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Some have recently made the argument that recent Marvel movies are degrading Christian teaching on complementarianism by exalting the heroic powers of women. Here’s a good solid response to that contention.
At 10am on Friday, my wife and I sat down in plush, reclining movie theater chairs, armed with popcorn and Kombucha, to watch the 182-minute event known as Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. No spoilers ahead (I promise!), but we were dazzled by the scope of this film, where literally dozens of heroes assembled to protect good and vanquish evil. It is a ground-breaking film on numerous levels, but we were especially taken back by the many powerful women heroes of many sizes, shapes, and origins.
Female - Heroes - Wonder - Woman - She-Ra
I grew up with a few female heroes like Wonder Woman, She-Ra, and the women of X-Men. But by and large sci-fi and hero stories of the 1980’s featured an intrepid man rescuing the proverbial damsel in distress. Some Christians find this 21st century spotlight on women heroes to unbalance appropriate gender roles. But in the New Testament we actually find heroic imagery frequently applied to the work of women leaders, and in a way that looks a lot like the team spirit of the motley crew of the Avengers.
In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul commends two women, Euodia and Syntyche, who were Christian leaders on the frontlines of the gospel mission. He refers to them as “contending,” or fighting, side by side with him as ministry co-workers (Phil 4:3). The same language he uses for them, he uses also for all his co-leaders, like Timothy (Rom 16:21). The imagery Paul uses for these women resemble a troop of soldiers marching lockstep into danger, battling side-by-side, relying equally on the support of the other.
Leadership - Activity - Women
We do not know exactly what leadership activity these women carried...
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