Monday, February 16, 2009

So I'm a "Nervous Complementarian"... and that means what... practically? (yikes!)

I should have posted this earlier. Nate Duriga, in his last blog post, just stole a good deal of my thunder. Oh well, I'll have to continue without it. Because of some complaints concerning the overwhelming length of my blog posts of late, this will be more or less in "list format" and will hopefully be less wordy. This is more of a guide to applying these issues than an exploration into how these things should be applied. I'll be more specific about how I think it should be applied later.

Applying Nervous Complementarianism
(these are all applications from a Complementarian perspective. If you are not a Complementarian they may not apply)

For women in the church:

1) If you are uncomfortable using the title "pastor" for a woman on staff, do not use this as an excuse to pay her less than you would for a man with the same job but different title)! This is grossly unfair and unjust and is a horrible testimony to the rest of the world.

2) Define clearly what a woman can and cannot do within your church and stick by it. If you do not clearly define her role, you either create the impression that she can't really do anything or that you are not a complementarian at all- then what's the point?

3) Women Deacons: Define, decide, and apply. I believe women can be deacons (I Timothy 3:11) and many complementarians agree with me. But there are not women as deacons in our churches. Let's fix that. But, if your church is "not there yet" don't force it (Romans 14?), but with patient teaching bring them there.

4) Women Teachers:

a) If you are going to go with I Timothy 2, Clearly define what "teaching" is and what "authority" is. Although this may seem odd, you must also clearly define what "a man" is. Age? Can she teach and have authority over 6 year old boys? We would probably all agree she could. 15 year olds? 19 year olds? etc....
b) Keep in mind that women are commanded to teach women. Does your church practice this in an "official capacity"? Or is it just something you assume will happen on its own?

5) Women in other capacities: Just because you are a complementarian does not mean that women are not important or that their insights are not needed! Intentionally seek their input on everything. Be balanced here though. A lot of churches, though officially run by men, are completely run by women and are thus uncomfortable for most men. Our "church decisions" must be made thoughtfully, the ramifications upon all members of the congregation should be considered, both genders, all "marriage statuses", all races, all ages, etc, etc, etc.

6) Here's a good question that I used to think was a stupid question (I guess I grew up): What are mature Christian women to do when no men take spiritual leadership? Should they find a "puppet man" to "lead" while they pull a Priscilla and coach him from the sideline? Should they just pray and hope that some good men come and save the situation?

7) Is there any distinction for the average "pewsitter"? How (if you do) do you apply "women must be silent and learn at home" and the headcoverings issue? I'm not saying you have to apply these strictly literally but you still have to deal with it and apply it. If you say that headcoverings are cultural then is there a cultural equivalent that does apply?

For Women in the Home:

1) Like Nate said in his blog, what about the nontraditionals? In affirming, teaching, making applications for, and praising women who stay home and raise their children, let's not exclude and isolate women who cant because they have no children, are widowed, are divorced, are unmarried with or without children (remember, God uses and loves people who make mistakes too!), have grown children, whose husbands can't work, or who just have to work to support their family. If you only teach gender roles for 20, 30, 50, or 70% of the congregation, what about the rest?

2) What does submit mean practically, day to day? Does this mean that the man unilaterally makes all of the decisions? That's stupid! Does it mean he has the last say? Does it just apply to "spiritual leadership"?

3) Weird question but I think its a good one (though it might REALLY get me into trouble): What role should psychology, sociology, and biology play in defining gender roles? If sociological/psychological studies show (for instance) that women do a far better job at caring for young children or that children need their mothers more, should these help inform our gender roles? I think we can use these sources with care and discernment to help us better understand gender and how God designed us. We are different because God made us different. Studying human psychology and biology to understand ourselves better seems to be a legitimate way to better understand our God given gifts and roles.

Oops!

I said I'd be short. I'm long again. Forgive me please. I only have one more on this topic. The last entry will include my own application of the issue and some interaction with Austin, Nate, and Jim.

1 comment:

theone withabeard said...

Ah, you are always so thorough in treating an issue, while I just deal with as much as I feel like talking about. Thanks for thoughtful comments on what complementarianism doesn't have to be (even though, sadly, it has been in too many cases).

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Tacoma, Washington, United States
"It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt." Fyodor Dostoevsky. I'm a Northwest Baptist Seminary graduate (MDiv) and current student (ThM). I plan on someday going to Africa and teach Bible and Theology at a Bible College or Seminary level. I hope to continue my studies and earn a PhD, either after I go to overseas for a few years or before. I'm a theological conservative, but I like to think outside of the box and challenge conventional thinking and consider myself a free thinker. I am currently serving in my fourth year as a Youth Pastor at Prairie Baptist Fellowship in Yelm Washington. My blogs will reflect my thoughts on both seminary and ministry life, though not (of course) exclusively. I enjoy literature and occasionally try my hand at writing stories and poems. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..." Paul

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