My friend Retha Faurie recently wrote a blog post about 50 Crucial Questions, a document written a while ago by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. According to the blurb which accompanies the e-book of this document, these questions reflect central concerns and “objections raised against the complementarian view that God created men and women equal in value but [supposedly] distinct in role.”
Retha suggests the authors—and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, who have published the questions and answers on their website—don’t have a good understanding of the gospel. After reading question and answer 48 (in reference to Ephesians 5:32), I can see why she might say that.
Here’s the question: “How can a Christian single woman enter into the mystery of Christ and the church if she never experiences marriage?
What is telling is that this question singles out single women; there is no similar question for single men. And the male authors, who answer the forty-nine other questions, don’t answer this question but quote from an article written by a woman. They quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s article on the topic of “virginity” as though question 48 is especially a woman’s concern. (The answer, in my opinion, is unhelpful and has nothing to do with Ephesians 5:32.)
The implication of question and answer 48 is that single virgin women, but not single virgin men, may have difficulty experiencing “the mystery of Christ and church.”
Is a single woman a lesser member of Christ’s church? Is she any less of a follower of Jesus than a single man or a married husband or wife? Is she less than a widowed or divorced person?
And is the “mystery of Christ and the church” even something that we, regardless of our sex or marital status, can experience as individuals? Surely, if this mystery is something we can actually experience, we do this corporately as a congregation in communion with Jesus.
Even though complementarians continually say that Christian men and women are equal in value, their actual beliefs reveal a gender hierarchy with women, especially single women [and childless, married women] being on lower rungs. Behind complementarianism is the idea that not all Christians are equal. On the other hand, I believe the New Testament teaches that men and women are equal in Christ and in his church.
What must a woman do to be saved? (1 Timothy 2:15)
Is Motherhood the Highest Calling for Women?
Beauty, Marriage, Motherhood and Ministry
Wayne Grudem on what Women should do in the Church
A shepherd who only feeds the male sheep in his flock?