Complimentarianism: The Theology Of No Women In The Clergy.

The notion that men and women are “complimentary” is used to keep women out of the pulpit and from holding other positions of authority in some Christian denominations.

Justification for the concept of complimentarianism is power.  It’s purpose is to keep women from having equality.

To hear some tell the story, restricting women from the pulpit is not about treating them as less than equal, it’s about putting them in a role that is equal, but more fitting to the talents the god gave them.  They are not meant to be priests/preachers.

Now, in common sense language, this would just be called discrimination.  But, this is theology.  In theology, there is a need to take simple ideas and give them long titles.  We need to do that here.  The longer and more obscure the handle, the most importance it and the person using the term has.

The link comes up with a good one, hierarchical complimentarianism.  It means complimentarianism is assigned to the flock by the church hierarchy.

I wonder if there has ever been a study done by those branches of Christianity who discriminatie against women to determine if women are really unfit for clergy positions.  That is, there are hundreds of women serving as clergy in other denominations.  Do they do as good a job as men, or not?

If they do, it would be simple for the current demoninations practicing hierarchical complimentarianism to simply pray and hear back from the Almighty, “You are wrong. Change now.”


43 Responses

  1. Michael Ross

    Sorry for the length of this comment. I have submitted this to the PC Forum but Too long and controversial. Can’t blame them , they have published many that I thought would be rejected for length and content but this is just a bit over-the-top. I’sure you would all agree.

    “40 Days for Life” Campaign: Heart’s right, focus wrong

    “We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged. We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles.”
    ~Dr. James Dobson, 2009 farewell speech upon retiring as president of Focus on the Family

    Two of those battles are against the abortion industry and militant homosexuality and now gay “marriage”. The right to life movement has just marked 40 years since Roe Vs. Wade and 60 million legal abortions. Millions of evangelicals, Catholics, and other pro-moral Americans have spent time, money, picketing, demonstrating, educating, being jailed, and otherwise sacrificing for the unborn, all to no avail. There is nothing to indicate any type of major victory in the foreseeable future. Locally, at the Red River Women’s Clinic in downtown Fargo, Right-to Lifers are marking an annual “40 Days for Life” campaign with a day and night vigil in an ongoing attempt to drawn attention to the pro-life cause. Echoing Dr. Dobson’s 2009 sentiments one activist call the results “disheartening”, stating “I thought it would have been gone by now”, In reference to the Roe v. Wade decision. Likewise, the gay rights movement, which marked its beginning in 1969, has achieved one victory after another with Minnesota being the latest state capitulate, making a dozen states to legalize gay “marriage”. And now the Supreme Court has ruled for the federal government and according to Romans 1:32, has pronounced a death sentence on America. What was once called perversion, we now call “marriage”. We are in uncharted moral decadence with this one. Never before in history has homosexual relationships been termed “holy matrimony”, even being sanctioned by some churches. Moreover, we have knowingly reelected a president that openly supports this perverted arrangement.

    How did this happen? If Christ has taken all authority on earth and has delegated that authority to His Church (Matthew 28:18-20) then it is Christians that should set the moral climate for their civilization. How have we failed so miserably? Why have we lost these battles . . . or should I say battle? Homosexuality and abortion are very much same issue. That is the confusion in and rejection of biblical roles for men and women. Think about it. Abortion is the ultimate rejection of a women’s role of being a helpmeet to her husband by bearing and nurturing his children. Homosexuality is the ultimate confusion in sexual orientation, men relating to men and women to women romantically and sexually. Where and how has the church failed in showing the world the way, the truth, and the life?

    Some of the clearest mandates in the New Testament concerning roles are for male headship and female subordination, in the home, the church, and the church being a pattern for society:

    “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”(Ephesians 5:22-24)
    “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” (I Corinthians 14:34, this is in reference to women raising doctrinal issues in the assembly of the church)
    “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11-14)

    Christians are too embarrassed to declare these principles, teach them in our churches and practice them in our homes. If the truth cannot be proclaimed in church among believers what hope is there for the world? We see the results every day in the abortion mills, gay pride, parades, and gay “marriage”. Also, over 100 young women have come home in body bags from Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the Pentagon has declared female soldiers eligible for frontline combat duty. It begins with gender confusion in headship and subordination.

    Why should this be so difficult and offensive? We find headship and subordination in the Trinity. The Son does the will of the Father: “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” (John 6:38). The idea here is that if being the subordinate member was good enough for Jesus it should be good enough for Christian women.

    Is this just a trivial matter? Hardly, this is as foundational as any principle in the scriptures, going all the way back to Eden and the fall of man: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife” (Genesis 3:17) God charged Adam. The headship/subordination relationship with the “first Adam” got turned around and mankind was lost. The headship/subordination relationship with the “Second Adam”, the Lord Jesus Christ, stayed in its proper order, and mankind was redeemed.

    In the New Testament the apostle Paul could not have made it clearer: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (Titus 2:3-5). Want to know why Christ, His Church, and His Word are being mocked and laughed at? There you have it.

    Is this why the right to life and traditional marriage efforts have failed? As terrible as abortion and rampant homosexuality are, they are only symptoms, symptoms of gender confusion. As long as Christians battle for symptoms and ignore real underlying issues, the battle will continue to be lost.

    1. I am so very glad you don’t make the rules. The idea that gender confusion over what you see as the proper roles of men and women is the basis for everything you dislike in the 21st century is pure bunkum. If only women stayed in their place, everything would be perfect. Do you realize how idiotic this sounds? Surely you must. Others have made similar arguments in the past. The “horseless carriage” would never take the place of the horse, said some. What? Flying machines? Never. Society has moved on from your argument so long ago it is difficult to understand how you can still insist on it. Your position on this issue is a lost cause. Please do yourself a favor and move on.

      1. entech

        It has been clearly demonstrated in places like Africa and India that the way to a prosperous community is to educate the women and lend (not give, a sensible loan) them the finance to start some enterprise. Barefoot and pregnant as Michael and others of that ilk espouse is the best way to keep the community in poverty and ignorance.

    2. Formerly Fargo Bob

      Speaking as a rampant, militant homosexual who recently legally married his partner of twenty-five years, I for one am glad that we scare the you-kn0w-what out of people like Michael. Sorry, but long gone are the days where Michael can spout his anti-gay bigotry and misogyny, wrap it in his religion and avoid any criticism. His antiquated views regarding his fellow human beings show very clearly why we shouldn’t follow the teachings meant for a society that existed thousands of years ago. For Michael the New Testament isn’t summed up as “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” but rather “God clearly likes me best. The rest of you just have to suck it up.”

    3. Michael 3:41 I’m glad you felt you could publish your essay here, even though the Forum would not. Obviously, I don’t agree with you, but your views need to be included because they represent others as well as you.

      1. Michael Ross

        Thanks Jon and again I apologize for its length. I’m only trying to be true to the scriptures as I understand them. Mac once commented on a Forum article that I held to my beliefs and the authority of the Word. He thought that was commendable even though he disagreed. By the way, what has become of him? We haven’t seen a comment or his blog in a long time.

  2. entech

    Well there it is. If you have doubts that the Bible as written by men for men there it is, the best indication yet that it is true. I do not mean men in any generic sense, I mean male men, making laws to suit themselves, and lay a bogus claim on their superiority.

    Whatever happened to Galatians 3:28.

    1. entech 4:31 “I do not mean men in any generic sense, I mean male men, making laws to suit themselves, and lay a bogus claim on the superiority.”

      So good, it needed to be repeated.

    2. I’m convinced that those who have to rely on biblical support for their masculinity are generally deficient in the actual commodity they so desperately seek. It’s a lot like men who suspect they have tendencies toward homosexuality but hate that fact doing much of the gay bashing.

  3. Michael Ross

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) Ah yes, the Emancipation Proclamation of the Christian woman. This does not speak to the role s of men and women in the church, family, or society. Only to our saving relationship in Christ. Wherever the New Testament speaks to this relationship of roles it always makes the distinction, Male Leadership, female subordination. Sorry if that offends you.

    1. entech

      If that is what you think you are entitled to your thoughts and feelings.
      What I does offend me is the concept that any of my fellow human beings in intrinsically inferior by reason gender, race, creed or any other reason. That individuals are different in their capabilities is frequently demonstrated.

      1. Michael Ross

        Am I inferior to my boss at work? I don’t think so. I do have a different function in the company, however..

    2. “male leadership, female subordination. Sorry if that offends you”

      Offends? It does a lot more than that. It’s against the laws of this country. And I thought you were a law-abiding citizen, Michael. In this regard, you have to realize that you espouse the most radical of radical viewpoints and the reason people edge away from you in polite conversational circles is that your viewpoints are truly 19th century. A social Luddite is a pariah who may find their circle of friends severely restricted. You have my sympathy.

  4. Catholic Dad


    Can you answer why you are limiting you comments to strictly, “Christian denominations” It is my understanding Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Mormon’s and many other religions do the same.

    I do not know why other religions do not allow it, but the Catholic church does not allow it due to the “Church’s living teaching authority has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.”

    To answer your question, I would say we have prayed, and got the answer. May I ask the same of you, say a quick prayer, and ask God the question.

    Have a great day!

    1. Catholic Dad 12:03 Thanks for taking time to comment.

      Many others have complained that I discuss my grievances with Christianity while not discussing the same shortcomings of other religions. I don’t discuss other religions much because 1.) I limit my blogs to about 250 words and 2.) I don’t experience other faiths inserting themselves into our government and politics like I experience Christianity.

      On his latter item, it happened last night here in Fargo. A City Commissioner introduced a resolution to end discrimination against glbt citizens. A landlord opposed this because of something he called “family values”, a Christian code term for “our religion does not like homosexual sinners”. No one from the Jewish, Muslim, Buddist or Mormon faiths opposed this ordinance.

      I’d suggest all Christians pray to end the practice of inserting Christian beliefs into our laws and consequently into the lives of those who do not hold these beliefs.

      Thanks again for commenting. I hope you do so again.

      1. Ah, yes. It is perfectly OK to inject Christianity into laws, but if someone tried to insist on doing the same with other religious beliefs all hell would break loose. I do not understand why ultra-extreme Christians do not appreciate that. It is only by making the huge and unwarranted assumption that this country should have been a christian theocracy as extreme in its laws as any Muslim country that this is understandable. Obviously we are not a theocracy thanks to those pesky founding fathers.

        1. realist 2:16 “thanks to thos pesky founding fathers.”

          Indeed. They had the chance to put Christianity into government, the Bible as our laws and clergy as our governing body. But, they took a pass on all that and left those of us headed for hell with a voice. Such a mistake. 🙂

      2. StanB

        Jon, we shall see what happens when a Muslim landlord is confronted by an out homosexual couple. My guess is there isn’t too many Muslim landlords in Fargo.

        1. Stan 2:09 “Jon, we shall see what hapens when a Muslim landlord is confronted by an out homosexual couple.”

          I don’t know either. All I know is what actually happened Monday night. A Christian landlord complained about providing equal housing access to all. No Muslim complained.

          That’s why I write about Christianity here.

  5. Formerly Fargo Bob

    Catholic Dad is trying the old “Let’s deflect attention away from the outrageous and vile statements that Christians make” strategy. Does he really need to be reminded that we live in a country where Christians predominate and constantly try to inject their exclusionary beliefs into our secular laws? And it always amazes me how “God’s plan” magically seems to favor only people like himself – white, heterosexual Christian men. And yet people continue to believe that god made huge numbers of human beings who should be considered inferior to other human beings.

  6. Michael Ross

    After reading my post I’m sure many can imagine that I beat my wife senseless every night just to assert my dominance. In 29 years I have never laid a hand on her in anger. She would tell you that I am the most undominating man you could imagine. She is sometimes frustrated with me for being indecisive and wanting her to make the decisions. So I don’t really live up to my own beliefs. Not much of a man at all I’m afraid.

    1. So you’re saying that you don’t live up to your beliefs, but if you were to, you would make all the decisions. Is that right? You get no sympathy from me for your crocodile tears about not being much of a man. All of this is entirely in your control. The stupidity of your choice to believe a bunch of hooey is not negated by not being able to live up to your beliefs. You don’t have to believe it, in fact, I encourage you to work on not believing it because it is ill-founded. Role expectations in a marriage are generally hammered out by the individuals involved, not determined arbitrarily by some anachronistic belief system. Some couples find it to be beneficial to structure their marriages so that the woman works and the husband takes care of the kids. In many marriages true partnerships exist with each partner choosing to do what they are best at regardless of traditional roles. Your insistence that you do not beat your wife and therefore you have achieved some measure of success in your relationship with your wife is pathetic and, once again, I extend my sympathy, this time to your wife.

      1. Michael Ross

        “Some couples find it to be beneficial to structure their marriages so that the woman works and the husband takes care of the kids.”

        Are you married Realist? I didn’t think so. In this economy both “partners” have to work. Our ruling overlords have designed the economy to make marriage convoluted. No distinction in roles. Neither parent can stay home with the kids unless one has a 6-figure income. Every family is dysfunctional.

          1. Michael Ross

            ‘They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free ‘?”(John 8:33)

            The Jews in Jesus day said they were not enslaved. They were a Provence of Rome and paid homage and taxes to Caesar.

          2. entech

            Michael, Jews were not slaves, Roman Citizens as provincials and tax payers, They were actually recognised as a religion by Rome and as such had some protection. One needs to wonder in this case why they needed a saviour, as Yeshua didn’t save them from Rome he wasn’t their saviour, and why the Roman state would tear their temple to the ground and deport them all from their homeland, from that peaceful and loyal province. 😆

            When a few Jews became apostates and went off to start their own little cult, the Jesus movement, they lost the protection enjoyed by Jews as a religion recognised by the state and became a bunch of atheist and fit subjects for persecution. A habit that seems to have stuck until the modern day. Argue that their belief is not the only one in the world, that only about a third follow their system, that it is unknown what proportion of that are “in name only”, and even worse to suggest that their beliefs in all their mutually exclusive varieties is not the one and only truth – is persecution 🙄 , persecution is the pilgrim fathers, the Puritans who escaped Europe to escape persecution, hanging Quakers. It is also a pretty good redefinition of hypocrisy.

            Incidentally, re your quote, Arabs are descendants of Abraham too, more so than the Americans who are, in the main, of European or African descent. Although there are some that same we are all from some form of common descent, how does that fit in?

          3. Michael Ross

            That’s what slavery is, heavy taxation. Working for master. Does he take a whip to your back? Don’t pay and see what happens. As best as I can tell, 3 Quakers (and 19 witches) were executed in New England by Puritans. They took their religion seriously. They could have stayed in Rhode Island and practice religious tolerance but kept returning to Massachusetts. Almost like antagonizing the puritans, wanting to be martyrs. I believe this was a grievous error on the part of the Puritans but to you its the greatest holocaust in human history. Far greater than officially Atheists Stalin (30 million), Mao (60 million), Pol Pot (half the population of Cambodia), Not mention 60 million U.S. abortions. Not religion or atheism but human nature. Seems to me that religous convictions do be better job of restraining, don’t you think?

          4. entech

            All of the things you mention were and/or are wrong, Stalin was an evil man as was Pol Pot does this give some kind of retrospective absolution or minimisation of culpability to the Puritans or the Inquisition? Does it make a difference to discuss the matter of level of wrongdoing? I would say if your take that relativistic approach you would need to say that one murder in the name of God was more sinful than a million if the name of a non-god, you cannot claim God as a morals giver and say that atheists cannot have a moral idea and then equate the morality of them both.

            wanting to be martyrs Well that disposes of the complaints about the persecution and martyrdom of the early Jesus Movement and Christianity. Let us have no more complaints or even references.

            Seems to me that religous convictions do be better job of restraining, don’t you think? No, many evil things are done in the name of religion, of defending (my version of ) the one and only truth. The Islamic extremists are doing their best to catch up, and more is done by Shia against Sunni and vice versa than aginst infidels. Or perhaps you don’t count Islam as a religious conviction, is only your particular belief system eligible? If so you are well on the road yourself.
            “There has been more blood shed in the name of the prince of peace than any kingdom this world has known.”
            Montefiore, Archbishop of Birmingham

            The death of a few in Boston hardly constitutes a holocaust, to even use the word in that way is an insult to humanity, to the origins of your belief system, probably as low as it is possible to get.

  7. Brad

    Someday the right wingers are going to blame liberals for the beliefs and actions they are engaging in today.

    This is what they have done for every atrocity they have committed in the past. The only problem is that in the past they could always use the old southern conservative wing of the Democratic party to twist the truth by saying “the Democrats did it”. Now they don’t have that, so it will be interesting how they do it, but they will.

          1. Michael Ross

            Can’t tell who or what you are when you snipe at others in anonymity. Have the courage and conviction to identify yourself with what you say you believe.

    1. entech

      <i.#12 The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the entire globe by a very wide margin. Overall, the U.S. has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has 5 percent of the total global population. Men make up the vast majority of those that we are holding in our prisons.

      And all this in the most Christian nation on earth. ❓

      1. Wolfy32

        That’s because we don’t believe in harsh crimes like cutting one’s hand off for stealing, etc… Plus, The US has finally stopped overlooking sexual crimes of trusted authorities (school teachers, parishoners, etc)

        I’m not sure why the deviance though… Is it because of too many restrictions and men rebel by abusing others.. Or if it’s just that in a capitalistic society there’s more room for abuse/ victomization.

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