She has since added a few more questions to her list, so here’s my further thoughts:
- If, as John Piper has suggested, the primary measure of the appropriateness of a woman in leadership is the degree to which a man feels threatened by that leadership, what about men like my husband, or my pastor, or Scot McKnight, who are not threatened by the intelligent, thoughtful contributions of women in leadership? What about men who enjoy and appreciate partnerships with women and whose sense of calling and security is not dependent upon women’s subjugation? Why enforce these roles onto them?
I don’t think that’s a good measure at all. And to make it the primary one? It’s not only highly subjective, but the relevant connection necessary to justify making a negative sensation like feeling “threatened” the measuring stick of appropriate leadership and authority, is not at all clear to me.
- John Piper cites the first half of 1 Timothy 2:12 (“a woman should not have authority”) as universally applicable, but disregards the second half (“she must be quiet”) by encouraging women like Beth Moore to continue speaking. If the first half of 1 Timothy 2 is so crucial to the complementarian hierarchal construct, why is the second half, (along with the silence command in 1 Corinthians 14:34) essentially ignored? Why is that complementarian women are forbidden from assuming leadership in churches, and yet permitted to speak?
Good question. Again, for Catholics there isn’t a problem, since the difference between the way a priest or bishop teaches and the way any layperson does, whether a man or a woman, is pretty clear. [At least, this is clear to me. I apologise if anyone is reading this and just going, “This priesthood thing solves NOTHING! What’s she on about?!]
- And where on earth in Scripture does it teach that “real men” are “heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes” who don’t do the laundry or allow their boys to play with dolls? If all men are “hardwired” one way and all women are “hardwired” another way, why don’t we all fit into these stereotypes? Does the Bible really perpetuate these stereotypes?
It doesn’t teach this. Perhaps the best quote I’ve ever heard about how masculinity and femininity differ goes something like this:
Both men and women are called to strive for virtue (with love of God as the pinnacle of this obviously), and, depending on whether the individual person in question is male or female, those virtues as lived out by them, as appropriate to their particular circumstances, will take on a masculine or feminine hue. ~ Dietrich von Hildebrand
Ok that was massively paraphrased, sorry Dietrich. But I guess this question is really digging a little deeper into the profound mystery of what it really means, metaphysically, at the most fundamental level, to be male and female. Something I might go into more another time.
Stay posted: totally planning a (highly provocative) post on why Catholics are the only ones truly able to be “real complementarians”.