another.

    • ScottL

      Lisa –

      My comment was not just about women in eldership.

    • ahunt

      Celebrating has to do with an acknowledgment of the differences. First and foremost this comes through the opposite sex appreciating the differences of the other. Men, more than anything, need to learn to acknowledge the importance of the nurturing role in women and elevate this to the point where appreciation is invested in numerous ways.

      And this is what is so frustrating…you continue to define those “timeless” differences in terms of social roles while simultaneously acknowledging that gender roles are culturally derived.

      Nurturing? Our three sons were brought up in a hunting/fishing household, and remain committed outdoorsman, but all of them were by nature nurturing of one another in between the wrestling matches, and particularly of the animals, wild and domestic, that they would rescue out here in podunk…right down to checking kitten formula heat on their wrists.

      You cannot have it both ways. Certainly there are distinctions but magnifying those distinctions into rigid social roles and codes of conduct is simply irrational, a denial that human behaviors cut across gender lines…by design.

    • Michael T.

      CMP,
      If your are saying that we shouldn’t view a stay at home mom as being a lesser role then a senior pastor then I agree with what your saying and have said so on one of the other posts. However, I still don’t see how we get from this to saying that in the case of individual giftedness women shouldn’t be allowed to be senior pastors.

      My major hangup here is the scenario in which your 16 year old daughter comes to you and says that she feels called to go to seminary and be a pastor. How can we tell women they can be anything they want to be in the secular realm and then exclude them from the ecclesiastical realm??? It’s illogical. I really do see this as an either or thing where either all women should be homemakers because this is their proper role regardless of perceived talents and gifts, or the realm of senior pastor should be open for those who are so gifted. Saying you can be the CEO of a fortune 500 company, but not a senior pastor just makes no sense.

    • Kay

      “As long as the differences are appreciated, they will find sufficient and satisfying expression without fear or feelings of inadequecy that so often accompany those that attempt to elevate one role as being more important than another.”

      c michael,
      Why do you continue to define those “essential differences” in terms of social roles while at the same time acknowledging that gender roles are culturally derived?

      I am curious as to how you arrived at believing “leadership” is the defining factor that makes a person better suited for pastoral ministry? Consider that Jesus told Peter to “Feed My sheep,” not “lead My sheep.”
      He also said not to use the hierarchial model of world, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He said to be servants, not exercise authority over one another. I can’t find anything called a “head pastor position” in the Bible.

    • mbaker

      “I can’t find anything called a “head pastor position” in the Bible.”

      Interestingly enough the word ‘pastor’ itself is only mentioned once in the Bible that I can find and that is in conjunction with the list of other church leadership positions in Ephesians 4:11. The word ‘leader’ is pluralized in the only place I can find it in Hebrews 13:7. I have an ESV study Bible.

      The word most mentioned is ‘elders’ which seems to denote that the early church had a much more democratic idea of the role of leadership in mind for the church than just placing one person in the ‘head pastor position’.

    • ahunt

      Yes, in certian areas. And in certian areas women command greater respect than men. Complementarianism 101. Now you are seeing it.

      Oh Dear. The Laconic Better Half has just weighed in…reminding me that our boys were master manipulators in their “tweener” years, smart and fast and argumentative.

      Mom and sons would engage in long, drawn out negotiations and discussions…3 against one…until Dad would stroll into the kitchen and say: “The answer is no because your mother said no.”

      (Bringing up the big guns)

      The related scenario?

      Me: Did you check with your Dad?”

      Whining chorus: ” Ah c’mon, Mom. Dad’s just gonna agree with you anyway.”

      Point being…our sons understood that while Dad was invariably the “end of the discussion,” Mom was the one who had to be convinced and reckoned with.

      Equal authority…but filial respect manifested perhaps slightly differently…

      You see, my Manly Man Better Half was in fact the “softer touch” and our boys knew it.

    • […] again stirred up the pot concerning women in ministry, in the home, and as leaders.  In one post he asks egalitarian if they think there is any way to train boys to be men and girls to be […]

    • PamBG

      Sorry if this is a tangent, but something has been going through my mind reading the threads here and this post brings my question to mind again.

      As I said on another thread, I think the best argument for complimentarianism is actually “Based on biblical instruction[1], God tells women to be subservient to men. That’s just the way it is and we are called to obey, end of story.”

      [1] Obviously, I’d disagree with this, but I accept that complimentarians believe it within their interpretive framework.

      Yet, there is actually a lot of commentary on this blog trying to show why this command is so. Rather like when people say the laws of Kashrut (Kosher laws) make sense if a person lives in a hot climate without benefit of refrigeration.

      Is the agenda under the surface here that family life in the 21st century Western world is falling apart because women don’t know their proper place? Is it assumed that this is causing women to be less feminine and men to be less masculine? Do you think that you can strengthen the family unit only by being complimentarian? Is there a belief that if men were properly masculine that they wouldn’t be gay? (And why is no one as afraid of lesbians as they are of gay men? *grin*)

    • mbaker

      PamG,

      I don’t think it is tangent at all, based upon some of the previous comments comparing egalitarian beliefs with those of homosexuals. I think THAT comparison is patently ridiculous. I share political views with those who aren’t Christians, but because we agree on how the country should be run doesn’t automatically make me a non-Christian. That’s what I think a lot of comps are missing entirely.

      Because egals believe in democracy when it comes to Christianity, and I believe that is more biblically supported, doesn’t mean that the complementarian model is necessarily the ONLY right one. I happen to hold some of both views, and believe to make it an either or thing, as so often happens, is much more of a detriment to the church than a true representation of what it was meant to be to all Christians, regardless of gender or race.

      Thanks for your lucid comments.

    • codepoke

      I guess I’m getting old, because I no longer consider this stuff fun. I never did enjoy the part where people tell me what I must believe if I’m to be consistent, but I no longer even enjoy the part where I state my own case brilliantly.

      Michael, your appeal to relativism is logically unwarranted and is certainly not descriptive of most of the straight-laced egals I know. Yes, some members of the egal position are gleefully sledding down a slippery slope, but some members of the comp position are tucking abused women into bed with a merry, “Be blessed, sleep in peace,” too. I’m tired of arguing against positions because mere mortals hold to them. Mere mortals attach themselves to every position.

      You celebrate the differences between men and women. So do I, and we both do so as unto the Lord. Paul tells you not to let a woman ______ and I hear him differently. One of us is wrong, but debate won’t decide who that is. History will. I can wait.

      This sport of sharpening our arguments on each other’s dearly held beliefs, though, scares me. I don’t really know what history will decide about egalitarianism, but I’m pretty confident what it will say about the great Internet chat room of the early 21st century. A friend described a brilliant geek’s relationship to him, “To X, I’m just a faceless hate receptacle.” It’s a risk.

      May the Lord bless and continue to bless the family and the church you’re building.

    • Kay

      “I happen to hold some of both views, and believe to make it an either or thing, as so often happens, is much more of a detriment to the church than a true representation of what it was meant to be to all Christians, regardless of gender or race.”

      mbaker,
      I have to agree with you here – paradigms that are built on “differences” rather than things shared encourages “separation,” not unity.

      Yes, men and women have differences, but equality is not the same as uniformity. Having equal authority is the foundation for fully developing and fulfilling the differences.

      It’s not impossible to appreciate both our differences and commonalities at the same time.

    • mbaker

      Well said, Kay.

      My husband and I have found that by not having these kinds of silly who’s in authority here arguments, but respecting where God has gifted us both makes us not only stronger in our marriage, but enables us to better see Christ’s bigger picture for the entire church. That is: It is not about us, but about Him.

      For each of us, (having previously had marriages before that were based upon one person or the other trying to control another’s behavior), this has been a valuable lesson. And it happened not because of what we did or didn’t do to make it work out that way, but because we both submit to Christ first now.

      No striving and straining on our parts, just simply saying, ” Lord we are both submitting all that we are and have to you first, because what we did before didn’t work.”

    • JohnO

      @codepoke,
      Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been following this and the related debates but have become increasingly depressed as positions have become more intransigent. They are prime examples of an either/or approach to theology rather than a both/and. I can’t help but feel that God’s grace is big enough to encompass a multitude of understandings and that it’s only when either position gets too extreme that there has to be some sort of corrective.
      But maybe I’m just a relativistic po-mo who’s going to hell in a handcart. I guess I’ll take my chances and continue to affirm and encourage the pastoral and ministerial gifts and callings in friends and colleagues regardless of their gender.

    • Kay

      “How do you dignify one as a purpose in God’s design and another as man-made? Not so easy, I admit.”
      C Michael,

      I am still curious as to how you arrived at believing “leadership” is the defining factor that makes a person better suited for pastoral ministry?
      Considering that Jesus told Peter to “Feed My sheep,” not “lead My sheep.”

    • Dave

      “Because egals believe in democracy when it comes to Christianity, and I believe that is more biblically supported, doesn’t mean that the complementarian model is necessarily the ONLY right one.”

      I am an egal and I am not convinced Christianity is a democracy.

      “Democracy – A form of government in which political power resides in all people and is exercised by them directly or given to elected representatives”

      Christianity is not about everyone having power, but rather everyone submitting to (loving) others. It is about following Jesus, not because we elected him but because he died for us.

      Of course it can also be defined as, “The spirit or practice of political, legal, or social equality.”

      But once again, does Jesus tell his followers to be equal with each other, or does he tell them to place themselves UNDER others? Christianity is far more radical than democracy IMO!

    • […] another blog I read the following comment; “…egals believe in democracy when it comes to […]

    • caraboska

      The very fact that complementarians view it as necessary to train boys to be men, and girls to be women, means one thing to me: that it is not automatic, that it is a matter of nurture, not nature, and that sex roles are something imposed from outside.

      Now, my family knew that society would try to impose its view on me, so they very carefully taught me their strictly and literally egalitarian view. It was made clear to me that their manner of upbringing would in no way materially differ if I were male.

      Now, I have no basis for direct comparison, since I have no brothers. But I do know that my father actually lives a strictly egalitarian life in every detail – namely that the only difference between him and a woman is his plumbing.

      He does this by conviction, not by upbringing. And it does not mean he is ‘effeminate’ (i.e. stereotypically feminine). He is just himself. So I have no doubt that he absolutely is telling the truth when he says that he would have raised me the same had I been a boy.

      And while it took me years to find a basis for egalitarianism in the Bible, which caused me no end of trouble in that I wanted to be a serious-minded Christian but knew egalitarianism to be true in my heart, I finally did it.

      I cannot speak for others. I can just tell you that it is possible to live a strictly egalitarian life and be at peace about it. Make no mistake, it will be hard to fit in, because most people are not egalitarian. But some things are more important than ‘fitting in’ 😀

    • Gary Simmons

      This debate is a matter of justice. It’s a matter of fairness. It’s a matter of honor. It’s a matter of femininity and masculinity.

      What do those words mean, anyway? Justice, fairness, honor, femininity and masculinity are abstract ideas. We cannot define them so easily. It is true that every culture has different ideas of what is masculine or feminine, just as every culture has different definitions for the other concepts I just mentioned.

      All cultures have taboos on killing, although what constitutes “murder” varies. All also have taboos on what is “sexual immorality,” though the Hittites thought that what a man does with his horse is nobody’s business. All cultures also have some idea of masculine or feminine, even though the exact expression differs from culture to culture.

      Yes, it is true that masculinity and femininity are social constructs. But you know what? So is “justice” or “murder” or “sexual immorality.” I don’t see anyone here debating those three, since they play a huge role biblically. Yet, if gender is a “relative,” then we must admit that it is a “universal relative,” since it is one that takes place cross-culturally. Its definition is elusive, as is the case with ALL abstracts. Yet it is even harder to define than “justice” because “justice” does not describe a range of human traits whereas gender does.

      Here’s the thing. Egalitarians seem to be seeking an explanation for why Comps tend to look above the individual level and them impose a broader structure onto the individual.

      The answer is because we all do it all the time. That is what experience is. Learning takes place when we accumulate events in our memory that we group together. Based on that preset pattern, we have an idea of how a present or potential future event will play out. Our thoughts do not take incidents or individuals ONLY in isolation, so I think this is a mistake to call for us to do this with gender issues.

    • PamBG

      Egalitarians seem to be seeking an explanation for why Comps tend to look above the individual level and them impose a broader structure onto the individual.

      No. We believe that the broader structure of the Gospel tells us that men and women are equal before God and equally gifted.

      Soft complimentarianism is illogical because you claim to believe that and then tell us that there is One Function that God has ordained from before the ages that women cannot do.

      What we seek an explanation for is the “Animal Farm type logic” of “All people are equal but some are more equal than others” which is what the soft complimentarianism argument boils down to and which makes no sense at all.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife… (Genesis 3:17).

      Every man who is a feminist is so because he desires to avoid the weight of glory God has placed on him.

      A father doesn’t want to do the hard work of vetting his daughter’s choice of a husband, so he pays for her degrees and establishes her in a profession where she’ll be impervious to any husband’s future failures. A husband doesn’t want to do the hard work of silencing his wife in the church, so he argues that women need a place at the table, too, and that good churches will enfranchise women’s voices. Elders don’t want to do the hard work of training their daughters how to dress modestly and conduct themselves in a feminine manner, so they condemn all efforts to teach and encourage modesty or feminine deference within the church as legalism, patronization of women, and masculine insecurity.

      Feminist men are schemers hiding their rebellion against God. They abhor the weight of woman’s glory God has placed on them in their duties as pastors, elders, deacons, husbands, and fathers. But rather than following the time-honored pattern of cowards who turn their back on the battle and run, these men use their uniform as cover for attacking and killing their comrades. They betray every duty towards woman God has dignified their sex by, then claim they are faithful to that duty by their very betrayal. “I believe women are persons!”

      Adam had a choice between obeying the Father from Whom all fatherhood gets its name or listening to his Eve, and he chose listening to Eve.

      That’s where it all started. And likely, where it will all end.

      What did the first feminist give his wife?

      Greatly increased pain in childbirth, followed by death.

      Read it at Fleeing Manhood.

    • EricW

      *facepalm*

    • caraboska

      I recently did some posts that deal with the matters Truth Unites… and Divides brings up. You may be interested to know that they are part of a lengthy series I did explaining how I came to cover my head full-time.

      The most relevant segments are to be found here:

      http://caraboska.livejournal.com/1400.html

      http://caraboska.livejournal.com/2361.html

      http://caraboska.livejournal.com/2661.html

      These segments discuss the salient passages which speak to male-female relationships in the Bible – directly or otherwise – where necessary bringing in the original languages.

    • […] See follow-up posts here and here. […]

    • newenglandsun

      It would not be in harmony with latest psychological research on this issue. I left you two APA links for studies on issues dealing with genders on another blog of yours on three questions for egalitarians. I think that being an egalitarian means acknowledging that despite the biological differences, there really is not that much different between men and women with the social pressure to conform to stereotypical gender roles neatly stashed in the closet.

      What does it mean to be a “man”? There’s no exact definition. When I was growing up, I could say a man was someone who had short hair. Then I realized I had to account for heavy metal. It was the same in regard to short hair and long hair. Basically, growing up, I could tell what a man was and what a woman was but I realized I could only do so based on the total physicality as opposed to just one stereotypical aspect.

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