An Open Letter To Egalitarians -- By: Wayne Grudem

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 03:1 (Mar 1998)
Article: An Open Letter To Egalitarians
Author: Wayne Grudem


An Open Letter To Egalitarians

Wayne Grudem

Here Are Six Questions That Have Never Been Satisfactorily Answered

Dear Egalitarian Friends,

We know that many of you within the evangelical world hold your views because you have been convinced that egalitarianism is what the Bible teaches. You tell us that our differences on male and female roles are just differences in interpretation, and that Bible believing Christians can honestly and fairly interpret the Bible to support complete equality in most or all roles for men and women in the family and the church. You say that you are sincere in adopting your views not because of modern cultural pressures but because you think that the Bible itself supports your position. In response to this, we want to say that we appreciate your sincerity in these matters and we believe that you are telling us the truth about your motives.

There are, nevertheless, certain questions of fact that come up frequently in your writings. We focus on these specific questions in this letter because they do not involve detailed arguments about interpretation, but involve only matters of factual data. We are simply asking to see the evidence that has convinced you about certain key interpretations of Scripture passages. If you can point out this evidence to us, then we will be able to understand more fully how you have come to your understanding of key passages. But if you cannot point out this evidence, and if no one among you can point out this evidence, then we respectfully ask that you reconsider your interpretations of these passages.

Here Are Our Questions:

1. kephalē: Where the Bible says that the husband is the “head’’ (kephalē) of the wife as Christ is the “head’’ (kephalē) of the church (Eph. 5:23), and that the head of the woman is the man (1 Cor. 11:3), you tell us that “head’’ here means “source’’ and not “person in authority over (someone).’’ In fact, as far as we can tell, your interpretation depends on the claim that kephalē means “source without the idea of authority.’’

But we have never been able to find any text in ancient Greek literature that gives support to your interpretation. Wherever one person is said to be the “head’’ of another person (or persons), the person who is called the “head’’ is always the one in authority (such as the general of an army, the Roman emperor, Christ, the heads of the tribes of Israel, David as head of the nations, etc.) Specifically, we cannot find any text where person A is cal...

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