Complementarity Must Be Divorced From Culture

Complementary, a word or school of thought that can split a room I’m in two. An understanding that can lead (in the extreme) one Christian to doubt the faith of another. Complementarity, a view of the two sexes that is hated by many people, including Christians.

I’m not going to lie, I am a complementarian. If you’ve read this blog a bit you’ll already know that. However, I have a lot of problems with some of the ways complementarity is expressed. Here’s one of those for you today…

Too often complementarity is confused with an alpha male, macho type life. For example you might hear something like “you’re only a man if…” or “to be a biblical man you must do… and a biblical woman must…”

I do think that there are distinctions between men and women that are to be lived out in the church and in the home. I think that men and women were created as equals, yet with differences.

However, to conclude that men must act a certain way, carry themselves a certain way or enjoy certain hobbies or tasks is absolute nonsense. It minimises masculinity to actions and has no biblical warrant. But it’s scary how many people hold such ideas. I do believe that God has ordained the husband to be head of the house. That does not mean that he rules with an iron fist, and submission does not equal unquestioned, absolute mindless obedience.

This mindset is not shaped by the Bible. The ultra-complementarian view is shaped by culture. It’s shaped by a kind of culture which promotes a cold, distant, unloving, selfish, proud ‘masculinity’. Too harsh? I think not.

There are non-Christians who hold to such views. They’re normally perceived as macho or alpha male types. The problem is when those people (both men and women) do not submit to Scripture when they’re converted. Sure, they may submit to certain parts, but they stick with their cultural thoughts on the differences between the sexes.

No Christian man or woman should find their identity or worth in anything other than Christ. Does culture and our upbringing still shape us? Absolutely! But when we become Christians we are a new creation. Meaning that the old has gone and the new is here. Therefore, we must also reevaluate all of our thinking to consider if our approaches are in line with what the Bible teaches.

That is a life long process. It can often be a painful process. But friends, it is a God glorifying process that we should be encouraging in all of our churches.

I believe that complementarianism is true and biblical. For that to be the case though it must be divorced from toxic culture that would elevate certain traits or actions above others. It must be divorced from a culture that promotes proud and sinful behaviour. Complementarity must be divorced from toxic culture to be the wonderful design that it was intended to be.

A Christian man or woman is not defined by their job or their hobbies, they are called children of God and have been made new in Him. Therefore, let us put to death all things that do not glorify Him, all things that are shaped by culture and instead be transformed from the inside out by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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