WRF Member Dr. John Norwood Discusses Complementarianism and a Ministry of a Church

[Note: The object next expresses a views of a particular named as a author and does not indispensably simulate a position of a WRF as a whole.]

Complementarianism and a Ministry of a Church

A Brief Overview


WRF Member Rev. Pastor J. R. Norwood, PhD

Copyright©2019 by Dr. J.R. Norwood

All Rights Reserved

May be copied in whole or in partial for educational functions with correct citation. A .pdf chronicle of this essay is attached.

“Complementarianism” refers to a Bible’s training that group and women are combined with equal value by God and have “complementary” roles within a church and family.[1]  These roles are also of equal value, are interdependent, are given in Scripture, and are a will of God. Our acquiescence to these roles is out of deferential adore for a Lord and in acknowledgment of His management over us. 

The Lord done group and women in His picture (Genesis 1:26-27), as dignified agents and as a stewards over a earth (Genesis 1:28).  Women and group are equal in their standing as God’s picture bearers.  Moreover, women and men, who are disciples of Jesus Christ, are equal in their standing as children of God (Galatians 3:26-29).  There are no “second category citizens” in a Kingdom of Heaven.

Spiritual gifts are given though courtesy to gender (Romans 12:3-8).  We see spiritually means group and women via a whole Bible.  Both heroes and heroines are renowned for their faith (Hebrews 12:1-40).  However, while devout gifts and examples of fidelity are not singular by gender, some roles are gender specific.[2]  While any particular masculine might have a nurturing nature, group can't be mothers.  Women do not founder children and group do not give birth. This disproportion is combined by God and He calls it “good” (Genesis 1:31).  Such a eminence in roles is not singular to procreation, though is extended to both a family (1 Corinthians 11:2-3; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Peter 3:1-7) and a church (1 Corinthians 11:4-15; 1 Timothy 2:8-15). 

There are some who reason to a interrelated position and trust a eminence in roles even restricts a lady from preaching.  However, a Bible gives justification that delivering a word from a Lord is not disdainful to men.  The Old Testament speaks of women who were prophetesses (Exodus 15:20; Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22).   In a New Testament, we see women giving auspicious tongue before to a birth of a New Testament church (Luke 1:41-45; 1:46-55; 2:36-38). Also, a escape of a Holy Spirit on all believers on a Day of Pentecost, lenient “sons and daughters to prophesy,” is noticed as a accomplishment of a forecast of Joel (Acts 2:16-18; see also Joel 2:28-29).  We see that a Apostle Paul gives instructions for women who urge and forecast as he discusses appropriateness and sequence in in open ceremony (1 Corinthians 11:5). And, Philip, one of a initial 7 deacons and an preacher (Acts 6:5-6; 8:4-40), had 4 daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:8-9). 

So, while a Apostle Paul tells a Corinthians that women are to sojourn wordless in church and ask questions of their husbands[3] during home (1 Corinthians 14:34-35), we know that this contingency be interpreted in care of a justification from a aforementioned scriptures that indicated he did assent women to prophesy,[4] even in worship.  When concern a full context of 1 Corinthians 14, it becomes apparent that a apostle is traffic with a emanate of nurse worship, what shall be available in a control of a ceremony (v.27-29), and utterly a emanate of “judging” prophesies offering during ceremony (v.29-33).  It secretly addresses “speaking” or “questioning” in courtesy to evaluating what is spoken as “prophetic” in sequence to establish a authenticity; this is an lawful deliberation, a devout determination, that within a context of a territory appears to be a purpose of men… or during slightest certain men.  When deliberate with a apostle’s management in 1 Timothy 2:12, “I do not assent a lady to learn or to use management over a man; rather, she is to sojourn quiet,”[5] we see that a common breach of women sportive authority[6] over group is raised.  However, it contingency be restated, that to appreciate possibly 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 or 1 Timothy 2:12 to be comprehensive prohibitions opposite women vocalization during all in ceremony in any way, would dispute with Acts 2:16-18, 1 Corinthians 11:5, and Acts 21:8-9. Therefore, given scripture interprets scripture, we contingency interpretation that there is one sense in that women are not to “speak” in a church, and another sense in that they may.  The common thread between a breach in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:12 appears to be a context of women carrying some form of management over group in a church or vocalization in a form of an lawful devout integrity for a whole church.

If a clarity in that women might “speak” includes proclaiming a word of God (prophesying as in a box of preaching[7]), afterwards in what clarity would a lady “speaking” tumble underneath a breach of lawful devout determinations and legal management within a church? Could it be within a context of leadership? One form of church care is a sequence of deacons.  Church tradition points to a sequence of deacons being determined in Acts 6 when 7 group were comparison to “serve” from among a believers in a Jerusalem assemblage and were consecrated during a hands of a Apostles. The Apostle Paul gives specific mandate for a bureau in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, where he also creates anxiety to what is a impression outline for what is mostly translated as “their wives” (v.11).  It should be remarkable here that a Greek tenure used (γυναῖκας / γυνή),[8] forms of that are indeed some-more mostly translated as “woman,” “woman’s,” or “women[9]” instead of “wife” or “wives” (130 out of 220 times in a New Testament).[10] While it is probable that a use of a tenure here does impute to a wives of masculine deacons, it is also probable that it could impute to women that offer in a office.  This latter probability is serve strengthened in that a mandate for a bureau of supervisor (bishop, overseeing elder, a.k.a. pastor) mentioned only before to a instructions per deacons, embody no together instruction for their wives (1 Timothy 3:1-7). Given a purpose of a supervisor and a some-more difficult mandate for that office, a deficiency of any discuss of a compulsory characteristics of a overseer’s mother is extraordinary and might lend discernment into how a discuss of γυναῖκας (γυνή) in a following territory could be perceived (more on this later).  Moreover, a tenure used for “deacon” (διάκονος), that means “servant,” is also used to impute to Phoebe (rendered as διάκονον) in Romans 16:1, a lady whom a Apostle Paul describes as  “…a menial of a church during Cenchreae.” While a tenure “διάκονος“ (διάκονον) is used to impute to both a bureau of deacon and also as a general tenure for “servant,” it is engaging to note that in Romans 16:1, Phoebe’s nomination by a Apostle Paul is specific and not generic.  The apostle commends her and introduces her in an odd way.  She is not referred to as a “servant of a Lord,” that is a some-more common usage, though as a διάκονον of a specific congregation.[11] Phoebe’s nomination is singular when compared to a remaining people listed in a apostle’s greeting, who are variously referred to as “fellow workers,” “fellow prisoners,” “kinsman,” etc. The apostle gives specific instructions on how she is to be perceived and assisted, “…welcome her in a Lord in a approach estimable of a saints, and assistance her in whatever she might need from you, for she has been a enthusiast of many and of myself as well” (Romans 16:2).  Phoebe’s standing might have been that of a faithful, though unofficial, “servant of a church” or she might have been a lady deacon.  There is room for biblically true discuss on how a thoroughfare should be interpreted; but, a emanate should not be overlooked.  Some might remonstrate that concern a probability a Scripture allows for women deacons is precluded by 1 Timothy3:12; “…Let deacons any be a father of one wife….” However, given a informative context of a time, a use of polygamy was typically associated to mixed wives, not mixed husbands; so a discuss of women being a mother of one father would have been unnecessary. Regardless, such a breach for group positively implies a same for any women to that it might apply.

While Scripture might concede for a probability of women deacons, a purpose of deacons has not traditionally been that of “ruling” in a demeanour certain elders are referenced, as in 1 Timothy 5:17; “Let a elders who order good be deliberate estimable of double honor, generally those who labor in priesthood and teaching.”  There is a eminence between a purpose of a elder and that of a deacon.  The tenure translated “rule” in a hymn is “προεστῶτες”[12] that refers to “overseeing,” “ruling over” or “maintaining” and is expected associated to a purpose of a “overseer” mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.  In essence, elders manage and contend a ministries of a church.  The purpose of elders being in legal leadership, creation lawful devout determinations for a whole church, is upheld by a comment in Acts 15:1-29, as elders participated in last church doctrine, alongside a apostles, during a Council of Jerusalem. While central titles might vary, formed on a story and tradition of a assemblage or denomination, a bureau of those who perform this overseeing purpose of legal leadership, creation lawful devout determinations for a church, contingency accommodate a criteria determined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, while also submitting to a restrictions of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:12 as formerly discussed.

Scripture commands both group and women to use their devout gifts in a method of a church (Romans 12:3-8). Moreover, a true complementarian interpretation of Scripture might open a method of proclaiming a gospel,[13] and a bureau of deacon, to competent disciples regardless of gender.  However, a bureau of a “ruling” elder (overseer, bishop, a.k.a. pastor), that carries a shortcoming of legal leadership, has been limited in Scripture to exclusively request to competent men.  The gender limitation of this position of “headship” in a church does not repudiate a value, importance, intelligence, and devout gifting of women,[14] nor does it obviate women from other forms of leadership, nor does it indispensably request to non-clerical or physical vocations.  Likewise, biblical headship is servant-leadership (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:5-17); it is self-sacrificing, instance setting, and shepherding a church in acquiescence to a Lord Jesus Christ, who is a “good shepherd.”


For many frank Christians, complementarianism seems to be a vestige of a past and no longer germane to complicated culture.  we began in consecrated method as an egalitarian, desiring that no roles in a church were gender specific. However, since a Bible is a Word of God, it should be a initial and final management in a life of disciples and of any Christian assemblage or denomination. Delving deeper into a truths of a Bible and flourishing in my bargain of biblical doctrine led me, despite solemnly and reluctantly, to noticing that a Bible teaches complementarianism.

Part of embracing Christ as Lord means submitting to Scripture even when we wish it took a opposite position on an issue… even when we, in a carnal nature, don’t like what it has to contend about something over that we might feel utterly differently.  We contingency appreciate a Word of God rightly, not perplexing to turn it to fit a whims, a feelings, a preferences, a culture, or renouned opinion.  Submitting to God means submitting to His Word, generally when we find it tough to do so.  We contingency bear in mind that we are sinners, saved by grace; so a opinions and feelings are still impacted and shabby by sin.  The Holy Spirit uses Scripture to figure us, delivering us from subjugation to a corrupted tendencies, preferences, and perspectives.  The disciples of Jesus Christ have been innate anew into a life of amatory a Lord, cherishing His Word, and obeying Him.

Christians who find to contention to a Word of God, even when essay to righteously appreciate and request Scripture, might still differ in their interpretive conclusions on some points of use and doctrine.  We all contingency continue to essay for larger enlightenment in a bargain of Scripture and urge for beauty to obediently contention to it.  With those who essay to contention to a Lord in a light of His Word, calm over a non-critical differences should beam a interactions, remembering a aged principle, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”[15]


[1] This is renowned from “egalitarianism” that asserts that there is no disproportion in a roles of group and women in a family or a church, that is an increasingly renouned position among Christians shabby by complicated amicable movements.

[2] The tenure “gender” is used to exclusively impute to fundamental birth gender, as a Bible does not commend a disproportion between fundamental birth gender and “gender identity.” 

[3] It is expected that a apostle’s instruction within this context would embody enlivening unwed women to scrutinise secretly of their desiring fathers, or brothers, or associating women.

[4] “Prophesying” is proclaiming a law of God.  The tenure need not merely impute to foretelling destiny events, though also includes a commercial of a Gospel of Jesus Christ (i.e., preaching).

[5] All scripture quotes are from a English Standard Version (ESV).

[6] The Apostle Paul’s breach opposite women “teaching” group contingency not be taken out of context to meant “no form of training per anything during all.” Contrary to such a position is a fact that Priscilla assimilated with her father Aquila in instructing Apollos in Acts 18:24-26. Rather, this should be noticed together with “exercising authority” over group in a church.  It is lawful devout instruction, i.e. integrity of approved faith and practice, that is in view.

[7] Some who reason to complementarianism would remonstrate with this matter and still demarcate women from preaching. 

[8] The grammatical form used in a hymn in a Greek N.T. is γυναῖκας, and listed as γυνή in both Strong’s Concordance and New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of a Bible. 

[9] The New American Standard Version translates a tenure in 1 Timothy 3:11 as “women.”

[10] According to a New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of a Bible.

[11] This author has not found any together use elsewhere in a New Testament.

[12] Indicating a grammatical form in a Greek N.T., and listed as προΐστημι in both Strong’s Concordance and New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of a Bible.

[13] We contingency remember that a initial humans to announce a rebirth of Jesus were women who had been educated to do so by possibly angels or Jesus (Matthew 29:2-10; Mark 16:1-13; Luke 24:1-10; John 20:11-18).

[14] Neither gender has an disdainful explain to knowledge and insight. This author continues to learn most about a faith and flourishing in beauty from saintly women.

[15] Quote is credited to a Lutheran theologian, Rupertus Meldenius (c.1627).


Article source: http://wrfnet.org/articles/2019/10/wrf-member-dr-john-norwood-discusses-complementarianism-and-ministry-church

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