Male and Female Complementarity…? Part 3


The following statement appears in the Conclusion of the aforementioned essay.  Conclusions are often a good place to start.  They wrap up salient points with a bow and “cut to the chase” right quick.  Here ’tis:

“Male and female, while fully equal as the image of God, are nonetheless distinct in the manner of their possession of the image of God. The female’s becoming the image of God through the male indicates a God-intended sense of her reliance upon him, as particularly manifest in the home and community of faith.”

– Bruce Ware, Male and Female Complementarity and the Image of God

Read that statement again.  (That’s okay.  I’ll wait.)  Let’s take a closer look.  Ask yourself:

–          What is Ware really saying here?  Note that “While fully equal as the image of God,” male and female are “distinct in the manner of their possession of the image of God.”

What that seems to say, theological subterfuge and double-speak aside, is that male and female aren’t “fully equal” at all.  I’m wondering how a person, being, creature, etc. can be “equal, but…” as this statement implies.  How can anything be “equal, but”, or in Ware’s terminology, “while fully equal as…nonetheless…”?  Two halves of a whole are either “fully equal” or they’re not.  What’s with this, “equal, but/nonetheless” double-speak?  Sounds like an Orwellism: “Some animals are more equal than others.”

Still with me?  Good.  Because perhaps even more stunning than the above is Ware’s statement that females are “becoming the image of God through the male…”  (Emphasis added.)

Excuse me?  Becoming the image of God…?!  Doesn’t this argument that men and women are somehow “distinct in the manner of their possession of the image of God” suggest that there is something fundamentally lacking and deficit in females  because they aren’t born male?  Ergo: men are full possessors of the image of God, but women are… well… not quite there yet.

Notice that according to Ware, women apparently aren’t created in the image of God.  They apparently have to “become” – develop into, grow to be – the image of God – through the male?

Just when does this metamorphosis from non-image of God or half-image of God into image of God take place?  How?  Who decides when/if a female has arrived and has at long last “become” the image of God?  Just what, pray tell, is a woman prior to “becoming” the image of God?  Chattel property?  An empty husk?  A sophisticated form of plant life?

Question: How is this view different from the view of women within another major world religion? Another example.  And another.

To paraphrase from Shakespeare’s Marcellus: Is something rotten in Denmark/Christendom?

Stay tuned…. (a brief, timely digression on the 10th, then on into Part 4…)


3 Responses

  1. Very good point. Sometimes I think men over think the male/female roles. Bruce Ware wrote some good stuff on worship years ago, but sure seems off the mark here.

  2. And apart from being total nonsense, it’s also totally unbiblical. These are the sort of guys who make such a big deal about the inerrancy of scripture — and yet then they can come out with statements like this proclaiming them as surely as if they were biblical truth — yet without a single properly exegeted verse of scripture to support them. Talk about doctrines of men …

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