Gerald Hiestand recently wrote a review of How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership (Zondervan) for The Gospel Coalition. He makes the point that the book serves “a useful purpose for complementarians who desire to better understand the existential angst that drove their egalitarian brethren beyond the complementarian fold.” His takeaway is four suggestions as to how complementarians can address that “existential angst.”
The common objection raised against Hiestand’s review was, “Do we need to address the egalitarian existential dilemma? Isn’t Scripture enough?” For Protestants, that’s a fair question. Scripture is sufficient and, for complementarians, it is clear about matters concerning women in ministry. However, the existential dilemma for egalitarians is real and complementarians should not be too dismissive.
Let me clarify what I mean by “existential dilemma.” I don’t have in mind the angst of Jean Paul Sartre, but rather, that complementarianism is unsatisfying to egalitarians. It doesn’t make sense of reality to some. A woman could say, “I am gifted at teaching and preaching. Why would God give me these gifts and desires if I’m not supposed to use them? There must be a different explanation for the restrictive passages in the Bible.” Or there’s the argument that, “Evangelicals have been on the wrong side of justice issues before, such as slavery. How are we sure that we’re not on the wrong side of the women-in-ministry debate?” Pastors should take these concerns seriously and labor to answer them appropriately.
I find John Frame’s “tri-perspectivalism” helpful here. For Frame, …