Christian Doctrines, Egalitarianism, theology

Women in the Ministry: The philosophy of equality and why complementarianism fails

The argument advanced in this post will make the following claim:

If women are excluded from the ministry solely due to their nature as women, then women are ontologically inferior.

The argument entails:

If complementarianism (the position that women should not be in the ministry) is true, then women are ontologically inferior to men.

Some may note that this doesn’t necessarily imply that complementarianism is false, but astute readers will note that there is one further implication, namely:

If complementarianism holds that women are ontologically equal to men, but the position entails that women are inferior to men, then complementarianism holds contradictory propositions to be true.

And this would entail that complementarianism is false.

The Argument

Argument 1:

The argument is directly from Rebecca Groothuis, “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role,” 317 (full citation below). She writes,

P1: If the permanent, comprehensive, and ontologically grounded subordination of women is justified, then women are inferior persons.

P2: Women are not inferior persons.

Conclusion: Therefore, women’s subordination is not justified.

Premise one is contentious. Complementarians often anticipate such arguments and counter by asserting that women are “equal in being, unequal in role.” Groothuis has cogently argued that this is merely a semantics game. First, she notes that “functional differences often are compatible with personal equality…” (“Equal in Being…” 315). The problem for those who wish to exclude women from the ministry is that the role of women is not simply functional. Rather, it “differs from functional subordination in its scope, duration, and criterion” (316). Women’s subordination is permanent, because women are subordinate throughout their life, and it applies to all women at all times (Ibid). The subordination is comprehensive in scope because everything a woman does must be done in submission to males (if one disputes this they need only browse complementarian literature: see John Piper, cited below, 50ff). Finally, the criterion for women being subordinate is not analogous to functional subordination (wherein the subordinate member enters the functional relationship either willingly or through need) because the subordination is based merely on the woman’s unalterable female being (Groothuis, 317).

P2 is almost universally acknowledged as true. Unless the complementarian is willing to swallow the pill and affirm that women are inferior persons, they must grant P2.

The conclusion follows from P1 and P2. Therefore, it seems that women should not be made subordinate to men. There are, of course, many objections to this argument. We shall turn to these below.

Objections

Objection 1: The argument above is all well and good, but it is a philosophical argument. We all know that it is Sola Scriptura, and your argument assumes that philosophy can trump the Bible, which it doesn’t.

There are a number of clarifications required to respond to this objection. First, those who assert Sola Scriptura are themselves making a philosophical claim: that Scripture alone is the basis for our faith. Second, if one wishes to jettison philosophy because they hold a position which is philosophically untenable, then they cannot coherently assert “My position is true.” Why? Because when one throws philosophy out the window, one throws logic out the window. Thus, the principle of non-contradiction would also be false. If that is true, then when one says “My position is true” they could be both right and wrong, and therefore their position could also be false. This is absurd, and it undermines every single truth claim. Those who reject philosophy must also reject truth.

Finally, even those who argue that philosophy and logic must have a “ministerial role” implicitly accept that their claims are governed by logic. I can think of at least two extremely plausible reasons for this to be true. First, those who want philosophy to occupy a “ministerial” place argue that because they have come to the logical conclusion that the Bible must govern reality. Here’s the problem: they also seek to reconcile contradictions in the Bible and draw out its claims–and this is a philosophical endeavor. Thus, those who argue in this fashion are, themselves, doing philosophy and logic. Second, those who argue that philosophy must be “ministerial” often do so because a position they hold is logically untenable. But if philosophy (and, by implication, logic) must function underneath Biblical truth, why reject logic to begin with? If philosophy and logic don’t apply to Biblical teaching, then there’s no reason to reject it, because things can be true and false!  Yet those who argue this way realize that their claims are philosophical (without using that word), and so reject the counterarguments by trying to make the logical move of throwing philosophy out the window. It’s incoherent.

Objection 2: P1 is false because ontologically  grounded subordination does not imply inferiority.

Clearly, this objection is more thought out than objection 1. Those who object in this way accept that logic governs these disputes, and instead set on rejecting a premise of the argument so that the conclusion will not follow.

I cannot answer this objection without a bit of philosophical development, so my readers will have to forgive me.

Adam Omelianchuk addresses this objection head on in his article “Ontologically Grounded Subordination” (full citation below). He writes that “the central metaphysical concern is over whether subordination is essential to the personal identity of woman” (169). He goes on to introduce the notion of “proper function” (well known in philosophy due to Alvin Plantinga’s series on “Warrant”). Proper function “means something is functioning properly if it is doing what it is supposed to do” (170). Now, on complementarianism, women are designed in such a way as to be subordinate to men, while men are designed to be the leader. Thus, the woman’s proper function is to be subordinate by nature, while the man’s function is to be leader by nature. When a woman tries to become a minister, she is violating her proper function. She is, by nature, only functioning properly when subordinate. Now, we’ve already addressed the notion of unequal roles, but here we are trying to establish that a woman is, in fact, ontologically inferior if complementarianism is true. Omelianchuk writes:

[I]t is not plausible to believe that men and women are ontologically equal, because manhood and womanhood are not ontologically equal. Obviously, manhood and womanhood are “different,” so they are not equal in the sense that they are not identical. But if we differentiate manhood and womanhood by hierarchical features essential to manhood and womanhood themselves, and if we maintain that God designed men and women to fulfill these functions of manhood and womanhood, then we have a prima facie reason to believe that women are essentially inferior to men. Hence, complementarianism fails. (174).

In other words, the very nature of manhood and womanhood is such that man is at a greater position on the hierarchy of authority than woman. They are not equal. Again, as Omelianchuk writes, “[Women] simply are not equal in being, and their ‘role’ obtains just because their being is fit for subordination” (176-177).

Finally, those who continue to object may assert that I have not yet made explicit how women are inferior to men.  It seems to me to have already been made fairly explicit–men, by nature, are higher in authority than women–but some persist in this objection. Perhaps a thought experiment may help illustrate my point. Complementarians hold that women should also be subordinate in the home to their husbands. Consider Jackie and Jim. Jim gets a job offer in Alaska which pays about the same as Jackie’s current job, but is something he would enjoy (as opposed to the job he currently has, which he hates and pays much less). Jackie loves her current job, but would have to work at a job she didn’t like were they to move to Alaska. They argue about whether or not to move to Alaska. Finally, they get to the point where they are at an impasse, and neither is willing to budge. Jim, on complementarianism, is the leader of the home, and Jackie is subordinate. So, when push finally comes to shove, Jim decides they will move, and Jackie, on complementarianism, should submit with all due respect and go to Alaska without further debate. Jim has asserted his role as the leader of the home, and therefore they must move.

It seems clear to me that this story may not make explicit how subordination entails inferiority, but it does seem to show that the woman has a clearly inferior position. If an argument comes to the point where neither side will go one way or the other, the man always gets his way. Now I realize that complementarians often argue that men should be loving leaders, should not use their leadership role to trump their wife all the time, etc., but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty details, Jim in the above story was acting in his role as the leader in the home. His decision is the one which must be followed. Perhaps Jim later grants Jackie’s requests to visit friends and family “back home” and does all sorts of other things for her to make her comfortable in Alaska, but that doesn’t change the fact that her position is inferior to his–at least in the sense that whenever a decision is made about which they are split, his choice wins out.

Conclusion

[Thanks to one reader who was kind enough to point out I hadn’t properly drawn my points together, I have added this conclusion a few hours after this post originally went up.]

The argument I have written above shows that on complementarianism, women are ontologically inferior. Why should that entail that complementarianism is false, as noted in the introduction? Well, there are few (if any) who actually assert that women are inferior. In fact, the Biblical teaching on this topic is extremely clear. God, throughout His Word, affirms the equality of man and woman. Galatians 3:28 is one oft-cited example, but one can also look at Genesis 1:26-28, wherein male and female are created equally in God’s image. Groothuis addresses the notion of Biblical equality more in her chapter, so I won’t expand much more.

We therefore have issued a major challenge to complementarians: Women, according to Scripture (and essentially universal affirmation of all involved), are equal to men in being. Yet complementarianism entails that women are inequal in being–they are, in fact, inferior. If that’s true, then complementarianism affirms contradictory truths: women are equal and inequal, equal and inferior. Thus, complementarianism is false.

Sources

Adam Omelianchuk, “Ontologically Grounded Subordination,” Philosophia Christi 13-1, 2011, p. 169-180.

John Piper, “A Vision of Biblical Comlementarity: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood ed. John Piper and Wayne Grudem, 31-59 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006).

Rebecca Groothuis, “‘Equal in Being, Unequal in Role’: Exploring the Logic of Woman’s Subordination” in Discovering Biblical Equality ed. Ronald Pierce and Rebecca Groothuis, 301-333 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Academic, 2005).

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Advertisements

About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

14 thoughts on “Women in the Ministry: The philosophy of equality and why complementarianism fails

  1. I think there’s a fair amount of equivocation going on here. Omelianchuk’s argument is unconvincing. He seems to just be asserting that complementarians must hold that women are ontologically inferior to men, and I see no real argument for that claim here, only the assumption that a woman’s “proper function” (not what Plantinga meant by it, btw) and hence her “nature” is one of subordination and that this somehow leads to ontological inferiority. (By the way, the term “inferior” is vague. Perhaps an explication of exactly what would be entailed by such “personal” inferiority would be helpful.) I see nothing but question begging. When he says that “it is not plausible to believe that men and women are ontologically equal, because manhood and womanhood are not ontologically equal,” he just misses the complementarian’s point. The terms “man” and “woman” might be used to refer to ontology, while the terms “manhood” and “womanhood” might be used to refer to role. They just aren’t the same. The complementarian’s claim is that men and women, in their being, are equal–equal moral agents, equal receivers of grace, equal participants in the divine plan, and most importantly, equal in their representation of the divine nature. They are different, however, in how they relate, not to God, but to one another. They’re not different in what they are, but what they do. Subordination (if you like that word) and inferiority are not the same. Nothing Groothuis or Omelianchuk have said (at least in this post) have done anything to count against that claim.

    Also, your treatment of the scriptural objection is inadequate. I realize that isn’t the point of the post and you were just trying to cover the objections, but the objection you cover is one I’ve never seen made. One needn’t even hold to sola scriptura to think that the relevant biblical texts are essential for settling this issue. Any full treatment of the debate must account for this aspect of the discussion. But again, that wasn’t your aim here.

    Incidentally, is that Omelianchuk paper from the last edition of philosophia christi? When did that come out? I think I may not have received mine…

    Posted by Robert Whitaker | December 14, 2011, 12:52 PM
    • Thanks for the comment Robert!

      As far as inferiority is concerned: I think that it’s false to assume that men and women are merely occupying “roles” and that this somehow means women are not inferior. You failed to answer the most important argument here, which is that the reason for these roles must be found in the ontology–in the being–of the woman and man. The woman’s ontology is such that she must be subordinate, while the man’s is such that he must lead. I admitted that there may still be some ambiguity in the meaning of “inferior” and the implication there, which is why I included the thought experiment. It seems to me that the woman’s “role” in the thought experiment has a definite disadvantage, and indeed is in some way inferior. And, as I have argued, that inferiority is due to her being. The reason for the subordination is not found in woman’s voluntary agreement to function in such a role, but rather because of the fact that she is a woman.

      Regarding Scripture: while you may have never seen that objection made, I’ve run into it several times in conversations with complementarians. Indeed, my wife (who is studying to be a pastor right now), had several people say exactly that on facebook in response to her own scriptural arguments.

      And I think Scripture should settle this issue. However, this post is clearly aimed at a philosophical objection. I’ve briefly offered a Scriptural argument elsewhere, I advocate much of what N.T. Wright says here, and I think Philip Payne makes some fantastic arguments in his book, which I reviewed.

      Finally, yes Omelianchuk’s paper was in the most recent Phil Christi (the May edition or whenever that one is released). There is an article responding to him by Steven Cowan in there as well, but I didn’t put his objections up due to length (and I think they’re weak).

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 15, 2011, 11:04 AM
      • So I found my copy of the journal, though I have not yet read Omelianchuk’s note. When I do, perhaps I’ll have more to say.

        I still don’t see that you (or anyone you reference) has provided an argument, however. You can assert that it’s false that men and women occupy roles and that this is distinct from being ontologically subordinate. But that’s not an argument or a response to the complementarian claim. You cite as the most important argument, “the reason for these roles must be found in the ontology–in the being–of the woman and man. The woman’s ontology is such that she must be subordinate, while the man’s is such that he must lead.” But this isn’t an argument either. It’s just more assertion. No thoughtful complementarian I know (it might interest you to know that I do not necessarily include myself in that group…I’m more or less agnostic at the moment) would agree to it. It will take convincing premises to get to that conclusion, and I just don’t see those. Also, while I have thoughts about your thought experiment, I will not comment as it is not relevant to my point.

        Holly Ordway (in the comment below mine) also brings up another interesting aspect of the issue: its relation to the divine subordination debate. If your argument here is correct (assuming there is one), then I suspect you must deny that the Son is eternally subordinate to the Father as well, since that would (to you) imply ontological inferiority. You may want to think through the implications of that, as it seems plain to me that Christ was never ontologically inferior to the Father, even while submitting to death–kenosis does not entail inferiority; it was a matter of role, or as I put it above, “They’re not different in what they are, but what they do.”

        Posted by Robert Whitaker | December 15, 2011, 5:43 PM
  2. Interesting post. My comments here are from the perspective of a woman who is in ministry; does not think subordination means inferiority; and holds to some aspects of complementarianism (not necessarily all).

    Theologically we have the example of Jesus, who is ontologically equal to the Father, acknowledging that he is subordinate to Him (“I do not do my own will but the will of Him who sent me”).

    We also have the basic model of Christ and his Church. Christ is the head of the church: all people, both men and women, are subordinate to him, yet we are his adopted brothers and sisters, not inferior beings.

    On a practical level of women in ministry: I (obviously) believe women can serve in ministry. I don’t think they should be the head of a church (because that is standing in the place of Christ – note that I’m speaking from a tradition with an ordained priesthood, which makes things clearer). But to say that a woman has a right to be a priest/pastor because otherwise she is being treated as inferior mistakes the calling to that role in a serious way: being a pastor or priest is the role of a servant, a role of sacrifice modeled by Christ’s death for his Bride the Church. Power and rights are precisely the world’s way of looking at that.

    On a practical level in marriage: what do you do when a couple simply disagrees on something? How do they make the decision? Take turns? Flip a coin? If the husband has the final say, there is a clear way to make the decision. If decision making power has to be negotiated each time, it makes it easy for the weaker partner (in will, or argument) to lose out, or for it to degenerate into a power struggle. Declaring egalitarianism does not mean people don’t abuse power.

    The biggest argument against male headship (and a valid one) is that men may abuse their power and keep women down. Unfortunately there are plenty of examples in history of that. However, no surprise either: we are all fallen. The best argument for egalitarianism that I have heard is that it’s a way to protect women from the abuses of men. Fair enough: and in fact my take on complementarianism is that one should allow for egalitarianism whenever there is the genuine possibility of it going either way. I also think the church is called to disciple men so that they can be the head of the household (which I do think is clear in Scripture) in a way that truly models Christ’s self sacrificing love for the Church.

    Posted by Holly Ordway | December 14, 2011, 4:02 PM
    • On the marriage issue there are two different ways to handle this within a Christian marriage.

      1. in a “wife submissive to husband” model, the husband “wins.” This is taught through the “role” issues.This however assumes that the husband has the best gift of management, discernment, wisdom etc…a pretty tough place to be if you are a man…and is a ripe area for “passive-aggressive women to wade in with the “I told you so” if things go bad.

      2. Both partners go before God in prayer and wait to discern his will. The idea is no ‘split’ decision is so earth shakingly urgent that it has to be made “right now!”

      Most decisions in life are easy…the point is, if a decision is so important that it may cause a disagreement; this may be a place where both partners SHOULD wait and discern God’s will…this is a one-flesh union…no such thing as a tie-breaker.

      And I have seen both in action…and in the end, #1 works because the wife gives up…and forgives him. (and he buys her flowers after he fails at what she did not support.) #2 is so cool to watch…cause you get to see the Holy Spirit work…and two people working as one-flesh…this is wonderful to see!

      Hope that helps.

      Lisa

      Posted by Lisa Guinther | December 14, 2011, 10:02 PM
    • Interesting comment. I share many of your concerns. While I am very much still attempting to work through this issue myself, one way I have seen to respond to the decision-making issue that is somewhat satisfying (to me) is that decisions on various issues can be delegated beforehand. For example, it might be agreed between the husband and wife early on that he will decide issues related to where they live, while she will decide what church they attend, should an impasse ever be reached. In this way, they uphold the egalitarian paradigm of mutual submission, and each party is responsible to God (by the agreement they made) for the decisions made under his/her domain of authority. This is a solution I noticed first in John Stuart Mill’s neglected work “The Subjection of Women” (which I highly recommend).

      Also, I just want to say that I enjoyed your essay on the Apologetics 315 site about women in apologetics. I reposted it at my own blog, which can be found here if you’re interested: http://www.robertwhitaker.blogspot.com

      Posted by Robert Whitaker | December 15, 2011, 5:53 PM
  3. Maybe I’m just stuck on the idea of the assuming what we think is a “hierarchy” implies inferiority of the one on the lower side of the hierarchy? I personally don’t see how, as I believe Holly says so well, “to say that a woman has a right to be a priest/pastor because otherwise she is being treated as inferior mistakes the calling to that role in a serious way: being a pastor or priest is the role of a servant, a role of sacrifice modeled by Christ’s death for his Bride the Church.”

    I also agree with your quote from Omelianchuk that says, “[I]t is not plausible to believe that men and women are ontologically equal, because manhood and womanhood are not ontologically equal. Obviously, manhood and womanhood are “different,” so they are not equal in the sense that they are not identical.”

    Surely my wife and I have different strengths and roles to play. She is much better at some things than I am, and vice versa. She has convinced me to fall more on the complementarian side, at least in our own marriage. She often says she can see how men are generally better leaders than women. But I don’t understand how that implies inferiority? The man’s role in the marriage (if not abused) glorifies God and his wife, doesn’t it? It seems that way, anyway, but I admit I don’t have any strong philosophical quotes to back that up.

    On the other hand, does that demand that women *cannot* or *should not* be leaders, or does it mean that the portion of Himself that God gave to “manhood” is in general more leader-like than the portion of Himself God gave to “womanhood”, implying men are just *generally* better leaders? I don’t have the answer to that question.

    One more point. I think an argument from scripture could be made that from here on out, Christ (by the fact that he is the only begotten son of God) is eternally in submission to God the father. Does this not mean that Christ is in “permanent, comprehensive, and ontologically grounded” submission to God the father? (Please let me know if I don’t fully understand the deep philosophical terms. I’m out of my league here.) Yet because of that God the father glorifies and lifts up the God the son.

    Posted by Greg Reeves | December 16, 2011, 11:04 PM
    • Greg,

      I’ll get back to you more fully later, but a brief comment about the classic “trinitarian defense of complementarianism.” Assuming the Son is eternally submissive (which I’m not sure I do–see Ward’s interesting article in Phil Christi back in 2009), that doesn’t mean that the Trinity is analogous to the man/woman role at all. Why? Because the Father and Son and Holy Spirit share one being. Woman and man are two separate beings. Thus, if Jesus is, in His being, submissive, then the Godhead is as a whole, because the Trinity is one being (and with this discussion one can see my difficulties with this wording–if they’re one being [three persons] how can an ontological submission be grounded? But this is an entire side issue).

      Furthermore, the Triune God is always of one will and volition. It’s not as if the Son said to the Father “Okay, Father, I’ll go die on the cross, despite not wanting to–after all, you know what is best.” Rather, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit willed the Redemption, and have eternally, and will eternally, share that will and volition. Woman and man often do not share the same will–even married couples (believe it or not!).

      So the Trinity analogy is, I think, fatally flawed for these two extremely significant disanalogies. First, the Son is of one essence/being with the Father, unlike man and woman. Second, the Son will always will as the Father does. Women and men often diverge in opinions, desires, etc.

      So I don’t think this is a good analogy in any way. More disanalogies could be pointed out, but I won’t develop them much further than the paranethetical. (One easy example is that the Father’s will is always perfect, which means that it makes sense for the Son to eternally submit–everything the Father wills is exactly the perfect and right move. But men do not always will perfect ends. Rather, they often make pretty heinous errors. Yet in assuming that women should ‘submit’ to their husbands and/or in the church, one must hold that despite these imperfect wills, the submission trumps any kind of dissent.)

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 16, 2011, 11:30 PM
  4. Hey J.W., interesting thoughts on this matter!
    I do disagree with you as I am a complementarian, but I think there can be something to gain from discussing the philosophical side of this issue.
    Now I was a little bit unsure about what you were taking complementarianism to be in this post, because in your intro I think you do a good job of keeping a very narrow definition to keep the argument tight: “If women are excluded from the ministry solely due to their nature as women, then women are ontologically inferior.”
    But then later in your post you say that, “The subordination is comprehensive in scope because everything a woman does must be done in submission to males (if one disputes this they need only browse complementarian literature: see John Piper, cited below, 50ff).”
    But I looked up page 50 and I didn’t find anything there that said *everything* a woman does must be done in submission. In fact, they repeatedly say that women do not have to seek permission from men for everything they do, or even from their husbands. They certainly do advocate a general attitude of submissiveness of wives to their husbands, and women in the church to the elders. But an attitude of submission to elders in church, I think, would be expected of everyone in the church, right?
    But given your intro I don’t think, though correct me if I’m wrong, that you think a complementarian needs to believe what you’ve alleged in my second quote for your argument to work.
    Most of the complementarians I know (including my mom and sister) argue that a woman does not need to submit herself to any man, but shouldn’t try to have spiritual authority, particularly by teaching, over men, ie in a church environment.

    Given that, i think the objection that the argument proves too much.
    A woman has the privilege child-rearing, a privilege that is restricted to just one of the sexes. That is clearly ground in their nature as women and men’s nature as men, but we would both agree that does not mean that women are *ontologically superior*, just because they enjoy a privilege that men cannot enjoy.

    Posted by Michael | December 17, 2011, 9:29 PM
    • Michael,

      Thanks for your comment here. I am glad to see how many amiable comments I’m getting from those who disagree on this contentious topic. It speaks well for the Christian community that we can interact at in such a convivial manner despite strong disagreements.

      Anyway, regarding the comprehensive subordination: I agree that Piper et al. don’t hold that women have to ask for permission to do things. But that does not remove the submissive component from the day-to-day aspects of life for women. Piper writes specifically that “One or more of these roles [from Prime Minister to bus driver{!}] might stretch appropriate expressions of femininity beyond the breaking point” (50). Piper literally argues that even when a woman gives directions to a man, she should do it “in ways that affirm the responsibility of men to provide a pattern of strength and initiative” (50-51). Clearly, this implies a submissiveness throughout life. I can multiply examples. Francis Pieper, in volume 1 of his “Christian Dogmatics” (one of the central dogmatics texts of the LCMS [Lutheran Church Missouri Synod]) writes, “It is the plain teaching of Scripture that in relation to man, the woman is in a position of subordination” (524). Clearly, this is unqualified by offices. In fact, he goes on to write, “Scripture makes the home the sphere of the woman; it distinguishes sharply between the forbidden public and the permitted and commanded domestic activity of woman. It forbids the public speaking and teaching of women” (525). Full citation: Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, Volume I (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1950).

      But as you said, I could certainly weaken the premises and make it only argue against the incapacity of women to lead men.

      You wrote, “Given that, i think the objection that the argument proves too much.
      A woman has the privilege child-rearing, a privilege that is restricted to just one of the sexes. That is clearly ground in their nature as women and men’s nature as men…”

      There are significant disanalogies here, which complementarians seem to generally be ignorant of or simply ignore. First, the fact that women bear children does not introduce a hierarchy into manhood and womanhood. Unless one claims that women are to be the leaders/rulers/’heads’ etc, then childbearing shows no hierarchical structure. Contrast that with the case of women in the church (or all of life, if many complementarians are to be believed): women are to submit, they are not to rule, they are not to lead. As another LCMS writer says in “Women Pastors?” (St Louis, MO: CPH, 2008): “[Historically, women] were not to lead the liturgy, they were not to preach the sermon, they were not to administer the sacraments… a woman is not to stand before the congregation as ‘the teacher’…” (285). The grounds for this is in the fact that she is a woman, not due to any deficiency in her knowledge, capacities, or anything else. The only reason a woman does not qualify is due to her ontological status as a woman. If that’s the case, then ontologically the woman is subordinate: due to her being. And if that is true, the woman is inferior. Semantics games aside, thought experiments can be multiplied to show that whatever the woman’s “role” she is clearly in an inferior state.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 17, 2011, 11:11 PM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Women, Complementarianism, and the Trinity- How getting subordination wrong has undermined the Trinity « J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - February 6, 2012

  2. Pingback: Book Review: “Good News for Women” by Rebecca Groothuis « J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - October 25, 2012

  3. Pingback: Response to a complementarian video « J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - January 24, 2013

  4. Pingback: Mulan Among Us: Disney’s Mulan and Womanhood | J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - March 11, 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,221 other followers

Archives

Like me on Facebook: Always Have a Reason
%d bloggers like this: