Since the summer of 2015 I have been fervently seeking out God’s heart for women – our roles in church, society, marriage, etc. I have studied Scripture, read blogs, listened to teaching from both sides of the argument and have come to the conclusion that it is God’s will for men and women to be equal. I believe equality is God’s best for men and women. This blog is not going to be a post about why I am an egalitarian – that will come eventually. This post is to share some stories from some amazing people who have discovered God’s heart for equality and invite you into their personal stories.
Over the last year I have spoken with many individuals about their journey into understanding God’s heart for equality for women and men. Many of them are women that have come out of severely oppressive backgrounds, some are men that understand God’s heart for women and the role women play in the Kingdom. Many of these individuals have come from oppressive religious backgrounds, some have come from homes where women serve men and where women are forced into roles based on the fact that they are women and should fulfill “womanly” roles and men are forced into roles simply because they are men and these are “manly” roles.
I asked some of them what their journey into “egalitarianism” has looked like. Here are some of their stories, experiences, thoughts. A couple names have been changed because the speaker would like to remain anonymous.
“I grew up in a fundamentalist Orthodox Presbyterian Church, where as a young girl it was made clear to me that my options in life were marriage, motherhood, and maybe midwifery, if I desired a “career.” Sexism was nearly a tenant of the faith, as the vast majority of sermons were directed solely at men, with an admonishment to the women to be supportive of their husbands’ “calling” tacked on at the end.
By the age of 15, I was a functioning atheist. For me, egalitarianism in the church is not something that enhanced my faith. Egalitarianism saved my faith. When I discovered that the way Jesus lived was radically inclusive of women, my life changed. Simply put, without egalitarianism, I wouldn’t be a Christian today. ”
Rebecca Hauer / rebeccahauer.com
“I’m a feminist and a Christian because Jesus was a feminist. For around four years I studied and wrestled with complimentarian dogma and passages of terror in my beloved Word. I struggled to reconcile the Savior who knew me so intimately and the passages I was reading that seemed to undermine everything I believed about Him in my bones. After lots of tears and angry prayers God slowly began to lead me back to Him, as only He can. He showed me how He died on the tree for domestic abuse, for the millions of girls trafficked, raped, for the young girls who are mutilated and married too young. He showed me the virgin who birthed Him, the lineage of fierce women that preceded him, the faithful women at the cross who were with Him until the end, who were first to know he had risen. The women who he healed, saved and protected. The women he anointed to lead and teach. That’s what a feminist looks like.”
“My primary goal has been to write a parenting blog; however because American parenting norms often reinforce rape culture and unknowingly foster abusive environments I find myself gravitating toward feminist topics. I spent about 12 years as a member of an ultra-conservative cult. As I’ve been unpacking what was stuffed into my brain, I find that much of what is taught in conservative circles, right or wrong, creates a petri-dish environment for male entitlement, sexual aggression and secretive abuse. In my effort to raise my two daughters to be great women of God, I have been exploring what it means to raise daughters with equality and liberation in mind. Wouldn’t it be amazing if our daughters never had the idea to begin with that they belonged to another human? This requires social de-programming for a lot of dads who have been told that a woman’s body, person and sexuality belong to a man, her father, husband, king, owner, or clergy. Some man, but never to her. We must shake this entitlement mindset, and I’m convinced that starts with Dads.’
At one point i realized i have to decide what i would believe as a woman either God loves me or hates me because in inequality or as they say complementarity or one sided submissiveness is no love its nothing but slavery. So those are only two options besides the third in which there is no God. So if there is any hope or love i have to stick with the belief the original purpose was equality and the rest is consequence of fall if we don’t strive for the original purpose then we only perpetuate the consequences of sin. If comps are right there is no hope. I am not 100 % sure what i believe or if i do at all because comp church has become such hostile place. There is sometimes more safety for women in secular societies sadly.
“In 2nd Peter 2:5-9 we read about what many refer to as the “Priesthood of All Believers”. We see echoes of this in Revelation 1:4-6, and again in Revelation 5:9-10. Both passages in Revelation talk of people being redeemed by the blood of Christ as being made into a kingdom of priest. This is also a part of the covenant that God gave to Israel in Exodus 19:6 where He said, “you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Anyone who is covered by the blood of Christ is a priest in the Kingdom of God. This is why Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”. The priesthood is not for a select few, or a certain sex. It’s not just for 50% of the Christian population. It is for all. This is why I am Egalitarian.”
“There has never been a time in my life where I have not believed in the abilities, intellect, and giftings of women in ministry. Our role, collectively, is vital and essential. Women are strong, smart, intuitive, and nurturing, and we complement males in that we each consider possibilities the other may have overlooked. Equality in ministry is not merely a heated topic for discussion; rather, it is the essential fabric of a God-designed tapestry that would not display its combined function and beauty without both women and men serving. Women preach, teach, prophecy, officiate, intercede, evangelize, counsel, and pastor, and will continue doing so until Christ’s return. There is no place for misogyny in the body of Christ. May He empower each of us—women and men alike—to do His will and change this world for Him until that day.”
Lori Erickson Trump / twitter.com/lori_trump
I grew up within a very conservative, very complementarian community. In high school, my family fell apart due to my father’s pornography addiction and I began to question this version of Christianity. When I saw TWO of the teachers from my small, private, Baptist school arrested for sexual relations with minors the doubts grew. Jesus says that we will know followers of Him by their fruit. The fruits that I saw of complementarianism brought nothing but destruction. And by God’s grace, when I was at the brink of throwing off every last bit of Christianity, God met me. He showed me His better way; a way of mutual submission and equality. A way of freedom and of everyone equally laying down their lives for each other. The fruit of that? I’ll say this: I now taste and see that the Lord is good!
“After leaving the sheltered, unrealistic bubble of my small Southern Baptist university I realized the oppressive nature of the patriarchal faith I was used to was unsustainable. It left me riddled with anxiety and at a loss on how to relate and navigate being a Christian in the real world. I began calling myself a Christian Feminist when I drew closer to the spirit of the Lord and his plan for my life. For me, feminism fills in the gaps in Christianity that patriarchal oppression holds open. I call myself a Christian Feminist because until being a Christian is synonymous with caring for the other half of the image of God we all need feminist faith.”
I grew up in an egalitarian world, always knowing I was called to serve the Lord in some sort of ministry, and never questioning whether or not my gender was relevant to that calling. After college, I found myself enrolling in an evangelical seminary, and taking a ministry job at an independent evangelical church. For the first time in my life I met people who didn’t believe I should be in ministry, simply because I am female. For the first time in my life I heard people say things like “male headship” and “spiritual headship.” For the first time in my life, there were people who thought I shouldn’t preach from the pulpit, or serve communion, or take the same classes they were taking. It shook me. I respected many of these people, and I wanted to be Biblical. I wanted to be Godly. I dove into the issue of women in ministry, hoping to find truth, and to follow whatever that truth was. I was not seeking to pastor a church at the time, and would have been willing to step into whatever “role” God had designed for me. I wasn’t out to prove anything, or validate myself, only to find truth. I read and studied on both sides. I read arguments and counter arguments. I looked at the Greek and Hebrew. I was lucky to take classes with egalitarian professors, including Catherine Kroeger, one of the founders of Christians for Biblical Equality, as well as many classes with well-known complementarian professors. At the end of the day, the egalitarian reading of scripture rang with more truth than any other. For me it was more logical, and fit best into the entirety of scripture and the larger picture of God’s redemption plan. The Holy Spirit guided me through that journey, and God continued to nudge me towards the ministry calling on my life, even while complementarian men and women insisted it was wrong. But every argument they presented seemed to have a different answer that was more Godly, more Biblical, more sound, and brought more peace. So in the end, I’m an egalitarian, because that’s where the Holy Spirit has led me.
I hope this gave courage to some, hope for others, and encouragement to everyone.
For those of you seeking out God’s Word on the topic of equality for women I highly suggest the following: