A Travelogue of the Interior

faith questions

The Core of the Issue


The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the Christian version of a think tank for all the ways in which female subordination can be argued from the Bible and applied to 21st century living, recently posted an article positing that God’s sovereign will for women is eternal submission to men.

The post garnered a bit of attention from the blogsphere, particularly because it smacked of Mormon theology. The article was thus hastily removed from the CBMW Website, although you can still find it online and you can read an example of the critique here.

What strikes me is that the CBMW article gets right to the central question for the discussion of gender roles in the home and church : the eschaton.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the future integrating of Heaven and Earth that God promises to complete, a work that began with the Incarnation of Jesus and that will eventually bring Shalom to the entire created order.

Think of it this way: Genesis and the eschaton form bookends of the epic story of God and God’s people. If you think Genesis establishes female submission as God’s perfect choice for the created order, you will of necessity conclude that this model must continue to be God’s perfect choice for the created order in the eternal future, and so it ought to be modeled in the here and now as a way of illustrating God’s perfect creation.

If on the other hand, you believe that Genesis establishes a partnership of equals between males and females, you will conclude that the fundamental relationship between men and women was broken by sin early on, establishing a hierarchy with men at the top and women subordinate, and that part of God’s eschatological shalom will be returning men and women to equal standing, side by side as it were, partners in God’s world. If you take that one step further to the idea that as Christians, our job in the here-and-now is to bring Heaven to Earth, to be an outpost for God’s shalom now while we wait for the not-yet Kingdom, then you understand why equality for women on a global scale is so important to those of us who call ourselves “egalitarian.”

It is not only about women’s rights. It is about God’s shalom covering the whole earth.


Author: karen d

Thinker, Dreamer, Traveler. Recovering Pharisee.

4 thoughts on “The Core of the Issue

  1. As your dear, dearly loved friend and soul-friend…I am curious why you continue to CARE what the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has to say? From everything you’ve said and written, you clearly find their writings deplorable. So, isn’t it time to STOP CARING what they write??? Might help you sleep better at night… just a thought. 🙂 Love you!


    • Hi stessie! In the case of this article, I find it rare when complementarians like cbmw actually admit to the logical implications of their theology, hence my desire to draw attention to it. As you and I both agree, ideas matter, and theology matters even more in terms of having actual impact in our lives. Generally you are correct tho to suggest I not bother paying attention to them — and in fact I don’t, as I find them increasingly irrelevant in the larger discussio. I came across this article elsewhere. As to caring about the issue, as I said in my closing comment to this post, I simply feel like there is a lot more freedom to be had for many women in Christ (particularly in this case affluent westerners — non westerns and poor women can’t afford complementarian theology) and that matters to me. My own freedom and how much a change in this area theologically has done for my health and spiritual development makes me more than just someone who passively cares; it makes me an advocate,.


  2. Did you have a chance to read Jimmy Carter’s new book: Call Action Women Religion Violence?
    Haven’t read it myself, but I would I would be interested to hear your opinion on it.

    His subject matter seems to overlap partially with yours, where it concerns the (unequal) position of women in religious cultures.


    • Hi Jona! We can’t wait to see you guys soon! I haven’t yet read Jimmy Carter’s book but it’s on the list. I think his agenda is right on target — using his stage to call Christians globally to stop using the Bible as a weapon to keep women in their place. Such a position is incompatible with the arc of Scripture — obviously many would argue against that position, but I side with Jimmy 🙂


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