X Close Menu

Men and Women in Ministry: An Introduction to the Debate

During my four years as a professor of theology at Wheaton College I served as the faculty sponsor for the College Complementarians, a group of young men and women committed to the principles of the Danvers Statement. I encourage you to read the latter document, which can be found at the website of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (www.cbmw.org).

On two occasions during my time at Wheaton, campus-wide forums were held addressing this debate on the role relationships of men and women in both church and home. At the first forum, I presented in summary fashion the foundational principles of Complementarianism and responded to Egalitarian concerns and objections. At the second forum, I addressed more specifically the issue of headship and submission and how they are expressed in a marital relationship.

I am making available the material that I developed for those presentations, plus a few other documents that I hope will help bring clarity to this on-going debate. These are not extensive or detailed studies, but consist of what I used as “talking points” for my interaction with the students and faculty who attended.

If you are interested in pursuing the debate in more detail, I encourage you to obtain two books that were released in November of 2004. They represent the best and most up-to-date research on this issue.

(1)Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy, edited by Ronald W. Pierce and Rebecca M. Groothuis (Downers Grove: IVP, 2004), 528 pp. This volume is a collection of essays by such scholars as Gordon Fee, Craig Keener, I. Howard Marshall, Peter Davids, Stanley Grenz, Roger Nicole, Kevin Giles, and Linda Belleville, just to mention a few. It is probably the best summary of the egalitarian perspective in print.

(2)Evangelical Feminism & Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More Than One Hundred Disputed Questions, by Wayne Grudem (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, 2004), 856 pp. This is Wayne Grudem’s magnum opus on the subject of complementarianism. I hope to provide a more extensive review of it at a later time. Suffice it to say that this volume asks and answers every question raised by the egalitarian perspective and seeks to address every relevant biblical text and hermeneutical principle.

If you want to delve deeply into this controversial topic, there is no better place to start than with these two volumes. Short of that, the material that I have provided is a brief summary of the primary issues at stake.