All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players – William Shakespeare
I have a nature to be compliant. I will (unless God makes me one) probably never be a boss at work. When, in a situation, I cannot follow in good conscience, I am still more likely to go my way alone than to lead. And I used to understand texts like Eph 5:22-33 in a way that will sound very right to complementarians. In fact, I can still envision the remote possibility that egalitarians may be wrong on texts like Eph 5.
It sounds like I am complementarian womanhood material, doesn’t it?
But I will never believe the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I will never proclaim or follow their ideas on gender roles. I will never support them. They are completely, utterly wrong.
Essentially, a complementarian is a person who believes that God created male and female to reflect complementary truths about Jesus. That’s the bottom-line meaning of the word. Complementarians believe that males were designed to shine the spotlight on Christ’s relationship to the church (and the LORD God’s relationship to Christ) in a way that females cannot, and that females were designed to shine the spotlight on the Church’s relationship to Christ (and Christ’s relationship to the LORD God) in a way that males cannot. Who we are as male and female is ultimately not about us. It’s about testifying to the story of Jesus. We do not get to dictate what manhood and womanhood are all about. Our Creator does. That’s the basis of complementarianism. – Mary Kassian
To point out the very obvious, “complementary truths about Jesus” would be simultaneously:
b) about Jesus
If men reflect Jesus and women the church, the two truths are complementary, but not both about Jesus. If men reflect Jesus in his relationship with the church, and women Jesus in his relationship to the Father, the truths are both about Jesus, but not complementary. But that is minor technical niggling, compared to the bigger problem. The more important thing is that all Christians, male and female, are the church, and cannot help but to “shine the spotlight on the Church’s relationship to Christ.”
When we as church (male or female church members) do good in the name of Jesus, we show a way the church relates to Christ. When we grow further apart from Jesus and pray less and less, we show another way the church relates to Christ. When we disobey God and sin, we still show how the church relates to Christ. There is not even one way only females, but not males, can show how the church relates to Christ. You call submission such a way? Church men submit to Jesus and thus also spotlight the church that way.
And all Christians, male and female, should shine the spotlight on Jesus, and emulate him!
The idea that “men should shine the spotlight on Jesus and women on the church” turns all of life into a play: Men play the role of Someone they are not. Women play their own group, but it is a play and not the real thing, as the other actor is not Jesus. For whom is this play performed? For the world? Then submission is not needed behind the closed doors of the Christian home. For Jesus? Jesus does not need a play that shines the spotlight on how He relates to the church. He knows the real thing. He is in that relationship. For the sake of the actors? I can give plenty of examples of where acting as if the man is Christ was truly not in the best interest of either actor in the play we call marriage. (Not that I think marriage is a play, but complementarians seemingly alledge that it is.)
Many decry what complementarianism does to female personhood, but I believe that the central notion of “Biblical manhood and womanhood” is very much a Satanic attack against men too. If men are supposed to be leaders, not followers, then men cannot follow God and His commands. If men expect to be submitted to, but not to submit, they are hindered from developing the humility that would make them cry out to a crucified God.
So, I cannot be a complementarian because the basic notion that church men are unable to sign the spotlight on the church in all the ways church women can makes no sense to me. And that idea is allegedly at the heart of complementarianism.