CBMW and T4G: Is Male Headship Quasi-Essential?

A comment I read on another blog makes an insightful observation:

As I see it, CBMW and many in my own theological camp are in somewhat of a bind. They know that the complementarian/egalitarian debate can’t be cast as a first-order, gospel-or-die issue, but yet they don’t want people to walk away thinking that it’s simply a garden variety 2nd order issue where you believe what you want and I’ll believe what I want. Hence, you find attempts to craft a space for complementarianism that sits somewhere between a first order (i.e. gospel) and a second order issue. You can see the same thing in Article XVI of the T4G Affirmation and Denial Statement. Article XVI’s affirmation doesn’t say that complementarianism equals the gospel, but insists that it is a “testimony to the gospel” — yet there’s no explanation what the statement means by this phrase. Moreover, the last sentence of Article XVI indicates that a church can’t ”confuse” these issues (and relax its complementarian stance) without “damaging its witness to the gospel.” Note first that there’s no definition of what ‘confuse’ means here, and there’s also no suggestion as to which interpretive standard is being used to measure what would constitute said ‘confusion’. As with the affirmation, the denial in Article XVI hasn’t said that complementarianism and the gospel are one and the same, but it has nonetheless intimated that there’s a very, very thin line separating the two. It’s at best a quasi-argument.

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