The two sides of any issue seem to find it very hard to really hear each other. This is very true when it comes to the question of biblical gender. It seems complementarians are pigeonholed as oppressive and women haters and Evangelical egalitarians are painted as liberals in drag.

Recently I read Michael Bird’s E-Book Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts: A Case for Gender Equality in Ministry from the Fresh Perspectives on Women in Ministry series. He writes something that I think no matter where we are on the “women’s issue” we can agree on:

“Evangelical egalitarians remain in the tradition of an orthodox Christianity and possess a high regard for Scripture even if (like all of us) they occasionally fall prey to the cultural ethos of our time. At the same time, complementarians do not wake up every morning and conspire how to oppress and abuse women. Many of them are deeply concerned with protecting women from abuse and stemming the exploitation of women, and they wish to see women reach their highest potential in Christ even if their own patriarchal culture rather than Scripture has shaped their thinking at times. In a nutshell, egalitarians are not opposed to biblical authority and complementarians are not deliberate oppressors of women. When both sides concede as much, then perhaps the gender war will be over.”

As Christians, we need to represent the views of others and not caricature them. This is love. To caricature anyone is sin.

This is especially true when we are talking about such a vital topic as gender. To caricature is to not listen and not really engage in conversation and when that happens, we all lose.

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