Egalitarians Can Be Bible Thumpers Too

Once my wife and I were talking to a church about possibly going on staff with them. In our conversations with them we asked about their view of women in leadership.

Our contact responded, “Well, let me tell you guys, I am married to a really strong woman, and we run our marriage as completely equal; I would never deny my wife an opportunity to lead or teach. However our pastor—and therefore our church—doesn’t hold that view. Unfortunately, we don’t allow women elders or leaders here.”

We responded, “Hmmmm, well, that’s a bit of a challenge for us.”

He responded, “Yeah, our pastor just feels like it’s a matter of Biblical conviction for him.”

To which my (awesome) wife said, “And it’s not a matter of Biblical conviction for you?”

… Needless to say (maybe), we weren’t able to go on staff at that church.

It’s a matter of Biblical conviction for us.

It seems as if there’s a perception that those of us who hold to an egalitarian view of men and women in leadership come to that conviction through our understanding of culture, that it’s based a little more on the “fuzzy” area of what God is doing in the world.

However, to come to that confusion would be to ignore:

  • Genesis 1:27, where God says that man and woman are both made in His image.
  • The prophet Joel (and the book of Acts), where God says He will pour His Spirit out on men and women.
  • Romans 16:1, which mentions Priscilla as a deacon of the church (the only person out of the 27 people mentioned that is given that title).
  • Romans 16:7, where Paul tells us that Junia—a woman—is an apostle. 
  • 2 John, which is addressed specifically to a woman.
  • Multiple accounts in the Gospels, where Jesus entrusted his message (of life in John 4; of Resurrection) to women. 


Now, before I go on, let me mention something: I realize that a whole host of passages can be lined up that claim that women are somehow secondary to men and under their authority. I get that.

I don’t necessary agree with those interpretations, but I can’t deny that those passages are in the Bible.

In fact, I’ll even defend your right to interpret those passages that way (though I don’t necessarily agree with you).

But neither can you deny the passages that I base my egalitarian view on.

My only point here is that we egalitarians aren’t making this stuff up. We are sincerely trying to obey the revelation of God and Jesus through the Bible under the power of the Holy Spirit.

It’s a matter of Biblical conviction for us.




7 thoughts on “Egalitarians Can Be Bible Thumpers Too

  1. I agree that ‘proof texting’ is not what an individual should base his or her faith on, but it’s not possible to share with others what you believe unless you have some definite scriptures that have informed where and how you are on this journey with God and God’s people. I grew up as a girl in the 50’s and 60’s believing what society–and the church–told me about my place in life. I believe I faithfully worked in that construct as I studied and learned more of what being a Christian is about. Then to my immense surprise (and disbelief at first) God called me to ministry when I was 50 years old. I was so unsure of myself especially in talking with those who disbelieved my call, but God provides the way for those who seek to follow God’s call, and so I embarked on the most amazing part of my journey of growing in Christ. The scripture that comforts, encourages, and emboldens me is from Acts 5 in Peter’s reply to the religious people as to why he and the apostles continue to proclaim Jesus Christ: “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” My life has been blessed beyond measure and I will continue to praise and serve the God whose ways are beyond our comprehending and our planning.

  2. Great post Eric. Do you think there is a biblical basis for a woman to be the lead pastor/priest of a church? As a fellow egalitarian I do wonder about this at times.

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