Why I Turned Egalitarian
After my recent post “We Are In Charge.” There was a bit of controversy surrounding my Facebook pages. I am very thankful to the commenters who supported me and my husband whether or not you agree with everything I said. I really do want this to be a place where disagreeing is ok as long as we are kind and respectful. Some good theological questions were asked, and I plan to get into more details later... but today, I’d like to share about what caused me to change, for those who wondered.
I was in an abusive relationship. And not too long after that ended, I did change my theological position from Complementarianism to Egalitarianism. Some have wondered, and reasonably so, if this was the tipping point for me. I do not want to claim that my prior relationship has not effected me, because it most certainly has. However, I think I can honestly say that the abuse is not what ultimately changed my mind.
After the relationship ended and I realized it was abusive, I didn’t really even consider rejecting Complementarianism. I did know that the abuse was not God’s intent for me and sought to find a way to reconcile it with my beliefs. I landed on the idea that the husband’s leadership and the wife’s unique submission where not the problems, it was the misuse of leadership in my case that was the issue. I came to the conclusion that it was still right for a woman to be the submissive one but she was supposed to choose to give submission, not have it forcibly or manipulatively imposed from her.
It was about a year after the break up and I was transitioning from depression to a place where healing was beginning when I met John.
John Reid is a writer and spoken word artist. Anyway, I met him and the topic of women’s roles came up. I realized he held quite a different view than I did. He wanted to talk about it and had a few questions for me concerning my view. I really didn’t want to discuss it. I knew where I stood and I knew he was wrong... because I was right.
Despite my initial resistance we did eventually begin to have a discussion and to my surprise he actually had some good points. What’s more I didn’t have answers to all of the questions he asked. An important thing to note here is that he never once dismissed my thoughts, he never told me what to believe and he never told me I was wrong. He mainly just asked questions and encouraged me to search for truth.
I was frustrated with myself for not having thought of those questions before and for not having an answer for him. I went home and for days began to study.
I’m going to be completely honest with you: my intention of studying was to find the right Complementarian answers so I could come back to our next discussion and completely blow him out of the water. I knew I was right, that he was confused and that I should be the one to set him strait.
So this is what I did: I studied what the Comps. believed and said about themselves and what they thought about the Egalitarian view. Then, for the first time, I studied what the Egals. said about their themselves and their beliefs and what concerns they had with the Complementarian view.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Egalitarians were not at all who I thought they were. They were not mainly women with an ain’t-no-man-gonna-tell-me-what-to-do attitude (in fact, most of the Egals. I know are men). They had a high view of Scripture, they were not “loose” with hermeneutics and they were actually digging into the original language and culture, not basing their views off of current culture. They treated the Bible as God’s Word but also as a historical document that needs to be understood in it’s original context.
I also began to find that those questions John had asked me birthed more question, questions that weren’t sufficiently answered for me by Complementarian sources or arguments. The individual Egalitarian arguments and the overall theme of their beliefs were answering my questions though and seemed to fit better with the main threads of the Bible.
This scared the heck out of me. I did not want to consider that I could have been wrong about what I had always believed. If I was wrong this would change my life forever. I had a choice. I could stop looking for answers and keep going in the same direction where I had very little opposition or I could keep searching for Truth.
I cried a lot those days and struggled with fear. If I found out that I was wrong what would happen to me? What would my family think? In Jerry Falwell town would I ever find a man who would love me and was ok with mutual leadership too? What about the internet people? How would they respond when I came out about my theology change?
My heart knew two things: First, finding Truth was more important than anything I feared and second, I could hear God’s voice calling me to trust Him.
To make a long story short, I kept asking questions and studying the Word for hours upon hours. As of now I have avidly studied the Egal/Comp debate for a year and a half. I have spent hours every week devoted to this subject, reading the Bible, looking up the original language, reading up on Biblical culture, listening to arguments on both sides, studying commentaries, hearing personal stories and considering the fruit of the two doctrines. The answers I found led me on a completely new path. And this is how I came to accept Egalitarianism.
As for my fears? I'm doing better than ever before. The new freedom has created more opportunities for me to serve the Lord and has given me a sense of fulfillment I had been missing. My family is so loving. Even if we don’t see eye to eye on everything little thing we are at a place where we just embrace each other for who we are and hug every chance we get. As you know, I did find a man who is not only ok with my beliefs but extremely supportive. Will and I are so crazy in love and I can’t imagine our marriage being any better. As for the internet backlash? Well, I’m still trying to figure out how to cope and handle that. Some of you are so very kind... even if you disagree with me. Others... not so much. However, for those who have encouraged me, your encouragement goes a LONG way. And I want to thank you each of you who have reached out and supported me as a person during this journey.
And to John... thank you for encouraging me to start asking questions. I really appreciate your humility in all of this.