Thursday, January 12, 2006

Egalitarianism in the Church
Early in December our furnace went out and we had the repair man come by. Mike was at work when the crew came, so I showed them to the basement and to the best of my ability explained the problem to the head guy. He took a look at the system, including a modification Mike had made, and started in on how this was all wrong, it should never have been done this way, etc etc etc. Now, I have to explain something about myself here - in real life I'm fairly easily intimidated, and frankly I didn't like this man's tone. His attitude was I'm the professional and I know all about these things and you don't have any business monkeying with stuff.

Yes. He's the professional. That's why we called him.

BUT. I'm the mistress of this house, and I'm the one who's paying him to do a job for me. I would be glad to learn something from a man who can explain it to me, but I did not go into the basement in order to be lectured by a hired man.

In our current cultural climate this probably comes across as snobbery, but here's what's going on. The professional assumed an attitude of authority over me based upon his professional training. But that's not at all how it's supposed to work. Biblical authority is delegated authority which is based upon position or role. And even though that man knew more than I did about the furnace, he owed me respect as a woman, as the lady of the house, and as the person who would be providing his dinner that night.

(Of course, I didn't talk back to him - I went up and called Mike so he could take care of it but I didn't tell him how I'd felt until after the guy left. I stayed upstairs and baked cookies for them to take home.)

Anyway. I said all that to say this: This is illustrative of the problem we're having in the Church in America today. We think that just because a woman has theological training, or is a gifted communicator, that her skills are what give her the right to a certain position within the Church.

It's not simply male/female egalitarianism that is the problem. It's egalitarianism that would deny that there are superior and inferior* roles that are defined by God and delegated by him, in the Church as well as in the Family or the State.


*I'm using "superior" and "inferior" the same way the Westminster Larger Catechism does in explaining the 5th Commandment - Q.123-33

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