Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I've been reading 'Why Not Women?" by Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton (YWAM Publishing, Seattle). It is a comprehensive summary of all of the arguments for an Egalatarian approach to leadership and the intention of God for humanity since the creation. I have already read a great deal of articles/books on the subject, but think that this one best sums up the reasons why many Bible believing Christians (and Evangelicals to boot), do believe that a Complementarian view of men and women is actually unscriptural and therefore against God's plan for us.
The book covers the background of Biblical and surrounding cultural beliefs about women, including the Greeks, Romans and Jews. It focuses on Jesus attitude, particularly against the backdrop of a misogynistic society and hi-lights Paul's praise of and support for certain women ministers. In particular, the book looks in detail at a number of key 'Complementarian' passages (1 Cor 14, 1 Tim 2 amongst others,)and unpacks well known theological positions such as 'Headship'.
I feel strongly that the many Complemetarians I know (I became a Christian within a Conservative Evangelical setting), have come to their views without really examining the opposing arguments. Those I have debated with, tend to assume that those of us who disagree with their interpretation of scripture (and it is an interpretation and not 'plain reading' as some would try to claim!), are throwing out our 'high view' of scripture and selling out to a reason only approach to theology and doctrine.
This book shows anyone who bothers to read it that this is just not so.
It is my hope that those who disagree with me on these issues and hold to a male headship view of Christian leadership; would at least read the opposing arguments and accept that they too have spiritual integrity and are backed up by legitimate theological scholarship. Sadly, through discussion, I have found this to be much rarer than I would like.
Those of us who have examined both perspectives (whatever position we hold), have I hope, a better understanding of and respect for the others reasoning, however much we may disagree with it. That has to be the way of Christ and thus of Christians, doesn't it?

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