Tim Challies just wrote an article “Why I am not an egalitarian” in which he, unsurprisingly, does not actually discuss egalitarian theology beyond a vague assertion of “I believe the position fails to withstand serious biblical scrutiny” and vaguely mentioning a few texts which he say is “challenges to the egalitarian position that [he] consider insurmountable.” Challies never actually mentions the egalitarian answers or why they fail.
His only other point is that complementarianism works in his marriage. One example of a complementarian marriage working does not mean complementarianism works. One example of a complementarian man being happy does not even mean it works for his wife.
Nevertheless, we could compare his assertion of how complementarianism works to his statement on what it is. Predictably, he defines complementarianism this way:
Complementarianism …holds the theological view that … men and women are created … to complement each other via different roles in life and in the church.” – Tim Challies
And then, Challies asserts seemingly good things about the husband’s “role”. Keep in mind that with gender role theology, this means a particular role would be off-limits for women – women have different roles, not the same ones:
…the husband’s leadership is … a matter of being the first to love, the first to serve, the first to repent, the first to forgive. The call to lead is the call to display Christ-like humility and Christ-like love. – Tim Challies
This is only complementarianism if the woman:
> is called to not love first. (You should not show kindness to a male who has not done the same to you before, as that is usurping the male role.)
> should not serve first. (Ever heard of a wife and husband both coming home after work, him to rest and she to prepare dinner? That, under this definition, is to usurp the male role. Women should refuse to serve if he does not start serving first.)
> should refuse to repent first. (Women, do not be the first to say sorry after an argument. That is his job.)
> may not forgive first. (You both said uncalled-for things in the heat of an argument? He should forgive first.)
Nobody, complementarian or egalitarian, actually asks wives to do that. Why? Because complementarian gender roles do not mean the man has to love, serve and forgive first.
Patriarchal, extreme complementarianism – what Challies seem to be “concerned” with when mentioning “those who misuse or full-out abuse [complementarianism]” – is a logical1 conclusion of gender hierarchy doctrine. Egalitarianism is a logical conclusion of another way of Bible reading. But advocating kindness, love and care, and calling it gender roles, is not. Kindness, care, forgiveness and the like is good for everyone. To do these things first (to “lead” in them, by Challies’ language) is too. It is good for husbands and for wives. For the unmarried. For bosses and employees. For church leaders and followers.
1 Note: If I call a conclusion logical, it does not mean I support it. It means I understand how people come to believe that.