Where do women stand in terms of status to men? Are they equal? Or are men meant to lead the women?
At creation we see that Adam (man) was “not good” alone. Eve was made for Adam to fulfill the creation intention given. That means that it is not man or woman who best reflects God. It is man AND woman which reflect God. They are equal in the sense that neither can be what they are meant to be without the other. They are equal therefore in value. We see this especially in the sacrifice of Jesus in which there is neither male nor female (Galatians 3:28).
However, we must resist the radical idea that they are equal in the sense that they are THE SAME. Biologically that is not true. Psychologically it’s not true. Spiritually it’s not true either. So the Bible does paint a picture that very clearly in MARRIAGE men are to be the leaders.
But what does that mean? It is not condoning chauvinism or male dominance. It is not about AUTHORITY, it is about SERVICE. In fact that problem comes from the curse in Genesis 3:16 to Eve “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”. The problem is that men want to RULE over women instead of LEAD them and that women will want to CONTROL men instead of HONOR them.
So we are equal in value and different in practicum. Yet our duty is still to love one another as God has loved us. How that plays out in our cultures, governments, and churches, I believe can be different. For example there are very powerful leader women in the Bible such as Rebekah, Deborah, Rahab, Priscilla, or Phoebe. So we cannot say that God will not condone or use women in leadership. We can ask whether He prefers women in leadership. Often times I find that men who say that women shouldn’t be leaders are not taking up the mantle themselves.
But really a lot of the negative debate comes from trying to put people down. Women shouldn’t do this. Men shouldn’t do this. I think a lot of this discussion would be really benefited if we thought not about how others SHOULD act or be, but instead how we can encourage and build each other up in the Gospel and all righteousness. I think the Bible talks a lot more about that than the role of women in church.