Monday, April 21, 2008

Bruce Ware on the constitutional inequality of women

Bruce Ware's article on the Summaries of the Egalitarian and Complementarian Positions, posted on CBMW's website, opens with this claim,
    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).
However, elsewhere on the CBMW site we can hear exactly what Ware means by "equal in all respects,
    "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
If male headship is part of the constitution of women, and headship is used with the meaning of leadership, then women are not equal to men in their constitution.

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

4 comments:

Ruud Vermeij said...

Hi Suzanne,

What does Seth has to do with it? I think it weakens his argument, for both Seth and Eve come from Adam (in Bruce's argumentation.) Therefore, if there is any leadership in Adam because "he is the image of God directly", it got lost in Eve, Seth and all other descendants of Adam, because they are indirect images of God!

Cindy said...

Hi Suzzane and Ruud,

Cindy Kunsman, troublemaker, here!

I'm going to link to these posts, BTW...

Ware says that based upon Genesis 5, it says that Seth was found in the likeness of Adam, so they trace that language back to Adam being found in God's direct image. This is all based upon their presuppositions...

Now what's even funnier about that lecture is that eariler, Ware states that the fact that Eve is named by Adam proves that she is subordinate verifies headship. What's really funny is that Ware skips a couple of chapters in Genesis where Eve is said to have conceived and borne both Cain and Abel (no mention of these males being found in the likeness of Adam). Read on and you will find that she names at least one of the first two sons and she also names Seth. Based on Ware's assertion earlier in the lecture, this would mean that Eve has ownership and superiority over these sons.

It's all rather selective, isn't it?

Lin said...

All of you have made excellent points. It is almost scary what is ignored by Ware and others.

My problem with most of it comes with the 'indirect image of God' for women that Ware teaches. As if how and what God used to create woman has any bearing on the Image of God. If it does then being made from dirt is what gives man the Image of God and His Glory?

Don said...

The text does not even use the word (male) man (ish) until the ishah (woman) is formed from Adam's side. It is simply the non-egal's assumption about the gender of Adam before the forming of the woman. After all, both the male and female were named Adam by God in Gen 5:2.