There's Value in Your Different
Complementarianism vs Egalitarianism
Do you ever feel like sometimes life doesn't treat you fair? Why do some people thrive and others struggle? Don't all people deserve equal rights? But yet, in a relativistic society, shouldn't those equal rights only matter if they benefit me, or give me some sort of advantage, or don't harm me in any immediate way?
Isn't this a similar perspective that has encouraged same-sex marriage to be allowed to those that desire monogamous relationships with someone of the opposite sex for the purpose of expressing and receiving love as the primary definition of marriage. Isn't this also the same defense used by a promiscuous woman desiring to terminate the pregnancy that was not in her plans for her future?
"I can be anything I want to be...even if that means changing from being a man or a woman....even if it means terminating the child in the womb." Why is there a drastic disagreement occurring in our society over equality for all in marriage and a woman's ability to have an abortion?
To try to better understand, let's take a look at two philosophical views of the relationship between man and woman.
Egalitarianism favors the equality for all people - fundamental worthy, social status. The ultimate goal of egalitarianism from a social philosophy is the removal of economic inequalities among people, or the decentralization of power. Positions of authority and responsibility in marriage, religion, business, etc. This is a big defense for same-sex marriage. We are all created equal.
Passages often used in the Bible to support egalitarianism: Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11.
Acts 4 argues for a unified core as the church. We are all given value in our similarities (i.e., the ability to love and be loved). Therefore, if our value is in our oneness, then same-sex marriage works because it is just two loving monogamous partners exemplifying a marriage covenant.
As we have learned that all people have value in being created in God's image, it is quite the noble thought to think we are all equal. In fact, we are! But that does not necessarily justify that we have equal roles, responsibilities and can do anything we want to do.
Many times the Bible expresses that we are not a group of unified rulers that are all equal in value AND responsibility, rather there is a King and we are a part of His Kingdom. I am not God, and God is not me. Though I am made in His image, I am grateful that I am not the ruler and creator of all things. Therefore, rather than me being the just judge over all existence determining right from wrong, there is an all powerful, omniscient God fully capable of filling that role. And by His grace, He has given me specific roles and responsibilities to give Him glory and point others to His goodness. There is value in our difference.
So let's try again to understand the value of people.
Complementarianism argues that men and women can have different but complementary roles and responsibilities. These responsibilities are often seen in marriage, family life, and religious leadership. Here is where a slight difference occurs between complementarianism and egalitarianism - according to Ligon Duncan, "God has created men and women equal in their essential dignity and human personhood, but different and complementary in function with male headship in the home and in the Church."
The relationship in marriage, and in parenthood are Biblically designed to present a model of Christianity to the world. When that model is disrupted, their purpose as a representation of Christianity is disrupted.
For instance, complementarianism models the Trinity. As mentioned by Jodi Ware in the article "Complementarianism in Gray Areas," "It is apparent the Father and the Son are equal in worth and value since each is fully God, yet they model a relationship marked by authority and submission in the roles they carry out as eternal Father and eternal Son. In the same way, men and women within the church are equal in worth and value even as the live out differing roles."
Owen Strachen further articulates this view in "Complementarianism as a Worldview" stating, "Here is the foundation for equality our culture lacks and desperately craves. The imago dei shows us that there is no competition between men and women, as our secularized society suggests. Men are not idiots by nature; women are not divas by nature. This does not mean that men and women are exactly the same. Though sharing much in terms of physiology, human experience, and spiritual life, the sexes are equal but different. Eve is called to be a 'helper' for Adam, and Adam clearly has the leadership role in their marriage (Genesis 2:21, 24).
We see a defense in the New Testament of complementarianism in Titus 2:5, 1 Timothy 5:14, Ephesians 5:22-33.
John Piper, speaking about complementarianism states, "When it comes to human sexuality, the greatest display of God's glory, and the greatest joy of human relationships, and the greatest fruitfulness in ministry comes about when the deep differences between men and women are embraced and celebrated as complements to each other. They complete and beautify each other."
An ultimate understanding of complementarianism shows, "there is an elegant symmetry in the complementarianism scheme. As in the Godhead, so in the home: distinction of role and personhood is no threat to love and dignity. As in the Godhead, so in the kingdom: men and women are alike a royal priesthood, performing meaningful service to Christ, advancing the Great Commission together (1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 28:16-20)" (Strachen, Complementarianism as a Worldview).
So when you break down the difference between egalitarianism and complementarianism, the purpose for Christians to defend the sanctity of marriage matters because the model of marriage is a depiction of God. Trying to change the rules on marriage is an attempt to change the values and qualities of God.
Each of us have been uniquely made and specifically created to reveal God's glory. In your essence, who you are is a created being yearning to give glory to the Creator. Any decision made that contradicts this design conflicts with a person's purpose. Our God is an infinite God and each one of us show glimpses of His qualities within us. We are all made different because our God has infinite qualities on display in all of us. Embrace that portion of who you are. Learn more of God and learn how to share your unique gifting with others. There is value in your different You are made in God's image and have qualities of Him to share with the world. There is value in your different!