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  • Writer's pictureElaine R Kelly

A Journey from Complementarian to Egalitarian (4)

Updated: May 30

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 on #womeninministry by the Local Churchology Podcast. See my YouTube Playlist for the full conversation.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

Episode 7 interviews Tom Barker about 1 Timothy.

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

Episode 5 of the Local Churchology invites Dr. Cynthia Long Westfall to discuss the meaning of 1 Corinthians 11 and 14 and 1 Peter 3.

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

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

Often a story is the most accessible way to introduce ideas. The Local Churchology interviewed me on Episode 1 to discuss my novel #ForgottenFollowers from Broken to Bold as a parable, showing how Jesus lifted up women.

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