Ligon Duncan, CBMW, Complementarianism, Egalitarian, headship
Practical Guidelines for Teaching Complementarity
Ligon Duncan stresses that if pastors do not regularly teach complementarity, then “we lose on this issue.”
Feel free to play along while you watch the video. You are guaranteed a black out!
In April, Ligon Duncan addressed pastors at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) pre-conference of the 2016 T4G conference regarding how to address complementarianism.
Duncan offered eight guidelines for pastors when teaching complementarianism. Three celebrate complementarianism, and five realizations as you practice this “Biblical” view.
You have to teach and preach complementarianism.
Duncan stresses that if pastors do not regularly address complementarianism, then congregations will be won over to the teachings of culture and “we will lose on this issue.” Duncan also stresses that pastors need to make sure that leaders in the church are equipped in this teaching as well.
This leads me to wonder: how often is he talking about addressing this issue from the pulpit? Every other Sunday? Every Sunday? Should it be taught in Sunday school classes and small groups? How about in children’s and youth ministries? If he is calling for equipping leaders, then it sounds like he wants the church to be infiltrated to follow complementarianism on all fronts.
The church needs to become a culture that honors women and loves people who struggle with same sex attraction.
Duncan states that when pastors teach on complementarity they will be labeled as misogynistic and homophobic. Yes, very true. So how is a pastor to combat that view? By publicly honoring women and loving people with same sex attraction.
It is this part of the talk where I get the feeling that Duncan is stressing that complementarianism requires an image make-over. Is he sincere about honoring and loving? I really hope so. However, he goes on to say that he hopes that women’s and gay’s testimony to complementarianism is that “we’re not treated like that.” So really, it seems more of concern about how complementarianism is portrayed than anything else.
As you celebrate “beautiful complementarianism” make sure men know that headship is a service and not a “tool for self-interest.”
Doesn’t this make you wonder why Duncan must tell pastors to address that women should be honored and men cannot use complementarianism as a tool of abuse? In relationships where each partner is treated as an equal, men do not need to be reminded that they are given a “unique responsibility.”
And, for good measure, I’ll throw this quote out to stand on its own:
When women realize that the Bible’s teaching on men being godly spiritual leaders in the home is something that is in their best interest, they are the people in local congregations that are loudly most for it.
Sigh. I haven’t realized what is in my “best interest.”
Moving on to the realizations…
Don’t assume the next generation agrees with complementarianism.
Gasp! And if they don’t?! What is a pastor to do?
A pastor must show the next generation the beauty of complementarianism by living it out in marriages and preaching it from the pulpit.
Polity is theology.
This is what it all comes down to. It’s not the death, burial and resurrection of Christ that dictates theology, but church policy and governance on complementarianism. A secondary issue becomes a primary theological issue.
The goal here is to stay calm and carry on. Don’t restrict women’s ministries in the church and make sure that people understand that preaching/teaching of the church is to be done by “qualified men.” Apparently this is not a male/female issue, but an issue of making sure that a qualified man does the job.
Be firm in your conviction and winsome in your persuasion.
Make sure ardent feminists and gays are offended by your teaching yet are overwhelmed by the respect and love you show them.
None of this information is new. Duncan has been teaching about complementarianism for years. But I get the feeling that there has been a bit more push back toward CBMW in regard to their teaching. More women are telling their stories about suffering through abusive marriages that resulted from following strict gender role teaching. Aimee Byrd recently wrote a fantastic post about how CBMW has left complementarian women feeling betrayed by their silence.
CBMW needs to learn that showing respect and love to people, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, is what should be preached from the pulpit because it is how God commands us to live. That should be the primary issue on a pastor’s heart. Any public display of honoring a woman or loving a gay person will only be seen as a facade if all you are doing is attempting to show that complementarianism is “not like that.”