This open letter is in response to: “Our-Pro-Woman-
Are the guys over at The Gospel Coalition getting desperate? You and I both know that Jesus was not a complementarian or an egalitarian. Jesus was the Son of God. Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus was the Messiah. How dare you call Jesus a complementarian?
Jesus does not take after your image!
You are right about one thing though; Jesus did in fact treat women in a fashion that was radical and revolutionary. Let’s get down to business, shall we? There are three major problems with your article.
1. The entire premise of your article is based on an unclear biblical assumption: “Jesus’ revolutionary treatment of women was, nevertheless, consistent with God’s original design for role distinctions.”
Do you know why there is so much confusion about gender roles and why complementarians can’t seem to come to an agreement on what those are and how they are played out in real life? Because the Bible never mentions gender roles.
There is not one verse in the Bible that clearly hands out gender roles. Complementarians have made many arguments based on the words, “Helper” (Ezer) and “Head” (Kephale), but so have egalitarians. There are many conservative and centric scholars who disagree with the way in which complementarianism has interpreted these ancient words and Pauline instructions.
Therefore, your whole post is built on your own biblical interpretation that many Christians, who are just as “conservative” and just as “trained” and just as “in love with Jesus” as you, strongly disagree with and can make sound biblical arguments as to why.
2. You forgot to mention that Mary of Bethany assumed the position of “disciple” and Jesus praised her for it: “The most obvious example is his selection of an all-male apostolic leadership.”
Jesus did not select “an apostolic leadership team.” Do you understand how “first world evangelical” this sounds? No, Jesus chose 12 disciples, most of whom were “nobodies” according to the culture (sort of the way women were “nobodies” – not respected, not valued, and not special).
Jesus did not choose these guys because they were some great “apostolic leadership team.” He chose them because they were moldable, teachable, and would bring glory to Jesus. Their calling was to humbly sit at the feet of Jesus and learn.
If anyone in the Bible is a complementarian, it would be Martha of Bethany, Mary’s sister. Martha was a woman who embraced her place in Jewish culture. While Martha did the cooking and the preparing for Jesus and all His male disciples, Mary took the posture of a disciple, at Jesus’ feet, right among all the men.
Do you know how inappropriate this would have been in Jewish culture? Women were not permitted to learn under a rabbi. This would have been like a woman from the church you pastor, showing up to an “apostolic leadership team” meeting she was not invited to, and taking a seat at your “elder table.”
You and your complementarian elders would be uncomfortable and worried about breaking laws and customs, while Jesus would have invited her to stay.
When Martha questioned Jesus and sought His assistance in getting Mary back in her cultural “gender role,” Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen what was best (Luke 10:38-42).
3. Lastly, your argument has a major inconsistency in it: “Further, that Jesus called only Jewish males as apostles doesn’t mean that for Jesus to be making a statement about normative male leadership he must also be making a statement about normative Jewish leadership.”
How can you claim that Jesus’ intentions for not selecting any females to be part of this so-called “apostolic leadership team” were because He didn’t believe women should have that sort of authority, but then turn around and say that Jesus’ not choosing any Gentile men to be part was meaningless?
You either have to say that Jesus’ selection of no females and only Jews was intentional for setting a precedent for universal and timeless leadership OR it was not.
The truth is that after Jesus’ death, resurrection and then Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on all believers: Jew and Gentile, Slave and Free, man and WOMAN!
Kevin, I know you would like to think you have more authority than my sisters and I because you are a man, but the same Holy Spirit lives in us that lives in you.
We have been in the last days for a long time, according to the Bible, and the sons and daughters of the living God will prophesy the next coming of the Lord (Acts 2:17).
Complementarians may try to keep us women out of the pulpits and away from your legalistic elder tables, but you will not silence us. We will start blogs. We will preach the Bible with great authority as daughters of the living God. We will write books and we will prophesy to the nations.
We will plant churches and lead men and women to spiritual and life victory, as Judge Deborah did (Judges 4). We will become apostles as Junia was (Romans 16:7).
Our authority will be respected because of who we are in Christ and we will continue to call out the biblically unsound doctrine of complementarianism and the men and women who continue to spread falsities.
Men will read and listen; they will not be able to help themselves because we will be speaking the Words of the Spirit. Women are already leading men and women globally, and complementarianism is already defeated.
May God remove the blinders from your eyes.
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