Biblical Complementarity - the Bible never says what they teach

Biblical complementarity isn't really biblical.



B.C. is the belief that because God made Eve to be


Adam and Eve Cast Out


a physical and emotional complement for Adam, God would never bless other marriage relationships, like gay marriage or polygamy. Because the biblical text never says that, complementarians simply assume that since God did not mention other marriage relationships in Genesis 2, God will never bless other marriage relationships.

Thinking people reject that fallacious logic

Heterosexuals and homosexuals read and interpret scripture through the lens of their own presup-positions. What they are taught at home and at church greatly affects their understanding of scripture. Both groups read the same passage and come away with a different understanding of what God is saying to us today.

Heterosexuals tend to read scripture
from a heterosexual viewpoint

They read Biblical Complementarity into the scripture, when scripture does not mention it, and make assumptions based on their presupposition. They approach the Bible with a preconceived notion of Biblical Complementarity which distorts their interpretation of scripture.

They see no openly homosexual couples in the Bible. They view Adam and Eve as God’s unchangeable plan for marriage relationships. They assume, without the Bible ever saying so, that God simply would not bless any other marriage relationship than the kind they have and the kind Adam and Eve had.

And they see eight verses which are alleged to prohibit all same sex relationships. Based on their presuppositions about the kind of relationship God will bless, they conclude that God could never bless a gay couple. Only eternity will tell what harm such false teaching has done to millions of gays and lesbians.

Homosexuals usually grow up in
heterosexual homes and churches

Early on, homosexuals learn heterosexual viewpoints, including Biblical Complementarity theory. As their innate homosexual orientation begins to separate them from the heterosexual expectations of their parents, they begin to read scripture from a different perspective. They seek validation in scripture, of the same-sex attraction they feel as an integral part of their being.

They begin to read familiar scripture stories more closely to see if what they were taught is true. Study, prayer, critical thinking and comparing scripture with scripture begin to yield understandings different from what they were taught.

Is Biblical Complementarity really biblical?

Adam and Eve by Hendrik Goltzius, 1558-1617


According to Biblical Complementarity, the only relationship God mentions in the second chapter of Genesis is a heterosexual relationship between one man and one woman. Never mind that God affirms other kinds of marriage relationships in other places in scripture. Complementarians base their non-Biblical belief on an unrealistically literal reading of Genesis.

They read into scripture what scripture does not say and then teach what scripture does not say as absolute truth.

According to Complementarian theory, a man and a woman can produce a child but a man and a man or a woman and a woman cannot produce a child therefore, they reason, God only blesses male-female marriage relationships like Adam and Eve. This is interpreted to mean that God forbids every other kind of marriage relationship.

Biblical Complementarity is alleged to prove that God is against a loving, committed relationship between a man and more than one woman, polygamy, or between two men or two women. There are many problems with Complementarian theory, not the least of which, that it is never stated in the Bible.

As the old preacher used to thunder:

“They must have got that out of the Bible
because it certainly isn’t in the Bible.”

Many non-gay Christians interpret Genesis 2 as God’s prescription for heterosexuality and God’s proscription of homosexuality, even though the Bible never presents it that way, never says that, never implies that. Their false assumptions are culturally based, reflecting their personal opinion instead of God's holy will.



Dr. Robert Gagnon, a leading anti-gay evangelical author, advocates biblical complementarity.



But don't read too much into the word "Biblical" in this instance. As a leading advocate of Absolute Complementarity, Dr.Gagnon, in his 520 page, anti-gay book The Bible And Homosexual Practice, teaches that the creation story in Genesis authorizes "only heterosexual union, but never homosexual union."

Gagnon asserts that the Genesis account of creation leaves no room for legitimizing same-sex unions. That is the classic statement of the odd hermeneutic Complementarians use to buttress their position. Gagnon even insists that homosexual unions can never be legitimately described as loving. His remarks can be found on pages 194, 291, 297, 327, 339 of his book, The Bible and Homosexual Practice.

Catholics and many other churches
advocate this strange teaching

Roman Catholic Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Patterson, New Jersey, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Doctrine, summarized the Catholic position in November, 2006. The Catholic position is the traditional Biblical Complementarian position as described above.

The Catholic Church considers same sex desires to be “objectively disordered.” Homosexual practice, according to the Roman Catholic Church, is always “sinful” and “never morally acceptable.”

In other words, according to Roman Catholicism and Complementarity Theory, gay men and lesbians should never form same sex marriages.

4 reasons why biblical
complementarity is wrong

  1. In the scriptures, God never asserts Biblical Complementarity or absolute complementarity. The Bible does not mention or teach those beliefs. That conveys a convincing clue that complementarity as taught by the anti-gay crowd is not sound doctrine.

    We realize that men and women are physically complementary beings and their complementarity allows them to reproduce. We further realize that many men and women are emotionally complementary beings. What we are disagreeing with here is the unscriptural teaching that the Genesis account of Creation gives scriptural warrant for the false Complementarian teaching that God intended to outlaw, forbid, prohibit, every other kind of marriage relationship, based on the Genesis 2 account. That is reading into scripture something scripture assuredly does not say.

    In His eternal wisdom, our loving God makes about 5% of the human population gay and lesbian. We believe that scriptures like Matthew 19:11-12 and 1 Cor 7:1-9 indicate God's approval of gay and lesbian relationships which are within the Biblical moral framework - committed, faithful, non-cultic.

  2. God never said He will only bless a marital relationship exactly like the Adam and Eve model.

  3. Old Testament polygamy, one man with multiple wives, which God blessed, testifies that God Himself does not view Complementarian Theory (one man with one woman for life) as the only acceptable marriage relationship.

    That is not to argue for polygamy. It simply points out that God demonstrated to us in the Old Testament that He personally does not promote Biblical Complementarity Theory (one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all other relationships) nor does God endorse or promote absolute complementarity.

  4. Biblical Complementarity proponents must assume facts not in evidence in order to defend their theory. Their beliefs are based on what they wish the Bible said instead of on what the Bible actually says. That is not a wise foundation on which to base one's beliefs.

Complementarians assert that something
the Bible does not say, but which
they wish it said, is absolute truth.

They then insist that gays and lesbians must live by what the Bible does not say (Complementarity Theory). That false and unbiblical theory is to be rejected by everyone who takes the Bible seriously.

Helpful links to more info

You may be surprised to learn that what you were taught about marriage is different from what the Bible actually says.

Complementarians - stop parroting Plato

Marriage In The Bible

Family Values in the Bible?

Our 390 page Book, Gay Christian 101 -
Spiritual Self-Defense For Gay Christians

From Biblical Complementarity, return to Gay Christian 101 Home Page

Photo of the Fall of Man, an oil on canvas painting, courtesy of RDKimages via Wikimedia, painted in 1616 by Hendrik Goltzius and original at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., are in the public domain.


This page updated 11-23-2013