Is Complementarian Interpretation Of 1 Corinthians 14 Consistent With Practice?by Kat Armos, CBE: Christians for Biblical Equality, 11/16/17.
…(Complementarians) typically respond with something along the lines of, “In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul said that it is disgraceful for women to talk during church—that they shouldn’t lift their voices; they should go home and ask their husbands; that husbands should teach their wives… and so forth” (this is actually close to verbatim).
…So if you too have struggled to balance practicality and consistency in biblical interpretation of passages like 1 Corinthians 14 (or know someone who has), I invite you to wrestle with a few questions that I wrestled with for some time.
If someone believes that Paul meant what he said about women in church as a universal statement, then why don’t they practice it consistently? Why don’t they forbid all women in every context, at every church, at all times, to speak a word in church; and require all women in every context, at every church, at all times to go home and ask their husbands about anything they don’t understand in church?
…Why is it okay for a woman today to share a testimony or talk about a ministry she serves in—in front of the entire congregation at a service gathering? And even further—why is it okay for a woman to lead the church in worship—to stand in front of the congregation and sing and quote Scripture and offer spiritual encouragement if she’s not supposed to speak? Why are women allowed to raise their hands and ask questions in settings where men are present instead of waiting to ask their husbands at home? Why don’t husbands make their wives wear a head covering when they pray?
You can probably guess how they respond to these questions: “We don’t hold to these extreme implications of various passages because we live in a different culture” (again, verbatim).
This response naturally leads me to ask: “Why the inconsistency? Why can complementarians decide what is cultural and what is not in these controversial texts but not egalitarians? If they believe Paul meant exactly what he said, then doesn’t their practice fall far short of their supposedly literal interpretation of that very same text?”