Not one … both

Sometimes a penny can take a long time to drop. I have read a lot about concepts of feminine submission in marriage, and I have “commissioned” guest posts from Christian women here. I have reviewed the arguments about complementarian and hierarchical views of the marriage relationship. I have puzzled over Ephesians and its varying interpretations.

It dawned on me recently that most of the problems could be mitigated by simply recognising that Christian marriage is neither simply complementarian nor simply hierarchical. It is both. A lot of Catholic (including papal) exegesis on the text – and apparently Protestant too – actually includes elements of both.

(I exclude egalitarian interpretations because I think they are a lot less tenable than complementarian or hierarchical interpretations.)

Recognising that both complementarian and hierarchical elements co-exist also solves the problem of trying to explain why St Paul, for example, tends to convey an Old Testament view (based on Genesis in particular) as well as a view moderated by a Christological, New Testament approach. His intention is to present both – in fact, to present a modified patriarchy.

Perhaps this is obvious to many people. But it took me a while to move past the black-and-white thinking that infests this topic.



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Roman Lance on July 25, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    I like the idea that married is a grafting process. Where the woman becomes like the “husband” tree she is grafted to. She derives strength from his strong roots and he is bettered by her branch that ads extended beauty and substance to his being.


  2. Nice one.


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