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Month: September 2006

Can complementarians agree to disagree?

Can complementarians agree to disagree?

I sent a copy of our DVD “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in February of 2006 and this summer I finally received a response. They have chosen at this point not to try to refute the video and have said that they will just agree to disagree. I think it is wonderful when Christians can have differing viewpoints and after working through their issues, at least agree to disagree. However in this case I am questioning whether that is really possible. I certainly can agree to disagree with them and still call them my brothers in Christ. However their position is that women who teach the bible to men are in sin. Can they agree to disagree when my brothers in Christ see me as living in unrepentant sin? I don’t think they have that option.

When you see your brother in sin, scripture tells us what to do if we see our brother or sister in sin:

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

So if one sees a Christian brother or sister in sin, they should try to restore that one to fellowship, right? Does this seem consistent with “let’s just agree to disagree?” What verse would one point to that agrees that sin is merely a matter of agreeing to disagree?

What about this one – scripture says that the one who is born of God will not continue living a lifestyle of sin.

1 John 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
1 John 3:6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

So if a Christian brother accuses a sister in Christ of sinning against God by teaching the Bible to men, how is it consistent with scripture to “agree to disagree” and see the “sinning” sister as part of the fellowship of the body of Christ? How can the one practicing sin as a lifestyle be held in fellowship?

I certainly want to be gracious about this and to respect CBMW’s position, but it seems inconceivable to me that an organization of Christian men dedicated to spreading the complementarian position and who sincerely believe that women are in sin for teaching the bible to men can ignore my request for dialogue. I have asked them for their comments on my exegesis and if they believe I am wrong then to show me where I am wrong. It’s a no go. They aren’t interested. They just want to “agree to disagree”. Hmm……. Is that scriptural?

Another complementarian Pastor responds

Another complementarian Pastor responds

I am preparing a talk on women in ministry partly based on questions and challenges presented to me by a complementarian Pastor from a large denomination which restricts women from teaching the bible to men. Here are excerpts that he gave regarding our DVD teaching series on Women in Ministry:

I want to say from the start that I was very impressed with the quality of your production and the depth of reasoning present in Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free? This is a well thought out treatment of this controversial issue of women in ministry… It would have been easy for you to fall into a derogatory and disrespectful and even an antagonistic tone in this production, but you did not stoop to this level and for that you are to be commended. The tone throughout was one of respectful disagreement and honorable treatment of those who differed from you in your position. That’s grace.,,, I learned some interesting things from your teaching [for example](your handling of 1 Corinthians 14) – This was well done and your reference to Jewish tradition was powerful in making your points. Could Paul’s reference to “the law” in verses 34-35 be referring to a quotation from Jewish tradition? You make a pretty persuasive case that it is… Again I want to commend you on your work. It is well done, rational and reasonable, temperate, well organized, and of high technical quality… I want to say in closing, Cheryl, you and all those who worked on this project have done a magnificent job in presenting your case. I thank you for allowing me to review your work. It stretched me and forced me to dig deep and seriously consider what I believed about this issue.

I appreciate this Pastor’s willingness to be open to have his position on the women’s issue biblically challenged. This Pastor also gave me a list of questions and challenges that he believed needed to be answered regarding issues outside the hard passages of scripture and thus not included in the material in the DVD itself. I have answered his questions point by point and right now we are still dialoguing.