Journey to Complementarianism

Whether you’re an egalitarian or a complementarian, I wish all people approached the subject as Darrin Patrick does:

Here’s why:

1.  Darrin is sincere in his belief, but he allows for others to differ.

2.  Darrin came to his conclusion by studying scripture, not by talking with someone who read someone else’s book.

3.  Darrin doesn’t use this issue as a test for sincerity or fellowship.  He agreeably disagrees.

So, no matter which side of this argument you come down on, I appreciate, in the end, how he has communicated his differences.

What do you think?


  • Nate January 12, 2012 Reply

    I think for many egalitarians, it’s not just about a sincere disagreement in biblical interpretation but, instead, it becomes a justice issue (much akin to slavery in the Scriptures).

    Darrin is indeed sincere and I appreciate his tone in the debate.

  • steve miller January 12, 2012 Reply

    Our culture is egalitarian, this is one place where we in the church who are complementarian are going to be seen as out of touch and backwards.

    I was unknowingly egalitarian (didn’t even know what the word meant) when I started per-marital counseling with my future wife. My pastor sat me down and walked me through scripture and by the time I was married I was complementarian.

    Darrin’s words resonate strongly with me. This is going to be another topic within the church where we have to love each other first and then disagree second. Comps and Egals are both God’s children. We must maintain unity since it is a secondary issue, not the gospel, but disagree without being overly disagreeable.

    • Todd Rhoades January 12, 2012 Reply

      Absolutely. Well put, Steve.

  • Dennis January 12, 2012 Reply

    We talk about being unified and this issue being a secondary issue unrelated to Gospel, I’d like to ask if you could pastor a church that took and opposite view. Let’s say the church is Gospel centered and is making a difference for the Kingdom, yet takes a polar opposite view of women in ministry than you do. Could you pastor that church and just leave the issue alone, or would you feel you “MUST” change the people minds, even though doing so may take their eye off of Gospel and create a lot of disharmony?

    • steve miller January 12, 2012 Reply

      A church I was part of for 15 years started off Complementarian, when I left to plant another church they were well on the way to being Egalitarian. It caused a lot of problems with the Elder board because women were elected to Eldership, while on paper we still didn’t agree with the idea of female elders. It was a mess.

      That was an unusual circumstance, and it stole time and energy from ministry. That was a rare instance of a church switching positions where I joined and it was one thing and it switched with no real discussion except among the top pastoral positions who sort of just announced the switch. But still I served for a short time under the switch.

      I could Pastor at a church which I disagreed with a secondary issue if I was not the lead teaching Pastor and I made it known at time of hiring that I did not hold an egalitarian position and anytime I was required to teach it I would make clear what the complementarian view was. It would not be an ideal situation. I see it more of would they want me there in that situation? The Lead teaching pastoral position would have to be in line with the Church’s constitution, I don’t see how that tension could be allowed to exist.

      As I’ve matured a bit I realize there is nothing I must switch people’s minds on. I can’t. My job is to take people to Christ and let him do the heavy lifting of changing hearts and minds. It is a sad man I could bend to my will, but God may choose to use me to bring a truth to a brother or sister. I serve all the time with folks I disagree on secondary Biblical principles with. I trust God to correct if He sees fit. Now Todd will tell you I’m a bit tenacious in expressing my opinions, but I believe that is as far as I should go-I will express my views passionately and leave the results up to God.

  • missional girl January 14, 2012 Reply

    I appreciate Darrin’s approach despite some differences with him on the issue. I wished folks on both sides of the issue would follow his example and posture since there will never be on agreement on the topic.

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  • Chuck May 9, 2013 Reply

    Perhaps each camp should just live and let live and do so knowing that what measure they hold to, they will be judged by (Matthew 7:1-2).

  • Dan May 9, 2013 Reply

    I have had an interesting discovery which includes some well know complementarian churches – is that many people in the church don’t know the difference between complementarian or egalitarian. The church leaders do. But not those in the churches. They hear sermons on marriage and how I treat your spouse and love your spouse but don’t know the limitations if leadership that females have in their church and that females aren’t allowed to teach men or be an elder.

    I write this from having talked to quite a few people who may be in a complementarian church but they see females giving announcements or singing or doing some things on stage but never explore the church doctrine (and this belief is rarely listed in their statement of faith) to what elders are or their gender or limitations of females in the church.

    They know that their main sermon giver is a male but like a male singer in a band they don’t see anything wrong with that. But don’t know that a female could not preach or teach or be an elder.

    If you don’t think this is true, try asking some younger people in large complementarian churches. Average ones not ones in leadership roles. I am more and more surprised that it is an issue they never asked or thought about. The church has good worship music practical teaching etc. so that issue isn’t emphasized in their thinking and they didn’t realize that females can’t be elders or teach men. II had assumed they would have known, but I have been surprised at how often they weren’t aware females had restrictions on them in their churches. They never thought to ask is what I have been learning and seeing some females on stage they then assumed females were leaders in all areas.

    Just a thought to this that I have been thinking about more often having experienced conversations in some churches this past year interviewing younger people in the churches.

    Has anyone else had this experience? I am talking 8 churches now I have asked. So it wasn’t just one isolated church.

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