Aimee Byrd and Laura Martin are two of the most thoughtful writers I read. They tackle hard subjects relating to faith and doctrine, family and relationships, culture and society. They have taught me much through their scholarly and yet extremely readable posts.
So I turned to them to help me with something. I wanted to know how they would express their priorities when it comes to gospel and doctrine? Read along for the question I posed and their excellent answers, and enjoy the type of fellowship we should all strive for in the family of God.
Good morning Aimee and Laura:
I have an idea for a post about loving Jesus and pursuing good doctrinal understanding of God and his word. You each write well on this and cover a number of doctrinal issues with good solid support; it also just so happens that one of you is complementarian and the other egalitarian. You have both taught me so much on developing good doctrine and I’d like to show my readers that the comp/egal discussion is secondary (or tertiary, or quaternary) to coming together in rightly understanding Christ.
I am hoping to use your insights as part of the post, showing that differing on doctrine should not get in the way of pursuing God alongside our brothers and sisters. You would each answer two questions (a take off on John Piper’s statement about Calvinists and Arminians).
Laura: 1) Would you agree or disagree with this statement: “I’d rather enjoy time with a complementarian who loves the gospel than an egalitarian who loves egalitarianism.” 2) Why?
2. Our faith is ultimately about Jesus Christ and His work for us – which is the Gospel. Yes there are other important issues, but the Gospel is and should be paramount. Please see 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. This is the core of our faith. Note that the verses following are about eyewitness testimony to these core truths, and NOT about the role of women nor a whole slew of other possible issues or concerns.
I’ve encountered those on both sides of the comp/egal divide who have elevated their beliefs about women above Jesus. Likely they would disagree with that assessment, but their actions and behavior tell me otherwise. They give the cold shoulder or even refuse to interact with those who have opposing views on women. Really? How can this be? They have, in essence, added on statements to the 1 Corinthians passage making things the Gospel that are not the Gospel.
If we can’t unite around our love and commitment to Jesus and the Gospel, then we have elevated something above Him.This doesn’t mean we won’t disagree on some issues (the role of women and otherwise) and it doesn’t mean these other things are not important, but lets keep the main thing the main thing. Which means I’d rather enjoy time with a complementarian who loves the gospel than an egalitarian who loves egalitarianism!
Aimee: 1) Would you agree or disagree with this statement: “I’d rather enjoy time with an egalitarian who loves the gospel than a complementarian who loves complementarianism.” 2) Why?
2) While I value complementarianism and I find it important for worship, it is a secondary issue.
There are certainly profitable times to have sharpening conversations about God’s design for women and men, but I think this quote alludes to the tendency of some to prioritize the egalitarian/complementarian debate over the good news of the gospel. Then we move from being helpful and edifying, to just wanting to be right.
What I’ve seen happen sometimes is that we reduce men and women to what they can and cannot do, and we become very one-dimensional. I want to discuss the gospel message with the same focus as Scripture has: God, not me! And I have had many enriching conversations with egalitarians about how Jesus is Lord in both his person and his work. For that I am very thankful.
Did you notice that they each gave essentially the same answer?
In fact, I think Aimee and Laura are able to write so well about doctrine and faith and the gospel because they don’t bother dwelling on secondary issues. Their example helps me put these secondary issues like the comp/egal debate in their place: a far distant second (or third or fourth) to the good news of the gospel
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (Philippians 3:15-16.)