Complementarianism: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Adam Eva, Durer, 1504.jpg
Part of a series on
and Gender

Women in Christianity
Women in the Bible
Jesus' interactions with women
Female disciples of Jesus
Paul of Tarsus and women
Image of God
List of women in the Bible
Women as theological figures

3 Major Positions

Christian Egalitarianism
Christian Feminism

Church and Society

Christianity and homosexuality
Ordination of women
Women in Church history


Christians for Biblical Equality
Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Evangelical and Ecumenical Women's Caucus

Theologians and authors
Letha Dawson Scanzoni · Anne Eggebroten · Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
William J. Webb · Kenneth E. Hagin · Gordon Fee · Frank Stagg · Paul Jewett · Stanley Grenz · Roger Nicole
Don Carson · John Frame · Wayne Grudem · Douglas Moo · Paige Patterson · Vern Poythress

Complementarianism is a theological view held by many in Christianity and other world religions that men and women have different (complementary) roles and responsibilities, as manifested in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.

Though the notion is found in other religions, this article focuses mainly on how certain Christian groups understand their anthropological theology to require a complementarian view of gender. The term is derived from the hermeneutical hypothesis that men and women are designed to complement or complete each other on the basis of their gender.

Contrasting viewpoints maintain either that women and men should share identical authority and responsibilities in marriage, religion and elsewhere (Egalitarianism), or that men and women are of intrinsically different worth, and their roles reflect that (Patriarchy).


The Complementarian position

Complementarianism holds that "God has created men and women equal in their essential dignity and human personhood, but different and complementary in function with male headship in the home and in the Church."[1]

The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church both advocate complementarianism with regards to the social doctrine of the Church.[2]


Roles in marriage

The complementarian view of marriage asserts gender-based roles in marriage.[3] A husband is considered to have the God-given responsibility to provide for, protect, and lead his family, while a wife is to collaborate with her husband, respect him, and serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. Complementarians assert that the Bible instructs husbands to lovingly lead their families and to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, and instructs wives to respect their husbands’ leadership out of reverence for Christ.[4][5]

A more detailed statement of the Complementarian view of marriage appears in Southern Baptist Convention's Baptist Faith and Message (2000):[5]

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to his people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Article XVIII. The Family. Baptist Faith and Message 2000

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood teaches that "Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission—domestic, religious, or civil—ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin."[6]

The expression Sponsa Christi is sometimes used by complementarians, who note that Paul of Tarsus himself advocated such views. Accordingly, the Christ symbolizes the man, while the Church (Ecclesia) represents the woman.

Roles in the Church

Based on their interpretation of certain scriptures, Complementarians view women's roles in ministry, particularly in church settings, as limited.[7] The complementarian view holds that women should not hold church leadership roles that involve teaching or authority over men.[8] For instance, the president of a large conservative denomination has written that "...while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of Pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture."[3][9]

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood holds that “[i]n the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 1 Tim 2:11-15).”[7] Some believe that women should be ordained neither as a pastor nor as an evangelist, while others believe that it is acceptable for women to be evangelists but not pastors.[10] This would not support placing women in leadership roles in the church or family that would imply or provide some authority over men. Which other specific ministry roles are open to women varies among complementarians.[3]

The Catholic Church teaching on the restriction of its ordination to men that masculinity was integral to the personhood of both Jesus and the men he called as apostles.[11] The Roman Catholic Church sees maleness and femaleness as two different ways of expressing common humanity.[12]

Roman Catholic nuns

Roman Catholic complementarianism has generally advocated for the role of women as teachers, mothers and nuns. Some traditionally Roman Catholic countries have been called matriarchal because of the high value that was placed on women. There are numerous nuns who have been beatified and who are venerated among the saints.

Complementarian advocates

Complementarianism is promoted by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Groups of churches that support forms of this position include some members of the Southern Baptist Convention,[3] the Presbyterian Church of America, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Conservative Mennonites, Newfrontiers, the Dutch Reformed Church, Sovereign Grace Ministries, and the Calvary Chapel movement. Messianic Judaism also generally holds to a complementarian view of gender roles.[13]

Noted supporters of the Complementarian position include J.I. Packer, Wayne Grudem, Albert Mohler, Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, C. J. Mahaney, Adrian Rogers, Richard Land, Ligon Duncan, Gerald Bray, Terry Virgo, John Wimber, Tim Keller, John F. MacArthur, C.S. Lewis, John Piper and Elisabeth Elliot, missionary and wife of the missionary Jim Elliot.

Complementarian movements within feminism

New feminism is a predominantly Catholic philosophy which emphasizes a belief in an integral complementarity of men and women, rather than the superiority of men over women or women over men.[14]

Difference feminism is a philosophy that stresses that men and women are ontologically different versions of the human being. Many Catholics adhere to and have written on the philosophy, though the philosophy is not specifically Catholic.

Other religions

Differentiation of women's roles on the basis of religious beliefs are not unique to Christianity or Western culture.[15] For example, Arab American women of Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and other religions are socialized to be supportive of their husbands' role in the family hierarchy. Their roles are said to "complement" the roles of men, although their status and power in a family are derived from that of males. Within Islam, "a tension exists between the egalitarian view that believers are judged on the basis of merit and the inegalitarian view that women and men should fulfill distinct, complementary roles in the family and society".[15]

See also

Related secular:

References and notes

  1. ^ Duncan, Ligon (2004-12-15). "Male Authority and Female Equality: In the beginning—Genesis 1-3 being understood as part of God’s created design". Retrieved 2007-12-26.  
  2. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 2009-12-15.   sections 2333-2335
  3. ^ a b c d The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, Southern Baptist Convention
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ Duncan, Ligon. "19 Objections to Complementarianism — 1 Timothy 2:8-15". Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  
  9. ^ Page, Frank. SBC President's Page. Online:
  10. ^ Clouse, Robert G (1989). Women in Ministry: Four Views. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0830812849.  
  11. ^ Inter Insigniores section 5
  12. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 355, 383, 369–72, 1605, 2333.
  13. ^
  14. ^ [Allen, Sr. Prudence Allen. 'Man-Woman Complementarity: the Catholic Inspiration.' Logos 9, issue 3 (Summer 2006)]
  15. ^ a b Joseph, Suad; Afsaneh Najmabadi (2003). Encyclopedia of women & Islamic cultures. Brill. p. 211. ISBN 9004128190.  

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address