"I hate ….the word 'complementarian', I prefer the word 'patriarchy'…"
French Tapestry (Taken by Deb)
David and Tim Bayly — patriarchal Presbyterian pastors — took great pleasure in Russell Moore's words (quoted above) in a post they published on May 27, 2008. Here is Moore's quote in the context of their blog post: (link)
"(Tim, w/thanks to Chris) Here's an interesting statement by Southern Baptist Seminary's Russell Moore unburdening himself about the nomenclature of the sex battles; and more particularly, expressing his extreme dislike for the word 'complementarian' and preference for 'patriarchy.' He's exactly right.
Tune in at 29:45, and you will hear this:
Russell Moore: Gender identity and complementarianism… I hate ….the word 'complementarian', I prefer the word 'patriarchy'…
Again at 37:00 ff….
Mark Dever: So then, why is it you don't like the word complementarianism?
Russell Moore: Because complementarianism doesn't say much more than the fact that you have different roles. Everyone agrees that we have different roles, it just a question of on what basis you have different roles? So an egalitarian would say, "Yeah, I'm a complementarian too, it's on the basis of gifts." I think we need to say instead, "No you have headship that's the key issue. It's patriarchy, it's a headship that reflects the headship, the fatherhood of God, and this is what it looks like, you then have to define what headship looks like…"
In case you're not familiar with Dr. Russell Moore, he is "the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church, where he ministers weekly at the congregation’s Fegenbush location." (link)
Several years prior to the Bayly Brothers' post, Russell Moore published his own post entitled Reimagining Patriarchy (on November 22, 2005). He begins with these words:
"At last week’s Evangelical Theological Society, I argued for a word contemporary Christians greet with fear and loathing: patriarchy."
The paper Moore presented was entitled: "After Patriarchy, What? Why Egalitarians Are Winning the Evangelical Gender Debate". I remember reading this paper in the fall of 2008, and even then I couldn't get over the fact that Moore held up C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries as role models of ministry. Here is what Moore wrote on page 6 of his patriarchy paper:
"It is noteworthy that the vitality in evangelical complementarianism right now is among those who are willing to speak directly to the implications and meaning of male headship—and who aren’t embarrassed to use terms such as “male headship.” This vitality is found in specific ecclesial communities—among sectors within the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, the charismatic Calvinists of C.J. Mahaney’s “sovereign grace” network, and the clusters of dispensationalist Bible churches, as well as within coalition projects that practice an “ecumenism with teeth,” such as Touchstone magazine. These groups are talking about male leadership in strikingly counter-cultural and very specific ways, addressing issues such as childrearing, courtship, contraception and family planning—not always with uniformity but always with directness."
To see for yourself, just click on the link in Moore's post.
Given this background information about Moore, you can probably understand my UTTER SHOCK when I read his December 5th post entitled: Women Stop Submitting to Men. What?
At first I thought he made a mistake in the title of the post. Then I began to read Moore's words. Here's how the post begins:
"Those of us who hold to so-called “traditional gender roles” are often assumed to believe that women should submit to men. This isn’t true.
Indeed, a primary problem in our culture and in our churches isn’t that women aren’t submissive enough to men, but instead that they are far too submissive.
First of all, it just isn’t so that women are called to submit while men are not. In Scripture, every creature is called to submit, often in different ways and at different times. Children are to submit to their parents, although this is certainly a different sort of submission than that envisioned for marriage. Church members are to submit to faithful pastors (Heb. 13:17). All of us are to submit to the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). Of course, we are all to submit, as creatures, to our God (Jas. 4:7).
And, yes, wives are called to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22; 1 Pet. 3:1-6). But that’s just the point. In the Bible, it is not that women, generally, are to submit to men, generally. Instead, “wives” are to submit “to your own husbands” (1 Pet. 3:1)."
Moore goes on to explain that it is very harmful to women when they "submit to men, as a category". Moore rightly states:
"Too many of our girls and young women are tyrannized by the expectation to look a certain way, to weigh a certain amount, in order to gain the attention of “guys.”
Additionally, too many predatory men have crept in among us, all too willing to exploit young women by pretending to be “spiritual leaders” (2 Tim. 3:1-9; 2 Pet. 2). Do not be deceived: a man who will use spiritual categories for carnal purposes is a man who cannot be trusted with fidelity, with provision, with protection, with the fatherhood of children. The same is true for a man who will not guard the moral sanctity of a woman not, or not yet, his wife.
We have empowered this pagan patriarchy… Fathers assume their responsibility to daughters in this regard starts and stops in walking a bride down an aisle at the end of the process. Pastors refuse to identify and call out spiritually impostors before it’s too late. And through it all we expect our girls and women to be submissive to men in general, rather than to one man in particular."
I want to encourage you to read Russell Moore's post and provide us with your feedback. Do you believe he is dancing to the beat of a different drum? Well, maybe I should have said singing a different tune since Baptists aren't supposed to dance. I guess they can sing though.
Moore ends his post with these imperatives: "Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as unto the Lord. Yes and Amen. But, women, stop submitting to men."
I appreciated what Carl Kincaid expressed to Moore in the comments section (comment #5). He wrote:
“Excellent blog, appreciated it. Also appreciated Loretta’s comment. I would also add to her thought that i have observed too many Christian men leverage Eph 5:22-24 without truly living Eph 5:25-33 and don’t think the former can be removed from the latter. . .”
Another commenter, David Meyer, appreciated Carl’s comment and provided an important reminder by writing:
“@Carl Kincaid, I was about to make that point but you hit the nail on the head. If men live Eph 5:25-33 then they become the godly husbands the women can safely submit themselves to because the husband has first submitted himself to Christ and to his bride . . .”
This fall Russell Moore had the opportunity to speak at Covenant Life Church (link), and one can only hope that he now knows how incorrect his assessment of SGM was when he wrote his patriarchy paper back in 2005 (when Mohler was so enamored with C.J. that he endorsed his books). Here's the verse that comes to mind:
"O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?" (Galatians 3:1 ESV)
This blogger hopes and prays that Russell Moore has renounced patriarchy and that he will meditate on Ephesians 5:25-33 as Carl Kincaid and David Meyer have suggested.
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (ESV)
Unfortunately, we don't hear the above passage nearly as much as we do the verses that precede them:
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." (Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV)
Lydia's Corner: Job 20:1-22:30 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 Psalm 40:11-17 Proverbs 22:2-4