Opinions on faith and life

The Danvers Statement


I will now examine the definitive document of the modern male supremacist movement, The Danvers Statement. But note the date: December 1987. This was the same year that Christians for Biblical Equality (see especially their About page) began work on their journal, The Priscilla Papers.

The statement is in two sections: Rationale and Affirmations. I will comment on each point.


We have been moved in our purpose by the following contemporary developments which we observe with deep concern:

  1. The widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity; Aside from not citing any study which would verify the claim that there is in fact “widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture” on this matter, what does that which is outside the church have to do with what is inside (1 Cor. 5:12)? Should we be surprised that unbelievers act like unbelievers? Why are they not also concerned about far more destructive things like spouse and child abuse, “lording over”, and dictatorial “pastors” in the churches?
  2. the tragic effects of this confusion in unraveling the fabric of marriage woven by God out of the beautiful and diverse strands of manhood and womanhood; Again, are they talking about inside or outside the churches? Our culture is rapidly dissolving into barbarism, with men being encouraged to be “alpha males”, and this cultural decadence is infiltrating the churches. This has far more “tragic effects” than women not keep their place. (Note: I will keep highlighting the overuse of adjectives throughout.)
  3. the increasing promotion given to feminist egalitarianism with accompanying distortions or neglect of the glad harmony portrayed in Scripture between the loving, humble leadership of redeemed husbands and the intelligent, willing support of that leadership by redeemed wives; What is “feminist egalitarianism”? Does it mean all women are equal to all other women? Who would disagree with that? Obviously, they wish to tie the belief that women and men are equal in Christ, with secular radical feminism that supports abortion and homosexuality. Shall we, in turn, equate “complementarianism” with a slippery slope to wife abuse, and shall we remind them that many patriarchal societies are also steeped in homosexuality? In addition, this defamatory charge is said to be the cause of “distortions” or “neglect”. How can equality distort, and in a way that supremacism does not? Only by presuming that inequality is God’s design and ideal can equality be labeled a distortion. And do they think that the adjectives describing the husband’s rule over his wife can turn the reality of that inequality into a new definition of equality of being?
  4. the widespread ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood, vocational homemaking, and the many ministries historically performed by women; “Historically”? This is not an appeal to scripture but to culture. What they want is “the good old days” of unquestioned male rule in all spheres of life. They wish to do what they routinely accuse egalitarians of doing: bow to culture.
  5. the growing claims of legitimacy for sexual relationships which have Biblically and historically been considered illicit or perverse, and the increase in pornographic portrayal of human sexuality; We all agree that perversion and adultery are sins-- as is use of porn, “lording over”, mental and physical abuse of anyone, pride, legalism, abortion, and many others. This is not caused by improper or distorted views of alleged flesh-based roles but of sin. Will they finally tell Christian men to take responsibility for their being the “demand” for the “supply” of prostitution? Do they actually wish to blame egalitarians for this?
  6. the upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family; And exactly how does egalitarian teaching foment this in a way that male entitlement does not? By simply listing all these things which are really matters of universal human sin in a statement on gender roles, the implication is that egalitarianism is the cause.
  7. the emergence of roles for men and women in church leadership that do not conform to Biblical teaching but backfire in the crippling of Biblically faithful witness; Amen! This role playing must stop. Those who invented the term and who loudly proclaim that women must play “Son” to men’s “Father” are indeed “crippling” our witness as believers; I’ve seen this hundreds of times in statements by those who have rejected Christianity for this reason.
  8. the increasing prevalence and acceptance of hermeneutical oddities devised to reinterpret apparently plain meanings of Biblical texts; I’ve listed some of those “hermeneutical oddities” in my critiques of various male supremacist teachings.
  9. the consequent threat to Biblical authority as the clarity of Scripture is jeopardized and the accessibility of its meaning to ordinary people is withdrawn into the restricted realm of technical ingenuity; Double amen! Scripture is first of all decreed to teach male supremacism, then proof-texts are marshaled in support. Context is ignored and novel twists are applied with impunity, showing great hypocrisy in the process, for when the “plain reading” says something like “a woman has authority over her own head” (1 Cor. 11:10) they change scripture to “a woman has a sign of male authority over her head”. They issue disclaimers when Jesus treats women on an equal basis with men, and are not even above doing a “gender bender” on poor Junia (Rom. 16:7) to make sure God can’t call any woman an apostle. They also invent terms like “role” and “headship”.
  10. and behind all this the apparent accommodation of some within the church to the spirit of the age at the expense of winsome, radical Biblical authenticity which in the power of the Holy Spirit may reform rather than reflect our ailing culture. Triple amen! They want us to go back to treating women as property, as slaves, as possessions devoid of any personality or autonomy as adult human beings. That has been the cultural norm for almost all of human history, across cultures and religions. And who is attacking the authority of scripture more than those who change women’s names to men’s in the Bible, or who put words in Paul’s mouth that actually came from the Talmud, or purposely make every Greek reference to “people” mean “males” by insisting that it always be translated “men”?


Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following: At this point it is obvious that their “understanding of Biblical teachings” needs a lot of work. But let’s see what building they construct upon this foundation of sand they’ve been using instead of scripture.

  1. Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18). This is a major “duh”. Nobody disputes this. What is it doing here? And what exactly is “manhood and womanhood” as opposed to simply “male and female” as God stated it? We can see that they are “priming the pump” here, that is, they are introducing extra-Biblical terminology for which they will subsequently supply their own meanings.
  2. Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24, 1 Cor 11:7-9, 1 Tim 2:12-14). “Roles”? What was Eve told to do that is distinctly different from what Adam was told to do? Both were charged with having dominion over the animals and plants (Gen. 1:28), and neither was ever given authority over the other. The only possible distinction between them, beyond the physical, was that only Adam was told to guard the garden-- a task he failed miserably at doing. In fact, we see in those early chapters of Genesis that first God charged Adam with guarding, second He said it was not good for the man to be alone, and third He made Eve to be an ezer kenegdo which is “a strong one facing him”, an ally or partner. It is the equality with which God ordained men and women that “should find an echo in every human heart”.
  3. Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Gen 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13, 1 Cor. 11:7-9). Gen. 2:16-18 says absolutely nothing about “headship” of Adam over Eve; neither does any of the other references in Genesis. I’ve gone over the rationale for hierarchy in chronology, naming, etc. many times already and won’t repeat it here. As for 1 Cor. 11:7-9, not only is “headship” absent, but as already mentioned the authority is held by the woman over her own head. Did they not read verse 11 either? And will they continue to ignore Gen. 3:16b where God tells Eve that when she chooses to follow Adam out of the garden, that “he will rule over you”? If Adam already had rule, God would not have put this in the future, or He would have said how this rule was now changed in character.
  4. The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen 3:1-7, 12, 16). No kidding. God said so point blank in Gen. 3:16b. The distortion is that Adam would rule over Eve.
    • In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’sintelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility. No, the husband never had anything like “headship” before the Fall so there was nothing for the wife to usurp. In fact, it is the man who has usurped the place of God in the woman’s life by presuming authority over her; God’s statement to Eve was a prediction, not a command or curse. And domination, passivity, and servility are aspects of our sinful world, not something that equality of men and women can be blamed for. What male supremacy teaches is that in practice the female is indeed servile to the male no matter what, for her whole life. Calling such male domination “loving, humble” or any other such euphemisms does not change the fact.
    • In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries. They know that “sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power” but turn right around and grant that power to them over women! And where is this alleged “spiritual responsibility” that only Christian men possess? But most appalling is their setting up of women to view their resistance to this male usurpation as sin! What better way to keep women from stopping the sinful tendency of men to dominate? And who has decreed these “limitations on their roles”? Not God. There are no “pink” and “blue” lists of spiritual gifts or service anywhere in the NT; neither are there any lists of flesh-based “appropriate ministries”.
  5. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18, Gal 3:28). Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community (Gen .2:18, Eph. 5:21-33, Co.l 3:18-19, 1 Tim. 2:11-15). God did no such thing; He did not attach dignity to any roles but to people. Check each of those references and see if you can find evidence of God putting man over woman; I’ve gone over those many times. It is not scripture but their interpretations and adding words where there are none in the Greek that they use to support their craving of the seat of power.
  6. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse. Yes, it does. And male supremacy is one of those distortions that need to be removed. So also is the willingness of women to look to men instead of God, which was Eve’s great blunder and legacy— a blunder male supremacists today wish all women to repeat.
    • In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership (Eph 5:21-33, Col 3:18-19, Tit 2:3-5, 1 Pet 3:1-7). So husbands are the authorities and leaders, and wives are not allowed to resist them. How convenient; how fleshly; how worldly. Statements like these deny the ones given earlier; they can’t have it both ways. And exactly what recourse does the submissive, joyful, compliant, childlike wife have if her husband does not rule benevolently over her? The typical response, which is loudly denied in theory but amply attested in practice, is that she should “submit better”. Yes, “that woman you gave me...” (Gen. 3:12) is to blame.
    • In 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). Again, I’ve covered all those alleged proofs of God doling out spiritual positions based upon the flesh. They use “nevertheless” like the fine print in a long legal document, which gives them loopholes from the much clearer scriptures about not lording over each other. Do they actually think Jesus meant “Rule benevolently” when He actually said “Don’t rule at all” (Mt. 20:20-28)? Are we to deduce from His example cited in Phil 2:5-11 that men are above Him because they, unlike Him, do not have to lay privilege aside to serve their wives?
  7. In all of life 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 (Dan. 3:10-18, Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29, 1 Pet 3:1-2). And there are few greater sins than pride and the desire to have first place. Any man who teaches that women must not resist him is playing the role of God to her and is therefore guilty of blasphemy, and any woman who so bows to her husband and “looks to him as she has looked to Christ” (see these sample wedding vows and my rebuttal) is guilty of idolatry. So we must refuse to follow these male supremacist teachers into sin.
  8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:1-13, Tit. 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will. So these proud men have declared that even if God calls a woman to “ministry”, she is to “resist” that call and follow the “roles” men have assigned to her. Like the Sanhedrin they say to women, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name”, but our response is that of the apostles: “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:28-29) The problem is not egalitarians ignoring scripture, but male supremacists equating their interpretation with divine utterance. Again, to disagree with them is not to disagree with God nor to downplay the authority of scripture. God is still not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), nor has He decided to start looking on the outside (1 Sam. 16:7).
  9. With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world (1 Cor 12:7-21). Ironically, these people would hamstring half the Body of Christ and forbid half the workers from going out to the harvest. They imply here that women can perform their subservient roles in many venues, but even then they forbid women to preach the gospel to men or teach men the scriptures. Hypocritically, they have looked the other way while missionary women did this, because it was done to non-white men, citing limited funds as the excuse. It would be no less offensive and unbiblical to tell men something like, “There are so many other things you can do besides preach and teach the scriptures; be happy in the roles assigned to you. God would never call a man to a ministry that emphasizes service and humility.”
  10. We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large. They all but blame egalitarians for the downfall of the family, the church, and the country— an identical fear tactic used in the past by supporters of slavery, who felt just as strongly that scripture “plainly” condones it.

I cannot begin to calculate the damage done to both ourselves and our witness as Christians because of teachings like these. They dismember Christ and demand that one part not talk directly to the Head; they enable abusive men; they treat grown women like children and daughters like “daddy’s little helpmeet”, which smacks of incest. They promote a religion and life that is indistinguishable from those of the unbelievers throughout history; they add fine print to every promise Jesus made about freedom for the prisoners and unity in His Name, and they make a mockery of the gifts of the Spirit.

This insidious mindset of privilege and lording over must be strongly opposed and relentlessly exposed. How many women have turned to wicca or paganism in response to such poison? How many atheists have written off a god that would make one half the population masters over the other, benevolent or not, and on such a ridiculous basis as one’s reproductive organs? And what will God say in judgment upon those who so badly handled His Word and painted Him in the image of fallen man?

Away with such “statements”; back to the Cross!



Thanks for blanking out the adjectives and adverbs. They are so silly.

"In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries."

They know that “sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power” but turn right around and grant that power to them over women! And where is this alleged “spiritual responsibility” that only Christian men possess? But most appalling is their setting up of women to view their resistance to this male usurpation as sin! What better way to keep women from stopping the sinful tendency of men to dominate? And who has decreed these “limitations on their roles”? Not God. There are no “pink” and “blue” lists of spiritual gifts or service anywhere in the NT; neither are there any lists of flesh-based “appropriate ministries”.

EXACTLY. Your analysis of what they are doing on this one is absolutely correct. The women end up following a Talmud of sorts trying to not be in sin. But that always leads to manipulation on her part to even be heard.

Paula Fether

Glad to know I got *one* right. :-P

But yeah, they never think about the implications of their decrees. It all sounds so nice on paper-- until it meets real life. They forgot that men are sinners too, and that people as a general rule will get plenty of mileage out of the tiniest drop of permission. Men play their "final say" card which pushes compliant women into manipulation, after which the men complain about manipulative women! But no, don’t dare call them out on their teachings; it’s only egalitarianism that is a slippery slope.


A recent con job by CBMW is claiming that an abusive husband is (ipso facto) NOT a comp, since comps by definition do not abuse. This puts the cart before the horse and is another example of their illogic.

Greg Anderson

Just today while driving on the freeway here in Southern Calif. I heard a pastor on Christian FM radio declare the doctrine of male federal headship as God’s divine plan from the beginning. It was almost as if he was reading from the Danvers statement.

He even tried to say that the the word desire in Genesis 3:16 means that women are cursed with a sin desire to usurp divinely sanctioned male headship, and that this is why Paul mentions the creation account in 1 Timothy.

One of the good things to come out of the information age is the internet. Never before in human history except maybe for Gutenberg’s movable type printing press, have ideas and thoughts been so widely circulated.

Keep on posting Paula. Keep on getting the word out there that the Biblical text says no such thing about patriarchy being God’s norm.

Some will chance upon your site and read. Some will never question what their Imams and Mullahs in the mega-biggie churches tell them about the so-called gender roles. Others will ultimately be emancipated from the doctrines and traditions of men.

Paula Fether

As always Greg, thank you for your encouragement and support. It does seems sometimes like I’m just throwing my words to the wind, and it pains me to see how so many people run after those with credentials without asking them hard questions, but if it benefits one person or frees one prisoner, it will be a great blessing. Even if no one ever listened, I’d at least know I did what I was commissioned to do, without counting noses.

Yes, the internet is a huge, albeit mixed, blessing. We have access to documents that were formerly the sole domain of academics; we can provide immediate opposition to harmful ideologies; anybody who wants to can have a voice. It’s a great leveler.

Don, good observation of their twisted logic.


A recent con job by CBMW is claiming that an abusive husband is (ipso facto) NOT a comp, since comps by definition do not abuse. This puts the cart before the horse and is another example of their illogic.

Don, I would love to see that link. That is hilarious. The whole focus on abuse is giving them a black eye. Perhaps they did not realize how prevalent it is in the church. Colson’s article did not help. So, the way to deal with it is to say that an abuser is not a comp. But the problem with that is that I personally know several abusers who are in comp churches every Sunday. Who serve as deacons, etc. And they love CBMW stuff. Big supporters.

Why are they there? They deny they are abusers. And they are believed.

Paula Fether

That’s exactly the same reasoning as "A Christian believes only men can be pastors and husbands have final say over wives. Therefore anyone who doesn’t agree with this is not a Christian." I have found that asking comps for a definition of "comp" is like asking evos for a definition of "evolution": it’s like nailing jello to a wall.


Haha on your "nailing jell-o to the wall" line, Paula, and thanks for being such a brave voice in the wilderness for Christian women who want to live according to their God-given potential, not according to the rules of human beings. What a sad world some Christians live in.

Paula Fether

Tanx Alison, and welcome!

Yes, there are too many women living in bondage to what they’ve been told is the will of God but is really the will of man. We need to keep on shouting out the truth.

Mabel Yin

Thank you Paula for speaking out. I read you regularly. I marvel at your wits and thank God for outspoken egalitarian like you. I grieve that the comps are ruining Christianity. The worst offenders usually turn out to be pastors. I am pushing for women elders and women pastors in my church. I may succeed one of these days, God willing. I am not afraid to speak out.

Paula Fether

Thank you for your kind comment Mabel, and welcome!

Yes, hierarchy is ruining what’s left of Christianity, along with an overall hostility toward sound doctrine and clear reasoning. It’s painful to watch, but we don’t have to let them take everyone down with them. The gospel is good news for everyone, not only for a few. And the more brave souls like yourself there are, the less power the wolves have.


Paula, I just read your response to the Danvers Statement. I understand that if God is sovereign and omnipotent then is stands to reason that there will be things about God the creator that would be troubling to the finite creatures God has made. My question is this; if God views creation the way it is presented in the Danvers Statement, would you still seek to serve God? In other words would you still serve God even if you found some of the teachings of the Bible to be offensive?

Paula Fether

Welcome, Chuck. :-)

You ask, "In other words would you still serve God even if you found some of the teachings of the Bible to be offensive?"

And I respond, "Would you?"

Both sides of the debate need to ask themselves this question. Personally, I would not hesitate to answer it "Yes!", because God is God and we’re not.

But I would expect others to answer it the same way, and to recognize that we must make every effort to "ask, seek, and knock" before writing something off as a mystery (Isaiah 1:18). Many aberrant views dismiss human reasoning completely, taking "the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:10) as a blank check for teaching even the most nonsensical things.

God has told us what He wanted us to know through His Word, but though He is a perfect "transmitter", we all are imperfect "receivers" and must recognize our fallibility. Declaring one’s own conviction to be on a par with the Word is presumptuous and egotistical, so we need to make sure that we do not mistake interpretation for revelation.

So tell me, Chuck... if you were shown scriptural proof that God did not forbid women to serve in every spiritual capacity, nor make them less than men in any way, would you accept it as God’s teaching and obey it?


Paula, Thank you for your kind response, I must say that I cannot find reason to disagree with you on any particular point. You are right that people on both sides of this issue need to ask this question as we all do have the tendency to elevate our opinions to a much higher status than they generally deserve.

You are asking two different questions and I think that it is the combining of these two questions into one has the potential to make this issue so divisive. As to the first one, yes I would like to think that I would defer to the plain teaching of scripture and would very much like to hear support of your position. As to the second question, I believe scripture does plainly teach that women are not less than men in any way, nor are men less than women. The issue to me is not one of value or worth but of God’s purpose for His creation. Could God choose to call one group of people for one role and purpose in His world and another group for different one? Could He do so and still be just?

Paula Fether

The problem comes in knowing where "roles" leave off and "essence" begins. In order for something to be simply a role it cannot be based upon qualities intrinsic to one’s essence.

For example, an employee is under the authority of their boss, but only during working hours. The boss has no authority over them outside the bounds of the workplace, and the authority they do have is not based upon the boss being one sex or race and the employee another. So one’s status as an employee is a "role" because it is not an essential aspect of being.

Race and sex, on the other hand, are essential qualities of being and thus cannot be "roles". We cross the line between worth and role when we say, for example, "because you are ____, you must play role X." You cannot change your skin color or sex, so any rank or restriction based upon either of those things is not a role but a statement of worth.

And we must further define the scope of what applies to us as Christians and what does not. We cannot arbitrarily pick rules or laws from national Israel, or tradition, or society, and make them binding on those of us who are "all one in Christ Jesus". It seems that all too often, we look everyplace but the New Covenant for how we are to behave under it.

So rather than asking what God could do, we need to ask what God has done specifically as it applies to our being in Christ.

Paula Fether

PS re. "the plain teaching of scripture":

That in itself is highly debatable. What seems plain to one person is often plainly wrong to another, even when both have the highest regard for scripture as the Word of God. We have to be careful to consider the full context of any passage, remembering that none of it was written in a vacuum. We also need to follow whatever hermeneutic we choose consistently, meaning we don’t abandon it when we encounter a passage that simply doesn’t fit our "package".


Paula, Again I agree, for the most part with what you are saying, particularly in your PS. But you raise a new question. Is God able to make His will clear to those who genuinely seek it? I like to think of it like this, I am who I am, I work at a certain place, am married to a certain person and live in a certain house. Someone may believe strongly that I live in another house or am married to another person or have a different employer but they would be wrong. So it is (I think) with God, He is what He is and it’s up to us, to change our belief to fit His reality. Let me ask this, are there any issues to which you think Scripture speaks so clearly as to be beyond debate? In other words are there any doctrinal issues on which agreement would be a prerequisite to be a "Christian"?


"Let me ask this, are there any issues to which you think Scripture speaks so clearly as to be beyond debate? In other words are there any doctrinal issues on which agreement would be a prerequisite to be a “Christian”?"

Absolutely for me they are salvic doctrines of repentance, belief in the atonement, faith in Jesus Christ alone and growing in Holiness (sanctification).

We see many teaching that gender roles are salvic doctrine. This is a works Christianity.

I totally agree it is up to us to to change our beliefs to fit HIS reality. That is why I have trouble with the whole focus on roles and the comp movement in general. It takes the focus off of Jesus Christ and on to us humans playing a part. (role) Instead of each believer abiding in Christ and BEING in Him.

It is also a huge sin trap for our brothers who are always talking and preaching on their preeminance. If we are truly saved, we are lowly servants to one another. Like our Lord who washed feet like a lowly house servant.


I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with the term "comp movement", what does that mean?

Paula Fether

Comp means "complementarian", a term coined by CBMW (the council for Biblical manhood and womanhood), a very popular "flagship" for roles and male privilege. They formed as a reaction to an egalitarian (abbr. "egal") organization called CBE (Christians for Biblical equality). Basically, "comp" teaches that God ordained "roles" based upon the flesh (sex) before the Fall, where the male leads and the female follows. They teach that it is sinful for a woman to fail to follow a man, esp. a wife to her husband.

I agree with Lin that there are of course very clear teachings that define the gospel itself. Such teachings are agreed upon by both CBMW and CBE. And even within both of those views there are ongoing battles over that very gospel, which is under attack from all angles.

You can read my personal statement about salvation under various documents here, esp. the Readme and About pages. (I’ll "warn" you ahead of time that some take my rejection of the teaching of "original sin" as grounds for calling me lost, but please understand that I firmly believe there is salvation in no other Name but Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again.)

But as Lin pointed out, teachings concerning proper roles are hardly in the same class. We can examine specific issues if you want.


Paula, I just read your statement of faith and perused your site. If I had a site of my own I could cut and paste almost all of the content from yours to mine without making any changes, so it seems that we are in agreement about most things regarding our faith. If you could suggest some resources regarding this specific issue I would be grateful. Thanks. Chuck


Paula, I didn’t see that you had responded when I posted the last message. I missed the part about original sin. Yes I would disagree with you on this one but no, I don’t see this as a salvation issue (just my opinion). Again any suggestions for material on the comp issue would be appreciated. Chuck

Paula Fether

That’s good to hear, Chuck. :-)

I would then direct you to my Downloads page, esp. the Scribd link, for egal. and other writings on hierarchy. (I consider the male/female issue to be a subset of a larger question of hierarchy in the Body, such that I also take issue with the alleged clergy/laity distinction). Please also understand that if my tone in those documents seems biting at times, it is because I am accustomed to very hostile opponents. I am trying to improve on that though. :-)

You can also search here on "women", "egal", etc. I have an older summary (some minor details may be a little outdated) of this issue at this link as well. But feel free to ask questions.


Great, thanks.


"The problem comes in knowing where “roles” leave off and “essence” begins. In order for something to be simply a role it cannot be based upon qualities intrinsic to one’s essence."

Paula, this strikes me as the single best succinct sentence that summarizes the problem with ’equal in value, inequal or different in roles’ that so many profess. I realize it may cause problems for some if they have not really explored what essence and roles mean, but that is another matter.

Paula Fether

Tanx TS. :-)

And I know also that if you use slavery in the US as an illustration of the problem with "separate but equal", they frequently stop listening and retort with that old "slippery slope" from equality to homosexuality— as if equality is on a par with sexual perversion!


To look at it from another angle:

Slaves would have been equal in essence but just have different roles.

That just about sums up the comp position.


Paula, that is exactly what is thrown back at egals, as though somehow egals are joined at the hip theologically with homosexuality supporters. Could we not just randomly link any number of obnoxious-to-egals issues to comps using the same thinking?!

Lin, that is so true-I never thought of phrasing it that way but I will give it a try the next time I get a chance. I have always been told, in response to equating slavery to women’s issues, that it is not the same. That’s all. No explanation.

Paula Fether

That’s right, TS. The burden of proof is on comps to show how slavery is not the same, in spite of the many identical parallels. I’d like to see them tell which of the two (slavery or women’s unilateral subordination) this list is about:

  • the patriarchs practiced it
  • God gave instructions to Moses on how to regulate it
  • Jesus never expressly condemned it
  • None of the people in this group were chosen by Jesus for His inner circle of disciples
  • there are no examples of individuals in this group being named "pastors" or elders
  • Paul gave instructions on how Christians in this group are to behave and submit
  • God never refers to Himself in terms of this group
  • The people in this group are fully human but must stay in divinely-ordained "roles" to keep the proper order in society

I’m sure we could think of more, but it would be interesting to put this list out and then see if any comps can show how it applies only to women but not to slaves. We could also collect the appropriate scripture references for each. Yet somehow I think that even when confronted with the obvious proof that identical arguments are used for both groups, most comps would still insist that only women are to remain outside the promises of Jesus for freedom and equality.


"Lin, that is so true-I never thought of phrasing it that way but I will give it a try the next time I get a chance. I have always been told, in response to equating slavery to women’s issues, that it is not the same. That’s all. No explanation."

That is because they do not want to discuss it. I know, I have been told countless times it is comparing apples and oranges.

but the truth is they use the same hermeneutic to get there as the slavers did. They claim equality in essence as far as salvation but then teach an inferiority on earth in roles until death. (they do not call it that)

Seems everyone gets to grow up or mature in scripture (and gain freedom as a slave if they can) except women. They must remain perpetual children and have an extra earthly layer between them and Christ that does not apply to men.

Nevermind that men are simply depraved sinners saved by grace as any women.

The real question for comps is what to do with single women and widows. The die hard patriarches say they are under the authority of some man whether it be a father, brother, priest or king...

If the comps are not careful about these specific assigned ’roles’ they have for women, they may be unconsciously promoting "singlehood" for women. :o)


Interesting list Paula. I may have to pilfer that one...

Paula Fether

Be my guest. ;-)

And I’m hoping to post a new article today on this topic as well.

Words of a Fether » Blog Archive » Sound Familiar?

[...] all of them and merely changed the names. I will repeat here a list I made in comments on an earlier post, and challenge anyone to say how these items apply to slaves but not [...]


Lin, I do find it so odd-to say the least-that men, of whom Adam was the first bad example, don’t give themselves demerits for all their dishonesty, instances of being deceived, and many other types of sin, yet women are given the heavy hammer. ’They’ absolutely do preach a pink and blue gospel, and that’s all there is to it!

Paula, that is a very astute list!


Lin, I’m still trying to understand the "Comp" camp, not sure yet if I am one or not. In your post on 0ct. 31 you said: "We see many teaching that gender roles are salvic doctrine. This is a works Christianity." Can you point me to some examples of this teaching and names of it’s supporters? Paula directed me to some great resources on this (complimentarian) issue as well but I would appreciate any help you can offer with regard to the above quote. Thanks

Paula Fether

Tankx TS!

But you know, ’they’ make it so easy, don’t they?


Yes, they do, and as Lin says, I may need to filch the list!