Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Don’t you sometimes wish you could help people understand you better? Or at least, when disagreeing with you, engage your actual arguments and not straw man versions of them? Today, I want to draw little pictures to help with understanding a much-misunderstood point about egalitarians. Please share these pictures with those who misunderstand.

1) A common misperception of egalitarians
Rebekah Hargraves demonstrates this incorrect idea when she writes “Why I’m Neither an Egalitarian nor a Complementarian”(May 18 2018):

“I am not an egalitarian because egalitarians are of the belief that there are no inherent differences between the genders in how they are to operate … An egalitarian believes that men and women are, more or less, interchangeable in regards to roles and functions in the home and church.”

Similarly, in “a marriage made in hell” (October 15 2018, on the “Desiring God” website), Greg Morse writes:

“[H]omofunctional marriage” consists of two different sexes that function identically. The same still marries the same: they both lead and follow. They both must shoulder the same amount of burden, both must offer the same amount of sacrifice, and both be equally responsible for the other before God… [They become] interchangeable…”

common misperceptions 1

This is not what egalitarianism means! To explain where this perception comes from, we first need to remember what complementarians say.


Complementarians believe in gender “roles” and hierarchy: One slot that all women should fit into, and another which all men should fit into. My diagram below has the male slot somewhat bigger, because the “role” of decision maker offers a lot more wriggle room. Referring back to the first diagram, we could say that complementarians see the group of women on the left of the picture, and then assert “They are interchangeable, I see no difference.” They then look right and see the men, and say: “They are interchangeable, I see no difference.”

common misperceptions 2


Egalitarians tear down and throw away the molds with slots. We do not force people to fit through one-size-fits-all-women and one-size-fits-all-men slots. Those who think of life as fitting into a slot are horrified when they hear this: “No more separate slots for men and women? Wait, should we all fit into one slot, then?”
But egalitarians do not erect a new mold at the spot where the other two was torn down – we encourage everyone to live out their own gifts.

common misperceptions3

We want to break down gender roles exactly because men and women are not interchangeable:

When things are interchangeable, nobody agonizes over which one is chosen: It doesn’t matter at all which teaspoon in the set of six is used most often, and which one found its way to the back of the cutlery drawer.

* If there was no inherent differences between husband Peter and wife Pamela, it would really not matter if he is the final decision maker on everything. His decisions on everything would be from the same perspective as hers, equally wise and equally right for her too. But a marriage could use two capable decision makers, because each has their own strengths and knowledge.
* If there were no inherent differences between Rob and Rita’s parenting, it would not matter if their children spent 100% of the time with Rita and none with Rob. Rita would have been everything to them Rob could be. Still, it is preferable for both parents to be involved in child raising, because the father has qualities the mother does not.
* If your congregation has two people called by God to preach, Jill and Josh, silencing Jill would hardly be an issue if Jill and Josh were interchangeable. You would hear all the sermons from Josh you could possibly hear from Jill. But because Jill is not Josh, because she hears from God in other ways and is interested in other areas of scripture, you may miss out.

common misperceptions 4



Two weeks ago, I reached a small milestone: The ripe old age of 45. When I was 10, I thought 45 is old! Then again, it was older than my parents were at the time. Maybe 45 qualifies me as an “older woman”, maybe it does not.

Lady interviewing someone for a survey

From Getty Images

However, I think it is finally time to teach a text in which the Bible calls older women to teach (urge, in this particular translation) younger ones:

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. – Titus 2:3-5

What this passage does not teach:

Many women were taught an interpretation of this text which is not in there, so we will start with what it does not say. For that, compare these two quotes, and then see if you agree with me which one is like verse 4 : Read the rest of this entry »

When the church talk of wives submitting to husbands, they tend to quote Paul and Peter, the writers of Eph 5:21-24 and 1 Peter 3:1 respectively.

So, to see what these apostles meant with submission, we could look at how they lived, and compare that to their words.


Artwork of Peter preaching, which he sometimes did in defiance of authorities.

How Paul lived out submission Read the rest of this entry »

The Bible calls wives “the weaker vessel” in a sentence to instruct husbands. Many people, including me, have discussed what the text mean, going deep into New Testament Greek in some cases. Today, let us ditch the Greek for now, and look at the plain meaning of the text.

To get this plain meaning, see what is ordered in this sentence: Read the rest of this entry »

A recent viral blog article starts with the question: “Do you know how much more attractive debt-free virgins (without tattoos) are to young men?” It also features this meme:37179936_226232844685466_4568783955179864064_n

(I wonder if the blogger made sure the pretty young woman in her meme meets these criteria, but I digress.) Neither tattoos nor debt is centrally important in her article, and even virginity is only an example of what the writer is really on about. Read the rest of this entry »


I originally planned to do this series as three posts. I now realize point 7 needs its own post. The point I try to make is that the assertion Grudem made in this point is completely unsupported, that everything under the header is a red herring. To do that, I need to quote Grudem extensively, to prove I do not leave out the significant part of his argument. Before giving the mic over to Grudem, so to speak, I will show a similar argument:

“The Derickson brothers were born to be house painters: The Derickson brothers vandalized houses of immigrants by painting swear words on them. [Newspaper quote on the Derickson brothers being caught for vandalizing houses with spray paint.] The judge sentenced them to community service. [Another newspaper’s quote on what the judge decided.] The newspaper uses the word ‘fitting’ to describe what the judge said of their punishment. Fitting means [quote from Webster’s Dictionary]. This shows us that the spray painting was a perversion of their God-given purpose to paint houses, house painting was not new to them.”

The problem in the previous paragraph, as you can see, is that not a single shred of evidence is given that the Derickson brothers were indeed born to be house painters. Plenty of evidence is given of their crimes and the sentences they got, none that house painting was their life purpose prior to the crimes. Even if every quote is accurate, it would not prove the header. With that in mind, read Grudem’s argument, or lack of it, while remembering the header of his list (“Ten Reasons Showing Male Headship in Marriage Before the Fall”), and of point seven.
Read the rest of this entry »


I heard denouncements of the song before I ever heard it:

“This is a terrible and unladylike attitude.”

It is not who God made women to be.”

The denouncements came from Christian™ ultra-conservatives. When I heard the song itself, I was surprised: If this song replaced the word “woman” with the word “Christian, and originally appeared on a Christian album1, nobody would have complained. (The writer, Helen Reddy, told that her words was divinely inspired – and I believe it.) Read the rest of this entry »

Tag Cloud