I hope these definitions, derived from my experience of the phenomena, will be clarifying and useful.

 

Christianity teaches that men and women exist together in the image of God, equal in substance as human, in an ordered relationship in which the male is the principle and principal. It finds its analogy in the relation of the members of the Holy Trinity in which the Three are One God and in which the Father is the First, the Arche, the comprehending and defining Member. As in belief in Jesus Christ as the God-Man, its view of the sexes requires acceptance of the paradox of the perfect coinherence of equality and inequality.  Its views of order in family, church, and society tend toward harmony with its fundamental beliefs about God and man.

 

Feminism denies the priority of the male and seeks the independence of the woman from the man. (“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” is a frank expression of its ground-motive.)  Feminism may grant that at the current state of medical technology a male gamete is required for the continuance of the race, thus avoiding the accusation that it is at base genocidal, but it treats the male as negligible wherever possible.

 

Egalitarianism, with feminism, denies the priority of the male, but asserts with Christianity that the sexes require each other and are fully complementary. (The term “complementarianism,” used to contrast orthodoxy with egalitarianism, is ambiguous, for egalitarians also believe the sexes to be complementary.) In the context of Christianity, egalitarianism rejects the order/equality paradox and struggles, often with great ingenuity, against the scriptures where it is asserted with respect to the life of God and man. Using the church fathers’ aversion to Arian doctrine that made the Son qualitatively inferior to the Father (subordinationism), and rejecting the order/equality paradox, it denies the orthodoxy of subordination whether in the Godhead or between the sexes, asserting that egalitarianism has always been the true doctrine of the Church.