In the last post the emphasis was clearly on having authority over others. R.H. used Romans 13: 1-7 to emphasize that we have civil rulers over us. He was adamant about accepting authority. The only I reason that I can see that they love this authority passage is that they make it apply to women. Women are to graciously accept authority from their husbands, and somehow they have found Romans 13, which is about governmental authority, to make their case. But Romans 13 is about citizens recognizing civil government over them, which is a limited authority. Only Jesus has authority over us – both men and women.
All of you had great responses, and I appreciate them and hope our readers will read the comments. I have asked Kristen for permission to use her comment as today’s post. You can also read what Retha, a reader of this blog, posted on her website in which she quotes Kristen.
Guest Post by Kristen, aka KR Wordgazer.
What complementarians don’t seem to understand is that egalitarians don’t object to authority per se. What we object to is “divine right.” Most modern Christians have rejected the notion of divine right in all areas but this one. We no longer agree with, “Because I was born royal, I have divine right to rule this country,” or “Because I was born an aristocrat, I have divine right to govern the peasants on my land.” We certainly don’t agree any more with “Because I am white, I have divine right to be served by those of other races.” We also reject the corollary, which is “keep your place.” “Because you were born a peasant, it is not your place to govern the land,” or “Because you are of the servant class (or of a “lesser race,”), it is not your place to take jobs outside the serving sphere.”
Most Christians now would agree that there is no such thing as “divine right” – that God has established earthly authorities, but no one can say, “Because of my birth, it’s my divine right to be one of those authorities.” Except in this area. Christians say, “Because I was born male, I have a right to be in authority over my wife in the home,” and “Because you were born female, it is not your place to take leadership beside your husband in the home, or to take leadership in the church over men (“over your betters” is implied here, although we don’t use that term anymore).”
I might also add that in Paul’s day, the authority of the “paterfamilias” over his wife, children and slaves was one of the earthly authorities that had to be taken into account– and Paul’s words to the Ephesians reflect this understanding. That doesn’t mean that we, as 21st-century Christians, need to return to a husband-authority structure, especially when our own cultures have abandoned such structures; any more than we need to go back to serving a king or an emperor just because Paul said, “honor the king.”
I do agree that though God has established earthly authorities, God did not desire to do so in the church. Church leaders, yes – but not by “divine right.” Church authorities, no. Jesus said, “Not so among you.” I wish we would finally listen to Him. (end of post)
Will you join us in speaking out for women’s equality, and challenging those who insist that women are designed to have ‘male authority’ over them?
I have just finished reading Wings. You must read this book. The author Karl Friedrich “has a lifelong facination with women who achieve great accomplishment despite the displeasure of men.” He tells it like it was in 1943 and like it still is in much of the world today, and particularly in patriarchal families. We need to support the authors who tell the story of women and their fight for equality.