I have read of some who were around when “complementarian” was invented. They would speak reverently and in awe of the term. It certainly was a brilliant move that provided folks with a sophisticated sounding, eight-syllable word to use. Who would argue with a fancy term like that? After that, we could assign ourselves to one of two broad categories: egalitarian or complementarian. Egalitarian was always fairly straightforward but complementarian meant something a lot more fuzzy and not much more than that it was not egalitarian.
It’s a political reality that issues are won or lost on the terminology that becomes acceptable.
So here we are a generation after its invention. Find me a complementarian who will offer a definitive list of what women can and cannot do. The beleaguered Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a group not voted on by any SBC messenger, doesn’t do that. The ‘experts’ in the field do not, preferring more vague approaches.
Hey, I’m just a pastor. Saying I was complementarian was a simple way of expressing things. But I can’t do that any more. Now one has to specify what kind of complementarian one is: hard or soft, broad or narrow, strict. This complimentarian business is complicated. I just learned that a “broad” complementarian is the same as a ‘hard’ complimentarian. Rather counterintuitive, I think. Maybe the adjectives have a scholarly underpinning. Sounds to me like picking the more attractive term “broad” for your side and assigning the more unattractive term “narrow” to the other side. Confusing, but I appreciate those who are deep into this being congenial, kind, and cooperative.
So long, “complementarianism,” you had a pretty good run in this Grand Old Convention but you’re not worth diddly-squat any more.
“Clickbait” sayeth Dave Miller. “Scintilliating, erudite, and short” sayeth your humber hacker and plodder blogger.
See you in Birmingham. If you want to comp something, meet me for lunch.