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The Unstable Logic of Egalitarianism: A Response to Ronald Pierce, “Biblical Equality and Same-Sex Marriage”

June 22, 2023


Ronald Pierce has been engaged in the gender debates for decades.[1] As a contributor to this ongoing discussion, he has served as an editor to all three editions of Discovering Biblical Equality (DBE). His essay addressing same-sex marriage in the latest edition of DBE replaces William Webb’s chapter, “Gender Equality and Homosexuality,” in the previous two editions.[2]

While Pierce’s essay serves as a replacement to Webb’s, his goal is to answer the same question: how can one be egalitarian without approving homosexuality? Pierce, after disclosing his own change of conviction to affirm egalitarianism, states his position and the goal of his essay: “Nevertheless, my ongoing studies continue to lead me to a welcoming, yet non-affirming position. Yes, I have changed my mind on one ‘gender question,’ so why have I not done so on the other? This essay is my answer to that lingering question” (491–492). The restatement of this question in the form of a new essay confirms that a connection between the affirmation of egalitarianism and homosexuality continues to linger in the minds of many — and for good reason, as this essay hopes to demonstrate.

Both Webb and Pierce begin their essays by stating the question, albeit somewhat differently, in order to frame their response. Webb puts it this way:

When Christians discuss the issue of gender equality, often someone will ask, ‘Doesn’t acceptance of egalitarianism logically lead to acceptance of homosexuality?’ Lying behind this question in part is a concern for consistency in how one interprets and applies the Bible. How is it, some argue, that egalitarians do not directly apply some very clear New Testament statements about women’s submission yet still accept the Bible’s prohibitions of same-sex relationships?[3]

Webb frames the question in terms of hermeneutics, and utilizes his novel and complex “redemptive-movement” method to argue that “the hermeneutic by which egalitarians reject female subordination to male rule as transculturally normative is the same hermeneutic by which egalitarians affirm the Bible’s prohibition of homosexual behavior as a universal norm.”[4]

Pierce, however, sidesteps the hermeneutical aspects raised by Webb and seeks to answer the question through exegesis. His more generic statement of the question is noticeably different:

Students in my undergraduate Creation, Sexuality, and Gender course sometimes ask, “As an evangelical who affirms mutually-shared leadership for men and women in marriage and ministry, do you affirm same-sex marriage for Christians as well?” Often my response is, “For me, it is not about hermeneutics as much as it is about the exegesis of the relevant passages in Scripture.” Consequently, the focus of this essay is exegetical (489).

Rather than exploring the question related to hermeneutics assumed in the question, Pierce points his readers to Cynthia Westfall’s chapter, “Interpretive Methods and the Gender Debate,” which replaces Roger Nicole’s chapter on hermeneutics in the previous two editions of DBE.[5]


Pierce’s focus on exegesis leads him to summarize and compare the interpretations and conclusions of evangelicals (the designation is discussed below) who hold to what he labels “affirming” (those who approve same-sex marriage) and “nonaffirming” (those who believe Scripture forbids homosexuality and same-sex marriage) positions related to homosexuality.

The bulk of Pierce’s essay consists then in two major sections that summarize and contrast the affirming and non-affirming views on prescriptive texts related to marriage as well as prohibitive texts related to homosexuality.

Part of Pierce’s aim is to demonstrate that both sides appeal to Scripture to support their views, and to do so he outlines exegesis on both sides of the debate beginning with prescriptive texts related to marriage. Pierce includes Genesis 1–2 as well as New Testament (NT) texts such as Matthew 19:4–6, 1 Corinthians 6:15–17, and Ephesians 5:31 that “cite the ‘one-flesh’ metaphor from Genesis 2:24” (492).

Pierce helpfully pulls together arguments from both positions, though it is clear that the basic issue is whether or not one believes Genesis 1–2 provides an abiding pattern and prescription for marriage. Pierce rightly summarizes the affirming view, which argues that “Although the pattern of marriage between a man and a woman continues to be the norm…it was not intended by God to be normative” (495).

The non-affirming side, however, believes male-female marriage is God’s prescriptive design that remains morally binding today: “In comparison, nonaffirming arguments emphasize marital unity with sexual diversity as part of God’ design for humanity, who was created male and female (cisgendered), yet each as a whole and complete person in the divine image” (496, emphasis mine).

Pierce spends more time describing and contrasting the prohibitive texts, presumably because he cites these texts as the primary reason for his non-affirming position (507). Pierce identifies a number of texts that “comprise the substance of the ongoing debate on same-sex marriage” (496), which include Genesis 19:1–10, Judges 19:1–30, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:18–32, 1 Corinthians 6:9–11, and 1 Timothy 1:8–11.

Pierce shows that for each of these texts, affirming theologians argue their case by narrowing the scope of the sin presented in Genesis 19 and Judges 19, narrowing the scope of the prohibitions in an appeal to pagan religious background (Lev 18, 20), citing a change of law from the Old Testament to the New (e.g. Gal 2:1–16), positing a change of focus in the New Testament to the spiritual family over biological families (e.g. Matt 22:29–30), pointing to Jesus’ humanitarian practice on the Sabbath (e.g. Matt 12:9–13), and employing revisionist interpretations of Romans 1 (500–501).

After summarizing non-affirming interpretations of the key texts, Pierce concludes that the non-affirming arguments “better uphold male-and-female marriage as the God-designed context where sexual intercourse occurs.” (503).


We commend Pierce for his defense of the non-affirming position. In light of the number of evangelicals who have recently decided differently, his essay maintains orthodox interpretations of numerous key texts. One reason for these interpretation may be found in his understanding of Genesis 1–2 as prescriptive. Contrary to the affirming position, Pierce believes that male-female marriage of Genesis 1–2 provides and prescriptive model, stating that “the creational model of male-female marriage consistently remains evident in the New Testament” (507). In a helpful footnote, Pierce mentions that he would prefer the term “creational” over “nonaffirming” to represent his view, but that he uses the latter since it “communicates most clearly the differences in the two main views at this time within evangelicalism” (490n5).

But what seems even more important to Pierce are the prohibitive texts, which he believers are still in force today. He cites these texts as the main reason he has not changed his mind regarding homosexuality (507). We rejoice that Pierce continues to affirm God’s male-female creational design for marriage.

We further commend Pierce for his concern of the church’s ministry to those who experience same-sex desire. He rightly draws attention to the “emotional loneliness that can accompany lifelong celibacy” and rightly argues that “No one in our contemporary churches should have to go it alone, if we really believe the church is family” (504). He further calls churches “to embody what is [sic] means to be a family to support, live together with, and be a safe place for those with same-sex attraction, as well as to create more infrastructure (both internal and external) to see God do the seemingly impossible” (504–505). We could not agree more. The church must take center stage in the lives of those who choose chastity and celibacy.

Insofar as Pierce is calling churches to practice meaningful church membership, where members practice hospitality with one another, bear one another’s burdens, confess sin together, pray together, counsel one another, and encourage one another’s sanctification directed by the Word and empowered by the Spirit, he is spot on. If the church wants to be faithful to its calling in this age, it must position itself with open arms to love and serve those who struggle with same-sex desire as well as all other sexual sins. The church cannot just preach against these sins, but it must sacrificially care for those seeking refuge in Christ.

How do we care for same-sex attracted Christians in the church?

Regrettably, Pierce undermines his desire to minister effectively to Christians who battle same-sex desire by advocating for what Wesley Hill has popularized as “spiritual friendships.”[6] Just before calling the church to act as family, he recommends same-sex relationships that bear a strong resemblance to marriage, but without sexual intimacy: “the church must regain the lost virtue of cultivating nonsexual, yet deeply intimate and covenanted spiritual friendships — perhaps even ones that could be recognized in civil law as ‘partnerships’ or ‘unions’” (504). While very few will disagree with the call to cultivate deep friendships within the church, it is another thing entirely to suggest that these friendships should be “covenanted,” or legally recognized as a “partnership” or “union.”

Pierce does not explain why these friendships ought to be covenanted or recognized by the state, nor does he explore what Christians struggling with same-sex desires seek to attain from a state-recognized, covenanted friendship that cannot be attained through non-covenanted friendship. It is, moreover, puzzling that Pierce would propose such relationships be recognized by the state. This recommendation appears oblivious to the historically orthodox position that the state should recognize and privilege marriage because it is ordered to serve unique societal purposes — namely procreation and childrearing. Thus, the state should not recognize marriage (or any other relationship) merely because it provides committed companionship, but because the marriage relationship is ordered towards procreation and is the best suited context in which to raise children — profound societal goods which no other relationships can produce. But Pierce seems to be advocating for same-sex unions to be given a similar kind of recognition, social privilege, and affirmation as marriage. It is difficult to conceive, from a Christian perspective, how this kind of civil arrangement strengthens marriage or promotes human flourishing.

Curiously, when Pierce recommends these “covenanted spiritual friendships,” he cites a chapter titled “Cultivating Spiritual Friendships” by J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler in their book, The Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering Disciplines of the Good Life. Their chapter, however, does not discuss covenanted, legally-recognized friendships of the kind advocated by Pierce.[7] Yet, in many respects, the kind of deep friendship Moreland and Issler do encourage believers to pursue is certainly needed within the church.

Guided by the creational model of marriage, Pierce attempts a theological justification of covenanted spiritual friendship that is inferred from the prohibition texts:

Though it is true that none [of the prohibitions] speaks directly to the question of covenanted, monogamous, Christian, same-sex marriage, it is precisely the sexual component of such an intimate relationship that seems to be at issue in Scripture. Beyond that, covenanted and deeply intimate spiritual friendships that are not sexual in nature should be encouraged and celebrated between all believers — although these should not be called marriages (507).

Let’s try to untangle this logic. Pierce identifies the prohibitions against same-sex intercourse as the specific issue in the Scriptural passages and then goes on to encourage the other parts of the marriage relationship that are non-sexual. Yet, because he believes the creational model of marriage is normative, these should not be called marriages. His reasoning, however, seems to recommend covenantal unions between same-sex couples that could be recognized by the state — a relationship that would resemble marriage but should not be called marriage.

This journal has addressed this issue before, proposing that we ought not “give the impression that longings for same-sex intimacy, though celibate, should find satisfaction in relationships that, apart from sexual expression, resemble marriage.”[8] We maintain that perspective and also commend a more recent statement in the Presbyterian Church of America’s Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Human Sexuality, which communicates the problems with “spiritual friendships” more directly:

While friendships can be deep and abiding, they are not by nature romantic or exclusive. The attempt to retain aspects of the marital relationship in the context of celibate partnerships is fundamentally a category mistake: it seeks to have aspects of romance or marriage without its fullness, instead of rightly rooting this type of deeply caring, same-sex relationship in its proper relational category of family or friendship. The attempt to bring aspects of the marital relationship into a non-marital relationship is itself a violation of the seventh commandment.[9]

Instead of promoting covenanted friendships, we ought to cultivate a culture of personal discipleship in which all believers might experience meaningful friendships within the context of church membership — the context God has ordained for such purposes. How might this look? Rosaria Butterfield, who is no stranger to this question, offers a word of advice:

My answer is to come to the table together. Stand side by side. Share real life together in real time. We do the same thing we would do with any other sister or brother, any other image bearer, and any other soul. We open our hearts and our homes. We open the Word. We answer the phone at midnight, and we interrupt in a permanent, consistent, and organic way seasons of loneliness for our friend. We find out where the hard places are and bring in comfort. And we keep an eagle eye on our own prejudices and assumptions, our privileges and our blind spots. We stop telling people that their problems are not big. We don’t flatten the terrain of unwanted homosexual desire by using analogies that may not fit. For example, we must stop claiming that the singleness experienced by people with unwanted homosexual desires is just like heterosexual singleness. For some, this may be so. But for others, the unique fingerprint of pain and loneliness conjured by unwanted homosexual desire is brought to a place of agony by such comparisons. In other words, we listen and we create real and regular friendship.[10]

So while we align with Pierce’s desire to address the profound difficulties experienced by our brothers and sisters who struggle with same-sex desires, we find his recommendation of  covenanted spiritual friendships to be deeply misguided.

Should I Adopt a “Gay Christian” Identity?

Related to spiritual friendship is the issue of identity. Pierce states that “our core identity in Christ needs to play a more central and practical role in our understanding of the many identities we use to characterize who we are, including our personal gender or sexual identities.” He rightly speaks of our union with Christ as “who we are at our core, and as such must be related to the question of same-sex marriage” (506). Perhaps this is a subtle correction to the Side-B “gay Christian” position on this issue, but he regrettably passes by an opportunity to speak so clearly. We may, however, surmise his position by the fact Pierce does not use terms such as “gay Christian” to refer to Christians who experience same-sex attraction. But again, Pierce does not directly confront this question. Instead, he accuses both sides (affirming and non-affirming) of being deficient in understanding their identity in Christ: “Sadly, this has been lacking in both affirming and nonaffirming arguments” (506). While those on the non-affirming side need to better understand what it means to be united to Christ, the critical issue evangelicals face right now is whether or not Christians can adopt a self-conception that is contrary to God’s created design.[11] Pierce, therefore, neglects to speak clearly and prophetically on this critical issue.

Affirming and Evangelical?

It should also be noted that Pierce believes this debate between those who affirm homosexuality and those who don’t is an in-house debate among evangelicals. By providing a narrow definition of “evangelical,” related solely to one’s use of Scripture, Pierce seeks to include affirming theologians under the umbrella of evangelicalism:

[Evangelical] is used more narrowly to mean a way of coming to a text that demonstrates a respect for the inspiration and authority of Scripture by paying careful attention to its historical, cultural, and literary contexts, while not dismissing its teachings as irrelevant to contemporary readers or showing disregard for the authorial intent (490).

By adopting a drastically narrow definition of “evangelical,” Pierce can include affirming scholars, such as Megan K. DeFranza, Matthew Vines, and James V. Brownson, within evangelicalism.

But more important than designating affirming scholars as evangelical is the lack of moral clarity exhibited by Pierce in the article. If the the Apostle Paul is right that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 7:9–10), then the question of same-sex marriage is one of life and death — Heaven and Hell. Therefore, it constitutes a profound lack of moral clarity when Pierce refers to his interlocutors as “fellow believers who arrive at a different answer to this question” (389), or as “sacred siblings in Christ — who arrive at different conclusions” (507). This disagreement is not, as the Nashville Statement says, “a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christian should agree to disagree.”[12]

Can egalitarians remain non-affirming?

As stated at the outset of this essay, Pierce’s new chapter seeks to answer an important question for egalitarians: does egalitarianism “logically lead” to affirming same-sex marriage? (507) Pierce makes the case that his egalitarian commitments do not logically lead to an affirmation of same-sex marriage. He concludes,

After a thorough reexamination of this question in preparation for this essay, my mind has not yet changed. Why? Although there is not one explicitly prohibitive passage in Scripture against mutually shared leadership in a Christian marriage, there are five prohibitive texts against same-sex sexual intimacy (507).

This reasoning is curious in light of numerous positive commands in the New Testament toward husbands and wives that reflect a relationship of authority and submission (Eph 5:22–32; Col 3:18–19; 1 Pet 3:1–2). Unsurprisingly, in DBE, each of these clear commands are reinterpreted “against the background of Paul’s call for a mutual yielding of authority” in 1 Corinthians 7 in order to support egalitarianism.[13] While we rejoice that Pierce remains committed to the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, egalitarian exegesis of these passages exhibits a similar revisionism to affirming exegesis of the passages prohibiting homosexuality.

The Place of Prohibitions

But are prohibitions the only or most important category for determining God’s will for his created order? Does not the revelation of God’s creational design for the roles of men and women (Gen 1–2),[14] confirmed and complicated — but not created— by sin (Gen 3:16), which is then reaffirmed in the NT by positive commands (Eph 5:22–32; Col 3:18–19; 1 Pet 3:1–2) and prohibitions (1 Cor 11:3,8–9; Tim 2:12) that are grounded in creation make this kind of reasoning superficial? This is not to mention evidence of Adam’s role as head of the human race (Rom 5:12), which corresponds to the biblical pattern for male headship in marriage (1 Cor 11:3) and the New Testament’s explicit connection of male headship in marriage with Christ’s headship of the church (Eph 5:23).

Even if one left out the prohibitions mentioned in the previous paragraph as evidence for God’s complementarian design for men and women, it is quite clear that appealing to the absence of “one explicitly prohibitive passage” constitutes reductionistic argumentation. There are a variety of ways we come to understand God’s will for men and women, which, while including prohibitions, is not exclusively established by prohibition.

Arguments from Creation

Peirce’s argument for a non-affirming position is strengthened by his commitment to the prescriptive nature of male-female marriage in Genesis 1–2. But the larger argument of his chapter — that egalitarianism does not lead to affirming same-sex marriage — does not. The reason is that his appeal to creation in support of his non-affirming position reveals the inconsistency of egalitarian exegesis of texts that appeal to creation in order to establish gender roles in marriage and the church.

While Pierce follows the biblical authors and grounds his support of male-female marriage in God’s creational design, he is unwilling to follow the biblical authors who do the same with respect to male-female roles in the home and the church. This inconsistency is no more evident than in Pierce’s difficulty making sense of Paul’s appeal to primogeniture in 1 Timothy 2:13 as his rationale for male leadership in the church. Because Pierce rejects the idea that male-female complementarity was established at creation, he finds it difficult to understand Paul’s argument that refers back to the order of creation:

The most difficult part of any interpretation of the 1 Timothy passage is not 2:15, as so many claim, but rather Paul’s enigmatic reference to the creation and fall narratives in vv. 13–14, especially the reference to Adam’s priority in creation. Introduced by the preposition “for” (gar), these might imply to the casual reader that a logical reason is being given for the restriction. But if this is so one still must ask what kind of logic is being employed. Can we say with certainty that it is a more formal, western style of reasoning, perhaps reflecting the Greco-Roman setting of the letter?[15]

If one is committed to the idea that equality requires interchangeability, and that submission implies inferiority, then it makes sense how Paul’s arguments from creation would seem illogical or arbitrary.[16] And thus, another reason (or logic), beyond the plain one given by Paul, must be suggested to make sense of Paul’s seemingly illogical argument.

When Pierce argues that the prohibitive passages confirm, rather than contradict, God’s created design, he does well. But he fails to recognize that the NT also grounds its argument for gender roles in the created order. Far from demonstrating consistency in egalitarian exegetical method, Pierce’s essay provides an example of the inherent inconsistency of egalitarian exegesis.

The Logic of Egalitarianism

While Pierce has demonstrated how his exegesis of prescriptive and prohibitive texts lead him to a non-affirming position, he does not address a fatal logic inherent in egalitarianism — the logic of interchangeability.[17] It is perhaps this logic, more than anything else, that continues to carry evangelicals into the apostasies of homosexuality and transgenderism.

The danger of egalitarianism is not just that it utilizes similar exegetical methods and argumentation to those who are affirming of homosexuality, but that it also shares in the logic of interchangeability.[18] It does not require exceptional reasoning to see how the idea that men and women are functional interchangeable has the natural propensity to lead to the idea that men and women are sexually interchangeable. And, it no longer takes any imagination to see how functional and sexual interchangeability has the propensity to lead ultimately to ontological interchangeability.[19] In fact, one only has to read the most recent edition of DBE.

The power of this logic is evident in a new essay included within the latest edition of DBE, wherein one of its editors takes the egalitarian logic of functional interchangeability to its logical conclusion by affirming transgenderism:

The implications of this chapter, however, are not to provide a moral prescription for transgender persons, but to (1) show how gender-essentialist logic may actually be contributing to the internal angst of some trans persons, and (2) to emphasize that the priority of the scriptural text is on following Jesus, not being ‘real men’ or ‘real women.’ For those who are discerning whether their givenness should be altered, the New Testament rubric for any such choice (which would include all bodily modifications, not just those affecting sexual anatomy) is how such can be done in submission to the Spirit and in order to become more like Christ (307–308).

Far from making a case that egalitarianism offers a consistent hermeneutic and application of Scripture that safeguards orthodoxy, the most recent edition of DBE illustrates in real time how the egalitarian logic of interchangeability works itself out.

It is warranted, therefore, to assert that if you give up the creational model of complementarianism, which upholds both functional and ontological distinction, in favor of egalitarianism, which only upholds the latter, you may not be logically committed to affirming homosexuality, but you are logically oriented in that direction. Colin Smothers aptly explains this logic:

this functional interchange paved the way for a formal one. If a woman can do anything a man can in the home, why the need for a man in the home at all? Would not two women suffice? Would not two men? If a woman can be anything a man can, who’s to say she can’t be a father? In other words, the fallacy of functional interchangeability makes plausible a more fundamental, formal and sexual interchangeability, and with it nothing less than the redefinition of society. It turns out that using androgynous standards in every sphere of life leads to androgyny in every sphere of life.”[20]

Affirming the logic of interchangeability that is inherent in homosexuality and transgenderism is not logically possible if one affirms both the functional and ontological differences of men in women that God has revealed in Genesis 1–2 and confirmed throughout all the Scriptures. But, as we have seen, rejecting these complementary differences results in catastrophic consequences.

We should note that these claims are nothing new. As CBMW founders John Piper and Wayne Grudem previously warned decades ago: “we believe that by minimizing the difference in sexual roles, feminists contribute to the confusion of sexual identity that, especially in the second and third generations, gives rise to more homosexuality in society. Some evangelicals who once disapproved of homosexuality have been carried by their feminist arguments to the approval of faithful homosexual alliances.”[21]

We rejoice that Pierce continues to uphold the orthodox, non-affirming position, even if his exegetical methods, as well as the inherent logic of egalitarianism, works against his upholding it.

Jonathan E. Swan is Managing Editor of Eikon.

[1] Ronald W. Pierce, “Evangelicals and Gender Roles in the 1990s: 1 Timothy 2:8–15: A Test Case,” JETS 36, no. 3 (September, 1993), 343–355. And previous to this piece explicitly affirming an egalitarian reading of 1 Timothy 2, he wrote an article exploring the reasonableness (“logic”) of God’s leadership restrictions in the New Testament based on gender. See Ronald W. Pierce, “Male/Female Leadership and Korah’s Revolt: An Analogy?” JETS 30, no. 1 (March, 1987), 3–10.

[2] The editors of the third edition of DBE also replaced Webb’s article on slavery: William J. Webb, “A Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic: The Slavery Analogy” in Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2005), 382–400.

[3] William J. Webb, “Gender Equality and Homosexuality” in Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2005), 401.

[4] Ibid.,

[5] Cynthia Long Westfall, “Interpretive Methods and the Gender Debate,” in Discovering Biblical Equality: Biblical, Theological, Cultural, and Practical Perspectives (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2021), 431–450. See especially pp. 448–450.

[6] Wesley Hill, Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2015).

[7] By citing this chapter, Peirce may be drawing too much from a statement made by the authors related to examining the character of a prospective friend: “Before welcoming another into a deep and mutual commitment of close friendship, Aelred advised that we look for evidence of the characteristics important for good friendships. He proposed a process of getting to know people who might become our friends, a process somewhat comparable to our contemporary dating and courtship practices that can lead to marriage.” J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler, The Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering Disciplines of the Good Life (Colorado Spring: NavPress, 2006), 190–191.

[8] Derek Brown, “A Review of Wesley Hill. Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay ChristianJBMW 20, no. 2 (Fall 2015), 58.

[9] Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Human Sexuality to the Forty-eighth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (2019–2020).

[10] Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ, 140–141.

[11] The Nashville Statement, for instance, clearly addresses this question in article 7: “We affirm  that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.

We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.” The Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality, art. 7.

[12] The Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality, art. 10.

[13] Pierce directs his readers to chapters on each of these passages in DBE. See Denny Burk’s essay in this journal rebutting this thesis derived from their exegesis of 1 Corinthians 7.

[14] Ray Ortlund’s essay in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood remains a helpful guide to these teachings in Genesis 1–3. Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., “Male-Female Equality and Male Headship: Genesis 1–3 in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, eds. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2006), 95–112.

[15] Ronald W. Pierce, “Evangelicals and Gender Roles in the 1990s: 1 Tim 2:8–15: A Test Case,” JETS 36, no. 3 (September 1993), 350.

[16] In a previous article, Pierce identified the difficulty of Paul’s arguments to the modern person: “No ‘logical’ link is present in the formula to connect the ancient event [creation] with Paul’s restrictions. Consequently the reasoning does not appear logical (from a human perspective) to the modern reader.” Not only that, “it means that from a human perspective God sets the general boundaries for religious leadership arbitrarily.” Ronald W. Pierce, “Male/Female Leadership and Korah’s Revolt: An Analogy? JETS 30, no. 1 (March 1987), 8.

[17] For further discussion of this idea, see Colin J. Smothers, “The Fallacy of Interchangeability” Eikon: A Journal for Biblical Anthropology 1, no. 1 (Spring 2019), 8–14; and Colin J. Smothers, “Is the Slippery Slope Actually Slippery: Egalitarianism and Open and Affirming?”  9Marks Journal, December 2019, 81–85.

[18] Wayne Grudem has previously documented the path from egalitarianism to liberalism and the affirmation of homosexuality, which continues apace today. His predictions have regrettably been more than vindicated: “Egalitarianism is heading towards an androgynous Adam who is neither male nor female, and a Jesus whose manhood is not important. It is heading toward a God who is both Father and Mother, and then only Mother. And soon the methods of evading the teachings of Scripture on manhood and womanhood will be used again and again by those who advocate the moral legitimacy of homosexuality.” Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: An Analysis of More Than 100 Disputed Questions (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 517.

[19] Egalitarianism fails to recognize the significance of male-female embodiment with respect to the God-given roles of men and women, thereby denigrating the importance of sexed differences. Likewise, worldviews that affirm homosexuality and transgenderism deny the importance and meaning of the body in determining the ethical legitimacy of either practice. See Nancy R. Pearcy, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2018), especially her introduction and chapters 5 and 6.

[20] Colin Smothers, “Is the Slippery Slope Actually Slippery: Egalitarianism and Open and Affirming?” 9Marks Journal, December 2019, 84

[21] John Piper and Wayne Grudem, 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 64.

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