Ep 23: Women, ministry and the church

Here it is: the topic everyone’s been asking for

Welcome back! Season Two of With All Due Respect starts with a bang …

For argument’s sake: where we take a debate, cut out the party politics and try to talk it out 

It’s game on as Megan and Michael address the elephant in the room: the issue of gender in the church.

This topic marks one of the deepest divides among evangelical Christians, and the church in general. It’s also one of the biggest disagreements between Megan and Michael personally (and the discussion that Michael’s been avoiding because of the painful responses it can provoke).

So what should women do in the church and why does it matter anyway?

It’s time for Megan and Michael to tie their colours to the mast: exactly what do they think about the “c word” (complementarianism) and the “e word” (egalitarianism); what’s the biblical basis for these positions; and how do they play out in the church and the lives of Christians today?

While on opposite sides of the debate, both Megan and Michael agree that this is not just a “women’s issue”.

Further reading:

Also mentioned in this segment:

  • Created Or Constructed? Great Gender Debate by Elaine Storkey
  • Michael gives a shout-out to Matt Anslow, a member of the With All Due Respect Facebook group, who asked the following question (abbreviated): “My assumption is that God, being wholly good, gives us commands that are for our good … Complementarians, at least as far as I’m aware, are unable to point to any objective good secured by prohibiting women from exercising these certain ministry roles. Usually the reason given for upholding these teachings is simply that God has commanded it in Scripture, and exegetical arguments ensue. Keeping in mind that such commands are seen by many Christians as only being intended for and applicable to their original contexts, what objective goods do complementarians think are being secured by upholding their teaching on ministry roles?”

Q&A: you ask us questions, and we answer without the spin

You can’t ask that! Oh but you did, and Megan and Michael asked you to. The pair field a handful of the 600 questions about gender identity and the church thrown at them by members of With All Due Respect Facebook group – a community of Christians committed to respectful public conversation.

“Isn’t egalitarianism just about women seeking power?” and “Does complementarianism always lead to abuse?” are just a couple of the curly questions they address, as Megan goes into bat for the “feminist egalitarian” team and Michael the “moderate complementarian” team.

Mentioned in this segment:

The secret life of us: what makes the other one tick

Time to get personal.

Michael asks Megan, “Am I a misogynist?”

Megan asks Michael, “Do you think I’m called by God?”

At the end of this epic Episode 1 of Season Two, our co-hosts may not have solved the issues around gender roles in the church, but hopefully they’ve established a starting point for mutual respect, understanding and further conversation.

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Find out more about the hosts of With All Due Respect:

Rev Dr Michael Jensen, rector at St Mark’s Anglican Darling Point, author, public commentator.

Rev Megan Powell du Toit, ordained Baptist minister, Publishing Manager of the Australian College of Theology, editor of the journal Colloquium.

We got the idea of our two-header theology and culture podcast from this show: The Movie Show/At the Movies.