We have all heard it before: The party line of complementarians is that the woman’s role is just as important as the man’s role, only different. But when complementarian men talk to other complementarian men, they sing a different tune. Listen to Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.:
“Biblical complementarity is not fundamentally about what opportunities women must forego but what responsibilities men must take up… Complementarianism is not fundamentally what women can do but about what men must do.”
This message was given at the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood annual conference, April 11-12 this year.
Did you catch that? Complementarianism is not about what women must take up and what men must take up, what women must forego and what men must forego. It is not equally much about what women can/ must do and what men can/ must do. That would, potentially, have been ‘complementary’, in the real sense of the word.
It is about what responsibilities men must take up, what men must do. It is not about women – not about what women can do, not about what they have to forego. His complementarianism is about men, not women.
According to baptistnews.com, Allen urged preachers to talk consistently and confidently about “the beauty of complementarity.” Instead of just talking about male/female complementarity, I have a suggestion for Allen and his ilk (that is, if they can listen to me, a woman): How about learning to live it? And starting to actually believe it?
A world view that is all about men, who men are and what they should do, not equally about women’s opportunities and gifts, is not complementary. Nor is it “beautiful” or “biblical”. It kills female spirits for a lie. (For only two stories of the female spirit affected by complementarianism, read here and here.)