John Frye – My Conversion to Egalitarianism


Note: This text was published on Scot McKnight’s blog on Patheos. I personally did not have the special experience Frye describes here. My ‘conversion’ away from the hierarchical view of gender roles came progressively, mostly because of a hermeneutical shift in my thinking. The greatest obstacle for me was the lack of historical precedents of ordained leadership in the Bible – then I found lady Junia, the Apostle, and the lack of historical precedents in church history – then I realised how history is manipulated by power and misogyny, especially after Augustine. So, I changed. Because of my Marxist past I do not feel comfortable with calling my new position ‘egalitarian’, although I can accept it, if by it we mean equal dignity, and I also believe that ‘complementarity’ is a pretty good way of describing gender roles, if tehse are not rigidly defined and if hierarchy and patriarchy is excluded. It’s complicated, I know. But it is supposed to be so. 🙂

Read below Frye’s testimony.

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This is the story of my conversion from the hierarchical view of the role of women in home and church to the egalitarian view.

My seminary training landed me exegetically and theologically in the hierarchical camp. I use hierarchical, not complementarian because the nub of the issue is a functional hierarchy. While competing views of the crux interpretum (1 Timothy 2:12 in context) were acknowledged in seminary, a lot of attention was paid to the pronouns in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 with the multiple use of “he.” It was pointed out, of course, that Paul writes “husband of one wife/ one woman man,” so elders [expanded to mean ordained leaders] clearly had to be men. Continue reading “John Frye – My Conversion to Egalitarianism”

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