It really is simple and yet so often misunderstood. Some things are compatible and some things are alternatives. If things are alternatives you cannot have them both. For example:
Driving and talking are compatible: You can do either or you can do both at the same time.
Driving and being a passenger are incompatible: You can do either but you cannot do both at the same time.
So it is with Male Headship and Freedom of Choice for Women: they are alternatives, you cannot have both at the same time.
So it is with Male Headship and equality for Women: they are alternatives, you cannot have both at the same time.
As a Church you can believe in Male Headship and you can claim that it is compatible with the historic Christian tradition (at least for the last 1600 years or so).
But as a Church you cannot say that you believe in Male Headship and say that women have a choice about whether they submit.
As a Church you cannot say that you believe in Male Headship (and be specific qas New Frontiers are in their core values that this means 1. they should submit to their husbands & 2. you not permit women to be elders) and say that women are equal.
See the comments on Quite a bit: Newfrontiers: Borderlands Conference for claims that:
- Male Headship still allows Women a choice and freedom
- Male Headship still means Women are equal
If your Church teaches Male Headship and enforces it in it's structures (as New Frontiers makes clear in it's core values see 42: Lessons in rubbing salt in wounds from New Frontiers) then it is ok to claim that this is compatible with historic Christianity but it is not ok to claim that within these values women have freedom and choice and are treated as equals.
This is not theological, it is basic logic.
Within New Frontiers a woman cannot exercise her freedom and choose to apply for the role of Elder. Therefore she is not equal and she is does not have freedom of choice.
Within New Frontiers the Church does not support a couple who wish to say "we choose to treat each other as equals believing in mutual submission and servant hood but not in male headship and female submission" (as taught in New Frontiers core value 7). Hence, they are not free to choose and they are not treated as equals by the Church.
I keep coming across this abandonment of logic.
If you wish to be a Church that has Male Headship as a core value (as New Frontiers does) then please do so. I don't agree with you, I think it goes against scripture but you can choose to do this.
BUT there are consequences:
If you choose Male Headship you cannot claim that you give women freedom on choice and treat them as equals. These things are incompatible. Equality it a simple absolute, one area in which equality is not permitted means there is not equality.
If you choose Male Headship and enshrine in a core value that some roles are for men only then you can't say women are equal because you allow them to do these other things.
If you choose Male Headship and enshrine in a core value that women should submit to their husbands then you cannot claim "the Biblical idea is about making a choice to submit willingly, whereby we maintain equality". With that core value there is no choice, no freedom to decide not to submit.
All I am asking for is honesty from men in positions of power that they do not believe should be shared with women.
By all means say your Church believes in Male Headship. But do not try to claim that this allows equality. Do not try to claim this gives women choice and freedom.
Note that it goes one step further, you also cannot say "Women are happy with the roles and status within New Frontiers" if there are women who are not happy with this situation. Given that a number of women have said publicly that they are not happy in New Frontiers please stop the claims that they are mistaken and stop claiming that all women in New Frontiers are happy with Male Headship.
If you stop claiming that 1+1 does not equal 2 then we can have a much more coherent discussion on issues such as the Biblical challenges to Male Headship.