Some people seem to have difficulty understanding why the complementarian construct of ‘equal in being and different in role’ is logically incoherent.
Let me explain.
It is not that simply having a different role makes one person less valuable than another, although it seems that this is what complementarians seem to want to think about the issue that I have.
The incoherence is introduced by the rationale behind the role. The complementarian characterization of their own view is intentionally incomplete. A full understanding of their view would be as follows.
- Men and women are equal in their being.
- Women are prohibited from leadership because of their being (gender).
If the contradiction doesn’t jar you, then perhaps the following parallel construct will provide further clarity.
- Caucasians and Africans are equal in their being.
- Africans are prohibited from leadership because of their being (ethnicity).
If the second example seems incoherent to you, then the first should as well.
It was interesting to speak with a philosopher friend of mine about this issue, and he recognized immediately that the rationale used to subjugate women in the church today is identical to the rationale used to subjugate South Africans under apartheid.