Men and Women in Ministry

Our family of churches in The Alliance Canada has given each local church a mandate to do their own study and give prayerful consideration to the roles of men and women in ministry. Many feel strongly about the topic, and hold different perspectives. Our goal as we approach this subject together is to do so with a gracious and humble attitude that honours God and honours one another. Although there are 2 main perspectives on this question – Complementarian and Egalitarian (also referred to as Mutuality) – there are many variations on each.

Though we may differ as individuals in where we stand, FAC’s goal is to forward an opportunity to listen to differing views in a respectful and prayerful conversation.

There are many resources available on this topic … We hope the selection below is helpful. Though we’re recommending these resources, FAC may not endorse all perspectives expressed – apart from those in Scripture, of course.

What Does the Bible Say | Overview | Medium | In Depth | Additional Resources

What Does the Bible Say?

The Bible is our source of truth – so it’s the first place we look for guidance. Here are some key biblical texts we need to consider and reflect on as we consider the roles of men and women in ministry:

We’ve broken down further suggested resources into 3 sections: overview, medium, and in depth …

 

 

What Does the Bible Say | Overview | Medium | In Depth | Additional Resources

Overview

Summary of Complementarianism and Egalitarianism

This summary is on the website of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which supports a complementarian perspective. The summary, though, is pretty fair in explaining the viewpoints of both perspectives. It can therefore be a helpful starting point in understanding what the arguments and explanations are for the 2 primary views.

Online Resources on the Differing Perspectives

Articles and podcasts available through these websites range from overview to very in-depth:

What Does the Bible Say | Overview | Medium | In Depth | Additional Resources

Medium

We recommend the following book as a medium-depth look on the topic of men and women in ministry (will be available for purchase at the FAC Deerfoot campus bookstore, Cornerstone Marketplace):

  • Two Views on Women in Ministry (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) Edited by James Beck, Stanley Gundry, Linda Belleville

This book is not as comprehensive as Pierce/Groothuis’s and Piper/Grudem’s books listed below, but it’s easier to work through. This resource offers a clear and thorough presentation of the 2 primary views on women in ministry so the reader can better understand each view’s strengths, weaknesses, and complexities. Each view – egalitarian (equal ministry opportunity for both genders) and complementarian (ministry roles differentiated by gender) – is represented by 2 contributors.

What Does the Bible Say | Overview | Medium | In Depth | Additional Resources

In Depth

The 2 books listed below would generally be considered seminal resources on the question of men and women in ministry (will be available for purchase at Cornerstone Marketplace):

  • Discovering Biblical Equality Edited by Ronald Pierce, Rebecca Groothuis, Gordon Fee

Pierce & Groothuis provided one of the primary resources from an egalitarian/mutuality perspective written in response to “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”.

  • Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem

Piper and Grudem’s book is viewed as one of the leading works supporting a complementarian view of men and women.

What Does the Bible Say | Overview | Medium | In Depth | Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Video Presentation & Panel Discussion

Join us for a viewings of a recorded video interview with Canon Theologian Reverend Doctor Scot McKnight as he shares his understanding of this topic with a panel discussion and Q&A with our leadership to follow:

Monday, September 19 or Tuesday, October 16, 2022
7:00-9:00 pm, Harvest Rooms
Deerfoot Campus
No cost or registration

BOOKS

The following books can be ordered through Cornerstone Marketplace upon request:

  • God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey by Andreas Kostenberger, Margaret Kostenberger

This study of the Bible’s teaching on men and women aims to help a new generation of Christians live for Christ in today’s world. Moving beyond other treatments that primarily focus on select passages, this volume traces Scripture’s overarching pattern related to male-female relationships in both the Old and New Testaments.

  • Men and Women in the Church: Building Consensus on Christian Leadership by Sarah Sumner

Evangelicals stand divided in their view of women in the church. On one side stand complementarians, arguing the full worth of women but assigning them to differing roles. On the other side stand egalitarians, arguing that the full worth of women demands their equal treatment and access to leadership roles. Is there a way to mend the breach and build consensus? Avoiding the pitfalls of both radical feminism and reactionary conservatism, Dr. Sumner traces a new path through the issues – biblical, theological, psychological and practical – to establish and affirm common ground. Arguing that men and women are both equal and distinct, Sumner encourages us to find ways to honor and benefit from the leadership gifts of both.

  • Partners in Christ: A Conservative Case for Egalitarianism by John Stackhouse

The Bible says that women should keep silent in church AND that they should pray and prophesy. It calls wives the weaker partner AND says that men and women are equal.

When it comes to understanding what Scripture says about men and women, those on both sides of the debate can and do marshal strong evidence from the Bible. Why are they able to do this?  Dr. Stackhouse contends it is because Scripture in fact says both things. Does the Bible contradict itself then? Not so. Rather, Stackhouse describes the single approach in Scripture that guides us with clear direction on these important matters of relationships in the church and the family.

  • Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian: A Kingdom Corrective to the Evangelical Gender Debate by Michelle Lee-Barnewall

Regarding gender relations, the evangelical world is divided between complementarians and egalitarians. Michelle Lee-Barnewall critiques both sides of the debate, challenging the standard premises and arguments and offering new insight into a perennially divisive issue in the church. She presents an alternative way to move the discussion forward based on a corporate perspective and on kingdom values.

  • Forgotten Voices: Women in Ministry in The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada by Barb Howe

Barb served faithfully as a pastor on staff at Southview Church for many years.  Her book is a historical overview of the significant ministry that women have provided within The Alliance Canada.

  • The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr

This book moves the conversation about biblical womanhood beyond Greek grammar and into the realm of church history–ancient, medieval, and modern–to show that this belief is not divinely ordained but a product of human civilization that continues to creep into the church. Barr’s historical insights provide context for contemporary teachings about women’s roles in the church and help move the conversation forward.

PODCASTS / VIDEOS / ARTICLES

  • Women in Ministry: The Pauline Texts with Gordon D. Fee, Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Regent College, Vancouver
Listen Here

In this audio file, Dr. Fee examines the more difficult Pauline texts on women in ministry. He sets these texts within the broader perspective of Biblical data and within the cultural context of the letters.

  • Complementarianism: Essential or Expendable?
Watch Video

A panel discussion with pastors and scholars Dr. John Piper, Dr. Russell Moore, and Pastor Greg Gilbert about complementarianism

  • Exploring the Biblical Theology of Christian Egalitarianism
Read Articles

Articles by Marg Mowczko, writing from an egalitarian perspective. Marg is an Australian and conducted her research in early Christian and Jewish studies at Macquarie University.

 

What Does the Bible Say | Overview | Medium | In Depth | Additional Resources

If you have questions, please contact Cathie Hall, Office Administrator. Special thanks to Southview Church for permission to share this content.