A debate on the role of women leaders in the church has resurfaced after social media pages revealed some complementarians privately decrying author Aimee Byrd.
In a Facebook group called Geneva Commons, elders from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Presbyterian Church in America discussed Byrd, a Christian author and speaker.
“I wish her husband loved her enough to tell her to shut up,” one person is reported to have written.
“Why can’t these women just take their shoes off and make us some sandwiches!?!” another wrote.
The OPC has since apologized and released a letter saying they are “greatly concerned about the overtly misogynistic tone leveled at women authors.”
The comments about Byrd have raised the discussion between egalitarianism and complementarianism and a call for change in views on women’s role in the church.
In an article for Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer took issue with the misogyny that often comes with complementarian beliefs. Stetzer highlighted the mistreatment of Byrd and fellow female Christian speaker and author Beth Moore.
Referring to the Geneva Commons groups comments about Byrd and Moore’s 2018 publication of “A Letter to My Brothers” in which she pleaded with her male counterparts not to tolerate misogyny, Stetzer wrote, “But, what both of these situations show is that the Venn diagram of reformed, complementarian, and misogynist has a pretty significant overlap that some people of character—men and women together—need to address in those movements.”
“That at least involves the OPC and PCA, and from my up-close and personal observations, plenty of spaces in the SBC,” Stetzer added.
“We are often quick to get defensive whenever anyone challenges our views. But we rarely spend the same amount of time addressing behaviors that are deeply hurtful to our sisters and dishonoring to Christ,” he wrote.
When sharing his article on Twitter, Stetzer added, “When we see the words of some complementarians outed from a Facebook group, it reminds us we all have a responsibility to root out misogyny.”
Complementarians in Closed Rooms: @AimeeByrdhwt, @BethMooreLPM, and Private Words that Reveal a Pressing Problem.— Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer) June 20, 2020
When we see the words of some complementarians outed from a facebook group, it reminds us we all have a responsibility to root out misogyny.https://t.co/t63qGo7NRu
Trevin Wax commented on Stetzer’s post writing: “Wherever you stand on comp/egal debates, surely biblical manhood should be marked by a visceral reaction and forceful opposition to any man who would belittle and mock a woman in this fashion.”
Wherever you stand on comp/egal debates, surely biblical manhood should be marked by a visceral reaction and forceful opposition to any man who would belittle and mock a woman in this fashion. https://t.co/ETHKICZMVa— Trevin Wax (@TrevinWax) June 20, 2020
Worship singer Rebekah Madduz El-Hakam also commented on the post mentioning her own experiences in the church.
“Whoa. To ‘know’ these things are being said about you and then to really “know” they are being said ... it’s disgraceful and painful. I’m not ready to tell my story, but yes, misogyny needs to be rooted out of God’s Church.”
Moore, who has been criticized for her role as a Bible teacher, responded to El-Hakam writing, “Believe me when I tell you, the half of it has not been told. They are capable of doing much damage which, tragically, makes them feel affirmed in the Lord as if he is pleased by it.”
Believe me when I tell you, the half of it has not been told. They are capable of doing much damage which, tragically, makes them feel affirmed in the Lord as if he is pleased by it.— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) June 21, 2020
The incident isn’t the first time male church leaders have criticized women leadership in the church.
In her 2018 “A Letter to My Brothers,” in which she discussed “disrespect of women among many of these men,” Moore wrote, “I’m asking that you would simply have no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in your spheres of influence,” she wrote. “I’m asking for your deliberate and clearly conveyed influence toward the imitation of Christ in his attitude and actions toward women.”
The day she released the letter, Gospel Coalition member Thabiti Anyabwile apologized for not confronting misogyny when he heard such remarks about Moore.
Photo courtesy: Aimee Byrd Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.