Carmen Fowler LaBerge is the President of the Presbyterian Lay Committee and Executive Editor of its digital publication. She has been a speaker at The Truth for a New Generation national apologetics conference and serves as chairperson of Common Ground Christian Network as well as a member of the board of the National Association of Evangelicals. She will be preaching on June 26th at the EPC’s 35th General Assembly in Orlando, FL. Carmen is a colleague and fellow writer for A Christian Manifesto and was gracious enough to allow me to interview her in regards to her thoughts on complementarian and egalitarian perspectives on female leadership in the church. This is part two of the discussion that first appeared HERE last week.
- How have your own views on the complementarian/egalitarian conversation developed over time?
It comes down to figuring out how, as a Christian woman, I live as a demonstration of the Gospel, full of grace and truth, with beauty and strength, in full submission to Christ. And now, as a married woman, in joyful submission to my husband. In a culture where the strident pro-choice feminist advocates make theologically conservative people instantly suspicious of strong women, it is a continual challenge.
Marriage is the reality where all of this literally comes home. My husband’s answers to these questions would be interesting to hear. We are mutually submitted to Jesus Christ and yes, I am submitted to Jim. We have talked about the need for folks to understand how that works – when two people who are wild about Jesus commit their marriage to be a redemptive witness to the world where God’s design is so misunderstood.
But back to your question: I didn’t even know until I arrived at seminary that this was a debate. I grew up in a home with a professional mom and in a Presbyterian church with women in leadership. I came into ministry through Young Life which is egalitarian in its approach. I was discipled by men and women who affirmed my gifts and encouraged me to pursue ordination. At seminary I was exposed to those with complementarian convictions. Because I take God seriously and take the study of His Word seriously, I took their concerns seriously. I still do.