- God created male and female as equal in all respects. Gen. 1:26-27 makes no distinction between woman and man insofar as both are equally made in His image (i.e., ontological equality), and both are given the responsibility to rule over His creation (i.e., functional equality).
- "Man is the image of God directly, woman is the image of God only through the man… Because man was created by God in His image first, man alone was created in a direct and unmediated fashion as the image of God, manifesting then the glory of God in man, that is male man… If male headship is rooted in the image of God itself, then it isn’t just a functional distinction of how we work out. It really does mean we are made in a different way.
It may be best to understand the original creation of male and female as one in which the male was made in the image of God in a direct, unmediated and unilateral fashion, while the female was made image of God through the man and hence in a indirect, mediated and derivative fashion. So while they are both fully image of God, there is also a God intended priority given to the man as the original image of God through whom the woman, as image of God, derived from the male comes to be…
Identity is rooted in priority given to the male… Her identity as female is inextricably tied to and rooted in the identity of the male… Her created glory is a reflection of the man’s… has her glory through the man. Seth is the image of God because he was born through the fatherhood of Adam. Specifically Adam is mentioned and not Eve. As Seth is born in the likeness and image of Adam, so is he born in the likeness and image of God. Male headship is a part of the very constitution of woman." Bruce Ware in his lecture Building Strong Families in Your Church
It is important to understand that women have their identity rooted in and tied to the male. Women do not have an identity in Christ apart from the male. Woman is, by constitution, second to man. There is nothing equal about this.
This is the declared platform of CBMW, the organization which defines complementarianism. Many complementarians are preserved by God's grace from living out the priority of the male and the derivative nature of the female in every day life. They treat each other as human beings. However, what Ware writes about men and women is the foundation of the complementarian position. I personally do not think that it is appropriate for mainstream Christians to endorse any part of this teaching or those associated with it.
HT Wade Burleson