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Egalitarianism as a Power Struggle

Darrel Cox picToday we have a guest post from Darrel Cox, Ph.D. Professor of Biblical Studies at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. He has a Ph.D. in Theological Studies from Trinity International University, an M.A. in Christian Doctrine & History & an M.A. in Public Policy from Regent University and a B.A. in Religion/Philosophy from Roberts Wesleyan College. Dr. Cox was previously an Associate Professor of Bible & Theology at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, GA. Dr. Cox lives near Winchester, Virginia, with his wife and seven children and enough animals to provoke Noah’s envy.

Recently my wife and I were driving along talking about egalitarianism[1] and complementarianism [2] and the ideals they seek–particularly between say, the covenant of a husband and a wife. Since most people recognize the family as the self-evident nucleus of culture, the government of the family is in many ways “ground zero” for culture.

Anyway, as we crossed the top of one of the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, my wife (a staunch complementarian) noted that hierarchy is necessary to any human organization and that even radical feminist groups like N.O.W. must have a hierarchy; that is, they must have functional and jurisdictional lines well in place or their organization would cease to function within mere days. Someone makes a final decision. In other words, their own understanding of a just approach to interaction between human beings is undermined as they deploy normal institutional principles for how different jurisdictions among people are to relate to one another.

To the point: Feminist organizational models function with the same hierarchical principle that Scripture describes for the family. They don’t reject it in practice, only in their selective condemnation of it in their application of gender-politics to the government of the family.

Susannah Cox’s observations are correct: the current feminist challenge to young Christian ladies has more to do with the offer of “power over relationships,” rather than the true equality they already have in Christ. The Bible presents male and female as a complementary unity, a “one-flesh” relationship within marriage. Feminists place male and female in opposition to one another, in a never-ending struggle for power, implicating the roles of husband and wife as a means of social subjugation rather than the complementary unity they are created to be in order to bring glory to God.

The marriage relationship falls under the de facto principles of Christ’s kingdom when it comes to relationships among His people. For example, following the law of love in obedience to Christ, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking up the very nature of a servant (Phil 2:5ff). This should be the attitude of all Christians; husbands and wives alike. Yet these words are antithetical to the “gospel of me” preached by modern evangelical feminism.

Following the Golden Rule, displaying the characteristics of love toward one another described in 1 Corinthians 13 (patience, kindness, faithfulness, etc.), go hand in hand with, not against, the principle of jurisdiction in the home described in Scripture. God’s people ought not allow modern evangelical feminism to place Godly hierarchy in opposition to true love or ontological equality in the name of “egalitarianism.” They will only crash against the reality of God’s purposes and find no rest for their souls in their walk with the LORD and the spouse He has graciously placed in one’s life.


[1]  According to Christian egalitarianism, gender equality in Christian church leadership (including pastors) and in Christian marriage is biblically sound. Its theological foundations are interpretations of the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and other New Testament principles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_egalitarianism (This definition was added by Dr. Sargent in order to give a general working picture of the positions being discussed.)

[2] Complementarianism is a theological view… that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere. The word ‘’complementary’’ and its cognates are currently used to denote this view. For some of those whose complementarian view is biblically-prescribed, these separate roles preclude women from specific functions of ministry within the Church. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complementarianism (This definition was added by Dr. Sargent in order to give a general working picture of the positions being discussed.)

2 thoughts on “Egalitarianism as a Power Struggle

  1. jd_sovg says:

    Let’s look @ Paul’s words in their 1st century context. Men by and large are not married to women who are peers. And most of these women married young and their husband’s are more like father’s and teacher’s for them then they are equals. In our American society we generally marry peers and so the words of Paul seem harsh and hard to swallow.

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