If you chanced across this little piece of virtual real estate last week, you might have seen that I blogged about a Tide commercial featuring a self-identified “dad mom.” I suggested, based on my read of Scripture, that this was a “man fail.” To use an excruciating economy of words, I received a good deal of feedback on these matters.
[Update: I will be writing an essay for the Journal of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood on this topic and will flesh out further nuances in the complementarian position, many of which I discussed in the comments.]
One of the primary responses in the comments to that post related to the role of Christian women as sketched out in Scripture. Some read me to be restricting women to the home, when in reality, the saying went, biblical women were far more active than one might initially think. In response to that response, I thought that I would quote from a 9Marks piece I wrote a year or so ago entitled “The Genesis of Gender and Ecclesial Womanhood.” The many readers of Christianity Today‘s Her.meneutics blog that flooded my site might be interested in my take presented here. Many will still disagree with me, but you’ll see in a more fulsome sense how it is that I and other complementarians think about the role of women.
I’ve italicized the 9Marks content below (it’s just a snatch from the larger essay):
The gospel leads directly away from libertarian notions of freedom and identity and offers better ones. In dying to self and trusting Christ as Savior and Lord, we live. Here there is “no male or female,” as Paul puts it (Gal. 3:28). But once freed from the shackles of sin, men and women both are free to fulfill what God distinctly intended for them in creation. After all, biology does not change upon conversion. The gospel is at the center of biblical womanhood (and manhood) and, in saving women from sin and hell, it empowers them to live in the fullness of God’s good plan for them.
When we turn to the pages of the New Testament, we find many examples of women freed in the gospel. Women served the church and its leaders in diverse and creative ways. Here are a few of the most significant:
- Joanna, “the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,” likely contributed generous sums to Christ and his band of disciples (Luke 8:3).
- Prisca helped her husband Aquila disciple Apollos, a learned and eloquent preacher (Acts 18:26).
- Timothy had both a godly mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 3:15).
- Tabitha was “full of good works and acts of charity” (Acts 9:36).
- In a climate hostile to Christianity and thus dependent on home fellowships, Lydia and Mary each hosted gatherings of Christians (Acts 12:12; 16:13-15, 40).
- Phoebe was a “servant of the church at Cenchrae,” a “patron of many and of myself as well,” Paul noted in his letter to the Romans (Rom. 16:1-2).
- Junia (Rom. 16:7) and Appia (Philemon 2) seem to have partnered with their husbands in gospel ministry, whether through evangelism in the case of Junia or hosting a church in the case of Appia.
- In the examples of Mary, Anna and others, we find women of persistent, reverential, bold, effectual prayer (Luke 1:46-55; 2:36-38).
This conversation is not going to cease anytime soon. I do appreciate the dialogue, the sharpening responses, and I hope that in coming days that evangelical churches will increasingly hew to Scripture and not to culture.