To many people in today’s broad Messianic movement, the issues involving the place of husbands and wives in the family, as well as men and women in the local assembly, is a done deal. Husbands lead the family, and wives abide by their husbands’ decisions. Men lead the congregation, and women are there to help facilitate congregational functions. Any position about men and women in the Body of Messiah which might invoke terms such as co-equal, shared responsibility, and mutual submission are often viewed as compromise with the prevailing culture at best, or capitulation to liberal theology at worst. You do not just throw around the term “egalitarian” in the Messianic movement, unless you really are willing to experience some blowback.
Men and Women
Anyone who receives a broad-based theological education today, will quickly find that there are a number of issues upon which scholars, congregational leaders, and laypersons not only disagree about—but will starkly divide over. One of the biggest, divisive issues in contemporary evangelical Protestant theology, involves women in ministry. There are Christian denominations which support females serving alongside of males as co-leaders of the assembly, ordained as pastors, and there are other Christian denominations which strongly oppose females serving in such a capacity. When it comes to marital relationships, there are those who support marriages where husband and wife are co-leaders of the family, and there are others who believe that a husband leads the family while the wife follows.
Having a Torah foundation requires Bible students to encounter some uncomfortable and controversial matters. Ancient Israel was commanded to annihilate the Canaanites. Man and woman before the Fall were equals.
Was woman created to stand behind the man, or stand beside the man?
Does an acceptance of an egalitarian ideology, truly originate from a compromise with culture?
What is your position on women in ministry? Should Messianic women be allowed to be teachers, pastors/rabbis, or occupy positions of leadership?
At a recent conference celebrating his fifty years in ministry, John MacArthur was asked a two-word question: “Beth Moore.” His response: “Go home!” MacArthur is well known for supporting a complementarian doctrine that only males are allowed to lead and teach in the ekklēsia, and so Moore, as a woman found teaching a mixed groups of females and males, stands in stark contrast to such an ideology.
God created male and female in His image, with the same degree of dignity and humanity.
Complementarians frequently will conclude that “Mankind fell from grace because Adam did not lead, permitting his wife to lead and be deceived by the serpent.” Is this really an appropriate way to consider the Fall of humanity in the Garden?