Where we left off last… Do complementarians hate women?  Are they just modern mysogynysts?

Find out now! 


The Egalitarian view seeks the inclusion of women in all areas of ministry based on the following observations from Scripture:

1) Calling roles or distinctions into question based on gender is wrong and like doing so based on ethnicity (Jew or Greek) or social status (slave or free)

  • Galatians 3:28- No distinctions in Christ between men and women

2) A woman apostle is acknowledged by Paul

  • Rom 16:7- Junia, the latino disciple

3) Women play a prophetic role in the Old Testament (ex: Deborah, Miriam, etc.), and are foretold to prophesy after the Ascension (Acts 2:17-18).

4) Women are referred to as “fellow-workers” with Paul, the same way Timothy, Titus, and other male disciples.

5) Women serve in the office of deacon in the New Testament (Rom 16:1)

The complementaria argument views men and women as being designed to fit together not only biologically in marriage, but also emotionally and in various roles.:

Humans are created male and female as nature is night and day, sea and land. 

Both are:

  • Equally valuable
  • Equally fallen
  • Equally needing of a savior

Men are designed to initiate and lead

Women are designed to nurture, receive, and affirm

  Questions for Discussion:

  • Is the egalitarian interpretation of Galatians 3:28 the best one?
  • What else is suggested by the immediate context of Galatians 3:28?
  • How do these observations relate to Paul’s instruction for church governance?

On the other side:

  • Do complementarians realize we are in the 21st century?
  • Doesn’t the complementarian view just continue to exploit, demean, and repress women?

Brief Response to points 1-5 of Egalitarian position

1) Context in Gal 3 is not addressing / defining what it means to be a man or woman.  This does not, for example, mean that no distinction should be made between men and women, say in marriage (ie: “No longer male no female” does not apply to marriage covenant and does not throw out Paul’s advice to husbands and wives in Eph 5, it does not mean since there is no longer male nor female, that marriage can now apply to a man and a man or a woman and a woman).

Elsewhere (Titus 2, I Timothy 2, etc.) Paul lays out clear distinctions for structure of church. 

Gal 3:28 in context is referring to equal fallenness, need of savior, and value in God’s eyes of Jews, Gentiles, slaves, masters, men and women.

This does not support egalitarian position.

2) Woman apostle can have several different translations.  Jesus had no woman apostle.  Was his failure to due to cultural / traditional structure and pressure?  If so, why did he heal on a Sabbath, not have his disciples observe washing before eating, feed “crumbs” to a Gentile, etc.?  Was having a woman disciple too controversial for him? 
One phrase that is obscure, is not enough to base the egalitarian position on.

3) Women did play role of prophet and will continue to prophesy.  However, they never were priests or elders in the Old Testament and are forbidden from teaching / usurping power from men in I Timothy 2:12.  It’s unlikely that Paul’s argument against women teaching over men in I Tim 2:12 is only cultural, because he follows it up by appealing to the order in Creation (I Timothy 2:13-14).

4) Women are fellow workers and should be treated as such.  This does not mean each worker has the same role.

5) Women may have been deacons, and were definitely instructed to teach each other and younger women in the faith (Titus 2)

Spiritual gifts: Spiritual gifts are given generously throughout the church (I Cor 12-14), but they are still regulated.  Women are still endowed with spiritual gift of teaching, but that should come in proper context, just as speaking in tongues has a certain context where, when it’s not obeyed, is not building up Christ’s body (I Cor 14:6-25).

Many of the above points were researched and clarified, much more exhaustively by Tom Schreiner in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem.