No, this isn’t a trick question. I am genuinely trying to decide where I land in the Complementarianism / Egalitarianism debate. I haven’t studied the subject extensively, but pretty much know all the arguments and proof texts for both sides. But for the life of me, I can’t seem to find a clear place to fall.
Here’s my dilemma: I think it’s pretty clear Scripturally that Men and Women were designed to complement each other and that, in that union, men were called and equipped to lovingly lead. In this, I pretty much fall in line with traditional interpretations about husbands and wives, headship and submission. In fact, from my perspective, most positions that veer away from traditional interpretations often end up tinkering with Scripture and theology (reinterpreting Genesis as a myth, deconstructing the Apostle Paul and his teachings, etc.). However, there’s far too much evidence (both Scriptural and sociological), that women are entirely capable of leading men and teaching men, exercising equal authority, and pretty much occupying any office or role that a man could.
Much of what I bring to this issue is anecdotal, to be sure. When I pastored, it was typically the women who were more active, more participatory, and more integral to the life of the church than the men. Furthermore, some of the most influential people in my life have been women: intercessors, female pastors, and, dare I say, prophetesses. I realize this shouldn’t set the precedent for my conclusions, but there it is. As a result, I often struggle with churches and pastors that don’t allow women to teach (and I mean teach groups that include men), and men who (perhaps unconsciously) disrespect women in roles of leadership over them.
To summarize: I believe men and women are co-equal, that the man is called to be “the head of the wife.” But I also believe a woman can and should lead men in certain settings. Should men be the “default” leader (in the home, church, culture)? I think so. But in the same situation, where evenly “gifted” men and women exist, would God always prefer the man over the woman to lead? I don’t think so. So you see my dilemma. Or confliction.
Anyway, I don’t want to turn this into a fight. But I’m genuinely trying to figure out where I land on the map. Am I a “modified Complementarian” or a “confused Egalitarian”? And what question do you think I should ask that would help me resolve my conflict?