The Genesis Of Confusion: How “Complementarians” Have Corrupted Communication -- By: Kevin Giles

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 29:1 (Winter 2015)
Article: The Genesis Of Confusion: How “Complementarians” Have Corrupted Communication
Author: Kevin Giles


The Genesis Of Confusion:
How “Complementarians” Have Corrupted Communication

Kevin Giles

Kevin Giles, an Australian, has served as an Anglican parish minister for over forty years. He has been publishing on the substantial equality of the sexes since 1975 and is a foundation member of CBE International. He holds a doctorate in New Testament studies and has published books on the church, church health, ministry in the apostolic age, the Book of Acts, gender equality and the Trinity, besides numerous scholarly and popular articles.

In the previous edition of Priscilla Papers, my article, “The Genesis of Equality,” outlined the prevailing view that the Bible’s opening chapters make substantial or essential equality of the two sexes the creation ideal, and that the subordination of women is entirely a consequence of the fall. I further noted that Pope John Paul II made this interpretation of Gen 1-3 binding on Roman Catholics. In this essay, I move on to discuss four key terms—“role,” “equality,” “difference,” and “complementary”—which “complementarians” consistently utilize to give a different interpretation of Gen 1-3 and of other biblical texts important to their cause. Again, I bring in the Roman Catholic voice to give a wider perspective.1

In the mid-1960s, I studied at Moore Theological College Sydney, a large, evangelical and Reformed seminary. In my four years there I became well-grounded in the Bible and learned to think theologically, thus equipping me for a lifetime of ministry and teaching the Bible. As a self-confident young man, I was delighted to learn that God had given “headship”/leadership to men. I enthusiastically became a “complementarian,” to use a term of more recent origin. I remained so for nearly ten years until, after months of careful study, I concluded that the case for women’s subordination rests primarily on one possible interpretation of one text (1 Tim 2:815), and this seemed insufficient ground for subordinating half the human race. Moore College still teaches male “headship”/leadership and is strongly opposed to the ordination of women.2 However, on reading their current “Vision, Mission and Values” statement, on the man-woman relationship one might not realize this. The statement says they believe in,

Gender Complementarity: Affirmation of the fundamental equality and mutual dependence of men and women as image bearers of God, while recognising proper differences in roles and responsibilities in life and Christian ministry.3...

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