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

Posts tagged ‘gender roles’

Do egalitarians think men and women are interchangeable?

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… [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: They see one slot that all women should fit into, then another slot which all men should fit into. My diagram below has the male slot somewhat bigger because the “role” of leader and 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 were 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 its 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

Does “the same things Jesus did and even greater things” contradict comp doctrine?

You know the comp claim that the marriage relationship is a symbol of the relationship between the church and Jesus, right? (From here on I will use the acronym SOREJAB for Symbol Of the RElationship between Jesus And his Body.)

And how, under their doctrines, women should stay at home and obey men and not preach, like the church stayed at home and obeyed Jesus and did not preach? Just kidding, of course. The church preached and did not stay at home, and spread the message of God as far as they went, and obeyed Jesus.

But here is the thing. Jesus, except for the hard part of dying to save us, which we could not do for ourselves, seems not to be so much into “roles” that is only for him or only for the church. Here are texts which make me believe he was not much into such “roles.”

2 Cor. 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – NIV

Christians become more like Jesus? Are women supposed to become more like men, then, by SOREJAB doctrine?

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – NIV

Is serving only the role of Jesus, not the church? Of course not!

John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (NIV)

If SOREJAB is good Bible interpretation, women should do the same things their husbands do and even greater things. Which is, of course, not a gender role. If men and women should picture Jesus and the church (Biblical Manhood and Womanhood doctrine), John 14:12 would blow gender roles (the prime purpose of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood doctrine) out of the water.

Woman enough: One thing Christian egalitarianism did for me

From about entering teenage-hood, I felt that I was not womanly enough:

Not womanly enough, because the idea of one-sided submission to a man scared me.

Not womanly enough, because my facial features are wide and indelicate.

Not womanly enough, because (more…)

Why egalitarianism is not a slippery slope to endorsing homosexuality: Part 2

<< Part 1: Why the two issues are different, examples


What can an egalitarian or complementarian church offer gays?

For my example I will use a young women whose blog I recently read in my anti-porn, anti-prostitution feminism readings: She believes she is bisexual. She chooses to find love from women because she is afraid of men. What does the not-gay-affirming church have to offer someone like her? (more…)

Maybe gender roles are part of the curse?

(Note: These ideas are not floated to teach, but to think. If any believer can add to it – whether to contradict or to agree – feel welcome. If these ideas, or the comments on it, helps either your or my understanding to grow, praise the Lord.)


Did you know that God never actually cursed Adam or Eve? 1 (more…)

Why gender roles cause disunity: An insightful comment

Evie comments this on The Wartburg Watch:

My personal experience is that complementarianism encourages disunity, not unity. With an emphasis on being separate and different, the focus turns to what role the man should be fulfilling to fit the ‘biblical’ order, and the same for the woman… (more…)

If women are made for relationships and to stay at home, where does that leave me who live alone?

“A man’s world is focused outside the home in work and recreation. A women’s world is strongly focused within the home and on family… Men develop the evidence of their worthiness primarily from their jobs, being respected in business, profession or craft. Women, and especially homemakers, depend primarily on the romantic relationship with their husbands for ego support… the emotional content of a marriage is usually more important to women and why the little tokens of affection are appreciated more by wives, who obtain esteem from these expressions of love and generosity. Women need continual reassurance from their husband that they are loved, needed and valued. … men do not need this kind of reassurance from their wives…

Men do not have as strong a desire and need for stability, security and enduring relationships as women do… Women are usually credited with possessing “mothers intuition” in regard to not just her children but all personal relationships. She may not be able to explain it, but she has a feeling about the situation that the man does not.” – From a piece of bad pop science masquerading as religious teaching on an allegedly Bible-oriented website.

When Daddy is out earning a living and the little ones at school, what then?

When Daddy is out earning a living and the little ones at school, who do Mommy relate to?

This is a statement that often appear in teachings on gender roles: Men find value in work, women in relationships. Men want to be away from home, women want to be at home.

That is really weird. You see, for a newly wed wife with a husband at work her home is the one place where there are no people to relate to most of the time. Even if he works just 8 hours a day, with a 30 minutes lunch break and 30 minutes to get to work and later 30 minutes to get back, the waking hours with him at home are less than the hours alone.

If she is made to stay at home, and all her potential friends do the same, she can relate to nobody except the occasional plumber or delivery guy, who visits her home in the course of working. And she has to cook, clean, and do other kinds of work even though she don’t find value or pride in her work – unlike men, her self esteem is not influenced by how well she does her work, or the respect others give to it. (more…)

I support this traditional male role. Very much!

I recently read this little article on how children are better off with than without fathers. Charity, values teaching by the school – these things cannot replace fathers. I agreed so strongly that I immediately wanted to link to the article on Facebook. Only one thing caused me to pause: (more…)

Why am I not a complementarian? My shortest answer yet

Complementarianism is (more…)

Real womanhood: Do men have it too?

There is so much nonsense and lies passing for Christianity these days. God would love a church that is holy to Him, but it is hard to take the words of church people these days without taking a lot of lies with the good. See, for example, this poster on what ”A real woman” is/ does.

This is typical gender role posturing: It takes virtues not limited to one sex, and words it as a gender role, so that, if a Christian agrees with the importance of the virtue, he/she will get nearer to accepting “Biblical” gender roles. For example: “A real woman seeks to make God her number one desire and the Lover of her soul, knowing that only He can fully satisfy.”  That is, of course, equally suitable for both Christian men and women.

But words have meanings, and real womanhood is not defined by anything that is as true about men. Those who teach this on womanhood simply gives the church the potential to be ridiculed, because everyone knows (real) womanhood is not defined like that. (This article will have my words in black, the words of the “Real Womanhood” poster in dark red.)

My article will not be an attempt at snark. I want Christians to cut the lies and speak what can be believed, so that believers can be built up, and so that unbelievers could see we are speaking the truth in love. “You will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free”, promised Jesus. This is a small attempt at cutting through the lies, so we can see the truth instead. (more…)

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