The Logic of Equality -- By: Adam Omelianchuk
PP 22:4 (Autumn 2008) p. 25
The Logic of Equality
ADAM OMELIANCHUK is graduating this fall from Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a degree in Christian Ministry. He currently resides in Minneapolis and works for Minnesota Teen Challenge.
On an Internet discussion in which I participated, one hierarchist stated essentially that women should not be encouraged to preach because, by doing so, they would “dishonor God.” Indeed, this conclusion is entailed by the patriarchal position: according to God’s creational ordinance, a woman is forbidden the “role” whereby she might speak publicly and authoritatively, particularly to men, about the gospel of Christ and the truths set forth in God’s word. This article will question the validity of this view and will argue for the conclusion that “complementarity without hierarchy” is the proper biblical interpretation.
No theology merely repeats the words of the Bible, for this would entail simply quoting Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Theology uses terms, phrases, and methods of organization other than the Bible’s own in order to communicate what is said in Scripture so that people may better understand its content and apply it to their lives. We engage in this project with certain philosophical presuppositions, including those pertaining to metaphysics, the human constitution, ethics, and logic. In this article, we will presuppose that (1) the laws of logic are universally and necessarily valid despite the fall1 and (2) the Bible is true and logical, and so rejects the possibility of a contradiction. This is a classic hermeneutical lens by which all inerrantists read and interpret the Bible. A literalist hermeneutic, on the other hand, does not pay attention to either (1) or (2), but opts to read biblical texts in a simple and “straightforward” fashion. Reading the Scripture theologically, however, rules out interpretations that are logically incoherent.
Hierarchists typically charge that the biblical equality position is not reasoned from Scripture, but from outside of it by the fallen, culturally conditioned human intellect. A key egalitarian argument maintains that, if men and women are intrinsically equal (as hierarchists affirm), then this logically rules out the assignment of an intrinsically equal person to a role of permanent and comprehensive subordination based solely on an intrinsic quality (such as gender).2 Yet, this sound and solid argument does not impress the hierarchist. Looking to Scripture, he may not find it stated anywhere, and so concludes that it is not a biblical argument. H...
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