Anyone who is paying attention to what is happening in the churches knows that the battle over sexual egalitarianism is not going to go away any time soon. To my mind the most fantastic creatures on this field are those who style themselves “biblical egalitarians.” This morning a friend directed me to a website where one of them acknowledged a hierarchy of being that included God, man, and lower creatures, and pointed to the good things which our submission within that hierarchy brings. He claims to be a “biblical Christian,” and from his study of the Bible believes gender has a lot to do with equality–but nothing, really, to do with hierarchy.
One really cannot discuss the matter profitably with these people, for while they (with us) see and accept the passages that support gender equality, they adamantly refuse to recognize those that support the hierarchies–first as between the sexes, and now more commonly also within the Godhead. These, for all practical purposes, just don’t exist for them, not, anyway, as “Bible.” The writer to which I was referred knew something about the order of being, but typical of his tribe, takes out Jefferson’s shears when assembling his Bible, cutting out the parts he doesn’t understand or disagrees with.
The reason people like this can accuse the “complementarians” (i.e., traditional Christians on the point) of doing the same thing, is they believe we, having at least a modicum of sense, must be as monocular as they–that to believe in any kind of gender hierarchy we must deny equality, just as they do the reverse. They simply cannot understand that the Faith requires both, even though this requirement is clearly in the Bible. It just doesn't make sense to them–gender-based equality and hierarchy cannot co-exist; one must eliminate the other. (Witness their trademark interpretation of Galatians 3:28 as nullification of St. Paul’s other teachings on sexual order.) Men and women are either fully equal in everything but bare biological facticity, or they are not, biological fact itself having nothing, nothing, nothing to do with hierarchy, since biologically women are just as good as men (as if that were the point at issue). But that one-eliminates-the-other cast of mind is historically characteristic of the heretic, not of the biblical Christian, who has many more mysteries on his plate than do the professedly biblical egalitarians.