This week, I posted my thoughts in regards to the decision of the Church of England to not allow for women bishops, though they allow for women vicars/pastors (and InternetMonk has posted the article as well, so hopefully some good conversation in the comments). I mainly spent my time reiterating some of the thoughts of the well-known Tom Wright, which I think many a complementarians have missed in their own response to Wright’s article. Tom argued that the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the introduction of new creation even now changed everything in regards to social orders, and I couldn’t agree more!
Yes, we still have Jews and Gentiles (I am Gentile by birth), men and women (I am male by birth), slave and free (I am free by birth), rich and poor (I am richer than probably 90% of the world’s population), etc. But none of this has any consequence whatsoever on the calling and gifting of God.
Now, a blogging colleague of mine, TC Robinson, whom I respect dearly, posted an article sharing that he remains complementarian. TC and I agree on some issues, but not on all. Yet, I loved the main point of his brief post at This Scroll:
This was music to my ears.
Because not everyone agrees. Some make the view on gender roles (complementarian vs egalitarian) to be a gospel issue. This means it’s something that determines whether we should or should not work alongside a particular church or church group in our endeavours to make Christ and the gospel known.
Now, though I have egalitarian leanings, I still believe in authority, meaning that God does actually gift, call and anoint people to lead. Leadership – in the church, in the home, in society – is healthy. Of course, as sinners, we mess it up quite a bit. I’ve learned this firsthand in the past 4 and half years in my shepherd/elder role in my church context. And, so, if one’s view is that church leaders (pastors, elders, bishops, etc) are the main gospel proclaimers and teachers, I can somewhat understand why people make it a gospel issue.
Still, I believe it’s not worth dividing over.
Listen, though I am egalitarian in my view, our door is open to complementarians. I have had quite a few people, some of whom I suspect are of a more balanced complementarian view, that have taught and preached in our local church context. And, though it’s not about giving an open door to any ol’ person to teach and preach amongst the flock, I don’t believe the door should be closed simply because one is egalitarian. There can be much solid agreement on the more essential issues of the gospel and Christianity.
But with gender roles – I don’t believe this is something that should cause us to close our doors and hearts to those who hold an opposite view. We’re already missing the opportunity to work together on a whole host of issues. This is not one that makes it to the top of the list.