Egality

5:19 PM

Egalitarianism. It’s not about egos or eagles. The root word is French—and it’s about equality. The technical definition of egalitarianism is the belief of humanity being equal—racial equality, gender equality, equality of the poor and rich, the peasants and the patricians. Good stuff. Who wouldn’t want to be an egalitarian?

But I want to talk about Christian egalitarianism, specifically Christian gender egalitarianism. (Isms. Wow.) At its core, egalitarianism is innocent—yes, we’re all equal in God’s sight; absolutely, there is “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female” for we are Christ’s. Absolutely. If affirming that means being an egalitarian, then I’m all for it.

It’s trickier than that, though, because when we talk about equality, we’re dealing with slippery terms. What’s equal? What’s fair? Who defines both? When it comes to race, the Bible is unequivocally clear that all are descendants of Adam. We get his sin and his image, regardless of skin color or place of birth. We’re equal before God, and the difference is not in our worth.

The Bible is equally clear about gender. It’s just gotten muddied up by well-intentioned Christians who apply “equality” with such a broad brush that it blurs distinctions. I know it’s PC to just accept egalitarianism and try to tweak it to fit in with the Bible. It’s so much easier to get along through life without squishing toes.

But the fact is, egalitarianism defines my life—or what I should be. It deals with who I am as a girl. It talks about my inherent worth. It sets my goals. It colors how men view me. I have been so deeply affected by egalitarianism; and it’s stepped on my toes long enough.

We better get it right.

Equality. Define it. An egalitarian defines equality as equal in standing and calling. To wit, God doesn’t degrade women for being women and reward men for being men: they’re equal. He loves womanhood and He loves manhood for what they are. But then egalitarianism blurs what “woman” means, what “man” means. It takes manhood and womanhood out of a moral context. And that leaves women defining what woman is and men defining what man is. If you ain’t happy with it, tough.

Now I don’t think it’s true that all egalitarians are hardcore feminists. All feminists are egalitarians, to be sure, but egalitarians in general don’t have any opinion on roles. Feminism, if you can believe it, puts manhood and womanhood in a moral context—or, well, a context where women are belittled for staying home, loving family and sacrificing for their man and men are belittled, period. Feminism takes a stand on who women are and should be. It’s opposite, complementarianism, also takes a stand—a radically different stand, I must say, but both are stands nonetheless. Egalitarianism floats its boat through the middle—“Sure, honey, work if you like, stay home if you like, be whatever you like. Doesn’t matter to me.”

But folks, it does matter. It matters so much.

See, women need vision. (Caveat: Everyone needs vision. And you cant buy it at Walmart.) We need purpose. We need to know who we are, why we are and where we’re going. Especially in the marriage relationship, we need to know what makes us woman and what makes men men—and then we can go from there.

Girls, think about this for a moment. We’ve been indoctrinated with a brand of “equality” to the point where we don’t even know who we are. Have you ever wondered why you were made female? Have you ever wondered if that made a difference? Would you be the same, would you have the same goals and purpose if you were male? Egalitarians say no. God says yes. He said it was very good—both male and female, completing each other to form Mankind.

And if God says something is good...do I need to even point this out?

I appreciate egalitarianism in its effort of encouraging equality, of encouraging equal worth for both sexes. But when equal worthmeans giving up our worth and molding us into a genderless person, when it means denying the intrinsic design of our different bodies and natures—thats where I take issue.

We’re okay with talking about differences in the sexes and all that good stuff, but we’re not willing to define the difference. We’re too afraid of putting women in boxes. We’re too afraid that Gods Word is too politically incorrect for the twenty-first century.

I don’t believe in a God of boxes—just a God of principle. The circumstances change, but the principles, never. We’ve really got to stop pretending that God created a free-for-all in the gender department and then blesses whoever has the most heart and passion and talent. What God creates, He governs. And that’s good.

Egalitarianism? Its time you got a backbone.

(And that’s called complementarianism. *wink*)

You Might Also Like

10 impressions

  1. Thank you, I enjoyed your pithy style:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. And they all said "amen" and a few other things as well.

    I was so tempted to leave a nasty anonymous comment - but ye are saved from that. So I'll live a nice un-anonymous comment instead. :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Patriarchy has no basis until complementarianism is established.

    Or so it works in my form of reasoning. ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, women and men are definately and wonderfully different! When we get away from biblical woman and manhood, things get twisted. T-W-I-S-T-E-D.

    :)

    Anna

    ReplyDelete
  5. Interesting. I've never thought about it that way, but I gotta say I agree. Well said Bailey!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very true! I am new to your blog, and I love your passion for God and for truth. :) Thanks!

    <3 Justine

    ReplyDelete
  7. You say: "We’re okay with talking about differences in the sexes and all that good stuff, but we’re not willing to define the difference. We’re too afraid of putting women in boxes."
    From the Bible, define the difference you speak of: What should I, a single woman, be/do that men should not? I admit a difference in male and female plumbing, in average size and in average strong and weak points as easily as you do. But if you believe God defines gender beyond that, tell me what gender-oriented tasks or vision is meant for me, a single woman, but not for a man. Use the relevant Bible texts to show me God's principles for me, that does not count for men.
    If you need clarification of the question, read here: http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/question-to-complementarians-what-is-my-gender-role/
    As long as nobody can define that, I can, on principle, not be a complementarian. If someday I can actually see male and female gender roles (as opposed to mere marriage roles) in the Bible, I can ask God's spirit to help me understand if the roles explained to me are the correct interpretation.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, Retha! I no longer believe in what I wrote here because of your exact point: WHERE does the Bible clearly define what men and women can and cannot do? Yes, there are specific emphases for husbands/fathers and wives/mothers, but for men and women in general? Nope. Just the call to follow Christ and make disciples.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sorry, Bailey. I see I reacted to a very old article. I, too, have some old ideas on mostly my Afrikaans (my mother tongue) blog that I don't quite agree with any more. But they were part of developing my thinking, I'd rather say I don't believe everything I used to than to delete them.

    ReplyDelete

Hit me with your best thought! I'm very interested in your unique perspective. If you'd like to discuss things in private, feel free to email me! :)