This summer at Alliance Bible Church, we are doing a sermon series entitled “You Asked for It!" People in our congregation have submitted dozens of questions and we’re taking the most frequently asked and/or those questions with broadest appeal and preaching on them. We won’t be able to preach on them all, so I’m going to answer a few more on this blog.
I’m going to start by kicking a hornets’ nest: gender roles. Three preliminary points before we dive in.
First, I won’t change your mind about this topic. That’s not my goal. A couple of questions that came in on this subject were from a perspective of having only a basic understanding of what “complementarianism” is. So my purpose is to flesh out what it is not try to convince you to believe as I do.
Second, be kind. I went to a seminary where there was a nearly 50/50 split on gender roles. I spent hours with men and women who thought differently about this than I do. We became friends who possessed a mutual respect for each other. It’s possible to love each other truly while not agreeing on this topic. Please demonstrate that (1 John 2:9-11).
Third, I’m going to try keep each installment brief (I’m estimating between 4 and 6 separate blog posts on this). Tens of thousands of pages have been written on the issue. A blog doesn’t get read when it’s verbose. I’m going to try to give a 30,000 foot view which means there will be MANY things left unsaid.
What is complementarianism?
First, It’s “complementary” NOT “complimentary.” They are different words. The dictionary defines “complement” as follows: "something that completes or makes perfect; either of two parts or things needed to complete the whole; counterparts.” Mary Kassian puts it this way: "Complementarians believe that God created male and female as complementary expressions of the image of God—-male and female are counterparts in reflecting his glory. Having two sexes expands the view. Though both sexes bear God's image fully on their own, each does so in a unique and distinct way.”
Second, complementarians believe males were designed to shine the spotlight on Christ’s relationship to the church in a way females cannot. And females were designed to shine the spotlight on the church’s relationship to Christ in a way males cannot. Connecting the dots, this means each possess roles in marriage and the church that are unique, but equally necessary if the complementary truths about Jesus and the gospel are to be manifested through both genders (Ephesians 5 - More about this later).
Third, at the risk of jumping ahead, I’ll just briefly mention what complementarianism is NOT. It’s NOT patriarchalism or traditionalism. (In my next post, I’ll talk through several misconceptions about complementarianism). The 1950’s June Cleaver is not the picture of complementarism the Scriptures present us with. That may provide some relief for a few of you.
That’s all for now. Next up… misconceptions and stereotypes.