Sunday, May 13, 2007

Equal in Being, Unequal in Role....

Rebecco Groothuis in Chapter 18, “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role”, pg.303+ from Discovering Biblical Equality.

“although evangelical patriarchy is similar to traditional patriarchy in key respects it also trades heavily on the distinctive and historically novel claim that women are ‘equal in being but unequal in role’. In other words, women are the equals of men spiritually and in their ‘being’, but when it comes to living out the meaning and purpose of manhood and womanhood, women must submit to male rule. This distinction between being and function ——or ontology and role —— is fundamental to the doctrine of male leadership today. ------------
The ‘role’ relationship of woman’s subordination to man’s authority is typically presented as a matter of ‘complementarity’, mutual interdependence’ and ‘beneficial differences’ between the sexes, without any implication of woman’s inferiority. The carefully chosen terminology serves to make this position appear plausible and persuasive to modern ears…………..
But what if it is not logically possible for the same person to be at once spiritually and ontologically equal and permanently, comprehensively and necessarily subordinate? What if this sort of subordination cannot truthfully be described as merely a ‘role’ or ‘function’ that has no bearing on one’s inherent being or essence.
The purpose of these consideration will be to show that evangelical patriarchy neither respects women’s equality nor limits women’s subordination to a merely functional role. Instead, the nature of women's inequality in “function” implies by logical necessity women’s inequality in being”

The entire chapter can be found here:

What many in the hierarchical camp of thinking do not realize is that when you put limits on a person's entire life that are considered permanent, by reason of unchangeable conditions such as gender or race, you are speaking of their essence and speaking in prejudicial terms, a preference for something other. Thus when we say that African Americans should not be ____(enter any denial of freedoms), BECAUSE they are African Americans, then we are prejudically determining them to be inferior by reason of their race.

Anyone who is functionally limited without exception because of their essence (race, gender, etc. which cannot be outgrown or changed) is not equal at all.


Don B. Johnson said...

Good ideas well presented.

The use of the term "Complementarian" by the male-preference hierarchialists I see as the use of a euphemism that cloaks the crucial idea that they believe, that a male has a God-given preference in church and home in leadership over a female.

Justa Berean said...

Welcome Don Johnson.

You are correct. "Complementarian", from the word complementary, in itself is a gentle word that holds two as mutually supportive. Yet, the gender hierarchalists cloak a much harsher belief of permanent and total inequality of women by using "complementary". To evangelical patriarchalists and gender hierarchalists male preferences are indeed a crucial idea.

Thankfully, it is not taught in Scripture.

Don B. Johnson said...

I agree gender hierarchy is not taught in Scripture, but it is taught by some that it is and if one takes words out of their 1st century context, it can seem that it is. I was once such, as that was what I was taught.

It took some serious study and prayer for me to "see the light", once I did I said "Yioks!" look at how this false teaching impacts the body of Christ.

Justa Berean said...

That must have been rough. I also started out believing the Catholic picture of husbands and males in control. The concept of getting under in order to lift wife up the way that Christ died to lift us up was a difficult one to accept after so many years as the privileged and benevolent leader/decision maker.

Feel free to share what the toughest revelation in Scripture was if you've the time and inclination.

Don B. Johnson said...

Limited space for a comment, but I read "Beyond Sex Roles" by Bilezikian, it was a very strange experience as I mentally discarded over half of his points, but the few that remained I could not answer until I did a paradigm shift. I read the book at the urging of a Christian counselor, as the marriage relationship was being discussed by my girlfriend at the time and me, and I answered as I had been taught, ala the husband is a benign leader.

Justa Berean said...

The problem is the benign leader when given absolute authority is the same as benevolent dictator. No man can resist completely such freedoms.

I haven't read that book yet, but I will have to take a look now. :)

I think my real turning point was the first time I heard Joy Dawson preach. She brought the Holy Spirits presence into the room so thoroughly one could almost feel a thick moving through thick fog. Amazing. I was changed. God uses whomsoever He wills for His purposes.