Equal Standing, Different Roles


Rob Bell’s book Love Wins has begun countless conversations in the last month or so concerning myriad topics of faith: salvation, damnation, God’s love vs. God’s wrath, Christian fellowship, heresy… the list could go on and on.

But this morning I came across a blog discussing a portion of Rob’s theology that has not been nationally dissected: his use of describing God in the feminine form. On the blog for the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Diane Montgomery addresses this portion of Rob’s work in a post entitled Our Mother Who Art in Heaven: Examining Rob Bell’s “She”.

The following paragraph is from Montgomery’s post and includes an excellent illustration of not only a classic misinterpretation of Scripture, but also a simple illustration of the biblical principle accurately portrayed in a modern comparison:
Midway through the video, Bell uses the “banner” verse of egalitarians, Gal. 3:28. Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” He goes on to explain what he means by saying in 4:1, “What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.” As believers in Christ we are equal, but that does not mean our roles are the same. In Christ, a CEO of a company is equal to one of his employees in a cubicle. However, they have different roles. The employee would not take charge of the CEO and the CEO would not do errands for the employee. They are equal in Christ, but carry out different tasks.

Scripture is clear that God is not into “Jim Crow” segregation of men and women. There is no “separate but equal” in the Kingdom of God. But at the same time, while there is equal standing and equal rights, there are different roles to be filled, much like the above CEO and “pencil pusher” illustration shows.

Along the same lines, in a recent episode of the television show Undercover Boss, the CEO of a shipping company attempted to go to work on one of his packing and assembly lines to see what really goes on in the warehouses he owns. He was fired from the job. Was he an employee of the company? Yes. Does he receive the same benefits of being an employee of that company? Yes. But was he able to equally perform a role for which he was neither suited nor trained? No.

Same thing in the body of Christ, whether that is the corporate body of the Universal church, the local church body where you attend, or your place within your own home. All believers have equal standing and rights before the Father. But all are equipped, gifted, trained and expected to perform different roles so that the overall work of the Kingdom is fulfilled. Like the CEO trying to pack and load shipments, when we attempt to fill a role which we were not meant to fill, something is left to be desired. There is no harmony and continuity to the overall workplace. When the owner botched his packing and loading job, the whole warehouse was affected. When we attempt to fill roles in the church and in the home that we are not meant to fill, the church and the home are negatively impacted as well.

THAT is the message of complementarianism. NOT that men are somehow better than women, nor that women inherently have less worth than men. The message is that we should find that role for which God created us and thrive in it instead of fighting against our Creator and His good plan.

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