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Opinion | Church

What You Don't Know About Complementarian Women

In her new book, Rachel Held Evans wants to put us all in one camp. Not so fast.

Earlier this year, when I listened to John Piper address pastors and argue for Christianity's "masculine feel," I was outraged.

Weeks later, when I picked up the book Junia Is Not Alone, in which Scot McKnight reclaims the story of Junia and other lost historical Christian women, I sobbed.

So it may come as a surprise that I am a complementarian. I believe that men—not women—are commissioned by God to lead churches and families. Raised Southern Baptist, I learned that women should submit to their husbands. My childhood home hummed with the principles of submission, although if Dad were to ask how much Mom had spent on the new drapes, I was not to tell.

I was first exposed to the diversity of Christian opinion about gender roles while in Christian college. I heard credible, convincing egalitarian interpretations of Ephesians 5 and 1 Timothy 2. Soon, I enthusiastically abandoned my (albeit confused) models of male headship. And so did my fiancé.

Egalitarianism "worked" for us in the early years of our marriage. But we eventually returned to complementarianism, and not for the reasons you might think. We did not return because we had trouble resolving arguments in the egalitarian mode. Instead, we read Scripture, and theological convictions took shape. We found ourselves asking whether we had rejected complementarian theology in order to accommodate our preferences.

It is this same suspicion of bias that Rachel Held Evans brings to her yearlong experiment in biblical ...

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