The important part of this debate is the relationship of men and women. It is not just about what is “‘a woman’s place in the church,’ but involves the bigger question of the design of the relationship of man and woman in creation and redemption” (Saucy 21) Men and women are created both in God’s image, but they are created different. They were were created to need each other and be one, but the special relationship was broken by sin. (Saucy 21-22)
Most people on both sides of the issue agree that the New Testament says for wives to be submissive to their husbands, such as Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18. They also agree that in 1 Timothy Paul says that women couldn’t teach men. The division comes with how these verses apply to the church today.
Those that believe that all church positions and ministry is equally open to both genders are called egalitarian. (Saucy 26) Alan G. Padgett, for the organization, Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE), defines Biblical equality as, “All have equal responsibility to use their gifts and obey their calling to the glory of God. God freely calls believers to roles and ministries without regard to class, gender, or race.” (22) They would see the verses about women being submissive and not being able to teach as not not applying to the church today.
Egalitarians can be divided further into a more liberal and a more conservative view. The more liberal view sees all the distinction between gender as the fault of coming out of a patriarchal society, which is not from God. The more conservative view tends to see the restrictions on women being addressed to specific people and churches that don’t apply to the church anymore. (Saucy 27)
Complementarians all agree that the teachings about women are not just cultural but apply to the church today. (Saucy 26) This is the historic view.
When in comes to how this is applied to the church today, there are varying opinions. Some are more restrictive and view that women can’t hold any sort of ministry leadership position, while others allow women to be in leadership roles, but they are not allowed to be elders or head pastors. (Saucy 28)
There are many arguments for each view throughout the Old and New Testament. Two of the most largely debated verses are Galatians 3:28, for the egalitarian position, and 1 Timothy 2:11-15, for the complementarian position. Other key Biblical texts include the creation story at the beginning of Genesis, Junia listed in Roman 16:7, and 1 Corinthians 14:33-38.
The egalitarian position views that Galatians 3:28 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 are both passages from Paul’s letters, but in Galatians he is writing to Galatia which was a Roman province which covered a large geographic area and in 1 Timothy he is writing to Timothy to instruct the church in Ephesus. (George 46) Simply, Galatians is for the Church in general and 1 Timothy is specific to the situation.
Galatians 3:28 says “There...