Thursday, July 15, 2010

As Christian Women Unite For Freedom From The Evangelical Caste System, I Repent for Using the Term "Complementarian"

Join us in Orlando on Saturday, July 24th!

A movement among Christian men and women has begun in favor of functional equality and freedom from the evangelical caste system which subordinates many Christian women within their homes and churches.  This is the focus of the Seneca Falls 2 Evangelical Women’s Rights Convention to be held in Orlando on Saturday July 24 just a few days after the 162nd anniversary of the very first women's rights convention that was held in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. 

Jocelyn Andersen, author of, "Woman Submit!" and "Woman this is WAR! Gender, Slavery & the Evangelical Caste System", is a featured speaker at the conference. Other featured speakers include, Shirley Taylor, founder of bWe Baptist Women for Equality, Waneta Dawn, author of the novel, Behind the Hedge, and editor of Submission Tyranny Blogspot, and Janice Levinson, co-founder with Lundy Bancroft of the Protective Mother’s Alliance International.  Doug Phillips will be there, too (Pastor of the Oleander Church of God in Ft. Pierce, Florida)!!!  I'm also numbered among them.

Though the title of "Woman's Rights" initially sets me back a bit and though I am going to run the risk of being misunderstood (yet again) as some sort of militant egalitarian with all of the hype that follows that false stereotype, I will also be speaking at the Seneca Falls 2 Conference about how the Church has been manipulated covertly without informed consent into accepting complementarianism.  My understanding of what constitutes "functional equality" may not conform to those others participating in the conference, but I believe that none of that should diminish the fact that honor, essence, and Christian liberty has been denied to women by many sectors within the modern Christian Church.  

By forcing others to accept the term as the only alternative to egalitarianism at the polar end of the continuum, those who accept the term of "complementarian" lend a tacit acceptance to its identified doctrines.  I repent of ever embracing this term, as I now have had time (Three years!!!) to study the many deceptive layers of all that complementarianism represents.  I deny that I am complementarian or egalitarian, for I do not believe that either statements due fair justice to the Word in the form that they are written.  I am an earnest believer who embraces both mutual submission in love to fellow believers within the Body of Christ while following a theologically economic concept of male governance in mangagement of home and church. I'm proud of my single marriage vow to my husband twenty years ago to "submit to him as unto the Lord."  (That doesn't make him my Lord, but I approach submission to him, cooperation that I willfully choose to yield, with all the sober reverence that I bring to submission to my Savior.)

After three years of reading and studying, I believe that I have no right to claim the term "complementarian" because I reject so many of the foundational teachings of the group.  I embrace male headship in home and church as a very functional consideration much like how the theological term of economy is understood, but I do not believe that women have so many of the tight restrictions that complementarian doctrine has placed upon them.  I repent of using the term and applying it to me, for I did not fully appreciate just how many of the individual doctrines and teachings of the group that I did reject.

I am going to stand with and support my fellow Believers in Orlando next weekend in order to help the Church figure out how to help women reclaim what God has afforded to them but has been wrongfully denied them by the traditions of men.  My statements about this topic and what I believe have already been clearly declared on this blog.

As many complementarians have called for the repentance of Christian women from what they claim is Christian feminism, I declare my repentance from using the term complementarian as applicable to myself.  Whether others choose to follow my example is not of concern to me, but I am convicted of the need to make the statement myself.  I never believed most of the individual doctrines and am not repenting any of my beliefs, for they have not changed.  I'm repenting of lending my tacit support to the concept, for I believe that I used the term in error when describing myself and my Christian beliefs.

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