The New Covenant And Egalitarianism -- By: Bruce A. Baker
JODT 12:37 (Dec 2008) p. 27
The New Covenant And Egalitarianism
Pastor, Jenison Bible Church;
Ph.D. student, Baptist Bible Seminary
The role of women in the church and the home has become one of the most debated issues of recent Christianity. The war of words revolving around this topic, particularly as it relates to the offices of the church, has been public and often contentious. Time referred to this upheaval as “the second reformation.”1 Advocates for expanded roles for women opine that this issue could possibly represent one of “Christendom’s great and historic transformations.”2
Whether or not this proves to be true is yet to be seen. Nevertheless, if one were to evaluate this statement based solely on the gallons of ink dedicated to the egalitarian position, it is clear where the smart money would go. Thomas Schreiner, a complementarian,3 recently expressed his frustration at the deluge of articles and books dedicated to advancing this transformation.
Sometimes I wonder if egalitarians hope to triumph in the debate on the role of women by publishing book after book on the subject. Each work propounds a new thesis that explains why the traditional interpretation is flawed. Complementarians could easily give in from sheer exhaustion, thinking that so many books written by such a diversity of authors could scarcely be wrong. 4
While one can easily empathize with Schreiner, a careful review of the literature reveals that there are surprisingly few arguments that are genuinely new.5 Indeed, the majority of the arguments offered in defense of the egalitarian position are entirely predictable.
JODT 12:37 (Dec 2008) p. 28
Theology Of Ministry
Many egalitarians simply dismiss the testimony of Scripture as mere social constructs. Lillian Klein, for example, assumed that the Bible was “created by educated men in positions of authority and power.”6 Therefore, the Scripturally mandated distinctions between men and women found their origins, not in the mind of God, but in the sinful propensities of mankind.
It seems safe to conclude that, in general, constraints on women are created by physically dominant males. Physical dominance leads, sooner or later, to psychological dominance, whereby the woman accepts her place as dominated and cooperates in it. Female acceptance of male do...
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