Complementarianism vs. egalitarianism—which view is biblically correct?
On the one side are the egalitarians who believe there are no gender distinctions and that since we are all one in Christ, women and men are interchangeable when it comes to functional roles in leadership and in the household.
The complementarian view believes in the essential equality of men and women as persons (i.e., as human beings created in God’s image), but complementarians hold to gender distinctions when it comes to functional roles in society, the church, and the home.
What is truly the crux of this issue that many egalitarians fail to understand is that a difference in role does not equate to a difference in quality, importance, or value. Men and women are equally valued in God’s sight and plan. Women are not inferior to men. Rather, God assigns different roles to men and women in the church and the home because that is how He designed us to function.
The functional hierarchy within the Trinity demonstrates the reality of both distinction and equality (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3). The Holy Spirit is submissive to the Father and the Son, as is the Son to the Father. While the three Persons are equally God, their differences in function do not entail commensurate inferiority of essence. Women and men both bear the same image of God and are equally human, but they also have God-ordained tasks and responsibilities that correspond to the functional hierarchy of the Trinity.
Nearly all marital arguments center on these three issues:
Power – Power is the conflict addressed in this worldview issue. Who’s making the decisions; who’s in control?
When dating, finding out where the person you are dating stands on the subject is crucial. This can be the clincher for some couples. After all, before getting married, you’ll want to know if the other person agrees with your views on headship, marital roles, etc. Ask God in prayer where you are inclined, and be sure your position is well-supported by the Bible. You don’t have to choose between complementarianism and egalitarianism in order to be saved, but you might want to find out where you stand as soon as possible.