The view that men and women are equal in value before God but that their God-given roles in the family and the church are distinct, with “some governing and teaching roles in the church are reserved for men.”1
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. (1 Timothy 2:11-14 ESV)
- From The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:
Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following:
- 1. Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18).
- 2. Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor 11:7-9; 1 Tim 2:12-14).
- 3. Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Gen 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13; 1 Cor 11:7-9). …
- 5. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18; Gal 3:28). Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community (Gen 2:18; Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Tim 2:11-15). …
- 7. In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission-domestic, religious, or civil-ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin (Dan 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Pet 3:1-2).
- 8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will. …
- From The Order of Creation by R. C. Sproul:
If anything transcends a cultural custom, it is a Creation ordinance. Thus, it is a dangerous business indeed to treat the matter of subordination in marriage and in the church as a mere local custom when it is clear that the New Testament mandates for these matters rest upon apostolic appeals to Creation. Such appeals make it crystal clear that these mandates were not intended to be regarded as local customs. That the church today often treats divine rules as mere customs reflects not so much the cultural conditioning of the Bible but the cultural conditioning of the modern church. Here is a case where the church capitulates to the local culture rather than being obedient to the transcendent law of God.
… Creation ordinances may be modified, as the Mosaic Law did with regard to divorce, but the principle here is that Creation ordinances are normative unless or until they are explicitly modified by later biblical revelation.
- Sam Storms: Complementarianism
- Mary Kassian: Complementarianism for Dummies
- John MacArthur: The Biblical Position on Women’s Roles
- Andreas J. Köstenberger: The Crux of the Matter: Paul’s Pastoral Pronouncements Regarding Women’s Roles in 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (pdf)
- Douglas Moo: What Does It Mean Not to Teach or Have Authority Over Men? (pdf)
- D. A. Carson: Silent in the Churches: On the Role of Women in 1 Corinthians 14:33B-36 (pdf)
- Bill Kynes: Complementarianism: Definition and Priorities (mp3)
- Mark Dever: Gender Roles in the Church (mp3)
1Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.
I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.
Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.