The “Difference” Between “A and Not-A”: An Analysis of Alleged “Word Tricks” and Obfuscations -- By: Adam Omelianchuk

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 20:1 (Winter 2006)
Article: The “Difference” Between “A and Not-A”: An Analysis of Alleged “Word Tricks” and Obfuscations
Author: Adam Omelianchuk


The “Difference” Between “A and Not-A”:
An Analysis of Alleged “Word Tricks” and Obfuscations

Adam Omelianchuk

ADAM OMELIANCHUK resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is a freelance writer who works for a Christian drug treatment center; he is working toward his degree in philosophy from the University
of Minnesota.

In terms of gender, language is very important. Words carry connotations and definitions of key concepts that ultimately delineate the point one is trying to make. Since the topic of gender is very broad, it requires very precise language with very precise meanings so writers will not be misunderstood. One author expressively makes this clear in an 850-page polemic against egalitarianism entitled Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth (EFBT).1

The author addresses “Egalitarian Claim 10:6,” that reads, “If female subordination is based on who a woman is (as female) rather than her ability or choice, then it is subordination in essence. Therefore the Complementarian position leads to the conclusion that women are lesser beings.”2 He then cites a paragraph from Rebecca Merrill Groothuis’ Good News For Women:

Regardless of how hierarchalists try to explain their situation, the idea that women are equal in their being, yet unequal by virtue of their being, is contradictory and ultimately nonsensical. If you cannot help but be what you are, and inferiority in function follows inexorably from what you are, then you are inferior in your essential being…. A permanent and comprehensive subordination based on a person’s essence is an essential (not merely functional) subordination.3

The author then responds in dissent that such a case is only subordination in function, not being. He restates the complementarian position as equality in being (in the sense of equal value, honor, personhood, and importance) with differences in authority and reiterates that greater or lesser authority does not imply an “inferior function” nor a “superior function,” just a “different function.”4

The author goes on to suggest that Groothuis states the complementarian position in a misleading way by using the words “equal” and “unequal” with different meanings. He argues that, if her sentence were reworded to represent the complementarian position fairly, it would read, “the idea that women are equal in value and honor and personhood but unequal in authority ...

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