By Candice Gage
On May 16, The Gospel Coalition‘s Trevin Wax publicly called out the complementarian culture and many of it’s extra-biblical ideas in an article titled “The Crazy Culture of Complementarianism.” While Wax defines himself as a complementarian and stands by it’s scriptural definition, he recognizes that the culture that has grown up around this view isn’t always reflective of biblical truth. Check out this excerpt:
Culture is a lot harder to pin down and define, and yet culture communicates, sometimes more than our statements. In some churches that affirm a complementarian view of manhood and womanhood, a culture develops that goes beyond the complementarian beliefs into a skewed version of manhood and womanhood that we did not discern from the Scriptures, but from previous generations of American culture.
Some examples… (…)
- a reticence or hesitance to affirm and celebrate women’s contributions in local church ministry, particularly contributions that are more up-front and visible.
- a warped vision of manhood that focuses on calloused hands and physical labor and ignores other kinds of work.
- the assumption that marriage is always better than singleness, so that singles feel like their identity is wrapped up in not having a spouse.
- unwillingness to celebrate any evidence of gospel ministry or fruit among those with a more egalitarian viewpoint.
- an unexpressed expectation that the godliest women have quiet and introverted personality types, and cannot be assertive and outgoing.
- a competitive tendency that leads to unhealthy individual comparisons and rushed judgments, rather than extending grace to one another.
- a spectrum of “holy” and “holier” choices with regard to a child’s education (from public school all the way to homeschooling).
I could go on.
The human heart is constantly seeking to justify itself. Too often, we as Christians are trying to one-up each other by grasping for a sense of superiority over our brothers and sisters because of the extrabiblical laws we’ve created and now keep.
It’s the culture of complementarianism that needs to be renewed and restored. Because there’s nothing crazier than taking a beautiful picture of the gospel and making a new law out of it.
Visit Trevin Wax’s blog at TGC website and read the rest of his excellent piece.
As someone who grew up in the complementarian culture, much of what Wax describes resonates with me — especially what he writes about singles and their identity. As a young adult, my femininity was very much connected to the roles of wife and mother. As the years have slipped by and I’ve remained unmarried, I’ve had to wrestle with what it means to be feminine outside of the wife-and-mother box. I’m learning that God’s ways are not mine, but the process has been anything but easy.
What about you? How has the culture of complementarianism shaped your life? And how have you been able to discern the truths from the lies?
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