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Complementarian Versus Egalitarian: 10 Questions for Egalitarian Church Leaders

Photo of Bobby HarringtonBobby Harrington | Bio

Bobby Harrington

Bobby is the point-leader of and, both collaborative, disciple-making organizations. He is the founding and lead pastor of Harpeth Christian Church (by the Harpeth River, just outside of Nashville, TN). He has an M.A.R. and an M.Div. from Harding School of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of more than 10 books on discipleship, including Discipleshift (with Jim Putman and Robert Coleman), The Disciple Maker’s Handbook (with Josh Patrick) and Becoming a Disciple Maker: The Pursuit of Level 5 Disciple Making (with Greg Weins). He lives in the greater Nashville area with his wife and near his children and grandchildren.
Photo of Renée SprolesRenée Sproles | Bio

Renée Sproles

Renée Webb Sproles is from Murfreesboro, TN, where she directed The School of Christian Thought for five years at North Boulevard Church. She is a 15-year homeschool veteran. She is also a founder and co-director of the Discipleship Tutorial in Murfreesboro, where she has taught government, economics, personal finance, health, study skills, English grammar, and writing. She is the mother of two grown children, Houston and Emma, who is married to Thomas Goodwyn. With her husband, David, Renée has co-taught parenting classes for 20 years and currently teaches a marriage and family class of 100 students each week. Renée is the author of On Gender: What the Bible Says about Men and Women (Renew, 2019).
Photo of Daniel McCoyDaniel McCoy | Bio

Daniel McCoy

Daniel is happily married to Susanna, and they have 3 daughters and 2 sons. He is the editorial director for as well as a part-time professor of philosophy for Ozark Christian College. He has a bachelor’s in theology (Ozark Christian College), master of arts in apologetics (Veritas International University), and PhD in theology (North-West University, South Africa). Among his books are the Popular Handbook of World Religions (general editor), Real Life Theology Handbook (with Andrew Jit), Mirage: 5 Things People Want From God That Don't Exist, and The Atheist's Fatal Flaw (co-authored with Norman Geisler).
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When it comes to the complementarian versus egalitarian debate in the church and home, there are 10 questions to consider which get at the heart of egalitarianism and its implications. These 10 questions will help you delve into important areas such as

  • the teachings of the earliest church leaders
  • the proper starting point in these discussions
  • the historical backdrop to New Testament church positions
  • the intersection of hermeneutics and cultural trajectories
  • and other crucial areas in this important debate

From the introduction to this ebook:

If you are a church leader leaning toward an egalitarian approach to men and women in church leadership, we want to engage you in a deeper conversation on the implications of an egalitarian approach. We acknowledge that there is so much pressure to adopt egalitarianism and there are many writings by good scholars that advocate methods of interpretation that will help you get there. We understand how easy it is to adopt this viewpoint. But we are asking these 10 questions to help you see if the egalitarian approach is really, truly taught in God’s Word.

“We are asking these 10 questions to help you see if the egalitarian approach is really, truly taught in God’s Word.”

Male headship is the doctrine that men have a unique responsibility for leadership in the home and church. There are an increasing number of Christians who reject this belief, seeing it as an unnecessary barrier to reaching a people in our culture which has long recognized the equal giftedness of men and women in the workforce and home. It is becoming hard for many to justify anything less than egalitarianism in the local church.

In Western culture, many see churches which insist on male-only elders and senior ministers/pastors as behind the times at best, but increasingly more cynically as men cloaking their hunger for male power in a guise of faithfulness to the Bible.

Many call such churches misogynistic(hating women). All the while, there are more and more churches of influence to point to in the evangelical community who are abandoning male headship for an egalitarian approach to leadership based on giftedness, not on gender.

“Does male headship only feel like faithfulness in the minds of conservatives?”

Does male headship only feel like faithfulness in the minds of conservatives—when it’s really just a tradition or unnecessary barrier between an egalitarian culture and the church?

For an article version of this ebook on the complementarian versus egalitarian debate, click here.