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A Journey from Complementarian to Egalitarian (4)

Dr Lee Beach, former pastor and now an Assoc. Professor at McMaster Divinity College in conversation on gender, women in leadership, culture and Christianity. This is Episode 4 of 7 on #womeninministry by the Local Churchology Podcast. See my YouTube Playlist for the full conversation.

Dr Lee Beach

Q: What is your journey on views of gender roles?

My early training all held to the complementarian ideology and so I took that to be the right way to believe and I was given the responsibility to impose restrictions on women. There was tension between my theological view and my life experience, which showed women were equal, competent, and able in every way.

Believed when he was taught to believe in gender roles

Then the church entitled me to vote on whether or not to authorize women to offices of the church and I re-studied the Scriptures. I finally realized there was nothing there to prohibit women from any function and that the church was cutting itself off at the knees by not releasing women.

Q: What does the Old Testament say about women in leadership?

But the Bible showed him God also works thorugh women

The Old Testament is filled with stories of men in leadership, but the stories of women are enough to show that God works through women. God places them in positions of power and influence, and not just when men are unavailable. God uses Esther to save Israel from genocide. Deborah is an elder, prophet, judge, and military leader for Israel. The Israelite leaders recognized Huldah as a spiritual leader and sought out her advice. The Bible shows how God is at work through men and women.

The church and culture work together on how to live out Scripture

Q: Is the egalitarian view abandoning scripture and following culture?

Since its beginning, the church has had to examine how to faithfully live out the Scriptures. For example, circumcision was biblical, but the early church realized it was not necessary for new Gentile believers and the church adapted for the advance of the Gospel. Also: environmentalists were a cultural influence that made the church re-examine Genesis and talk about Creation Care. Culture can help us re-read the Bible in a fresh way and take down barriers that stop people from coming to Christ. Fear can paralyze us from reading the message of Scripture. We can't be bound by fear of change.

Remember the overarching message: God redeeming us

Q. What is your advice for pastors?

Be careful of putting on Scripture stuff that Scripture never says. You have to put the care of the body of believers ahead of your own agenda and desires & do not insist on your own way.


The Local Churchology Podcast examines women in ministry and in church office.

Episode 7 interviews Tom Barker about 1 Timothy.

Episode 6 interviews Dr. David Fitch and discusses being led by the Holy Spirit.

Episode 4, where Old Testament scholar Dr. Lee Beach discusses his journey from complementarian to egalitarian.

Episode 3, Dr. Beth Felker Jones provides a framework to navigate gender and theology discussions.

This is Episode 2, where Dr Lynn Cohick discusses how God shows no favouritism and the impact of Ephesians and Colossians on women.

Episode 1 is my interview on The Local Churchology Podcast. Often a story is the most accessible way to introduce ideas. My interview discusses how Jesus lifted up women and how fiction can be seen as a parable. My novel #ForgottenFollowers from Broken to Bold is about women in the Gospels. 

Check out my blog summary of each episode. Original interviews are available on YouTube.


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