Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"But, is it correct for a woman to debate? Is it correct for a woman to involve herself in theological argumentation?": My journey on seeking a balanced complementarianism

 

A dear friend of mine asked me the above question; that is, " Is it correct for a woman to debate? Is it correct for a woman to involve herself in theological argumentation?" Well, as a Bible-believing complementarian (+headcovering) sister in Christ, this has been my question for quite a while and I was so grateful that she opened up the subject and invited me to ponder this issue. Here was her thought;

According to my understanding, those are men's jobs as the leaders of the church. That's partly why a woman covers her head, because she is not the head, the authority, the leader. It doesn't mean she can't read books on those subjects, and discuss them with her close acquaintances and family--it doesn't mean she shouldn't be knowledgeable;

it does mean that she lets the men take responsibility for leading the church in those matters. And when I say church, I mean the body of believers, not the church as an organizational structure or as a building.

And then I shared her view with readers on my Japanese blog and welcomed them to give me feedback. Praise God, it turned out to be a very edifying and educational dialogue for all of us and it truly urged me to re-think and go deeper into the essence of Biblical womanhood. It also gave me a precious opportunity to re-examine our complementarianism with a fresh and critical spirit.

And I joyfully invite you all to share your thought with me regarding this question. As for me, I came to a slightly different conclusion than my dear friend and now I will tell you why.

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Although the Bible clearly forbids women to teach nor rule over men (1 Timothy 2: 11-12. therefore we sisters are not to be pastors nor preachers.), it seems to me that it also did not explicitly forbid women to "discuss" the Bible topics in an informal setting. In such a case, it might be safe to make a certain room (meaning, no specific regulation) and to let the Spirit direct each individual as to whether she should engage in a particular Bible discussion (or theological dialogue) or not. c.f. Acts 18:24-26

And I am sure that as we grow more and more in "a meek and quiet spirit" (1 Pet.3:4), we will know the proper way and time to talk or to be silent in each particular circumstance.
 
 

The reason why I say this is not from my own interest / desire to engage in theological discussion but rather to seek how we can maintain our complementarianism in both "serious" and "dynamic" way. Serious in a sense that we should obey His clear commands as regards to our submission and obedience. We should submit our headship order without compromise. And I say, dynamic in a sense that we can "fly" freely as birds in the sky within the realm of His boundaries.
 
And I tell you honestly that the latter idea (="dynamic") was born out of my sincere and honest dialogue with some of my feminist Christian ladies. So you might be wondering; Oh, has Kinuko been influenced by feminism? Has she compromised? No. Not a bit.
 
However, over the years, I came to realize the pain of our feminist evangelical Christian friends as well. They are usually very talented, intelligent and full of passion for Christ and His Kingdom. Many of them were brought up in somewhat unbalanced complementarian church environment ("fence around the Torah" type of extra human regulations) and could not find their proper place in the Body of Christ.
 
As a result, they became reactionary and jumped across the other side of the river called; Evangelical Feminism. What a pity! They might have been able to remain in the realm of complementarianism if it was presented in a more balanced way?

So, dear ladies, what do you think? I welcome your feedback with open arms and heart!