Patriarchy (from Greek: patria meaning father and arche meaning rule) is the anthropological term used to define the sociological condition where male members of a society tend to predominate in positions of power; with the more powerful the position, the more likely it is that a male will hold that position.
Last week, Tim Challies blogged a message by Ligon Duncan that said, “You cannot make a Christian disciple without addressing the issues of biblical manhood and womanhood.” Duncan said that as a complementarian, but I think both sides would say he is right here.
There are few issues more foundational to our identity than gender. And there are few issues in the church where there is more disagreement.
The problem is that too often those who talk about male and female roles are actually talking about “old fashioned” cultural norms, many of which are merely extensions of American culture. But you have to talk about biblical praxis by intersecting the Bible with culture…
I’ve written on my views elsewhere, but today, on International Women’s Day, it’s not my goal to debate the issue again. Instead, I want to do something higher and better.
Whatever your view on gender, this much is clear:
- Both men and women bear the image of God.
- Men and women are counterparts and need each other.
- Women have been, and continue to be used, by God in every position, including leadership roles.
- Jesus broke through the gender bias in revolutionary ways in his ministry.
- Men and women both are recipients of the gifts of God, and the first-century church struggled not with keeping women in their place, but how to keep a high view of women from blowing the movement apart within a patriarchal culture.
You can be complementarian and still, I think agree with everything I’ve written above.
If all that is true – and I think it is – today is a good day to think about what this means for our lives and ministries. It’s a day to put aside the finer points of the debate and realize that if we only lived what’s written above, it would radically change our lives and churches. And it’s time that happened, no matter where you stand in the debate.
It’s time to live what we believe.
More posts in this grid blog here.