Home Pastors Articles for Pastors 20 Facts in the Biblical Gender Debate

20 Facts in the Biblical Gender Debate

I’m going to make twenty statements, seventeen of which are fairly uncontroversial, two of which are disputed, and one of which is highly controversial.

To call them ‘facts’ is, perhaps, slightly provocative, but I felt that calling them ‘statements’ was a bit bland, and ‘theses’ made me sound like Martin Luther – the disputed ones (#9 and #12) cannot really be called ‘facts,’ but they appear likely to me, and the highly controversial one (#20), though I emphatically regard it as true, would not be accepted by any scholar who did not see Scripture as divinely inspired.

As far as I can tell, though, the other seventeen reflect the best biblical scholarship available and would be widely agreed upon by leading egalitarian (Fee, Wright, Marshall, Keener, Towner, Witherington, McKnight) and complementarian (Moo, Schreiner, Knight, Blomberg, Carson, Mounce, Köstenberger) scholars.

Here goes:

1. Men and women are equally made in God’s image, blessed by God, and given dominion over creation (Gen 1:27-28).

2. Men and women are equally united with Christ, adopted as children, and heirs of God’s promises (Gal 3:28).

3. Jesus traveled with women, accepted financial support from them, and allowed them to sit at his feet as pupils in defiance of social conventions (Luke 8:1-3; 10:38-42).

4. Women were the first witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus, and without them, there would be no gospel proclamation (Matt 28:1-8; Luke 24:1-11; John 20:1-2).

5. The Twelve Apostles were all required to be men (Acts 1:21-22).

6. At least one woman in the New Testament church explained the Word of God to a man (Acts 18:26).

7. Men and women both have the Holy Spirit poured out upon them, empowering them to prophesy (Acts 2:18).

8. Women in the New Testament church served as deacons (Rom 16:1-2; 1 Tim 3:11).

9. At least one woman in the New Testament church publicly read an epistle to the church (Rom 16:1-2).

10. At least one woman in the New Testament church was an apostle and outstanding amongst them (Rom 16:7).

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Andrew Wilson is an elder at Kings Church in Eastbourne, runs training courses within the Newfrontiers family of churches, and is studying for a PhD in Theology at King’s College London. He has written several books, including most recently If God Then What?