Thursday, May 31, 2007

All-Male Eldership, Part 6: Concluding Thoughts

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. And finally we come to the...


It has been the intent of this series to present several of the exegetical arguments for the complementarian position. Admittedly, some arguments are more persuasive than others, but we have been firmly founded in the God-breathed texts from the Old and New Testaments throughout.

We have not claimed to have all answers for all questions, nor have we come close to providing exhaustive definitions, arguments and proofs, so as to close the case—that was not the intent. What was desired has been accomplished, however, and the Scriptures have been allowed to interpret themselves in order to present the reader with a broad view of how God inspired his writers to structure the husband-wife relationship.

Since this has been a presentation of the classical interpretation and the plain reading of all of the passages mentioned, a personal plea to the reader must be made:

Do not allow yourself to be swayed away from the doctrine of Paul, Peter, and the historic Christian church by any showy argument.
If there is any temptation to move to a novel egalitarian position, scrutinize motives in agonizing detail: Why do you desire to depart from the biblical teaching?

Examine arguments carefully: Are they logical? Are they consistent with the style and intent of arguments of biblical writers? Are the criteria used biblical in nature?

And most importantly: Make sure your position is derived from Holy Writ and nowhere else. No other text is God-breathed, and no writer since John has been inspired. We may be absolutely sure that God’s will (at least at one point) was for wives to submit to husbands. We may not in any sense whatever be certain that it was ever or ever will be God’s desire for a husband-wife relationship to exist without headship and submission.

Seriously consider: Where does the burden of proof lie? The argument must not be framed in a way so as to make complementarians the ones who must give an explanation why we believe what we do, since what we believe is plainly revealed in Scriptures. The burden of proof clearly lies on egalitarians.

For those swayed by the "cultural exceptions" type arguments, let me ask you this: Just for a moment, put yourself in Paul's place, wanting to lay down clear and binding regulations for the male-female relationship for all Christians everywhere... how would you present it? Would you refer to the creation order and why we were each created? Would you refer to the relationship of man and woman prior to the fall? He did. Would you refer to the undoing of the curse in redeemed Christian relationships? So did he. Would you refer to the inner workings of our Triune God? That was Paul's approach. So now, let me ask you, what could Paul have referred to that would convince you that this commands are binding for all time? There is nothing left! You've rejected every God-breathed reason that has been given.

If we complementarians are wrong, it is because we have attempted to stick too closely to the revealed will of God. If egalitarians are wrong, it is out of desire to abrogate the commands of God in order to appeal to a feminist and pluralistic culture. Clearly, unless there is absolutely not one a single doubt anywhere in your mind that an egalitarian interpretation of Scripture is correct, it only makes sense to remain a complementarian with Paul, Peter and the 2000 years of church history that has followed them. May we all be able to stand before the judgment throne of God one day and be cleared of any charge of adding to or subtracting from all the words of his divine self-revelation.


Anonymous said...

Nice series, I've enjoyed reading. I've also put you in my "favorites" folder.

Julian Freeman said...

Thanks, Ellen! Your comments have been insightful and very appreciated. Stop by any time!

Anonymous said...

;-) For what it's worth, a while ago I wrote a post on the "keepers of the home" I believe that we need more men of God bringing up strong men of God to be leaders and more women of God bringing up strong women of God to stand beside them.