For Your Freedom

Field Versus Fence

Do boundaries always mean restraint? What role do women play in the church and home? At the 2012 Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, Mary Kassian, author, speaker, and seminary professor, discusses the complementarian view with Jennie Allen. Mary is the author of numerous books, including Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild and Conversation Peace.  

Jennie and Mary talked about the struggle many women have with boundaries. In the complementarian view, certain authority and responsibilities are reserved for men. If you’re a woman, do you struggle with this boundary placed on your life and ministry? If you’re a man, can you see why women would struggle?
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Mary encouraged women not to focus on the “fence,” or boundaries, that hold them back but instead to look at the freedom within the “field.” What freedom do you enjoy in your role as a woman?
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Mary acknowledged there is disagreement even amongst complementarians regarding women’s role in the church and the home. What are your views? Why do you hold that position? What Scriptures come to mind?
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Ideally in the complementarian view, men would be honorable in their leadership and empower women to live out their unique calling, too. Often, though, this isn’t the case.  

What are some ways you’ve seen men disregard the gifts and graces of women? If you're a woman, what experience do you have with being dishonored or unjustly held back by the authority of a man?
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Mary said in these situations—when women feel legitimately dishonored and under-appreciated by men—women should look beyond themselves and look to Christ. They should consider how God would have them respond. 

What are your thoughts on this perspective? What do you think is the correct response when women are not held in high esteem by men? Again, what Scriptures comes to mind?
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There is often confusion, disagreement, and misunderstanding about gender roles within church and society. Mary presents a freeing vision of boundaries and specific roles for both women and men. Wherever you stand and whatever your beliefs, rest assured God has a unique call in your life and in the lives of the men and women in your church.   

For more information about the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, click here.