Debating Women in Leadership

I am waiting for a debate to happen.  Its the debate about women and leadership in the church.  I know this is not a new debate and it has been raging for a while. But I am waiting for the debate to be seen in a different light.

In the church there are several debates that are described as being “in house.” These debates are about matters of biblical interpretation, just like the issue of women and leadership in the church. But no matter what side of these other issues you fall on, people might disagree with you but they will not see you as being in sin. Debates like:

  • Young Earth vs. Old Earth
  • Cessationism vs. Continuationism
  • Calvinsim vs. Arminianism
  • Was Peter the rock in Matthew 16:18 or was it his confession or was it something else entirely?

However, if you land on the side of this debate that affirms women in positions of leadership or as it is called “Egalitariansim,” some will see it as sinful. Those on the Complementarian side see Egalitarianism as a violation of God’s established and created order and thus sinful.

But what is the church to do when there are prominent theologians, scholars and pastors who interpret the biblical information differently?

Scot McKnight- Egalitarian
Gordon Fee- Egalitarian
William Webb- Egalitarian
Ben Witherington III-Egalitarian
N.T. Wright- Egalitarian
F.F. Bruce- Egalitarian

John Piper- Complementarian
Wayne Grudem- Complementarian
J.I. Packer- Complementarian
Albert Mohler- Complementarian
C.S. Lewis-Complementarian
Tim Keller-Complementarian

(And I am not sure what to do with Sarah Sumner.)

All are intelligent and competent in their fields. All are considered orthodox and within the pale of historical Christianity. All are trusted thinkers and ministers.

So, when will this debate move “in house?”
When will this issue not be a test of orthodoxy?
When will it be seen as a matter of interpretation only?
When will it not be a litmus test for determining liberals and conservatives?

My questions are not an affirmation of either side, but a curious inquiry into the development, and dare I say evolution, of this doctrine.


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