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.