What is complementarianism?

Complementarianism is the belief that men and women have specifically designated roles given to them by God. It teaches that the sexes are designed to complement each other through their respective inherent masculine and feminine differences. Complementarians believe that when God-given gender strengths are embraced within the church and the home it creates stronger and spiritually healthier men and women.

Genesis 1:26–27 says that both males and females were created in God's image. Eve, a woman, was specifically designed to complement Adam, a man (Genesis 2:18). Because God specifically created two genders, complementarians believe that any blurring of their roles occurs as an effect of the fall.

Complementarianism adheres to Ephesians 5:22–33 as a guide for the dynamics between a husband and wife. The husband is the leader of the home. He is to lovingly provide for, nurture, lead, and serve his family. The wife is to follow her husband's lead. They both submit to and show love to each other. Marriage is supposed to serve as a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church.

Within the church, complementarians use 1 Timothy 2:11—3:7 and Titus 2:3–15 as guides. Men are responsible to provide spiritual training and leadership, and women are exhorted to use their spiritual gifts in all areas except that of teaching or having spiritual authority over men. Christ is honored by both men and women fulfilling their respective God-ordained roles in the church, and the church functions as a picture of Christ's body (1 Corinthians 12:12–27).

Complementarianism's counter-belief is egalitarianism, which contends that, in Christ, men and women no longer have designated gender role distinctions, because all are one under His lordship. This belief is based in Galatians 3:28. Egalitarians believe that the sexes' roles within the home and church are interchangeable because the redemption Christ has provided brings unity through removal of gender role distinctions. In contrast, complementarianism considers those same gender role distinctions as a direct result of creation with Christ's redemption helping to restore the intent of those differences, bringing order and avoiding confusion.

While some people think complementarianism devalues men and women by putting them into a "box" or a role based on gender, differences in roles do not equate to a person's inherent value or abilities. Complementarianism seeks to emphasize that both men and women have separate roles that are equally important within the home, church, and the kingdom of God.

Related Truth:

In the debate of complementarianism vs. egalitarianism, which view is most biblical?

Women pastors - what does the Bible say?

What was God's purpose in establishing the church?

What does the Bible teach about marriage?

What is meant by the command to love one another?

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