An Egalitarian Advocate vs. A Covenantal Ordering Advocate Conversation

Egalitarian wrote,

I’ve heard a lot of these arguments from patriarchalists, and I’ve still concluded that egalitarianism is the way to go. A sharp eye to culture and language is key to understanding Paul, and Jesus’ treatment of women was always inclusive and equalizing.



Is that why Jesus chose 12 male disciples?

Secondly, Are we to believe that for the last 500 years the Reformed Church has failed at having a sharp eye for language and culture and only now are we being brought into the promised land of the Egalitarian hermeneutic?

Thirdly, the 5th commandment forbids all egalitarian readings of Scripture. The Scriptures at every turn are opposed to egalitarianism.

For example, the Westminster Confession of Faith clearly eschews egalitarianism as seen it is treatment of the 5th commandment with all its languages about inferiors and superiors.

Question 126: What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?

Answer: The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors, or equals.

Question 127: What is the honor that inferiors owe to their superiors.?

Answer: The honor which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence in heart, word, and behavior; prayer and thanksgiving for them; imitation of their virtues and graces; willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels; due submission to their corrections; fidelity to, defense and maintenance of their persons and authority, according to their several ranks, and the nature of their places; bearing with their infirmities, and covering them in love, that so they may be an honor to them and to their government.

Question 128: What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?

Answer: The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them; envying at, contempt of, and rebellion against, their persons and places, in their lawful counsels, commands, and corrections; cursing, mocking, and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonor to them and their government.

Note — What else could we conclude but that the Westminster Divines would have seen feminism as a sin since feminists, like the one we are dealing with here, rebel against the person and places of their Covenant Head husbands?

Question 129: What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?

Answer: It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love, pray for, and bless their inferiors; to instruct, counsel, and admonish them; countenancing, commending, and rewarding such as do well; and discountenancing, reproving, and chastising such as do ill; protecting, and providing for them all things necessary for soul and body: and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God, honor to themselves, and so to preserve that authority which God has put upon them.

Question 130: What are the sins of superiors?

Answer: The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them, an inordinate seeking of themselves, their own glory, ease, profit, or pleasure; commanding things unlawful, or not in the power of inferiors to perform; counseling, encouraging, or favoring them in that which is evil; dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good; correcting them unduly; careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger; provoking them to wrath; or any way dishonoring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behavior.

Question 131: What are the duties of equals?

Answer: The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other, in giving honor to go one before another; and to rejoice in each other’s gifts and advancement, as their own.

Question 132: What are the sins of equals?

Answer: The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required, the undervaluing of the worth, envying the gifts, grieving at the advancement of prosperity one of another; and usurping preeminence one over another.

Clearly, the Scriptures are diametrically opposed to the strictures of egalitarianism.

Egalitarian wrote,

He also appeared to women first in a culture in which they were not considered court-worthy witnesses. Paul also mentions many women he refers to as partners with him in his work, including Priscilla, who took a man aside and taught him to be a better teacher.


No … actually it was both Priscilla and Aquila who took Apollos aside. You failed to mention Priscilla’s male covenant head. Second the fact that Jesus and Paul have women as supporters (though clearly not leaders) in the ministry only reveals that Christianity is not, unlike feminism, misogynist.

Secondly, if one follows the narrative of the Bible one is not surprised that Jesus appears first to women after the resurrection just as the angels appeared first to Shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. In both cases those who were first engaged were not court-worthy witnesses. So, in light of the fact that the Shepherds and women have in common this low ranking on the scale of the social order we must conclude that the purpose of this is not tied to sexuality (after all the Shepherds were male) but rather it is tied to a theme that we find throughout Scripture and that is God uses the weak to confound the wise. However, that God uses the weak (shepherds and women) to confound the wise in the Scripture cannot be used as a proof that women should be leadership roles. Also we need to keep in mind that the descriptive accounts in historical narrative are not necessarily prescriptive. It is a strange way to argue that because Jesus appeared to women after the resurrection, as presented in a historical narrative, that therefore proves we should have women Pastors and Elders. The explicit texts I cite later in this response reveals that the clear didactic teaching of the Scripture is clearly opposed to what you are advocating.

Egalitarian writes,

As many women and men can attest, gifts are self-evidently not gendered, and I don’t think there’s anything in the passages about gifts to suggest such a thing.


Self evident to who? Not to me. Not to many Reformed people I know. Allow me to suggest that they are only self evident to egalitarians because you begin with egalitarian presuppositions — presuppositions that I believe can not be supported by the weight of Scripture.

In terms of the passages about gifts… well, those have to be read in conjunction with the passages on leadership and those passages expressly and self-evidently prohibit women serving as leaders.


Much of the “usurp authority” language is used in the context of a culture in which goddess-worship was prominent (Ephesus) and many egalitarians think the specific problem here was false teachers in a city in which women were already more involved religious work than men, and so were possibly causing problems in the Church with pagan teachings. It is necessary to remember these are letters.


This is a fine theory but it really doesn’t hold water. In other passages, such as Jude and Timothy, the Apostles go out of their way to warn against heretical men. If it were a problem in the Churches where both men and women were the problem then the Apostles would have given a warning that was more generic in terms of gender silencing all false teaching as opposed to just silencing women. However, as the problem is clearly women usurping authority (as Eve did in the Garden when she usurped Adam’s authority and ate the fruit) so the Apostle forbids women from usurping proper covenantal authority.

And to be precise … they are inspired letters. This is God speaking in these letters.


As to patriarchy being instituted in the Garden of Eden, Tessa is saying, I believe correctly, that that verse IS a part of the curses of sin. It comes right after pains in childbirth–it’s a result of the fall.


The curse of sin is found in Eve desiring the position of her husband. The promise that God will not let the curse overwhelm is found in God’s statement …”But he shall rule over you.” This promise is reinforced in the NT where wives are clearly and explicitly told to “obey their husbands.”


In the poetic form of Chapter 1, the liturgical piece that begins the book, it talks about the creation of man and then of woman, but the recap in the following chapter just says God created man in his own image, male and female he created them. Again, it’s a matter of literary style.


First … Genesis 1-11 is not Poetic genre. It is Historical genre.

Hebrew narrative always starts with a QAL (past tense) verb, and from then on, all the main verbs are VA-YIQTOL (future tense converted to past tense by the vav-conversive). That’s exactly how Genesis 1 is structured.

In the beginning, God created (QAL) the heavens and the earth. (Verse 2 is made up of 3 disjuctive clauses…i.e. they begin with a vav on a noun, not a verb…so they aren’t part of the main verbal chain)


Verse 3 – And God said (VA-YIQTOL)
Verse 4 – And God saw….and God separated…both VA-YIQTOL
Verse 5 – And God called…and there was…both VA-YIQTOL

etc. throughout the passage.

That’s just factually and objectively how narrative is constructed in Hebrew. Pick any OT Bible story that’s taken as history, and it’s structured exactly the same way. Poetry is never structured this way.

Second, the flow of the narrative makes it clear that woman was made for Adam to be his help-meet. The rest of Scripture confirms this as I cite below.

Third, the fact that the serpent went to Eve for the temptation reveals that even the Serpent understood he was bypassing God’s covenantal ordering. Instead of going to the covenant head, the serpent bypasses Adam’s headship and overturns Adam by overturning Adam’s helpmeet. (There also may be a hint in the Genesis record that Adam failed in His covenant responsibilities by not protecting and serving his wife by keeping the serpent out of the garden.)


As for Ephesians 5, there’s an arbitrarily added subject heading that says ‘wives and husbands’, but the verse immediately preceding this says “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The following verses are dependent clauses–wives and husbands submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, here’s why (marriage is a big deal). We’re partnering to show something.


This is an inaccurate understanding. What is going on in Ephesians is that Paul gives a general command (“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ”) and then he follows that with particular examples of what that submission to one another out of reverence for Christ looks like. What “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ,” looks like is, “wives submitting to husbands, servants submitting to Masters, and children submitting to parents. Any attempt to universalize the submitting so that husbands submit to wives and masters to servants and parents to children does severe violence to the text and to God’s original intent.


I don’t think the Bible ever suggests “women should submit to men”. Even if you don’t agree with my reading of Ephesians, I think you can only take it as far as wives and husbands. As far as Galatians 3:18 goes, “there is no Jew or Greek” obviously doesn’t mean ethnicity doesn’t exist or shouldn’t be celebrated, but it DOES mean those with different ethnicities are absolutely equal in the family of God.


No … Galatians 3:28 does not mean that different ethnicities are absolutely equal (i.e. — the same) in the family of God. Galatians 3:28 isn’t teaching that. Gal. 3:28 is teaching that when it comes to access to a right standing with God through Jesus Christ none of the very real social order differences that exist in Church and culture bar anyone from having that access. Both genders, all ethnicities and both servants and masters can come to Christ. Your reading of this text has origins that are very recent.

Some texts that deal with the issue at hand.

1 Cor 14:34-35,37 — Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

1 Cor 11:3-10 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. …

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

3 thoughts on “An Egalitarian Advocate vs. A Covenantal Ordering Advocate Conversation”

  1. 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

    12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

    I Timothy 2

    1. Anna,

      Yes … but that was Paul and we have to understand that Paul was writing to unique situations, and so, we aren’t sure what he was combating. Also, we know that St. Paul was a misogynist and everything he said about women was culturally conditioned.

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