The primal relationship between men and women is currently the focus of forceful Christian theological dialogue between egalitarians and complementarians.
— Egalitarians affirm gender equality in the image of God and assert that consequently it is self-evident that God’s intention is male and female relational equality.
— Complementarians also affirm gender equality in the image of God but advocate a relational hierarchy, with the subordination of women to men.
The Salvation Army is soundly egalitarian and holds the conviction that all people are created equally and should be given equal rights and opportunities.
This is primarily expressed in three areas of relationship:
The Genesis creation narrative conveys the early and central idea that man and woman are created to enjoy intimacy together. They “become one.”
In the same narrative, man and woman are also together commanded by God to work the earth.
In the New Testament, Christian community is portrayed as a community of togetherness—“you are all one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28).
While this is a treasured espoused theory by The Salvation Army, it is the day-to-day theory in use that is always under scrutiny. Our International Positional Statement on Sexism notes honestly:
“While valuing gender equity, The Salvation Army acknowledges with regret that Salvationists have sometimes conformed to societal and organizational norms that perpetuate sexism.”
To reverse this, let us enact the admonition of General John Gowans and “obey the divine imperative that has been laid upon us in this matter.”