… But, interestingly, I think this is where the complementarian view actually has something very interesting to say. On
complementarianism, men and women both reflect God’s image, but in different ways, ways in which neither gender can do on their own. I think that actually provides a unique dignity to each gender and gives both gender reasons to affirm, delight in and stand in awe of the role the other gender has in reflecting God’s image while affirming their ontological equality. – A complementarian Facebook commenter
Firstly, egalitarians also believe that both genders reflect God, that every man and woman – even more so if they are Christians – reflect God in different ways that one person or one gender cannot do alone. As such, giving men and women that dignity is not uniquely complementarian. But – do complementarians actually, like egalitarians, provide that equal dignity to both genders?
Both complementarians and egalitarians affirm that men and women complement each other. Two thing differentiate us:
- Complementarians believe that God places certain restrictions (“thou should NOT”) on women but not on men. They do not agree on what these restrictions are, but they include things like preaching, being elders or deacons, working outside the home, leadership roles at work or in politics, etc.
- Complementarians believe in some degree of male/husband lead and female/ wife following.
These 2 ideas are the main, or arguably the only, difference between egalitarians and complementarians.
How are they compatible with: “men and women both reflect God’s image, but in different ways”? Is being restricted from certain good, meaningful tasks as much a reflection of God (Is God restricted from doing good thing too) as not being restricted?
Is being a follower and a submitter as much a reflection of God’s character as being a leader?
I would say no, God is not restricted and not a follower. As such, the two main ideas that make a world view complementarian are not compatible with us reflecting God equally, but in different ways. Restrictions on females, plus male lead, would rather fit in with the idea that God is male and masculinity more God-like.
Or at least that is how I see it.