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Complementarianism

Mark Driscoll

This last point will, for some, seem peculiar as the closing section of our “Long Live the Dead Guys Week” tribute to Old New Calvinists. However, I believe it is incredibly important. One of the tasks of New Calvinists is to winsomely, correctly, passionately, and effectively discover fresh ways to say old truths. Another task of New Calvinists is to follow in the example of faithful Bible preachers and teachers who have preceded us by handling the big issues of our day as they did in theirs. This leads us to complementarianism. In our age of great gender confusion—from feminism to chauvinism—and homosexuality, the issue of God-designed, complementary gender roles is incredibly timely and vital for the well-being of God’s people.

Three Views on Gender Roles

There are three basic views prevailing today in the home and church:

  • Egalitarian (Feministic): There is no innate distinction between the roles of men and women in the home or church. Women can be pastors and men can be stay-at-home dads so that their wives can pursue their careers.
  • Complementarian (Moderate): Men and women are partners in every area of life and ministry together. Though equal, men and women have complementary and distinct gender roles so that men are to lovingly lead and head their homes like Jesus, and only men can be pastors in the church.
  • Hierarchical (Chauvinistic): Women are not only commanded to follow male leadership, but are not given a voice with male leaders, as women are often chauvinistically kept under thumb as the polar opposite of egalitarian feminism.

An Undergirding Truth

The New Calvinists are committed to complementarianism in the home and church. In some ways, this is a very important undergirding fact that binds us together. Over a meal in Vancouver, B.C., some years ago, a friend and wonderful brother, Bruce Ware, who has worked tirelessly on this issue, commented that he believed that someone’s view of gender roles in fact reveals much of their theology, including their view of God, the Bible as God’s Word, and how the Bible is to be interpreted. His words were both insightful and helpful.

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

I can still remember having been saved a few years when John Piper and Wayne Grudem published the epic book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood with my friends at Crossway. My pastor told me to read the entire book, and so I did. It changed my life, family, and ministry—including Mars Hill Church, where I pastor, and Acts 29, which is a complementarian church planting movement. That book and my accompanying biblical study solidified for me a complementarian position that has never wavered an inch; the more I am hammered for the issue, like a straight nail, the deeper the conviction goes. Without the courage shown in the early 1990s on this issue, I do not believe we would have the kind of courageously lovingly and selfless masculine men who are rising up to lead the New Calvinism that Time magazine says is the third most important idea changing the world right now. So, I want to close “Long Live the Dead Guys Week” by thanking the living guys who echoed the dead guys and planted a flag of truth to which a generation is running. Finally, if you want to read that book for yourself, you can find it free of charge here.


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