Defining the Terms

In this blog I will use the term “non-restrictive” to describe the position that there should be no restrictions on what women can do in the church.  I will use the term “restrictive” for the position that women, because they are women, should be restricted from doing certain things.

Why not employ the more widely used terms “egalitarian” and “complementarian”? I find these terms less useful because they contrast two things that are both good and that aren’t really opposites. (Kind of like “pro-choice” and “pro-life” in the abortion debate. The real issue there is whether abortion should be legal or illegal.)  Those who feel there should be no restrictions on what women can do still agree, for the most part, that men and women are complementary beings who will go about doing even ostensibly the same things in characteristic and different ways.  Those who feel there should be restrictions still agree, for the most part, that men and women are equal in status and dignity. I want to keep the focus on the actual question at stake.