Over its long history, the church has appointed men into the episcopate, although women participated in other forms of leadership (e.g., the being part of the diaconate).
But in the late twentieth century, Western Christians became increasingly uneasy with a male only episcopate. If the Spirit gifts Christians, why cannot women do everything that men can do? Why cannot women become pastors, elders, or the equivalent?
In response to this sentiment, a number of Evangelical leaders coined the term complementarianism to promote what they see as a traditional and biblical understanding of gender. Complementarians teach that God created men and women to be equal in worth but diverse in roles. So, for example, complementarians reserve the role of elder/pastor/bishop for men alone. In contrast, egalitarians argue that men and women can equally participate in roles and so women should be allowed access to the episcopate.
Here’s a brief sketch of the Complementarian Movement’s (CM) history. [Read more…] about What Is the Complementarian Movement?