Making Distinctions

So I think it’s time for another blog post on gender issues. I have been busy writing my first paper for my first seminary class. I just turned it in today. I feel so free! Now all I have to do is finish my reading…

In the meantime I keep coming up with things I want to write about but I feel like I should lay a little more groundwork so we are all on the same page. I have used a couple of words before that, if I’m being honest, I didn’t fully understand until recently. Those words are complementarianism and egalitarianism. Before I start tossing these words around a lot in the coming posts I thought I would lay out a working definition of both and lead you to a few sources that might help you understand these concepts better. Perhaps you already know all about these words but maybe you could use a refresher. So here goes…


What it is and what it’s not….

“Complementarianism is the theological view that although men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, they are created to complement each other via different roles and responsibilities as manifested in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.”

Let me be clear: Complementarianism is not Traditionalism. Meaning, complementarians don’t say that we should go back to the way things were back in the 1950’s. We want to be biblical. It’s not always so cut and dry when it comes to gender roles but the Bible does put into place specific guidelines and some specific do’s and don’ts that we must follow. We base our differences between men and women on the Bible as our ultimate authority and ultimate truth. In the in-between stuff, God gives freedom.

For further reading here’s a blog post (written by one of the ones who helped coin the word) that explains even more deeply and clearly what complementarianism is:


What it is and what it’s not….

Egalitarianism, within Christianity, is a movement based on the theological view that not only are all people equal before God in their personhood, but there are no gender-based limitations of what functions or roles each can fulfill in the home, the church, and the society.

Frankly since I don’t consider myself egalitarian, I will not be the best one to define what it’s not. But I can say that being egalitarian does not automatically make you a raging feminist. It doesn’t even mean you are an all embracing liberal. It CAN lead to that if you aren’t careful since it is difficult to biblically account for egalitarianism. You may want to read the brief definition of feminism here to help determine the difference:

Well anyways, I hope this helps! Have a good weekend!


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